Category Archives: Entertaining

Sour Cherry Margaritas

Sour Cherry Margaritas from Farmhouse38.com

Honestly, these have Valentine’s Day written all over them. But you know what? They also have ‘summer’ written all over them. And ‘delicious’.

For one beverage, you’ll need:

–2.5 oz. tart cherry juice (Whole Foods brand 365 Organic is my fav)

–2 oz. silver tequila

–1/2 oz. maraschino cherry liqueur

–1/2 oz. fresh lime juice

–1/2 oz. simple syrup

For garnish:

–2 tablespoons lime juice

–2 tablespoons unrefined sugar (but refined is doable, too–the unrefined looks a little better, IMO)

–1 tablespoon pink himalayan salt (or red hawaiian or something along those lines)

–3 maraschino or fresh cherries when in season, pre-soaked in tequila

Begin by mixing your garnish sugar and pink salt together in a small dish. Combine thoroughly. Then spread it evenly across the bottom of a salad plate, and on a second salad plate, place the lime juice. ‘Salt’ your glass rim by dipping the rim of the glass into the lime juice and then dabbing it into the salt mixture. Fill your salted glass with ice, and set aside. Drain your three garnish cherries and make sure they are not sopping wet with liquid, then roll them in the salt mixture and spear them on a toothpick.

In a shaker full of ice, combine all your beverage ingredients, and shake thoroughly. Strain into your salt-rimmed glass, garnish with your tooth-picked cherries, and you are ready to rock.

Cheers, friends!

Sour Cherry Margaritas from Farmhouse38.com

Yum.

Sour Cherry Margaritas from Farmhouse38.com

And yum.

A Farm-in-the-City Party

A Farm-in-the-City New Year's Party from Farmhouse38Shocking, but true… I’m a little late to post this. A lot. A lot late. Even so, I wanted to share the festive tablescape from our little New Year’s Eve celebration. As an added bonus, I’ll also share the amazing cocktail we shouldn’t have been drinking alongside all of that champagne.

A Farm-in-the-City New Year's Eve Party from Farmhouse38

A little bit of farm, a little bit of glitter.

I started (as one does with any party decor concept) by swiping toys from my nephew. He’s long since outgrown these particular little plastic farm animals, but I may find myself replacing them sheepishly (see what I did there?!) anyway. When the inspiration hit, I had to run with it. Sorry, P-nut.

Farm-in-the-City New Year's Eve Party from Farmhouse38

I was short a couple of barnyard members, so I padded with a few dinosaurs. It’s just common sense.

One coat of spray primer, and one coat of paprika spray paint later:

Farm-in-the-City New Year's Eve Party from Farmhouse38

Upcycling toys is a good time.  Seriously.

Once they all dried, they got glitzed up with a festive gold pipe-cleaner lei and a glittery sticker monogram. Perfect placecards.

Farm-in-the-City New Year's Eve Party from Farmhouse38

Farm animals know how to party.

Farm-in-the-City New Year's Eve Party from Farmhouse38

So do dinosaurs.

As a centerpiece, I pulled together a collection of my finest re-purposed glass jars, slapped some modgepodge on the bottoms in various thicknesses and then covered them in gold glitter (for that dip-dyed look).  Scattered amongst straw and gold confetti, they made a pretty fun focal point.

Farm-in-the-City New Year's Party from Farmhouse38

As for my homemade 2014 numbers?  I swiped this idea from the impossibly talented Aunt Peaches.  I’ll let you visit her for the how-to so you can fully appreciate the crafty awesomeness that goes on over there.

Farm-in-the-City New Year's Party from Farmhouse38

More glitter never hurts.

I decided to make some fun swizzle sticks for our cocktails and our champagne (seeing as how we were going to add tasty ingredients to the champagne to make interesting champagne-y cocktails but never managed to make it that far).  A glittery pom-pom hot-glued to the end of a generic swizzle straw looks pretty festive, if you ask me.  And the glasses got a boost with a gold pipe cleaner spiraled around the stem.

Farm-in-the-City New Year's Eve Party from Farmhouse38

The champagne was supposed to turn into a champagne cocktail…but it never sat around long enough to add anything but the swizzle stick. Oops.

