White Peony Hoop Wreath – For your garden gate… or the bride?

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I love the look of a beautiful hoop wreath adorned with fresh flowers – great for summer special event decor, but their life is short lived in the summer heat.

I decided to work on creating the same look with high quality faux greenery and flowers. The challenge is creating the same airy look and movement of fresh greens – artificial greens often can appear stiff.

I settled on white peonies with soft greens and white accent flowers.

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Because this wreath would be out in the summer heat.  Hot glue was not an option so I used floral wire to wind the greenery around the 14″ wooden hoop.

Peony hoop wreath 1Then, used floral tape to create clusters of white peonies and peony leaves together before wiring them on the bottom of the hoop.  The final step – adding a bit of willow green organza ribbon at the top.

peony hoop wreath 3The completed piece truly looks like the real thing… minus the wilting worries. This is a great summer garden accent – perfect for the front door, garden gate or porch.

It would also make a lovely decorative addition to a garden wedding, or even a unique and contemporary alternative to a traditional bridal bouquet.

Happy Summer, all!

Michele

 

Gooey Peanut Butter Bars… an almost guilt-free treat!

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Gooey Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars - close up

I’ve been trying to behave, eat healthy and tame my sweet tooth, but I had a craving for chocolate and peanut butter so it was time to whip up a batch of these Gooey Peanut Butter bars.

With a relatively small amount of sugar and no grain flour, these come at about 17 grams of carbs and a good dose of healthy fats – thanks to the almond flour, coconut flour and flaxseed.  You could use stevia or your choice of sweetener to drop the carbs down to about 7 grams, I just personally prefer natural sugar if I’m doing to indulge.

I can attest that these will cure your peanut butter & chocolate craving.  I couldn’t wait to try them… and as I was enjoying my peanut butter chocolate moment, I realized I hadn’t taken the photo!

Gooey Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars

Oh well… I think you will enjoy these too!

Recipe - Gooey Peanut Butter Bars

Enjoy!

Michele

Easy Weeknight Entree – Crispy Pesto Chicken Thighs

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Having a well-stocked pantry makes week night meals delicious and hassle-free.  Crispy Pesto Chicken Thighs come together quickly with To Market To Market’s Pesto & Pastabilities seasoning mix and a few staples from your pantry.

Recipe - Pesto & Pastabilities Crispy Chicken 2

Crispy Pesto Chicken Thighs

2-3 Tbs. Pesto and Pastabilities seasoning mix
1/4 cup Pine Nuts
1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
1/3 cup Olive Oil
1 cup Panko bread crumbs (for a gluten-free version – use gluten-free panko)
Sea or Kosher Salt & Pepper to Taste
2-3 lbs. Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a blender or food processor, process the Pesto and Pastabilities, pine nuts and Parmesan cheese together until it forms a smooth paste. Gradually add the olive oil and process until smooth. Season with kosher or sea salt and black pepper to taste.

Put the chicken thighs on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment. Brush the top of the chicken with the pesto mixture.  Mix the remaining pesto with the panko and spread over the chicken.

Bake for 30 minutes or until topping is brown and chicken is fully cooked.

Enjoy!

 

To Market To Market Pesto & Pastabilities is all-natural, gluten-free and sodium free.  Find it at a la Maison in Baldwinsville, NY or call 315-440-6637 to order.

Kitchen Redesign – Correcting Dated & Dangerous Design

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Moccasin Path - Kitchen 4 beforeThis kitchen at first glance was pretty nice – quality wood cabinets and already updated with granite countertops.  You almost don’t notice that the cabinets go straight across the gas stove – only 18″ inches above the open flame burners.  Definitely not a safe distance for cooking – nor built to code.

With the recent addition of two spacious pantries on the right wall of the kitchen, storage wasn’t an issue, so the cabinets over the stove had to go.

kitchen wall no cabinets

An added bonus was the opportunity to also update the dated tile backsplash that was used throughout the kitchen.  We made quick work of removing that as well.

kitchen sink wall bare 2

An off-white distressed subway tile with a dark taupe/gray grout was selected to coordinate with the existing granite.

kitchen wall tiling 2kitchen wall tiling

We decided to take the tile all the way up to the ceiling on both walls, which created height and really brightened up the room.

kitchen tile work

I always think of installing the grout as the easy part of the job, but it is really a workout for your arms when you’re grouting this much tile all at once!

kitchen tile work in process 4

 

With the messy grout job complete, it was time to install a new stainless steel hood vent, and reclaimed wood floating shelves on the new tile wall.  The existing wood cabinets got a good cleaning and new matte black pulls for an updated look.

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Then the fun stuff begins – styling!  Wired bottles, cookbooks and cooking essentials are both practical and pretty – bringing a touch of updated farmhouse to this kitchen.

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The overall feel is spacious and bright.  Pair that with the tons of storage, ample work surface and multiple seating areas, I’d say this is a pretty great kitchen for both cooking and entertaining.  A win win!

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Kitchen Redesign – Adding Storage & Style

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kitchen wall afterThis kitchen was big on space – however it was wide open space that was under utilized.  The entire back was open. The homeowner previously had a small kitchen table just beyond the peninsula, but we had other ideas as there was also open space at the other end of the kitchen.

We decided to move the table to the right end of the kitchen opening, which opened up a huge space – perfect for pantries that would provide a huge amount of storage.

kitchen wall before 3Next step was building out two pantries – one to hold food items and a second to hold kitchen appliances and essentials.  So much storage – a home cook’s dream!

