Thursday, September 7, 2017

When Summer Begins to Fade ... and The Best Minestrone Soup Recipe

The air is still with the fragrance of dirt and fallen leaves,

and the light is dull and flat.

The birds are quiet, no singing this morning,

I think they're tired after the storm.

There is the sound of casual productivity as my neighbor

washes her parents' cars and sprays off the drive.

"Cooler today", said the forecaster "a high of 99" - it's a beginning... 

But, the white Staub pumpkin is out on the stove to hurry Autumn in, and 

I am off to market to buy ingredients for the best minestrone soup.

I will just turn on the air and happily pretend Fall has arrived.

- Serves 6-8 -

Good Olive Oil
(I love Olio Santo Olive Oil, I think it's the best)
4 oz pancetta or bacon - 1/2 inch diced
2 cups carrots - 1/2 diced
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
2 1/2 cups gold potatoes quartered
1 1/2 tbs minced garlic
2 tsp chopped thyme - fresh
26 oz can Chopped tomatoes
8 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
15 oz can cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups small pasta - cooked
1/4 cup white wine
8-10 oz baby spinach leaves
2 tbs store bought pesto
Plenty of grated Parmesan cheese and more for the table
Red pepper flakes

Heat 2 tbs of olive oil medium heat in Staub Cast-Iron Pumpkin Cocotte/stock pot, cook pancetta/bacon for 6-8 minutes until light brown.  Add onions, carrots, garlic, thyme, for 8-10 minutes until vegetables soften.  Add tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes, chicken stock, bay leaf, 1 to 1 1/2 tsp  kosher salt ("to taste" as my mom use to say) and 1 1/2 tsp pepper, a dash to one teaspoon of red pepper flakes.  

Bring to a boil, add potatoes, white wine and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Discard bay leaf.  Add beans and cooked pasta.

Heat through, soup should be thick.  Stir in 2 big spoons of pesto, add spinach just before serving, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and drizzle with Olive oil. Serve hot.

Top with Garlic bruschetta, or sliced Italian bread in the bottom of individual bowls.


Staub Cast-Iron Pumpkin Cocotte at also comes in orange and black

The BEST olive oil! - Olio Santo Extra-Virgin Cold Press Olive Oil at

Photo: Maura Endres @m.o.endres - You will want to follow this beautiful Instagram
Minestrone Soup Recipe:  Ina Garten's Winter Minestrone and mine combined

Friday, September 1, 2017

Cotswolds Manor House ... A tangle of pink climbing roses, hedgerows, and gloriously unruly flower beds.

For novelist Ian McEwan and his wife, journalist and novelist Annalena McAfee, the promise of a country home in an unspoiled setting found them on an eight-year journey in search of a place they could call home; luring them to the Cotswolds and an 18th-century Palladian architecture manor house with nine acres alongside the River Orwell.  Tangles of pink climbing roses, hedgerows, Korean dogwoods, carpets of daisies, Irish yews, walnut trees, and gloriously unruly flower beds filled with an abundance of blooms; foxglove, lady's mantle, iris, allium to name a few.  The spectacular property is just a couple of hours from London, which means they happily host friends and family almost every weekend.  I only wish they would have included photos of the inside....  Enchanting.

Photos: Ricardo Labougle
Featured in T Magazine article by Mary Kaye Schilling, 8 | 28 | 17:  To read the entire article - T Magazine

Sunday, August 27, 2017

A Beautiful Fabric and Wallpaper Collection: Vogue Living Collaboration with Schumacher

Vogue Living in collaboration with Schumacher, the storied textile house since 1889, created a new line of fabric and wallpapers to pay homage to some of the great tastemakers whose fashion, interiors, and style have helped shape the pages of Vogue since they began publication in 1892.  The collection of 17 designs each available in 2 to 4 colorways will be sold through interior designers and architects at

"They are evocative by turn of the chintzes or Tudor embroiderers in romantic 

English country houses."

"Historic document prints in Provincial and Tuscan manses."

"The exotic textiles of Moroccan riad."

"Celtic plaids and the organic linen stripe and

 checks of a Long Island Beach house."

To view the entire collection visit:

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Le Château de Moissac in the South of France & A Personal Video Tour with Sharon Santoni of My French Country Home

In the south of France where lavender fields are endless, olives are warmed by the sun, and sheep happily graze, lies the most gorgeous 17th century château, lovingly restored over a 10 year period and called home by Marie-Christine and her husband Luis Caviglione.  Life at Le Château de Moissac encompasses the Art of Living and Restoration, as well as the Art of Inspiration for photographers and stylists, often playing host to private receptions, including weddings and professional events which rent the château; "A concept of hospitality reinvented each day".  I first became aware of the château through Sharon Santoni's personal tour video, which I have included for your viewing.  Her warm narrative and the beauty of Le Château de Moissac will leave you inspired.  

C'est Magnifique!

Video: Sharon Santoni; by Jean-Baptiste Raimondi

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Living la Dolce Vita - Skye McAlpine's Venice, Italy

With an abundance of flowers, usually pink, and celebratory lunches, or quiet gatherings around the table, Skye McAlpine of @skye_mcalpine allows us to step into her daily life in beautiful Venice, Italy.  Filled with inspiration and joy, she is one of my go to four-seasons guides to living the sweet life, making the most of "that" moment and sharing it with us.  She is #onetofollow on Instagram.  Here are just a few of her gorgeous and inspiring photos...  BELLISSIMO

Photography by Skye McAlpine
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...