Fortunately, the swizzle sticks came in handy for our Rosemary and Grapefruit Bourbon Fizzzz Cocktail.

Rosemary and Grapefruit Bourbon Fizzzz from Farmhouse38

This cocktail added some non-champagne bubbly to the party.

To make one Rosemary and Grapefruit Bourbon Fizzzz:

(recipe adapted a tad from The Artful Desperado’s Bourbon Rosemary Fizz)

Gather your weapons:

-cocktail shaker

-muddler

-one small sprig of fresh rosemary

-1/4 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit

-1 oz bourbon

-ginger ale

-ice cubes

-sprig of rosemary and grapefruit rind peel for garnish

-oh, and a low-ball or old-fashioned glass of some sort to drink it out of.  If you want.  Don’t let me pressure you.

To make it:

Drop your sprig of rosemary into the bottom of your shaker, and add your 1/4 cup grapefruit juice. Muddle until you can really smell the rosemary fragrance.  Add a few cubes of ice and your ounce of bourbon.  Shake it like you mean it.

Drop a few more ice cubes into your glass, and strain your cocktail into the glass.  Top with the ginger ale, and garnish with a sprig of rosemary and grapefruit peel…oh, and a fancy swizzle stick.  Cheers!

Rosemary and Grapefruit Bourbon Fizzzz from Farmhouse38

Behold the RGB Fizzzz! Do not chase these with champagne. I’m just sayin’.

I have been scheming to do create some sort of chandelier something-or-other to hang above the farmhouse table on our deck, and a New Year’s party was just the ticket to light a fire under my rear. So I strung up a little ladder (which is actually the salvaged back of an old red bench we had forever that finally gave in to gravity and the elements).  From this, I hung several strands of Restoration Hardware’s battery-operated Starry Lights that I had just taken down from Christmas.  If you’ve never seen these things before, they really are quite fantastic: tiny little lights strung on bendable wire so that you can shape them and hang them really easily.  I molded them to spiral down (and added a few strands of glitter-star wire from the craft store to augment), and created this sort of downside-up centerpiece topped with fresh grapefruit branches.

Farm-in-the-City New Year's Eve Party from Farmhouse38

Farm-in-the-City New Year's Eve Party from Farmhouse38

Oh, the festiveness of it all!

With the help of a few of our favorite neighbors we rang the new year in with some style.  And by ‘style’ I mean we were all in bed by 10:30.

The Boxies of Farmhouse38

Especially these two.

DIY Farmhouse Table

DIY Farmhouse Table from Farmhouse38Well, the decorating of the new deck is going a lot slower than the actual building of the deck, that is for sure.  I’ve not gotten to do much out there yet, but I figured I’d better go ahead and share the ‘how-to’ for our farmhouse table.  You guys asked, I deliver…..I give you: THE PLANS!

DIY Farmhouse Table from Farmhouse38

It was my pleasure to share and best of luck to you.

:-)

:-)

:-)

Just kidding.  Let’s see if I can translate….not everyone reads Texan fluently.  But a word of warning anyway: I’m not sure our ‘building methods’ are going to make sense to anyone other than us.  Game on.

To make this exact table (10 feet long, by 45 inches wide, by 30 inches tall), you will need:

– (6) 10 ft long 2 x 8′s (we used douglas fir, straight off the shelf)

– (4) 28-1/2″ long 4 x 4′s (table legs)

– (2) 111-1/2″ long 2 x 4′s, (table side pieces)

– (2) 36-1/4″ long 2 x 4′s, (table end pieces)

– (2) 38-1/4″ long 2 x 4′s, (table cross braces)

– (4) 12″ long 2 x 4′s, (table corner braces)

– (12) 6″ heavy-duty hex-head wood screws (we used these)

– (24) metal brackets (we used these)

– (96) 1-1/4″ wood screws

– (16) 3″ self-tapping, self-countersinking wood screws (we used these)

– probably about a quart of white or off-white paint (we used Behr Swiss Coffee, semi-gloss, but actually flat would be better)

– about a quart of some sort of dark-toned wood stain (we used Minwax ‘Espresso’)

– stainable wood filler (we used the Minwax variety that comes in the squeezy tube)

Tools required:

– power drill

– impact driver (but if you don’t have one, a power drill will suffice, if you pre-drill some of your screw holes)

– small power sander (though handheld sandpaper would work, too, you’re just going to sweat more.  Suck it up.)

