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January 15, 2019

Chicken Piccata with Spinach, Cherry Tomatoes & Angel Hair


Chicken Piccata with Spinach, Cherry Tomatoes & Angel Hair

We have this for dinner probably about once a week - one of everyone's favorites.  It is one of my very favorites because it takes 20 minutes to make (seriously - I timed myself!) and everyone in our family loves it.  It is fairly healthy with lots of spinach, chicken and tomatoes and not too much pasta.  It also feels light, but still filling and very flavorful.  I love that I can stop by the store and have this on the table so quickly and everyone is excited about dinner.

I haven't done a new dinner recipe in a while - a really long time.  I think I've fallen into the same trap of most moms... feeding people every single day.  Emma's tastes are simpler than ours, and though she is a fairly good eater, she doesn't want to try something new every night and, frankly, neither do I.  We take comfort in our favorites - pasta, tacos, burgers, roasted chicken, soup, etc.  So, when I realized this "favorite" of ours wasn't on the blog, I thought it was a good one to add.

I've resolved not to cook quite as much this year - ha!  We eat at home probably 5-6 night a week, which is a lot.  And while I still love cooking, I find myself a burnt out when I have extra time to make something fun, because I've spent the entire week making basic simple kid-friendly dinners.  My goal is to do more like 4 nights a week at home, 1 night easy takeout (pizza, sushi...) and two nights out.  

I would say I'm also going to "resolve" to do more recipe posts, but no promises ; )   It is always my intention, but creating new products for the store has become my new job (instead of writing blog posts), and after working all day, I don't always want to share what we have for dinner.  Like you, I want to turn off "work" and just enjoy family time.  I do miss writing and sharing our days here.  I found it therapeutic, almost, to create this little utopia of living well.  Emma has become very interested in baking lately and has really started to experiment in the kitchen.  I'm not talking cake mixes and decorating cupcakes, but things like pate a choux and sponge cakes thanks to our new favorite show, The British Baking Show.  So, you can look forward to new inspiration from that : )

With all of that said, the store and the School House has become so much more streamlined than it has been in the past.  My helpers are so good at taking responsibility off of my shoulders that I'm finding myself with more free time, so I do hope to be here more often to share.     I also have big garden plans I'm already working on for this spring.  The best part of being a gardener is dreaming and planning in the winter!



Chicken Piccata with Spinach, Cherry Tomatoes & Angel Hair

4 chicken breasts (about 1 medium per person)
Garlic Salt
2/3 pounds of angel hair pasta
Sea Salt
3 tablespoons of olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup of capers
1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
5 oz box of baby spinach
6 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of cream



Start a pot of salted water to boil.  When water boils, add pasta and cook for 2-3 minutes, then strain and give a quick rinse with cold water.*

*We've all been taught to not rinse pasta lately and to put it directly into the sauce, so it can absorb the sauce and flavor.   However, I've learned that with this super light sauce, it seems to all disappear into the pasta and then there is nothing to enjoy with the chicken.  So, when I started rinsing with cold water, this recipe became so much better, but do what you want : )



Butterfly the chicken breasts by slicing them down the side, leaving the center intact.  Our grocery store does this for me.

Generously sprinkle garlic salt on one both sides of the chicken breasts.  In a saute pan, heat the olive oil.  After about 1 minute, add the chicken.  Cook on medium for about 6-8 minutes on each side, or until they are cooked all the way through.





Add the butter, cream and lemon juice the the saute pan.  Add the spinach, tomatoes and capers.



Toss everything together until the spinach cooks and wilts down - it can be easier to take the chicken out during this part if your pan is too full.  



Add the pasta and toss it all together, making sure the pasta gets reheated from the sauce.  Taste for seasoning - add more butter or lemon, if needed.







January 08, 2019

The Fresh Home Collection | Wednesday 8am Central


The Holidays seem to be so full, so decadent and so much, that on New Year's Day when the tree and garlands come down, I'm almost instantly ready to pair down to bright and airy spaces, schedules and routines.  This time of year I yearn for simple, clean, and fresh.

I also yearn for the sea - not the warmth of the sun, or the vibrant colors of the tropics - but the breezy, washed out grey and palest blue of the sea during the winter months.  There are a couple of spots that come to mind - Seaside with homes washed in pastel colors, filled with white linen and streaming light, or Cape Cod with its fierce winter weather, shadowy and grey misted, crashing ocean.  The beaches are deserted and the vast ocean dominates the view, the sounds.

In contrast, I also love the solitaire freshness of a blanket of snow, the quietness of a winter's day.  It is my favorite time to walk outside and to observe the smallest signs of life in stark whiteness.  I love to be curled up on the sofa with a soft cashmere blanket, fire and a good show.   I love winter.  Let me rephrase that, I love winter for about a month, then I'm ready for dewy grass and budding bulbs : )  I'm keeping Emma and myself entertained with an eye on spring this winter as I force more spring bulbs inside - daffodils, hyacinth and tulips.  Watching their progress is so fulfilling - each morning she checks on them with delight.

