Thursday, June 30, 2016

How To Create an Art Gallery Wall

Compliments of Hillary Thomas

Hi Friends,

Make a Statement! Jen Bekman, founder of the popular online art shop, 20x200, finds that creating a gallery wall is the perfect way to make a personal statement at home. "This is your opportunity to make a statement about who you are and what you like. Mix paintings and photography, black-and-white and color and combine high and low pieces," advises Bekman. Image courtesy of 20x200

Have Fun With the Layout

Before placing your collection of pieces, Bekman suggests playing with a few layouts until you identify the best one for your gallery wall. "I recommend laying your framed work on the floor to try out a few setups. You can even use painters tape to outline the size of the wall to help you visualize. Take cell phone snaps of a few variations that you like as you go. To start, use two to four pieces hung in the center at the same height to establish your anchor or focal point and fill in from there." Image courtesy of 20x200

Think About Placement

As you are designing your gallery wall, think about the placement of each piece, particularly when you're hanging art over a sofa or chair. "When installing artwork over furniture, leave at least eight inches between the base of the frame and the top of the furniture," says Bekman. Be sure not to hang pieces too low or too high. Eye level is best. Image courtesy of 20x200

Develop a Palette

You can showcase art with a variety of shades for a colorful display, or use works in a similar color palette that will complement the space that your art hangs in. Christiane Lemieux, founder of DwellStudio and curator of its new Art Shop, is a fan of a gallery wall with a specific color palette, “Design a whole room around modern abstract paintings. I'm loving working with the bold black and whites. It's so graphic and chic — a palette that works all year!" Image courtesy of Dwell Studio

Create a Wall Story

Gallery walls can also be used as a unique way to document and tell a story of your travels and experiences. You can include photographs from recent trips and prints and artwork that you bought while on vacation. Lemieux is a fan of identifying pieces that have a sense of story to them. "I'm always inspired by the vintage art I find while traveling and have developed a deep love of collecting pieces from flea markets and galleries all over the world. I love artwork that has a back-story. It's a real conversation starter." Image courtesy of Dwell Studio

Frame Your Work

Your gallery wall is not just about the art on display, but also the frames that highlight the art. For a clean look, frames in the same color and style are the perfect fit. You can also mix and match picture frames so that you work feels like it has been collected over time. "Frame your artwork with unique frames. Go for something distressed for an old-world vibe. I'm always finding vintage frames at flea markets. They can add so much visual interest to the home," remarks Lemieux. Image courtesy of Dwell Studio

Go Off-Center

"Ideally you'll have one picture to build from, but this doesn't necessarily have to be centered," interior designer Hillary Thomas advises. When building your gallery wall, try hanging pieces to the left or right of center for an arrangement that is less formal. Image courtesy of Hillary Thomas Designs

Mix It Up

Illustrations, paintings and a menagerie of distinctive pieces can all have a home on your gallery wall. "Do mix in drawings with photos and paintings. The more eclectic, the more you'll get a 'salon' feel," says Thomas. Image courtesy of Hillary Thomas Designs

Let Loose

The final and most important thing to remember when creating your gallery wall is that there is no specific formula for creating a great display. Thomas's final tip: "Creating a gallery wall can be intimidating, but don't overthink it. Just jump in!" Enjoy the creative process and have fun creating a unique gallery wall that you will enjoy over time. Image courtesy of Hillary Thomas Designs

Looking for a unique way to display your art collection? Three top designers share tips to help you create a professional art gallery wall — an eclectic mix of paintings, prints, photographs and other artwork — at home.

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Live well,

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Tips for Maintaining an Organized Living Room

Compliments of Julie Morgenstern

Hi Friends,

Welcome the Wastebasket. If trash tends to accumulate in the family room, adding a wastebasket might cut down on clutter. Few family rooms actually have a wastebasket in them; they're not attractive and they can smell. Counteract this by choosing a can that fits your room's decor. If you know food will be thrown away here, get one with a lid and some deodorizing trash bags.

2. Keep Flat Surfaces Clutter-free
Papers, books, brochures and magazines tend to accumulate on flat surfaces all around the house, and the family room is no different. "You need a household information center, and the family room may be where that happens," says Julie Morgenstern, author of Organizing from the Inside Out. In fact, the family room is often more cluttered because it's a central gathering place in the house. A two drawer lateral file is Morgenstern's ideal recommendation - on average she says that's really how much paper it takes to run a home. If you don't have the floor space, a stackable file cart will do.

Make a quick sweep of all flat surfaces by piling papers in a bin, then sorting and purging as necessary. Take a vow, and get your family to follow it, to put papers in files rather than on the coffee table.

Design by Fernandez and True Interiors; Photo by Sherwood Cox

3. Control Out-of-Control Cords
Until the world goes wireless, we'll forever be stuck with tangled cables behind our entertainment centers. Fortunately, there are several options for taming cords in the family room. The most attractive is the slim Cableyoyo. It neatly coils up to six feet of cord and comes with an adhesive backing that sticks onto nearly any surface. A cable caddy usually sticks onto a desktop (or behind the TV console) and has a space for several cables to clamp into. Your cords will still dangle freely, however, so a cable zipper, which encloses all the cables in a tube, might be the best bet.

