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New Easter Recipe

5 Apr

This weekend was so great! I can’t believe everything I did, while still being so relaxed. I finished a book, got a pedicure, got a massage, went to Great Falls Park, cooked a delicious dinner…! I have to pat myself on the back actually.

Last night, I made the same dinner that my mom made in NYC! I couldn’t get home for easter, but at least we ate the same thing, right?!

We both made a roasted pork loin with figs from the William Sonoma Meat and Poultry cookbook. The recipe called for sherry (I did not have sherry), so I made it with red wine. It was  really tasty, and we have half the pork left for dinner tonight. Yum!

Mom, is this what yours looked like?

First of all, I bought a pretty Easter plant.

Recipe called for the usual stuff, like onions, garlic, wine, but also an unexpected treat – almonds.

The sauce – wine, figs, OJ, honey, chicken stock, eventually almonds…

Right out of the oven

And the pork with the fig sauce!

Delicious! Can’t wait for leftovers tonight!


Dream Decorating

24 Feb

Did you happen to take the quiz in Real Simple Magazine this month that tells you all about your decorating style? I basically tied for all of them but the modern one. And not to start off negative, but why does such a great magazine, have such a bad website? I can’t even find information about the quiz online.

Regardless, the quiz only solidified what I already know. I am conflicted about decorating – I am drawn to a simple, clean look in West Elm lets say, and then I look through pottery barn and love the comfort and coziness, and then I walk into Anthropologie and want only vintage.

I really need to start an inspiration folder and see if any particular trend stands out. I did that with my wedding and found it to be so helpful. Once I looked through the pictures it was clear that everything was simple, but had a bit of a vintage or romantic flair. I think I tend to be more simple so our wedding was a toned down version of what I saw in magazines, but it really helped.

Unlike with the wedding planning though, I struggle with seeing something I love for a home and knowing how to create a simpler, often less girly, version!

I started thinking about all these decorating ideas again this weekend while walking around Alexandria. There are so many fabulous home stores, and we spent an unnecessary amount of time in The Hour looking at hundreds of vintage cocktail sets. I have been wanting vintage wine glasses for at least a year, but I got so overwhelmed in the store between all the different styles and colors, and basically wanted to redo all of my glassware right then and there.

Of course, instead, I bought nothing. But I will be going back to buy something soon.

Mixed in with the glassware, there were also vintage serving platters, posters, and lights…all of which I loved. But how to take pieces of that look and mesh them with my pottery barn apartment?

While I figure that out, take a look at this store – it’s wonderful.

The Hour Shop

By the way, we did finally buy a light fixture for over the dining room table. You may remember the days of debate. The light we chose was installed on Thursday, but now we need the ceiling repaired! I will post pictures soon.

Food for the snowstorm

4 Feb

During the brief storm this past weekend (not be confused with the huge storm expected this coming weekend), I made a delicious Jamie Oliver recipe! We had friends over on Sunday night, and I wanted to make a simple recipe, that wouldn’t stress me out, but was still warm and comforting for a snowy weekend. Btw, do we not live in DC – a place that should get less snow than NYC?!

Anyway, I had made the recipe a few times before and knew MJD always enjoyed it. I mean what could go wrong with pasta, and baked cheese!?! Of course, I forgot to take a picture, but I found the recipe on Gotta Little Space:

Pasta With Sweet Tomato Sauce & Baked Ricotta

1 lb piece of ricotta cheese
olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 a dried chili, crumbled
1 onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 tbsp butter
2 14oz cans whole plum tomatoes
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp sugar
1 lb pappardelle or other wide ribbon pasta
handful fresh basil, torn by hand
2 handfuls grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400. Rub ricotta with olive oil, sea salt, pepper, oregano and dried chili. Place on a baking sheet and cook in the oven for 20 minutes until golden and firm.

In a skillet, fry the onion and garlic in butter and a bit of olive oil. Cook for 4 minutes until sweet and softened. Add tomatoes, simmer gently for about 15 minutes, then break up tomatoes with spoon. Add balsamic vinegar and sugar and stir till it becomes a fine tomato sauce.

Cook pappardelle in salted boiling water according to package instructions. Drain and reserve some of the cooking water. Toss pasta with sauce and add a little pasta water to thin if necessary. Correct seasoning to taste, and working quickly, add most of the basil and Parmesan cheese. Place into warmed bowl, sprinkle remaining basil over and a bit more Parmesan. Crumble the baked ricotta over or serve at the table and let everyone crumble their own.

