Saturday, November 29, 2014

post thanksgiving salad...

                        this was perfect for the day after all of that turkey consumption.

fall squash salad with apple cider dressing

1 (1 ½-lb.) butternut squash, peeled and diced into ¾ in. pieces
olive oil 
1 tbsp. pure maple syrup 
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 
3 tbsp. dried cranberries 
¾ c. apple cider or apple juice 
2 tbsp. cider vinegar 
2 tbsp. minced shallots 
2 tsp. dijon mustard 
1 c. baby brussel sprouts, blanched
4 oz. baby arugula, washed and dry 
½ c. walnut halves, toasted 
¾ c. freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional)

1/2 c  pomegranate seeds
1/2 c dried apples

directions1. preheat the oven to 400°2. place the squash on a sheet pan. add 2 tbsp. olive oil, the maple syrup, 1 tsp. salt, and ½ tsp. pepper and toss. roast the squash for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until tender. add the cranberries to the pan for the last 5 minutes. 3. while the squash and brussels sprouts are roasting, combine the apple cider, vinegar, and shallots in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the cider is reduced to about ¼ c. off the heat, whisk in the mustard, ½ c. olive oil, 1 tsp. salt, and ½ tsp. pepper. 4. place the arugula in a large salad bowl and add the roasted squash mixture, the walnuts, pomegranate seeds and the grated parmesan. spoon just enough vinaigrette over the salad to moisten, and toss well. 
top with dried apples

sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately.


love set, xo

Friday, November 28, 2014

let's love more... let's love bigger...

thanksgiving is always a time to reflect and be reminded of all that we have to be thankful for.

i am thankful for all the immense blessings that my life holds. for the health of my children, the steadiness of my husband, our financial stability, and our safe and warm home.


               our thankful tree

as i looked out my window tonight, the same window i have looked out for the past 24 years, i said a special thank you.   i see another season turning,  just a few days ago it was still fall,  today the yard is blanketed in snow, reminding me once again that time moves so quickly.   

  today our house was filled with animated noise, crazy barking dogs, deep love, and pressing demands.  so many things are different now, but as always, there is  so  very much to be thankful for.

i feel blessed and so very grateful.

"if the only prayer you ever say in your life is thank you, it will be enough"
meister eckhart

love sent, xo

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

good morning thanksgiving eve

we are hosting this year so it's a mad dash to finish everything that needs to get done. i have
to say i think i have a good start.  the tables are up, the dishes are out and the cooking has begun.
there is a traditional thanksgiving eve party that our friends have hosted for 30 years and it always motivates me to get things done ahead of time so that we can attend.
hopefully i won't have to run out but that is usually the case.  let the eating begin!!

love sent, xo 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

for a moment...

those who know me well know that i am a big country music fan. i am really not sure how long ago my preference became country, but it has certainly been many years. garth brooks had single hand-idly turned me into a fan. he dominated the 90's with so many great hits, some of my favorites being "much to young to feel this damn old" and "if tomorrow never comes" (which still touches me deeply). this week with his recent comeback album man against machine, i have revisited many of his songs. nothing has or ever will (most likely) move me like one of the greatest songs of all time, (the dance). i am sure the story of my life at the time this song came out may be a lot of the reason i still love it so. it's a song about a life, a song so many of us have lived the lyrics of. a song that reminds us that people give the ultimate sacrifice every day for a dream they believe in. it may not have worked out as we had planned and we could certainly have missed the pain, but in the end it's a journey we were meant to travel. we thought we would not be able to survive, but as it turns out we are still here. our resolve has witnessed joy and sorrow and laughter and tears. our souls are filled with memories, the past rises up through the present, augmenting and haunting at the same time, the past and present are layered together. there will always be a thread of loss woven through my days, but my gratefulness for what i have now far surpasses all that i have lost.

might be one of my favorite songs of all time

my heart is full, i hope yours is too.

