Classic Timepieces

There are some accessories that are just for show, but others can serve functional purposes while also being fashionable. Finding the right watch is like finding the final piece of a difficult puzzle. When looking for the right watch, you have to step outside of the box and find something that will be a bit more personal. In men’s fashion, the watch is very essential to pulling a look together completely. Invaluable.com, an online auction house that has more than 30-million  bidders annually, has hundreds of  unique timepieces that are stylish and sometimes vintage.

Men's Rolex Watch

Men’s Rolex Watch

Sometimes there are moments when you feel you don’t have anything to wear, but you know you have your staple accessories that will pull together any outfit. For men, this is no different. In modern times, men have been known to take in consideration more what they wear and how they look when getting ready. And what better way to pull together a look than to find a great outfit to go with your statement piece: a rose faced steel Rolex watch.

j crew gray suit

The Ludlow tweed suit from J. Crew is one way to add to the rose faced Rolex watch. The gray tones help the face stand out and shine.

banana republic leather jacket

 

Even adding a leather jacket from Banana Republic, the watch still will hold its class and style. There is a timelessness to leather and steel.

banana republic navy pants

Whether it is casual or formal, the watch will still make this Banana Republic navy chino and Army green combo seem fashionable. Who doesn’t love a man in chinos.

j crew dark gray suit

Of course, the everyday working man needs a timepiece that will help him arrive in a timely fashion. Nothing says style and power like a Rolex. This Ludlow gray Italian flannel power suit from J. Crew will definitely show your style and class.

Using an auction site like Invaluable.com to find unique men’s watches is one way to ensure that your guy won’t walk into the boardroom or local pub to find someone wearing the same watch. He will definitely stand out and show his sense of style with the choice of watches on the Invaluable.com site. There are many options in any price range. With the holidays fast approaching, you are sure to find something for that dashing gentleman on your list.

Warby Parker | Clear View

10.8.14

So you all know that fall is my favorite season. And I think I love accessories more than clothes. With all the choices we have for adding to our outfits, we cannot forget the glasses. Glasses are an accessory as well, whether they are required or just for show. Glasses are a subtle accent to our overall look.

This fall, I came across a wonderful company that has one of the most classic fall lines. Warby Parker has some styles that you can wear with your everyday look, or you can go for something more unique.

FALL2014_stills (1)There are many options to choose from, but the most ingenious the acetate and titanium frames. There are also other shapes and materials to choose from. Your personality will shine through with any frame.

WP14011_CHANDLERTI_175_OPT_TOPDOWN

Chandler Ti

The Warby Parker fall line will simply enhance any sense of style. With a chunky sweater or a business suit. There is a pair for the football game and the boardroom.

WP14011_HARDY_175_OPT_TOPDOWN

Hardy Striped Pacific

 

WP14011_COLEY_500_OPT_TOPDOWN

Coley Crystal

Since I was a child I always wanted to wear glasses because I thought it was cool. The choices with the new Warby Parker fall line make me feel I could get a pair for every mood.

And if the style wasn’t enough to get you excited about getting a pair, how about this. For every pair of glasses you purchase from Warby Parker, they will donate a pair to someone who is in need of the gift of clear vision. So, why not be fashionable and conscious while helping someone in need. Stay classy people and do it in style all the way up to your frames.

1071 TAL WARBY 04-321-03-03LR

Warby Parker truly has something for everyone.

Get yours today.

~Enjoy

 

Scandal at The Limited

9.25.14

Olivia Pope Clothing Line

This week, the most clever collaboration happened. For all the Gladiators out there, you should know that Kerry Washington, costume designer for “Scandal” Lyn Paolo, and Elliot Staples, Head Designer at The Limited, have collaborated to create a new line of Olivia Pope inspired designs for the everyday Gladiator.

kerry washingto lyn paolo

 

The style of Olivia Pope has been the talk of the fashion world since season 1 of the popular show Scandal. Now with this collaboration with a national retailer, the designer/costumer who created the visions, and the star wearing the visions, many of the show’s fans will be able to have a piece or two in their wardrobe that give them the feel of a Gladiator.

olivia pope and sketch

Many of Olivia Pope’s classic outfits are replicated for this new line, which was available in stores this Tuesday. So if Olivia Pope is a fashion icon for you, get to the nearest Limited and get your power suit ready.

scandal limited_1

The oversized sweater with wide leg pants are pretty much a must. But if you must do a formal jacket, try the side zip checker jacket.

scandal jacketOf course you have to have the cape that has been an epic piece for Ms. Pope since season 2. This plaid version comes in two shades, and will definitely show your power and class.

cape sketch

Don’t forget the wrap coat too. Ms. Pope has made the wrap coat a fall must. A classic and timeless look returns to show the femininity and style of a powerful woman. The soft colors only add to the powerful appeal.

