How to Host a Simple Family Dinner.

Cross your fingers for a sunshiney afternoon.

Arrange a bouquet of fresh cut flowers in bright colors.

Cook a stick to their bones kind of meal.

(pasta bolognese, a fresh green salad, hot oven baked rolls with butter)

Serve that dessert they never get sick of.

Easter was such a treat this year. It was simple, but indulgent, with weather to compliment the mood. I was so happy to have found endless bouquets of ranunculus when I went to the market to buy flowers on Friday. They are my absolute favorites this time of season, and a great accessory to any table with their deep variety of colors. In an attempt to take the guessing out of the meal, we went with the family favorite. Like I said, want to host a seamless feast, just go with the favorites… sometimes simple is the best policy.

Just of a few of my favorite instagrammys from the day.. @thefreshissue

xoxo

Framing Your Favorite Things.

There are a lot of ways to add a personal touch to your walls, my favorite way is finding illustrations of your favorite things, favorite quotes in great typography, or of course images that make your heart go pitter patter!

Lately I have become totally obsessed with sketching using my new Bamboo illustrator tablet.

So obsessed that I couldn’t help but share some of the original art work I have drawn up for my wall of frames in my office.

Totally stinkin smitten.  *dreaming up a little etsy shop*

Stay tuned for a fun “How To” on putting together a framed piece of artwork that is guaranteed to add pizzaz and pops of color to your walls!

xoxo

Easter Basket Accessorizing

By now, and maybbbbe I am a little ahead of myself to say this, but I hope everyone has their easter basket swag stashed away in the pantry for the kiddies this Sunday. I am playing Easter bunny a little early this year, and gifting my baskets to my kiddies a before the week is over. A little pre game sugar high before the big hunt….

This year, I decided I wanted to jazz up the baskets a little bit using my favorite tool, my fringe scissors. Really, they are for destroying receipts “for identity protection”, but that’s what a shredder is for in my house. I picked up my pair at The Container Store, but I think Martha might have a variety in her crafting collection.

For this project you will need.

Colorful paper (heavy stock, or not… wharves. I used origami paper)

Hot glue gun

Fringe Scissors

Regular scissors

Easter basket and goodies

Aren’t they fun looking scissors. I could probably come up with a million projects using them, but I have held back 🙂

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Make Your Own 2012 Calendar!

One of the first blogs I ever had the pleasure of reading was Young House Love. I came upon it looking for some kind of DIY house project (I think?) and if these two aren’t one of the rulers of that kingdom, then I am not sure who is. An adorable couple, with an adorable little girl, and a house which we all get to watch them transform. It sounds simple, but sometimes simple is just what you need to be awesome. 

This year, I really loved the template they posted for their 2012 calendar. It’s a DIY kind of deal, you just download the file. 

They used B&W images, but I thought it also looked pretty neat matching it with some of my images of complimentary colors!

What do you think? … Want to join in the fun?

Visit YHL love HERE and download the file!

 

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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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. 

Handmade Holidays: Gingerbread House Edition.

You guys, we’ve just reached a totally new level in our relationship. 

Wait, I needed to delay it a little bit with the buffer barnyard. 

This… is what brings us to a whole new level. 

… The HAIR…. and the purple velour scrunchy on my wrist!!! ScarYYY.

Alright, 10 words too many about my awkward phase, cut to the reason I even bothered revealing my 12 year old self, the gingerbread houses.

I don’t know if any of the Christmases I remember, was a Christmas without a gingerbread house. My sister and I looked forward to it every year when we were little ones. Aunt Tita would prepare for like a month before the big weekend – big weekend being a whole 2 day sleepover where we stuffed our faces with candy, licked our fingers clean of royal icing, and ended up with 2 (or 3!) gorgeous gingerbread houses. 

I remember loving the idea of chicklet stained glass windows… along with the frosted mini wheat roof tiles, and the peppermint stick and gumdrop street lights, and I will never forget the bowls full of Necco wafers.

Decorating gingerbread houses is endless fun no matter how old you are. And every year, I still find a way to keep the tradition going. This year, Tita and I invested the big bucks in a Trader Joe’s pre-made German house. 

A whole $7.99!

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