Next time I promise to take a picture. You should try it this weekend!!

Happy Chanukah!

11 Dec

Check out these perfect holiday cards that were posted on Oh So Beautiful Paper today.


I am sorry to ruin the surprise, but I’m pretty sure that I will be sending the menorah-antlered reindeer next year. Too cute!

Designed by Albertine Press

Turmoil Continues

18 Nov

I am just really not adventurous. I have looked at so many lights for the dining room, and I can’t find anything. I looked at this awesome post on design sponge, searched Decor 8, and drooled over decorology, but I am at a loss.

I love the adventurous ones like this, but I am too scared for that:

Way too bold

Something classic is great, but our apartment has a pretty relaxed style:

But too fancy?

Or more casual:

will this get dirty?

the original idea:

too dark?

Of course the Restoration Hardware pieces are also $$$$ mad pricey. Anyway, just letting you know the turmoil continues…let me know your thoughts.


17 Nov

Ok, feedback on yesterday’s post has not been very positive! So, can anyone suggest additional places to look for lights to hang over the dining room table? I want something simple, not too formal, and not too modern. Our furniture in not modern.

Any ideas?! Suggestions!?

Cute or Ugly?

16 Nov

Do you like this to hang over our long antique dining room table. I wanted something with two lights (like this but simpler and darker), but now I am drawn to this one.

From Pottery Barn

 Here’s a poor quality picture of the dining room. We’ve moved some things around but it’s generally the same layout.

Dining room

On a fall night

26 Oct

So many people seem to be blogging today about soup recipes. With colds and flus going around, I think it’s a great idea. Especially if I could find one that is easy to make on a work night.


Vegetable and Tofu Cocunut soup. I bet I could figure out a way to use chicken as well (don’t fret hubbie).

Thanks to Mango & Tomato for the recipe and inspiration. A little soup, some white wine, and those godiva chocolates we got as a gift this weekend. Perfect!

Dinner Party Update – Finding Martha

2 Oct

Thank you all for the wonderful suggestions! I have so many recipes to try now – I can’t wait!

An update on the menu: I had decided to make Legeytimate Thoughts’ pumpkin ravioli with butter and sage and Modern Domestic‘s rustic apple tart for dessert. But then I learned that one of the couples can’t make it (one-half of that couple also happens to be my husband’s boss), and now that only one couple is coming, and they are friends, I think I might try the butternut squash risotto

I totally get that it’s pretty hands on, but since they are friends I hope they won’t mind me disappearing into the kitchen for awhile. And I just know I won’t make it if I don’t do it now. I may live to regret this, but I’m taking on the challenge!

I also loved the idea of using a fall vegetable, and getting some fall beers!

Now I have to get an apple corer and clean the apartment!

Oh and our realtor is also coming over this weekend to help us decide which home projects will add more value to our place – since we can only afford to do a few from our growing list. So, I really need to clean for that!

I’ll let you know how it all goes and if I stick to this plan!

Thank you!

Possible Dinner Party

1 Oct

MJD and I are likely having friends over for dinner this weekend which has sent me into a tailspin over what to make. I cook a lot, but I tend to make easy, cheap meals that are fine for dinner on a work night, but seem so lame for dinner with friends. I always say I am going to find a few impressive meals to fall back on, but of course I never stick to that!

One fall back is usually a roast chicken, but there’s a chance a vegetarian will be coming over. So, that won’t work. And I like a few pasta dishes that I make, but they are so stressful at the end to throw together.

My friend Andrea recommended a risotto, which seems a little hectic at the end, but could be a good option (except for the fact it will be the first time I make it). But it does look and sound really good! Ugh. Any vegetarian suggestions would be welcome!!

Anyway, while stressing about all of that I also realized I never make dessert, so I’m at a total loss there! I was planning to do some sweet fruit and whipped cream thing, but then I realized berry season is probably over. Right? What’s in season now? Apples?

I saw what looks like a delicious apple turnover at Modern Domestic, but that’s way past my comfort level!

Any thoughts on dessert? I promise to report back on what I decide.

I so wish I was more confident in the cooking/decorating department. Over at Legeytimate Thoughts, there are parties being thrown left and right!

I need to find the Martha Stewart in me…!