Friday, December 30, 2011

have a great new year's weekend!


How adorable is this?

2011 has been a great, but seriously trying year. The highs have been super wonderful, and the lows have been borderline terrible, but I'm going to try to focus on the good. We went on some amazing vacations, met some wonderful people, and got engaged! So I guess it was a pretty successful year.

2012 is going to be extremely stressful, but I think it will also be pretty amazing. Lots of new experiences and exciting events to look forward to!

I hope you're New Year's celebration is lovely! See you next year!

Monday, December 26, 2011

happy day after christmas!


I hope everyone had an amazing holiday! I enjoyed a full day of sitting in front of the fire watching sports related television and sipping on wine, that's really what the holidays are about right?

We're heading down to the city today to visit my grandparents and I wanted to leave you with something to make you smile. I may be jumping on the Marcel the Shell boat a little late, but I'm just happy to have discovered it at all. I love this little guy.


Saturday, December 24, 2011

merry merry merry christmas.




I'm in New York, kind of freezing, about to watch the big Giants vs. Jets game, all is right with the world, except that there's no snow. I kind of wish it looked a little more like the photo above, complete with the reindeer.


I hope you all have a fantastic holiday!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

2011 gift guide {books}


It's no secret that I'm completely obsessed with books. My house is filled with them, I'm literally running out of places to stack them, there's only so many chairs, tables, and benches. However, I keep asking for books as gifts, and buying a few for myself, I just can't help it. I suppose I could have worse buying habits, at least these are relatively affordable and can serve two purposes: reading and decorating.

The coffee table book should be something that looks lovely displayed and can be a conversation piece. From fashion, to decorating, to photography, and travel, these titles would be fantastic gifts for loved ones. Books as gifts are really great because you can tailor them to fit your friend's personality, and in doing so, you make it a really personal, heart-felt gift.

{From Left to right} Row 1: 1. New Treehouses of the World, Peter Nelson; Dogs, Lewis Blackwell; 3. Typography Sketchbooks, Steven Heller; 4. Vanity Fair Portraits, Graydon Carter, David Friend, Christopher Hitchens; 5. Alexander Girard, Todd Oldham, Kiera Coffee, Alexander Girard
Row 2: 1. Alexander Mcqueen: Savage Beauty, Andrew Bolton, Solve Sundsbo, Tim Blanks,Susannah Frankel; 2. Flea Market Style, Emily Chalmers, Debi Treloar; 3. The Sartorialist, Scott Schuman; 4. Martha's Entertaining, Martha Stewart; 5. Nomad, Jelle Brandt Corstius, Jeroen Toirkens
Row 3: 1. Design*Sponge at Home, Grace Bonney; 2. Maps, Paula Scher; 3. Undecorate, Christiane Lemieux, Rumaan Alam; 4. Pantone: The Twentieth Century in Color, Leatrice Eiseman, Keith Recker; 5.Handmade Home, Mark Bailey, Sally Bailey; 6. Farm Anatomy, Julia Rothman; 7. Pulled, Mike Perry

For the bookworm in your life.

Row 1: 1. Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me?, Mindy Kaling; 2. The Help, Kathryn Stockett; 3. Vaclav & Lena, Haley Tanner; 4. The Collected Works of Charles Dickens
Row 2: 1. Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson; 2. Bossypants, Tina Fey; 3. The Beekeeper's Bible,Richard A. Jones, Sharon Sweeney-Lynch; 4. The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin
Row 3: 1. The Hunger Games Trilogy, Suzanne Collins; 2. Catherine the Great, Robert Massif; 3. Mycophilia, Eugenia Bone; 4. The Wordy Shipmates, Sarah Vowell



Ah, I love all books, but these have a special place in my heart.

