Monday, February 28, 2011


Hey, hope everyone had a great weekend. This weeks recipes will consist of tips in the kitchen. I've received emails on choosing the correct herbs when seasoning so I hope this helps. Enjoy!

Anise:  Leaves used in salads, soups, beverages, meats and poultry. Seeds used to flavor cakes, bread, and cookies.

Basil:  "Sweet" Used mainly with tomato and egg dishes, stews, soups, and salads. Also, great in vegetable, poultry and meat dishes.

Caraway:  Seeds in breads, cakes, cookies, potato salad, and baked fruit pies.

Chives:  Great mild onion flavor to dips, spreads, soups, salads, omelets, casseroles and vegetables.

Coriander:  Seeds great in baking dishes, poultry dishes, and French salad dressing.

Dill:  Leaves are great in salads, cottage cheese, soups, fish dishes, omelets, sauces.
Seeds are used in pastries, sauces, sauerkraut dishes, and flavoring vinegar.

Fennel:  Leaves and seeds are great in fish dishes, cheese spreads, and vegetable dishes.

Marjoram: "Sweet" Leaves used in meat dishes, poultry, vegetable dishes, potato salad, and egg dishes.

Mints:  Leaves are great when flavoring teas and other beverages, great in lamb sauces and jellies.

Oregano:  Great in spaghetti sauces and tomato dishes.

Parsley:  Garnish in soups, salads, meats, and poultry.

Rosemary:  Gourmet seasoning for meats, poultry dishes, and potatoes.

Sage:  Seasoning for meats, stuffing, soups and salads.

Tarragon:  (French) Excellent in sauces and herb vinegars.

Thyme:  Leaves are great in meats, soups, sauces and egg dishes.

TOMORROW:  "Drying and Harvesting Herbs"

Keep the food and design questions coming. We are always glad to help.

Email Cat @
Mark: New Construction/Remodeling q's
George: Realtor/Construction q's

Friday, February 25, 2011


Hey, hope all is well...crazy night here. Between high winds, sleet, snow and a "Skunk" spraying outside my bedroom window, I'm exhausted. Hopefully, today will be better. Today's recipe is an all time favorite in our home. The recipe can be prepared so many different ways when entertaining and great for family picnics. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:  3 chicken breasts (cooked)
3 celery stalks (shaved)
1 golden delish apple (shaved)
1 cup red grapes (cut in half)
1 cup salted sunflower seeds
3 roman tomatoes (chopped)
3-4 sweet gherkin pickles (chopped)

Chop cooled chicken into small pieces. In a large bowl add all ingredients and mix with mayonnaise until creamy. Salt and pepper to taste. Using your favorite bread, spread one side with mayonnaise and other with honey Dijon mustard. Add chicken salad and serve with chips or use some of the twists below.

TWIST:  Shaving the celery and apple gives your salad a softer texture when serving. Substitute chicken with left over turkey at Thanksgiving.
Entertaining tips:
Serve on bib lettuce
Stuff green, red, or yellow bell peppers (just cut tops off and fill)
Serve on a decorative plate with tomato/basil crackers

NEXT WEEK:  "Kitchen Tips" I will be sharing some family tips passed down and a few of my own. Keep the questions coming. Have a blessed weekend, Cat

Email Cat @ for Design q's
Mark: New Construction/Remodeling q's
George: Realtor/Construction q's

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Hey, hope everyone is having a great week. Today's recipe is delicious and great side salad when entertaining. We are going to "curl" the cucumbers instead of slicing them. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:  3-4 medium cucumbers
1 pt. grape tomatoes
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 red onion sliced
Fresh Parmesan cheese (garnish)

DRESSING:  Whisk 1 cup mayonnaise with 3 tablespoons of Italian Dressing.

Using a potato peeler thinly slice cucumbers creating twirls. Finely chop any cucumber that doesn't wish to curl. In a serving bowl combine cucumber with tomatoes, sun flower seeds and sliced red onions. Mix with dressing and shave fresh Parmesan cheese on top just before serving. Easy and Delish!

TOMORROW:  "Chicken Salad"

DESIGN TIP:  The weekend is approaching. Do a "walk through" of your accessories in your home that you may not use. Now call your girlfriends! Have an "Accessory Swap"...sounds crazy but it's fun. Prepare brunch or have everyone bring a dish. You'll have a blast and you're saving money while getting a new look in your home.

We appreciate all your emails.

