Join me for some fun!

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Monday, September 1, 2014

Garden Fun 2014


These are some of my favorite garden photos
from this year - 2014.

I don't even remember planting Romaine
lettuce, but look how lovely it came up right
amidst my purple pansies this spring.  I enjoyed
the Romaine so much and have let a couple
go to seed so I can have more next year,
although I don't imagine they will ever
look this perfect!


Next came my strawberries, cherries
and raspberries, all overlapping each other.
Good thing the cherries come on because
then the birds leave the strawberries alone.

We have everbearing strawberries and they
have loved this cool August.  I continue
to have some every day and the birds have
forgotten about them.


Our first tomatoes were the 
Early Girls and of course I had
to make a tomato sandwich with them 
and then BLT's.


Our peaches ripen mid-July even though
my daughter and I bought "the same variety"
and hers ripen in August.
The tree is four years old and finally had a
nice crop of peaches.  

Perfection!


I always have to plant some yellow pear
tomatoes.  I love the color addition for
Bruschetta or salsa.


And now Romas are in full swing.  See how
long they are this year?  We have Grape Tomatoes
coming in full force too.  For such a small garden,

we are able to enjoy quite a lot of produce.



Wednesday, August 27, 2014

An Elegant Adieu to Summer


Oh, to see the sun, fun, and warmth
of summer leave is just too sad for me
and we have had the coldest, rainiest 
August, so it just seems too soon.

So in honor of the last week of summer,
and since we ran off to St.George where
it is much warmer, I am creating this
Adieu to Summer
tablescape.


It was fun to just "shop around" the
condo to put together this tablescape.

I love the weathered wood table for
this.  It reminds me of driftwood and
makes a perfect base for this
end of summer table.


The dark aquamarine chargers
and glassware give the beauty of
the summer ocean to the table.


I started with these plates that
are bordered with dimensional shells.
I purchased these almost 20 years ago
from Spiegel, back when they had the
most beautiful home goods.


The shell border dinner plates are topped 
with a more recent purchase, these star fish
salad plates from Home Goods.


The stack is finished with these shell
bowls which were also purchased at
the same time from Spiegel.


Their off white color sets off the
aquamarine perfectly, like the shells are
floating on the beautiful ocean water.


I used the only flatware I have 
down here in St. George.



A cream napkin is tied off with
this rope like napkin ring.  I can almost
hear the waves.


Cream and silver placemats
go nicely with everything.


A little fish will be perfect for a
roll and a pat of butter.



I love the punch of aqua in the
room with all of the soft neutrals.




Aqua glasses that I purchased a few years
ago from Tai Pan match the candleholders
from Z Gallerie.


I love the simplicity of the five
candleholders for an elegant
centerpiece.




Hopefully warm weather will return,
but summer is officially done.
It always goes too fast for me.

Hope you enjoyed your summer!

Thank you for visiting
Purple Chocolat Home.

No, I never finished posting our
remodel of our St. George condo,
but I promise I will finish taking
photos while I am down here and
get that done!

I will be posting with
and













Monday, August 25, 2014

Caramel Oreo Brownies


Caramel and Oreos and Chocolate,
OH MY!

Let's just stuff every yummy ingredient
we can think of into the middle of
double chocolatey brownies and let
the yumminess begin.

My sister in law Michele had made
these and though I didn't get one of
hers, I took it on my sister Jean's word
that I had to try these.  

Yup!  They were right.  

These are amazing and not
as rich as I thought (meaning, I
could eat more than one - no problem!)

The batter made from a cake mix is
stuffed with chocolate chips and after
a little baking is topped with Oreos and
caramel and then more batter.  
What more needs to be said???

Caramel Oreo Brownies
(Very slight variation from Easy Baked)

1 pkg. Chocolate Cake Mix
(I like Betty Crocker's Triple Chocolate)
1/3 C. oil
2 eggs
1 12 oz. pkg. milk chocolate chips
1 12 oz. pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips

24 Double Stuffed Oreos

32 unwrapped Kraft Caramels
1/2 C. butter
1 14 oz. can Sweetened Condensed Milk

Line a 9x13 inch pan with foil (if
you don't do this, you will have a hard 
time with the caramel sticking to the sides).
Spray the bottom with oil.

Heat oven to 350.

In a large mixer bowl mix the cake mix,
oil and 2 eggs until blended.  Stir in the
chocolate chips.

Place half of the batter into the bottom
of the prepared pan.  It won't completely cover
the bottom of the pan but it will fill in as it
bakes.  Bake this for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile place the caramels, butter
and the sweetened condensed milk (minus
1 T.) in a saucepan and melt the caramels.
Stir constantly until melted and smooth.

Remove the pan from the oven and place
24 Oreos on the top of the baked cookies.
Now pour the caramel over the cookies.
Finish by topping the pan with the remaining
batter.  You need to take small amounts
and flatten them out in your hands to try
and cover as much of the top as you can.  
Spray your hands with oil as needed.
Bake for 25 minutes.

