Monthly Archives: March 2013
5 Last Minute Easter Ideas…
By now your Easter baskets are full (well, maybe) and you have a menu put together for your Easter meal (possibly), but just in case you’re still in planning mode for tomorrow here are a few excellent last-minute Easter ideas.
#1. DIY Ombre Tablecloth
What you’ll need:
1. White Tablecloth
2. Spray Bottle
3. Water/Fabric Dye
Hang your tablecloth from a clothesline and start spraying! More on the corners and less as you make your way to the middle. Let dry and voila! This would be beautiful with a purple or pink dye for Easter.
#2. Fresh Fruit Beverage
There’s nothing like fresh flowers and fruits to bring the feeling of Spring and Easter onto your table. Consider making a Sangria or a non-alcoholic punch and serving it with sliced fresh fruit. Here’s a great recipe to get you started!
- 6 cups Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc
- 1/4 cup superfine sugar
- 1 cup white grape juice
- 1 ripe nectarine, pitted and cut into thin wedges
- 1 tangerine, thinly sliced
- 1 cup seedless white grapes, halved
- 1 cup club soda
- In a large pitcher or other container, combine the wine and sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the remaining ingredients, excluding the club soda, and mix well. Place the pitcher in the refrigerator and let the sangria sit for at least 1 hour (and up to 4 hours). The sangria will sweeten with time, so the longer it sits, the better. Just before serving, stir in the club soda and ice cubes.
#3. Calligraphed Eggs
Add a splash of sophistication to your eggs with these adorable templates from Oh Happy Day. If your crafty enough, do your own calligraphy and use these as place settings!
#4. Easter Candy Centerpiece
Do something useful with the beautifully colored jelly beans and bright yellow peeps this season and create a unique Easter centerpiece to display on your table.
#5. Remember What It’s all About
When Easter dinner is cleared and dessert is plated throw in The Passion and keep the day in perspective. End your Easter holiday being thankful for the sacrifice made for you and celebrated on this day!
Map It Out…Decorating with Direction
11 Sweet Spring Dresses…
Hippie Chic Boho Modern Wednesday…
Today was Wednesday…a long day of answering phones and sending e-mails and looking at the inside of my maroon colored cubicle…which by the way are three words made worse in conjunction. Life would be so much more fun with a little color and excitement, right? So tonight I found my way to a blog celebrating the bohemian modern style of the San Francisco Bay area and from there is was “Hippie Chic” and then “Hipster Decor” and before you knew it I had more color and style inspiration than I knew what to do with. Here are some of my favorite off the wall, mismatched, trendy rooms that bring a smile to my face…even on a Wednesday.
Roasted Vegetables In 4 Steps…Food 52 Love Pt. 2
Current Food 52 ‘Not Recipe’
How to Roast Any Vegetable in 4 Steps
Cut Your Veggies and Pat Them Dry
Drizzle with Olive Oil, Seasonings of Your Choice and Salt. Coat Each Piece Thoroughly
Throw Your Veggies on Parchment Paper. Set Your Oven to Somewhere Between 400 – 450 Degrees. Flip Halfway Through Cooking.
According to Food 52, Roasted Perfection is Indicated By a Crispy Outside and a Soft Inside; about 45 Minutes for Root Vegetables at 400 degrees.
Get to Dippin…
Dip painting is one of my favorite trends this season and right now it’s everywhere; and I can’t get enough of it! From kitchen utensils to dressers and chairs this easy and trendy style of painting is a quick way to update to so many things around the house.
I have two beside tables that will be getting this treatment over the weekend! What you do have lying around the house that could use some sprucing up? Here’s some inspiration to get you motivated to give this trend a try…
How To Decorate With Natural Materials…
One of my favorite things about doing this blog is seeing how creative other people can be and finding new inspiration for home design. In keeping with the Spring theme I started looking for natural decor; bringing the outside in. Before researching this post I’d seen the tree branch center pieces and wall art made with wood but look at this amazing piece! It’s an IKEA circular mirror affixed to plywood and surrounded by wood trimmings. It’s stunning, right? Can you see this in your entryway or above your dresser?
I don’t know why this feels so perfect; maybe because it’s a bit like camping in the comfort of your own bed. I love that trendy, in regard to this design, also happens to be free. This is really beautiful.
This piece is a nice mix of modern and organic and on top of that, it would be so cheap to put together! A wood or metal end table painted a bright color with wood trimmings attached to the surface. I’m sure this could be done for less than $20…I might have to try it this weekend!
Are you inspired to head out to your yard and start gathering branches yet? An electric chandelier created from tree branches might be difficult to create but this…so beautiful with the hanging tea light holders and strung up with ribbon. Simple and gorgeous.