Email Cat @ for Design q's
Mark: New Construction/Remodeling q's
George: Realtor/Construction q's

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Hey, we're half way through the week. I noticed today on my calender states in 1991 Desert Storm , ground war began and ended on the 27th after 100 hours. I know a lot of us have family fighting for our country, (my son-in-law Dace served two deployments in Iraq) so I'd like to extend a prayer to those serving our country and to say thank you. Pray for peace for our country.
Todays' recipe is a twist on a pasta salad that I enjoyed last year at a Christmas Party. The chef would not share the dressing recipe with us ladies. Believe me we did everything except tie him down for it. ( I have my dignity) Salad is colorful and a great way to "show off" your knife skills. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS: 2 cups Radiatore pasta
1/2 red and yellow bell peppers (thinly sliced)
1 zucchini
3 celery stalks
3 sm sweet gherkin pickles
8 cherry tomatoes (cut in half)
1/4 cup sliced salad olives w/pimentos
1/4 cup sliced black olives
1/2 cup sunflower seeds (optional)
Fresh Parmesan cheese (garnish)
DRESSING: Whisk together 1 cup mayonaise with 3 Tablespoons of Italian Dressing with 2 Tablespoons of light brown sugar.

Cook pasta until al dente'. Drain and let cook in large bowl. Mix dressing in small bowl and let cool in refridgerator. Thinly slice vegetables (cutting at angle), add to pasta. Add olives and sunflower seeds. Mix well and add dressing. Cover and refridgerate 2-3 hours before serving. Served in a decorative bowl and garnish with sliced cherry tomatoes and shaved Parmesan cheese just before serving.

TWIST: You can add any vegetables that you desire. Prepare the vegetables and store in air tight container in refridgerator the night before to save prep time when entertaining. Healthy salad for lunch at work.

TOMORROW: Cucumber Salad

DESIGN TIP:  Had an email on decorating with a "Neutral palete" when you have children. Great question. When decorating always take your family's lifestyle into consideration. Choose a "base color" to coordinate your fabric. Doesn't have to be white or beige. Example: brown leather sofa w/ accent pillows in red or robin-egg blue looks great. Black sofa w/ accent pillows in sage green, blue or white compliments well.
Use your accents to compliment your decor. Meantime your furniture is "kid friendly". Trust me..."Trendy and Practical"...hope this helps.

Email Cat @ for Design q's
Mark: for New Construction/ Remodel q's
George: for Realtor/Construction q's

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Hey, hope everyone is doing well. Woke up to sleet and ice here. I had a great comment on the sweet potato fries. My daughter had seen them being served in the school cafeteria. Glad to hear that! I have to tell you, I am not a sweet potato fan but I love the fries. Today's recipe takes five minutes to prep before serving. A healthy side and eye apealing as well when entertaining. I am going to share an email from my mother-in-law "Ann" on food moods instead of a Design tip. Her son and I laughed while reading this email...just gotta love her!

INGREDIENTS: baby leaf spinache leaves
large can mandarine oranges (drained)
Poppy seed dressing
1 cup of pecans

In a serving bowl mix enough poppy seed dressing to coat spinache leaves. Add drained mandarine oranges and 1/2 cup chopped pecans. Mix well. Garnish with 1/2 cup of whole pecans. Easy and delish!

FOOD MOODS:  "our mood dictates what we eat" Don't continue to read if you don't have a good sense of humor. My husband and I are "crunchy people" we love texture when eating. Yikes!
If you crave tough foods, like meat, or hard and "crumchy foods", you could be feeling angry.
If you crave sugars, you could be feeling depressed.
If you crave soft and sweet foods, like ice cream, you could be feeling anxious.
If you crave salty foods, you could be stressed.
If you crave bulky, fill you-up foods, like crackers and pasta, you could be feeling lonely and sexually frustrated.
If you crave anything and everything, you could be feeling jealous.
Wow....I told you not to read if you didn't have a good sense of humor. Seriously, this was in a newspaper and written by a best selling author. States by feeding our souls with things other than food we strengthen our self-control and our physical and mental health. Hmm...I wonder why she sent this to me :-)

TOMORROW:  sorry..."Italian Pasta Salad"

Keep the tips and questions coming.
Email Cat @ for Design q's
Mark: New Construction/Remodeling q's
George: Realtor/Construction q's

Monday, February 21, 2011


Hey, hope everyone had a great weekend. We had beautiful weather Friday and Saturday then woke up to sleet Sunday morning. Prayed for warm weather in church! This weeks recipes are side salads that compliment any dinner entre'. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:  couscous
LeSueur sweet peas (drained)
Italian dressing
3/4 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Cook Couscous per pkg. directions for the amount of servings needed. I use 2 servings of couscous for the following. Add ingredients as needed per servings. Let cool. In a large bowl whisk 1/2 cup mayonnaise with 2-3 tablespoons of Italian Dressing. Mix well. Add drained sweet peas, shredded cheddar cheese and cooled couscous. Mix well and fold in pecans or walnuts. Serve in a decorative bowl or on bib lettuce if entertaining.

