Farmers Market Finds July 21 2017
This week began my ‘summer vacation’ on the beautiful island of Block Island. The island is full of beautiful beaches but I am beginning to discover there is a lot more that makes it a special place. While the island is small, about 8 miles by 4 miles, there is a lot to do.
This week I was really excited to visit the Farmer’s Market. It is held twice a week but on Wednesdays it is outside of the Spring House Hotel. The hotel restaurant did not disappoint on our dinner there earlier in the week stating they are a farm to table restaurant with an ocean view! The garden out back is pretty impressive so I had high expectations for the market. The produce at the market was top-notch and I came home with some Swiss Chard, Zucchini and Radishes. Follow our Instagram feed to find out what happens to those. I was surprised by the number of local artisans who set up shop at the market selling everything from baked goods to jewelry to clothes & Block Island Coasters. There were also musicians playing making the market an event for the entire family.
I hope I will visit the market again before heading back to New York. In the mean time, I am also excited to see what other hidden gems there are lurking around the island.
More to Celebrate! March 17 2017
Today I am off to Phoenix, Arizona! You might argue I just want to get out of the chilly northwest and melt in some 90° heat but I’m actually headed out to the desert to help my wonderful sister celebrate her 40th birthday. I thought I would dedicate this post to telling you all why she is 40 and Fabulous!
- Her Creativity – Watch out Martha Stewart because here comes my sis. She is super crafty and creative in everything she does. Her kids have the best Halloween costumes on the block… everything from Rare Roast Beef to Harry Potter. My sister also takes her creativity to her work as an interior designer. Her home is a display of her good design sense. Finally, she also spoils all of us by hosting the most amazing parties. I am sure this weekend’s festivities will not disappoint. As her friend kindly put it, she’s the queen party planner and of course wants to work wonders on the own shin-dig!
- Her Style – This may go along with her creativity but my sister has an endless sense of style. She picks a look and goes for it from head to toe. I wish I could get out of my comfort zone and try as many looks as she does. She also makes it look effortless and for me, that is the key to great style!
- Her Love – My sister would do anything for her family and friends. She has two amazing sons that she takes everywhere from school to the driving range and everywhere in between. She also takes time out for the rest of the family. This weekend I am happy to be helping her take some time for herself celebrating how amazing she is.
And with that I’m off to the airport. You never know what else I’ll find in Phoenix besides my sister. Anyone have any suggestions on where to go in the desert?
The Best Meal for a Crowd December 09 2016
It is amazing how fast time flies between Thanksgiving and New Years. We have just over three weeks left to make the most of 2016! I don’t know about you but I have a lot of family get togethers between now and the end of the year. I always want to make sure everyone is well fed, but also want to enjoy their company. This recipe for vegetable lasagna is always a hit. The best part is it can be made ahead and just heated on the day. Serve with a salad and some fresh bread for a quick and easy meal.
What are your go-to recipes for a crowd? I am always looking for new ideas on how to keep a hungry crowd happy.
Vegetable Lasagna with Due Cellucci Tomato Sauce
Makes 6-8 Servings
1 package(9 oz) lasagna noodles, oven ready
2 each green zucchini
2 each yellow squash
1 medium eggplant
1 – 10oz bag frozen spinach
16 oz ricotta cheese
8 oz shredded mozzarella
1 piece fresh mozzarella(about ½ pound)
1 –jar Due Cellucci Tomato Sauce
- Slice zucchini, yellow squash & eggplant into ½ inch slices. Lay in a single layer on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, salt & pepper. Bake in a 350°F oven for 20-30 minutes, until cooked through.
- Defrost bag of spinach and ring out extra water. Mix all the spinach with the ricotta cheese.
- Slice the fresh mozzarella into ½ inch pieces.
- Now you are ready to build the lasagna
- Layer 1 – Due Cellucci Tomato Sauce (generously coat the bottom of the baking dish(9x13 pan approximately)
- Layer 2- lasagna noodles(break into pieces so they don’t overlap)
- Layer 3 – single layer of zucchini & yellow squash
- Layer 4- more Due Cellucci Tomato Sauce
- Layer 5- noodles
- Layer 6 – Eggplant
- Layer 7 – fresh mozzarella
- Layer 8 – Due Cellucci Tomato Sauce
- Layer 9 – ricotta & spinach
- Layer 10 – noodles
- Layer 11 – Due Cellucci Tomato Sauce
- Layer 12 – shredded mozzarella
- Once the lasagna is assembled, cover with tin foil and bake in 350 degree F oven for 1 hour, take foil off for the last 10-15 minutes to make the cheese golden brown.
- If you’re making ahead. Let cool before placing in the refrigerator. Reheat in a 350°F uncovered for 20-30 minutes until heated through.
