Sunday, January 17, 2016

The joy of setting a table.

#IloveStargazerBarn Sensory Seduction - main

I love setting the dining room table. Like a good outfit, layering brings out the best and adds personality. I like to think of it as telling a story. If you want a casual meal, the table setting should reflect it. Want something formal? Bring out the silver candlesticks. Want to encourage conversation? Scattered candles, fresh flowers, and conversation pieces do the trick.

As a child, it seemed like I “set the table” more often than I do now. I wonder why. Collections of tablecloths, candleholders, serving trays, linen napkins and specialty dinnerware are housed in well-organized tub upon tub. Frequent antique mall shopping only adds to the collection. Yet I rarely venture into the storage room to retrieve them. Yes, life as an adult is definitely more cramped than a young child who yearns to make everything special and old-fashioned (as I used to say it). But doesn’t setting a table actually set a mood? Think about Thanksgiving and the decorations that go into the table setting. Think about a special date or anniversary dinner at your favorite restaurant where the lights are dimmed and candles on a table cast a magical glow. Ahhh… now you see what I am saying, don’t you.

While my personal goal is to get back to basics of joyfully setting a table, perhaps focusing on a new habit is a good start. Okay, I’ll say it. Friday nights will be the (re)start of my joyfully setting the table. I am curious, is this a habit that interests you, too?

For the next six months, I already have help and a push to jump-start my habit. My friends at P.Allen Smith and stargazerbarn.com are sending me a monthly subscription to Star Gazer Barn collections of flowers, chocolates, cookies wine or a combination of these products.

#IloveStargazerBarn Sensory Seduction - package


Last week my first shipment arrived with…

Tulips, my favorite flowers!

#IloveStargazerBarn Sensory Seduction - package 2


Dick Taylor craft chocolate, one of the few bean-to-bar chocolate makers in the country. In fact, the latest February issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine selects this chocolate as one of their editors’ picks!

#IloveStargazerBarn Sensory Seduction - chocolate


#IloveStargazerBarn Sensory Seduction - martha stewart


Tulip eau de parfum trio of Mandarin Peony, lemon sugar, and coconut. I used these to scent my fake flower that I usually set the table with. Somehow it made it a touch better.

#IloveStargazerBarn Sensory Seduction - parfum


#IloveStargazerBarn Sensory Seduction - spraying parfum


Lastly, the collection included a detailed Barn School sheet talking specifically about the Ile De France Tulips that I received. I knew that since P.Allen Smith is partner with Star Gazern Barn that the flowers and collection would be top quality. They only sell American grown flowers (they grow themselves), are “veriflora certified,” and are members of the Slow Flowers movement. Quality.

#IloveStargazerBarn Sensory Seduction - cheat sheet


It was fun setting my dining table and incorporating my collection of old bells with the newness of fresh tulips and the metal vase.

#IloveStargazerBarn Sensory Seduction - old bells


I look forward to using and reusing this collection for as long as the tulip and chocolate lasts… while the vase and parfums will have a much longer lifecycle.

#IloveStargazerBarn Sensory Seduction - vase


If you are interested in this collection, it is called “Sensory Seduction” and it retails for $89.99 + $14 shipping. Shipping is free through February 29th if you use the code “flowerkiss” at checkout.

Hope you enjoy!

Happy table setting.

#IloveStargazerBarn Sensory Seduction - main with package


Eat well, my friend. Eat well.


Lyndi

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Top 10 Northwest Arkansas food blogs of 2015.

Hello friends!

Today is the day I get to share my absolute favorite annual post… the top 10 local food bloggers that I think you should be reading. Are you already reading these?

Some make my list every year and are a constant source of inspiration. I am happy to say that this year there are three new ones that were not on my radar screen a year ago and I am glad to get to know them. 

Most of all, thank YOU for taking the time to read, comment, and share nwafoodie this past year! Here’s to 2016.

Drum roll….

1.
The Stiers Aesthetic. Jonathan’s lifestyle blog is barely two years old and sparkles like a top-notch magazine. He brings his design eye into the kitchen and inspires me to hide the paper napkins. This local dude was named one of Better Homes & Garden’s top 10 Baking Blogs in 2015. Nicely done! Check out this post when Jonathan hosted friends for an amazing harvest celebration. Outdoors.

2.
Euna Maes. Amy’s blog is tribute to her beloved late grandmother, Euna Maes. Her kitchen boutique shop in Springdale is wildly popular and starting on Monday, Amy will have her own daily cooking show, Cooking Today, on KNWA! Kudos, Amy!

Monday, December 28, 2015

My interview with Cilantro, A Cooks Shop, based in Nova Scotia and Atlanta Canada.

Cilantro A Cooks Shop interview with nwafoodie Lyndi Fultz

I am a sucker for an interview.

