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Make your House a Home ~ from Chef Marian

I have always lived the motto ‘Make your House a Home’. No matter where in the world I traveled, what ‘efficiency’ (apartment with a kitchen) I was staying in, I always turned it into warm and cozy ~ (even when the ceilings were 24 feet high). I always made it a ‘home’.

Which brings me to an experience I had the other night with new friends Ron and Lori.

Ron had see me speak last week, and afterwards said he was pretty sure I would like his wife, who is also into nutrition and making the world a better place one person at a time….. but unlike me she is a trained educated professional in psychotherapy and really knows the right questions to ask. So he asked me to his home for dinner.

Anyway….. here’s what I walked into:



The lighting was deep and welcoming. I had to lighten it up to show you. But you can tell from the feel, it’s home.

I wish I had taken pictures of the whimsical feathered pillows or the wonderful blends of color in the living room.

Here’s what my hostess said to me: “I could live here forever”.

Doesn’t that speak volumes? Is that how you feel about the place you are living?

I recently moved into a new place myself. And as I unpack the boxes, the one thing that is clear: this is home. The walls have a combination of fine art and paintings I have painted, one canvas onto the next (two panels) that mean a lot to me. And I know that when I’m done organizing, this will be a home that also welcomes people.


No. No plastic on the couches. You must be pretty old to be asking me a question like that! lol

Onto the dinner. Being a healthy eater and someone looking to stay gluten, soy and dairy free, in addition to only 5% animal protein, I would say I am not easy to cook for ~ especially if someone is trying to wow me with decadence, which happens more times than not. (And by the way, in my world, if 90% of the week I am totally ‘on target’, I will be ok to eat bites of a rich meal…. trying to find the vegetables and salad to go heavy on).

So you can live healthy and splurge with 3 ~ 4 bites when the situation calls for it… and still be ok.

But I had no worries in this case. After all, I told you….Lori and Ron live a healthy lifestyle.

She served a beautiful wine before the meal as we all sat around the living room and introduced ourselves (and later another great choice, a Pinot Noir, with the meal). Did you know that Pinot Noir and Pizza are an incredibly good combination? Try it sometime.

By 8:30pm, when it was Lori’s turn to tell us how she met her husband she said: “Let’s do this over dinner”.

Salmon, Salt, Pepper, Dill before it goes on a Grill

Salmon, Salt, Pepper, Dill before it goes on a Grill

So we moved into the kitchen/dining area and Ron grabbed some salmon and thru it on the grill outside (5 minutes one side, 3 minutes the other ~ not over done, not under done).

Don’t ya just hate when someone gives you raw salmon and you’re not at a sushi place?


Thank you. Thank you for your support! lol

Lori started steaming green beans, telling me she was having an ‘out of body experience’ cooking for me. Well, I guess home cooks sometimes do feel intimated to have a chef in the kitchen. But every little part of this evening was absolutely perfect……. and joyful for me, for once… to NOT be the one cooking (and still, the food meets every high standard there is)! lol

So Salmon and Dill got busy on a grill. And Lori put together the salad. And if you look above the salad in the first salad picture here you will see a wonderful combo of green beans, goat cheese and bacon. Want to lighten that up? Crumble in some prosciutto instead (Italian Ham).

A hint with your salads? Ever find the onion or shallot to be sharp on your plate? Either sliver it, paper thin, or caramelize it (cook it) and add a little balsamic vinegar (later you can add some olive oil and turn it into a dressing), or just put it on the salad as is. Remember what I told you about cooking onions and shallots, right?


Always into a hot pan. Listen for the sizzle!

A beautiful setting

A beautiful setting



It was if an artist had placed each item on the plate.

Isn’t that beautiful?

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Do you see what I am talking about here? The comfort and warmth ~ the ambiance ~ the settings? This is how you Make a House a Home…. one that you can live in forever!

And guess what? It doesn’t have to be perfect….. doesn’t have to look like everyone else’s or the one you saw in the magazine. The thing that makes your home unique is you!  And it’s ok to have wild ideas flow thru you and try things out. Feel like painting on the walls? Put up a canvas first. See how that comes out. That canvas can end up in another room and with that new found confidence, you can go directly onto the wall… that is, unless you thing you might move some time down the road and would want to take it with you! Then stick to canvas!

I just want you to consider the possibilities…. splashes of aqua….. one stroke across a canvas…..colors that make you feel alive. Same thing goes for platters you serve on. Stop with the white and beige and get creative. Make happier choices!

There’s where I’m at. That’s how I feel. I hope I have inspired you.


Thank you reader and eater. Thank you!

Happy Eating,

Chef Marian














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