November 30, 2016

comfort food, belgian style

I've just discovered lifestyle blogger and home cook Virginie Degryse’s new cookbook that's filled with deliciously healthy Belgian-inspired California cuisine. 

And the timing couldn't be better, since this book celebrates the autumn and winter seasons with a variety of yummy comfort food recipes like Vegetable Pot Pies, Apple Pie Oatmeal, vegetable soufflés and Turkey and Cranberry Soup. 

Virginie grew up learning and cooking with her mother and grandmother during the holiday seasons, so her newly released cookbook, Crave and Cook: Home Cooking During the Holidays celebrates the traditions and flavors of her native Belgium. 

I love how she integrates traditional Belgian recipes with a modern and healthy California twist. My family and I start our day with oatmeal most mornings, and Virginie has a few really good adaptations to this family staple. 

I’ve selected three of my favorite recipes to share with you. Most of them are pretty easy to make. Be sure and check out her Crave and Cook blog for more fabulous recipes, and let me know if you try any! 

ciao! fabiana

November 26, 2016

a fun christmas table for the kids

Christmas morning is one of the most special times of the year, especially for the kids, so why not treat them to a special little Christmas breakfast after they open their gifts? 

I've put together a fun little Santa-inspired table that will keep that Christmas feeling going throughout the day. Hot cocoa will be served in these adorable vintage-style Santa mugs. 

And what pairs perfectly with hot cocoa? Why gingerbread, of course! That’s why our centerpiece for the table is this cute little gingerbread house, easily made from a kit available at Trader Joe’s.

Each place setting also includes a little satin stocking to hold silverware and a keepsake diy ornament that doubles as a place card. Wooden alphabet tiles or extra scrabble tiles can be used to easily spell the names of the holiday guests. Just glue letters on to wide popsicle sticks and then strung with red and white baker’s twine. 

After breakfast, the kids can hang their new ornaments on the tree. I made sure to add the year on the back of the ornament too!

Burlap charger plates are the foundation of the place setting, and then I use my vintage clear glass dinner plates.

A pretty craft paper runner from Oriental Trading was exactly what I needed for cutting out the paper circles that I placed between my charger plates and my glass plates. The snowflake design is perfect for the table! Then each setting is personalized with a cut-out felt Christmas greeting. (I used a salad plate turned upside down as a template for paper circles.) 

Santa is waiting for all the good little boys and girls!

It's such a simple and festive way to set the table.

A fun tradition for us every year is assembling this little gingerbread chalet from Trader Joe’s. All the extras are included in the kit, so all you have to do is whip up some white frosting for the “glue”. Not only is it adorable, but it’s tasty and totally gets the kids’ taste approval!

And it all came together like this:
Burlap Chargers: Oriental Trading
Glass Dinner Plates: Vintage
Snowflake Craft Paper: Oriental Trading
Red Raffia Place Mat: Home Goods
Santa Mugs: Oriental Trading
Wooden Alphabet Tiles: Oriental Trading
Wooden Popsicle Sticks: Michael’s
Red Felt Christmas Greetings: Dollar Tree
Gingerbread House: Trader Joe’s
Water Goblet: Vintage
Red & Green Glitter Trees: Oriental Trading
Silver Lanterns: Oriental Trading
Red & White Paper Lanterns: Oriental Trading
Red & White Tissue Snowflakes: Oriental Trading
Nutcrackers: Vintage 
Tablecloth: Vintage

 ciao! fabiana

Thank you to Oriental Trading for sending me these products to review. 
The opinions expressed in this post are truly my own.  

November 24, 2016

pumpkin pie

What would Thanksgiving be without pumpkin pie? For those of us who LOVE this traditional dessert, we can’t imagine the holiday without the sweet, fragrant filling and flakey crust of pumpkin pie, so perfect with coffee after the Thanksgiving feast. 

