2 year anniversary, mid week musings and a giveaway!

Forewarning…this is one of those looong posts worked on over several days that kept getting added onto. Grab another cup of whatever you are drinking! Hey its New Year’s day…a day to relax.



Wow! I can’t believe it, I almost forgot about the fact that today marks my 2 year anniversary!!!! Seriously?? How did that happen and so fast! I have had such fun riding in the fast lane, time literally just slipped away from me! Have to thank each and every reader, you make what I do possible and oh so worth it, you have warranted all my musings and encouraged me with your interest so THANK YOU!!!! Of course this milestone calls for a celebration…….a giveaway, and not one but two. So all details on bottom of my random musings post. The best is yet to come…….

?

First off, officially wishing each and every one of you a very happy, joyous and healthy 2013! Crazy that 2012 is now a thing of the past and it’s onto a new year! Wasn’t quite the holiday we envisioned (Christmas day was wonderful but the rest went downhill fast). My poor husband was diagnosed with pneumonia and has been quiet sick. Thankfully as the antibiotics are kicking in, he is feeling a little better but with our frigid weather and his weak state…..he had to stay home. So nurse Tina “extended her contract”? on a day to day basis and is back on the 24/7 shift. Yes, I was very disappointed but of course his health comes first….

The upside is that the surplus of time allowed me to truly rest, catch up on things around the house, mail and unanswered emails, even unpacked a few boxes! And lets not even talk about the unrelenting movie marathon I have been on, for starters saw It’s Complicated (again) Last Holiday again) The English Patient (again), The Horse Whisperer (again),? The Great Gatsby (again), As good as it gets (again), Sense and Sensibility (again)…seeing a theme here? Yes some movies never get old! Did see The Proposition, which was good too (and I was fainting over the house)! I really liked it though, house aside. Oh and the autobiography on Queen Noor (fascinating)!

I have some fun things in store for the new year, which I will talk about soon. In the meantime….here whats new in my world……

?

?



You know I love to cook! I tried this pasta and it is SO good! You know I love to share when I discover a great new recipe, not only is this easy but its so fresh and fulfilling without feeling too heavy. A light lemony pasta. The next is an easy appetizer with blackberries, this again is easy but so pretty, festive? and very delicious! So I have included the recipes since often you want to know. Both get my stamp of approval!

LEMON SPAGHETTI
? cup olive oil
? cup grated Parmesan cheese
? cup fresh lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)
? teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
? teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1 pound spaghetti
? cup chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon lemon zest (from about 2 lemons)

instructions

Lemon Spaghetti
In a large bowl, whisk the oil, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice and ? teaspoon of salt and ? teaspoon of pepper to blend. Set the lemon sauce aside. (The sauce can be made up to 8 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before using).

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Add the spaghetti to the lemon sauce, and toss with the basil and lemon zest. Toss the pasta with enough reserved cooking liquid, 1/4 cup at a time, to moisten. Season the pasta with more salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to bowls and serve.

And how pretty are these! I would have made these for a New Years eve soiree if I was having one…….(saw this on my buddy, Desirees blog) which led me to the wonderful Yummy Mummy’s blog!


Blackberry Goat Cheese Crackers

makes about 15

1/2 cup silver or gold sanding sugar (I used a combination of sanding sugar and shimmer dust)
2 cups fresh blackberries, divided
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons agave syrup
5 oz. goat cheese at room temperature
1 package favorite crackers (I used gluten free rice crackers from Trader Joe’s)
1 small bunch fresh mint for garnish (optional)

Make the Main Course Italian!


Place sanding sugar in a small bowl. Add 15 blackberries (or however many crackers you are making) to the bowl, using a spoon to turn to coat. If sugar is not sticking, toss a few drops of water onto the blackberries and try again.

In a small saucepan, simmer the remaining blackberries, lemon juice, and agave over medium heat until berries have broken down. Use a wooden spoon to break up berries and help them along. Once the berries have turned into a jam-like mixture, after cooking about 10 minutes, remove from heat. Press mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a small bowl if you do not want the seeds.

Spread a teaspoon of goat cheese onto each cracker. Top with a small dollop of blackberry sauce. Top with a single sparkling blackberry and garnish with mint.

*time saver: berries can be sugared 2 hours in advance. Do not assemble the whole thing until 20 minutes of less before serving if using rice crackers, as they tend to absorb moisture and become soft.

