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In Entertaining, Uncategorized on
December 16, 2018

Crab Bisque: A Holiday Staple

Crab Bisque: A Holiday Staple on stuffymuffy.com

A decadent crab bisque is the way to anyone’s heart this holiday season! This recipe, a classic from my mother’s archives, is meant to inspire merriment and grateful palates amongst family and friends. It is rich enough to stand alone—we have always enjoyed it as a main course—but it also works brilliantly as a first or second course when served in petit portions.  

Crab Bisque

Serves 4-6 as a main course, serves 6-8 as a soup course

  • 3/4 cup of butter (1 1/2 sticks)
  • 1 1/2 medium onions, minced
  • 1 medium carrot, finely minced
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp seafood seasoning
  • 1/4 tbsp celery salt
  • 1/8 tbsp freshly ground white pepper
  • 4 cups of milk, heated
  • 3 tbsp white wine
  • 1/2 lb lump crab meat
  • salt to taste
  • fresh mint for garnish

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, add vegetables and sauté until soft. Reduce heat to medium and add flour, whisking constantly until smooth. Cook for 5 minutes, whisking frequently while stirring in parsley and seasonings. Gradually add heated milk, stirring constantly. Slowly add the wine, then crab, and salt to taste. Let simmer 15 to 20 minutes (do not boil!). Serve hot and garnish with lump crab and fresh mint. It pairs beautifully with a baguette! 

Bon appetit dears, wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

In Entertaining, Uncategorized on
November 14, 2018

Formal Folly: A Thanksgiving Tablescape

While I am not one to pine for a turkey feast all year, I do enjoy the all-American feeling of Thanksgiving and the gathering of lots of family and friends around the table. I like any Thanksgiving celebration I’m invited to whether it’s a casual midday lunch complete with a fried turkey (I’ve never tried it and I very much want to!), or a formal candlelit dinner with pancetta chestnut stuffing. One thing I am partial to? Canned cranberry. My mom and mother-in-law both make lovely, fresh cranberry relishes but I just prefer good old-fashioned Ocean Spray jelly.

This year, I’m zhushing up my penchant for canned cranberry with a more formal tablescape. My muse? Richard Ginori’s Oriente Italiano china, an original 1926 design by architect and decorator, Gio Ponti. A couple of years ago, fashion house Gucci invested in the esteemed porcelain manufacturer and resurrected classic patterns such as this one for a new generation of old world admirers. Now you can find Oriente Italiano at Richard Ginori showrooms and china shops like my local favorite, Charles Willis.

Thanksgiving Tablescape featuring Richard Ginori Oriente Italiano china on Stuffy Muffy

Does anyone have a great tip for getting lipstick out of linens? Thinking ahead!

To make the cranberry-hued chinoiserie carnations on the plates really pop, I kept the linens simple with a white hemstitch tablecloth and napkins. The traditional two-letter napkin monogram was done locally at South of Hampton—they always deliver with pretty personalization and helpful input in thread color selection. The buttercup patterned silver is my mom’s and lends nicely to the floral motif.

Thanksgiving Tablescape featuring Richard Ginori Oriente Italiano china on Stuffy Muffy

Is there anything more delicious than just-polished silver?

In keeping with the theme of classic designs, Moser “royal” crystal glasses are at the ready for water and wine. This particular style, a diamond cut pattern with a 24-karat gold rim, was commissioned by King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra of England in 1907. They are quite special in person as you’re able to get a sense of just how much time went into the hand-cut diamond design. If it’s starting to sound like I’m finding the dining accoutrements more delicious than the impending dinner… guilty as charged!

Thanksgiving Tablescape featuring Richard Ginori Oriente Italiano china on Stuffy Muffy

Moser crystal ready for a generous pour! Available at Charles Willis.

If you love a clever brand, you’ll be as besotted as I am with The Punctilious Mr. P’s Place Card Co. A few months ago, I found them on Instagram and I’ve been waiting for an occasion to give them a place at the table (pun intended!). These magnolia lovebird illustrated place cards are a way to plan your seating arrangement and provide a piece of art for your guests to enjoy throughout the meal. Mr. P’s will add digital calligraphy to any set you purchase and the shipping is lightning fast!

Thanksgiving Tablescape featuring Richard Ginori Oriente Italiano china on Stuffy Muffy

Each name goes on the back of the card and the silver holder is also a Mr. P’s delight.

Thanksgiving floral arrangement on Stuffy Muffy

Flowers do so much for a table!

The centerpiece is my mainstay Scalamandre Baldwin Bamboo planter that I use for everything—sometimes it’s a wine chiller and often times it’s a flower container. Here’s a tip I learned unexpectedly—if you don’t have any floral tape to make a grid for your flower arrangement, use your husband’s electrical tape! It works just as well. All the autumnal blooms are from Whole Foods, they have a lovely, varied selection right now. I chose an assortment of brass candlesticks with lit cream tapers to make everyone at the table look well-rested and glow-y come evening. Just a little something else to be thankful for!

