Please Sir, I want some more.

We hope you’re enjoying our holiday series and finding some great party and decorating ideas for your next soiree. There was just so much information in yesterday’s “Dickens” post. that we weren’t able to share all of food, travel, and lifestyle writer extraordinaire Annabel Cohen’s tasty treats. So, buckle up your taste buds for a palate advtenture of epic portions!

Yorkshire Pudding

1 1/2 cups flour                                            3/4  tsp. salt

3/4 cup whole milk                                        3 large eggs, room temperature

1/2 cup water                                                1/2 cup beef drippings (or vegetable oil)

Combine flour and salt together in the large bowl. Using an electric mixer, mix in the milk and eggs. Add water and beat again until the mixture is frothy. Allow to rest for an hour.

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Spray a 9×13 well with nonstick cooking spray. Pour the drippings or oil into melted butter into baking dish and return to the oven. Let the baking dish heat in then oven for 10-minutes. Open the oven and without removing the pan, pour the batter into the pan and bake for 25-30 minutes until puffy and golden. Serve immediately, cutting into squares as your serve. Makes 8-12 servings. 

Lamb Vegetable Soup

1 1/2 pound boneless lamb meat cut into 1–inch cubes (you can use stew meat)

1/4 cup flour                                             2 Tbsp. olive oil

2 cups chopped onion                                2 tsp. minced garlic

2 cups beef broth or water                        1 cup 1/4-inched diced red bell pepper

1/2 cup chopped celery                              1 Tbsp. dried parsley flakes

1 tsp. dried thyme                                     1 tsp. dried rosemary

1 tsp. dried mint                                       2 cups diced potatoes, any variety

1 tsp. salt                                                  1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper

1/2 cup uncooked orzo                                1 cup frozen peas, thawed

2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Toss the lamb and flour together in a large bowl.

Heat oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown the lamb on all sides (you may have to do this in batches). Remove the meat to dish and set aside. To the same pot, add a little more oil in the pot if there is none remaining and add the onions and garlic and sauté for a few minutes until the vegetables are softened.  Add the meat back to the pot and stir in the broth.

Add the peppers, celery, parsley, thyme, rosemary and mint, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes. Add the potatoes and more water if needed to cover the potatoes and bring to a boil again. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 30 minutes more.

Add the orzo, peas and additional salt and pepper to taste and cook for 30 minutes more. Ensure that the lamb is tender (if not, continue to simmer until the lamb is tender).  Adjust salt and pepper to taste and stir in the lemon juice. Serve hot. Makes 8 or more servings.

Get Your Dickens On!

The holidays seem to arrive earlier each year, with decorations emerging weeks before Halloween candy even gets passed out. And that means most of us will be busier than an elf on December 24 trying to get everything done. To help reduce the season’s “stresstivities,” we’ve chosen a classic film to serve as inspiration for your next social gathering of family and friends.                      

A Spirited Good Time

Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol is a perennial family favorite, and no matter which version you love, the holidays just wouldn’t be the same without Scrooge or Tiny Tim. At the heart of the story is the message about second chances, but we’re also hooked on the way it captures the quintessential old-fashioned English Christmases: Victorian-styled buildings covered in snow, carolers softly singing in the streets, and lively gatherings with loved ones.  Enjoying your own version of a Dickens Christmas is simple, and you can start by making sure all Bah, Humbugs! get left at the door.

Remember at the end of the film when a newly-transformed Scrooge shows up at his nephew’s house for dinner and all the fun that follows? Have your guests gather around for a sit-down spread and cover the table with stemmed glassware, gilded plates, and gleaming silver.  Think turkey legs, cranberry sauce, bountiful breads, and hearty soup (not gruel) — and don’t forget to save enough space for everyone!  The Antoinette table opens up to a remarkable 120 inches, with a rich walnut finish highlighting the detailed carved moldings that are also mirrored on the exquisite side and arm chairs.

