December 29, 2010

Gingerbread House

Ozzie and I visited Nanay and Pepa's house when Andy was also visiting to make gingerbread houses earlier this month. Instead of buying a pre-made kit, I decided to make my own ginger bread. I used Martha's Gingerbread Snowflakes recipe and one of her many gingerbread house templates here. I did cheat and buy store bought icing because I didn't have the patience to make her royal icing as recommended. It's delicious but powdered sugar tends to end up all over the kitchen and sometimes I just don't feel like cleaning it up!

It was interesting to say the least. I cut out two houses, one per kid, but Pepa, in his effort to perfect the construction of Andy's house, crumbled it. Must be the engineer in him to want it perfect. So Andy helped Ozzie and I decorate Ozzie's house and gingerbread men. Ozzie contribution was eating one cookie and walking away.

gingerbread house 2010
Our house and men

Andy's gingerbread house
Andy posing in front of the Christmas tree with his house.

O and A gingerbread
Forcing Ozzie to pose in the picture.

I love my parents tree because they still hang up ornaments I made in preschool and kindergarten.

O & A gingerbread 3
My foam snowman. Must be 30 years old now! These days they aren't giving 4 year olds foam to play with- ha!

O & A gingerbread 2
Ozzie still not interested but at least Andy had fun.

Next year it will be pre-made kits for sure!

December 25, 2010

Christmas Morning

This year, we let Ozzie open all of his presents on Christmas Eve because his Nanay, Pepa and cousin Andy came over to celebrate (pictures coming soon). So on Christmas morning, we only have pictures of him playing with his gifts instead of opening them. We did try to convince him to pose in front of the Christmas tree but of course he refused. He is two and a boy so he isn't exactly jumping up for photo opportunities.

christmas morning
Playing with toys he opened on Christmas Eve.

christmas morning 2
Fuzzy picture from my phone (my camera battery was dead) but he looked so cute in his pj's that I still uploaded it. Humor me!

There really is nothing cuter than kids in their Christmas pajamas on Christmas morning!

Merry Christmas

I thought I'd share a few of my favorites around my house this Christmas. If you know me you know how much I love birds and branches or really anything nature inspired. So it is no surprise that birds and birch bark made it into my Christmas decor this year. I just can't help myself.

My Christmas tree full of glitter birdies, snow capped pine cones and flowers.

Birchbark Tablescape
Dining room table with cedar garland, pine cones and birch bark tubes around candles.

One of my favorite curly winged birdies on my tree.

More birch bark tubes, garland and pine cones on the mantel.

mantel 2
Merry Christmas! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas filled with family, friends, love and laughter!

December 22, 2010

From Our Family to Yours

Merry Christmas! Wishing you a safe and happy holiday season. May you have health, love and happiness in the coming year!

With Love Blue Christmas Card
View the entire collection of cards.

December 15, 2010

Brie En Croute

Every year my friend, Trinette, hosts a ladies Christmas party/gift exchange. It is truly one of my favorite events of the year. After a few glasses of wine the gift stealing during the exchange can get pretty wild, which makes for such a fun night!

Most years, my contribution is brie en croute via Ms. Martha. It's another one of those recipes that completes the holiday season for me. Although I use crescent dough instead of puff pastry as her recipe calls for because I think the puff pastry is too delicate for rich, creamy brie.

Brie En Croute
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 3/4 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • All-purpose flour, for dusting
  • 2 standard packages (17 1/4 ounces) frozen puff pastry, thawed (again I substitute crescent dough)
  • 1 wheel (2.2 pounds) Brie
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
In a medium bowl, combine pecans and sugar, using your fingertips to thoroughly mix; set aside. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper; set aside.

Lightly dust work surface with flour. Place two sheets (one box) of puff pastry on the work surface one on top of the other. Using a rolling pin, adhere the two pieces of the puff pastry together. Continue rolling puff pastry until it is very thin, slightly less than 1/8 inch thick. Using a pastry wheel or a sharp knife, cut the puff pastry into a 13-inch round, reserving scraps for decorating.

Place the Brie in the center of the puff pastry. Top the Brie with pecan mixture, spreading to within 1/2 inch of the edge of the cheese. Be sure to remove any sugar or nuts from the puff pastry, as they may cause holes to form during baking. Fold puff pastry up and over Brie to enclose. The center of the Brie will not be completely covered with pastry. Transfer to prepared baking sheet.

Lightly dust work surface with flour. Repeat rolling and cutting process with remaining two sheets of puff pastry. Drape pastry over the Brie, tucking the edges under to enclose.

In a small bowl, combine egg yolk and cream to make an egg wash. Cut reserved scraps of puff pastry into decorative shapes. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the decorative shapes with the egg wash, and adhere to wrapped Brie. Brush the wrapped Brie evenly with the egg wash. Transfer to refrigerator and chill for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight. 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake Brie until golden brown and puffed, about 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake until dark golden brown, 25 to 35 minutes more.


December 14, 2010

Kale Chips

I've seen the recipe for kale chips floating around on the blogosphere for months now and finally decided to give it a try since I always receive kale in my CSA box and never really know what to do with it.

Ozzie and I had a play date with my friend and her daughter, so I served kale chips as our appetizer to lunch. They were good, not great as many people are saying but good. A touch too salty for me but my friend liked them. I will definitely cut the salt in half if I make them again. I did get Ozzie to try one but he never asked for more. Go figure?

Although there are a ton of recipes out there, I went with Smitten Kitchen. She has never let me down in the past. Click HERE for her recipe. I also like her idea of sprinkling the crumbled chips over popcorn.

photo courtesy of Smitten Kitchen

December 11, 2010

December 8, 2010

Adventures at the Christmas Tree Farm

Ozzie loved our helper Anthony

We couldn't keep up with him

Hope you had as much fun picking out your tree as we did!

December 2, 2010


Call me the worst mom ever but I forgot to post pictures of Ozzie's first day of preschool. Better late than never!

Oscar and I decided to enroll Ozzie in a cooperative preschool so that I can be involved in the class. Yes I have some control issues. Ozzie is a summer baby, so he will always be the youngest in his class. We figured starting him out one day a week at two will help. So far we love it!

First day of preschool- he was a little excited!

Finger painting on the second day of school. I was in another room doing my assigned duty (we have assigned jobs in coop school) and came back to find Ozzie like this. I think he got more paint on himself than on his art project. I should take a picture of it and post it here- it's pretty funny. 

December 1, 2010

Working From Home

We love it when Oscar gets to work from home. Ozzie wants to be just like Daddy.

A very important phone call

Love the headset!

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

I tried a new cinnamon roll recipe last weekend. They were ooey, gooey and delicious- just like a cinnamon roll should be. 

Click HERE for the recipe from my Mom's group recipe blog. Yet another reason I love this group!

I did make one adjustment to reduce my guilt level, I substituted half of the flour with whole wheat pastry flour. They still turned out great and were not dry from the whole wheat flour.

This may be a new Christmas morning tradition.