Spring Soup Recipe – broccoli potato spinach

I have not served my family canned soup in years. For me it’s just fresher and just as easy to take a few items from the fridge and put together a soup when we’re in the mood. I always have my homemade chicken stock frozen in individual mason jars in the freezer. Last weekend I made Broccoli Potato Spinach soup (because we had a head of broccoli, one baking potato and a bag of fresh spinach). If you’d like the recipe:

  • In 1/4 cup olive oil in a large saucepan, saute 1 small onion, chopped, with
  • 1 head of fresh broccoli – cut up small
  • 1 small baking potato, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • Add 2 cups Water
  • 1 1/2 cups of broth (chicken or vegetable)
  • 3 large handfuls of fresh baby spinach (looks like a lot but will shrink quickly)
  • Sprinkle of Salt, Pepper, Thyme and dry Basil

Bring to boil and then reduce to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until broccoli and potato are soft but not mushy. Add a splash of cream to soup. Take your immersion (stick) blender and blend until smooth – I leave a few chunks here and there in the soup and do not blend completely smooth. Taste and add more salt and pepper if it needs it.

Top each bowl with a sprinkle of cheese (Gouda, Fontina, Gruyere – mine was Gouda because that was the least expensive this week at the grocery store). Enjoy!

Outdoor Conference Recap Part II – Tablescapes

I promised you more of the Outdoor Conference from this month so here I am. One of the perks of the day was that a designer from each store set up a beautiful springtime tablescape in their showroom.

My favorite takeaway from this tablescape was the ghost chair – in wingback style!

Easter inspiration ….. very cute!

or simply set a table with lots of candles, lanterns stuffed with greens and bird knick-knacks nestled on craft moss hanging over the table. Leave your dinner guests a simple takeaway gift of a bulb to plant in their garden …..

Big shout out to Telescope Casual Furniture – they’ve been producing furniture in the U.S.A. since 1903. Bright and beautiful, so fun! Love these chairs …..

I’ll show you more tablescapes next week. In the meantime, it’s actually quite nice outside. Head out and hang some flowers from your outdoor umbrella if you’re so inspired!

A House Party for Makers

The 50s and 60s were the years for Tupperware Parties, the 70s and 80s were the years for Pampered Chef Parties. This year is the year for Makers. The weather was brutal all over the country and in Chicago too. I thought what better way to kiss kick winter goodbye than to have a pillow makers art party. 

I set up a drinks station on my homemade sawhorse table ….

and at the dining table I had Small Bites to nibble as we were all meeting each other (I should have photographed before we started digging in …)

I managed to cram (hopefully comfortably) 10 artists plus the instructor in our little kitchen nook and adjoining family room. I wanted all of us to be in as close proximity as possible so that we could all listen to the instructor at the same time.

The artist Michelle, of MJ & Crew, did a wonderful job teaching us. She actually sews the pillow covers, draws the designs that everyone desires and everyone just paints her art, similar to paint by number. Michelle brings all the supplies and the stuffing too!

For me, it was a peaceful afternoon with great people. We all met someone new, we came together to be makers and we told our stories without any pressure for social media “Likes” – we were just a bunch of humans hanging out and creating.

I hope everyone had a good time. ♥

Harry Beast, Angels and This and That

I have not posted in awhile, busy busy – so I’ll just give you a little bit of this and a little bit of that … Did you know that our town has some of the cutest cottages around? I call this one above the “Angel Cottage” because there’s a trumpeting wooden angel hanging from the eaves.

It’s such a cute property, Harry-Beast loves it too …

Speaking of the Beast, he’s down in the dumps today. Very calm and a sad-sack, not like him at all! I’ll have to keep an eye on him ….

I made some homemade fries for breakfast this morning on honor of the St. Pat’s weekend. They are soooo easy and soooo good and the secret is when you’re making baked potatoes for dinner, you make a few extra baked potatoes. Let the extra cool on the counter, then put them in the fridge to use the next day or a few days later. When ready to use, peel the potatoes. If there’s a bit of skin left on, that’s OK ….

Then you cut the potatoes up in small pieces and pan fry them. This is not deep frying, it’s pan frying and, since the potatoes are already cooked, it takes minutes to pan fry the potatoes.

The potatoes turn out beautifully crisp on the outside and they are tender on the inside.

Yesterday Dear Husband and I saw “The Producers” at The Paramount in Aurora. The Paramount never fails in putting on great performances. The play was Hilarious!

And that’s that! Hopefully I’ll be back later in the week with a more riveting post, thanks for stopping by.

Beachwear you’ll love to shop for …

We all hate shopping for that new bathing suit but there’s some beachwear we looooove – the beachwear for our homes. Yesterday was the Mart’s Outdoor Conference and, although none of today’s furnishings are for the outdoors, Made Goods served us a yummy lunch. It’s my absolute favorite showroom in the Mart so let’s start here for a recap of the conference and to start off the weekend a little Beachy …..

Their resin inlay dressers, mirrors and stools are to-die-for ….

Their mirrors are amazing – I’m a sucker for ruffles …..

And be still my heart, their lighting is gorgeous ….

The last chandy above is my favorite, I love the soft natural tiers and just a touch of metal. Did you notice that every item has an interesting shape and texture? I’ll bring you more of the conference next week so we can really get inspired for the spring/summer season (whenever that may happen!) Which accessory would you love in your beach home? ♥

Style and function brings together a living room for a family of 6

I had a  Wayfair Design Services project with another family of 6 this week. The home is still in the new-build stage but that does not mean that we cannot begin to design their home – as long as we have the dimensions, the flooring and wall color, we are good to go! 

Wayfair client’s photo

The living room is open to the kitchen, which will have white cabinets ….

Wayfair client’s photo

My client had specific tastes which I love. It pushed me in the direction of the design going forward. So often a client knows what they want, they just don’t know how to get there and that’s where your designer comes in.

My client loved this rolled-arm sofa (but did not want it in white with the four children) and this style of chair.

She already had the wall color chosen, Agreeable Gray, so instead of a gray chair I thought bringing in a pop of color would brighten this living room. I chose this fabric selection on the Wayfair site.

I then moved on to choosing a rug with taupe and blues.

The pillow pattern with a beautiful fern for my client’s love of southern country charm paired with a “frayed” pillow toned down the formal and let everyone know a gaggle of children happily live here.

The fireplace is going to be a traditional fireplace with white mantel but there were no built ins and nothing going in on either side of the fireplace. The TV would be placed above the fireplace. I went with these terrific media stands, in duplicate, to flank the fireplace. You need storage when you have a large family!  Top them with jug vases of natural faux branches and VOILA, that end of the living room is complete.

Last but not least, for even more function,  I added another console to the back of one of the sofas to house a set of poufs. If the children have friends over, they make for wonderful seating or the family can use them as footstools. A coffee table with lift top is great for snacking and its size accommodates board games and crafting supplies.

I thank my Wayfair Design Services client for choosing me to design their new home and I wish them every bit of happiness in their new space!  It’s going to look amazing.♥