And finally for anyone who has been to heavenly Napa Valley and had the good fortune to eat at Bistro Jeanty, no doubt you experienced the most sensational quiche you have ever eaten. By far the best quiche I have ever been willing to gain five pounds for! So I was beyond excited when I found the recipe adapted from theirs for Gourmet Magazine. I have not made it yet as I just found it but you better believe I will be attempting this very soon. In the meantime, here it is…let me know if you make it and tell me what you think! I hope its the same….because that quiche was ridiculously amazing!


Ham, Leek, and Three-Cheese Quiche
Gourmet ?|?April 2006
Adapted from Bistro Jeanty, Yountville, CA

yield: Makes 8 main-course servings
active time: 35 min
total time: 2 1/2 hr
Marsha and John Antonelli of Whittier, California, write: “We recently had lunch at Bistro Jeanty, in Yountville, California, where the ham, leek,… more ?

?
Ingredients
?? ???? ?1 round of refrigerated pie dough for a 9-inch pie (from a 15-oz package; not a preshaped frozen pie shell)
?? ???? ?3/4 lb leeks (about 3 medium; white and pale green parts only)
?? ???? ?2 tablespoons unsalted butter
?? ???? ?1/4 lb thinly sliced smoked ham
?? ???? ?3 oz Gruy?re, coarsely grated (1 cup)
?? ???? ?3 oz Italian Fontina, coarsely grated (1 cup)
?? ???? ?3 oz whole-milk mozzarella, coarsely grated (1 cup)
?? ???? ?3 large eggs
?? ???? ?1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
?? ???? ?1/4 teaspoon black pepper
?? ???? ?1 3/4 cups cr?me fra?che (from two 8-oz containers)

?? ???? ?Special equipment: a 9-inch pie plate (4-cup capacity)
print a shopping list for this recipe

?
Preparation
Prebake pie dough in pie plate according to package instructions, then remove from oven and reduce temperature to 350?F.
Meanwhile, halve leeks lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces, then wash well in a bowl of cold water, agitating leeks. Lift out and drain leeks in a colander and pat dry. Melt butter in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderately low heat and cook leeks, stirring occasionally, until very tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
Line warm pie shell with sliced ham, overlapping layers as necessary to cover bottom and side of pie shell completely. Toss cheeses together and sprinkle evenly into pie shell (do not pack cheese), then spread leeks evenly on top of cheese. Whisk together eggs, nutmeg, and pepper until combined well, then whisk in cr?me fra?che until smooth.
Carefully pour half of custard on top of pie filling, gently moving cheese with a spoon to help custard disperse evenly. Slowly add remaining custard in same manner. Cover pie loosely with foil, gently folding edges over crust (keep foil from touching top of cheese mixture) and transfer to a baking sheet.
Bake until center of filling is puffed and set (center will be slightly wobbly but not liquid), about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. Cool on a rack at least 20 to 30 minutes before serving (filling will continue to set as it cools). Serve warm or at room temperature.

?Last but not least..anyone had the good fortune of tasting anything from the famed Parisian baker Eric Kayser? His works of art are as beautiful as they are delish (trust me on this)! Even his little “signs” are edible. Oy vey.

?Humm…..wonder whats inside?

?Oh! That I think I can manage:)

Attack!

Now that I have your appetite in full gear (sorry)! lets move on to another subject….my bedroom! Admittedly this has been a room I have thought about doing for a long time but finally am getting ready to get it done.? I have always had a vision in my mind of a soft tonal room, in ivory with touches of a pale blue. Very subtle, serene inviting, elegant …a room that will envelope me and be my personal tranquil cocoon. I had started with a beautiful wallpaper as inspiration and a starting point and when I finally was ready to take the plunge, it was discontinued as a stock item and only available for custom order and it was prohibitively expensive so that was nixed. I am deciding between two carpets and am wavering. I will do an entire post on bedrooms later this week and will show you and ask for your opinions on the carpet.? This sitting room at the uber beautiful George V in Paris is another inspiration..love the feeling of this room and its one of the finest hotels we have ever been to…….

Many of you have written and asked me about my two powder room wallpapers. I did reply months ago but for those of you who have asked more recently, I finally found the information again so here it is an sorry for the delay! The first one is my formal powder room and the second one is my family powder room off the kitchen…..love love love both!
?Jester Caprice in pewter by Schumacher
Sanderson Palampore?
Have to get back to food and beverage one more time, sorry! I have discovered a new rose that I LOVE! Soooo light and perfect, its the perfect ladies rose to lunch with (works for dinner too) and you know that it has a blue and white label? earned extra brownie points for me! You must try it…sooo good! And come to think of it, this would go mighty well with the quiche:)
I think a lot of you are like me, kind of old fashioned in some ways? I do long to hang on to traditions from the past…and definitely prefer a? lot of things “the old fashioned way”. A few years ago I hot stamped every one of my holiday cards with a beautiful wax seal embossed with my last name initial. I decided to order some more and had to share with you the info on them on the most wonderful company, their website even includes tutorials. A custom stamper can be had for 35.00 with your three initial monogram! What a great gift…and talk about adding a serious dose of elegance to any kind of correspondence…love love love it! Visit Nostalgic Impressions here!


