Nili Stevens Inspired Living bio picture
  • Welcome To My Blog,

    A place to share my passion for food, travel, entertaining and interesting people.

    I am a mother, wife, devoted friend, collector of people and professional woman. I have worked in the special events industry for over 30 years and have had the good fortune to work with countless creative and talented floral designers, lighting specialists, photographers, entertainers, culinary artists and others that remind me through our collaboration that the possibilities are endless !

    I have traveled to 22 countries and I am still forever dreaming of where I will go next, and more importantly what I will discover.

    Here's to "Inspired Living " and sharing my passions with you...ENJOY ! Nili

 

 

citrus

FARMERS MARKET INSPIRATION

***

Bon Dimanche, the French phrase for wishing someone a Good Sunday, is something we still say at our house on Sundays.

It was a term that I came to love and appreciate many years ago when we moved our family to Paris to live for a year.

The French consider Sunday a day of rest and a day to spend peacefully with family and friends. Unlike the US, most any business is closed on a Sunday including supermarkets. You must plan your Sunday meal on Saturday and join the hustle and bustle of the farmers markets, local butchers, bakers, cheese shops, etc., gathering provisions for your Sunday meal.

That was twenty years ago and somehow the Sunday tradition has stayed with us, through my son’s crazy high school sports schedule, when he returned home from college during summers months and even now when he comes home to visit. We always try and save Sundays for a family supper.

Recently, I realized I missed that weekly tradition and have decided to make Sunday dinners a night to gather not only with family, but with friends. It gives me the opportunity to try new dishes and to bring some familiar and new faces to my table. It also seems to be a night that most people don’t have many conflicts and welcome the idea of a Sunday night supper.

Last Sunday I was inspired by all the beautiful citrus at the farmers market so I made a beautiful Slow Roasted Citrus Salmon and presented it on a big white platter. It was beyond easy to prepare and made a beautiful presentation.

Here is the menu:

Slow Roasted Citrus Salmon with a Kick

Roasted Red Potato Sticks

Campari Tomatoes drizzled with Green Goddess

Market Greens and Beet Salad

Garlic Bread

Mango Sorbet & Lemon Cookies

It was such a simple evening to pull together.  My friends brought the beet salad, bread and dessert. We gathered early and finished early. Perfection!

***

salmon dinner

IT GOES INTO THE OVEN GORGEOUS & COMES OUT OF THE OVEN GORGEOUS

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SLOW ROASTED SALMON WITH A KICK

Here’s what you need:

1 large or 2 small fennel bulbs thinly sliced

1 1/2 large navel orange thinly sliced (save the other half to juice)

juice from 1/2 orange

2 lemons thinly sliced with seeds removed

1 large jalapeno with seeds thinly sliced *

1 bunch or small package of dill

3 1/2 to 4 pounds wild salmon filet (I used two large filets for 8 people)

3/4 cup olive oil

Sea salt * Maldon  is my favorite

Fresh ground pepper

***

Put it together:

Preheat oven to 275.

Rinse and pat dry your salmon filets. Line your jelly roll pan with parchment paper  or spray your pan.

Season your filet with sea salt and pepper.

Artfully arrange your fennel, orange slices, lemon slices and chiles over the salmon.

Squeeze the juice from the half orange over the filets.

Tuck in sprigs of dill

Pour the olive oil over the salmon filets

One more sprinkle of salt and into the oven it goes for 30-40 minutes

The tip of the knife should slide through easily & color should be slightly opaque

Transfer directly to a large platter. Garnish with additional dill as needed.

Serves 8

***

Bon Dimanche

Thanks for dropping by xox Nili

 

 

 

 soaks with spoons

THE PERFECT TO GO BREAKFAST

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Every year, for the last several years, I have spent three glorious days in late fall with nine of my best girlfriends drinking wine, crafting, cooking exchanging ideas (we all keep note pads handy), sharing stories and mostly laughing a lot.

We came together as a group twenty one years ago to watch the first episode of Friends and well, the rest is history.

We call ourselves The Craft Girls. These days we don’t spend much time making crafts, instead we gather to celebrate birthdays, holidays and whatever reason we can think of, to just have fun and enjoy each other.

At our last retreat we were each assigned one meal to prepare. There was one dish in particular that I ate for breakfast that I loved, Linda’s Oatmeal Soaks. I knew right then and there that you would love these too!

