Christmas barns

I love barns.  In the fall, in the winter, spring and summer. They remind me of a time before us, they are simple, they require hard work. I took a brief Pinterest roundup of some Christmas barns to share. I hope you enjoy. Two sleeps and a plane ride until I'm home for Christmas!

All images via Pinterest.


Simple Supper and a Surprise

Considering we live in Florida, we do not eat nearly enough seafood.  I might buy something at the market and cook it that night or the next day, but I want to get in the habit of incorporating seafood into dinner at least twice a week.

On Sunday night I made sauteed Florida shrimp with mushrooms, green onions, ginger, and a jalapeno.  I served it with spiced roasted eggplant and a little quinoa.  It was spicy, but pretty good. I then took all the shrimp shells and made a nice broth - something I wouldn't recommend doing in an open air apartment as I had to light candles for the remainder of the evening as dinner was lingering.   But, the broth was delicious.

Last night I made a one pot dish that was a play off of this Cooking Light recipe but I had no fennel.  It was delish, took thirty minutes, and was a nice light weeknight dinner.  I roasted brussel sprouts with balsamic to serve along side.

Here's the recipe for the simple fish stew -

1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 pint cherry tomatos, halved
3 garlic cloves, diced
2.5 cups seafood stock
2 cups marianna sauce
1/4 t red pepper flakes
1/4 t paprika
1 lb white fish, cut into 1" pieces; I used tilapia
salt and pepper to taste

Add oil to pot and heat up (on medium), 2 minutes, add onion and saute for 3-4 minutes.  Add carrot and celery, saute 8-10 minutes, add garlic, tomatos, red pepper flakes and paprika.  Stir for 3 minutes actively, until tomatos burst.  Add seafood stock and tomato sauce, stir and bring up to a simmer, simmer for 5 minutes uncovered.  Add fish and bring heat down, cook uncovered for ten minutes. Serve hot with Parmesan cheese and crusty bread.

Also some of my lady friends did a Secret Santa this year.  It was a treat to come home on Monday and find a package waiting with a gift from an old friend.  She is the cutest and the note said, "Because I love your blog."  I love it some much and it brings a smile whenever I walk by the guest bedside table.


Recipe - Ole NYC standard

When I lived in the West Village I would stay in many a night and make this little chicken dish for myself and then eat the left overs for a few days.  It seemed fancy since it had white wine in it with the "good Dijon."  It is best served with rice and a steamed or roasted veggie.  Last night I did asparagus.  See if you like it!

Dijon chicken with mushrooms and tomatos

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1" pieces
1 pint cherry tomatos, sliced in half
1 pint button mushrooms, sliced
1 yellow onion, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 T capers
2.5 T dijon mustard
1 cup white wine (any will do)
Half lemon, juiced
Olive oil

Dice all veggies while chicken is browning in pan on medium-high heat with a bit a salt with 1 T olive oil.

Remove chicken from pan with tongs and set aside, lower heat to medium and add onion, saute for 8-10 minutes.

Add tomatos, mushrooms, wine, mustard, dash salt and pepper, turn heat up to high, once bubbling, turn to low, add chicken and capers and simmer for 12-15 minutes.  Add lemon juice right before serving.  Serve over rice and with other vegetable.



Be my guest - part one

I love guest rooms.  I think it is a space where one can experiment more with design; there is more freedom with a guest room.  I enjoy making my houseguests feel welcome and cozy in our home, and I wanted to share some of my thoughts for creating a warm room for guests to stay.

On my Christmas list this year is a glass carafe. It is a lovely personal touch for out of town guest on the bedside table.   Below are a few I found online to share.

Images 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9


Friday round-up!

Back to Miami after a work and personal travel week.  I was in Montreal for a quick three-day trip last weekend - update to come asap.  Loved that city. 

This weekend we're headed to watch Alice in Wonderland at the Barnacle (coolest name for park) for a public showing and picnic.  Sunday is our first Dolphins game with R's work people. November, Miami, spouse work colleagues - outfit is very TBD.  

A couple things to share today:

We had THE best African Peanut Soup with Chicken and Sweet Potatos in Montreal. I am trying one asap. 

Holiday wreaths that are so beautiful and fun. 

Great Florida holiday wrapping paper

This purchase is probably happening soon. 

Hunting for a Christmas tree skirt that I find attractive/not outrageously expensive for two years now.   This one (gold) may do, still not sold...

This makes me tingly. 


