Easy Summer Salad: Antipasto Chickpea Salad

Antipasto chickpea Salad Hero

One of the thing I love about summer cooking is that it’s not really “cooking” at all; there’s an emphasis on easy to put together salads and other cold dishes.

This easy and flavorful chickpea salad has 3 basic steps: (1) purchase yummy antipasto from your supermarket; (2) open a can of chickpeas; and (3) combine, season and chill.

Antipasto chickpea Salad strip 2

I love the antipasto bar at my local store. It’s abundant and filled with variety of antipasti that make it easy to pull together a simple but elegant and filling appetizer platter. You can take as much or as little as you want, put it all in one container or separate containers, and the price is calculated by pound. It’s also economical if you don’t want to store full-size jars of olives, artichokes, sundried tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers and more. (No more opening a jar of fuzzy sundried tomatoes!)

I thought up this easy chickpea summer salad on my last trip to the store. I knew I wanted a mix of spicy, vinegary flavors with fresh basil and lemon. So, I selected just a few of each of: marinated artichokes, jumbo black olives, sundried tomatoes, peppadew peppers and roasted garlic cloves. You can mix and match whatever you enjoy the most, what looks great and sounds great that day. I used a 1-pound size container, but it was only about 1/2 full. It was a good chickpea-to-antipasto ratio in the final salad.

Antipasto chickpea Salad strip 1

The chickpea salad came together really easily, in minutes actually! The longest part was waiting for it to chill and blend before devouring it! Serve it as a side dish or to make it an entree salad, serve on top of a bed of mixed greens drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice.

Easy Antipasto Chickpea Salad

1 15 oz. can of chickpeas, drained, rinsed and air-dried

1/2 pound of mixed antipasto

Juice of 1 lemon

1 T. olive oil

2 T. grated Parmesan cheese (or more to taste)

5 or 6 large basil leaves

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Place chickpeas in a small serving bowl.
  2. Chop antipasto into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Add the antipasto pieces (and any oil from the container) to the chickpeas.
  4. Roll the basil leaves together into a small, tight roll and slice thinly into a chiffonade.
  5. Add the basil, lemon juice, olive oil and cheese to the bowl and mix gently. Season with salt and pepper (and if you like, a bit of onion powder).
  6. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

This chickpea salad is even better the next day! It’s a great dish to take to a summer barbecue or family reunion. Enjoy!

Serves 4.

 

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3 Tips to Avoid Overwhelm on Your Next Home Decorating Project

Decorating Overwhelm

 

I love my clients. My clients are my teachers. My most recent in-home design clients each shared three very similar fears and concerns about their own DIY home decorating. It occurred to me that these are things that I take for granted, but if they were getting stuck on these fears, maybe other home decor enthusiasts are, too!

 

One of my most trusted mentors has a rule of thumb when it comes to wisdom. When you hear the same principle repeated by several brilliant individuals, it’s time to listen up. What they’re saying is the truth. Trust it.

And so it goes in working with clients. They teach me a lot about home decorating and the fears and doubts they have to overcome. Everyone has his or her genius. For me interior design is one of those things that comes easily to me, so I assume it’s easy for everyone. For you maybe it’s making a perfect pie crust or fixing a flat tire—you think, can’t everyone do this?

Recently I realized that many of my design clients have the same concerns like knowing what colors go together, or how to arrange accessories so it doesn’t look cluttered. These concerns and fears of making a mistake often stopped them from completing projects, or spun them into an overwhelm cycle.

With just a few tips, each of these fears is easy dispelled and you can move forward to complete your DIY home decorating projects!

Here are just 3 lessons that my clients have taught me. May they inspire you to take on a project with a little more confidence.

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#1 Shopping can be overwhelming.

When I walk into a home store, I’m a kid in a candy store. When I do personal shopping with my clients, I see that they’re relieved to have me along. Otherwise, they tell me, it can be nearly impossible to make decisions because there are so many choices.

