My Two Most Requested and Crowd Pleasing Summer Party Appetizers!

Hello beautiful peeps! Who’s ready for some happy summertime eats???!!!

I recently threw my sweet husband a 60th Birthday Party at home…Louisiana Style! Steven and a couple of his best friends from New Orleans boiled more Louisiana shrimp and crawfish than you could “shake a stick at,” but I also included some additional party menu items for guests to enjoy. I had so many requests for the Hot Onion Souffle’ Dip and Orzo Salad recipes that I decided to share them here on my blog! Disclaimer: I will do my best to replicate the Orzo Salad for you. Not only did I not get a picture of it (it’s a really pretty salad, btw), I didn’t really follow a proper recipe for it. I just sort of “made it up”. But that’s the beauty of the Orzo Salad…you get to improv it depending on what’s fresh at the market or what’s in your frig! The Hot Onion Souffle’ Dip? Absolute no-brainer party dip for any time of the year!

Party Menu

Boiled Shrimp and Crawfish w/Conecuh Sausage, Potatoes, Corn and Mushroom

Hot Onion Souffle’ Dip w/ assorted crackers

Orzo Salad

Watermelon Salad and Cucumber Salad

Tomato Tarts

Marinated Cheese and Vegetables

Remoulade Crema

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

Red Beans and Rice

Hot Onion Souffle’ Dip

  • 3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese
  • 2 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 c. mayonnaise
  • 2 1/2 c. finely chipped onion (about 3 medium onions)

Instructions:

  1. Soften cream cheese. Mix all ingredients together until well combined.
  2. Place mixture in a greased baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees until lightly browned on top; about 50 minutes
  3. Serve hot with corn chips and assorted crackers. This dip is delicious even after it cools to room temp!

Sabrina’s Orzo Salad

  • 1 (16 oz) package orzo
  • 1/2 red pepper; finely chopped
  • 1/2 yellow pepper; finely chopped
  • 1/2 green pepper; finely chopped
  • 3 stalks celery; chopped
  • 1 vidalia onion; finely chopped
  • 4 oz sun dried tomatoes; drained and chopped
  • 1 small pkg. grape tomatoes; halved
  • 1 (10 oz) pkg frozen edamame; thawed
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil; chopped
  • 3/4 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese

Vinaigrette:

  • 6 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 3/4 cup olive oil

Directions:

  1. Prepare all vegetables except basil and place in a deep bowl. Set aside while you prepare the vinaigrette.
  2. Whisk together the vinegar, honey, mustard, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Slowly drizzle in the oil, whisking constantly, until emulsified. Drizzle HALF of the vinaigrette over the vegetables, and toss to coat. (Save the remaining vinaigrette for the orzo pasta.) Cover and chill at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours, tossing occasionally.
  3. Prepare orzo as directed by packaging. (Pasta should not be al dente for this salad. Once drained, pour into a serving bowl and add about half of the remaining vinaigrette; tossing gently. Chill until ready to assemble.
  4. To assemble, combine chilled and marinated vegetables and orzo into one large bowl; toss with basil and parmesan cheese and taste. If your salad needs a bit more vinaigrette or salt, add it here. May be served chilled or room temperature.

This bright salad is full of flavor and can be interpreted with blanched green beans or asparagus in place of the peppers; chickpeas instead of edamame! Enjoy and happy SUMMER!

We loved celebrating our #1!!!!

A big thank you to Karen Russell, Victoria Iacono and Julie Pflug for contributing some of the photos in this blog! xo

Calling All Girlfriends, Gal Pals and Galentines! Let’s Have a Party!

“Life is too short not to say “I Love You” often, to save the fine china or to skip the whipped cream! It’s too short not to play dress up and drink champagne with your girlfriends on a Tuesday night!”

Sabrina Pflug

Planning a fun party for the girls can really be executed anytime of the year, but I find it especially festive to throw an “over the top” girly party around Valentine’s Day!…a Galentine’s Day Party, if you will. Add a theme to your party and the fun can begin before guests even knock at your door! With only one guideline for party attendance, guests were asked to arrive dressed in their favorite Sex and the City character. So in the days leading up to the event, friends were scouring their closets for their best Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte or Miranda outfits! So. Much. Fun.

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Set the Mood…SET THE TABLE

 

I believe if 2020 has taught us anything, it is that most humans are not wired to enjoy “social distancing”. At the very least, we long for up close and personal community and fellowship, the exchange of hugs and hand shakes at will, singing and dancing in a crowd, and celebrations that include individuals that live outside our homes.

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My “IT” Color for 2020!

Sherwin Williams Pewter Green Kitchen

You know that kiss you can’t get enough of?…that bite of perfect dark chocolate?…that new Hulu TV series?  I get it (and don’t tell me I’m the only one with cravings!)…sometimes you just need to “binge out” unapologetically.  But beyond this obvious list of indulgences, you know what I simply cannot get enough of as I start this exciting new decade???  My new kitchen color!!!!  It makes me so stinking happy!  Throw in the kisses, the chocolate and the tv series and I’m practically certifiable! 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

 

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!

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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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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

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.

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“Snap, Crackle, Pop!” That one time the Breakfast Nook came to life with KID ART and POPS OF COLOR!

Breakfast Nook filled with Color

I don’t know about you guys, but just looking at this breakfast nook makes me instantly HAPPY!!!  So imagine getting to eat your Cheerios in the midst of all this happiness every morning or your mac n’ cheese at night?!  And then further imagine that you’re the kid(s) that created these modern art masterpieces!  I mean…wouldn’t you feel super duper proud of  yourself and want to go out into the world and drink up every ounce of it’s goodness; maybe cure some rare diseases or write the next Great American Novel???!!!! Continue reading