Random musings and off to Palm Beach!

Good morning! I? hope you have had a great week, it is amazing that we are less than a month away from Christmas!! Do you feel the pressure yet? My week has been super busy but productive. I feel like I am juggling many balls in the air and on top of that I have been waking up at a ridiculously early time every morning (think 4ish)? therefore I am anxious for a little relaxation.? Think this will be the ONLY four relaxing days I will have in all of December! So, I am off today to beautiful Palm Beach, really looking forward to a 3 day mini break from well…….everything 🙂

Such a beautiful jewel of a place, I plan on getting some much needed relaxation, rest, indulging in a few great meals, and maybe hopefully some retail therapy! Any suggestions that you feel compelled to share…..please by all means, let me know.? In the meantime…things are getting awfully busy around here. By next week hope to have my tree up and my front door wreath.

Though I like to hem and haw about how crazy and chaotic things are (and they are) it is very exciting to be celebrating Christmas in our new home. I am thrilled to be able to share it with all of you and hope your holiday season is off to? a blazing start! This is a very photo heavy post (consider it 3 days of posting all in one)! Enjoy your weekend……

I missed a dear friends birthday so invited her over for a one on one lunch.? I wanted to have it look pretty and we had such a nice time. I made my usual tricolor salad with grilled chicken and shaved Parmesan, a yummy chicken tortilla soup, fresh sour dough rolls and for dessert I was very practical, instead of a cake that would likely go to waste, or to have leftovers for that would be serious tempation for me late at night,? I got her one big oversized cupcake, fresh fruit and the best biscotti locally made I have ever eaten (its addicting, its that good). Here’s a few highlights…

Even had a bottle of champagne for her to toast her belated birthday………

Please remember those chairs are going……….do not like the plaid but they are something to sit on!

My pretty soup tureen

This soup is soooo good and really satisfying..recipe below!
The oversized cupcake, just perfect for 2!

Trust me it didn’t stay there long!

?My very generous friend, came bearing gifts….these gorgeous flowers (she knows my love for white flowers) and these were exceptional and this beautiful holiday candle from Nest, too pretty to open!

Want the recipe for the soup? Here it is…say hello to your new comfort food! ( I buy ready made tortilla strips, and am generous with the extra sharp cheddar for that extra little “zing”!

CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons vegetable oil or light olive oil
? cup minced white onion
? cup mined Anaheim pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 cups chicken broth
2 cooked skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 cooked skinless, boneless chicken thigh, cut into bite-size pieces
1 package sharp or extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
3 (6-inch) corn tortillas, minced (if you actually want to do this yourself…not me)
2 tablespoons lime juice
Carrots very finely diced
1/2 green pepper and 1/2 red pepper, finely diced
? cup canned diced tomatoes
? teaspoon ground cumin
? teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
? teaspoon oregano
1 can pinto or black beans
3/4 cup of corn
? teaspoon salt
Tortilla strips, optional, for garnish

Directions:

1. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the vegetable oil over medium-low heat. Add the minced onion, pepper, and garlic, peppers and carrots and cook slowly, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, or until the minced onion begins to turn translucent.
2. Whisk the cornstarch into the chicken broth, then add the broth mixture to the pot, along with the chicken, cheddar cheese, corn, beans,, lime juice, diced tomatoes, cumin, cayenne pepper, oregano, and salt. Increase the heat to medium while stirring constantly to help the cheese melt. When the soup begins to bubble, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes. Serve the soup topped with tortilla strips and extra shredded cheese

Store news……Been busy fulfilling holiday orders, the monogram items are hot hot hot, the napkin rings and silver also moving fast. I do a consistent business with my pillows. This line is particularly fabulous, super high quality, beautiful heavy down filled and I discount substantially. I am excited to have a bunch of new pillows, they will be added on by Monday. Here’s a peek at the new loot in the pillow dept! Click here to visit my online store.

Also…several of you have made inquires about the pewter chargers. I had gotten in a large batch which went immediately. I am working on trying to get more, not so easy! I did get in a random assortment of 14 of the scalloped ones and 3 of one of the more ornate ones.. If interested just email me. I am discounting the scalloped to a great deal of $25 a charger (they sell for 40) because on some of them there is the slightest trace of a “sticker residue” on them but they will be covered any way so its a small “defect”. I tried to photograph them. Just email me here if you are interested!

?I have 14 of these

?And 3 of these



Moving on.….continuing to decorate around here for Christmas. I have had such a chock full week that I didn’t get as much done as I would have liked, but am getting there! Here’s a few new things in my holiday decorating….

?I do love the way red pops next to blue and white……

?Added some garland….will be adding pinecones at some point, this is phase I

?I like adding small sprigs of greenery with berries to vignettes around the holidays….

?I found this HUGE pumpkin for 1/2 off (so next fall you will be seeing a lot of it) Its so great looking, about 22″ round!

I love late afternoon sunlight and the beautiful silhouette it creates…..

?Though I am not a huge “red” person have to say a touch of it here and there brings the holiday spirit into my home in a beautiful way….

Love adding scented pinecones to the base of a planter for my holiday flowers…


There is so much inspiration online that at times its intoxicating and overwhelming( I know many of you are shaking your head in agreement)! But it is so incredibly fun to drool over all the amazing images available! Here’s a few I am loving lately……..

Such a magical time of year, so much going on, so much inspiration everywhere! It is a wonderful season but it is also so important to pace yourself, I keep reminding myself of this every day and am a “list queen” and? love checking things off my list! Enjoy the magic of the season that is upon us and I will speak to you next week! Wishing you a fabulous weekend. Ho ho ho…….

