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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

When my girlfriends and I were in Laguna Beach a couple of weeks ago, we thought the idea of spending an entire day cooking a big meal, sipping wine and listening to good music sounded like an excellent way to spend a Saturday. So this past weekend we decided to try it out by inviting family & friends to help prepare an Italian feast.

The Menu:

Cheese & meat platter

Ravioli with sausage filling

Sausage Carbonara 

Caprese salad

Mix green salad

Grilled zucchini

Tuscan steak

Limoncello Cake

Even though my house wasn’t perfect, and I should have spent half the day doing laundry, I’m glad I decided not pay attention to any of that and just enjoy an afternoon with family, friends and really good food. Cheers to taking more time out of our daily duties to enjoy long meals with family & friends!

Happy Thursday!

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Enjoying a beautiful meal on the patio is something many of us love to do and with the weather finally cooling down, especially here in Southern California, I’m looking forward to spending more of my evenings outside. A photo that has been a big inspiration to me, for this very purpose, is the one below from House Beautiful.

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Get the Look!

  1. Wooden Bowl
  2. Verona Ivory Flatware
  3. Pillow
  4. Outdoor Table
  5. Chandelier
  6. Tablecloth 
  7. Glassware 
  8. Candle Holders
  9. Mirror

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It seems like restaurant design only gets better and better and Gracias Madre is a perfect example. Previously an antique store, Gracias Madre is beautifully designed by interior designer Wendy Haworth and exterior designer Scott Shrader.

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Click here to read more about the design behind this little gem.

Happy Tuesday!

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david_niven_out

Since my first Papasan chair many moons ago, I have always loved the look of rattan furniture. Recently, while checking out David Niven’s (big fan of his) home in Cape Ferret, I fell in love with all his gorgeous rattan furniture. For me, rattan furniture personifies vacation/beach life/relaxation and you can’t go wrong when adding a bit of rattan into your world.

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I feel this lounge chair could benefit from a gorgeous cushion — but just love the look of it

More exquisite chairs –

 

 

My favorite from GALERIE RIVIERA

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The Menu

Some of the most enjoyable entertaining I’ve done has been when friends happened to pop over last-minute. There is not that initial pressure of having everything perfect, and people are usually more relaxed with little expectations for the evening ahead. When this happens, my “go-to menu” typically consists of some type of salad, a good cheese and meat platter, some nuts and some kind of cracker/bread. I also keep some good chocolate in the fridge for something sweet at the end. No cooking involved. Super easy!

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Happy Weekend!

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italian blog

I’ve had this picture at my desk for years! I tore it out of W Magazine in ’03. It’s not a fancy or staged photograph – just family and friends around a table for an afternoon lunch. A good reminder to me to take time out and enjoy the small things in life — a long meal with family & friends.

Cheers!

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8 ITEMS TO HELP MAKE YOUR HOUSE GUESTS FEEL COMFORTABLE THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

The Guest Room

A good reading lamp, soft sheets and a cozy blanket provide a sense of comfort for those traveling far from home. Adding a box of chocolates and good reading material is also a nice touch depending how long you wish your guests to actually stay. For those of you living in smaller quarters, with a little imagination almost any part of your home could become a guest room. Once, I turned the dining room of our tiny Venice bungalow into a guest room for a friend staying for a week.

Whether your home is large or small the 8 items suggested below could apply to any size abode. It’s all about one’s attitude — being flexible and working with what you have.

A task lamp to give the perfect light for late night reading. This one is from Restoration Hardware but Target and Lamps Plus have similar ones as well.

A small bedside tray to house your guests jewelry, coins and spent candy wrappers. This “Dot Tray” is from Jayson Home & Garden.

A bedside carafe for water — from Crate & Barrel

A nice smelling candle for the dresser. The Fedora Patch Candle is from Jayson Home & Garden.

A throw for chilly days/nights

Slip on slippers to fit any foot size

Fresh flowers or anything green from your garden (or supermarket).

Another great thing to have when guest arrive is the aroma of something special on the stove or in the oven. So, I have also included my favorite comfort dish recipe, Braised Chicken with Shallots. It’s great because you can make it the day before and just reheat when you are ready.

Ingredients

8- Bone-in skinless chicken thighs (about 2 1/2 pounds total)

coarse salt and ground pepper

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound small shallots (about 12), peeled and halved

5 garlic cloves, peeled and halved

1/2 cup dry white wine

3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 pint cherry tomatoes halved

Fresh tarragon leaves for garnish (optional)

Directions

1. Season chicken with salt and pepper; coat with flour, shaking off excess.

2. In a Dutch oven or 5-quart pot with a tight-fitting lid heat oil over medium-high. Cook chicken until browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove and set aside.

3. Add shallots and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add wine; cook until evaporated, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in mustard and 1 1/2 cups water; bring to a boil.

4. Return chicken, bone side down, to pot. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until chicken is tender and cooked through, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate; loosely tent with aluminum foil to keep warm. Add tomatoes to pot; season with salt and pepper. Cook on high until sauce has thickened, 6 to 8 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, and return chicken to pot; cook until heated through. Serve, garnished with tarragon, if desired.

Serves 4

The recipe (and photo) for Braised Chicken with Shallots are from Martha Stewart.com

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