Paper Plate Alternative

As we are fast-approaching the season of outdoor cookouts and casual dining on the back deck (although you wouldn’t know it by the weather in DC today), I have been constantly confronted with ways to make summer dining more “green.”
One of my favorites that I have come across is Veneerware made by Bambu. Intended to be used the same way as paper plates, these organic products are biodegradable and so much cuter than white paper plates! Zanisa even sells a ready-to-entertain set of plates and utensils for a party of 8 all prepackaged and ready to go. How much easier can it get?


Although I am philisophically opposed to Pottery Barn, I would love to have the Brady Entryway Collection. It turns out Farrell has also had her eye on it...-LG

The Cutting Edge

I will say, nothing enhances a cooking experience like a quality set of knives. Sure, I made it through many years with sub-par knives and did just fine, but a set of the “real” things doesn’t even compare. Although, when making the switch, you should proceed with caution, as many people I know have had some unpleasant experiences with them (similar to one I had today) resulting in the need for Band-Aids and Neosporin.

That said, keeping your nice knives sharp is important. This maintenance needs to be done annually. National retail chains like Sur La Table offer in-store knife sharpening, charging appx $3 per inch of each knife and running specials every few months. Locally, you may be able to find a better deal – in the Washington, DC area many of our local hardware stores and meat markets will sharpen them for you for a lower price.

You don’t need an uber-expensive set of knives – unless you are preparing for next season’s Top Chef (and if you are, let me know ASAP) – a basic, moderately priced collection from Wusthoff, Henckels, etc is a great starter, and department stores are often running great sales on them!

Happy chopping!

Choices in Living

As some of you may have noticed, I have been a little bit MIA since moving to New York. Unfortunately, I have really gotten out of the habit of cooking or doing any sort of home related activities since I have been moving from sub-lease to sub-lease. However, I have started looking into an apartment of my own, and I am so excited. It is funny the things one has to give up in New York. And so, here are my list of desirables- if I am lucky, I may end up with two or three of these!

1. A full sized refrigerator
2. Laundry in my building
3. A dishwasher
4. Outdoor space (patio/roofdeck)
5. Doorman!
6. Closet space (ie, more than one)

Wish me luck- apartment hunting in Manhattan is a bear! - LG

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Reader Request: Yellowed Linens

A reader is wondering...
Do you have any suggestions on how to whitened linens that have yellowed? I recently washed some white linen napkins that came out of the washed very yellowed. They were fairly new, so I would like to figure out how to remedy the situation!

Wedding Wednesday: Shower Recap

A reader, and dear friend of ours, recently hosted a spring bridal shower for a college friend. She held the shower at her home in Richmond and used subtle details to incorporate the light green and brown theme. She did a great job with all of the details, especially making sure that almost all of the food was able to be prepared ahead of time, freeing the hostess up to mingle instead of spending time in the kitchen! The biggest hit of the shower was the recipes that each guest brought to compile in a recipe box for the bride-to-be, including some family recipes that are favorites of the groom!
The details are below….

Phyllo cups filled with balsamic tomatoes
Sausage and cream cheese stuffed mushroom caps
Crudite platter with vegetable dip
Antipasto platter with assorted breads
Fresh fruit skewers (cantaloupe, honeydew and pineapple)
Vanilla cupcakes with color coordinating icing
Iced Sugar cookies

Peach Bellinis
Sauvignon Blanc
Sparkling Apple Cider
Ice water with lemon

Chicken Ideas

Hi everyone! Sorry that we have been so MIA- guess it was an understanding that it was time for spring break. With the summer months fast approaching, I am working on cleaning up my act food wise. Living in the city has really set back the progress I was making on cooking and homekeeping in general.

My goal, as expected, is to eat more lean protein and vegetables. I found a fantastic, simple recipe recently, First you saute garlic in olive oil. Saute spinach and then throw in chopped tomotoes and good, shredded parmesan cheese. It is delicious. My problem is the reality of chicken breasts every night. Chicken is relatively cheap, healthy, and boring. So my question is, what is your favorite quick preparation for chicken breasts at dinner?

Reader Request: Recipe Organization

A reader has written in with the following question:

I’m searching for a good recipe organizer/holder – but one that I can distinguish ‘weekday’ meals versus ‘entertaining’ meals – where should I look??

I totally agree – finding a great and functional way to store and organize my recipes is always a huge challenge. I am currently working with a three part system consisting of the traditional recipe box filled with cards (my mom actually started this for me years back and filled it with family recipes, which I have been adding to), miscellaneous cookbooks that I slide into my clear cookbook stand while in the kitchen, and a vast library of recipes from assorted magazines that are very non-ogranized in a few files folders or stuck to the side of my fridge with a magnet.

That said, here are some thoughts:

A traditional recipe box like this is always a keeper. Recipes can be organized by genres via tabs.

This Personalized Recipe and Entertaining Journal from Williams Sonoma is a fantastic choice. It serves a dual purpose – allowing for both the storage of recipe cards, as well as providing space to detail guest lists, menus, etc.

A double sided recipe box like this might be a good choice for our reader’s specific need to organize everyday, quick recipes from those reserved for company and entertaining.

A while back, The Preppy Wedding posted about these cute monogrammed recipe boxes. While they don’t offer anything exceptional in the organization department, they are just too cute, and I certainly wouldn’t mind receiving one as a gift!

Do any of you have any great recommendations on recipe organization? We would love to hear!