We had an overwhelming response to The Blonde Shallot’s Chicken Enchilada Verde recipe. We reached out to see if owner, Jess Rodgers, would share more goodness from her kitchen. In the spirit of our January focus on wellness and starting the year off right, she is sharing a healthy soup recipe that is sure to warm you up and have you feeling great from the inside out.
Skinny Minnie Vegetable Soup Ingredients
4 carrots, sliced thin
6 stalks celery, sliced thin
2 yellow onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 head broccoli, cut into small florets
1 bag chopped kale
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 zucchini, diced
2 cans cannellini beans
(4) 32oz containers Vegetable Broth
2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
½ bottle red or white wine
Salt & Pepper to Taste
2 tsp. Italian Seasoning
Bring a small pot of water to boil. Drop broccoli in boiling water and blanch for 3 minutes. Drain and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Set aside.
Warm ¼ cup olive oil over medium heat. Add carrot, celery and onion and sautee until crisp-tender. Add salt, pepper, Italian Seasoning, and stir well. Add zucchini and garlic, sauté for an additional 5 minutes. Deglaze with 2 cups wine, and stir up any pieces stuck to bottom of pan. Boil wine down for about 5 minutes. Add vegetable broth, cannellini beans, chopped tomatoes and white wine vinegar. Bring to a simmer, turn down to medium-low and let flavors meld for about 20 minutes.
Take pot off heat and add in kale, stirring well to make sure it all wilts down. Once kale is wilted down, add broccoli. Sample for seasoning and add salt & pepper as needed.
If you prefer a tangier flavor, add another teaspoon white wine vinegar. This is also lovely served with shaved parmesan on top.
Want more Blonde Shallot?
Jessica Rogers is the owner and mastermind behind the The Blonde Shallot eatery, located in Little Silver, New Jersey. The Blonde Shallot offers seasonal staple dishes and weekly specials, so there is always something new to taste. Stop by or order online to pick up your next meal. We know you will love it!
Making a New Year’s resolution to lose weight or exercise more is not a new concept. Chances are, we all have probably resolved to do this at some point or another. We also know that most of these resolutions can be short lived efforts. This year, instead of starting out focused on a specific diet or regiment, we want to focus on establishing healthy habits in an effort for a more attainable plan to last all year and beyond.
To begin on the right foot we sought some advise from a local pro, Dani Rubin, of Red Bank’s Pilates Blast. We asked her to share some of her favorite tips on establishing healthy practices that can be implemented by anyone and will fit into any routine or diet.
Dani’s Top Tips:
Avoid eating anything from a bag, can or box.
Workout with an accountability buddy to stay consistent.
Focus on the health benefits of movement not the vanity benefits.
Workout because you love your body not because you want to change it.
Who is Pilates Blast?
Dani and the Pilates Blast team are proud to bring decades of Megaformer and Pilates experience to Monmouth County! Intimately sized classes ensure a personalized experience for every reservation. They look forward to welcoming you to their spacious facility in the heart of downtown Red Bank!
Private sessions available, as well as Mega and Pilates-inspired home offerings on their streaming service, PB @ Home.
Local or not, you should get to know Pilates Blast. With their offering of in-person and virtual options, there is sure to be a class that is right for you. Visit their website for details on their studio, workout offerings, and class schedules!
Get Started Today
Dani and the team would love to welcome you to their studio with a special Introduction Rate of $25 for your first Megaformer or Pilates session in the studio. This is good for in-person classes only. To take advantage of this special offer, email them at email@example.com and mention that Town & Country sent you!
5 easy steps to create the perfect gift for your guests that doubles as a beautiful way to assign seating at your table.
GATHER YOUR SUPPLIES
CREATE PERSONALIZED TAGS
We like the added personal touch of hand writing each guest’s name. Hand stamping or stenciling the names would also be a lovely option.
FASTEN TAG TO VASE
A simple household twine or string can be used to string the gift tag to the vase. We prefer to attach the card before the ribbon to create a more tidy finished look, but you could attach the tag on the ribbon if you prefer and jump right to step 5!
TIE ON RIBBON
We chose a crimson velvet ribbon in a simple knot and left the ends long for a modern yet dramatic look.
Pop a few springs of fresh or dried greens into the vase.
*T&C favorites include eucalyptus, holly, and rosemary.
