Inspired by…home of Bill & Giuliana Rancic

p_102118785_

So I am totally obsessed with this couple, mostly because of their reality t.v. show that follows their crazy daily life (he’s a real estate developer and motivational speaker, she’s a television host, news anchor and fashion critic on E!) and their trials and tribulations as Giuliana overcame breast cancer and their difficulty to have children. They are so real and hilarious through everything that it’s hard not to love them. A couple season’s ago, they bought a home in LA and Bill led the design teams in a complete remodel. The result is quite possibly my dream home (at least one that I feel is somewhat within my reach…in 10 to 15 years).

What I love most about this home is how beautiful the decorating is while still being so neutral, calming and serene. The perfect place to relax and unwind after a long day. The interior decorating was completed by Lonni Paul and the home was photographed by Michael Garland for Traditional Home Magazine.

p_102118798

“A carved wood chandelier from Circa Lighting illuminates comfy furniture and a neutral-toned rug from Safavieh.”

p_102118804

“Comfortable wicker chairs around a wood table provide a relaxing spot to check out the pool.”

p_102118818

“Atop an RH striped rug, sofas from Lane Venture are upholstered in white Sunbrella fabric and accessorized with blue-and-white pillows. Tables, including a black coffee table and a ceramic garden stool, offer handy spots to place an arrangement of flowers or a drink.”

p_102118807

“A pair of blue linen poufs are tucked beneath a sofa table from Hickory Chair in the family room, decorated in classic blue and white”

p_102118764

“The Ralph Lauren four-poster that Bill and Giuliana moved from their former home finds its niche under a vaulted ceiling. A bench with a matching dark finish wears linen and is topped with monogrammed pillows from Jonathan Adler. Toss pillows on the bed complement the rug from Surya.”

p_102118814

“Blue grass cloth by Phillip Jeffries encloses the nursery that Paul designed with a water theme in mind. A crib she designed for her PetitNest line features Duke’s initials. Globe poufs from RH sit atop a chevron-patterned rug by Jonathan Adler”

Spinach Bacon Crust-less Mini Quiches

IMG_2504
The great thing about these little cuties is that you can easily turn this into a full size quiche for Sunday brunch by baking in a quiche dish rather than a muffin tin. I made them for weekday mornings last week so the smaller muffin size quiches worked a bit better for us.

Spinach Bacon Crust-less Mini Quiches
Makes 12 servings

Cooking spray
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 slices thick cut bacon, sliced crosswise 1/4 in thick
1/2 cup diced onion
2 cups spinach
4 ozs shredded mozzarella cheese (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup 2% milk
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
8 eggs

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Heat olive oil in a skillet. Add bacon and cook until it begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add onion and cook 3 more minutes, until onion is tender. Add spinach and cook 2 more minutes, until spinach begins to wilt.
3. Drain most of the olive oil out of the spinach mixture, transfer to a bowl and allow mixture to cool for 3 minutes.
4. In separate mixing bowl, combine cheese, milk, salt, pepper and eggs and whisk together. Add spinach mixture to the egg mixture and whisk again.
5. Spray muffin cups with cooking spray and divide egg mixture evenly among cups.
6. Bake for 20 minutes or until cups are puffed at top. Serve immediately.

Slow-Cooked BBQ Pork Spare Ribs

IMG_2498
On Tuesday, I had a late afternoon appointment downtown, my husband, however, was off work that day so I told him that morning that he was in charge of dinner that night. He leaves for the grocery store around noon to scour for both lunch and dinner fixings. He returns with a full rack of pork spare ribs, a pork spice rub and BBQ sauce for dinner. Mind you, he loves to do this, pretends like he can’t manage to make a piece of toast and then out of nowhere whips up lamb chops or lobster so tasty I think he might have been a chef in another life. I just shake my head at him and get ready to head out. Boy was I wrong to doubt him!

I asked him if I could share his recipe for these oh-so-delicious ribs, he was pretty excited that he’d made the cut for the blog 🙂 It is unbelievably simple to get these fall-off-the-bone ribs, the key is the slow-cooking, which makes them perfect for your summer weekend BBQ.

