Tag Archives: memories

Going Banana’s for Banana Cream Pie!

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about………more homemade desserts! While I may be a complete and total chocoholic (candy, cookies, brownies, cakes, ice cream……), Chuck has leanings towards a greater variety of desserts. Other than fresh fruit (which is so not a treat, it’s one of the food groups), Chuck has a soft spot for pie. Yesterday, I noticed we had two very nice ripe bananas, so I decided to whip up a quick Banana Cream Pie.

When I was a girl, the only place to get pie was at Poppin’ Fresh Pies, which today, you may know as Baker’s Square. Making pie is so much more intimidating than cakes or brownies, but you’ll love this recipe because it is super easy.  

Banana Cream Pie:

This should be made at least a day before you plan to serve it, so the custard has time to firm up.

Pre-heat oven to 350®

Put aside a 9” pie plate

2 ripe bananas, sliced into ½” slices, put aside  



In a small bowl, mix together;

1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs

¼ cup sugar

6 Tbsp melted butter


Press the graham cracker mixture into the pie pan on the bottom and on the sides

Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until a light golden brown

Remove and cool

For the Custard:

3 egg yolks

1 cup sugar

3 Tbsp cornstarch

¼ tsp salt

1 ½ cups of milk

1 Tbsp butter

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

2 cups heavy whipping cream (one for the custard and one for the topping)

Vanilla and sugar to taste

In a saucepan;

Beat the egg yolks

Mix in;







Blend well

Over a medium heat, stir together

After a minute or so, add;


Stir until the butter melts and the custard starts to bubble and thicken

Cook for 5 minutes or so, being careful not to over cook (and curdle)

Remove the pan from the heat

Add vanilla, mixing well

Transfer the custard to a bowl, covering with plastic wrap (to eliminate the chance of a thick skin forming) and refrigerate for at least 2 hours

In a large bowl, using an electric hand mixer, whip together;

Heavy cream

Few splashes of vanilla

2 heaping Tbsp or so of sugar

Beat until stiff peaks form


Add the refrigerated custard to half of the whipped cream, beating until well combined

(Reserve the other half of the whipped cream in the refrigerator)

Take the pie pan with the graham cracker crumb crust

Arrange all of the banana slices, evenly around the pie crust

Spread the custard filling evenly over pie

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or over night

To Decorate;

Wilton has the coolest decorative baking accoutrements. You can buy decorative tips for frosting at your local craft store and pastry bags too. However, a Zip-loc baggie works just fine as well. Using a scissors, snip off a corner of your bag and insert your decorative tip of choice, securing a tight fit. Fill the bag with the reserved whipped cream.


Remove the pie from the refrigerator. Squeeze decorative dollops of the whipped cream around the pie. Refrigerate allowing the whipped cream to set.

Slice, serve and enjoy!

More bananas, more pies, more homemade pies, more tasty goodness……

To schedule an Interior Design appointment, Life Style consultation or speaking engagement, please email moresimoremom@aol.com

Going Banana’s for Banana Cream Pie


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Resplendent Roasted Chicken and Bread Salad….

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……..more delectable chicken dinners! Thankfully there are about a million ways to prepare chicken whether the chicken is whole, cut into pieces, with skin or without. My family is particularly partial to a roasted chicken with the skin on. The aroma, wafting out into the driveway, draws them in, one by one, like a moth to a flame……

While a roasted chicken is always delicious with a buttery side of potatoes, I personally love a good chicken salad. And this one is one is hearty enough that I can actually serve it to Chuck for dinner!

I like to roast two chickens. Amanda is crazy for the drumsticks, Nick likes chicken breasts and we all love leftovers.

Roasted Chicken:

Pre-heat oven to 350°

1 whole chicken, with the giblets removed

Salt and pepper

Onion powder

4 Tbsp butter

8-12 garlic cloves

2 Tbsp olive oil

Place chicken in a roasting pan

Season inside and out with slat, pepper and onion powder

Place butter and garlic inside the cavity

If you are good at tying hogs, you might attempt tying up the chicken to keep all of the buttery, garlic-y goodness inside the cavity

Drizzle olive oil all over the skin

Bake for about 1 ½ hours, or until an internal thermometer reads 180°

Baste with the pan juices

Cover with foil and let rest for 30 minutes before you carve it up, reserving about 2 cups of chicken for the salad

Roasted Chicken and Bread Salad:

Serves 4

To make the dressing:

Whisk together:

4 Tbsp olive oil

¼ cup white wine vinegar

2 tsp oregano

1 tsp sugar

For the salad, you’ll need:

3 cups of torn up Italian or focaccia bread

2 cups roasted chicken

¾ cup Kalamata olives

4 romaine hearts, washed and chopped

In a skillet, heat over medium-high heat;

1 Tbsp olive oil

Add bread

Toss to coat and cook for approximately 5 minutes

Remove the bread from the skillet





Turn frequently to coat

Cook for several minutes, until warm

Toss the bread back into the pan and toss to coat

Arrange the romaine on 4 different plates

Add the chicken mixture


More chicken, more delicious meals, more family dinners…..

