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How to Fancy Up Your Chinese Takeout Meal

Who doesn’t love Chinese takeout? We certainly do at our house. It’s a delicious answer to “What’s for dinner tonight?”  Now there are times when I actually get adventurous and make a  Chinese meal from scratch……and my husband puts together a great Pork Fried Rice and an Egg Drop soup which always make my attempts look pretty good. Still, most of the time it is takeout from our favorite restaurant. While I admit that there are plenty of times that we plop down in the family room to watch a movie, food cartons in hand, there are other times when it is nice to sit down at a nicely set table with a little Asian ambiance! This table setting is so simple that it can be set up in just minutes, making even takeout seem a little bit special.


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            We’ve been trying to learn to use chopsticks, so I have no other flatware on the table ………..of course there are always the more familiar standbys close at hand.


           The large black ironstone dinner plates are originally from Target. I say originally because I stumbled upon them while out thirfting one day. I find myself using them in many combinations. The smaller plates are part of my Wedding china, Coventry, pattern Laurent.  The small oval dish came from Crate and Barrel many years ago. They’re perfect used here for sweet and sour dipping sauce. Colorful and reuseable chopsticks round out the setting.


         Aren’t these glass etched bamboo cups and teapot adorable?  Since we always have hot tea with these meals, they work perfectly………from Target also.


          I finished the table off with a small centerpiece from the clearance aisle at, of all places, Jo-Ann Fabric. Finally, my  bamboo place mats and black napkins are from Bed Bath and Beyond. All of these are things I’ve had on hand for quite a while now.  I use these place mats so often I feel like they are staples in my kitchen. So you don’t need lots of special dishes. You just need to be a little creative with what you have. Obviously most of the time it’s not feasible to set a complete table for something as humble as a Chinese takeout meal, but I think it’s fun to change things up a bit sometime, don’t you?

I’m linking with:

Tablescape Thursday

 The Scoop

The Last of the Oranges


       During the winter months here in the desert we are blessed with an abundance of fresh backyard oranges.  Which means, naturally, that we are able to have fresh squeezed orange juice almost daily. In my book, there’s nothing better!  We have, however, just used the last ones, so I found myself scouring the ads this afternoon looking for deals from the grocers…..something I have not had to do for a while.


       Right before Christmas we bought and planted yet another citrus for the yard. It’s a Trovita Orange, a juicing orange, and is supposed to be a particularly sweet orange in our climate.  Evidently in this case the warmer the climate the sweeter the orange. It’s supposed to make a very good patio tree and can be brought into the house to overwinter in colder climates. It’s a late producer too, so in the coming years we won’t run out until later into the Spring.  Which will be a very good thing.


       Obviously we will have no oranges on this tree this year, but the last week or so it has began to burst forth with dozens of the most heavenly smelling orange blossoms!  Since it is planted right behind our backyard swing, it is making for the most delightful of afternoons.  My family sometimes finds it amusing that I like to take a nap outdoors. But to my way of thinking, “who wouldn’t? “…….not with this kind of stuff going on out there!  Right?
                                              Hope you’re enjoying your Spring!
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Lemon Basil Pasta

Since we’ve been so busy around our home this week I’ve tried to keep things as simple as possible in the meals department.  Right now I have plenty of basil and Italian parsley in the garden, along with a few lemons still left from our Meyer Lemon tree, so I couldn’t resist trying this. It turned out to be very quick and easy. My son especially loved it, and my husband gave it a thumbs up  ( but also added that he thinks an Italian sausage would be great on it…..of course he would say that). I’ve added the equivalent substitutions in dry herbs in case you want to use those instead of fresh. Serve this with garlic toast or breadsticks and a big green salad and you’re set to go…….. Oh and maybe an Italian sausage or two for the gentlemen in your life. 🙂



Lemon Basil Pasta

16 fresh basil leaves, finely sliced
(or 1 1/2 tsps. dried basil)
2 tsps. Italian parsley, finely chopped
(or 1 tsp. dried parsley flakes)
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon
2 1/2 Tbps butter, preferably unsalted
2 1/2 Tbps extra virgin olive oil
1 tsps salt
8 oz. Angel Hair pasta
Coarse ground black pepper
Grated Parmesan cheese
Black olives for garnish
Italian parsley for garnish (optional)
To Make:
In a large bowl put basil, parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and extra virgin olive oil. Prepare angel hair pasta as on package. In the meantime melt butter and add to other ingredients in bowl. Mix well. When pasta is ready, drain in colander then add to bowl. Take tongs and repeatedly lift the pasta to coat evenly. Serve immediately adding salt and pepper to taste and top with Parmesan cheese, parsley, and black olives.

Linking to:

Foodie Friday

Tablescape Thursday

Friendship Friday

Inspire Me Monday