Thursday, December 18, 2014

Smart Grocery Shopping: Stock Up on Holiday Essentials

Hi All,
Here are 7 tips ranging from meal planning & shopping to cooking and serving that will help you be the most prepared, relaxed & chic holiday hostess around........ CHEERS
The season of holiday cooking involves a range of menus, expectations and budgets. Here are some tips to help make the holiday season bright and budget-friendly when you're entertaining friends and family:

Big-Batch Cooking

Cooking for a crowd — even if you don't have one to feed at your table just yet — is the best way to avoid any holiday season surprises. Gather the essentials early for bubbly casseroles and warming stews that are not only seasonal, but time-saving: make double the dinner a week or two before the holiday rush begins, and tuck the second portion in the freezer.

Potluck Politeness

If the amount of guests stacking up for your next holiday feast feels overwhelming, consider shifting the menu to a potluck. Allowing guests to contribute their family's favorite dish not only helps save the host time and money instead of buying all the recipe supplies, but it also gives everyone the opportunity to share their own traditions.

MAYBE A FESTIVE PUNCH.........

One of the biggest costs of cooking for a crowd is not found on the plate, but in the glass. A punch stretches a bottle of wine to its fullest, and added ingredients like cranberry juice plus berries and lemon slices or mulling spices gives each sip a more festive and unique touch. Also, try a punch recipe with ice cream for a decadent non-alcoholic version for kids or adults that don't imbibe.

More Sides, Less Meat
Shifting the focus from meat to sides allows seasonal vegetables to shine, while also costing you less than the large roasts and poultry meant to serve a crowd. Pick a smaller bird or roast, and bulk up the selection of side dishes. Variety is the key to a successful collection of sides: plan on three to four dishes for a crowd of eight to 10 guests. Pick a combination of make-ahead and fresh sides to bring excitement to the plate through texture and your guests won't miss the extra serving of meat.

Brunch is Best
Brunch foods, which often have eggs or bread at the center of the plate, are cheaper meals to cook and incorporate holiday recipe necessities you've already stocked up on like butter, flour and sugar. When planning a brunch menu, pick make-ahead dishes as the centerpiece for the meal, like quiche or cinnamon rolls. Since many holiday gatherings take place at night, planning a holiday brunch with friends makes for thankful and eager guests.

Savvy Savings

If your traditional meal each year revolves around a dazzling, expensive roast, don't skip it. Shop and cook consciously before the holiday season begins by making a food budget for the meal. Cooking from pantry staples like pasta or rice dishes, eggs or soups in the weeks leading up to your big meal, will help you save the money you need to keep your holiday just like you remember it.

Simple Menus, Happy Cook
When planning a holiday meal, it is easy to let the excitement of the season carry the menu away. By narrowing the menu into a collection of your very favorite recipes, it makes for a less stressed and more confident cook. For example, pick either a sweet potato or white potato dish, but not both. Having less on the table makes the dishes memorable and likely tastier because of the cook's clearer focus.


Thanks for stopping by - take a deep breath and don't forget to enjoy the season!  #cheers

Tomorrow where I shop in Frederick, MD


XOXO LORI




Saturday, December 13, 2014

Cutest Little Things From ETSY

Hello Everyone,
Well as you know I love me some Etsy and I came across these little numbers that are just too cute not to share - hope you like them.

Ok people how could I not have one of these? A Chanel Lipstick flash drive?  Whaaatttt From Etsy shop Points&Places 


Maybe there is a fashionista in the house - Chanel/YSL/ Louis Vuitton - Manicure and Nail art......101 Little Fingers Shop
So many cute cell phone cases but loving this throw back pay phone @Cases by Zoe Madison

Now for the make-up lover you know - gotta keep it organized Twin Lilies Beauty

Maybe you know a couple who just got married - I bet they'd love enjoy these......Mike & Honey Luxuries

This just plain ROCKS - my mom was a "secretary" for the US Senate and I adored to watch her type.  She was like cool hand Luke - fast as lighting.  I'd love this just to have around - good memories. RETROBURGH
Think I'll end with that one......... Happy shopping everyone.  Enjoy this season!  

