4 Places to Organize Today to help your tomorrow

It’s resolution time! I know many of you have vowed to become more organized in 2022, so I wanted to share some of my best tips with you. I am crazy organized; it’s just how I am, so I love helping those who are more challenged in this area. Truthfully, it clears your mind to have an uncluttered space. My biggest tip is to start small.

Even the smallest of organizing projects can launch you into a full-on organizing frenzy. In order to keep from being overwhelmed, select one project per week. It’s totally doable and will make a huge difference in your home which will trickle into the rest of your life.

First things first, identify the areas of attack. Let’s go room to room, shall we?

Kitchen

Check your pantry for expired items and toss accordingly. You will be surprised how quickly your pantry clears out. If you make it a regular practice to toss and check labels, your pantry will stay organized.

Closet

I like to go through my clothes and purge them every 3 months. If you are starting fresh in January with a closet purge, start with reorganizing your jewelry. I find that the Container Store has some great jewelry storage solutions.

Home Office

I work from my home, as many of you do these days. Staying organized at home is more important than ever before. An organized office makes for an efficient workplace. Toss unnecessary papers (or go paperless!), and make sure everything has a place.

Laundry Room

I don’t know about you, but I love a well-appointed laundry room. Sometimes this is the easiest room to effectively change. Storage bins and baskets on an added shelf might be all you need. Something decorative like a small piece of artwork makes this workspace feel pretty. A quick and easy fix is to color coordinate some pretty soap and laundry products. There are so many available now at any store like Target, and Mrs. Meyers detergents and cleaning supplies are some of my go-tos. It makes for instant design, and it’s functional too.

I would love to hear about your projects and organizational practices. Use the start of the year to challenge yourself to organize your home and create peaceful and beautiful spaces to live in. All the best for 2022! Make it a good one.

xx Annette

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Spruce Up Your Champagne for NYE

Hi Everyone! It’s Nicole, Annette’s web manager and friend. We are staying in for New Year’s Eve this year, but that doesn’t mean the holiday should be any less special…it just might mean an earlier bedtime. I wanted to share a few tips for sprucing up your bubbly. In my opinion, nothing beats a glass of bubbles, but you can always add a little something to up the ante.

Tip one: use frozen cranberries

One of my favorite holiday tricks is using frozen cranberries to keep beverages cold. 3-4 frozen cranberries in a glass of champagne are not only beautiful but useful! I usually buy a bag and freeze the entire thing. Such a simple spruce.

Tip two: switch up your glassware

Champagne glasses are tall and elegant, but I never miss an opportunity to use a coupe. My favorite coupe glasses are the ones I find while antique shopping, but these from Estelle are a close runner-up.

Tip three: sprinkle some sparkle

My sister gave me edible champagne glitter for Christmas, and it is honestly so fun. It makes your drink absolutely sparkle! Then, my sister-in-law gave me cotton candy that you put in your champagne. How fun is that?! Clearly, my family knows me well.

Tip four: splash some St. Germain

I love a splash of St. Germain liqueur in my champagne. The elderflower has floral notes which pairs well with crisp champagne. Be careful to only use a dash!

I hope you all have a wonderful start to 2022!

xo Nicole

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Easy Make Ahead Meal

Hi Everyone! It’s Nicole, Annette’s web manager and friend. I don’t know about all of you, but I’m pretty tired of cooking, and I am ready for a bit of a break. I’ve been thinking about what I can make ahead to last me a few days and give me some much-needed downtime, and it dawned on me that there is nothing better than make-ahead lasagna. And lucky for me, I have Annette’s archives right at my fingertips.

She has shared the below recipe for meatless lasagna before. Let us know if you give it a try.

Meatless Lasagna
Serves 12-14

You will need:
– 1 package lasagna noodles (you will need 12 noodles)
– 3 tablespoons olive oil
– 2 cloves of garlic finely minced
– 2 cups mushrooms cut into thin slices
– 6 cups Spinach
– 1 16.oz ricotta ( low fat is fine)
– 2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese (reserve 1 cup for the topping)
– 1 egg
– 1 teaspoon dried oregano
– 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese (reserve ½ cup for the topping)
– 1 16 oz jar prepared marinara sauce (or your own sauce recipe)

To prepare noodles:

Preheat Oven 400 degrees F

Prepare noodles according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Note: once the noodles are cooked, I like to rinse them in cool water and then leave them in the water until I am ready to layer the pan, this makes them not stick together.