Ask any designer and we bet they would say they have a soft spot for holiday decorating. Whether you are a professional designer or just love to be surrounded by beauty, decorating for this time of year is the perfect way to catch the holiday spirit!
Once the tree is trimmed and the stockings are hung, it is time to for enjoy this magical time of year. For us, this season is best celebrated through giving and being surrounded by loved ones. One of the many ways to honor the spirit of the season are through gatherings and meals. This year’s holiday table is a modern classic, complete with rich greens, crisp linens, metals, and simple styling.
Start with a Vision
Setting a table is an important way to set the stage for the entire meal. Like in designing homes, we find that starting with a vision will help pull together the smaller details more naturally. For our fall table, we channeled earth tones and more rustic elements. When we envisioned our holiday gathering, we opted for a more polished and formal setting. We chose to stick with a traditional holiday color palette. Layers of green are offset with touches of rich crimson and a few pops of bold red. Adding elements of metal offer a welcome shine and allure to finish the look.
Ambiance is Everything
Ambiance is always important when designing a welcoming space. We wanted the table décor to be uncomplicated, yet stunningly classic. To create this look, we chose a natural garland and assorted candles. A visual display of the season’s true spirit we placed olive branches, symbolic of peace and friendship, in a simple glass vase for the centerpiece.
A mix of taper and pillar style candles adorn pewter candle sticks and fluted glass hurricanes presenting the perfect glow to the table.
The abundance of strung lights that seem to blanket everything this time of year offer a cozy luminosity. We love the idea of finding tasteful ways to incorporate this seasonal staple into the lighting for your meal. If your dining space will accommodate it, set up a tree decorated to align with the styling in your tablespace. If space is limited, consider using small planted or faux trees placed on a side table or clustered nearby.
Plan and Display Ahead
Plan your menu ahead and take time to consider how and where it will be displayed and served. Knowing how you are going to serve everything ahead of time makes for an easier execution when the time comes. This also means you can stay more present during the event, knowing that each course is ready to go.
Dessert does not have to wait until the end. Showcase sweet treats beautifully displayed, on a side table or buffet for a deliciously festive addition to the décor. Setting these goodies up early will give guests a tempting peak at what is to come.
No Detail is too Small
Unique touches like adorning the chairs are a detail that will go along way. We love using these sweet mistletoe wreaths to continue the layering of greens throughout the space.
We love adding personal touches to the table for our guests. This stunning, yet simple place setting is easy to create with just a few materials and doubles as a beautiful gift for your guest to take home. They are sure to remember your special gathering every time they use this beautiful orb style vase.
From our home to yours, we hope that you have a happy and healthy holiday season and wish you a Happy New Year!
Love the Look?
Shop our T&C Mercantile holiday table and décor online or visit us in our Red Bank shop. We are open from 10-5 everyday, Thursday is our late shopping night, open till 8pm.
The greatest thing about traveling is getting to explore the local sights, tastes, and culture of a new area. As a small business, we delight in discovering and supporting other small businesses through our travels. After a recent visit to the Catskills of New York, we are sharing some of Ginny’s favorite new finds in the area.
A note from Ginny on her weekend itinerary; “The Catskills is the perfect fall destination. I enjoyed a long weekend with friends exploring all the area has to offer. A day trip to Hudson was filled with great food and antique shopping. Our overnight stay, in Hunter, ended with a great new find, Fellow Mountainside Cafe.”
We hope these places will inspire you visit them and explore this beautiful region, should you find yourself there.
The Quiet Botanist
The Quiet Botanist is a botanical oasis, reminiscent of apothecaries, ateliers, and overgrown gardens of a bygone era. Offering seasonal teas, clean beauty products, dried botanical stems and arrangements, as well as a newly opened Facial Spa, this unique shop is a true treat to visit.
At Feast & Floret you can enjoy modern Italian dishes that are anything but basic. Interesting culinary combinations make for delicious dining experience. We particularly love their use of wood bowls for serving dishes in, we think this would be executed beautifully in our Teak wooden bowls from T&C Mercantile. Located in a 2-story brick building that was a 19th century carriage house and blacksmith shop, Feast & Floret offers lunch and dinner meals on weekends and dinner Wednesday-Fridays. While there pick up one of their stunning floral arrangements. Makes for a perfect way to remember your meal there!
We hope you will draw inspiration from these beautiful finds we have shared from the Catskills of New York. We would love to hear from you if you have visited these or know of other truly inspiring small business establishments.
