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  • Vera 2:53 am on January 15, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: AthensGA, , , entertaining, Epting Events, , Lee Epting, Masters, parties, South, Southern cooking, , , weddings   

    The Southern Alliance: VeryVera + Epting Events 

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    VeryVera is pleased to announce its new collaboration with the regionally-renown event planning and catering company, Epting Events. The pairing will allow both companies to expand services, while providing clients in the Augusta area and beyond with the ultimate Southern experience.

    “I have known Lee Epting for years and have always admired Epting Events panache, fare, and exquisite event design and execution,” said Vera Stewart, founder and CEO of VeryVera. “Epting events is a class act and I look forward to our future endeavors.”

    From extravagant weddings to intimate dinners, from corporate galas and Masters hospitality houses to cocktail and holiday parties, the two companies combined boast more than 70 years of catering and event coordinating expertise. Current services include catering and full-service event planning, to include floral design, lighting, linens, and much, much more.

    “I look forward to a long and successful partnership and am excited to see where this new project will lead,” said Lee Epting, founder and owner of Epting Events.

    VeryVera and Epting Events are currently booking parties, corporate events, and weddings for 2014. For event or catering details, please visit http://www.veryvera.com.

     

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  • Vera 2:01 am on January 3, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , winter   

    What’s Cooking at the Cottage? 

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    What’s Vera got cooking at the Cottage? VeryVera School of course! Register your little ones now for our Winter 2014 Classes. All classes include cooking / baking, crafts, etiquette, lunch, and more fun than your kids can imagine! Choose from the following classes:
     
    Winter Comfort Food
    Sat, Jan. 11, 9 am – 1 pm, ages 8 – 14 ($50)
     
    Valentine’s Day
    Sat, Feb. 1, 9 am – noon, ages 6 & 7 ($40)
    Sat, Feb. 8, 9 am – 1 pm, ages 8 – 14 ($50)
     
    Easter
    Sat, March 29, 9 am – 1 pm, ages 8 – 14 ($50)

    Sign up for 3 classes to receive a $25 discount! Register now on our newly designed website: www.veryvera.com

     
    New site: The Cottage, 2708 Wheeler Road 
    Behind the old Wife Saver on Highland Avenue. Parking available in that lot. 
     
  • Vera 3:43 am on December 31, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 2014, , Christmas cards, , , ,   

    Family Tradition 

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    Sending and receiving Christmas cards is a huge part of our holiday season. This is one old-fashioned tradition that I hope is never replaced with a digital or more updated version. There’s just something about going to the mailbox in December in anticipation of a few photo cards from old friends–it’s as good as “Oh Holy Night” by Johnny Mathis!

    Every year I place a few cards in the Best of the Season category. Needless to say, John & Mallory’s card featuring Lucy and Jane won this year. (For the record, their Christmas card featuring Jane has won for the previous two years as well.) Those precious faces . . . so thankful and so very blessed.

    Wishing everyone happiness & love in 2014.

    Happy New Year to All!

    Vera

     
    • Katy 2:24 pm on December 31, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Such a beautiful card! Jane’s head of hair is jealousy inducing!

  • Vera 1:16 am on December 30, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: appetizers, biscuits, champagne, nbc 26, new year's eve, new years, nibbles, , ,   

    PETITE DILLY BISCUITS 

    New Year’s Eve. The Champagne is chilled. The candles are lit. all you need now is some scrumptious nibbles, like VeryVera’s Petite Dilly Biscuits!

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    • 3 cups Bisquick baking mix
    • 1 cup sour cream
    • ½ cup melted butter
    • 2 Tbs. minced fresh dill weed

    Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet. Combine all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Stir to blend using a wooden spoon. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, and knead several times. Roll dough to ½ inch thickness. Cut into rounds with a 2” biscuit cutter. Place on prepared pan, allowing 1” space between each. Bake about 8 minutes, until tops are golden brown.

     
  • Vera 3:30 am on December 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , herb, , pork loin, , , , Virginia Willis   

    MUSTARD-CRUSTED PORK LOIN WITH HERB PAN SAUCE 

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    After a couple of decades advertising pork as “the other white meat,” during which pork chops become as lean as chicken, a new type of fattier, richer-tasting pork is finally infiltrating the butcher’s case and restaurant menus. This “new” pork is from older breeds not suited for large-scale intensive farming, so it’s mostly raised by small farmers who use natural farming methods and fewer antibiotics, and allow the pigs to roam freely. This heritage-heirloom-rare breed-pedigreed pork tends to be darker and redder than conventional supermarket pork. Look for it at your local farmer’s market or CSA (Community Supported Agriculture program), online, or at gourmet markets. Regardless of whether you use heirloom or traditionally farmed pork, it is important not to overcook the loin, a fairly lean cut of meat. Be sure to use an instant-read thermometer to gauge the internal temperature.
    • 3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
    • 1 bay leaf, preferably fresh
    • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
    • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
    • 1 (3-pound) boneless center-cut pork loin
    • 1/2 cup yellow mustard seed
    • 1/2 cup brown mustard seed
    • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 2 tablespoons canola oil (optional)
    • 2 shallots, finely chopped
    • 1/2 cup dry white wine
    • 11/2 cups chicken stock (page 227) or low-fat, reduced-sodium chicken broth
    • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces (optional)

    To season the pork loin, combine the garlic, bay leaf, mustard, and thyme in a large bowl or sealable plastic bag. Add the meat and turn to coat evenly. Let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes, or refrigerate up to overnight, turning the pork occasionally.

