With Heavy Heart

With heavy heart I offer sweet hours of healing prayer of comfort for the Charleston shooting victims’ family members, Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal “Mother Emanuel” church and its members, community leaders and citizens.  We are a nation in mourning reeling in grief and dealing with the aftermath of hate.

The_steeple_of_Emanuel_African_Methodist_Church,_Charleston,_SCEmanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME)

I initially typed the words no pretty pictures today, but how inaccurate those words are!  How beautiful the signature steeple of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church is as it points toward the heavens in architectural wonder and historical significance.  As it has and will continue to do, the steeple of Mother Emanuel forever stands tall as a beacon of hope.


The resolve to love, coupled with determination of spirit and great fortitude, testifies to the strength of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church congregation.  May God bless, comfort and keep you all.

The Silver Lining Companion Guide: A Supportive and Insightful Guide to Breast Cancer

More than 250,000 people are diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S. each year.  This fact hit home when my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999.  Allstate is on a mission to help every woman diagnosed with breast cancer by offering a free Silver Lining Companion Guide, helping them and their families through the experience unfortunately too many of us have to endure. Navigating cancer is a scary and overwhelming process, and so much comes at you at one time. To have a resource available that offers realistic advice, hopeful insight and questions answered in a been there, done that format lifts the fog somewhat.

The Silver Lining Companion Guide Cover (English)

My mother’s cancer was caught early through her yearly mammogram.  Let me repeat that, caught by yearly mammogram. Breast cancer can be cured, especially when the cancer is caught early. The abnormality in the mammogram was detected by an extremely competent radiologist to only be dismissed by the surgeon who would be performing the biopsy.  A biopsy is the procedure to remove and evaluate a tissue sample for the presence of cancer.  Dr. No Bedside Manner Whatsoever sternly informed my mother she was wasting his time and her money.  Intuition and insistence stood firm against ignorance.  After all, no one knows your body better than you.  Honest and practical words speak a truth of informed encouragement.


I firmly believe cancer is a family affair, and that it does take a village and a family to educate, promote healing and support, support, support. Cancer is the enemy, and it takes an army of strong will to fight it.   As crucial to the fight of survival as expert medical care is, attitude plays a significant role in this incredible fight for life.  The lifelines, practical matters and silver linings found in the book thoughtfully address concerns, answers questions ranging from what to take to appointments to what to ask your plastic surgeon before implant surgery, and offers healing advice.  I wish we would have had this insightful to the process resource guide available to us fifteen+ years ago. The Silver Linings shared in the Companion Guide do not take away the confusion, pain and emotions that often come with a cancer diagnosis, but they do provide the balance, perspective and hope needed to get through the difficult times. From diagnosis to ringing the bell of I kicked cancer’s butt, knowledge and support arms the soldiers, sustains the supporting troops, and encourages the soul of the cancer crusader.


Allstate, through its ongoing efforts to support the well being of women, is distributing the Silver Lining Companion Guide as a free resource to everyone impacted by breast cancer.  The Companion Guide includes practical tips, important information and inspiration.  A Spanish language version of the Companion Guide is also available to accompany the English version currently being shared with women nationwide.  I invite you to visit Allstate.com/SilverLining to download the free guide and learn more. The Guide is also available for pick-up at select Allstate agencies nationwide.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Hackers Will Hack: Please Bear With Us

Please excuse the intrusion to the weekend with this rare weekend post. Intrusion to privacy, interference with standard operating procedures and the relentless efforts of hackers to post filth on my feed is beginning to test my patience.  We’re all adults here, and what an adult wants to view on their electronic devices and smart phones is their business, but when you type in placesinthehome.com on your electronic device you want Places In The Home ~ an all things house that make a home website/blog.  Thankfully, there is no issue at this time with our site when accessed from a desktop or laptop computer. Do I realize there is a problem with a porn site redirecting my website to theirs?  I most certainly do.  Dave the Builder and I are on constant “pull up Places In The Home on your iPad/iPhone and see if the porn is on there” patrol.  Extreme and necessary steps have been taken on our part to stop this nudity nonsense, but evidently there is still a spot of weakness and vulnerability left to hack.  A problem for sure, but one we are aware of and are doing everything in our power to put a stop to once and for all.  Please bear with us (bare seems more appropriate- ha!) and by all means, do contact me either in the comment section or via email  – darleen@placesinthehome.com – to let me know if you see content signaling the problem still exists.  I hope you will reconsider resubscribing to Places In The Home is you have unsubscribed due to this reason.  Who knows, curiosity may increase the number of subscribers. In that case, here’s hoping you’ll be disappointed meaning the porn problem is fixed, but wonderfully surprised at what you will find on our site- a design and decorating show and tell that under normal circumstances is rated S for stylish.