Scandal at Limited

 

So if you are a fan of the show and cannot wait for the season 4 premiere tonight, don’t forget to go and get your Gladiator gear soon at The Limited store near you.

 

Fall is Here!!

fall falling

Fall began at 10:29pm last night. I am so excited and love this season so much, that I can’t wait to share the plethora of things I love this season. The colors haven’t began to change yet, but the hues are so magnificent. They began to contrast with the tree bark and grass they fall on.

Our fashion begins to change and evolve into thicker fabrics, more layers, and richer colors. The beautiful sweaters and the thick wool fabrics. They make me excited to get dressed! I love a warm sweater, colorful scarf, and a pair of jeans. With a pair of nice boots or ballerina flats.

Akris Fall 2014

Plaids are also great for fall. Especially in rich colors like grey, wine, or wheat. A skirt or dress in plaid is great, but growing up going to Catholic schools, plaid became a favorite for me all year round.

Fall Ralph Lauren

Wool coats are great! Warm and stylish. Paired with a lovely tote or satchel, they become fashion statements. Any length will do, but add your favorite scarf and your daily wear is all set.

H+M Home Decor

Home decor also changes a little during the cooler months. We use more candles to decorate or provide ambiance for a dinner party. The subtle light adds a bit of warmth to that fall gathering of friends.

H+M Home Decor_1

Choosing candles that use natural tones and materials in their holders just adds to the seasonal flair. Of course, richer scents like patchouli and bergamot are more common in fall, you can also choose scents like vanilla, musk, and spice.

OPI Fall Polishes

 

We also change our nail colors to match the season. OPI is one of my favorite brands of nail polish, and their Fall 2014 collection doesn’t disappoint.

6113f0cf196feee3a8fef266976b43a8

Adding some outdoor elements to your home can help bring the season indoors. Gourds, apples, and a blend of grasses help bring warmth to your fall decor.

fall hyacinth wreath

Decorating your door with a fall colored wreath helps welcome your guests to your home. Choosing flowers in fall hues can make a big difference.

fall wreath

Or you can use ornaments to create the same effect. Wreaths are a simple way to make your home ready for the fall season.

Oregon Autumn

The fall colors outside are so warm and inviting. The brisk air makes it a necessity to drink warm beverages and eat warm dishes.

warm blankets

Wrapping up in a warm blanket by a fire with a good book, or enjoying a morning cup of coffee or tea is a weekend must.

Fall Foliage

The scenes of fall can be so captivating and beautiful, as they represent a change in our environment.

red fall leaves

Take a walk and enjoy the views and colors. Enjoy this season as much as I do.

Happy Fall!

 

Fall Paint Color Palettes

9.22.14

Fall is quickly approaching, and if you are like me you love to immerse yourself in the colors of the season. Decorating the house can be fun and choosing colors for the walls is like choosing a new nail polish. Color is important because it can change, enhance, or disturb your mood. Choosing wall paint is something that you should do with care.

welcome fall

There are a lot of things to consider with paint. What the room is used for? How much sunlight the room gets? Where are the windows? What color to paint the ceiling? Do you have moldings? Wainscoting? Chair rails? You have to think of the little things to make sure you choose the right color for your space.

Fall front door

No matter if it is indoors or outdoors, color is important. Always go with what goes well with your home and use of the spaces. No matter what, choose what is comfortable for you. You have to live with paint for a while, so be sure to make certain it is a color you can live with.

fall color combos

Color isn’t just for the walls. You can incorporate fall colors on your furniture and the accessories you choose to accent your room with. Upholstery can add an element of color as well.

benjamin moore Sioux paint

This Benjamin Moore color, Sioux, is calm and can enhance neutral and muted tones. The color on the wall is subtle but packs a punch as far as color. The off white furniture just helps the wall color stand out.