I spent a large amount of time over our holiday break cleaning out every nook and cranny.  I cleared off so many surfaces in our home.  I found that all of them had become just a bit to cluttered for no good reason other than I had something to set there.  I wiped them all clean and only put back things I truly loved.

I cleaned out our freezer, pantry and refrigerator - such a great feeling.  I've restocked myself with all fresh essentials and cleared out "this and that's" that seemed to find their way in.  I love keeping a simple, uncluttered kitchen.  It really works better that way.

This collection is a reflection of all of these things I love about winter - starting fresh, bright and airy pale blues and washed out greys, soft whites, the sea, the snow, solitude, simplified schedules, and new routines.

The Fresh Home Collection will launch tomorrow, Wednesday, January 9th at 8am Central. 












 


 




















The Fresh Home Collection will launch tomorrow, Wednesday, January 9th at 8am Central. 


November 01, 2018

The Holiday Collection


There is nothing quite like how our homes feel during the Holidays.  I'm not sure if it actually is the twinkling lights in the background or the fire crackling, or if it is just in the air - but it is something we all crave and love.  Maybe it is the extra layer that our home accumulates.  The extra throw or pillow, the natural elements we bring in like fresh garlands and trees.

Each year my decorating gets more natural and subtle.  I've settled into my natural love of more muted greens and golds, using smaller accents of red.  I also love to incorporate colors that aren't as traditionally "holiday" like in between blues and greys.  There is something about them that feels country and old fashioned when mixed with traditional decor.  

This collection features three new block print textile designs, six new wrapping papers, so many ribbons and a new addition - glass ornaments.  We collect glass ornaments each year as souvenirs from our travels and as gifts to each other and I'm so excited to share that tradition with you, too.  Venturing into Wrapping Papers this year has been a dream - for so many years I've wanted to design wrapping papers for the holidays.  

It is such a pleasure for me to create things for you to use during the holidays.  All of these products were thoughtfully created for you so that you are able to create magical, special holidays for your families.  I love that you share these homemade holiday passions with me.  Happy Holiday Planning : )






















I love these special tea towels for hostess gifts during the Holidays.  Tied with a beautiful ribbon - they are beautiful alone or with a bottle of wine or something homemade.





I love this print.  Once Halloween is over, I'm attracted to these more rich and saturated colors.  This feels country and charming to me, but also in a nice clean print.





Always do velvet pillows in our more formal living room - something about the velvet makes the room feel rich and luxuries.  And I love the saturated colors.



I've potted my Paperwhite Bulbs and have them all gathered here in a basket on our chest - my favorite way to keep my gardening passion going during the winter months.  Their blooming and sprouting becomes a family event as we check them each day.  They are also another favorite gift to give during the holidays - which is why I have so many : )


Throw pillows aren't just for sofas.  I love a single pillow on a stately chair.






As I mentioned, we have a growing collection of glass ornaments at our house.  Last year, Mike purchased an antique chest of drawers for our living room and it houses our collection.  They are each lovingly wrapped in tissue and stored there the entire year.  I love that we've created this special home for them.

We have (and by we I mean my Mom...) wrapped all of these ornaments individually in tissue paper and Kraft boxes.  The boxes are labeled with the name of the ornament and the year - a perfect keepsake.


Shop Ornaments >





It is a complete dream to be designing wrapping papers - it is becoming my new favorite project to work on, which is why there are so many : )

4 sheets of wrap packaged in a Kraft Tube.
Each sheet is 36" x 24"



Tessa's Floral Bouquet Paper

Tessa, from NineandSixteen.com, has long been a source of inspiration for me.  We've gotten to know each other personally over the last 7 years through our blogs.  I'm constantly consulting her for product ideas, travel recommendations and decorating my own home.  Her insights are always spot on - one of those people that knows your own style better than you do!  I asked her to design a wrapping paper for the Holiday Collection with the direction - "What is your dream paper?"  We texted back and forth for about 20 minutes and this design was born.  I'm so obsessed with the mossy green and large scale botanical - so Tessa.
4 sheets of wrap packaged in a Kraft Tube.
Each sheet is 36" x 24"














Something for the Kids

This year I created some whimsical wrapping papers perfect for kids.  I always struggle to find something that feels fun for Emma, but charming enough for me.  She helped me design these papers based on two of our Holiday favorites - the Nutcracker and the Polar Express.  The Polar Express design has Trains, Snowflakes & Trees in a perfect mossy green.  The Nutcracker Design has Gingerbread Houses, Snowflakes and Nutcrackers (of course).

 I plan to combine these prints with my cheerful gingham papers, too.  Both papers look perfect with Red or Navy Grosgrain Ribbons.  Besides how sweet these papers are, just the memories that the themes bring me, give me those warm and fuzzies we love during the Holidays.






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