Posts Tagged ‘@randomactsofstyle’

Why Not… Write a Letter?

Wednesday, May 10th, 2017

I love to send handwritten notecards.

Why Not? Two little words with limitless possibilities.

The other day I was rooting through a drawer in search of a pair of earrings (I admit I am obsessed with earrings) and I came across a dogeared journal. I sat down on the floor and ran my hand over the leather binding. I had forgotten I had it. Life gets busy and years slip by quickly. Inside were the scribbles of a young woman, a few sweet attempts at poetry, and a section where she outlined simple hopes and dreams for her future.

Another time, a stack of cards revealed personal notes from relatives long gone. Their words of encouragement and love were a precious reminder of how many people have come and gone in my life.

When is the last time you wrote a letter? Our fast-paced society celebrates our new-found ability to communicate in 140 characters or less. But this month, I am challenging myself to write more than a burst of brilliance to be gobbled up on social media. Instead, I will write a letter to someone who has touched my life.

You can take this joyful exercise even further, and a journal is a wonderful way to leave a lasting gift. If you are a parent, your handwritten thoughts will one day be precious to your child, the same way my mother’s journal is precious to me.

Click on the picture above to check out the beautiful notecards available on Amazon. And the journal below is just one example of the many choices. I wish you great inspiration as you create a lasting memory for someone who has touched your life. Why Not?

P.S. Happy birthday, Mom.

The After-Party: Gasparilla Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Friday, January 27th, 2017

Pot roast fit for a pirate!

This is big party weekend in Tampa. The pirates take over downtown — protect the women and children! It is Gasparilla, and Tampa celebrates with a parade and glittering balls and krewe parties that go on for days. It is also going to be a cooler weekend weather wise, and this recipe is perfect for the buccaneer who wants to come home to an amazing dinner after enjoying the festivities. It is also great for alcohol absorption. Have fun and be sure to uber if you’re partying.

Ingredients
One 4-pound beef chuck roast, or larger
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for coating
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 medium carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
3 stalks celery, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 medium onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, put through a garlic press
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup red wine, at least
3 cups low-sodium beef broth
3 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup loosely packed parsley leaves, chopped
Method
Sprinkle the roast all over with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper. Coat in flour and shake off excess. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the roast to the skillet and cook until golden brown on all sides turning as needed. Transfer the roast to the insert of a 6-quart slow cooker, along with the carrots, celery, onions and garlic.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet over medium heat. Add the tomato paste and stir until the oil begins to turn brick-red, about 1 minute. (You have to watch it carefully so it doesn’t burn) Add the flour and wine and whisk with a plastic whisk until thick. Add the beef broth, bay leaves, thyme, allspice, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper and bring to a simmer, whisking slowly, until the gravy is smooth and thickens slightly, about 5 minutes.
Pour the gravy over the meat into the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. The roast and vegetables will be tender.
Remove the roast and let rest for a few minutes. 9Meat should always rest before cutting — it allows the juices to go into the meat) Discard the thyme stems and strain the vegetables, reserving the gravy. Stir the parsley into the gravy and season with salt and pepper. Slice the roast against the grain. Serve the meat and vegetables buffet style, and serve the remaining gravy on the side. Enjoy!

Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchens

 

Recipes for Guys Who Don’t Cook So Good

Wednesday, November 9th, 2016
Grouper Piccata

Grouper Piccata

Recipes for Guys Who Don’t Cook So Good

By  The Spoiled Spouse

Like many men of a certain age, I grew up in a home where Mom cooked a majority of the meals and those cooked by Dad involved a great deal of red meat, charcoal briquettes, and flammable liquid.  I inherited the cooking gene from my father. I refined it somewhat during college by including large doses of ground beef and Ramen noodles.

Fast forward thirty years, and I find myself married to a wonderful cook who, unfortunately, must work several evenings during the week. She and I no longer appreciate the fine culinary qualities associated with the barbecue and Ramen diet. In an effort to avoid starvation and bad blood work, I began to look for recipes that matched my love’s skill but generally allowed me the freedom to observe my favorite sporting events during preparation. So, I will periodically present a recipe which has quality that far exceeds the effort that went into the preparation. Please enjoy!

Grouper Piccata

Grouper is a meaty, white fish found off the gulf coast of Florida. Any other fish with similar texture can be substituted.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. grouper fillets
  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • ½ cup flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch ground pepper
  • 4 tbsp. olive oil
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • ¼ cup capers
  • 1 tbsp. fresh chopped parsley

Cut grouper into 4 small pieces. Mix salt and pepper with flour. Dredge fillets in flour until coated.

Heat olive oil and 2 tbsp. butter in medium high heat. Brown fillets on each side. 4-5 minutes per side. Place grouper on warm dish.

Add wine, capers, lemon juice, and remaining butter in the pan. Stir with spoon to scoop up the small pieces of browned coating.

Neatly arrange filets on plates and cover with sauce and parsley.

Serve with white rice and your favorite green vegetable.

Pour the remaining wine in your best crystal and enjoy with your appreciative partner!

Editor’s Note: Once or twice per month Spoiled Spouse  will share a recipe with us. I’m hoping the next recipe is a gumbo.

Here is a new favorite cookbook:

She's the Best!

She’s the Best!

Copy This Look: Fall Sideboard

Friday, October 14th, 2016
Having fun with a fall vignette.

Having fun with a fall vignette.

I don’t like everything to look brand new. I suppose that’s why my favorite TV viewing is British shows set in picturesque villages, castles, and Oxford, England. In these dramas, the decor demonstrates a deep respect for family heirlooms and great-grandmother’s china — even if the latter comes complete with a few flea bites. I love collecting, and the hunt for a special piece is a large part of the fun.

 

You can find compotes like the depression glass pictured on my sideboard at Amazon. You’ll notice I didn’t match the compotes, which adds to the interest of the vignette. I love moving things around in my home, rediscovering pieces I’ve owned for years.512bsa68hyl-_sl160_

Here is a lovely deep green example that is similar to mine. The lamp pictured is a family heirloom, and works well with the jewel tone palette.

Let’s say your color scheme is a lighter one. My research on Instagram tells me that many women prefer a much lighter color scheme. Instead of buying a piece that you’ll see in all of your friends homes, check out the lamp below. It looks like a piece one might have inherited from a favorite aunt. This is a perfect centerpiece to mimic my sideboard design, but in a lighter palette. As you know, I adore crystal. It reflects light, making a dark corner an ideal spot for placement. I would pair this lamp with a light runner and perhaps some milk glass. My mother collected milk glass, and I’ve included a book that gives wonderful detail if you decide to start a collection or research a piece you may own. Let me know about your fall decorating projects!

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Elegant crystal table lamp.

A great book to assist you in collecting milk glass.

A great book to assist you in collecting milk glass.