Saturday, July 29, 2017

Weekend Wardrobe: Elegantly Exotic 4x4 Wardrobe for Global Tiger Day

In honor of Global Tiger Day, I decided to create an elegantly exotic 4x4 wardrobe featuring this majestic felid for my weekly post.  Unfortunately, the apparel inspiration for this collection, the wildly tropical tiger-themed Biba Jungle Print Volume Tie Detail Shirt, recently sold out.  However, I loved the colors I pulled from this top for my wardrobe color scheme:

So I decided to stick with this choice even if it can no longer be purchased.  The pants in the same design are available, so at least the jungle print is still represented in this collection!

If I could manage to find this shirt somewhere, here is how I would start the first set of four:

Clockwise from top left: Biba Jungle Print Volume Tie Detail Shirt (no longer available); Hobbs London Jasmina Cardigan in Colbalt Blue; Biba Jungle Print Slouch Trousers; Yumi Palazzo Pants in Blue.

The second set of four emphasizes the tiger gold color from the shirt:

Clockwise from top left: Hobbs London Chrissie Blouse in Gold Multi; White Stuff Chalki Cardi in Yellow; Theory Sleeveless Silk Blouse in Black; Hobbs London Celina Pants in Black.

Gold pants with top options in black and white round out the third set of four:

Clockwise from top left: Gerard Darel Cybille Blouse in White; J. Crew Cotton Caryn Cardigan in Black; Theory Sleeveless Silk Blouse in White; Hobbs London Louise Pants in Gold Yellow.

And the last set of four adds more of the bright cobalt blue as well as white, plus it brings in a pretty summer dress with an exotic look:

Clockwise from top left: Phase Eight Betty Cuff Detail Blouse in Blue; Stefanel Cotton Crepe Cardigan in White; Karen Millen Blue Palm Print Dress; Reiss Myla Slim-LegTrousers in Off White.

The complete 4x4 wardrobe comes together quite well, I think:


If I were an elegant and exotic type, I would be quite happy owning this collection!  Most of these pieces could even transition into fall.  Next week I will add some accessories, and I look forward to seeking out tiger-themed items!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Foodie Fridays: Low-Carb Indian Vegetable Samosas

I did not think I would be posting a recipe while out of town, but my sister and I have similar dietary restrictions and we both love Indian food.  When we watched the two Indian cuisine-themed movies I mentioned in an earlier post, we both got a craving for samosas, those delicious fried pastries so popular as appetizers at Indian restaurants.  I searched the internet for a low-carb version that would satisfy both of our food restrictions, and found a recipe for Low-Carb Indian Vegetable Samosas.  My sister insisted that I had to make some for her before I left, so I am posting the result here.  There are several steps involved which take a little time, but these samosas are not difficult to make and the almond flour-cheese dough is really easy to use (even easier than a wheat flour dough). My sister made a cucumber raita to serve with the samosas (see the Bon AppΓ©tit recipe she used below), but a good chutney would also work well.  I would recommend waiting for cooler weather before making these as they must be baked, but then I am just not a warm weather person and dislike cooking anything in the summer!

Low-Carb Indian Vegetable Samosas

1 T. butter or ghee (I used sunflower oil)
6 oz. (about 1 1/2 to 2 C.) finely chopped cauliflower
1 medium onion, finely diced
1/2 tsp. salt (or to taste)
1 T. minced fresh ginger
1/2 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. garam masala
1 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. cumin seeds
1/8 tsp. red chili flakes (or to taste)
1/4 C. minced fresh cilantro
3/4 C. super fine almond flour
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. salt (optional)
8 oz. finely shredded part skim mozzarella

Melt the butter in a preheated large skillet over medium heat.  Add the cauliflower and onion.  Sprinkle with the salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften and start to brown.  Stir in the fresh ginger and cook for 30 seconds before stirring in the coriander, garam masala, cumin, cumin seeds, and chili flakes.  Cook for 1-2 minutes to toast the spices.  Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro.  Taste for seasonings and set aside.

Set up a double boiler (I used a Pyrex mixing bowl over a saucepan of water).  Bring the water to a simmer over high heat and then set the heat to low.  Add the almond flour, cumin, salt, and mozzarella to the top part of the double boiler.  Stir together and place the bowl over the simmering water.  Hold the bowl with an oven mitt and stir the mixture constantly over the simmering water until the cheese melts and forms a dough (this could take a little time, maybe about 7-8 minutes depending upon the size of the bowl and the heat distribution).

Turn the dough out onto a large rectangle of parchment paper and knead a few times to thoroughly combine the dough ingredients.  Shape the dough into a thick rectangle and place another large sheet of parchment paper over.  Roll the dough out into an 8x16-inch rectangle.

