January was an unusually dismal month for me.  This is surprising since it’s my birthday month and the first month of a new year, a new beginning of sorts, so I surprised, even myself, that I was internally negative the entire month.  No reason, which only makes it more confounding.


So, I know that if I get down in the dumps, which doesn’t happen very often, I just need to continue to smile, live and wait…the wise words of my grandma (and grandma’s everywhere, I imagine) come to mind, “this too shall pass”.  In my internal musings I self-analyzed, self-critiqued and I pondered the worth of my blog.  No real revelations presented themselves since I believe you have to be cautious making huge decisions when you’re in the dumps, but I did decide I needed to share more of the recipes I try and like.  That fills the “party” part of  Garden, Home and Party. For those not interested in cooking I decided to couple the weekly recipe with a few of my favorite table settings that I’ve collected…kind of a something for everyone philosophy.


So here you go.  I’m starting with a recipe for chili.  I have always made my chili from my mom’s recipe.  That means for the 39 years I’ve been married I’ve always prepared the same recipe.  Until now.  Pioneer Woman (and if you haven’t visited her site or read her cookbook or seen her Food TV program, I urge you to have a look) demonstrated a recipe for “Simple Perfect Chili” on her show.  My husband had recorded the show for me and happened to be in the room when she was demonstrating the process and he commented that it looked really good.  I took advantage of this segue to say, “Why don’t you cook it for us?”  {Note:  I work full time outside the house and he works from our home}.


He followed the recipe which you can print from HERE and I have to tell you…it was delicious, I believe it will replace the long time recipe for chili I used to use.  {The only change: we used a large can of chili beans and 1 can of black beans, rinsed, instead of kidney beans and black beans} Below is a picture off Wikipedia and it doesn’t do the dish justice.  But you’ll at least get the jest of it.  This recipe would be good for a group since you can make it well in advance and it gets better by making it a day or two in advance.


If I were serving chili to friends and family I might set the table like any one of these….

 Since Chili is a simple meal you might just want folks to serve themselves.


Since I usually serve chili in the cooler months I look for a table setting idea that reflect the season.  Vignette Design always features such great ideas for entertaining.


This Veranda table setting by Toby West is a perennial favorite of mine.  Barley twist candle sticks and horn-handled pewter, what could be better?

Veranda, Toby West

Don’t restrict your table to flowers and candles, pull out all the stops, as Delores at Vignette Design has done with the set up below.


This table looks pretty spring-summer with the white, but I included it because I love the aged wood runner down the center of the table and would like to make something like that for my table…it gives the table such a rustic look and I think you could change the linens and flowers to accommodate seasons and different dish patterns.

Enjoy and bon appetit!

February is a good month and I know it will be the start of a great year!

My friend, Jermaine has planned the most exciting trip and invites anyone interested in visiting Paris for an insiders shopping and dining vacation.  Visit French Kissed for details.