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Derby Day Brunch Buffet

The first weekend of May is traditionally when the Kentucky Derby takes place. Months before this quarantine business started, I was plotting a Derby Day celebration, complete with tablescape, brunch, and a feature film. Even though the race has been rescheduled for September, I think we could all use a little celebration at a time like this, even if it is a made up occasion!

The Tablescape

A boxwood wreath grounds the arrangement and gives the effect of hedges. Red roses allude to the garland draped over the shoulders of the winning horse. A few silver accents echo the silver trophies awarded to the Derby winner. (Interesting note: The horse owner is awarded a golden trophy, while the breeder, trainer and jockey receive half-size silver replicas of the main trophy.) Also, a few sugar cubes with the tea service.. a horse-approved treat. ;)

The Brunch

Horses eat oats, so oatmeal seemed an obvious choice. I was very pleased with how this Raspberry Baked Oatmeal turned out. And the red raspberries complement the rose arrangement so well!

Derby Cookie Pie

Instead of the traditional Derby pie filling (egg, sugar, chocolate, nuts), I decided to "recipe revamp" and fill it with a chocolate chip cookie dough. I skimped on the flour in the Blue Bonnet cookie recipe, so it would be more on the gooey side. Also swapped out vanilla extract for a generous splash of Kentucky Bourbon, and added a cup of walnuts in with the chocolate chips. Another recipe revamping success!

The Film

Secretariat (2010)

Photo Credit: Disney Movies

One of my favorite moments in this movie is when Eddie Sweat, the horse's groom, walks out onto the track at dawn the day of the race and hollers,

Hey, Kentucky! Big old Red done ate his breakfast this morning! And you about to see something that you ain't never even seen before!

Secretariat (Big Red) had lost a previous race due to an abscess in his mouth, which affected his performance. However, he healed in record time and went on to become one of the greatest racehorses in history, earning the Triple Crown by his victories at the Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes.

This is the perfect underdog story. In most of his other races, Secretariat hung in back at the start, getting absolutely covered in mud by the other horses ahead of him. Not so at his historic Belmont Stakes victory. He left all the others in the dust, emerging the pristine winner by an unbelievable 31 lengths. (Oh my goodness, I'm tearing up here... movies like this always make me misty-eyed.) It's an incredible story. A must watch!

Travel Memories

When I was a freshman in high school, our music department went on a summer trip to Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri. One of the stops, most delightfully, was Churchill Downs. It was such a thrill, seeing the iconic steeples above the entry, walking down by the racetrack, and gawking at all the fabulous millinery displayed throughout the museum. Once a fashion nut, always a fashion nut. Hehe. In the gift shop, I picked up a plain black hat, which I decorated myself when I got home from the trip.

The photo I'm holding is of the Secretariat statue at Churchill Downs. Big Red was known for being a real poser. Whenever he would hear a camera shutter click, he would turn to make sure the photographer got his good side. :)

Hope you find something to celebrate this week, whether it's the Derby, Cinco de Mayo, or just the beautiful weather we're having!

Thank you for stopping by,


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Tina Johnson
Tina Johnson
03 may 2020

Oh my Derby Cookie Pie?! To quote Truvy, from Steel Magnolias "Serve it with ice cream to cut the sweetness." That surely looks like something that could let a married lady get away with murder if she offered it up after dinner ;)

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