4. Create a Play Zone
If toys are taking over your family room, it's time to put them in timeout. Unused corners of a family room transform into great play areas because the walls serve to block encroaching clutter. Corners are also good areas to put a small bookcase or children's table. Add rolling bins for toy storage so your child doesn't have to feel confined, but is encouraged to pick up after he or she is done playing.

5. Coffee Table Functionality
If you have a coffee table (or forgot you had one due to the clutter) it's time to reassess its organizational capacity. Coffee tables that look great but don't have any storage for magazines, remote controls or even drink coasters, are probably making life more difficult. If you don't have the budget for a new one, consider adding low storage cubes, rolling baskets or bins to stick under the table.

White Contemporary Game Room With Coffered Ceiling

Design by Deborah Wecselman

6. Designate a Game Area
For a family that likes to play together, a game cabinet for board games and cards is both functional and fun. Games usually end up in a TV armoire, but it's helpful to designate a separate space for them, whether in another shelving unit, a bookcase or in plastic containers below the sofa (if the sofa has a skirt). Creating a single game space will free up other areas of the room for storage. If a computer is part of your gaming area, Julie Morgenstern recommends against a computer armoire. She's rarely seen them work well and recommends instead a desk that has a separate work surface, paper storage and a surface for the monitor.

7. Creatively Display Photos
If you have a lot of small, photo frames that tend to clutter your family room it's time to take control by displaying them in new ways. Photo albums and collage frames are great options for storing lots of photos at once, and a digital photo frame is especially handy for those who don't use film. Don't just use the mantel or side tables; use vertical space on the wall. Organizing your photos by date or occasion in photo boxes is especially helpful for scrapbookers, who can keep these in one central location on a bookshelf.

8. Take Advantage of Space Behind the Sofa
Organize extra blankets, pillows, candles in an accessible place - behind the sofa. It's a great place to put a trunk, cabinet or low bookcase. Plus, it gives you another surface to put a lamp or show off some treasured objects.

Organized Book Collection in Modern Living Room

This modern living room is sleek and organized with the wall length bookshelf containing a large collection of books. The gray draper sofa sits adjacent to a single white chair. The elegance of the organized living room is accentuated by the pop art portrait of Jackie O.

9. Sort Your Movie Collection
Multimedia like DVDs, videotapes and CDs are staples of the family room. Take 30 minutes to begin sorting your entire collection, making two piles: one for keeping and one for selling back or donating. If you no longer listen to the music or haven't seen the movie in ages (and don't plan on seeing it again), it's time to let go. There are plenty of options for storing your sorted collection: DVD towers, in a bookcase, ottoman or the drawers of a coffee table. Find a system that works for you.

10. Grow Your Houseplants
It can be a jungle in the family room if you have a green thumb. Organize your plants with a cute plant stand or several decorative pots. The type of houseplants you have will determine where you'll place them in the room, so keep that in mind when looking for a stand. Stands typically come in corner, pedestal and tiered configurations and some even have drawers so you can keep your fertilizer and watering can nearby.

11. Curb Your Collectible Enthusiasm
Collections, if you're not careful, can take over valuable storage space in a family room and can be even harder to organize. Large collections display best when bits and pieces are shown at a time (think shadow boxes) and rotated to keep the decor fresh. Cut your displayed collection in half by putting half of the pieces into an appropriately sized container and storing it in a hall closet. For added value, personal or otherwise, keep an inventory of each piece (date acquired, date of piece, description/significance) in the storage bin.

Rest assured these simple tips for organizing your main gathering space will put the family back in your family room...

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Live well,

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A Bold Pair

Courtesy of Chelsea Faulkner

Hi Friends,

Pastels shouldn't always play backup. In this luxe spa-like bathroom, Caribbean-inspired blue-green walls complement the sweet apple-green vanity. This color combo is fresh and relaxing when paired with a white quartz countertop and a Carrera marble shower.

Relax in this luxury spa bath...

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Live well,

Monday, June 27, 2016

Two Bedheads are Better Than One

Compliments of Beth Rucker
Photography by Suzanna Scott Photography

Hi Friends,

One of the country's top designer showhouses, the San Francisco Decorator Showcase is located at a 6,119-square-foot, 1930s home near the top of Telegraph Hill with sweeping views of the San Francisco Bay, Bay Bridge, Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Peek into one of the country's top designer showhouses featuring work by celebrated designers. The "Two Bedheads are Better Than One" bedroom by Heather Brock and Jennifer Wundrow includes ample storage and space for two children to comfortably enjoy. The centered headboard offers a touch of privacy for each kid.

Private but together!

Share some of your dual-bed options with us too; look forward to hearing from you...

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Your kind contribution will allow us to continue sharing great, no cost and cost saving ideas for your space. Click the "Donate" button below to make a contribution. Thank you!

Live well,

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Fixin's - Baked Beans, Potato Salad and More...

