Monday, December 28, 2009

A Penne For Your Thoughts

Cooking (especially baking) can be extremely intimidating when starting out. From the minute you enter the grocery store... "Oh gosh! What's the difference between a flank steak & a round eye roast?! How am I supposed to know that feta cheese & goat cheese are different?! Arrrrgh!

Jane of all Trades Advice: Practice makes perfect and if you don't use it, ya lose it. So get cookin'! Here is a delicious recipe (created by yours truly) to get you started.  

Penne Romano

Penne 2

  Recipe serves 4 - 6 

You Will Need:
1 box penne
1 can diced tomatoes
2 cups sliced mushrooms
2 cups spinach
6 cloves garlic
1 lb. seasoned turkey sausage 
1 cup grated fresh Romano cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
dash of cayenne pepper

Cut sausage in 4 parts & cook on medium heat
In separate pan, pour 1/2 cup of olive oil on high heat
Once oil starts to smoke, reduce heat and add mushrooms, spinach & garlic
...Cook through

Then add:
cooked sausage (cut up into 1 inch pieces)
diced tomatoes
1/2 cup Romano cheese
 ...and cook until hot & bubbling

Serve with a dusting of Romano cheese & basil

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Florals My Style

Remember those holiday tips for the home?

Watch me put one of them into effect...

First I went to the store to look for a nice white flowers that I don't normally see around Christmas time.

I chose orchids

Now! What could I do to add some red... hmm...
Carnations? Bleh.
Roses? Yuck.

Then I found these really pretty Winter Berries!
Add some berries

Christmas colors! Think, think, think...

Then I stumbled upon the most beautiful cluster of Baby Hydrangea!
& babyh hydrangea

Now let's see...

I'm liking it, I'm liking it.
There she is...

What am I missing?!


Much better


 Much better indeed!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

These are a few of my favorite things

If you are like me, and wait til the last minute to go shopping for the holidays...

Here are a few of my favorite things that you can still order & receive before Christmas. Hanukkah! Oy! I'm a little late, but these are great gift ideas if you are still browsing.


This has got to be one of the coolest gifts I have ever seen!  It is the Cocktail Mixology set from Tea Forte. Using tea to make exotic cocktails?

 I'm obsessed...


This is such a great gift for your friend with a shoe fetish


This mesh chain necklace from would look adorable with any New Years Outfit!


I found this Taste Test recipe Book at Anthropologie.

It's colorful pages will spark the little chef inside any girl! She could use it to jot down her own creations, or fill the empty slots with  passed down recipes.


A Polka Dot Mani Pedi Gift from Burt's Bees!

It has polka dots... need I say more?

Monday, December 7, 2009

I'm too Chilly to Go Outside!

brrr definition
brrr or brr (bʉr)
used to signify that one feels cold

Ugh! Those nights where you feel like cooking, but you don't want to run to the store because it's starting to get so cold out!

Hmm, let's see... what's in the fridge? (aka you will need):

1 lb Lean Ground Beef or Turkey
1 large Onion, chopped
3 cloves Garlic, chopped

How about the pantry?

Salt, a dash or two
Pepper, a dash or two
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Dark-Brown Sugar
1 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
1 teaspoon Mustard Powder
1 Can Tomato Puree, 14 oz. can
Worcestershire Sauce, a splash or two
(I like potato rolls, but any rolls will do)!

Looks like we're having...

Sloppy Jane's!

Add olive oil to pan and fry up the onions & garlic over medium heat, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes. Feel free to add salt & pepper and/or cayenne pepper- depending on whether or not you are in the mood for Spicy Sloppy Jane's.

Add meat to pan. Once cooked all the way through, add the remaining ingredients and stir occasionally for about 10 minutes or until the mixture becomes a little thick.

When mixture is ready, fill up a potato roll with the delicious mess & serve with a handful of onion rings! 

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Little Help Please!

For a few years now, I have had this ongoing joke with my friends that I am going to write a self-help book. When you open it up, it would consist of one page. That page would read:
Go Help Yourself!

Truth be known, I am not a hater of the self-help book. It is just a matter of finding the right one for you through the mounds of rubbish that people or shall I dare say, experts publish daily.

Some of these books offer advice from a religious standpoint, while others from a medical one. Some have been around since Before Common Era, while others are written by a “life coach”. The truth of the matter is that you need to find an author that you really connect with. Personally, I like reading quotes for a little pick me up. Short & Sweet Saves the Day!

There are however, two books I hold to high regard when looking for “help” (or what I like to call guidance)… and aren’t we all! Oddly enough, neither of them were written by experts, just people who loved to write and decided to pursue a literary career.


The Joy of Doing Things Badly: A Girl’s Guide to Life, Love and Foolish Bravery by Veronica Chambers  

The Prophet, by Khalil Gibran - a series of philosophical essays written in English prose. 

 I'm all for a little written advice here & there...

Hope I could be of help!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

What to Do With Those Leftovers!

Picture This: It's Friday evening... you're on your fourth plate of the usual Thanksgiving leftovers yet your refrigerator is still stuffed to the brim and the garbageman doesn't come until Wednesday!

Here's what you do... 
Host a party for Sunday Football and whip up some turkey reubens, potato pancakes & harvest pinwheels! 

