23 December 2011

Holiday Greetings....

Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year everyone! Hope all your holiday wishes are going well. Enjoy!

Images from Pinterest

16 December 2011

More Travel Outfit Ideas....

So I found more travel outfit ideas for London. I know that I'll probably not dress this fancy, but it's always nice to get ideas and color schemes.  Enjoy!

Images from Pinterest

15 December 2011

Holiday Gift Ideas - Travels from Coach....

...just a little over a week to go before Christmas. I just can't believe it. All my shopping is done, but I'm sure there are some of you that are still looking for the right gift to give that love one or friend. Here are some gift ideas for that travel girl out there. Enjoy!

1) Fur Stole
2) Madison Leather Lindsey Satchel
3) Boyfriend Rose Gold Strap Watch
4) Coach Travels Multi Mix Key Ring
5) Madison Patent Lindsey Satchel
6) Abigail Flat Shoes

Images from Coach

13 December 2011

Holiday Entertaining - Sugar Cookies....

So I was having trouble with making sugar cookies. I know, I know. It's sugar cookies how hard could it be. Well, let's just say I couldn't find a good one until now. This recipe is from the Williams-Sonoma Holiday Entertaining book. Great book! However, I did have to modify the recipe a little. It had NO vanilla in the recipe! Who doesn't that?! My hubby said, "It's not a sugar cookie without vanilla in it." I have to agree with him. The vanilla made the cookie. Also, I didn't want a cookie that was made with shortening. (Yuck!) But these cookies were just what I was looking for. So I had to share. Happy baking! Enjoy!

Sugar Cookies

Make about 36 cookies (depends on the size of cookie)

2/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour (plain)
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Have ready 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or ungreased.

In a food processor, combine the butter and granulated sugar and pulse until creamy.
Add the egg and vanilla and pulse 5 or 6 times until fluffy and blended.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
Add one-third of the flour mixture to the food processor and process until blended, about 45 seconds.
Add the remaining flour in two batches, processing after each addition, until dough is smooth.

Note: It doesn’t have this in the original recipe, but you should refrigerate the dough for 20 minutes or so. This way the dough will be easier to work with and not so sticky cause it’s too warm. So after the dough is smooth, turn out the dough onto some paste wrap and separate the dough into two disks. Then refrigerate.

Turn the dough out onto a well-floured work surface, shape into a ball, and then roll out 1/8 inch think.
Using cookie cutters, cut the dough into desired shapes.
Then, using a spatula, transfer the cutouts to the baking sheets. Gather up the dough scraps and repeat the process to make more cookie cutouts to add to the baking sheets.

Bake until lightly browned on the bottom and pale golden on top, 6-8 minutes.
Transfer to wire racks and let cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes. Then transfer to the racks to cool completely.

Note: Remember to decorate with sprinkles before going into the oven. Or decorate the cooled cookies with Royal Icing.

Image from Me; Recipe from Williams-Sononma cookbooks at Barns & Noble

12 December 2011

Monday Kitchen Designs....

More lovely kitchen designs. I'm still in love with these simple, white kitchens that have a European style to them. Which kitchen do you guys like? Enjoy!

Images from Pinterest

08 December 2011

Five Thoughts of a Parisian Lifestyle....

I happened to see this article on a FB post.  It's called "Five lessons learned from living in Paris."  It's an interesting article, but it's funny that every Parisian book I read has the same lessons in it.  They are really good lessons if you think about it.  Parisians seem to be private people, but they don't let life run them.  They seem to have a good balance of passion & pleasure for how they do things in life.  Sometimes, I think our culture likes to have life run them instead.  Maybe as the new year approaches, we all should take a look at how we see our selves.  Is life running you?  Or are you running life?  Enjoy!

Here are five of the lessons that the girl in the article learned in the "City of Lights."

1. Live a passionate life.
"...Parisians often turned mundane aspects of everyday life into something special."

2. Cultivate an air of mystery
"...the French get a bad rap for coming across as cold and aloof when they're simply very picky about who they open up to and how much they reveal about themselves."