Fall Dining room

This neutral color on the wall helps to accentuate the floors and makes the white furniture pops. The piping that matches the wall color helps to connect the two colors to the space. I may not always be a fan of white furniture, but when paired with a bold and dark wall color, it works perfectly.

coastal fall colors

These coastal colors are muted and represent the fall season on the coasts. Our coasts in this country have different shades of green and blue, and paired with the muted colors of the foliage they create this wonderful palette.

Orange color schemes

Now the orange fall palette may seem a little bold for an indoor room, but there are ways to incorporate shades of orange effectively. Add orange accents to the room, paint an accent wall with a lighter and neutral tone. Paint a built in a bold color so that the books and accessories help break up the color, and that way the bold color won’t overpower your room. You can also take bolder colors outdoors.

autumn color journey

Darker colors are best done in small dosed inside. If you take these bold colors outside, use them on a front door, window frames, or shutters. Using such dark colors outside also will help your house look like it’s one with nature as the leaves change throughout the season.

fall preserve hues

Fall colors are also those you can find in some foods and preserves. These tend to be colors more suitable for inside the home and in most rooms of the house. They easily go well in any kitchen of course, with the exception of peaches and orange-like colors. Those don’t do well in conjunction with food.

fall vegetable palettes

 

Another interesting place to take color inspiration from is food, mainly vegetables. Fall vegetables are rich with color. Eggplant, tomatoes, squash and gourds, greens, and root vegetables. All have an array of colors that can work in any home.

af1e68c0adff49b99fa54f5df8e8db75

Use nature as a guide to choosing colors for your home, but use nature and the things around you as inspiration. Once you find a palette that fits your lifestyle and needs, you can get your paint and get started with transforming your home. Adding paint to a room will give any room a boost, and maybe even boost the use of the room.

So use the outdoors to inspire the indoors, and share that inspiration with your friends and family who come to visit your home. Add a little paint to your home to keep the fall feel all year round. Color can go from season to season, so be adventurous. Enjoy the colors of the season and Happy Fall!

 

Crafted Infusion

9.18.14

People are always trying to find ways to update things to give them new life. Food and drink included. There are timeless recipes, but there are so many varieties of a recipe that can speak to someone’s unique palette. Whether it is adding herbs, spices, or deconstructing a dish, making any recipe your own is always encouraged.

I’ve been cooking since I was about 9 years old simply because I was a picky eater, and I was not a fan of boxed foods. So my single mother basically told me to do it myself. So, I looked at a package and found a basic recipe on the corn meal and did just that. I have been creating and altering recipes ever since. Even while in culinary school, I was always thinking of ways to change the standard recipes we were working with in class.

As I have gotten older, the same creative mind has worked in the world of cocktails. I came across a restaurant that was already in the lead for their unique take on Parisienne café fare, and their bartenders kept up with that creativity with the cocktails. Behind the bar I saw antique apothecary bottles with herbs and spices in them. I asked the bartender what it was and it was the first time I had heard of infusing spirits with herbs. I had come across some rare infused vodkas (not flavored, there is a huge difference) at a coworker’s dinner party once, and that was already mind blowing.

 

Now you can buy infused vodkas, although not common. You can buy infused liqueurs, which are more common. But sometimes, you can’t find the flavors you want when trying to create a unique craft cocktail.

Charbay infused vodka
solerno_blood_orange__51696.1405467670.220.290

 

Infusing vodka (or other spirits) is pretty simple. The process is fast and doesn’t require a lot of ingredients. Most time, creating the cocktail takes more effort than the infusing. I’ve talked about infusing before, but here are a couple of recipes for infusing herbs and fruits for creating something more creative cocktails.

Infused Vodka

  • 4 cups vodka
  • Funnel
  • Mesh strainer
  • Coffee filter
  • Quart jar with lid
  • 4 cup capacity glass bottle with lid or cork

Now, you can choose any of these ingredients:

  • 2 oranges or lemons
  • 1-2 large sprigs of basil, or another favorite herb (rosemary, mint, etc.)
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 cup clean berries
  • 1 cup fruit, cleaned and cut into chunks (pineapple, apple, melon, mango, etc.)

Now here’s the simple part. Take the herb, fruit, or vanilla bean and place in a jar. Pour the vodka in the jar, then put the top/cork on. Place in a dark place at room temperature for a few days. Fruits are stronger, so they will take less time (maybe 2 days). Herbs are a little more subtle and will take longer, maybe 3 days. Do NOT store them in the refrigerator. Pour the vodka through coffee filters set in a mesh strainer, and it’s ready to use.

