Saturday, December 18, 2010

Last Minute Instant Christmas Sparkle

The Christmas countdown is on!! I'm guessing that some of you may be in panic mode, while others have completed all their shopping, decorating and menu selections. If you're a procrastinator, this post is for you.

I wanted to share this really sparkly, simple, last minute decorative mini-project (and I do mean mini) that will add instant sparkle to your holiday decor. You probably have most of the items on hand, so you'll be able to pull this together rather quickly.

Here's what you'll need:


Simply sparkle-licious!!

Candle Holders

Ribbon, optional
(This ribbon was wrapped around the box of ornaments.)

Epsom Salt, if needed

I concealed the ornament hooks with the Epsom salt.

The short ones didn't need any salt.

See how easy it is to add a little holiday sparkle to your decor in just minutes AND without stretching your budget? You really do have time to do more than drop a few ornaments in a bowl.

Merry Christmas!!

Sheila Denise

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Crate & Barrel Taste on a Ross Budget

Hey y'all!! By now, you should know that I love a bargain almost as much as I love food (I said almost). LOL Crate & Barrel has been a favorite for many years and I have quite the stash of goodies to show for it. Not everyone can plop down the cash for some of the lovely items, and when I'm shopping for more budget conscious clients (yes, another one of my "jobs"), I make every effort to make the best use of their dollars. Of course, I do the same for me, so when I was out doing a little shopping in Ross the other day and happened upon a pair of candleholders that looked very familiar--they were so very similar to the Pixie candleholder from Crate & Barrel. I actually stood there and pulled up the photo the website to be REALLY sure. Don't believe here. Although, they're not exactly the same, they're close enough for me. Now for the price breakdown, the C & B version retails at $9.95, the Ross version retails at $2.99. So what do you think Little Miss Budget did?? I snatched up those two and nearly ripped the store apart, looking for more. I didn't find any more, but I'm headed out in a little while to "visit" another Ross store to quench my thirst for these babies, because I have grand plans!

Please share some of your budget knockoffs...I simply love a deal!!

It's truly the little things that make me extremely happy!

Sheila Denise

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thanksgiving Menu - Wright Family Style

There is nothing more enjoyable and exciting than spending time with my family. Although we're together often, Thanksgiving brings about an extra-specialness to our getting together. The crisp weather, the fall foliage, the hustle and bustle in the kitchen, football, parades, the Black Friday ads, and most of all, the blessing of being with your loved ones. The laughter and aroma of all the wonderful food is so intoxicating.

As sister Riley and I finalized the menu, the first thing I did was start pulling out white serving pieces for each dish that I'm preparing. While I sorted through piles and piles of dishes, somehow I managed to ignore the fact that my white dish obsession has gotten completely out of hand. A really sad state of affairs. I decided to continue to distract myself by searching the web for photos of our Thanksgiving feast to share with you. We're a family of eaters, but we're cutting back a wee bit on the 2010 menu. Yeah, I know it's doesn't LOOK cut back, but trust me on this one.

I'm still undecided if I should cook ham or pork loin, so I posted both.

Cranberry-Orange Relish, Sauteed Green Beans with Garlic, Turnips, Gravy, Parsnips & Carrots with White Balsamic, Skillet Cornbread, Pineapple Casserole (so delicious with ham), Corn Pudding, Sweet Potato Casserole w/Pecan & Gingersnap Topping, Cornbread Dressing, and Yeast Rolls.

Pound Cake, Mini Sweet Potato Pies, and Pecan Pie Cheesecake

An assortment of beverages for everyone.

I'm off to do my shopping tomorrow morning (except for the ham or pork loin) and I'll tweak recipes over the weekend and will dive head first into cooking/baking on Tuesday, starting with the cheesecake.

What's on your Thanksgiving menu?

Sheila Denise

Monday, November 1, 2010

Introducing My New Website - Just Wright Candy Buffets

Hey y'all!! I can't believe all the wonderful things that have happened since I last posted. I'm sitting here pinching myself between each sentence. I, yes Sheila Denise Wright, launched my website--Just Wright Candy Buffets, TODAY!! Now mind you, I've been designing tables for what seems like all my life, but never gave myself an official name and Sheila Wright, the girl who does tables, just didn't quite do it for me. So, I did what I had to do, I took tried and true advice from a wonderful panel of pros while attending Tory Johnson's Spark & Hustle Conference this summer and three months later, here I am--company name, logo and website. Whew!! It all seems to have happened so quickly, but I've never been more ready for anything than I am for this!

