Crumbs & Leftovers.

You can always count on the memories to hang behind while all the other cookie crumbs and crumpled up wrapping paper scamper into the trash.

There is very little like the days after Christmas. Weird feeling right? The tree still twinkles and there could be a few gifts left wrapped up – stragglers for the friends and family you haven’t seen quite yet. But, even as you relax and try to work off (or continue to feed) the food baby, that sad, empty, Christmas is over feeling is still hanging around.

But that’s what the memories are for.

This year, I cooked Christmas Eve dinner for the family. I decided to make everything, from bread to dessert from scratch. That up there? The makings of homemade olive bread. My pregnant lady cravings for olives are definitely to blame for that. 

Two kinds of lasagna. Some steamed vegg. My crispy fried calamari. A fresh arugula and greens salad with beets & pine nuts….. And really bad lighting too… all made their way to the table. 

And what is Christmas eve without Santa’s cookies?

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Oh, Christmas Tree.

I tried to hang up Christmas lights in my bed room window a few days ago. My make-shift hooks held for ehhh…. 5 minutes, until the wiring miraculously unhooked itself from them and went swinging across to the other side of the window frame. Crash boom went the big red bulb and hello said my carpet to little teeny weeny ruby colored shards of glass. 

I am doing all I can to not be that bulb this week…. and doing a half-assed job of it. Funny how we always forget how stressful you can allow the week before Christmas to be huh?

Gifts or no gifts, we decided on no gifts, somehow there is always something that needs to be done in order to maintain the tradition that is Christmas. I’ve said it before, and I will say it every day, I LOVE tradition, but staying up until 4 am to ice cookies last night? Mmmmm not sure how that fits into the balance. 

This is my favorite tradition. 

A Christmas Tree. 

Homemade Christmas bulbs. Clear glass ornaments stuffed with gold sparkle covered plastic netting. 

Bits of twisted golden wood thrown in throughout the tree. Twinkling next to each light it hangs off of. 

I forgot my tripod. Pardon the shakeys. 

Tomorrow morning I plan on waking up with a post-it note to do list plastered to my forehead. 

All for the love of tradition… 

which is okay with me. 

Whatcha think of the cookie trays I put together today for a few customers of Spa Car Wash in Berwyn?

‘Tis the season for sugar overdose!!

 

Christmas Clicks!

I couldn’t avoid the unavoidable with that title. Alliterations are my life. I use them whenever possible, and seem to find men that have alliterations for names all too frequently 😉 Anyyyyyway… I have been looking forward to my Christmas Clicks post for the last few weeks now… collecting little bookmarks of fun here and there. However, last night’s find sealed the deal. 

I am not even going to make you click a link. I had to post the video front and center because it is AHmazing. 

And with that, I applaude Apple’s sheer genius again and say ’tis the season for my favorite festive internet clicks. 

A Modern Christmas Partay

Press Play. You’ll love it. Promise.

Want to throw the coolest Holiday/NYE party, ever? THIS.

A Secret Santa, in the most generous way

Never run out of wrapping paper, ever again. 

These people must not sleep for a month. 

Leave a bowl of thisss for Santa. 

Your sugar cookie headquarters. 

Why not buy the ultimate holiday house?

Honestly, with the Angry Birds obsession.

Separation Anxiety – Elf on the Shelf style. 

Track if you believe!

…..and for those of you that still need a little nudge into the Christmas spirit. 

Aly’s Christmasy PinBoard

Ho Ho Ho!

Guess who I got to meet this Sunday?

Mmmmhm… Mr. Clause. Be jealous. He was definitely the real deal… like on his last visit from the North Pole before his week from (I can’t say hell can I?) begins. How could he miss a brunch with the munchkins at this awesome place on Gay Street in West Chester.

I am going to save all the adorable photographs for West Chester Dish to reveal, but for now I cannot stop gushing about how much of a picture perfect holiday morning it was. 

The room was full of the most adorable little kids, pancakes, parents, and of course the jolly man himself. 

The light definitely showed up for the occasion too..  It gave each picture that warm Christmasy feeling, right?

What a cutie!!

Merry So CLOSE Christmas!

’11 Holiday Gifties. To: The Cool Dad.

Love,

Your Kid who frequently gets embarassed but loves you all the same. 

1. Soft Wash Slim Fit Gingham Shirt ($59.50) @Banana Republic     2. Beardo Hats ($35.00) @Busted Tees     3. Fabric Knot Cufflinks ($12.00) @J.Crew     4. Personalized Grilling Gloves ($29.95) @Grillinggifts.com     5. Ulimate Brushless Shave Cream – White Eagle ($19.00) @Kiehls     6. Ugg Ascot Wool Slipper ($99.95) @Nordstrom     7. Spitfire MX3 Reader ($35.00) @Urban Outfitters     8. Old School Calculator iPhone Case ($11.99) @Perpetual Kid     9. Zevro Dual Dry Food Dispenser ($44.00) @Amazon.com     10. Stereo Art Print ($15.00) @Urban Print Shop     11.The Beau Men’s Citrine Collection ($24.00) @The Belle and The Beau Etsy Shop     12. Vintage Selvedge Chambray Utility Shirt ($98.00) @J.Crew

So, I have “The Cool Dad”…. actually he really is cool, and I love him to pieces. This year, we aren’t doing gifts in my family (if we can all stick by that promise we made of course, not spending money is harder than we thought.)- but if we were a combination of some of these fun finds would definitely put a smile on his face. All under $100.00, what’s the harm in making the cool dad, just a little bit cooler?

