23 December 2010

Warm Beds for a Really Cold day....

Oh, it's cold today! There is snow on the ground and a weather alert for more snow on the way for Christmas eve. I just feel like curling up in a ball under my warm, fluffy comforter and not come out till Spring. Anyone else feel that way too?

Here are some warm bedding ideas to make your bedroom warmer in this cold weather season. Enjoy!

Images from DecorPad

Holiday Party Dress from Paris....

Christmas is now just a day away, and your holiday and New Year's parties are still just around the corner or going on now. But what should you wear? That's such a hard question for most women. You want to look nice. Stand out. Show some glitz and glamor. But also try to make all the men turn their heads. Well, that just makes it even more harder to pick something out!

So as we bust open our closet, throw all the cloths on the bed, dig through the mass of shoe boxes, or just end up going to the mall, here are some thoughts from Paris for your holiday parties. Enjoy!

The Party...

After the Party...

Images from Paris Vogue (Stella McCartney, Tom Binns, H. Stern, Valentino, Tibi, Kenneth Jay Lane, Dior, Balmain, Damaris, 150 Cadeaux Pour Noel, Aubade

21 December 2010

Cookies for the Holidays.....

Yay! Cookies!!  I love making cookies this time a year. It just puts a smile on my face for the wonderful taste and smells of the holiday. Also I just love cookies!

So, since it has been a hard year on my family and I (Jobs especially), we decided to do a cookie exchange instead of presents this year. I'm sure your wondering the reasons. Well, one, it's cheap; two, it's yummy cookies; three, it's easy to make cookies and not hunt the mall for something to buy someone; four, it's cheap.... oh did I say that already! 

So I thought I'd share the cookie pics and recipes with you guys in case you'd like to try making them for your families (or yourself) this holiday season. Enjoy and take care!

1 (8-ounce) package caramels  
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 cup pecan halves
16 (1-ounce) squares semi-sweet chocolate 
 1) In the top of a double boiler over hot water, melt caramels in heavy cream.

2) Arrange pecan halves in groups of five (head and four legs) on greased wax paper. 

3) Spoon caramel into a small mound in the middle of the nuts to make the body. (The caramel should partially cover the nuts to keep them in place.) Let stand until hard.

4) In the top of a double boiler over hot water, melt chocolate; gently stir with spatula until melted. 

5) Using a spoon, coat body, head, and legs with the melted chocolate, leaving ends of pecans uncovered.

6) Refrigerate 30 minutes or until chocolate is firm.

3 cups flour
2 teaspoons Ginger, Ground
1 teaspoon Cinnamon, Ground
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg, Ground
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg
1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

1) Mix flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt in large bowl. Beat butter and brown sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add molasses, egg and vanilla; beat well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed. Press dough into a thick flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.

2) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness on lightly floured work surface. Cut into gingerbread men shapes with 5-inch cookie cutter. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets.

3) Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges of cookies are set and just begin to brown. Cool on baking sheets 1 to 2 minutes. Remove to wire racks; cool completely. Decorate cooled cookies as desired. Store cookies in airtight container up to 5 days.

(Please note: I got this recipe off last year and it didn't have the vanilla in it. I actually think it taste better without the vanilla. But that's just me.)

(Makes six 8-inch candy canes)

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 large egg
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon pure almond or peppermint extract
¼ teaspoon salt
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
Red food coloring, preferably gel-paste
Coarse sanding sugar, for decorating

1) With an electric mixer on medium speed, cream butter and confectioners’ sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, both extracts, and salt. With mixer on low speed, add flour, beating until combined. Divide dough in half. Knead food coloring into one half until desired color is reached. Form dough into disks, and wrap in plastic. Chill 20 minutes, or up to over-night. (Dough can be frozen up to 1 month; thaw in the refrigerator before using.) 

2) Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide untinted dough into 6 pieces. On a lightly floured surface, shape each into a 12-inch-long log. Chill 10 minutes, until firm but pliable. Repeat with tinted dough. Twist a tinted and an untinted piece together; bend one end to form a cane. Repeat. Arrange 2 inches apart on prepared sheets. Chill 1 hour (or up to overnight, covered in plastic).

3) Preheat oven to 325°. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies are firm but not taking on any color, 20 – 24 minutes. Transfer sheets to wire racks to cool completely.

4) Brush untinted stripes of candy canes with water. Sprinkle with sanding sugar; tap off excess. Cookies can be stored up to 1 week at room temperature in an airtight container.

Images for me. Recipes from Whats Cooking America, All Recipes.com, Martha Stewart Holiday Sweets Magazine 2009

19 December 2010

Spring Wedding Ideas from Philly...

Yes, it's winter out still, and the snow it still coming down in places. But in the Philadelphia Wedding magazine, they're already talking Spring weddings.

I know. I'm married already, but I still love looking at wedding magazines. I think it's something about the white, flowing dresses, the flowers, cute shoes, and the bling. Also since I was at Barns & Nobles last night, I just had to see what they were planning for Spring. Let's just saying I "love" these things.
Items above:
  • Paloma Picasso five-row freshwater pearl necklace, $1,550 at Tiffany & Co.
  • Affinitas Mia bra, $39.99, and hipster, $19.99, both at Sweet Blossoms Lingerie
  • Laura Mercier Fresh Fig scrub, $46 at Bluemercury
  • Ribbon headband with crystals, $325 at Bijou Bridal
  • Rubelite and diamond Legacy ring, $8,500 at Tiffany & Co.
  • Clutch with crystal embellishment, $125 at Bijou Bridal
  • Aruna Seth Tiffany-blue satin Farfalla pumps with crystal butterflies, $740 at Priscilla of Boston

Also, cakes are a big reason I look at these magazines because of my love for baking. But copying china for your cake design? I'm not sure I'd do this. But out of all the pics, I liked this one the best. Also it's pink!

  • Marchesa for Lenox Spring Lark dinner, salad and bread plates and teacup, $180 for a five-piece place setting at Bloomingdale’s or www.lenox.com
  • Cake created by Sweet Jazmines, Berwyn

Well, for those of you who are got engaged over this holiday season, congrats and good luck with the planning. I hope these pics can give you a few ideas. Enjoy!

Images from the Philadelphia Wedding Magazine

18 December 2010

Pistachio Heaven...

Mmmmmm..... I love these muffins! When I first moved to Delaware, I found a little place called Pure Bread Deli in Greenville, DE. It was such a cute little place. All their deli sandwiches are named after dogs! It's such a cute idea. But my favorite thing is the pistachio muffin they have. Oh so good! It's like a little piece of green heaven.

I've been trying to find a pistachio muffin recipe to make at home. But I just can't find one that taste like this one! If anyone knows of a good recipe (and looks like this one), please let me know! Enjoy the pics of the pistachio muffin, and don't forget to visit Pure Bread Deli if your ever in Delaware!

Images of the pistachio muffin from Pure Bread Deli

13 December 2010

Paris in Winter...

The wind is blowing so hard out tonight. It's shaking our windows. Brrrrr.... and now it's down to 22 degrees. So instead of going outside, I'm sitting here looking at pictures of Paris in the winter time. I know. It's kind of ironic. But they're so pretty! I've always wanted to go to Paris in the Christmas time. Maybe one day.

Enjoy.....and keep warm!

Images from: Mail Online, Life in Paris, photo.alexandrebrisebois.com, RusDELFI Foto, Borg, pussnboots
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