Monday, January 28, 2019


Flowers For You

Hello friends!

Oh, it is so dreary here and I know so many of you across the States, in Canada, and across the pond are experiencing much the same.  Right now in Chicago it's terribly cold.  Today isn't so bad...30 degrees.  But we've all been preparing for the temps to go to -12 or less degrees tomorrow, and by Wednesday, as low as -27.  Overnight we had about 4 inches of snow, that hard packed sort of stuff.  I shoveled, and although I could feel my asthma rearing it's ugly head, my back felt okay.  I've been doing more strength exercises every day instead of cardio, so I was prepared today to go outdoors to get both. 

 In light of the polar vortex doing its thing in the Midwest tomorrow, I went to the grocery store last night thinking I'd go into the week really smart.  I thought that it being a Sunday night, 5:30 p.m., and 11 degrees, that I'd have the store to myself.  Nope.  My first clue was the full parking lot and I had to park waaaaaaaay in the back.  The store was also jam packed.  Sunday must be the day they restock because they were down to the bare nothings and aisles were blocked with dollies and employees.  I got my weekly shopping done and made a beeline for home.  Then I got to thinking a little while ago about freezing pipes and unforeseen furnace problems, so I went to a closer store and bought a few cases of bottled water and fire starter logs.  And now my back is killing me so I may just lay in front of the fireplace with a cold pack. :((

Some cold weather tips I've saved from our local weather people

Dress in layers with no uncovered skin
Avoid being outside if possible
Keep dog walking fast and quick, and if you have a fenced in yard, watch them so as to not forget and leave them out longer than a few minutes
Do not use space heaters when not home or overnight
Do not use space heaters with frayed cords
Keep a drip going with your faucets so they don't freeze
Close door to unused or rarely used rooms to conserve heat
Keep cabinet doors that house plumbing open so they get heat
Use rolled up towels or blankets on floors to insulate doors leading outside
Keep water well stocked

I have been sharing the progress and pictures of my den redo on Instagram.  So this is it, minus some accessories I'm searching out.  The motivation to make the change was spurred by the fabric of these very same chairs becoming terribly worn and discolored.  I have had such great success with this furniture store, I really do believe it was the type of fabric I had.  It seemed to pick up the dye from my clothing, mostly my favorite black knit yoga pants, even after a zillion washes.  In any case, my warranty was honored at half the original cost, not for stains, but for normal wear and tear. I was very happy with that.    

I stepped out of my comfort zone.  I really wanted to steer clear of neutrals for once in my life just so I could relax and not worry about dirt and stains and what have you. I chose this fabric and I was so ecstatic when they were delivered about two weeks ago.  I barely recognized them as my own chairs!  

So, the other changes I made (and you know you've gotta do the whole change-a-roo), I found this area rug on Wayfair.  Its made to look old and faded.  I had the table and lamp.  I was so undecided on a window treatment and I looked all over, Target being the last place, which is seriously odd for me.  I found this really cute tie up curtain and I thought it was perfect. It gives a bit of a feminine feel to the room.  A few days later I decided to order this  blue velvet tufted ottoman from Pier 1.  I have the same one at the lakehouse in another fabric.  It's called the Chas.  The deal going at the time was $40 off.  Not sure if it's still going on.  Its very well made and I have been loving the velvet furniture I'm seeing being mixed in with all types of decor.  How I love to mix it up.  The Husband doesn't 'get it' until he actually sees it.  Guess who is spending a lot of time in this room? :)

Look at the detail.  You have to love the nail head detail.  You probably know that my daughter Emily is a designer and managed a high-end furniture store for a good many years.  She was really impressed with the quality of the furniture at Pier 1, so I felt really good about this choice.  All of the other details are from shopping the House of Clutter.  Oh, please enlarge this picture.  My daughter, Abby, was happy to point out that my candle still has the price sticker on it.  

Speaking of Abby, I recently drove up to Wisconsin with her and Tom to do a tasting of the menu and wine list for the their wedding reception.  It was so incredibly fun, albeit for the snow and icy weather.  Funny how dreary, wintry, and snowy weather makes a photo look black and white.  In the distance you can see the pavilion they will be married in.  Closer to where I was taking this picture is the area where the cocktail hour will be.  There will be about 12 tall tables with white tablecloths and I'm in charge of doing something very simple to decorate them.  I'm thinking just a votive candle and small vase of simple flowers.  I'm going to look at Michael's or Hobby Lobby for vases.  Any other suggestions?  

