The Day After


Happy The Day After!

I hope everyone here in America enjoyed a happy, meaningful Thanksgiving Day in whatever way you chose to celebrate.

I’m guessing there was probably some turkey and pumpkin pie involved.

I don’t have too much to report here.  All went well, and we were very thankful for all our blessings, especially having both our lads home with us for the holiday.

As readers with older children will appreciate, this becomes increasingly harder to accomplish as the years fly by.

slimpaley.comI managed a one-armed table set at the barn.

 The flowers and napkin folding were not quite up to snuff, but the overall effect was a success (even if I do say so myself! ;-))

I bought orchids,  persimmons and longan berries at the Santa Barbara Farmer’s Market on Wednesday, and my sister picked some berries for me.

Heritage TurkeyHeritage Turkey

My older son and his girlfriend cooked the entire dinner over a two day period. It was absolutely fantastic. They even made home-made stock earlier just for the gravy.

brussel sprouts with lardonFresh brussels sprouts from the farmer’s market with lardon, simmered in butter & chicken stock.

890A9376Delicious ham and fresh green bean casserole.

orchid & footballFlowers & football.  Story of my life :-)

slimpaley.pumpkinpieMaple pumpkin pie with chocolate crust (adapted from Bon Appetit magazine) with freshly whipped cream

pecanpieand pecan perfection!

My son made these. From scratch. Home-made pastry.


Almost everything was perfect

sweet potatoes with marshmallow  Keeping two eyes and one arm on the final broiling of the whipped sweet potatoes with fresh ginger, coconut cream & marshmallows was my job.

Honestly. The lengths some people will go to to try and catch a glimpse of a fireman.

whipped sweet potatoesBut never let it be said that I’m not a master re-cycler.

The entire charred top popped right off and the slightly smoky flavour remaining just took the edge off the sweetness.

Good as new!


Have a wonderful weekend!



Chartreuse linen napkins from “Linen Me”, candlesticks Georg Jensen, sandalwood runner from ‘Botanik’, Summerland, dinner plates “Target” (!) ‘vintage goblets.

The Day After

The kitchen bathed in glorious Fall light.

Did you have an enjoyable Thanksgiving Feast? I hope so! We certainly did. As you can see, the “dry run” flowers I bought over a week ago from the Farmer’s market lasted beautifully. Gerber daisies might not be the chicest bloom on the block but they’re like the good, steady husband of the flower kingdom-long lasting, reliable and always there when you need them. No flaky boyfriend type flowers to be found in mid November anyway-unless of course one is willing to pay dearly-but what else is new with flaky boyfriends??

We cooked a massive ham, scalloped potatoes, steamed brussel sprouts and candied bacon sautéed in lashings of butter, and my husband & younger son made a banana cream pie from scratch. In between the 700 games of football on yesterday. It was awfully sweet, in more ways than one. They made a crust my husband described as thicker than a deck of cards, but seriously, how bad can graham crackers, sugar and butter taste?!

We also had gorgeous heirloom tomatoes from the market that needed to be eaten quickly so I thought this delicious, Hawaiian inspired tomato, fresh pineapple & garlic chip salad would be nice with the ham.

Recipe from Food & Wine magazine HERE

Tomatoes the size of steaks. yum.

I concocted a glaze for the ham by heating Hediard’s Red Currant  fine jelly until it melted, then adding freshly (and this is a must) squeezed orange juice and Cointreau to taste.

OMG. I can’t begin to tell you how good this is, especially for being so ridiculously simple. I’m sure Martha would sieve those bits of orange out before serving, but whatever. This would be divine with Cornish game hens & duck as well.

If you cannot find “Hediard’s” red currant jelly, I’m sure Wilkin & Sons would be good too.


After dinner and dessert, there was a rousing game of “Scrabble” in which my father took umbrage at me using the letters “H” & “O” to spell “Ho” (to make two words for 15pts)

Dude, it’s a word;

 Merriam-Websters Dictionary; Ho (used as a call to attract attention, sometimes specially used after a word denoting a destination): Westward ho! Land ho!
(used as an exclamation of surprise or delight.)
or, according to;

A word Santa Clause says three times when he sees your wife, mother and sister together in the same room.

Ahhnnd we laughed…well, I did. Dad was not so amused.

So another Thanksgiving has come and gone and we all know what that means…

Are you partaking of “Black Friday”??   I can’t imagine anything I’d rather do less, but I will definitely be supporting “Small Shop Saturday” again this year. If we don’t all do the same,  I fear every main street in every city and town across America will soon look exactly the same. It’s starting to get that way already. More importantly, small, local shops are owned and run by our friends and neighbours- let’s do everything we can in this tough economic climate to help them stay open.

Christmas gift ideas coming soon.

You don’t actually expect to see them more than a month out do you?!

PS.   Please check out my piece in the December issue of “C” Magazine this month :)

Ho Ho Ho!


A Rainy Saturday Before Thanksgiving

mantlepiece vignette

Fall table setting

Happy Weekend to you!

 It’s been pouring rain here the last couple of days and feeling utterly Autumnal. As I look out my window through the rain I can barely see the tops of the trees shrouded in deep fog. Santa Barbara is doing a great impression of the Pacific Northwest right now I must say.  Although Fall is not my favourite time (sorry but I’m a Summer Gal and get a tad sad cranky when we turn the clocks back) Autumn might be my favourite season in terms of appreciating the coziness of my home. Built well over a hundred years ago, it harkens back to a time when fireplaces were included in many more rooms than we would ever dream of indulging in now. Especially for Southern California.

So I’ve been enjoying the outdoorsy, I might even say ‘East Coast’ scent of burning wood inside and out. The giant oak we lost last year in the huge rain storm is giving us one more gift.

