Rainy Day Décor Inspiration

On a rainy day (and we’ve had plenty lately) I love to spend it indoors dreaming about what I’d like to do next.  I’ll play on Pinterest to find great ideas or browse other blogs.  But this past rainy day I ventured out to a couple of the best places for me to be inspired.  There are plenty of other places I go to for inspiration, these just happened to be two that I was near by on this rainy day. 

My first stop was B. D. Jeffries.  This store is absolutely amazing!  The décor is rustic without being lodge-y, luxurious without being stuffy, industrial without being harsh, it’s just a design wonder!  But all beautiful design here comes at a price.  $$$$

 

So, after seeing all this beautiful furniture and décor that is sooo fabulous I decided to go to a place just as fabulous, if you have some imagination.  I headed to the Gibson Mill Antique Mall.  There are so many wonderful spaces here:  some look like someone’s garage sale, others look like Grandma’s estate sale, yet others look like an interior design shop.  My favorite place is the remnant fabric area!

This was my favorite find of the day:

Good advice!

Words to live by.

 

What has inspired you lately?

Easy Eggplant Parmigiana

In an effort to keep dinner time simple, quick and healthy, I decided to tweak the regular eggplant parm recipes which require it to look like a lasagne, and make this one really easy.  My children said that I was “the best cooker ever” after this one and it really only took 10 minutes of prep and 20 to cook in the oven.  Even my little chef was able to assist me.  I served it with cheese tortellini.

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You will need:

1 Eggplant

Salt

1 Cup of Italian breadcrumbs

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Marinara Sauce

Fresh mozzarella, sliced

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Thoroughly wash the eggplant.  You will want to leave the skin on so it keeps its round shape.  Slice the eggplant into rounds about 1/2 inch thick.  Lay them on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and sprinkle with salt.  It helps bring the natural juices to the surface.

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Let sit for a minute or two.  Then dredge the rounds in the breadcrumbs. 

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Put them back on the baking sheet and sprinkle with olive oil.  Spoon some marinara sauce onto the middle of each round.  This is fun for the little chefs!

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Then place a piece of sliced mozzarella on the sauced center of each round.

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Pop into the oven and bake for 20 minutes.  Voila!

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Weekly Menu 2/25–3/1

Wow!  Friday is March 1!  How time does fly!  Enjoy this weeks menu!

 

Monday – Cheese Ravioli with Pesto and Eggplant Parmesan Rounds

Tuesday – Turkey Meatloaf

Wednesday – BBQ Chicken Sandwiches with Celery Blue Cheese salad

Thursday – Baked Salmon Salad

Friday – Pasta with Prosciutto in Garlic Wine Sauce

5 Fab Wines for Under $15

I am no wine snob.  I can’t tell you what notes are left on your pallet, or talk tannins, etc.  (I don’t even know if that last sentence makes sense!  ) I like what I like and that is that.  What I really like is not paying too much for something.  I have found 5 amazing wines for under $15.  It has been said that there are plenty of wines out there for under $10, but I have found that the $10 – $15 range is the sweet spot.

This photo texted to me by my friend and her daughter about sums up my love affair with wine:

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All wines are from Total Wine with the exception of one, as noted with its picture.

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This one is a favorite of mine for the warmer weather.  I serve it very cold.  I don’t know if that is the correct way to serve it, but that’s how I roll!  It is a dry rose’ called Domaine Fontanyl and it costs $12.99.  It is a really good appetizer wine. 

 

 

 

 

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This wine is, hands down, my all time favorite.  It is very light and slightly fruity without being sweet.  I use it to cook, to sip, to entertain, everything!  Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc costs $8.97!  It goes well with fish and chicken.

 

 

 

 

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Bourgogne Pinot Noir came from a local wine shop aptly named The Wine Shop.  My friend picked me up a bottle after we had it at their house and I raved about it.  It has a slightly spicy finish.  (There!  That’s the depth of my wine knowledge!)  It costs $12 per bottle.  This is a steak wine, for sure!

 

 

 

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Cruz Alta Cabernet Sauvignon was recommended by the guy at Total Wine.  He got me at chocolate.  He said it had a chocolate finish.  I don’t really taste it, but it was good nonetheless at $11.99.

 

 

 

 

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This one was introduced to me by my mother and father- in- law who are quite the wine connoisseurs. (They know their coffee, too!)  They ordered it at a sushi place one evening while visiting us.  Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc is very light without being sweet.  It is $11.99 and frequently sold out!

 

 

 

I enjoy discovering new wines and learning more.  Please enlighten me on wine speak – as you can see, I need some coaching!  Smile

Breakfast Area–Before & After

I have been reminiscing about my old house.  I think about all the little projects I did there.  It was a new home when we moved in so there weren’t odd spaces or old DIY stuff for me to tackle.  It was exactly the way we wanted it.  So most of the stuff I did to the house was decoration.  Adding this and that, painting, etc. 

