Monthly Archives: April 2011

Heading to the Royal Wedding……


 

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about….more Royal Weddings! My mom tells me that when I was a little girl, I sat with rapt attention in front of our one and only television set (black and white with rabbit ears perhaps?) as President Richard M. Nixon’s daughter Trisha married Edward Cox at the White House. I asked my mom if she and my dad had gotten married like that (apparently, at the tender age of 3 ½ years old, it hadn’t quite registered with me that my grandfather was not the President of the United States). She told me that no, when she got married it was small and quiet. I informed her that someday when I got married it would be big and loud……and so began my more is more philosophy.  

Who doesn’t love a good wedding; the beautiful bride, the pretty bridesmaids, the agreeable groom, the gorgeous flowers? Whenever I glance through our copy of Town & Country magazine, I immediately flip to the last few pages to see the pictures of all of the socialites that got married around the country. I love to see the styles of dresses that the brides chose, read their fancy schmancy names and decide whether or not the bride and groom really match up. The whole experience is so much more satisfying when I give them an implausible and embellished back story.

My fascination with lavish weddings dates back as far as Lady Di and Prince Charles. I was 13 ½ years old that summer, and even I knew it wasn’t the greatest of ideas. Those May-December romances are tough enough, even in the best of circumstances, throw in the crown for the British Monarchy and you’ve got yourself some real trouble. However, who can resist the story of a lovely young girl becoming the most beautiful princess in the land? Lady Diana Spencer’s transformation into the beautiful Princess Diana was absolutely mesmerizing.   

While the Royal Wedding might have been an event, it was nothing compared to the nuptials of another Spencer; the marriage of Lucas Lorenzo Spencer and the lovely Laura Webber, famed Super-Couple from ABC’s General Hospital. I remember racing home from high school as a freshman to catch the last 20 minutes of the ceremony. Of course those were the days prior to the VCR, TIVO, HULU and DVR. They were so glamorous and happy (despite their sordid and tumultuous road to the altar).

It has been 30 years since we last had the pleasure of immersing ourselves in a true fairy tale wedding, but Friday, April 29th, prepare to be dazzled as the handsome Prince William marries his gorgeous and glamorous girl-next-door Kate Middleton. In a world fraught with trouble and turmoil, the nuptials of this beautiful young couple brings hope for a bright and wonderful future. I hope that they are blissfully happy!

More weddings, more celebrations, more fairy tales, more happy endings……..

To schedule an Interior Design appointment or a speaking engagement, please email me at moreismoremom@aol.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Family Life, More is More Mom

Rights of Passage: Going 007…. a Tuxedo for Prom!


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……more rights of passage! Nick has been to exactly one high school dance; freshman year Turnabout, missing a hockey tournament in Arizona, where the boys skated, brawled and golfed, to attend. The experience was so excruciating he vowed there would never be a repeat, opting for hockey over the Hokey-Pokey every dance since. Senior year, however, he’s finally breaking his streak.

After dating for an entire year, having passed up their Junior Proms (she had double header softball games), Homecoming (too much paper work involved in attending dances at different high schools) and Turnabout (apathy?), Nick and his girlfriend will be attending the Senior Prom.

Teenage boys are absolutely useless. Nick’s girlfriend was over a few weeks ago and asked if I’d like to see a picture of her in her prom dress. Prom dress!?! Why, YES I WOULD! It’s beautiful, she’s gorgeous and he’d, apparently, had a swatch in his car for the past few weeks. How about mentioning you’re going to prom? How about mentioning that you need to order a corsage? How about mentioning that you need to be fitted for a tuxedo?

 

A perfect mother-son bonding experience; another trip to the Men’s Warehouse. Who knew there were so many tuxedo rental choices? What color tux? Flat front or pleated trousers? Cummerbund or vest? Bow tie or long tie? What color? What size? How about shoes? Would you like a pocket square?

Because more of everything is always better, we opted for the “higher thread count” Calvin Klein, traditional black tuxedo, with a modern flat front trouser. With our swatch in hand we were able to select the perfect color vest (tailored and sophisticated compared to the traditional cummerbund) and long tie (as opposed to the bow, which is totally a comfort factor, as Nick has been tying a tie, every day, since the first day of freshman year).