As we welcome the start of summer at “The Shore,” we knew it was the perfect time to spotlight our Ocean Avenue Outdoor Project. The clients for this project are all about family and enjoying the coastal locale of this home. Located across the street from the ocean, this beach home is the hub for three generations to enjoy the sun and sand.
The overall scope of this project was a two story great room addition and an ultimate outdoor entertaining space. To achieve this, the client’s long time Interior Designer, Robert Wilson, came to us to help create the outdoor kitchen that would serve as the center of this new indoor/outdoor oasis.
A Chef’s Dream
The main outdoor kitchen is any chef’s dream featuring a ton of storage and just about every appliance possible. Stunning slabs of Jet Mist Granite top the main kitchen and bar, offering the perfect surface to work on.
Built for Elements
The cabinetry used is marine grade stainless-steel with a powder coated finish, a great outdoor material . We chose a subtle white washed wood looking finish in a classic shaker style for all the base cabinetry.
Taking the opportunity to mix it up, the louvered doors on the upper cabinets over the sink complement the shake siding beautifully.
The client really wanted a farm sink for the main kitchen sink and a dishwasher for easy clean up. Knowing the harsh environment that the salty ocean air provides, with Robert Wilson, we guided the client to materials that would be hard working against the elements and lower maintenance.
The Asko dishwasher, along with all of the appliances used are specifically built for outdoor use featuring high-grade stainless-steel interior components.
Something we run into is the assumption that, because products are considered outdoor friendly and even “marine-grade,” these products are indestructible. Understanding and, more importantly, executing proper care and maintenance is crucial for protecting the investment of these superior products. Regular cleaning and covering the cabinetry and appliances during off seasons or when not in use is so important. When properly maintained, your investment will be safe for years to come.
Large Nana Doors on the backyard and ocean side of the new addition open for a true indoor/outdoor living experience. When open, they allow for a beautiful cross breeze from the water to flow through the spaces. A classic white pergola frames the upper patio with integrated lighting and a retractable awning. This stunning addition makes for effortless day to night, rain or shine entertaining.
The bar features a kegerator, refrigerator/freezer drawers, ice maker, and a prep sink.
There is a designated “workspace” and a raised bar top which offers plenty of room for everyone to pull up a stool and watch the game on the large tv behind the bar while enjoying a signature brew fresh from the tap!
We all know the benefits of spending time outdoors, therefore it is nothing new to state that having a haven right out your door will improve your wellbeing. In addition to health benefits, investing in quality materials for a usable outdoor space will also improve your home’s value. Who doesn’t love that benefit?
Like indoor spaces, outdoor living is such an important part of enjoying your home, especially during favorable seasons. A well-designed patio or yard can offer significant square footage to a home. The added space is always a welcome opportunity for gatherings and entertaining!
Regardless of the size or function of your outdoor living, we encourage everyone to explore ways to enjoy and beautify not only the inside, but also the outside of their homes!
Ocean Avenue Outdoor Project Spotlight Sourcing
Kitchen Design, Cabinetry and Countertops: Town & Country Design Studio
This time of year is made for delicious comfort food and soups, chowders, and stews are comfort in a bowl. This month we are excited to share the Corn Chowder recipe from one of our favorite cookbooks, Feed Your Mind. Bay Magazine has created a cookbook is not only beautiful and packed with delicious recipes, but it is local as well. This cookbook draws inspiration from our state’s very own Long Beach Island (LBI to the natives) highlighting locally-sourced seafood, farm-fresh produce and regional ingredients.
2 T. butter
4 scallions, chopped plus 2 T. reserved for garnish
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 lb. white potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 cups fresh corn kernels (from 8 corn ears)
1 quart chicken broth
2 cups whole milk
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
In a large and heavy saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat.
Add scallions, bell peppers, and celery stirring until hte vegetables start to soften, around 8-10 minutes. Add in the potatoes, two cups of the corn, broth, salt and pepper. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occassionally, for 15 minutes.
In a blender, puree the remaining two cups corn with milk and add into the soup. Simmer until the soup thickens slightly, 7-10 minutes.
Ladle chowder into bowls or cups and top with chopped scallions and enjoy!
