Delicious Pork and Beans Stew


It’s almost summer. Sunny days at the pool, balmy nights…I mean, it’s practically synonymous with a hearty stew prepared in a slow cooker, right?

Okay, okay. I know. TOTAL OPPOSITES, but let me tell you why I prefer using my slow cooker in the summer more than any other season. First off, using a slow cooker keeps my kitchen nice and cool in the evenings, but more importantly, it frees up time to play outside with the kiddos. With the extended light in the evenings, my kids love to play outside with the neighborhood children during the hours of 5-7pm. Unfortunately, D doesn’t get home until the end of that time frame, so if I’m cooped up in the kitchen cooking dinner, my poor kids are forced to stay inside. Wito looks like a pathetic dog at times, his face pressed up to the window, lightly whimpering. It’s pitiful, really.

Cooking with a slow cooker a few nights a week is the perfect solution for my family. With all the prep work finished in the morning, I am free as a bird in the evenings. We love making barbecue chicken, carnitas, beans, chili…tons of great dishes that are delicious in the summer.

My current favorite is this recipe for pork and beans, and it is downright delicious. Seriously, this dish will rid any correlation you might have with pork and beans and that nasty Hormel canned stuff. SO MUCH FLAVOR.

Fair warning, though. This is not a recipe that involves throwing everything in a crockpot, pressing a button, and walking away. There is a fair amount of chopping, spice-rubbing, and sauteing, but you won’t remember a minute of it once you taste a spoonful of this. Trust me on this one.

Slow Cooker Pork and Beans

2 bacon slices
2 pounds pork ribeye roast, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 tablespoon paprika
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 15-ounce cans great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 white onion, cut into small chunks
2 carrots, peeled and cut into ½ inch chunks
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes

[1] Cook the bacon in a large deep skillet over medium heat. Remove the cooked bacon to a paper-towel lined plate. In a small bowl, mix the salt, paprika, brown sugar, chile powder and cumin. Rub the spice mixture on the pork and brown the pork in the bacon fat and transfer the pork to a slow cooker. Add the beans and bacon and toss to combine.

[2] Add the onion, carrots and celery to the skillet and sauté for 4 minutes, stirring often, adding any extra spice rub you have. Add the flour.

[3] Add the chicken broth and simmer until slightly thickened, stirring often. Stir in the barbecue sauce and tomatoes and pour into the slow cooker. Stir to combine. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Any slow cooker recipes that you love during the summer? I’d love to add a few to my arsenal.


French Perfection


I love Marion Cotillard. How darling does she look in this still from Woody Allen’s movie, Midnight in Paris? The bob, the sailor collar, the PERFECT NEUTRAL T-STRAPS. (Speaking of neutral t-straps, today’s the last day to enter the $100 Shopbop giveaway! Do it!)

If D didn’t struggle with MIN (Movie-Induced Narcolepsy), I would be all over this movie. Anyone want to see it with me?




2011 Legends of La Cienega: Celebrate Art


I don’t write much about Dustin’s design firm, but I wanted to share some work he just completed for the 2011 Legends of La Cienega.

What is Legends of La Cienega? In their own words:

Legends of La Cienega is an annual celebration of design that brings together VIPs and tastemakers from the worlds of interior design, décor, art, fashion, and architecture for two days of receptions, keynote panel discussions, cocktail parties, book-signings, personal appearances, trunk shows, and special exhibitions.

In its third year, the 2011 Legends event is presented by the LCDQ’s 50 member businesses which include the city’s most prestigious design showrooms, antiques dealers and home furnishings retailers located along La Cienega Boulevard (from Santa Monica to Beverly Boulevards), Melrose Avenue and Melrose Place.  This year’s calendar of events is produced in association with the nation’s most prestigious shelter publications including ELLE DECOR, House Beautiful, Traditional Home and VERANDA.

In MY words, it’s a chance to see the work of very talented designers showcased in a perfectly succinct window display in LA’s leading design district.

Dustin and John chose Robert Rauschenberg as the inspiration for their display. Dustin visited a Rauschenberg exhibit at the Guggenheim while in college, and has been a huge fan ever since. Here’s a peek at their style sheet.

(Dustin’s handwriting has to be some of the best out there, no?)

Let me just tell you – this window installation took the main stage in regards to our family time for the past couple of weeks. While the windows were tall and visually striking, the depth of the display was only 42 inches. Not much to work with while placing furniture and such, and it presented some challenges. CHALLENGES I HEARD ABOUT ON MANY, MANY OCCASIONS. Like during dinner, the kids’ bath time, weekends at the park, while drifting off to sleep…you catch my drift.

I wasn’t sure if I would get the chance to see the finished product for myself, so I was over the moon when Dustin informed me that he was going to whisk me up to LA for the Opening Night Gala hosted by Michael Boodro, Editor-in-Chief of Elle Decor at Thierian. (Wheeeeeeeee!)

Let’s stop for a second and bring it back to what matters most here. MY PARTY OUTFIT. (Oh, I kid, I kid.) (Not really.) The minute I found out about this party, my highly predictable shit-it’s-a-cocktail-party-I-have-nothing-to-weeeeaaaarrrr spiel started immediately. In fact, on the day of the event, I was still shopping 2 hours before we needed to leave. People, why do I do this to myself EVERY time? Whhhyyyyy? As my wise mother reminds me on a weekly basis, I’ve always thrived under pressure, so I guess shopping is included. Did I need a new outfit? Probably not. However, you would be proud to know that I only bought one item of clothing for this party, and it was an Anthropologie skirt marked 50% off.

Sweater- Madewell, Skirt- Anthropologie, Clutch – Banana Republic from like, 1994, Bracelet- vintage, Ring- Juxtaposition, Heels- Jessica Simpson (I know!)

Onto the party! It was very lovely, although it was hard for me to mentally move past the delicious French 75 cocktail and yellow fin carpacchio I had at Fig & Olive beforehand. (Good lord, so very delicious.) After a few glasses of bubbly and some highly entertaining conversations, we set out to see the pièce de résistance!

The display looked simply marvelous. I’m so proud of Dustin for being included in such a talented group of designers. Bravo!


10 Summer Hair Looks


10 beautiful hairstyles for summer here.