The Husband and I are going a few days early and I'm hoping that I can help calm Abby's nerves, and we can do some some last minute things together or just sit by the pool.  And then we (TH and I) are staying on an extra few days just to unwind, shop, sit by the pool.  Did I say sit by the pool?  They have one indoors and out, a hot tub, exercise facility and of course, the lake.  Maybe we'll rent a boat.  

The Happy Couple 

Oh, to be together for ten years and then decide to get married.  Still, they will be twenty-eight when they wed in July.  That's true love and commitment.  

If you've never had local Wisconsin cheese, you're missing something great.  And the owners of this long time shop were so pleasant and friendly.  I confided to one of the owners that I had a recipe which called for a rather large section of Parmesan cheese rind to add flavor (and probably salt) to it's broth.  I  tentatively asked if he had any random rind hanging around.  He was a doll.  He found a piece with a nice bit of rind and didn't charge me the full weight.  Abby and Tom were looking at me like I had three heads...I bought all types of cheese and was in heaven.  Of course I love it for snacking, but I really like a good cheese in some of my recipes.  Abby thought I'd head towards the cheese curds and root beer. ;))

I am so happy to announce that I finally have my Pinterest working!  When you hover over a picture you will see the "Save" icon and you can then Pin it and save the recipe (or any photo) to your Pinterest page.  Unfortunately,  nothing can help my sad food photos.  I'll keep plugging along.  

Now on to some recipes.  I hope you are inspired to try the.  Please know these are my own recipes.  I just love to experiment.  

Roasted Veggies with Balsamic Honey glaze

8-10 Brussels sprouts, root end trimmed and cut lengthwise (include any leaves that come off)
2 carrots, cut thinly on the diagonal
1/2 yellow onion, sliced thin in 1 inch long pieces
2 slices of uncooked bacon, roughly chopped
1 T olive oil
Small pinch of salt and pepper
1 T honey
1 T balsamic vinegar 

Slice up your veggies and bacon and toss with olive oil, salt & pepper in a large bowl.  Spread evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.  Mix together the Balsamic and honey.  Remove pan of veggies and drizzle the mixture over.  Return to oven for an additional 10 minutes.  

*Please note that this amount of vegetables will fill the baking pan.  This will make them steam and create a tender and juicy vegetable.  If you like your roasted veggies a little more browned and crunchy, use 2 pans and spread them further apart.  

I made these as a side dish with a flat iron steak.  I char the whole steak in a large, ovenproof skillet over high heat, 4 minutes per side.  I use 1 tablespoon of canola oil and season it beforehand.  I finish it off in a 325 degree oven for 10 minutes for rare.  Use a thermometer to cook it to your liking.  Slice into 4 pieces after letting it rest for a few minutes.   We are cutting carbs so I didn't include any other side dishes.  

Serves 4-6

Spicy Stuffed Peppers

These were fun to make, and I just made it up as I want along.  I had a bit of an uncooked piece of center cut pork roast.  I used 1/2 of a piece of chorizo sausage that usually comes in two lengths per 12 oz. package.  You can control the spice when using the Cajun spices and jalapeño peppers.  I've also been using farro as a go to for rice as it is slightly lower in carbs and all around healthy.

2 bell peppers, sliced in half and seeds removed
1 small piece of pork, about 1 1/3 cup,  chopped a little less than the size of a dice. 
3 oz. chorizo sausage, pulled apart into small pieces
1/2 cup farro
1/2 T canola oil
jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely diced  
1 poblano pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 plum tomato, seeded and roughly chopped
1 c black beans
2-3 T Cajun seasonings
1 T oregano,
2 c Mexican cheese, divided
S&P to taste

Cook the farro in a good amount of water approximately 20 minutes until tender.  Drain  and set aside.  Meanwhile, sauté the pork cubes in the canola oil over medium heat for about 3 minutes, stirring and tossing occasionally.  Add the remaining ingredients including the farro, and 2/3 of the cheese.  Cook 5 minutes until well mixed and the flavors starting to meld.

