6/30/2014

ONE-PAN LINGUINE W/ A CHERRY TOMATO-BASIL SAUCE

I sort of can't believe that I've posted two pasta recipes in the last month - especially since pasta is something I only treat myself to every once in a while. But I HAD to make this. I had to make it to see if Martha Stewart was right. Crazy challenge I know... I was watching her cooking show a few weeks ago and she made this pasta dish. She made it all in one pot and it looked so good and fresh- yet impossible at the same time. She made this pasta all in one pan and it only took about 15 minutes to make from start to finish. Like I said, it looked good, but did it taste good??

Well of course I was wrong... This is GOOD! I layered the ingredients in the pot, covered them with water and olive oil, let it boil, said a prayer, and it was perfectly cooked in about 8 1/2 minutes. The juice from the cherry tomatoes and the slight flavor from the garlic, onions and basil create the perfect light sauce. I added a little lemon zest at the end, which really brought out all of those flavors. There is no waiting for a big pot of water to boil, no cooking a sauce on the side, no standing over a hot stove for a long period of time, and there is only one pot to clean. All of that makes this a perfect summer weeknight dish. 


Here is what you need and what to do (makes 4 servings):

12 oz linguine, regular or whole wheat
12 oz grape or cherry tomatoes
2 cups onions, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 sprigs fresh basil
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 1/2 cups water
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Parmesan cheese
Freshly grated lemon zest

1. Place the linguine, cherry tomatoes, onions, garlic, red pepper flakes, basil, water, and olive oil to a large skillet with straight sides. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Boil the mixture, stirring frequently with tongs to ensure that the pasta cooks evenly.

2. Boil for about 8-9 minutes or until the pasta is al dente and the water is almost all evaporated. It's easy to overcook the pasta in this dish, so keep checking it to see if it is ready. If the pasta is al dente before most of the water evaporates, then simply drain some of the water out of the skillet. The liquid is the sauce and keeps the past moist, so don't drain too much of it off!

3. Season the pasta to taste with additional salt and pepper and toss. Add each serving to a bowl. Garnish with basil, parmesan cheese, lemon zest and a drizzle of olive oil.

Enjoy!

Images by me
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6/27/2014

LOVELY STYLING + LINKS..


Happy Friday my friends!! What's going on with you this weekend? This weekend will be quite busy for me, but I'm actually excited about that! The updates to my master bathroom will be started and hopefully completed on Monday. My bedroom will also be painted. And did I tell you I'm updating my home office, too?? That room will be painted as well. So I have lots of prep work to do. After that and a best friend's birthday party, I hope to finalize my design board for my master bedroom. I'll be sure to share it with you when I'm almost certain about it. :) I found some good links this week, so I hope you enjoy them! Have a great weekend.

The before and after of this foreclosure is stunning...

A delectable chocolate and vanilla slideshow...

These tacos look great... The kitchen she is making them in looks great, too...

I haven't shopped at The Limited in years, but it looks like that is about to change...

Five good apps for the creative... (You can find me on Pippit @savorhome!)

Loved how she "reset" her life. This is also a new favorite blog series of mine...

On conquering negativity... Gosh this was right on time for me.

A sale I'm always checking out...

Image via Domino

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6/26/2014

A BEAUTY OF A BATH: SABBE INTERIOR DESIGN



I've been following the work of designer Stephanie Sabbe since I started blogging four years ago. I found and still find her work to be functional and stylish and this beautiful bathroom is the perfect example. Doesn't it relax you just by looking at it? This was a bathroom renovation that she had to complete on a tight budget. To stay on budget, she kept the walls in tact and added the arches, which adds lovely architectural detail to the space. She found that antique marble dresser on Craig's List and transformed it into a beautiful vanity complete with leftover storage. Such a beauty. The tub, a tub I could relax in for days, was given to her by another client - and it just happened to fit perfectly in the space. The gold details against the wall color (Benjamin Moore Woodlawn Blue) are perfection. This is definitely one of the most beautiful bathrooms I've seen and I just had to share it with you! You can get the full details on the space here...



Images by Michael J. Lee
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6/24/2014

FARMERS MARKET VEGETABLE SOUP W/ BROWN RICE...

So if you have been reading my blog for a while, you might have noticed that I don't often completely devise my own recipes. I may add or delete an ingredient or two from a recipe I find, but that's about it. I feel like I am still in the process of learning how to cook, so I don't always feel comfortable completely coming up with my own stuff. When I do, it's often a disaster. However, I got a bit lucky with this recipe...