Courtesy of FoodNetwork
Recipe Courtesy of Patrick and Gina Neely

Hi Friends,

Yesterday, we shared 5 tender, slow-cooked BBQ rib recipes that will make your mouth water but the 4th is not the 4th without ribs and ribs are not complete without, you guest it - baked beans. Here are just a couple of our favorites...

Total Time: 55 min
Prep: 5 min
Cook: 50 min
Yield: 8 servings
Level: Easy

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans baked beans
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup Neelys BBQ seasoning, recipe follows
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 cup Neelys BBQ sauce, recipe follows
  • 3/4 cup chopped pork or beef brisket
Neelys BBQ Seasoning:
  • 1 1/2 cups paprika
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 3/4 tablespoons onion powder
Neelys BBQ Sauce:
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 5 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground mustard
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.

In a large Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Saute the red pepper, onion and garlic until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the baked beans and remaining ingredients and bring to a low simmer. Cover the beans and place in the preheated oven. Bake for 45 minutes.

Neelys BBQ Seasoning:
Add all ingredients to a bowl and stir until combined. Keep in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Neelys BBQ Sauce:
In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer. Cook uncovered, stirring frequently, for 1 hour 15 minutes.

Yield: 3 1/2 cups

Perfectly Baked Beans

Recipe Courtesy of Ree Drummond

Total Time: 2 hr 40 min
Prep: 30 min
Cook: 2 hr 10 min
Yield: 18 servings
Level: Easy

  • 4 slices regular bacon, diced
  • 1 medium onion, cut into small dice
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, cut into small dice
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into small dice
  • 1 fresh jalapeno, chopped
  • 4 large cans (28 ounces each) pork and beans
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup distilled or cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 2 chipotle peppers, minced
  • 6 slices thin bacon
Adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Fry the regular chopped bacon in a large, deep skillet until the bacon has partially cooked and released about 1/4 cup drippings. Add the onions, peppers and jalapenos, and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the beans, barbecue sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, ketchup, mustard and chipotles, and bring to a simmer. (If the skillet is not large enough, add the beans and heat to a simmer and then transfer to a large bowl and stir in the remaining ingredients). Pour the flavored beans into an aluminum pan. Top with the uncooked slices of bacon (you can halve the slices if you like). Then bake until the beans are bubbly and the sauce is the consistency of pancake syrup, about 2 hours. Let stand to thicken slightly and serve.

Egg-Pickle Potato Salad

Boil, peel and cube 2 pounds russet potatoes; toss with 2 tablespoons cider vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix 2 cups mayonnaise, 2 chopped scallions, 1 chopped celery stalk, 1 tablespoon each dijon mustard and vinegar, 1 teaspoon sugar, and salt. Toss with the potatoes. Voila!

Grandma Jean's Potato Salad

Recipe Courtesy of Patrick and Gina Neely

Total Time: 3 hr 5 min
Prep: 15 min
Inactive: 2 hr 40 min
Cook: 10 min
Yield: 6 servings
Level: Easy

  • 5 large red potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs, 2 chopped and 1 sliced
  • 2 heaping tablespoons sweet pickle relish, drained
  • 1/2 cup salad dressing, (recommended: Miracle Whip)
  • 3 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Paprika, for garnish
  • Salt
Boil cubed potatoes until they are tender. Drain and cool. In a large bowl add celery, onion, 2 eggs and pickled relish. Add the salad dressing, yellow mustard and sugar. Stir well. Place the sliced egg on top of potatoes and sprinkle with paprika and salt. Let the potato salad chill in the refrigerator for 2 1/2 hours or overnight.

Old-Fashioned Macaroni Salad

Recipe Courtesy of Patrick and Gina Neely

The Neelys whip up a classic salad that goes great with barbecue ribs. Elbow macaroni and ham are mixed with hard-boiled eggs, celery, relish and mayo for a creamy taste of summer.

Total Time: 2 hr 35 min
Prep: 15 min
Inactive: 2 hr
Cook: 20 min
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Level: Easy

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 pound large elbow macaroni
  • 4 ounces ham steak, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks chopped celery, including leaves
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 (4-ounce) jar chopped pimentos, drained
  • 3 tablespoons sweet pickled relish
  • Kosher salt and pepper
To make the hard-boiled eggs: Add the eggs to a medium-sized saucepan. Cover with cold water and bring up to a boil over medium heat. Cover with a lid and turn off the heat. Let the eggs sit in the hot water for 14 minutes. Drain and cool under cold running water. Peel the eggs and chop. Reserve.

While the eggs are cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat and add the macaroni. Cook until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water.

In a large serving bowl, combine the eggs, ham steak, celery, shallots and lemon juice Add the macaroni and stir to combine.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, pickled relish, and salt and pepper, to taste. Add the dressing to the macaroni and toss to coat. Season with more salt and pepper, if needed. Cover and chill for 2 hours for the flavors to meld.