This is a basic cube with wood trimmings and branches affixed to the outside with an added glass topper. In a white room this is again a really nice mix of organic and modern. In a city home or apartment where having a tree in your yard is a luxury (I lived in Philadelphia for a time and the view out of my bedroom and kitchen window was a brick wall) this is a perfect way to bring the outside indoors.
The centerpiece above was clearly set up for a formal event but I can easily see one of these being used on a family dining table. Gathered branches displayed in a large glass vase and small hanging tea light holders is all you would need to pull this look together.
3 Course Spring Meal…
I’ve been in Spring mode all day today. I did a post on Easter decorating, Spring florals and I thought I would round things out by doing a Spring meal. From hors d’oeuvre to the main course to dessert, according to Food & Wine online these are some of the best Spring recipes available. As soon as I kick this cold I plan on trying them all out! Follow the picture links for many more tasty Spring recipes.
Hor D’Oeuvre: Cherry Tomato Tart With Basil
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 7 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 1/2 cup cold heavy cream
- 2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons shredded basil leaves
- Butter a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. In a food processor, pulse the flour with a pinch of salt and the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the cream and pulse until the dough nearly comes together. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead a few times. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 325°. Roll out the dough to a 14-inch round. Press the round into the tart pan; trim off any excess. Mound the tomatoes in the shell. Bake for about 1 hour and 40 minutes, until the dough is evenly browned. Let cool. Season with salt, garnish with the basil and serve.
Main Course: Beer-Braised Chicken Stew with Fava Beans and Peas
*Braise chicken thighs in beer before adding to the stew
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons pure olive oil
- 8 skinless chicken thighs
- 2 tablespoons anise seeds
- 4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon loosely packed saffron threads
- 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
- 1 cup shelled fava beans
- 1/2 cup fresh peas, preferably English peas
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 pound button mushrooms, halved
- 8 scallions, thinly sliced
- 2 thyme sprigs
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- One 12-ounce bottle Belgian beer
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- In a small skillet, toast the anise seeds over moderate heat, shaking the skillet, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Let the anise seeds cool slightly, then crush with the side of a knife.
- In a mini food processor, combine the toasted anise seeds with the chopped garlic, saffron, paprika and cayenne. Add the lemon juice and puree. Transfer the mixture to a large, shallow bowl and stir in 1/2 cup of the olive oil. Add the chicken thighs and turn to coat with the marinade. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Add salt and the fava beans and cook for 1 minute; using a slotted spoon, transfer the fava beans to a small bowl and let cool slightly. Add the peas to the boiling water and cook until tender, 5 to 6 minutes; drain. Peel the fava beans and add to the peas.
- Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large enameled cast-iron casserole. Remove the chicken thighs from the marinade, scraping off the excess. Season the chicken with salt and black pepper and cook over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken thighs to a platter.
- Wipe out the casserole, add the butter and heat until melted. Add the halved mushrooms, sliced scallions and thyme and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until any liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms are browned, about 8 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Slowly stir in the beer and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the casserole.
- Return the chicken thighs to the casserole and season with salt and black pepper. Cover and simmer over low heat until the chicken is tender and cooked through, about 25 minutes. Add the cream, fava beans and peas, increase the heat to moderate and cook uncovered until the sauce has reduced slightly, about 5 minutes. Discard the thyme sprigs. Serve the chicken stew in shallow soup bowls, sprinkled with the parsley.
- 2 1/4 cups red wine
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 1-by-3-inch strip orange zest
- 2 pounds sweet cherries, halved and pitted
- 1 cup mascarpone cheese
- 2 1/2 tablespoons honey
- In a medium stainless-steel saucepan, combine the wine, sugar, and orange zest. Bring to a simmer over moderately high heat. Add the cherries and bring back to a simmer. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the cherries are just tender, about 5 minutes. Pour into a glass or stainless-steel bowl so the cherries don’t overcook.
- In a small bowl, combine the mascarpone with the honey. Remove the strip of orange zest from the cherries. Serve the warm cherries and syrup in bowls or stemmed glasses, topped with a large dollop of the mascarpone cream.
Flower Power…Spring Inspiration
I’m in Charlotte, NC and although you would think that because we’re down south it would be warm and balmy in March, it’s not. It’s cold and rainy. On top of that I’m lying in bed recuperating from a cold, drinking Theraflu, blowing my nose and looking at pictures of flowers. What can I say…flowers make me feel better and on top of that I’ve been blogging about Spring and flowers are one of the best parts about this season. I thought I would share. If you’re stuck at home like I am today, browse through the pics and then hit the link above and follow me on Pinterest…lots of photo inspiration there, as well.