Let cool in the pan.  When cool, lift the foil out
of the pan and peel it away from the edges,
then cut into squares.  I cut mine into 24
pieces.  These really cut best if you let them
cool overnight, but sometimes you just can't
wait that long.
Cut into 24 squares.



We have already made these twice
and I have people asking for more!  
They were fabulous!!

I will be posting with 


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A Week of Fine Dining at Lake Powell


We have spent two of the three
weeks in August at Lake Powell
and of all of our trips to Lake Powell,
this one was out of this world!

We asked our friends' daughters to
be the chefs on the boat.  The Harkness
twins have gone to Culinary Art school
and jumped at the chance, creating themed
menus for each day.

Unfortunately Grace broke her collar
bone so she wasn't able to come but her
older sister Hannah stepped in to 
assist Esther.

I am going to start you off with
Caribbean Night.


The girls posted menus for
lunch and dinners on the fridge
each day, each one cleverly themed.


Let me introduce you to our chefs
and wait staff.

For Caribbean Night I
asked everyone to dress as pirates
so our waitress for the evening
was Tinkerbell with her scabby chef Essy.


The girls set the table each night with
attention to the theme.
Tonight the table was set with a pirate flag
and pirate napkins


Even the houseboat was decked
out for the theme of the day.


Imagine how thrilled I was to 
see everyone dressed in their
pirate costumes!!

They win extra points for going the
extra mile!!!
This is a dinner group that
we belong to that is
called FIRM
(Friends In Retirement Mode
although no one is retired yet!)


Even the parrot came to dinner.


I applied these fun temporary
tattoos that I got at 
Partyland.

Dinner started with an appetizer of 
a deconstructed crab wonton.
Wow, the flavors were incredible!
Mahi mahi with a pineapple and
mango salsa with coconut rice
was the main dish and a
Pavlova with berries on a bed
of sweetened whipped cream
finished the meal.

This menacing pirate provided
the fun blinking goblets for everyone.



You can get these from
They really added to the
festive table.





We also had American night.


Each evening meal began with what they
called their
Pre-Appetizer.

Each person received a Sees Chocolate for
their Pre-Appetizer.  Yum.


Marinated and grilled fresh
garden squash began the meal.


The star of this meal was the bacon-wrapped
filets with home made Bearnaise sauce.
It was accompanied by creamed corn
and cheesy potatoes.


Dessert for American Night 
were cake push pops with
red white and blue cake and
blue frosting.


Our waitress for American Night
was Stacy from Georgia.
(Hannah had gone the extra mile and
studied different accents on the internet
to play her roles.)



The girls set the table every night
choosing different plates and placemats.
Their service was incredible.

 Captain Kirk had shown up in
costume starting the week off 
with lots of fun.

 We had originally asked the girls
to make only dinner, but they got 
so excited about it that they also 
made us lunch.

Top left and going clockwise,
Steak and Blue Cheese Sliders,
Wedge Salad with Poached Egg,
Grilled Pizza with Fresh Mozzarella.


Gigi was our waitress for 
Italian Night.
It was everyone's favorite.

Chef Essy had prepared six homemade
pastas at home for this fabulous night.


After our pre-appetizer of a chocolate,
we had these fun
Caprese Salad Skewers.
We got the cute plates and dishes
from Partyland 
and Webstaurant for petite 
plastic dinnerware
(scroll down to find smaller packages).


This was the perfect menu to
try out these wonderful mini
dishes that we had used for my
daughter's wedding reception.

The first plate was three pastas,
Spinach Lasagna,
Goat Cheese Tortellini
and Butternut Squash Ravioli.



The next plate was three more
dishes - 
Buccatini Carbonara, Gnocchi
in a Pepper Sauce and Home Made Meatballs.

All of these recipes came from
Williams Sonoma Pasta cookbook.


Wow, how can you 
ever repeat a meal like this?


 Dessert was freshly made 
Mango Sorbet with
a Double Chocolate Brownie.


There was a little quiz that 
we were given each night that
went with the theme while
we waited for the girls to
plate the meals.  All of these
fun little extras made the week
out of this world.



We really enjoyed our
waitresses.  They were another huge
surprise and
we never got to see her before dinner
so that when she came upstairs
it was really fun.  


Oriental night was skewered tenderloin
with green onions on fried rice.
Love the happy face made with
the veggies!


A commercially prepared 
Oriental spongecake with fresh
cream and berries was our dessert.


It is hard to conceive 
their boundless energy 
and their skill of planning
and preparation.


 Our final night brought
Salome 
and Indian food.

The big hit were the potsticker
where the chefs made the 
dough by hand and rolled it out.
There is no comparison.


I don't think this table will ever
see such food or such service
ever again as Chef Essy is heading
off to college and Waitress Hannah
is finishing college.


We had to regale them with kisses
in gratitude for the most amazing
week at Lake Powell EVER!!

Blondie asked if I had done a post
on the kitchen on the boat,
I will have to do that in the 
future, but for the meantime
I am adding a picture of
the girls working in the kitchen.



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