    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the mustard seeds on a baking sheet. Remove the meat from the bowl, season it with salt and pepper, and roll it in the mustard seed to coat evenly. Place the roast in a shallow roasting pan.

    Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat registers 140° to 145°F, 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. The pork will be slightly pink in the center (this is desirable).

    Remove from the oven and transfer the pork to a warm platter; cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes to let the juices redistribute (the internal temperature of the roast will rise to 150°F from carryover cooking).

    Remove all but a couple of tablespoons of fat from the roasting pan and place the pan on the cooktop over medium heat. (If there is no fat, add 2 tablespoons of canola oil.) Add the shallots and saute, stirring frequently, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the white wine and cook until reduced by half, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and increase the heat to high, scraping the skillet with a wooden spoon to loosen the browned bits.

    Cook until the sauce is slightly reduced, an additional 5 minutes. Thinly slice the pork and transfer to a warmed serving platter. Pour any accumulated pork juices from the cutting board into the roasting pan and stir to combine; decrease the heat to medium. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper. To finish the sauce with butter, remove the skillet from the heat. Whisk in the butter one piece at a time. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper.

    Spoon the sauce over the pork slices; serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

     
  • Vera 3:08 am on December 16, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , formulamom, glitter, Holiday crafts, kids crafts, ribbon, Santa Claus, ,   

    Holiday Cone Craft 

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    What you need:
    Solo water cooler cones, Paint, Markers, Cotton Balls, Sequins, Yarn, Glitter & Glue

    What you do:
    This craft is pretty much a creative free-for-all. It’s good to go in with a bit of a plan so you can paint the cones and then let them dry. Red is great for Santa and green makes a great Christmas tree but your imagination is the limit! Once the paint is dry, it’s time to decorate!

    [formulamom.com]

     
  • Vera 4:08 pm on December 11, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: baking AugustaGA, Caramel, Caramel Pecan Pie, holiday dessert, holiday sweets, pecan, pic, ,   

    The Perfect Christmas Sweet: Caramel Pecan Pie 

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    • 28 Kraft Caramels
    • ¼ cup water
    • ¼ cup butter
    • ¾ cup sugar
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 2 eggs, beaten
    • 1 cup pecan pieces, whole pecans for garnish
    • 1 (8”) pie shell, unbaked

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

    Melt caramels, water and butter over low heat. Stir until smooth. Combine sugar, salt, vanilla and beaten eggs. Add caramel sauce to egg mixture; mix well. Stir in pecans Top with whole pecans

    Bake for 45 – 50 minutes. Cool before serving.

    Pie Crust – makes (2) 9” shells

    • 3 cups plain flour
    • 1 Tablespoon salt
    • 1 cup Crisco
    • 1 egg
    • About 2/3 cup ice water

    Mix flour and salt. Cut in Crisco with a pastry blender. Beat egg slightly and pour into ice water. Add to flour mixture all at once. Stir until blended. Knead and then chill for a few minutes. Roll out on lightly floured surface.

    Serves 8-10. Happy Baking!

    xo Vera

     
  • Vera 2:25 am on December 9, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Christmas cookies, , , cooking school for kids, desserts, , Pluck it Cake, sugar plums, traditions, , ,   

    Who Needs Sugar Plums? 

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    For me, Christmas memories are centered around the special treats and crafts that were a part of our family tradition. As a former home economics teacher, I so enjoy working with young students, especially in the kitchen. I most cherish the holiday classes where, at VeryVera School, we make VeryVera memories for Christmas.

    There is truly nothing more sentimental during the Holidays than the aroma of fresh Pluck It Cake and the sweet taste of homemade Christmas cookies. Making these desserts, as well as other crafts and treats this past Saturday, had every child eager to learn more and bake more. Honestly, who needs sugar plums, when you have VeryVera?

     
  • Vera 3:42 pm on December 4, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: carols, cinnamon, , cranberry, , , , , wassail   

    VeryVera’s Holiday Wassail 

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    A wassailing we will go! There’s nothing like a steaming cup of Wassail & some carols to get you into the Holiday spirit. Try my simple recipe:
    1 gallon cider
    1 cup cranberry juice
    1 lg. can pineapple juice
    1 lg. can apricot nectar
    1 box cinnamon sticks
    1 Tbs. whole cloves
    1 cup sugar
    ½ lemon juice

    Combine all of the above in a large pot and simmer for one hour. Serve + smile.

     
  • Vera 3:02 am on November 13, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: cheese balls, , , , ,   

    VERA’S FAVORITE CHEESE BALL 

    Calling a recipe your favorite is like calling one of your children your favorite. As far as cheese balls go, this one is the best I’ve tasted. You get just enough spice and crunch in every bite. It serves well with most any sort of cracker or raw vegetable.

    Serves: 
    14 – 16 

    Ingredients:

    • 2 (3-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
    • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) blue cheese crumbles
    • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
    • 1 small clove garlic, finely chopped
    • 2 teaspoons Durkee’s mustard sauce
    • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 teaspoon hot sauce, preferably Tabasco brand
    • 1/2 cup ground pecans, divided
    • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, divided

    Directions:

    1. Using an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese, blue cheese, Cheddar cheese, garlic, mustard sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce, beating well until all ingredients are combined.
    2. Stir in 1/4 cup each of the pecans and parsley.
    3. Roll the cheese mixture into a ball.
    4. Combine the remaining 1/4 cup each of pecans and parsley in a separate bowl.
    5. Dip the cheese ball in the pecans and parsley, being sure all sides are evenly coated.
    6. Wrap the cheese ball in wax paper and place in a plastic storage container.
    7. Refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours before serving or freeze or future use.
     
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