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Christmas Festivities

This year we didn't have to travel far for Christmas - we had it at the house and made everyone come to us! I wasn't on the computer at all yesterday, but I did think to snap a few photos throughout the day.
Here's a little Christmas recap:



It snowed on Christmas Eve! The snow didn't stick around for long but it was so nice to watch it fall; it certainly put us in a jolly mood. I also couldn't help but shoot a few photos of my new dress courtesy of my grandmother. I thought this photo showed off some our Christmas decorations and all the gifts piled under the tree splendidly. There's also a cat hiding in the corner there.



Shawn's mom brought over a pretty bouquet for the table. I love that there's a pinecone and twigs in there! And those messy looking cookies are my first attempt at rugelach. I used the recipe for chocolate raspberry rugelach in my new Smitten Kitchen cookbook. Shawn was ecstatic - he loves rugelach!



This year, we hosted Christmas dinne…

Currently

The last few weeks I've been kept busy with last minute gift shopping, long and busy work days, and trying to get enough sleep to get through it all. I did the majority of my gift buying online this year, because going out to stores once was enough to remind me that I don't want to be anywhere near people or retail establishments this time of year. I'd say I've been pretty successful in keeping my sanity, despite 9+ hour work days, not-quite healthy eating habits, and other peoples' insanity.


The highlight of this past weekend was getting to meet Deb Perelman of the food blog Smitten Kitchen. I've been following her blog for over five years! She recently put out her first cookbook, with all new recipes, and I saw that one of the stops on her book tour was our local Barnes & Noble. The signing was on a Sunday though, and I usually work Sundays so I didn't think I'd be able to make it. Imagine my surprise upon looking at my calendar and realizing that…

Mo's 2012 Gift Guide / Wishlist

While I've been busy thinking of gifts for others, a few people have asked me what I would like for Christmas this year. So, for all my family and friends, here is a list of things that I would really enjoy seeing under the tree. I'm also calling this a gift guide because I'm sure there are other people you know out there who would also appreciate some of these things. You can thank me later ;)





1. Whimsey Box: a monthly subscription that arrives in your mailbox full of DIY projects.
2. Succulent Tea Lights: even easier than taking care of succulents, and still adorable!
3. Nuts About Entertaining Shaker: squirrels, nuts, and shakers- enough said.
4. Make Your Own Kaleidoscope Set: THIS IS SO COOL.
5. Trunks Full of Taste Shaker: adorable loving elephant salt and pepper shaker set.
6. Two Toned Square Earrings: I'm diggin' the color blocking going on here.
7. Stardust Earrings: they look like the universe! A really tiny wearable universe.
8. Triangle Earring…

Decking the tree

It's starting to look a lot like Christmas around here!








We picked out a some ornaments at Michael's today - a few different colored globes and some birds - the tree doesn't look quite as barren anymore! Shawn also hung some lights up in the living room. And I filled an advent calendar with Hershey's chocolates and mini Reese's. It's also the perfect time of year for hot chocolate, which Shawn and I call 'our drink' because we first met over hot chocolate... but that's a story for another time. Enjoy the gratuitous cat photo!

Happy December!

I can't believe it's December already! This year has really been progressing incredibly quickly... and the holidays always seem to speed up the process too. I've been so busy working overtime these last few weeks that I barely even got a glimpse of November. December is one of my favorite months though; I get so giddy about the holidays! I could do without the bombardment of Christmas music e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e, but I love the decorations and I really do believe most people are in better spirits this time of year too.

But back to November for just a moment. We celebrated Thanksgiving at Shawn's grandparents' house this year. Even though we've known each other for eight years and counting, it was my first time ever meeting any of his family, other than his mother and brother. Actually, he's never met any of my extended family either! (But I have an excuse... none of them live in this country.) Shawn's family was nice though, and his grandmother cooked up…

What we've been up to

Hello! Well, stranger, it sure has been a while...

Lets see - last I left off here we were looking at a bright and brand new October. Well, now that has come and gone and we find ourselves in the midst of blustery November; the day before Thanksgiving, none the less! (Side note: the letter U is located right next to the letter I on the keyboard and I originally typed 'blistery', which isn't a word but it would give a whole new perspective to what I was originally trying to say... so, to clarify, November was not painful and swollen, but has been rather windy and, well, blustery. Man, this was a long side note.)

So, if you don't mind, let me take you back a few weeks.





In October we celebrated two birthdays, my mother's and my own! The tart is what I made for my mom's birthday (It's pear frangipane, if you were wondering). She and my dad came to visit for a week between our birthdays, so we had a joint celebration. I turned 25 this year! A quarter of a c…

A few weeks ago...

We went to visit some friends in Philadelphia for a day.



Got a beautiful cappuccino.




And a hand-poured coffee.






The weekend before that some friends and I went to a wine tasting at Cava Winery & Vineyards. The Groupon we had was only good for the fruit-infused wines, but there were a couple of good ones, and it came with a cheese plate too.


This is a proper cheese plate though...





And some photos from even earlier in the month. I've been slackin' on the updates around here.




The weeds on the deck are getting a little out of hand, wouldn't you say?




I was taking pictures of my homemade pickles and caught this guy acting crazy in the background.




Can you spot the spy in this photo?


September was a pretty fun month. There's more in store for October though; I'm excited!

NY Renaissance Faire

On Labor Day we went to the NY Renaissance Faire with our friends Christine and Sean. (Yes, the resemblance is uncanny, and believe me, it's more than just the names.) They've been there every year for the last few years, but it was our first time ever going, and it was so much more fun than I think either one of us expected it to be!

Highlights of the day included:
- Turkey legs, boar sandwiches, chocolate covered bacon, and cheesecake on a stick.
- So. Much. Booze. Except for me, of course- I volunteered to be the designated driver.
- Eight straight hours of walking around and getting our feet dusty.
- Shawn got many comments about his 'shiny shirt'.
- Lots of hat buying. On Shawn's end. See below.
- Acrobats throwing fire. And swallowing it.
- A bevy of super-old cars on the drive up.
- Archery; I hit the center of the target on my first try, and was the only one to do so.
- Funny conversations with people in costume who were not actually working for the faire.
- Lots of v…

A Peek Into My Work Week

I haven't shown you much of what I do at work these days... my time is split between helping customers in the front and lending a hand in the kitchen. I really enjoy the balance of doing both, but recently I've been spending more of my time in the kitchen and I really don't mind that at all. Here's a peek at some of the things that I've made lately.


vanilla bean macaroons


pear frangipane tart


rustic apricot tart


chocolate mice


individual tarts of all kinds

...Are you salivating yet? :)


P.S. I posted my favorite waffle recipe over at Between Three Kitchens!

Triumph Brewing Company

A few Sundays ago we visited Riverhorse Brewery in Lancaster, NJ, then crossed over the river and had dinner at Triumph Brewing Company in New Hope, PA. The brewery tour was neat, albeit short and sweet - their brewery is so much smaller than I was expecting! The whole tour lasted about 20 minutes and although they have a bar with all of their beers on tap inside the same building, we opted to go to Triumph instead to avoid the huge crowd that was waiting for beers at Riverhorse.

We shared the beer sampler at Triumph - all 7 of their beers in 5oz glasses. Shawn and I had a sip of each one first to decide which ones we each preferred, then we drank our favorites. We also went a little crazy with the food - we each got an appetizer and a main course - usually we stick to one course and maybe one drink each, but everything on the menu sounded so delicious that we figured eh, what the heck!


beer sampler!


cucumber gazpacho for me, honey bbq wings for Shawn


Shawn got fish and chips, I opted for…