A few weeks ago, I really, really wanted some vegetable soup - the kind of vegetable soup your mom might make for you when you're sick. But I wasn't sick. I just wanted a big bowl of summer freshness. So I wrote down a list of vegetables and herbs I liked, then headed to the farmers market to pick them up- and this is the soup I came up with. I might have done a happy dance in my kitchen the first time I tasted it. :) I was so excited that I got this right! This soup is a big bowl of summer. It's fresh, hearty, so good for you, and so easy to make. There is a bit of prep work, though, but it's worth it and sort of necessary for this soup. Exercising"mise en place" makes the prep process easier. "Mise en place" is the French term for "putting in place." Make sure you have all of your ingredients prepped and in place before turning on the pot - sort of like they do on cooking shows. Anyway, I love brown rice, so I added it to the soup for more depth and volume. It was perfect - so perfect that I've made it twice in the last month. :)


Here is what you need and what to do: (Makes 6-8 servings):

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 large or 2 medium sized zucchini, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can Rotel tomatoes (for spice)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
3 cups kale, thinly chopped
4 cups (1 box) vegetable stock
Cooked brown rice (this is my recipe)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Add the olive oil to a large dutch oven over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onions along with a pinch of salt and saute them until translucent - about 3 minutes.

2. Add the celery, carrots and zucchini, and a pinch of salt and pepper to the pot and cook for about 8 minutes or until they are slightly softened. Then add the garlic saute for about a minute.

3. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, parsley, basil, thyme and vegetable stock to the pot and give it a gentle stir to combine all of the ingredients. Add the kale in a few batches. It will wilt pretty fast! If the vegetables aren't completely covered once you add the last batch of kale, add just enough water until they are covered.

4. Bring the soup up to a boil, then turn the heat down to low, cover and simmer the soup for about 20 - 25 minutes or until the carrots are fork tender. The carrots are my way of knowing when the soup is ready! :) Taste for seasonings and add more salt and pepper if necessary.

5. Add a serving of cooked rice into an individual serving bowl. Ladle the soup on top of the rice and stir everything together.

A few notes:

* Chop the vegetables about the same size. That way, they will cook evenly.

* If you add the rice to the big pot of soup, the rice might become too soggy. So I like to add it to my serving bowls...

* This soup freezes REALLY well. To freeze it, let the soup cool, then add it to a freezer safe container.

Enjoy!

Images by me

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6/23/2014

WHAT TO MAKE WITH YOUR FARMERS MARKET FINDS...

{These pineapples would be PERFECT for these Grilled Fish Tacos w/ Pineapple Salsa...} 

I try to make it to the farmers market at least twice a month in the summer. This may be strange, but I find walking through farmers markets to be quite relaxing. I love looking at all of the different fruits, vegetables, plants, and all of the other things that one might really only see at a farmers market. The passion of the sellers sort of rubs off on me, which instantly enhances my attitude. The market just smells "fresh" and I love that, too...

I usually take a list of things I need with me so that my eyes don't talk me making purchases that I don't need. That doesn't always work, though... I often see something that looks so good that I have to have it. Does that happen to you?? I start researching recipes on my phone while I'm there so that my purchase can be justified... That's what happened to me this past weekend. I had a list of ingredients I needed for tomorrow's post (be sure to check back!!) and saw lots of other things that looked incredibly good. While I didn't purchase all of these, I photographed them for you and thought I would share some great recipes that include these fresh finds... Perhaps the recipes might entice you to purchase that one thing that you thought you didn't need during your next trip to the farmers market... :) 

{Crockpot French Onion Soup. Yes, yes and yes.}

{Mexican Casserole w/ Roasted Corn & Peppers. Nothing like Mexican food and a good casserole...}

{Pole beans - just extra large green beans in my opinion. This Pole & Shell Bean Salad w/ Mint has to be good. It's in NY Magazine after all... }


{The Best Carrot Cake... I believe it, too.}


{I did purchase one big bunch of this basil. It smelled amazing and was only $2 a bunch!! So I made this pesto and froze it for later...}

Images by me
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6/20/2014

A RESTFUL ROOM + LINKS...

When I look at that room, I think of the word "rest," which is exactly what I'm looking forward to this weekend! I haven't felt that great this week, so I look forward to letting many of the things I need to do go undone and indulging in some down time. And by down time I mean reading, sleeping in, a good dinner out, and maybe a movie. I finished The Fault In Our Stars this week (I cried my eyes out at the end), so I might see the movie to see if it comes anywhere close to being as good as the book. Oh and I need a new good read, so let me know if you have any recommendations! Have a great weekend and enjoy the links!