TWIST:  Make the night before and refrigerate. Delicious and healthy lunch for work the next day. I love it cold.

TOMORROW:  "Spinach w/ Mandarin Oranges"

DESIGN TIP:  Had an email from my tip on kitchen backsplash. Friend needed extra lighting while prepping food and cannot afford the cost of under cabinet lighting. Ahh...know the pain. We live in an older home and are on an extreme budget for upgrading certain areas. You can get the self-mounting under cabinet lighting pucks at your local hardware store. As a designer, I went the other kitchen is vintage so I have a small scaled lamp on my prep counter. It's accessorized with wrought iron fleur-d'leis, looks trendy yet produced that extra "task lighting" I needed. As always, consult a professional on a electrical desision. Hope this helps.

Email Cat @ for Design q's
Mark: for New Construction/Remodeling q's
George: for Realtor/Construction q's

Friday, February 18, 2011


Hey, another sunny day. Makes me want to BBQ on the grill. Unfortunately, we have another cool front coming. Today's recipe can be grilled outside or baked in the oven. Either way they are healthy and delicious. Also, a design tip on outdoor patio furniture. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS: 3-4 sweet potatoes
kosher salt
mandoline (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 375*. Microwave sweet potatoes for 3-4 minutes. Helps soften the potatoe for cutting. Cool, peel and cut into wedges. Bake on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Season potatoes with kosher salt, olive oil and cracked black pepper. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until tender (ovens vary). Turn potatoes over half way through cooking process for even baking. Healthy comfort food!

TWIST:  slice potatoes with a mandoline ( round slices). Spray a round cake pan with a non-stick cooking spray. Layer potatoes with olive oil, kosher salt, cracked pepper. Repeat process. Season layers lightly. Bake as above. Flip onto a decorative plate. Top with a dollip of sour creme and garnish with parsley. Healthy and attractive side dish when entertaining.

NEXT WEEK:  "Side salads" great as a side dish while entertaining or by itself. Have a blessed weekend. Cat

DESIGN TIP:  When choosing your fabric for your outside patio furniture make sure the fabric is "weather treated". Not only will this help on those rainy days but sun damage as well. Treat your patio as an extension from your home. Arrange furniture wih accent tables for beverages. Define your space with an outdoor area rug creating that "relaxed family living" while entertaining.

Email Cat @ with Design q's
Mark: for New Construction/Remodeling q's
George: for Realtor/ Construction q's

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Hey, we finally had a beautiful day yesterday in Indiana. Well deserved! Today's recipe is healthy and a gorgeous side dish for entertaining as well. The kitchen tips are from our favorite magazine "This Old House". This is the one magazine I am constantly swiping from my husband. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:  1 butternut squash
couscous (organic whole wheat)
chicken broth (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 450*. Microwave butternut squash on medium heat in microwave 3-4 minutes to soften squash. Cool. Peel and carefully cut into small cubes, removing seeds. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drizzle squash with olive oil, season with kosher salt and crushed black pepper. Roast for 30-40 minutes (ovens vary) until tender. Turn over in 15-20 minutes for even browning. Cook couscous per package directions for the amount of servings needed. I like the flavor of cooking the pasta in chicken broth. Fluff couscous with fork and plate with roasted butternut squash on top.
Great dish even by itself.

TOMORROW:  "Sweet Potato Fries"

TIPS:  "The butcher block smells like garlic". To sanitize a wood countertop, wash with a solution of 1 teaspoon of bleach in 1 quart of water. To eliminate odors, pour some coarse sea salt onto the surface and scrub ir into the wood using the face of a cut lemon. I use this same treatment on my wood cutting board.

"Your stainless steel is covered with watermarks". Forget about pricey products specifically designed for stainless, and grab your WD-40 from the utility closet. It will remove and repel fingerprints, watermarks, and stains. Just be sure to wipe away excess with a cloth. Hint...make sure you put the WD-40 back :-) I get snagged all the time!