When you’re done feasting, grab some popcorn and settle in to watch the film. Turn off the lights and burn some candles to set the somber mood. To really make your guests feel like they’re in the movie, dial back the thermostat and take the fireplace from a roaring blaze to just barely breathing — and have some fingerless gloves and scarves close by to hand out. Add an interactive element to your viewing by encouraging your guests to shout out their favorite lines, or every time you hear the word “goose,” give someone nearby a good-natured pinch. And by the time Tiny Tim utters, God bless us, every one!—each person will be filled with their own version of peace on earth.

Raise a glass and toast your fellow revelers with mouth-watering recipes from food, travel and lifestyle writer, Annabel Cohen. Recently Annabel was featured as “Detroit’s Ultimate Food Writer” on the Travel Channel’s Food Wars and was the deciding judge comparing Detroit landmarks Lafayette Coney Island and American Coney Island.

Mulled Wine

One bottle red wine             1 orange, peeled and sliced

1/4 cup  brandy                    8 whole cloves

2/3 cup honey                      2 cinnamon sticks

1-inch piece of fresh gingerroot, peeled

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer (do not boil). Cook for 20-minutes. Keep warm until ready to serve. Makes 6 servings.

Roast Goose

1 fresh goose (about 12 pounds), neck and giblets removed, but reserved

Olive oil                                                    Kosher salt and pepper

1 whole small apple                                   1 whole small onion

1 orange, cut into 4 wedges                      1 celery stalk, cut into 2-inch pieces

1 cup boiling water                                    1 cup dry white wine

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Cut away the loose fat from goose (usually around the neck area) reserve for another use). Rinse goose inside and out, and pat dry with paper towel. Prick the goose all over with a fork and rub the skin with olive oil and season inside and out with salt and pepper.

Place the apple, onion, orange and celery in the cavity. Use cotton kitchen twine or string to tie the legs together (at the “ankles). Transfer goose, breast side up, to a rack set in roasting pan. Pur the water and wine into the pan. Arrange the neck and giblets in the pan.  Roast the goose for 30-minutes.

Reduce temperature to 325°F. Roast goose for about 20-minutes per pound, basting with pan juices every 20 minutes. After 1 hour, turn the goose over in the roaster (I wear heavy rubber gloves to turn the bird over). The goose is done with juices should run nearly clear when thigh is pierced with a knife or skewer). Turn oven off, crack the oven door open and allow the turkey to rest for 20-minutes before transferring goose (turn over please) to a large platter (heated if possible), carving and serving, discarding the fruits and vegetables in the cavity.

Have Yourself an Eclectic Little Christmas


The holiday season is all about peace and harmony, so what better way to display those sentiments (literally) than by highlighting eclectic styles that can really work a room?

Eclectic was a big trend our buyers saw earlier this year at High Point Market. And from what we can tell, it’s a trend that’s going to be around for quite some time. So what exactly qualifies as “eclectic?” Well, pretty much everything! This style hinges on being able to bring styles together in a way that was once considered taboo. For example, take a rustic dining table and hang a crystal chandelier above it (it’ll be ok, Grandma).

The key to making it all work is picking elements that offer similar colors and finishes. Meaning you can take the casual dark brown, leather sofa from Cindy Crawford’s Chastain Collection and pair it with the vibrant lime green color of a contemporary accent chair. Since the chair has a dark brown finish on its arms and legs, it ties in with the color of the sofa. The green color also complements the shades found in the toss pillows.

For a slightly more polished look, grab the Gino sofa from our exclusive Roma Collection and have it sit for a spell next to an accent chair covered in a muted tan, leopard print.

Natural materials like exotic woods and metals paired with smoky grays and elegant neutrals are also a great way to play up the eclectic trend — and don’t forget about pieces that feature raw or distressed wood.

Stop by one of our “homes” to see how we’re decorating our atriums the eclectic way. With a few quirky touches here and there, your home will be simply irresistible — just in time for the holidays!

Strike up the Parade!

“Seventy-six trombones led the big parade

With a hundred and ten cornets close at hand.”

