24 June 2015

Eleven Eleven Mississippi, a St. Louis Restaurant

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We celebrated our 38th anniversary this week!  We celebrated all week long with our Facebook friends!  Bob gave me a card and gift each day.  He knows my favorites, my splurges and my pitter pats (of my heart) and from this list you see below he hit them all!

Monday:  gift card to Starbucks
Tuesday:: BT Nails gift certicate
Wednesday: a brick for my alma mater
Thursday: flowers and a piece of pottery
Friday:  gift card to Subway
Saturday: dinner out

I have Bob six tickets to Samantha Fox, one of his favorite musical artists.

We chose to have dinner at Eleven Eleven Mississippi. Located in Lafayette Square, the restaurant is housed in a brick building with an outdoor courtyard. We sat upstairs and had a view of the kitchen and other diners. 



Our server was very attentive and got us drinks right away. We ordered the stuffed grape leaves which were delicious.  


Next was the Tuscan kale salad with fig, blue cheese, almonds and mint. I really enjoyed this combination of flavors. I wasn't impressed with the fig, instead of fresh, they were dried.




Our entrees came back at a nice pace, not rushed. Bob had the crispy trout over orzo .  Perfectly cooked with delicate but distinctively flavored sauce.



 I had the roast chicken with couscous.  The chicken was  juicy and well seasoned.  The couscous was cooked with broccoli and creamy.  The couscous had a pleasing bite to it and was seasoned perfectly.


 The highlight for me was the dessert: their take on the classic Napoleon.  The vanilla custard was dotted with vanilla bean with layers of crispy crust in between.  Real whipped cream with chunks of dark chocolate finished the dessert beautifully.  All this was sitting on a bed of caramel, the good kind, not too sweet but creamy and addictive!


A fabulous meal fitting to the occasion.  Definitely a restaurant to put on your short list if you are in the St. Louis/Lafayette Square area!

23 June 2015

Tenacious Eats~The Blues Brothers!

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For Mother's Day Bob treated me out to a brunch at Tenacious Eats to see "The Help."  It was so much fun that I repeated the event for him on Father's Day and it was such a blast.  First, the movie choice was spot on for dads: wild car chase scenes, rhythm and blues concert, hilarious, and slapstick, all at the same time.  If you haven't seen this iconic movie (and there was one in our group who hadn't!), it is worth your time to do so!



When we arrived we were greated with Duo Denim, a music duo who entertained us with the clarinet and guitar.  Oh my word, that lady could play the clarinet.  I could have listened to her a lot more! We grabbed up their email just in case we ever needed such great entertainment!

There is always an alcoholic punch to greet you and the selection for this movie was a blue vodka punch.  It was delicious but I was remiss in asking what was in it.  I just enjoyed it!  There was also beer for the dads who preferred it and, there would be an empty can for later....

Once seated, there are always a few shorts to watch, that is, meaning short films.  We saw the classic "Who's on First", "Jaws," and a clip from "The Poseidon Adventure" (the 1972 movie that scared me to death about going on a cruise).  After some brief introductions the movie started and our first course arrived.


The first course was catfish.  The course was called, "I did it all for the Penguin" referring to the sister in charge of the school.  Served with black-eyed peas with hot sauce and toast (a reoccuring theme of the food, in honor of Elwood's toast fetish).  Each course is served with its own cocktail pairing and for this course it was a long island iced tea.


The second course, "Did You Get Me My Cheese Whiz Boy?" was homemade cheese whiz on a brioche toast.  This was amazing and one of my favorite courses.  What goes with cheese whiz?  A shandy, of course!


The third course was a shrimp and bratwurst sandwich with champagne marinated grapes.  This is the Chez Paul Offensive and was perfectly seasoned with slaw and a poppy seed roll.  The drink of choice was a Champagne PickMeUp.


The fourth  course was buttermilk brined fried chicken served with greens and yes, white toast.  The chicken was so juicy and crisp. The sauce was made with Mexican Coca Cola.  What a completely perfect course to go along with the scene with Aretha Franklin.  The whole crowd was singing along with her!  The drink was a Dandy.


