Cottage Foodie Diet Recipes

Chipotle Coffee Steak Rub with Cucumber Mango Salad

July 12, 2016

What’s better than a delicious steak cooked to perfection? A delicious steak with the perfect rub. I went searching for just this for our Fourth of July weekend “cook-in” (yes, it rained all weekend) and came across this rub made with coffee. I use coffee frequently with pork tenderloin but have never used it with red meat. I can honestly say this rub turned out to be the best I’ve ever tasted. No – I don’t eat meat, but all good cooks must taste their recipes, right?  Plus I have a few professional test-tasters right here at my home. The coffee adds a richness and depth of flavor and the chipotle adds just the right amount of heat. It is truly the perfect combination.

My Cucumber Mango Salad is one of my favorites that I make often and is a refreshing change from a green salad. It adds a light, bright, citrus flavor that balances out the steak perfectly and stays fresh in the fridge for days.

I always keep a few jars of this instant coffee in my pantry to use for various recipes and I highly recommend it for this steak rub.

Chipotle Coffee Steak Rub
2 teaspoons finely ground coffee
1 teaspoon chipotle-chile powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
2 (8-10 ounce) New York Strip Steaks (or your favorite cut)


Mix all ingredients together and coat steaks evenly with the rub. Lest rest at room temperature for 1-2 hours. Prepare a grill (or in my case, a cast iron skillet which cooked my steaks perfectly). Lightly oil your pan and grill steaks, turning when lightly charred (don’t forget to grill the sides). Transfer to cutting board and let rest for 15 minutes before thinly slicing and serve with a side of Cucumber Mango Salad.
Cucumber Mango Salad
1 ripe mango, cut into one-inch cubes (about 1 cup)
1 English cucumber, cut into one-inch cubes (about 1 cup)
1/3 cup diced red onions
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
red pepper flakes to taste
Juice from 1 lime
Freshly ground black pepper
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and refrigerate. Serve with Chipotle Coffee Steak.





Cottage Foodie Recipes

Fish Tacos with Lime-Cilantro Crema – also Vegetarian, Gluten free

June 29, 2016

Fish Tacos are one of the most popular menu items at restaurants today and you can find them in many forms: small bites, appetizers, on the “Skinny” menu or a full-fledged meal. I’ve sampled many fish taco recipes and, although the battered-and-fried taste the best, they are not the best for you.

This recipe is easy and delicious and you can adjust it for vegetarian and gluten free options. They can be put together in a pinch and, though they can be spicy, this is easily adjusted when adding your spices to the fish.

They are one of our favorite meals at Canterbury Cottage and I know you will love them too!

For the Crema:

1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions

1/4 chopped fresh cilantro

3 tablespoons fat-free mayo (light is okay too)

1 teaspoon grated lime rind

1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice (about one-half to one lime)

1 garlic clove, minced (I used 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder)

For the Tacos:

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (or regular paprika)

1/8  teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1 1/2 pounds red snapper fillets, or any white fish, such as flounder, etc.  – Vegetarian option – use one large brick tofu, cut into long slices.  You will need to squeeze out the water from the tofu first and pat dry with paper towels.

Cooking spray

8 6-inch flour tortillas (gluten free option – use corn tortillas, which I personally like better)

2 cups shredded cabbage (purple, savoy – your choice!)


Combine the first six ingredients for the crema in a small bowl; refrigerate.

Combine the spices (through garlic powder) and sprinkle over fish (or tofu) evenly over both sides. Place on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray or a Silpat. Bake at 400 degrees for 9-11 minutes (12-15 for tofu). Removed from oven and break into bite-sized pieces with a fork. Heat tortillas;  divide fish or tofu evenly, top with crema and shredded cabbage.



Cottage Design Home Decor

The French Cottage

June 3, 2016

I am returning to my Cottage series about the many ways of styling your home (aka cottage). Here are the links to my previous posts:

The Modern Cottage

The Colorful Cottage

The Black and White Cottage

The White Cottage

The Pink Cottage

Today, we look at The French Cottage. Be it a cozy farmhouse setting in the countryside, or a chic pied-a-terre in the city, The French Cottage is always in style.