Even though the holidays are making a quick exit, I still want to give these luminaries a shot. Are these not insanely beautiful!! My friend, Phyllis from Henhurst Interiors made these and these are featured in her own Christmas post. Talk about impressive and beautiful……absolutely love this idea!! Click here to see more…..

Here are my new sconces that got put up in the family room. LOVE them, they are black tole. It is hard to see their scale but they are quite large so very impactful. About 24″ tall….they add so much to the room.

?A couple of newer vignettes from the holidays (that aren’t? going anywhere so fast) Yep Christmas lasts here just a little longer than most, it’s all about keeping the spirit and magic alive, baby. actually its all about being too lazy to lug all the big boxes and storage containers to and from the attic.

?I really love the way red pops against the blue and white……its a keeper!

?Giant pinecones are so great for decorating for the holidays, I got a big batch of them and had such fun!

?Took this a week or two ago, though it was so pretty, though the grainy quality doesn’t do it justice. Back door, new lattice planters, they are HUGE. My husband flipped when I? had them delivered, they are about 3 feet by 3 feet but with topiaries and pretty flowers will look wonderful come spring.

?I? I love having pretty pastries inside my beautiful domed cloche so was so happy when? I found these beautiful holiday ceramic cupcakes, no worries about crumbs or them getting stale…they look so festive around the holidays!

My sconces again, a better picture.

Paperwhites…my favorite holiday flower. The beautiful soft white petals, the intoxicating smell, the impact they have with their long stalks. I was late in growing them but they have really come along nicely. I love them and walking into the room smells soooo good! I loved the lighting I caught with my camera (totally by accident)!

The next few batches were planted later but will give me something pretty to look at during the doldrums? of January!

Moving onto my online shop. Doing a bit of replenishing….and plan to add some wonderful new items soon. One of my most favorite new items is this GORGEOUS with a capital G bed carona/crown! This could so easily inspire an entire room for me, and may actually do just that (my wheels are turning)! And of course as always, if you have any questions, just email me here. Lots more to come…including a wonderful truly beautiful new tole hand painted line!

?And then this absolutely gorgeous tureen, look at the beautiful metal filigree work. This looks like a precious antique but is brand new and truly spectacular…talk about adding a jewel to the table!

And this large beautifully colored ginger jar exactly reproduced from an important antique jar…..love it!

And back by popular demand, getting in a limited number of beautiful brackets/wall sconces again! These are so pretty and really unique! These will be up in the next day or two, if you have questions email me.

And the low down on the giveaway to celebrate my 2 year blogging anniversary….still can’t believe it. Does this mean I am no longer a newbie but gasp….a veteran! I never would have thought I could have so much to say, may it keep on rolling……for a long time! So here’s the scoop, I am giving away two lovely items. All I need you to do is visit my online shop, come back here and tell me which item is calling your name. Want a second chance? Comment on Facebook page, click here.? That’s it! I will announce two lucky winners on Thursday morning.

One lucky winner will win one of these gorgeous full length French aprons! A new addition to the shop in a few wonderful authentic French patterns (these are made in France).

And a second lucky winner will win a box of monogrammed soaps custom made to their specifications!


Many thanks for stopping in. I am sooooo lucky to have the most incredible readers (and ones with such divine taste to boot). Your friendship means the world and I am not “just saying that” but truly mean it. A two year anniversary is a big deal and doesn’t come along every day, and I consider it a celebration not only for me but for us...WE have gone through a lot of adventures together! But the best part you ask? That the best is yet to come. So stay tuned buckle your seat belt and prepare to go on one heck of an enchanted ride! Cheers to 2013!


Photobucket

2 year anniversary, mid week musings and a giveaway!

Forewarning…this is one of those looong posts worked on over several days that kept getting added onto. Grab another cup of whatever you are drinking! Hey its New Year’s day…a day to relax.



Wow! I can’t believe it, I almost forgot about the fact that today marks my 2 year anniversary!!!! Seriously?? How did that happen and so fast! I have had such fun riding in the fast lane, time literally just slipped away from me! Have to thank each and every reader, you make what I do possible and oh so worth it, you have warranted all my musings and encouraged me with your interest so THANK YOU!!!! Of course this milestone calls for a celebration…….a giveaway, and not one but two. So all details on bottom of my random musings post. The best is yet to come…….
 

First off, officially wishing each and every one of you a very happy, joyous and healthy 2013! Crazy that 2012 is now a thing of the past and it’s onto a new year! Wasn’t quite the holiday we envisioned (Christmas day was wonderful but the rest went downhill fast). My poor husband was diagnosed with pneumonia and has been quiet sick. Thankfully as the antibiotics are kicking in, he is feeling a little better but with our frigid weather and his weak state…..he had to stay home. So nurse Tina “extended her contract”  on a day to day basis and is back on the 24/7 shift. Yes, I was very disappointed but of course his health comes first….

The upside is that the surplus of time allowed me to truly rest, catch up on things around the house, mail and unanswered emails, even unpacked a few boxes! And lets not even talk about the unrelenting movie marathon I have been on, for starters saw It’s Complicated (again) Last Holiday again) The English Patient (again), The Horse Whisperer (again),  The Great Gatsby (again), As good as it gets (again), Sense and Sensibility (again)…seeing a theme here? Yes some movies never get old! Did see The Proposition, which was good too (and I was fainting over the house)! I really liked it though, house aside. Oh and the autobiography on Queen Noor (fascinating)!

I have some fun things in store for the new year, which I will talk about soon. In the meantime….here whats new in my world……

 
 
You know I love to cook! I tried this pasta and it is SO good! You know I love to share when I discover a great new recipe, not only is this easy but its so fresh and fulfilling without feeling too heavy. A light lemony pasta. The next is an easy appetizer with blackberries, this again is easy but so pretty, festive  and very delicious! So I have included the recipes since often you want to know. Both get my stamp of approval!

LEMON SPAGHETTI
? cup olive oil
? cup grated Parmesan cheese
? cup fresh lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)
? teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
? teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1 pound spaghetti
? cup chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon lemon zest (from about 2 lemons)

instructions

Lemon Spaghetti
In a large bowl, whisk the oil, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice and ? teaspoon of salt and ? teaspoon of pepper to blend. Set the lemon sauce aside. (The sauce can be made up to 8 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before using).

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Add the spaghetti to the lemon sauce, and toss with the basil and lemon zest. Toss the pasta with enough reserved cooking liquid, 1/4 cup at a time, to moisten. Season the pasta with more salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to bowls and serve.

And how pretty are these! I would have made these for a New Years eve soiree if I was having one…….(saw this on my buddy, Desirees blog) which led me to the wonderful Yummy Mummy’s blog!

Blackberry Goat Cheese Crackers

makes about 15

1/2 cup silver or gold sanding sugar (I used a combination of sanding sugar and shimmer dust)
2 cups fresh blackberries, divided
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons agave syrup
5 oz. goat cheese at room temperature
1 package favorite crackers (I used gluten free rice crackers from Trader Joe’s)
1 small bunch fresh mint for garnish (optional)

Make the Main Course Italian!

Place sanding sugar in a small bowl. Add 15 blackberries (or however many crackers you are making) to the bowl, using a spoon to turn to coat. If sugar is not sticking, toss a few drops of water onto the blackberries and try again.

In a small saucepan, simmer the remaining blackberries, lemon juice, and agave over medium heat until berries have broken down. Use a wooden spoon to break up berries and help them along. Once the berries have turned into a jam-like mixture, after cooking about 10 minutes, remove from heat. Press mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a small bowl if you do not want the seeds.

Spread a teaspoon of goat cheese onto each cracker. Top with a small dollop of blackberry sauce. Top with a single sparkling blackberry and garnish with mint.

*time saver: berries can be sugared 2 hours in advance. Do not assemble the whole thing until 20 minutes of less before serving if using rice crackers, as they tend to absorb moisture and become soft.

And finally for anyone who has been to heavenly Napa Valley and had the good fortune to eat at Bistro Jeanty, no doubt you experienced the most sensational quiche you have ever eaten. By far the best quiche I have ever been willing to gain five pounds for! So I was beyond excited when I found the recipe adapted from theirs for Gourmet Magazine. I have not made it yet as I just found it but you better believe I will be attempting this very soon. In the meantime, here it is…let me know if you make it and tell me what you think! I hope its the same….because that quiche was ridiculously amazing!

