May 28, 2016

the cutest and yummiest strawberry tarts

These are the most amazing tasting strawberry tarts made with a buttery crust that features chopped pistachios.  A zesty cream cheese and lemon filling pairs beautifully with sweet summer strawberries for a dessert everyone will love!  Easy to make for that special weekend gathering.

Southern Living’s Mini Strawberry Tarts

1 cup (4.5 oz.) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup chopped pistachios
6 tablespoons (3 oz.) salted butter, cubed
1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
2 teaspoons lemon zest plus 1 Tbsp. fresh juice (1 lemon)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 8 (3 1/2-inch) round, 1-inch-deep mini fluted tart pans with removable rims, and place on a large rimmed baking sheet. Process the flour, powdered sugar, and pistachios in a food processor until nuts are finely ground, about 1 minute. Add the cubed butter to processor, and pulse 6 to 8 times or until mixture resembles coarse meal. Press about 4 1/2 tablespoons of the flour mixture on bottom and up sides of each tart pan.

2. Bake in preheated oven until lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove tart pans to a wire rack, and cool completely (about 30 minutes).

3. Beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and 1/2 cup granulated sugar, and beat until well blended. Gently fold the whipped cream into cream cheese mixture until incorporated. Spoon about 5 tablespoons of the cream cheese mixture into each tart shell. Cover tarts with plastic wrap, and chill 4 to 24 hours.

4. Toss together the sliced strawberries and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, and spoon on tarts just before serving.

ciao! fabiana

recipe via Southern Living

red, white and blue tablescape


In honor of the holiday weekend, I’ve put together a few variations of red, white and blue tableware from the blog shop to create a few different looks. I love how these crisp colors contrast with the natural textures of the raffia place mats. 

As we celebrate Memorial Day, the colors of our flag always bring a touch of patriotism into our hearts. As we gather with friends and family, let us remember those who served for our country and fought for the freedom we enjoy every day. 

ciao! fabiana

May 27, 2016

housewives through the looking glass

Have you seen these trailers on Bravo in the last week or so? Andy Cohen plays the Mad Hatter while the stars of the "Real Housewives" stop their bickering to come together for a prim and proper tea party a la Alice In Wonderland. 

Here's what happens when housewives in diamonds and designer dresses play tea party for in preparation for the upcoming “Alice Through the Looking Glass” film, premiering on Friday.  

 My inspiration?  Tea party decor, of course!
Lots of pretty vintage tea cups, fancy petitfours, 
roses, clocks, hats, bunnies and more!

The unbirthday cake and tick tock shortbread.

We must make sure to have lots of 
pretty cakes and sweets
and stacks and stacks of pretty tea cups!

Stacked higher is better!

Vintage tea cups are a must!

Accented with roses

cookies, muffins scones,  cakes, petitfours and 
a selection of tea sandwiches are perfect on the menu! 


repurpose an antique dresser as a buffet and you're all set!

ciao! fabiana

May 26, 2016

my first tomato of the season & recipe

The summer tomato season has started here at casa ciao! My first little perfect tomato has just been picked, and last night I incorporated it into one of my favorite middle-eastern recipes, Salad Shirazi. 

Salad Shirazi is a popular traditional Persian salad that originated the city of Shiraz in Southern Iran. The main ingredients are chopped cucumber, tomato, onion and a little lemon juice. In Iran, it is eaten in the summer as a side dish and on its own. It’s a crisp and refreshing side dish for summer that is so easy to make! 

During the colder months, it serves as a side dish alongside foods such as kebab and rice. Try my basic recipe and let me know what you think! 

Salad Shirazi

v  4 Persian cucumbers, peeled and diced
v  2 medium tomatoes, diced
v  1/4 medium red onion, diced
v  1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
v  1 tablespoon olive oil
v  ½  tablespoon lemon juice
v  Salt and pepper to taste

Chop all your vegetables and herbs and mix together in a large bowl.  Toss with olive oil and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Enjoy! (About 4 servings)

ciao! fabiana

a tropical and fun tablescape

My inspiration for the week is this breathtaking Caribbean beach house. Tropical and breezy, it sets the tone for what I am craving this summer. 

Neutral tones with just a splash of turquoise and beautiful oversized palm-shaped fronds used as accents are just my style!  I am in love with this tablescape! 

Don’t you just love how they personalized the place settings by writing on the leaves with a silver marker? Such a fun idea for summer! 

ciao! fabiana


While I’m here today, I wanted to share some of my "Tablescaping Essentials" with you. I have a whole page on the Amazon website with my favorite picks for setting a beautiful table.

Quite often time is of the essence, and I have last minute projects or events to work on, so I turn to Amazon for one or two day delivery. You’d be surprised at how many amazing items they have to offer! And I'm constantly updating this page with my new favorites. 

You can check it out here, at Tablescaping Essentials.

images via Coastal Living

May 25, 2016

new tiki lights for the weekend

Memorial Day marks the official kick-off to summer entertaining, and look at what I just discovered! These super fun and unique firepieces by TIKI Brand bring your outdoor tables to life! 

I love how compact and streamlined the design is, and they give off less smoke and soot than traditional little fire accessories, so your family and friends can linger longer around the warm glow. 

And look at how cute the red ones are! I love how they look with all the blue and white tableware. I found some at Target, and now I’m all set for the holiday weekend.

These will create the perfect ambiance for your get-together!

And they are so affordable! 

These firepieces fit perfectly into your tablescape.

A few other options from TIKI that are so cute for Summer!



Clinton Kelly from The Chew loves these firepieces, too!

ciao! fabiana

photo credit: via the Tiki Blog 

May 23, 2016

bold & playful ideas for your home

I wanted to share a few fun pics from this month’s Good Housekeeping Magazine. Nashville interior design team Jen & Benjamin Sohr show us some great ways to add a bit of bold color into your home ….

Prop up some large, colorful framed art on to your mantel.  Change it up when your mood suits you!


Don’t be afraid to mix modern with vintage, that way you create your own individual style. Make sure you use furnishings and colors that you love.  

Hand-me-down furnishings are budget friendly!  You just need to make them your own with new fabrics, throw pillows or paint. 

Be creative a set up a bar with a table you already have or be on the look-out for a fun piece. That way you'll be all set for guests any time they drop by and the bar can be modified depending on the season. It's also a great place to add a few of more of your favorite accessories and art pieces.

A dramatic or playful statement in your foyer sets the tone for the rest of your home. Don’t you love how this vibrant blue and white rug really jazzes up the space?

Don’t be afraid to mix your favorite shades of color together.  Experiment with what looks good and makes you happy.

Wallpaper is a great way to add pizzazz, and with a bold print like this, papering one wall is plenty!  

A regular plain old lamp can be updated with a bold shade of your choice.  It ties the whole look together!

ciao! fabiana


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