Now, if you have a favorite pork rub and BBQ sauce, by all means use those. I included a link to what my hubby used, both of which are our favorites so if you can find these at your grocery store, I highly recommend them. The pork rub may be a bit harder to find for those of you not in the Northwest as it is Rub with Love Pork Rub by Tom Douglas (a famed chef in the Seattle area) but it can be ordered on his website. The BBQ sauce is Stubbs Hickory Bourbon sauce.

Slow-Cooked BBQ Pork Spare Ribs
1 rack pork spare ribs
1/2 cup pork rub
1 cup BBQ sauce

1. Rub entire rack of ribs with pork rub, front and back. Double wrap in foil and refrigerate for 5 hours to allow the flavors to blend.
2. Prep a grill and set heat to low. Place foil covered ribs on grill and allow them to slow-cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes, turning once at the 40 minute mark.
3. Open foil, slather ribs with 2/3 cup BBQ sauce, close foil and continue to cook for an additional 15 minutes.
4. Remove ribs from the grill, place on a large cutting board and cut ribs apart between the bones.
5. Drizzle with remaining BBQ sauce and serve immediately.

Salty Chocolate Chunk Cookies

IMG_2389
Who knew that one little ingredient could make a regular chocolate chunk cookie so incredibly amazing!?!?! There’s nothing too crazy different about these cookies, except the salt flakes on top, and let me tell you, I’ll never make chocolate chunk cookies without salt flakes again!

Salty Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Makes 24 cookies
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
8 ozs semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
Maldon or other flaky sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, kosher salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
2. Using an electric mixture on medium speed, beat butter, brown sugar, sugar, and powdered sugar until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add egg yolks, egg, and vanilla. Beat, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl, until mixture is pale and fluffy, 4-5 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low; slowly add dry ingredients, mixing just to blend. Using a spatula, fold in chocolate.
3. Spoon rounded tablespoonfuls of cookie dough onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, spacing 1 inch apart. Sprinkle cookies with sea salt.
4. Bake cookies until just golden brown around the edges, 10-12 minutes (the cookies will firm up as they cool). Let cool slightly on baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Parmesan Fritter Salad with Bacon Buttermilk Dressing

IMG_2465
This was course #2 from my first-day-of-summer dinner. Not your usual salad with tons of different toppings but oh so much flavor thanks to the fritters and dressing. A great crowd pleaser when you are hosting dinner guests but I recommend making the fritters and dressing ahead of time (up to 2 days) to limit your kitchen time when your guests are mingling. Warning: be very careful with this dressing…you may want to lick it all from a spoon and have none left to serve with the salad! It’s that good! Original recipe from Fine Cooking.

Parmesan Fritter Salad with Bacon Buttermilk Dressing
Serves 6

For the Dressing
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 clove of garlic, mashed to a paste with a pinch of salt
1 scallion, trimmed and finely chopped
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
3 slices thick-cut bacon, cut crosswise 1/4″ thick and cooked until crisp
For the Fritters and Salad
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
1 large fennel bulb, trimmed, cored, and coarsely grated on a box grater
2 cups coarse breadcrumbs
3 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup olive oil; more as needed
6 oz. mixed salad greens

To make the dressing:
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, mayonnaise, garlic paste, scallion, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper.
2. Crumble the bacon and whisk it in.
3. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.

To make the Fritters and assemble the salad:
1. Bring 5 cups of water to a boil in a 3-quart saucepan. Add 1 tsp. salt and the fennel and cook for 2 minutes. Drain in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse under cold water until cool. Press out as much water as possible from the fennel, and then transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate. Pat dry with more paper towels.
2. In a large bowl, gently mix the fennel with the breadcrumbs, Parmigiano, eggs, garlic, and 1/4 tsp. pepper.
3. Heat the  oil in a 12-inch cast-iron or non-stick skillet over medium heat until hot.
4. Using your hands, form a heaping tablespoonful of the Parmesan mixture into a patty about 1/2 inch thick. Add it to the skillet and repeat to make 3 more patties, adding them to the skillet as you form them. Cook, turning once, until golden and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Repeat, in batches, with the remaining Parmesan mixture, adding more oil as needed.
5. In a large bowl, toss the greens with just enough of the dressing to lightly coat. Divide among 6 plates, top with the fritters, and then drizzle with some of the dressing.

