Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas 2013: Recap

    This Christmas we hosted our family in Florida!  Both moms, my sister, and her husband and their dog, Kiba flew in to celebrate with us. We spent the last two years in orphanhood at the houses of wonderful friends and co-workers, and on both Christmases Shawn worked. I was a bit mopey last year. Finally, I thought, a Christmas that can be spent with our actual relatives!

    We spent the morning making casseroles. Lots of casseroles. There was a hash brown casserole, green bean casserole, and a cauliflower mac and cheese. There was also my mother's lumpia, and the star of the show, a ten pound Honey Baked ham. This was the best dinner we had at our house since it became our house, hands down!

 Here's the table setting, including my favorite Florence Balducci plates, and my new Linea Carta from Anthropologie. I found the rosemary branch napkin ring idea on Pinterest, originally from here,  and plucked them from my yard:

and the grace:

and my hubbs enjoying lumpia
we even lit the cheese cake for the Birthday, ya know, the reason for the season:
 oh, and the gifts:

 Hope your Christmas was Merry! Happy New Year!

Friday, December 27, 2013

A Meg Hamilton Dress Sketch for Christmas!

On their wedding day.

    I was so excited to share the Christmas present we got for my sister and her hubby: A custom wedding gown sketch from Meg Hamilton Weddings. Meg creates an fashion sketch of your wedding down, groom's tux, and bridesmaid's dresses. She will highlight special details of your choosing. It's such a great unique gift. 

      I've got a friend getting married soon, who plans to sell her dress after her wedding...this sketch is an awesome way to "preserve" the dress. I would totally rather store  this on my wall rather than a gown in a closet.

    I may even have my dress sketched. You may remember I didn't do a wedding gown, and I actually still wear the dress. I made a tradition to wear it for dinner on our anniversary, so it won't last forever, but the drawing may endure!

My sister and her hubby loved it!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Matching plaid and fur: Our Christmas Card

A couple of weeks ago, a good friend of ours, took some beautiful pictures of our little family at Plantation Heritage park, and Dania Beach. I was especially excited to coordinate flannels with my husband, and accessorize with my furry son. Thank you, Jorge!

From our family to yours,   
Merry Christmas, Everyone! 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Tree trimming and Christmas glimpses

Trimming, and trimming, and trimming

 and here it is

 I see a green tree and I want to paint it black.

 A friend of ours mentioned that she purchased a black Christmas tree. I obsessed, but since we always buy a Fraser Fir because of its smell, I bought this little guy below. It was from Big Lots, $4.99, and so was the black spray paint. I added fake snow, a Jo Malone Ribbon and box as a base. I wrapped the base in this fabulous black glitter wrapping paper from Michaels. The silver ornaments are from Ikea, last year.

and voila:
Bully couldn't resist a photo opportunity underneath the tree, either. He is still ambivalent about those bells his crazy momma made him wear.

Friday, December 6, 2013

This Year's Lighted Christmas Balls, 2013

    Last Year, we carried the Greensboro, North Carolina's Sunset Hills Neighborhood tradition to Riverland Village in Fort Lauderdale. Read about it here, and here. This year, we added a little red to the tops of our palms to make it interesting. 
    We're really glad to continue such a special tradition in our new neighborhood. We can only hope it will catch on! It would be great to get the whole neighborhood involved, and better yet, grow a canned food drive like the one in Greensboro. It's been a year and a half in this neighborhood, and we are still searching for that same community feel like we had in GSO. Many keep to themselves 'round here. I'm thinking about posting a sign and a box to donate canned goods. Maybe some of our neighbors are in need, themselves, and could use a can or two? What do you think?
   Please visit on the Lighted Christmas Balls Blog for the story,  how to's, to see the amazing sights and the hundreds of balls in the trees. The stories on the videos may jerk a tear!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

This year we made more friends and broke bread (and cheese) with them. I played hostess and crafted my finest fall cocktails. The best part of any holiday is spending it in good company, with good conversation, and good cheese. We finished the night off with a backyard bonfire and smores, naturally! 
(My hair still smells like smoke!)

 I made the above spread with, can you believe it, everything from ALDI. Seriously, they've got really good seasonal cheese. 
Here's the spread:
From Left, Brie, Toasted walnuts with salt and truffle oil
Red grapes, honey, basil and tomato cheese, salami
Middle, Smoked gruyere,  Jarlsberg, and soft garlic and herb spread
Bagel chips and wheat crackers.

The above platters were from Anthropologie, Crate and Barrell,  and martini glasses from Dollar Tree. I am quite the savvy shopper. I just have to figure out how I want to cook that butternut squash and that acorn squash. They were so adorable, I just had to. I want to point out that this season, cheese boards are the new dinner plate.

One Bad Apple Martini
1 oz Salted caramel vodka
1/2 oz whipped vodka
1/2 oz vanilla vodka
1&1/2 oz Simply Apple Cider (highly recommend this brand)
Shake over ice and pour into a cinnamon and sugar rimmed glass.
Garnish with a cinnamon sugar apple slice

Pumpkin Pie Martini 
1oz Pumpkin Vodka (or regular)
1 oz whipped vodka
1/2 oz  Irish Cream liqueur
1 tablespoon pumpkin puree
dash of half and half
dash of cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
dash of ginger
Shake over ice and pour into a graham cracker rimmed glass.

Disclosure: I mix according to intuition and taste. Try the above recipes, but adjust according to your preferred alcohol levels,
taste, and guest reaction. When my guests make "yummy noises, "
I know I just made the perfect drink.   

This morning, I used the 
 pumpkin puree for pumpkin pancakes. De-lish!

Every year there is more and more to be of which to be Thankful! 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Baking again!

   New oven alert! Our house has been with out a oven for more than a year. Frankly, I didn't care at first because I was on this raw foods kick. I had just gotten a food processor, and that was my new toy. I felt better because we stopped making that weekly frozen pizza.

My family is visiting for Christmas, and you CANNOT celebrate family holidays without baking and broiling! I mean, how am I going to heat my Honeybaked Ham?

But sometimes you just want to make some cookies, Or a lasagna. Or bake a pizza. Which is what i did after the hubbs installed our newest toy.

And the next morning I made Mac and Cheese with Cauliflower. I snuck finely minced cauliflower into the cheese sauce for flavor. You absolutely would not know the difference! I adapted the recipe from Food Babe's Home made Mac and Cheese. I used cheddar, Farmer's cheese, and added garlic powder. For the topping, I added butters cauliflower bits, and broiled at 450 degrees until brown.

 Drizzle a little truffle oil on top, and voila!
What looks like cheese and egg, is mainly cheese, cauliflower and quinoa. It was tasty right out of the oven, and I ate the leftovers for lunch for about a week, even better!