Less is More

Recently I posted several blogs focusing on holiday décor, food, and planning. As we journey deeper into the season, I thought I would present one more festive post.

I am a member of a very large extended family. On top of that I am bi-cultural (.5 Irish .5 Italian). What this means is there is a happy mix of holiday traditions when it comes to festivities and food.

In the past, our holiday table usually accommodated 18 to 25 guests. Over the years, due to relocations and such it decreased to 12 to 14 guests. Most recently, for the somber reasons that life sometime delivers, we border 8 to 10 guests.

Approaching my first smaller venue the number of guests saddened me. My concerns centered around ensuring fun and sufficient social interaction for all. I believed in “the more the merrier.” But as I prepared the feast, partying, and assemble the smaller table setting I began to trust that even in this setting my hosting could be grand.

Now I’m on to my second “petite” holiday setting and I delight in the preparation. I relish in the realization that I no longer need to create an eclectic mix of dinner, glass and flatware. My china, silver flatware and Chrystal glassware for 12 efficiently produces a beautiful, matched setting for the bounty to come. All guests, and especially to the delight of the wee folk, are seated at the main table. Conversation among the mix of generations flows deliciously and laughter fills the room. In this setting I have the distinct pleasure of being a part of the merriment, rather than a frazzled attendant. I am able to sit back, look around and drink in the true meaning of the season. It doesn’t have to be big and loud and crowded to be a holiday; it just has to bring folks together and project love.

As for the menu, this is where I have the opportunity to mix and match ethnic dishes. In years past, Christmas Eve hosted a full fish menu. However, as my guest list varied, I have adjusted the dishes to meet the traditions and tastes of all who join us. But no matter the group Italian Fish Salad is the star of the show. Why? Because it is relatively easy to prepare, light, delish and makes its debut as an appetizer and then proceeds to the dinner table as a spectacular sideshow.

seafood-salad

Ingredients:
Shrimp, Calamari tubes and tentacles. Chopped celery, parsley and lots of fresh chopped garlic. Sliced and chunked fresh lemons and oranges. EVOO! Boil the fish until just tender. I cut the shrimp into halves to make bite size pieces. Slice the Calamari tubes into rings, tentacles remain whole. Place these ingredients into a large bowl. Add the celery, parsley, garlic and lemon and oranges chunks. Have 1 extra lemon and 1 extra orange on hand to cut and squeeze the fresh juice onto the mixture. Drizzle generously with EVVO. Mix well. Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with fresh lemon rings. (this dish tastes best if made the day before serving).

This year the rest of my main dish menu includes:
Filet Mignon, broccoli rabe, oven roasted potatoes and poached salmon. Sauces, red wine infused brown sauce with mushroom caps and onions and a rich hollandaise sauce, which can enhance the beef or the fish. Guests’ choice.

Truly, less is more.

No matter where it takes you, enjoy the journey….

India

Believe


What if I told you the solution to all problems is simply visualization. By nature I’ve always been a visual learner. Now as a special education teacher, it’s my job to teach students how to use visual aids especially in math to solve complex problems. In Reiki, we look to our third eye for wisdom, clarity, and guidance, this is the gateway to visualization.
What if we aligned all of our thoughts and our words to the images we desire? If its success you crave write the word prosperity, hang it up, look at it daily, and align your feelings. Tell yourself I am worthy of success, I am successful. Close your eyes, picture how you would feel, and then smile let your body relax. You have now welcomed positive energy and are in the mind frame to achieve success, and it will come. This can be done for all aspects of your life, love, health, wellness the list goes on. What we focus on we create. Your thoughts and words can affect our nervous, system, our energy, and our entire life experience. We often block ourselves from what we want by the energy we put out into the Universe. Instead, we need to welcome it.

materials
A vision board is a powerful tool in your wellness survival kit. By simply identifying your goals, setting an intention, cutting and gluing words and images that correspond with your desires, you are on your way to achieving what you most desire.

visionboard

This is a daily practice. The things you want most will not simply come to you because you made a pretty colleague. (lol) You must activate your board and do the daily work. Remember the words you say have power, I am (fill in the blank), I welcome (fill in the blank). Check out @visionworksny on Instagram. They are a new small business based on Long Island. They host vision board workshops and help others learn the secret to becoming the best version of themselves.

boards

Believe….

Namaste,

virgo

Deck the Table

In keeping with my Farmhouse Tradition décor, I embarked on a fun, quick and easy DIY project to enhance my Thanksgiving dinner table.

Goodbye Victorian, formal, handwritten place cards and party crackers and hello brown paper gift bags filled with happy, useful items for all!

farmtable3

What did I include?

  • Dove body wash
  •  Talcum powder
  •  Deodorant (these items in travel size, great for the gym bag)
  •  Jingle bell necklases
  • Dionis Goat Milk Hand cream (also travel size, great for the purse)
  •  Samll tree ornament
  • Nature’s Garden healthy trail mix snack packs
  •  DIY deck-a-tree kit

tree

Assembly:

  • Fill each bag with goodies
  •  Use ribbon to tie tree ornament to each bag
  •  Stuff with bling tissue paper
  •  Use stamp pack to personalize each bag

farmtable2

Place each bag aside a place setting and there you have it, goodies and a seating card all in one!

farmtable1

Happy day!