The fifth course was cigar wrapped greens and the most tender beef brisket on top of creamy grits with roasted corn.  This course was served when the band is singing Rawhide at the cowboy bar.  Remember those beer cans?  That's right, they were all tossed at the chef, who in her wisdom, had chicken wire placed around her cooking station.  It was a hoot to see all those cans go flying!  The drink was not a beer, but a Daisy Cocktail, which was a first for me.  It was strong and really good.  Main liquor is rye whiskey.

The last course, dessert, was so good.  We always look forward to see that the pastry chef puts together for the ending.  There was no disappointment today.


Cornmeal and chocolate shortbread with strawberries and blackberries served with bourbon whipped cream.  Perfect ending to the meal!  The drink was a boozy thin mint shake.  Yum.

Bob had a great time and we were so full when we left.  We laughed about how much we remembered from seeing the movie over the years.  We got a kick out of the shorts and how they always seem to be disaster films!

The season for Tenacious Eats is done until fall, but you can be sure that we will be attending a few then.  Until then, we'll be waiting anxiously to see what Chef Liz puts together for us!

22 June 2015

Around the Garden

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We have had 98% rain since last Monday and although some of my flowers like it, most are starting to feel the effects of too much water.  Just like anything else, too much of a good thing is, well, too much.  We made some adjustments to our garden now that the sales have really kicked in.  At the Farmer's Market this week all hanging baskets, annuals and perennials were 50% off.  That means it is time to do whatever replanting we need to do.  For instance, one of the pots held lettuce.  The lettuce is done so now the pot has impatients in it.


We purchased three of the hanging bags of flowers, like seen at amusement parks.  We are trying them out to see if we really want to add them to our list of must haves each spring.  We also purchased two more summer rugs, one under the dining table and another for the lounging area.  


We moved the lounging area from the deck to here.  This space feels a bit more private for sunbathing, even though it is closer to the fence. My back will now be facing the main road instead of looking at it!

We lost our lemon tree.  It just got too cold here in the early spring.  We thought we'd nutured it back, but this week the tree lost the last of its leaves.  That pot got the basil replanted in it.  The basil really took off this year!


So now that I moved the lounging area, it opened up the deck.  I am thinking it is the perfect spot for a cafe table and chairs.  What do you think?

Here's what's blooming:  our Stella de' Oros and daisies!  I love daisies!  They are so festive.  Loot at home many buds there are!

 

Joining the fun today over at this party to see more gardens and tours!  Enjoy!






21 June 2015

Happy Father's Day!

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It's Father's Day! 

I would like to take the time to let you know about my husband Bob, as a father.  Many of my family and friends know that he is a great dad and father.  Nearly everyone knows that he had a wonderful role model in both his own father and his older brother.  Good role models are important.

What people might not know is this:  I had to convince my husband that having a family was a good idea.  We had been married for seven years and we really liked our life!  We traveled, purchased a house, continued our education, bought what we needed and things we didn't, and enjoyed being able to GO without a second thought.  He was sure that having a baby would change all these things and he wasn't sure he wanted to give them up.

He was right, having a baby changed all these things. 

What he didn't realize though, was all the things we would GET.  Like hours and hours, days and days, years and years of constant entertainment!  Our daughter made us laugh all the time, with the things she said and did, some which still elicit belly laughs from time to time, such as Ashley speaking with a southern drawl when she was four.  We got a mediator for our (often) discussions (arguments) who to this day can see the right we each bring to a discussion (argument).  We got a partner in crime for whatever passion we have.  Bob-Ashley (wine).  Terri-Ashley (spa treatments).  Bob-Ashley-Terri (books).  Bob-Ashley (fashion).  Terri-Ashley (shopping). Bob-Terri-Ashley (education).  Bob-Ashley-Terri (travel).  Bob-Ashley-Terri (foodies).  We got unconditional love and constant ego boosting (You are the best mommy, daddy, teacher, principal).  We took better care of our health (because of our daughter), stayed young (to keep up with our on-the-go kid), and learned to think of others (Ashley's needs first) before ourselves.  We "grew up" and acted accordingly.  Well, except for singing at the Liberty Bell that one time in Philadelphia...

