It’s that time of year for most people where you find yourself entertaining more and attending more parties. You may even be expected to bring something with you (an appetizer, dessert, etc.) when visiting your friends and family. We always say that what you present your guests with in your home and the dish you bring with to an event should look as good as it tastes. Presentation is key. Possibly our favorite option is not a new concept at all. “The cheese board” has been around forever, but there are so many ways to create a new look each time providing variety for your guests and lack of boredom for you.


During last year’s holiday season, we were presented with many opportunities to perfect our cheese board making skills. We like to mix hard and soft cheeses as well as give a few different cracker choices so that when our guests are eating each bite is slightly different. This also helps ensure that more of our guests have something that they like. Stinkier cheeses are not adored by all (although we happen to love them). 


The board you use is almost as important as the things you put on top of it, and there are so many beautiful options to buy (or give as a gift). Simple wooden boards are always a good choice or you can go with something more in style like a marble slab. This particular cheese board was not a board at all. We used a white dreidel shaped tray to present our cheeses last year … So appropriate for the Chanukkah party we were hosting!


Other things to add to give a finished look to any cheese board include fruit, nuts, and olives. Make sure you are pairing the flavors nicely. Sweet and salty is one of our favs plus it gives the kiddos something to eat! We also love to mix fresh fruit with some dried fruit options. Dried cranberries are super festive this time of year, and we are particularly fond of the way dried orange slices look when added into the mix. 

This year is looking to be just as full of events to attend and host. We look forward to perfecting the art of “how to: make a cheese board” further and take some beautiful photos for our Instagram feed. As always, feel free to leave a comment below, fill out our client inquiry form (on the contact page of our website), or send us an email at if you have any questions or are in need of some design assistance. Wishing you all a very Happy Holidays from Side by Side Design!


It’s Friday! Time to share a recipe in honor of a fun holiday coming up … Cinco De Mayo! We do have a small admission to make though. We know in the past, we have been big on posting these “Food Fridays”, and while we absolutely love sharing recipes with all of you (mostly because it forces us to think outside the box in our home kitchens and provide our families with new and improved dishes) we are going to try to say good-bye to this type of post for a little while. We are constantly trying to improve our blog and feel like this is not the right content to fit our brand. On a really positive note, business is growing and we feel that we have plenty of content to provide you all with interesting reading material, inspiration, and ideas in our two favorite areas … interiors and events. Great problem to have, right? We hope you enjoy today’s post, and know that we cannot wait to show you what we have planned for the month of May.

Recently, we discovered this recipe for blackened tilapia and it has become one of our favorites! It is seriously easy to make, full of awesome flavors, and everyone seems to like it! We decided this time to kick it up a notch and add it to our tacos.

Sometimes you just like to have options … For this meal, we had not one but two choices. Why not add some sauteed shrimp into the mix?

Toppings are super important when serving tacos for dinner. This time we offered avocado, green cabbage, shredded mozzarella cheese, and lime wedges. So good!

The finished product was absolutely delicious and fit for any Cinco De Mayo meal!

We have loved sharing this last Food Fridays post with all of you (for a while). Of course, we always welcome feedback. If you think we are making a huge mistake please feel free to let us know. Otherwise, go get your fiesta on! We will see you in May with lots of love for the interior and events sides of our business! Have a great weekend from Side by Side Design!


Written by: Tami

It’s Passover, and I love all the traditions that this holiday brings … Especially the food! Did you know that each item on the seder plate and most of the things you eat at a traditional Passover meal represent a part of the story of the Israelites exodus out of Egypt? No, this is not a history lesson, but I will provide a recipe today for something no seder is complete without. It’s called charoset. 

Traditional Ashkenazi (Jewish people who originated in Eastern Europe) charoset starts with apples as its base. This was officially my first time making this dish and surprisingly very easy. Just follow these steps to make your own charoset. 

1. Peel, core, and chop the apples. Phil and I were really excited to finally take this bad boy out of the cabinet and give it a test drive! Our new Cuisinart did not disappoint and neither did the Gala apples that we selected from the wide variety at the store. (By the way, we used 9 apples which gave us plenty to work with for a medium sized seder two nights in a row, and we used one of the attachments our Cuisinart came with to properly “string” not chop our apples … Just like Grandma’s!)

2. We used a handheld chopper to finely chop 1 1/2 cups walnuts. Mix these in with the chopped apples. 

3. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Mix well.