Ham, Leek, and Three-Cheese Quiche
Gourmet  | April 2006
Adapted from Bistro Jeanty, Yountville, CA

yield: Makes 8 main-course servings
active time: 35 min
total time: 2 1/2 hr
Marsha and John Antonelli of Whittier, California, write: “We recently had lunch at Bistro Jeanty, in Yountville, California, where the ham, leek,… more ?

?
Ingredients
    ?    1 round of refrigerated pie dough for a 9-inch pie (from a 15-oz package; not a preshaped frozen pie shell)
    ?    3/4 lb leeks (about 3 medium; white and pale green parts only)
    ?    2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    ?    1/4 lb thinly sliced smoked ham
    ?    3 oz Gruy?re, coarsely grated (1 cup)
    ?    3 oz Italian Fontina, coarsely grated (1 cup)
    ?    3 oz whole-milk mozzarella, coarsely grated (1 cup)
    ?    3 large eggs
    ?    1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
    ?    1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    ?    1 3/4 cups cr?me fra?che (from two 8-oz containers)

    ?    Special equipment: a 9-inch pie plate (4-cup capacity)
print a shopping list for this recipe

?
Preparation
Prebake pie dough in pie plate according to package instructions, then remove from oven and reduce temperature to 350?F.
Meanwhile, halve leeks lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces, then wash well in a bowl of cold water, agitating leeks. Lift out and drain leeks in a colander and pat dry. Melt butter in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderately low heat and cook leeks, stirring occasionally, until very tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
Line warm pie shell with sliced ham, overlapping layers as necessary to cover bottom and side of pie shell completely. Toss cheeses together and sprinkle evenly into pie shell (do not pack cheese), then spread leeks evenly on top of cheese. Whisk together eggs, nutmeg, and pepper until combined well, then whisk in cr?me fra?che until smooth.
Carefully pour half of custard on top of pie filling, gently moving cheese with a spoon to help custard disperse evenly. Slowly add remaining custard in same manner. Cover pie loosely with foil, gently folding edges over crust (keep foil from touching top of cheese mixture) and transfer to a baking sheet.
Bake until center of filling is puffed and set (center will be slightly wobbly but not liquid), about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. Cool on a rack at least 20 to 30 minutes before serving (filling will continue to set as it cools). Serve warm or at room temperature.

 Last but not least..anyone had the good fortune of tasting anything from the famed Parisian baker Eric Kayser? His works of art are as beautiful as they are delish (trust me on this)! Even his little “signs” are edible. Oy vey.

 Humm…..wonder whats inside?

 Oh! That I think I can manage:)

Attack!

Now that I have your appetite in full gear (sorry)! lets move on to another subject….my bedroom! Admittedly this has been a room I have thought about doing for a long time but finally am getting ready to get it done I have always had a vision in my mind of a soft tonal room, in ivory with touches of a pale blue. Very subtle, serene inviting, elegant …a room that will envelope me and be my personal tranquil cocoon. I had started with a beautiful wallpaper as inspiration and a starting point and when I finally was ready to take the plunge, it was discontinued as a stock item and only available for custom order and it was prohibitively expensive so that was nixed. I am deciding between two carpets and am wavering. I will do an entire post on bedrooms later this week and will show you and ask for your opinions on the carpet.  This sitting room at the uber beautiful George V in Paris is another inspiration..love the feeling of this room and its one of the finest hotels we have ever been to…….

Many of you have written and asked me about my two powder room wallpapers. I did reply months ago but for those of you who have asked more recently, I finally found the information again so here it is an sorry for the delay! The first one is my formal powder room and the second one is my family powder room off the kitchen…..love love love both!
 Jester Caprice in pewter by Schumacher
Sanderson Palampore 
Have to get back to food and beverage one more time, sorry! I have discovered a new rose that I LOVE! Soooo light and perfect, its the perfect ladies rose to lunch with (works for dinner too) and you know that it has a blue and white label  earned extra brownie points for me! You must try it…sooo good! And come to think of it, this would go mighty well with the quiche:)
I think a lot of you are like me, kind of old fashioned in some ways? I do long to hang on to traditions from the past…and definitely prefer a  lot of things “the old fashioned way”. A few years ago I hot stamped every one of my holiday cards with a beautiful wax seal embossed with my last name initial. I decided to order some more and had to share with you the info on them on the most wonderful company, their website even includes tutorials. A custom stamper can be had for 35.00 with your three initial monogram! What a great gift…and talk about adding a serious dose of elegance to any kind of correspondence…love love love it! Visit Nostalgic Impressions here!


