pilgrims

{Thanksgiving circa 1993}

The Thanksgiving holiday this year was exactly what I needed: familiar and cathartic.  We celebrated last weekend with Don’s family then enjoyed the official “turkey day” and long weekend with the extended McCormick clan, making the holiday happiness flow all week long and keeping my appetite for quintessential southern comfort food perpetually satiated.  I came back to school with a happy heart and refreshed perspective, all signs of a good break indeed.

Over the past few weeks, I made it my pointed November mission to enter a season of thankfulness all month long.  In the hecticness of everyday life, it is so easy to overlook all the little joys and blessings intertwined with simply living and I find my outlook is much more positive when I step back from my “to-do” list and quite literally count my blessings, both big and small.

Throughout the weekend I found myself much more perceptive of the little things: the perfection of my grandmother’s chicken and dumplings, the chilly air and crunchy red leaves, the hearty laughter of cousins.  I was thankful for long hugs and happy stories, particularly of 3 little girls clad in pilgrim attire sewn by our mother, watching the Macy’s parade and eager to show off the homemade candy-adorned gingerbread turkey we so excitedly helped mom create to fellow lunch goers.

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday that was exactly what you needed.  Here’s to Christmas music and the invasion of fruit cake… and keeping a thankful heart all year round. -xx-

lake weekend5

Since Independence Day also doubles as my dad’s birthday, my family always makes an effort to celebrate extra sufficiently.  Don and I lionized the actual 4th in (moderately) traditional fashion with fireworks over the water and a sushi picnic, then joined my family for a weekend of eating/relaxing/water sports cajoling at our lake house.

Weekend highlights include an afternoon paddle with my dad, Mason’s infamous “bug bomb”, and the seemingly never-ending pan of garlic cheese grits that graced the fridge.  In acknowledgement of my inability to ever make it through an entire movie, I am happy to report I stayed wide-eyed through not one, but two, drippingly feminine flicks, keeping true to my styrofoam penned contract above and scarring every male in attendance with a midnight viewing of Kirstie Alley’s “Drop Dead Gorgeous”.

I hope everyone had a fun holiday relishing the simplicities of summer and finding time to lounge around enjoying what and who you love!  Now let’s go scoff some coffee and bars….. #gladysleeman

IMG_3180

{making chocolate-covered strawberries for my cute Valentine}

This week was lovely for many reasons.  A surprise visit from the baby McCormick sis, celebrating my grandparents 60th wedding anniversary, and an improptu camping trip with my favorite guy all made me feel full and happy.  Another culinary highlight of the week was experiencing my first authentic oyster bake, complete with 200-pounds of seafood goodness cooked to perfection under steamy burlap sacks. Although impending anaphylaxis prevented me from sampling any of the little gems, the way the other party-goers raved let me know they were fabulous.  Here’s to a wonderful (halfway-over, oops!) week!

IMG_3211

{coming home to a box of perfect homemade petit fours on my counter}

IMG_3428

{aquisition of my first set of dental tools at school}

oysters1

{enjoying my first authentic South Carolina-style oyster bake}IMG_4855

{Happy Valentine’s Day! Love, Alice and Tobias}

Hi there.

My name is Alice.  I used to write this blog.  I’m sure you had forgotten.  Apparently I had forgotten, too.

Life lately has been a whirlwind of changes, some hectic, most exciting, and I’ve found myself with little time to write and bake bearing any semblance of interesting.  Hopefully things during these months sliding into summer will slow down a bit, helping me get back into somewhat of a routine, blogging included.

In other news, I recently celebrated another birthday and realized {only two months late} that this blog had celebrated its first year as well, a momentous occasion promptly toasted with a cold turkey sandwich on stale-ish white-wheat.  Clearly when hosting myself, I go all out.

With all this birthday talk, I decided to celebrate in a more appropriate fashion, sharing some of my favorite gift ideas for the special people in your lives, specifically today: the baker!

To me, one of the sweetest and most personal gestures is a gift- no matter the size- that shows it was truly picked out with you in mind.  Here are my picks for the butter and sugar addicted:

1. Giant Pastry Tips by Wilton; $2

2. 5-Quart Stand Mixer by KitchenAid; $295

3. Monogrammed Recipe Cards by PaperSassy and Boatman Geller; $50

4. Decorative Baking Cups by Shop Sweet Lulu; $12

5. Digital Candy Thermometer by Maverick; $30

6. Dessert Cheese Ball Mix by Ala Carte Alice; $7

7. Silicone Baking Mats by Silpat; $20

8. Tapestry Dishtowels by Anthropologie; $24

9. “Art of the Cookie” by Shelly Kaldunski; $20

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 amazon.com… 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

I’ve never been particularly good at keeping gifts a surprise.

It’s not that I intend to be this way, it just sort of, uh, happens.

I mean, I guess there were signs: rewind to 4-year-old Alice, begging my mom to tell me the contents of all the gifts under the tree. Knowing just.exactly what I was going to do, she would whisper secretively in my ear “It’s a purse, but don’t tell.” You can obviously tell where this is going- before she could even turn around, my curly-headed self would belt to the top of my lungs: “EMILY, YOU’RE GETTING A PURSE!”  She got a “purse” for 7 years straight.

Rewind to more recent times, like say, last year, when someone left the receipt for Bryan’s gifts at his house. Let me tell you, I did a great job explaining why I needed an 85″ projector screen. Guess not much has changed.

I am happy to report that this year no secrets have been leaked…. yet.  Keep your fingers crossed for me.

To propel your inability to keep surprises, over the next few weeks I am going to be featuring a bevy of gift ideas for your perusing.  Because we all know boys/guys/men are the easiest to shop for, they’re up first… I had so much fun preparing this list, for when shopping for a gender that views gifts of cashmere and cheeseburgers with analogous excitement, the possibilities are endless.

Here are some ideas the sisters and I have had success with in the past and a few that our fellas will be surprised with this season:

1. Leather iPhone case by J.Crew; $38

2. Polarized Wayfarer by RayBan; $165

3. Howland Penny Loafer by Cole Haan; $148

4. Event Tickets by Ticketmaster; prices will vary

5. Watch by Luminox; $235

6. Home Theater Projector by Sony; $950

7. Vintage Handstamped Cufflinks by Cuffart; $95

8. Better Sweater Vest by Patagonia; $89

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 73 other followers