Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Gnocchi in Arrabbiata Sauce

When I lived in Rome, one of my favorite meals was Gnocchi All'arrabbiata.  Arrabbiata in Italian literally means angry, so Arrabbiata sauce is your traditional red sauce with a spicy kick.  The trattorias would make gnocchi from scratch every Thursday night and there was just something about having it fresh vs. from a package.  For those who have never tried Gnocchi, it is a dumpling like pasta made from a base of potatoes and is like eating a piece of heaven.  When I got home from my time in Rome, I knew I had to continue the Italian tradition of fresh gnocchi with spicy sauce!

To make the Arrabbiata Sauce:

  • 1 Tablespoon Crushed Red Pepper
  • 1 Can Whole Tomatoes
  • 1 Can Tomato Paste
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Minced Garlic
  • Salt (about 1 tablespoon, but add to taste)
  • Black Pepper (about 1/2 tablespoon, but add to taste)

Pour olive oil into a sauce pan and begin letting it warm over medium heat.  Add crushed red pepper and garlic and let them sauté until the garlic is brown.  Put your whole tomatoes and tomato paste into a blender and puree until combined and smooth.  Once olive oil mixture is golden, combine tomato puree from blender.  Cook over medium heat until the sauce begins to turn dark red.  Add salt and black pepper to taste.

Our cabinet lights made this look so eerie!

To make the Gnocchi:

  • 4 Russet Potatoes
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • Dash of salt
  • To make a bigger batch, the ratio of these items is as follows:  1 egg and 1 cup of flour to every 2 potatoes. 

Fill a large pot with water.  Add salt and bring to a boil.  Add the potatoes and cook until tender.  Once tender, remove the potatoes from the water and place them on a clean dish towel or cloth.  

Using the cloth, rub the exterior of the potatoes (one at a time) to remove the skins.  The potatoes will be extremely hot and the cloth will both protect your hands and assist with removing the skins.  Be sure to remove the skins as soon as possible because the potato will be harder to peel as it cools.

The next step is to either use a potato ricer (made specifically for processing potatoes into grain like pieces) or cheese grater to the break down the potatoes.   If you use a cheese grater, the process will be a little more difficult and messy, but the results will essentially be the same (the potato will be more starchy with this method, but it shouldn't affect the quality of your gnocchi).  Whatever you do, don't "mash" the potatoes with a fork!  This will "hurt" the potato and create a slimy product--yuck!

Let the potatoes cool for ten to fifteen minutes--long enough that raw eggs can safely be added to the mixture without cooking.    When cool, add eggs and flour and gently incorporate the ingredients into a dough with your hands.  Be careful of over-kneading.  The dough should be light and airy.  More flour can be added if it is too sticky.   Be sure to remember that the dough should retain moisture, but not be tacky.

Cut the dough into manageable sections (I usually cut it in half)  Roll the dough out 1/8th of an inch thick and cut into sections about 1/2 inch.  To shape the gnocchi, hold a fork in one hand a place the a section of dough against the tines rolling and curling the at the same time.  The gnocchi should curl into shape with ridges that help hold your sauce.  This takes practice, and if you are short on time or discouraged you can also roll the gnocchi into oval shaped balls with your hands (like you would do with play dough).  If you choose this method, be careful of overworking the dough.

Boil some water with olive oil and salt.  Cook the gnocchi in batches, dropping them into the boiling water 20-30 at a time.  You will know when they are done cooking because they will float back up to the top of the water.  Use a slotted spoon to remove them 5-10 seconds after they begin to float.  Once all of the gnocchi is cooked, finish with sauce and enjoy!

This meal seems like it has a lot of steps, but it is incredibly easy to make with very few ingredients.  It is my go-to meal when we need to get groceries, we have lots of people coming over, or I just want something tasty!

I hope you enjoy!

This post is linked with What's Cookin' Wednesday at Buns in My Oven!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Shop Farm to Fete!

Happy Friday Everyone!

I'm dedicating this Five on Friday post to a new Farm to Fête endeavor...our Etsy shop!  I've recently found myself designing a lot of invitations for friends (and friends of friends) in the area.  It is something that I love to do and decided to make it a priority through the creation of the Farm to Fête Shop.  The store is small right now, but I hope to grow it in the coming weeks!  Without further ado, here are five reasons why you should be excited about this!


You can easily shop straight from my blog!  Just click the "shop" link at the top of my blog and you can see all of my listings.  You can click on things you like and be directed to purchase them with ease!

You can also find the shop by going to


The event planner in me is already thinking of all the printables I want to make for the holidays coming up!  I can't wait to throw some fêtes featuring some of them to share on the blog!  Stay tuned to see how you can use my shop items at your parties at home in the coming months!


I'm excited to hear what you would like to see.  Shoot me an email or write a comment to tell me what kind of paper items you might be interested in purchasing!  I would love to get some feedback on what items I should focus the most time on.


Speaking of tailoring the shop's offerings to what you want, I'm going to be offering custom invitations and other printables!  If you have something specific in mind...just let me know and I'll make it for you!  


I'm offering a free Mother's Day Brunch Invitation to kickoff the Etsy Shop!  Just click the link below, download, and print!  It's as easy as that!

Botanic Graphics courtesy of Angie Makes

 I'm linking up again with Christina and Karli for Five on Friday!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Outdoor Living Inspiration

Happy Wednesday blog world!

Our patio furniture is being delivered this afternoon so I decided to whip up an inspiration board for our screen porch.  I know Daniel and I are going to spend a lot of time out there this summer, so I want to really work on finishing this space before the rest of the rooms in our house.  I know most people might think that we have some strange decorating priorities, but we really love outdoor living!

