WELCOME to CAROLINA PANACHE! I believe our homes should be a haven, a place of beauty and peace that reflect who we are and what's important to us. I'm on a journey to add personality and panache to every corner of my house. For me, good design evolves, grows and changes with the needs of one's lifestyle. I want my home to be creative, to be stylish, to be entertaining, to be real. I hope you will join me on my journey. It's always more fun to travel together.
This blog is all about bringing style and elegance to the home. The art of dressing your home goes beyond hanging a few items on the wall and arranging furniture. Much like a fabulous set of earrings or a new stylish handbag may take your little black dress from fine to fabulous, home accesories and key furnishings can take your rooms from ho-hum to singing the Halleluiah Chorus! Join with me as we discover new ways to add panache to every room of the house.

Jewelry, Chocolate and Good Friends!

The "CHOCTAILS and Jewelry" party was a lot of fun! I had 12 guests plus my personal jeweler, Jerrie. Since we were encouraging gift shopping for Valentine's Day, I used a red, pink and white color scheme and of course we had PLENTY of chocolate. My Cherry Cheesecake Brownie Bites turned out delicious. They are so easy to make and tasted oh so yummy! I will definitely keep this recipe handy for the future.
Fresh strawberries with whipped chocolate dip were a big hit.

My heart-shaped cake turned out nicely. I decided to frost it with chocolate fudge icing instead of the marshmallow creme frosting listed on my recipe.

It was 6:25pm and everything was set and ready!

My "personal jeweler", Jerrie arrived to set up the jewelry display. I met Jerrie such a few months ago. She moved to my area from the coastal part of NC. She is a sweet, sweet lady, so funny and so good at accessorizing fashion.

She set up two tables of jewelry - everything was so pretty. Sterling silver, gold, rhodium, hand made glass beads, oh my!

This is my friend Christina. She works with me in the home interior business. She came out to support me and order some silver jewelry.

Meet Marsha and Michelle. Yes, they are sisters and from my home state of WV!
These ladies are always up for a "get together". Both of them have such wonderful personalities and are so funny.
I even had a couple of husbands in attendance. Here's John with his lovely wife, Teddie. I think a Valentine present was on his agenda for the evening.

The tulips I purchased Wednesday morning opened up just in time for the party.

This is another good friend, Shelly. We go to church together. Shelly loves bling! Before the night was over she was decked out!

Veronica (another sistah from WV) and Jerrie posing for the "blogcam".

The party was so fun. The food turned out so good. But the friendship and the conversation was priceless. You know with the current state of our nation, the trouble and concern that fills so many of the faces I see everyday, it is good to extend hospitality to each other, support one another in enterprise, love and encourage each other on a DAILY basis.
The Message puts it like this:
"Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly.
And the best of the three is love." - 1 Corinthians 13:13b
Find someone today and tell them you love them. Call someone you haven't spoken to in a little while and let them know how important they are to you. As the old commercial jingle used to say, "Reach out and touch someone".
I hope you all have a FABULOUS Saturday. I don't have any big plans - organize my closet, finish up some laundry and make a quick trip to a furniture consignment shop up-town. I'm looking for a couple of accent chairs for a "makeover" project. Next week I hope to share another "Junk to Gems" feature and my Grannie Isaacs' "Chicken and Dumplings" recipe on "The Cook's Corner". The powder room makeover is FINISHED! I was going to post the reveal yesterday but I volunteer at my son's high school and so I was tied up with that most of the day. Once I came home is was time to get ready for the party....
Since we are close to Monday, I will post the reveal for Metamorphosis Monday hosted by Susan at http://betweennapsontheporch.blogspot.com so be sure to check it out. Until then,
Happy Decorating!

The Cook's Corner - Choctails & Jewelry

Welcome to The Cook's Corner! I wanted to share some delicious, quick and easy dessert recipes today. I am preparing for a "Choctails & Jewelry" party on Friday night and thought I would get some of my "do ahead" items off my list today. I also want to do a run through with my decorations. My very good friend Jerrie opened her own jewelry business last fall with Premier Designs Jewelry. You may not be familiar with it but it is high quality fashion jewelry. Many of the pieces remind me of Brighton Jewelry and the prices are similar. So I scheduled Jerrie to come on Friday night and present her lovely jewelry to a group of my friends while us girls celebrate Valentine's Day just a little early. The party is at 7pm and since most of the girls will have had dinner by then, my theme is "Choctails". Everything on my menu will be CHOCOLATE! I have 4 recipes to share. The first one comes from my Easy to Bake, Easy to Make cards.

Valentine Heart Cake
1 package white chocolate cake mix or cherry chip
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 large egg whites
1 jar marshmallow creme
1-2 tablespoons heart-shaped cake decors
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line one 9-inch square cake pan and one 9-inch round cake pan with parchment paper or waxed paper. I use parchment paper.
  • Prepare cake mix according to package directions. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in centers of cakes comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes. Cool on wire racks.
  • Mix sugar, water, and egg whites in a 2-quart heavy saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, beating continuously with an electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat, add marshmallow creme; beat mixture on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes longer.
  • Remove cakes from pans and remove paper liners. Place square cake on serving platter. Cut round cake in half.
  • Place round cake halves against 2 adjacent sides of square cake to form heart shape. Spread top and sides with marshmallow creme frosting and decorate with heart-shaped decors as desired.
My next recipe was found in Women's World magazine a couple of weeks ago.
Cherry Cheesecake Brownie Bars
1 tube refrigerated triple chocolate chunk brownie batter
2 packages cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 can, 21 oz., cherry pie filling
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Line 9" square baking pan with foil, leaving 2" overhang; coat with cooking spray.
  • Spread tube of brownie batter in pan. Bake 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  • Beat cream cheese, sugar, eggs and vanilla extract until fluffy.
  • Spread over brownie. Bake 20 minutes or until cream cheese topping is set.
  • Cool on rack for 30 minutes. Refrigerate until chilled, about 1-2 hours. Use foil to help lift from pan. Just before serving cut into bars and then top with cherry pie filling. I use about a tablespoon of cherry pie filling per bar. Garnish with white and dark chocolate curls.

The next recipe I plan to use came out of Southern Living magazine a couple of years ago during the Christmas holiday season. This is easy-peazy and tastes oh so good!

Chocolate Passion Bowl
3 cups cold milk
2 packages Jell-O Chocolate Flavor Instant Pudding
1 tub French Vanilla Whipped Topping, thawed and divided. Such as Cool Whip brand.
1 baked 9-inch square brownie layer, cooled and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cups fresh raspberries
  • Pour milk into large bowl. Add dry pudding mixes. Beat with wire whisk 2 minutes or until well blended. Gently stir in 1 cup of the whipped topping.
  • Place half of brownie cubes in 2-quart serving bowl or trifle bowl, top with half of the pudding mixture, half of the raspberries and half of the remaining whipped topping. Repeat all layer.
  • Refrigerate at least 1 hour or until ready to serve. Store leftover dessert in refrigerator.

I scanned the picture from the magazine. Doesn't this look like just the perfect dessert for Valentine's Day? Red, White and Chocolate!

Back in 2005, I was in a Williams-Sonoma and found these little heart-shaped silicon molds. They are perfect for making individual cupcakes, muffins or Valentine treats. I think I will make little heart-shaped Chocolate Lava cakes using this mold. For the beverage I plan to make an Iced Mocha Punch. The recipe is super easy and you can make it ahead of time and let it chill in the fridge until the day of your party.
Iced Mocha Punch
3 cups strong coffee
1 1/2 cup chocolate syrup
1 gallon 2% milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 gallon French Vanilla ice cream
Blend coffee, chocolate syrup, milk, sugar and vanilla extract together. Chill until ready to serve. Then, scoop softened ice cream into punch bowl and pour mocha mixture over it. Carefully fold mixture together. This makes about 50 punch cup servings. I am really excited about using my Grandmother's milk glass punch bowl and cups.

While I was at W-S, I also found these adorable pancake molds. The heart with the arrow through it makes a great cookie cutter too! The cookies are rather large using this, about the size of two regular sized Chocolate Chip cookies.

I decided I would do a run through of my decorations for Friday night. I had these two red, pink and white striped runners and decided to crisscross them along my island. I found these at TJMaxx a few years ago. About the only time I use them is at Valentine's Day. When decorating for Valentine's you really don't have to worry about matching your room's decor. It's more about setting a festive and fun atmosphere that reflects that special occasion.

I purchased a bunch of Pink Gerbera Daisies and Red Tulips from the market this morning. Remember my Grandmother's milk glass from a few blogs back? Well, I decided to use the collection of bud vases and place single stems in each one then cluster them in the center.

Since there is only going to be 10 of us on Friday night, I really wanted to use real plates and napkins. I pulled out 10 cherry red satin napkins and placed Pink Gerbera Daisy napkin rings on each one. I used 5 of the napkins to form a cluster on either end of the island. I found the napkin rings at Bed, Bath and Beyond for 99 cents each a few years ago.

The heart-shaped topiary is from Marshalls. This was another find from a few years ago. The topiary is made with fuchsia and red rose buds. It really adds a touch of whimsy and Valentine's Day flair to the centerpiece.

So pretty and girlie!

Now all I have to do is prepare my desserts and fill my silver serving platters. I should have the paramedics standing by just in case we truly have a "death by chocolate"!
I will take plenty of pictures and share them with you on Saturday. Until then,
Happy Entertaining!

