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A Little Bit About a Lot of Things

A lifestyle blog with a focus on my food adventures

Tag Archives: holiday


Happy Valentine’s Day! Hope it was filled with  lots of delicious treats! Stay tuned for a review of these chocolates from Beacon Hill Chocolates! Where do you love to buy your chocolates from?

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IMG_1935This year we decided to spend $15 per person (instead of the regular $5 per person general admission price) to shop an hour earlier than the public. Totally worth it, as it can get crowded! This year’s event (it’s the holiday market’s 10th year!) was held at the Benjamin Franklin Institute at 41 Berkeley Street. I only picked up a few things this year, but they are great finds!

IMG_1948Check out these AMAZING ornaments from Boo Kee Sue. They are wire framed animals that are covered in decorative tissue paper. She hand makes every ornament with whatever tissue paper she has in stock, so each one is unique! The cow was $35 – how cute is this?

IMG_1946Check out her Etsy site here. The fox was $25. I love the detail on the tail.

IMG_1944And check out some of her images on her Flickr page here. The elephant was $40.

IMG_1943This will be a great addition to my elephant collection – I love this guy – isn’t he adorable!

IMG_1937These would make great gifts – and I had every intention of giving them away, but they are too cute and I kept them all for myself!

IMG_1936Other animals I had my eye on were the flamingo and the swan.

IMG_1942Another favorite that I had from last year’s market is Abby Berkson Ceramics. I bought two great mugs last year and decided to add this cute whale bowl to my collection. I LOVE her designs! Check out her website here. She also does personalized items that would be great for baby gifts!

Feeling a little low on energy? Did you shop until you dropped? No problem, Union Square Donuts to the rescue! (and you KNOW how much I love them!)

Yelp was at the event doing FREE gift wrapping, which I’m sure was much appreciated by everyone shopping! Take a look here for the vendors at the event this year.

Sowa Holiday Market

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Merry Christmas!

Courtesy of the Faneuil Hall Tree #blink


IMG_2106Holiday card 2013 complete! Thanks Paper Source for the inspiration! Wishing you all a happy holiday season and a happy, healthy new year!

Fox stamp, Santa hat stickers, Frost Ink, Embossing powder, Embossing tool, 4 Bar note card


IMG_1252Happy Thanksgiving! Hope you enjoy these Reese’s pieces turkeys!


Going somewhere tomorrow and at a loss at what to bring? My company just had it’s fist annual Thanksgiving potluck dinner and man do we have some talented people! Here are some of the things that they brought, and I can say with certainty that every single one of these dishes was delicious!

IMG_1268Jill made Pumpkin Doughnuts with Sour Cream Icing

Pumpkin doughnuts:

1/2  cup  canola oil, plus more for the pans
1 3/4  cups  all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
1  teaspoon  baking powder
1 1/2  teaspoons  pumpkin pie spice
3/4  teaspoon  fine salt
1/4  teaspoon  baking soda
1  cup  pure pumpkin puree
3/4  cup  granulated sugar
1/4  cup  packed light brown sugar
1  large egg
1  teaspoon  pure vanilla extract

Sour cream icing:

3/4  cup  confectioners’ sugar
2  tablespoons  sour cream
1/4  teaspoon  fresh lemon juice
orange sprinkles (optional)


1. Heat oven to 350° F. Lightly oil two 6-compartment doughnut pans* (or use 1 pan and bake in batches). Whisk together the flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl; set aside.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, egg, and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined (do not overmix).
3. Spoon ¼ cup batter into each compartment of the prepared pans. Bake until the doughnuts are golden brown and spring back lightly when touched, 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool in the pans for 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
4. Meanwhile, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, sour cream, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Drizzle over the doughnuts. Scatter on the sprinkles, if desired. Let set before serving.

IMG_1275This corn pudding was super tasty!