Keep the questions coming. We are always glad to help.
email Cat@ for Design q's
Mark: for New Construcion/Remodeling q's
George:  for Realtor/Construction q's

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Hey...hope everyone is doing well. Today's recipe is a healthy side that can be a main dish as well. Especially for us "Empty Nester's". It's a great side dish for entertaining as well. Also, a "tip" on fresh herbs from my step-mother Pat. Thanks for all the tips and design questions. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:  1 spaghetti squash (serves 2)
1/2 pd. ground country sausage or Italian sausage
1 8oz. can tomato sauce (basil,garlic,oregano)
shredded Mozzarella cheese

Pre-heat oven to 350*. Wash/dry spaghetti squash. Microwave on medium heat for about 3 minutes to soften skin. Carefully cut squash in half. Remove seeds (see tip below). Drizzle each half with olive oil, kosher salt and crushed black pepper. Using a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (helps with even cooking) lay squash open side down and bake for about 40 minutes (ovens vary). Cook your sausage and drain off any excess fat. Add tomato sauce and season with Italian herb seasoning if desired. Let simmer until squash is done. Remove squash and carefully using fork pull out strands and combine with cooked sausage. Mix well. Stuff each squash and top with Mozzarella cheese and bake until cheese is melted. Delish!

TWIST:  The squash creates an attractive bowl while serving. Serve with garlic bread and a tossed salad and you have a complete meal. Great by itself as well.
I like to toast the seeds from the squash (similar to pumpkin seeds). Just be careful if you have small children. They tend to be a little crunchy.

Tip:  When purchasing fresh Herbs place in a glass jar with a little water with stems down. Then place the veggie bag (packaged bag) over the herb making it last at least 2-3 weeks verses 2-3 days. Great tip. Again, saving money!

TOMORROW:  "Butternut Squash w/ Couscous"

DESIGN TIP:  Had an email from yesterday's tip on drapery. How to measure blinds correctly. I used to sell blinds for Hunter Douglas and I can honestly say the easiest way to explain is to go on their website or any window fashion website. Just remember when choosing blinds take your family's lifestyle into consideration. Their are so many styles to choose from. Personally, I love bamboo style blinds combined with drapery panels, creating a relaxed style. If you have small children you can add a "safety feature" so they don't pull on cords. Hope this helps.

Email Cat for Design q's
Mark: for New Construction/Remodeling q's
George @ for Realtor/Construction q's

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Hey...were having a "heat wave" here...20* this morning and sunny. Today's recipe is a delicious and healthy side to go along with ham or pork. Great look for entertaining as well. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:  4-6 Ida Red apples (baking apples)
2 cups cooked/finely chopped chicken
2-3 cups chicken broth
1 cup Risotto rice
shredded mozzarella cheese (optional)

Cook Risotto rice in one cup chicken broth on low/med heat, stirring constantly and adding more broth as the rice absorbs the liquid. About 15 minutes.The rice is done when it is al dente or firm to the bite but tender. Set aside and let cool while preparing apples. Pre-heat oven to 350* and spray a large muffin tin with cooking spray. Wash apples and slice off the tops only of apples. Using a paring knife run it along the inside of the apple being careful to not cut into the sides. Now make an x in the center and core out the apple using a spoon. Make sure the seeds are removed. In a large bowl combine chopped apples, chopped chicken and Risotto rice. Stuff apples and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until apples are tender to the touch (ovens vary). Remove and let cool for about 5 minutes before serving. You can add shredded mozzarella on top after the apples are cooked and bake until cheese melts.

TWIST:  recipe makes a great cold salad as well. Any left over filling just add some red grapes and you've got a healthy lunch to take to work.

TOMORROW:  Spaghetti Squash "Italian Style"

DESIGN TIP:  I received an email asking...why have your drapery lined? I loved this question. Depending on the amount of Sun you have filtering through your window it can actually fade away your fabric and pattern. Sun can damage your carpet, fabric on your furniture and wood floors. Plus, having your drapery lined it is more energy efficient as well. A couple of tips to watch out for...not all fabric can be lined (sheers) it takes the design/style from the fabric. In that case try having your blinds for the light filtering aspect of your window. In this case she purchased drapes all ready made (which we all do) but needs them lined. I recently did this in a model home guest bedroom to save money. After purchasing the panels take them to a seamstress and see if they can add the lining to the panels. If not, return the panels and no money lost. Department stores now offer the longer length of panels as well. Which is convenient and saving you money. Hope this helps.