Countdown to Christmas Eve. 

7 Days

Get to gifting darlings! … Online shoppers have till the 20th to press buy and still guarantee that their gift gets to the lucky one’s door by Christmas! 

La di daaa 

… time to watch the few snowflakes fall outside my window!

To see the other gift guides

Click Here.

Here.

And Here.

Step by Step Fresh Pasta @ Oven&Fig!

As some of you may already know, I have quite a love for a local restaurant in my town, Alfredo BYO

Last month the owners and I came together to create a blog- which we decided to call the Oven and Fig. Adorable!

I am writing and photographing each piece we do together. Right now we are working on one post per month- in the restaurant business, time is oh so precious. It is such a blast!

For our Christmas edition we decided handmade pasta would be our recipe of choice…. You thought my hand rolled gnocchi were fun and delicious?

These little guys are quite a contender. 

Check out the new post HERE … and let me know what you think!

7 Minutes to Heaven… & Handmade Sno Balls.

On a picture I instagramed this morning of my chocolate cupcakes, I think I used the term … redefining waking and baking one cupcake at a time? In my defense I was still half asleep. 🙂 

But seriously – the last two weeks, every morning I have rolled out of bed, PJs still on, hair still a hot mess, just to go straight down to turn on the oven. This morning was suppose to be my first morning of a little R&R, but, I had a tad bit of seperation anxiety from the kitchen. 

I had buttermilk left, and since about the only thing I didn’t make for the party yesterday were chocolate cupcakes, that was just going to have to be where I got my fix. And, let me not forget to mention the unquenchable craving I was having for 7 minute frosting. 

Please tell me you guys have stuck your finger in a bowl of this stuff at least once in your life?

It is a frosting that defines the word divine. It’s like marshmallow fluff, except totally not. It’s so much better, and has a flavor I just can’t explain.

click, print!

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Spread A Little Holiday Cheer.

Diane Keaton was on the Ellen show yesterday. I love her. Her movies are fabulous, her style is unique, and she is just all around fabulous. I was listening, not really watching, until she started talking about when she was 23, and how she was work in the hair department for a production company, and how she was basically miserable. She then equated that to her broad observation of what the 20s – 23 year olds experience of the world is. It’s confusing, you feel lost, you’re out of school – a place that had been your reality for so long – and now you’re a little unsure of what motivates you. My ears perked up – not only because I am 23 – but because I think what she said, although not necessarily true, is an important statement to remind yourself of every day. Look at where she is today – and my reality was once hers.  

This is the first holiday season where I actually feel like I have time to do what I love – bake a smile on people’s faces – and even still I am not sure how I can actually make this into a living. I know what motivates me, and I am really not lost, but I guess I am confused. Confusion caused by the lesser evils of the issues in the world – the issue that I have so much that I love – so what to actually pursue first?

I just cleaned the last crumb off the counter after two days of baking for a holiday party for my favorite lady in the world. I loved every minute of it – I love all the prep, and the sugar, the butter, the vanilla. I don’t love having to clean all that up, but I love making it into something! This party was a drinks and dessert secret santa exchange for a group of moms. 

We agreed on a bunch of mini desserts. 

Christmas confetti cupcakes, which I decorated with green icing and sprinkles to look like tangled strands of christmas lights!

Grown up goldfish – different than my original recipe – with a hint of finely chopped dried rosemary. 

Vanilla spritz cookies with an essence of cardamon…. probably my most favorite spice next to cinnamon. 

Chocolate Chip Brownie Santa Hats, strawberries with a dab of cream cheese frosting. 

Mini red velvet cupcakes, with cream cheese frosting, and a swirl of candy cane crunch frosting. I cut a little hole for a popsicle stick, and then tied a bow. TaDA, peppermint lollipop cupcakes!

Gingerbread cupcakes, with a cinnamon cream cheese frosting, and a scare of my gingerbread marshmallows.

Not pictured, was one of my favorite Bittersweet Chocolate Pudding pies, and the delicious treats B picked up from the Candy corner at the Wayne Farmer’s market. 

The night was then completed by what B has named the Snowflake Martini.

1 bottle of Cranberry Vodka 

1 bottle of Triplesec

1 bottle of white cranberry juice

1 bag of frozen cranberries

Ice 

Sugar (for glasses)

So, as I am staring and the broom and dustpan, dreading a midnight sweep, all it takes is thinking about how much fun it was to create all of those delicious sweets and how much fun the ladies had to tonight, to realize that the crumbs are nothing. 

We all start out somewhere. So if you are 23, and like Diane Keaton did, feel a bit confused, just make sure that every day you do what you can, to do what you love…. and you will get there one day.