From our table to yours, wishing you a most wonderful Thanksgiving! xo

family portrait by Mary Catherine Brownfield on Stuffy Muffy

Happy Thanksgiving from the Jacksons! Emily, Louisa, Wally and Thomas. Family portrait by Mary Catherine Brownfield.

In Entertaining, Uncategorized on
November 11, 2018

Have a Very Herend Holiday with Charles Willis

Herend on Stuffy Muffy

If Herend porcelain pieces could talk, they would regale us with tales of dinners at Queen Elizabeth’s table, Rothschild family festivities and which figurine, tucked into Princess Diana’s Christmas stocking each year, was her favorite. The European porcelain emporium to the royals since 1839 has continued to delight collectors for nearly two centuries and today, many of us remain completely enchanted by Herend.

If you’re a collector or admirer, you’ll be pleased to know that Charles Willis, the premier shop for all things fine china in Atlanta, is hosting a Herend trunk show through Christmas. An Atlanta tradition since 1948, Charles Willis caters to couples registering for their weddings and clients wanting special occasion items such as crystal and silver. Now on display are hundreds of hand-painted Herend pieces, from plates to figurines, to marvel at and help you check names off your Christmas list. If you’re a Herend connoisseur, you’ll be treated to rarely displayed platinum, copper, lavender, and turquoise collections as well as limited edition porcelains. Let’s take a gander at the goods, shall we?

For the Table

Herend Place Setting on Stuffy Muffy

Serve in style on Herend’s fine china and don’t forget the fabulous foo dogs too! Shown here is the ever-classic Rothschild Bird pattern.

Herend cake stand on Stuffy Muffy

An elegant cake stand available only during Herend trunk shows! Aren’t the confections splendid? The three-tiered cake would make a lovely wedding gift.

Herend china on Stuffy Muffy

More exquisite china—the green striped butterfly motif is hard to come by.

Festive Folly

Thanksgiving Herend on Stuffy Muffy

Add some charm to your Thanksgiving table with a little bunny pilgrim and beautifully detailed turkeys, seen here in Herend’s rich copper hue.

Christmas Herend on Stuffy Muffy

A true work of art, this limited edition nativity set is one of only thirty in the world! You’ll enjoy displaying it year after year.

Christmas Herend on Stuffy Muffy

Deck the halls with these darling (bunny) reindeer friends in a rainbow of yummy colors.

Easter Herend on Stuffy Muffy

It’s never too early to start planning your Easter tablescape. Have some happy bunnies hopping around the table!

Gifts Galore

There’s an animal figurine for just about everyone!

Herend on Stuffy Muffy

Find a sweet piece to start baby’s Herend collection. The raspberry and green patterned bear is a trunk show exclusive!

Herend on Stuffy Muffy

We all know a dog lover! With plenty of breeds and themes to choose from, one of these canines is sure to set tails wagging.

Westie Herend on Stuffy Muffy

I have my eye on this Westie—hint, hint Santa!

Herend on Stuffy Muffy

The coastal collection is one of my personal favorites. Have a friend with a beach house? Pick up the perfect little hostess gift for them.

Herend on Stuffy Muffy

We are in the South after all! Don’t forget the college sports fan. Charles Willis has done all the work for you by selecting a mascot for each school’s team and they are extra spirited.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this small sampling of all the Herend goodness available at Charles Willis through Christmas. While at the shop, don’t forget to enter their drawing for a pretty piece in November and December! You could be the lucky winner of an alligator or, the grand prize, an antelope figurine. For the quintessential Atlanta holiday experience, pop by Charles Willis for some shopping followed by lunch at Buckhead Diner just down the street and a can’t-miss performance of The Nutcracker at The Fox Theatre. It’s the perfect way to drum up some Christmas cheer!

Herend on Stuffy Muffy

Two lucky winners will receive these fabulous figurines by entering their in-store drawing. Bonne chance!

P.S. Not local? Charles Willis is offering select trunk show pieces on their website and will happily take orders over the phone at 404-233-9487. For shop happenings and tabletop inspiration, follow them on Instagram here.

This post was brought to you by Charles Willis.
In Entertaining on
August 30, 2018

Hostess Help: Menus & More!

Hello dears! In this season of my life with a baby, I find that we are entertaining at home a lot more. It’s fun and much more manageable to have our friends and their little ones over for cocktail hour or dinner rather than going out. This usually means we’re setting a casual atmosphere with buffet style service, dishes that can be prepped ahead of time and freely flowing sips! I’m going to share a few of our most recent hosting efforts along with menus, flowers and even playlists. I hope you can glean an idea or two for the long weekend ahead!