1 cup chopped leeks (white & light green part only)
4 cups corn kernels
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
4 large eggs
2 cups half & half
8 oz shredded jack cheese, or jack cheddar blend


Preheat over to 350 degrees. Butter a shallow 2 quart ovenproof dish. Heat some oil in heavy skillet and saute leeks until softened, about 2 minutes.  Then add corn and cook about 3 minutes more. Remove from head and add in salt, nutmeg, and cayenne. Set aside in a large bowl whisk eggs and half & half to blend, stir in corn mixture and cheese and transfer to baking dish. Bake until a knife inserted into middle comes out clean, and top is slightly browned, about 35-45 minutes.  let cool 5 minutes. Serve warm (can be prepared a day ahead of time, just cool, cover, and refrigerate.  Reheat in a 350 degree over for 25 minutes or longer.)


Melinda made a Broccoli Casserole


1 package frozen petite broccoli florets (or regular florets chopped), cooked according to package instructions
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 small can cream of mushroom soup
½ cup mayo
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp pepper and salt
½ cup grated cheddar cheese (plus addtl for topping)
1 bag stuffing mix (I like using chicken-flavored Pepperidge Farm, but others work just fine)
1 stick butter


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cook the frozen broccoli according to package instructions, typically microwaved for 3-5 minutes. Combine the mayo, mushroom soup, red onion, beaten eggs, broccoli and cheddar cheese. Add salt and pepper. Stir to combine and pour into a casserole dish (8×8 or similar). Sprinkle additional cheese on top to lightly cover. Melt the stick of butter and pour over the stuffing mix in a separate bowl. Depending on the size of your casserole dish, you’ll likely not need to use the whole bag (10-12 oz) of stuffing to cover the top in a thin layer. I typically use ¾ of the bag, so start with less and as you mix in the butter you’ll have to eyeball how much more you’ll want to add. Spread the stuffing mix over the top. Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes until the top is golden brown. Enjoy!

IMG_1290 - Version 2This stuffing was delicious!


3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter plus more for baking dish
1 pound good-quality day-old white bread, torn into 1-inch pieces (about 10 cups)
2 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
1 1/2 cups 1/4-inch slices celery
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided
2 large eggs


Preheat oven to 250°. Butter a 13x9x2-inch baking dish and set aside. Scatter bread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake, stirring occasionally, until dried out, about 1 hour. Let cool; transfer to a very large bowl.

Meanwhile, melt 3/4 cup butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add onions and celery. Stir often until just beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Add to bowl with bread; stir in herbs, salt, and pepper. Drizzle in 1 1/4 cups broth and toss gently. Let cool.

Preheat oven to 350°. Whisk 1 1/4 cups broth and eggs in a small bowl. Add to bread mixture; fold gently until thoroughly combined. Transfer to prepared dish, cover with foil, and bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of dressing registers 160°, about 40 minutes.

DO AHEAD: Dressing can be made 1 day ahead. Uncover; let cool. Cover; chill.

Bake dressing, uncovered, until set and top is browned and crisp, 40-45 minutes longer (if chilled, add 10-15 minutes).

IMG_1291Sarah made Soul Sweet Taters


4 whole Medium Sweet Potatoes
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Milk
2 whole Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 teaspoon Salt
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 cup Pecans
1/2 cup Flour
3/4 sticks Butter

Preparation Instructions:

Wash 4 medium sweet potatoes and bake them in a 375-degree oven until fork tender, about 30-35 minutes. When they are finished cooking slice them open and scrape out the flesh into a large bowl. Add 1 cup of (regular granulated) sugar, 1 cup of milk, 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon of salt. With a potato masher, mash them up just enough—you don’t want to be perfectly smooth. Now, in a separate bowl, add 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup pecans, chopped (that means measure a cup of pecans, then chop them), ½ cup flour, and ¾ stick of butter. With a pastry cutter or fork, mash together until thoroughly combined.

Spread the sweet potato mixture into a regular baking dish and sprinkle the crumb mixture all over the top.