Here are four reasons I love these so much:

1. They are easy as heck to make.

2. They can be made in advance and last a few days in the fridge.

3. They are healthy and delicious.

4. The look really adorable in my fridge.

It goes something like this:

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OS

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED * CHIA SEEDS NOT PICTURED

OS1

LITTLE PILES OF GOODNESS

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A LITTLE ALMOND MILK * STORE BOUGHT OR HOMEMADE

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STIR IT UP

2015 Misc 206

INTO A JAR OVERNIGHT TO SOAK

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NOW THE BERRIES & AWAY YOU GO

***

Here’s what you need:

1/4 cup of oats

1/4 cup Greek yogurt or plain or vanilla whole milk yogurt

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 tablespoon of Chia seeds or flax seeds

1 tablespoon of unsweetened shredded coconut (I used sweetened cause I’m bad)

1 tablespoon of sliced almonds or any other nut that tickles your fancy (optional)

Note: Get creative, throw in a pile of pomegranate seeds, chopped dates, mango bites or whatever is fresh.

1/3 cup almond milk * my friend Rachelle makes her own, here’s the recipe.

1/4 cup of fresh berries

a spoon to scoop it all up

Note: All these ingredients can be purchased at your local Trader Joe’s

***

Put it together:

Stir together all six ingredients.

Stir in almond milk and pour into jars

Soak overnight and top with fruit in the morning.

***

Serves one so adjust as needed.

***

If you are looking for a quick easy breakfast to go, this ones a winner !

Thanks for stopping by. xo Nili

***

Better Homes 4

CGFL  * CRAFT GIRLS FOR LIFE

  • Rachelle {Wiley Valentine}January 16, 2015 - 5:27 pm

    Thanks for the mention sweet Nili. These are my favorite things to make too!! So handy to grab and go in the morning and oh so delicious! Thanks for sharing! xoxoReplyCancel

    • adminJanuary 16, 2015 - 6:28 pm

      You are so welcome! So glad you approve my pretty !ReplyCancel

 

 

Pancakes

YOU ARE GOING TO FLIP OUT

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Hello at last! I survived the Christmas craziness and boogied through the holidays in a state of utter bliss. It has been an absolute joy to have my family under one roof but I can’t lie, I am pooped!

I originally planned to roll out this recipe for you to try on Christmas morning but that didn’t happen, so I thought perhaps I could get it to you in time for New Years Day! In my opinion these pancakes are good any time of the year, breakfast, lunch or dinner.

I had my first bite of these fabulous pancakes two summers ago when we vacationed in Hanalei with my son’s girlfriend Cezanne and her family. These pancakes are a family tradition and Cezanne’s favorite! Guess what?

They are officially my favorite too!

They are so simple to make that I am going to skip the step by step and just get down to business.

***

Here’s what you need:

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon sugar

2 teaspoons baking power

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg beaten

1 cup orange juice (I use fresh squeezed)

1 tablespoon orange zest (optional but it’s makes it better)

2 teaspoon canola oil

1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

quality maple syrup

***

Put it together:

Combine the first five dry ingredients into a medium bowl.

Combine beaten egg, OJ, orange zest, canola oil and nuts in a separate bowl. Mix together.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just blended.

Get your griddle or pan hot and lightly greased.

Pour your pancake mixture out and cook until golden brown on both sides.

Top with warm maple syrup.

Prepare to fall over !

Makes 8-10 standard pancakes

***

I am certain this will be a household favorite. Let me know how it goes !

HAPPY NEW YEAR !

 

happy new year

                                                                                                      xox Nili 

 

 

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***

 

 

PUT ON YOUR HOLIDAY SPIRIT * IT’S TIME TO DECORATE

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I love nothing more than unpacking my Christmas treasures and puttering about my house making things pretty for the holiday season. At our house it’s always pretty simple. Since I have a small space it doesn’t take much to make things sparkle and come alive.

We all have our traditions, but it’s always fun to try a little something new from time to time. I hope these festive images will get your creative juices flowing.

Let the decorating begin!

***

xmas 7

ACCENT PIECES YOU HAVE WITH A LITTLE SOMETHING THAT SAYS CHRISTMAS

Silver copy

NATURAL AND SPARKLY

Alice Lane Home

TAKE AN ORDINARY VASE AND PAPER MACHE WITH GOLD TISSUE

DecoraTE copy

RED WHITE AND GREEN

Decor 3 copy

Unconventional copy`

UNCONVENTIONAL HOLIDAY DECOR IS JUST AS FESTIVE

Jelanie

lovely copy

SMALL LITTLE TOUCHES

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A LITTLE CRAFTY A LITTLE COUNTRY

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EVERYONE HAS THEIR OWN SIGNATURE STYLE

an-magritt

***

I hope I have been able to provide you with a touch of inspiration. Thanks for stopping by.

Happy Decorating !

xo Nili

Images Via : Better Homes and Gardens, Country Living, An-Magritt, Jelane, Tyrifryd, House and Home, Hwittblog, Pinterest, and Tumbler

`

 

thankful

 

***

With Thanksgiving just a few days away I realized I have been putting off writing my holiday post. I am not sure if it’s because my brain is on overload or if it’s that this year I will celebrate my favorite holiday without my husband and my son.

