As the New Year approaches, I’ve caught myself looking back on fashion. I could have easily been a flapper in the 20’s or a Jackie O. impersonator in the 60’s. Though it’s not always best to live in the past, what better time of year to remember the past than at the end of the present year.
My dad is all Sicilian. You’d think that means Sunday gravy and cannoli galore, but in fact, he didn’t come from a foodie family. It’s my mom, the German/ Irish/ Portuguese one, who created a tomato sauce recipe worth passing down. But if there’s on thing my dad does know, it’s “pancakes.”
The reason for the quotation marks is because they’re not quite the same. Halfway between a crêpe and a pancake, these disks are super thin but remain fluffy. Though I can try to mimic them, only my dad can make them feel oh-so special and comforting. Paired with some maple syrup from our Christmas stay in Vermont, and they made for a perfect day-after-Christmas breakfast.
I am the youngest of four children, and seeing as we have all reached our twenties – some of us living our own lives away from home – you’d think some of our traditions would have changed. We would have stopped coming down the stairs in age order to see our presents; stopped having a slumber party the night before; stopped the routine of watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas on Christmas Eve. There’s a certain magic that comes with this time of year, one that I don’t think any of us are ready to give up as we face the “real world” and one that I think we’ll cling to until we start having kids of our own with whom we can share it.
Though it might be silly, we still do a ton of baking this time of year, a plate of which is ceremonially left out for Santa.
Merry Christmas to all; I hope some of these treats can enable the magic to carry on for you, no matter your age.
This Saturday, New York was hit with a lot of snow. It was beautiful, and I braved as much of the chilly air as I could to wander around the best city in the world. Here are some of my favorite shots, though my fingers barely made it back home to my warm homemade cocoa!
Beware: the ultimate winter cookie is coming your way.
I successfully flew home on Thursday evening well before the amazing snow storm that hit New York on Saturday. It made me feel like a kid again. Though the prolonged fall-like weather in North Carolina is well worth it at times, I hadn’t witnessed a true snow since high school. This certainly changed that.
My family has gone through some changes this past year. We’ll be spending the holidays somewhere new, which is altogether exciting and a tad bittersweet. But the white-covered trees and these ginger cookies bring me back to being a kid, comforting me and allowing me to resort to some of the forgotten pleasures. Stepping on freshly snow on the sidewalk will always provide the most perfect crunch. Like the outside of these cookies before reaching the gooey inside.
Whether with a glass of milk, a warm cup of coffee, or on its own after a long evening, these cookies will warm you up inside and out.
Recipe courtesy of Ina Garten (I didn’t have molasses so used the same measurement of honey. They were slightly less gooey than the last time I made this recipe, but just as delicious.)
The holidays are right around the corner, meaning my inevitable gift giving list. I typically like to get my group of friends the same thing – or a variation of the same thing – in order to keep the budget for each person the same. Then, I’ll personalize their gift with a card to give it a more friendly touch. Here are some great ideas for homemade gifts that are perfect for a group of friends.
1. Beauty Kit – Grab a collection of nail polishes or creams and distribute them into cellophane bags. Print out a template from one of many online sources, and attach it to the bag for a personal touch.
2. Personalized Candles – Buy simple white candles from your favorite craft store, along with a stamp with your favorite quote, book passage, etc. This simple but personal gift is easy to make and won’t break the bank.
3. Mason Jar Snow Globe – For the decor lover, put together a few snow globes to hang out to your friends. Keep it classic with trees or personalize them with mini landmarks. (How cute would an Eiffel Tower snow globe be?!)
4. Cocoa Mix – This classic will be welcomed with open arms by all of your friends. Make it a bit more special with Kahlua or Bailey’s tied to the side.
5. Cork Trees – Are you and your friends constantly catching up over a glass of wine? Collect corks from your favorite bottles and make these simple holiday decorations. The personal momento can build with time, making it a yearlong decoration.
And why not bake that cheese with some delicious caramelized onions in a pocket of puff pastry?
Just yum. My friend was having a tough week, and we had talked about our love for baked brie. I made this recipe once at home for Christmas, but I don’t like the idea of having to eat something with puff pastry with an additional cracker. These individual servings make you feel a little less guilty.
Although who could feel guilty about these delicious little guys? I did a few as hand pies with crimped edges (above) and took the excess dough around the cutout circles to make little dumpling-esque packages (below). They both worked well, just make sure you mend any holes!
I followed this recipe from 5 Ingredient Fix. For one entire package of puff pastry (2 sheets), I only needed 2 onions and less than an entire 8 oz. circle of brie.
I wanted to thank you all so much for your continued support! I’ve loved being able to share my favorite things on this blog, from Paris, to food, to Netflix. In celebration, I’m going to throw it back to my first ever post, wishing I had one of these delicious muffins to devour right now.
I’m hitting finals period in school now, so the posts may come to a standstill. Stay tuned, there will be more soon!
Thanksgiving is a time for reflection. It gets you thinking about the good things in life, the ones you love, and the things you wish to change. Whenever I’m feeling down, I take a gander at my Pinterest board to lift up my spirits. I’ll try to think uplifting thoughts as we end Thanksgiving season and I start with finals. I’ll need all of the positive energy I can get.
1. Roald Dahl
2. The Lion King. Had to have some Disney love here.