Did we make the best choices and decisions? I hope so, though it seems there are no wrong answers. Another boy next to us was with his mother, debating with the professional sales associate the merits of a cummerbund versus a vest. The salesman picked up a Men’s Warehouse brochure, pointed to the beautifully dressed boy headed off to his prom, vest-less, and remarked, “Well, he looks pretty happy.”

I guess that’s what it’s all about; feeling confident in your formal ware, knowing you’re going to have a great and memorable night!

More rights of passage, more prom fun, more beautiful girls, more handsome boys, more growing up……

1 Comment

Filed under Family Life, More is More Mom

“Idol” Chatter……


 

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……more “Idol” chatter! Okay, we haven’t been on the American Idol bandwagon since the reign of Kelly Clarkson, Season I, but we have been watching since the days of Taylor Hicks (with the HUGE, unbelievable, Chris Daughtry upset. Ala Jennifer Hudson; one never knows where the under-dog goes….). My very favorite part is at the beginning of the season, when every nut job in America comes through the judges chambers. Who needs the Marx Brothers or the Three Stooges when you’ve got that kind of fodder?   

With the exodus of Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell, I was more than a little bit concerned about the potential judges. After Harry Connick Jr’s extraordinarily successful guest spot last season, I thought he would make a thoughtful and fabulous judge (and, he is one of my all time favorite top ten ultimate boyfriends). However, I must admit, despite the fact that I have never been a J-Lo fan, this year’s judges…..ROCK! I adore Steven Tyler, even though he’s kind of working a flakey Paula Abdul thing. He’s so stinkin’ cute, I think it totally works.

We’re down to the final 7. This was a busy week: Songs of the New Millennium;

Scotty “turn the lights down low” Mc Creery is absolutely darling! Seriously, he’s a great throw back country singer who’ll have a deservedly big, big, big career , but I can’t figure out how week after week this kid keeps coming up with country tunes that fit the theme of the week. He must have one lucky horse shoe as he was able to un-Earth Elton “Pin-ball Wizard” John’s one and only country song during Elton John week. This week he brought us a charming, if not hokey version of “Swinging”.

James Durbin has it going on! I have believed since the beginning that he is our 2011 American Idol. In the words of Randy Jackson, not only does he have “mad skills”, he is absolutely charming and adorable. Even though I didn’t quite get this week’s “Uprising” I totally recognize an amazingly talented guy when I see one. As a bonus, he is so likeable and genuine (like when he lost his mind when Hulk Hogan appeared on the show), that unless you are an ogre, your heart just has to melt.

Hayley Reinhart is a survivor. How many times has she been in the bottom three and lived to tell the tale (should Pia and Paul have been so lucky!?!)? I really do like her soulful voice, but her awkward dance moves make me think of Elaine on Seinfeld.

Jacob Lusk? In the immortal words of Aunt Bunny (circa, Eddie Murphy’s Delirious), “Lord, help me Jesus!” This kid is incredible, but, like Scotty, he’s kind of a one trick pony. I love Luther and he does him WELL, but Jacob is not your American Idol.

As much as I hope James wins, Casey is totally my guy. I like ‘em quirky and full of good humor. While with James, Randy was all, “This is the best performance of the night” he should have waited until he heard Casey before he rushed to judgment. Casey sang Maroon 5’s “Harder to Breathe” and it was soulful, jazzy, rockin’ and interesting. I think he’s a true artist. To quote Steven Tyler to Casey, “All men are created equally, but some are more equal than others….” Need he say more?

Stefano “How you doin’?” Langone needs to go home. I love that he channels Joey Tribbiani, and I think he would make a swell Frankie Vali in “Jersey Boys” on Broadway, but to quote Morris Day (of Morris Day and the Time), “You ain’t got to go home, but you’ve got to get the hell out of here!”

In the grand finale was Lauren Alaina. She may have been amazing when she sang with Steven Tyler in the pre-season, but as a show stopper, she has fallen short. Her rendition of Sarah Evan’s “Beautiful” was certainly very nice, but it reminded me of an uninspired Glee episode.

As for your bottom three: Jacob, Stephano and Hayley, any one of them could have gone home, but, alas this was Stephano’s night. He was actually charming and gracious as he made his exit. And why not? He made the Top Ten Tour and he’ll probably get a recording contract (Bucky did).

More American Idol, more great singers, more family time…..

Leave a comment

Filed under More is More Mom, Uncategorized

More Easter Recipes; Veggie Casserole and Spinach and Strawberry Salad!


