Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Link Love

Everyone needs some gold dipped balloons for their NYE celebration.

What would any party be without delicious garlic shrimp?

Favor Couture
Love the use of clocks in this New Year's Eve tablescape.

Flourishing Foodie
Festive cookies for a festive night.

Monday, December 30, 2013

2014 "it" dessert

Say buh-bye to the cupcake, whoopie pie and macarons of the last few years.  The new 2014 dessert that has hit the scene is....wait for it...THE Eclair.  But not just any old eclair, fancy schmancy fun flavored eclairs.  I like this one!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Happy Holidays!

hip hostess wishes everyone a happy and healthy holiday season.  I hope your days and nights are filled with family, friends and loads of egg nog. We'll catch up soon.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Link Love

Why not mix up your eye makeup for New Years Eve?  Love the glitter.

Painted Room
I can't get enough of this wallpaper in the bookshelf look.

 Greedy Gourmand
Classic chocolate cake

Martie Knows Parties
Peppermint Bark Martini

Monday, December 23, 2013

Holiday Granola

Before Thanksgiving I gave you a tip of serving pumpkin smoothies to your guests in the morning as to not add any additional work for the day.  So, I'm back with a tip for Christmas morning...get ready for it...Granola!  That's right, how about a great homemade holiday granola.  You can make it ahead of time and store it in an airtight container and then in the morning just put out some yogurt, berries and milk (if they want to eat it like cereal).  Plus if you haven't made homemade granola before it is super easy and makes the house smell delicious.  Check out these options:

Pumpkin Spice Granola

Gingerbread chocolate chunk

Banana Bread (it's vegan)

Holiday Recipe Ideas

Food Recipes HQ
Spinach and Ricotta mini pies would go nicely with roasted meat.

Simply Delicious
Caprese tart with roasted tomatoes...yummy for an appetizer or side dish and its pretty.

The Gunny Sack
Everyone loves salad...kick it up with cranberries and bacon.

Effortless Chic
Cranberry Syrup for homemade Cranberry Margaritas

Running to the Kitchen
Persimmon, Proscuitto Pannini...great for opening gifts on Xmas Eve especially with bubbly.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Things I'm Lovin'

I'm lovin' the holiday feel in the air.  I have a few holiday touches throughout the apartment and the snow falling outside makes you want to watch holiday movies with only the twinkle from the tree lights.

I love using berries in holiday decor and in the jar is a combo of gingerbread, peppermint and cinnamon popcorn.  

 These are the delicious Stauffer's chocolaty stars that only come out once a year.  A great reason to use my cloche.

Poinsettia's are a must for that pop of red.
Added a snow globe to the tray on the coffee table and we shake it every chance we get! (there is that succulent in the Ikea glass I wrote about last week.)

Finally, the tree with a couple treasures from the flea markets in Portugal.  The orange wooden box and little house.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Make your own ice cream sandwich

I know ice cream sandwiches make you think of summer.  However, I've been thinking that an ice cream sandwich bar at a holiday party could be quite cute.  Especially if you switch up the ice cream flavors to be holiday-ish.  You could do any number of fun combos for the cookie part.  It's easy, requires no oven time and you can make it fit into any holiday theme depending on what bowls and such you use.  Personally, I love the idea of munching on a cinnamon graham cracker plus pumpkin bourbon ice cream combo which I think would taste unbelievable with champagne.  If you are having trouble coming up with a dessert, this might just be the fun touch you needed.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Caramel Dipped Pears

These caramel dipped pears are so beautiful and I love the handmade leaf.  The Kitchen McCabe has used them as gifts for friends, with is a lovely idea.  I think I would use them as place settings for the holiday table.  They could be made ahead of time and how chic would they look with a rustic table setting filled with wood, mini fir trees and pine cones. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Link Love

The Hopeless Housewife
Who wouldn't want to wake up to apple pie cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning?

Knead For Food
Mushroom and fresh tomato bruschetta

She Knows
Pomegranate studded rosemary cheddar cheese ball...and it's gluten free.

Pineapple and Coconut
Holiday spiced cranberry margaritas


Monday, December 16, 2013

What a holiday cake!

Look at those cute little trees on top of that cake.  I think this is adorable and the perfect holiday dessert.  Freutcake gives a step by step tutorial on the whole cake.  However, I like the fact that if you don't have any time or frankly any cake pans (thinking of small NY apartments) you could buy the cake from a bakery and just add your personal touch.  I love a great "wow" factor with minimal work.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Plants as Gifts

I have a succulent plant in a .77  Ikea glass on my coffee table that happened quite by accident.  We had some pieces from a transplant left over and my husband stuck the extra in the glass just as some place to keep it for a short period of time.  However, when I saw it I wanted to keep it...just like that.

That got me thinking that little plants are a great gift for the holidays.  Instead of baking some bread or cookies, how about a petite houseplant.  Here are a few photos for inspiration.

Elissa Braun

Style Me Pretty

Color Me Pretty


Thursday, December 12, 2013

BLC Sandwich on Olive Bread

Sometimes around the holiday's when everything is a little crazier than usual it's good to pull out the fancy sandwich recipes.  Eating a sandwich for dinner can sometimes feel unsatisfying, but not if it is a BLC on olive bread.  This is a great way to make a fun dinner yet save that extra hour for wrapping, cookie baking or even just relaxing in front of the DVR.

