Friday, September 21, 2007

Halloween Time

Today marked the first day of Fall. September is almost over, and Halloween is just around the corner! It's almost time to buy your pumpkins, stock up on candy, and put up decorations.

Whether visiting the pumpkin patch, making apple cider, or coming up with a fabulous, funny, or creative costume, Halloween is a great holiday for bringing children and parents together.

And, may I add, nothing says Fall better than a carved pumpkin sitting on the doorstep.

In our family, decorating the house is one of best parts of Halloween. Ever since my girls were little, we've been decorating our home for the holiday. Some of our favorite decorations include Mexican sugar skulls and Day of the Dead figurines that we've collected over the years, and lots and lots of candles.

There are so many fun tradtions around Halloween- roasting pumpkin seeds, costume parties, and the opportunity to begin cooking hearty comfort foods to get through the winter.

I wanted to share with you some of the wonderful collections in our line that are perfect enhancing any Halloween traditions you may already have, and for creating new ones.

Our black Dauphine candlesticks and Rococo Noir cake pedestalsare splendidly gothic and spooky, our Napoleon pearlized copper flatware has a rich, goldren hue that is quintessentially autumnal (great for both Halloween and Thanksgiving,) the Parisian wallpaper black and white pattern is elegant and sophisticated, and our black dot collection add a little bit of whimsy to the table (and it's on sale!) Put them all together, and you have a gorgeous Halloween tableau!

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Ladies' Night

Until now, many of the entries on this blog that are about leading a well rounded life have mostly touched on special meals, the cultivation of traditions, and moments of reflection. However, there is another very, very important aspect of living well that must be discussed:


Letting off steam, unwinding, loosening up, and laughter especially are all crucial components of a fulfilled and happy life. I'd like to share with you an experience of play that I had earlier this week to demonstrate what I'm speaking of.

On Monday, a dear friend and I decided to go out for a night on the town. It was just the two of us, all dressed up for a night out. We dined at a hip downtown eatery and spent the beginning of our evening sipping wine, laughing, and reminiscing about "old times" before children, high-demand careers, and the stresses of life (the ones that seem to accumulate without our noticing them). After dinner, we strolled through the Pike Place Market as the sun set on what had been a glorious early autumn day. We watched the ferries drift by, stately and regal, on the Puget Sound. It was marvelous.

We then proceeded on to see a show by Bebel Gilberto, an incredible Brazilian Bossa Nova singer. She was kittenish and sexy with that unmistakably sensual Brazilian air. Her pitch was amazing, and her use of her vocal cords was superb; all kinds of unusual sounds came out of her mouth. She was very ethereal, soulful, and mesmerizing.

Freed from the stresses of the day and uplifted by Bebel's music, we left the concert feeling happy and light. We had been renewed.

Spontaneity is a spice of life. Season yours well with it; for a rich and flavorful existence.

Live life and celebrate!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Late Summer Mediterrean Quiche: Rosanna and Francesca's Recipe

This quiche is a culinary treat! The custard is light and delicate. The vegetables and cheeses create a delicious explosion of flavor and the crust is simply ambrosia! The crust melts in your mouth and is the perfect foil for the light custardy, cheese filling. This was so delicious that everyone in my family remained silent as we ate it. No one wanted to ruin the moment of pleasure as it was being eaten.

Ingredients for Late Summer Mediterrean Quiche: Rosanna and Francesca's Recipe

Pie Crust:
2 1/2 Cups Flour
1 1/4 Sticks Organic Salted Butter
3 Tablespoons Crisco or other vegetable shortening
1/4-1/3 Cup Ice Water
1/2 Teaspoon Fine Sea Salt

1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil for Cooking
1 Pint of Locally Fresh Cherry Tomatoes (must be sweet, fresh, and local), cut in halves
1/2 Small Sweet Yellow Onion, chopped finely
1 Small Bunch of Chives, chopped finely (8 leaves of fresh basil chopped coarsely)
3 Cloves of Garlic, chopped finely

Egg Mixture:
6 Organic Eggs
3 Cups of 1% Organic Milk
1 Teaspoon Fine Sea Salt
1 Cup Grated Reggiano Parmiggiano Cheese
8 Small Fresh Mozzarella Balls, cut in fourths

Directions for Filling:
Combine all vegetables in a pan and sautee until wilted and soft; then remove it from the heat and place in a small bowl and refrigerate.

Directions for Pie Crust:
Cut the butter into 2 inch pats and set aside.
Place the flour and salt in the food processor, then add the butter pats and shortening.
Process the mixture until the flour, butter, and shortening are totally incorporated- the mixture will look like coarse sand.
Prepare your ice water and begin processing in the pulse mode and slowly add the ice water.
As soon as the dough forms a rough ball then stop processing.
The dough should be well formed and stay together when gathered from the processor.
Place the dough in plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator.