India

 

 

 

Home for the Holidays

(courtesy http://www.twelveonmain.com)

The holiday season is upon us, which always brings with it a cause for reflection and planning.

Winter temps have come early to my neck of the woods.  Each morning the kitchen fireplace hosts a roaring fire creating a cozy environment where my creative thoughts blossom and flow as I sip on morning coffee.

ccoffeewfire

Due to our many travels my husband and I have purchased sculpture, art, and artifacts from places near and far.  As a result, our home is an eclectic mix of Italian, Parisian, Asian, and Mexican style (if you can imagine that!).  Recently, I have fallen in love with Farmhouse simplicity.  Dare I say, “I would like to redecorate?”  I think not.  Rather, I am going to work on implementing touches of what I call, Farmhouse Traditional, and I am going to begin with holiday décor touches.

livingroom

For our family it is Christmas.  But implementing new décor and/or tradition to any celebration can be fun and fresh.  Whether one celebrates Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah or Winter Solstice the holidays provide a great opportunity to introduce a new style or change in tradition.

solstice (courtesy growingupherbal.com)

I’m beginning my revamping plan by nixing much loved Victorian Christmas wrappings and updating to a Farmhouse theme.  My journey started on Amazon with a purchase of butcher brown paper for gift boxes and continued on with a shopping spree at Michaels’ with items that included brown paper shopping bags in assorted sizes, red and green raffia ribbon, and buffalo plaid tissue paper.  Next, I’m going to adopt the method of placing my Christmas tree with stand inside a thatched woven basket that will soften the design and eliminate the need for a tree skirt.  Awesome!

brownwrap

It’s not an entire redecorating splurge,  but it sure is a new approach that will pave the way to implementing other Farmhouse Traditional touches to my current décor theme.  Taking special care to not overdo and to choose just the right pieces will open up a whole new look where broad and diverse belongings will get along quite nicely.

Happy Decorating, Happy Holidays!

India

 

Gather!

It’s Autumn in New York and the holiday season is fast approaching!

This time of year I especially love to sit and gaze out the kitchen window while sipping my morning coffee, admiring the artwork of the Great Creator.  As the multicolor leaves float down to the ground, the lyrics “Over the river and through the woods, to grandmother’s house we go….” come to my mind.

Over the years, my family and I have hitched our sled (ok, got in the car) and traveled to numerous locations to celebrate the holidays with family and friends.  One area that brings back the warmest memory to me  is Connecticut.  There is nothing like a New England holiday setting (unless you are enjoying a drink on a beach in the Caribbean :)). In Connecticut my family and I enjoyed extended family, food, and fun holiday activities surrounded by much love.  When I think back, I can still hear the laughter, smell the cooking, and see “It’s a Wonderful Life” rolling along endlessly on the TV screen.  But things change, as they always do, and thankfully, we have our memories to support us as life moves on.  Family grows smaller and/or larger and the times that we think will last forever sadly do not.  Life, an inevitable cycle.

This year, I have the honor of being the hostess for Thanksgiving.  Some of my favorite peeps will be “riding the sleigh” from their neck of the woods to enjoy the feast I’m planning to prepare.  Recently, I dug deep into my recipe box to dust off a few old family favorite desserts.  Reading through the cards I found my dad’s Pear Cream Pie recipe and his recipe for Irish Coffee.  Eureka!  Two treasures that will appear on my dessert table.  Seeing dad’s handwriting, I was reminded of the jovial site of this bull of a man, an Iron Worker by trade who loved to bake, crimping the edge of his homemade pie crust.  I know my guests and I will enjoy these delights and maybe you might too.  My dad made his own cream filling and pie crust, but I make a more simple version that is just as delicious.

Pear Cream Pie: 

  • I ready made pie crust
  • 1 box My.T.Fine Vanilla Pudding (cooking, not instant)
  • 1 15oz. can sliced pears in syrup

Defrost pie crust, prepare pudding according to instructions on the box.  Drain the pears of the syrup, line the bottom of the pie crust with the pear slices.  When the pudding is cooked, immediately pour it over the pears enough to reach the edges of the pie crust.  Bake at 350 degrees until the crust is golden brown.  Cool from oven.  Refrigerate when completely cool.  The pie is best when prepared the day before serving.  Serve with Reddi Whip Whipped Cream or homemade whipped cream, which is easy to make.  Place a container of heavy cream in a mixing bowl and mix on high until stiff peaks from.  Fresh whipped cream should be made the day of serving.  This is a creamy, cool, and delish dessert! perfect after a heavy meal.

Irish Coffee:

  • 1 jigger of Jameson Irish Whisky
  • 1 cup of black American coffee (brand of your choice)
  • Whipped Cream (Reddi Whip or fresh)

Wet the rim of a tall glass mug and twist the mug mouth side down in granulated sugar.  Pour the whisky in the mug, pour in the coffee, top generously with whipped cream.  Enjoy!

Remember to call Uber for the ride home.

Happy Thanksgiving!