Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Recipe | Warm Goat Cheese, Fig + Hazelnut Salad

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

 In the summer we are so good about eating plenty of leafy greens, actually most nights you'll find a simple salad on our dinner table, but as soon as the season changes I no longer crave salads with the same frequency.  This one, however, has a few key things going for it: 1. warm cheese  2. hazelnuts and 3. dried figs, making it very crave-worthy even on chilly nights!  

It is the perfect salad for a special weekend lunch, which is how we had it on Sunday.  Or ideal for entertaining, because it makes a pretty presentation and includes cheese so you can skip the pre-dinner cheese board or appetizer if you like.   Sometimes I add a little chopped tarragon or basil if I have it on hand.  Enjoy!

 ^^ The best way to slice the cheese rounds is with plain dental floss, which we don't have, so I used a knife and cleaned it each time before slicing. ^^

Warm Goat Cheese, Fig and Hazelnut Salad

Mixed greens (Enough to feed 4)
1 TBS Holland House Champagne Vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
4 TBS olive oil
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 scallions, white and light green parts only, diced
3 TBS fresh parsley, chopped
12 dried figs, cut in half

5 oz roll of plain goat cheese
1 cup hazelnuts, chopped (I use my mini prep food processor to make it fast)
Optional Fresh Herbs: basil, chives or tarragon (add if you have them, it's delicious with them or without them)

Pre-heat broiler
Combine champagne vinegar, mustard, then slowly whisk in olive oil to make an emulsion.  Add salt, pepper, scallions and parsley and whisk together.  Toss dressing (I don't use all of it, just enough to wet the greens.  I save the rest for seconds the next day), figs and salad together (add any additional herbs if you like).  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Roll goat cheese log in chopped hazelnuts until well coated.  Slice log into 1/2 thick rounds and place on parchment sheet.  Warm the cheese under the broiler for 1-2 minutes depending on heat of broiler.  Be careful not to let cheese start to melt too much or burn the nuts.  It goes quickly, so just keep an eye on it. Top warm cheese slices on plated salad.  Eat while cheese is still warm.

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

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Celebrations | Charlie Turns 6!

I didn't mean to disappear for a couple weeks like I just did.  October is my favorite month of the year and I try to enjoy it to it's fullest.  The splendor of autumn in the midwest never ceases to amaze me.  It almost appears out of nowhere and never stays around long enough.  All the sidewalks filled with crunchy leaves, the chilly morning walks (or bike rides lately) to school, the afternoons baking (I recently tried this recipe and it's amazing), watching gusts of wind shake buckets of golden leaves  off the trees - yes, living in the storybook world that is October is all it's cracked up to be.

Charlie celebrated his 6th (!!!!) birthday on the 16th.  Another reason October is the greatest. Usually it falls on the prettiest weekend of the year.  Our colors always peak right around the second week in October.  A very fitting day to celebrate this bright, life loving little guy.

This year his class went on a field trip the morning of his birthday and I was one of the chaperones.  It was so special to get to spend so much of the school day with him.  We went to a nearby park and they did a series of nature inspired activities.  Thankfully the weather cooperated because it had been raining the last 8-10 days prior (the less glorious side of October!).  He had the best time. And so did I.

 ^^ Once back at school, C presented his Star of the Day poster.  A few of my favorite things he included were: favorite food - "my Mom's chocolate cake" , one of his favorite things to do at home - "cuddle my stuffed animals", and favorite place to visit - "Cape Cod." Of course there was also lots and lots of sports, nerf gun, pizza, Lego and Star Wars mentions too.^^

 ^^ For his birthday dinner he wanted Larosas pizza and homemade chocolate cake (with blue stars).^^

 ^^The gift he was most excited about was his new scooter, which he rode to school on the morning of his birthday, telling everyone, "it's my birthday and I got a new scooter!!"  He had planned to only open one gift before school and the rest in the afternoon, but by 7:05 AM they were all unwrapped and Andrew was busy assembling Lego sets for him. ^^

 ^^ On Saturday afternoon we partied at Pump It Up!  Charlie desperately wanted a party where he could have a lot of boys and they could run and be wild.  It was the first party I'd ever done at an indoor play place.  I'm usually not the biggest fan and prefer to make everything cute and thoughtful with a party at home, but I have to say it was so simple and completely stress free and the boys had such a great time.  It was perfect for Charlie.^^

^^They all got sweatbands in their treat boxes, it's Charlie signature football and soccer look. :) ^^

Friday, October 3, 2014

Interiors | A NEW option for decorating consults...