In 1996, my husband and I took the kids to France and stayed in this oh-so-quaint Farmhouse:


That’s me and my daughter Julia (then age 3) peeking out through our bedroom window. The inside was typically French:  dark beams, florals, rich colors and very low ceilings in the shower (if you’ve ever showered abroad you’ll relate to this!)


The inside of our cottage resembled this:  Lots of beams, textures and very soft sofas!



Our kitchen was small and quaint and resembled this:



A more modern approach to The French Cottage is to add black upholstry:

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Black mixed with this all white apartment (above)  adds a touch of young, modern elegance – especially when paired with the antique chandelier.  Look hard and you can see the very old decorative mouldings near the ceiling line.


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Modern artwork and a classic Chesterfield Sofa in a rich black velvet adds a modern touch.  You can see how the hard edges are paired down in the background with the soft beige drapes. I am not 100% sure about that chandelier though!


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Classic details such as the floral mouldings, original hardwoods and tall French doors add drama to this French apartment.


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Again, the floor-to-ceiling French doors, vintage chandelier and lighter furnishings add a touch of elegance to this Paris apartment. (The kitties are cute, too!)


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A French cottage in the country with dark beams and rock walls.  This look is softened with the lighter upholstery and pink drapery.



One of my favorite French cottages in the country – the inside resembles an old fashioned apartment in Paris.  They kept the brick floors for contrast with the white accessories.


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Above, a classic French bedroom with antique lighting, shutters on the windows, wardrobe tucked into an alcove, and fireplace.

The French Cottage of today is more decorative, with more accessories, more colors, and often with a bit of “country” thrown in.  A more modern French Cottage has mixes of blacks and whites with added touches of gold or chrome, and pops of colors used on dining chairs, art and accessories.

If you are interested in reading about the French Cottage look, check out my friend Cindy Blackenburg’s home which I wrote about in my column “Details” in the April 2016 Issue of Romantic Homes magazine. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Cindy and her great style. You can read her blog here.  Also, check out my friend Victoria Hayden’s Instagram, The French Made Home (@the.frenchmade.home).  She has amazing taste and will be featured in my column in an upcoming issue.


All images via Pinterest.




Cottage Foodie Recipes

Let’s Make Pho

May 20, 2016





My family loves Pho.  When both kids are home visiting, we order it at least once a week, and love to try different restaurants to find our favorite versions.  I have always wanted to try to make homemade Pho for two reasons:  First, I love to control what goes in my food (I don’t use salt or oil and eat mainly a plant-based diet) and second, we love it so much it would be great to be able to make it at home which eliminates the fight over who’s going to go pick up the food order 🙂

Don’t be intimidated by this recipe.  I have tried a few different variations on the theme in the past, but the broth just never had the richness of this one, which is made with chicken instead of beef.  I came across this recipe in the March 2016 Food and Wine magazine that was created by Chef Jimmy Tu for his restaurant Bunker located in Queens.  I clipped it, read it over again and again for weeks, stared at it even longer, kept it on top of the kitchen island to remind me that I CAN DO THIS.  And boy I am so glad I did.

The ingredient list might look intimidating, but once you purchase the spices needed you will have them on hand for quite some time.  I try to make recipes ‘my own’, sometimes adding or omitting things here and there, but I tried to follow this one to the letter (minus salt and oil). The key to a rich, deep broth using chicken as opposed to beef is to fully roast the spices and to char the onions thoroughly. No skimping – this is what develops the flavor.

I’ve made this a few times now, and I am not going to lie it’s an all afternoon affair, but most of that time the chicken is cooking or the broth is simmering and you are free to catch up on your favorite Food Network shows.  And it is worth the time.  This is truly the best bowl of Pho I’ve ever had, and I think you will agree.   The key to making this efficient is to get your ingredients prepared ahead of time.  Read the recipe and follow the rule of mise en place. For all you non-foodies, you’ll have to look that up.