Tablescape Tuesday - Asian Elegance

Welcome to another TABLESCAPE TUESDAY! Today's table is called Asian Elegance and I will also share my recipe for Warm Chinese Chicken Salad at the end of this post. I've been away for a long weekend visiting my parents in West Virginia. My parents are preparing to retire this year and move here to North Carolina. This is an exciting time for them. A new chapter in their lives and I'm excited to be able to share it with them. So that is why you haven't seen a post for the last four days. Now, let's take a look at the table. I've set the table in my sunroom today. The table is a double-drop leaf table I inherited from my dear Aunt Velma when she passed away in 2005. The table is maple but today I am using an ivory damask tablecloth. I then used a yellow hem stitched linen placemat under a teak wood placemat to add depth and texture.
I was inspired to do an Asian themed table today because of these lovely green square plates. I found these at my local HomeGoods store last fall. They were on markdown and only had two left. I've been using them as display plates. Next I layered on a decorative salad plate. I love the way the colors work together.

In order to continue the Asian theme I pulled out some decorative pagodas as centerpiece accessories. The largest one holds a candle. I also used an Orchid as my floral accent.

So many Asian inspired scenes incorporate birds so I pulled out a set of sparrow figurines I purchased at Kirkland's a few years ago and placed them along my tablerunner. I also have a set of Sparrow napkin rings. They are made of iron and painted a soft white and have been heavily distressed. The picture below shows a close up of both.

The napkin I chose to use today is a linen fruit and floral print. The background is a very soft yellow with cherry blossoms, grapes, pomegranates and roses. Anybody ready for Spring? I'm getting excited! When I cam home yesterday I noticed that some of my bulbs have already shot through the earth and are showing the first signs of green.

Here is just a clean shot of the dinner plate. I would love to find at least four more of these. I found the same pattern in red a few weeks ago.

Now for a SIMPLE SUPPER my Warm Chinese Chicken Salad is just the thing. Serve with an assortment of whole grain crackers or toasted sesame breadsticks and you've got a very satisfying meal.
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons walnut oil
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons chicken broth
1 teaspoon dried whole tarragon
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups torn Chinese cabbage
2 cups torn romaine lettuce
2/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
3 cups coarsely chopped cooked chicken
1 1/2 cups halved seedless red grapes
Combine the first 9 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring well. Toss cabbage and lettuce with half of dressing mixture in a large shallow bowl. Sprinkle walnuts over cabbage and lettuce mixture.
Next, combine chicken and 3 tablespoons remaining dressing mixture in a skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is thoroughly heated. Toss hot chicken mixture and grape halves with cabbage mixture. Serve salad warm with remaining salad dressing. Makes 4 servings. The tangy dressing gives the warm chicken a delicious Oriental flavor. You can also substitute the grapes with Mandarin Orange slices. I've done this when I didn't have any grapes on hand. It works equally well with the flavors of the dressing. Enjoy!
For more tablescape inspiration visit Susan at http://betweennapsontheporch.blogspot.com
The Powder Room project is almost ready for the reveal. I should be posting pictures on Thursday or Saturday. It really is turning out beautifully. See you tomorrow with a special Cook's Corner featuring "DEATH BY CHOCOLATE". Friday night I am hosting a group of ladies for a "Choctails" party so I thought I would get a jump on my desserts. Until then,
Happy Decorating!

The Cook's Corner - Outlandish Oatmeal Supremes

Hello! Welcome to The Cook's Corner! I've been baking away today and thought I would share my FAVORITE cookie recipe with you. This recipe has been in my family for years. I can't even remember who actually handed it down first but I am SO glad it was passed on to me. We call it OUTLANDISH OATMEAL SUPREMES and COOKIE CREME. These cookies are way, way better than anything "Little Debbie" could bake. LOL! They are actually cookie sandwiches. Let's take a look at the ingredients and recipe.
Outlandish Oatmeal Supremes
1 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups flour, plain
2 eggs
3/4 cup coconut
3 cups quick-cooking oats
Cookie Creme
5 tablespoons flour, plain
1 cup milk
1 cup Crisco shortening
1 cup sugar plus 2 tablespoons
1/2 teaspoon salt
Now, I've learned a few tips from my MIL, Ann, that have made baking cookies a little quicker and more accurate. First of all ALWAYS use Parchment Paper to line your cooking sheets and for accurate cookie sizes use a melon ball scoop. The parchment paper provides for even browning and easy clean-up. The scoop makes spooning out the batter quick and efficient plus your cookies are all the same size.

Step #1. Mix first 8 ingredients together.

I like to mix my eggs and melted butter together separately, then add it to my dry mix.

Mix ingredients well. The cookie batter will be very coarse and a little dry.

Step #2. Drop scoops of cookie mix using the melon scooper onto cookie sheet. I like to keep 12 cookies per sheet. This gives the cookies room to expand.