Basil and herbs – roughly chop and add to jar.

Orange, lemons, melons, berries, fruits – Use citrus peels, no white pith. Cut fruits up roughly. Smash berries slightly leaving them in tact. Grapefruit and blood oranges can be added in pieces, rind and fruit.

Vanilla bean – Cut in half and remove the seeds. Add both the pod and seeds to the jar.

vanilla-rose-cocktail

Vanilla Rose

  • 2 ounces rosemary-infused vodka
  • 3/4 ounce dry vermouth
  • Lavender simple syrup
  • Dash of fresh lemon juice
  • Half of a vanilla bean
  • Lemon twist or wedge for garnish

Chop a half of a vanilla bean in small pieces width-wise and place it in a mixing glass. Add the lavender syrup and muddle, crushing the vanilla bean. Fill the glass with ice, add vodka and vermouth. Shake vigorously. Fine strain and serve either up in a cocktail glass or on the rocks in an old-fashioned glass. Garnish with a lemon twist or wedge.

Antioxidant Apple Martini - VeeV Cocktail

Mary Rose Cocktail

  • 2 parts rosemary vodka
  • 1/2 part creme de cassis
  • 1/2 part cranberry juice
  • Splash of club soda

In a shaker, combine vodka, cranberry juice and cassis. Add ice and shake. Pour a splash of club soda into a chilled cocktail glass. Strain the contents of the shaker into the glass, over the soda.

You can play around with flavors and combinations of flavors. Put them in decorative glass jars and give them as gifts. It’s funny how something handmade will make a hostess feel when you hand them a pretty and hand labeled jar.

Enjoy!

The New Shower | Wedding Wednesday

9.17.14

Bridal showers were once seen as a formal event that required fancy food, toilet paper games, and an awkward gift opening session. These days, brides are choosing more personalized and unique ways to celebrate their upcoming nuptials with their girl friends and wedding party. Here are some ways to throw tradition out and have a creative and relaxed shower.

Invitations/Stationery

You have to get the guests there, so choose stationery and invitations that compliment the colors the bride has chosen for her big day. Be creative and less formal.

metallic-051-mwd110239_vert
modern-invitation-11_vert
mwd105818_fall10_pipe4_hd
mwd105818_fall10_scallop4_hd
mwd105818_fall10_sheer1_hd

Location, location, location

Choose a location that is unique and special to you and your groom. I love historic spaces and gastropub type restaurants. The kind that serve craft cocktails and have communal seating. Places with character and culinary fare that goes beyond bruschetta and cheese and crackers.

Wright & Company

Wright & Company | Detroit, MI

Centerpieces

Menus

If you are having your shower at a restaurant or public place, use their menu to your advantage. Takes that task off of you. You can usually get a restaurant to create a prix fixe menu for your guests, or a special variety of menu items just for your party. They will usually give you a deal with that type of set up, but don’t be afraid to ask them.

If you are having your shower at a private home, think of doing a family style set up or creative appetizers that people can walk around and get. That way they can get to know others at the party. One thing to do is to have the appetizers placed around the room and not in one spot because it will make your guests get up and mingle.

Decor Items

Your decor can help bring all the elements of your shower together. You can choose a theme that is either personal for you, or if you have a theme for your wedding day use that. It makes everything seem cohesive.

Chose things that aren’t fussy or formal as to keep the vibe relaxed and engaging for your guests.

parisian shower table
rustic party decor
shower decor
vintage bridal table

Table Setting

Setting the table is nothing formal either. Unless you are having a high tea, there is no need for formal seating charts…unless you want to do so to mix up the guests. Be reasonable, you will be using the table a lot. So nothing fussy is really going to be functional.

fun-and-flirty-tablescape-with-black-pink-and-gold shower table

simple table

Signature Cocktail

Choose a special cocktail to represent some of your favorite flavors or a make up of your favorite cocktail. This is all based on preference. You can always have a non-alcoholic option for your child guests or designated drivers.

Display your cocktails in a manner that is easily accessed, classily displayed, and decorative. Try a drink dispenser or decorative glass pitchers.

drink station
drink table decor

Try one of these:

grapefruit + mint mojito

Grapefruit + Mint Mojito

  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh mint leaves, plus sprigs for garnish
  • 1 ruby-red grapefruit
  • 3/4 cup white rum
  • 3 cups ice
  • 1 cup seltzer

Bring sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat, and add mint leaves. Let steep 10 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve into a small bowl, and discard mint. Let cool.

