Caramelized Onion Pasta with Gruyere Cheese Sauce

Finally! I promised I’d share this recipe long ago, and lucky for you I am finally getting around to it.

As with any recipe I’ll share, this one is vegetarian.  I could go into a whole spiel about why I became a vegetarian, but I’ll spare you the deets and get on with this sophisticated batch of awesome-ness.

Let’s talk for a quick minute about Deborah Madison.  A vegetarian that doesn’t know who Deborah Madison is, is like a Greek who doesn’t know about tzatziki.  Yeah, it’s that bad.  I think some people have the assumption that vegetarian food can be bland, fussy, labor intensive, and quite frankly-expensive.  Deborah Madison busts through those myths with dishes that are intricate yet simple, affordable, and delicious.  What I love most about her cookbooks is the fact that the she lets the quality and simplicity of the ingredients shine.  These are not dishes with twenty spices, and a billion ingredients that take four hours to prepare.  One of my my most favorite meals from the book Vegetarian Cooking for everyone, is a caramelized onion pasta with Gruyere.  Gruyere is hands down my most favorite cheese.  I cannot eat a piece of Gruyere with my eyes open.  The nuttiness, the texture, the subtle undertones and complexities of this cheese, can only be realized in the absence of sight.  I know, I’m very serious about my cheese.

The recipe I’m going to share with you is an adaptation of Deborah Madison’s.  Rather than topping the pasta with shredded Gruyere, I went a step further and created a Gruyere cheese sauce.  Hold the phone-did she just say Gruyere cheese sauce? Whoop Whoop, yes I did! Now slow your roll, and get a pen handy to jot down these ingredients:

Caramelized Onion Pasta with Gruyere Cheese Sauce:

  • 3-4 large sweet onions-sliced or diced whichever you prefer
  • a tbs or more of fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2tbs butter
  • 2tbs flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 8oz Gruyere-shredded
  • Pasta of your choice-I used about a 1 lb of egg noodles
  • Parsely for garnish

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I wanted to show you my “salt cellar” it’s a sea urchin candle holder turned kosher salt vessel. Yo ho ho matey.

Ok, so quite simply add 2tbs olive oil to a pan, add your sliced onions, 2 bay leaves, thyme, and cook low and slow until their brown caramelized bits of goodness. Then set the onions aside in a small bowl, you will make your sauce in the same pan.

gruyerebest You can put your pasta on to boil while your making the sauce.  In the same pan that you caramelized your onions, melt 2tbs butter, add 2tbs flour and cook for a minute to remove the raw flour taste.  Slowly whisk in your milk, and let simmer for a few minutes until bubbly and thickened.  Add salt and pepper here, and a dash of nutmeg if your feeling adventurous!  That is bechemel sauce in a nutshell, it’s the basis for most cheese sauces.  Pat yourself on the back, and gently add in the shredded Gruyere, and a handful of chopped parsley, and you my friend just made a delicious gourmet cheese sauce. BOOM.

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Toss your pasta with your caramelized onions, add your creamy Gruyere sauce, and top each portion with a generous pinch of flat leaf parsely.  TA DA!

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Please comment below if you try this recipe, I’d love to hear to how it turned out!

XO-Tara

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Ohhh, deer…

Hello Lovelies!

Its time for me to over-share pictures of my Holiday Mantle!  I typically am not one for themes, but this years holiday mantle definitely has one.  Can you guess what it is?

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That’s right guys, this holiday mantle is deertastic!

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Deer antlers, and faux deer heads are everywhere, and have been “trending” for quite some time, so it’s only natural that I (or anyone) would want to cover their mantle with these charming little deer figurines.  This magical holiday season is the perfect time to try and add some whimsy to our lives with a deer-centric holiday mantle.  The mantle is quite simply comprised of tiny deer (new & vintage), bottle brush trees, the same paper fans I used in the Christmas tree, and white string lights.  Some of the trees are just the cheapie ones that you can literally get anywhere, but I added sequins and little embellishments to jazz them up.  The green deer are from Target, the felt deer are from Khols, and the chrome deer head is from Meijer.

