Cocktail Party · Cooking: Soup · What is Living Lovelier?

Survey Says! Fish Chowder; My Boys #9 Favorite!


Creamy, dreamy fish chowder is perfect for a chilly early spring evening- or anytime.  Curl up and enjoy. Don’t forget some warm, crusty bread.

Want me to SHOW you how to make this in person? Or any other one of my recipes, for that matter? BOOK A COOKING CLASS. My kitchen or yours.

  • Girl’s/ guy’s night out, showers, birthday parties,  of just a fun evening (or day) out.
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  • Email me at for information, availability and pricing.

This is going to be so much fun!

So, get your apron (and your groove) on and start cooking!

Creamy Dreamy Fish Chowder

What You Need

  • 8 oz. bacon
  • Three tablespoons butter
  • One large Vidalia onion, finely chopped
  • One shallot minced
  • Four celery stalks finely chopped
  • Kosher salt Freshly ground pepper
  • Three large Yukon Gold potatoes (about 1-1 1/4 lb.), peeled (optional) and cubed into 1/2″ pieces
  • One cup of fish stock or chicken stock (I prefer chicken stock)
  • 8 oz clam juice
  • Two tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • One 1/2-2 pounds skinless cod, haddock,
  • 2 cups half-and-half 2 cups of whole milk

What To Do

  • Line a half sheet pan with foil and cook the bacon at 400 until nicely browned, about 15 minutes- do not overcook it- you do not want it too crispy.
  • (If you prefer to cook the bacon in the pan on the stove you can. I find that cooking it in the oven is the best way. The bacon cooks evenly, and there is less of a mess and splattering.)
  • Place the bacon on paper towels and pat the excess fat off.
  • Add two tablespoons of the bacon fat in a Dutch oven or heavy pot and set the heat to medium.
  • Add the butter, onion, and celery to the pot.
  • Add kosher salt and pepper to taste.
  • Cook, stirring occasionally until the onion is translucent and the celery is soft, about 8 minutes.
  • Add the potatoes, clam juice, thyme, and broth.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer, and cook until the potatoes are tender, 10–15 minutes.
  • Season the fish with salt and pepper and place it on top of the potatoes.
  • Cover the pot and cook until fish is opaque and flaky throughout, 5–7 minutes (the timing depends on the thickness of the fish.)
  • Add half-and-half and milk one cup at a time allowing several minutes between each additional cup.
  • Return it to a simmer and cook for approximately 8-10 minutes.
  • Chop the bacon and use it to garnish each bowl.
  • Season with kosher salt and fresh pepper just before serving.
  • (This can be made up to two days in advance. It is super delicious after a day or two.)


Sparkle On, Friends.

Cocktail Party · Cooking · Floral Design · Interior

HOME Made: Welcome to My Dining Office!



Welcome to my dining room which also serves as my office. Or better said, welcome to my dining office!

We entertain here, we eat here, I work here. Unlike many dining rooms in today’s world, this room is fully employed.

I love to prepare a delicious meal, set a noteworthy table, arrange fresh fragrant flowers and welcome my friends and family into my home.  That said, having a special and unique room to entertain was one of the high priorities on the decorating “to do” list.

The room needed to be a place of comfort, warmth, and relaxation. We host many dinner parties so I wanted it to be intimate and welcoming.   So, during the construction phase, we  were sure to include lining and capping the fireplace. That was a good decision.

A previous owner of our home was responsible for hanging the dramatic red and gold floral paper. It was in excellent condition and I loved it so it made the cut. And I used that as my muse.

We were able to repurpose almost every piece of this furniture. I love when that happens.

Notice the two styles of chairs. I found the harp back chairs at an old antique shop. The remaining belonged to My Michaels family. I married them with yellow and magenta leopard print fabric.

I love the juxtaposition of the classic wallpaper and the funky animal print.

The funny thing is that if you look closely at the “spot the difference” photo at the bottom of the page, you will notice that the print  on the chair upholstery was so similar.  My Boston dining room had a smaller, traditional black and beige print.  In my present dining room, the chair cover print  is wilder and bigger with unconventional colors.

Now, have a look at the diamond upholstered chair in the corner. It came from My Michaels previous home. The colors and pattern bring the paper and animal print together in an even more interesting way. The deep wood on the arms ties in with Grammy’s secretary (my desk,) the china cabinet and the breakfront (not pictured.)

Speaking of which, the china cabinet  and breakfront were in the same old antique shop where I found the harp backed chairs.

The beautiful silk Persian rug  (as seen in the “spot the difference” photo of my Boston Home) would have been a lovely addition.  My concern was that it would be damaged by the traffic or a spilled glass of Cabernet, (not to mention the three boys, black Lab and orange Tabby.)

I surfed around and I found a reasonably priced neutral-trimmed sisal rug on Overstock. (You know what I love about Overstock?  There are so many filter options on the site that it is easy to find the perfect option quickly.)

My brother painted the still-life hanging above the fireplace. I call the frame it’s “fruit bowl.”  It does look like one, doesn’t it?IMG_6903

The brass “piggy banks” were given to my stepsons as babies by My Michael’s parents.IMG_6901

This pillow was made for me by a sweet neighbor, Jeannie. She was about eighty when she gave it to me in 1992.  She lovingly collected and sewed clothing labels together to  make a fashionable mosaic.  It is worn but loved.IMG_6902

My Michael and I believe, at times, that we were born in the wrong era. We love our evening talks in our Parlor (soon to be showcased,) listening to Frankie-Blue-Eyes with and adult beverage (Manhattans or Martins on special occasions or when we are feeling particularly in a 1950’s moment) which we pour at our drink cart!  We are so Ward and June-ish.

As I enjoy this room, I remember many family dinners where we sat in the harp backed chairs in Boston and listened to my late Dad’s stories.  I remember as a child, poking through Grammy’s secretary and finding her and ‘Pa’s social security cards and her photos from her youth in Ireland in hidden little nooks. Now I love gathering around with those I love and making memories right now.


Now, Friends, can you “SPOT THE DIFFERENCE?

Here is my Boston dining room


And here is my dining room today!



Sparkle On, Friends!

Cocktail Party · Cooking · Hors 'douvres · Joy

Tenderloin Au Poivre on Parmesan Crostini

  My mouth is watering just telling you about this! I am willing to bet that you have more than a few social engagements coming up in the next few weeks, right? And I am almost certain that you are expected to bring a nibble. You. Have. To. Bring. This. Here is one of my… Continue reading Tenderloin Au Poivre on Parmesan Crostini