Apple Pie

Recipe Courtesy of Food Network Kitchen

Total Time: 3 hr 30 min
Prep: 1 hr 30 min
Cook: 2 hr
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Level: Intermediate

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 14 tablespoons cold butter, diced
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten with 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 pounds baking apples like Golden Delicious, Cortland, or Mutsu
  • 2/3 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling on the pie
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Generous pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
Make the dough by hand. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Using your fingers, work the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles yellow corn meal mixed with bean sized bits of butter. (If the flour/butter mixture gets warm, refrigerate it for 10 minutes before proceeding.) Add the egg and stir the dough together with a fork or by hand in the bowl. If the dough is dry, sprinkle up to a tablespoon more of cold water over the mixture.

Make the dough in a food processor. With the machine fitted with the metal blade, pulse the flour, sugar, and salt until combined. Add the butter and pulse until it resembles yellow corn meal mixed with bean size bits of butter, about 10 times. Add the egg and pulse 1 to 2 times; don't let the dough form into a ball in the machine. (If the dough is very dry add up to a tablespoon more of cold water.) Remove the bowl from the machine, remove the blade, and bring the dough together by hand.

Form the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 1 hour.

Make the filling. Put the lemon juice in a medium bowl. Peel, halve, and core the apples. Cut each half into 4 wedges. Toss the apple with the lemon juice. Add the sugar and toss to combine evenly.

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the apples, and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture begins to simmer, about 2 minutes. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until the apples soften and release most of their juices, about 7 minutes.

Strain the apples in a colander over a medium bowl to catch all the juice. Shake the colander to get as much liquid as possible. Return the juices to the skillet, and simmer over medium heat until thickened and lightly caramelized, about 10 minutes.

In a medium bowl, toss the apples with the reduced juice and spices. Set aside to cool completely. (This filling can be made up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated or frozen for up to 6 months.)

Cut the dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll each half of dough into a disc about 11 to 12 inches wide. Layer the dough between pieces of parchment or wax paper on a baking sheet, and refrigerate for at least 10 minutes.

Place a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Line the bottom of a 9-inch pie pan with one of the discs of dough, and trim it so it lays about 1/2 inch beyond the edge of the pan. Put the apple filling in the pan and mound it slightly in the center. Brush the top edges of the dough with the egg. Place the second disc of dough over the top. Fold the top layer of dough under the edge of the bottom layer and press the edges together to form a seal. Flute the edge as desired. Brush the surface of the dough with egg and then sprinkle with sugar. Pierce the top of the dough in several places to allow steam to escape while baking.

Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.

Bake the pie on a baking sheet until the crust is golden, about 50 minutes. Cool on a rack before serving. The pie keeps well at room temperature (covered) for 24 hours, or refrigerated for up to 4 days.

Cook's Note: You may freeze the uncooked pie, but don't brush it with egg or dust it with sugar beforehand. Place the pie in the freezer for 30 minutes, to harden it slightly, and then double wrap it with plastic wrap. Freeze for up to 6 months. When ready to bake, unwrap the pie and brush it with egg and sprinkle with sugar. Bake, from the frozen state, until golden brown, about 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Apple Pie

Recipe Courtesy of Food Network Kitchen

Total Time: 3 hr 15 min
Prep: 1 hr 40 min
Cook: 1 hr 35 min
Yield: 6-8 servings
Level: Intermediate

For the Filling:
  • 3 pounds mixed apples (such as Golden Delicious, McIntosh and Pink Lady)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
For the Dough:
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/4 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 large eggs
Prepare the filling: Peel, halve and core the apples. Cut each half into 6 wedges and toss with the sugar and lemon juice in a bowl. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the apple mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until the firmer apples begin to soften but still hold their shape, 8 to 9 minutes. Sprinkle with the flour, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg and toss until the juices begin to thicken, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and cool completely. (The filling can be made up to 2 days ahead; cover and refrigerate.)

Make the dough: Pulse the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor until combined. Add the shortening and pulse until it disappears, about 30 seconds. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal with pea-size bits of butter. Beat 1 egg with 1/4 cup ice water in a bowl, then add to the processor and pulse once or twice. (Stop before the dough gathers into a ball.) Lay out 2 sheets of plastic wrap; divide the dough between the sheets and pat each into a disk. Wrap the disks tightly and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.

Roll 1 disk of dough into a 12-inch round on a floured surface (or between 2 pieces of floured parchment paper). Ease into a 9 1/2-inch deep-dish glass pie plate. Add the filling, mounding it slightly, and dot with the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Chill the pie while you roll the remaining dough into a 12-inch round.

Lay the dough over the filling and press the 2 crusts together around the edges. Fold the overhanging dough under itself and crimp with your fingers. Beat the remaining egg in a bowl and brush over the top crust; sprinkle with sugar. Pierce the top with a knife a few times to let steam escape. Chill 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the pie on a baking sheet; bake until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbly, 55 to 60 minutes. (Cover the edges with foil if they brown too quickly.) Transfer to a rack and cool until set, 2 hours.

Photographs by Con Poulos


Mamma Jean and Mamma Neely share a little Memphis hospitality with recipes for the Southern childhood favorites; Gina's Collard Greens and Calley's Sweet Potato Pie.