Cut the dough rectangle in half lengthwise, and then in half-crosswise.  Each of the four resulting pieces can then be cut in half crosswise to create a total of eight dough squares.  Spoon about 1 T. of filling in the center of each square (you may have some filling left over).  Fold the squares on the diagonal to form triangular pastries.  Pinch the edges securely to close.  Place one of the parchment rectangles used to roll out the dough onto a baking sheet, and top the parchment with the samosas.

Prick each samosa with a fork for steam release.  Bake at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes or until golden brown (time will vary so start checking on them after about 10 minutes).  Makes 8 samosas.

If you want to make the cucumber raita we had, here is the recipe my sister used:

Traditional Indian Raita

1/2 C. plain Greek yogurt
1/2 C. finely diced English cucumber
2 T. minced fresh cilantro
1 T. minced green onion
1/4 tsp. coriander
1/4 tsp. cumin

Mix all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.  Chill the raita, covered, until ready to serve.  Makes 1 cup.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

This 'n That Thursdays: Christmas in July, Log Cabin Style!

From Download Wallpaper

The weather has temporarily cooled off here in New York, but not until after we suffered through some thoroughly miserable hot and humid days.  Since my sister only has one room air conditioner, in her bedroom, we spent the majority of our time cooped up in that room, so I am relieved to finally be able to spend more time outdoors!

The hot weather has me longing for cooler temperatures, which got me to thinking about log cabins in the mountains.  Log cabins always make me think of winter snow, which makes me think of Christmas, so naturally I decided to do a post about Christmas in July (that's how my brain works, anyway).  Enjoy these wintery Yuletide images as a temporary visual relief from unpleasantly hot summer temperatures, because you know that when the colder weather finally does arrive we will be longing for the dog days of summer again!

From Adorable Home

Just a few festive additions turn this log cabin's red-framed front door into a welcoming Christmas-themed entry.

From DesignCorner

A decorated mantel and coffee table plus some holiday throw pillows are all that are needed to bring Christmas cheer to the living room.

From Country Living

Once again, a few simple additions turn this cabin dining room into a festive holiday space.

From Country Living

From the same log cabin as the dining room directly above, this kitchen with its green island and red-and-green chairs only required some Christmas baskets and a tiny faux pine tree in a large glass jar to create a holiday ambience.

From Design Flavour

The simplest holiday dΓ©cor yet - a simple string of twinkle lights add the Yuletide touch to this attic bedroom.

From LoversIQ Design

This unique and rustic log cabin bathroom vanity gets all gussied up for Christmas with elaborate evergreen garland around the mirror and a pinecone garland gracing the window.


How nice to have a break from summer's heat while dreaming of the upcoming winter holiday season, even if it is only a virtual and temporary relief!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Wish List Wednesdays: Pier 1 Daisy the Fox Salad Plate

Well, Pier 1 has done it again!  The minute I saw the Daisy the Fox Salad Plate ($8.95 each) I knew that as soon as I get home I will have to order several in anticipation of fall.  The porcelain plate with scalloped edges has just the right autumnal hues, and how could I resist that cute fox?  Similar salad plates are available with a squirrel and a jack rabbit design, but for me Daisy the Fox is the one (although I do wish they would add a hedgehog design as well)!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Weekend Wardrobe: Accessories for Passion for Prints 4x4 Casual Work Wardrobe

It's time to add some accessories to this 4x4 casual work wardrobe featuring fun print tops from last week.  Let's start with some attractive but comfortable shoes:

Clockwise from top left: Everlane The Modern Loafer in Camel; Dr. Scholl's Lauri Slip-Resistant Slip-On Flats in Black; SoftWalk 'Haddley' Mary Jane Flats in Navy Leather; Bandolino Women's Presho Casual Slip-On Loafers in Black.

Some stylish but functional handbags are next on the list of accessories:

Clockwise from top left: Tory Burch Robinson Pebbled Leather Crossbody Bag in  Bark Brown/Gold; Cole Haan Emery Flap Crossbody Bag in Deep Lake/Ocean; MICHAEL Michael Kors 'Mercer' Clutch in Black; Cuyana Classic Leather Zipper Tote in Black (also available in Caramel, which would complement the pencil skirt).

Now to add some discreet bling with jewelry options which emphasize both the travel and nature themes of this wardrobe:

Clockwise from top left: AvanteGardeDesign Bordered Planet Earth Pendant Necklace; Uncommon Goods World Links Necklace in Silver; Kabana Sterling Silver Animal Bracelet (no longer available - similar bracelet here); Giani Bernini Tree of Life Pendant Necklace in Sterling Silver; Oliver Bonas Silver Flying Bird in Ring Necklace; Bling Jewelry Island Flower Cuff Bracelet.

