Up on the rooftop click click click!

(from top left to bottom right) Ultimate oreo cookies ($50.00). S'Mores cake ($58.00). Lemon Cake ($50.00). Award Winning Apple Pie ($50.00). Mini Cakes Sampler (58.00). Mini Holiday Cheesecakes ($110.00). Red Velvet Cake ($58.00). Chocolate Seduction Cake ($65.00). Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake ($75.00). Italian Ice Tortoni ($50.00). Brownie Mountain Cake ($45.00). Mini Mousse Cakes ($38.00). 24 layer chocolate cake ($150.00). Carrot Cake ($150.00). Giant Cinnamon Rolls ($45.00). Handmade Pumpkin Pie ($50.00).

Down through the chimney …. Isn’t that how it goes? I went to the gym today and somehow made it through an hour on the machine from hell, with my Christmas Pandora channel – now, that’s how you know it’s the most wonderful time of the year (and now you know why this song was stuck in my head). 

Tuck yourselves in tonight with a few fun click click clicks. 

Oh, and the above? Just a collection of my fave offerings from the Neiman Marcus entertaining catalog this season. Yes – they do red bottom Louboutins and Red Velvet cake. Fabulousity in it’s most pure form. 

… Just another job I could dream about.

While I go to la la land, go ahead and click this week’s bold words. 

Handmade Reindeer Gift Tags. Etsy Shop: FairestLJ

Get warm under the covers and window shop

Some of the coolest parties, like ever. 

2011, 45 intense times. 

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip. (Yes, you read correctly).

The iPhone identity crisis

Nothing but an adorable scarf

Inspiring fonts. 

Just help me feed my backsplash obsession

Deborah Lippman does your NYE nails. 

Exactly whereI want to be. 

Or here… 

Fab Printables & Parties. 

…. seriously, ENJOY!

Vintage Ornaments. Etsy Shop: WillowonWater

 

Sweets for Strength.

Every day I wear an orange band around my right wrist (write that 6 times) in support of one of my favorite causes, Strength.org and No Kid Hungry. It reminds me not only to be thankful every day, but also to just simply stay aware. It is easy for most of us to understand how many children and young adults in some of the poorest parts of the world struggle to find food everyday … But we don’t always remember how difficult it is for children in our own towns, and maybe even those that live on our same street are also faced with that daily challenge.

1 in 5 children in America wakes up each day without access to a meal. 

That scares the hell out of me every time I write it or say it aloud. 

But, it is the pledge of Strength.org that by 2015 these children will have access to programs and options so that they will no longer have that worry. 

This Saturday I am raising money to contribute to this possibility by hosting a bake sale full of my homemade sweets. 

The Bake Sale will feature:

Handmade Cinnamon Buns with Cream Cheese icing

Freshly baked goldfish crackers 

Muffins 

Pumpkin Loaves

Red Velvet Cake

Some of the best cookies you’ve ever tasted (promise)

Cupcakes 

Kettle Corn 

and… ala the heavy hitters in this world … Frosting Shots. 

I would love all of you to stop by and have a taste – but I know that isn’t always possible. 

That being said, if any of these goods makes your mouth water so much that you can’t think straight – 

shoot me an email gradtogourmet AT gmail DOT com. 

Snail mail never hurt a cookie… 

🙂

For more information about the cause please visit STRENGTH.ORG 

and for more information about the sale –

email me. 

or check out the event on facebook

A Weekend Down the Shore.

August is gracefully making it’s way through our lives once again… bringing stupidly hot heat, and the unavoidable images of little kids with new pencil cases and sparkley clean sneaks. Am I the only one who actually loves August? I know it’s the end of our summer, but if summer lasted forever, it wouldn’t be quite as charming. (I secretly also must confess that I get pee my pants excited over the onset of boot season.)

But August has also always represented one consistent memory in my life – a trip to the Jersey Shore.

I have been going to Seapointe Village, in Diamond Beach since I was too young to utter anything but the noises I sang to myself as I sucked my thumb senselessly.  If only I had known about the punishment of self soothing called 2 years of braces.

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A Favorite Thing: Sweet Jack and Lill …

“If you can’t find work, make work.” – a tweet from clothing designer @KielJP.

20 somethings are you reading this?

Stick it somewhere in your memory bank, and when you are feeling frustrated, remember, your fate is in your hands. Get to creating.

Today I would like to recognize one of the most creative and driven women I know.I think she has 4 extra invisible arms, and a hidden assistant lurking in one of her kitchen cabinets. 

She is a mother to beautiful baby Lilly, a wife, a fellow foodie, and one of my greatest supporters.

Most importantly, she is a budding pastry chef with a talent that does not go unnoticed.

Sweet Jack and Lill

(click to check out her amazing work and adorable blog)

Jacquie, you are the epidome of what is means to follow your heart, and do what you love. You are unstoppable.