Once Bob looked into those big blue eyes, he knew two things immediately:  that her name was Ashley (we hadn't decided before we went to the hospital, she was three weeks early and we thought we had time) and that he was totally in love with a baby.  He couldn't get enough of her.  He cried when he told his dad that she had been born, on his (Grandpa Jake) birthday and that her name was Ashley.  He knew from that moment he was changed.  We were a family and that was his number one priority.

So, Happy Father's Day, Bob, and for making your family a priority, during all times of your life, even when the decisions were hard and meant giving up something you wanted.  Much love!

20 June 2015

Father's Day Giveaway

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I am happy to participate in the Two Gals Giveaway for Father's Day! Today is the last day to enter, so be sure to get your entry in. I have included the link below.


My dad taught me the fine art of the comeback.  He was a quick thinker and always had something to say to our comments.  We were quick, too, but he always had the last word (in a good way, mostly).

What would you do with $300???  Here's my list:

1. Paloma's Venezia Goldoni heart band ring in sterling silver. From Tiffany's.
2. MICHAEL Michael Kors 'Bedford Tassel - Medium' Convertible Leather Shoulder Bag in red.
3. I'd do a spa day at my favorite spa!

Since it is not budgeted money, I would definitely splurge!  The only way to win is to enter and you can do that HERE!  Good Luck!

19 June 2015

Summer Tour of Homes

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Head over to  Shelstring Blog to see our home on the Summer Tour of Homes.  Here is a teaser of what you will see...






18 June 2015

Lemon Confetti Bundt Cake #BundtBakers

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The June theme for Bundt Bakers is lemon!  My favorite of all flavors, I was excited to participate in this yummy celebration.

There are so many delicious cakes on this month's list.  I had plans to do something with ricotta cheese and blueberries, but if you will notice, there are already two selections this month with those flavors.  You-might-guess-who was slow in getting my her cake listed this month. 

All it did was to force me to confront the only issue I have with confetti cake.  It's the wrong flavor.  It screams to be lemon, not vanilla.  It really does.  I heard it.  This is too easy for words, too.

When you taste this cake, you will agree with me that this is how confetti cake was supposed to be.


Lemon Confetti Bundt Cake

by Terri Steffes
Cook Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients
  • 1 Confetti cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 c water
  • 1/3 c vegetable oil
  • 1 T lemon extract
  • 1 T powdered sugar
Instructions
Preheat oven to 350.
Prepare Bundt pan with Crisco or Pam.
Combine all ingredients. Beat for three minutes or until all ingredients are well mixed.
Pour into prepared Bundt pan.
Bake for 35-40 minutes.
Cool for 10 minutes in pan.
Remove from pan and cool completely on a rack.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.
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Go check out these delicious lemon bundt cakes. You will find everything from simple (like mine) to deliciously complex flavors and techniques. Something for everyone!
BundtBakers
#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving Bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all of our lovely Bundts by following our Pinterest board right here. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme or ingredient. Updated links for all of our past events and more information about BundtBakers can be found on our homepage.

17 June 2015

Green is Good, part 2

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Last week I had a guest blogger writing about some products that are good for the environment and for us.  Justine sent me a few samples of the products and here is my review of them.

Laundry detergent:  The laundry detergent, liquid, is super concentrated so I used the recommended amount, 1 tablespoon, per load.  Bob and I do not get very dirty in our line of business and we usually only wear each outfit once before we through it into the washer.  Our clothes came out smelling wonderful and seemed clean and fresh.

Dishwasher tablets:  The dishwasher tablets seemed to work fine as well.  The dishes were clean and sparkling, and the scent is very nice.  They are smaller tablets than the ones at the store, but I am sure they are concentrated as well.

Dish soap:  This stuff is very concentrated!  A basin full of water and only a couple of drops of soap made all this lather!  It lasted for a long while.  As a person who usually puts a drop or two on a sponge, I am sold on filling up the sink with water first.  Wow.


Laundry stain remover stick:  I used this on one garment with an older, tomato based stain.  It did not remove the stain completely, but I did see some improvement on the garment.  If the stain was fresh, I believe it would work better.

Thank you, Justine, for the samples and for letting me try them! 