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……more Easter recipes! Spring is such a hopeful time of renewal. What better way to celebrate than by enjoying a tasty meal made with the very freshest ingredients, at a splendidly set table? Today I’m thrilled to share with you the recipes for a Veggie Casserole and a Spinach and Strawberry Salad that you’ll be excited to serve throughout the year.

My Easter Menu included a beautiful Rack of Lamb and Creamy Do Ahead Mashed Potatoes. For those recipes, please visit me at my website:   

http://moreismoremom.wordpress.com/2011/04/18/delicious-easter-recipes-and-a-beautiful-tablescape/

Veggie Casserole:

This is another one of those wonderful recipes that can be assembled the night before. Streamlining the process makes entertaining so much more enjoyable!

 

2 cups of potatoes, peeled and chopped into small cubes

3 cups of sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into small cubes

1 cup of carrots, peeled and chopped into small pieces

1 cup of red bell pepper, cored, sealed and chopped into small pieces

4 Tbsp olive oil

2 tsp cracked black pepper

2 tsp coarse sea salt

6 cloves of garlic, minced

1 cup red onion, thinly sliced

2 cups of zucchini, sliced into thin discs

3 cups of tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise, then sliced into horizontally

2 cups grated Parmesan cheese

½ cup of bread crumbs

In a large bowl, combine;

Potatoes

Sweet potatoes

Carrots

Red bell peppers

2 Tbsp oil

1 tsp cracked black pepper

1 tsp course sea salt

Butter a 13×9 baking dish

Evenly spread potato mixture in the baking dish

 

Evenly arrange the sliced onions over the potato mixture

Drizzle with 1 Tbsp of olive oil

Sprinkle with ½ tsp cracked black pepper and ½ tsp coarse sea salt

 

Evenly arrange the zucchini slices over the onions

 

Evenly arrange the tomato slices over the zucchini

Drizzle with 1 Tbsp of olive oil

Sprinkle with ½ tsp cracked black pepper and ½ tsp coarse sea salt

In a small bowl, combine;

Grated Parmesan

Bread crumbs

 

Evenly spread over the tomatoes

Cover and refrigerate until ready to cook

Pre-heat oven to 450°

Bake uncovered until the bread crumb mixture is a nice golden brown, approximately 45 minutes

 

Allow to set and cool

Slice and serve

Spinach and Strawberry Salad:

This salad has been a long time family favorite. My pal Judy introduced me to it when I was planning my first grown up dinner party. The secret to a great salad is a homemade dressing. While the fresh strawberries are so fantastic, I make this salad in the winter with candied cranberries.   

2 bags of washed spinach

2 pints of fresh strawberries hulled and sliced

In a jar, combine;

½ cups of sugar

2 Tbsp poppy seeds

1 tsp minced onions

½ tsp Worcestershire sauce

¼ tsp paprika

½ cup vegetable oil

¼ cup red wine vinegar

3-4 strawberries crushed

Shake well

 

Dress spinach and strawberries with vinaigrette

Garnish with shredded cheddar cheese and pine nuts if you so desire, but it’s not necessary

Plate and serve

More fantastic side dishes, more fresh ingredients, more Easter celebrations…..

To schedule an Interior Design appointment, or a presentation for your group, please shoot me an email at moreismoremom@aol.com

Spring Fresh Veggie Casserole

Spinach and Strawberry Salad

2 Comments

Filed under Entertaining, Family Life, More is More Mom, Recipes

Delicious Easter Recipes and a Beautiful Tablescape….


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……..more Easter celebrations! What better way to welcome Peter Cottontail, hopping down the bunny trail, than with a delicious luncheon? One of my family’s favorite Easter traditions is enjoying a beautiful rack of lamb. Who knew that my people, who can be super picky and particular, would grow to appreciate such a fine culinary experience?

Fresh Herb Marinated Rack of Lamb with Vinaigrette

Creamy Do Ahead Mashed Potatoes

Veggie Casserole

Strawberry Spinach Salad

 

A fabulous meal deserves an over the top tablescape, and the centerpiece should absolutely set the tone. As a collector of all things interesting and beautiful, I decided that my bunny rabbit weathervane (vintage Target garden department) should take center stage. What I love about it is that it has height, character and dimension. To ground the weathervane, I found squares of artificial grass and I placed six of them together to create a bed. I have an affinity for rabbits, so to fill in some of the vertical space I dug out three moss covered bunnies from my collection of props. Because more of everything is always better, I scattered large colorful eggs amongst the bunnies and grass to create a beautiful and lively centerpiece.

