Wednesday, July 30, 2014


I hope your week has been going well. I'm getting the house ready for weekend guests. Our friends from Florida will be joining us along with our oldest daughter. I'm looking forward to a busy weekend!

I have an easy DIY to share with you today! My last trip to the thrift store resulted in a purchase of 2 corbel shelves. They were in great shape, a terrific price at $3.00 each, and just what I needed for the powder room wall. 

I decided to spray paint them a Metallic Pure Gold color and added a sponging of Bark Brown Acrylic Paint to them. They blend nicely with the Ralph Lauren inspired wallpaper. 

I added a bit of aqua blue painted coral to one shelf.

And kept the second shelf vase more of monochromatic shade.

The crown molding is a deep brown contrast to the wallpaper so the metallic gold shelves with a hint of the bark brown paint blend nicely. The wallpaper is such a bold print it's a bit difficult to find accessories that compliment it.

Simple vignette on top of the toilet.

And that's my DIY for today....1 set of corbel shelves, 1 can of Metallic Gold paint, and a tiny bit of Bark Brown sponge paint. Easy and very inexpensive!!

Have you been thrifting lately? If I go with an open mind I can find so much that can easily and inexpensively be transformed into the perfect treasure I have been looking for.

Wishing you a creative day!


**** Remember we also have a Facebook page, THE LAVENDER BOUQUET, where I post many great ideas that don't appear on the blog. Check us out and remember to LIKE our page! You may also subscribe to the blog so that it is delivered directly to your inbox. Just fill in the box on the right hand side of the blog where it says EMAIL. Hope you enjoyed today's blog!

Monday, July 28, 2014


Welcome back from the weekend my friends! Hope you all had a great relaxing time. We had a wonderful time visiting with our youngest daughter in Chicago. It's always nice to spend time with the girls and in Chicago we are never lacking for something to do.

Last Monday I used my huge pot of Basil for a centerpiece at Summer Dinner Tablescape. This week, the Basil is gone, but never fear, it was made into something so good you'll want to cut your Basil down too!

I made a Fresh Basil Pesto. It's full of all of the yummy things you think of when you taste a really delicious pesto; grated Parmesan-Reggiano, pine nuts and garlic. The fact that it's so easy to make assures me of always having a stash on hand for those last minute meals.

***Recipe may be found at:

There are so many easy ways to use pesto....add it to pasta, serve it on baquettes, and I love it with veggies. Whatever way you enjoy pesto, get busy and make it today...what could be easier?

Hope you enjoyed today's blog! See you back on Wednesday with my Powder Room DIY project.

Have a wonderful day!


Friday, July 25, 2014


Hope your week was a good one. I can't believe it's FOODIE FRIDAY already! I appreciate your comments on the Summer Dinner Tablescape and had previously mentioned to you that I would provide the menu of the evening..... and here it is!


Maryland Crabcakes
Mexican Street Corn
Leafy green salad

Vanilla-Roasted Peaches with Raspberries

Maryland Crab Cakes
1 lg. egg
2 1/2 tbsp. mayo
1 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup finely diced celery
2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
1 lb. lump crab meat
1/2 cup panko crumbs
Canola oil

1. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil.
2. Combine egg, mayo, mustard, Worcestershire, Old Bay, salt, celery and parsley
in a large bowl and mix well. Add the crab meat and panko; gently fold mixture together
until combined. Shape into 6 crab cakes (about 1/2 cup each) and place on prepared baking sheet. It is important to cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour. The crab cakes break apart quite easily and refrigeration helps hold them together.
3. Preheat a large nonstick pan to medium heat and coat with canola oil. When oil is hot place the crab cakes in the pan and cook until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes on each side. A fish spatula works great when turning these over.
***Recipe may be found at High Protein Foods on Facebook (many thanks for such a delish recipe!)


This is a family favorite. I have shared this recipe in the past but because so many of you loved it, I am sharing it again.