Please Excuse Darleen From Blogging This Week

Interruptions to our regularly scheduled life can be a wonderfully surprising detour from the normal day-to-day routine or they can be a royal pain in the arse.  As luck of the I feel like death type would have it, the later applies to half of the Places In The Home gang this week.



My dad and I both have pneumonia.  It’s not a party atmosphere, but you make the most of a sick situation with rest, meds, Netflix, creature comforts of there’s no place like home when you’re under the weather, hot tea with lemon and honey, and lots of sympathy.



Dave the Builder is my rock this week, his vacation week I might add. He’s a trooper though!  I did want to let you know the reason for a void in posts.  I wish the reason for my absence was an extended desert oasis vacation, remodeling the recently acquired flip house or combing countless antiques shops and vintage markets searching for hidden treasures.


Please excuse Darleen from blogging this week.  She is not feeling well and will be back as soon as possible.

Love your style!

One Idea & Two Recipes: Blackened Salmon and Ranch Chicken Soft Tacos

Happy Cinco de Mayo!  This recipe repost is the 5th of May appropriate, double delicious, and a reader favorite. Blackened Salmon and Ranch Chicken Soft Tacos are a Cinco de Mayo 2-for-1 ~ a culinary happy hour special.

Last week I was thumbing through an issue of Woman’s Day when the above photo caught my eye.  My first thought was “These look good!”  My second thought was, “Hey, I think I have all the ingredients to make these except the salmon, romaine lettuce, and cilantro.”  It was time play the culinary home version of  I Spy in the Places In The Home test kitchen.  I spy a package of ranch dressing mix, chicken breasts, fresh spinach, fresh limes, sour cream and flour tortillas.  Oh yeah, Ranch Chicken Soft Tacos is on the menu.  Where there’s a meal, there’s a way!

Blackened Salmon Soft Tacos


1  1 ¼ pound(s) piece skinless salmon fillet, cut into 4 pieces

2 tablespoon(s) blackening spice mix or Cajun seasoning (no salt added)

½ small head romaine lettuce, thinly sliced (about 4 cups)

½ cup fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Kosher salt and pepper

8 small flour tortillas, warmed

Low fat sour cream, for serving


Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Coat both sides of the salmon with the seasoning mix and cook, covered, until opaque throughout and blackened, 3 to 4 minutes per side.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss together the lettuce, cilantro, oil, lime juice, and ¼ tsp each salt and pepper.

Flake the salmon into pieces. If desired, spread sour cream on the tortillas, then fill with the salmon and top with the lettuce mixture.

Ranch Chicken Soft Tacos


1 tablespoon(s) olive oil

4 boneless,skinless chicken breast

1 medium onion; chopped

1 14 oz. can chicken broth

1 pkg. ranch dressing mix

½ small container fresh washed spinach

½ tsp. black pepper

¼ tsp. minced garlic

8 small flour tortillas

1  fresh lime, sliced

sour cream, for serving


Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Peel and chop onion, add to oil, and cook until translucent.

Place chicken breast in skillet with onions. Saute over medium high heat until chicken is lightly browned on both sides.  The onions will now be reaching the caramelized stage.

Add ranch dressing mix, pepper and garlic, coating chicken breasts. Slowly pour chicken broth into skillet, stirring to deglaze onions and seasonings from bottom of skillet. Mixture will thicken as it cooks.

Cover and simmer on medium low for approximately 30 minutes or until chicken is tender.  Cut cooked chicken breast crosswise into thin slices. Warm flour tortillas by desired method.  I warm each tortilla individually in the microwave for 15 seconds.  Fill centers with chicken and spinach and fold sides of tortillas over center.  Top with sour cream.  Squeeze fresh lime over taco and add additional black pepper if desired.








