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March 16, 2018

Porcini & Potato Gratin Recipe

After my friend served this at a dinner party over the holidays, I was completely obsessed.  It is simple to assemble, but so delicious and decadent.  It pairs perfectly with beef for a special dinner.  Find the original recipe here at Bon Appetite.  I've included my step-by-step photos and tips below.
Porcini & Potato Gratin Recipe

I served it with beef tenderloin and roasted asparagus and carrots.  Get all of the menu details and the step-by-step planning, here >

You begin by slicing the potatoes very thinly.  Place one layer in the bottom of a buttered dish.  I made 1/3 of the recipe and cooked it in a pie dish.

I sautéed the mushrooms with the garlic before adding 1/2 over the first layer of the potatoes.

Spread the mascarpone, parmesan and cream mixture over.  Repeat again, and then end with potatoes.

Spread a thin layer of the cream mixture on the top and top with more parmesan. 

Bake until bubbly and tender.

Spring Dinner Party | Beef & Porcini Mushroom & Potato Gratin

We hosted Mike’s parents last night for dinner.  We’ve been on spring break this week, spending some time at home and some at the beach.  When we’re home and have the luxury of piddling around the house, there is nothing I’d rather do than plan a dinner.  

Extra Wide & Extra Long Spa Gingham Table Runner

The Menu

I’ve had the itch to recreate this dinner since December when my friend served it at a dinner party.  Everything was so delicious and complimentary, indulgent without being to heavy.

Roasted Asparagus

Spa Gingham Napkins

The weather here is finally turning spring-ish in the last couple of days, but the evenings and mornings are still cool.  This menu would be perfect during the holidays, but the roasted asparagus and rainbow carrots also make it feel springy, too.  While the Beef Tenderloin, always a treat, the real star of this menu is the Porcini & Potato Au Gratin.  The potatoes are sliced then and layered with sautéed porcini mushrooms and a mascarpone cheese and parmesan mixture.  The mascarpone melts into a creamy sauce that compliments the beef perfectly.  This is definitely a special occasion recipe.  I also think the mushrooms make the menu feel more spring-ish, too.

I bought dried porcini mushrooms at our local "fancy" grocery store, but I think you can also find them at Whole Foods.

This is a 2 pound beef tenderloin.  I had the butcher cut it to this size, which is nice for a small dinner of 4-5 guests.

Essential for entertaining, every item can be prepared in advance.  The day before, the Potatoes can be assembled and baked before the party, and the carrots, asparagus and beef can be prepped and ready to go on the sheet pans.  You can see, I have everything spread out before the guests arrive.  Everything is ready!

Here is a timeline : 

The Day Before or Day Of : 

-Porcini & Potatoes Gratin : Assemble Completely 
-Asparagus : Wash & Trim, put in plastic bag
-Carrots : Peel & Chop, put in plastic bag
-Beef : Trim (if not already), wrap in plastic

The Potatoes before baking.  You can make them up to a day in advance to this point.

Two Hours Before : 

-Preheat Oven to 350
-Asparagus & Carrots : On sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil & sea salt
-Beef : On Sheet Pan, coat in sea salt & pepper

1:30 Before Dinner : 

-Bake Potatoes, 1:20 minutes

1:00 Before Dinner : 

-Put Beef in the Oven

:20 Before Dinner

-Check on Beef (125-130 degrees F on meat thermometer), pull out and cover with foil when done.  The 2 pound beef took about 40-50 minutes.  
-Put Asparagus & Carrots in the Oven
-Check Potatoes, remove from oven if tender and bubbly, cover with foil

:00 Dinner Time

-Pull out Asparagus & Carrots
-Slice Beef
-Remove Foil from Potatoes

Serving : 

On a large Platter, place sliced beef down the center.  Place asparagus on one side of the beef, and carrots on the other.  Serve potatoes from baking dish.

Muscari & Spa Table Setting Details

Extra Wide & Extra Long Spa Gingham Table Runner

Spa Gingham Napkins

3 x Blooming Muscari Bulbs in Rustic Pots topped with Preserved Moss

Tall Beeswax Taper Candles, $10.50

I used mix and match silverware and low, heavy French tumblers for water.  I don't often put wine glasses directly at the table because we typically serve wine before dinner.  It saves me from having double glasses.