The more creative the questions are, the more delightful the conversation. “Bravo, Bravo,” I squeal inwardly as I silently applaud a question that seems to appear from left field. To me it is just as much fun to read/hear the questions as waiting for the answers. I don’t care if it is a sappy online poll, a riveting 60 Minutes interview, or someone revealing their quirky side in their twitter profile, I just love a good interview.

Perhaps that is why whenever I am approached for a podcast or an online interview, I jump on it. What kind of questions will they ask? Will I stumble with a response? Will I have any idea what they are talking about? Will I ramble on and on and on and completely forget the original question? Argh, it is like an awesome adrenaline rush! Give me more!

Slow down, Lyndi.

Breathe. Breathe.

I was recently interviewed by Cilantro, A Cooks Shop as part of their Expert Interview program. This family owned-and-operated cookware, bakeware, and kitchenware retail store is based in Nova Scotia. Their online store is a massively awesome site that carries kitchen essentials, local artisanal Nova Scotian and Canadian made products, as well as international bakeware, cookware, and kitchenware brands. Right up our alley, right?

The interview questions were actually quite a challenge.

Breathe, Lyndi. Breathe.

I had to gulp hard and put on my big-girl pants to sensibly answer them. Questions were posed related to digital foodie tools, global cooking implements, high tech appliance design, and a general probe into what a foodie is looking for nowadays. What an adrenaline rush!

Click here to read the interview and let me know what you think! 

Happy browsing.

Eat well, my friend. Eat well.


Lyndi

Monday, December 7, 2015

The perfect refreshing mocktail.

#denigris1889 refreshing mocktail - up close one glass (c) nwafoodie

Content sponsored by #denigris1889

Have you ever watched one of those old movies where the main heart-throb walks into his office/den/sunken living room and mixes himself a cocktail and wonder, “what is he making, how does he know what to make, and why don’t I have a sunken living room?”


#denigris1889 refreshing mocktail - up close glass (c) nwafoodie


Through the years we have been slowly and steadily stocking the liquor cabinet with bar essentials, gadgets, and whatnots. It is just a matter of time before that moment will come when someone will drop by to visit and I will be able to make him or her their signature drink. I would invent it on the fly! Imagine how special they will feel!

Slowly. Surely. Practice makes perfect and I’ve been on a cocktail kick lately so that magical day is bound to come soon. I blame it on the fireplace. It really knows how to set the mood.

#denigris1889 refreshing mocktail - top view (c) nwafoodie


Tonight I wanted to create something a little special. Not a mixed drink. I wanted something with a little kick and also was super refreshing. Usually that means a squirt of lime or something bitter or citrusy. I rolled up my imaginary sleeves, perused my cabinets, and shuffled around in my whatnot box. Paper straws! Club soda! Simple
Syrup! Balsamic vinegar!

#denigris1889 refreshing mocktail - top view (c) nwafoodie

Wait. What?

Balsamic vinegar? In a mocktail, cocktail-wanna-be?

Yes! Balsamic vinegar is the perfect bar compliment. Think about all the drinks that are out there with bitters added. Think about the purpose of lime and citrus in a drink. They add bitterness, right? Bitterness balances out sweet. Simple Syrup is the ying to the balsamic yang.

This really is the perfect refreshing mocktail. All the ingredients are probably already in your cupboard. Now all you need is a really cute paper straw.


THE PERFECT REFRESHING MOCKTAIL
Makes one tall 8oz refreshing drink or two double old fashions

Ingredients

8 ounces Club Soda
1 teaspoon Simple Syrup
3 dashes of DeNigris White Eagle Balsamic Vinegar
crushed ice

Instructions

1.
Fill glass with club soda, simple syrup, and balsamic vinegar.

#denigris1889 refreshing mocktail - product shot (c) nwafoodie


2.
Add enough crushed ice to fill your glass and stir.

3.
Add paper straw and sit back and relax. Ahhhh…. Refreshing!

Happy sipping.

Eat well, my friends.


Lyndi

Friday, November 27, 2015

A refreshing cranberry wine spritzer.

cranberry wine spritzer Mountain Valley sparkling water (c)nwafoodie

Hi friends, how was your Thanksgiving?

I hope it was full of love and gratefulness and anticipation for the year ahead and all of its possibilities.

We gathered as a family and filled our tummies and hearts. We all also shared this refreshing cranberry wine spritzer as a pre-dinner cocktail. It was a huge hit and will definitely become a repeat.

In fact, why not join me in the repeat today?

All you need is cranberry juice, muscato wine, lemon juice, crushed ice, and Mountain Valley Spring sparkling water. They are the ones in the bright green glass and have been around since 1871. Based and bottled from Hot Springs, Arkansas… it is local to us and simply refreshing to all the other 49 states! I buy mine at Ozark Natural Foods in Fayettevile in bulk.

Want the recipe?  It’s posted today on Mountain Valley Spring’s blog (#sponsored).

Happy refreshing.

Eat well, my friend. Eat well.


Lyndi
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