– some sort of a miter saw to cut your wood

– paint brush

– stain brush or sponge, plus rags to wipe down the stain

Allrighty, then.

Start by cutting all your wood to size.  I then like to go hit the cut edges with a sander because I hate splinter fringe.  Also, I always tend to prefer painting/staining/finishing things like this before we assemble.  You don’t have to do it this way, you can save it till the end, but sometimes it allows you to better seal everything, and I kind of dig that.

So to achieve this finish, I put a sloppy layer of white paint on everything and let it dry.  I then gave it a good sanding with the power sander to remove the edges, give the paint some ‘tooth’, and give the whole thing an overall worn look (incidentally, this look could be replicated by using matte white paint, and painting it on sparingly so that raw wood is showing through in a lot of places).  Then I took my dark stain and applied and ragged it down over the whole thing, paint and all. Et voilà!  Weathered, farmhouse-y finish.  I should note that I was lazy and did not paint or stain any surfaces that wouldn’t be showing (ie, the underside of the table top, etc.).  If you really want this table to last as long as possible, you should seal allllllll the surfaces.  This is one of those do as I say, not as I do moments.  Let’s roll with it.

When all is dry, it’s time to assemble.  You’re gonna put together the table top first, upside down. Finding a flat work surface for this is pretty important (and easier said than done at our wonky house). Lay out your two 111-1/2″ 2 x 4′s, your four 36-1/4″ 2 x 4′s, and your table legs, which are the four 28-1/2″ 4 x 4′s.  All the 2 x 4′s need to rest on their narrow edge, not their fat edge (despite what it may or may not look like in this sketch).

DIY Farmhouse Table from Farmhouse38

Here is a drawing that may or may not help you. This is an upside-down table frame….not a dead insect.

When you’ve laid it all out, measure everything one more time….just to be sure.  It can’t hurt.

We started with one leg and one of the long sides of the table frame.  Attach the first side to the leg with a 6″ heavy duty hex-head screw using the impact driver (or pre-drill and use a power drill). Center the long frame piece in the middle of the leg since the leg is 4″ wide and the frame is only 2″ wide.  Next attach the short side of the frame to the same leg, in the same manner, only you want to stagger the two screws so they don’t hit each other.

DIY Farmhouse Table from Farmhouse38

This pic was taken obviously after things were assembled and put right-side up, but hopefully it gives you the idea.

Now, you’ve got one corner assembled.  Do that three more times.  I’ll wait here.

With the table frame still upside down, place your two 38-1/4″ 2 x 4′s as cross beams (they should roughly split the span of the table into thirds), screwing through the table edge with two 3″ self-countersinking screws into each end of each cross beam. This will leave screw indentations on the visible edge of the table that you will have to fill and touch-up afterwards if you are picky about stuff like that.  I’m picky about stuff like that.  And yet, I leave the underside of the table unfinished.  I digress.

Now flip the table frame upright.  You’ve got to put corner braces in each of the corners now; you’ll use your four 12″ 2 x 4′s for these.  But first, you want to cut the ends of the 12″ 2 x 4′s at a 45 degree angle with your miter saw so that they fit nicely into the corner–see unhelpful sketch below:

DIY Farmhouse Table from Farmhouse38

A message from my husband.

You’ll screw through the table frame and into the ends of the cross braces with your 3″ counter-sinking screws, two in each end.  Again, this will leave holes in the table frame that will need some attention later.  Now you want to send one of those big 6″ hex-head heavy duty screws through the center of the cross brace and into the table leg–just tight enough that it’s snug, not so tight that it cracks the cross brace.  That would be bad. Don’t do that.

DIY Farmhouse Table from Farmhouse38

Ignore the two metal brackets, those come later.

