Why I’m Still Using My Fancy Dinnerware and You Should, Too

Hey y’all, just curious, how are you doing during your #coronavirus #quarantine? What are you doing to get through the day? How are you handling this timeout that Mother Nature seemingly put us on? I’m especially interested in what you are doing creatively: cooking, baking, making?

My inquiring mind wants to know, boo.

I thought I’d mix it up on Day 6 of my #quarantine #corona #chronicles (why am I using so many hashtags, I don’t know! I’m just in a playful mood).

My cousin Mariann (@MadeByMariann) called the other day and said, “You seem like you’re having so much fun at home! I want to be there.”

So, I’m inviting you to my virtual dinner today. Here’s my recipe for a fun time at home:

1. Set the mood. Let’s shift from fear to fun for a moment. Turn on some music — I love pairing my dinners with ambiance. I gravitate toward calm melodic music — any song from Melody Gardot, bossanova (Brazilian music) or a Parisian tune.

2. Light a candle. I do this at almost every dinner, because it inspires me to slow down and be in the present moment. It also fills the room with a mesmerizing energy.

3. Bring out the fancy dinnerware. I always set my table for dinner — chargers (the larger plate holder-things that cradle the plate for decor) and all! Today, to elevate my mood from all the manic pandemic panic, I pulled out even more of my favorite things: my vintage French limoges plates, scalloped flatware and llama napkins (yes, I did say llama napkins — they’re like Peruvian unicorns, if you ask me).

Make every meal a special occasion.

In my “Style Your Spirit” series, I blogged about how to set several types of tables, from casual to fancy.

Why take the time to set up your table in an extra special way? Here’s the long and short of how it makes guests feel special.

4. Then there’s the meal! We started with a simple salad I created — a seasonal citrus favorite! Mix pomelo, butter lettuce and Frisée salad with vinaigrette, lemon and za’atar (a Middle Eastern spice blend). I also add dried black figs, toasted honey almonds, apple cider vinegar and olive oil.

My personal salad creation.

For the main meal, we prepared a Peruvian dish called lomo saltado, a strip steak stir-fry cooked with olive oil, garlic, parsley, red bell peppers and red onions in a soy sauce and vinaigrette reduction. It’s served on a bed of rice with a side of French fries. OMG, I salivated just typing that.

Lomo saltado

We used a family recipe that doesn’t use measurements (everything is eyeballed, LOL)!

Here’s a more precise recipe by Bon Appetit magazine.

Ninja tip: Use apple cider vinegar and basmati rice with salt and garlic.

So you might be asking, why go through all this trouble? Well, during these times that are a mixed bag of boredom, figuring out how to balance the family, working from home, etc., it’s nice to take our mind off of the stress and bad news and use your best stuff to celebrate the now.

Make most of this time. Don’t let fear take away from the present moment, y’all.

I’m especially enjoying seeing all the creativity coming out of these interesting times of #shelterinplace #quarantine #lockdown.

Joanna Gaines inspired me to share what I’m doing at home. She’s encouraging everyone to share using the hashtag #WeBelieveInHome.

I want to know what you’re creating during these quirky times. Please share and tag us @goinspirego and use #WeBelieveInHome and #StyleYourSpirit.

Much love to you!
Toan