Gifts For The Home

I like to think about giving a gift that one would not buy for themselves.  Lovely pieces for the kitchen and home are always a welcoming treat. There are many beautifully crafted possibilities.  Consider your recipient’s hobbies, interests, and aesthetic.  Get creative and make it personal.  Perhaps think about pairing the lovely paper napkins with a small floral arrangement or the pitcher and syrup accompanied with your favorite pancake recipe.  They all are oh so perfect whether it is a small gesture gift or a celebratory gift.  It just depends on the occasion. 

Starting from the top left:

Linen Tea Towel, Alessi Tree Diffuser, Neutral Sky Candle, Petite Silo Pitcher & Syrup, Vintage Glasses, John Derian Paperweight, Black Burgundy Truffle, Ceramic Tree Ornaments, Bird Paper Napkins, Laguiole Cheese Knives, Wine O’s, Shibori Dyed Cocktail Napkins

Mid Week Dinner With Scallion Turkey Meatballs

Scallion Meatballs With Soy-Ginger Sauce

Smitten Kitchen always makes my evenings a little easier in the kitchen.  It is my go to sight for tasty easy peasy recipes.  I should mention quick recipes are the ones I seek out for mid-week options (who doesn’t?).  I have been making SK’s scallion meatballs with soy-ginger glaze for the past few years.  They are one of my low prep dinner favorites that are healthy, tasty, and a crowd pleaser.  Even picky eaters can’t resist these yummy little nuggets.  They are meant to be appetizers but I serve them over a bowl of brown rice with a side of roasted broccoli or baked sweet potato.  I should also mention I don’t get too caught up with a perfect shape when I am forming them.  Sometimes they are more like small patties.  The turkey mixture is pretty soft.  Wear food grade gloves then wet your hands with water (so the turkey doesn’t stick to the gloves) to make the meatballs before placing them in the skillet.  (sometimes brown each side and then let them finish off cooking in the oven on a low temp around 300.)

isostilo in the kitchen
Meatballs and sauce can be made ahead to save time! You could do the same with rice and veggie.

Smitten Kitchen Scallion Meatballs With Soy-Ginger, you won’t be disappointed.  Dinner is served and you can thank me later.

(top image from SK, bottom image with the imperfect meatballs are from isostilo:)

Holiday Gifting To Sip, Savor, And Share

Who wouldn’t love a tasty cheese basket, fresh citrus, or a wine surprise?!  Holiday season is upon us and the hunt is on for online speciality gifts.  Here are a few ideas for your gourmet loving friends who would enjoy something to nibble and sip.   Cheers!

Starting from the top left!

For the family, Holiday Goodies from Olive & Cocoa

For the chocolate lover, The Signature Crate from L.A.Burdick

For the savory, Cheese or Charcuterie Club from Dean & Deluca

For those who enjoy wine, Vinebox

The best ever Peppermint Bark with a cult following is from Williams Sonoma

Say no more with a Cheese Lover’s Basket from Formaggio Kitchen

Happy Holidays with a Magnolia Wreath from Dean & Deluca

For those who appreciate craft beer, The Craft Beer Club

Stay Healthy with fresh apples from Pak it Rite

Sunshine in a box from Hale Groves 

Closet Refresh

Every winter a closet overhaul is a necessary task.  It is a time to reevaluate, purge, and shift clothes to make dressing easier.  Otherwise, it is too easy to wear the same favorites on repeat and neglect at least 90% of everything else you own.  You have way more options than you think.  I have figured out a pretty efficient system which is simply removing everything from the closet.  You need to start with a blank slate.  Clear a day!  It is an eye opening experience.  You must be willing to try things on then make honest decisions to keep, repair, or donate.  It is important that the clothes fit you well otherwise no sense giving up valuable space.  Declutter your life.  Keep what you love.  Know what you own.  The closet reorg gives everything a home.  It is also a way to take care of your clothes.  They will last longer.

You will enjoy a well-organized closet.  Try to accomplish this task before making any new purchases.  It allows you to take an inventory of what you own.  This will also point out what wardrobe basics you may be lacking help you justify that new piece you have been eyeing.  Shopping with intention.  Need vs want.  I can definitely say I own enough leopard print!  This winter, my gap is with basics.  I will be hunting for warm layering pieces, possibly a new loafer, one seriously functional warm rain coat, and I’m sure a few little gems.

Here are few closet basics that can help you during your closet refresh.

Sweater bags are the best way that I have found to store sweaters.  The zip closure will keep out the moths and dust.  PEVA sweater bags have been my saving grace to preserve my favorite sweaters.  They also keep them neat and visible with the clear packaging.

These slim Huggable Hangers from Joy Mangano are non slip which will prevent your silks from hitting the floor.

The Sweater Stone can make a little mess but is sweater friendly when it comes to removing the pills from your favorite pieces.  I have also read good reviews on the Conair Fabric Defuzzer-Shaver.

The Laundress offers everything when it comes to taking care of your laundry.  I will be trying out their Wool & Cashmere Shampoo for an alternative to dry cleaning.

Wool Dryer Balls are another new one for me.  They are 100% pure New Zealand wool promising to reduce drying time, lessen static, and eco-friendly.  Lasts for 1,000 loads (wow imagine if you tallied how many washings you do?!). You can also add natural oils to the balls for a lovely added scent to your laundry. (gotta admit this is a funny thought!)

