Friday, February 12, 2016

In praise of comfy-cozy.

Stargazer Barn Gazing Gift Collection - comfy cozy PallenSmith (c)nwafoodie

For many of us, we wake up and it is dark. We drive home and it is dark. We go to bed and it is dark. Early morning arrives again and the alarm sings its morning wake-up song as our eyes adjust to the fact that another day begins. Coffee, prayer, study, breakfast, more coffee, shower, take the dog out, feed the cat, pause to look at the beauty of the sky above, more coffee, slip out of the bathrobe and into the clothes to face the day. Think that is a lot for the early morning? Okay, now add your touch such as attending to the kiddos, the husband or the wife’s routines, and don’t forget that ever-pressing temptation to check all the social media channels and email accounts before heading out the door.

We’ve got to slow down.
Breathe.
Pause to look up at the beauty of the sky above.
Below.
And all around us.

When life decides to increase the number of demands on your dance card, decompression time is critical. For some that means eating more carbohydrates or sugary temptations to make the happy feelings wash over you. For others, that means more time at the gym or hitting the streets listening to the pound, pound, pound of your sneakers tapping the pavement as streets and sidewalks turn into miles upon miles.

For me, when I start to feeling like there is too much running-to-and-fro, I start making beach-time a higher priority. Beach time simply means… down time. That comfy feeling when you are on vacation, listening to the waves hit the sand, and the happy feeling remember that you haven’t got a care in the world other than making sure you reveal in every single second.

Beach time for me means sitting on the back porch with Dennis or hanging out with family. It means going for a boat ride, kayak, or paddle board stroll or just letting my fingers softly trail the water while sitting on the docks edge and watching the ripples fade.

Beach time in the winter can be quite the challenge. For me it means that I have create   that comfy-cozy feeling inside. Candles, fresh flowers, a crackling fireplace, and a special treat or drink can do the trick.

How do you decompress?
How do you beach time?
Do you brave the cool weather, the wind, and the shorter days?
How do you create comfy-cozy?

About a year or two ago we started buying fresh flowers for the guest bathroom and kitchen to add a touch to the cozy ambiance. It has made such a huge difference to us.

When my friends at P. Allen Smith and StargazerBarn started sending me a monthly collection of flowers and goodies, I hadn’t realized how a statement flower arrangement could add so much depth to my living room.  Nothing says “cuddle up and get comfortable” that cozy room with a loved one, a puppy, mood lighting, gorgeous and unbelievably fragrant lilies, a mug of coffee, and a sweet treat. 

Makes me super happy.

Stargazer Barn Gazing Gift Collection - up close PallenSmith (c)nwafoodie


If you are curious, this Stargazer Barn collection is called “Gazing Gift Collection” and includes a dozen Starfighter lilies (a second generation of the original Stargazer) with Beargrass for teture and depth, bean-to-bar chocolate from Dick Taylor, and Lacey’s Toffee wafers. The Barn School notes said that the lilies would go through various stages of opening and blooming and they weren’t kidding! A week and half later they are still going strong and relocated them to the dining room to keep me company during a cooking binge.

Stargazer Barn Gazing Gift Collection - lacey PallenSmith (c)nwafoodie


Stargazer Barn Gazing Gift Collection - goodies PallenSmith (c)nwafoodie


Stargazer Barn Gazing Gift Collection - kitchen PallenSmith (c)nwafoodie


If you are interested in this collection, it is called “Gazing Gift Collection” and it retails for $89.99 with free hipping through February 29th if you use the code “flowerkiss” at checkout.

Happy cozy time.

Eat well, my friend. Eat well.

Lyndi


Sunday, January 17, 2016

The joy of setting a table.

#IloveStargazerBarn Sensory Seduction - main

I love setting the dining room table. Like a good outfit, layering brings out the best and adds personality. I like to think of it as telling a story. If you want a casual meal, the table setting should reflect it. Want something formal? Bring out the silver candlesticks. Want to encourage conversation? Scattered candles, fresh flowers, and conversation pieces do the trick.

As a child, it seemed like I “set the table” more often than I do now. I wonder why. Collections of tablecloths, candleholders, serving trays, linen napkins and specialty dinnerware are housed in well-organized tub upon tub. Frequent antique mall shopping only adds to the collection. Yet I rarely venture into the storage room to retrieve them. Yes, life as an adult is definitely more cramped than a young child who yearns to make everything special and old-fashioned (as I used to say it). But doesn’t setting a table actually set a mood? Think about Thanksgiving and the decorations that go into the table setting. Think about a special date or anniversary dinner at your favorite restaurant where the lights are dimmed and candles on a table cast a magical glow. Ahhh… now you see what I am saying, don’t you.

While my personal goal is to get back to basics of joyfully setting a table, perhaps focusing on a new habit is a good start. Okay, I’ll say it. Friday nights will be the (re)start of my joyfully setting the table. I am curious, is this a habit that interests you, too?

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Top 10 Northwest Arkansas food blogs of 2015.

Hello friends!

Today is the day I get to share my absolute favorite annual post… the top 10 local food bloggers that I think you should be reading. Are you already reading these?

Some make my list every year and are a constant source of inspiration. I am happy to say that this year there are three new ones that were not on my radar screen a year ago and I am glad to get to know them. 

Most of all, thank YOU for taking the time to read, comment, and share nwafoodie this past year! Here’s to 2016.

Drum roll….

1.
The Stiers Aesthetic. Jonathan’s lifestyle blog is barely two years old and sparkles like a top-notch magazine. He brings his design eye into the kitchen and inspires me to hide the paper napkins. This local dude was named one of Better Homes & Garden’s top 10 Baking Blogs in 2015. Nicely done! Check out this post when Jonathan hosted friends for an amazing harvest celebration. Outdoors.

2.
Euna Maes. Amy’s blog is tribute to her beloved late grandmother, Euna Maes. Her kitchen boutique shop in Springdale is wildly popular and starting on Monday, Amy will have her own daily cooking show, Cooking Today, on KNWA! Kudos, Amy!

Monday, December 28, 2015

My interview with Cilantro, A Cooks Shop, based in Nova Scotia and Atlanta Canada.

Cilantro A Cooks Shop interview with nwafoodie Lyndi Fultz

I am a sucker for an interview.

The more creative the questions are, the more delightful the conversation. “Bravo, Bravo,” I squeal inwardly as I silently applaud a question that seems to appear from left field. To me it is just as much fun to read/hear the questions as waiting for the answers. I don’t care if it is a sappy online poll, a riveting 60 Minutes interview, or someone revealing their quirky side in their twitter profile, I just love a good interview.

Perhaps that is why whenever I am approached for a podcast or an online interview, I jump on it. What kind of questions will they ask? Will I stumble with a response? Will I have any idea what they are talking about? Will I ramble on and on and on and completely forget the original question? Argh, it is like an awesome adrenaline rush! Give me more!

Slow down, Lyndi.

Breathe. Breathe.

I was recently interviewed by Cilantro, A Cooks Shop as part of their Expert Interview program. This family owned-and-operated cookware, bakeware, and kitchenware retail store is based in Nova Scotia. Their online store is a massively awesome site that carries kitchen essentials, local artisanal Nova Scotian and Canadian made products, as well as international bakeware, cookware, and kitchenware brands. Right up our alley, right?

The interview questions were actually quite a challenge.

Breathe, Lyndi. Breathe.

I had to gulp hard and put on my big-girl pants to sensibly answer them. Questions were posed related to digital foodie tools, global cooking implements, high tech appliance design, and a general probe into what a foodie is looking for nowadays. What an adrenaline rush!

Click here to read the interview and let me know what you think! 

Happy browsing.

Eat well, my friend. Eat well.


Lyndi

Monday, December 7, 2015

The perfect refreshing mocktail.

#denigris1889 refreshing mocktail - up close one glass (c) nwafoodie

Content sponsored by #denigris1889

Have you ever watched one of those old movies where the main heart-throb walks into his office/den/sunken living room and mixes himself a cocktail and wonder, “what is he making, how does he know what to make, and why don’t I have a sunken living room?”


#denigris1889 refreshing mocktail - up close glass (c) nwafoodie


Through the years we have been slowly and steadily stocking the liquor cabinet with bar essentials, gadgets, and whatnots. It is just a matter of time before that moment will come when someone will drop by to visit and I will be able to make him or her their signature drink. I would invent it on the fly! Imagine how special they will feel!

Slowly. Surely. Practice makes perfect and I’ve been on a cocktail kick lately so that magical day is bound to come soon. I blame it on the fireplace. It really knows how to set the mood.

#denigris1889 refreshing mocktail - top view (c) nwafoodie


Tonight I wanted to create something a little special. Not a mixed drink. I wanted something with a little kick and also was super refreshing. Usually that means a squirt of lime or something bitter or citrusy. I rolled up my imaginary sleeves, perused my cabinets, and shuffled around in my whatnot box. Paper straws! Club soda! Simple
Syrup! Balsamic vinegar!

#denigris1889 refreshing mocktail - top view (c) nwafoodie

Wait. What?

Balsamic vinegar? In a mocktail, cocktail-wanna-be?

Yes! Balsamic vinegar is the perfect bar compliment. Think about all the drinks that are out there with bitters added. Think about the purpose of lime and citrus in a drink. They add bitterness, right? Bitterness balances out sweet. Simple Syrup is the ying to the balsamic yang.

This really is the perfect refreshing mocktail. All the ingredients are probably already in your cupboard. Now all you need is a really cute paper straw.


THE PERFECT REFRESHING MOCKTAIL
Makes one tall 8oz refreshing drink or two double old fashions

Ingredients

8 ounces Club Soda
1 teaspoon Simple Syrup
3 dashes of DeNigris White Eagle Balsamic Vinegar
crushed ice

Instructions

1.
Fill glass with club soda, simple syrup, and balsamic vinegar.

#denigris1889 refreshing mocktail - product shot (c) nwafoodie


2.
Add enough crushed ice to fill your glass and stir.

3.
Add paper straw and sit back and relax. Ahhhh…. Refreshing!

Happy sipping.

Eat well, my friends.


Lyndi

Friday, November 27, 2015

A refreshing cranberry wine spritzer.

cranberry wine spritzer Mountain Valley sparkling water (c)nwafoodie

Hi friends, how was your Thanksgiving?

I hope it was full of love and gratefulness and anticipation for the year ahead and all of its possibilities.

We gathered as a family and filled our tummies and hearts. We all also shared this refreshing cranberry wine spritzer as a pre-dinner cocktail. It was a huge hit and will definitely become a repeat.

In fact, why not join me in the repeat today?

All you need is cranberry juice, muscato wine, lemon juice, crushed ice, and Mountain Valley Spring sparkling water. They are the ones in the bright green glass and have been around since 1871. Based and bottled from Hot Springs, Arkansas… it is local to us and simply refreshing to all the other 49 states! I buy mine at Ozark Natural Foods in Fayettevile in bulk.

Want the recipe?  It’s posted today on Mountain Valley Spring’s blog (#sponsored).

Happy refreshing.

Eat well, my friend. Eat well.


Lyndi
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