Email Cat for Design q's
Mark: for New Construction/Remodeling q's
George: for Realtor/Construction q's

Monday, February 14, 2011


Hey...hope everyone had a great weekend and Happy Valentine's Day. Today's recipe contains "no calories" and "no ingredients" to buy. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:  Faith, Hope, and Love

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love never fails.
Faith, Hope and Love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13

TOMORROWS RECIPE: "Stuffed Apples"

Keep the design questions coming. We are always glad to help.
Cat @ for design q's
Mark @  New Construction/Remodeling q's
George @ for Realtor/Construction q's

Friday, February 11, 2011


Hey...we made it through the week with this crazy weather! I'm happy to be alive due to my husband "busting his back-end" while feeding my birds for me this week. Yikes! My "flying feathered pigs" depend on me. Anyway, my BBQ pizza is a great Friday night meal. So stoke that fireplace, grab your favorite beverage, movie and relax! Who says Valentine's Day can't be "everyday". Have a blessed weekend.

INGREDIENTS:  refridgerated pizza dough
2 cups cooked/shredded chicken
1 20 oz. can pineapple chunks (drained)
12 cherry tomatoes ( cut in half)
2 cups mozzarella cheese (shredded)
Italian herb grinder

BBQ Sauce: whisk 1 cup ketchup, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup molasses, 1 tsp. Whole grain Dijon mustard, salt/pepper to taste. Any left overs makes a great dipping sauce for pizza.

Pre-heat oven to 425*.Spread pizza dough on a pizza stone, crimping sides. Drizzle olive oil and season with Italian herb grinder. Bake for about 10 min. or until crust is golden brown. Remove, add BBQ sauce (spread evenly over crust) and shredded chicken, drained pineapple chunks and sliced tomatoes. Spread shredded cheese on top and bake for about 20-25 minutes (ovens vary). Let cool before slicing. Enjoy!

NEXT WEEK:  "Healthy Sides"

DESIGN TIP:  I had a great email yesterday asking me why have a Designer when I already have a Custom Home builder. First of all, thanks for the email and this is an excellent question. A lot of times a Custom Home builder works with a Designer to offer that personable assistance through the construction stages. A designer will help you choose your interior/exterior selections of your home, making your building process less hectic. When I am working with a homeowner, I always make the home unique by focusing on their family's lifestyle.
Email me at if I can assist with any design q's
Mark: for New Construction/Remodel q's

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Hey, hope everyone is staying warm. -4 here!!! I love making this recipe especially on cold winter days. You can follow the chicken stock recipe on Monday or start from scratch with me today. Either way it's easy and delicious. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:  2 chicken breasts
2 chicken thighs
3 celery stalks (chopped)
1 10oz. can cream of chicken soup (less sodium)
2 cups Bisquick mix
2/3 cup milk

In large pot and chicken and chopped celery and cover with water. Add two tablespoons of salt/pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook on medium heat until chicken is done. Remove chicken and let cool. Add cream of chicken soup to broth. Stir well and simmer while you D-bone chicken and shred. Put shredded chicken back into "Broth" and bring to a boil. At this time make the dumplings (recipe below) and add to pot. Reduce heat and cook uncovered 10 minutes. Cover and cook 10 minutes longer. I like to "sneak" a dumpling just to make sure it has cooked all the way through before serving. Garnish with chopped parsley if you desire.

Dumplings:  mix Bisquick mix and milk. Using a teaspoon drop dough into boiling water. I prefer small size dumplings so they cook completely through.

TOMORROW:  "BBQ Chicken Pizza"

DESIGN TIP:  today is more of a questionnaire...I would like for you to email us any design/building questions. I've been receiving emails with some great cooking tips so I would like to share some questions as well. You can email us with the links below. Have a blessed day.
Cathleen @

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Hey...0* this morning in Indy...don't know about you but I am ready for some sun. Today's recipe has the "sweet and salty" combination that we all love. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:  2 cups cooked/shredded chicken
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup apricot preserves
1 20oz. can pineapple chunks
1 pkg. sugar snap peas (produce section)
1 bell pepper chopped
1 minced garlic
Worcestershire sauce

Saute garlic in olive oil until tender. Add chopped bell peppers and saute until tender. Add shredded chicken with 1/2 cup of chicken stock and cook until chicken is heated through. Stirring constantly. Stir in sugar snap peas and season with 3-4 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce. Saute for about 10 minutes adding chicken stock if needed. Now add your apricot preserves and stir well/simmer for about 10 minutes longer to bring the flavors together. Serve over pineapple rice. Garnish with a orange twist and parsley if you desire. Delish!

Pineapple Rice...drain pineapple juice in a glass measuring cup. Add enough water for the directions for the amount of rice you are cooking. Add in your pineapple chunks and cook to directions of rice.
HINT:  due to the pineapple juice you need to be careful of the water not boiling over when preparing rice.

