Sunday, September 27, 2015

Adorn your front entry for fall

From football parties and wine tastings to trick-or-treating and Thanksgiving, the fall entertaining season is upon us. Celebrate its arrival by giving your front door or porch an autumnal redo that will welcome your guests for any occasion. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Make it sparkle – begin your transition by tidying up a bit. Wipe down your door and give it a fresh coat of paint if needed. Clean surrounding windows, vacuum any cobwebs, and change lightbulbs if necessary.

Hang a beautiful wreath in rich and vibrant hues and upgrade your doormat– nothing says “welcome to our home” better than a colorful wreath and a fresh, clean doormat.

Replace faded, summer annuals in window boxes and planters with fall’s signature flowers – mums, asters, salvia and ornamental grasses will last well into the season. Embellish arrangements with bright and playful pansies, which do exceptionally well in cooler weather.

Pile on the pumpkins and gourds – stack short, flat pumpkins in urns for instant topiaries, arrange mini pumpkins in wire baskets, or line your walk with pie pumpkins. Use all white pumpkins and mums and watch them glow in the moonlight.

Incorporate baskets, buckets and wine crates lined with burlap into your display to create a rustic, farmhouse effect.

Add some glitz – use lanterns with battery-operated, outdoor candles; orange and black paper lanterns in covered areas; or hang strands of mini lights. Many are available in fun shapes like pumpkins, leaves and bats.

Be mindful of scale and proportion – if your entrance is tall, think big. Adjust your décor to take advantage of the extra vertical space.

And don’t forget the old standbys like corn stalks and bales of hay. With a few simple embellishments, your home’s entrance will be ready when the guests come knocking.

Happy Fall!

Friday, September 25, 2015


Thank goodness it's Friday, and a fall one! There's definitely a nip in the air this morning, and is that fall foliage I see?

Have a great day!

Monday, September 14, 2015

The Raven

Sometimes you just connect with something or someplace. You feel the attraction and it beckons you toward it…

To say we stumbled upon The Raven would be an understatement. Its deep crimson facade and mystical name drew us in as we passed by. 

Unaware of what was in store, except for the intriguing window display, we turned the Jeep around to explore.

What we found was an upscale consignment shop with unique new, vintage, and antique items. 

Upon entering The Raven, we were entranced by the artfully arranged vignettes and the overall vastness of the space.

Located in Santa Fe off Cerrillos Road and just minutes from the historic Plaza district, The Raven is filled with statues, urns, old books, French antiques, garden accessories, candles and chandeliers galore.

It’s the kind of place to lose yourself in – I most certainly did. 

*unmarked photos from The Raven Fine Consignments -

Monday, September 7, 2015

Roasting the Chiles

It’s early September, and that means it’s green chile harvest time. The most celebrated crop in New Mexico is back and ready to be roasted and added to stews and sauces, poured over omelets and enchiladas, piled  on top of cheeseburgers, made into jams and chutneys, and just about anything else one can conjure up.

Here in the Midwest we were lucky to find some authentic green chiles from the Hatch region of New Mexico at our local grocery store, so my husband and I did what normal people would do – buy 10 pounds of them. 

Normal people…

Ever since our first trip to New Mexico a decade ago, we’ve been mesmerized by these little green, flavor-packed fruits that come in varying degrees of hotness – from mild to med and hot to really hot!

Unfortunately the chiles we purchased locally were pretty mild - lacking that kick we’ve become accustomed to. 

After this realization, we did what normal people would do – order 20 more pounds of them straight from the source in New Mexico. 

Normal people…

Once we acquired our chiles, came the fun part – roasting, peeling, seeding and freezing them.

This is how New Mexicans roast chiles…

This is how Midwesterners roast chiles…

Let’s just say we improvise. 

You can roast chiles on a standard grill by removing the flavor enhancers, Weber’s description for the tepee-like bars that prevent meat drippings from hitting the flames.


Removing them allows flames to reach the chiles directly. If you leave them in, flames will release from the sides creating an oven effect. 

"You don't want to cook them, you just want to blister the skin so you can peel them easily," said my husband, the obsessed green chile enthusiast (he reminds me that he did graduate from the Santa Fe School of Cooking, twice). 

"Cooking them too long will cause your chiles to become mushy," he adds.

Upon removal from the grill, pack the chiles in a bag and zip it up. The chiles will sweat which further helps when removing the skins.

And what will we do with 30 pounds of green chiles?  We’ll make Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas, Hatch Chile con Queso and have plenty for the whole year.

Normal people…

Happy Roasting!