Gnocchi Mac n Cheese

As promised, here is the recipe for what we made for our anniversary dinner earlier this week. This recipe for Gnocchi Mac n Cheese was first made by a couple friends of mine and me and we completely fell in love! You will not believe how scrumptious this turns out. And it’s so easy, there is almost no way to mess it up. Make it for a dinner party, a girls night in, or just for the heck of it and you will not disappoint.I will also give you the tip that the main ingredients can all be purchased on the cheap at your local Trader Joe’s. They have an excellent, moderately priced cheese section for the Gruyere and Fontina, and they sell gnocchi for $1.99/lb in the dried pasta aisle.

Gnocchi Mac n’ Cheese

1 lb purchased or homemade gnocchi
2 Tbs butter
2 Tsp garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbs all-purpose flour
3/4 C milk
1 Tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 C shredded Gruyere cheese (I usually use a little more than 1/4 C)
1/4 C shredded fontina cheese (I usually use a little more than 1/4 C)
1/3 C shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano
Basil leaves for garnish, optional

Preheat oven to 375o F. Prepare gnocchi according to package directions. Drain and place gnocchi in a single-layer in a 1-1/2 quart shallow baking dish that has been sprayed with nonstick spray.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Whisk in flour until it thickens and bubbles, then whisk in milk and Dijon. Continue to whisk mixture and cook until slightly thickened, about 3-5 minutes.


Table for Two

In celebration of our two-year wedding anniversary, my husband and I made a delicious dinner tonight (I will post the recipe later) and I set the table with a romantic setting for two using our beautiful china that we got for our wedding. I thought I’d share…
And here are a few highlights:

Salt and pepper shakers. These are the newest addition to our china set (thank you Robert) and they are just so petite and cute.

Flowers. I think every table setting needs a flower centerpiece. If you don’t have any fresh flowers in the house (which tonight I did not), grab a dried flower arrangement from another place in your house (I poached this one from where I usually have it on a shelf in the bathroom).
China. Ours is Union Street by kate spade. I just love the black and silver pattern and how the pattern looks when the plates are stacked on top of each other. Keeping our china pattern to black, silver, and white allows me to get different looks from time to time with brightly colored place mats and/or napkins.And now that your table is set, you can eat!

Statement Necklaces

One my favorite looks is a simpler outfit with a dynamic statement necklace – a look I’ve been sporting a lot lately! And by statement necklace, I mean a larger, eye-catching piece. These often colorful necklaces are usually best with an understated outfit so as not to look over-accessorized or overly matchy patchy. Here are a few of my favorites from my personal collection:
from J. Crew
What I love about this necklace is you can just as easily wear it with a LBD to dress it up for a wedding or dressy occasion as you can wear it with a white shirt with jeans to jazz up your casual Friday work ensemble. 

from Anthropologie
I can’t say enough about this necklace, I just LOVE it! I often wear it with a yellow cardigan or with a gray top and yellow pants because I love to highlight that great yellow flower. 

from Banana Republic
The beads on this necklace are giant and fantastic and the color is so unique. I wear the center gold and green bead off-center. 

I’ve had this necklace so long I don’t remember where I got it!
This necklace defines “statement necklace.” It looks like multiple necklaces but it is just one, large (and heavy!) piece. I wear this one a lot, often with a color blocked outfit to pull together a couple of the colors from the necklace.


2nd Hand Store
This is my latest addition that I got a few weeks ago at a second hand store. The slight glitter to the beads is great and this necklace works really well with navy blue.Summer is a great time to for statement necklaces when you wear your favorite summer dresses, tees and tanks. Statement necklaces are for sale EVERYWHERE lately at all varying price points. Have fun!

Sunday Morning Waffles

What’s better then delicious warm waffles on a Sunday morning (or any morning for that matter)? We made oatmeal waffles for breakfast this past weekend – the oatmeal adds a nice texture and heartiness to a normal light, fluffy waffle. Here is the recipe:

Oatmeal Waffles

¾ C flour
½ C quick-cooking rolled oats
½ Tbs baking powder
¼ Tsp cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1 egg, slightly beaten
¾ C milk
3 Tbs butter, melted
1 Tbs brown sugar

In large mixing bowl, stir together flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon and salt; set aside. In small mixing bowl, stir together eggs, milk, butter and brown sugar. Add to flour mixture; stir until blended. Pour batter on to grids of preheated, lightly greased waffle iron (we spray with cooking spray before each waffle is made). Close lid quickly; do not open during baking. Use fork to remove baked waffle.

We served with Vermont Maple Syrup and a little sliced strawberry for decorative garnish.


New Couch!

It’s been about 2 1/2 months since I’ve written a post (more on why later), so I thought my first post back I’d write about our newly re-decorated Family Room.
When we moved into our house almost 3 years ago now, we basically just brought all my husband’s boring bachelor pad Family Room furniture with us and have used that ever since. The (double reclining) couch was dark dusty blue, the end tables, coffee table, and TV stand were black, and the walls were beige. Blah. I’ve been dying to tackle this room and this spring we finally did.
Well, since moving to the house we had incorporated great black bookcases and other black accessories to match the old color scheme, when re-doing the current Family Room, we decided to keep the black theme but also think of a vibrant, bold, and unique color pallet to go with it.
We started with the couch because we had specific needs – a smaller-than-normal sectional couch to give us more seating in the TV watching area of the room (that area isn’t big enough for a couch and love seat). We happened upon an amazing sale at Boston Interiors at the end of March where you could pick any couch design and have it made, free of charge in ANY FABRIC CHOICE from their entire fabric collection – I was in heaven. We spent a good hour deciding which color to go with and finally decided on a great micro-fiber material in an aqua/green color for the couch and a great flower pattern for the pillows that incorporated black as well as the color of the couch.

Next came the wall color decision and we were all over the place. We knew we wanted bright and bold or maybe gray because the couch is so bold? More than anything though, we knew we wanted to stay away from greens and blues. Here were our options:
After much deliberation we went with the orange and we love how it turned out!