To prepare filling:

Combine the ricotta, 2 cups of mozzarella cheese, and the 1 cup Parmesan cheese, oregano and egg in a bowl and combine until smooth. Set aside.

In a saute pan, add oil, garlic and mushrooms. Saute until browned, then toss in the spinach and saute the spinach and mushrooms until all the moisture in the pan has evaporated. You want the mixture as dry as possible.

To layer:

Separate the noodles in the water some of them may have stuck together, then drain in a colander. I like to line up my fillings and the noodles.

In a lasagna pan (9”x13)” lay in the layer of noodles, 3 to 4 is perfect. Then add the sauce about (1/2 cup), the spinach mushroom filling, and then dollops of the ricotta filling (about 3 tablespoon dollops), finishing off the layer with a sprinkle of shredded Mozzarella ( about 1/2 cup). Repeat this process 3 times, each time starting with the noodle layer. The top layer should be the noodles, sauce and the 1 cup of Mozzarella and ½ cup of Parmesan make sure to cover the entire top layer.

Bake in the oven for 40 minutes at 400 degrees F. Let it set up for 15-20 minutes before serving.

xx Annette

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My Italian Guestbook Pre-order NOW

As I type this, I cannot believe that I am saying it, but the follow-up to my memoir from May 2020 Italy is My Boyfriend is ready for you to pre-order. I am over the moon. I got some amazing reviews from some of my favorite influencers, and I am extremely excited to share My Italian Guestbook with you. I L-O-V-E the cover! Let me know in the comments what you think of the cover art. I hand-picked the illustrator Melinda Beck; I think she’s extraordinary. Please click here to pre-order your copy. It is full of fun and funny stories from my first ever workshop and last year’s retreats. There’s love, laughter, a few lies, and loads of Limoncello…oh and a little sex too.

Here’s what the Editor in Chief of the Florentine, Helen Farrell, had to say about My Italian Guestbook.

+++
My Italian Guestbook
 is an upbeat collection of stories about Annette Joseph’s revival of a twelfth-century fortress in the Lunigiana countryside. From the unexpected challenges of La Fortezza’s first photo-styling workshop to a romantic liaison between a local butcher and an American vegetarian, the colorful characters and entertaining anecdotes in this galloping read are bound to make you crave a Tuscan adventure or three.

Pre-order it here. I hope you love it as much as I do.

xx Annette

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Holiday Party Punch

Hi Everyone! It’s Nicole, Annette’s web manager and friend, and I am back today with a little treat for you from the archives: festive holiday party punch.

Here’s the thing: I found out less than a week ago that we are hosting my husband’s family for Christmas this year. Oh, and I’m hosting my family on Christmas Eve. Unfortunately, because of various conflicts, everyone can’t be together at one shindig, so this is the best we can do. Needless to say, my stress meter is a pinch off the charts.

One thing I know I can do to make life easier is to make a batch cocktail, aka, punch. Annette has always stressed the importance of enjoying the party as the hostess, too. That’s part of the fun, right? I plan to make a holiday punch, put everything out on a table, and let guests serve themselves. I might even leave the liquor out, so the kids can get involved, and so the adults can select their libation of choice. Here’s one of Annette’s fabulous holiday party punch recipes. Enjoy!

Holiday Punch
Serves 16

You will need:

– 6 cups Pomegranate Juice
– 4 cups SKYY INFUSIONS CRANBERRY
– 4 cups FRANGELICO
– 1 cup Lime Juice
– 1 cup Orange Juice
– 1 cup Honey syrup
– 1 cup fresh cranberries
– 2 ice cube trays

Honey Syrup:

1 cup water and 1 cup honey boiled and reduced about 10 minutes

Cranberry Ice Cubes:

Fill trays with pomegranate juice and cranberries. As the juice melts, it will only make the cocktail merrier!

Punch:

Mix all ingredients together in a large serving bowl or pitcher. Ladle punch into ice-filled glass.
Garnish with clove stuffed orange slices (or simply with rosemary sprig; the punch’s red color is
gorgeous with this “evergreen” garnish). Serve with cranberry ice cubes.

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