Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Home Comforts: Kitchen Lighting

Kitchen before

Kitchen after-lights turned on

Kitchen after-lights turned off
Click here for more information on these light fixtures

Close-up of the light fixtures. Note that we're using Edison
light bulbs

We think of our home as a work in progress and enjoy upgrading and making it our own by undertaking improvement projects. Sometimes I think it looks pretty good, but other times I realize it can be refined. Such was the case with the canned lights over the island. While they were adequate and not ugly, I concluded the kitchen’s look could be enhanced with hanging pendant lights.

The whole process was pretty easy because we ordered the lights online, they arrived in a few weeks and Kevin installed them in half a day. The lights were purchased from Rejuvenation Hardware, an amazing home goods website that has a huge lighting selection.  Better still, I was able to completely customize the lights by selecting the pendant length, metal finish and shades.  

It just goes to show that a room can be completely transformed with one small change.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Style: Club Monaco Sale Pieces

Club Monaco sweater & shorts, J. Crew handbag (different color),
Dior sunglasses (similar), Ferragamo pumps, Chan Luu necklace (old)

I have a love/hate relationship with shorts. On one hand, I realize how easy they are to wear on hot days, especially when I’m moving too much to wear a dress. I’m also aware that I’m near my expiration date for them-that is, I’m a little concerned I’m too old for shorter shorts. I’ve tried wearing longer shorts, but because I’m petite, they’re unflattering on me. My solution is to buy shorts a size too big and wear them low so they hang a bit longer on my legs. I think it’s a good compromise for now and will give up wearing shorts at some point in the future.

These Club Monaco shorts are so flattering with their wide legs and scalloped hem. Paired with a linen sweater and fancy pumps, they’re dressy enough for a night out. Right now, the shorts, sweater and handbag are on sale at Club Monaco and J. Crew, respectively.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Cooking and Entertaining: Bacon Wrapped Shrimp

Bacon Wrapped Shrimp

When we entertain, healthier eating tends to go out the window especially because in addition to dinner, I serve wine and/or cocktails, dessert and appetizers. Indulging in dessert and a drink are par for the course, but I wanted to make a low carb appetizer the last time we entertained. When I mentioned this to my son, he suggested serving bacon-wrapped shrimp.

I know this appetizer isn’t a food cardiologists would recommend, but in my mind, it wasn’t an egregious indulgence. It contains only three ingredients-nutrient-dense shrimp, Whole 30-compliant Wellshire Farms Bacon (which has no preservatives or sugar) and Old Bay Seasoning. This dish is easy to prepare and the cherry on the top of the sundae is that everyone loved it!

My bad-I forgot to take a picture before cutting and cooking the bacon

The cleaned shrimp tossed in Old Bay Seasoning

Ready for the oven

Bacon Wrapped Shrimp

  1 lb.  large shrimp (18-20 per pound)
  ½ lb.  bacon
  1 Tbsp.  Old Bay Seasoning

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cut the bacon in half lengthwise and place on a rack in a sheet pan. Bake for 10-13 minutes until parcooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool. While the bacon is cooking, peel and devein the shrimp, leaving the tails entact. Place in a bowl and toss with Old Bay Seasoning. When the bacon is cool enough to handle, wrap a slice around each shrimp, secure with a toothpick and place on the same rack over the sheet pan. Bake for 8-10 minutes until the shrimp is cooked through. If the bacon isn’t cooked enough, place under the broiler for 1-2 minutes until the bacon is cooked to your liking.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Four Star Find: Cost Plus World Market Kitchen Towels

Click here for more information on these dish towels

Dish towels are something I take for granted, which means I don’t think about them unless they’re not working well. For years, I bought them from Cost Plus World Market because their towels matched my kitchen. After moving to an area that doesn’t have easy access to a Cost Plus store, I branched out and bought them whenever I saw some that looked nice.

What a mistake! Whether the dish towels were high or low end, none performed as well as the ones sold at Cost Plus World Market. These towels wash well without bleeding, are thick and absorbent and a four-pack is very reasonably priced at less than $13. Despite how much I like trying new things, these dish towels have earned my loyalty, and I’m sticking with them!