Originally we considered installing matching kitchen cabinets and granite in the space between the pantries, but decided on a piece of furniture and art which dresses up the kitchen and ties nicely to the reclaimed wood & iron bar table at the other end of the kitchen.

kitchen wall after 2 - Copy

Reclaimed wood console add stylish storage. Wall art selection is an unexpected treat (especially if you’re a horse lover!)

kitchen wall after 2Phase One is complete and the pantries look like they have always been there!

Our Favorite Things… Spring Stems and Greenery

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This polar vortex is really grabbing a good portion of the country. Here is Central New York, we woke up to below zero temperatures with a wind chill factor of -24 degrees!

However, I’m focusing on what’s going on inside – a new shipment of beautiful spring stems and succulents!

Nothing chases the cold away like a room full of flowers and greenery. There’s no time like the present to bring the look into your house – whether fresh or faux. Plants and flowers bring warm and happy thoughts of spring and summer.

Here are a couple of my favorites:

Floral branches in white and green. I love a brimming vase of all white and green flowers. It’s so organic, elegant and feminine. Fill a vase and see what it does for a room – just lovely!

Creamy cabbage roses.

White peonies arranged in a rustic green metal can.

Faux Queen Anne’s Lace with ferns.

White and green floral stems ready and waiting for an afternoon of flower arranging.

A mantel decked out for spring with white and green.

Succulents and ferns. Both succulents and ferns are typically easy care options for fresh indoor plants. However, if you are really busy, faux is the way to go. Today’s faux greenery is gorgeous and hard to spot.

Faux succulent and boxwood spheres in various sizes and styles.

Faux succulents arrangements work perfectly on a interior stone wall. No watering required!

Potted ferns are always ready to go at the store. Tuck them in anywhere for a quick pop of green.

Greenery adds a pop of color to this black and white tablescape.

Options abound, so don’t let winter get you down… just bring in the green!

Easy Entrees – Cherry BBQ Pork Chops with Sauteed Baby Bok Choy

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cherry bbq pork chops - plate - cropped

Cherry BBQ Pork Chops are rich in flavor, thanks to Brownwood Farms Cherry BBQ sauce.  This item was a new addition to our store this fall and quickly became a family favorite.  It’s unique flavor is delicous on pork, chicken and salmon – plus it’s all natural, gluten-free and made in the USA.  What’s not to love?

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Cherry BBQ Pork Chops with Sautéed Bok Choy is an easy and healthy entrée for any day of the week.

Recipe:

Oven Roasted Cherry BBQ Pork Chops with Sautéed Baby Bok Choy
4          Bone-in Pork Chops
1 Tbls  Grape seed or Canola Oil
Salt & Pepper
1 Btl     Brownwood Farms Cherry BBQ Sauce (you’ll need about ½ bottle)

Sautéed Baby Boy Choy
16 oz.     Baby Bok Choy, washed
½            White onion, sliced thin – vertically (optional)
2 Tsp      Grape seed Oil
1 Tbls     Brownwood Farms Cherry BBQ Sauce
1Tbls      Gluten-free Tamari or Soy Sauce
Salt & Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray baking sheet with cooking spray.

cherry bbq pork chops

Heat oil in an iron skillet over medium-high heat.  Season pork chops with salt & pepper on both sides.  Add to skillet – brown for 3 minutes.  Flip and brown the other size.  (You may have to cook the chops in two batches so you don’t over-crowd the pan.)

Transfer to a prepared baking sheet and brush with Brownwood Farms Cherry BBQ Sauce and bake for 15 minutes.  Flip the pork chops, heavily baste with the Cherry BBQ Sauce and roast for another 15-20 minutes, or until pork chops are cooked through (internal temp of about 145 degrees).  Cover with foil and let rest for 10 minutes.

cherry bbq pork chops 2

Prepare baby bok choy:  Heat skillet with 2 teaspoons of grape seed oil over medium heat.

baby bok choy

Add sliced onion (if using) and sauté for 4 minutes.  Add baby bok choy and sauté for 4 minutes.

baby bok choy 2

Add Cherry BBQ Sauce and Tamari Sauce.  Sauté for additional 3-5 minutes.

cherry bbq pork chops - plated

Serving suggestion:  Plate pork chops and baby bok choy with cauliflower rice or brown rice for a healthy meal.

Enjoy!

Interior Style… Layering with Vintage Art

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I’ve been very into using classic artwork in new ways. Using vintage doors, windows and architectural pieces layered with wreaths, greenery and art as wall decor opens so many styling opportunities.
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I had a print of a 1920’s Maxfield Parish piece that I loved put onto canvas.
maxfield parish art canvas closeup
Layering it over a pair of antique doors added color, dimension
and unique, eclectic style.
art - maxfield parish canvas

Easy Entertaining – Oven Roasted Bacon Wrapped Shrimp with Horseradish Sauce

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Oven Roasted Bacon Wrapped Shrimp with Horseradish Sauce

Whether you’re looking for an appetizer for a cocktail party or an impressive dinner for guests, these oven roasted bacon wrapped shrimp are delicious, quick and easy!

bacon wrapped shrimp 4 long cropped

Recipe:

1 lb      Jumbo Shrimp (peeled & deveined)
1 lb      Bacon

Horseradish Sauce
1 cup   Sour Cream
2 Tbls  Prepared Horseradish
1 Tbls Fresh Lemon Juice
Salt & Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray baking sheet with cooking spray.

Rinse shrimp with water and pat dry.  Cut bacon strips in half and wrap each shrimp in the bacon.  Place each shrimp seam side down on the baking sheet.

baon wrapped shrimp

Roast in oven for 15 – 18 minutes, or until bacon and shrimp are cooked through.

bacon wrapped shrimp 2

Transfer to a platter and serve as an appetizer with the horseradish sauce – or plate with sautéed spinach and rice for a delicious dinner.

bacon wrapped shrimp 3

Enjoy!