I guess I'll have to act all grown up now and be all professional and stuff, huh?? Nah, I'm gonna keep being me and since I'm in charge around these parts, my vote is the only one that counts. LOL

Join me at JWCB as I embark on this new and not-so-new journey. It's going to be a BLAST!!

Sheila Denise

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Look What I Found!!

I just HAD to share my latest find with y'all. It has to be the nifty-est pan EVER. It's a Lasagna Trio Pan by Chicago Metallic. Yes you read that correctly, THREE rows of lasagna and it comes equipped with it's very on spatula!! I'm envisioning the rows of lasagna as I type...traditional meat, vegetarian and seafood. I simply can't wait to use this pan, well, what I really mean is I can't wait to take it to my sister, Riley and ask BEG her to work her magic. Her lasagna and Aunt Maxine's lasagna taste waaaay better than mine (and mine is really good). There's something about a loved one creating a dish with you in mind that makes it extra awesome.

Oh, I almost forgot the best part, it scored this baby for $17.99. It's listed at $25.21 on Amazon. I'm a very happy woman tonight.

I'd love to hear your creative ideas to put this fabulous pan to good use.

Sheila Denise

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Traveling Guest Blogger Chuck - Now That's Paramount!

With spectacular views of the London skyline, the Thames River and London Bridge, Paramount at Centre Point is just that...Paramount.

Start your day out right with the Yoghurt Parfait and a bowl of fresh fruit. Who said Americans don't eat healthy?? LOL!! If yoghurt is not your thing, try the traditional English Breakfast and marvel at one of the best views of Central London.

Crunchy Granola with Natural Yoghurt & Fruit Salad:
Can't make it for breakfast?? Don't worry. Paramount is the evening/night spot for the fashionable and trendy Londoners. Paramount at Centre Point is located at 101-103 New Oxford Street, across from the Tottenham Court tube station. As you exit the station, look for the tallest skyscraper on the corner. Enjoy!!

Chuck, thank you so much for this wonderful review of Paramount. I'm looking forward to dining there this winter. For my readers, what are some of your favorite dining spots home or away from home?

Sheila Denise

Friday, September 10, 2010

I'm a Shameless Copy Cat - Hot Tomato and Mango Sorbet Soup

This is a confession of sorts. I stalk bloggers, all kinds of bloggers, but especially those who exhibit a love affair with food and entertaining. Several months ago, I began a stalker love affair with a FANTASTIC lady who happens to live in the Atlanta area. She simply exudes food, entertainment and hospitality and along with being one of the sweetest people I've NEVER met, I fell in love with her and her blog. Her name is Patti, a self-professed hospitalityaholic and creator of the blog, Anatomy of a Dinner Party. I'm not quite sure that hospitalityaholic is a big enough word to encompass all the greatness that Miss. Patti is.

Well a weekish or so ago, Patti posted an entry that immediately captured my attention, Hot Tomato & Mango Sorbet Soup. Now I don't know about y'all, but my country self had never heard of such, but was absolutely intrigued by the combination of flavors. I knew I HAD to make that soup! Well, I got a little sidetracked for a few days, but I finally got around to making it today. I was out of homemade sorbet, so cheated with a commercial brand . Since Patti said it was SPICY so in New Orleans fashion, I added cayenne to the tomato soup and OMG this stuff was DELICIOUS!!! A spicy, cool, basil-y bowl of tomato soup goodness, with BACON on top!! This soup was so good that I didn't even bother to sit down to eat it and I am not ashamed. As odd as this might sound, don't let it stop you. Enough about me carrying on about the soup. Here are the pics and yeah, I know the bacon is a bit crispy.

Sending out a HUGE thank you to Patti and Chef Matt Murphy at M Bistro - The Ritz Carlton New Orleans!! Looking forward to having this many, many more times.

Sheila Denise

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Double Birthday Celebration...Oh My!!

Today, I had the pleasure of having lunch with my BBFF (boy best friend forever), Chuck at one of our favorite restaurants, Steel Atlanta. We pretty much eat here every week, so today was no different, EXCEPT, we were celebrating OUR birthdays!! Yep you heard me...OUR BIRTHDAYS!!! Lucky us, huh?? I think so too. Chuck has managed to worm his way into "Little Brother" status for life. He is the poster child for a true, true friend and I am grateful know him and honored to call him my friend.

Well, I arrived earlier than Chuck, which NEVER happens, so I tried to wait patiently , but didn't do a great job, because I was EXCITED to share some great news with him. Anyway, just as I was about to EXPLODE, in struts Chuck and I unload my happy, happy news the moment we are seated. We ordered our adult beverages, since we're both officially legal (Ha!!) and ordered our usual Bento Boxes, salmon for both of us this time, and caught up on things since our last conversation--yesterday.

