Thursday, September 3, 2015

Weekday Breakfasts



As my younger daughter gets ready to go off to art school on the East Coast, I've been reflecting on the 18 seasons of school-year routines that are about to come to an end. In the more hectic and fast-paced months of the school year, what kinds of practices helped keep our family close? 

(My college-bound daughter and me on vacation this summer:)


Sit down, weekday breakfasts were the first that came to mind. I set the breakfast table and sat down with my two girls every day before school. These weekday morning meals were nothing elaborate...cereal, toast, oatmeal…the occasional scrambled egg. Often, the girls and I weren't even eating the same things. And most mornings, in the pre-sunrise 7 o’clock hour of Pacific Northwest winter, no one said much of anything, preferring instead to quietly read the paper or just stare off into space.

Kashmir collection (glasses, mug, tray, and dish); Dore plates; Napoleon Flatware
Even with the silence, I firmly believe this practice of starting the day in each other’s presence helped us build a strong foundation of family cohesion. It gave the beginning of each day just a drop of peace—calm before the storm of activity.
(Me and My Girls:)

This year, if you have school-age children, I encourage (maybe even challenge) you to try this at home: set the breakfast table for a week and sit down. Does it feel any different to start the day together? Maybe it will become a new tradition.

Warmly,



Thursday, August 13, 2015

Don't Just Eat Local--Drink It As Well!

I recently posted about how I'm obsessed with sweet, juicy peaches right now. They are a guiltless splurge when you want something sweet and succulent. I like to buy them at my local farmers market. (When looking for peaches at the peak of perfection, give them a sniff, not a squeeze.)





But don't just eat local -- drink it as well with this Peach Breeze cocktail from KeyIngredient.com. It's a refreshing and hydrating drink, ideal for the dog days of summer.  Make it with alcohol or without, so anyone can sip and enjoy. 


Lattice Glass
INGREDIENTS


SERVINGS 8
COOK TIME IS CHILL TIME
  • 4 large ripe fresh peaches
  • 1⁄4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1⁄3 cup water
  • 1⁄4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 (750 ml) bottle cold dry white wine (or 3-4 cups lemonade)
  • 15 ml orange liqueur (optional)


DIRECTIONS
  1. Peel, pit and coarsely chop peaches; place in blender
  2. Add sugar and ginger; puree until as smooth as possible.
  3. Whirl in water, then lemon juice; puree until mixed.
  4. In 2 freezer containers, stir together peach puree, wine and orange liqueur, if using.
  5. Cover surface with plastic wrap.
  6. Freeze for about 30 minutes or until very cold, stirring once or twice.
  7. For a non-alcoholic drink, stir in lemonade immediately after pureeing, then serve over ice.Garnish with grapefruit slices, peach wedges, or fresh mint.
Peaches are in season through late summer so enjoy today -- and in the weeks to come!

Warmly,



Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Announcing Our 2016 Tablescape Contest!



Be sure to take pictures of your holiday entertaining (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year's)! We can't wait to see your submissions in January!

Warmly,


Saturday, August 8, 2015

Refreshing Peach Pie Smoothie!

Peaches are in season and nothing would be more refreshing than a Peach Pie Smoothie on a hot summer day!

Kashmir Glass HighballsSausalito Small Bowl Ocean; Sausalito Saucer Ocean
Smoothies are my favorite drinks in the summer as they are cold, refreshing, and made with loads of fresh fruit. I love all kinds of fresh fruit during the summer months but one of my favorite fruit is the peach. I especially love ripe peaches that are juicy and sweet.

The other day I was craving a cold, refreshing smoothie and was inspired by Better Homes & Gardens' Peach Pie Shake recipe. This delicious, refreshing smoothie can be whipped up in minutes. 


Add caption
In my version, I omit the pie topping, and top it with whipped cream and a cherry instead. I prefer to eat my pie on the side! Enjoy!

Sausalito Saucer Ocean; Kashmir Appetizer Plate








Warmly,




Wednesday, August 5, 2015

A Fresh, Fast Summer Salad

In the hot, hot summer weather after a long day of work, all we really want to do when we get home is snap our fingers and have a delicious, healthy meal appear magically before us.