Bake in a 400-degree oven for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

IMG_1271Check out this Pumpkin Dream Cake with Cinnamon Maple Cream Cheese Frosting


3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup milk
12 oz (1 1/2 packages) cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cinnamon
6 cups powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 300°F. Grease 3, 8-inch round cake pans. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl/stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla, pumpkin and vegetable oil. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the milk.

Divide batter evenly into prepared pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove pans from oven and immediately place in freezer for 45 minutes. (This keeps the cake moist by immediately stopping the baking so the cake does not continue to bake when you remove it form the oven.)

For the frosting: In a large bowl, cream butter and cream cheese until smooth. Beat in maple syrup, vanilla and cinnamon. Add confectioners’ sugar and beat on low speed until combined, then on high until frosting is smooth.

Assemble the 3 layers with a thick layer of frosting in between each layer. Then apply a thin crumb coat on the top and sides. Pop back in the freezer to harden the crumb coat for about 10 minutes.

Apply one final thick and even layer around the outside of the cake. Store in the fridge until ready to serve.

IMG_1272Mike made cranberry nut bread


2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
2 tablespoons shortening
1 egg, well beaten
1 1/2 cups Ocean Spray® Fresh or Frozen Cranberries, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chopped nuts


Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.

Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a medium mixing bowl. Stir in orange juice, orange peel, shortening and egg. Mix until well blended. Stir in cranberries and nuts. Spread evenly in loaf pan.

Bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely. Wrap and store overnight. Makes 1 loaf (16 slices).

IMG_1269Victoria made a peanut butter pie


1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup milk
1 (16 ounce) package frozen whipped topping, thawed
2 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crusts


Beat together cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar. Mix in peanut butter and milk. Beat until smooth. Fold in whipped topping. Spoon into two 9 inch graham cracker pie shells; cover, and freeze until firm.

pumpkinAnd I made a pumpkin gingerbread trifle!


1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground clove
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 5.1-ounce package instant vanilla pudding mix
3 cups heavy cream
1 12-ounce box Ginger Snaps


In a medium mixing bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk, pumpkin, spices, pudding mix and a good splash of water (about 1/4 cup). Using an electric mixer, beat everything together until smooth and thickened, about 2 minutes. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whip the heavy cream with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the whipped cream into the pudding mixture until blended and no streaks of pudding remain.

To assemble, layer the cookies and pudding mixture in a serving dish (or several individual dishes) in whatever fashion you like. Cover the puddings with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 and up to 8 hours (you want the ginger snaps to soften up from sitting in the pudding mixture).

Top with some ground cinnamon or more whipped cream if you like, and serve cold.

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving recipe?


IMG_5535It’s that time of year again, where you (read: I) have to start thinking about planning a company holiday party. It reminded me to post about the party I coordinated last year at Towne Stove and Spirits. Working with them was good, although they seemed a bit flighty – when we were emailing back and forth we received other invoices for other parties (which made us wonder about our invoice), and when we arrived for the party, they were still setting up. Other than those two things, were were satisfied with the service that we received.

IMG_5536The only thing that could have made this room more perfect would have been lightly falling snow. We couldn’t have asked for a better room – the decor in the room and the restaurant in general is stunning. The Christmas tree lit in the corner was such a nice touch.

IMG_5538The private room upstairs boasted floor to ceiling windows with a great view of Boylston Street below.

IMG_5540Towne made up customized menus with our company logo on it. We all started with the House salad with their own seasonal mix and a chive blossom vinaigrette.

IMG_5543Next we had a choice of Wood Grilled Filet Mignon (above); Crisped Brick Chicken with mascarpone polenta and baby artichoke; Wood Grilled Swordfish with charred lemon vinaigrette or homemade button ravioli made with asparagus, lemon zest and miele fiore honey.

IMG_5546After dinner we did our Yankee Swap (our ‘favorite things’, $20 or under) and mingled with our mini desserts. A good night over all, the drinks were flowing, so everyone was in good spirits.

Towne Stove and Spirits

900 Boylston Street, Boston, MA

Towne Stove & Spirits on Urbanspoon

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