Peach and the Willow Dip

“I’m sorry.  I don’t think I heard you correctly.  I thought I heard you say you were taking a veggie tray to this weekend’s Super Bowl party.  My bad.  (slight pause)  Wait, what?!!!!!  You’re saying I heard correctly?  So you’ve gone all nutty on me????   Do you realize what you’re doing…what you’re saying???  A Super Bowl party is no time to break out the cold, raw vegetables with some blasé  ranch dressing!  We want fattening, heart rate spiking, testosterone raging, artery clogging, finger licking, tongue smacking, belly rubbing  football food, for goodness sakes!  Dude food, if you will!  Come on man!”

Sad, but true.  Every last bit of hyperbole. Continue reading

Chocolate Apricot Marble Cake

apricot and chocolate marble cake

This.  Cake!

Ok…you know I can be fickle when it comes to my love for cake.  I love this one and that one and that other one over there and easily vacillate between fruit and chocolate and spice and cream as my favorite.  But today…on this wintry, rainy day in January when Nashville is preparing for twenty degree temps, this is my FAVORITE cake of all time and it fits the bill perfectly!  It’s sweet, but not too sweet…it’s perfectly moist…it’s complex without being complicated and it is just SIMPLY BEAUTIFUL!   So gather your seven ingredients (yes…only 7!) and get to baking!  Don’t forget to have a cup of coffee, a fire or favorite blanket and a good book at the ready!  XO

dried apricots and dark chocolate
Dried Apricots and Dark Chocolate elevate this simple pound cake

CHOCOLATE APRICOT MARBLE CAKE                                                                               (Adapted from Scandinavian Baking by Trine Hahnemann)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter (I always use salted butter)
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 7/8 all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 3/4 oz best dark chocolate, at least 60% cocoa solids; finely chopped (I used Lindt Excellence with Sea Salt)
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 oz organic dried apricots, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy (3 – 4 minutes).

Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Sift in the flour and mix again, just until a smooth dough forms.  Halve the batter and put each half in a bowl (I left half in my standing mixer for the chocolate).  Add the chocolate and cocoa to one bowl and mix well.  Mix the dried apricots into the batter in the other bowl (I mixed this half by hand).  Butter or spray a loaf pan.  (I also use four mini loaf pans.)

Pour the chocolate batter into the prepared pan and spread it out evenly, then pour over the apricot batter and spread that evenly, too.  Take a spoon and dip it into the batter, going right to the bottom of the pan and pulling up to make a swirl inside the cake.  Repeat three times in different places in the pan.

Bake one hour (or for mini loaf pans, bake 30 – 35 minutes).  Insert a toothpick into the middle of the cake; it should emerge clean.  If not, bake 5 minutes more, then check again.

Let cool in the pan.  Serve morning, noon or night!

fireside cake and coffee

 

My 2018 Reflection Book

Father Son Connection

On this last day of 2018, I am reflecting.  I am pondering how beautiful life is, but also how messy… how very challenging and sometimes painful days can feel, but also how everlastingly triumphant!  Triumphant because of God’s love for me and mine for Him!  I am reminded that “every good and perfect gift is from above” and gratitude bursts from within! Continue reading

It’s Go Time! And Your Thanksgiving Spread is Begging for a Tasty, Easy, Gorgeous New Side Dish (that’s not beige)!

I look so forward to the Thanksgiving meal every year.  I roast a no fail Rosemary Turkey, my grandma’s Chicken and Dressing, my sister’s Three Cheese Mashed Potatoes, my mom’s Squash Casserole and Ambrosia, and my spin on turnip greens and corn soufflé.  These menu items are non-negotiable and always present.  But besides the greens and cranberry relish, this feast turns out looking pretty darn beige on the table!  What do you say we invite a new side dish this Thanksgiving?  You know…one that will impress your taste buds and add vibrant color to your plate!  I created it a couple weeks ago, very much by accident, and immediately knew I was on to something.

MIXED GREENS WITH ROASTED SWEET POTATOES AND ONIONS, DRIED CRANBERRIES, GRANNY SMITH APPLES, TOASTED PECANS AND PARMESAN                      

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Greens, Roasted Fruit and Nuts

This beautiful, warm salad personifies all things Thanksgiving! Continue reading

The One Thing I Never Heard My Son Say

“Hey mom!  I’ve been doing some thinking.  I sure would enjoy it if you remodeled my bedroom in a Scandinavian Minimalist style!” said Ethan Pflug NEVER.  HAHAHA!  Yep…I’m literally LOL as I write this post.  Poor kid.  Having to put up with a designer mom that is always using her home as her own little mad scientist laboratory.   And the truth is, E didn’t say those words because I said them.  I said them (or at least I thought them) and the idea worked!  It worked for my son and it worked for me!

Wall Headboard Continue reading

Tropical Chic Rosemary Beach Condo

No matter the date on the calendar, this Rosemary Beach Condominium was designed to be the quintessential endless summer getaway for a busy couple and their three young sons.  The home, situated in the heart of the Rosemary Beach, Florida town square, is a light and airy space where graphic punches give way to organic, woodsy respites, all thoughtfully woven together with a rich, leafy thread that feels neither forced nor overused.

White, Green and Black Color Palette with punches of Magenta

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Almost Mrs! An Intimate Bridal Shower for a Best Friend

Bridal Shower Cake

Love, Laughter and Happily Ever After

YOU’RE INVITED TO A BRIDAL SHOWER HONORING

 Cynthia Anderson

Saturday the twenty eighth of July at two o’clock in the afternoon

Cynthia has been my dear “best good friend” from the moment I met her in 2008.   Continue reading

Summer’s Go-To Party Dip

Peach and the Willow Dip with Farmers Market Array

Hold on Ranch Dressing and boring ol’ Onion Dip!  There’s a new dip boss in town!  Peach and the Willow Dip, “please stand up, please stand up, please stand up”!  (Go ahead and rock the Slim Shady song here….it’s Friday and you’ve been itching’ to dance all week!).   Continue reading

Color Crush! A Luxury Condo gets Energized with a Bold and Confident Mix of Colors and Textures

 

Living Room at Angle

The interior design world has been swimming in a tranquil sea of soft greys and neutrals for several years now.  I, too, have swooned over and embraced the trend of a less fussy, achromatic interior.  But who says you can’t have the best of both worlds!?  Both calming and colorful!   Continue reading

How One Uninteresting Wall Became a Whole Lot Cooler!

I see it all the time in my interior design work.  Homes with these quirky little wall insets in halls, foyers or transition spaces.  I’m guessing it’s the builder’s attempt to add “character” to the house but, inevitably, the homeowner is left scratching their head as to what to do with the dang things!  In most cases, the easy “go-to” is to lean family photos or artwork or place a floral arrangement inside but, many times, those choices leave the homeowner feeling underwhelmed and bored.  I, too, was faced with this problem in my own home.  However, my problem was two-fold.  (A)… I didn’t enjoy the look of the inset and (B)…I needed more storage space.  In my case, the inset was placed on an angled wall and angled walls usually house unused space behind them.  Now…those of you that know my work know that I am never opposed to busting through walls if I think there is hidden storage behind and that’s exactly what I did!  Check it out!  See the pretty antique door?  That used to be an unimaginative wall inset!  How’s that for “turning it up a notch?”

Foyer with Built-In China Cabinet
View of foyer from the front door.  A Built-In China Cabinet with Vintage Doors replaces, what used to be, a boring wall inset.

Continue reading