Blessings to you and yours - Thanks for stopping by,
XOXO LORI

Thursday, December 11, 2014

WHAT'S IN YOUR BAG?

Hey Hey Hey,
Question for you - are there items you "HAVE" to have in your purse to make you feel ....... YOU?  These are mine - now of course I'll rotate the lip color - maybe add a lip pencil too but for the most part these are my standard never leave home with out - feel naked if I do items.  Especially during this busy season I need my must have / go to's at the ready!

WHAT'S IN YOUR BAG?

Monday, December 8, 2014

Boy Time Does Fly....

HELLO ALL,

Hectic time of year for all but very fun and grateful.  Just starting my Xmas decorating - Ahhh - have been traveling so not gonna go all out but that's ok.  Look at what I found the Best Biggest Bear for somewhere maybe next to the tree.  From +HomeGoods for only 19.99!  Look at this guy......he's huge!
Not sure of his name yet.........It is funny I come around the corner and it looks like somebody is in my house - .

And making my Christmas cards and cookies for some neighbors...... I ADORE +Paper Source so bought several things to try out and GET MY GLITTER ON! YEAH
Anyway all enjoy this hectic time of year  here is how the bear turned out - also yes I started the post the other day its really 17 days til Christmas......
HAPPY MONDAY ALL - 
THANKS FOR STOPPING BY,
XOXO LORI 


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Quick Post Re: Goodwill Fashion Show

HI All,
Boy what a busy time I've had past couple of weeks  - little delay in this post but I just got some pictures and wanted to share information on event that I was part of the other Friday night for Goodwill of Monocacy Valley Maryland +Goodwill Industries International, Inc. 


SECOND RUNWAY - It featured a red carpet entrance, an on-site Goodwill boutique, a chance to bid on fabulous auction items, gourmet food and spirits from local businesses.  A big shout out to my very own Black Hog Bbq for food donation as well as great auction basket.  There was music, and a high energy runway fashion show, including models with “familiar” faces from the community.  That's were I came in..... I used the term community model very loosely people.  HA
Guests were encouraged to bring a donation for Goodwill and be entered to win a prize.
urablankslate, lori tauraso, blank slate, fashion, goodwill, runway, frederick maryland
All proceeds benefited Goodwill’s Youth Program 
which supports students with developmental disabilities to explore future career possibilities through vocational assessments, job tours, job shadows, and placement into employment in their area of interest.

Tickets just but all sold out for the event and while it was a great cause - boy was it hard for me.  I get so nervous doing things like this.  People who know me understand how clumsy I am and the runway not an easy gig for those of us who are not used to it for sure.  But "YEAH LORI" - I didn't fall!  We had a record night and the gift basket and food we donated were a huge success.  So ok I was happy to "take one for the team" .

The hair and makeup team were fantastic - thanks to you all from Jordan K Winn out of Urbana Maryland for some lovely Texas worthy curls!  It was FABULOUS DAHHHLING!

urablankslate, blankslate, blogger, fashion, runway, goodwill, downtown frederick, maryland
I found the dress at Goodwill and the jacket, tights and ankle boots were my own.  The dress was a little on the young side for me - but tried to make it work.  Reminded me of the Kate Spade number that was out last year.  Again it was my pleasure and honor to be a part of this event.  Lots of money was raised for the youth program!

Ok just touching base and playing catch up on events this past month!
CHEERS,
XOXO LORI