{making Pho while watching Chopped on the Food Network}

Chicken Pho



  • One 3  1/2 – 5 pound chicken

  • 2 whole star anise

  • 2 cardamom pods

  • 1 tsp. coriander seeds

  • one 2 1/2-inch cinnamon stick

  • 1  1/2 tsps.  black peppercorns

  • 1 tsp. goji berries (if you can’t find them at the grocers you can purchase here

  • 2 shallots, halved

  • 1 small onion, quartered

  • 1 leek, halved lengthwise and cut into 2-inch pieces

  • 1 Tbsp. dark brown sugar

  • 1 Tbsp. Asian Fish sauce


  • 3 mediums shallots, very thinly sliced (one cup)

  • 6 oz. dried rice noodles

  • 1/4 cup sliced scallions

  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

  • Bean, sprouts, basil sprigs, mint sprigs, thinly sliced jalapeno and lime wedges, for serving

  • Dollop of Sriracha for extra spice

Start the Pho

  1. In a large stockpot bring 5 quarts of water to a boil.  Add the chicken, breast side down.  Place a heat-proof plate over the chicken to keep it submerged and bring to a boil (I used my every day china).  Reduce the heat and simmer the chicken for 30 minutes; it will not be cooked through.  Transfer the chicken to a bowl of ice water and let cool completely.  Drain well and pat dry.

  2. Meanwhile, in a large cast-iron skillet combine the star anise, cardamom, coriander, cinnamon stick, black peppercorns and goji berries. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring until very fragrant for about 3-6 minutes.  Don’t skimp on this – it’s vital to the deep broth flavor.  Transfer to a small bowl.

  3. In the same skillet, combine the shallots, onion and leek.  Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until very deep golden brown (almost black) – 10-15 minutes.

  4. Remove all the meat from the chicken and coarsely shred.

    {cooking the spices}

Simmer the Broth

  1. Return all of the chicken skin and bones to the broth in the stockpot.  Add the pan-roasted shallot, onion and leek mixture and bring to a boil.  Cover and simmer over low heat for 1 hour.

  2. Stir the toasted spices and goji berries into the broth.  Cover and simmer for 1 hour longer.  Add the brown sugar and simmer for another 30 minutes.

  3. Strain the broth into a large bowl (I do this twice), pressing on the solids; discard the solids.  Pour the broth into a clean saucepan.



{before charring the onions…}

{…and after}

Make the Garnishes

  1.  Fry the shallots:  In a large skillet, add low sodium reduced chicken broth (the original recipe calls for oil) and heat thoroughly. Add the shallots and cook over medium heat, stirring until golden brown and crispy, 7-10 minutes.  Transfer the shallots to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Let cool (they crisp up when cool).

  2. Soak the noodles in a large bowl of boiling water until pliable, 8-10 minutes.

  3. Bring broth to a simmer.  Stir in the shredded chicken and cook until just white throughout, 1-2 minutes.  Stir in the fish sauce.

  4. Drain the rice noodles and transfer to large bowls. Ladle the broth and chicken over the noodles.  Top with scallions and cilantro. Garnish with the crispy shallots, bean sprouts, basil, mint and jalapeno and serve with lime wedges.

{making the crispy shallot topping}

{simmering the broth}


The soup makes enough broth for 2-3 family servings.  All you need to do it heat up the leftover broth, and add fresh noodles and garnishes. There is a fantastic Pho tutorial in the March issue of Food and Wine which I found to be very helpful.


Home Decor Library Styling

Styling the Summer Library

May 15, 2016


The word “Library” often invokes visions of floor to ceiling books enveloped in rich, dark woods with accents of leather and distinctly masculine accessories.




While a warm, cozy reading nook draped with heavy fabrics might be appropriate for a winter movie setting, elevating the space to a light and airy yet comfortably cozy space is easier than you think.











Bring in neutral cotton or linen upholstery in light, soft colors. Covered buttons and tufting add an air of subtle sophistication. Accessorize with throw pillows covered in light florals or softly-hued prints. Richly textured throws in light colors will cozy up the room while at the same time creating a warm and inviting space.






Live greenery brings a touch of summer to the library.  If you are opting for a more sophisticated look, add greenery in the form of topiaries. These ornamental shaped plants are abundant during the summer months and are often made with rosemary, lavender or heather and provide not only visual beauty but add an extra dimension with their balmy and bright aroma.




Group your books by color: shelves with bright blues and spring greens will add a touch of whimsy. A neutral-themed design utilizing all white and black books adds a modern, sophisticated look. Removing the paper covers on your vintage books will often reveal brightly colored bindings with hints of gold gilding.



Style your summer bookshelves by including light garden touches such as small statuary and finials. Add picture frames in one color family.

