Thursday, April 30, 2015

Why We Love What We Do

Last week, one of our loveliest clients (and one of our favorites), Nan, invited all of the girls over to her home. We were delighted to be welcomed into her home and show off some of the beautiful work that our design team had done. It makes all the hard work worth it when we get to see the finished product and the smiles on our clients' faces.
Thank you for a wonderful evening, Nan! Just look at this spread? Everything was delicious...especially the Sangria.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

What To Eat Wednesday

We have so many talented chefs in The Willows family that I decided it was just selfish of me not to share some of these delicious recipes. While the girls are going through their recipe boxes, I will share one of my favorite blogs for foodie inspiration. Seven Spoons is a delightful blog written by Tara O'Brady. She combines delicious food with witty writing that I always look forward to. She has also written a cookbook that is fantastic! Before you run out to buy it, here is a sample to get you started.
*photo courtesy of Seven Spoons
500 g linguine
1 large clove peeled garlic, or two if you are so inclined
2 teaspoons kosher salt
A good pinch, about a scant 1/4 teaspoon, dried chili flakes
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
275 ml jar of artichokes, drained and rinsed well, halved if large
250 g crab meat, preferably lump
Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
A handful of fresh parsley, chopped
A couple of handfuls of baby arugula (rocket), or other greens
Pepper, to taste
Put a large pot of well-salted water to boil. Cook the pasta, according to package directions or to taste. As the pasta will continue to cook when you toss it with the warm sauce, I would advise cooking until just under al dente. Meanwhile, in a small food processor or pestle and mortar, crush the garlic, salt and chili flakes into a smooth purée. Set aside.
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and olive oil. When just melted, add about 1/2 cup of the starchy pasta cooking liquid, along with the garlic purée. Continue to cook, stirring, until reduced by about 1/3. When thickened, add the artichokes and gently toss to coat.
With the heat on low, add the crab meat, lemon zest and juice and stir to combine. Tip in the cooked, drained pasta, turning so that the noodles are well-slicked with the buttery juices. Add the parsley and arugula, continuing to turn until the greens are slightly wilted. Check for seasoning, garnish with additional chili and fresh greens if desired, serve. Serves 4 as a main course, 6-8 as a light lunch or entrée.
 Do you have any signature recipes that we can share?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Place Your Bets!

It's Derby time... Come on, Dover, move your bloomin' @#$...
...over to The Willows to enter our Derby Contest!
Come in and pick your horse. No purchase necessary for your first ticket. If your horse wins, receive 20% off any regular priced item. You will also be entered to win a $50 gift card. Spend over $100, and better your odds with TWO horses. Hurry in, this bookie closes at 1pm Saturday!
Our hats aren't quite as fancy, but they are fun and one of a kind...

Monday, April 27, 2015

Friday, April 24, 2015

Lavande Farm

While I enjoy the rare rainy days here in Phoenix, I do not enjoy the additional mosquitos that pop out to ruin the last few weeks of nice weather we have before it heats up. I know we all have our preferred methods of staying bite-free and I just found one I can't wait to share with you.We were so lucky to meet the owners of Lavande Farm and hope you will be just as excited to try their product line we just started carrying.
After being inspired by the lavender fields of Provence, France, in 2010, Craig Stewart came home to Texas and planted the fields that have grown into the Lavande experience. In 2013, Craig expanded his operations to the Santa Ynez Valley of California, right in the heart of the wine country. Lavande is a family owned business. All the members of Craig's immediate family are involved in one way or another. Couldn't you just wander through these fields forever?
We are in love with their products. They all smell and feel amazing. Take a look below.

Now back to those pesky mosquitos... No more stinky bug spray!
All Natural Lavender Mosquito Spray: Safely shield skin from pests with this aromatic, chemical-free spray. Lavender disturbs the mosquito's nervous system, preventing it from landing, and provides you and your loved ones with roughly 5 hours of beautifully scented protection.You can also use this spray around the house to freshen linens, your dog, or in the AC vent to freshen the whole house.
*All photos courtesy of Craig Stewart-Lavande Farm*

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Ruby's Petite Tea Party

My beautiful granddaughter, Ruby, turned 7! Where does the time go?
My talented daughter, Christine, went all out (as usual). She hosted a lovely tea party for Ruby and her friends.
Mid Morning Tea
Passion Fruit Tea
Scones with Butter & Jam
Nutella Flower Sandwiches
Cream Cheese & Cucumber Sandwiches
Chicken Salad Croissants
Pink Pavlova with Berries & Cream
She found the sweetest mini pie dishes and made the apple pie filling and dough from scratch! See what I mean by going all out? Each young lady was able to roll out their own crust and scoop in just the right amount of yummy apple filling. These girls were becoming professionals and even got super fancy with a lattice top.
Such concentration!
Of course, what professional little pastry chefs don't have their own apron? Christine made special one of a kind aprons out of her stash of fabrics for each special guest. (Keeping a stash of fabrics...hmm...wonder where she gets that from?)
She also purchased adorable pink pie boxes, topped them with a chalkboard label (available at The Willows) and let them write their names so they could take their masterpieces home.
 Happy Birthday, sweet Ruby!
A special thank you to my insanely talented youngest daughter, Emily, for capturing these wonderful moments for us. To see more of her brilliant photography, check out her blog HERE.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Original Willowette

And our most beloved mascot. Miss Willow passed away a few weeks ago and our hearts broke here at The Willows. I am hijacking Bev's blog today to let her know that we all loved and will miss our baby girl Willow.
Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. When an animal passes that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together.... 
*Author unknown*


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