love sent, xo

Sunday, November 16, 2014

late autumn

with the sun setting so early now i have consciously begun to hunker down for the cold months ahead. the freezer is well stocked, all my sweaters are center stage in my closet and the fireplace is on most nights. i love the comfort of my home, especially on the weekends when i have a bit more time to spend in the kitchen. autumn does have the best flavors, i love the smells of pumpkin bread, cinnamon and nutmeg, apple pies and spiced cider. this weekend we consumed lots of those. by sunday night we needed something warm and a bit more healthy. this stew is packed with flavor. it comes together really quickly so it would work on any week night. i paired it with some grilled cheese made with grated smoked cheddar and apple slices. it turned out to be a perfect sunday night supper.
my very talented dh built this awesome center piece for the table, so for thanksgiving i can decorate to my hearts content then when it's time to serve the food you just pick it up and move it to the counter.   it had endless possibilities,  i love it!!! thanks love.

tomato artichoke lentil stew

serves 4-6


1 large onion
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp dried basil
1 cup dried red lentils
2 cups water
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
2 28- oz cans fire roasted whole tomatoes
1 15 oz can quartered artichokes
1 small bunch of tuscan kale
shaved parmesean cheese


dice large yellow onion. mince 3 garlic cloves. drain the artichoke hearts, and chop them
into bite size pieces. wash the kale and roll the leaves lengthwise and slice them into ribbons.

in a large soup pot heat 2 tbsp oil in medium heat and saute the diced onion for 5 minutes
until translucent.  add the minced garlic, 1 tbsp oregano, 1 tbsp dried basil. saute for another

add 1 cup of red lentils 2 cups water 1/4 tsp red pepper 1 tsp kosher salt, and one bay leaf and
bring to a boil.

once boiling, reduce to a simmer and add the kale, artichokes and the liquid from the tomatoes.  then
chop the tomatoes into bite size pieces and add them to the pot.

simmer for 20 minutes, until the lentils are tender.  be careful not to overcook the lentils or they
will become to soft.

taste and add additional kosher salt if necessary,  serve with a drizzle of olive oil and shaved
parmesan cheese.


the leaves as they spark into wild color, just before they die are the worlds oldest performance
art, and everything we see is celebrating one last violently hued hurrah before the black and white
silence of winter.   
shauna niequist

love sent, xo

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

deep breaths.. you got this...

that is what i keep telling myself.
it's always that way -  when one thing happens,  more things happen and so on.

thanks to my super kind friends for monday night.  we always have such a good time.
you are the true meaning of friendship.  i know i can depend on you guys and you always
cheer me up, have my back,  and make me laugh.
so as my mom heads into surgery next week i am assured that she is tough and this is
a small procedure that she can totally handle. (thanks for reminding me how strong she is)
as i say goodbye to my sweet friend here at work i am reminded that she is only a
phone call away and i know that is true.  

i got this...

 i really do...

i think...

love sent,  xo

Monday, November 10, 2014

happy monday

A beautiful life is built of many pieces—the people, things and experiences that inspire us to breathe deep and savor each step in our journey.

Friday, November 7, 2014

we lean in we lean out...

the air has changed all around me. on the outside with the new season, which i have fully embraced and on the inside with the news that my partner in crime here at work is leaving. i am not sure i have really embraced this news. certainly,  a few things need  to settle into the cracks. the news hit hard.
i took mental notes, i took real ones. i might be a little quieter as the week ahead creeps in, i know it will be a tough one. i am not - and never have been good at goodbyes.
we were so close to a different ending.

life happens in phases. they can be marked by jobs, relationships, the birth of a child, diets, changing hair colors, everything and anything. i notice that no matter how calm or chaotic or hard or easy my life is at the moment - it is always in constant motion and every change happens for a reason.
we have worked together for nearly ten years side by side. i have spent more time with her than my own family. we have navigated some pretty crazy days. we have shared our feelings through changing CEO's. entire leadership teams,  divestitures, acquisition's, all kinds of personal changes - graduations, weddings, the births of her 4 grandchildren, divorce, death of parents, surgeries, heartbreak, job loses, retirement and so on. she is honest and dedicated and loyal. i will miss our every day chats and so much more.
soo much more.