Bar Cart // Lantern // Sectional // Outdoor Pillows // Boxwood // Rug
Since we decided to paint the ceiling of our screen porch blue, I really want to go with the cool color family with any decorating we do on the porch.  I love the idea of brightening up the space with throw pillows (please ignore the green ones our sectional comes with).  The sectional will give us lots of seating without having a lot of furniture that will block our view of the pond.  This particular sectional is nice because it is in several parts and can be used as chairs if there are many guests who need separate seats.   We decided to put a TV on the wall of the porch and a bar cart will anchor that wall nicely and give us some needed storage out on the porch.

I will share some actual photos as the porch decorating progresses!

Monday, April 20, 2015


This weekend was a much needed break from moving and organizing the house (though we did do a little bit of that in between some fun and relaxation).

On Friday night we had some good old fashioned fun with charades at our house.    It was fun to entertain in our house for the first time and charades brings out my competitive side!

On Saturday, we relaxed on the porch for a long time and started watching Bloodline on Netflix.  The first episode was iffy, but now I'm addicted.  We also moved the last of our things from my parents' house and they were kind to enough to give us their Air Hockey table for our Rec Room.  I can't wait to beat muffin at Air Hockey very soon!

On Saturday night we made Gnocchi.  When I was in college, I spent a semester in Rome.  While there,  I learned how to make several dishes and Gnocchi is one of my favorites to cook.  I decided to get everyone involved in the process and get some help rolling the Gnocchi out.  It was much more fun to have everyone cooking with me.  I will share my recipe soon!

We spent Sunday lazing around the house since it was pouring rain outside, but I did get a great picture of our Japanese bridge.  My dad gave this bridge to my mom for their 15th wedding anniversary and they decided to paint it red over the weekend.  I love the way it looks!

We had a great weekend settling into the house and actually enjoying entertaining and cooking in it!  We have some patio furniture coming on Wednesday and I'm looking forward to seeing our outdoor living space get finished just in time for Summer entertaining!

Linking with Biana & Meghan for weekending.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Still Moving!

This red dresser used to belong to my dad when he was a kid.  I spied it in the barn last weekend and knew it had to be put in our little nook!
If you've been keeping up with me via my instagram, you've probably already seen this picture.  Muffin and I are still moving in right now and controlling our chaos getting settled.  I didn't want the world to think I've forgotten about this blog!  In fact, I have been thinking about it tons!  In the next few weeks I hope to blog about our new home, but also bringing some more fêtes to the mix!  Just be patient as we get things as close to normal as we can at the new casa!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Review: YSL Volume Effect Faux Cils Mascara

I'm extremely excited to do another beauty product review for Influenster this month!  If you recall, last month I was asked to try and review Dove Dry Spray.  This month I'm feeling a lot more glamorous trying out the new YSL Volume Effect Faux Cils Mascara.

I've never tried YSL Mascara before, but have always heard great things.  When I got the news that I was selected to test YSL's "anniversary edition" of their False Lash Mascara I was beyond excited (just ask muffin...he thought I was insane for getting so jazzed up over mascara). I wish I took some great photos of the gorgeous packaging, but let's all get real here...I was like a kid on Christmas morning ripping into a gift.  The box was destroyed by my excitement to get to the product.  I can tell you this--it was gorgeous.  YSL has the whole packaging design thing down pat!

Now down to the nitty gritty of the Mascara.  The good:  IT WORKS.  It made my lashes long and gorgeous.  YSL adds B5 vitamins to the formula so it goes on smooth, but apparently also helps your lashes grow (and I'm all about that!).  It lasts all day without rubbing off.  Some mascaras tend to rub off and give me an even darker under eye...well not the YSL mascara!  It withstood my crying.  Now THAT is an accomplishment.  The bad:  there isn't any.  My only complaint (which is the same complaint I had with the Dove Dry Spray) has to do with fragrance.  YSL adds fragrance into the mascara.  It smells lovely, but can sometimes make me feel a little sensitive.

All in all it is an amazing product that I plan to keep using!

I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.  All opinions are my own.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Moving In

Muffin and I spent most of our Easter weekend moving into the house!!! It was exciting, but also a serious challenge since Daniel broke his right big toe (you might remember me mentioning this in the recap of our trip to Charleston last week).
Muffin's X-Ray.  The diagonal line is the break.
Saying he broke his toe doesn't really do the situation any justice--it's more like a broken foot.  He has what they call a "clean break" so the bone is completely detached and could require a pin if it shifts at all.  He's in a lot of pain and is trying to be a good patient, but it's hard when you are moving into a new house!

Now on to the fun part...the house!

On Friday night, my parents started dropping off furniture that they've been keeping for us at the store.  For those who don't know, my dad owns an amazing furniture store called Wisbrook Furnishings.  All of our furniture is from his store and he has a great selection.  He can special order from lots of lines and his pricing his extremely competitive with other stores that sell the same brands (ok end plug...but really...check him out).

Lola thought she would check out mommy's new chairs.  
I won't bore you with the play by play of moving on Saturday and Sunday, but here are some pictures that sum it all up!

Check out Daniel's cute ortho shoe.  
Dining table hanging out in the front yard. 

Dogs hanging out on the porch while we work.
 And here is the finish product on Sunday night:

The little blue and white Dutch Canal Houses were a gift my family gave to my grandmother.  Love to see them here in my kitchen now to remind me of her.
Cooking my first meal in the kitchen.

We also had a lovely Easter lunch with my family that I didn't take pictures of and wish I did.  I am excited to be moving in and getting settled in the house!  I hope everyone had a great Easter Weekend!

Linking with Biana & Meghan for weekending.