This salad requires a little bit more than the snap of one finger…but not too much.

The vibrant colors of summer produce look fabulous against the clean white background of the Savour collection, and the deep blue of the turquoise Saturn Votive mirrors a clear summer sky.

Savour Salad Bowl


Ingredients for Summer Salmon Salad:

Mixed greens
Tomatoes
Cucumbers
Salmon—smoked or lox
Lemon Wedges 

Instructions

1. Cut the tomatoes and cucumbers the way you like best, and toss with the greens in the Savour Salad Bowl.

2. Dress the salad with lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

3. Dot the salad with chunks of smoked salmon or slices of lox.

4. Serve in Savour Pasta Bowls.



Savour Pasta Bowls and Napoleon Flatware

Enjoy!

Warmly,


Friday, July 31, 2015

Celebrate National Sisters' Day!


As one of three sisters, and as the mother of two sisters, I know that sisterhood is as powerful a bond as any. This Sunday, August 2nd is National Sisters’ Day and an ideal opportunity to honor the special bond sisters share.


Here I am with my mother and my two sisters. I'm the baby!



My beautiful daughters, Francesca and Alessandra!







You don’t have to have a biological sister to celebrate Sisters’ Day; we often consider our sisters the women with whom we share the deepest connections and most extensive histories. Sisters’ Day is an opportunity to celebrate your relationships with those women too.  

Here I am at 18 with my sorority sisters! 



And here I am now with my life-long girlfriends, whom I consider my "sisters!"


Ladies Choice, one of Rosanna's newest collections, pays homage to the power of women and the strength of that sister bond, as does our Cross My Heart Sisters dish.

 Ladies Choice Collection



Make this Sunday sister-themed. Spend the day with the women you consider your sisters, celebrating your relationship over a meal, maybe continuing to a ladies’ night out on the town, or some other activity you love to do together.

If a friend is a second self, as Cicero says, a sister is many things: a mirror, an advocate, a reality check, a guardian angel, a witness to your entire life. The list goes on…but you probably already know what I’m talking about.

This weekend, reach out to your sisters and celebrate sisterhood. It is a force to be reckoned with.


Warmly,



Thursday, July 2, 2015

4 Quick & Easy Fourth of July Entertaining Tips!

Whether you are just having a few friends over or you have your doors open to the neighborhood, aim to have a stress-less Fourth of July this year with a few of my quick and easy entertaining tips!

1) See what you already have on hand and keep the decorations to a minimum.  A burlap runner, a tray, small florals from the yard, a candle and a few small trinkets keep this coffee table fresh, yet festive.

State Tokens Large USA Tray, Trinket Tray Star
2) Forage your yard first for flowers.  Hydrangeas are in full bloom, here in the Pacific Northwest, and the beautiful blue hues in these flowers make for a beautiful, simple centerpiece.  


3)  Dress up your mantel/fireplace with a simple garland or banner like our USA Canvas Bunting. A banner is quick to hang and can make any room holiday-ready in seconds.

USA Canvas Bunting

4) Raid your grocery store bakery section for freshly made desserts & add to them.  You'd be surprised at the selection!  You may need to order a cake in advance but for less than $15,  its worth it.  This simple white cake is dressed up with in-season berries. For a different look, try topping the dessert with fresh flowers in red, white, or blues.
 
Dore Nesting Scallop BowlsLes Desserts Round Beaded Pedestal

One thing I've learned in my many years of entertaining is to zero in on your strengths. Are you a great cook?  Put your effort and focus on that.  Love baking?  Bake your grandmothers blueberry pie from scratch.  For all the rest, simplify it.  Find ways that make the other tasks easy (like in the above suggestions). Or delegate tasks to others that emphasize their own strengths.  

I hope that you have a wonderful weekend full of new memories, delicious food, great company, sparkling fireworks, and warm campfires.  Here's to a very Happy Fourth of July! 


Warmly,