Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Surprise: Polished from

Out of the Box of Awesome: Polished

I have said it before, and I will say it again, getting a surprise once a month is a "Box of Awesome". has once again delighted me with the box: Polished.  I am an admitted shoe addict so this was a welcome addition to my closet: supplies!  The description below from website.... you really should sign up.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Eat This: Pork Filled Asian Dumplings

I love Asian dumpling.  Pot stickers are a favorite and this is my own interpretation.  I used this as a boiled dumpling, but you can also pan fry and steam as well.  These are really delicious; a bit tedious, but well worth the effort.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Recycle: Holland & Sherry Fabric Samples To Scarf

I asked a tailor I know what they do with the fabric sample books in their shop when they are out of date or no longer available.  He said, "We throw them in the dumpster."  I was shocked.  Some of the fabrics sell for hundreds of dollars a yard.  I thought: "Recycle".

Monday, January 14, 2013

Texture: Layers & Textures For Winter

I change the look of my bedroom by changing the linens, coverlets or quilts.  This is my favorite Winter look - a mix of color and texture.  I am afraid I didn't get photos of the sheets which are Ralph Lauren oxford cloth blue and white stripe for the top and solid blue for the bottom. I love the details on the pillowcases - buttons used to close them!

 The RL cotton blanket contains the base colors.  The duvet, also RL, is made from lightweight denim with "Levi" fasteners to close.  The patchwork quilt is vintage all cotton and something I use most of the year in one form or another.

The Kilim pillow is Pottery Barn and is a very stiff vintage look. The two pigskin throw pillows I stumbled across at HomeGoods for less than $30 for both!  The indigo denim shams are part of a set I bought from an Etsy dealer some years ago.  All cotton and made from recycled demin.  Beautiful.

Milo is pretty happy with the choices too. The day these photos were taken, it was about 30 degrees outside.  He is perfectly happy to snuggle down and enjoy the bed.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Best Ever: Pecan Walnut Shortbread Cookies

Delicious Pecan Walnut Shortbread Cookies

This is possibly the best, easiest, most flavorable, most memorable cookie I have ever made.  It is my "go to" recipe when I want cookies easily for family or to give to friends.  It is a simple shortbread dough made in a food processor!  Talk about easy cleanup.

One hint: Save a couple of paper towel rolls.  That cardboard tube, when you cut a slit in it with scissors, becomes a holder for cookie dough in the refrigerator!  It keeps the dough cylindrical and makes nice, uniform cookies.  I used two, slotted together to hold this dough which makes about 3 dozen cookies. 


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 cup toasted pecans
  • 1 cup toasted walnuts
  • 1 ½  teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature, cut into chunks
     (Note: if you use salted butter, omit salt from recipe)
  • 1 teaspoon ice water
    OPTIONAL: Turbinado sugar as garnish for top of cookies.


Toast the pecans and walnuts in a moderately hot oven (350 degrees) for 10-12 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool. Once cool place in food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped.  They will get further processed when added to the dough.  Empty into a bowl and set aside.

Combine the flour, salt, and powdered sugar in the food processor and pulse to combine. Add the vanilla, butter and the water. Pulse together just until a dough is formed. 

Add the nuts to the mixture and pulse until well mixed. Place the dough on a sheet of plastic wrap and roll into a log, about 2 inches in diameter. Twist the ends of the wrap in opposite directions and place in the cardboard tube(s). Chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least 45 minutes.  This can be held in the refrigerator for up to three days before use or see note at bottom to freeze for later use.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 

Slice the log into 1/4-inch thick disks (I use a serrated knife and let it do the work - do not push down - maintain the cylinder shape). Arrange on nonstick cookie sheets, parchment lined or Silpat lined baking sheets (I use a Silpat every time and love them); you can get a dozen on a half sheet pan. OPTIONAL:  you can use some turbinado sugar and top each cookie with it before baking. It gives a great crunch and texture.

Bake until the edges are barely light brown, about 10-12 minutes, rotating the pans half way through the baking process. Remove from the oven and let cool on the cookie sheets for 5 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and cool until room temperature.

Fresh out of the oven.

Tips: Store in airtight container for up to a week or freeze uncooked log for up to a month.

This recipe was adapted from’s Claire Robinson’s original.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Eat This: Jambalaya with Shrimp and Andouille Sausage

Jambalaya With Shrimp and Andouille Sausage

I love New Orleans and all the food associated therein.  One of my favorites is Jambalaya. I’ve had so many variations over the years, but this one is a real favorite and so easy. This recipe was adapted from – Check out their recipe for “Jambalaya With Shrimp and Andouille Sausage”  I made a very few minor tweaks and this turns our really nicely.  You will note the addition of the “heat” via the Jalapenos.  I like spicy, so temper accordingly. 

Serves: 4 very hungry people.



2 tablespoons olive oil (I use EVOO because I like the flavor)
1 cup chopped onion (use the most flavorful – I think a nice yellow is best)
1 large minced shallot (It gives another layer of flavor)
1 cup chopped red, orange or yellow bell pepper (I don’t like the taste of the green ones – too strong)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (I use 1 tablespoon of a roasted garlic puree from
1 (or 2) large seeded and minced Jalapenos
6 ounces Andouille sausages, sliced
1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
1 teaspoon paprika (I use a smoked Hungarian paprika)
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1 bay leaf
2 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup water (or white wine)
1 tablespoon tomato paste (I used a sundried tomato puree instead)
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (I really like Tabasco Chipotle)
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes, un-drained (I used the ones with garlic as well)
3/4 lb peeled and deveined medium shrimp
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (I substitute 4 green onions very thinly sliced)


Step 1

1. Heat olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium high heat. Add chopped onion, chopped bell pepper, minced garlic, minced Jalapeno(s) and sausage; saute 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Step 2

2.  Add rice and the next 7 ingredients (through bay leaf); cook 2 minutes.

Step 3

3.  Add broth, water, tomato paste, hot pepper sauce, and diced tomatoes; bring to a boil.

Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes. NO PEEKING – let it simmer covered and don’t lose the steam and heat.
Step 4

4.  Add shrimp (I drop them on the top and immediately cover to let them steam; cook 5 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Stir in parsley (or green onions).


Serve with a crisp white wine and an arugula and shaved Parmesan salad with a vinaigrette. Delicious.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Sit: Banquette Seating

I want to build a banquette for my breakfast room and am looking for inspiration.  These are several examples I consider as inspiration for the project.  I have posted more to my board, Kitchen Inspiration on Pinterest.  That Board also has a lot of very cool kitchens too!  Check it out.