Wednesday, December 31, 2008

...New Years Eve.

I think that New Years Eve is a holiday that changes with our ages. When I was in my teens and early 20's it was all about the cutest boy, the best outfit, which party to go to, and who were you going to strategically stand next to at midnight in hopes that he turned around
to you for that all important kiss!
In my late 20's and early 30's I found myself traveling with a friend and had set out to explore the world overseas. I am lucky enough to have gathered great memories of this all important evening. When in Australia, I finished a private catering job in just enough time to race to the Sydney Opera House steps while the clock was striking twelve. Caught up in the celebration, some cute Aussie boy (who I didn't know) whirled around, swept me in his arms and gave me a New Years kiss that I remember to this day. I have eaten twelve grapes as the clock struck midnight in Spain, (the grapes signify twelve happy months in the coming year),
and have been fortunate enough to pop open a bottle of champagne on the
sparkling Champs Elysees in Paris.

I remember one Dec. 31st when I was alone and took myself to the movies. At the stroke of 12, the theatre lights went up, the movie stopped, everyone turned and wished each other a "Happy New Year", than sat back down and the movie continued!
For some reason, the feeling of that night has always stayed with me.

Now, in my late forties, it has become an evening spent either celebrating with good friends, or at home in reflection of the coming year. Most of us stopped giving in to the pressure of making the dinner reservation at the newest and best place of the year, don't want to be out on the road with all the "crazy's" and sometimes even need that extra cup of coffee
to make it to midnight!!

What ever you find yourself doing tonight and where ever you may be doing it, celebrate with gusto, be safe, and close the last chapter of this year with an
unforgettable memory of your own.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

... a Merry Christmas

I think I have always loved Christmas Eve most of all.
The evening would begin with "Cocktails and Hor devours", non-alcoholic of course, for me and my brother. Growing up in the 60's we were the byproduct of every entertaining Kraft recipe that Mom could recreate. I loved the special spread made of Spam, complete with the pimento Christmas bow and mini rye bread to spread it on. I wouldn't even glance twice at that royal blue tin now, but when you were 6 or 7, sharing that with the grown-ups while drinking punch made of Seven-up and rainbow sherbet, frothing in a silver lined crystal punch bowl, believe me, you felt pretty special. I have that punch bowl today and it seems so much smaller than when I was 7, but it still holds precious memories.

What ever new memories or old traditions you and your family or friends are creating tonight and tomorrow, may they hold a special place in your heart.
I want to thank everyone that has stopped by since I started this endeavor a few months ago. Your kind comments and support has meant the world to me and inspired me to continue to do something creative each and every day.
I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas.
Warmly, Pat and Lexie.

Friday, December 12, 2008 Christmas Chandelier.

There is a series of Christmas cards I found a few years back by a company in the UK called
Two Bad Mice I have had them tucked away as "too special to give away", and take them out each year with my Christmas things. Enclosed with some of the cards are touching little short stories by Alan Le Grock. I can't seem to find anything out about him, or the stories, but here is one of my favorites. Ever since I came across this I think of Missy and Mouse as I decorate my Christmas Chandelier.
Double click on the story below to be as enchanted as I was!

Monday, December 8, 2008

...images of Christmas

I sit here covered in glitter, snow, tinsel, and Christmas cheer! It's always such a decorating frenzy to get everything up and sparkling for the holiday season, but the sooner I get it all up the more time there is to enjoy it. There is something so magical about opening the door at the end of the day and walking into such a wonderland.
Thought I would invite you in for a peak!
Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

...Chocolate Pecan Pie.

Don't know what came over me, but last night after I got home from work, (yes I do have a real daytime grown-up job) and in between the Christmas decorating, photo taking, and blogging, I decided to bake a pie! This one happens to be one of my all time favorites. I have to say though, I felt a bit silly eleven o'clock at night whipping out my camera and snapping photos. I truly believe that photographing food is definitely an art and I have so much respect for the photographers of all my favorite foodie magazines! Trust me though, I guarantee this tastes much better than it looks.

Bon Appetit!


For the pastry dough:

1 1/4 cups soft winter-wheat flour, such as
White Lily brand, or cake flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 cup cold solid vegetable shortening

4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut
into small cubes

3 to 6 Tbs. ice water

For the filling:

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup light corn syrup

1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

3 eggs, lightly beaten

2 Tbs.Brandy (optional)

1 Tbs. grated orange zest

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 tsp. salt

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

1/4 cup good quality chocolate chips


To make the pastry, in a bowl, stir together the flour and salt. Add the shortening and cut in with a pastry blender, 2 knives or your fingers until the mixture resembles cornmeal. Add the butter and cut in until it forms tiny pea-size balls. Add the ice water a little at a time, stirring and tossing with the pastry blender or a fork until the mixture holds together. Gather the dough into a ball and flatten into a disk. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into an 11-inch round about 1/8 inch thick. Fold the round into quarters and place in a

9 1/2-inch nonstick or traditional tart pan with a removable bottom. Unfold, then press gently into the bottom and sides of the pan. Trim the overhang even with the pan rim. Refrigerate until ready to fill.

Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 325°F.

To make the filling, in a bowl, stir together the sugar, corn syrup, melted butter, eggs, bourbon, orange zest, vanilla, salt,chocolate chips, and chopped pecans. Pour into the chilled pastry shell and place the pan on a baking sheet.

Bake until the center is slightly soft to the touch, the edges are set and the crust is golden brown, 45 to 55 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 30 minutes, then remove the pan sides and slide the tart off the pan bottom onto a serving plate. Serve warm or at room temperature. Top with whipped cream. Serves 8.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

...deck the halls.

Here we go! The beginning of the decorating frenzy! I started taking the boxes up from the garage last night and what a treat it is as I open each one. Even thought it's been only a year since I gingerly packed everything up, I sometime truly forget all the Christmas treasures that I have. This is part of my Shiny Brite collection. It started with 6 ornaments from my childhood and after a few days on eBay, and I won't divulge how many Pay Pal transactions later, I now have...well...let's say enough to bring back a deluge of childhood memories. After all, no matter how old we become, Christmas really does bring out the child in us all.


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