Year: 2015

Chuck Williams – founder of Williams-Sonoma

Charles E. Williams, founder of Williams-Sonoma and the man responsible for introducing French cookware and high-end ingredients into American kitchens, died peacefully in his sleep early Saturday. He had recently turned 100. Mr. Williams, who was known to everyone as Chuck, bought an old hardware store in Sonoma in 1956 and began filling it with the copper and enamel ware he’d seen while traveling through Europe. He ignited America’s enthusiasm for cooking and quickly turned his own passion into a highly successful retail and mail-order business, one that now boasts 623 stores, including Pottery Barn and West Elm. “He just loved food and entertaining,” said Mary Risley, a close friend of Mr. Williams who formerly ran Tante Marie’s Cooking School and still teaches classes out of her home. Risley first met Mr. Williams when the two were neighbors on Nob Hill and shopped at a grocery store nearby. “The store put produce out front, but the better stuff was in the back,” Risley recalls. “Chuck and I would meet going through the tomatoes in the back room. We knew all …

Wax Collector – by Esque Studio

Amazing! Amazing! Amazing! The wax collector designed by Andy Kovel is a unique candle holder. This candle  has a divet at the lip that allows the  candle to drip inside the bottle and  transform  the  bottle into a  capolavoro. Another wonderful thing is that when the bottle is filled up, you can return to Esque Studio and they well send you a new one! Good idea for a Christmas gift!  

Fish Pie with Sorrel & Petits Pois

Serve 4 Delicious, rich and comforting a fish pie is the perfect dish for winter. Ingredient 500g Hake, Sea Trout, Prawns & Brown Shrimp 20g Sorrel, separated into leaves & stalks 120g Petits pois 1 Small Onion Bunch of Spring Onions 600ml Fish Stock Bay Leaf 550ml Cream 1kg Peeled Potatoes 100g Butter 50g Milk 50g Cream 20g Egg Yolk Salt & Pepper to Taste Directions Peel, finely dice & soften a small onion in a large pan with a little olive oil. Add the fish stock, sorrel stalks & bay leaf then bring to a boil. Dice the fish into large chunks and simmer for five minutes, then lift out with a slotted spoon and cool. Bring the fish stock to a boil and reduce by half, add 500ml of double cream then strain the sauce & season. Allow the sauce to cool then add the chopped spring onions, sorrel leaves, petits pois & gently fold in the fish. Pour either into a large pie dish or individual ramekins. Peel and cut the potatoes …

Painted Kitchen Utensils

              Displayed in jars or hung from holders, wooden spoons and spatulas are a classic component of any kitchen. Introduce a pop of colour to the handles with this simple upcycle idea.   Before you begin, wipe the utensils with a damp cloth to ensure they’re free of dust. Use masking tape to mark off stripes. Apply two coats of eggshell acrylic paint, allowing each coat to dry first. Remove the masking tape before the second coat dries to avoid the paint cracking around the edges.   Photo: Monica Melsness  

Rachael Yamagata

   What makes you come alive or inspires you? Rachael Yamagata: Beauty and heartache.  What makes you feel vulnerable? RY: My own brain. When I get it out of the way, I’m fine.  If you could say something to everyone on the planet, what would it be? RY: “Love everything.”  How do you handle emotional pain? RY: I face it, write about it, and then sing.  How do you keep your center in the middle of chaos? Do you have a daily routine? RY: I treasure my mornings. I get up early and ignore everything work-related for the first few hours. It’s just me and my coffee addiction.  What’s been one of your biggest lessons so far in life? RY: Follow your instincts, and handle all with respect and diplomacy. What truth do you know for sure? RY: That we all are trying—everyone is more than what you see on the cover; we all run deep and have our story. That my mother would jump in front of a train for me. That love could …

Vanilla Rice Pudding Parfait

Serve 4 Ingredient 2 cups leftover short grain brown rice 3 cups organic milk 2 vanilla beans, scraped 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1 teaspoon lemon extract 1/4 teaspoon sea salt 1/2 cup maple syrup 2 cups Greek yogurt 1 cup fresh raspberries 1 cup fresh blackberries 1/2 cup hemp seeds Directions Add the leftover rice, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, lemon extract, sea salt, and maple syrup to a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the rice absorbs all the liquid. Cool slightly, and then fold in the Greek yogurt. Using glasses of your choice, layer the berries, hemp seeds and rice mixture. Cover and chill before serving. Enjoy ! Photo: Monica Melsness  

Hydroponic Plant Decor Ideas

  The winter weather drives us into the house, and with that we have the perfect opportunity to bring the best of outdoor living inside. Besides the fresh, natural, and clean air that plant life provides, this beautiful foliage can also be a delicate element of decoration. With a simplicity that is in style,you can grow plants and display them indoors, especially herbs that love to proliferate like basil and mint. Rooting plants simply suspended in water   has also become a beautiful hydroponic trend.                        