If you love the movie The Notebook (like I do), then you might think this is sweet... 

If you have a car, then you might want to try this DIY (I did and love it!)

I'd love for one of these prints to have a home on one of my walls... So lovely.

I wouldn't mind working in this functional and creative space...

I never thought I would say this, but I want a fanny pack...

Her photos are beautiful and I'm so happy for her!

Great advice from great women...



Image via Domino

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6/19/2014

HOME TOUR: A MODERN YET COZY REMODEL...

I have been following talented designer Lauren Liess's blog for quite some time, so I was thrilled when I saw the final product of her recently renovated 1970s home in Domino Magazine. The home had never been renovated, so she and her family moved into the home's upstairs while they completed a full renovation of the home's main floor. A beautiful home in my book encompasses four things: simplicity, comfort, personality and style. This home has all of those. It's bright with modern lines, yet comfortable and warm at the same time. The dining room is the perfect example of that. The lines of the modern table paired with slipcovered chairs, the cedar ceiling and warm colors make the room look so comfortable and inviting. I loved how she used the iron racks in the kitchen instead of cabinets and how she transformed a vintage dresser into a sink in that bathroom. The overall design is so creative and so personal. I just love it... 


Images via Domino, Photography by Brittany Ambridge
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6/18/2014

THE PERFECT PASTA SALAD...

So last weekend, my dad and I attended a concert at a great amphitheater. One of the great things about it is that everyone is allowed to bring their own food and drinks - including wine, beer and whatever else. I love that about that place. I wanted our menu to be simple, portable and filling, so a version of this pasta salad was the first thing that came to mind. I don't eat much pasta these days, so when I do, it's like a treat - and treats must be good! Good is exactly what this salad is. It's super easy to make and so incredibly flavorful. The best thing about this salad is that the longer it sits, the better it tastes - which also made it perfect for the concert. It's really easy to personalize, too. You can add chicken, use mozzarella and/or parmesan cheese instead of feta, pine nuts instead of walnuts, red onions instead of scallions, etc. So good. Here is my version...

Here is what you need and what to do (makes 4 large or 6 medium servings):

1lb shell pasta, regular or whole wheat
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1/3 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped (the tomatoes packed in olive oil have more flavor!)
1 cup feta cheese, diced or crumbled
1 bunch basil, 
Juice of 1 lemon
Extra-virgin olive oil 
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season the water with kosher salt - maybe a tablespoon or so. Cook the pasta until al dente, which means just done. It shouldn't be hard or mushy... Once it is done, drain it well add it to a large bowl. Drizzle olive oil over the pasta until it is well coated. Season the pasta with a little pepper to taste. 

2. Once the pasta has cooled, add in the toasted walnuts, tomatoes, scallions, sundried tomatoes, basil, lemon juice and cheese. Toss very gently with a large spoon. Taste for seasonings and texture and adjust if necessary. Add a little more olive oil and/or lemon juice if it's too dry for your taste. 

3. For maximum flavor, cover and refrigerate for a few hours. But it's good if eaten right away, too!

Enjoy!

Image by me


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6/16/2014

WEEKEND IN FIVE PICS...

I hope your weekend was grand! My weekend with my dad was just that and I hate that it's over. We had the best time! We both love good food, so our weekend involved lots of that! We started the weekend by chatting over a lunch of my homemade organic vegetable soup. I promise I'll share my recipe with you soon. Later that evening, we had dinner at Table & Main - a cute little farm to table restaurant in Roswell, GA. The food was SO good and so fresh. We had the freshest fried catfish and shrimp and grits. It was a lot, but we left not feeling like we ate ourselves silly. That's when you know the food is fresh and not full of unnecessary things... I HIGHLY recommend that restaurant if you are ever in the area. On Sunday, I made homemade whole wheat buttermilk lemon & blueberry pancakes for Father's Day breakfast. I snuck in a nap afterwards and that evening we went to see Hall & Oates. Dad used to play Hall & Oates in the car a lot when I was younger. My brother and I hated it because it was "old" music, but we both appreciate it so much now because it reminds us of the good ol' days. Anyway, it was an amazing two days and I'm lucky to have such a great dad...


Images via Instagram (@savorhome) and my iPhone...
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6/13/2014

PRETTY STEEL + LINKS...



Hi there! I hope your week went well! I must say that I had a good productive work week and lucky for me - my week is ending on a high note as well. My dad is coming to visit this weekend for Father's Day and I am thrilled! I've got a stack of fresh newspapers (he loves good newspapers), a fresh batch of his favorite coffee, good dinner reservations and tickets to an outdoor concert featuring one of his favorite groups - that also happens to be one of my favorite groups. It's gonna be good! I hope you all have a good weekend and enjoy the links!

