Ever since moving to Charleston a few years ago I have fallen in love with the signature shrimp & grits that is a favorite in the Lowcountry. My kids love grits, and gravy on anything is always received with smiles! As we are a paper plate kind of house on repeat during the school year, I decided to put together a bold and colorful table to kick off the holidays with my family before the rush of wrapping paper and baubles.
This created an opportunity to have a special meal after church and use it to talk with the kids about all of the many blessings around us--- hoping some of this sinks in before they run to make out their Christmas wish lists! I'm typically a rule breaker in my interior design choices and that rings true for how I decorate at Christmas as well. I decided to go for a pink & orange themed tablescape that would be fun and whimsical.
A two-pot recipe makes the food part super easy, and that allowed me to spend more time on the fun tablesetting.
Mastering the Mix
My friends at Croghans are always a go-to for fun napkin rings. For this setting we used colorful gold bracelets to complement my new beautiful monogrammed linens by Lettermade. That pink thread just pops against the crisp white of the dinner napkins! I also use these water glasses on repeat that I found at Croghans and I served orange juice for the kids. They felt so grown up using these beautiful glasses! I used my grandmother's soup bowls along with colorful Kate Spade dinner plates as chargers from Letterpress. I've lost a few soup bowls in our many moves around the world, but I've purchased additional pieces from my friends at Replacements, Ltd. They are such a great resource for discontinued china patterns.
Let's talk about the placemats! This season I've been completely obsessed with these pink buffalo check placemats from Jayes Studio. They really make a fun base to layer all of the bold and colorful patterns on top of them. I topped off this fun tablescape with a simple candy cane tucked into each napkin-- I think the kids loved this part the best!
Create a Colorful Centerpiece
These bottle brush trees were so inexpensive and easy to infuse into this beautiful centerpiece that Melissa at Wisteria Designs created for me. She used a simple appetizer dish in the shape of a ring for the floral foam to create the outside part of the arrangement, and we turned over a vase in the center to provide a platform to build up the trees. I broke down the arrangement afterwards to create small bouquets of roses to use around the house. Nothing better than a recycled arrangement! (Adorable dress from Jude Connally.)
Keep the Cooking Simple
You too can make a fun Lowcountry meal into a special event. My go-to recipe is below for classic shrimp & grits. So go ahead-- pull out your nice china! By saving time in the kitchen, you can create magic on the table. I hope your holiday season is filled with lots of meaningful conversations and quality time with your loved ones.
Easy Shrimp & Grits
12 oz andouille sausage, chopped
1 pound large shrimp peeled and deveined
2 tbsp butter, melted
2 tbsp corn starch
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp cajun seasoning
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp lemon juice
1 cup quick cooking grits
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups cream or milk
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 tbsp butter
Bring chicken stock, cream, grits, and salt to a boil in a heavy saucepan with a lid. Stir until grits are thickened and tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the cheese and butter. Set aside and keep warm.
Sprinkle shrimp with cajun seasoning; drizzle with lemon juice. Set aside in a bowl.
Place andouille sausage and oil in a large skillet over medium heat; fry sausage until browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Combine corn starch and melted butter and add to sausage mixture. Continue to stir to thicken sauce. Add minced garlic and shrimp to mixture and stir until thoroughly cooked.
Serve shrimp mixture over grits.
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