It’s almost winter; in some places the weather starts to be cold and snow falls , and  when we have kids  the question becomes: what will we do today with the kids  outside of drinking hot chocolate? A good idea is making crafts, and for this reason I would like to introduce you to the book ” Playful”. This book is amazing for entertaining the kids. You can do  26 unique and modern projects like  cardboard houses, crowns, masks, wooden face necklaces and more! This beautifully presented book is the creation of Merrilee Liddiard, founder of the popular arts and crafts blog, Mer Mag. Playful – $24.99  

Darling Dahlia

                Tips to have a Dahlia Garden The Dahlia is the national flower of Mexico; it is delicate, beautiful, and with an endless variety of color. These plants grow and bloom best in full sun and tolerate most soil types, but prefer a  well drained sandy soil. If your soil is heavy or clay, just add sand and peat moss. Water once a week. If it’s very hot, water more frequently. Do not choose too tall varieties if you have a small garden. Some dahlias can be two meters. Plant then in a sunny place, then the flowers develop well. Plant the tuber in late April. Make sure they covered with five centimeters of soil. Immediately place a stick to support them. Some species get top-heavy flowers and fall quickly. If you want a bouquet, cut the dahlias in the morning when the flowers are already open well.      

Spicy Pumpkin Soup – to warm you up

Pumpkin soup is a authentic autumn dish, it’s quick to make, totally healthy and taste great. Ingredient 1 pumpkin 3 tbsp olive oil 1 white onion, finely chopped 2 cloves of garlic, crushed 1 chili pepper, cleaned and very finely chopped 800 ml  vegetable bouillon Curry powder or coriander Directions Cut the pumpkin into quarters, remove the seeds and the stringy insides and set aside. Peel the segments and cut the flesh into pieces. Brown the onion, garlic and chilli pepper in the oil in a large pan. Add the pumpkin chunks and fry for a couple of minutes. Add the bouillon and leave to simmer for fifteen minutes. Season with curry powder and coriander, puree using the  blender. It’s delicious with bread. Enjoy! Photo: Monica Melsness  

6 Beautiful Rugs

A rug can set the tone, color scheme and comfort factor of your living space! Handwoven by a skilled artisan on a traditional punja kilim loom using tie-dyed wool yarns and a sumac weave, this reversible rug offers pops of color without distracting too much from surrounding furniture. Luxuriously soft, this handmade shag rug feels wonderful underfoot.   Macrame Wool Rugs are made with the softest wool from New Zealand with a pretty popcorn stitch that adds fabulous texture. This handmade wool rug features a simplified trellis pattern replicating a Moroccan Berber rug.        

Vodka Pie Dough

Don’t worry, the booze cooks off and leaves no taste behind. Ingredients 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1/3 cup lard or vegetable shortening 1 tablespoon sugar 1 teaspoon fine salt 1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces 1/4 cup vodka 3 to 4 tablespoons ice-cold water Directions Pulse the flour, lard, sugar, salt and 4 tablespoons of the butter in a food processor until it has the consistency of a fine meal. Add the remaining 8 tablespoons butter, and pulse until you have pea-sized pieces. Sprinkle the vodka and water over the flour, and pulse until the dough just comes together. Evenly divide the dough between 2 pieces of plastic wrap, and gently pat each into a round. Wrap each round tightly and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour and up to overnight. The dough can be frozen for up to 2 months. Enjoy!     Via : Foodnetwork Photos: Monica Melsness /  James Ransom    

Win a Linen Table Runner – by Beyond Her

Niche & Nook is excited to have joined forces with  Beyond Her  and is offering one lucky reader the chance to win a beautiful linen table runner. “Beyond Her” line table runner combine the best of fine traditional table linens with indie flair. It’s perfect for holiday dinners and entertaining. Don’t miss out on a chance to win this amazing prize. To enter this competition, all you have to do is follow Niche & Nook  – it’s that simple! Good luck! OUR WINNER HAS BEEN CHOSEN! IT’S MONIQUE WESTON. CONGRATS, MONIQUE! Terms and conditions: The prize draw is open only for USA residents age 18 or over. All entries must be received by 6:00 pm,  November 1, 2015. By entering this competition, you consent to share your email and name with Niche & Nook  blog, who may wish to send you mailings in the future. There will be one winner who will receive the prize above. The prize must be accepted as offered (there are no cash alternatives) and they are non-transferable and non-refundable. The winners will be chosen from the list …

How to Create Beautiful Thanksgiving Table Decor

Thanksgiving is a very special Holiday. It’s time for spending time around the table and enjoying a meal with our family and best friends. Since this holiday is centered around the table, it’s very important to create a beautiful table decor to make Thanksgiving even more special. Every year, I choose a different theme. This year, I wanted to focus on a natural look filled with natural pumpkins, fresh fall florals, wood, leaves, clay, and cotton. I love decorating with  pumpkins just because they come with different sizes, colors and styles. They are so perfect for a centerpiece for a Thanksgiving table decor. There are several ways you can style your table using pumpkins. You can use the pumpkins as a vase, votives for fall candles, and/or putting pumpkins on top of a pedestal. If you want a table decorated like mine, just arrange your favorite pumpkins ( I love white pumpkins!) down the side of your table and simply make a vase  arrangement with olive leaves, chamomile flowers, and orange lilies.     To make the table get a more sophisticated …