Makes 1 Sandwich

BLC on Olive Bread

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon honey
2 slices (3/4 inch thick) olive bread
1 1/2 ounces sharp cheddar, thinly sliced
1 long piece roasted red peppers (or sundried tomatoes)
2 leaves Romaine lettuce
2 slices thick cut bacon

In a small ramekin, combine butter and honey; set aside.  Lightly toasts bread slices.  Remove one slice from toaster and reserve; on the other, add a layer of cheese.  Toast or broil briefly, until cheese begins to melt.

Spread the honey butter on the reserved slice of bread, then top with red pepper, lettuce and bacon.  Press down to secure the filling while cutting sandwich in half.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Simple White Stockings

I fell in love with these white stockings from Jones Design Company.  They look so chic hanging over the fireplace and I love the idea of changing out the embellishments each year for a different look.  She even says it is cheaper than making your own...wow!  Check it out here


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Link Love

Jennifer Rizzo
These mini trees in milk glass look adorable.  Great decor that could be moved to your dinner table.

How Sweet It Is
Peppermint Patty Cookies

Savory Simple
Pear, Proscuitto and Fig Tartine...great lunch to make for exchanging gifts with the girls.

The Grower's Daughter
Great white and gold decor.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Holiday Cheese Plate

I was totally excited this week when I received a question from a reader about cheese plates!  Not only was I so happy to hear from someone who reads the blog, but she asked me about my one of my favorite subjects cheese.  The question was, "What cheese would you serve for a pre-dinner appetizer to be served with holiday cocktails?"  Now to take this one step further there are going to be many family members from each side who have never met before.  Here is what the hip hostess has to say.

The following cheeses are rated the top 4 in the U.S. according to the 2013 American Cheese Society (How do we get that job?)  So, not only are you providing the best 4 cheeses for a plate: a creamy mild goat cheese, a bloomy-rind sheep's milk cheese, a blue-cheddar hybrid and an American original.  But you are also providing a beautiful tray and conversation piece.  I would type out and print a 5x7 menu that goes with your theme or decor to go beside the cheese that allows everyone to know what they are eating. It always makes tasting new foods that much more fun when you know they are the best of the best.  It will be a little more trouble than picking up cheese at the grocery store, you will more than likely have to order them online.  But it I think the holiday's are worth a little more work to make something extra special.  Plus getting everyone chatting and talking about their favorites is a terrific ice breaker.

For accouterments, I would serve them with grapes, nuts and dried fruit.  As a side note, Savory Spoon also won an award for a Wisconsin cinnamon-spiced panforte cake enriched with honey, spices, dried fruit, citrus and nuts which would make a great addition as well.

Here are the 4 cheeses:

1. Bermuda Triangle
Origin: Arcara, California
Milk: Pasteurized goat's milk
Notes: Hints of peppery flavor and an eclectic triangular shape.  For a treat, drizzle a slice with balsamic vinegar. Also, from the maker's of the ever popular Humboldt Fog

2. Dirt Lover
Origin: Weston, Missouri
Milk: Pasteurized sheep's milk
Notes: Made from the milk of the farm's 100 percent grassfed sheep, the cheese tastes of cream with a citrus finish.

3. Red Rock
Origin: Shullsburg, Wisonsin
Milk: Pasteurized cow's milk
Notes: Natural rind, vibrant-orange cheese that is a cheddar but with slight blue veining which adds muted blue flavors.

4. Bear Hill
Origin: Grafton, Vermont
Milk: Raw sheep's milk
Notes: One of just a few hard cheeses from sheep's milk.  Milky, fruity and nutty.  This one won gold at the 2013 International Cheese Awards.

Thanks for writing to hip hostess and don't forget to let me know how it goes.  Good luck and happy holidays.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Holiday Gift Idea

I downloaded a book before Portugal called Afterwards by Rosamund Lipton.  Now, I've read a lot of books this year and most of them good.  BUT none of them made me want to rearrange my day to catch an hour or two to read.  This book is really a can't put down scenario.

The main reason that I am bringing this up because the holidays bring lots of down time.  Whether it is flying or driving to your destination, cuddling up in front of the fire while snow falls outside or even the old "what are you reading" chat around the dinner table.  Also, if you have a book worm in your family and are in need of a good gift this would be fantastic, either in paperback or a photo attached to a gift card.

It's a good read and while it is a suspense novel it is also includes intrigue, romance, family and great characters.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Christmas Decor Ideas

The very day we got back from Portugal I started breaking out the Christmas decorations.  I love this time of year.  As a matter of fact, as I write this the room is completely dark with only the Christmas tree and a few candles lit.  I'm also loving the Apple TV Holiday Hits station which is playing low in the background.  Here are a few ideas to help your household get into the holiday cheer mindset.

Love the pillows

Sweet Something Designs-Elegant, simple and chic (with tutorial)

Restyled Home-Great statement piece.

Everyone has a chalk board around these days.