Passed Down: 5 Great Kitchen Tips from the Old World.

We are a people that is constantly editing. We cut and paste, we drag and drop, and we delete and save. If something is bad, there are multiple forums to hem and haw about it. If something is great, word of mouth could be enough to make it extraordinary. If we want to forget something, that is easier said than done, but it is done, every day.

But what about how we save something. We write it down, sure, but we also enlist the beauty and power of practice.

The most worthy traditions of the past are saved through action. Each day I spend in the kitchen I act out so many wonderful and incredibly useful pieces of advice that my Great Aunt Tita brought with her from the Middle East to America, from her childhood, relatives, and housekeepers and from their families and and their youth. For this, I will forever be a better cook, and I will always have a connection to my family and where I came from. Share in them with me… and continue the action of saving something precious.

5 Old World Tips for a New World Kitchen

  1. To remedy a burn on your finger …. as soon as you feel it happen …. quickly put the burn area right onto one of your ear lobes and the stinging will vanish!
  2. To prevent yourself from crying when you chop your onions ….. make sure that the sun is behind your back as you chop! No tears.
  3. To save an accidently burned pot or pan …. fill the damaged dish full with water mixed with baking soda and allow it to simmer on a low fire. The pot will slowly be saved!
  4. To remove the smell of onion and garlic from your finger tips …. after the prep is done, rub your fingers on a metal spoon. No more reminders of the day’s meal left behind on your hands.
  5. To keep your dishes hygienic …. Never clean a dish that had raw meat, fish, or eggs with hot water … always rinse them first with cold water to remove the residue, otherwise it will cook the ingredients on to the dish.. leaving germs and smells.

 

Have other great kitchen tips from your family that you want to add? Comment and let me know! or tweet me @gradtogourmet

 

Cooking for Cute Kids.

One of the ways I describe myself is a mother without my own children. But sometimes, I feel like I do have children, or at least little sisters and brothers. To say that I love the munchkins that I care for is an understatement. I adore them, would take a bullet for them, and will do just about anything to be there for them when they need me. I promised myself to do what I love every day, and how lucky am I to have two wonderful families that allow me to be a part of the lives of their amazing children?

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Eat Local: DiBruno Bros.

Welcome to the final day in February! I’m not counting down or anything (wink wink!) but there are a lot of exciting spring time happenings that become all that much closer with the arrival of the month of March. One of those things?

The debut of DiBruno Bros in the Ardmore Farmer’s Market.

 

Photo from lefthandbrewing.blogspot.com

 

If you haven’t caught on yet, I get really excited when a part of Philadelphia moves into my hood. I know the city is just a 20 minute drive away, but very rarely is it ever that easy to make a quick trip in and out, except maybe for a cheesesteak run at 2 am!

DiBruno Brothers will certainly be welcomed with open arms when they turn on their cash registers next month. There is no doubt that their new Ardmore location will not hold the same market style ambiance that the original Chestnut Street location is known for, but still what a great addition to the area, bringing along cooking demonstrations, specialty items, and of course, the cheese! It will be all right there,  just a hop skip and a jump down Lancaster Avenue. Speaking of the cheese which they are wildly famous for, I can’t forget to mention, hand pulled mozzarella on site at Ardmore Fridays and Saturdays?? You know there will be a Caprese salad on my table at least one weekend a month!

So, Main Line Mamas, prepare your cheese boards.

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Favorite Food of the Week: FroYo.

To show simple gratitude for allowing me to perch in their comfy leather chairs every other day, this week’s favorite food spotlight is dedicated to Saxbys Coffee in Wayne, PA. When I say every other day, I mean every other day. There is something about the cozy atmosphere, exposed brick walls, adorable patrons, and ego-less baristas that makes my creative clock tick when I am there. I do almost all my writing and photo editing with my laptop balancing on one knee, and cup of name that drink in my right hand, and whatever Pandora station fits my mood for the day quietly humming through my headphones.

 

the view from my seat.

I love hearing all of the sounds, the loud steaming of milk, the grinding coffee, the blending of ice, or the best sound, the endless scoops from the jars of toppings used to decorate their non-fat frozen yogurt, or as they call it, “FroYo.” The tartness is accented so perfectly by any combination of toppings; my preference? chocolate chips and toasted silvered almonds. On the days when I fear a FroYo overdose, I usually opt for a green tea or of course the best thing I have ever tasted, from any coffee shop, their sugar-free, non-fat Chai latte. Starbucks and most coffee houses take the easy way out and use Tazo brand chai, but my tongue has sadly gone numb to that. I am not sure what Saxbys secret ingredient is for their chai but it is an amazing all year round treat with my summer staple being their Chai fro-latte, their awesome take on a frappuccino!

 

Check out another super cool blogger, “Not Just Take Out” and her take on the Saxbys in Manayunk!

Saxbys Coffee

11o E. Lancaster Avenue

Wayne, PA 19087