Photobucket

Random musings and off to Palm Beach!

Good morning! I  hope you have had a great week, it is amazing that we are less than a month away from Christmas!! Do you feel the pressure yet? My week has been super busy but productive. I feel like I am juggling many balls in the air and on top of that I have been waking up at a ridiculously early time every morning (think 4ish)  therefore I am anxious for a little relaxation.  Think this will be the ONLY four relaxing days I will have in all of December! So, I am off today to beautiful Palm Beach, really looking forward to a 3 day mini break from well…….everything 🙂

Such a beautiful jewel of a place, I plan on getting some much needed relaxation, rest, indulging in a few great meals, and maybe hopefully some retail therapy! Any suggestions that you feel compelled to share…..please by all means, let me know.  In the meantime…things are getting awfully busy around here. By next week hope to have my tree up and my front door wreath.

Though I like to hem and haw about how crazy and chaotic things are (and they are) it is very exciting to be celebrating Christmas in our new home. I am thrilled to be able to share it with all of you and hope your holiday season is off to  a blazing start! This is a very photo heavy post (consider it 3 days of posting all in one)! Enjoy your weekend……

I missed a dear friends birthday so invited her over for a one on one lunch.  I wanted to have it look pretty and we had such a nice time. I made my usual tricolor salad with grilled chicken and shaved Parmesan, a yummy chicken tortilla soup, fresh sour dough rolls and for dessert I was very practical, instead of a cake that would likely go to waste, or to have leftovers for that would be serious tempation for me late at night,  I got her one big oversized cupcake, fresh fruit and the best biscotti locally made I have ever eaten (its addicting, its that good). Here’s a few highlights…

Even had a bottle of champagne for her to toast her belated birthday………

Please remember those chairs are going……….do not like the plaid but they are something to sit on!

My pretty soup tureen

This soup is soooo good and really satisfying..recipe below!
The oversized cupcake, just perfect for 2!

Trust me it didn’t stay there long!

 My very generous friend, came bearing gifts….these gorgeous flowers (she knows my love for white flowers) and these were exceptional and this beautiful holiday candle from Nest, too pretty to open!

Want the recipe for the soup? Here it is…say hello to your new comfort food! ( I buy ready made tortilla strips, and am generous with the extra sharp cheddar for that extra little “zing”!

CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons vegetable oil or light olive oil
? cup minced white onion
? cup mined Anaheim pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 cups chicken broth
2 cooked skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 cooked skinless, boneless chicken thigh, cut into bite-size pieces
1 package sharp or extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
3 (6-inch) corn tortillas, minced (if you actually want to do this yourself…not me)
2 tablespoons lime juice
Carrots very finely diced
1/2 green pepper and 1/2 red pepper, finely diced
? cup canned diced tomatoes
? teaspoon ground cumin
? teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
? teaspoon oregano
1 can pinto or black beans
3/4 cup of corn
? teaspoon salt
Tortilla strips, optional, for garnish

Directions:

1. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the vegetable oil over medium-low heat. Add the minced onion, pepper, and garlic, peppers and carrots and cook slowly, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, or until the minced onion begins to turn translucent.
2. Whisk the cornstarch into the chicken broth, then add the broth mixture to the pot, along with the chicken, cheddar cheese, corn, beans,, lime juice, diced tomatoes, cumin, cayenne pepper, oregano, and salt. Increase the heat to medium while stirring constantly to help the cheese melt. When the soup begins to bubble, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes. Serve the soup topped with tortilla strips and extra shredded cheese

Store news……Been busy fulfilling holiday orders, the monogram items are hot hot hot, the napkin rings and silver also moving fast. I do a consistent business with my pillows. This line is particularly fabulous, super high quality, beautiful heavy down filled and I discount substantially. I am excited to have a bunch of new pillows, they will be added on by Monday. Here’s a peek at the new loot in the pillow dept! Click here to visit my online store.

Also…several of you have made inquires about the pewter chargers. I had gotten in a large batch which went immediately. I am working on trying to get more, not so easy! I did get in a random assortment of 14 of the scalloped ones and 3 of one of the more ornate ones.. If interested just email me. I am discounting the scalloped to a great deal of $25 a charger (they sell for 40) because on some of them there is the slightest trace of a “sticker residue” on them but they will be covered any way so its a small “defect”. I tried to photograph them. Just email me here if you are interested!

 I have 14 of these

 And 3 of these



Moving on.….continuing to decorate around here for Christmas. I have had such a chock full week that I didn’t get as much done as I would have liked, but am getting there! Here’s a few new things in my holiday decorating….

 I do love the way red pops next to blue and white……

 Added some garland….will be adding pinecones at some point, this is phase I

 I like adding small sprigs of greenery with berries to vignettes around the holidays….

 I found this HUGE pumpkin for 1/2 off (so next fall you will be seeing a lot of it) Its so great looking, about 22″ round!

I love late afternoon sunlight and the beautiful silhouette it creates…..

 Though I am not a huge “red” person have to say a touch of it here and there brings the holiday spirit into my home in a beautiful way….

Love adding scented pinecones to the base of a planter for my holiday flowers…


There is so much inspiration online that at times its intoxicating and overwhelming( I know many of you are shaking your head in agreement)! But it is so incredibly fun to drool over all the amazing images available! Here’s a few I am loving lately……..

Such a magical time of year, so much going on, so much inspiration everywhere! It is a wonderful season but it is also so important to pace yourself, I keep reminding myself of this every day and am a “list queen” and  love checking things off my list! Enjoy the magic of the season that is upon us and I will speak to you next week! Wishing you a fabulous weekend. Ho ho ho…….

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