for her, it's a huge step. i am sure there is fear and uncertainty but more importantly it is filled with so much possibility. an opportunity to redesign the fourth quarter of her working years and i couldn't be happier for her.

when you see boundaries as opportunities, the world becomes a limitless place. positive change must come from the inside out. as i have gained experience and wisdom i know that change highlights the importance of each moment, nothing lasts forever. at any moment we can reset the stage, it is never to late to reinvent ourselves. we alone have this power.

i wish you all the best my sweet friend. i have been so lucky to have been on this journey with you for so long. thanks for making many of my days just a little bit brighter.

so long for now.

love sent, xo

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

on to november...

halloween night after all the kids had gone home and the lights were turned off we headed
out for a late dinner.  we have a favorite local place that is actually best when it's a bit later
in the evening.  we arrived to two perfect empty seats at the bar.  before we made it to our
seats we ran into an old friend who was in town for a brief visit.  it was such a nice surprise to run into him and catch up for a bit. our friendship has spanned many, many years
so it was particularly fun to hear all the updates regarding his kids etc.  i was reminded, as always, how lucky we have been to have so many wonderful friends in our lives.   

                                             love you toby - wish we were still neighbors

when i opened the menu there were some seasonal specials and right there much to my delight was a pumpkin martini.  i have been looking for one all season. it was made with crop (organic) pumpkin vodka and a pumpkin liquor which i failed to get the name of.  i have had other
pumpkin liquors that just haven't been the same. this one was really good. i guess i will just have to go back for another one and pay closer attention to the brand. just those two ingredients finished off with a graham cracker rim (half the fun) and it was perfect.   in the meantime i decided to purchase the crop pumpkin vodka and have it on hand for thanksgiving.  and speaking of thanksgiving i have offered to host again this year so  i am already checking out menu ideas and tablescapes.   

maybe something like this  .. i love the rustic look

                                                                        kids table

so many choices.   i love pinterest.

stay tuned..

love sent, xo

Monday, November 3, 2014

capsule wardrobe and other thoughts

how was your weekend? we had a very productive weekend which i was really happy about. although when i look around it doesn't look that productive, but i did get rid of 4 bags of clothes, yikes, 2 boxes of shoes lots of other bits and pieces. now i just have to stay off line long enough to not buy replacements for what i just dumped. i am seeing all over the internet this new capsule dressing idea. where you actually only use something like 24 - 36 pieces of clothing including shoes and accessories for a three month period. ... hmm....this... is way past what i could manage. although i am trying hard to come up with a reasonable middle ground. the goal is to take the "thinking about what to wear" out of the equation, which would be super helpful to me in the morning. this past summer i actually bought several dresses which made things quite simple i must say. one and done. but of course it was also summer, and to me, much easier to survive with less items. i am  using this for motivation  it will take some planning but i think it would be worth it.
my goal is to pick out 36 pieces and box up the remainder without actually getting rid of it quite yet. then... see how it goes. i bet i won't miss stuff as much as i think. all of us tend to go to our favorite pieces over and over. and... just think, it would force you to become more creative in your dressing style. what do you think? would you try this? going through my clothes over the weekend i actually have like 50 scarves alone that i was trying to purge through. i tend to accumulate, shoes and scarves by the dozens. i am going to go with 36 pieces of clothing not counting, shoes and accessories and see how it goes. i am thinking i can try it for a month. i'll let you know how it's going. we didn't have as many trick or treaters as we have had in the past, so of course i now have way more candy than i need around the house.  i will be bringing it to work for sure. here is a nice guideline tho if you want to keep track of what might be the best option when you need a chocolate fix.
halloween candy exchange rate   why eat one almond joy if you can eat three mounds for the same

spending a bit of time at home this weekend was really beneficial in a lot of ways.  it gave me time to
purge things but also to catch up on mindless stuff like perusing the internet for fun stuff.
like this  and watching this crazy movie .
i also went through tons of pictures of france and can't wait to have a couple printed up on
canvas.   this site does an excellent job and its even 30 percent off

happy monday everyone. love sent, xo