Even though the holidays are making a quick exit, I still want to give these luminaries a shot. Are these not insanely beautiful!! My friend, Phyllis from Henhurst Interiors made these and these are featured in her own Christmas post. Talk about impressive and beautiful……absolutely love this idea!! Click here to see more…..

Here are my new sconces that got put up in the family room. LOVE them, they are black tole. It is hard to see their scale but they are quite large so very impactful. About 24″ tall….they add so much to the room.

 A couple of newer vignettes from the holidays (that aren’t  going anywhere so fast) Yep Christmas lasts here just a little longer than most, it’s all about keeping the spirit and magic alive, baby. actually its all about being too lazy to lug all the big boxes and storage containers to and from the attic.

 I really love the way red pops against the blue and white……its a keeper!

 Giant pinecones are so great for decorating for the holidays, I got a big batch of them and had such fun!

 Took this a week or two ago, though it was so pretty, though the grainy quality doesn’t do it justice. Back door, new lattice planters, they are HUGE. My husband flipped when I  had them delivered, they are about 3 feet by 3 feet but with topiaries and pretty flowers will look wonderful come spring.

 I  I love having pretty pastries inside my beautiful domed cloche so was so happy when  I found these beautiful holiday ceramic cupcakes, no worries about crumbs or them getting stale…they look so festive around the holidays!

My sconces again, a better picture.

Paperwhites…my favorite holiday flower. The beautiful soft white petals, the intoxicating smell, the impact they have with their long stalks. I was late in growing them but they have really come along nicely. I love them and walking into the room smells soooo good! I loved the lighting I caught with my camera (totally by accident)!

The next few batches were planted later but will give me something pretty to look at during the doldrums  of January!

Moving onto my online shop. Doing a bit of replenishing….and plan to add some wonderful new items soon. One of my most favorite new items is this GORGEOUS with a capital G bed carona/crown! This could so easily inspire an entire room for me, and may actually do just that (my wheels are turning)! And of course as always, if you have any questions, just email me here. Lots more to come…including a wonderful truly beautiful new tole hand painted line!

 And then this absolutely gorgeous tureen, look at the beautiful metal filigree work. This looks like a precious antique but is brand new and truly spectacular…talk about adding a jewel to the table!

And this large beautifully colored ginger jar exactly reproduced from an important antique jar…..love it!

And back by popular demand, getting in a limited number of beautiful brackets/wall sconces again! These are so pretty and really unique! These will be up in the next day or two, if you have questions email me.

And the low down on the giveaway to celebrate my 2 year blogging anniversary….still can’t believe it. Does this mean I am no longer a newbie but gasp….a veteran! I never would have thought I could have so much to say, may it keep on rolling……for a long time! So here’s the scoop, I am giving away two lovely items. All I need you to do is visit my online shop, come back here and tell me which item is calling your name. Want a second chance? Comment on Facebook page, click here.  That’s it! I will announce two lucky winners on Thursday morning.

One lucky winner will win one of these gorgeous full length French aprons! A new addition to the shop in a few wonderful authentic French patterns (these are made in France).

And a second lucky winner will win a box of monogrammed soaps custom made to their specifications!


Many thanks for stopping in. I am sooooo lucky to have the most incredible readers (and ones with such divine taste to boot). Your friendship means the world and I am not “just saying that” but truly mean it. A two year anniversary is a big deal and doesn’t come along every day, and I consider it a celebration not only for me but for us...WE have gone through a lot of adventures together! But the best part you ask? That the best is yet to come. So stay tuned buckle your seat belt and prepare to go on one heck of an enchanted ride! Cheers to 2013!

Photobucket

I’ve got Georgian on my mind……houses that is!


As a child my family’s menu consisted of two choices:? take it or leave it.? ~Buddy Hackett

Good morning, so today since we are snowed in, I figured its a great day to ?catch up on so much that has been piling up on my desk and whip up some of my families favorite meals. I went yesterday amongst the crazed crowds (you would have thought there was going to a major food shortage) and bought everything I needed to make 2 of my families all time favorite meals (and there are only a handful we ALL agree on and love) So I started my Pasta Fagiole?soup this morning which is smelling quite delicious (credit to the pancetta) and about to start my linguine with white clam sauce. ?The soup recipe is ridiculously good, a HUGE hit for anyone I have ever made it for and I double and even sometimes triple the recipe so I can freeze some, (theres always someone in my family who wants some) The recipe, for the clam sauce, ?I was given about a year ago and its fabulous, the only thing I have tweaked is I add more garlic as I believe the secret to a really fabulous clam sauce is garlic overload.I think its from Rachel Ray. Anyway enclosing both recipes just in case, you too are snowed in and looking for something new, delicious and very satisfying to cook up that I promise your family will love!


