Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday's favorites will spice up your fall gatherings

 IN THIS POST...

- 6 new fall tableware finds from Anthropologie
- 6 ways to decorate with artichokes
- Easy and yummy tomato vegetable pasta soup                   


FINDS to finesse your fall boho table


Anthropologie
Find #1: Collaged Majida Runner
 by Los Angeles studio All Roads Design. Cotton, dry clean only, 90 by 16 inches.


Anthropologie
Find #2: Ridged Rondure Mug
At six inches in diameter with a capacity of 12.25 ounces, this makes an elegant soup mug in either pink, green or grey. Glazed stoneware, hand wash.

Anthropologie
Find #3: Francophile Dinner Plates
In 10 colorful designs so fanciful you'll want one of each. Of course, I featured the "Cat Teapot" design here, but there's an Eiffel Tower, flora and fauna, birds, monkeys, cupcakes--and more! Follow the link to see all available designs. These would make a KILLER shelf or wall display. Stoneware, hand wash, microwave safe. 10 inches in diameter.

Anthropologie
Find #4: Sketched Silhouette Serveware
Designed by ceramic artist Diana Fayt, using symbols from personal narrative and folklore, reminiscent of scrimshaw. Stoneware, hand wash recommended, microwave safe. Platter, pasta bowl and pitcher sold individually or as a set.

Anthropologie
Designed by Molly Hatch, an artist-of-all-trades who creates everything from furniture to jewelry to pen-and-ink drawings to idiosyncratic ceramics like these. Stoneware, handwash. Bowl, small/large cake stands, and platter each sold separately.

Anthropologie
Find #6: Woodland Picnic Dessert Plate

Six designs by London-based artist Cornelia O'Donovan, who draws inspiration from her home country’s rich history of folklore and poetry to create an abstract dreamlike quality in her work. Her delicate motifs evoke tales of Celtic mythology, medieval gardens and transient moments of beauty. Each of these intricately-designed plates features a recipe printed on the back. Stoneware, dishwasher and microwave safe, 8 inches in diameter.

FUN with no-fuss artichoke centerpieces


Behold the humble artichoke. Surely you've seen them in the grocery store at least (though plenty of clerks have asked me what they are as I'm checking out). 

Maybe you even like to eat them (if you know how to cook them). I usually buy mine marinated to add to other dishes. Maybe you've never tried them. Regardless, you can still use them to make super-easy, striking decorations.


Easy idea #1: Simply choose an attractive bowl and lay the artichokes in it. Place the bowl on any table or counter. The petals will open a bit and the color will fade some, but they will dry beautifully and last for several months. They look pretty this way on their own, or paired with pomegranates when those are in season (mid-to-late fall).

So present them fresh and green from the market for your special event, then enjoy them throughout the season as they dry. Toss them when they become too brittle, dusty or faded. Turn occasionally so they dry evenly. 


Easy Idea #2: Instead of or in addition to a bowl, lay one on each diner's plate. Pass an empty bowl and have guests add "their" artichoke to the arrangement, which then gets placed in the middle of the table or on a nearby buffet. Pretty-pretty!


Easy idea #3: Put each artichoke in a decorative cup, candleholder or vase and place at each tablesetting or scatter down the length of the table.

Easy idea #4: You don't have to add anything to the mini-arrangements. But if you want to, try fresh flowers from the grocery, something from your garden, or even something from a nearby field or roadside, like queen anne's lace, goldenrod or dandelions. Fresh herbs, such as rosemary, lavender, sage or thyme, also will hold up well and are often available in the produce section of the grocery year-round.


Easy idea #5: What a sweet and easy take-home gift these would make, if you're so inclined.

Easy idea #6: If not, just rake in the compliments when your table, like this one, looks like Martha Stewart stopped by to style it for you.

And keep those artichokes to mix in with more decor at Christmas.

FOOD for the soul = This. Soup. Now!


This is my favorite soup! It's simple to make (so says hubby Chris, the official Lawson family cook) and so healthy. Beautiful to look at and even MORE beautiful to eat! Usually I want some crusty bread with my soup, but this soup is filling all on its own, thanks to the beans and pasta.


Tomato Vegetable Pasta Soup 
Serves 4-6, 30 minutes prep time

Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 zucchini, grated with the large side of a box grater
  • 2 carrots, peeled and grated
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
  • 1 15-ounce can of chickpeas
  • 2 roasted red peppers, chopped
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes (Marzano variety is best. We usually buy whole/peeled and crush as they cook.)
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 pound of oricchiette ("small ear") pasta 
  • 1/4 cup store-bought pesto sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • Grated Parmesan (or Romano) cheese
Preparation: 
  • Heat a soup pot over medium-high heat with the olive oil. 
  • Add zucchini, carrots, onion, celery, bay leaf, salt and pepper, and cook for 7-8 minutes.
  • Stire in the chickpeas, red peppers, tomatoes and stock. Cover with a lid and bring to a boil.
  • Stir in pasta and cook to al dente, 6-7 minutes.
  • Turn off heat and stir in pesto. If the soup gets too thick, stir in a little water. Taste to adjust your seasonings. 
  • Remove the bay leaf and serve. Provide grated cheese for guests to add individually.
Be sure to top with cheese. It gives the soup an extra kick and an extra layer of texture. 
This is one of Rachael Ray's "Yum-o" recipes--good and good for you. Bookmark it on-line here.

That wraps it up, but since it's the First Friday of Fall...


Go ahead and check out of the office early (tell your boss I said it's okay) and have an f*ing-good weekend enjoying these favorites.

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