Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Edible Centerpieces

With summer comes fresh veggies and fruits galore! Why not showcase these at your next gathering with edible centerpieces? They are festive, fun, colorful, and delicious...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Kitchen Remodel

Many of you have requested pics from the kitchen remodel we did to our home. What an experience! Not in our original plan, but appliances didn't function and well, one thing led to another. Before we knew it, we were gutting the whole thing! Have to say... we love it! Robert, the kids and I all enjoy it!


Spring Flower Arrangments

Nothing says "spring" in Chicago like fresh cut flowers from my garden. . .

3 elements create harmony and balance in floral arranging: height, texture, and color.

Vary Height by selecting different size containers and flowers.
Mixing textures of metal, glass, and flowers creates varying textures... add in some other natural elements such as stones, moss, and varying flowers.
Of course you have to add candle light to create ambiance... it completes the total picture...

Monday, May 25, 2009

Simple Changes = BIG Impact

If you've been to my decorating workshops, you've heard me say... "3 simple keys to decorating... height, texture, and color!" Here are a few examples of combining these elements. I'll share before and after pictures so you can see what I mean...


This project began with a client who wanted to "update" her living room. Notice that before everything seems "lost" in the room. We purchased a new sofa, rug, and added window treatments as well as a few accessories to take advantage of the height of this room.

Here we drew the eye up by adding window treatments with color and texture. Lamps add height to the area behind the sofa while creating ambiance with lighting.

Healthy and Quick Recipe

I wanted to share this treasure that I found several years ago in Food &Wine magazine... Scallop, Corn, and Basil Hobo Packets. YUMMERS!! And it's healthy and best of all very easy to clean up!! Don't like scallops? No worries, substitute any fish or chicken!

Using foil pouches, or hobo packs, is a fabulous way to grill seafood and sliced or cubed meat, because it allows food to steam in its own juices. Without any extra effort, you've got a naturally rich-tasting sauce.

Wine: Pair with a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, with its characteristic tartness, will provide a refreshing contrast to the sweet scallops and their basil-scented sauce. Try the 2002 Grove Mill or the 2002 Firstland.

Scallops, Corn and Basil Steamed in Foil* can sub any fish or chicken for scallops... also shake it up... use any veggie, herb, or I even made with my Tuscan Garlic dip mix!

Recipe by Marcia Kiesel

  • Fast
  • Healthy


  1. 3/4 cup dry white wine
  2. 2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
  3. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
  4. 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  5. 2 1/4 pounds sea scallops
  6. 36 cherry tomatoes (from 2 pints), halved
  7. 3 cups baby spinach (2 ounces)
  8. 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
  9. 3/4 cup chopped basil
  10. Salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. Light a grill. Cut six 18-by-20-inch pieces of heavy-duty aluminum foil. In the center of each piece of aluminum foil, combine 2 tablespoons of the white wine with one-sixth of the sliced shallots, 1 piece of butter and 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Top with the scallops, followed by the tomatoes, spinach, corn and basil. Season with salt and pepper. Bring the sides of the foil together and fold to form neat rectangles.
  2. Grill the foil packs over a medium-hot fire until steam inflates them and you hear the juices bubbling, about 10 minutes. Carefully open the foil packs to let the steam escape, then transfer the scallops, vegetables and their broth to shallow soup bowls and serve immediately.


    One Serving: 297 cal, 10.6 gm fat, 3.3 gm saturated fat, 16 gm carb, 3 gm fiber.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Freshly Picked Spring Colors

As an interior decorator I always heard from clients that selecting fabrics that "blend" was an impossible task! Coordinating fabrics is easy when you use resources for inspiration, such as House Beautiful and Veranda magazines. Enjoy spring all year round with fabrics from Antonia Hutt and see more ideas.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Aspen's Cream Corn

Yummo as Rachel Ray would say! Nothing healthy about this recipe, but every time I make it, I'm asked for the recipe... Thanks to my waiter in Atlanta Aspen's restaurant who shared the recipe with me prior to our move! 
3 Ears of yellow corn cooked or grilled & cut off the cob
3 Ears of cream corn cooked or grilled & cut off the cob
1 clove of garlic - minced
1 shallot - chopped fine
3 strips cooked bacon
1 jalapeno pepper - chopped fine
salt n pepper
1/2 stick of butter
Heavy cream

I adjusted the recipe some by dicing cold bacon and cooking it then reserving some of the drippings (for chicken and dumplings later), remove bacon, then in the same pan, melt butter, saute garlic, shallot, and pepper. Add bacon and corn and heat. Add heavy cream S&P to taste. Serve in my Taste of Home Entertaining Soup Tureen that has already been warmed in the oven. The golden color of the corn looks scrumptious in the chocolate colored dish! ENJOY!

Click here to see ideas