Chicken Mushroom Pasta

Good, tasty, and make a dish easy ingredients come in cans, jars, and boxes.  As I stared at the package of frozen chicken breasts and pondered what spice or spin to put on them, a double combination of three word options came to mind- cream of mushroom and bow-tie pasta.  With a few additional ingredients from the kitchen cupboard this quick and easy recipe for Chicken Mushroom Pasta was prepared, served, and enjoyed.

chicken mushroom pasta

Chicken Mushroom Pasta

ingredients for pasta


1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 Tablespoon butter

3 large skinless, boneless chicken breast

1 can  cream of mushroom soup

1 6 ounce jar sliced mushrooms, drained

1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

1 teaspoon fine black pepper

3/4 cup milk

8 ounces (1 cup) Farfalle (bow-tie) pasta,  cooked and drained



boneless chicken breasts

Heat the olive oil and butter in skillet over medium-high heat.


Place the chicken breasts in the skillet and season with salt and  pepper. Cook chicken breasts until completely done.

seasoned chicken breasts

Remove chicken breasts from skillet and place on cutting board. Cut into cubes and return to skillet.

cooked cubed chicken

Add the cream of mushroom soup, milk, and drained mushrooms to the chicken in skillet. Stir all ingredients together well to incorporate.

cooking pasta

Over medium heat bring the mixture to a light boil, reduce the heat to low, and allow to cook for 5 minutes. Prepare pasta according to package directions and drain.  Toss the cooked pasta together with chicken and mushroom mixture.

chicken and mushrooms

Serve hot.

creamy chicken mushroom pasta


Sunday Afternoon Pot Roast

A St. Patrick’s Day Sunday afternoon is as good a time as any to debut one of my Christmas 2012 presents.  The cobalt blue Tramontina 5.5-quart cast iron Dutch Oven was specifically asked for with preparing a Sunday Afternoon Pot Roast in mind.


blue dutch oven

On most levels there is nothing extra special or difficult about a recipe for cooking beef pot roast.  Beef roast, carrots, potatoes- just your average ho-hum home cooking, right?  Wrong!

dutch oven

Seasonings, fresh herbs, onions, garlic, vegetables, and an opportunity to show off  a new cobalt blue dutch oven debunk that culinary myth. Chopped onions and minced garlic sauteed in both Canola oil and butter create a prime seasoning foundation for the bay leaf and fresh parsley to give their unique flavor to.


Sunday Afternoon Pot Roast


1 Tablespoon  pure Canola oil

1 Tablespoon butter

3 lb. beef chuck pot roast

1 Tablespoon minced garlic

¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped

1 bay leaf

1½ cups water

1  teaspoon coarse Kosher salt

1 tsp. fine black pepper

6-8 small potatoes, halved

1 lb. baby carrots, cut and peeled


Heat pure Canola oil and butter in Dutch oven over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic in Dutch oven until tender.

onions and garlic

Add beef roast; season with salt and pepper and brown on all sides.

seasoned beef roast

Add the parsley, bay leaf, carrots and potatoes.

baby carrots onions and parsley

beef roast

Add water and stir to blend.

beef roast

Cover and reduce to low heat; cover.  Cook for 2 hours.  Remove bay leaf before serving.




Bacon Cheddar Cheese Quiche

Not every meal can be a five course spectacular or meat and potatoes masterpiece.  Busy lives breed busy schedules, and into every life a soccer game, train, or meeting will run late.  When this happens the “I don’t have the time to cook a big meal” heard round the world calls for an easy one pan, one bowl idea for dinner.  Bacon Cheddar Cheese Quiche is what’s for dinner tonight at Places In The Home.  Real men do eat this quiche, kids ask for seconds, and the cook is in and out of the kitchen in record time to blog about it!

Bacon Cheddar Cheese Quiche


1 unbaked deep-dish pie shell (9-inch)

1 ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese

6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon fine black pepper

5 eggs

1 cup whipping cream


Preheat oven to 350°F.  Place unbaked pie crust on baking sheet.  Using a fork, pierce bottom of pie crust.


Fry bacon in large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp.  Remove bacon from skillet and place on paper towels and blot excess grease. Crumble 6 pieces of crisp bacon.

Place shredded cheddar cheese in pie crust.  Sprinkle pepper over cheese and add crumbled bacon.  Beat eggs, salt and whipping cream in large bowl with wire whisk until well blended. Pour into pie shell.


Bake 40 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand for at least 10 minutes before cutting.

May I suggest one or more of these additional ingredients and garnishes.


Quiche recipes have been around for ages, and there is a reason why.  A recipe that calls for simple ingredients, is easy to prepare, filling, and delicious becomes a classic.