Trying Something New For Dinner

Hello,
Whew - home sweet home!  I always enjoy a quick getaway and adore nice hotels.  Four Seasons in Baltimore is no exception! 
After my birthday food extravaganza in Baltimore ..... my body went into shock.  I do not usually eat such rich foods or have so many rich items in such a short amount of time.  Seriously - Delicious Peking Duck Sunday night - Monday off to the Four Seasons for grilled bread with mascarpone cheese with ricotta & honey butter.  Than tuna tartare - dinner at chef Cindy Wolfe's Charleston's in Baltimore - amuse bouche of cauliflower soup.  Followed by steak tartare, snails on bed of grits with green butter sauce, foie gras and piece of birthday cake!  We are not done yet.... followed by the next morning of room service of Eggs Benedict and ending with lunch at Tio Peppi's bread & butter and there famous snails in green butter and garlic, spicy camaron's (shrimp).  By the time we were almost home I was as green as the snails.  Literelly so I am scaling back - doing my chinese herbal teas, smoothies and lots of veggies.  My body is not meant to eat like that - I don't know anyone's who's is except for Mike's.  He was fine - no problems there.  So he is not cleansing LOL.  I found this and thought it's a happy medium. It's a veggie entrée and thought it would be great this week as I wean off butter bread cheese and raw meat!  
TAAAH  DAAAAAHHHH! - more healthy foods and snacks to follow this week.  
Roasted cauliflower? Been there, done that. But roasting a whole head of cauliflower?  Now you have my attention Sir.  This recipe has me slathering cauliflower in a spicy yogurt marinade and roasting it at a high temperature. They say the result is an amazingly delicious dish that’s as dramatic in presentation as it is easy in preparation. Maybe I can serve it with a big green salad (lime juice and olive oil for the dressing) for an easy healthy supper or your next “Oh my - the vegetarians are coming to dinner".

HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 head cauliflower
1½ cups plain Greek yogurt
1 lime, zested and juiced
2 tablespoons chile powder 
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 400° and lightly grease a small baking sheet with vegetable oil. Set aside.
2. Trim the base of the cauliflower to remove any green leaves and the woody stem.
3. In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt with the lime zest and juice, chile powder, cumin, garlic powder, curry powder, salt and pepper.
4. Dunk the cauliflower into the bowl and use a brush or your hands to smear the marinade evenly over its surface. (Excess marinade can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to three days and used with meat, fish or other veggies.)
5. Place the cauliflower on the prepared baking sheet and roast until the surface is dry and lightly browned, 30 to 40 minutes. The marinade will make a crust on the surface of the cauliflower.
6. Let the cauliflower cool for 10 minutes before cutting it into wedges and serving alongside a big green salad.

BTW here is my birthday surprise from the hubby!  Can't believe it - adore how great it looks in the house.  It's something I'd never splurge and buy myself - so thanks baby!


GIVE IT A TRY AND LET ME KNOW!  
THANKS FOR STOPPING BY,
XOXO LORI




Sunday, November 16, 2014

SUNDAY BRUNCH

WHAT'S ON YOUR AGENDA TODAY.....
SUNDAY BRUCH

Vero Moda long sleeve shirt, $37 / Checkered top / Frame Denim blue jeans, $320 / Christian Louboutin heels & pumps / Brunello Cucinelli scarve, $400 / Flower pot / Diptyque scented candle / Let's Do Brunch Cookbook

THINK I AM GONNA WORKOUT HAVE A LIGHT BRUNCH - THAN HIT "SPA WORLD" OR THE SAUNA @ THE GYM - NEED TO RECOVER FROM A BUSY LONG DAY FRIDAY & SAT. ( THE HUBBY UP IN MOUNTAINS EARLY BUT DID MENTION BIRTHDAY SHOPPING FOR YOURS TRULY TODAY MAY BE IN CARDS....)

I WAS HONORED TO DO THE MAKEUP FOR MY DEAR FRIEND SONYA ( SHE - LOOKED STUNNING) & ATTEND HER WEDDING - BUSINESS STUFF - SENDING OUT INVITES FOR MIKE'S PARTY AND ARRANGING THE WhoWhatWear HOLIDAY DECOR FOR TR & BLACK HOG -  ENJOY YOUR DAY ALL - MAKE THE MOST OF IT!  CHEERS!
THANKS FOR STOPPING BY,
XOXO LORI

Monday, November 10, 2014

Gearing Up For Mike's 50th B-day Party

GOOD MONDAY MORNING,
So I have a little over 3 weeks before Mike tuns 50 and I was able to finally lock him down (only took a year) as to what we would do.  (BTW - my bday, my daughters bday and thanksgiving all before this event.....)  We are going to have about 30 people here at the house for hors d'oeurve's - cocktails - mocktails - possibly with some kind of "Roast".  Than later that weekend - small family party at his mom's house - than topping it off with a fishing trip for Mike and his buddies - not too shabby MR.T!