  • 3 ears of corn (about 1.5 - 2 cups kernels)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1/2 to 1 jalapeno, roasted and chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions
  • 2-3 tablespoons mayo ( I used 2)
  • juice from 2-3 limes (I used 2)
  • 1/3 cup crumbled cotija (or feta) cheese (I used feta)
  • a big handful of cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoke paprika
  • salt to taste
  • Sriracha, or other hot sauce for serving (optional)--I used Sriracha and put a few squirts into recipe--yum!
1.   Heat a large skillet, add the olive oil to coat the bottom. When it is very hot, add the corn and garlic clove. (I blotted some of the juices off the corn with paper towel prior to putting it in the pan.) I diced the garlic and left it in the recipe. (the original recipe uses the whole clove to just saute and then removes it.)  Once the kernels are browning on one side (60 seconds), stir and let them continue to cook for a few more minutes.
2.  Turn the heat off and stir in chopped jalapeno, scallions, mayo, lime juice and a bit of salt.
3.  Remove the corn from the pan and top with cotija (feta) cheese, a dusting of paprika, and cilantro. Taste and adjust seasonings.
4.  If you like spicy, add a few squirts of Sriracha.

You may blacken the jalapeno by putting it in a dry skillet for a few minutes on each side and then chop it.

Yield servings--3-4 (In my opinion it is really 2-3 small servings.) You may want to double the recipe because it is sooooooo good!

 *****This recipe was found on     Thank you!


This is a delicious Martha Stewart recipe....THANK YOU!

The fresh lemon and sugar combo make for a fresh delightful taste. It's a nice light dessert great anytime, but best when peaches are in season!

I hope you enjoy my Summer Dinner menu! All of the recipes are quick and easy and are sure to delight your guests!


Have a wonderful weekend! See you on Monday where I create something delish from my huge Basil plant!


Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Welcome to Wednesday my friends! I hope your week is going well. I'm so busy for the next month it's making me a bit crazy! Why does it seem that Summer just fly's by? What's your summer been like? Share some of your busy summer day stories with us. We'd love to hear them.

One of the projects I've been working on is finishing my youngest daughter's bedroom. Even though the girls are grown and on their own every time we move we still have a "special bedroom" designated for each of them. I always try to personalize them in some way, lately it is with a special framed photo from their travels together. I didn't hang anything on her walls because I hadn't found what I was looking for. One day recently, I came upon these plates that were made from the impression of doilies and I thought they would look lovely in her room.

The trend of hanging plates has intrigued me, but also frightened me a bit. I don't like to make mistakes when it comes to puncturing a  hole in a wall. Besides that you have to be spot on with your measurements or the complete wall will look ridiculous..

So I solicited my hubby's assistance to achieve this!


Step #1--I mounted the marble design piece in the center directly above the bed. (That's when I called hubby in to help finish!) 
Step #2-- Make a template by tracing the outline of the plate on parchment paper and cutting it out.  

**I LOVE my pencil from OLIVE BOX this month! Isn't that a great phrase?

Step #3-- Define the spacing from the marble piece to the plate, the spacing between each and the drop down spacing number from the top. We used 3" for all of them. This made is quite easy. Carefully tape each template in place.

Step #4-- Place the plate on top of the template, find the center in the back and take a small nail or tack and mark the spot on the wall where the edge (see edge below) of the back of the plate hits the wall. Push the nail or tack right through the template leaving a mark on the wall. A little tricky but you can do it! 

Step #5-- Attach a 3M Adhesive Picture Hanger in the middle of the back of the plate just under the protruded edge.

Step #6-- Remove the template from the wall, place the adhesive part of the plate on the area that you marked with a nail. And once you are comfortable with the placement, press in place.

It's a bit time consuming when it comes to placement, but be patient or do it as a team, it will all work out!

Take a peek at my daughter's newly finished bedroom.....

 What do you think?

The bedroom is painted with Benjamin Moore AC-37 Big Bend Beige. The ceiling, trim and doors are Benjamin Moore Super White which is my tried and true for a crisp clean look in the bedrooms.

My husband and I purchased the beautiful throw in Paris. It was imported from India and the detail is simply stunning. It's a beautiful compliment to the silver grays in her room. The comforter and shams are from Restoration Hardware.

