The Big Day!

Some of the photo booth fun :)


Craft Room

It is imperative. I must have a craft room in my next home. Inspired by…you guessed it…Martha.

The January edition of Martha Stewart Living showed off her “homekeeping” room and from the time I saw it, I’ve been obsessed.  Of course, she created the line of furniture which is for sale at homedecorators.com. But I’m not on the market for something that pricey (though I have to admit, it is actually very reasonably priced), so I’ve made it my mission to recreate these pieces of furniture from cheap finds, and use all of her magnificent ideas.

Here’s a pic of the overall room:

Hello Gorgeous!

I love everything about this. I simply must have it. My favorite part is the wrapping station on the left; I love the rods for paper, ribbon, twine, etc., and turning the dresser top into a cutting/wrapping/crafting surface area, covered in a self-healing cutting mat.

Also brilliant was their use of the magnetic thing from IKEA meant to hold knives. I’ve had this thing sitting in a box for a good 5 years, waiting to be used.  Now I will attach it to the side of my DIY craft station and hang small tools from it!

And now for the best part…a closeup of the wrapping station. Not that I do much wrapping, but this is the piece that I want to recreate for my overall craft area.

Ta Daaaa!  Now I just need to make it happen.

And hopefully I’ll actually take some pictures and post them. I’m happy to report that I have actually made all of the things I’ve posted on here; I just haven’t gotten around to taking photos or writing about ‘the making of’ yet. Still a novice blogger :)


Prosciutto & Egg Baguette

It seems my blog posts are becoming nothing more than a series of images from my Martha Stewart Living magazine subscription, but what can I say…these articles are incredible and need sharing!  I’ve searched her site to find the same recipes/articles/photos to no avail; they appear to only be available to subscribers. So consider this my gift to you ;)

The recipe that jumped off the pages of her January issue was “Lemon, Parsley & Parmesan + Bread, Prosciutto & Egg.”  It looks simply amazing and I had to try it. And lucky us, it looks and tastes just as amazing in real life! (So much so that when I unwrapped it from its foil at a picnic today, two separate people came to see what it was and asked if I’m a chef!!  Can’t beat that.)

 

INGREDIENTS

1     baguette (15″ long)

4     slices thinly sliced prosciutto (2 ounces)

5     large eggs

1     teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

3     tablespoons whole milk

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Course salt and freshly ground pepper

STEPS

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Slice 1/4 inch off the top of the bread, and hollow out bottom, discarding the crumb (soft interior) of the loaf. Cut top int 1-inch pieces, and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, zest, milk, parsley, and Parmesan. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Stir in 1/2 cup bread pieces.
  3. Place hollowed-out bread on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place prosciutto slices along inside of bread to cover. Slowly pour egg mixture to the brim. Bake until eggs are puffed up and cooked through, 30 to 33 minutes.
  4. Slice into 2-inch pieces. Serve immediately.

 

My notes:

I will modify three things the next time I make this: First, I will use far less lemon zest. I didn’t actually measure it, but it seemed to be approximately a teaspoon. It was a bit overpowering. Second, I will not add any salt to the egg mixture. The prosciutto is salty enough. Third, I would either cook it less or perhaps turn down the temp. The eggs were a little too cooked (but runny eggs make me gag so maybe it needs to be the same time but lower temp. Will have to experiment with this one!)

Enjoy!


Cranberry Kir

And the winner of the pumpkin cocktail tryouts was….none of the above!  I quite enjoyed all of them, but my taste testers weren’t fond of any. The rum punch may have won, but I accidentally added an equal part of lime in addition to the lemon. Barf – talk about a wasted bottle of rum.

Instead I found a new tasty holiday cocktail which seems to work for all occasions. Enter the Cranberry Kir, from Alex Guarnaschelli of the Food Network.

Here’s her recipe, which was a HUGE hit at Thanksgiving and at a friend’s graduation. Fully plan on reusing this one for Christmas, as well :)

I love to use cranberry juice and a little sauce mixed together to replace the classic cassis for a “Kir Royal”. Cranberries (and a little honey) are a great match for sparkling wine. You don’t need an expensive wine here. In fact, the cheaper the better. You DO need something dry, not sweet, for optimum results.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces cranberry juice
  • 1 tablespoon smooth cranberry sauce
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 16 ounces Champagne or sparkling wine

Directions

In a small bowl, combine the cranberry juice and the cranberry sauce and whisk until fully blended. If too thick to mix with the Champagne, thin it out slightly with a little more cranberry juice. Stir in the honey and the lemon juice.