Regardless, I need to prepare, to settle my thoughts and focus on what is in my heart every day. Gratitude.

This year was a year of many changes for our family. Professional and personal choices have us living in three different parts of the world. Every few months we come together to as a family. We see each other with fresh eyes of appreciation. Our time together is focused, meaningful and precious. When we leave one another we are grateful for the times we have shared and the memories we have made as a family.

This year has taught me to treasure what I once took for granted and to be present in the moment.

I remind myself that Thanksgiving comes once a year, it’s just one day. But gratitude and appreciation for life’s precious gifts should be part of everyday.

***

Thanksgiving post 1

SICILY 2014

***

This  Thanksgiving day take a moment to quiet your mind, savor the moment and be grateful for the blessings in your life.

 Happy Thanksgiving from my precious family to yours !

xo Nili

  • Christine.November 24, 2014 - 5:27 am

    Truth girlie. XoReplyCancel

 

 

031

STREET ART * PALERMO ITALY 2014

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Happy Halloween to you! I am not a big Halloween gal these days since my trick or treating days are sadly over, and the abundance of candy only makes my pants tighter. However, a few weeks ago I discovered this street art while exploring Palermo and knew that it would be my Halloween post ! In fact after seeing this image I got a little obsessed with a few others I found just walking down the streets of Palermo, Sicily.

Take a peek:

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157

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DON’T YOU JUST LOVE IT ?

***

Enjoy the evening ! xo Nili

  • ChristineNovember 2, 2014 - 12:23 am

    Super cool. Love itReplyCancel

Wedding Day

SEPTEMBER 17TH, 1989

***

It’s my 25th wedding anniversary today ! Twenty five years ago I said “I do” to this handsome devil and have never looked back! Oh sure, we have had our spats and problems like all couples but we have never stopped having fun together!

I  have always loved this list by Dear Abby:

It never hurts to be reminded.

10 Rules For A Happy Marriage 

1. Never both be angry at the same time.

2. Never yell at each other unless the house is on fire.

3. If one of you has to win an argument, let it be your mate.

4. If you must criticize, do it lovingly.

5. Never bring up mistakes of the past.

6. Neglect the whole world rather than each other.

7. Never go to sleep with an argument unsettled.

8. At least once every day say a kind or complimentary word to your life partner.

9. When you have done something wrong, admit it and ask for forgiveness.

10. Remember it takes two to make a quarrel.

***

Here are my personal rules.

10 Rules For A Happy Marriage by Nili Stevens: 

1. Find something you both love that you can share together.

2. Hold hands.

3.  Always kiss each other good bye and good night.

4. Drink wine at lunch when you can, especially when you are on vacation.

5. Dance when together when ever possible. Don’t sit it out.

6. Have a common  dream.

7. Take interest in what’s important to your partner.

8. Take personal time away from each other. Absence does make the heart grow fonder.

9. Share your life with friends and family. Eat, drink and be merry !

9. Take care of your mind, body & spirit.

10. Remember to water the grass.

Our pastor told us on our wedding day, “THE GRASS IS GREENEST WHERE YOU WATER IT”

***

25 copy

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253 copy

***

“Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be….”

Happy Anniversary To Us !!

Thanks for stopping by to share our day. xo Nili

  • ChristineSeptember 17, 2014 - 1:34 pm

    Rules to love by xoxoxoReplyCancel

    • adminSeptember 17, 2014 - 3:06 pm

      You have been there from the start,loving us and supporting us every step of the way…It takes this and so much more..with gratitude…ReplyCancel

  • Greg StevensSeptember 17, 2014 - 3:52 pm

    That’s awesome.
    A Quarter Century, Congratulations!
    Words to Live By. Photos are a trip down memory lane.
    Have a Great Day. I know you must be missing each other today,
    but the holidays are fast approaching and you’ll be together soon
    Love Always, gsReplyCancel

 

 

 

 

Daily offerings

 

 

OFFERINGS ARE PLACED AT HOME ENTRANCES & CROSSROADS WHERE DARK SPIRITS TEND TO CONGREGATE. THEY ARE MEANT TO APPEASE THE GODS (BOTH GOOD & EVIL) AS WELL AS MAINTAIN A PEACEFUL BALANCE

 

***

We recently returned from two magical weeks in Bali visiting my son Rush and his girlfriend Cezanne. One of the highlights was our stay at the serene Villa Amrita in the town of Ubud.

On most of our trips I am almost always in charge of booking our accommodations, since where we stay and what we eat are the  most important to me (surprised?). I usually spend hours on various websites (like trip advisor ) and  travel blogs looking for reviews and insight.  When Cezanne suggested I look at  VillaBali.com (a site that hosts over 400 villas in Bali ) and the lovely Villa Amrita, a three bedroom private villa with all the bells and whistles up in the hills of Ubud, it took me all of five seconds to  give the thumbs up on booking this little slice of heaven.