For the party I am going to go with subtle 70's theme.
He loves the music from the 70's and we will be dressing with a little nod to that era.  ( just a little) I am looking online now for a velour track suit for him to wear in Navy or dark brown.  That says 70's Italian right?  "Forget about it!" We are trying to locate his white gold necklace I bought years ago a little snug now & expand it.  Thinking I will try and add links to top the look off.  Ooooo Pinky ring - will hit pawn shop for that little gem.

However it's been a little hectic planning this with our people due to the time of year, but it will all come together Im sure.

So on my agenda today
1.  emailing/txt/calling with save the date info.
2.  Working on the invitations (handmade by yours truly) from things I purchased at +Paper Source
3.  Arranging the hanging & installation of new light fixture + dimmers everywhere
4.  Talking to staff for that night  (Julie and our Exec. Chef Daniel from TR)
5.  Tee Shirts Made up for Staff
5.  Creating music playlist
6.  Hunting for accessories for the house (vases, side tables hanging some pictures).
7.  Getting the Bar set up.
8.  Starting video birthday journal for Mike - shhhhhhhhhhh (using my new +GoPro )
So I thought this would be a good time to share these great things I have stubbled across.....

How To: Style A Vintage Bar
I can't hide my love for a good bar setup: we go absolutely nuts for good, old fashioned, vintage-inspired bar carts and barware–and love pairing them with a well thought-out cocktail menu. Your place need not be a Draper-style penthouse to host a classy bar: a simple bar cart doesn’t take up much space and is an essential for any festive home or apartment. Here I bring you our 3 easy steps to outfitting your bar, and a recipe or two to celebrate the finished look with! 
urablankslate, loritauraso, lori tauraso, Frederick, downtownfrederick
Remember different cocktails and beverages call for different glasses: stock your setup with the right kid of glassware for the drinks you specialize in serving. I hit +HomeGoods on a regular basis and my favorite local stop +Relish Decor to get perfect glassware.  If you have a good relationship with the store talk to them about your plans and wish list.  If you don't have one - get one!  Remember have FUN with this - IT'S A PARTY!
lori tauraso, urablankslate, bar, home decor, holidays, entertaining
A good bar isn’t complete without the proper accoutrements: ice buckets, cocktail stirrers, and tea towels and of course add some flowers.  These are all fun and functional accessories to complement your cart. 
bar, decor, party, entertaining, blank slate, lori tauraso
I am trying to come up with a signature cocktail for the party - any thoughts send them my way.  
This should keep me busy don't ya think.....
Oh yeah - throw a work out, shopping, computer class, update social media platforms for business I take care of + creating new business cards....

THANKS FOR STOPPING BY,
XOXO LORI
decor, lori tauraso, blank slate, urablankslate, design, entertaining, heart, graphics





Sunday, November 9, 2014

Thai Salad - "Xixy" aka Delicious - alittle piece of heaven

 This is what you will need for the dressing:
lori tauraso, health, food, salad, anti-aging, urablankslate


Mix the lime juice of 1 1/2 limes - add tsp chili paste, ( add's sodium) 1Tb vinegar, 1tea garlic pwdr, 1/2 tea ginger pwdr, 1/2 tea soy, (go light on soy always you add more later)1small Tb of Sriracha, 1lg tsp of honey, 10 grinds black pepper, 1 1/2 Tb of sesame seeds and 8-10 dashes of fish sauce (go sparingly add more to taste - this is a key ingredient really gives that great flavor). 1 tea + of sesame oil.

food, diet, lori tauraso, urablankslate
Whisk together and voila - perfect Thai dressing!  You can add grilled steak or chicken - or have just veggies - this time its steak!  
urablankslate, lori tauraso, blankslate
Enjoy & let me know what you think.  BTW the dressing will last several days covered in the fridge!  #cheers  #eatathome

THANKS FOR STOPPING BY,
XOXO LORI