December 2011

Sometimes the Christmas season makes people do unusual things.

Today I saw a lady take a taxi…… to a Michael’s.

This struck me as humorously odd because (a) Jackson isn’t the most, uh, metropolitan of areas, and (b) its a craft store.

As I was walking from my car, I saw the cab wheel up right.infront of the door and let out a hastily demeanored woman with a slick long ponytail and all-black garb.

Approaching closer, she appeared to be giving the cab driver strict instructions, and the repetitive pointing of fingers made me assume she was telling him to stay put while she went inside.

Done and done: my interest was piqued.  I had to see what this intensity was all about.

I shopped around, waiting for some sort of unusuality to unfold.  Instead the only excitement I came across was an adorable school-uniformed child unraveling 1000-feet of gold lamé ribbon behind the turned back of her mother.

I gathered my miscellanies and got in line to checkout, when who else but cab lady came furiously sashaying up behind me.  I couldn’t help myself… I had to nonchalantly turn around to see what she was buying that merited being chauffeured to the most un-cabbyish place on earth.

There it was, in her “Cajun Shrimp” manicured fingers: a minuscule 0.75 ounce vial of silver glitter.  SERIOUSLY?! GLITTER?? And in the smallest container known to man? #disappointed

Her impatient huffs and high-heeled taps prompted me to turn around and, with a sweet smile, offer her a place ahead of me in line.  With a responsive nod, she scooted ahead, threw down a few dolla dolla bills and whisked her unbagged vial out the door.

I saw her taxi dart away just as I exited the store.  So glad that glitter was in stock.  The next step would have been a helicopter.  Crafting is serious business.

If you aren’t busy chartering cabs tonight, why not make some truffles?  I made these for one of the first Christmas parties of the season and plan to make another batch for Christmas Eve festivities… After a big meal, sometimes all you want is just.a.taste of something rich and sweet and these seriously tasted just like the holidays in a bite.

You only need a few ingredients, and if your pantry is empty and your car is out of gas…….. well, now you know what to do.

Gingerbread Truffles

- 1 box Gingersnap cookies (about 50 cookies)
– 1 8-ounce brick cream cheese, softened
– 1 teaspoon ground ginger
– 1 teaspoon cinnamon
– 16 ounces white melting chocolate

Grind the Gingersnap cookies into crumbs using a food processor. Reserve 1/4 cup cookie crumbs for decoration.  Stir the ginger and cinnamon into the remaining cookie crumbs. Using an electric mixer, combine the cookie crumb mixture with the cream cheese, beating until a thick dough forms. Refrigerate for an hour, then shape into 24 uniform-sized truffles.  Return truffles to the refrigerator until ready to coat in chocolate.

Melt white chocolate according to package instructions.  Dip each truffle individually, using a fork or skewer, letting the excess chocolate drip off.  Place on a wire rack or parchment paper to dry completely.

To decorate, place remaining melted chocolate into a piping bag or ziploc bag with the corner cut.  Drizzle chocolate over the truffle and sprinkle with reserved cookie crumbs.  Once completely dry, place truffles in the fridge until ready to serve.

{makes 24 truffles}

Today I started my Christmas shopping.  Not the gift-getting, per say, but the actual shopping.  The a million-people, no parking spaces, empty shelves kind of shopping.

And what a day it was indeed…

After waiting in line 36 minutes to buy a $3 powdered sugar sifter, I walked to the parking lot, searching like an aimless lunatic for my car, forgetting I was in my sister’s car, and getting completely drenched by the stormy grays above.  After shoveling my stuff hurriedly in the back and fiddling with unfamiliar keys, I finally turned the lock hoping to hear the soft purr of an engine ready to get me the heck out of dodge.  What I heard instead was Eartha Kitt, blaring “Santa Baby” in a way that made me feel like I was in a Lifetime Christmas movie.  A bad, bad Christmas movie.