Let me show you around:

***2014 Bali & Beyond 171

 RICE FIELDS TO WELCOME YOU

2014 Bali & Beyond 157

THIS  GARDEN PATH WILL LEAD YOU TO  UTTER RELAXATION

 

Budda copy

A WARM & FRIENDLY STAFF TO TEND TO YOUR NEEDS

Living room and TV area

THERE IS A COMFORTABLE LIVING & DINING ROOM TO GATHER

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Elevated Pool View from Saraswati Room 3 -larger pixel size

 

 IN THE CENTER IS ALL OF THIS !

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I know what you are thinking. You want to go there right now ! Wait there is more,there are three lovely bedrooms with private patios and outdoor showers. The space will sleep six comfortably and allow everyone the privacy they need.

***

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THE SARASWATI ROOM AKA MASTER SUITE * HOG HEAVEN

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THE VIDYA ROOM * THIS ROOM CAN BE MADE UP AS A KING BED TOO

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THE DHANYA ROOM HAS A GORGEOUS VIEW OF THE TERRACED RICE FIELDS

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Villa Amrita is a short ride from the main town of Ubud. The villa offers one complementary round trip ride into town per day. They give you a cell phone that allows you to ring the driver when you are ready to be picked up. You can also hire the driver for additional excursions. A full made to order breakfast is also part of the package. If you don’t fee l like leaving the villa, dinner can be prepared for a nominal fee.

***

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HAVING A NAP OR GETTING A MASSAGE IS ALL PART OF THE DAILY RITUAL

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Before we left we had the pleasure of meeting the owner Jon Jones (a young semi retired finance guy from the US, who started coming to Bali on vacation back in 1999) who could not have been more thoughtful and enthusiastic. He shared his plans of building another villa and all the fun additions he had planed for his future guests.

 The thing I like best about Villa Amrita is that it felt like home. It had just the right amount of luxury without being over the top.

***

2014 Bali & Beyond 194

IT REALLY DOESN’T GET MUCH BETTER THAN THIS

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Ubud was just  a small fraction of what we experienced on our trip to Bali. To show you all of it would have your head spinning.

Here is a little peek at Ubud:

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Ubud copy

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The Scoop:

Villa Amrita

Ubud, Bali. Indonesia

villaamrita.com

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Villas in Bali

villabali.com

It was hard to leave this magical place after the wonderful memories we shared but there is always next time….

Tell them Nili sent you xo

 

 

SOMETIMES LAST MINUTE DINNER PARTIES ARE THE BEST

***

It’s hard to believe it’s already August! I started writing this post back in June and I am just getting back to it.

I have a mountain of stories and recipes ready to share with you but while I am getting them together,

I want to share a very simple marinated chicken dish that I made for a last minute dinner party.

This dish is perfect for a group and easy to assemble. Add a couple of sides and a salad and you will have a tasty and affordable feast. I like to use chicken thighs because you are pretty much guaranteed a moist piece of chicken every time.

I am not going to a step by step delio because you don’t need it for this one. You just make the marinade, drop in the chicken and grill it up.

 

It goes something like this:

***

THE BASICS * YOU CAN BUY EVERYTHING YOU NEED AT TRADER JOE’S

INTO THE DISH WITH ALL THE GOODIES

VOLIA * FOR ADDED FLAVOR & COLOR  GRILL UP A BATCH OF LEMONS TOO

***

Here’s what you need:

3/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup good olive oil

1/4 cup rosemary leaves

4 tablespoons chopped garlic

3 tablespoons lemon zest

juice of one lemon

1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes

sea salt (I like Maldon) & freshly ground pepper

8 chicken thighs rinsed, dried & trimmed

extra lemons to grill for garnish

extra rosemary to garnish the platter

***

Put it together:

In a medium bowl whisk together the first 8 ingredients / save a little on the side to brush onto chicken while it’s cooking.

Add the marinade to the chicken thighs in a large zip lock bag and smush it around so the thighs are evenly coated. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight turning occasionally if you remember.

Preheat your grill to medium temp.

Shake off your thighs and start cooking. Depending on the size of your thighs this should take 8-10minutes per thigh. Brush the reserve marinade on the chicken when you turn it.

 

Once they come off the grill season with salt, pepper & a big squeeze of lemon.

Clean off your grill and add lemons halves and char until they are golden, add to your platter of chicken and garnish with rosemary.

Serves 6-8

***

Note: This marinade will keep in the frig for at least 4 days so feel free to make it in advance.

Enjoy these summer days while you can!

Talk to you soon xox Nili

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