Mirrored wall

I’m all about Fall leaves at the moment, but more on that in an upcoming post.

I’ve already completed a dry run on my Thanksgiving table because I got excited about using deep garnet coloured depression glass plates instead of my usual green and amber theme. Roses didn’t seem appropriate, and though there were bountiful fruits and veggies at the Farmer’s Market this week, flowers are getting scarce. I chose long lasting gerbers in warm colours with a burgundy base and, yes, again with the leaves.

Thanksgiving table

Fresh walnuts from the market, leaves & the last of our apples for the season

Autumn floral displays

As much as I adore doing all the decorating and the table by myself, I’m not that revved up about cooking the entire turkey throw down on Thursday, only to have a repeat performance a scant few weeks hence-so… I asked for suggestions and inspiration over on my FB page and I’m happy to share a few of them here;

-Turkey for Thanksgiving and Prime rib for Christmas (though I’d flip this around as I have a larger group for Christmas than Thanksgiving)

-Chinese food on Christmas Day

-a pot luck dinner with an Indian Feast Theme for either holiday (love this idea)

-Turkey chilli on Thanksgiving which is so easy to make ahead and only improves with age (within reason of course)

-Go vegetarian. In fact, to quote; Go vegetarian every day.   Hmmmmm.

-Apparently Gelson’s does a delicious  full bells & whistles take-out Thanksgiving dinner. Who knew?

-Cornish game hens, red currant glaze, wild rice & mushrooms

-The secret is in the planning

-The secret is in the sharing- Make a timeline; each prep task is written out on a separate card marked with a start time & posted in order on the fridge. Everyone can grab a card and jump in to help. Frankly I can imagine this working much better in some households than others. Just saying.

-The secret is in the drinking. Serve enough fun libations and no one cares about the food.

and finally, this ingenious suggestion

-Go to someone else’s house!


Fall dinner table

Do you have any suggestions or inspiration you’d like to share??

After all, it is Thanksgiving :)


Happy Thanksgiving To Everyone!

Slim Paley Photo


The table is done, and just in the nick of time.  My theme this year was “More is More”; inspired by wanting to use my cranberry glass collection after a long hiatus, as well as the lushness of the garden still, even though the cold is finally here in Santa Barbara. Despite the chill in the air, it was a gorgeous sunny day and just as I was finishing my floral arranging, I was blessed with the stunning golden light that November brings…

Slim Paley photo

thanksgiving table

Only the pink lilies and small orange chrysanthemums (Omg- I just spelled that right the first time!)  needed to be bought for the table. Everything else came from the garden.

umm…except the pomegranates… the figs are from my garden though, I swear.

One of the flower boxes where the ruby coloured leaves and plum ‘daisies’ grow

(little “Polaroid photos all taken with iphone”Shake it” app.).

Slim Paley photo

The smaller table at the window seat serves as the buffet

(or the place where those misbehaving at the grown up’s table are banished :) )

Still have a few little pears hanging on to my Weeping Silver Pear trees…

The Silver Pear Allee

Ignore the fact there is no water coming out of that damn font. I swear the birds deliberately poop right in the spray holes

Oh…wait…but I’m thankful to have so many beautiful birds in my garden

Slim Paley Photo

For Peaceful Homes, and Healthful Days

For All the Blessings Earth displays

We give Thankfulness and Praise


Wishing everyone a Healthy, Hearty, and Happy Day!!

Roast Beef, John Currin and Divine Yorkshire Pudds.

Roast Beef

See?  I told you I wasn’t organized.  I haven’t had a moment to post anything the last couple of days.  Next year….oh, next year will be different!  I am finished my house now though- tree trimmed, mantle hung, banisters festooned…  and Roast beef and Yorkshire Pudding it will be for Christmas dinner.  Visions of crispy golden puffs of Yorkshire clouds with lashings of dark, rich gravy are dancing in my head.  My mother always makes her’s in deep muffin pans and they reach dizzying heights.
Yorkshire pudding originated in the north of England in around 1737.  The traditional Yorkshire was made as a loaf, in fact way back when, the loaf would sit directly under the roasting meat and catch the drippings.  The first recipe recorded is found in“The Whole Duty of a Woman” 1737;

“The whole duty of a woman, or, An infallible guide to the fair sex: Containing rules, directions, and observations, for their conduct and behavior through all ages and circumstances of life, as virgins, wives, or widows : with … rules and receipts in every kind of cookery”

And btw, how fabulous does this book sound?! I just tried to find it online, so far no luck (so I guess my husbands out of luck too :)  ) however, believe it or not, you can pull up the entire contents to read online and and although the old English is a little difficult to follow,  I read just enough to whet my appetite for the search.  Anyway, back to the pudding Wenches!

Yorkshire Pudding

This yields about 12 Yorkies

2 cups of milk, 5 eggs, 2 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon (and a small dash) of salt, 1/2 cup of roast beef drippings straight from the oven. 2 large deep muffin pans.

Preheat oven to 375-400 (depending on your oven and your altitude).  It’s important to let the eggs and the milk come to room temperature, so set them out about 1 hour before.  Place milk, eggs, flour and salt in blender and blend until smooth, with some bubbling.  Pour aprox. 2/3 teaspoon of drippings into each compartment of the muffin tins and slide into oven until hot.  Remove and pour an even amount of batter into each compartment. Put straight back into oven and bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown and puffy.  Don’t get alarmed if your Yorkshires start to deflate almost immediately- it’s just God’s way to capture gravy.  Enjoy!!

Another version, and a video (Yorkshire Pudding recipe link)



John Currin’s “Thanksgiving ” Wenches 2003