Shop all of my favorite entertaining essentials, here >

March 14, 2018

Garden Table Setting for Spring

There is such a wide range of entertaining styles out there.  Some think that entertaining should be about crystal, china and lit candles, and some think about a big crowd of family around the island munching on dips using paper plates and napkins.  I like to live somewhere in between - I think most of us do.  I love sitting down to a pretty table, but I don't like to feel like it is fancy or stiff.  I love crowding around the island, munching on snacks, but I still like pretty platters and artful displays.  

I think at the end of the day, we all want to just feel like family when we're invited to someones home.  We want to feel casual enough to linger in the kitchen while helping ourselves to wine, but we also love that feeling of sitting down to a thoughtfully set table.  This setting is all of those worlds wrapped up into one.   It is a bit rustic with terra-cotta pots right on the table, but elegant with fresh gingham checked napkins and fresh flowers.  This is a table that could easily host adults or kids for an Easter meal.

Notice how wide and long the generous gingham runner is?  I love this look.  It is not thin and whimsy, but wide and generous without the formal feel of a tablecloth.  I have kept this runner on my table all month - it really lightens the feel of our dark wood table, exactly what I want for spring when this area can feel a little heavy.

Extra Wide & Extra Long Natural Gingham Runner
Natural Gingham Napkins
Garden Tool Stationery (tag as the place card, tablets and note cards also available)
Classic Cream & Sugar Set
Creamware Platters
Creamware Creamers Collection of 5

Extra Wide & Extra Long Natural Gingham Runner

Extra Wide & Extra Long Natural Gingham Runner

Extra Wide & Extra Long Natural Gingham Runner 

This is a lovely gift to your guests, or a hostess gift if you are headed to someone's home this spring.  I love this for a teacher or birthday gift, as well.

Natural Gingham Napkins
Garden Tool Stationery (tag as the place card, tablets and note cards also available)

Shop this table :

Natural Check Runner
Natural Check Napkins
Creamware Creamers Collection of 5
Classic Cream & Sugar Set
Creamware Platters

An Update on The School House | Tour

We spent the weekend at The School House getting it ready for the transition in just a couple of weeks.  I had planned to dutifully share each step with you, but this project has just moved too fast!  I have taken all of the step-by-step photos as we've gone, so don't worry, I'll go back and explain how we did everything at some point.  I know many of you are interested in how we did the bead-board and peg entry way (favorite!) and how we painted the kitchen cabinets (right over that factory finish!), so I'll share details later - I promise.  *Keep reminding me, because this brain is a bit overloaded at the moment.  Between getting the school house ready, working on the new textile prints that are coming soon, and heading out for spring break, I'm a little overwhelmed.  In just a couple of weeks, all of the extra work will be worth it when we move the inventory here to the school house and my very own team gets to work.  Can't wait!

Here is the entry way that we modified slightly.  The bead-board was already here, so we added a peg rail at the top and midway.  This is the same treatment we have in our mudroom and I love all of the uses I have for the pegs.  Even when fully loaded, they seem to be charming.

We used Ben Moore Marble Canyon for the trim.  The walls were already a creamy white.  

There is something about creamy walls with a painted trim that just feels country.  I knew from the moment I walked in here that I would do this paint scheme.

Now the one big room is feeling more like a workspace after we installed the shelving this weekend.  I searched high and low for industrial shelving in a soft beige color that would compliment the paint scheme (rather than a heavy dark grey).   I didn't want dark and heavy shelving to weigh the space down.  I wanted it to still feel fresh and light... even though it needed to be very hardworking and sturdy.  I finally found it at Costco, here.  It would be perfect for a pantry, basement or garage.  


The center of the room is the packaging area.  This is where they'll package the product and shipping boxes.  I'm waiting on the big long farm table that goes in this area, too.  I'm looking forward to using it for big projects and big meals or workshops!

This island was a distressed green finish, but my mom painted it to match the trim.  I think I'm going replace the pulls with something brass - maybe even drop pulls like these?

This is the view looking opposite of the shelving.  I set the sofa area up to be as cozy as possible, as I plan to use it as a backdrop for photos of new products.  And its a pretty nice break area for the crew : )

The sofa is covered in my new collection of Check Pillow Covers, in Spa and Natural.  When I set up a sofa, I always anchor the ends with two 22" Squares, then two 20" squares, accented with a rectangle.  If you don't want your sofa sooo full, I would use 22" squares on the ends, and accent with one 20" square or one rectangle.  These sizes are all available in my store and work perfectly with inserts from Ikea.  I use the 24" insert with the 22" covers to really make them plump and full.