The Perfect Gift November 25 2016
I hope you had a great Thanksgiving. The turkey has digested and we’re getting ready for the traditional Friday-after-Thanksgiving Family Football game. I would be lying to say I’m not 100% focused on the game; I’ve got a few other things on my mind.
Tis the season for gift giving and I spend a lot of time pondering what will be a good gift for each person on my list. The list becomes pretty long when you have 15 nephews and nieces! Here are some tips on how to select the perfect gift for everyone on your list.
- Give a piece of You – Even if you aren’t crafty, you can still give a unique gift that represents yourself. Do you love to cook? Give a cookbook. Do you love the movies? A gift of popcorn would be appropriate.
- Find a common ground – Giving a gift is tough when you don’t know the person well, so focus on what you do know. I know my cousin’s husband really likes to grill and I love to cook too. A gift of these spices from La Boîte are going to make the perfect gift. Do you both love dessert? Then you cannot go wrong with our chocolate selection.
- Resist the urge to give something you’d like – This one is tricky given tip #2 but ultimately the gift is for someone else, not yourself. Make sure you’re thinking about them when selecting the gift and keep that other one for yourself and a rainy day.
At the end of the day, be sure to give. Multiple studies support that you feel better after giving a gift compared with receiving one.
If you are in New York in December, be sure to stop by our showroom. We’re opening our doors the first three Fridays to help you find that perfect gift.
Thanksgiving Recipes! November 04 2016
Halloween is over and it is finally time to look ahead to Thanksgiving. It is definitely one of my favorite holidays because it is all about family, friends and eating!
Here are some great recipes for your Thanksgiving meal using some of the products from our marketplace.
Roasted Chicken with Jacobsen Kosher Salt, just in case a Turkey won’t fit in your NYC oven
Honey Glazed Carrots with Bee Local Cherrywood Smoked Honey
Place orders by Thursday November 17th for guaranteed delivery before Thanksgiving.
Good Bye Summer! September 02 2016
There is just something about being at the beach that relaxes me. Maybe it is the sound of the waves crashing on the beach or the feeling of the sand in my toes? Perhaps it is knowing that after my kids play at the beach all morning they’ll take the best naps ever? Or that since we have a grill my husband will be cooking dinner? I’m not sure what it is exactly but my family and I just returned from the most relaxing week on Block Island. We went to the beach every day and some days twice.
When I return from a relaxing week like last week, I always welcome the hustle and bustle of New York City to get me back to reality. I’m a bit less relaxed as I see the possibility of checking things off my To-Do List but I always have a better perspective than before a week away. I enjoy going back to all of our usual spots and just being home. My children love rediscovering their toys and they still take naps (thank goodness!). My husband still helps with dinner and we find a few minutes each day to unwind together.
This weekend marks the unofficial end of summer. My family and I are off for one last getaway before we get into the rhythm of the school year. It is sure to be another great weekend, hopefully as relaxing as the rest of them. Enjoy the last weekend of fun in the sun. Let me know where your adventures take you and if you find any good food gems!
Getaway Weekend to the Country August 12 2016
It was a very cold February night when we were out to celebrate the birthday of my husband and our good friend, @la_boite, that we first discussed taking our families away together. We just wanted to get out of the city and on that frigid night were really looking forward to the summer. It took a little time to plan the perfect getaway but we set a date and settled on a cute house in Washingtonville, New York. This past weekend we packed up both families (including the kids ages 5 months, 1 year and 2-2 year olds) and set off on our adventure.
Even though Washingtonville is only about a 90-minute drive from New York City, it definitely felt like we were in the country! The weekend was planned with equal time ‘sight-seeing’ and relaxing. We needed something to keep the kids and adults entertained. We started out with a delicious lunch at The Hop in Beacon, New York. This place was recommended by almost everyone we spoke with about the area. After our lunch I can see why. It had a great relaxed vibe and the food was delicious. I had a fried egg on polenta with Swiss Chard and too many tater tots. After lunch we headed to the Dia:Beacon, another recommendation by many. This museum is in an old factory and the building is just as spectacular as the art inside of it. The next stop was our house in Washingtonville, our home base for the weekend.
The house was set back in the woods and we frequently saw a family of deer as we were coming up the drive. One BIG perk of country living is having a yard and a grill. We put both to good use. We went to Blooming Hill Farm where @la_boite got a box full of goodies from the farmer’s market and treated us to delicious meals the entire trip. The rest of our weekend included an adventure to the Storm King Art Center, an outdoor sculpture park. We also went to Circleville Town Park for a swim in their lake and a perfect picnic. We finished the weekend off with a trip to Ochs Orchard, visiting their animals and bringing home some delicious peaches and tomatoes.
It was a fantastic weekend away and I hope we will do it again next summer. I always love getting away and exploring new places. It is especially nice to do it with good friends. I know the kids had a good time because the morning after we got home, my son asked where his friends were.
