Wednesday, March 26, 2014

making chili for the crowds

When our Chicago cousins come to town, everyone is so excited to see them!  I always know we will have a full house of visitors and those anxious to hang out with them.  No one wants to cook, plus I'm never sure exactly how many people will show up, not to mention what all the different little picky-eaters will and won't eat, so I always make a big pot of the world's easiest chili.  This is the best go-to meal when you want it done fast, you need to feed a lot of people, and you want to make everyone happy.  

world's easiest chili

- ground meat of your choice (sirloin, turkey, etc.)
- pork chops, cut into cubes
- ranch style beans (the secret ingredient)
- chili powder, salt and pepper to taste 
pour everything in a pot and cook.  see how easy that is.
then, make a buffet of toppings for everyone to choose from.
examples: cheese, corn, sour cream, radishes, zucchini, avocado, cilantro...
the list could go on and on.
the kids can have it plain with cheese, the dads can spice it up with tabasco, 
and everyone else can make it just the way they like :) 
happy crowd, happy hostess.

the secret ingredient :)
something here doesn't belong...
a sure sign of lots of kids running around :)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

willows' style

Have you been following along with our style blog?  Michelle offers fashion tips, wardrobe suggestions and shows you what is the latest in the apparel shop.  We just posted about her littlest shopper today!  
Go have a peek and leave a comment!  Your support means so much to us!

t-shirt tuesday!

Don't forget!  Tuesdays are T-shirt Tuesday at the Willows!
Get 20% off all Michael Stars tees and tanks in-store today!

"A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous." - Coco Chanel

Monday, March 24, 2014

cleo and clementine

I have to say, I think we are really lucky in Phoenix to have so many unique local shops and restaurants, and I love being able to support them. One of my favorites that my daughter Christine introduced me to a while back is the lovely Cleo and Clementine.  Attention all brides or anyone in need of a unique, one-of-a-kind dress!  This is a place you need to know about!  These dresses will make you drool and the shop itself is beyond darling.  My personal highlight was seeing her eight year old daughter making doll clothes in the back!  I wanted to sit down with her and join in.  7th Avenue is full of so many gems these days and this is definitely one you need to visit if you haven't yet.  Grab a coffee, hit up some vintage shops and stop in to Cleo and Clementine.  There, I just planned a lovely weekday morning for you :)  You're welcome.

For more information...
OUMA by Monique Sandoval

Friday, March 21, 2014

a happy package, a happy customer and a delicious recipe

The weekend is almost here!  This week I got the happiest package in the mail from my daughter Emily, who, I have mentioned, is spending the semester in Belgium.  She has been a little homesick lately, so head over to her blog, look at all the fun she is having and the beautiful pictures she is taking and give her some words of encouragement!  She will be home before she knows it and it will have been such an amazing experience!  We sure do miss her though!  She sent us a fun package full of all sorts of yummy Belgium treats... (and a sweet little note, too!)

And then, there are little notes like this that make you love your job 
and appreciate all the wonderful people you get to meet along the way...

And, finally, back to those cookies we teased you with at the beginning of the post...

My other daughter, Christine, likes to spoil the Willows and our customers with her delicious baked goods.  She just brought us some amazing Oatmeal Whoopie Pies and people have been drooling over them and asking for the recipe.  Thought we would pass it along and give you something yummy to bake over the weekend!  Let us know if you try them!

For the cookies (makes about 3 dozen):


- 1 1/4 cups butter, softened
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
-1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 cups Quaker Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)

Heat oven to 375°F. In large bowl, beat margarine and sugars until creamy. Add egg and vanilla; beat well. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg; mix well. Add oats; mix well. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 8 to 9 minutes for a chewy cookie or 10 to 11 minutes for a crisp cookie. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered.

For the filling:


- 4 egg whites
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3 sticks of salted butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Bring about 2 inches of water to a boil in a small saucepan, the right size to hold your mixing bowl on top.  Bring back down to a simmer.  Combine egg whites and sugar in stainless mixing bowl.  Whisking continuously, and at a good pace, place bowl on top of simmering pan of water.  Bowl should not be touching water.  Continue whisking until egg whites reach 170 in temp or appear very white and are hot to the touch.  Remove bowl and place on mixer.  With whisk attachment, slowly bring up to high speed and let go for several minutes until the mixture appears stiff and shiny.  Let cool in bowl.  Slowly add bits of butter with mixer on medium, about one tablespoon at a time.  Finally add vanilla extract.  Should look like pretty whip cream with a thick consistency.  It if is too liquidy, you may place it in the fridge or freezer to cool off a few minutes and then back on the mixer to re-whip! Use to ice a cake, fill  your whoopie pie cookies, or your macarons.  Enjoy!

We hope you have a happy weekend!  

Thursday, March 20, 2014

outdoor design - before and after

Beautiful weather is just around the corner.  Spring is a time to soak up the sun and we love spending time with family and friends in gorgeous outdoor spaces. 
Here is a before and after of a local client who wanted to bring The Willow Look to her outdoor patio.  Our design team took an empty outdoor space and turned it into the perfect space to read a book, or enjoy a glass of wine with a dear friend. 



Contact our Willows' Design Team to help make your outdoor space a beautiful place to spend 
your mornings, afternoons and evenings!  

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

a baby shower

While my son Alex and his wife Mary were in town over the weekend, we had a little baby shower for them as they are expecting their first baby this June.  I made a miniature rack and hung it with some baby clothes and asked our guests to bring books wrapped in brown paper to shower the sweet babe of these two English majors.  It was a lovely party with lots of friends and family.
We love you Al and Mary and sweet baby Evangeline! 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

making baby presents

My son Peter made this adorable little hanging rack for his daughter last year, so I thought I would try and put one together for grandbaby number 20, while her parents were in town from Chicago (she is due in June!).  I picked up the pieces I needed from Home Depot (I may have had to climb a shelf to get what I needed when no one wanted to help me...) and picked up some paint from Rust and Roses.  We made the whole thing in one short afternoon and I love the way it turned out.  The only thing left is to add the little mini casters to the bottom of it.  
I just love the stripes!

Monday, March 17, 2014

happy st. patrick's day!

Well, we had another wonderful year at my son's neighborhood St. Patrick's day party!  Every year he builds a pub in his driveway, they block off the street and have a huge party.  It is so much fun!  This year they hired the band Elvis Before Noon and we all had a blast dancing into the evening!  The lovely Willows' ladies even hopped into the photo wall for some fun pictures!
Happy St. Patty's day everyone!

Friday, March 14, 2014

something new for spring!

Spring is always the best time to freshen up your wardrobe!  Throw out all those old, unworn items in your closet and pack up all your sweaters (if you even got them out this year!).  Come in to the Willows' apparel boutique and talk to the lovely Michelle to get all those new spring pieces and you will wear right into summer!  See you soon!


Related Posts with Thumbnails

Our Location