This Corn Chowder is simple yet delicious, making it a perfect recipe for week night dinners. The Feed Your Mind cookbook offers recipes for unique appetizers, side dishes, main courses, desserts, and cocktails, making it a great addition to the kitchen.
We stock the cookbook in our Red Bank shop or click the button below to order your copy!
There is just something about this time of year! Is it the bite in the air, the glow of the lights, the melody of the songs? We can’t say for sure. What we do know is this time of year seems to have a bit of magic in it! With this magical time of year, we are surrounded by a barren nature outdoors and turn inside for holiday entertaining.
Above all the things that make this season special is the overwhelming sense of togetherness. Regardless of your beliefs, this season has a way of uniting; families, friends, communities, and neighbors. That alone can feel magical.
Often gatherings are a big part of this togetherness. This year, as we thought about holiday entertaining, we have found that we are especially drawn to nature when imagining how to highlight this magical season.
Our holiday table is a celebration of nature and the season’s magic.
Keeping things more natural, we opted out of doing a tablecloth, using the wood table as the base for our table-scape. A crisp white linen topped with a rustic burlap runner offer some subtle structure to the décor. From there things get interesting…
Bring the outdoors in!
We love the idea of abundance when it comes to bringing in the natural elements, so we decided that we would go all out with layering the greens. Rather than using a more traditional pine or holly, we chose some of the seasons less celebrated plants for this table. A variety of dried and faux sprigs of eucalyptus create a plentiful bed all along the table. Rather than florals, we chose a variety of potted rosemary plants.
Tip: Rosemary is commonly used in holiday meals, by having these plants on the table it offers a nice semblance to the food you are enjoying at the table. This doesn’t have to be rosemary. Consider personalizing this philosophy to your meal. If there is a particular herb, fruit, or vegetable used in your menu, consider highlighting it on your table-scape.
Black and Brass Accents offer modern touches to the earthy theme.
We chose sleek matte black dishes and paired them with polished brass flatware for a fun juxtaposition of contemporary glam.
Rust and Mercury are both elements of nature. Although we wont go too far into the periodic table, the idea of adding items that are reminiscent of nature’s elements has validity when creating an earthy theme. Giant rustic bells and oversized mercury ornaments are perfect accents to adorn the greens. Wooden Block placeholders display personalized cards for guest’s seating locations.
Set the mood
We all know that lighting is so important when creating a mood. Candlelight is among the most romantic and cozy forms of lighting you can use in a space. We chose to place pillar candles in several glass hurricanes along the table to give a soft warm glow.
No matter if your holiday gathering is large or small, we hope you have a wonderfully magical holiday season this year!
Shop the look
Everything you see on our holiday table is available in our T&C Mercantile Shop. We are open daily for shopping and we are happy to offer virtual shopping for those who cannot visit us in person. Visit our shop page for hours.
Follow us on our social media accounts for updates on what is in stock, new arrivals, and shop events. You can shop products through either of our media accounts, just drop us a line or call.
This year’s Bingham Avenue Project, holiday edition project spotlight, is one that is near and dear to our hearts. This new construction project was the home of Town & Country Kitchen and Bath owner, Ginny Padula. Ginny and her husband Lou, owner of Padula Builders, designed and built this home with a heavy emphasis on family in mind.
There is no better time than the holidays to celebrate family and enjoy the comforts of home. This may be one of the reasons that Ginny pulls out all the stops when decorating her home for the season. We had the pleasure of capturing the house during one of the ‘most wonderful times of the year’ and chatting with Ginny about her holiday traditions and decorating inspiration.
We will spotlight details on this full home design project at another time. For this edition, we are going to focus on spreading the holiday cheer.
We started out by asking Ginny the obvious question, what is it about Christmas that makes her give full measure to decorating her home? “I have always loved holiday decorations and everything that goes with this time of year, like getting to spend extra time with my family.”
Ginny describes her holiday decorating style as being similar to her personal design style; classic and natural with hints of rustic elements. Evident in these images, the home features deep wood tones paired with warm neutrals. The traditional styling makes it feel tailored yet welcoming. When adding holiday décor she enhances these elements by layering lots of natural greens, which pair so naturally with the wood throughout the home.
Ginny is an excellent cook, this time of year the kitchen is especially busy with baking and extra people filling the home for meals. The décor is kept simple in this space to allow for ease of use during meal prep and baking. A small tree or two, some boxwood wreaths over the windows, strategic greens, and of course the highly aromatic and useful rosemary plant. She confides that her favorite holiday tradition is, being in the kitchen, baking cookies with her two sons.