Now, finally, we are ready to place the table top.  Take your six boards and place them as you want them across the frame.  I didn’t want this too perfect, so I allowed them to be a smidge uneven on the ends, and while we aimed for about a 1/8″ gap between the boards (so that water will drain off), we didn’t obsessively stick to this.  Just more or less is close enough.  Now that the boards are placed, climb under the table and attach your metal brackets with your 1-1/4″ screws all along the frame of the table (don’t attach them to the underside of the table top just yet).  You basically want one bracket for each tabletop board, at each end and along each cross beam of the table. (So each table top board will have 4 brackets holding it on).

Oy, these doodles:

DIY Farmhouse Table from Farmhouse38

The red dots are L brackets, shockingly enough.  This amounts to 6 brackets along each end of the table, and six brackets along each cross beam, for a total of 24.

DIY Farmhouse Table from Farmhouse38

A nice shot of the table undercarriage. Naked! Eeek! Okay, I’m over it now.

Once you’ve attached the brackets to the frame all around, you need to have your sidekick (in this case, me) press down on the table top as you screw each bracket to the underside of each table top board. BTW, I chose to attach the table top in this manner because I didn’t want screw heads or countersink holes showing across the top of the table.  If those don’t bother you, then skip the brackets and screw straight through the table top boards into the frame (using maybe, say a 3″ countersinking screw).  This is definitely easier than using the brackets, and if you are pretty good at patching and touching up (which this weathered finish is very forgiving for), you’ll never know the difference.

To patch any visible screw holes, I just filled with the Minwax wood-filler (wiping the excess away with my finger), let it dry, and then hit it lightly with a sander.  I then dabbed on some white paint, and when that was dry, a bit of stain, wipe it down—done and done.

So if any of these shenanigans made sense to you, you probably have a new table about now!  Cheers to that!  And to everyone else….I’m sorry for the incoherent babbling.

Here’s some photos:

DIY Farmhouse Table from Farmhouse38

Awwww yeeeeaaaah.

DIY Farmhouse Table from Farmhouse38

A nice shot of the ‘weathered wood’ white paint + dark stain effect.

DIY Farmhouse Table from Farmhouse38

This really has nothing to do with the table, but I love my new party lights.  Thought I’d share.

DIY Farmhouse Table from Farmhouse38

Still nothing to do with the table other than they light it up quite effectively at night. Pretties.

DIY Farmhouse Table from Farmhouse38

…..and putting the farm in farmhouse table….Gertie makes her typical cameo.

No-Sew Scrap Fabric Bunting

No-Sew Scrap Fabric Bunting from Farmhouse38In preparation for our Easter festivities this Sunday, I whipped up this easy, no-sew, fabric bunting to stretch over our outdoor dining area.  Everything’s better with bunting, right?  All you need is rope (I chose a rustic-looking jute variety straight off the shelf from Home Depot), and one inch wide scraps of colorful fabric (I used quilting fabric).  Oh, and to get a little sparkle, I also added chandelier crystals every so often.

No-Sew Scrap Fabric Bunting from Farmhouse38

Choosing colors at random, I tied the swatches of fabric every six inches or so (the fabric scraps were approximately eight inches long each), but I certainly did not try to make them perfectly spaced–symmetry is overrated.  I just tied a single knot.  Good enough.  That rope is grippy.

No-Sew Scrap Fabric Bunting from Farmhouse38

No-Sew Scrap Fabric Bunting from Farmhouse38

Then, every few feet (again, never measuring perfectly), I attached a crystal with fine wire.

No-Sew Scrap Fabric Bunting from Farmhouse38

I wish I had video of these little pretties fluttering in the breeze….they look like little birds, and the chandelier crystals bounce some lovely sparkle around the yard.

No-Sew Scrap Fabric Bunting from Farmhouse38

I’m thinking that after the party on Sunday….the bunting stays.  Me likey.

The Cocktail Inspired by a Sugar Scrub

Sugar Scrub Cocktail from Farmhouse38So…..because this idea formed in my pea brain while I was concocting a fun little sugar scrub, we are going to go ahead and name this cocktail….you guessed it!–The Sugar Scrub.

Allrighty then.