I found some truly unique and lovely scarves to accent the wardrobe's nature theme:

Clockwise from top left: Cyberoptix Crashing Waves Scarf in Ice on Teal Blue; Aspinal of London Owl in the City Silk Scarf in Monochrome Pure Silk; Witchery Spliced Animal Scarf; Moomin Product Gallery Lasessor Sukellus Silk Scarf in Light Blue.


This wardrobe would be so much fun to wear that I think I would actually look forward going to work every morning!  I will try to do one more wardrobe post before I leave New York for home in August, but I may get busy transporting my sister to various follow-up doctor visits between now and then so I can't guarantee anything.  Hopefully I will be posting again soon!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Wish List Wednesdays: Grandin Road Fall Floral Dinnerware

Even though it is only the middle of July, I am already looking forward to autumn, thanks to these lovely Fall Floral Dinner Plates (set of four for $59) from Grandin Road.  The earthenware plates sport a bold and colorful pattern of chrysanthemums sure to brighten any tablescape.  And when Thanksgiving comes around, there is even a cheerful turkey-themed Fall Floral Turkey Platter ($39) available to complement these perfect plates.

I would love to add this dinnerware to my collection in anticipation of the arrival of autumn, my favorite season!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Weekend Wardrobe: Passion for Prints 4x4 Casual Work Wardrobe

From TripAdvisor

I have a fondness for print tops paired with solid-colored bottoms (always pants in my case) so I thought I would put together a 4x4 wardrobe based on this idea.  I decided to give this collection of apparel a specific purpose, namely a casual work wardrobe for someone who loves nature as well as travel, and either works for or volunteers at a place where she must wear clothing a bit more formal than jeans and casual t-shirts.  I envision her in a position which involves leading tours at a local museum or even a nature center with no official uniform, where she is allowed to wear whatever she wants within certain minimal guidelines.  Since this woman has a passion for prints, she gets to express her individuality in the tops she chooses to wear for her job.  And although the tops are multicolored prints, they all coordinate well with the four colors the woman has chosen for her pants and skirts:

Let's take a look at the first set of four, which includes tops that highlight this woman's love of travel and nature:

Clockwise from top left: Boden The Classic Shirt in Ivory Beach; Boden Favourite Crew Neck Cardigan in Black; Boden Lightweight Printed Crew Neck Tee in Blues Swallow Swoop; Fair Indigo Slim Leg Fair Trade Organic Knit Pant in Black. 

The second set of four brings in the slate blue color as well as a basic white tee shirt:

Clockwise from top left: Boden Make-A-Statement Tee in London Conversational; Wolf & Badger Bashaques Forest Watch Shirt; H&M Women's Cotton T-Shirt in White; Fair Indigo Slim Leg Fair Trade Organic Knit Pant in Dark Ocean.

The next set of four adds a skirt, plus another cardigan in a lighter shade of blue:

Clockwise from top left: Wolf & Badger Violet & Wren Pyjama Shirt in Havana; Boden Favourite Crew Neck Cardigan in Delph Blue; Boden Ravello Top in Regatta Conversational; Fair Indigo Fair Trade Organic Full Skirt in Black.

The final set of four adds another skirt, this time in a caramel color, plus one more basic white shirt:

Clockwise from top left: Wolf & Badger My Pair of Jeans Monkey Printed Shirt; H&M V-Neck Blouse in White; Boden Pleat Front Top in Pewter Mosaic Floral Vine; Fair Indigo Organic Fair Trade Knit Pencil Skirt in Caramel.

And here is the complete 4x4 wardrobe:


All of these fun print shirts just make me happy!  I will try to put together an accessories post for this wardrobe in the near future, hopefully for next weekend if I have the time.  My sister will be able to do more on her own starting tomorrow, so who knows, I may be able to start posting on my blog more frequently!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

On the Homefront: Whimsical Woodland Wildlife Table

Woody the hedgehog is ready to join in the woodland wildlife fun!

Due to recent unexpected events, this post was put off for quite a long time.  The table was actually the one I set for Memorial Day!  However, the theme would work for just about any season, so here it is, and better late than never, right?  I bought the wildlife plates from Birch Lane months ago, and used them to select the color scheme of warm, subdued neutrals and metallics.  Let's take a look:

Tan cotton place mat (from HomeGoods this year); brown dinner plate (from The Cupboard in Fort Collins, CO, years ago); Dunedin Creature Plate (from Birch Lane); stainless steel flatware; brown cotton napkin; three metals leaf napkin ring (from Bed, Bath, and Beyond a few years ago); moose design mug (from Coldwater Creek many years ago); contemporary copper design water glass (from HomeGoods this year).