The sofa is the Comfort English Roll Arm Sleeper Sofa from Pottery Barn in Brushed Canvas Natural.  We ordered the sleeper sofa so we can spend the night out here when we want!  We've stayed several times this last month while its been a blank slate, but I'm not sure how it will feel after all of the inventory moves in.

I wanted something different for above the sofa, but of course, something that I could transition easily.  So, instead of one large piece of artwork, I opted for a gallery of 8 Gold Leaf Frames.  I love how graphic, yet nostalgic this collection of profiles feel.  I'm not quite sure I have the mats right yet, or maybe I need to make the background of the profiles creamier?  

When I get the look perfected, I'll have them available in my store.

Love these classic, soft and airy checks.  The quality of the new stitching is so nice!

Check Pillow Covers, here >

I came across this table last week at Nell Hills in Kansas City.  I had to have it and had to make a place for it.  As you can imagine, you'll be seeing this view a lot moving forward.  I plan to swap out the lamp and the shade with each season to change the look.  I'm also finally trying my hand at covering the shade with a block print fabric.  I'll be sure to share.

Mr. approved.

The light is so pretty here - from those big giant windows.

The big basket trunk is from Gilt.  It holds our bedding for our overnight stays and is a great scale and color (for a great price!).  

In the desk area, I'm using our old dining room table (it has had quite a life!) with one of our RH wing dining chairs.  I have one in my office at home, so it is fitting that I moved one here, too.  And after I found the 6 Windsor chairs last fall, we're overflowing with dining chairs at home.  It is the perfect comfy, structural piece for this desk.

I found the cork boards at Home Goods and painted the frames to match the trim paint.  The file cabinet is wood (it still needs pulls!), and I also painted it to match the trim... That was sort of my default for this project.  With so many elements collected, if it had an unnatural finish, it got painted.  It helped to make everything that was mix and matched to go together.

I tried to make sure that all of our office-y supplies felt "cute" too - why not?  Why get a black printer when you can get a white one?  This lovely brass task lamp was another find at Nell Hills.

We are using the "House" Stationery as the house stationery at The School House.  This is the large tablet.  I put the grey LePens + old fashioned pencils in my Creamware Creamers, which paired so nicely with this creamy Target lamp.  The three of them seem like a set.

I framed some of my Botanical Prints in this area.  They are 5x7 prints in 8x10 frames.  I brought the French Cream photo mats with me, but am thinking the Natural Cream will work better and seem a little crisper.

This is Emm's desk area that she's very thrilled about.  I cleaned it up a bit for this photo, but it will soon be filled with lots of treasures, made and found.

Speaking of found treasures.  How great are theses chairs?  I found 3 of them in Lexington this weekend, and tracked down the buyer of the other 3 (gotta love a small town).  I'm hoping she'll sell them to me so I can have the entire set of 6 to put around our big farm table coming in.  They are just the perfect scale, patina and shape.

Mike's mom brought us this oversized crock - love it!

 Here is a new print that will be available in store soon.

Back to the hardest working part of the room.  I can't wait to deck these out with bins and baskets of inventory and supplies.

As I mentioned above, I found these shelves at Costco, here.

Now into the kitchen!  If you've followed along on Instagram, you saw the process of selecting the paint color for the cabinets.  They were factory finished with a dark stain when we purchased the school house.  But they were nice and new cabinets, so we wanted to make sure we didn't waste them.

We ended up painting them Ben Moore Puritan Grey - thanks to Tessa at nineandsixteen for helping me narrow down - and the pressure ;)   I took these photos at the wrong time of day and the huge windows are overexposing everything.  I'll do a proper kitchen post with really pretty photos in the future and details of everything.

We love the color and how they turned out!  I added a furniture base to the cabinets and shaker pulls to give them that country feel we were after.  I selected a very simple faucet with porcelain handles to make it feel very utilitarian in here - a true country kitchen.

We replaced the counters with new wood tops from Ikea.

It is just the thing to warm up the bluish grey cabinetry and make it feel very charming.

We love this room so much!  I can't wait to walk you through the process because it was so easy and inexpensive.  This room is completely transformed from what it was.  These are the kind of DIY projects I love : )

We added another peg rail to each wall for more utilitarian storage and that shaker look I love.

This is the original library of the school.

Can you even?  It is just so charming.

Can you believe this is the breakroom?!  I do hope to host some open houses and workshops here, so visitors will get to experience the space, too.  We'll probably host one this summer... hopefully! 

That's all for now!  I promise, once we get this up and running, I'll take even prettier photos and walk you through all of the projects step-by-step.  

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