You will need:

–2 oz. fresh squeezed and strained grapefruit juice

–1 oz. coconut-flavored rum

–1/2 oz. dark rum

–3/4 oz. simple syrup

–1 teaspoon rosewater

–granulated sugar for the rim (or sugar crystal sprinkles, like I used)

–grapefruit peel for garnish

Rim your glass with sugar or sprinkles, then fill it with ice.  Mix all wet ingredients together well in a shaker, pour over your ice, then garnish with a bit of grapefruit peel.  Enjoy your bathtub cocktail.

P.S.  Don’t you love my adorable chicken napkins!?  A sweet little gift from a friend (thanks, Susan!!) :-)

Bathtubs and Sugar Scrubs from Farmhouse38

Rose and Vanilla Bean Crème Brûleé

Rose and Vanilla Bean Crème Brûleé from Farmhouse38.comJust in the nick of time for Valentine’s Day, am I right?  Rose flavoring in food is not everyone’s cup of tea, but let me tell you something….I adore it.  I love roses, I love the smell of roses, and I am quite content to put all of that loveliness in my mouth.  And then, of course, this is crème brûleé, which is something that I do not possess the will or desire to say ‘no’ to, ever.

For this recipe, you will need:

-2-1/2 cups heavy cream

-1 whole vanilla bean

-2 tablespoons rose water

-7 large egg yolks

-1/2 cup granulated sugar

-approx. 6 additional tablespoons of granulated sugar for the brûleé-ing

-fresh rose petals for garnish

Start by preheating your oven to 325 degrees (F).  Put six ramekins (6oz size) into a roasting pan.  Set this aside.  If you intend to heat water on the stove to use for the ramekins’ hot water bath, do that now (I usually just use hot water straight out of the tap).

Split your vanilla bean and place it in a medium saucepan, along with the cream and the rose water, and turn the heat on medium.  Warm the cream mixture slowly, until bubbles form around the edge of the pot.  Remove it from the heat and let it ponder life while you go to your mixer.

Whisk together the sugar and egg yolks until the mixture begins to thicken and turn slightly lighter in color.

Strain the cream mixture and then VERY slowly, add it in bits to the egg/sugar mixture.  If you do this too fast, your eggs will scramble and it will all be for naught.  When everything is blended, divide the mixture evenly amongst your six ramekins.  Fill the baking dish about halfway with scalding, hot water from the tap (or from your pot of boiled water).

Carefully place the baking dish on the middle rack of your oven and bake for 35-45 minutes or until the custard is set around the edges and just wiggles a little in the center.  Remove them from the oven, remove the ramekins from the water bath, and let them cool to room temp.  Refrigerate them for a couple of hours (or up to three days).

When you are ready to serve them, remove them from the fridge and immediately coat the entire surface of each custard with a good layer of granulated sugar (about 1 tbs.).  Using a kitchen torch, gently melt the sugar, rolling it around a bit to coat the whole surface.  Let it cool and harden, embellish with rose petals, and then serve.

Enjoy!

Rose and Vanilla Bean Crème Brûleé from Farmhouse38

Rose and Vanilla Bean Crème Brûleé from Farmhouse38

Rose and Vanilla Bean Crème Brûleé from Farmhouse38

Donut Burgers, Again

DonutBurgersThis is a fun little recipe I came up with for Easter Brunch that was such a hit, I’m planning to bust it out again for New Year’s morning.  I’m thinking they’ll go quite nicely with some fresh eggs from the Ladybirds, and something a little bubbly to drink (perhaps a pretty pink Kir Royale?  My new favorite cocktail!)

To make 30 donut burgers, you’ll need:

-30 glazed donut holes

-2 lbs ground sausage meat

It’s overwhelming, I know.

Form the sausage into little balls (about the size of a ‘super ball’–you know, the kind you used to get out of the machine at the supermarket?) and then flatten it into little patties and cook them in a pan until they are done to your liking.  Let them cool a bit on a paper towel to drain, and then gently slice your donut holes in half.  Build your burgers, people!  Of course, I recommend trimming them out in some festive ribbon-adorned toothpicks, but maybe that’s just me!