BTW I don’t bother organizing my workout drawer.  Nice to have that one drawer you just don’t fuss over.  Happy sorting folks!

Midweek Cooking With The Instant Pot

Instant Pot

Let’s talk Instant Pot.  Every week I come across recipes dedicated to the Instant Pot.  So many recipes for this one pot wonder.  I would categorize most of them as comfort food  making the fall and winter months a bit more belly warming.  It just comes down to what your taste buds fancy on any given day.  Full disclosure: I was not down with the Instant Pot but I also don’t care for microwaves or kitchen equipment with manuals unless they really deliver.  But my husband took this matter into his own hands and it has transformed the way he cooks.  It is his gadget and he is the one cooking up a storm with one tasty meal after another.  Every dish has been flavorful, moist, and perfectly executed with the exception of one Shrimp Biryani dish.  Grocery shopping and prepping the ingredients seems to be the only time-consuming part.  So yes the Instant Pot is worth the small investment and space on the counter especially when something gives a person enthusiasm to cook and experiment.

You can buy the Instant Pot online from Amazon and have it tomorrow.  Also check out Williams Sonoma for some good information on this new gadget.  Love NYT Cooking for some really good recipes.  You will need subscribe but you won’t be disappointed!

Vote Like A Mother

Discovering Vote Like A Mother on insta had me googling the website and I immediately felt inspired, encouraged, and curious about a movement that began organically by one mom, Sara Berliner.  Here is the mission straight from Vote Like A Mother’s website:

“I started Vote Like a Mother to make parenthood a lens for politics. To promote voting with empathy, kindness, and ferocity. To amplify women’s voices and efforts. And to provide parents with opportunities to contribute, recognizing that we all have something to give — be it time, money, or a platform.”

“When I think about voting like a mother, I think about improving our world locally, regionally, nationally, and globally. When you bring the concepts of care and respect into the voting booth, when your purpose is to build rather than to tear down, you’re voting like a mother. There are lots of people that fit this description. Adoptive parents, stepparents, families of choice, trans people, guardians, aunties, grandmas — it’s about purpose, and about shared values of acceptance, equity, justice, and love.”

The most important action at this moment is exercising your right to vote.  Mid term elections are happening and in many places early voting is underway.  Spreading the word, encouraging others, and inviting others to join you to vote should be all our goals.  Voting is your voice.  My neighbor sent me a text to join her for early voting.  We strolled, we chatted, and we voted.  Yes, I would have gone regardless but going with a friend was a bonus and seizing the free moment to act felt good.  I am hoping a few posts and my new Vote Like A Mother sweatshirt will encourage others to get out and vote.  Perhaps you will also find other ways to get involved but voting is a priority!

Vote Like A Mother

Vote Like A Mother is a great resource and maybe it will speak to you.  Meanwhile I will be wearing my heart on my sleeve.  No, you don’t need to buy the sweatshirt or tee shirt.  But if you do, 100% of the profits are donated to mom run nonprofits.  Thank you to Vote Like A Mother for your efforts, platform, and spreading encouragement.  Your passion is real and it is kind.  It is contagious.  TOGETHER WE VOTE and TIME TO VOTE LIKE A MOTHER.  I DID!

information on early voting dates and locations for Massachusetts

 

Make Time For Granola

Homemade GranolaHomemade Granola

For your Sunday!  Granola sampling for the perfect mix of grains, nuts, minimal fruit, and not too sweet that everyone likes has been an expensive challenge of mine.  A small bag can cost a small fortune and be gobbled up in an instant.  The grocery store has shelves filled with every type of granola imaginable. Every yummy bakery in town is offering their speciality.  Granola is a funny one because it can be totally healthy but with no flavor or it can be like a bag of candy.  You have to pay attention to the ingredients.  Sugar is super sneaky.  You can get distracted by the healthiness of the whole grain oats.

Finally after all this time and yet to find that perfect combination of ingredients, homemade granola it is.  I worked with two recipes and found my sweet spot.  First of all granola (now that I have made it) is ridiculously easy.  I mean embarrassingly easy.  The easiest breakfast cereal to whip up and customize to your liking.  Be fussy, be basic, be elaborate with your ingredients.  It is up to you.  Load up at the market with your granola basics for a well stocked pantry.

This is the recipe I am using.  Do more or less with spices.  Nuts are personal preference as well as fruit.  If adding fruit, be sure to add the dried fruit after the granola has cooked!!

Ingredients:

4 cups of old fashion Rolled Oats ( I used Bob’s Red Mill)

1 cup of maple syrup (you can play with this if you would like it less sweet but I thought it was right amount)

1/2 cup virgin olive oil

1 tsp salt (optional)

2 tablespoons of cinnamon (I love cinnamon but others in my house prefer less)

sprinkle of cardamom (again optional)

1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans

1 cup flaked coconut

1 cup raw organic sunflower seeds

Heat oven to 325. Toss all ingredients together in a bowl.  Mix till everything is coated.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread out granola evenly on to the tray.  Pop into oven and bake for about 40 minutes till golden brown.  Stir it every 10 minutes or so.  When done, let it sit out till cool.  Add your dried fruits at this stage if you so wish.

isostilo is about all good things.  It is not always about fashion.  Sometimes it is the small things that can put a smile on your face.  I really enjoy being in the kitchen.  With the transition into fall, I find it to be a welcoming time to explore new recipes.  Granola is one of those!  After you make it you will feel like a baking goddess and your home will smell lovely:)