All pictures taken on my iPhone, in-the-moment!

Summer Supper

The above spread is from a dinner we had with friends—six adults and five children under three! It was very low-stress and fairly easy to throw together.

Menu:

Publix Fried Chicken

Watermelon, Feta & Mint Salad: cubed watermelon, crumbled feta & fresh mint lightly dressed with fresh lime juice or balsamic glaze.

Ina Garten Crispy Iceberg Salad: I make these all the time! I could survive on the dressing alone and the fresh take on a wedge always dazzles guests.

Dessert: Frozen Lemon Squares from Trader Joe’s

Playlist: Spotify’s Leon Bridges and Friends

Cocktail Hour

Hostess Help: Menus and More on stuffymuffy.com

The perfect time to keep babies occupied during their witching hour! I set up all the accoutrements in the living room and they can crawl around on their playmat while the adults nosh & sip.

Menu:

Triple Server: Cornichons and Rosemary Marcona Almonds from Trader Joe’s and Parmesan Whisps from Costco. Rosé is Gerard Bertrand from Costco as well and, helpful hint, it’s the cheapest I’ve seen it anywhere at around $13 a bottle!

Hostess Help: Menus and More on stuffymuffy.com

Chips & Dip: Trader Joe’s Carmelized Onion Dip garnished with green onion slivers and served with Cape Cod chips.

Hostess Help: Menus and More on stuffymuffy.com

Prosciutto Wrapped Pears: Sliced pears drizzled with lemon juice topped with a piece of blue cheese and arugula all wrapped together with prosciutto. Add a bit of balsamic glaze once they are assembled.

Playlist: Spotify’s Rosemary, Frank, Bing & Friends

Baptism Brunch

Baptism Brunch Ideas on stuffymuffy.com

I had this catered because I knew the morning would be hectic and I wanted fond memories of our daughter’s special day (not “s%*^! I burned the quiche!!”). The Hungry Peach here in Atlanta, located in the ADAC building, did a marvelous job!

Menu:

Ham & Swiss Biscuits

Smoked Salmon Cucumber Cups

Pimento Cheese Deviled Eggs

Parmesan & Artichoke Tarts

Fresh Fruit from Whole Foods

Truffled Brownies (The Hungry Peach has THE most decadent brownies I’ve ever had, they are a must try!)

Baptism brunch flower ideas on stuffymuffy.com

Flowers: recently, I’ve been very pleased with the dramatic effect of some large bunches of baby’s breath. For additional color and texture, I added in some tulips and roses in mismatched vases and containers. Atlanta ladies, my favorite place for well-priced vessels is Boxwoods!

Playlist: Spotify’s Classical Feast

Thrill on the Grill

Hostess Help: Dinner Ideas for a Crowd on stuffymuffy.com

This is a great dinner to have prepped beforehand and then all you have to do is finish a couple of the items on the grill, easy-peasy! We served this the night before the baptism for our family visitors.

Menu:

Flank Steak with Chimichurri: It’s delicious and fresh, perfect for a weekend BBQ! The chimichurri is a favorite here at Chez Muffy, it can go on anything from chicken to roasted vegetables.

Corn on the cob prepared on the grill

Ina Garten Crispy Iceberg Salads: See, I can’t get enough!

Playlist: Spotify’s Basa Nova

Baby Sprinkle

Hostess Help: Costco Party Food Ideas on stuffymuffy.com

 

A casual evening sprinkle for a dear friend’s soon-to-arrive bundle of joy yielded heavy hors d’oeuvres, champagne and rosé for about twenty guests. I am all about one-stop shopping so pretty much everything was procured at Costco.

Menu:

Marinated Shrimp: Costco’s finest! The bamboo skewers are from Amazon.

Crudité: Tri-color carrots, little Persian cucumbers and radishes are from Trader Joe’s. We cut them lengthwise and served them with Costco’s spinach & artichoke dip.

Spanakopita: Delicious frozen fare from Costco.

Petit Avocado Toasts: Baguettes are sliced, brushed with butter and toasted in the oven for 20ish minutes at 375. Top with a layer of Costco pre-made guacamole (sold in single-serving sized cups) and garnish with fresh cherry tomatoes, cilantro and sea salt.

Playlist: Spotify’s Jazz Classics

Light Dinner for Two

Hostess Help: Appetizer Ideas on stuffymuffy.com

There’s nothing like queuing up a good movie or show and enjoying an evening in. If Mister Muffy and I have had a big lunch out with Louisa, a light dinner in is the best once she has hit the hay.

Menu:

Caprese Salad: Heirloom tomatoes, basil, fresh mozzarella, balsamic glaze, olive oil and a soupçon of Trader Joe’s Kale Pesto.

Parmesan crisps and almonds are Whole Foods favorites.

 

Wishing you all a splendid weekend and bon appetit!