Directions for Egg Mixture:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
In a bowl, beat the eggs and add in the milk, salt, grated parmesan, and mozzarella; then whisk together with a fork.
Remove the sauteed vegetables from the refrigerator, make sure that they have cooled down enough to room temperature, and add them to the egg mixture.
Mix with a fork and place it in the refrigerator.

Directions for Quiche:
Place a pastry cloth on a large flat surface.
Place a stocking on your rolling pin.
Scatter flour on the pastry cloth and rolling pin.
Coat the dough with a light dusting of flour.
Flatten the dough with your hand and slowly begin rolling out the dough in a firm even manner.
Be careful not to over handle the dough or add too much flour as it will become tough and not flakey.
Once the dough is rolled out, slip a pie pan under the dough as you gently lift it up by two hands.
Glently form the dough into the pie pan.
Cut off the excess dough and set aside.
Leave at least three inches of extra dough all around the edge.
Remove the egg mixture from the refrigerator and gently pour the mixture into the prepared pie pan.
With the remaining dough that circles the edge gently fold in so it encircles the pie pan as a thick edge of pastry.
Take your thumb and forefinger and gently pinch the excess dough to form a fluted edge.

Place the pie in the oven at 350 degrees for approximately 45 minutes.
The quiche is done when the mixture has risen and solidified.
When a knife is inserted in the pie and comes out clean it means that the quiche is done.
Let the quiche sit on a wired baking rack about an hour before serving.
It is quite hot when it comes out of the oven, so let it cool and you can enjoy all the flavors and textures.

Leftover Pie Crust
This is a recipe my mother made for us when I was a child. It is a dish that is easy, delicious, and gobbled by children and adults alike. It is flakey, buttery, full of flour, and texture. This is a wonderful tradition to start with your family and children that will be passed on for generations, as it was with my family.

Directions for Leftover Pie Crust:
Roll out the pie crust and place in a pie dish.
There will not be enough dough to make a proper pie but leave the rolled out dough flat in the pan.
Take small pats of organic butter and place them around the surface of the dough.
Sprinkle white and brown sugar and dust with cinnamon.
Fold the edges of the crust over to form a type of three sided envelope, dot the top with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
Bake with your quiche for about 20 minutes or until it turns light golden brown.
Remove from the oven and cool on the wire baking rack.
Cut in small 3-4 inch squares when you serve it.
It should be eaten within 5 minutes of serving it.

In Boca al Lupo,

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Rosanna's First Ever Table Setting Contest Winners

After a month of receiving entry after entry for our First Ever Table Setting Contest, we finally chose some winners. It was a difficult decision to make because every entry touched our hearts.

Our Grand Prize Winner, awarded a $200 Shopping Spree at is . . .

Tresa Nicols from Medford, Oregon!!

Tresa Nicols is part of the Lee family and is one of three women that participated in our contest. We loved the use of gold and mixing our two patterns, Kings Road and Gold Parisian Wallpaper together to create an elegant yet modern table. Tresa's use of traditional sterling flatware and simple gold banded dinnerware really set off the Rosanna designs beautifully. She created a table setting that can be used year round and is a feast for the eyes.

Great job Tresa and thank you for setting such a glamorous table.

And here a few beauty shots . . .

Our First Place Prize Winner awarded a $75 Shopping Spree at is . . .

Donna Green from Kingwood, Texas!!

Donna used so many different elements in setting her Rosanna table. She hand sewed her tablecloth, used crystal purchased when traveling in Europe, set the table with flatware that was given to her 12 years ago for her wedding, and used a silver tray that was a gift to her parents for their 25th wedding anniversary. Her creative use of the Rosanna gift box in the background was an unexpected surprise. Donna created a charming table with family history. We love the use of of heirlooms and family keepsakes in her table setting of Fleur.

Thank you Donna for bringing the old and new together on your table.

We also have some very special prizes to give away because these women really touched our hearts . . .

Our Family Spirit Award goes to . . .

Toni Wills from Washington D.C.!!

Toni touched us all with creating this sweet tea party for her birthday. We particularly enjoyed seeing men at the table. Toni captured the essence of what we strive to create at Rosanna; tableware that bring people together and create memorable traditions. And she's just started a blog, called My Mommie's Closet.

Great job Toni!

Our Award for the Best Rosanna Table for a Cause goes to . . .

Brenda Thomas from Jamaica, New York!!

Brenda designed a charming table mixing two Rosanna patterns together; Pink Tea and Epicerie. She designed this table for a great cause, the Young Women of Character, a ministry for young girls at her church. Brenda didn't know this when she chose Pink Tea but we donated a percentage of the proceeds of that collection to the Fred Hutchinson Breast Cancer Research Center. Unknowingly, our donation went hand in hand with another one of Brenda's good deeds- she raised $75 for her friend, Diana Wilson (who she dedicated this table to as well) to walk the Breast Cancer 3 Day Walk.