Soaking wet and lambasting crowds, I drove away plaintively intending to retreat to a hot cup of coffee and… Driving down the road, I let my mind wander; wander to gifts I can’t wait to give, people I can’t wait to see, and, obvi, treats I can’t wait to bake.  The next thing I know I am singing along with my girl Eartha, begging Santa to slip a sable under the tree.  I’m such a pushover.

Here are: My favorite gift picks for her this Christmas season
Enjoy Perusing With: Pandora Christmas and a ceramic boot of eggnog

1. Original Wellies by Hunter; $125

2. Suede Invitation Clutch by J.Crew; $118

3. Layton Large Chronograph Watch by Michael Kors; $250

4. Acrylic Monogram Necklace by Poppy’s Closet; $58

5. Tortoise Sunglasses by Marc Jacobs; $98

6. Tweed Throw by Nordstrom; $58

7. Classic Trifold Wallet by Marc Jacobs; $198

8. Large Logo Studs by Tory Burch; $68

9. Lulu Frost Bangles by J.Crew; $68

10. Monogram iPhone Cover by daninotes; $55

11. Leopard Fringe Scarf by Michael Kors; $50

Welcome to my breakfast routine.  Fast, predictable, and the same thing

I started the granola bar thing in junior high prompted by my perpetual lateness to school and 12 (seriously twelve?!) years later it is still going strong.

Oh…and coffee.  There must be coffee.

I needed a change, an upgrade, if you will.  Enter these beauties.  Breakfast just got a whole lot more interesting.

To better your own breakfast, start by browning some butter.  Begin this process by melting butter as you normally would, on the stove over medium heat.  Once the butter is melted, take it to the next deliciously “browned” phase by allowing it to continue cooking while not stirring, but rather swirling the pan without a utensil.  {the butter will foam and hiss a bit during this stage!}  Stay with the butter at the stove because browned butter can go to burnt butter very quickly.

This process will take just a few minutes; you’ll know the butter is “done” when you start to smell a nutty aroma and see brown deposits in the bottom of your pan.  The browned bits are actually the solids in the butter, and cooking them this way enhances the flavor so much.

{here is a great tutorial for more tips on browning butter}

Let the butter cool while you prepare the fruit.  Using a sharp knife, carefully cut the fruit from the outer rind then cut between the individual segments.

Combine the butter with some cinnamon and brown sugar, making a thick “paste” of sweetness.

Place the fruit in a foil-lined baking dish, cutting a slice off the bottom of the grapefruit if it you’re having trouble getting it to stay upright.

Divide the sugary cinnamony loveliness between the fruit and place under the broiler for 2 to 3 minutes until the sugar has caramelized and resembles the topping on crème brûlée… DO NOT walk away from the oven during this part, I beg of you… charred grapefruit really doesn’t carry the same allure.

Try this out and see how you like it!  I actually preferred the grapefruit without the crisp sugary coating {which I totally ate on its own after eating the fruit}… I found that the warm juicy sweetness that drenches the fruit under the melting sugar was a perfect match for my taste buds.  Anyway you, eh, slice it- this is addicting.

Good morning to YOU!

Brown Butter Broiled Grapefruit

- 1 large Ruby Red grapefruit, chilled
– 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
– 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
– ½ teaspoon cinnamon

In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.  Once melted, allow the butter to continue cooking for a few minutes, swirling the pan periodically.  The butter will foam and hiss, indicating that the browning process is occurring.  Once you see the solids beginning to brown, pay close attention to avoid overcooking.  Continue swirling the pan until the butter has a fragrant and nutty aroma and the browned bits cover the bottom of the pan.  Set aside to cool.

To prepare the fruit, slice the grapefruit in half and use a sharp paring knife to separate the fruit from the outer rind and also separate the individual segments.  Place the grapefruit halves in a foil lined baking dish.

In a small bowl, combine the browned butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon.  Mound this mixture on each grapefruit half and place under a pre-heated broiler for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the sugar is bubbly.  Remove from heat and allow to cool a few minutes before enjoying!

{serves 2}

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