Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Alrighty, let me get back to updating while I try to contain my excitement! Since we knew that it would be just the two of us, we wanted to make Christmas special (and maybe start a new tradition!) by creating a fun menu. We decided we would make "Christmas Calzones" on Christmas Eve and Eggs Benedict from scratch on Christmas Morning...errrr I mean afternoon :)
The "Christmas Calzones" were inspired by some beautiful photos of homemade dough I spotted over at http://poppytalk.blogspot.com/ (one of my top blogs for inspiration). The dough recipe is originally from Everybody Likes Sandwiches and you can find it here: http://everybodylikessandwiches.com/2009/07/pizza-blanco-the-easiest-pizza-dough-in-the-world/
It was really easy to follow and make! All you need is:
1 packet of yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 c warm water
2 1/2 c flour
1 t honey
1 t salt
2 T olive oil
2 T fresh rosemary, chopped (optional)
cornmeal (to sprinkle around the pan/stone)
We just mixed all the ingredients together and kneaded the dough until soft and smooth. The recipe says to break it apart into 4 equal globs, but we just split it in half. With that being said, this recipe is definitely enough for four calzones. Ours turned bigger than our heads. We filled them with sauce, ricotta, mozzarella, mushrooms, and pepperoni. Here are some photos of the finished product:
Overall, size is the only thing I would have changed. We could have easily divided the dough and made 4 normal calzones. Oh well, taste is what really matters!
Now, moving on to our brunch. I found a super easy to follow recipe for Eggs Benedict in one of the cook books my mom gave me. The only obstacle we ran into was finding an egg poacher. Even our trip to the Super Wal-Mart in Locust failed us. Andrew, however, saved the day! He did some research and found directions explaining how to poach eggs using a muffin pan in the oven. Basically, you set the oven to 400 and while it's pre-heating boil water in a tea pot on the stove. Once the water is boiling, pour 2-3 tablespoons into each muffin cup, and then carefully break an egg into each cup filled with hot water (Andrew actually broke the eggs into a small cup first, so that it was easier to gently pour them into the muffin cup of water without breaking). We then put them in the oven for about 7 minutes and kept an eye on them the whole time. Remember that eggs continue to cook even after they've been removed from heat, so don't wait until they look super done. When our eggs were looking good to go, we carefully scooped them out with a slotted spoon. I swear this is the best way to poach eggs! It really is simple, once you get the hang of the cooking time. Check it out!
This is the recipe I used for the Hollandaise Sauce (it was really easy and delicious):
3 egg yolks
1 T lemon juice
1/2 cup firm butter
Stir egg yolks and lemon juice vigorously in a small sauce pan. Add half the butter and start to heat stove on very low. Stir constantly with a wire whisk until the butter is melted, then slowly add remaining butter. Keep stirring and stirring until the sauce begins to thicken. Remember to keep stove on a low heat while the butter is melting to avoid curdling. Serve when the sauce reaches desired thickness.
Needless to say, we had a Christmas filled with good food and giant portions and I loved every minute of it. I am off to finish packing for our trip tomorrow, but I will be back with a Baltimore post as soon as possible!
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
I used some of my nice, soft, natural paper and then used my awesome pair of decorative scissors to cut the edges. The trees were drawn with my crayola markers. Easy, fast, and adorable (if I do say so myself). Just goes to show that taking a little time to create something handmade goes a long way. I didn't have to spend any money and the end result is a thoughtful, one of a kind, Christmas card.
I also spent a few moments this morning taking some black and white photos of our new ornaments. Andrew's Aunt Lori sent us a box full of really beautiful and interesting ornaments to put on our first tree as husband and wife.
I am in love with our little tree! I am very much looking forward to spending our first Christmas together. We have planned out a delicious little dinner menu for Christmas Eve and decided we also want to make brunch on Christmas morning. Yum! Pictures to follow, promise!
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
These look great mixed and matched for everyday use, but I was also thinking about turning some of them into serving/display platters. I have two light pink goblets (also a Goodwill find, via my Mother-in-Law) that would make the perfect serving platter base.
I could attach the goblet to the plate using super glue, or epoxy. Aaand voilà! I'll have a really special serving platter that cost almost nothing to make! LOVE.
You can find many more examples like this out in blogland. So simple and chic. It would be perfect to display treats at a holiday party, or even just your regular ol' rolls at dinner.
That is all the pretty I have for you today. Check back all week, though! I have many more things I want to show you.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
I also got some more art put up in the second bedroom. The three bird themed pieces were also used at the wedding and now they have a permanent home next to Frida.
As you can see, I have been able to put some of our supplies to good use. I really like how the vases turned out with the branches and feathers. Hopefully Andrew can help me put up shelving in the second bedroom this weekend, so that I can create a few more. I have also been busy recycling the large amounts of lace we brought back with us. Some of the pieces were turned back into curtains and some of them are becoming stitching accents. In other words, I have been using cut out patterns of lace to jazz up some boring old sweaters and shirts. Here is the first one I finished:
This was a simple black shrug that I have had forever. I love the idea of reinventing it with the special detail of lace. I am doing the same thing with a few other shirts/sweaters; I'll post upon completion.Yesterday I also explored a new DIY project. One of my favorite blogs had a post about using wax from old candles and pine cones to create scented "fire-starters." Basically, you melt down wax from old candles and then dip the pine cones. When you are finished you have a delightful way to start a fire at home, complete with aromatherapy benefits. Here are some pictures that capture the process.
First, I melted some old wax and added in some drops from my fav essential oils:
Then I lined up my pine cones for dipping:
After dipping in the melted wax, I have a beautifully frosted and scented pine cone:
Easy and cool. It did get a bit messy, but I remembered to put foil down before, which totally helped.
I think these would make a great gift! Imagine how pretty they would look wrapped in some wax paper and tied with a festive ribbon. Andrew and I are going to try one tonight in our little fire pit. I will let you all know how it goes!
(Follow this link for a more detailed tutorial: