Saturday, September 25, 2010

It's the little things

There's nothing more perfect than the smell of fresh cut flowers in your home.  Now imagine having this smell 365 days a year! {my favorite flower vendor outside of Flower St. in NYC} will send you fresh cut seasonal flowers every other week all year long.  It's the perfect little touch to make your home always feel special {and of course show up the competitive ladies in your circle}.

If you can't afford to have fresh cut flowers all year round, you can afford to splurge every now and then and grace your home with the exotic smell of Conca D'Or lilies or the lush beauty of pink peonies.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

This isn't your mother's "wallpaper"

I love staying in hotels {well 5 Star hotels}.  Outside of the daily maid service and food on demand, I think I love the plush bed with the big snuggly pillows. It just makes you want to lay down and relax your entire trip.  I've tried a lot of different things to make my room at home as comfy.  A big fluffy down comforter, 5 kazillion feather pillows, and 1000+ count sheets.  Still just isn't the same.

Now this idea from jonathan fong style may get me a step closer.  Fluffy fabric wall panels! You can pick your own fabric styles -- fake fur, ruched satin, luxurious cotton quilted -- combined but all in white {or another color of your choice}.  Each fabric style is stretched around a foam core and attached to your wall in a grid pattern with Velcro.  So if you get tired of it and want a new look it's easy to change.  Now this is a DIY project I can get behind.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It's All In The Pot

Le Creuset

I love cooking, but if you're doing it every day it can become a little mundane. That's why it helps to have cute professional-looking cookware to give you a boost.  What more could you ask for than cookware that coordinates with your kitchen decor.  Le Creuset comes in so many amazingly vibrant colors {teal, purple, sky blue, yellow, orange, green apple} but of course my favorite is the red cookware.  But I'm becoming a little partial to the eggplant purple color {see below}.

The cookware also pairs lovely with the KitchenAid Artisan stand mixer.  And of course they are great to cook with. The cast iron cookware distributes heat evenly and because it can go from the stovetop to the oven, you can cook certain recipes all in one pot keeping the flavors from being washed away or left behind.  Like in this delicious dish:

Moroccan Lamb Stew
4 Tbs. olive oil
2 yellow onions, finely chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 lb. cubed lamb for stewing
1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. ground cumin
1⁄4 tsp. saffron threads
1 Tbs. peeled and minced fresh ginger
2 1⁄2 cups beef stock
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
1 cup chopped dried dates
Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Preheat an oven to 350°F.

In a Dutch oven over medium heat, warm 1 Tbs. of the olive oil. Add the onions and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots and cook until slightly softened, about 3 minutes more. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Pat the lamb dry with paper towels. Place the flour in a large bowl or sealable plastic bag and season with salt and pepper. Add the lamb in batches and stir or shake to coat thoroughly with the seasoned flour.

Warm the remaining 3 Tbs. oil in the pot over medium-high heat. Working in batches to avoid crowding, add the lamb and brown on all sides, 4 to 5 minutes for each batch. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Return the onion mixture and the lamb along with any accumulated juices to the pot. Add the garlic, cumin, saffron and ginger and stir to coat the meat and vegetables. Add the stock and bring to a boil, stirring with a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits from the pan bottom. Add the tomatoes, dates, and orange zest and juice and bring to a boil over high heat.

Cover the pot, transfer to the oven and bake until the meat is tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. If the sauce seems too thin, using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat and vegetables to a bowl and boil the sauce on the stovetop until thickened. Return the meat and vegetables to the pot. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Transfer the stew to a serving bowl and garnish with the parsley. Serve immediately. Serves 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Soup & Stew, by Diane Rossen Worthington (Simon & Schuster, 2004).

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Culinary Delights


I love to cook but I would love it more if I have my own sous chef.  It seems that every healthy, but delicious, recipe I want to make calls for endless chopped veggies or minced garlic or chopped herbs.  The chopping alone seems to take me hours and it makes cooking wholly unenjoyable.  So I was so excited to find this quintessential addition to any kitchen.  The VeggiChop is completely manual {no batteries, no plugs} and has only a few parts.  And better yet, everything is dishwasher safe!  The pull action, while manual, is so fun you can even enlist your kids to chop for you {or count it as an upper body workout}.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

D.I.Y. {or have someone else do it}

Not many people are flipping houses today -- which would make this economical way to refinish hardwood floors a great find if you were -- but we are still in a reces... um I mean, economically-challenging time.  That's why when we decided to pull up all the carpet in our new home and expose the wood floors underneath, we called Mr. Sandless.  We had a newborn and were anxious to move-in quickly, and the thought of all the dust from, and the long process of, refinishing our floors the traditional way was just too much for us.  In my search of an alternative I found Mr. Sandless.  

Two guys came out and in one day they had completely transformed our floors from spotted, dull and motley, to gleaming new looking wood flooring.  Three years and two kids later, our floors still look fantastic!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Shhhhh....Mommy's sleeping

shi shu blankets

I first learned of these blankets when I found their baby blankets at Giggle {here's a link to my post on M.O.M.S. Baby}.  I initially picked up the baby blanket because it was pretty.  But when I finally pulled it out to pre-wash it before my second little one was born, I felt it for the first time and fell in love!  It was the softest baby blanket I had ever felt {and I am always on the lookout for the perfect baby blanket...thus, I have TONS}. 

When I looked up the company I was so excited to see that they made an adult size version!  The throws are made of 60% cotton and 40% bamboo.  The bamboo is what makes these throws so luxurious.  {I hear they even made it into the gift bags at the Golden Globes last year!}  These are the perfect throw for cuddling up with on a chilly fall night.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The next addition to our walls...

Name Your Design

Modern Personalized Art

I love almost anything personalized; like monogrammed pillowcases, towels, place-mats, soap, measuring cups...okay really anything.  So when I stumbled across this company, I fell in love with everything.  They have the cutest silhouette prints of your little one.  And if you're newlyweds {or just don't have little ones} they have great personalized wall art just for families of 2!