Pasta e?Fagiole Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons (2 turns around the pan) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 pound (about 4 slices)?pancetta, chopped (I do not chop it, it naturally falls apart while cooking)
  • 1 (4 to 6-inch) sprig?thyme?with several sprigs on it, left intact ( I have often left this out if I haven’t had it and its fine)
  • 1 large fresh?bay leaf?or 2 dried bay leaves (I use 3 fresh)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 rib celery, finely chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • Coarse salt and pepper
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans cannellini beans
  • 1 cup canned tomato sauce or canned crushed?tomatoes?or fresh tomato sauce
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 quart?chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups ditalini
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Grated Parmigiano or?Romano, for the table

Directions

Heat a deep pot over medium high heat and add oil and pancetta. Brown the pancetta bits lightly, and add herb stems, bay leaf, chopped vegetables, and garlic. Season vegetables with salt and pepper. Add?beans, tomato sauce, water, and stock to pot and raise heat to high. Bring soup to a rapid boil and then simmer. Rosemary and thyme leaves will separate from stems as soup cooks. Remove herb stems and bay leaf from soup and place pot on table on a?trivet. At this point, once you have removed your pot from heat, set aside and then put in your pasta. The heat will naturally cook the pasta but just perfectly, not too hot..and will result in a soup with al dente pasta as it should be. Is anything worse than a great soup with mushy pasta? Let soup rest and begin to cool for a few minutes. Ladle soup into bowls and top with lots of grated?cheese. Serve with bread and enjoy……this is a real treat!

Linguine with Vongele (White clam sauce)

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 to 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh?thyme?leaves, 4 or 5 sprigs stripped or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried
  • 1 cup dry white?wine
  • 1 cup clam juice or chicken stock
  • 1 quart of chopped fresh clams (any seafood store can prepare these for you) or a 15 oz can of ?chopped clams
  • 1?lemon, zested
  • 1 pound linguini, slightly undercooked, about 6 to 7 minutes
  • 1/4 cup chopped?parsley?leaves
  • Lots of black pepper and some coarse salt
  • Parmesan cheese for topping (optional but I love it over practically everything)

Directions

Heat a large deep skillet over medium heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil, 4 turns of the pan in a slow stream, red pepper flakes,?garlic?and anchovies and cook until anchovies?meltinto the oil. Add thyme and wine. Reduce wine 1 minute. Addclam?juice or stock, clam juice will give the dish a stronger clam flavor,?chicken stock?will give it a buttery personality. Stir in clams and lemon?zest.?Drain?pasta. Add to skillet and toss with sauce 2 to 3 minutes, until?pasta?is?al dente?and has absorbed some of the?sauce?and flavor. Add parsley, pepper and salt, to your taste and serve with bread for mopping up remaining juices.


And of course you must have some good fresh crusty bread for both above…..(you can put resolutions aside for this- snow days around here are a “free pass” to eat as we please)

?Moving onto homes there is no doubt that a classic Georgian is the epitome of grace, elegant refinement and symmetry. We built one eight years ago and long admired the Georgian style, both new and old. Though we are now building a french style home, I still very much am in awe of a well done Georgian and this one certainly delivers. This classic 1929 beauty, recently featured in Traditional Magazine is so fabulous, and is featured below (interiors are by Janet Simon) www.janetsimoninc.com. Then I move on?to look at other classic Georgian beauties…hope you enjoy, do you have a favorite?

Love the soft muted colors of the living room..so elegant

The stately library

Isn’t that a beautiful sofa?

LOVE this dining room, the chinoiserie is the crown jewel in this room

The sunny and cheery breakfast room

The sun room?

This is the original staircase

This kitchen, made to replicate the original is from Smallbone

The breakfast room?

Love this mudroom

Stunning back terrace, the lime green is unexpected but fabulous looking

Such a serene and beautiful sitting room

The charming master bedroom

A guest room
So here’s a look at other classic Georgian showstoppers

I’ve got Georgian on my mind……houses that is!