Trim the bottom side of the bell pepper very thinly so that they will sit steady in the baking dish.  Spoon the sautéd mixture into the four pepper halves, pressing it in firmly.  Top with the last bit of cheese.  Place the pepper halves in the dish and pour a scant bit of water around them so that they will stream.  Cover tightly with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Serves 2 as a main dish, 4 as a side.

I hope you give these recipes a try.  I'm still in a lighter cooking mode after all of the holiday and comfort foods over the past few weeks.  And remember, you can Pin them to try later.

I just wanted to mention that I finished this book after foregoing doing dishes, making the bed, and emptying the trash.  After reading so many books lately that just didn't float my boat, I just loved this page turner.  I see that this British author has written quite a few books and I'm tempted to order one (or four). Will I jinx it?  Has anyone read anything by Lisa Jewell?  And thanks to those of you who gave me book and Netflix recommendations.  

I'm doing a little refresh of the master bedroom. and we are also updating one of our bathrooms in the coming weeks so I'm excited to be sharing that.  

Stay warm and safe my friends!

Jane x

***Linking up with Maria at Tuesdays at our Home 


Lorrie said...

What a great chatty post. I'm shivering for you folk in that polar vortex. Here our winter has hardly arrived - the cherry trees downtown think it's time to bloom! Yikes, hope they don't get ahead of themselves.
Why do I not see your posts on IG? I'll have to go looking for them!
The wedding venue will likely look a whole lot different in 6 months, and a lot warmer. Stay cozy, Jane.

Jeanie said...

I always enjoy your posts -- like I'm hanging out, just talking over tea, which I could use right now, given that the polar vortex feels more polar than vortex this morning. Thanks for the reminder on closing other doors -- I'm off to do that as soon as I hit send. Yet another good reason to keep me out of the guest room and putting away the last of the seasonal stuff.

Lovely recipes and so very exciting to be part of your daughter's wedding plans. It'll be here before you know it.

(My store was almost out of eggs.)

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

We have had colder temps than normal here in NC though today it is 42. We are suppose to get a little bit of snow though. Love your new chairs and that velvet ottamon. That looks like a wonderful place to get married!

Lynne said...

Trying your Brussel Sprout recipe . . .
We tried a new Red Skin Potato recipe last night that was d-lish!

Love the velvet ottoman . . .
Other colors?
Deep blue looks wonderful with your new fabric on the chairs.
Comfy room look indeed . . .

I recently set up a reading, crochet nook in our MB . . . needing an ottoman.
Checking Pier1 . . . thanks for the idea . . .

Wedding planning/dreaming I find delightful . . . creating time . . .

Michigan is bitter, cold, snow, really cold . . . and stopped in it’s tracks for a few days.
The Winter Park (luge, skating, x-country skiing and more) on the Lakeshore will be zooming as soon as it warms up just a bit.

I have been having internet, ipad, communication probs of late, hope this goes through!

Love your posts!

Nancy's Notes said...

Oh my goodness, it's bitter cold there! It's cold here today, but in Texas we will have one cold day and then in the 70's the next. That cozy chair and wonderful velvet ottoman is certainly a great place to read. Think I'll check that book out. That wedding venue is going to be gorgeous this summer and what an exciting time. Wedding planning is just the best time for building memories. Love your recipes, will try the vegetables right away!
Have a great day and stay warm sweet friend,

Vee said...

That book is sitting in my Audible. Perhaps I should fire it up while cleaning today. Stay warm as can be and try not to think about how cold it is beyond the walls of your home. This too shall pass. So glad that you are feeling and doing so much better!

Scribbler said...

Poor you! I would not be able to move in that weather! We were supposed to get a little snow, but got nary a flake. I made gumbo for dinner, and it was delish. I am going to order this book. It keeps coming up in my suggestions from Amazon.

Doreen@foxdenrd said...

I was thinking about you today when I heard on the radio that Chicago is now colder than the Antarctic! They said even your eyes can freeze. Just crazy!

I don’t think I’ve read anything by that author but I have a terrible memory for names like that. I love page turners! They’re the only kind of books I can truly get into.

I’ve seen that ottoman and like you I adore velvet. I’ve used it with much restraint here in NC but haven’t completely given it up. Love the color too.

Your recipes sound amazing, as always.

Stay warm and safe, ake care of your back and no more shoveling!


Jill said...