3. Always look presentable. Always!
"It's funny, we'll go and spend money on beautiful clothes and we won't wear them. We'll be saving them for some unknown occasion in the future because we don't want to ruin them, ... We should use these clothes on a daily basis. Why not use our best? I think you should never save your best clothes for later. Use your best now and get rid of anything that isn't up to par."

4. Don't forget the simple pleasures (and do not deprive yourself).
"For some of them it's cleaning out their handbag, and for some of them it's breaking the crust on a crème brulee with a spoon, ... These are things that a lot of us just mow over in life and don't even notice."

5. Make life a formal affair on a daily basis.
"They used their best china and their best crystal on a regular basis. ... They used the nicest things that they had on a daily basis and it elevated every experience that we had."

Article from CNN; Images from Patterson Maker; weheartit; Pinterest

07 December 2011

Chocolate-Peppermint Heaven....

So I was thinking about what types of Christmas cookies to make this year.  I'll still make gingerbread, but I wanted to try something new.  I remembered there was a cookie in the Martha Stewart Holiday Cookie magazine last year that I wanted to try.  It looks just like a Thin Mint cookie but covered with white chocolate.  Lets just say that after making this cookie tonight, I have finally found the recipe for making Thin Mint cookies!!  The only thing is I didn't have any white/dark chocolate to cover the cookie.  So it's plain, but it tastes so good!!  And... I've already eaten a big hand full.  Oh well, enjoy!!

Chocolate-Peppermint Cookies

Yield Makes 6 dozen

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 ounces (5 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
  • 8 large candy canes or 30 peppermint candies, crushed
  • 2 pounds white chocolate, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. 
Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. 
Beat butter and sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed for 1 minute. 
Reduce speed to medium-low, and add egg, then yolk, beating well after each addition. 
Beat in peppermint extract. 
Slowly add flour mixture, and beat until just incorporated. 

Shape dough into 2 disks, wrap each in plastic, and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour (or up to 2 days).

Roll out 1 disk of dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/8-inch thickness. Place dough on baking sheet and freeze until firm, about 15 minutes. (NOTE: I skipped this part, and it didn't seem to matter.)
Using a 2-inch round cutter, cut out circles, and place 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Roll and cut scraps once. 
Freeze cookies until firm, about 15 minutes. Repeat with remaining disk.

Bake until cookies are dry to the touch, about 12 minutes. 
Transfer parchment, with cookies, to wire racks, and let cool. (Undecorated cookies will keep, covered, for up to 3 days.)

Sift crushed candy, and separate larger pieces from dust, reserving both. 
Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of gently simmering water. Remove from heat. 
Dunk cookies into melted chocolate. Using a fork, turn to coat, let excess drip off, and gently scrape bottom against edge of bowl. 
Place on parchment-lined baking sheets, and sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of either candy pieces or dust on top. Repeat, sprinkling half the cookies with pieces and the rest with dust. 
Refrigerate until set, up to 3 hours. Decorated cookies are best served the same day.

Images from me; Martha Stewart; Recipe from Martha Stewart Holiday Cookies 2010 Magazine

06 December 2011

More of Paris in the Winter....

It's gray and rainy outside today. But I'm dreaming of Paris in the winter time again. Hope all of you are keeping warm from the weather. Enjoy!

Images from Pinterest; flickr.com

Red & Golden Holiday Decorations....

Getting into the holiday spirit. Love to decorate this time of the year. Here are some decorating ideas I found. Enjoy!

Images from Pinterest

01 December 2011

Parisian Chic Pictures for Any Little Girl's Wall Decor....

I can't believe it's December already.  I'll have to start looking at buying new Paris & London wall calendars soon.  But speaking of Paris...  I've found some really cute parisian type pictures that would look cute in any girl's bedroom. Hope you like them too. Enjoy!

Images from Pinterest; weheartit
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