16 June 2015

Lemon Bits Oatmeal Cookies #CreativeCookieExchange

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Lemon and summer go hand-in-hand.  Think lemonade, iced tea with lemon, and now...Lemon Bits Oatmeal Cookies! 

#CreativeCookieExchange is a group of bloggers who like to bake cookies and each month we are guided by a theme and this month our theme is Chips, Chunks or Bits.  When I found these lemon bits at King Arthur's Flour, I knew I would be incorporating them into my cookie for this month.

lemon bits oatmeal cookie

I love this cookie.  It's different from my usual cookie in that it is thin, a bit chewy and lightly flavored.  The oatmeal, flavored with a bit of ginger, is a nice compliment to the lemon bits. The lemon is not overwhelming at all, just a bit of freshness at the end! 

Lemon Bits Oatmeal Cookies

by Terri Steffes
Prep Time: 8 minutes
Cook Time: 11 minutes per batch

Ingredients (3 dz)
  • 1/2 c softened butter
  • 1/2 c brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 c white sugar
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c flour
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 t ground ginger
  • 1 c oatmeal
  • 1/2 c lemon bits (King Arthur's Flour)
Instructions
Preheat oven to 375.
Cream butter and sugars
Add egg and vanilla, mix well.
Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and ginger.
Add flour to butter mixture in small amounts, stirring to incorporate.
Fold in lemon bits.
Prepare cookie sheet by spraying with cooking spray or by covering with parchment paper.
Drop by teaspoonfuls on to parchment.
Bake for 8 minutes, check for color.  Cookies should be golden brown.
Cool for one minute, then remove to cooling rack until thoroughly cooled.
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The theme this month is Chips, Chunks or Bits! If you are a blogger and want to join in the fun, contact Laura at thespicedlife AT gmail DOT com and she will get you added to our Facebook group, where we discuss our cookies and share links. Please be patient though, as this month Laura is off to Italy and will not be checking email quite as often!
You can also just use us as a great resource for cookie recipes--be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts (you can find all of them at The Spiced Life). You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month! Also, if you are looking for inspiration to get in the kitchen and start baking, check out what all of the hosting bloggers have made:

14 June 2015

Around the Garden-New Town Garden Tour

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This week I am going to share with you photos of the New Town Garden Tour that was held this weekend.  These are just teasers and I am hoping others will share their photos, too.  The Garden Club held its pre-tour on Friday so that all the workers could see the gardens on the tour.

Each garden was unique to its special properties which I will try to highlight in each photo.  I hope you will enjoy the tour!

The back porch to a really beautiful garden.  Hanging planters on the privacy fence and a special water feature and eating area are not seen.  The garage is detached and creates this pocket garden between the house and garage.
 

These flowers grace the front of the house.  The house is located by a canal on its west side and all the garden space is there.  The sitting area has a beautiful pergola with a beautiful ironworks light in the center.

This house faces a lake.  This backyard courtyard features the beautiful fountain you see in the background.

These flowers are an example of the multiple pots of annuals that surround the home.  All the yard is in ground cover, with plant or mulch.  The yard space is low maintenance in this home.

This home features a v shaped courtyard with a space right off the back door as you see here, with a garden bench, this arbor and another seating area with an concrete umbrella stand and trellis. 

This garden is nearly completely covered in flagstone and large rounded stones.  It also features a large cascading water feature.  The owners recently moved in and have many plans for updating this space.

This tiny space is well utilized.  The paver patio connects the back porch to the garage and is a delightful seating area full of beautiful annuals and the clematis you see in the background.  A gorgeous spot for coffee in the morning and wine at night!

This garden has the most beautiful water feature, a LARGE stone drilled down the middle with water gurgling from the top.  It is most definitely the feature in this garden but there is a beautiful, zen-like seating area and a hammock, too!
This beautiful garden feature a lovely, carpet like yard, in addition to a gorgeous seating space right off the back door.  This lovely patch of annuals surrounds a huge tree sporting lime green (new growth) and purple leaves.  It was spectacular.
The pre tour was wonderful.  We had had a big storm pull in an hour before the tour started, and some plants were a little messed up, but still each garden's charm was apparent from the moment we stepped into it.  New Town gardens are small and private, with each one having unique characteristics that set them apart from the others.  I enjoyed this pre tour so much.  Thank you to our garden tour participants!