4. Add 4 1/2 tablespoons honey and 2/3 cup Manischewitz wine. Mix again … That’s all! Easy, right?

I have loved sharing this Food Fridays post with all of you … gotta keep the Passover traditions alive! If you are celebrating like us this year, we hope the lack of bread in your diet has not got you “hangry”. Just a few more days … we promise! Happy Passover from Side by Side Design!


Our T Side / L Side posts help us express our individual cooking needs and are a way of showing how a specific ingredient can be used in two very different ways. This month, rather than choosing a key ingredient, we have chosen the color green in honor of St. Patrick’s Day! We have prepared to share how each of us have used something green (along with the recipe we used) so you can try out these dishes as well.

T Side: This week, I introduced Phil to an old recipe Lauren and I used to make when we lived together (way back in the day). This chicken was stuffed with something green and I made another veggie for the side. I am so obsessed with brussels sprouts and spinach right now! 

To make this spinach stuffed chicken, I first sauteed mushrooms, spinach, and mozzarella cheese together. Next, I sliced the chicken breasts down the side and stuffed the mixture in, sprinkled a little garlic salt on top, and cooked it at 350 for about 45 minutes. Yum!

L Side: We recently had an impromptu dinner at a friend’s house. With not enough time to stop at the store and to make something to bring, I looked to see what I had on hand. I consulted my trusty Pinterest for a recipe that combines quinoa and brussels sprouts and found this recipe which I modified slightly as to not introduce ingredients that I did not already have. 

Like I said, I  modified the recipe to just include brussels sprouts, regular quinoa, and garbanzo beans and used my favorite simple dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, and a little salt and pepper. The best though, was the next day’s leftovers when I added tuna to my quinoa brussels sprouts salad. That was really delicious!

This St. Patrick’s Day, we plan to eat all kinds of greens! Have a favorite green recipe to share? We would love to hear from you. Leave a comment below (by clicking on the speech bubble icon) and include the link or send us an email at


Written by: Tami

I think it is ironic that just a few weeks ago I made clam chowder for the very first time (as seen on our previous blog post, Super Bowl Party), and tomorrow is officially National Clam Chowder Day. Don’t you just love a made up holiday? I couldn’t resist posting the recipe for this delicious soup that I made in this holiday’s honor and know that you all will be excited to try it out too … if you love clams as much as I do! There are probably a million and one recipes out there for both red and white options, but I was seeking out one specifically that was fresh tasting and used whole clams. I love the way the finished product tasted and how it looked too. So classy! 

1. In a large pot, bring to a boil 5 cups water. Add 3 medium red potatoes cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Cook for 4 – 5 minutes and remove all potatoes with a slotted spoon (Do not drain off water). 

2. In a second, larger pot (while the potatoes are cooking), heat on low 2 tablespoons olive oil and 4 sprigs fresh thyme for a minute before adding 1 red onion thinly sliced, 1 stalk sliced celery, and 3 cloves minced garlic. Stir often for about 4 – 5 minutes. 

3. Add 2 large carrots cut up and 2 tablespoons chili paste. Cook until carrots soften slightly (about 2 – 3 minutes). Add the potatoes and 3 cups potato water. Stir the whole mixture together. 

* If you plan to eat your soup right away, keep it warm over low while you cook your clams. You can also refrigerate for up to one day and warm up before eating. 

4. Rinse 4 pounds small manila clams (still in the shell) in a colander under cold water. Throw away any clams with broken or open shells. 

5. When ready to serve, cook the clams in batches in a large sauce pan. Place enough clams in the bottom of the pan to fill but not crowd. Add 1 cup of your pre-made soup base, cover, and heat on medium. Simmer for about 4 minutes or until the majority of the clams open. Pick out any clams that have not opened. Transfer all cooked clams to the soup pot, and continue cooking uncooked clams in batches until all are open and added to the soup base. 

6. Add 1  1/2 cups whole milk and 1 cup heavy cream to the pot and continue to simmer. Top with freshly ground black pepper and chopped Italian flat leaf parsley 

We hope you have enjoyed this edition of our Food Fridays post. Sharing these recipes helps us to constantly be looking for new things to make at home with all new ingredients … like clams! Do you have a brand new recipe to share? Something you just tried out for the first time? We would love to hear from you. Leave a comment below, and by all means go get yourself a piping hot bowl of clam chowder! Happy National Clam Chowder Day to all of our readers!