DIY that smells great and would be good for a long summer trip...

The before and after of this kitchen is quite lovely... and glamorous...

I never tire of reading posts about this... Such a great reminder.

A rare good sale featuring the special stuff... I'm loving this and this...

Whipped cream made in a mason jar... I must try this!

A great collection of recipes for Father's Day - in case you're looking...

Every time I see photos of her home, I just sigh... Loved this video of it, too.

This was one of the Best Commercials of 2013. Rightfully so. Amazing...

Image via
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6/11/2014

INSPIRED BY...


The neutral palette in Monika Hibbs's living room. So calm and soft on the eyes... That photo is actually the inspiration for my master bedroom/bathroom makeover!


This beautifully displayed collection of dune-colored Le Creuset cookware... 


That beautifully framed and displayed quote that couldn't be further from the truth... 


The calming colors on that home... I only wish I could see more!

Images 1/2/3/4
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6/09/2014

WEEKEND IN ONE PIC...


Hi there and happy Monday! I hope you had a great weekend. The weekend treated me well I must say. This weekend I...

* Had a glass or two - or maybe three of Whitehaven, my new favorite wine. It's a crisp, light Sauvignon Blanc that is the perfect combination of sweet and dry. It pairs really well with salads and fish. Love it.

* Countered my wine drinking with that bottle of Arden's Garden pressed green juice. I typically make my own juices, but when I'm low on time - or lazy - I pick up a bottle of this stuff. It's cheap ($3 a bottle), local and very good...

* Wrote this quote on the first page of my new little notebook that I found at Target...  "Live life as if everything is rigged in your favor." - Rumi. How true - and hard sometimes - is that??

* Wore these Ivanka Trump sandals (c/o) twice. Her shoes are so incredibly comfortable and these are no exception. The corked bottom is soft on the foot, which I love...

* Added pink tulips to my nightstand this week instead of the ever-so-popular peonies. I felt a little bit rebellious - and it felt good... :)

* Tried on this light, airy and simple dress. It's a popular style, but the fabric is so soft! So I checked my phone to see if it was on sale online. Sure enough it was. I'm learning to always check online before buying anything in the stores these days. Thank goodness for smartphones...

* Made myself stop and sit- to read. That is so hard for me to do sometimes... I decided to read The Fault In Our Stars before seeing the movie.  Did you see the movie over the weekend? How was it??

I hope you have a great week!!

Image by me

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6/06/2014

KAHLUA CHOCOLATE CAKE DONUTS + LINKS...


So apparently it's National Doughnut Day. I had no idea that day existed until yesterday, when a doughnut was the last thing on my mind. Now I clearly want a doughnut! I swear I could eat each and every one of those kahlua chocolate cake donuts you see there. It's been that kind of week. But it's Friday. It's National Doughnut Day. And today you can get one free doughnut of any kind at your local Krispy Kreme. That's not two, but three reasons to smile in my book...

What's up for the weekend? I'm definitely planning to go see The Fault In Our Stars... I haven't read the book yet, but I heard that the movie is very close to it. I also hear I'll need a handful of tissues. I'll be prepared. Other than that and a workout, I'm taking the weekend minute by minute... I hope your weekend is just as wonderful! Enjoy the links!

If you are a homeowner or renter of a home, then this might be really helpful...

This looks so refreshing and so relaxing...

A "California cool" and beautiful space...

I was so happy when I read this...

Great advice from powerful women...

Waffled donuts... Geez.

Pretty and perfect for summer...

Good weekend reading: here, here and here


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6/05/2014

INTERIORS: ONE GLAMOROUS KITCHEN...

I always get excited when the latest issues of the online design magazines are released. Reading them during my lunch break and before bed is one of my favorite things to do. I was reading the latest issue of Lonny during lunch the other day and ran across this stunning kitchen. I think I said, "Wow..." out loud in my office as soon as I saw it. This space was designed by one of my favorite designers, Naomi Stein of Design Manifest. What I love the most about this kitchen are the little details that set it aside from the typical white kitchen. I love how she chose a black and brass hood paired with the black stove - as opposed to using stainless options. They pair so well with the other elements of the kitchen. The subway tile is actually a pale blue instead of white. I think that adds a nice softness to the space. And the mirrored pantry - LOVE. The mirrors add such a glamorous touch. The homeowner said the mirror are a snack deterrent. Ha. The pendants are the perfect "jewelry" for the space. They stand out, but are clear and open, which allows the eye to keep moving through the space. I really like that. I really like everything and just had to share it with you... :)


