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It’s the small things that count: frozen strawberries that will make your guests gush! A friend of mine admitted the other day that she’s sometimes uncomfortable visiting a mutual friend. And you know the one thing that makes her so nervous? Our mutual friend is like a clock, calendar, and seasonal directory—all rolled into one. Her home is always decorated with just the right colors and the perfect seasonal and holiday tone. I have to admit, she is a bit intimidating. “How does she do that?” says my friend. So many of us find that the holidays are upon us before we’ve had time to plan anything much less decorate and figure out special meals or even gifts.  Not everyone is as well organized and ‘ready’ like my “mutual friend”.  She’s planning year-round to get it all done.  I don’t plan year-round but I do collect ideas that can help…

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My list of handy ‘next level’ kitchen tools so you’re not caught without “the right tool for the right job.” There’s an old saying about using “the right tool for the right job.” It isn’t just about odd jobs around the house – it’s about EVERY job – the right tool makes whatever the job is so much easier and that includes the tools in your kitchen.  When it comes to making sure you have the right tools, there’s no difference between fixing a leaky faucet and cooking up a lovely dinner for guests. This is my list of handy ‘next level’ kitchen tools. None of these ideas are expensive – almost all are under $35. But having these tools around the kitchen could make all the difference between a fun cooking adventure or enduring what could become an unnecessarily difficult kitchen experience. Read: The 10 Essential Tools for Beginner…

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Delicious ‘basic recipe’ for vegetables that NEEDS to be in your bag of tricks. Nobody has all the ‘basic recipes’ down. We all have our favorites that we return to again and again but I’ve found that there’s always room for ‘just one more’ to add to my repertoire.  And, when that ‘one more’ can be the basis for any number of variations – it’s a good one to add. This is the easiest way to put just about any vegetable on the table – and it’s soo delicious. I’ve tried a number of twists on this one for years, but to be honest, the best idea is to keep it very simple.  It’s also such an essential preparation that it can (and is often) adjusted or grouped together with just about any main. Read: How to pick olive oil.  This is perfect if you love beautifully caramelized veggies. It…

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Sophisticated Living
in Beverly Hills