Row 1: 1. Les Petits Macarons: Colorful French Confections to Make at Home, Anne E. McBride and Kathryn Gordon; 2. Homemade, Yvette Van Boven; 3. Tartine Bread, Chad Robertson, Eric Wolfinger; 4. Speakeasy, Jason Kosmas, Dushan Zaric; 5. The Fearless Baker, Emily Luchetti, Lisa Weiss; 6. Mission Street Food, Anthony Myint, Karen Leibowitz
Row 2: Whole Beast Butchery, Ryan Farr, Brigit Binns, Ed Anderson; 2. Baking Style, Lisa Yockelson; 3. The Geometry of Pasta, Caz Hildebrand, Jacob Kenedy; 4. The Cheesemonger's Kitchen, Chester Hastings, Joseph De Leo; 5. Miette, Meg Ray, Frankie Frankeny, Leslie Jonath
Row 3: 1. The Whole Hog Cookbook, Libby Summers; 2. The Craft of Stone Brewing Co., Greg Koch, Steve Wagner, Randy Clemens; 3. Volt Ink, Micheal and Bryan Voltaggio; 4. The Oxford Companion to Beer, Garrett Oliver, Tom Colicchio; 5. What to Cook & How to Cook It, Jane Hornby; 6. Home Cooking with Jean-George, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Genevieve Ko
Row 4: 1. The Mozza Cookbook, Nancy Silverton; 2. The Art of the Bar, Jeff Hollinger, Rob Schwartz, Frankie Frankeny, Georgeanne Brennan

Monday, December 19, 2011

2011 gift guides {for her}



For those of you still looking for the perfect gift for that special lady in your life, may I suggest any of these fine items. This year, I'm personally interested in warmth and comfort; a mixture of neutral and bright, girly and tomboyish, delicate and sturdy. I would be quite happy with any of these, especially that macaron necklace... and that heart sweater... and maybe that nighty...

sunday sweets {christmas cookies}


Ah, Christmas cookies. I'm a huge fan, but I have never liked the typical butter, sugar cookies you see during the holidays. You know, the ones shaped like trees and candy canes? So, when I was trying to decide which ones to bake, I decided to go with things I actually like, that way I wouldn't spend the whole day making something I'm never going to eat. Chocolate. Chocolate is something I will definitely eat. Lemon. Hmm, yes I believe I'll eat that too.

I made a few adjustments to the recipes {i'll include those} to match my palette a little better. The chocolate peppermint crackles are delicious, just the right about of mint flavor. When I was in high school I worked at an Italian bakery and one of my favorite things was the Jeanettes, those lemon shortbread cookies with the icing and sprinkles {the other favorite was the rainbow cookies, but i'll save those for another day}. These lemon cookies are pretty much the same thing, and great to do with kids because you can decorate the tops with colorful sprinkles, kids like that right?

Chocolate-Mint Crackles:
Ingredients:
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup unsweetened dutch chocolate powder, sifted
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons melted butter
3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract {I used about 1/4 because this stuff is potent and 3/4 t. sounds crazy, my cookies are still really pepperminty so I would suggest using the smaller amount}
1/2 cup confecioners' sugar

Directions:
1. Melt chocolate in heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, stirring.
2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and cocoa in a small bowl.
3. Whisk together granulated sugar, eggs,and melted butter in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in melted chocolate and mint extract until smooth. Stir in flour mixture. Refrigerate until firm, at least 3 hours.
4. Preheat oven 325. Roll tablespoons of dough into balls, then roll in confectioner's sugar to coat. Transfer to parchment lined baking sheet. Bake until slightly firm in the center, about 15 minutes. Let cool.

Lemon Cookies:
Ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour
salt
1 stick plus 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 lemons zested and juiced {depending on your palette, you can use less, I used the zest from about 2 lemons and it came out pretty lemony, also the juice is for the icing, so if you would like the icing to be less lemony, use 2 lemons instead of 3}
2 large eggs
1/4 cup whole milk {i used 2%}
2 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
sprinkles, edible glitter, or stars

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 325. Whisk together flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, and lemon zest with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 10 minutes. Beat in eggs. Reduce speed to low, gradually beat in flour mixture. SLowly add milk, and beat on medium speed for 5 minutes.
2. Transfer dough to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch plain round tip {you can use a zip lock bag, just cut the tip, works just as well as an actual pastry bag}. Pipe 1 1/2 inch rounds onto parchment lined baking sheets. Bake until bottoms are pale gold, about 15-17 minutes. Let cool completely.
3. Whisk together confectioners' sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl until smooth. Brush glaze onto cookies and sprinkle with sprinkles.

Enjoy!

P.S.Bored? Go to Google and type "Let it Snow" in the search bar. Do it.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

have a lovely weekend!