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6/04/2014

CINNAMON SUGAR MADELEINES

I love when I can check little things off of old lists. Making French madeleines have been on my list of things to make for a few years and I finally made them this past weekend... I have my cat Max to thank for it - sort of. Max had surgery last Friday. I swear it's one thing after the next with him, but I wouldn't trade him for the world! Anyway, this is a food post, so I won't go into the details of the surgery, but he came out of it great and is doing well. But during the surgery, I was worried, so I went to HomeGoods. HomeGoods always gets my mind off of things. While I was there, I ran across a madeleine pan and I immediately grabbed it...

Not even a few weeks ago, I was watching Nancy Fuller make a version of these cinnamon sugar madeleines on her Food Network show, Farmhouse Rules. I love that show... Seeing her make them reminded me of how much I have been wanting to make them. They are super simple to make, but look sophisticated. And of course they taste really good! They have a cake-like texture that can be flavored in a number of ways. These are flavored with cinnamon, but they could also be flavored with vanilla or lemon zest - and maybe dipped in chocolate for some added flavor. They reminded me of something I would serve to new neighbors or as a snack with a side of coffee or tea for summer house guests. They are also made with pantry and refrigerator staples, so they would also be good to whip up for a last minute summer dinner party. Love them... :)


Here is what you need and what to do: (makes 12)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/3 granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch kosher salt
1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Position the rack to the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Use a little softened butter to grease the madeleine pan. Quick tip: I actually used a pastry brush that has been brushed with softened butter to grease the pan. The brush covers more surface area and gets into the grooves of the pan much better. Dust the pan with flour, shake off the excess flour, and set the pan aside.

Add the flour, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, baking powder and salt to a bowl. Whisk to combine and set aside.

Add the granulated sugar eggs and vanilla extract to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat until the mixture is thick, pale and yellow - about 5 minutes. Add the melted butter and mix until just combined. Turn off the mixture and fold in the dry ingredients using a spatula. Fold them in until they are just combined to avoid over-mixing the batter

Fill the madeleine pan about 3/4's full. Bake for about 9-11 minutes. Check them at about 9 minutes to see how close they are to being done. They will be dry if they are over-baked, so be careful!

Once they are done, remove them from the oven and let them cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. While they are cooling, add the tablespoon of powdered sugar to a fine mesh sieve. Once the cookies are cooled, remove them from the pan and dust them with the sugar.

I think they taste best right out of the oven, but you can store them in a sealed container for up to 2 days. Enjoy!

Images by me

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6/02/2014

QUICK TIPS ON PRACTICING PHOTOGRAPHY OUTSIDE...

So summer is nearly here (hello June!), which for me is when I try to make lots of dates outside with my camera. One of the best ways to learn how to use a digital camera is to practice outside in areas with variable light. When the light varies from one place to the next or one minute to the next (like when the sun comes and goes), then you really have to know the settings on the camera to get the right photo... 

These are photos I took during Memorial Day weekend at Westside Provisions, a rustic little area full of shops and some of my favorite restaurants. There are lots of different textures, colors, and shades of light in that area, which made it a perfect place for practicing photography. After I photographed this lovely ice cream shop, I ventured out into the area and just shot whatever caught my eye. Since the area was full of sunny areas and shady areas, I was constantly changing the settings on my camera to get the right photo. Constantly changing the settings can be frustrating, but it gets easier the more you practice. Once you learn the camera, you get to spend more time scoping out areas of interest than fooling with modes on the camera.

If I am taking photos during the day (as I did here) I typically get the best photos when I'm standing in a cloudy area and focused on a sunnier area. You will see in the photos below that I am in the shade photographing subjects where the sun is in the background. 

Here are the settings I used during this shoot, which are typical in areas of variable light... 

Lens: 50 mm, f 1.8
Camera Setting: Manual Mode
ISO: 100 (in really sunny areas)  200 (partly cloudy areas)
White Balance: Auto
Aperture: 5.0 (used on chair photo below and last photo to get the shallow depth of field, i.e. only one subject in the photo is in focus) and up to 6.0 (everything is in focus)
Shutter Speed: 1/200 (used in cloudier areas) up to 1/1000 (used in sunnier areas) 

If that was a little confusing, then the chart in this post is super helpful!


Also: Tips on practicing photography at farmer's markets - which I will be doing lots of this summer!

Images by me
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