Recipe: Green Bean Saute ….

We are going to take a bit of a break from Motivational Mondays as we enter the holiday season.  I figured why serve you up some inspirational sayings about the holidays and keeping calm when I can show you how to do it!

I stress out about many things; work, relationships, global warming, will Olivia on Scandal ever find true love….you know, those important things in life.  However, one thing I don’t stress out about is holiday meals.  Maybe it’s because I spent years planning corporate events or my brief stint in culinary school but I created some “rules” to insure I don’t end up in some corner clutching a turkey crying.  I mentioned last week that I was lucky enough to share those rules with the ladies at in a video segment on how to host the perfect party.

One of the questions during the show was about how to handle ensuring that food comes out at the same time and is still warm.  Unless you have a commercial size kitchen, it can be difficult to time it perfectly to ensure that all your food comes out precisely 5 minutes before dinner begins.  I recommend you invest in a good quality chaffing dish and think about what items can be served at room temperature.  I love making side dishes that can be served hot or at “cold” for a meal.

I recently perfected my recipe for green beans with mushrooms and roasted red peppers and couldn’t be happier with it.  Fancy enough to serve during the holidays yet super quick to put together.  However, the best part is that it tastes even better at room temperature or out of a fridge for a late night ‘nosh fest……

Green Bean Saute #2


  • 1 pounds green beans, trimmed and cut in half
  • Coarse salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 Portobello mushroom caps, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • 1/4 of a cup jarred roasted red pepper slices*


Blanche green beans in salted boiling water for approximately 4 minutes. Drain green beans and place in sauté pan on moderate heat. Add oil and butter to the pan. Add garlic and sauté for 4-5 minutes. Add mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Saute mushrooms 3 to 5 minutes and add green beans back to the pan.

Add sherry and simmer for 2 minutes. Transfer green beans to serving bowl and add roasted red pepper slices. Lightly toss and finish with salt and pepper.

*Feel free to substitute home-made roasted red peppers but be sure to add 1 additional tablespoon of olive oil.

[photo credit: photo by adza //recipe & styling: courtney lake]

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Thanksgiving Help from & ….

Can you believe that this time next week that it will be Thanksgiving?!?  Kinda crazy right?  Well don’t stress out because I teamed up with two different partners to show you how to avoid the Thanksgiving “craziness” ……..

Joyus Screenshot

The online retailer invited me onto their web talk show to discuss my short cuts and tips on throwing a stress-free holiday party and creating beautiful holiday tablescapes.  In the segment I show three different table settings that can take you from Thanksgiving all the way through New Years without breaking the bank or you in a cold sweat!  It’s all about creating a fun and easy approach to decorating.

Courtney Lake Thanksgiving Buffet

For my monthly column at, I am talking about how to set up a Thanksgiving Buffet.  Whether you are opting for a more relaxed holiday this season or a simply don’t have the room in your abode, I show how you can create a beautiful buffet that will wow your guests and leave you with time to still enjoy the meal!

And next week for all you procrastinators still in need of a menu, I break down my picks for simple, quick and yummy Thanksgiving dishes!  So relax I got you covered this holiday season!  Now I just have to follow my own advice and get started!  Sometimes the “teacher” is the worst pupil.  Now if you will excuse me, I need to start planning own menu…..

[photo credit: by adza]

Check me out on PinterestTwitter and Insta.gram for more musings on design, food and just plain randomness. You can also find me at my online shop for Joy & Revelry.

Joyus Recap: Why Did He Do That……

Hey y’all !

It’s the  final week of voting for’s Viewer Choice Challenge!  I thought it would be fun to recap the process and explain some of my design decisions .  To give a brief reminder of the contest, myself and 6 bloggers were given a blank “white room” in which to create a living room space.  Each blogger was given access to artwork, furniture and accessories from a variety of companies such as H.D. Buttercup and 20×200 from which to decorate the room in 4 hours.

I opted to go with the idea of color, pattern and texture for my space after spying a great rug that I thought could be the unifying item for the space.

In all truth, that rug was a god-send as it helped me quickly cull through the various furniture and accessory options.  It took me about a half hour to pull the items I wanted to use in the space.   The rug inspired my selection of the purple chairs and grey couch as well as the inlaid trays.   With selections made it became a job all about staging and accessorizing.

So to address the “elephant” in the room – the vase with the tray on it that I used as a side table.  I have read through the numerous comments  on and to address the concerns actually, it was pretty stable.   But in all likelihood if I was to do this in a room that was not for “show”, I would epoxy the tray to the vase for added stability.  However, I think the point I made was valid – look for items you already have in your home and recycle them.  A tray plus an old pot could just as easily become an end table …… think outside of the box so you don’t have to dig inside your wallet.

I also got some flack for my “ban the bookcase” (BTB) comment but I still stand by it.  Unless bookcases are staged correctly, they become a catchall for clutter –and clutter my friends destroys even the best designs.  By stacking the books under the chairs, not only was I giving the chairs additional visual heft, I was using space that would normally be overlooked.  I love stacking large art books beside chairs, under furniture or in little niches.  I think of them as sculpture.   Honestly I can’t say the number of times I have found people sitting on the floor flipping through a new discovery.  As for them getting dirty, I have a dog who sheds so I dust once a week and have never had an issue with damage.

However, what surprises me most is the feedback I have gotten on the gallery wall.  Evidently, the votes are evenly split – folks either love a gallery wall or hate them with the same passion as they reserve for telemarketers.  Personally, like french fries, I have yet to meet a gallery wall I did not love.  Let it be noted that we weren’t given any large-scale pieces of artwork to use, so I opted to fill the wall space ala gallery style.  It allowed me to use the variety small prints we had on hand and create a unifying theme via their frame finish.  Using the paper templates were a quick and easy way to get the pictures perfectly placed in a quick manner.

Overall, I am still happy with the room I created.  Are there things I would change about it?  Sure!  I would love to have fresh flowers and real plants.  I would love to have a large-scale art piece for above the couch.  I wish I had added another end table beside the purple chairs.  And that list could go on…..

In the end, this was an exercise in thinking on your feet, using what you have in  interesting ways and sharing some tips on how to navigate the tricky terrain of decorating for yourself.  What I can say is that I had a TON of fun and learned a lot about how to work on camera.  My biggest takeaway from all of this is my newfound respect for Ryan Seacrest.  Honestly how he smiles for the camera, remembers what to say and doesn’t sweat like he just ran a 5K is beyond me.  I bow down to his overly tanned, slightly plastic self…….

Okay peeps, I am officially solidly in 3rd place.  I harbor no notion that I may win this thing, but I just don’t want to come in last.  I will even take Mr. Congeniality (which we all know is a cop out for the person they feel least threatened by).  I just don’t want to be last, so if you can help a brotha out, I would appreciate it.  Voting closes April 23 and each time you vote, you are entered to win a $1500 shopping spree from

Okay I am off to see if I can precariously place any more trays on wayward vases!

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