Tuesday, September 27, 2016

A Natural Transition

There’s a definite nip in the air, and it arrived just in time for the first week of fall. I’m betting that it won’t even reach 70 degrees today, but that’s okay. It’s been a hot and humid summer, and I’m ready for open windows, cozy sweaters and cowboy boots!

Over the past years, I’ve used many color combinations in my fall decorating – pumpkin and eggplant, pumpkin and sage, and my favorite pumpkin and turquoise. While I love rich color, I decided to go with a more natural or tone-on-tone combo this year. 

The great thing about this palate is that it can be used in any style of home - traditional, contemporary, country, and of course, farmhouse. Here is how I incorporated the tone-on-tone look into my home.

Texture plays a key role in my tablescape. A combination of linen, rattan, metals, and natural elements provides richness to the space.

Golden preserved leaves and amber glassware provide a subtle pop of color.

A birch bark pumpkin, embellished with pinecones, leaves and acorns, takes center stage on the dining table while resting atop an oversized sea grass charger.

A touch of whimsy is brought in with miniature ceramic owl salt and pepper shakers.

Napkin rings created from vintage metal buttons bring a sense of nostalgia to the table.

On the buffet, a chipped, concrete urn corrals white and green pumpkins and gourds.

Stacked single-hued dishes topped with white pumpkins add dramatic appeal.

Mini cotton topiaries provide natural texture while flanking each end of the dining table.

A simple white bowl is adorned with colorful mini pumpkins and natural Spanish moss.

Hope you enjoyed the tour. Happy fall!  

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Italian Zucchini Gondolas

Zucchini are cropping up all over these days at farmers markets, roadside stands, and in your neighbor’s garden, which if you are lucky, you may have been a recipient of some. But now what? What do we do with of this beautiful summer squash? The answer is simple, just think beyond the bread, zucchini bread that is.

Italian Zucchini Gondolas

Zucchini are super versatile fruits that can be used in sweet or savory dishes. And they are low in calories, high in vitamin C and have more potassium than bananas. 

Here is a recipe that I came up with to help use up these late-summer bloomers.

A few varieties of zucchini are available at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market.

Italian Zucchini Gondolas
Enjoy a taste of Italy without all of the carbs. This dish can be prepared using mild, hot, or sweet Italian sausage or low-fat turkey sausage. Serves 2 as a main dish or 4 as a side dish. 

2 links Italian sausage or turkey sausage, casings removed
1 cup of marinara sauce
½ cup diced onion
2 medium zucchini
Olive oil for brushing
1 cup Italian blend shredded cheese
1 cup tomatoes, diced
Fresh basil 

In a skillet, break up and brown sausage and onion until sausage is no longer pink. Drain. Stir in marinara sauce.

Slice zucchini in half lengthwise. With a spoon, scrape out the seeds, creating a well for the filling. Brush both sides of zucchini with olive oil. Spoon ¼ of sausage mixture into each half of zucchini. 

Bake covered at 400 F for 20-25 minutes or until soft. Top with cheese, tomatoes and basil and bake uncovered for 5 more minutes.