Using a vegetable peeler, remove zest from grapefruit in long, wide strips. Place in a large glass, and add rum. Cover, and let stand for 30 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve into a large glass measure, and discard zest.

Cut away remaining pith from grapefruit. Cut between membranes to release segments. For each drink, place 2 to 3 segments in a glass. Top with 3/4 cup ice. Stir 3 tablespoons infused rum, 2 tablespoons mint syrup, and 1/4 cup seltzer in a glass measure, and pour over ice. Garnish with mint sprigs.

sour cherry old fashioned

 Sour Cherry Old Fashioned

  • 24 frozen sour cherries
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup whiskey
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons kirsch
  • Thin lemon-zest strips (from 1 lemon)

Place cherries in a heatproof bowl. Stir water and sugar in small saucepan to dissolve sugar. Bring to a boil, and pour over cherries. Let cool completely. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Drain cherries, reserving syrup. Thread 4 cherries onto each of 6 skewers. Make 3 drinks at a time: Pour 6 tablespoons whiskey, 3 tablespoons kirsch, and 4 1/2 teaspoons reserved syrup in a cocktail shaker 3/4 filled with ice. Shake and pour into chilled glasses. Garnish each with a skewer and 2 to 3 strips lemon zest. Repeat for the second batch.

Social Media Buzz

Encourage your guests to use social media apps like Instagram, or the specialty app called the Wedding Party App. This app will allow your guests, at both your shower and wedding, to share their photos with other guests. This will create a great collage of photos and share the memories of others and your guest’s experience sharing in your festivities. Create a unique hashtag to distinguish your event and that way your guests can look back as well under that definer.

Gift Alternatives

For your guests, try an alternative idea and ask guests to bring handmade, small, or specified gifts (i.e. preserves, favorite food items, wine, etc) for things you may want or need.

Guest Favors

Lastly, give your guests something to remember the day by. Give anything useful and small, but something that says ‘thank you for coming and sharing that moment’ with you.  Again, be creative, but practical.

nail polish favor
wine favors

Whatever type of bridal shower you have, enjoy your friends and family, and be in that moment. Have fun!

Tomato Soup | Tasty Tuesday

9.16.14

Fall is here and my favorite comfort food is in demand with the chilly temperatures, Soup! I love a warm soup, no matter the season. They are simple, warm, and are served in one dish. But with the harvest of tomatoes I had enough to make a small batch of tomato soup with the tomatoes I had left over from my tomato sauce.

IMG_3560

I love tomato soup! It’s creamy and rich, and full of flavor. You can make your tomato soup with whatever flavors you like. You can be bold and add spices to punch up the flavor, or keep it simple with a few herbs and cream. The process is pretty simple really.

IMG_3599

 

Garden Tomato Soup

  • 4 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 2 small onion, diced
  • 4 whole cloves or 1 tsp ground
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp dried basil, or 1 tsp of fresh basil finely chopped
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream

In a stockpot, over medium heat, combine the tomatoes, onion, cloves, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, and gently boil for about 20 minutes to blend all of the flavors. Remove from heat and blend in a blender in batches. You can use a food mill if you have one, and just run the mixture through the mill into a bowl. Discard any stuff left over in the food mill.

IMG_3596

In the stockpot, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour to make a roux, cooking until the roux is medium brown. Gradually whisk in the tomato mixture, so that no lumps form, then stir in the rest. Season with sugar and salt, and adjust to taste. 

IMG_3597

Temper the whipping cream by adding a little of the hot soup to the cream, and whisk together. This helps the cream reach the same temperature as the soup, and prevents it from curdling in the soup. Adding the cream finishes the soup and makes it creamy, also adding a little flavor.

Use the harvest of garden vegetables from the summer to make your fall soups, or use them as starters to add to some early fall vegetables for more complex soups and stews. Whatever you choose, love your fresh foods and enjoy the season.

