Here are a few lovely things for the little ones. We are working on “modernizing” our decor a bit now that everyone is getting a bit older and I’m becoming less of a nervous nellie. Here are a few items & images that are inspiring my search to make changes that express the idea that this is in fact our home instead of a daycare center. The first few beautiful pieces are from the fabulous Vintage Enfant, which carries vintage items for children (in case that wasn’t obvious). I’m always a crazy nut (to put it mildly) about safety and whatnot, but whenever I can overcome my child-related insanity, rational or not, I do love to mix in some vintage items whenever possible. If France ia a bit too far, Etsy is a great place to pick up vintage children’s items, like the little yellow school chairs I recently bought for our dining room or these super cool Vintage Casalino chairs I spotted today.
As an alternative to real vintage, vintage inspired items are a perfect alternative. You can feel secure in knowing that the products are designed to be safe for your present day baby, while adding in a bit of super cool style to the nursery or playroom. And it’s a great way to make a room that will grown with your child. Land of Nod is a fabulous resource for injecting some modern/vintage dash into your little one’s room without going way overboard on the budget. I’ve pulled in a few of the newer options below that I love. Another way to add some style to your child’s room is with art. Forgo the usual kiddie pics in favor of vintage prints, book plates or home made art projects that reflect a bit of modern pizazz. Not only will you love the look, but you won’t feel like you have to swap out the images every time you pass another birthday. The project below from The DIY circle punch art project from mer mag is a great way to make a stylish art piece that will grow along with your child instead of grow old as they get older. I also love the idea of a modern mobile (like that super cool Twizzler from Hop & Peck below) to add some movement for little eyes.
2 16 oz cans of good quality cannellinibeans, such as Progresso, Goya, or similar white beans, rinsed and drained
1 medium red onion, peeled and finely chopped
4 leeks, white and light green parts, cleaned and finely chopped
4 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
4 stalks of celery, cleaned and finely chopped
1 fennel bulb, trimmed, cleaned and finely chopped
stems from a bunch of Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely diced
1 fresh jalapeño pepper, seeds and ribs removed, finely diced, or a pinch of dried red chili flakes
4 to 6 cloves of garlic (to taste), peeled and thinly sliced
1 28-oz can of good-quality canned tomatoes, such as San Marzano, crushed by hand with the juice from the can
3 or 4 bunches of Cavolo Nero (sold in US as lacinato kale, dinosaur or tuscan kale), thick stems removed, roughly chopped and reserved, leaves finely sliced (you can substitute other types of kale, or cabbage such as savoy cabbage, escarole, spinach and include other bitter greens such as, collard, mustard, turnip or beet greens. (Availability and balance are the key consideration)
good-quality stale bread, or lightly toasted fresh bread, the quantity will vary, but you will probably need at least 3 or 4 thick slices of bread
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
Pistou (you can find our recipe here) or your favorite home made or purchased pesto and Parmigiano-Reggiano for serving.
Heat a large heavy bottom pan or Dutch Oven with a splash of olive oil over medium-low heat and add the onions, leeks,carrots, celery, fennel, garlic, jalapeño, parsley stems and kale stems, with a pinch of salt. Sweat the vegetables slowly with the pan partially covered until they are soft, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juice and simmer for a few minutes.
Add enough water to cover the vegetables. Bring to a boil and add the Cavolo Nero or other cabbage with a pinch of salt. You will probably need to add the Cavolo Nero in stages, as each previous stage cooks down. When the Cavolo Nero has wilted, tear several slices of the stale bread, add to the pan and stir gently. Add additional water, if necessary. After about 15 minutes, add the cannellini beans, stir gently and cook for about 30 minutes. Taste the kale, it may need a few more minutes. The soup should be smooth, and somewhat thick. Taste to check the seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve in a large bowl with a sprinkling of shaved or grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, some pistou or pesto, perhaps some good bread and a drizzle of good quality olive oil.
Chianti is the logical choice for this dish, but a good French Rosé or Italian Rosato works really well with it too.
The Niner Wine Estates Sangiovese Rosato is also one of my favorites.
This recipe can be easily made a day in advance and will taste better as well. Just let it cool before refrigerating and let it return to room temperature the next day before gently reheating it. It may be necessary to add some additional water, as the bread tends to absorb the liquid. Stir gently with a wooden spoon as it reheats. Again, taste and adjust the seasoning.
Serve with pistou, grilled or toasted bread, some Parmigiano-Reggiano and some good olive oil.
If you have more leftover soup, you might want to try the “day 4” stage. Simply heat some olive oil in a nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add several cups of the soup (about 2 cups, drained, for a 6” pan) to the pan and press down.