The Music Man

Each year, hundreds of thousands of people line Woodward Avenue in downtown Detroit to see the famous America’s Thanksgiving Parade® up close, while millions more watch at home. This year the theme of the 84th annual Parade is “Celebrate the Spirit.” Yet, back in 1990, this beloved tradition almost ceased to exist.

Started in 1924 by the J.L. Hudson Company department store, the Parade is tied with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City as the second-oldest Thanksgiving parade in the United States. Over the years, it changed hands and names, and started suffering setbacks:

  • 1980 – Hudson ended its sponsorship
  • 1988 – National telecast was dropped, causing many corporate sponsors to leave
  • 1990 – After 66 years of bringing joy to countless families, the whole event was in danger of being permanently cancelled

 That’s when Art Van Elslander received a call.

With the simple act of writing a $200,000 check, Mr. Van operationally brought the Parade from the brink of death, and in the process inspired other businesses to get on board. The Parade went on as planned, and the following year Mr. Van announced that we would match the contributions of other business up to $100,000. From there, things really started to take off and the Parade once again gained momentum to continue the cherished tradition of bringing families together on Thanksgiving morning.

We are proud to say that 2010 marks Art Van Furniture’s 21st year of sponsorship with the America’s Thanksgiving Parade. In the wee hours of November 25th, Art Van employees from all over the metro Detroit area will descend upon Detroit to take their place alongside the “Knights of the Charitable Round Table” float and start assisting in blowing up the crowd favorite 48′ Flicker the Dragon balloon. And as a special treat this year, Deidre Hall, best know for her role as Dr. Marlena Evans on NBC’s daytime drama Days of our Lives, will be riding in the Parade with Mr. Van.

Charles Dickens once said, “Charity begins at home, and justice begins next door.” And as Mr. Van and Art Van Furniture have proven over the years, there’s plenty of room at our table.

To see more images from Parade’s Past, check out the Parade album on our facebook page:

For updates and facts about the Parade, follow us on Twitter:

Appease Your Senses

Autumn is all about delicious meals, warm scents, and fabulous fall treats. But why let your taste buds have all the fun? Our Vice President of Visual Merchandising, Amelia Ellenstein, came back from Market in High Point, NC, with delicious designs and tasty ideas for transforming your home. One hot trend she hit on was the use of textures and patterns that are amazing for autumn—and seasons to come. So you can keep your home cozy and your style fresh with these suggestions that are delectable enough to satisfy any palate.

Animal Magnetism. Exotic prints aren’t just a hot look for this season—they can give your space vibrancy and panache year-round. A black and white zebra print accent stool easily wakes up a room, or go more subtle with leopard print pillows to complement existing neutral tones. Not feeling all that ferocious? A lavish faux fur fabric can soften your look while giving you a decadent spot to unwind.
Make Like a Tree. Get back to nature with leafy or floral prints. Accent items with these bold designs can bring together the colors in a room, or they can stand out and make a statement. Tree branch and leaf motifs offer understated, breezy appeal, while floral prints keep you in summery spirits. Try unusual color schemes like teals or fuchsias to avoid an overly feminine feel.
The Mod Squad. Abstract designs are a versatile way to liven up your space, blending well with other décors. Go for polka dot patterns or structured stripes to add eye-catching depth. Choose a lively color—like juicy orange—to fit with the season and keep your look hot all winter long.
What a Feeling. Like your favorite cable-knit sweater, textured fabrics add a new dimension to your home, which gives you just one more reason to love it! Rich tweed is especially appropriate this season, perfect for your favorite accent chair or chaise. You’ll love curling up in it! Leather also offers a luxurious look and feel, adding a touch of elegance that will sit well with you in every season.
Get Next to You. Sometimes fabrics are better together, and juxtaposing different patterns and textures can help you bring out the best of both worlds. A corduroy fabric alongside sleek leather gives you a combination that looks as good as it feels. Or try embroidered or brocade toss pillows to dress up a soft, casual microsuede sofa.

You’ll be surprised how easily a pattern or texture can wake up a room—try one of these tips today and give your home a real eye-opener.