 

To echo the garden theme, I chose a green square topper embellished with cabbage roses. The floral topper is another great source of inspiration. One possibility would be to fill individual bud vases at each place setting with a small mound of roses. That would actually be a beautiful party favor for your guests to take home. Another idea to draw from the floral topper would be to carry that theme into other parts of your home. A gorgeous bouquet would be lovely in your foyer, living room, kitchen or powder room. Such attention to detail is what makes our homes especially well appointed. Whether for your own home or a thoughtful gift, a beautiful source for flower delivery  at home is Serenata Flowers.

As we continue setting the table, my blue tablecloth highlights the blue flowers in the topper. Pink hydrangea placemats are topped with silver hobnail trim chargers. While a plain white dinner plate can be ho-hum boring, my Lenox scalloped edge plates, embossed with butterflies, vines and flowers are a total go to favorite. Polka dot salad plates dance with all of the colors in my topper and pink napkins with white Swiss dots compliment my tablescape. My favorite part of the place setting is the white bunny rabbit napkin rings. They are in fact the piece that started my creating a beautiful home obsession 21 years ago. I found six of them at Marshall Fields on State Street on extreme clearance for $.69 a piece…….

I find that entertaining is so much easier when you choose recipes that can largely be prepared ahead of time. With this menu, all I needed to do was pre-heat the ovens, pop in the potatoes and casserole, toss the salad and sear the lamb before it went in the oven for a mere 20 minutes. Super simple!

 

Fresh Herb Marinated Rack of Lamb with Vinaigrette:

This recipe is good for 4 racks of lamb, or 32 ribs. I think it’s safe to estimate 3-4 per person, though the left-over’s are to die for.

For the lamb:

¼ cup fresh mint chopped

¼ cup fresh basil chopped

¼ cup green onions chopped

2 Tbsp fresh oregano chopped

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

3 Tbsp olive oil

4 racks of lamb

In a small bowl, combine;

Mint

Basil

Green onions

Oregano

Balsamic vinegar

Olive oil

Line a baking dish with aluminum foil

Generously rub mixture all over the lamb

Cover and chill overnight

Pre-heat oven to 375°

In a large skillet, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil

In batches, sear lamb and place back in the baking dish

Cook for approximately 15-20 minutes, or until an instant read thermometer reaches 145°

Remove from the oven and place on a cutting board

Tent with foil

Slice and serve with vinaigrette

Vinaigrette:

I make the vinaigrette the night before, only I hold off on adding the tomatoes until the last minute.

1 ¼ cups olive oil

¾ cup fresh chopped mint

¾ cup fresh chopped basil

10 Tbsp red wine vinegar

2 ½ Tbsp fresh chopped oregano

4 Tbsp Dijon mustard

2 tsp sugar

1 tsp salt

1 cup chopped tomatoes (I wrap in a paper-towel and store overnight in a small Zip-loc baggie)

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients, cover and store in the refrigerator overnight.

Bring to room temperature before serving

Creamy Do Ahead Mashed Potatoes:

These are my very favorite holiday potatoes because they are creamy goodness minus the messy clean up after dinner.

In a large bowl, place;

1 package of cream cheese

1 stick of butter

½ cup of chopped green onions or chives

Peel 5 lbs of potatoes

Chop into 1-2” cubes

Boil until fork tender

Drain and pour into bowl with cream cheese, butter and green onions

Using a hand mixer, beat until nice and creamy

Butter a 13×9 baking dish

Pour in the potato mixture

Refrigerate overnight

Pre-heat oven to 350°

Cook for approximately 1- 1 ½ hours, until just golden

Allow to set for about 15 minutes and serve

 

Visit me on Wednesday, April 20th, for the recipe for the Veggie Casserole and the Spinach and Strawberry Salad.

More Easter celebrations, more beautiful tablescapes, more delicious meals, more time together…..

To inquire about an interior design consultation, please shoot me an email at moreismoremom@aol.com

Fresh Herb Marinated Rack Of Lamb With Vinaigrette

2 Comments

Filed under Entertaining, Family Life, More is More Mom, Recipes