Thanks for stopping by today for a peek into my daughter's bedroom. What I try to achieve in all of girls rooms is a sense of tranquility for them. A place to come "back home" to. And a place that gives them a chance to recharge and enjoy our precious family time!

I am looking forward to seeing you on Foodie Friday for that great Summer Dinner Menu that I promised you from Monday's tablescape blog.

See you then!


Monday, July 21, 2014


I love summer dinners on the patio. The backyard is full of beautiful fragrances; grass, flowers, and trees. We also have birds, squirrels and deer that flit in and out.

 Here I am putting this tablescape together and up saunters Bambi! How lucky are we to live in the middle of all of this beauty? Don't you love their little spots?

To add to the relaxed feel of the dinner I chose a blue and cream gingham fabric for the tablecloth and grabbed my thriving Basil plant and a baby fern as my centerpiece. I couldn't resist using my Mint plant for just a little more green. WOW---they smell wonderful!

**I also think it's time for a BIG Basil harvest. I am thinking Basil Pesto--yum!

Gotta love the casual feel when it all comes together!

I bought these moss balls in Florida at Stein Mart and brought them all the way back to NJ in my husband just looks at me and shakes his head. I fell in love the large gray pot at Home Depot and it gave my basil a home. The artichoke pot is from Home Goods. The wicker glass bottom tray was a great find at Homegoods a few months ago.

I used a simple white napkin tied with twine at each placesetting.

Now all I need is a laid back menu to serve at this table for "4."  Please stop back on FOODIE FRIDAY where I will share the menu served at this SUMMER DINNER!

Have a wonderful Monday and thanks so much for stopping by!


***Don't forget to stop by and LIKE us on Facebook too!

Friday, July 18, 2014


There's nothing easier on a hot summer day than making a salad. I often switch up our meals in the summer by using a salad as our main course. I've been searching for new salad ideas.......boy there sure are lots of recipes out there!

Today's blog features an Antipasto Pasta Salad. I made this for Friday night's dinner last week, added a tray of fresh veggies with hummus and pita bread, along with slices of watermelon for a little something sweet. How easy is that? I'm also thinking next time a glass of a nice cold Pinot Grigio would be a good accompaniment!

The salad contains some of the typical items found in an antipasto platter; marinated artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, grated Parm, prosciutto, and olives. I used whole wheat penne pasta, and Good Seasons Italian dressing and it was hubby approved.

Look at how colorful and beautiful it is!

You may find the recipe at:

Give this easy and delicious salad a try. It's great for lunch, dinner or sharing a dish at a party and tastes even better the second day!  Have a wonderful weekend! 

Bon Appetit!


***Thanks so much for stopping by. See you on Monday!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


We are in full Summer mode at my house. That means lighter meals and lots of grilling.
Today's dinner is the fresh NJ "catch of the day," Flounder, for my hubby and Coho Salmon for me. This is the time of year when they are both so delicious!

About 10 years ago I started integrating fish into our weekly meals cutting back the red meats and focusing on more healthy fare.  Since then it became a twice a week routine. Places we lived like Texas, Florida and New Jersey have made it quite easy to find fresh fish of all kinds.

In New Jersey we have Jersey Fresh, As Fresh as it Gets! Farms are plentiful where you can "Pick your Own" fresh fruits and veggies. They are available from the beginning of May through the end of October. We even have a Harvest Dates Availability Chart that helps me know when they all are in season. Check your area for a handy chart....kind of takes all of the guess work out of it for you.

The sweet cherries are outstanding this year! We eat them by the handful. They are so delish I just had to make a dessert out of them.

My thoughts turned to Patricia Wells. My favorite cookbook from Patricia is,Vegetable Harvest. She includes everything from appetizers to desserts all using fresh vegetables and fruits. She actually incorporates French cooking into American kitchens and puts veggies first on the menu! I not only love her because of her use of the "fresh" fruits and veggies, but because of her French flair in the manner in which she has created her recipes.