Whew! December is flying by, I can't believe Christmas is but a week away! Thankfully, I have finished all my holiday shopping and only need to worry about getting myself home on Thursday. It's strange how excited I get to go home to the frigid weather of the Northeast, with the warm weather her in Savannah it's been hard to accept that it's the holidays, so I'm hoping I truly get into the spirit while in New York. Hope you have a wonderful weekend, don't get too stressed out!

While you were busy shopping around the internet:
2. Beautiful Hungry Girls Cookbook, this made me so happy.
4. "Buzz, your girlfriend, WOOF." Add this to my Christmas list, now.
5.Tinsel never looked so good, and holiday wrapping ideas.
6. Absolutely gorgeous tumblr.
8. This makes me want a wood pile, in my house. Also a working fireplace.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

sunday sweets {toffee}


Every year my mother makes this toffee recipe for Christmas. It's delicious, but it's usually one of the things I try to stay away from during the holidays. There's just so many other empty calories to focus on, but I decided to make them on my own this year because they're an excellent addition to cookie baskets, a nice little change for people. They're also very easy to make, which suited my laziness this weekend.



Ingredients:
2 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pound margarine
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup pecans

Directions:
1. Cook sugar, salt and margarine over high heat until margarine melts completely. Reduce to medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture turns a deep amber. This will take about 45 minutes to an hour, so be patient.
2. Once ready, pour mixture onto an ungreased pan, I used a silpat {which by the way is one of the most amazing baking tools, I suggest buying a few}. Allow toffee to cool and harden.
3. Melt chocolate and spread over toffee evenly. Sprinkle crushed pecans on top, allow to harden.

Enjoy!

Friday, December 9, 2011

have a wonderful weekend!



The week started out in the high 70s but has ended rather cold. Perfect for curling up in front of the tree with some eggnog or hot chocolate. Hope yours is just as relaxing!

Around the web:
2. This would have been a good addition to the foodie gift guide.
3. Awesome wrapping paper!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

2011 gift guides {foodies}



It's that time of year again, the time in which we rack our brains for the perfect gifts for all the loved ones in our lives. These holiday gift guides take me forever, I have such trouble choosing the perfect items, there's just so much out there! I think I've whittled it down to my favorite kitchen gadgets and accessories here, many of which will probably make their way onto our registry. Any of these would be lovely gifts for that kitchen guru in your life.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

wedding wednesdays {save the dates}



I've mentioned before that I will be doing all of the paper designs for our wedding, however, I haven't mentioned how terrified I am about it. It's very difficult to design something of this magnitude for yourself, especially when you have a wandering design eye. I fall in love with a different suite of invitations everyday, and it's so hard not to just give this job to someone else.

Right now I'm starting our save the dates, and I'm having a bit of trouble deciding on one kind of design. Gr, I'm sure I'll figure it out, but for now I'm thoroughly enjoying researching.

never nude



My friend Andra sent this to me today, and being the huge Arrested Development fan that I am, instantly starting laughing. Tobias Funke is one of the most amazing characters to every grace the small screen, and if you don't know that, I suggest you get on over to Netflix or Hulu and find out. Anyway, I need this shirt.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

lost recipe {apple butter}


So, before our engagement party I had made apple butter, but then I left my camera in Jacob's mom's car, so here it is. A little late in the season, since we've kind of moved on to Christmas desserts, but just as delicious! Plus, if you plan on going anywhere for holiday parties, or if you're having people to your house, this makes a wonderful personal gift.




Ingredients:

4 pounds apples, peeled, cored and cut in wedges
juice of 1 lemon
1 cup apple cider
1/4 cup apple brandy {or if you don't have any, bourbon, which is what I used}
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch cloves
pinch salt

Combine the apples, lemon juice, cider, brandy and cinnamon stick in a large, heavy pot. Set the pot over low heat, allowing the mixture to come to a gentle simmer. Simmer for an hour, until the apples are very soft. Carefully remove and discard the cinnamon stick.

When the apples have cooled slightly, pulse them briefly in a food processor to your desired consistency. Return the puree to the stove and re-heat over low heat. Stir in the remaining ingredients and cook for another hour or so, until the mixture is very thick.

Serve warm or at room temperature. Store in an airtight container in the refridgerator.

mike perry mouse


It's no secret that I'm a huge Mike Perry fan, so when I spotted this mouse in Best Buy the other day, I couldn't resist. How fun are they?