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mantlelike We’ve lived in our house for three years, prior to that we had a small apartment in which neither a full size tree would fit, and also one lacking a mantle with which to hang stockings on.  I made our mismatched stockings the year we bought our house.  They mean as much to me now, as they did then.  Finally I have a home where traditions can weave their delicate threads through the heart of our growing family.  I love how the stockings are all representative of each of our personalities, well, except my husbands! I suppose you could say the polka dots represent the fun kitchy-ness of 50’s culture, but that’s a crock of shit! My stocking is vintage chintz, Ava’s is a crazy floral pattern called Larkspur In Bloom from Michael Miller Fabrics, and Sadie’s is a newly sewn velvet leopard one .

http://instagr.am/p/XIjF0/Now lets talk about all the shiny baubles on this years holiday wreath.  I’m sure you’ve seen those vintage ornament wreaths on Pinterest.  There are other ornament wreaths that just use cheapo ornaments, but I’ve had my heart set on a vintage one for a while.  However, I was unwilling to throw down a lot of cash for one, so mine is a thrifty compromise.  

I had to run out for some “filler” ornaments, but honestly everything I needed to make this wreath I had on hand already.  It’s not all vintage because frankly, my collection isn’t that large (yet)-but its beautiful and suits my magpie sensibilities.  Making the wreath is simple, really.  You just hot glue the ornaments onto a wreath form.  Some DIY versions have a specific method for gluing them on, but per my usual cluster fuck fashion,  I hot glued them on rather willy nilly!  I did manage to take a series of photos to show you the progression, so all is not lost.

IMG_2070Ohh, make sure you have lots of iced coffee too!  It helps with the tediousness of this process.

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Your not limited to ornaments either.  As you can see I added vintage jewelry to my wreath, as well as some beaded garland, and cute little buttons from an old issue of Mollie Makes.  Go wild!

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I hope this gives you lots of holiday inspiration!

XO-Tara

Advent Calendar DIY

Hello lovies! 

I know it’s technically late, but I wanted to share our DIY Advent Calender with you.  It’s totes fun! Here is a glimpse of a few we have made in the past:

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This year we decided to do simple white envelopes made out of card-stock, and embellished with washi tape, photos, scrapbooksupplies, and anything we had lying around the house.  This years calendar is strung up on the mantle with mini glittered clothespins from American Crafts-because you can never have to too much glitter! 

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I used scrapbook supplies from BasicGrey, K&Company, and American Crafts.  I cut the numbers out with my trusty Cricut.  For those of you not familiar with the Cricut devices, its basically a machine that cuts numbers, letters, and images out of paper.  There are tons of different cartridges that you can buy, and even markers that will draw the characters on paper.  I used a sheet of adhesive backed vinyl, and it was super easy to just peel off the backing and place them on the paper.  I highly recommend it! 

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AC craftermathThis is what my husband commonly refers to as the “craftermath.”

And here is the final product.  It is not very traditional, but it is very feminine, and kitschy which suits my girls perfectly.  Some of the envelopes are filled with candy, and others have activities like going to the movies, ice skating, camp out nights, and so on.  

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I hope you enjoyed our cute DIY Advent! 

XO-Tara

Decor Of Christmas Past

Hello sweeties!

Since I’m fairly new to the blogging scene, I thought today I would share with you some old photos of my holiday decor, before I post this years holiday fabulous-ness.  IMG_0519

I got all these little houses in a set for $4 at the thrift store one year, and repainted them in bright fun color schemes.  I love the addition of the vintage Hot Wheels, it just endorses the whole little village vibe.  I want to go to there.

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I made the joy to the world ornament for Ava’s teacher last year, along with 26 others-each with her classmates names on them.  I used my trusty Cricut machine to cut out all the letters and Mod Podged them to the ornaments.  Andplusalso, I totally tried the chalkboard wrapping paper idea that was floating around on Pinterest last year, and loved it! So fun! 

Xo-Tara

Ikea does it again…

You know that ever popular hash tag #targetdoesitagain?  Well, Ikea needs one of its own, and hasn’t it for some time? 

I took an impromptu trip today with my mama, and came home with some delicious goods.  

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I’m not sure why it took me so long to nab one of these black & white striped blankets, but I finally caved.  I also got a couple books, one is on entertaining, and the other about outdoor spaces.  At $8 a pop, they were steal.  And lets talk about those plates.  I mean, come on! Under that stack of stuff is a HUGE cutting board that was practically a gift with purchase at just $10! 

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Pictured below is the most perfect light fixture, that will replace the one I’m tired of in the kitchen.  The picture doesn’t do it justice.  It has a vintage feel, and is much larger than it appears.  They also have this fixture in a slightly smaller accent lamp style.  