Kir Royale Love

Kir RoyaleA few months back, we stumbled upon the brunch experience at Wistaria Restaurant, and noticed a cocktail on the menu that we were strangely unfamiliar with: the Kir Royale.  Upon badgering our poor waiter, we discovered that it was a champagne cocktail made with Créme de Cassis (a currant liqueur).  Sign us up.

After several glasses amongst us, and more badgering, our lovely waiter delivered us the hastily-scrawled recipe.

After several glasses amongst us, and more badgering, our lovely waiter delivered us enlightenment in the form of this hastily-scrawled recipe.

To make one of these lovely, lovely cocktails, you will need:

-1 bit of orange peel, to rub the inside of the glass before pouring, and also to use as garnish

-1 blackberry, or other berry for floating prettiness

-1 oz Créme de Cassis liqueur (or some other sort of dark berry liqueur would do just fine)

-Extra-dry champagne/sparkling wine

According to the waiter, you’ve got to rub the inside and the rim of the glass with the orange peel, and then let the glass rest.  Then you pour in your liqueur, top with champagne, and float your garnish.  It’s as simple and brilliant as that.

The Texan sips his manly drink.

The Texan sips his manly drink with proper form.

 

 

White Chocolate Jalapeno Cookies

Christmas Cookie?

They look innocent enough, don’t they?  I just love a cookie that bites back.

Holiday Spice

You will need:

3/4 c. unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. all purpose flour
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup minced fresh jalapenos
Let’s do this!
Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F.
Cut 5 fresh jalapenos in half lengthwise.  This is decision time.  If you can’t handle much heat (don’t make these cookies!!), remove all the seeds and pith from the peppers.  If you like some spice, leave about half of them.  If you have intestines of steel, leave them all.
Some May Like it Hot
Coarsely chop your pickings, toss them in the food processor, and mince them up into pretty fine-sized pieces.  Set aside.  And, for the love of all that is holy, do not rub your eyes.
Chutney from Hell
In the bowl of your trusty stand mixer, cream together the butter and both sugars until fluffy and light in color. Add in egg and vanilla and blend.
Miss Gertie does her part.

Miss Gertrude makes her contribution.

Next, in a separate bowl, mix together flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add this mixture to the wet ingredients until just blended.  Stir in white chocolate chips and jalapeno paste.
Using a tablespoon, drop dough onto a prepared baking sheet.  For a little extra snazzle, sprinkle on some festive sprinkles, and pepper the tops with extra chips.
Bake for approximately 10 minutes, until barely golden brown around the edges. Remove from oven, let cool, and enjoy the sweet, sweet burn.
Spicy Sweetness

Fronch Porch Festiveness

Be Merry.

Another batch of holiday decorations to share!  I’ve already posted pics of our light display, but I thought I’d show how it all looks during the daylight hours, too.

Front Porch

My twist on a holiday color scheme? Coral, mint, and cream. These are some of my favorite colors and a subtle nod to the iconic Christmas red, white, and green. The tart coral-orange of the front door is echoed in the rocker pillows and rug, while shades of mint show up in the wreath and the ceramic pots planted with glorious cream poinsettias.

Front Door Vignette

Farmhouse Wreath

The wreath has undergone a few changes since I first put it out….originally it was filled with little white pom-pom embellishments, but sadly, a five-day-long rain extravaganza kind of did those in.

Merry

Now, in addition to some strands of tiny rice lights, the wreath is sporting a festive banner made from paper stencil letters (from Home Depot), coated in mint-green glitter and strung on baker’s twine.

Boot Vignette

I really love cream-colored poinsettias. And red ones, and pink ones, and multi-colored ones….this year, I practiced some Herculean restraint and just went with the cream. Throw in a few white pansies, my standard porch lanterns, and my dad’s childhood show-riding boots, and we’ve got ourselves a nice, quirky little vignette.

Love them boots.

Love them boots.

More front porch

The twiggy window stars look adorable during the day, and strung with rice lights, look great at night, too!

Poinsettias

The front planters get a dose of holiday color with the addition of cream poinsettias, white pansies, and white ornamental kale tucked in amongst the preexisting lavender and sage.

Front planters

And let’s finish this post off with another glimpse of how it all looks lit up at night….Cheers!

Gold and Silver Lights

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