Harvest Pinwheels 
Serves 8 - 12

You will need:
  • 2 Containers of Pillsbury Crescent Rounds  
  • Leftover stuffing (I like to make mine with butternut squash & spicy sausage, mmm)!
 1. Place crescent rounds on ungreased baking sheet
 2. Unravel rounds
3. With your fingers, place the stuffing on top of the dough & roll them up

4. Bake at 350 - 375 degrees for 12 - 15 minutes

  and Voila!

Make sure you dunk these delicious apps in gravy!

Have a Very Happy & Healthy Thanksgiving!


Monday, November 23, 2009

How to Decorate for the Holidays (besides the tree)

Tree Stand? Check! and guess what? My love & I found one in like-new condition at a yard sale yesterday for one dollar (neither of us has ever had a tree of our own before)! This sparked 80 million decorating ideas in my brain...

So I made a list (& checked it twice), & now I'm proud to introduce...

5 Easy Ways to Decorate Your Living Room for the Holidays -

and I guarantee, nobody's living space will look as chic as yours!

1. Holiday Art
Shop online for well-made, holiday wrapping paper that fits your style, like these from Kate's Paperie.

 Purchase 2 - 3 blank frames (the size & medium is up to you), fill them with the wrapping paper and hang them on the walls in your living room.

If your walls look too cluttered, I recommend taking down artwork that you have up all year round, and storing it in a closet until you ring in the New Year.

Use the excess wrapping paper for presents under your tree!

2. Candlesticks
Display candlesticks on a mantle or accent table.

When selecting candles, pull colors & shades from your wall art!


3. Picture Frames
 Picture frames like this one from, would look great next to a pair of candlesticks!

4. Pillows & Throws
Make that couch look merry & bright! Add a plaid chenille throw...

Or how about an Afghan, like this one I found on Jacubina's Etsy Shop!

And how cute are these Bow Pillows from Pier 1?!

5. Flowers
You can never go wrong with flowers. Go to a grocery store or flower shop & whip up a centerpiece for your coffee table. Do you have a tendency of killing flowers? No problem! Create them with paper! Like this Amaryllis Kit from Hint, hint- branch away from poinsettia's... amaryllis make beautiful, holiday gifts too.

I really hope you enjoyed this post! I cannot wait to share my Holiday Living Room with you!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tuesday Blues

Did you know that true wild blueberries are only found in North America?

Lately I have been overdosing on apples pie, butternut squash soup & pumpkin butter. So for my dinner party the other night, I decided to take my blueberries from last summer out of the freezer and whip up a quick n' easy blueberry crisp.

Now just because you didn't freeze your blueberries last summer, doesn't mean you have to miss out. Like almost anything, you can find them in your local markets freezer section.
 For my 10" x 10" round baking dish, the recipe requires the following:


  •  1/2 a cup of all purpose flour. I always use King Arthur
  • 1/2 a cup of brown sugar. Make sure you pack the cup!
  •  1/2 a cup of quick-cooking rolled oats
  • 1 stick of butter. Room temperature. 
  • 2 tablespoon of corn starch. Don't have any in the pantry? Use 4 tablespoons of flour
  •  4 cups of blueberries. Fresh or frozen
  •  1/2 a cup of brown sugar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Start with the filling -
  1.  In a mixing bowl, combine the corn starch & brown sugar. Once well blended...
  2. Mix in the blueberries &
  3. Pour them into your baking dish.
  4.  Put the dish in the microwave for approximately 3 minutes, then stir. This will help the cornstarch/sugar mixture to stick to the blueberries. 
  5. Set aside... 

Now make the topping - 
  1.  Cut the butter into several pieces.
  2.  In a mixing bowl, combine flour, brown sugar & rolled oats. Once well blended...
  3. Add the butter & rub the mixture together with your fingers until it is nice & crumbly. Then...
  4. Spread evenly on top of the blueberry filling.  
Pop your crisp in the oven for about 40 minutes OR until the blueberries are bubbling and the top is nice & brown.



Visit me tomorrow for ART- Investing vs. Aesthetically Pleasing (it's going to be a good one)!


Monday, November 16, 2009

Pillow Talk

I have come to realize that sharing a bedroom with a man can be quite challenging. I am not talking about the usual female complaints. In fact - my boyfriend is quite tidy... minus the miscellaneous tools that I often find lying around!

What if you love design... love color... love expressing yourself! What if your bed is that cozy space you go to curl up & read a book on those not-so-nice days... but you just don't think that forcing your loved one to sleep in poppy field reds or a polka dot bed is fair...

(Not that I recommend this particular motif)

Then what is a girl to do? Well, lets do a cheer!

P-I-L-L-O-W-S PILLOWS PILLOWS PILLOWS!!! Like this pretty one from adam & viktoria

Quite often, people become overwhelmed by bold colors & it is not necessarily because they dislike the color. It all boils down to whether or not that color is being used properly. So for this particular problem, I will add subtle hints of bright colors.

Here is our bedroom color scheme before:  

TIP: using solid colors as your base will allow you to switch up your pillows whenever you feel like it! You can also use reversible comforters (as seen in image II). 

Now lets add some 'lil hints of color...

Tip: Some great places to purchase beautiful pillows at a reasonable price are Homegoods & Pier 1.

And here come the pillows...

What I Did: 
  • Selected books with bold colors to decorate my side of the bed & to compliment the pillows I selected.
  • Through in a vintage, glass oil lamp because it's cool... and you just never know when the power might go out! 
Tip: Purchasing pillow covers is a lot cheaper than purchasing duvet covers!

Stay tuned next Monday to see what kind of art we add above the bed...