And here's where the fun began. We were overheard discussing our birthdays and Steel's very own Chuck wished us a happy birthday, then Ms. Katie, who took wonderful care of us, wished us a happy birthday and said she had a surprise for us. Yippee!!!!! We enjoyed a fabulous meal and drinks and out comes Katie with our birthday dessert on a 2 foot platter, candle a-burning!! Someone should have captured our faces, because I'm sure were both looked a little "crazy" to say the least. We managed to pull ourselves together, made our wishes and blew out the candle and dove right into our Strawberry Cake. Katie said she had another surprise for us as we gobbled down our delicious dessert--the cake was VEGAN!! Did y'all hear me??? V-E-G-A-N!!! No-dairy-no-egg-involved-in-any-way-vegan. We almost choked!! Two sho 'nuff meat eaters enjoying a vegan dessert?!?!? Surely not!! We simply looked at each other and kept on eating, til there was nothing left. As we were getting back to reality, Steel's very sweet Ms. Kitty stopped by to wish us a happy birthday as well. There is nothing as wonderful as being surrounded by genuine people and Chuck and I experienced this at Steel (again). I love this place!!

Who knew, when I stumbled upon Steel Dallas years ago, that we'd have the pleasure of enjoying our very own Steel Atlanta? I'm so happy that Steel is a part of my weekly life. If you've dined at Steel, you know how wonderful the food is and if you haven't you need to make plans to do so. This weekend kicks off Midtown Restaurant Week and Steel is participating (hint, hint).

Happy Birthday to Chuck & me!!

Sheila Denise

Saturday, August 28, 2010

We Went, We Ordered, We Ate...Red Velvet Pancakes!!

Today, I had the pleasure of eating Red Velvet Pancakes and I am in LOVE!!! Let me preface this with, I don't like Red Velvet anything (well I do now), but was compelled to give these pancakes a try, simply because West Egg Cafe was serving them and I thought it was an interesting twist on a pancake. I had made plans to brunch at The Egg this morning with my friend and fellow foodie, Tamara (Jem of the South), who happens to be a Red Velvet bakerette-diva, so the moment I saw the Facebook post (photo above) that The Egg was featuring Red Velvet Pancakes this weekend, I knew we'd made the right decision.

So, we wait about 30 minutes to be seated (always well worth the wait) and eagerly ordered the feature of the day and out they came with a HUGEMONGOUS dollop of ready-to-smear cream cheese frosting goodness!!! We weren't about to mess this up, so we knew we had to enjoy them straight, no chaser, errr I mean syrup. I can't imagine that syrup could do anything to enhance this deliciousness!! We looked at each other and as I pulled out my Blackberry to take pics, and Miss Red Velvet took a bite and her eyes literally rolled back in her head. I thought, if SHE thinks they're to die for, I just might like them. Well, have mercy on my greedy little soul--I LOVED THEM!! They were absolutely delicious. The more I ate, the better they got. They had just the right balance of all the things that make many Red Velvet Cakes go wrong--not too cocoa-ey and not too red food color-ey, not too dry, not too sweet...they were spot on!! With this perfectly balanced flavor combination, I could become a Red Velvet Cake lover, but until then, I'll simply be happy to eat this pancake version until the end of time. The only thing Tamara and I decided we wanted to add was a few chopped pecans to sprinkle on top, but I'm prepared to bring my own pecans next time, well very likely tomorrow. Did I mention how much I enjoyed the pancakes??
Naturally, we posted on Facebook & Twitter about our new-found love and we've both received great responses from folks wanting to know more. All I can tell you is this--STOP what you're doing, take yourself to West Egg Cafe and order the Red Velvet Pancakes NOW!! You'll love me for this one.

Sheila Denise

Friday, August 27, 2010

Not Just For Guacamole

An article in the September 2010 issue of Southern Living featured avocados. As I read the article, I was surprised by a couple of tidbits regarding the health benefits, particularly the statistics relating to lowering cholesterol. The lovely avocado has been given a reputation for being "bad" and I'm thrilled that the "good" has been highlighted.

5 Avocado Health Benefits

1. They protect your eyes from disease.
Avocados have a high content (more than any other fruit) of the carotenoid lutein, which protects against cataracts and macular degeneration—a leading cause of blindness.

2. They will lower your cholesterol.
Avocados are high in beta-sitosterol, a natural substance that has been shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. In one study, 45 people saw an average drop in cholesterol of 17% after eating avocados for just one week.