Next time you’re facing a retail meltdown, try these tips:

  • Shop online first to reduce confusion when you get to the store. Most major retailers have websites with search capabilities that let you drill down to the most specific choices. Let’s say you’re looking for a yellow table cloth. Searching for “table cloth” brings up 247 choices; but if you specify the shape, size and color using the site’s refinement function, you really only have 5 choices. Confused minds don’t buy, and reducing your choices from 247 to 5 makes it much easier to see the trees in the forest, so to speak.
  • Ask for help. For many people, the thought of going to a home improvement center is akin to going to the dentist. Oddly, I have zero fear walking into a hardware or home improvement store. I may not know exactly what I’m looking for, but in my experience, the folks that work at these stores have great ideas and a lot of know-how. Explain your project, or what you’re looking for, and let them guide you to the right product. Many times they have ideas to make my project even better! Same holds true for furniture stores and many home décor shops.
  • Create a mood board. If you’re redecorating a room, I really encourage you to use a mood board. I explain it in more detail in the Room Makeover Planner, but essentially it’s collecting the colors, finishes and fabrics you have or want in the room—or even just inspiration photos—onto a sheet of paper or a file folder. Pinterest is like a giant mood board; create a separate board just for the room you’re working on and pin the exact items you’re considering. Here’s an example of my board when I putting together my outdoor office. When I do room consultations, I create mood boards so the client can see the vision for the room. Then, when you’re out shopping and you’re not sure about something, simply pause, take a breath and look at the mood board. It’s a compass in the sea of retail confusion.

 

#2 It’s OK to make mistakes!

Even if you follow all the tips in #1, there will be times that you take something home, or it’s delivered from an online shop, and you think, “Ewww! I don’t know about this!” Maybe the color looks completely different in your home, or it’s too big or too small for the space.

It happens all the time, yet I’m amazed at how afraid we are to make such mistakes.

It doesn’t mean you don’t know what you’re doing or what you like, it simply means that piece isn’t right for your house. Return the item, or if it’s a final sale, donate it to a local charity or sell it online.

Do not feel like you have to live with it or stash it in the garage. It will forever be chanting to you, “You made a mistake!” and who needs that kind of energy?
Mood Board

 

#3 Plans change. Go with it!

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in the middle of a project, either for myself or a client, when out of the blue an idea hits me. Totally not something on “the plan” but brilliant just the same. It’s important not to hold too tightly to a plan, a direction, or even a specific item.

For example, in the mood board shown above, I originally had planned to use three tiebacks from Anthropologie, priced at about $32 each to hang a fabric canopy over the headboard. But when I went to purchase them, I discovered they were an online item not available in stores. No worries! I used an $8 pack of clear Command brand adhesive hooks and saved the client some money.

When inspiration strikes, follow it. If the change helps to create a room you love without sacrificing the overall vision, embrace it.

I love supporting my clients to make their houses into homes, and I love learning from each and every one of them!

If you liked this article, please share it using the buttons below! And, be sure to follow me on Pinterest; it’s where I hang out for home decor-y stuff!

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Avoid DIY Decorating Overwhelm with these 3 tips

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Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with History, Home and the Best Irish Icing Ever!

Background of lush green clover leaves

 
 

Celebrate the start of springtime, the Irish in all of us and the color of the year all in one month!

 

March Madness may be about basketball for some, but for me, it’s about color and new beginnings and lots of good food and fun.
 

Here are my three favorite St. Patrick’s Day highlights for the history geek, the home decorator and the cook.
 

A Wee Bit of Irish History

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Learn about the legend and lore of St. Patrick, how the City of Chicago uses 45 pounds of vegetable dye to go green for St. Pat’s Day, and some key Gaelic phrases to back up that “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” button.

 

Bring the Outside In: 7 Easy Ways to Go Green at Home

Home plant

 

Find out why green is one of the best colors to bring into your home, and 7 easy and inexpensive ways to take advantage of this multifaceted color, not just at St. Pat’s Day but the whole year through.

 

Spiked and Spiced: The Best St. Patrick’s Day Cupcakes

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Dig in to these delectable homemade cupcakes made with stout beer, or a cake mix version with added punch and spice. Both are topped with a scrumptious booze-laced icing that will make sure those Irish eyes are smiling!

(Shamrocks photo credit: © Swapan – Fotolia.com)

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