Head over to this party to see more gardens and tours!  Enjoy!

13 June 2015

Flag Day!

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Enjoy these photos of Flag Day around my neighborhood, New Town of Saint Charles!
 
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Flag Day celebrates the adoption of the American Flag in 1777.   In 1916 the day became a national holiday but not a federal holiday so you don't hear much of any parades or cookouts!  In any case, it is fun to see all the flags flying throughout the US.  Happy Flag Day!

12 June 2015

Food Wine Design

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Last year Bob and I attended the Food Wine Design event.  When we had the chance to go to this year's event, we knew we wanted to go and we also knew we were going to spring for the VIP tickets.  We are so glad we did!



Here is how the event is promoted: Indulge your senses at St. Louis Magazine’s Culinary Week – Food Wine Design. Each night, a duo of the city’s most celebrated chefs will prepare a one-of-a-kind meal complete with carefully selected wine and beer pairings. Plus, enjoy live music, cocktails from top mixologists, and inspirational tabletop designs.

Chefs
Lou Rook — Annie Gunn's
William Cardwell — Cardwell's at the Plaza and BC's Kitchen

Music
Fanfare

Wine host
Ward on Wine

Mixologists
Brooksey Cardwell of Cardwell's at the Plaza
Spirits of St. Louis

When we arrived, we were met by Mungenast Lexus of St. Louis for a cocktail party.  The featured cocktails were a Blackberry Sage Gin Fizz and a Strawberry Rhubarb Old Fashioned Punch.  I tried the strawberry and it was amazing!  The appetizers served were...

Annie Gunn’s prime strip loin tartare on Guinness bread
Maine lobster roll
Seared king salmon on Yukon Gold potato chip with crème fraiche and caviar
Spring vegetable fritto misto with meyer lemon mayonnaise dipping sauce 

Amazing, explosions of goodness in your mouth!


After the cocktail party, we come into the banquet hall and feast our eyes on stunning floral arrangements.  Our arrangements were done by Mary Tuttle's Flowers, and from the talk at the table, her daughter was seated across from us.  These displays were sold at the end of the evening for a donation to the Food Bank.




The chefs came out and told us about the food we were to eat, and their descriptions had us all ready to gnaw at the table legs!!  We were famished, even after all the cocktails and appetizers!


 

My place setting.  I happen to see the photographer take the photo!  Photo courtesy of St. Louis Magazine.

Bob and I are seated second and third from the left.  Photo courtesy of St. Louis Magazine

 
 

The courses as they were served:

First Course

Fish stew provençal with roasted prawns, bouillabaisse relish, and rouille crostini
Crios Rosé of Malbec, Argentina
 
 
Second Course
Confit of heritage hog pork belly, grilled housemade Belgium beer sausage, spring vegetable potato salad, and Banyuls vinegar bacon dressing
Beer pairing: Goose Island Matilda
 
 
Third Course
Grilled porcini crusted Aurora Farms prime “Manhattan” style strip loin with wild mushroom ragout, bone marrow gremolata, and a smattering of spring vegetables
M.Chapoutier Cotes Du Rhone, France


Dessert
Baetje Farms goat cheese panna cotta with strawberry rhubarb compote and orange madeleines
Augusta Ice Wine, Missouri


Gourmet coffee bar by Thomas Coffee

After the meal, there was a drawing for a table lamp and an auction for a Progressive Dinner Party at Caldwell's and Annie Gunn's for eight, and you were driven to the restaurants by Lexus!  The winning bid was over $3000.  All for the Food Bank.  Such a great gift, Chefs!

The swag bag was nice, too.  A Riedel wine glass, a Stella Artois glass, chocolates, a wine bottle cap, and a complete wine opener set for travel in addition to the latest St. Louis Magazines.  The ticket includes valet parking.

Having a great time !  Photo courtesy of St. Louis Magazine
As we were driving home (not in a Lexus, darn it!) we discussed how much we loved coming to this event.  We love the cause, we love the food, and it is such fun to be around people who enjoy it as much as we do.  Next year we are going to look for others who want to join us!