Thursday, January 29, 2015

Valentine's Day Inspiration

I've been looking for some Valentine's Day inspiration, just simple ways to make February 14th feel special and make sure my guys feel extra loved.  My Valentine's Day board on pinterest is one of my favorites, all those hearts, sweet little love notes, and pretty packages!  I have so much fun each year dreaming up ideas.  Above are a few ideas from my pinterest board to get you in the spirit, if you aren't already!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Recipe | Roasted Tomato Jam

I hope you are all keeping warm, wherever you might be! As you can see from the frosty window panes in our kitchen, we have dipped into the single digits here, if zero degrees and negative numbers are really even considered single digits.  School was on a 2 hour delay this morning and I've spent most of the week alternating between baking and sitting in front of the fire.  Warm oven, warm fire, repeat. :)  I've also been doing a lot of reading, my favorite of which is Paddington with Charlie.  It is the first longer chapter book, without pictures, that I've ever read to him.  I choose the original 1950's text, not one of the updated movie versions.  I'm a bit of a purist with children's literature, especially the classics.   I want my boys to experience the original books even if they read and prefer the modern versions later on.  Paddington is extra special to me because it was among my favorite stories and characters when i was little and we've been counting down the days till the movie premiere ever since we saw the first trailer early last year.   
Anyway, with all the talk of marmalade in the Paddington stories, I had the craving to make some of my own.  After the holidays, I feel like even my snacking should incorporate some kind of vegetable to make up for all the overly decadent food I ate over break, so tomato jam seemed the perfect choice.
This is a recipe that I typically make with balsamic vinegar, but Holland House asked me to try incorporating their red wine vinegar into a recipe and thought I'd try swap out the balsamic for red wine vinegar and see if it worked.  It did and the flavor was great.  Where the balsamic tends to mellow the flavors, the red wine vinegar brightens them, making the jam more intense.  Hard to describe without tasting it.  I truly enjoy it both ways.  The jam will keep in an airtight container in your fridge for up to 2 weeks.  (It won't last that long!) It is wonderful on grilled chicken, grilled ham and Gruyere sandwiches, on a cheese board, as a hostess or house warming gift along with a fresh baguette, or just straight from the jar.  It's amazing with whipped feta, goat cheese and Parmesan.  Since the tomatoes are roasted you don't need to add much additional sugar to the jam, which makes it even healthier too.  Enjoy!

Roasted Tomato Marmalade 

5 cups grape tomatoes
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
2 TBS olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
2 TBS Holland House Red Wine Vinegar
1 tsp light brown sugar
1 pinch red pepper flakes
Pinch of saffron

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Toss tomatoes, jalapeno and onion with 2 TBS olive oil and place on a sheet pan.  Sprinkle with salt and roast for 50 minutes until tomatoes start to blister.  Remove tomatoes, onion, jalapeno and any accumulated juices and place in a medium sized sauce pan.  Add vinegar, brown sugar, red pepper flakes, and saffron and let it simmer over low heat until almost of the liquid evaporates about 20-30 minutes, occasionally breaking up the tomatoes with a whisk or wooden spoon.  Add additional salt and pepper to taste.  Let cool and place in lidded canning jar or air tight container.  Will keep in fridge for up to 2 weeks. 

This is sponsored post written by me on behalf of Holland House Cooking Wines and Vinegars
Recipe and opinions are my own

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A Freshened Up Master Bedroom | Before + After

New year, new house projects, they sort of go hand in hand, don't they?  I always feel like something is missing when all the Christmas decorations come down, almost like our home is itching for something fresh to liven things up a bit.  While I'm still pondering what changes to make to our home in 2015, I thought I'd share the before and after pictures of a lovely family's master bedroom that was completed before the holidays.

This home belongs to the darling and incredibly kind hearted Rowe family. It was such a pleasure to give them a fresh perspective on decorating their bedroom, but it is Megan who really took the ideas and ran with them.  Helping decorate a room virtually works well, but it does require a lot of leg work on the end of the client (ordering fabric, lighting, etc., finding painters, seamstresses and carpenters...)  Megan executed the inspiration board beautifully!!   Originally, she contacted me with just a couple questions about new throw pillows for her love seat  (the same one her grandmother rocked her on and where she now snuggles with her 6 yearly daughter) and some thoughts on new bedding.  But, as is usually the case, a few questions turned into a full consult and I'm so glad it did.

great size, comfortable and with pretty touches, but too much brown (walls, wood, frames, lampshades, fabric)

The requests:
keep the toile pillows on the bed
keep the stained wood trim
keep the existing bedroom furniture
keep red in the color scheme since it's her husband's favorite color
keep personal mementos



^^it made such a difference to add a skirted table in place of one of the wood nightstands, it helped to break up the matching furniture just enough without having to change out everything.^^
^^block prints, monograms, checks and linen all add texture and brightened up the room.  check out the pretty red trimmed scalloped sheets and pillow cases too. ^^
how incredible did the loveseat turn out?!!

the drapery details are perfect-o!

 so pretty they deserve two pictures, gorgeous pleats!

^^new mirror (wreath for Christmas!) and blue and white lamp freshened up the dresser area^^

^^but the prettiest part of the room? the family that gets to enjoy it!^^

Thank you sooo much, Megan, for letting me share these pictures and the progress on the room! 
As always, I do not share sources out of respect to paying clients, thanks for understanding.