Game Day Chic | 9.13.14

9.13.14

Fall sports are in full swing and there’s no reason you can’t still be fashionable in the stands. A loyal and devoted fan is there for the tailgating, the wins, and the losses. But you can always be chic.

flannel and stripes

Being chic doesn’t have to be fussy or matchy. It’s relaxed and pretty much what is comfortable. Flannel is always good for an outdoor game or activities. It keeps you warm and goes with everything. You can still dress up flannel with cool accessories. Again, no set rules, just wear what feels comfortable.

game day fashion

Fall colors are also good to wear for the big game. You can find a sweater in vibrant colors and layer them with a button down shirt and skinny jeans. Flat boots are always smart for the walk to the stadium. Denim of course goes with everything, and you can sport any fit (i.e. boyfriend, relaxed, bootcut, etc).

cable knit sweater

And there’s no reason you can’t pair your look with a pair of heels. Just make sure you’re comfortable, or if you are watching an away game at a pub/bar.

maxi dress

You can also wear a cool maxi dress for the big game. Pair it with a denim jacket or chambray shirt on the chilly game days. A ballerina flat or gladiator sandal works fine as well.

tunic and crossbody bag

A tunic with leggings or skinny jeans are simple and comfortable enough as well as functional. Pair with a cross-body bag for carrying your essentials and you are good to go.

lace tunic outfirt

On warmer days, or if you are watching indoors, you can just wear a girly tunic with a tall boot and leggings.

UofM outfit

Whatever team you are rooting for, it is okay to go crazy sometimes and show your team spirit. Be comfortable in whatever you choose to wear. Be smart and choose functional items to make sure you have a great time with friends and other fans.

Have fun and enjoy the game!

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

9.9.14

Now everyone loves fried chicken, but I decided one day to try making buttermilk fried chicken to try something a little different.

IMG_2538.JPG
It is a pretty simple recipe. Just season your chicken with salt and pepper, place it in a dish and cover chicken with the buttermilk. Cover with plastic wrap and let the chicken marinate in the refrigerator for about an hour. The longer, the better.
Continue reading

Fall (Fashion) is coming!

9.8.14

The heat is cooling down and the summer season is winding down. Sweater weather is upon us, and I am super excited to pull out my scarves and sweaters. Drinking more tea and hot beverages, soups and stews, apple orchards, and a colorful leaf changes.

fall ombre

The accessories and fashion for fall is my favorite. The chunky sweaters and bulky scarves make getting dressed fun and full of choices. There are so many options and ways to mix up your wardrobe for the season.

Fall Outfit

This outfit is chic and simple. The black and white sweater under the wool winter white coat adds a little bit of class. The bag is simply everything and finishes the look.

fall suit jacket dainty shirt

This look is an example of using things you already have in your closet together to create a different look. You don’t have to buy all new clothes for a season. Use what you already have and make a new look. A cotton top paired with a jacket changes the look of everyday items.

casual outfit

This casual outfit is great for a fall outing to the apple orchard, or Sunday brunch. It’s versatile though and could totally work for dropping the kids off at school.

Accessories are always great. You can make an outfit new with accessories. Here are some of my favorites.

Dressing for fall is fun and relaxed and cozy. Not fussy, but still chic. Dress well, warm, and have fun with it.

Chicken Chili | Tasty Tuesday

9.2.14

With fall in the horizon, soups and chili will be a major dinner staple. One chili I tried out this summer was a chicken chili using some bone-in chicken breasts. Seeing as these parts weren’t easy to eat just cooked as they were, so I had to be a little creative in using it.

So, while watching one of my favorite chefs, Ina Garten, on television, I got inspired to make a chili. Although it was the middle of July, I still got the urge to create something good and warm. I found one of the Barefoot Contessa’s recipes for Chicken Chili and decided to modify it a little for my personal tastes.

IMG_3456

Chicken Chili

4 cups yellow onions, chopped (3 onions)
1/8 cup good olive oil, plus extra for chicken
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 orange bell peppers, diced
2 yellow bell peppers, diced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for chicken
2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled plum tomatoes in puree, undrained
2 tbsp dried basil leaves
2 split chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
Freshly ground black pepper

Cook the onions in the oil over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the bell peppers, chili powder, cayenne, and salt. Cook for 1 minute. Add tomatoes to the pot with the basil.I crushed my tomatoes by hand, but you can use a food processor if you like. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

IMG_3449

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

IMG_3447

Rub the chicken breasts with olive oil and place them on a baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast the chicken for about 35 minutes, until just cooked. Let cool slightly. Separate the meat from the bones and skin and cut it into 3/4-inch chunks.

