Thursday, June 13, 2019

Fast and Easy Table for Friends!



One of the great things about living in a retirement community is that friends are always available for a impromptu dinner.  That was the case this week.   We were hungry for a dish called Chicken Santa Fe - a great dish with black beans, corn, salsa.   The recipe is one I had for year and usually made in the slow cooker - but when hosting guests I wanted to make it in a nice 13 x 9 pan that could come to the table for everyone to serve themselves.   As I said, this was a quick dinner party and I did not take photos of the prep or finished product.  You can find the recipe here Santa Fe Baked Chicken.  I don't use the chilies, but along with the sour cream I serve avocado slices and a bowl of corn chips to sop up the salsa or crumble over the entire dish.  I served it with brown rice and a simple Lemon Ice Box Pie for dessert...as well as Strawberry Margaritas.   We live in an apartment building, so even though it was a rainy, thunderstorm kind of night - no worries.  Everyone was already in the building.   
I had the blue table cloth for years, and recently found the napkins on sale at Kohl's and they seems to fit the menu.  The china is our white wedding china, and also my "good" stainless.  The water goblets and coasters are from Dollar Tree.
Polish potter dishes held the sour cream, avocado, and chips.  I also served a simple salad as a first course and the little red pitcher held the dressing and made the table pop!   But, I was at a loss for a centerpiece.  I looked in my decorating closet and spied this silk magnolia and thought....I have an extra napkin - let's jazz this up!   Everyone commented on the pretty table, we had a great evening of good food and friendship, and it all came together quickly!   Love entertaining....when our guests commented the next day on the good time and "all that work" I laughed and said...that's my hobby.  Loved to "play house" as a little girl and adore doing it now "for real"! 

Thanks for stopping by Our New Vista !   Do you entertain on the spur of the moment ?  What are your favorite recipes or tips ?  Please leave a comment below...and have fun "playing house" !

Monday, June 3, 2019



It has been some time...welcome back to Our New Vista.   We have returned from our wonderful trip to Russia.   What a fascinating two weeks sailing on the Viking Ingvar from St. Petersburg to Moscow.   The sights, the sounds, the people...it was an amazing experience.

But as the saying goes..."East, West, Home is Best...and there is no place like home!" Summer has arrived and after a hot and humid period last week June arrived and it is perfect.   Warm, sunny, breezy, everything blooming!  And the stores have blueberries on sale...so it is time for muffins and pies.
A new Aldi location opened up near us and it is a beautiful store.   I like Aldi produce and the good prices on their produce and other items.   There is no ONE store where I can find everything I need, but I do find us doing and Aldi run about once a week.   And last week the blueberries were on sale for $1.69 a pint. I picked up 4 pints and made two batches of blueberry muffins.  Our freezer is now stocked with 48 wonderful muffins!   The other two pints I used to make a pie.   Usually making a pie is dangerous for just the two of us, but company was coming so blueberry pie seemed perfect.
Here is the recipe I use...you can see I printed it out from AllRecipes in 2010 and have it in a recipe binder.  I like a crumb topped pie...we enjoy the taste, texture, and I feel it is a little less calories - though when eating pie you should not be counting calories!
I rinsed and picked over the berries - 
Then rolled out the crust...in the past I made my own crust, but these were in the dairy case at Aldi and since I was in a hurry they worked just fine.
In a large bowl I mixed the flour and sugar...
Then grated the lemon rind over the mixture...
 Then squeezed the lemon juice over all.  I think the fresh lemon really gives the pie some zing!
I found that since living here in Our New Vista, where we have breakfast in our beautiful community dining area each day, I don't have much need for oatmeal - and I had none for this recipe.  I made a crumb topping using just flour instead.  Then used my pie guard so the crust would not burn!
And...here is is - a great blueberry pie to share with guests.   I served it with a dollop of whipped cream....YUM!
That is all from Our New Vista - seems like only yesterday we were cruising The Waterways of the Tsars and sipping champagne.  A wonderful trip, but it is good to be home!

Fast and Easy Table for Friends! One of the great things about living in a retirement community is that friends are always availa...