Friday, January 4, 2013

New Year's Lunch and A January Spruce

I started taking my Christmas decorations down on the 26th.  I'm telling you this NOT to sound smug.  Hopefully, it will allow you a small window into my very Type A personality.  If you are in the least bit inclined to OCD tendencies, you know by cleaning and clearing, it also clears your mind and allows you to be more productive.  After the purge, the very predictable happened - the house felt bare and sterile.  It happens every year.  And every year I say, I'm so tired of all the decorations, I'm sure it won't feel bare this year.  Since I was hosting New Year's Day lunch for my family, I needed to spruce a bit to make things feel fresh.  Who wants to start the new year in a bleak, blah house for lunch?! 

First, the menu (sorry I don't have any pictures of my own, my blogging break has made me very lazy!), this meal was so much easier to pull together than you would think.  I love menus like that!

Menu
Hoppin' Johns
(served on a bed of creamy, buttery grits)

Baked Ham
(you could skip this entirely as the Hoppin' Johns really felt like a main dish - if you added shrimp the to Hoppin Johns it would definitely be a meal)

Spinach Salad
with fresh blueberries, feta cheese (the recipe called for goat, but I only had feta), and black walnuts (I nixed the onions)

Butter Biscuits
Mary B's Southern Made - I swear they taste just like my Mom's, but sooo much easier (sorry Mom!)

Banana Cheesecake
(from the Cheese Cake Factory and totally decadent)

I cooked the Hoppin' Johns from this recipe the day before and simply brought it up to temperature right before lunch.  I made the grits right when I woke up, using 2% milk (instead of water) and added one stick of butter, salt and pepper.  Then, I placed them in the crockpot to keep the consistency perfect for serving at Noon (thanks, Janet, for this fabulous trick!)  For the ham, I picked up a fully cooked, spiral half ham (bone in) at the grocery.  The morning of New Year's day, I made a slurry of coke and brown sugar and spread it on top of the ham (I really hate the honey baked ham glaze that comes with a ham).   Then, I covered the ham in tin foil and cooked it for 1 1/2 hours at 275 (these directions are spelled out on the label of the ham).  Since the ham was fully cooked, the oven is simply a way to bring it up to temperature and add an extra layer of sweet flavor.  Also, I have to say, when you serve a ham, it looks very impressive.  Truly, way more impressive than the energy exerted to make it!  

The Table
So, for the table and the whole reason I started this post!  I decided to keep the cloches I picked up for Christmas on the table.  It think they are great for any season.

I've found, you can place anything under a cloche, and it seems to elevate it's importance.  I'm thinking of placing the toothbrushes of a couple of kids I know under these!!  I picked up two small primrose plants at the grocery (2 for $5) and used these along with the cloches.

  One primrose, I repotted in a small square cement container I had on hand.


 The other,  I simply covered the pot with sheet moss and held this in place with a couple of strands of raffia (again, all things I had in my craft closest).


The paper white I received as a gift for Christmas (thank you, Cindy!).  Then under the large container, I pulled out the shells I DIYed (is that a verb?) back in the Fall.  They had nothing to do with the time of year or the menu, but the gold added a sparkle the table needed.

These few touches were enough to make the table feel fresh.  Remember, you don't have to spend a ton of money, if you have a few basics to build from on your table. 

I think this time of year, adding just a few fresh plants/bulbs helps to beat the blahs of the winter season.  I love to see paper whites and crocus bulbs in containers - it makes me think of "fresh starts" and "anticipation of something new." 
 I may just have to run by Home Depot and snag a few to force and enjoy the rest of the month! M. 

5 comments:

  1. I always love your tablescapes Mandi and this is so pretty and simple yet elegant. And I have to admit that our Christmas decor is still up, but it's coming down this weekend. Happy New Year!

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  2. Lovely and so fresh!! I'm just now taking down Christmas and look forward to breathing a little easier. :)
    Happy New Year, Mandi!
    xo Heidi

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  3. Yum. Love the centre pieces - so sweet and pretty. Happy new year!

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  4. Mandi, your table looked so pretty and inviting...hope you had a wonderful time!

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  5. Your positive influence has rubbed off on me, Mandi! We actually started taking our Christmas decorations down on the 26th this year as well! We've never done that -- I've always been a 12/31 - early January kind of gal! It really felt great to have the house clean and ready for the New Year, so I hope I'll be able to keep it up! Thanks Mandi!

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Thank you for thoughts on my post! M.