Recipe - roasted tomato soup

The ladies I work with and share an office (there are three of us in a room) love soup as much as I do.  I have been hyping up my soup game but have not brought in anything as I've promised.  Until today. Last night I made a version of smitten kitchen's roasted tomato soup.  It was good, I could make some tweaks I think to make it even better.  See the recipe below with my tweaks.  I served it with shredded mozzarella cheese on top and a slice of Asiago peppercorn bread from Trader Joe's.

My version of roasted tomato soup -

3.5 pounds roma tomatoes, sliced down the middle
6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 T olive oil
salt and pepper
1/8 t roasted red pepper flakes
1/4 t dried thyme
4 c vegetable stock

Preheat oven to 250, place tomatoes face up on sheet and roast for 2 hours. Take garlic and wrap tightly in tinfoil, put on sheet with tomatoes. Drizzle tomatoes with olive oil and heave seasoning of salt and pepper.

Pour veggie stock in pot with red pepper flakes and thyme. Once tomatoes are done, remove with tongs from sheet along with garlic cloves (peeled) to blender or food processor and plush one-two times so they are still course. Add mixture to broth in pot, bring to boil and then simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

This soup is MUCH better the next day, making this a day ahead would be ideal.

Image via smitten kitchen


Friday round-up!

Happy almost weekend!  This weekend we're going to a friend's BYOP carving party, I'm checking out a new Pilate's class, and have some other high-paced activities on tap...

I bought this sweater and it is THE best.  Staple.  I cannot wait for it to either get cool enough to wear it in Miami or wear it when I go North for a work trip soon.

I read a New Yorker piece on Jack Dorsey (Twitter founder) last night.

I'm going to try out this dip this weekend as a base, but jazz it up a bit.  I will post the recipe if it is worthy.

I read this post on Monday via A Cup of Jo and passed it along to some of my work friends with kids.  I think it is so important for women to be supportive of each other, even if they are in different life situations.  What I have learned is that we all think that we should be doing more and/or doing things better most of the time.  It's exhausting.

Who knew the roof of Chicago City Hall was so green?

Cute earrings. Holiday lite.


Fall doorways

Almost November and time to look at some pretty doors.  Excited to post this by season.   xo

All images via my Pinterest.


Friday round-up!

Here are a couple things I came across this week to share:

Winter white dress staple to have in your wardrobe. 

R.I.P. -- gummy bear fans/addicts should know about.

Stock your bar before with the essentials before the holidays. 

BIG arrival here in South Florida today.  I. am. pumped.

Movie I want to see this weekend. 

Loving this skirt

Cute Halloween card (love the black envelope, would use a silver pen). 

Have a nice weekend!


Weeknight dinner - Nicoise salad

Last night I made a light dinner, nicoise salad, that I planned to make over the weekend. I love the presentation of this meal more than anything.  All the colors and textures on the platter make it something fun to put on the table.  I made it with salmon as that was the freshest fish at the market. R eats dinner and then says, you know I cannot stand salmon for the record. Noted. Newlywed moments 101.

I made this version with cherry tomatoes, blanched green beans, shallots, roasted baby Yukon gold potatoes (they were the size of gum drops, so delicious), hard boiled eggs, nicoise pitted olives, oven roasted salmon and arugula.  I whipped up an easy vinaigrette that I will share below.

Here's a snapshot of the table, not bad for a Tuesday.

Easy vinaigrette:

1 lemon juiced
1 T Dijon mustard
.5 t salt
.5 t black pepper
1 t sugar
1-2 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil

Add all ingredients to mason jar and shake.  Good in fridge for a week (or so).


Recipe Recap - thai butternut squash soup

This past weekend I made a Thai Butternut Sqaush soup.  I modified the Cooking Light recipe and it was a winner.  I will be making this for Thanksgiving. Easy as I can make it earlier in the week and then transport it to my in-laws for dinner in tupperware.   It was delicious and paired beautifully with a slice of fresh bread and kale/avocado/dried cranberry salad for lunch yesterday at work. 

