Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Happy Holidays 2014

Happy Holidays 2014

Another season and yet another decorated hutch!  As always my hutch (aka Madelyn's Hutch) is the first thing in my house I tackle when the seasons change.  If I get that right the rest of the decorating usually goes well.

 Second is my sun room.  It's always a challenge to transform this beachy room into a winter wonderland.

This is the first year I started working on Christmas projects early.  It's a good thing I did because since mid-November I haven't had a chance to do very much!  This is a small ornament quilt.

These two elves are the first dolls I made when I was in the first or second grade.  A few years ago I tried to recreate a more sophisticated pair and guess what...  I couldn't!  I had to scrap the project. Some things are better left alone!

 I love making mice.  Here is my 2014 mouse.

 I worked on this red work pillow (pattern from Yankee Cloth in Wallingford) while on the plane to and from Alaska this past August.  Even if I don't stuff it I'm so happy it's done!  At this point it will store better for next year minus the stuffing.

 This is my favorite finished project so far this season.  I LOVE this Santa pillow!!

This is my tied flannel quilt.  The top pattern and red backing are from Amish Country and the border and binding is from the Quilted Crow in MA.

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If you have left-over turkey from Christmas and want to taste the best turkey sandwich listen to these ingredients.  Start with 2 slices of thick toasted white bread.  Spread with a thin layer of real mayo and pile on slices of turkey.  Add cranberry/orange relish, arugula, tomatoes, avocado and persimmon!  Yes, persimmon is so delicious-give it a try! 

Our circle of friends always make this delicious Swedish almond cake every year for Christmas.  Jennifer made it for our quilt/craft Christmas party last week.  

Here's the recipe and it's a keeper.  I make this recipe at least a few times a year.  It's so unbelievably good and super easy.  The best part is it's really foolproof.  It always seems to come out just perfect.  The only tricky thing in this recipe is you have to remember to put the toasted almonds in the pan first before you put the batter in.  The only reason I remembered this year is because Jennifer forgot!!  Thank you Jen!!  She did remember to put them on the bottom though!!  You also have to buy the pan but it's so worth it.  Look below for website:

This very popular cake, most often prepared in a special almond cake pan, can be found at www.scandinavianshoppe.com. Toasting the almonds adds a buttery richness to the standard recipe.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
·         1/8 cup sliced almonds
·         1/2 cup margarine or butter, softened to room temperature
·         1 1/4 cup sugar
·         1 egg
·         1 1/2 tsp. almond extract
·         2/3 cup milk
·         1 1/4 cup flour
·         1/2 tsp. baking powder
·         powdered sugar for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 350ยบ. When oven has come to heat, place almonds in shallow pan and roast in oven for 8 to 10 minutes, just until lightly browned.
Cream together margarine and sugar. Stir in egg, almond extract, and milk. Sift together flour and baking powder; stir into batter until well-blended and no lumps remain.
Lightly coat an almond cake pan or loaf pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle toasted almonds in bottom of pan, and then pour batter on top.
Bake in oven until golden-brown, about 40 minutes. Cool thoroughly in pan to prevent cake from breaking when removed; sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired, before serving. Cake freezes beautifully.
Yield: 18 slices Scandinavian Almond Cake.
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Last year we couldn't put our Christmas tree in the family room because it was under renovation.  The only place left to put it was in the archway to the sun room.  It looks so festive there I can't picture it anywhere else now.


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 I hope you enjoyed this little Christmas visit to my world.  Thank you for visiting.  I hope you have a wonderful holiday can relax and mellow out over the break like Prince Flip!!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  See you in January!!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Moonstruck in November (and Happy Thanksgiving!)

 Moonstruck in November!

25 years ago my husband and I spent the month of November in Italy on our honeymoon.  We spent a good amount of time in Venice, Florence, Rome and Milan.  We took our children back in April to Venice and Florence for our 20th anniversary.  This November we couldn't make that trip happen. The major reason being November isn't the best time of year to vacation in Europe because the weather is often rainy, cold and damp.  So we decided to spend a long weekend in our favorite city - New York.

Friday we had a beautiful lunch at Maialino, one of acclaimed Chef Danny Meyer's award winning restaurants.  It's located in the Gramercy Park Hotel.


That evening we took a black car to the Met to see the opera La Boheme.  I loved the movie Moonstruck and I've always wanted to feel like Cher did the night she got all dressed up to go to the opera.  Well, I did!  It was such a memorable evening I don't know if anything could ever top it!

Lincoln Center is grand and elegant. 


The story of La Boheme is beautiful and tragic.  There are screens on the back of the seats which translate the opera in English.  It makes it so much more enjoyable.

Intermission was a fabulous tall glass of cold champagne.

Midnight dinner after the opera was at Telepan Restaurant which is a few blocks away from Lincoln Center.  Chef Bill Telepan is also an award wining chef and the food was amazing.  This was the first course.

Next morning after shopping and lunch at our favorite little restaurant in Chelsea, Chris suggested we go to MarieBelle Chocolates in SoHo on Broome Street.  This little chocolate bistro is as close to Paris as you can get in New York City.

The cocoa was so delicious and sooo hot.  On a cold afternnon with a beautiful dessert is was just perfect!!

 That evening we had drinks at the Brandy Library in Tribeca.  

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After that a late dinner at our favorite Indian restaurant in Tribeca called Tamarind.

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Sunday morning we met our children at the train station and did a little shopping.  We had lunch at another favorite restaurant and then headed to the Off Broadway show called Avenue Q.  It was wonderful.  I can't wait to see what else is playing Off-Broadway.

After dinner at one of our favorite restaurants in Little Italy Il Palazzo we had pastry at Ferrara's and then headed home exhausted.   Normally after a weekend like that I would feel down because I never want to come home when I'm having a really good time away but...
we were hit smack in the face with Thanksgiving right around the corner.

I was going to post one of my Thanksgiving recipes but then I realized that everyone has their own recipes so maybe it would be more interesting to post some recipes for the left-overs.  Martha Stewart's November magazine was really good.  Now I'm looking forward to turkey sandwiches after reading these two recipes. 

I'm sorry this is a little cut off but it's the ingredients she uses in her sandwich I wanted to share with you.  I'm making hard boiled eggs because I'm eating that sandwich this weekend!

Finally, my daughter Kristen's art work appears in all different forms in her college newspaper.  The other day when I picked up the paper I said OK a mom knows her kids and I sure know Kristen created this cartoon!  I guess it says it all!!
Thank you for visiting my blog and taking another wonderful adventure with me.  I hope I've given you some ideas of different things to do in New York City.  We always wanted to see an opera but went to see Broadway plays instead.  I always wanted to see an Off-Broadway play but never did.  Now we have more options as if we need them in such an amazing city.  But it feels good to try something different and have the outcome be just perfect!

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!  I have some fabulous posts for Christmas so please stay tuned!