3. They help regulate and reduce blood pressure.
Avocados are a great source of potassium, containing even more than bananas. Studies confirm that eating foods high in potassium (and low in sodium) can lower blood pressure and reduce your risk of stroke.

4. They are a great source of vitamin E.
Avocados are the greatest fruit source of vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects against many diseases and helps maintain overall health.

5. They will moisturize your skin.
Avocado butter and oil, two deep-conditioning emollients, will soften skin, eliminate dry patches, and restore your skin’s elasticity. Try some of our favorite beauty products, enriched with avocado butter and oil, at right.

Jessica S. Thuston|From the September 2010 Magazine Issue

I currently use avocado oil in beauty products (homemade) and can eat a gallon of guacamole, love plain old avocado all by it's lonesome, in salsas, and in BLTs, but here are a few additional ways I plan to sneak a little more of the green stuff into my diet over the next few weeks. Click each description for a link to the recipe.

How will you add more of this powerhouse into your health and beauty routine?

Sheila Denise

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Angel Food Cake - Let Me Count The Ways

Y'all may find this hard to believe, but I'm a late bloomer when it comes to desserts. Throughout my childhood, I was surrounded by pies, cakes and cobbler--you name it and Mother or someone in the family made it. Even with all the hoopla, I was simply not interested in these sweet treats. I was in my early 20's by the time I actually TASTED Pound Cake--I was happy with candy, or so I thought. Well, one fateful day, Big Brother Curt had baked a pound cake and I was asked to cut a slice for a guest. The very moment that I removed the cover and got a good whiff of that cake, the gig was up. I have no idea why that day and that whiff did the trick, but I ate almost half a cake that weekend. I've never looked back. From that very moment, I've been a fan of "plain-ish" cakes, which brings me to today's post.

A couple of months ago, I was in Aldi and picked up a loaf of Angel Food Cake. I was drawn to it because it was in loaf form and I envisioned a couple of slices toasted or grilled, covered with strawberries and powdered sugar and/or real whipped cream. I actually skipped dinner so I could get down to business with my dessert. Well let me tell y'all, I've been eating this cake all summer. Topped with strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and/or peaches, this cake has become a major part of my life. As I looked back over photos, I thought I'd share a few versions with you.

Grilled & Stuffed with Mascarpone

Griddled & Sauced

Griddled & Lightly Drizzled

Toasted, Powdered & Zested

Angel Food Cake is so versatile. Tonight's version will feature peaches. What's your favorite stuffing/topping combo?

Sheila Denise

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Traveling Guest Blogger Chuck - Bar Boulud London

Hopefully, y'all remember my little teaser a few weeks back when I mentioned that my boy-bestie, Chuck was traveling to London and Prague (and probably a few spots he didn't want my nosey self to tell everybody). Well, Chuckster is back and I must say, he did a great job "working " for me while enjoying his vacation.

I've decided to spread out Chuck's dining escapades over a few days to allow each restaurant to have their very own shining moment on my humble little blog. I can't thank him enough for taking on my interests and agreeing to blog for me. Now is that a TRUE FRIEND, or what?!? Might I also add that he ALWAYS returns bearing gifts?!?! I'm a lucky girl!!!

First up is Chuck's dining experience at Bar Boulud.

~Situated at the foot of the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park on Knightsbridge, Bar Boulud is truly a gem. With it's three course Prix Fixe Lunch Menu at a modest 20 pounds, Bar Boulud is the place for the power leisure lunch. Bar Boulud, at The Mandarin Oriental is just down the block from the world famous Harrod's. After shopping at Harrod's, take a three minute walk on Knightsbridge (towards Piccadilly Circus) and experience Bar Boulud.

If you are dining alone, don't worry, Bar Boulud will supply you with the magazine or global newspaper of your choice. Now how's that for service! Chef/Owner Daniel Boulud has Bar Boulud restaurants in London, New York, Miami, Palm Beach, Vancouver, and Beijing.~

Salade du Marche
Volaille Lail PrintanierKetel One Dirty Martini - extra olives
Chuck didn't name the dessert and I have a sneaky suspicion that he might have been DEEP into Dirty Martini number two when dessert rolled around, so I'll simply call this a decadent looking chocolate torte with ice cream dessert (hey, I'm southern, gimme a break). ;-)
If London isn't in your travel plans (or backyard), you may want to check out the other Bar Boulud locations Chuck mentioned.

Sheila Denise

Update (8/16): The dessert's "proper" name is: Tarte au Chocolat with Mocha Ganache & Caramel Ice Cream. Isn't that EXACTLY what I said?? LOL