Once the meal is made, it’s time to gather and enjoy! The Padula’s host a family dinner each year on Christmas Eve with the traditional Feast of the Seven Fishes theme. “We both grew up celebrating this way. When we got married we took over hosting to continue the custom for our family and friends and pass onto the next generation.” Ginny explains when asked how long they have have hosted these feasts.
This is a meal that requires that the entire family pitch in and takes days to prepare. Lou is the ring leader and head chef of this meal though and he starts planning for the feast weeks in advance. Everything from the homemade manicotti shells that are prepared the Sunday prior until the last salad hits the table is steeped in family tradition.
When asked if the menu varies each year, “Oh no,” Ginny explains, “everything is prepared using Lou’s grandmothers recipes and the menu is just the way she always did it.”
House of Trees
The most prominent decorative element that Ginny incorporates are trees. Large and small, real and artificial, there is a tree in each room of the home. Each tree is decorated with it’s own thoughtfully unique theme. “Last year there were 11, this year we are adding 5 or 6 more” admits Padula.
“They are all my favorite,” Ginny laughs when asked to pick, “but the family tree is probably my favorite” she decides, of the tree that the whole family decorates together. They fill the tree with ornaments either made by or collected by the group.
As in all design, an important element is to be true to your taste and comfort. When decorating for the holidays make it feel personal and purposeful. Small accents in well placed locations can make a big impact. We hope you have enjoyed this special holiday edition project spotlight and have gathered some inspiration for your own home this season.
Happy Holidays from the TCKB Design Team!
Shop The Project Spotlight Look
We rounded up a few items from the shop to help you create your own winter wonderland at home. Our shop is open in Red Bank daily, visit our Shop page for store hours. Please visit us to shop in person, email us: firstname.lastname@example.org , or call: 732-345-1441, we offer curbside pickup, local drop offs, and shipping.
This year, it seems, we are all craving some form of normalcy in an anything but normal time. While holiday entertaining may look different than we would like, there are still ways to make the holiday season special and inviting. We love the idea of hosting an el fresco dinner. The weather may be crisp but this only adds to the enjoyment of the season.
Location is everything
Find a cozy or pretty location like a patio, under a large tree, or in a garden space to set the scene. Consider bringing your dining table and chairs outdoors, the use of furniture that is traditionally used inside the home creates a slightly formal feel in a more casual setting.
Don’t be too concerned with pristine landscape, take advantage of the natural ‘décor’ around you. What could be more fitting than enjoying a meal among the fallen leaves that make the season so beautiful.
Décor for entertaining outdoors
The beauty of this concept is that most of the décor is taken care of by mother nature. For the tabletop, fresh flowers are a must…consider selecting something unexpected. Blooms that offer a contrast against the natural landscape create a focal accent. Here we used various sizes of the same glass vessels for assorted heights while keeping a consistent look. We chose pops of purple wildflower-like flowers. Instead of mixing the flowers in all of the vases, we grouped each flower type in it’s own basin for a more graphic touch.
In our design work, we love how mixed materials create interest to a space, this philosophy is true for tablescapes as well. Here we show brass, silver, and mercury metal tones mixed with organic elements like French linens, handmade pottery, and recycled glassware creating a causal yet polished composition.
A collection of vintage brass candlesticks adds a classic elegance and of course the source on an important ambience element. No matter the time of day that your holiday entertaining will take place, a candle glow is a welcome addition to the experience of dining outdoors.
Keep things simple
Stick with a minimal color pallet and use multiples of the same pieces to keep things simple yet interesting. Layer extra dishes to add subtle dimension and substance to each place setting. Forgo any excess of linens, instead stick with simple cloth napkins as the primary textile on the table. An added bonus, less fabric allows for more worry free dining experience. No need to worry about a spill and the makes meal cleanup a breeze.
A key to holiday entertaining is making everyone feel at home, this can be achieved even when dining outdoors. Have blankets available for guests to drape over themselves while dining. Light a fire nearby in a fire pit or chimenea to offer elements that have a cozy feel.
Shop the Look
Everything you see in these images is available in the T&C Mercantile shop. We are still working on our online shopping site. In the meantime, our retail shop is open daily through the holiday season for in person and virtual shopping experiences. View Shop Hours
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