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The Fabric of Our Lives…..

As the More is More Mom, I’m all about………more fantastic fabrics!

 I was reminded the other day of the importance of “Home”. My Amanda was sitting on the stairs in our foyer, chatting about her day with my mom on the phone, and it struck me; these are the moments that she will remember most, being in our home, connecting to the important people in her life. When the kids were little, I was always mindful about creating memories of their childhood. Of course there will be colorful memories of me ranting and raving like a lunatic about them picking up their rooms, finishing their homework and their lively bickering, but I hope that other memories will prevail.

We love to plug in our I-Pods and sing along together when we’re in the car. In the years to come, I hope they smile and remember those moments fondly when they hear our favorite songs on the radio (Justin Bieber on the oldies station?). When they smell vanilla, I hope they’ll remember coming home from school to fresh baked desserts and, when they get a whiff of pine, I hope they happily remember Christmas.

Our memories are triggered by words and conversations, smells and how our surroundings look and feel. Decorating our homes is one of the many wonderful ways that we can create a sanctuary to nurture our families.

A beautiful selection of fabrics contributes enormously to creating a warm, cozy and welcoming home. Inspiration typically starts with a favorite color, a beloved object or an amazing fabric. The inspiration needn’t be the focal point, just the element that coordinates with and connects everything else.

I had some work to do for one of my design clients at the Merchandise Mart the other day. While I was at Robert Allen (the beautiful fabric house), I thought it would be fun to pull together an example of how to select and coordinate a great combination of fabrics.

Three of the most important elements to consider are color, pattern and texture.


Take for instance my inspiration fabric, Floral Medley in Butterscotch. It’s a very interesting fabric with beautiful color and depth. It’s a great floral, with a big scale, so it would really set the tone for a room, be it as sofa, chair, ottoman or window treatment. What gives it greater dimension is the background; a tone on tone stripe paired with a light Swiss dot. Remember your inspiration piece doesn’t have to be the focal point. It may merely serve as that thread of continuity for the other fabrics in your room.


Once you have one element in place, the other choices become simpler; your color palette has been defined and the scale has been determined. For me, the next logical selection would be a good solid base fabric. I loved this rub red velvet, Reverence Pompeii. The color pulls out the darker tones of the flower in our inspiration piece.


When we’re adding fabrics to strike that pleasing balance, a good rule of thumb regarding scale and pattern is small, medium, large, solid, texture, whimsy. The fun part is putting the pieces of the puzzle together to determine which element is best served where. I found this treasure of a small patterned fabric from Beacon Hill. Tummel in Golden Henna is delightful with its rich, warm golden background and tiny flowers in green and deep raspberry. The little flowers play nicely against the large floral in our inspiration fabric.


Stripes are fun and playful! The linear nature of the pattern is a natural contrast to the free flowing floral. Halesworth in Hibiscus has it going on; coral, warm yellow and green, pulling the dominant tones of the grand floral. At this point, a medium scale pattern adds balance. What I liked particularly about the Flowercrest in Bonsai is the dual purpose it serves. The diamond pattern is reminiscent of a trellis, which provides an easy transition for our large floral, but what makes it more interesting is the small floral motif that accentuates each point. I also like that this fabric, in a subtle khaki tone, offers some much needed relief from all of the pink and gold.


The last fabric I would add, while simple, has great depth. The texture of the Kosoff in Kelp has a great, woven and organic quality. Its applications are absolutely endless. It would be to die for as a fabulous ottoman or drapery panels, dripping in trim.


What I love about design are the endless opportunities to tell our personal stories and create beautiful spaces to live our lives and make special memories for our family and friends.

More beautiful fabrics, more possibilities, more fun, more family memories……

To schedule an Interior Design appointment, please send me an email moreismoremom@aol.com

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The Mysterious Case of the Broken Pagoda….

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……….more hidden, broken treasures! Last weekend, in a rare stolen moment, Chuck, Nick, Amanda, Wrigley and I were watching the Grammy’s (and how exactly did Justin Bieber not win New Artist of the Year? He’s cute as a button, and Amanda just informed me that his favorite color is purple…….the favorite color of the Patron Saint of Teen Idols; Donny Osmond. With such a winning combination, how could he lose?). Somehow, as these things tend to happen, our friendly conversation turned to the kids giving me grief about all the things I would never let them do when they were little, like watch Boy Meets World (too racy), say f-a-r-t (I insisted they sat “toot”) or go into the woods at the end of our street. They giggled as they informed me that whenever they had the chance they would watch Boy Meets World, say f-a-r-t and tempt fate by darting into the woods, if even for just a moment.

Suddenly, Amanda had a huge case of the giggles. She was practically hyperventilating as she asked Chuck, “Dad, didn’t you tell her?” Hmmm. “Tell me what?” I asked. “No, no, no,” they insisted they would go to their graves with their big secret. As they continued to laugh, they decided their big secret was too good to keep to themselves, so they spilled the beans.