You will have enough cookie mix to make 48 cookies. However, since these are sandwich style cookies, it takes two cookies each. So you will have 24 sandwiches when done.
Step #3. Bake cookies one sheet at a time for 8 minutes in 350 degree oven.
Step #4. While cookies are baking, mix 5 tablespoons of flour with 1 cup of milk. Cook over medium heat until a thick paste is formed. Remove from heat and chill in refrigerator.

Step #5. While the paste is chilling, mix 1 cup Crisco shortening with 1 cup and 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix well in a bowl with an electric mixer.
Step #6. Remove paste from refrigerator, add to Crisco mixture one tablespoon at a time. Mixing after each addition until smooth.

Step #7. Once cookie creme is prepared, spoon one teaspoon or so on the bottom of one cookie. See demonstration below.

Next, top with a second cookie making the cookie sandwich.
See below.
Continue assembling cookie sandwiches until you are finished. You will have 24 Outlandish Oatmeal Supreme Cookie sandwiches. Serve with Ice Cold Milk! Yummy!

I do hope you enjoy this recipe. It is my FAVORITE cookie recipe and I'm sure you will love it!
These cookies are the "hit" every time I attend a Cookie Exchange or party where I take them.
Oh, as a note of interest. In my ingredients photo you might have noticed Vanilla Extract. The original recipe doesn't call for it but I like to add 1 teaspoon of vanilla to the cookie creme. It really gives the creme a wonderfully delicious flavor. See you tomorrow. Until then,
Happy Cooking

Tablescape Tuesday - "Spice Trade"

Welcome to TABLESCAPE TUESDAY! It's a beautiful snowy morning here in my part of NC and the kids are out of school. I have a 9-year old who is very, very happy. Today's table scape is called "Spice Trade" and my color scheme is Red, White and Blue. So fitting for Inauguration Day. I don't have much blue in my home so it was fun working with these blue and white Churchill plates. I've had these for many, many years and have used them mainly for display. Churchill is made in Staffordshire England. I would love to find more pieces of this pattern. If anyone knows of a source, I would love to hear about it. Well, let's go take a look. I placed one plate on a stand so you could see the pattern. All of the plates are the same design.

I started building the tablescape by using a red print table runner. The runner is from Pottery Barn and I got it in 2007 on the After Christmas sale. I also purchased 6 matching napkins.

I then set four placesettings starting with a white quilted placemat then layering on a rattan charger. As you are probably learning about me, I am into varied "texture" in design so the way the rough rattan looks against the smooth, shiny china is really interesting to my eye.

On the napkin I placed a MONKEY napkin ring. Love these little guys. His tail forms the holder. I love the way he is "scratching" his head. These came from Pottery Barn also.

I folded the napkin into a fan and placed it to the left of the plate, slightly curved around the plate's edge. Wanting to do something a little different, I crisscrossed my silverware on the plate, much as one might do after a satisfying meal. You might not find that in an etiquette book but, hey, it's my tablescape.

Here is a picture of some of the pattern on the tablerunner. I love the elephant all decked out in finery.

Another scene shows a "Spice Trader" riding a camel. I love the shades of blue, red and green in this print.

A close up of the Churchill plate shows more detail. I am not very familiar with English names for types of houses but I think this is what is called a "Crofter's House". Does anybody know for sure?

Fine English Tableware. Made in Straffordshire England. Microwave, Dishwasher Safe.

I tried placing the napkin on the plate but it covered to much of the beautiful pattern so I opted to move it to the side.

Since we were going with the "Spice Trade" theme, I wanted to use some urns and ginger jars in my centerpiece. I love the red and brown of this jar. And the shape reminds me of something Middle Eastern.

I used two styles of stemware. One goblet was light blue and the water glass was a deep, smokey blue. The light blue goblets were given to me by my MIL, Ann. (Thanks, Mama)

I stacked some old books up in the center of a wooden and metal tray, then layered in red mosaic votive holders and the blue and white covered dish.

I would use this tablescape at a Saturday lunch for a group of my friends. Of course I would have to plan my menu around a variety of flavorful spices. I might fix my Asparagus and Sun-Dried Tomato Salad, followed by Curried Chicken-Artichoke Bake, Nut Rice and for dessert Frozen Banana Yogurt. Yum, Yum.
Hope you enjoyed looking around. For more inspiration be sure to go over to http://betweennapsontheporch.blogspot.com and visit with Susan and all the other ladies participating in TABLESCAPE TUESDAY.
Tomorrow on the Cook's Corner, I will be sharing my recipe for OUTLANDISH OATMEAL SUPREME cookies with creme. This is my favorite cookie. It's more like a cookie sandwich. If you like to bake, you won't want to miss this delicious recipe. Until then,
Happy Decorating!


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