Gina's Best Collard Greens

Recipe Courtesy of The Neelys

Total Time: 2 hr 15 min
Prep: 15 min
Cook: 2 hr
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
Level: Intermediate

  • 5 bundles collard greens
  • 4 cups salted water
  • 3 large smoked ham hocks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Salt 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Thoroughly wash collard greens. Be sure to pull leaves apart and remove any sand. Chop collard greens.

In a medium saucepan, bring 4 cups of salted water to a simmer. Place smoked ham hocks in salted water and cover for about 90 minutes. Cook ham hocks until slightly tender. In the same saucepan, add remaining ingredients and collard greens.

Cover and cook greens for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Cook's Note: Make sure at least half of ham hocks are covered with water. If not, add additional water.

A Neely holiday dinner wouldn't be complete without this family favorite.

Calley's Sweet Potato Pie

Recipe Courtesy of Calley Anderson

Total Time: 3 hr
Prep: 20 min
Inactive: 10 min
Cook: 2 hr 30 min
Yield: 8 servings
Level: Easy

  • 4 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 stick butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 unbaked pie crust
  • Maple whipped cream, optional, recipe follows
  • Maple Whipped Topping:
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
Preheat oven to 350 degree F.

Bake sweet potatoes for 1 hour in the oven on a baking sheet. When done, let cool. Scrape the pulp out of the skin, transfer to a large bowl, and mash. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, beat together butter, sugar, and brown sugar until creamy. Add eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and salt. Add evaporated milk and stir mixture into sweet potatoes. Beat together with mixer until smooth and pour into an unbaked pie shell.

Bake on bottom rack of oven for 1 hour or until center of pie is firm. Serve warm. Add dollop of whipped cream if desired.

Maple Whipped Topping:
In a medium bowl, beat together whipping cream and confectioners' sugar. Add maple syrup. Beat together until soft peaks form.

Sweet Potato Tartlet

Recipe Courtesy of Patrick and Gina Neely

Total Time: 50 min
Prep: 20 min
Cook: 30 min
Yield: 12 servings
Level: Easy

Pat and Gina make delicious individual sweet potato tartlets.

  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 large baked sweet potatoes
  • 3 store-bought rolled up dough
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • Whipped Cream, for topping
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, mix together butter and brown sugar until it becomes a sand-like texture. Add eggs and beat with electric mixer. Add whipping cream and vanilla extract; mix until smooth. Add in flour, salt, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg.

Scoop out the inside of the sweet potatoes and transfer them to a medium bowl and mash. Once mashed, add potatoes into the flour mixture and blend with electric mixer.

Roll out the dough and with tartlet pans, divide the dough into 12 (4-inch) rings. Spray the tartlet pans with nonstick cooking spray and insert dough. Cut off excess dough with a knife.

With an ice cream scooper, scoop out potato mixture; about 1/4 cup each and place into tartlet pans.

Bake for 30 minutes. Once cooled, garnish with whipped cream.

Your backyard gathering will be the talk of the town with these delicious southern-inspired dishes guaranteed to please. Bon Appétit...

Happy 4th!

Check back for more great ideas from your friends at Interior Design.

Your kind contribution will allow us to continue sharing great, no cost and cost saving ideas for your space. Click the "Donate" button below to make a contribution. Thank you!

Live well,

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Best BBQ Rib Recipes

Courtesy of FoodNetwork
Recipe By: Patrick and Gina Neely

Hi Friends,

BBQ ribs is a staple at every 4th of July celebration and today our featured recipe comes as no big surprise. The Neelys use a meaty St. Louis-style rib cut for this classic recipe. They rub the ribs with a seasoning mixture, cook them low and slow over indirect heat and then baste them with their homemade barbecue sauce. Yum!

Here's the Neely's Wet BBQ Ribs Recipe
Total Time: 10 hr 25 min
Prep: 25 min
Inactive: 4 hr
Cook: 6 hr
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

  • 32 ounces ketchup
  • 16 ounces water
  • 6 ounces brown sugar
  • 6 ounces white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard powder
  • 2 ounces lemon juice
  • 2 ounces Worcestershire sauce
  • 8 ounces apple cider vinegar
  • 2 ounces light corn syrup
  • 3 to 4 pounds spare ribs
  • 2 ounces Neely's Seasoning Mix, recipe follows
Neely's Seasoning Mix:
  • 4 ounces paprika
  • 2 ounces sugar
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a stockpot or large Dutch oven. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Reduce temperature to low and simmer, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, trim the spare ribs, removing the upper brisket bone and any excess fat; this will produce a St. Louis-style rib. Rinse the ribs and season with Neely's Seasoning, and then cover and refrigerate for 4 to 12 hours.

Indirect cooking in a barbecue pit is recommended to prevent burning. Cook at 250 degrees F (curled side of ribs facing up) for the first 3 hours, and then increase the temperature to 300 degrees F for the final 3 hours. Baste the ribs only during the last 30 minutes of cooking to prevent sauce from burning.

Neely's Seasoning Mix:
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.

Neely's BBQ Pork Spare Ribs

Recipe Courtesy of Patrick and Gina Neely

Pat and Gina's classic recipe for barbecued spare ribs can be served dry, with just an extra sprinkle of their simple house seasoning, or wet, with barbecue sauce.