Today in honor of our NJ delicious sweet cherries I have made Patricia's Pistachio-Cherry Cake. Patricia has her own trees in Provence but they only produce cherries for 3 weeks in May. Lucky me, ours are fresh right now!

                                                     Pistachio-Cherry Cake
                                           Vegetable Harvest by Patricia Wells

• 1 teaspoon almond oil for pan 
• 4 large eggs, separated
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 6 tablespoons bleached all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 teaspoon almond extract
• 1 teaspoon kirsch or cherry eau-de-vie
• 3/4 cup roasted, salted pistachio nuts,(from 4 oz. pistachios in their shells), coarsely ground
• 1 pound (4 cups) fresh sweet cherries, rinsed, stemmed and pitted (or raspberries or quartered, pitted


1. Preheat oven to 350˚F.
2.  Brush a 9 1/2-inch springform pan with almond oil.  Set aside. 
3.  Prepare the batter:  In the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer fitted with a whisk, combine the egg yolks and 6 tablespoons of the sugar and beat at the highest speed until thick and pale, 2 to 3 minutes.  Add 1/4 cup flour, vanilla extract, almond extract, kirsch, and the pistachios and stir with a wooden spoon to blend.  Set aside.
4.  Rinse and dry the whisk. Place the egg white in the second bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer fitted with a whisk. Whisk at low speed until the whites are frothy.Gradually increase the speed to high.  Slowly add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar, whisking at high speed until stiff but not dry.  
5.  Whisk a third of the egg white mixture into the batter and stir until the two are thoroughly combined; then, with a rubber spatula, gently fold in the remaining egg whites.  Do this slowly and patiently.  Do not overmix, but be sure that the mixture is well blended and that no white streaks remain.
6.  Spoon two-thirds of the combined mixture into the prepared pan.  Carefully place the cherries on top.  Cover with the remaining third of batter.  Place in the center of the oven and bake until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 40 minutes. My oven took less time, so you may want to adjust this time for your oven.
7.  Remove from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool.  After 10 minutes, run a knife around the edges of the pan.  Release and remove the side of the springform pan, leaving the cake on the pan base. 

***Note: Your cake will rise a bit more than mine....I realized that I shorted my recipe the 1/4 cup of flour in Step #3 when it was too late...sorry! Yours will have much more cake substance than mine does. Although, with all of the cherries it was still delicious!!

If you like you may serve this with Cherry Sorbet but it was delightful without!

Maybe it's time for you to get to the market and pick up something fresh and delicious for dinner. It's always fun to try something new from our "fresh as it gets" list....your family will love you for it!

Have a wonderfully "fresh" Wednesday!


***I'd like to send out a very big WELCOME to our new TLB followers! Thanks for joining us. Check out our Facebook page for other info not included in the blog.....THE LAVENDER BOUQUET!! 

Monday, July 14, 2014


I hope you all had a great weekend! Hubby and I traveled to the Florida house for a bit of R & R. He had just returned from two weeks of extensive travel to Europe and the west coast, so he was ready for some down time. It's not always easy for him to "shut down the power plant" but this trip, he did very well. We even made it to the beach twice!

Our first beach day was at Fort Myers beach. We were greeted by a very interesting man weaving beautiful baskets from coconut branches. Take a look at his beautiful work. He told us he was taught by an older gentlemen and that choosing the correct size and shape of the coconut branch is what determines how his basket turns out. It was quite an interesting process to watch as it unfolded into this beautiful basket.

Fort Myers Beach was lovely.

The Ritz Carlton of Naples beach.

After enjoying some great beach time we headed to Naples. By the time we reached Naples the skies were a bit ominous. But beach time was still a good time!

We met our friends for lunch at the Ritz Carlton. It had been quite a few years since my hubby and I had stayed at the Ritz, so the decor had been updated.

The foyer greeted us with the classic beauty that only the Ritz can provide. A gorgeous gold carved table topped with a beautiful floral arrangement of tropical flowers..... it sets the tone for a beautiful tropical Welcome.

A few years ago I took a flower arranging class here, and learned that the Ritz, at that time, had their own floral staff on site. They showed us how to create a beautiful tropical floral piece. I will never forget the gorgeous result when all he started with was a pile of fronds,bird of paradise and other tropicals...just gorgeous!