TOMORROW:  "Chicken n Dumplings"

DESIGN TIP:  Lighting...I have to say as a designer this is one of my favorite applications during the design aspect of your home. Here's a couple of ways to get creative while being energy efficient. Have your connections installed with light dimmers. Gives you the control of the amount of light you need/saving money. Closet doors can be installed with on/off switch controls. Great for people like me that tend to be in a rush at times. Recessed cans are an excellent way for "task lighting" especially in reading/office areas. Under cabinet lighting in kitchen and game rooms gives you the extra light that we need when preparing meals, computers, etc. Wall sconces in hallways creates a warm ambiance when entertaining as well. Your entry chandelier is a warm welcome to your home but at the same time can use a lot of energy depending on scale of fixture. I always recommend an accent table in the entry of your home for the use of a table lamp for lighting. Again a warm touch to your entry without having your chandelier on. As always, bring your floor plan with you even if your just window shopping. Sales people will be able to advise you better with your floor plan. Enjoy and be creative while saving money.
Email me at or use the comment box if you have any design q's...Always glad to help.

Check out  the link below if you are in the need of New Construction/Remodeling

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Hey...hope everyone is doing well. Today's recipe is healthy and easy for those hectic evenings. Preparing ahead with the chicken stock recipe saves you time in the kitchen preparing this meal. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:  2 cups cooked/shredded chicken
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 clove minced garlic
1 bell pepper sliced
2 zucchini's sliced
8-10 cherry tomatoes
1 8oz. pkg sugar snap peas (found in produce section)
2 cups cooked rice ( I use minute-rice when in a rush)
Worcestershire sauce
garlic/herb seasoning grinder (read sunday's tip on these two seasonings)

Saute on low/med heat minced garlic and peppers in olive oil. Add shredded chicken and chicken stock and simmer for about 10 minutes or until chicken is warm. Add zucchini, tomatoes, and sugar snap peas. Stir well and season with 4-6 tablespoons of worcestershire sauce and 2 tablespoons of garlic/herb seasoning. Cover and let simmer on low for about 10-15 minutes or until done. Check and stir throughout this process. You can add chicken stock to keep it moist if needed. Prepare rice to the package directions while chicken is simmering. Plate with rice then chicken/ vegetables on top.

TWIST:  cooking with worcestershire is healthier and has a lot of flavoring.You may not need to add soy sause which contains more sodium. This recipe warms well for a healthy lunch at work the following day.

TOMORROW:  "Orange Chicken"

DESIGN TIP:  Kitchen backsplash...working with clients or doing a spec/model home designing a kitchen can be a task at times. Your kitchen is usually where everyone gravitates when entertaining so we all want it to be a "focal point". Remember your family's lifestyle when designing your layout. When choosing your backsplash have your counter surface selected first and kitchen cabinets. Then compliment with your kitchen backsplash. Tumbled marble compliments well if you select granite on your counter tops. I like to accent over my kitchen stove with a design to make that an interesting focal point when entering kitchen. If you have an island in your kitchen choose a different surface/hue that will compliment your counter tops. Again, creating another focal point in your kitchen. Always...bring a sample of your counter top and kitchen cabinet along with your kitchen layout when choosing your back splash. Remember...relax and have fun designing your home. Email me at if you have any design q's. Always glad to help.

Check out the link below if you are in the need of New Construction/Remodeling

Monday, February 7, 2011


Hey...hope everyone had a blessed weekend and enjoyed the game. Yes...chicken stock can be easy...a few minutes of prep-time can save you money in the long run. I like to buy chicken on sale and make stock and freeze for my recipes. Thaw out the night before in refrigerator. If you know what you are preparing for the week keep stock in a air tight container in refrigerator. If you don't like the messiness of d-boning a whole chicken and chopping a lot of veggies try this...

INGREDIENTS:  3 leg quarters
1 chicken breasts
4 celery stalks (chopped w/leaves)
1/2 yellow onion (sliced))
1 bag carrots (cut/pealed)
salt and pepper

In a large stock pot and onions, celery, onions, carrots. Add chicken and fill enough water to cover chicken. Salt and pepper and cook on medium heat until it starts to boil. Reduce heat and cook on low for about 40 minutes. Carefully remove chicken and let cool on plate. D-bone chicken and divide/place in containers for the week. Ladle half of stock from pan and place in freezer friendly containers when stock has cooled. Label and freeze.