Monday, December 5, 2011

sunday sweets {peppermint marshmallows}


Happy Monday, I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving! Jacob and I spent a week at his parent's and I have to admit, as it is with any vacation, I'm having a little trouble getting back into the swing of things. I usually try to fight reality for at least a week after any vacation. Luckily, Christmas is right around the corner so I won't have to wait too long for another break.

This Sunday I decorated the house with stockings and garland {and my super nerdy old lady village}. Jacob and I decorated the tree last night, and {as with all Christmas activities} it seemed to be a lot more fun with a giant mug of hot chocolate by my side. I find that hot chocolate not only puts me in the Christmas mood, but it also makes stringing lights less stressful, which, let's be honest, is definitely a good thing. It's never good to start off the holiday season with a repeat fight about lights flickering on the tree.

To add a bit of excitement to my holiday drink, I made peppermint marshmallow, which add just a hint of minty flavor. Not to toot my own horn, but these came out awesome. Just the right texture and consistency, and they melted perfectly into m y drink. Also, this makes a pretty big batch, so unless you're some kind of marshmallow addict, you should have enough to hand out as small gifts.




Ingredients:
Nonstick cooking spray {you may need the whole can, spray your hands, knife, cutting board, everything}
  • 3 (1/4-ounce) packages unflavored gelatin
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
  • Confectioners' sugar, sifted, for coating

  • Directions:
  • Lightly spray a 9-by-9-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Line pan with plastic wrap, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides; set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water; let stand for 10 minutes. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, and 1/4 cup water. Place saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil; boil rapidly for 1 minute. Remove from heat, and, with the mixer on high, slowly pour the boiling syrup down the side of the mixer bowl into gelatin mixture. Add salt and continue mixing for 12 minutes.
  • Add peppermint extract and mix until well combined. Spray a rubber spatula or your hands with cooking spray. Spread gelatin mixture evenly into pan using prepared spatula or your hands. Spray a sheet of plastic wrap with cooking spray and place, spray side down, on top of marshmallows. Let stand for 2 hours.
  • Carefully remove marshmallows from pan. Remove all plastic wrap and discard. Cut marshmallows into 2-inch squares using a sprayed a sharp knife. Place confectioners' sugar in a large bowl. Working in batches, add marshmallows to bowl and toss to coat. Marshmallows can be stored in an airtight container up to 3 days.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

happy thanksgiving!


I hope you enjoy the parade and the food, I will be working, but hopefully keeping in good spirits. I'll be serving turkey and chicken, but dreaming of parade floats, hot chocolate, and serious couch lounging. I am thankful for many things, but right now the one standing out in my mind is that I have a week vacation after today. {I suppose I'm also thankful for my family and friends :)}

Have a wonderful holiday and eat lots of carbs!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

2012 calendar search



I know I said I had already chosen my calendar for next year, but I really fell like I need two. I've said that before, but this time I'm serious. I ABSOLUTELY NEED THIS. I've before spoken of my love for drywell and her meat sections illustrations so my obsession with this calendar should come as no surprise. Vegetarian friends beware, this will be hanging in my kitchen come January 1st.

Monday, November 21, 2011

gifts for the hostess



Some of you may be putting on your own Thanksgiving feast this week, but if that's not the case, you may be going to someone else's home for the holiday. I never like to show up anywhere without some baked goods or {if the mood to bake doesn't strike me} a gift for the host. It's the least I can do for someone inviting me into their home, especially if they're cooking such a stressful, big meal. If I don't bring food or flowers, I like to bring a gift that they can use perhaps that night or soon after. These are some quick ideas just in case you haven't gotten your hostess something yet :)

happy monday + sweet paul




I hope you all had a lovely weekend! I wanted to start off the week with a little bit of eye candy: Sweet Paul's holiday issue. It's packed with wonderful holiday recipes and gift ideas, plus as always, the photography is beautiful. If you're still wondering what gifts to get your loved ones, or what cookies you would like to bake this year, make yourself a cup of tea, sit down, and read this.

No Sunday Sweets this week, still couldn't find a camera and I figured we didn't need anything else in the house. I have to do quite a bit of baking before our late Thanksgiving on Friday so I thought I would hold off a couple of days.

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