Since day one of offering decorating consults I've wanted to find a way to make the final presentation feel just a little more special + personalized, especially for e-design clients because we never have that face to face interaction.  After developing and tweaking the decorating plan for a room, I typically email the inspiration board and source list (unless you are local, then I print them for you).  It works great and we all get super excited and then I pretty much turn the reins over to you to make it all happen.  However, I wanted to give an option for those that want just a bit more, like having me handle the sample ordering and printing the inspiration boards and room layouts on high quality linen card stock.  I wanted to create a pretty place for you to store all the ideas too since for most of us our rooms evolve little by little, over time, and it's nice to have a spot to refer back to the plans and details now and again versus looking back through old emails.

Enter the NSH STYLE BOX!
 (NSH - that's short for Nine & Sixteen Home, just in case you were wondering.. :))

It is a pretty way to "wrap up" a project, plus a practical and accessible way to preserve your decorating plans.  Since I limit the number of clients I take on (this is a part time gig for me) it feels nice to be able to offer something a little special at the end of a project.  In the future, I may make this a standard feature. I will revisit the idea when I look at my rates for next year, but for now it is optional. 

If you are interested in a consultation click here
or email me at: nineandsixteen@gmail.com

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Recipes | Links to Fall Favorites

Earlier this year, uh, in January, I believe, I promised the year ahead would be sprinkled with meal planning posts.  I said that, but I lied.  I should never, ever, never commit to writing about a certain topic at some future date because 95% of the time I don't.  (hello, cheese board post, kitchen essentials post, fall fashion post 2012 + 2013, craft closet post, need I go on?)  I have so many posts in draft format I can assure you I will never be at a loss of what to blog about should I ever get around to finishing those posts up.  What usually happens is I don't like the photos I took, or I have text with no photos, or I no longer feel inspired to write about it.  Excuses, excuses.  Anyway... Back to meal planning.  Like I said (back in January ;)) I go through ups and downs.  Typically in the summer I'm pretty lackadaisical about dinners in general, lots of grilling, salads as entrees, farmer's market grab and go sorts of affairs but come autumn I'm back on the horn.  I like to have a short list of go to meals each season that I make once or twice a month to fill in the gaps when planning a week's worth of dinners.  In the fall it's a lot of squash (stuffed, soup, roasted), recipes with apples (homemade apple sauce, crisps, salads) and earthy pasta dishes (my favorite meat sauce recipe is coming soon.  (Did I really just promise that?!).

Here are links to a few favorite staple dishes from a salad, to a side dish to an entree... 

recipe via Half Baked Harvest
(my notes: I make it just like it is written except I add a bit more of everything so I have enough to stuff 3 whole/6 halves)

via Barefoot Contessa
(my notes - recipe is perfect and doesn't taste too mustard like at all.  i.e. kids will eat it!)

via Camille Styles
(my notes - I serve with rotisserie chicken breasts from store.  Also, I have added dried figs in place of currants and goat cheese in place of blue and almonds in place of walnuts and it is equally stellar.  This salad is all about the homemade raisin + nut bread croutons.  I use Blue Oven Bakery bread, if you are local, find yourself some and thank me later.  I buy several loaves at a time and freeze them especially for this salad.)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Interiors | Progress on a Cozy Living Room + Slipcovers in Outdoor Fabric

Hi there!  Can you believe it is already almost Thursday?  I always start the week with the grandest of blogging intentions and yet I'm lucky if I manage to squeak just one post out.  Oh well, this is my life.  I'm still trying to figure out how to strike the right balance with my new business (feels funny to even call it that). I've learned in the last month or so that I need to carve out more time for each room than I anticipated and space out projects enough so that I feel inspired and fresh each time I begin a new one.  For me that means staying true to a limited number of hours each week dedicated to Nine & Sixteen Home, so I can still spend plenty of afternoons baking and cooking or sneak in the occasional afternoon date with Jimmy or girlfriends.  All this to say, balance is good for the soul and I think I'm finding it.  Ok, on to a little peek at some recent work...