Congratulations Brenda on a beautiful table and for giving back to the community.

Our Award for Best Garden Design using Rosanna goes to . . .

Gwendolyn Grim Johnson from Edmonds, Washington!!

A fellow Washingtonian, Gwendolyn set a table using fabulous color and imaginative table linens with beautiful vintage accessories. We love the hydranga bush in the background, it complements the yellow in the photo, it's a perfect foil for the stark white polka dot table cloth and the yellow umbrella and stools. She has a great eye for design and color.

It looks gorgeous Gwendolyn, thank you for such a great photo.

Our Award for Creative Use of Rosanna in Bringing People Together goes to . . .

Ashley Nichols-Lee, Mrs. Randal Lee, and Brooke Weldon from Medford, Oregon!!!

The Lee family was given this award for for bringing family and friends together in a fun and imaginative way. Instead of setting their tables individually, they got together to design them for this contest- We loved this idea! Not only did they design outstanding table settings, they joined together to do something creative and had a good time while doing it. We loved their sense of celebration and creativity. Each table is designed with originality and style.

Congrats to all!

As promised here are the comments and pictures of our fabulous Honorable Mentions . . .

Katherine Masci from Winchester, Massachusetts!!

Katherine set a table using our best selling Colored Chandeliers collection. She used a contrasting fabric in black with white chandeliers to make the plates pop. It is a very sweet table setting for two.

Thank you Katherine for capturing the Rosanna spirit.

Jane Wals from New York, New York!!

Jane set a colorful table for an afternoon ladies' tea party. We love her use of color and Victorian antique mirrored pedestal. Jane has limited space in her New York home but she it so well setting this table. She began collecting dishes five years ago and has the spirit of a true Rosanna collector. Jane expressed her love of NYC in her entry and we agree, her city is amazing.

Such a fun and inviting table Jane, thank you.

Michelle Bassett from Ottawa Hills, Ohio!!

Michelle used our Platinum Chandeliers and a lovely Matesse tablecloth as her base to create a sweet and charming table setting. Her use of roses, mirrored tray, and sweet cherub figurine made the table feel very Victorian and feminine. The lovely chandelier hanging over the table echoed the plate design. The precious garden outside was inviting and integrated nicely with the table setting.

Congratulations on displaying the whimsical side of Rosanna.

Susan Masci from Foxboro, Massachusetts!!

Susan chose a feminine shoe design from one of our past collections. She incoporated lovely flowers and vintage candlesticks. We loved the dainty, soft, and very girly feel of her table.

Beautiful job on letting your girly side show Susan.

Christine Lopez from Fort Lauderdale, Florida!!

Christine designed a table using our Marie Antoinette plates. She used many different elements that reflected the style of the court of Versailles; delicious pastries, a few artfully placed roses, a charming candelabra with feathers and birds, and a great bottle of French wine. We appreciate Christine's attention to detail and her desire to capture the essence of 18th century France.

Thank you for taking us to another period in time Christine.

Leslie Wray from Papillion, Nebraska!!

Leslie's unabashedly girly setting using plates from a past collection. We loved the black drinkware- a tabletop trend that is definitely taking off. I, of course, personally love the Effiel Tower.

Thank you for a fun and relaxed table Leslie.


A HUGE thank you to everyone who participated and I cannot tell all of you how much each entry touched not only me but our entire office.

This was a truly pleasurable experience and thank you for being a part of it!

Warm regards,

Tablesetting Contest Winners will be . . .

Announced a little later than expected today. Please check back in a couple of hours . . .

Thanks for your patience!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Back to School!

This week, children all over America will be donning backpacks and heading off to the first day of a new school year. My daughter Francesca has been lamenting the end of her summer vacation since August 1st, while I’ve been equally insistent that 5th grade will be exciting and…fun!

However, I have one small confession to make: I’m as rueful as Francesca is about the shift to the busier, more stressful school year routine. After three months of leisurely summer living, the first day of class can be just as difficult for those of us who aren’t actually going back to school as it is for our children. The start of the school year also marks an emotional transition. The combination of the full school day and after school activities means less time is spent as a family.

One way to make the transition a little smoother can be found in making your child’s lunch box. Packing a lunch ensures that your child or children are eating healthy and wholesome foods at school; and it also fosters a closer connection between the two of you.

When my older daughter Alessandra was in school I would often put a little note in her lunch bag. And even though Alessandra rolled her eyes at this little ritual as she got older, she still has all the notes from her kindergarten lunches.

Especially during the wintertime, the school year can feel like a slog. But think of it this way: if we didn’t have those nine months of work, we wouldn’t enjoy our three months of play nearly as much!

Have a great first day!