Marinated Manchego & Oranges

Infuse cheese and oranges with pepper and thyme, toss in tomatoes, and dig in ! Serves 10 Ingredients 10 oz Manchego cheese, cut into wedges 1 orange, thinly sliced 5 springs fresh thyme 1/2 tps. fresh cracked black pepper 1 cup olive oil 4  small assorted tomatoes, sliced 1/2 cup almonds, toasted and chopped  Directions Place cheese, orange slices, thyme, and pepper in a wide-mouth pint jar. Add olive oil. Cover and chill for 4 hours or up to 3 days. Let stand at room temperature 1 hours before serving. To serve, arrange cheese and oranges on a platter. Top with tomatoes, additional fresh thyme, and almonds. Drizzle with remaining olive oil. Enjoy!    


I have it  and  I Love it!! Super-Lock Natural rubber rug pads are designed to keep your rug anchored firmly in place. You can use them for  all types of rugs on hard surface flooring.  Great for stubborn area rugs, runner rugs, and smaller area rugs in high traffic areas. Natural rubber rug pads are eco-friendly.  Made in the USA – 20 Year Warranty

Patricia Velasquez – Supermodel, Actor and Author

MP: What makes you come alive or inspires you? Patricia Velasquez: Anything that propels me to create, like [my book, Straight Walk]. It kept me inspired for almost four years. MP: What makes you feel vulnerable? PV: Kids suffering, with no opportunities for lack of having their basic human needs [met], like food, health, and education, but at the same time, [it] motivates me to keep fighting for them, for the ones less fortunate. MP: If you could say something to everyone on the planet, what would it be? PV: “The universe only gives you what you can handle, so trust that whatever is happening to you is exactly what you need. Just trust. Have certainty!” MP: How do you keep your center in the middle of chaos? Do you have a daily routine? PV: I do hot yoga. I try to keep one hour a day where I have space to reflect and meditate and take care of me and what is going on inside. This way, I can be a better person to …

Heirloom Melon, Prosciutto, and Savory Granola Salad

Ready for delicious? serve 4 Ingredients 1 large egg, separated 1/2 tsp kosher salt 1/4 cup chopped raw pistachios 1/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats 2 Tbls sesame seeds 1 Tbls sugar 1 tsp fennel seeds 1/16 tsp cayenne pepper 1/2 small heirloom orange melon, seeded (such as Red Cap or Charentais) 1/4 small honeydew melon, seeded 3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, torn into 1/2-inch wide strips 1 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar 1/4 cup fresh mint or basil leaves, torn into bite size pieces  Directions Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray generously with cooking spray. Place the egg white and salt in a medium mixing bowl, reserve yolk for another use. Whisk egg white until frothy and white, 1 minute. Add the pistachios, oats, sesame seeds, sugar, fennel seeds, and cayenne pepper, and toss to coat. Arrange the mixture in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is crispy and golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool completely. Cut the …

5 Tips to Have a Peaceful Home

1-Clean your home: If you want a calmer experience at home, a good way to begin is by making it routine to clear your home and start cleaning all surfaces daily. 2-Use five elements:  1-Water: You can have this element in your home by hanging images of water, or just using flowers in a  bowl of water. 2-Earth: You will have this element in your home through stones or plants. 3-Fire: Light a candle or fireplace and this element will be in your home. 4/5-Metal and  Wood: Buying furniture with wood or metal can help you have this element at your home and feel cozy. 3-Use natural light: Learn to appreciate natural light. Open the window and let the sun into your home. 4-Natural Scents: Using natural scents, create a purifying and calming atmosphere  in your home by choosing  natural scents like beeswax, essential oil, natural cleaning products and fresh flowers. Music: Having calm music at low volume will help your home and your soul become more  peaceful. Music: Tiago Iorc and Duca Leindecker – Ate aqui  

Ricotta Toast With Pears And Honey

serve  2 Ingredients ⅓ cup whole-milk ricotta ½ teaspoon finely grated orange zest Pinch of kosher salt 2 teaspoons honey, plus more for drizzling 2 slices multigrain bread, toasted 1 medium Bartlett pear, thinly sliced 3 tablespoons unsalted, roasted sliced almonds  Directions Combine ricotta, orange zest, salt, and 2 tsp. honey in a small bowl. Dividing evenly, spread ricotta mixture onto toast. Top with pear, drizzle with honey, and sprinkle with almonds. Enjoy! Via: Bon appetit  

Balloons with a Twist!

Balloons are guaranteed to provide the fun factor in a wedding, birthday party, picnic, tea party or  romantic dinner. Try updating the ‘ normal ‘ helium balloon with a string made of ivy and flowers. It gives a romantic, cheerful effect which lends that little something extra to your party decorations! How to make it! Buy one or more balloons. Preferably a larger size, so that it is not dragged down by the weight of the plant string. Select sisal string or fishing line as the base for the plant. Don’t forget to secure the balloon or hang a weight from the bottom so that it does not float away. Select your choice of climbing plant, and wrap it around the string. Add a couple of your favorite flowers to provide the finishing touch. Photo: Pinterest