As a child my family’s menu consisted of two choices:  take it or leave it.  ~Buddy Hackett

Good morning, so today since we are snowed in, I figured its a great day to  catch up on so much that has been piling up on my desk and whip up some of my families favorite meals. I went yesterday amongst the crazed crowds (you would have thought there was going to a major food shortage) and bought everything I needed to make 2 of my families all time favorite meals (and there are only a handful we ALL agree on and love) So I started my Pasta Fagiole soup this morning which is smelling quite delicious (credit to the pancetta) and about to start my linguine with white clam sauce.  The soup recipe is ridiculously good, a HUGE hit for anyone I have ever made it for and I double and even sometimes triple the recipe so I can freeze some, (theres always someone in my family who wants some) The recipe, for the clam sauce,  I was given about a year ago and its fabulous, the only thing I have tweaked is I add more garlic as I believe the secret to a really fabulous clam sauce is garlic overload.I think its from Rachel Ray. Anyway enclosing both recipes just in case, you too are snowed in and looking for something new, delicious and very satisfying to cook up that I promise your family will love!


Pasta e Fagiole Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons (2 turns around the pan) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 pound (about 4 slices) pancetta, chopped (I do not chop it, it naturally falls apart while cooking)
  • 1 (4 to 6-inch) sprig thyme with several sprigs on it, left intact ( I have often left this out if I haven’t had it and its fine)
  • 1 large fresh bay leaf or 2 dried bay leaves (I use 3 fresh)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 rib celery, finely chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • Coarse salt and pepper
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans cannellini beans
  • 1 cup canned tomato sauce or canned crushed tomatoes or fresh tomato sauce
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups ditalini
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Grated Parmigiano or Romano, for the table

Directions

Heat a deep pot over medium high heat and add oil and pancetta. Brown the pancetta bits lightly, and add herb stems, bay leaf, chopped vegetables, and garlic. Season vegetables with salt and pepper. Add beans, tomato sauce, water, and stock to pot and raise heat to high. Bring soup to a rapid boil and then simmer. Rosemary and thyme leaves will separate from stems as soup cooks. Remove herb stems and bay leaf from soup and place pot on table on a trivet. At this point, once you have removed your pot from heat, set aside and then put in your pasta. The heat will naturally cook the pasta but just perfectly, not too hot..and will result in a soup with al dente pasta as it should be. Is anything worse than a great soup with mushy pasta? Let soup rest and begin to cool for a few minutes. Ladle soup into bowls and top with lots of grated cheese. Serve with bread and enjoy……this is a real treat!

Linguine with Vongele (White clam sauce)

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 to 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, 4 or 5 sprigs stripped or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup clam juice or chicken stock
  • 1 quart of chopped fresh clams (any seafood store can prepare these for you) or a 15 oz can of  chopped clams
  • lemon, zested
  • 1 pound linguini, slightly undercooked, about 6 to 7 minutes
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley leaves
  • Lots of black pepper and some coarse salt
  • Parmesan cheese for topping (optional but I love it over practically everything)

Directions

Heat a large deep skillet over medium heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil, 4 turns of the pan in a slow stream, red pepper flakes, garlic and anchovies and cook until anchovies meltinto the oil. Add thyme and wine. Reduce wine 1 minute. Addclam juice or stock, clam juice will give the dish a stronger clam flavor, chicken stock will give it a buttery personality. Stir in clams and lemon zestDrain pasta. Add to skillet and toss with sauce 2 to 3 minutes, until pasta is al dente and has absorbed some of the sauce and flavor. Add parsley, pepper and salt, to your taste and serve with bread for mopping up remaining juices.


And of course you must have some good fresh crusty bread for both above…..(you can put resolutions aside for this- snow days around here are a “free pass” to eat as we please)

 Moving onto homes there is no doubt that a classic Georgian is the epitome of grace, elegant refinement and symmetry. We built one eight years ago and long admired the Georgian style, both new and old. Though we are now building a french style home, I still very much am in awe of a well done Georgian and this one certainly delivers. This classic 1929 beauty, recently featured in Traditional Magazine is so fabulous, and is featured below (interiors are by Janet Simon) www.janetsimoninc.com. Then I move on to look at other classic Georgian beauties…hope you enjoy, do you have a favorite?

Love the soft muted colors of the living room..so elegant

The stately library

Isn’t that a beautiful sofa?

LOVE this dining room, the chinoiserie is the crown jewel in this room

The sunny and cheery breakfast room

The sun room 

This is the original staircase

This kitchen, made to replicate the original is from Smallbone

The breakfast room 

Love this mudroom

Stunning back terrace, the lime green is unexpected but fabulous looking

Such a serene and beautiful sitting room

The charming master bedroom

A guest room
So here’s a look at other classic Georgian showstoppers