Total Time: 27 hr 40 min
Prep: 10 min
Inactive: 24 hr
Cook: 3 hr 30 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

  • 1 slab pork spare ribs (about 4 pounds)
  • 4 -ounces Neely's BBQ Seasoning, recipe follows
  • 1 quart Neely's BBQ Sauce, recipe follows
Neely's BBQ Seasoning:
  • 4 ounces paprika
  • 2 ounces white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
Neely's BBQ Sauce:
  • 16 ounces ketchup
  • 8 ounces water
  • 3 ounces brown sugar
  • 3 ounces white sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon dry mustard powder
  • 1 -ounce lemon juice
  • 1 -ounce Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 ounces apple cider vinegar
  • 1 -ounce light corn syrup
  • 2 ounces Neely's BBQ Seasoning
Place pork rib slab flat on a clean chopping board. Pull off membrane. Cut off the excess fat and meat. Season both sides of the slab with Neely's BBQ Seasoning. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours.

Preheat your grill at 275 degrees F, using hickory wood and charcoal.

Place the slab on the grill away from the flame, using indirect heat. Cook the slab for approximately 2 1/2 hours with the curl side up. Flip the slab over to finish cooking for approximately 1 hour or until you get full "bend" in the slab.

For dry ribs: Pull ribs off grill, sprinkle Neely's BBQ Seasoning over entire slab. Cut between the bones and serve.

For wet ribs: Pull ribs off grill, pour Neely's BBQ Sauce over slab. Cut between the bones and serve.

Neely's BBQ Seasoning:
Mix all the ingredients and set aside.

Neely's BBQ Sauce:
Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a stockpot or large Dutch oven. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Reduce temperature to low and simmer, uncovered, for at least 2 hours.

Yield: 1 quart sauce

Cherry Cola Glazed Spare Ribs

Recipe Courtesy of Sandra Lee

Total Time: 1 hr 50 min
Prep: 5 min
Cook: 1 hr 45 min
Yield: 6 servings
Level: Easy

For Ribs:
  • 1/3 cup Sandra Lee All-Purpose Rub
  • 2 tablespoons teriyaki mix (recommended: Kikkoman)
  • 3 racks pork spare ribs
For Glaze:
  • 1 cup cherry cola
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1/3 cup cherry preserves
  • 2 tablespoons teriyaki mix (recommended: Kikkoman)
For Glaze:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small bowl, combine All-Purpose Rub with 2 tablespoons teriyaki mix. Sprinkle seasoning over ribs and pat in.

Place ribs in a shallow roasting pan. Tightly cover with foil. Bake in oven for 1 hour.

While ribs are cooking, make glaze by combining glaze ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Simmer 10 minutes and remove from heat.

Remove ribs from oven and carefully drain fat from roasting pan. Generously brush with glaze and continue baking ribs, uncovered for 30 to 45 minutes more or until tender, turning and brushing occasionally with glaze. Remove from grill and cut into servings. Serve hot with glaze on the side.

For Outdoor Grill:
Set up grill for indirect cooking over medium heat. (No heat source under meat). Prepare ribs as directed. Place ribs in rib rack over drip pan on hot grill. Add a handful of hickory chips to hot coals or smoke box. Cover grill. Rotate ribs around rack every 30 minutes. After 1 hour, add 10 briquettes to each pile of coals and another handful of soaked hickory chips. Cook 2 to 2 1/2 hours. About 20 minutes before ribs are done, remove ribs from rib rack and lay meat side down on grill. Generously brush with glaze and pile ribs in center of grill over drip pan. Cover and cook 10 minutes. Turn ribs and brush on more glaze and re-pile. Cook an additional 10 minutes.

Who Loves Ya Baby-Back?

Recipe Courtesy of Alton Brown

Total Time: 4 hr 35 min
Prep: 1 hr 10 min
Cook: 3 hr 25 min
Yield: 2 slabs ribs
Level: Intermediate

Alton shares his technique for making perfect-every-time baby-back ribs. These easy indoor ribs are spiced up, then braised in the oven and glazed with a homemade sauce.

2 whole slabs pork baby back ribs

Dry Rub:
  • 8 tablespoons light brown sugar, tightly packed
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon jalapeno seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon rubbed thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
Braising Liquid:
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
Preheat oven to 225 degrees.

In a bowl, combine all dry ingredients and mix well. Place each slab of baby back ribs on a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil, shiny side down. Sprinkle each side generously with the dry rub. Pat the dry rub into the meat. Refrigerate the ribs for a minimum of 1 hour. In a microwavable container, combine all ingredients for the braising liquid. Microwave on high for 1 minute.

Place the ribs on a baking sheet. Open one end of the foil on each slab and pour half of the braising liquid into each foil packet. Tilt the baking sheet in order to equally distribute the braising liquid. Braise the ribs in the oven for 2 1/2 hours.

Transfer the braising liquid into a medium saucepot. Bring the liquid to a simmer and reduce by half or until of a thick syrup consistency. Brush the glaze onto the ribs. Place under the broiler just until the glaze caramelizes lightly. Slice each slab into 2 rib bone portions. Place the remaining hot glaze into a bowl and toss the rib portions in the glaze.