We just had our school cancelled for tomorrow secondary to the cold. BRRRRR My husband is at the farm praying no more calves are born in the next 48 hours, but there will most likely be a few. Way to cold for newborn calves!

Rita C at Panoply said...

Oh boy, Jane, sure hope the back issues let up for you. You've got a big summer coming up with that wedding. I was talking with a friend who came over yesterday to shop my stash for her daughter's Sept wedding, which will be in a barn. She's enlisted a friend who is mother to TWO daughters getting married this year, so between the two moms, they're sharing duties to style three weddings! Keep those HL and Michaels coupons handy, and don't forget Dollar Tree (lots of wedding bargain smalls). Think vintage also, and don't be shy to ask at your favorite antique store(s) if any dlrs have what you might be looking for in quantity. They'll likely be happy to sell at a good discount the more you buy.
We're getting some snow, but nothing like the Midwest (thank goodness!). Be safe, and enjoy that cozy den you've created.

It's me said...

Mmmmmmmm delicious food....beautiful your home pictures your post we have also snow right now....i hope spring Will come soon ...i do not like winter...happy week love Ria x 💕

Kit said...

I hope you are doing well with the Polar Vortex! I sure hope it doesn't last too long. We were lucky and it missed us. You keep warm and Happy February! :) Kit

Mereknits said...

Please tell me you are staying safe in all that horrible weather up there. I should not even admit it was chilly here this morning when I left for work 41 degrees! I have been looking for a good book to read and you are the third blogger who has mentioned this, I am going to download it now. Stay warm and safe.

Helen said...

As always, love reading all the news from your part of the world! Stay warm and safe.

Terra said...

How exciting to be part of planning for the wedding, that pavilion will be a lovely setting. I am from Wisconsin and yeah, enjoy cheese. Nice you found such a good cheese shop.

Vicki @ lifeinmyemptynest said...

For our high tops at the wedding we had medium size floating votives and simple greenery just on the table surrounding the candle. I can send you a photo if you want. Happy planning!

handmade by amalia said...

So nice to stop by and catch up on all your news, Jane. The recipes look great and I'll check out the book, I love book recommendations. I'm almost embarrassed to admit that we have on foot in spring already, it is quite sunny and warm.

baili said...

I just Loved your cozy room with very appealing furniture
how great that your daughter is furniture designer and she can give you more useful advises for interior decorations

absolutely loved the happy couple ,heartiest best wishes are with their bright future together!

thank you for the delicious recipes

how amazing that inspite of being as busy you were able to read book which sound inviting

stay warm and have blessed more beautiful days ahead!

Dewena said...

I know from reading Melanie's posts on FB that your area is in the middle of dangerous ice right now. I hope all is well with you and yours there, Jane. I love your newly upholstered chairs and the blue velvet hassock looks great by them. That's such exciting news about all the wedding plans. May you all love every moment of preparing for it! Much happiness to the bride and groom!

Karen @ Beatrice Euphemie said...

Hi Jane, love your 'new' chairs and the ottoman! So exciting about the wedding and something really special to look forward to. So glad that you have the 'Pin it' button working because your recipes are always so yummy-looking. The book looks good - we are having snow and cold here and I just want to curl up with a good book! Hope your weather has warmed up and your poor back is feeling better. x Karen

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Decor To Adore said...

This post is so full of HAPPY. I love it. A hearty congratulations to Abby and her beau. Love the blue. Stay warm!

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Karen said...

I love your Den look! that ottoman is gorgeous! I just did a masterbedroom refresh with bed linens from Pine Cone Hill and new wall color - cake batter! from benjamin moore, and new lamps, new wall art - all neutral... and now waiting for a faux cowhide ride to arrive from Overstock. Mostly neutrals - with that bold splash from the rug.

Thanks for the recipes! I've pinned the glazed veggies - looks wonderful.

How exciting to have a wedding in your near future!

And I'm looking for a good read - thanks for the share.

My Tata's Cottage said...

Had to stop by and say hello. I use to love that you always came by my blog and commented. I was away but trying to stay off of social media and blog.
Weddings are so much fun to plan and experience aren't they? OUr middle planned her wedding in 52 days and all day long my hubby kept saying, God handles this, He made this work. It was simply lovely. Best wishes to the happy couple. HUGS

Enjoy your weekend stay warm. I think it is cold everywhere lately. Brrrrr........

Love and Hugs


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