  • 1 T olive oil 
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 T minced fresh garlic
  • 1 T minced fresh garlic
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup vegetable stock 
  • 4 cups roasted butternut squash 
  • (14-ounce) can light coconut milk
  • 1.5 t fish sauce
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t pepper
  • 1.5 t cumin
  • 1/2 cup chopped unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
  • limes (1 juiced, 1 sliced for serving into wedges)

  • Preheat oven to 425.  Cut butternut squash in half, cut out seeds and put little olive oil on squash, put on sheet pan face up and bake for 30 minutes.   When squash is done, wait to cool so you can handle and scoop out squash, set aside.
  • Saute onion in olive oil until soft on low-medium heat (about 8 minutes).  Add garlic and ginger, saute one minute and add coconut milk, water, and stock.  Turn heat up to heat and bring to boil, add butternut squash, fish sauce, salt, pepper, cumin.  Once at boil, bring down to simmer for ten minutes, add juice of one lime, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.  Use immersion blender to blend until smooth.  Serve with peanuts, cilantro, and lime as garnish.  YUM.
  • Image: 1


Weekend cooking plans

Every weekend (if not traveling), I try to make at least one new recipe.  I find nothing more restorative and calming than standing in my kitchen on a weekend afternoon, listening to music or having sports on a dull roar in the background and making something for the week ahead.  Last weekend I tried a new soup recipe I might make for Thanksgiving. White bean with rosemary by Ina, how could it go wrong (sounds like her, no?). I am tasked with soup for the meal - fine by me!

Sunday night is a night I really try to put in that extra 10% for a nice family meal.  Candles, cloth napkins, music on (maybe even make a play list if I'm organized, that has never happened ps), more than one course (aka make a dessert and a main course).

This weekend I am attempting to make bread for the first time.  I'm a bit nervous and excited!  Dinner will be a Nicoise salad (new recipe) with hopefully a semi-successful loaf of bread on Sunday.  I am also making a Thai butternut squash soup to have on hand for lunch this upcoming week. Pictures and recipes to come my friends, this bread could be entertaining.

(A vision of my kitchen on Sunday for sure).


Let's pretend...

It's starting to get cold out, maybe even just crisp in the morning.  For many yes, in South Florida, no.

Many ladies have their "thing" in fashion.  A shoe person, bag lady, etc.  Well, I love coats.  I buy them as investment pieces, and if you live in a cold urban place, it's what the majority of people see you in on a daily basis.  I have not updated my coats since being in South Florida for three winters (although my cover up collection is thriving), but I still look.

Here are a few of my favorites. I am holding back on pressing the "add to cart."

Tan is my favorite color, open my closet before I moved to Miami and it would be a vision of neutrals.  I've jazzed it up considerably since moving to the tropics.  Also the hood is great for blocking wind, a Chicago/New York must. 

Mackage is my ultimate dream coat category.  They are smart, functional, classic with personality (like the placement of the zipper here).  They also do not make you look like the Michelin man, a bonus in this department. 

Super cute and affordable, ala Zara. 

This J. Crew Stadium Cloth Cocoon Coat came out the year I moved South, I still love it.   The color is a lovely non-traditional neutral option. 

Burberry Brit is an investment for sure, but they are warm, look super chic and hold up. The cinching belt also helps with the aforementioned dilemma. 

This Club Monaco number is SO great, do you notice the pockets are black calf hair AND it has a hood.  What a classic piece to have with a little sass. 

Credit: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6


Weekend Plans and Eats

This weekend we have plans to eat out on Friday and Saturday.  I'm off to Pilates on Saturday, errands, and finishing the wedding thank you notes.  I am in the home stretch but have some sort of mental block for the remaining fifteen.  I will finish these notes!  Sunday I am hoping to make it to the Beach to check out this new exhibit at the Wolfsoinain. 

Tonight we are headed to a quirky Miami place I've been wanting to try - El Carejo, a tapas bar connected to a gas station.  I'm a bit concerned about the lack of natural light (a thing of mine), but it gets good reviews and it is just the right amount of novelty and adventure for my Friday night. Tomorrow we're headed to somewhere a bit shinier in Midtown (locale TBD) as it's Miami Spice (Miami's restaurant month).  This little Greek gem is calling my name for a try. 

El Carejo - fill 'er up and I'll have the Pinot. 

Kouzina Bistro, the Saturday night locale of choice. 

We'll see how they are! 

Images: 1 2 3


Take Two

Well that last post was a big lie.  It has been 14 months since I've fired this thing up, but I am ready.  I just have not dedicated the time.  Some of my sweet friends have asked me to start again and they miss it.  That is just the mini push I needed to start to restart blogging.  Lots has happened in 14 months, so many things I have seen, done, eaten, traveled, etc.  So I look forward to sharing with my little readership again.  Thank you.