The tradition started with the English settlers in Plymouth who brought their pie-making culture to America. The pumpkin, which was a new food for the pilgrims, was soon incorporated into the delicious pie form and gastronomical history was made. It did take a few centuries for pumpkin pie to evolve to what we now are all familiar with. 

I love to buy sugar pumpkins and roast them, as opposed to using canned pumpkin. It’s pretty easy, and I usually prepare it the day before. 

All you do is cut the pumpkins in half, remove the seeds and stem and place cut-side up on a baking sheet. Bake until pumpkin flesh is tender, let cool. It’s easy to peel off the skin once cooled and then puree the pumpkin in a food processor. 

A little water may be needed to smooth the consistency. Here’s my basic recipe which also includes freshly grated ginger and nutmeg. Happy Thanksgiving!   
Homemade Pumpkin Pie


1 sugar pumpkin, baked, peeled and then puréed
1 (14 ounce) sweetened condensed milk
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust

1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Whisk pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, spices and salt in medium bowl until smooth. Pour into crust. Bake 15 minutes.

2.  Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and continue baking 35 to 40 minutes or until knife inserted 1 inch from crust comes out clean. Cool. Garnish as desired. Store leftovers covered in refrigerator.

ciao! fabiana

Check out more fun pie recipes here.

November 23, 2016

thanksgiving table with hints of amethyst

Here’s the final Thanksgiving tablescape for tomorrow. You know I have been playing around with different elements all month, but I’m really pleased with the results. 

I happened to run to South Coast Plaza yesterday to see if I could score a new raffia table runner for our bigger table and I found this one, that’s down the center of the table. It complements the two burlap runners with the squiggle pattern that I have running perpendicular. 

I also couldn’t resist these three preserved boxwood topiaries that I saw at West Elm. 

The star of the table, for me, is this set of vintage amethyst cut-glass tumblers. They catch the light just right! I also added these vintage purple sundae glasses to add a little more amethyst.    

Then, for a little added sparkle I'm using brass candlesticks with simple white tapers and gold glittery votives. White pumpkins finish off the look. 

And it all came together like this:
Burlap Chargers: Oriental Trading
Dinner Plates: Vintage Wedgwood
Amethyst Glassware: Vintage
Water Goblets: Vintage
Tall Brass Candlestick: Pottery Barn
Other Brass Candlesticks: Vintage
White Taper Candles: Trader Joe's
Boxwood Topiaries: West Elm
Pheasant Feathers: Oriental Trading
"Be Thankful" charms: Oriental Trading
Silver Flatware: Vintage

ciao! fabiana

November 21, 2016

pretty morning curb appeal

We had a ton of rain last night, but this morning it was crisp and clear and gorgeous out. I couldn’t resist capturing my favorite curb appeal in the neighborhood. You may recognize the home above as Barclay Butera's that has been featured on the Newport Harbor Home Tour a couple of times. I love the pumpkins scattered around each urn at the entrance.

Aren’t these layers and layers of evergreens and boxwoods fabulous? It‘s a great solution for a slopping front yard.

Here’s that French style home I shared a few weeks ago. I love a welcoming entrance and this one is so pretty for Thanksgiving.  

This home with the black door may look familiar. Other photos of this home have been a popular pin from Better Homes and Gardens. I love the mix of teal and orange for Fall. Check it out here. 

Pretty succulent urns greet 
those passing by or stopping by.

This mid-century modern house has an interesting symmetrical style and those orange planters framing each side of the door are amazing!

The fall leaves were blown around in the storm last night, but they only accentuate the positive aspects of this modern white farmhouse, like the metal roof and pretty porch. I love the front door and wreath!

This is what Newport Harbor looks like on a glorious day like today!

ciao! fabiana

November 20, 2016

another home tour peek

From our home tour archives, a little peek at a fun and funky Newport Beach home featured on the Newport Harbor Home & Garden Tour and few years back.


interior design by Erica Bryen
featured on the Newport Harbor Home Tour 

ciao! fabiana

For more Newport Harbor Home Tour inspiration,
check out this brand new book:


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