For some reason, since Nick was in the 5th grade (which would be for the past 7 years), his life’s work has been to increase his vertical jump. Why, you may ask. He’s not a basketball player or a track star. The last time I checked, there was absolutely no need for jumping in golf or hockey. So what is his obsession with improving his vertical maneuvers? There are finger prints all over our house; on our woodwork, walls and ceilings. One time (Nick must have been in 6th grade) I was holding the ladder for Chuck as he made his way up the scuttle hole into our attic and I noticed pencil markings on my wall, marking off one foot increments. As a control freak, I happen to like things “just so” (which excludes writing on my walls). I could have killed him.   

Apparently, a few weeks ago, while I was downtown preparing for my engagement at the Merchandise Mart, a minor accident happened in our home. Chuck was watching the news in our Family Room, Amanda was reading in our Living Room and Nick was running through our Foyer. Never one to miss an opportunity for an imaginary lay up on our light fixture, he jumped up into the air and as he came down, the carpet at our front door slipped out from under his feet. He flew into the air, landing on his back, but not before he managed to karate-chop collide with my treasured red pagoda étagère.

While Amanda tried to stifle her fit of laughter, Chuck went berserk when he heard the commotion and realized what Nick had done. Never mind the potential injury, my family is acutely aware of my obsession for order. This was a Brady Bunch moment if I’ve ever heard of one. You know, Mom always says, “Don’t play ball in the house.” There was no time for glue, the best they could do was spin the red pagoda étagère around and pray that I didn’t notice that the wood work was hanging on by a thread. I didn’t; though I would have been mighty surprised when I got to my dusting.

Truthfully, with three very busy kids in our home (which includes Wrigley), it’s a miracle more things haven’t been broken. In fact, I can count on one hand the number of casualties (a decorative plate, bumble bee sphere, a trompe l’oiel box and the window in our Den are the only items that come to mind. Not too bad for 18 years.). Fortunately, Chuck was able to glue my red pagoda back together, so it’s as good as new. I dare say that when my Nick is off to college in the fall, I am going to miss him jumping around, imaginary slam dunking my light fixtures and getting his finger prints all over my woodwork, walls and ceilings.

More mishaps, more glue, more harmless secrets, more family memories…….

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A Spa Day, Gone to the Dogs!

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about………more Wrigley at the groomers! My Wrigley is an 8 year old Chocolate Labrador Retriever. Labs are rugged manly dogs. They don’t require much in the way of maintenance, providing you can keep your pantry well stocked with kibble, pig’s ears and rawhide. Natural born chewers, even their toys have to be tough; virtually indestructible. A soft and fluffy squeaky toy has no place in our home. It would provide seconds, not hours, of entertainment. I’ll bet Wrigley can extricate the squeaker out of a stuffed animal in about 60 seconds flat! His mouth is like the Jaws of Life.

Wrigley is the first dog the kids and I have ever had. When we brought him home from the breeder it took us 24 hours to name him. We had so many great names picked out, but it finally came down to Wrigley (in honor of our beloved Cub’s and the Friendly Confines, not the gum) or Gretzky (in honor of the Great One). Chuck said he didn’t care what we named our beast, as long as we finally gave him a name. So, after much debate, the kids and I settled on Wrigley Sheffield Nunley III, as he became the third child in our family. After a few weeks, it become apparent that his name had become Wrigley Sheffield Nunley The Last, as in he will likely be the last dog we ever have. He’s wonderful, but exhausting. In his 8 year old body beats the heart of a puppy. While he may not be terribly “good”, for us he’s the very best dog in the entire world and we wouldn’t have him any other way.

This guy lives with a commitment to passion, readiness and exuberance. It doesn’t matter where we’re going, he just likes to go. Out of a sound sleep, while he’s dreaming, drooling and extreme snoring, he can be roused with a simple whisper, “Do you want to……..?” It doesn’t matter what it is, he totally wants to do it. Do you want to go for a run? I’d love to go for a run! Do you want to wake up the kids? I’d love to wake up the kids!  Do you want to go bye-bye in the car? I’d love to go bye-bye in the car!  Even when we pull up in front of the vet he can’t wait to go inside, dragging me to the front door. He likes to sit on the scale and have the doc rub all over him. He sits very nicely for shots and getting his ears cleaned. He just likes to be living in the moment.

For Wrigley, other than his occasional visit to Doggie Day Care, nothing beats going to the groomer. As soon as we get a few blocks away from our destination, he starts reverberating with excitement; running all over the car, trying to squeeze out the drivers side door with me. He runs directly to the main entrance, throwing himself against the door, yelping in celebration (they must give him sooooo many special treats). The girls at the Barking Lot are always so happy to see him and greet him with big hellos and hugs. Wrigley feels like a total rock star. He’s not a particular fan of the tub, hates the dryer, but loves to get brushed on the table. Even when he’s finished, he jumps right back up for more. He’s a comical fella and the girls enjoy his company, even though he’s been known to eat a hairbrush and wrestle with all of the other pups. When he comes home, he’s beautiful, polished and clean. So much better than when we hose him off in the back yard and leave him to drip dry in the sun. It truly is a dog’s life!

More excitement, more passion, more spa days, more happiness…….


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