Continue to cook until the liquid has evaporated and the ribollita is golden and crispy on the bottom. Shake or swirl the pan occasionally to make sure it is not sticking and also check to make sure it is not burning. Flip the fried ribollita over or place a dish over the pan and turn it along with the pan. Then just slide the ribollita back into the pan. Continue to cook until the other side is golden and crispy.
Remove from the pan and serve with some Parmigiano-Reggiano, shaved red onion, pistou and a drizzle of some good olive oil. It makes a great light lunch or starter. Enjoy.
Ribollita, which means “reboiled,” is an incredibly delicious vegetable or minestrone and bread soup from Tuscany. It is another one of those recipes that varies from region to region in Italy and each individual cook seems to have their own personal version. The basic recipe has been around for over several hundred years. It grew out of the poverty of the time and the need to give new life to leftovers.
On the first day, vegetable soup (Minest ra di Verdura) would be made from whatever vegetables were available. Although a key ingredient in Tuscan Ribollita is Cavolo Nero or winter black cabbage. The second day the leftover vegetable soup would be reheated with the addition of some stale or toasted bread rubbed with some fresh garlic (Minestra di Pane or Bread Soup). On day three the bread and vegetable soup would be baked in the oven (375º F for about 20 minutes), perhaps with some additional stale or toasted bread, as well as some thinly sliced onions and olive oil on top. (Minestra di Pane al Forno or Baked Bread Soup). Finally, on the fourth day, the remaining leftover soup and bread would be cooked, or reboiled, in a pan on the stove until it was brown and crisp on both sides and thick enough to eat with a fork (Ribollita or Recooked Vegetable Soup).
There are also numerous 3 day versions of Ribollita as well, but our recipe tries to retain the history and the flavor of the dish in a manner that can be prepared in one day. Although, I should stress that it is even better if you prepare it the day before and reheat it. In any case, enjoy.
These are both collections that I love and for similar reasons. Both collections offer beautifully cut dresses with striking detail- lovely color and cut with beautifully intricate intricate lace and embroidery. Saab of course produced a run of beautiful gowns, but it was the gorgeous party dresses that really held my attention. I always love Elie Saab, but Valentino hasn’t really captured my heart very much in awhile. That is until last season. This season Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli have done it again and I just adore what I saw. I’m normally not a big fan of red, but I loved the use of red in both collections, strong and vibrant. Valentino is of course known for his red and Chiuri & Piccioli used both red and white stunningly. The collection, in both the more austere looks and the more elaborate, had a very dramatic, almost liturgical feel, with a bold mix of the pure and the carnal, a bit pious depravity at its best. You could almost feel the Borgias watching from the wings. Being couture, the hours of hand work that have gone into the creation of each piece is as breathtaking as the pieces themselves. And they are breathtaking. As beautiful as each piece was from the front, many were even more amazing from the back, as seen above. The cut and float of each piece was etherial. Be sure to not only watch the videos below, but click though to Style.com’s complete coverage shots of the individual pieces (you can even make them move) and close ups of the exceptional details. Fashionologie has some gorgeous shots of the Valentino as well. The complete shots of the Elie Saab runway show can be found here on Style.com as well. I’ve also pinned my very favorites from both collections to our Things I like Pinterest Board.
This one’s all about apps. I’ve actually spent the last several weeks downloading a huge amount of new apps, mostly for my children, but in the process I’ve come across a whole slew of interesting apps for just about everyone. Links to download can be found below.
We live in a They Might be Giants household, so this is great for us. The app will play a new song each day taken from the extensive TMBG catalog, mixing old & new and starting out with 5 tunes ready to go. The music is streamed, not downloaded, but you can always buy a track through iTunes if you love it enough. (Free)
Honestly when I first saw this, I thought why would I ever want that. But, since I am a Squarespace person, I thought I may as well give it a try. Now I use it all the time. You type a note and by swiping you send it to whatever designated spot or spots you want- Email (which I now do constantly), Dropbox, Evernote, Twitter, Facebook. And if you have a Squarespace site, as I do, you can post directly from Note. I don’t do that, but I have started typing out full posts on my iPhone and emailing them for finishing touches. (Free)
This app gives you basically a big music tag cloud that lets you easily access a wealth of music news easily and quickly. It’s pretty cool and much easier than slogging through site after site individually. (Free)
Monster Physics is a great way to trick your kids into learning about Physics. They play and they learn and they love it. I now have 4 Physics nuts in training, which I think is pretty cool. They build contraptions, which the app then brings to life, so that the “invention” can be used to complete various challenges. There’s even a Learn section which deals more directly with learning some of the basic physics principles. ($.99)