NOTE: This recipe makes several batches of dry rub. If more rub is needed, it can be extended by any amount, as long as the ratio of 8:3:1:1 remains the same.

Spice Rubbed Smoked Ribs with Maple-Horseradish Baste

Recipe Courtesy of Bobby Flay

Bobby uses a spice rub which tenderizes the meat and creates a crust on the outside as the ribs smoke. Then he tops them with a maple-horseradish glaze for an unconventional barbecue sauce.

Total Time: 2 hr 15 min
Prep: 15 min
Inactive: 30 min
Cook: 1 hr 30 min
Yield: 8 servings
Level: Easy

Bobby smokes his spice-rubbed ribs, then finishes them when guests arrive.

Maple-Horseradish Glaze:
  • 2 cups pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup prepared horseradish, drained
  • 2 heaping tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup Spanish paprika
  • 3 tablespoons ancho chili powder
  • 3 tablespoons New Mexican chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 3 cups wood chips (hickory, mesquite, or applewood)
  • 4 racks pork ribs (3 pounds each)
Glaze: Whisk all ingredients together in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Ribs: Stir spices together in a medium bowl.

About 1/2 hour before cooking time, soak hickory chips in enough water to cover. Drain chips. In a covered grill, place slow burning charcoal in both sides of a drip pan. Sprinkle coals with wood chips. Bring temperature to 220 degrees F.

Rub top side of each rack of ribs with about 3 tablespoons of the rub. Place ribs, bone side down, on grill. Close cover or place cover on the smoker. Grill about 4 hours, adding chips every 20 minutes. During the last 10 minutes of grilling, brush liberally with the Maple-Horseradish Glaze.

Last but not least, 'THE RUB"...

Rib Dry Rub

Recipe Courtesy of Central BBQ

This Memphis-style rub adds so much flavor and a great crusty top (the "bark") to ribs that you won't need barbecue sauce at all.

Total Time: 10 min
Prep: 10 min
Yield: about 9 tablespoons, enough for 4 servings
Level: Easy

  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon granulated onion
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Store in an airtight container. Pack on the dry rub onto your next rack of ribs.

Try your hand at making tender, slow-cooked ribs at home with these BBQ rib recipes from Food Network chefs and become one in your circle.

Bon Appétit...

Happy 4th!

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Your kind contribution will allow us to continue sharing great, no cost and cost saving ideas for your space. Click the "Donate" button below to make a contribution. Thank you!

Live well,

Friday, June 24, 2016

9 Gifts for Your Instagram-Obsessed Friend

By: Erica Reitman
Photo: Mingman Srilakorn/Getty Images | Graphic: Erica Reitman

Hi Friends,

If the last thing you do before going to bed and the first thing you do when you wake up is start scrolling through your Instagram feed, then you might be an Insta addict. #nojudgement

We love Instagram, too and want to make sure you find the perfect birthday or even holiday gift for all the Insta-obsessed people in your life — even if that person is you.

Daily Instagram Calendar

Photo credit: Social Print Studio

This is the ultimate gift for the Instagram addict as you can print a different picture for each day of your 365-day tear-away calendar. In a leap year, you can actually print THREE HUNDRED AND SIXTY SIX pictures. If you don’t have that many photos to pull from, you can also choose to start duplicating photos at different points in the calendar.

Buy It: Social Print Studio Calendar, $40

Perfect Lighting iPhone Case

Photo credit: LuMee

This gift will change the life of anyone who is a chronic #selfie taker. For those of us who indulge in an occasional selfie, we know that the flash on a typical cell phone camera is horrible. This light-up phone case allows you to cast the perfect glow in any low-light situation that might normally require a flash. The one downside to this case is that it does not have a bumper to protect your screen, so you may want to add some additional screen protection if you want to be safe.

Buy It: Light iPhone Case, $54.95

Cell Phone Lenses

Photo credit: Photojojo

These special cell phone lenses will help you take your cell phone photography to a whole new level. This package includes all the lenses available: fisheye, super fisheye, telephoto, wide angle, macro and polarizing lenses. These lenses can be easily attached to your phone and work with any smart device (basically anything that has a camera). If you don't want to spring for all of the lenses, you can buy them each for $20.

Buy It: Magnetic Phone Lenses, $99 (for all)

Kim K's Selfie Book

Steve Granitz/WireImage

The selfie queen herself, Kim Kardashian, put out a picture book earlier this year that includes tons of the celeb’s selfie photos from over the years. She was taking selfies before we even knew what the word meant.

Buy It: Kim Kardashian Selfish, $13

Instax Printer

Photo credit: Fujifilm

For fans of the old vintage, Polaroid-type look, this Instax printer is the perfect choice. Similar to the popular Instax camera, the printer allows you to print any photos on your phone wirelessly. The printer uses the same film that the camera uses, so everything comes out with a fun, retro feel. This is also an amazing present for anyone who crafts or scrapbooks.