The other three dessert plate designs (including my favorite hedgehog):

I had a lot of fun decorating the head of the table!  A potted fern takes center
stage, surrounded by a collection of woodland animals similar to the ones on
the dessert plates.  The stuffed toy bunnies are left over from Easter dΓ©cor,
and the little hedgehogs are part of my small collection of hedgehog toys.
The fox salt and pepper shakers are from Walmart a couple of years ago, and
the metal squirrel nut grinder was described in one of my previous posts.
The stuffed toy squirrels are actually dog squeaky toys, beloved by both
of our dogs!

I got these Monroe Salt Works Moose Luncheon Plates in Colorado years
ago.  I placed them on the table to hold the crab cakes.

I know I've used this centerpiece before, but I love the rustic look of
the birch candleholder surrounded by tiny pinecones.

This Albee Creature Platter, also purchased from Birch Lane,
is on the table to hold the roasted vegetables.

Because we had just returned from our vacation in New Mexico, I threw together a quick and easy Memorial Day menu of store-bought beet hummus with pita chips, crab cakes I had in the freezer, and a medley of vegetables (bell peppers, onions, summer squash, and tomatoes) lightly salted and roasted in olive oil.  I did splurge on a homemade strawberry pie with almond crust which is simple to make and just delicious.

Whimsical Woodland Wildlife Table Menu:

Beet Hummus/Pita Chips
Crab Cakes/Lemon Wedges
Roasted Vegetables
Iced Tea

Two more hedgehog toys from my collection join the party on the
dining room credenza.


I will be returning to Georgia in mid-August, and should be able to resume my regular posting schedule then, but I will still try to do an occasional post here in New York whenever I get the chance.  I look forward to setting my Dalmatian Appreciation Day table when I return home!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

This 'n That Thursdays: Two Movies Worth Watching That Feature Indian Cuisine

From Cedars Restaurant

Because my sister is still incapacitated by her recent emergency surgery, we have been watching a lot of movies lately while she recuperates.  A couple of days ago we watched two movies which featured Indian cuisine and spices.  Both movies were well made and worth seeing, and I happen to love Indian food precisely because of the wondrous variety of spices used.  Without further ado, here are the two movies we viewed:

From DVDs Release Dates

1) The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014)

This movie was directed by Lasse HallstrΓΆm, who also directed the 2000 movie Chocolat (another favorite of mine), so it is not surprising that food is featured.  In this movie, an Indian family who suffered a tragic loss in their native country emigrate to Europe and end up settling in France.  The patriarch of the family finds an abandoned restaurant for sale and makes the purchase, despite the fact that a well-respected French restaurant is located just across the street (the "hundred-foot journey" referred to in the title is the distance between the two restaurants).

At first the woman who owns the French restaurant (portrayed by Helen Mirren) is openly hostile to the Indian family, but soon a truce is declared, and she even offers an apprenticeship to one of the sons, a uniquely talented chef who longs to expand his options in the restaurant world.  The movie mainly follows the career of this young man, but there are also many interesting characters and situations in this movie, not to mention scenes of fabulous dishes being created.  If you are a fan of Lasse HallstrΓΆm, you will like this pleasant movie, although it is a bit predictable.

From Moviefone

2) The Mistress of Spices (2005)

This movie is a sort of fantasy romance.  A young Indian girl named Tilo with special abilities tragically loses her family but is found and raised by an elderly woman who trains young girls to become "mistresses of spices", women who learn the art of diagnosing people's problems and prescribing the appropriate spices to treat them.  The young women are sent all over the world to practice their art, and Tilo is sent to the San Francisco area.  She runs the "Spice Bazaar" shop by herself, and must follow several principles in the process.  She can never leave the store, never touch or be touched by another person, and must always use the spices for the good of her customers but never for herself.

Of course complications arise when she meets a young man to whom she is attracted, and the movie follows her journey as she deals with her personal life while attempting to maintain her rather mystical practice with the spices.  The most fascinating part of the film is the amazing spice shop, which is even more beautiful, mysterious, and fascinating than the young woman herself.  This storyline is also rather predictable, but any spice lover like myself will find the shop scenes irresistible.


If you find yourself stuck indoors for a while with nothing better to do, get yourself some takeout Indian food and settle in to watch these enjoyable movies!

From Pari Authentic Indian Cuisine