TWIST:  your stock is add shredded chicken back into pot with maybe some corn and broccoli and let simmer until tender. You now just made "healthy vegetable soup" for your family.

FREEZER TIP:  I used to buy freezer labels until my step-mother "Pat" told me one day...why don't you just use a piece of tape and sharpie maker. Imagine that...again saving money!

TOMORROW:  "Chicken Stir-fry"

DESIGN TIP:  Interior/Exterior Design...this tip is essential when prepping your home for resale. We all know the term "curb appeal". The truth is people scout your neighborhood for homes even before they contact a realtor. Take a walk in your neighborhood and see how the other homes compare to yours. Now take a "5 second look" at yours and pick out three things that " instantly catch your eye". When I am staging a home for resale I use this same tip on the inside as well. A lot of times people are in a time frame when purchasing a home due to re-location etc. Your first impression is so vital and can be a deal breaker. In today's economy we need all the help we can get!
Check out the link below if you are in the need of New Construction/Remodeling

Sunday, February 6, 2011

"HEALTHY TIP"'s 2 seasonings I'd like to share that I've been using a lot of while sauteing vegetables.

Worcestershire Sauce...low in calories, cholesterol free, fat free, gluten free and 80% less sodium than soy sauce.

Garlic & Herb salt free fat or calories and has garlic spices, oregano, rosemary, basil, red pepper, orange peel, onion, parsley, paprika and celery.

Have a Blessed Sunday, Cat

Friday, February 4, 2011

"FRIDAY NIGHT PIZZA"'s Friday and "Super Bowl Weekend''...what more could we ask for? Today's recipe will make sure you "score" with your guests. If you've already made my homemade spaghetti sauce you're half-way their. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS: homemade spaghetti sauce
refrigerated pizza crust
mozzarella cheese (shredded)
provolone cheese (sliced)
Italian seasoning grinder
olive oil
Pre-heat oven to 350*. Roll out pizza crust on pizza stone making sure you've left enough dough for sides. Spread olive oil on crust and Italian seasoning. Bake for about 10 min. or until golden. This creates a stable crust for your sauce. Layer crust with spaghetti sauce, provolone and mozzarella cheese. Bake for an additional 20-25 min (ovens vary). Have a blessed weekend!

TWIST:  your sauce already has your meat, peppers, etc. You can add more if you wish when layering pizza. Just be careful if you add more don't want a soggy pizza crust.

NEXT WEEK:  "All about Chicken"

DESIGN TIP:  Home Theatres...I have to say home theatres and vacation homes have always been my favorite on the design list. I've never had a client put me on a budget for their movie room or a vacation home. Well, (me including) don't have the luxury of having a home today's tip is creating the look within your space. Seems today's trend is the "Man Cave"...I know, don't go their ladies...we have one too. I like to call it the "relaxed family room". Create the room so your whole family can enjoy especially on game day. If you are tight on space look at furniture that has "wall hugger" features. Rooms with windows use black-out lining on drapes creating the dark ambiance of a theatre room. For extra seating look at coffee tables that have ottomans underneath. Great for the kids. Depending on space try to have bar/ counter area for easy access for beverages and snacks. Honestly, I could go on forever creating the look without the cost. If you have any questions you can email me or use the comment section for your q's. I highly reccommend the link below if you have any building or remodeling questions. Always glad to help.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Hey...this is the night you do take-outs or left-overs. This cake is so moist and delicious and a great dessert for entertaining even on "game day". Recipe was shared with me "years ago" from my daughter's grade school teacher...or as she calls it "back in the day". It's been a favorite every year in our home especially on my birthday! Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS: 2 cups flour (all purpose)
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups chopped pecans (one cup in mix and one cup for decor)
1 cup coconut (shredded)
5 eggs, separated
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup margarine
1 TB vanilla
Pre-heat oven to 325*. Line bottoms only with parchment paper and grease sides of THREE 9" cake pans. You can grease and flour pans as well. Whisk soda into buttermilk in one bowl. Set aside for about 10 minutes. Cream butter, margarine and sugar until smooth. Add egg yolks (one at a time) beat well after each one. Stir flour and salt in one bowl and add slowly into butter mixture alternating with buttermilk. Add vanilla, coconut and one cup chopped pecans. Now...beat egg whites until stiff peaks form and fold into batter. (Fold gently with spatula into batter) Pour into cake pans and bake for about 30-35 minutes (ovens vary). Test with tooth pick or when cake springs back in center when touched. Cool on wire rack and frost with cream cheese frosting or due to the richness of this cake you can dust with powdered sugar. I recommend the cream cheese frosting :-)

Creme cheese frosting: 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 lbs. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
In a large bowl, blend cream cheese and butter mixing well. Gradually add in the powdered sugar beating until smooth. Add vanilla and blend until smooth. Decorate cake and sprinkle with chopped pecans on top.

