As many of you know I write for South Island Living on Amelia Island. This is the December 2020 issue.
All photography courtesy Clay Greenhaw… Claymaker.tv
Blair Sheffield embarks on any project with boundless enthusiasm, and a cheerful but spunky attitude! Many people may remember her 4th of July decorations, placing Best In Show in our community’s mailbox decorating contest.
Christmas is no exception. When looking for an early bird Christmas decorator for this article with an early printing deadline, I thought of Blair. By Nov. 4th she had 4 trees up, each in a different room with a different theme. A Christmas table setting was in place along with a few wrapped packages under the tree for photography purposes.
Blair has lots of practice with entertaining whether it be friends, colleagues or family, especially her nieces and nephews. She has an efficient no nonsense attitude about serving what is good and easy, allowing her time to enjoy the company.
When planning for this story, Blair thought of a Charcuterie Board, usually filled with cured meats, cheeses, veggies, nuts, olives, dried fruits, and crackers. At Christmas time she loves to use the same idea but with a dessert twist…particularly appealing for open houses, after dinner drinks around the fire, and perfect for your out of town family and friends visiting during the holiday season.
This dessert board was colorful and blended with the family room tree. Reds, greens and golds plus plaids, plaids, plaids.
I love a great tablescape and Blair’s didn’t disappoint. As much as she loves the traditional reds and greens of Christmas, she did not want to clash with the teal dining room chairs, instead choosing gold, silver, white and crystal with greenery. A gorgeous 12 wick candle molded in a dough bowl, discovered in the North Carolina mountains, added a nice touch of something rustic.
Two paintings by local artist, Casey Matthews, were the perfect compliment to the teal chairs.
I love the Champagne Room with its decor, tree and mantle decorations. Why is it called the Champagne Room? Blair says, “It really started with more of a feeling I suppose….Happiness…When you drink champagne you simply cannot be upset! The room is usually the area we gather in for conversation and appetizers to begin dinner parties. I also will sit in the afternoons when Carrie is over because we love how the outside blends in with the inside and it is just welcoming. London (Blair’s dog) loves those couches too. I find her in there all the time. “
This oval shaped room originally had green walls. Blair added the blush color for some femininity and the patterns to really tie it all together. “I think the play on shapes and textures just makes everything exciting and inviting. As you know Julie and Benjie with Julia Hall Interiors worked their magic. It was really the first and easiest room we put together.”
Very appropriately wedding photos over the fireplace brings to mind another reason for champagne.
Another dessert presentation includes Blair’s clever hot cocoa idea. Using chocolate tart shells, she places cocoa mix inside and tops with a mini marshmallow. This way you simply plop the entire thing into warm milk, which could be in the crockpot for ease if you have a large crowd.
Front and center on this dessert spread is a different kind of cheese ball. A chocolate chip cheese ball that can be used for dessert or included as a sweet appetizer.
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup confectioners sugar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 3/4 cup chocolate chips
- 3/4 cup chopped pecans
- graham crackers
- Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until fluffy.
- Gradually add sugars; beat just until combined.
- Stir in chocolate chips.
- Cover and refrigerate 2 hours.
- Place on plastic wrap, shape into a ball.
- Refrigerate at least 1 hour.
- Just before serving, roll cheese ball in pecans.
- Serve with graham crackers.
NotesThis is a surprise to most guests. It looks like the traditional cheese ball, but when people bite into it--WOW so sweet and so good! This makes a very large ball. I like to divide in half, making 2 smaller balls.
Pam Hope via KathyMillerTime
Recipe Printed from www.kathymillertime.com
Another clever, yet easy idea is cheesecake chocolate tarts. (On the far right, a little difficult to see in this photo.) Blair uses mini Belgian chocolate cups found here. These can be pricey but could also use phyllo tarts. Blair pipes Philadelphia No Bake Cheesecake Filling into the tarts, found in the refrigerated section of your local grocery store.
Thank you Blair and Wes for sharing your home, Christmas decorations and entertaining ideas with us. Thank you Clay Greenhaw for your fabulous photography! Thank you to our readers for joining us In The Kitchen. Please let us know what you think and who we should feature. Do you know someone who loves to cook? Tell us. And just because we are talking In The Kitchen doesn’t mean you have to have a newly remodeled kitchen. You might like to tell us about your dining spots…or a family story about how you learned to cook. Or share a few favorite recipes. Let us hear from you. We’d love to know your specialty!
Contact email@example.com…visit kathymillertime.com for more recipes and art of living blog.