This was our breakfast area when we first moved in:

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This was a homemade cornice above the window.  It added the much needed color to the space.  And the table and chairs were from World Market and took a lot of abuse from a toddler and infant.  But I loved the rug, which I got at Target and still have today.

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This is the breakfast area after the kiddos had grown up a bit.  They had destroyed the table and it never matched anyway so I painted it with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Emperor’s Silk.  I bought a very ugly bench for around $50 and painted the legs the same color and upholstered it with a gorgeous fabric I found.  I think the fabric cost more than the bench!

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Isn’t it amazing what window treatments can do to a space?!  Prince Charming let me get rid of the boring white blinds and put in bamboo.  I didn’t tell him about the custom curtains until I brought them home.  He was upset until they went up, at that point he “got it”.  He’s coming around on the whole home decorating thing. Smile  The planters on the wall were purchased at HomeGoods.

A little sprucing made a big difference!  What have you done to your house lately?

Weekly Menu 2/18–2/22

This week is super easy, with the exception of Wednesday.  I have to cook for 2 families on Tuesday so I’m keeping it simple.  Wednesday is super healthy.  The rest is simple and quick.  No fuss about it.

Monday – Asian Lettuce Wraps – I make mine with ground turkey, water chestnuts and scallions tossed with a sauce of soy and honey.

Tuesday – Stir Fry – veggie only on this one!  I am cooking for a family who has an ill family member and though this was an easy re-heat for them.

Wednesday – Kale and Brussel Sprout Salad – this was brought to Thanksgiving dinner and was a crowd fave.  Found on Epicurious.

Thursday – Chicken pot pie

Friday – Cheddar, bacon and tomato panini on 7 grain bread

Atlanta–Design Inspiration Trip

I really believe that Atlanta sets the design standard for the South.  Some amazing designers have come from there (Suzanne Kasler, anyone?) and there are boutiques galore down there.  After having subscribed to Atlanta Homes magazine for quite some time and salivating over the copious amounts of interior design boutiques they have, I just had to go.  My dream is to open a home boutique so I chalked it up to research and inspiration.  I grabbed my dearest friend, Shannon who shares my love of a good boutique, and promised a weekend of interior design eye candy.  And some good food.  And a comfy hotel room with wine and no kids.  Needless to say, I didn’t have to ask her twice. 

We had a whole list of places to go: Huff Harrington Home, The Miami Circle Shops, B. D. Jeffries, J. Tribble,  just to name a few.  Not to mention the Ballard Designs outlet (there are two!) and a great furniture warehouse called The Dump

Here is a bit of what we found.

 

 

 

 

 

I fell in love with these lights at The Lighting Loft.  I think I will have to go back to Atlanta and buy them when I have a house to put them in!

Oh, and this chandelier too!

All in all, we had a wonderful trip.  Such a good time, in fact, that I forgot all about snapping pictures half the time!  There were plenty of interior design boutiques to inspire, and plenty more that we didn’t make it to.  We’ll save those for next trip!

New England Clam Chowder

Today is a cold, rainy day in the Carolinas and on a cold, rainy day the only thing more appealing to me than a blanket and a nap is New England Clam Chowder.  Growing up in Connecticut, I have had my fair share of the stuff.  I have found that no matter what, the best kind is the homemade kind.  Made with fresh clams if you can.  I don’t have the luxury of fresh clams, unless I want to pay a pretty penny for them, so I am going with canned ones. 

4 slices bacon, diced

1 1/2 cups chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped celery

1/4 cup chopped red pepper

1 1/2 cups water

4 cups peeled and cubed potatoes

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

pepper to taste

3 cups half-and-half

3 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 (10 ounce) cans minced clams

3 sprigs of thyme

Place cubed potatoes in water, add salt and pepper and boil until they are fork tender.  Drain and set aside.

Place diced bacon in large stock pot over medium-high heat. Cook until almost crisp; add onions, celery and peppers and cook 5 minutes.  Add the potatoes to pot.

Pour in half-and-half, heavy cream and add butter. Drain clams, reserving clam liquid; stir clams and 1/2 of the clam liquid into the soup.  Add the thyme sprigs. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until heated through. Do not allow to boil.  Add more of the reserved clam juice if you would like to thin the chowder.

Weekly Menu 2/11–2/15

It’s Valentine’s week!  Thursday is the big day!  Are you ready?  I am taking Valentine’s day straight to Prince Charming’s stomach with a very yummy chicken dinner that has it in for his sweet tooth too!

Monday – Steak with smashed garlic potatoes and sugar snap peas

Tuesday – Salmon Cakes (I omit the capers because I don’t like them and I serve these cakes with a lemon aioli)

Wednesday – Venison Burgers (Care package from my dear dad, prepared the same way as a regular burger, but soooo much better!)

Thursday – Maple Butter Roasted Chicken

Friday – Crispy Chicken Thighs with Terragon Sauce (this is my own creation.  I’ll post the recipe another time.)

Hold on to your loved ones tight, not just on Valentine’s day, but every day!