Don’t over accessorize: incorporate these touches every two or three shelves to make it more varied visually.







{My assistant guarding my props – he never even tried to eat a cookie which is more than I can say for myself}


The library is one of the most under-utilized rooms in the home. It does not just have to be an office space, or a place to store your books. Bring in a small table and chairs and host your book club. Serve breakfast or a luncheon for friends. Have an afternoon tea. Take a nap. Use your shelves to display family mementos, photos, antiques or even vintage ironstone.





The summer library is bright, light and airy. It can be decidedly feminine or uniquely masculine. Style it so that you can enjoy it year-round: it is more than just a room for the bibliophile.


Gifts Shopping

Sweet Valentine’s Day Gifts (no sugar, no calories, and gluten-free)

February 10, 2016

I want to share with you some very sweet and affordable Valentine’s Day gifts that I discovered (and they have ZERO calories, no sugar, and no gluten).

I found this wonderful fluted bowl of “love” at my local Home Goods on the clearance rack for $5. (flowers not included!)

 This beautiful mug is embellished with gold and bright pink hearts and a gold handle. And the inside has the most perfect message of love

 I call this my “Adele” mug.

{it’s me}

Buy here

This small trinket dish reads “You make my heart happy” and is embellished with light purple/pink swirls and a small bird.  One of my favorite finds at Francesca’s. Buy here

I found this while shopping at Charming Charlies. It’s a large trinket dish embellished with black dots, piped in gold with gold writing. LOVE.

A set of mugs that say “Besties” so you can sip your coffee or tea with your Bestie. Me and my Bestie use ours for wine.  Just sayin’.

The handles are heart-shaped. Again, from Francesca’s and on sale. Purchase here

And for the dog lovers, these fridge magnets are wood and have old- fashioned clothespins on the back and are the sweetest things I have ever seen. You can purchase them here

See – I told you.  No calories, no sugar and gluten free.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Bridal Design Fashion Romance

The Art and Romance of Haute Couture

January 19, 2016

One thing I love about blogging and writing is “meeting” other business owners. A few months ago I crossed paths with a lovely lady named Laura van Rooij.  Laura designs custom bridal gowns in her shop Laura van Rooij Bridal Couture, located in the Netherlands.

I wanted to share Laura’s story in the February issue of Romantic Homes Magazine. February is the month of romance and love, and what’s more romantic than a wedding?

Here is the complete text with many more photos of Laura’s work.


The Art and Romance of Haute Couture

A centuries-old bank building with tall steel windows and richly stained wooden floors might seem an unlikely place to find a bridal shop. Yet once you step through the doors of this atelier you are whisked away by softly hued, one-of-a kind romantic bridal gowns – all custom made, designed and sewn by owner Laura van Rooij.

 {The interior of Laura’s amazing shop}

{Bridal designs on display}

Laura always knew she was born to design. Though she struggled with academics in school as a child, she had a gift for drawing and was captivated by the fashion she found in magazines. On weekend drives she would ask her parents to stop in front of bridal salons so she could admire the gowns through the windows. After graduating she attended fashion school and interned for a bridal dress designer for a short time, then moved on to selling high-end gowns at another salon. Laura yearned to put pen to paper and create her own visions.

In 2010 her dream became a reality when Laura van Rooij Bridal Couture was born.

 {one of Laura’s original designs}

{her extensive fabric collection}

 Laura meets with her clients to discuss their desires and to look at fabric selections. The prospective bride-to-be tries on pre-made designs in the shop to see which silhouette suits her body and personality.  This process is the starting point in designing a dream dress for the client. Laura then cuts a handmade pattern and sews a cotton “dress” that is used for fitting and adjustments. Once the fit is perfect then it’s off to the atelier where Laura herself cuts and sews the stunning, one-of-a-kind masterpiece. From start to finish each creation is from her own hand.

Searching the world for the best fabrics and accoutrements for her bridal creations is what sets Laura’s shop apart from other bridal salons. Quality and workmanship are top priority, as each gown is specially designed by her for the bride-to-be.