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So basically this whole post was a public service announcement to get your asses to Ikea, and pick up some cool shit at reasonable prices.  Your welcome. 

This week I’ll be sharing a holiday wreath DIY that is nothing short of amazeballs, and a recipe for pasta with caramelized onions, and a Gruyere cheese sauce.  

XO-Tara

What The Flock?

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Is there anything better than a flocked Christmas tree?  Hell to the no!  I bought this tree from Walmart a few years ago for $120, after searching endlessly, and only finding what I thought were overpriced options.  The flocking is top notch in my book.  It doesn’t come off the way you think it would, and the branches are heavily coated.  If your in the market for a flocked tree, this is the one to beat!  

Before it gets all Christmasy up in here, I’m going to show you some pictures of my revamped Ikea coffee table, since they are sharing the same space, and its hard to take a photo of one without the other.  In case you don’t remember, I recently shared this chalkboard table DIY.  Well, I’m already (mere weeks later) tired of it, and changed it out for the old one.  This is how I roll, people.  I change things.  A LOT.  The old and current table is the “Strind” from Ikea.  There is no longer a clear glass option for this table, it only comes in white, and black.  

 My recent obsession with all things brass/gold spurred this transformation.  It’s amazing what a can of Gold Rust-Oleum spray paint can do!  Before the table had an undeniable industrial feel, and now it is pretty, and chic.

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Now, back to Christmas trees…

A few years ago I fell in love with this vintage oriental themed tree by Mathew Mead:

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My interpretation of this fabulous tree uses mini party fan decorations:

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I am in love!  The leopard skirt is actually a couple yards of fabric that I got for cheap at Joanne’s.  It all seems very Christmas Mad Men style to me, with the bar cart being right by the tree.  The addition of the shimmery disco ball makes it truly festive, and over the top! 

I have a mixture of both new and vintage ornaments. I love to scour the thrift stores every year, and find new vintage beauties to add to my collection  My favorite ornaments are actually vintage reproductions by Christopher Radko for Shiny Brite.  

side treewhole tree view2013-11-11That’s it for now folks! 

XO-Tara

Hot Lips In The Kitchen

Hot lips in the kitchen, say what?! I’m referring to a Benjamin Moore paint color, folks! Yes, I’m prepared to show you something all kinds of hot pink, and delicious. But first I’m sharing a photo of my amazing family from Halloween-because, well, look at them! We DIY’d the Katy Perry costume for Ava for about $30, and my lovely Sadie was such a sassy 1920’s flapper.  Had to share! Also since it shows part of my dining room I figured it was a nice segue for me to tell you that It is being featured on Cutting Edge Stencils blog.  So go check it out! 
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Now, since I went an entire week without a post (again), I figured I better share something pretty fantastic with you.  I may be a little biased, but how can a pink kitchen be a bad thing?

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The paint color is “hot lips” by Benjamin Moore, I think it is very reminiscent of this foyer featured in House Beautiful, painted in their razzle dazzle shade. The kitchen used to be black, but it just wasn’t working. Even though the space gets an amazing amount of light, the dark color sucked the energy out of the room.  I didn’t like the black kitchen juxtaposed with the purple ikat dining room either.  Now the space is vibrant, and fun, and it just sort of glows from every angle.  

DSC02027The stove wasn’t always in this location, but after we put in a dishwasher and added counter space, this was only place for it to go.  I refuse to give up my breakfast nook to make room for a larger kitchen, so I’ve gotten comfortable with this arrangement.  Here is a before of the kitchen redo in progress:

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I gained so much counter space by switching the stove to the opposite side, and removing the cabinet that the old hood was attached to, only helped to open the space up.  When I was a teenager my mom removed every cabinet in our kitchen, opting instead for open shelving, the she skirted the bottom portion of would be cabinets in a floral Ralph Lauren fabric.  Yeah, traditional kitchens ain’t our thang.

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I did keep some black in the kitchen by way of a chalkboard refrigerator:

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And the hot pink peg board?! I adore it. In a smallish kitchen it helps to have things on hand.

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Lastly, Is a glimpse of the breakfast nook before it undergoes some transformation.  We are planning to do a built in bench seat on all three sides to cozy up the space, and maybe a few sconce lights, because I am not a fan of overhead lighting.

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I have some fun Christmas projects to share, and a chic (very simple) Ikea table redo, so stay tuned! 

XO-Tara