The grounds and courtyards are always a typical manicured vision. 

The gardens with their beautiful pots of color and vignettes for relaxation are always so inviting.

My hubby loved this tropical Dr. Seuss looking plant!

I am always looking for great ideas for our patios at home and I love this bench! I can picture it at the end of our patio.

If you like this bench too, here is a link where you may purchase one very close to this:

I love this bench too!
I told hubby next year I would love to add a boxwood hedge designed much like below in our side yard near the patio. Then I could add the beautiful concrete bench above into the center of the hedge, instead of using the flowers they used below. Wouldn't that be gorgeous?

Here's where you can find a beautiful bench close to the one above:

Well it's back to reality, but we sure did have some wonderfully relaxing moments. We all need to recharge, but it doesn't have to be at the Ritz.....turn off the cell phone, get out that chaise, make yourself a nice beachy drink and start soaking up that sun! (with sunscreen of course!) 

I hope you have enjoyed today's blog!  Thanks for stopping by!


Thursday, July 10, 2014


One of my favorite places my husband and I have traveled to was Paris. We celebrated our anniversary there two years ago and the memories are still fresh in my mind. 

It's difficult for me to pick my "favorite thing" that we saw, experienced or ate, because the entire trip was a dream come true! I must say the Rue Cler street market was pretty high on my list. Fresh produce, fish, cheeses, deli foods,chocolate shops, and the wonderful bakeries! Ahhhh.....the bakeries. Never before have I seen such gorgeous displays of tempting pastries, macarons, cakes and of course the breads!

I recently found a photo of a beautiful Lady Finger centerpiece. It reminded me so much of our days in Paris. I thought I would attempt to create my own version. Of course I did not bake my own Lady Fingers, but I found a great substitute in the grocery store......and here is my LADY FINGER CENTERPIECE!

**Sidenote: My middle daughter gifted me this beautiful lace runner from her recent trip to Belgium.  I just love it!

Below are the items you will need--

1. Hat or floral pins.
2. Moss
3. Fresh roses and babies breath
4. Ribbon
5. 2 packages of Lady Fingers (if you use my size layers)
6. Floral foam for 3 layers  1- 6", 1-8",1-10" (approx. 2 inches thick)

Hot glue gun, scissors, plastic wrap

 2. Cut floral foam (see below)

3. Soak each layer of foam in water and wrap securely in plastic wrap. (you don't want to get your Lady Fingers wet!)
4. Glue layers together leaving perimeter for flowers or babies breath. Poke holes for flowers around each layer. The pattern is up to you. You may also use the babies breath in between.
HINT: I started by placing 4 roses equidistant around each layer perimeter, and built the rest from that point. 
5. Push moss in between flowers so that the plastic wrap and floral foam are not exposed.
6. Place a bead of hot glue on the bottom 1/3 of the lady finger layers and press carefully into place; pressing against the edge of the foam wrapped layer. 

7. Wrap ribbon around the perimeter of each layer. Attach the end of the ribbon with hat/floral pin, sticking it into the foam layer securely. I made sure this was located at the back of the centerpiece, however, the pearl topped pins look very pretty on the ribbon.


I hope you have enjoyed today's blog.

This centerpiece is a bit time consuming and should be made the day of the event. The Lady Fingers are fragile and should not be exposed to moisture. 

*** If you are using hearty,fresh picked roses or flowers that can withstand the better part of a day without drooping, water soaked foam may not be necessary.

Options for use of centerpiece:
1. Bridal shower
2. Wedding shower
3. Baby shower
4. Anniversary party
5. Afternoon tea
6. Any party with a French theme
And the list goes on.....use your imagination and have fun!

Wishing you a wonderful weekend! 

au revoir!!
******Don't forget to stop back on Monday! Also, our THE LAVENDER BOUQUET FACEBOOK page has lots of ideas and articles that aren't on the blog. Don't forget to stop by and while you're visiting LIKE us!! That's how we grow!