Buy It: Fujifilm Instax Printer, $189

iPhone USB Bracelet

Photo credit: Rebecca Minkoff

If you’re taking selfies all the time, chances are you’re using up your cell phone battery all the time. This chic Rebecca Minkoff bracelet looks normal to the world, but it’s actually a cell phone charger. You can wear this bracelet every day and know that you will never run out of cell phone juice again.

Buy It: Rebecca Minkoff Lightning Cable Bracelet, $60

Custom Laptop Sleeve

Photo credit: Casetify

I’ve seen lots of different Instagram decals for laptops and iPads, but this is an actual soft-sided laptop sleeve to use for when you travel and are on the go. If a laptop case is not up your alley, the site also offers other unique choices such as hard-backed iPhone cases, magnetic iPad covers and other fun Insta-tech items.

Buy It: Casetify Laptop Sleeve, $60

Phone-Friendly Gloves

Photo credit: Echo

If you live somewhere with cold weather, you know the frustration of having to take off your gloves in order to use your cell phone. Techno Touch gloves ensure you never have to have cold hands again as they work with all of your smart devices. And these, unlike many others I’ve seen, are super stylish.

Buy It: Echo Touch Leather Glitten, $88

Marble Photo Background

Photo credit: Williams-Sonoma

For Insta addicts, taking flat lay pics might be a part of their everyday routine. A cool background texture is the key to good flat lays, and marble is a super popular choice for Instagram superstars. This pastry board would be an awesome tool for anyone who takes these often.

Buy It: Marble Pastry Board, $40

We all have an Instagram lover in our life. (The one that always remembers to take photos.) These gift picks are for them (or you).

If you have some gift giving ideas, please share them with us; look forward to hearing from you...

Check back for more great ideas from your friends at Interior Design!

Your kind contribution will allow us to continue sharing great, no cost and cost saving ideas for your space. Click the "Donate" button below to make a contribution. Thank you!

Live well,

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Sleek Shape for July 4th Americana Style!

Courtesy of Kyle Troutman
Photo Courtesy of Modfire

Hi Friends,

Upgrade your outdoor party décor with some good old red, white and blue. You can bring the look of a campfire to your outdoor space without having a rustic or earthen style. Go for a more modern look with the aptly named Modfire, which is designed and manufactured by hand in Phoenix, Ariz., and comes in vibrant hues such as orange, red and blue agave.

Gather your family and good friends for an Alfresco meal near this modern campfire. You will be the talk of the town for your modern style and flair.

Happy 4th!

Check back for more great Independence Day ideas from your friends at Interior Design.

Your kind contribution will allow us to continue sharing great, no cost and cost saving ideas for your space. Click the "Donate" button below to make a contribution. Thank you!

Live well,

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Red, White and Blue Berry Pops for the 4th of July

Courtesy of Mick Telkamp
Photo by Mick Telkamp

Hi Friends,

Beat the heat in style with this colorful holiday dessert made with fresh berries and creamy yogurt.

Spending the day outdoors with friends and family this July 4th? Picnics, cookouts, barbecues and block parties are a great way to spend the holiday, but, man, does it get hot out there after spending a few hours playing softball, wrangling enthusiastic kids or tending to a grill loaded with tasty burgers and dogs. You could take deep, gasping slurps from to hose, but we have a better idea. Help beat the heat in style this 4th of July sharing a frozen treat with a color scheme chosen especially for the holiday.

Made with seasonal berries and creamy yogurt, these cool picnic pops are reminiscent of the red, white and blue “bomb pops” we used to get when the ice cream man trolled through our neighborhood on hot summer days when I was a kid, except we make ours using ingredients even mom will feel pretty good about. Fresh raspberries and blueberry purees flank frozen yogurt for a sweet and tangy delight that is the perfect end to a 4th of July picnic or for pre-fireworks snacking.

Our red, white and blue berry pops are easy to make using fresh ingredients and popsicle molds of any shape, but requires freezing in 3 stages, so you may wish to make these a day in advance. Both kids and adults will love these. Eat them quick. It’s hot out there!

Red, White and Blue Berry Pops

Yield: 10-12 popsicles
    2 cups raspberries
    1 cup yogurt
    2 cups blueberries
    7 tablespoons sugar
    4 tablespoons lime juice
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Puree 2 cups raspberries, 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 tablespoons lime juice in a blender until smooth.

Pour raspberry puree into popsicle molds to fill one third.

Insert popsicle sticks, cover and freeze 1/3 full popsicles for at least 90 minutes until solid.

Stir vanilla extract and 3 tablespoons sugar into yogurt and add to popsicle molds, filling to 2/3 full.

Cover and return to freezer for at least 90 minutes until yogurt is solid.

Puree 2 cups blueberries with 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 tablespoons lime juice in blender until smooth.

Top off popsicle molds with blueberry puree, cover and return to freezer until solid before serving.

Happy 4th...

Check back for more great Independence Day ideas from your friends at Interior Design!

Your kind contribution will allow us to continue sharing great, no cost and cost saving ideas for your space. Click the "Donate" button below to make a contribution. Thank you!

Live well,