TWIST:  recipe makes great cupcakes as well.

TIP:  this cake freezes well. Due to the amount of layers it makes you can freeze back a layer for that rainy day dessert.
Wrap layer in parchment paper and place in a freezer bag. I've frozen cake up to two weeks myself. I'm sure it could freeze longer but we never made it that far in our family :-)


DESIGN TIP: this tip is more of an" Entertaining Tip"...I like to showcase my dessert on the table verses flowers when entertaining. Flowers die and they can cost alot of money... so why not invest your money into the dessert that everyone will enjoy. Purchase a decorative cake plate for the centerpiece. Show off that cake you worked hard'll be happy with the remarks and you've saved some money while entertaining!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Hey...with this crazy weather today's recipe is perfect for that easy dinner and movie night. Check your channels the classic "Ground Hog Day" is playing all day long. My Italian sub is using the homemade spaghetti sauce this week. I like to spend a Saturday afternoon and cook the spaghetti sauce and freeze some for dinners throughout the week. Sure makes life easy for those hectic days. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:  Homemade spaghetti sauce
loaf of garlic bread
red pepper
green pepper
yellow pepper
2 slices of sliced mozzarella cheese

Pre-heat oven to 350*. Saute sliced red, green, yellow peppers in olive oil with salt and pepper until tender. Warm spaghetti sauce in a non-stick pan. Cut garlic bread in half and layer with 2 slices of mozzarella cheese, spaghetti sauce and sliced peppers. Bake for about 15-20 minutes (ovens vary). Easy and delicious!

TWIST:  after you have baked sandwich cut into wedges and insert with decorative tooth picks and plate. Makes a great "Game Day" sub sandwich.

TOMORROW:  "Italian Creme Cake"

DESIGN TIP: a Designer this an important step in the construction end. Whether you are building a new home or remodeling it is always important to "Tag" your granite. The samples are not always what you will get installed due to the hues and characteristics of certain types of granite. Take the time and walk your granite store and pick out the slab you desire for your home. I tag every slab for my spec/model homes and take the time to select with my homeowners. Make sure the salesperson has your kitchen layout for exact measuring. Bring a sample of your kitchen cabinets and sample of your back splash to coordinate with your granite selection.  Remember...have fun!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Hey...hope everyone is staying warm..."Winter Wonderland" here. My zucchini lasagna recipe was inspired by my doctor last year. Little humor sense I was told to "shed a few pounds". This recipe is using my Homemade Spaghetti Sauce from yesterday but it's so versatile that you can make a Vegetarian lasagna as well. My son-in-law (Chris) has wanted this recipe for awhile so have fun with it. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS: homemade spaghetti sauce
6 medium zucchini's sliced
8 oz. pkg. shredded mozzarella cheese
lrg. cottage cheese (small curd)
Italian seasoning

Pre-heat oven to 350*. Spray glass pan with non-stick cooking spray. Spread sauce to cover bottom of pan. Season with Italian Seasoning. Layer sliced zucchini's, cottage cheese, mozzarella cheese. Repeat layering with sauce sliced zucchini's, etc. 2-3 times depending on size of pan. Cover with aluminium foil and bake for about 45 min. or until tender (ovens vary). Remove... spread mozzarella cheese on top and bake for 15 min. or until cheese completely melts. Serve with tossed salad and garlic bread if you desire.

TWIST: vegetarian lasagna use a sauce that does not contain meat and assemble as above. You can actually use 2 (8oz) cans of tomato sauce (basil, garlic, oregano).

TOMORROW: Italian Sub Sandwich

DESIGN TIP:  flooring...depending on the budget you can accent certain rooms with different style of flooring. When designing "spec" or "model" homes, I like to highlight the entry, formal dining, formal living, and main walk space throughout the home with wood floors. You can break off into tile floors in kitchen, breakfast nook, and carpet in family room and bedrooms. This makes your entry more eye appealing and is beneficial for re-sale value as well. If you are on a budget use same aspect with tile instead of wood floors. You can always lay tile on diagonal to define your space as well. Remember take the size of your home into consideration because you want to create a nice flow throughout your home. Always take your family's lifestyle into consideration. If you have pets check with the type of flooring you are choosing to make sure it is "pet friendly". Get creative, have fun, and remember...It's Your Home.