IMG_3451

 

Add to the chili and simmer, uncovered, for another 20 minutes. Serve with the toppings, or refrigerate and reheat gently before serving.

IMG_3454

I enjoyed mine topped with sour cream and shredded cheddar, but you can use tortilla chips or chopped onions.

Tomäto, Tomāto

9.1.14

Now is the season for harvesting the tomatoes you get from the farmer’s market or in your own garden. A couple of years ago, my grandmother gave me over a bushel of red and green tomatoes from her garden. She had way too many and couldn’t do much with them all herself. So she decided to share the wealth with me.

IMG_3560

This year, she only had red tomatoes, but that’s just fine with me. I love pasta, so this was just a great excuse for me to make sauce for future dishes. I had about 32 tomatoes total, but only used about 23 to make my sauce. Since she shared with me, I am sharing my recipe for simple tomato sauce.

Tomato Sauce with Fresh Tomatoes

Take your tomatoes and cut the tops off. Chop the tomatoes up coarsely, removing most of the seeds. Take the tomatoes and add them to a large pot with about 2 cups of water. You can use less water if you want a thicker sauce. Add the tomatoes and water to a large pot. Cover and cook on a medium heat until the tomatoes are soft and soupy.This takes about 12-15 minutes. Using a blender, puree the tomatoes in batches and add the sauce to a bowl. You should have about 15-17 cups of sauce.

tomatoes boiled

To make the sauce for pasta and other dishes, here is what you will need:

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 6 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 tbsp Italian seasonings
  • 3 tbsp dried basil
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper

Heat the olive oil in the same pot you cooked the tomatoes in. Add the onions and cook until soft. Add the garlic, for about a minute. Turn down to a low heat and add the tomato puree, basil, Italian seasonings, sugar, and salt and pepper. Simmer over low heat until sauce is thickened and reduced, stirring occasionally. This is a time where patience is important. You can’t rush a good sauce, it could burn easily. IMG_3553

At this point, you can freeze for future use. Store in plastic containers for up to 4 months. I was able to fill up a quarter of two gallon freezer bags to store until later. So, in essence that is a half-gallon of sauce. When you’re ready to use the sauce, you can add meat for a meat sauce, use it for spaghetti, or plain with just noodles.

66th Annual Emmy Awards

8.25.14

Tonight the Emmy awards are on NBC. Are you watching? Stay tuned for updates. Who are your predictions for tonight’s winners?

emmy-wallpaper-2560x1440

Mad Monday | Vive la France!

7.14.14

Today is the French equivalent to Independence Day, better known as Bastille Day. It commemorates the day that the Bastille prison was stormed and signifies the end of complete monarchy, the birth of the sovereign, and would eventually lead to the creation of the (First) Republic.

Like the 4th of July, food is an important part of the celebration. Sometimes French food can be seen as fussy and complicated, but here are a couple options that aren’t.

French 75

French 75

Serves 2

  • shots gin (Hendrick’s is a good choice)
  • shots Cointreau
  • squeeze of lime
  • 1 to 2 tsp sugar
  • Sparkling wine (Champagne or Prosecco), chilled
  • Ice
  1. Add enough ice to your cocktail shaker to fill it about a third of the way.
  2. Add the gin, Cointreau, lime, and sugar, then cover and shake well. Strain the drink into tumblers chilled with ice.
  3. Finish off each glass with a big splash of sparkling wine. An additional lime wedge is optional.
  4. Keep pouring ‘em.

macarons

Macarons

These Raspberry, Blueberry, and Champagne Cream Macarons  are a great option for any occasion. Not to be confused with macaroons, which are lovely coconut or ground almonds circular cakes often mistaken for macarons. Macarons are tiny bits of decadence. They come in many flavors and shades, but when done right they are divine!

hambaguette

Ham Baguette with Arugula and Camembert

Servings: 2

Ingredients

1 baguette
4 tablespoons butter
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fig jam
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
4 ounces thinly sliced jambon de Paris
3 ounces Camembert, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 cup baby arugula
Directions:
  1. Slice the baguette in half lengthwise, cutting about three-quarters of the way through.
  2. Evenly coat the cut sides with the butter and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Spread the fig jam & mustard over the butter on both sides.
  4. Layer the ham, Camembert and arugula on the bottom half of the baguette.
  5. Fold over the top half of the baguette and press gently to close.
  6. Cut the sandwich into the desired number of pieces and serve.