Saturday, August 8, 2020

Living Well Is The Best Revenge

Casa Chinoiserie Chic

I had a great day in the garden yesterday and my plans are starting to come together. Even though I am not an expert in gardening here, I do know landscape design, and I have found that most (not all) landscape design companies' work is a bit generic and plebeian. I can do far better myself for free. Also, I am a bit of a plant collector and like to incorporate unusual and heirloom plants. My plan is to keep what I have which includes beautiful palms, coral pink ixora, split leaf philodendron, hibiscus, ferns, and croton, and fill in the blank spots. Those of you who commented with suggestions - they were great and I am using many of your ideas.

Today I am making a favorite recipe. It will be my first serious effort in my new kitchen/house and I am not cutting any corners. This is a favorite of mine for company, and I hope the days of dinner parties and house guests will return for all of us soon. Especially since my new Mercer dining table seats 8 - LOL.

Seafood Lasagna via

Let me warn you that it's a lot of ingredients and over an hour to make, but it's beyond delicious. Do not eliminate the crab boil and Cajun seasoning - that makes it!


For Lasagna
• 1 lb lasagna sheets
• 1 Tbsp. liquid crab boil
• 1.5 lbs medium shrimp
• 16 oz lump crabmeat (you can use imitation)
• 1 Tbsp. Creole or Cajun seasoning
• 1 Tbsp. olive oil
• 2 cups fresh spinach - I use 4 cups because I love spinach and it really reduces down
• 1/2 Tsp. salt
• 2 cups shredded Mozzarella
• 1 cup shredded Fontina or Muenster cheese

For Sauce
• 5 Tbsp. butter
• 1 Tbsp. crushed garlic
• 1/3 cup flour
• 2 1/2 cups half and half
• 1/2 cup chicken stock
• 1 Tsp. liquid crab boil
• Creole seasoning and cracked black pepper to taste
• 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
• 1 Tbsp. fresh basil

• 8 oz Garlic & Herb cream cheese
• 8 oz sour cream
• 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
• 1 Tbsp. fresh basil chopped



Boil lasagna until al dente according to package instructions. Pour the liquid crab boil into the water as it boils. Drain and set aside
In a bowl, combine all seafood. Add Creole or Cajun seasoning evenly to the seafood. Set aside.
Heat the olive oil a pan over medium-high heat
Add in the spinach and a pinch of salt. Sauté until spinach has wilted.
Remove spinach from the pan and set aside

Preheat oven to 375 F.
Add the butter into the same pan used for the spinach. When the butter melts, add in the garlic and saute for 30 secs
Stir in the flour and continue stirring for 1 minute
Pour in the chicken stock and half and half while stirring. Use a whisk to continue to mix the sauce while it heats and thickens.
Season the sauce to taste using creole seasoning and black pepper
Pour in the liquid crab boil
When the sauce has thickened, stir in Parmesan cheese. Remove from heat when the cheese melts.

Mix all filling ingredients in a bowl. Set aside.

Spray a lasagna pan with nonstick cooking spray, then ladle a thin layer of sauce at the bottom of the pan
Place a layer of lasagna noodles over the sauce
Spread on 1/3 of the filling over the noodles
Then, add 1/3 of the seafood and spinach
Sprinkle on 1/3 of the Mozzarella & Fontina cheeses
Pour on 1/3 of the sauce
Repeat the above steps 2 more times until you have 3 layers.
Bake, on the center rack of the oven, uncovered for 35-45 mins. Then, broil on high for 3-5 minutes until the cheese is as brown.
Allow the lasagna to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving, sprinkle on some fresh basil, and Enjoy!
Recipe and photo from

Now, a little of this and that to share.

For my tropical climate friends, I now get ceiling fans completely. They feel wonderful, and save energy. In Virginia I kept my AC at 72 degrees. With my ceiling fans here, I have the temp at 77 degrees, and it feels wonderful.

I am nuts about my Dyson V7 Motorhead cordless vac. It was a great purchase. Dog hair is a thing of the past. It is a pleasure to use.

I just ordered this wonderful wicker garbage bin. I love beautiful things including the functional like my darling pink vac. Free shipping, no tax. The straps are real leather BTW.

Wicker Garbage Bin

Enjoy your day - I am going to go put a lovely bottle of Pouilly Fuisse in to chill before I forget. Cheers!


  1. Everything is looking beautiful! In reference to your garden, I’ve done well with ferns, caladium and the plant that looks like bird of paradise but is not! Can’t find the name but you can get them at any nursery here.
    Have you been to Troy’s Tropics? I love their selection and it’s not far from your favorite HG store😊

  2. Let’s try this again, my first comment didn’t post!
    Some plants that have done well for me here in Sarasota are ferns, caladium and heliconia. I like the ferns and heliconia because they spread out and the caladium just pops back up every year looking all pretty.
    Have you been to Troy’s Tropics? I like their plant selection and it’s close to your favorite HG store😊
    That lasagne looks decadent, will have to make it when I have more than two people to feed!

  3. I love that garbage bin. No place for here but I had to check it out just the same. (It would also make a nice hamper)

    But then...(this happens more often than not)

    What I DID get is a couple of covered wicker storage baskets. My weakness is really pretty containers you can store stuff in even if the container itself is in a closet.

    That seafood lasagna looks sinfully delicious. No way would I spend the time making it but I sure would get it as an appetizer in a restaurant with some chilled rose. You've got to pick your restraints and food and drink are one of mine. Acquiring pretty things isn't.

    1. I like food and wine as much as decorating. The pandemic has me cooking all my faves.

  4. Good morning, Beth. You are so right about most garden design landscape companies being generic and well, rather boring. I've found the best thing is to just save pics of gardens that I like, and copy them or use them as a springboard.

    1. I agree entirely - I see one more croton and I'm going to scream - LOL.

  5. After seeing your lovely door mats I ordered two in the same color combination - they looks terrific with my blue and aqua color scheme on the patio. Thanks for the info on 30 Fathoms.
    You have way more energy to cook than I do!

    1. I love to cook. So glad you like the door mats. I think they are wonderful. And the owners could not be nicer.

  6. What a lovely garbage bin! It looks like a market basket, a huge improvement over the plastic/metal bins that are the norm.
    The seafood lasagna looks amazing, I've not heard of liquid crab boil, but I will have to look for it.
    And your lobster rope mat looks great!
    I don't know where you get the energy, but it's infectious. :)

    1. Thanks - I am very high energy, but am trying to chill more now that life is returning to normal.

  7. I agree...avoid crotons that are so overdone in the southern portions of Florida I think because they are colorful. The milky sap within is highly toxic especially to pets. Consider adding sago and coontie palms. These look nearly pre-historic to me; I love them in my gardens.

    1. Yes, on one side of the house I am planning on using coontie palms. A perfect size.

  8. Glad you are settling in and enjoying your new home!
    Love the trash basket, would make a great laundry hamper.
    Can't wait to see you landscape additions. I love a more formal design which they don't do much here in South Florida.
    And, OMG on the seafood lasagna! I will definitely be making this.
    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks - on the gardening, in the islands where there are lots of Brits like in Bermuda, Jamaica, and the Bahamas they do a combination of English and Tropical. I am looking at gardens from there for inspiration.

  9. This post was perfect timing because I've been looking for banana leaf print in blue and aqua for the patio chairs - just ordered them! Thanks for sharing! I have no name to offer up but the appropriate moniker will come to you. GG was entirely too benign. Like the phoenix, you are rising.