 {Laura’s creations are a work of art}



In 2014 Laura moved her atelier to a magnificent old bank building located in Eindhoven, a city situated in the southernmost part of the Netherlands. Laura, along with her dad, lovingly restored the interior of the building while maintaining the charm and authenticity of the structure.  They shopped for old cabinets to display Laura’s fabrics, mirrors, lamps and beautiful small accessories. Her flair for design created a quite a stir with her customers; they not only appreciated her bridal designs, they also noticed her flair for interior design. Her second business was born: Laura’s Living.


 {a few items for sale from her Laura’s Living line}

{Laura also sells amazing linens}

Her home decor items can be purchased on her website Laura’s Living and through Jeanne d’Arc Living. She carries high quality home accessories from large mirrors to smaller decor items like candles and pillows and has a gorgeous linen and lace tablecloth line made in Belgium. Each item is lovingly chosen by Laura and beautifully packaged. Details are very important to her and this is evident in every aspect of both of her businesses.  She has remained true to her vision of creating romance and beauty not only for the bride, but for the home as well.

Each dress Laura designs is a work of art.  You can follow her design process through this video:

If you are interested in having Laura design a custom creation for you, please contact her through her website

For home decor items, visit her website

To purchase her linen line, visit

Laura is on Pinterest under the name; on Facebook under the name Laura’s Living, and on Instagram you can follow her home decor line @laurasliving, and her Atelier, @laura_van_rooij.

 {Laura at work}

Laura, what a pleasure it has been getting to know you.

Design Floral

Happy 2016!

December 31, 2015

It’s New Year’s Eve (again!)

I’d like to wish all of you a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2016!

Canterbury Cottage Designs will be back with new and exciting home decor, healthy recipes, and a few surprises!

Thank you for following me on Instagram!

These were my 2015 Top Nine Instagram photos:

Christmas 2015 is almost in the books so here are a few shares from the season:


Our Annual New Year’s Eve Eve Picnic by the fire

 My foyer table



Love vintage bottle brush trees







Cutest Elf on the Shelf EVER


 A simple yet elegant tablescape


My daughter Julia (on the bottom) finally reunited with her bestie Becky (we love like she’s one of our own)

We had our family favorite, Pho, on picnic night!

My favorite dining room cabinet.


My Sweet Riley


I have had so many friends lose their pets this past year and it is so hard to get past the heartache and loss.  I am thinking of you! Thank you for your amazing support over the past year!

Please follow me HERE on Instagram  and HERE on Pinterest.


Gifts Shopping

Shop ’til You Drop

December 3, 2015

One of my fondest memories from long ago is of my daughter and I shopping together and hearing her sweet little voice saying “shop- we DROP!” She would say this over and over again from her car seat just to hear me laugh.

It’s not the most original title but it is the one time of year where some of us actually do this. My favorite way to shop is ONLINE.  In my P.J.s with coffee.


Okay with cookies too!

I love supporting small businesses and try to purchase from them first before hitting up the chains.  Today I would like to introduce to you a wonderful Etsy shop called


owned by Brandie Embry. Brandie’s shop specializes in high-end, hand-poured, all natural and eco-friendly soy-scented candles made with pure essential oil fragrance.  All candles are 100% eco-friendly, soy and have cotton core lead-free wicks.

All candles are artful, multi-faceted fragrance blends that Brandie crafts in small batches.  She pours each one into vintage, reusable containers. My melt came in a gorgeous vintage class cloche (see above photo).

I love that all her containers can be reused to add vintage charm to your decor long after your candle has burned.

Milkjugperfumecandle is also passionate about being eco-friendly.

Brandie not only sells candles, she sells soy melts which she makes and hand pours herself (her melts are my personal favorite) and includes pretty spoons for scooping.  She makes perfume decals that are stunning.

Brandie has an amazing Christmas collection in her shop as well.


MilkJugPerfumeCandle can be special ordered for bridal parties, wedding favors, and make the BEST Holiday gifts!

Each order comes beautifully gift wrapped, ready to sneak under the tree.

Special Discount

Just for my readers, Brandie is generously offering 20% percent off all products in her Etsy shop!  She currently has 71 products for sale – each one beautifully handcrafted and ready to ship.

Please click the link below and start shopping! For your 20% discount, please use the code cottage20

Don’t forget to buy a few for yourself, too. Also, check out and “like” Brandie’s facebook page here and her amazing website here

Happy Holidays!