Wedding Bells October 16 2015
This weekend I am off to a family wedding and it got me thinking about my wedding. There are so many details that go into planning the perfect event and everyone’s idea of perfect is different. You may be one of those people who look at all of the little details or take a more laid back approach and just focus on the joy of the occasion.
I like to think I took an approach somewhere in the middle. The details were very important to me as I think that is what made the day unique to my husband and myself. We wanted all of our guests to feel the joy of the occasion so had some sparkling wine waiting for them as they entered. We wanted them to feel warm as they went back out in to the winter night so had coffee, hot chocolate and cookies waiting on the way out. We also had some La Boîte Spices as our wedding favors so our family and friends could remember the day even after they left the party.
While I take a lot of pride in organization and the fine details, on my wedding day I did what I tell all brides to do(and is advice given to me by someone very wise although I cannot remember who!)… Enjoy your day, no one knows what all of the details are supposed to be except you. Let them think everything is how you planned and everyone will have a great time! This is advice that can be applied in any situation from a simple dinner party to a large event. It worked for me that day and I still use the advice when planning events, like our Open House coming up on Halloween. I hope you’ll be able to join and have a great time tasting delicious products from our marketplace. I promise to have a great time so you can enjoy yourself as well!
I am sure Rachel & Brian’s wedding will be flawless this weekend. I’m looking forward to a fantastic weekend with my family. I hope you enjoy yours!
My Visit to the Northwest Chocolate Festival October 09 2015
I had a great time in Seattle last weekend and if there was one word (besides amazing) to describe my weekend it would be Chocolate! From the moment I arrived to the moment I got back on the plane to New York the weekend was centered around chocolate.
FRIDAY: The first stop from the airport was Fran’s Chocolates where I was able to see caramel and chocolate making in action. I also ate a few sea salt caramels and even saved a few to share with my husband when I got home. From there it was on to Pike’s Place Market. I was overwhelmed with the selection of culinary treats both sweet and savory. I had to have some Chukar Cherries and settled on a bag of Dark Chocolate covered Cabernet Cherries to bring home. There was still time in the afternoon to catch a factory tour at Theo Chocolate. This was awesome to see in person. I know a lot about the chocolate making process but hadn’t seen the machinery first hand. We also got to taste a lot of Theo’s delicious chocolate! The day finished with a casual dinner and I didn’t even have dessert. Unusual for someone with a sweet tooth but there were enough sweets earlier in the day to last all night!
SATURDAY: The morning started with a savory breakfast of Huevos Rancheros to line my stomach before another onslaught of chocolate. Then it was off to the Northwest Chocolate Festival. This was chocolate heaven. There were two floors filled with artisan chocolate makers tasting and selling their chocolates. I had no idea the number of chocolate makers there are out there and to be honest, they were all fantastic. The festival also consisted of a full line up of cooking demonstrations, talks and tastings. It was a good break from the action to sit and learn more about the state of the chocolate industry and where it is going. The good news is there are a lot of really energetic chocolate people out there who are working to ensure the industry moves in the right direction.
After the festival there was time for a quick dinner. This time salad to cleanse the palette before my flight back to New York. I am sad my visit to Seattle was so short but I definitely made the most of my time there. I’m just waiting for the New York Times to do a piece on 36 Chocolate Filled Hours in Seattle, Washington! I’ll have all of the tips on where to go.
Check out some of my photos from the trip here.
Seattle Here I Come October 02 2015
Today I’m headed to the wonderful city of Seattle, Washington. The west coast home of the Seattle Seahawks, Starbucks Coffee and The Northwest Chocolate Festival (the reason for my trip). This will be my first visit to Seattle and I am very excited to eat and drink my way through the city. I’ll be there for less than 48 hours, so have made a short list of the foodie places I am going to visit.
Here is my plan:
Fran’s Chocolates: Fran’s makes the most delicious sea salt caramels you will ever eat. I’m planning to add them to the marketplace just in time for the holidays. Seattle is where these delicious treats are made and they have a Retail, Production and Viewing area in Georgetown. I cannot wait to watch them prepare their famous caramel and look forward to trying at least one.
Pike Place Market: I’ve heard a lot about the guys who throw the fish in the market. I look forward to that and exploring the many other artisan and food retailers in the market. Maybe I’ll find something new to add to the marketplace.
The Chocolate Box: Featuring chocolates and wines from local makers this shop is a must visit! I look forward to seeing what the locals are making before going to the festival which features chocolate makers from around the world.
The Northwest Chocolate Festival: I am going to try to maintain some composure at the Chocolate Festival and not eat too much chocolate. I don’t think that will actually be possible but I’m going to give it a try.
I’ll be sure to let you know about all of the wonderful foods I discover on my adventures out west.