I'm just going to share a few teaser images of a home belonging to a neighbor and dear friend.  We started working on her home last fall (I think?).  The room is evolving slowly and with a budget.  You know, real life. :)  While not yet finished, the changes so far are dramatic  and have made such a difference in the room.  We started by repainting the room a pretty warm gray (it was too blue before), swapping out the printed rug for a larger, natural fiber rug, adding cheerful window treatments and creating an AMAZING gallery wall (I will show full wall in future post).  They are EXTREMELY well traveled (recently spent a year living abroad in Rome) and have a stunning collection of pottery, antique etchings, and prints that make the room feel so special and so them.  All that art was sitting in boxes in the basement; it was priority number one to get it framed (without breaking the bank) and displayed in way that complemented the room and didn't look cluttered.  Another issue was seating.  They had 2 sofas, one upholstered in an burnt orange fabric and the other in black leather (remains from former bachelor pad).  Like most of us, their home is a collection of things accumulated over a lifetime, some items are timeless and always work, while others need a bit of help to feel fresh and fit as our taste changes and our homes evolve.  The leather sofa got the boot in a garage sale, replaced with an antique chest of drawers (estate sale find - and complete score.  Patience and persistence are so important to creating beautiful rooms, especially if you want the rooms to incorporate antiques). Additional seating came from 2 wingback chairs - a Craigslist find.  Originally covered in a quilted teal/seafoam green fabric.

Here is a "before" shot from the same angle as shown above...

^^ If I told you what they paid for this chest of drawers you would cry.   Such a lucky find.  It is gorgeous and so much better than the black leather sofa. :) ^^

^^ The tiniest glimpse of their gallery wall.  I wasn't trying to be this secretive with this post! I took my camera over the other day when Charlie was going over for a playdate and realized I had my macro lens on too late.  The antique gold frames are actually ikea (I know!) made to look 100x more expensive with a little Rub-n-Buff paint.^^

^^ The small windows flanking the fireplace got roman shades and the large, front facing window got drapes. The pattern is perfect in the room because the reddish orange color matches the sofa perfectly making it appear intentional rather than a sofa kept because the budget didn't allow for a new one. ^^ 

The wingback chairs might be my second favorite thing in the room. (gallery wall is no. 1).  Three young and active boys live in this home and the living room is their main hangout spot.  It is also the room you walk into from the front door.  Yes, linen would have been a stunning slipcover option, but impractical.  I had seen other designers using outdoor fabrics in their homes and we thought if we could find the right color and texture it would be the perfect solution here too.  Stephanie ordered a bunch of soft gray Sunbrella swatches and we were both pleasantly surprised.  This one isn't thick, or plastic-y feeling like you expect outdoor fabrics to be.  It was thin enough to create pretty box pleats and the color is exactly what we were looking for.  I have recommended this option to other home owners since and I'm using it in my own home too.  Slipcovers are practical, but unless you have white, you can't bleach them and if you happen to forget and leave them in the dryer a minute too long they will shrink, so yes, I love the look maybe more than the supposed functionality.  These will never need to be washed.  Just wiped with a damp cloth. Easy -peasy. ^^

A couple other examples of using outdoor fabric:
^^chair in outdoor fabric from Rachel Halvorson^^

^^Sofa in all weather fabric, from Amy Meier^^

More pics to come on this lovely room soon, just a few finishing touches AND a proper camera lens and we should be good to go! ;)

  If you are interested in a decorating consultation for your home
please email me at: nineandsixteen@gmail.com