Divide the cranberry mixture between 4 glasses and pour in the Champagne, stirring with a spoon as you pour so the cranberry integrates and doesn’t just sit on the bottom of the glasses. Serve immediately.


Pumpkin Cocktails

As I’m preparing for this monumental Thanksgiving with my boyfriend’s family (at my home…the first time I’ve so much as cooked a turkey, let alone hosted a Thanksgiving!), I realized I am missing a key element: something to serve in my glass pitcher that now has a lovely label to match the H2O bottles!

What does one serve for Thanksgiving, aside from wine, beer, and water? Iced tea: too summery. Diet Coke: doesn’t work in a pitcher. I think this calls for a festive cocktail.

With some simple searching (thanks to this lovely website that seems to have done the same research just 4 days ago), here are my finalists. And after some very important market research by my BFF and I this coming weekend, I’ll have decided on the perfect pumpkin cocktail to serve on Thanksgiving!

Kastel’s Pumpkin Punch

Ingredients
2.5 oz. Aged rum (We used Bacardi 8 Year Aged Rum)
1 oz. Pineapple juice
¾ oz. Lemon juice
¾ oz. Orange juice
.5 oz. Spiced pumpkin puree
.5 oz. Date molasses
1 dash Bitters (We used Fee’s Original Bitters)
Nutmeg

Preparation
Add all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake vigorously. Serve in a burgundy glass and garnish with nutmeg.


Smashing Pumpkin

Ingredients
1 ½ oz. Bourbon (We used Maker’s Mark Bourbon)
1 oz. Pumpkin puree
3 segments Tangerine with peel
½ oz. Grand Marnier
½ oz. Brown sugar simple syrup
Nutmeg

Preparation
First, make brown sugar simple syrup by mixing two parts brown sugar with one part water. Bring to a boil and then let cool down before mixing into drink. Afterwards, muddle tangerine pieces in glass with brown sugar simple syrup. Add remaining ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake. Garnish with nutmeg.

Pumpkin Spice

Ingredients
½ shot Kahlua liqueur
½ shot Pumpkin schnapps
2 shots Rum (We used Malibu Rum)
Milk
Cinnamon
Whipped cream

Preparation
Add shots of Kahlua, pumpkin schnapps, and rum in a six ounce glass. Top with milk. Garnish with cinnamon and then top with whipped cream.

Pumpkin Margarita

Ingredients
2 oz. Tequila (We used Camarena Resposado Tequila)
1 can Pumpkin puree
½ cup Brown sugar
¼ cup Sugar
1 Tbsp. Cinnamon
1 pinch Nutmeg
2 cups Water
½ oz. Orange liqueur
½ Lime juice

Preparation
Make pumpkin simple syrup by combining pumpkin puree with brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and water in a saucepan over low heat. Stir for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, cool, and strain. Combine the juice of half a lime, tequila, and 2 oz. pumpkin simple syrup. Shake well and serve on the rocks.


Stuffed Pumpkin

from Martha Stewart Living magazine

How to grill a stuffed pumpkin

In planning for my first time hosting Thanksgiving, I’ve been obsessing over the menu and presentation. My idol Martha Stewart featured a recipe for stuffing baked in a cheese pumpkin, and it stole my heart!

Finding a cheese pumpkin was an effort in itself (it seems to be random luck of walking past a market that happens to have one), but then came the dilemma of how to cook a giant pumpkin AND a turkey, when I only have 1 oven!

A friend suggested using my gas grill to cook the turkey, but that seemed out of my league for my first stab at making a turkey. But why not cook the pumpkin on the grill?!  Brilliant. Then I just needed to figure out how.

A few Google searches later I got lucky once again – a book sold on Amazon called Mastering the Grill just happened to display the entire page about grilling a pumpkin.

I’m choosing to ignore the part where the author says “three mouthwatering weeks and several failed experiments later, this beautiful and utterly romantic extravagance emerged from the grill,” and banking on the thought that if I follow the directions, mine will be perfect on the first try :)


Sausage-stuffed red onions

from Martha Stewart Living magazine