Inspired by…home of Joseph Abboud

p_102101910

My latest home obsession is that of fashion designer Joseph Abboud. Located in Boston, Abboud had admired the old architecture of the tower building on Chestnut Street since he was a boy and took advantage when the building went up for sale. The home is a gorgeous combination of strong and bold neoclassical pieces, beautiful old world architecture and natural textures, fabrics and colors. Abboud’s pied-à-terre was photographed by Eric Roth for Traditional Home Magazine, designed by Abboud himself in collaboration with the design team from Restoration Hardware, and the story written by Candace Ord Manroe.

Continue reading

Fig & Camembert Crostini

IMG_2460
I spent most of the first day of summer cooking up a DELICIOUS 4 course meal yesterday and I have to say, I loved every single course! The appetizer was these little crostini with Camembert cheese and a fig spread.

Continue reading

Foyer Table Re-do

IMG_2416

  I’m SO excited about this table you guys!! This was my first project with Annie Sloan chalk paint and I’m hooked. My mom has been using Annie Sloan paint on her furniture (she re-finishes old furniture and does an amazing job, check out her Facebook page…Simply Country Quilts & Antiques) and she swears by it.

Continue reading

Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins

IMG_2374

I’m always looking for easy on-the-go breakfast items for my husband to eat on the way out the door that are still relatively healthy. These whole wheat blueberry muffins certainly fit the bill. I tried to keep the ingredients whole wheat and organic and rather than using milk, I used Almond milk instead. They turned out DELISH and perfect for workday mornings. Try them out and let me know what you think!

Continue reading

Mexican Corn-on-the-cob

IMG_2286

A tasty alternative to simple buttered corn-on-the-cob, Mexican corn (a.k.a. Mexican street corn, or elotes) is taken to a savory level with the addition of a few simple ingredients. You can make the cheese spread ahead of time store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days before use.

Continue reading

Chicken Enchiladas

IMG_2333

So this isn’t the healthiest thing I make for dinner…but it is tasty! And one of my husbands regularly requested meals. It is also a relatively easy recipe with minimal ingredients, and can be made ahead of time and popped in the oven when you’re ready to eat.

Continue reading

Deck Restoration

 

IMG_2281

Whoever lived here before us didn’t seem concerned with the obscene amount of rain we get in the pacific northwest and saw no reason to put any sort of finish on the front porch deck. The wood was weathered and worn, dirty and grey; much like the wood I take off of a pallet for some DIY project. I thought for sure that we would need to replace the whole deck if I ever wanted it to look new again. Boy was I wrong!

Continue reading

Chicken Salad with Strawberries & Asparagus

080

One of my all time favorite salads, and perfect on a warm summer afternoon. When I was working full-time, my husband and I decided we had to change our diets because eating out for lunch everyday was just not helping us in anyway.

Continue reading

A Closet Makeover

IMG_2249

When we moved into this house and I began to think about decorating, I told myself that I wouldn’t have those couple of areas in the house. You know what I’m talking about…the black holes, where things get stored, never to be seen again. Well, for me, that has always been the coat closet. And wouldn’t you know, I started putting all the random junk (box fan, cleaning supplies, vacuum, old DVD players that will never get used again) into the coat closet in our new home.

Continue reading

Pineapple Cucumber Juice

Pineapple Cucumber Juice

This has to be one of my favorite green juices. You would think since the majority of the juice comes from the pineapple that it would be very sweet, but no. This juice, in my opinion is a great balance of sweet and “green”. Just pop all the ingredients in your juicer and voila!

Continue reading