Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Decor at My Friend's Homes

Luckily, my friends are used to me whipping out my iphone to take pictures of their homes.  I wonder if it would look weird if I just carried around a camera, sorry for the poor quality. 

I love this cute gingerbread tree. 

I think a large black and white dog in front of the Christmas tree is the best Christmas decoration possible. 

This is why I have love/ hate relationship chalkboard walls, they look so cool but I'm not artistic enough to draw such creative things.  My friend Kathie is awesome at it, maybe I could just have her come over and draw for me.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Blog Love

Do you ever come across a blog and think I so want to live with that person or at least be best friends?  Michael, the blogger and designer behind Inspired by Charm is so amazing.  I think his home could be my dream home.  Lately, when I have any free time, his blog is the one I have been going through the archives and collecting incredible design, entertaining and recipe ideas.  When he posted his Holiday Home Tour I was smitten.  Not only are his Christmas trees beautiful but he has some wonderful holiday ideas and recipes for entertaining, like a hot chocolate bar.
Holiday Home Tour | Inspired by Charm
 Every wall color in each room is perfect. 
Holiday Home Tour | Inspired by Charm
Holiday Home Tour | Inspired by Charm
Holiday Home Tour | Inspired by Charm

Sunday, December 7, 2014


I love December, all the excitement of Christmas, extra time with family and friends and the gift of giving all rolled up in one. 

I can't decide ribbon or no ribbon?

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Joni Mitchell - River

Joni Mitchell is a goddess, that voice and her lyrics, just amazing.  "River" is one of my favorite songs, which I heard this morning on the Christmas station on Sirius.  It so good, it's like when your heart is breaking and you just know you need to feel that pain but it's all wrapped up in a Christmas song.  So of course I couldn't get the song out of my head.  Every time I get an earworm I will go on You Tube and look up all the different version of that song.  I did that today and I came across some of the most amazing voices. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ina Garten

I know everyone is just as excited as I am about Ina's new cookbook.  I made the mistake of asking for it for Christmas, meaning I have to wait 30 whole days to read the book cover to cover.  I have perused it in the stores and it looks just as good as all her other cookbooks, well written, beautiful pictures with doable recipes.  I think what makes Ina Garten so popular, besides her amazing taste and style, is that her recipes are not difficult but the flavors and the food presentation are always impressive.  Her cookbooks definitely get the most use in my home.

Check out this interview on William - Sonoma, I love the way she thinks about entertaining. 

one/ two

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Dinner Party For 6 Under $100.00

I really enjoy entertaining, it's like it feeds my soul.  I think the planning and preparation, except the cleaning, are as much fun as the actual dinner party.  I'm not the type of girl who really enjoys hanging out at bars.  I prefer good wine, good food and good conversation over standing around a loud, crowded bar.  However, entertaining at home or eating out can both get expensive and I have discovered most people don't really enjoy hosting.  I decided to try something new seeing if I can entertain with quality food and wine on a budget.

To make the salad just cut up the lettuce, toss with the dressing.  Then add croutons, toss again and I usually shave the cheese on top of the salad to make it look pretty. 
Caesar salad  - Trader Joe's   Romaine Lettuce  $3.99
                                               Crouton  $3.99
                                               Parmigianino Cheese  $5.99
                         Wegman's     Caesar dressing   $2.49
                                                           Total       $16.46

My favorite sauce is this tomato sauce with onion and butter by Smitten Kitchen.  It's easy and has so much flavor.  I just doubled the recipe.  Since I was cooking for friends I decided to add the sweet Italian sausage for some extra flavor.  Just crumble, brown it in a pan and then add to the sauce once its been blended smooth. Shave some of the Parmigianino cheese on top.     
Spaghetti with sweet Italian sausage in a onion, butter and tomato sauce
                               Trader Joe's    Tomatoes            $7.98
                                                       Onion                 $0.89
                                                       Italian Sausage   $5.99
                               Wegman's       Spaghetti             $2.99
                                                       Butter                  $0.84
                                                             Total             $18.69
Wine total $20.00
I really like 14 Hands Cabernet and find most people do, plus it's reasonable.
I will post the recipe for the cheesecake tomorrow. 
 Dessert  Pumpkin Chocolate Cheesecake with Oreo cookie crust
                                    Trader Joe's  cookies  $2.99
                                                         canned pumpkin  $1.99
                                                         cream cheese       $3.98
                                                                eggs              $2.49
                                    Wegman's      Chocolate Chips  $ 2.99
                                                            Butter                 $0.84
                                                                     Total            $12.29
       Staples-  sugar, flour and cinnamon

Total cost $67.44. 
The food was delicious, looked impressive and was easy.  My favorite way to entertain. 
Noted, I just stated under $100.00 because I did not take into account tax, staples I had on hand, the gifted wine and the coffee and tea we had with dessert. 
This was good practice for me though because I usually have too much food, including appetizers and more than one dessert choice.
“People who love to eat are always the best people.”
Julia Child