Sunday, November 29, 2009

moments that make up life...


i need at least three naps to recover from the last couple of weeks, which by the way have been filled with so much goodness. memories we will never forget. the most beautiful things are always simple. moms party was a big surprise and a huge success. it was a perfect tribute to someone who has spent her life giving out love. to be surrounded by love on her special day was all that she would wish for. happy birthday mom. i love you. xo p.s. you make 88 look amazing !!!

a stand off as to who will get the pink flower .... luckily there were two.

and the newest member of the family (john) ... up until a few days ago that is...

Friday, November 27, 2009

turkey hangover....

we are recovering from lots of turkey, lots of parties, lots of football, lots of visiting. but lots to be thankful for.

instead of child labor i had senior breaks allowed.

thanksgiving snuggles.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

thanksgiving prep...

which means lots of time is spent in the kitchen. today i spent most of the day cooking with my mom. cooking and waiting to hear the baby news. it made for a very exciting day. how lucky is that? we got so much done which makes for a smooth day tomorrow. and then early this evening the call came. baby william has arrived. 7lbs 13 oz. and i understand he is a beauty.

welcome to the world...

baby william sandys stimpson 7lbs 13 oz. 21 inches long......
congratulations beth and billy he is just beautiful...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

happy birthday drew ....

and wishing you many many more to come.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

g is for grateful...

it's so hard to believe it's thanksgiving week. this month is flying by. there is so much to be grateful for. my parents visit is turning out to be one of the best ever.... we took mom to visit her very best friend for lunch on friday - it was a really wonderful day. their friendship has spanned almost 50 years of all life has to offer. they don't live near each other anymore but they talk every week. at lunch on friday they reminisced of all the days they lived across the street from one another and shared coffee and life. it was a really special day. i watched them and thought how lucky they are to have always had eachother. it made me stop and think about how lucky i am to have so many wonderful friends in my life. i wouldn't give up a single one ever ... xo

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

culinary inspiration...

for cakes
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dutch-process cocoa powder
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg

for filling
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups confectioners sugar
2 cups marshmallow cream such as marshmallow fluff
1 teaspoon vanilla

or this filling
cream cheese filling
3 cups powdered sugar
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla

make cakes: preheat oven to 350°F.
whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a bowl until combined. stir together buttermilk and vanilla in a small bowl.
beat together butter and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes in a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a handheld, then add egg, beating until combined well. reduce speed to low and alternately mix in flour mixture and buttermilk in batches, beginning and ending with flour, scraping down side of bowl occasionally, and mixing until smooth.
Spoon 1/4-cup mounds of batter about 2 inches apart onto 2 buttered large baking sheets. bake in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until tops are puffed and cakes spring back when touched, 11 to 13 minutes. Transfer with a metal spatula to a rack to cool completely.
make filling: beat together butter, confectioners sugar, marshmallow, and vanilla in a bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes.

assemble pies:

spread a rounded tablespoon filling on flat sides of half of cakes and top with remaining cakes.

cooks' note: • cakes can be made 3 days ahead and kept, layered between sheets of wax paper, in an airtight container at room temperature.
• filling can be made 4 hours ahead and kept, covered, at room temperature.

enjoy xo

two weddings and a sunset...

let the good times roll....

the greatest thing about photography is that you can bottle up a moment, one that is fleeting. my parents are here visiting they have already been here a week, time is flying by. their agenda is packed solid with goodness. lots of fun still ahead. i am trying to capture some moments. everything is constantly changing.

and the sunset on sunday evening over the concord river

Sunday, November 15, 2009

happy first blog birthday....

i can't believe it's been a year since the first post. and that i kept this up for a year already...

Friday, November 13, 2009

sunshine and crispy leaves.....

that's what i was wishing for this weekend but it's not what i am going to
get. the sun is sinking in the sky now and the late afternoon shows signs of impending rain. the temperature is hovering at 47 and it's that damp kind of chill
where you know winter is nearby. but i love the sound my feet make as i shuffle
through the leaves and i love the smell of crisp cool air. most of the trees have released their leaves, that just a week ago were the color of burning flames. already, fall is halfway out the door. so cozy up on a comfy chair hopefully with someone you love. darkness is creeping upon us it's just the right evening to be having a warm bowl of soup and spend some time indoors after an exhausting week.

it's friday and a good weekend is waiting ahead.....

thanksgiving dessert...

pumpkin gingerbread trifle recipe
courtesy paula deen - serves: 20

2 (14-ounce) packages gingerbread mix
(5.1-ounce) box cook-and-serve vanilla pudding mix
(30-ounce) can pumpkin pie filling
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 teaspoon ground cardamom or cinnamon
1 (12-ounce) container frozen whipped topping
1/2 cup gingersnaps, optional

bake the gingerbread according to the package directions; cool completely. meanwhile, prepare the pudding and set aside to cool. stir the pumpkin pie filling, sugar, and cardamom into the pudding.
crumble 1 batch of gingerbread into the bottom of a large, pretty bowl.
pour 1/2 of the pudding mixture over the gingerbread, then add a layer of whipped topping. repeat with the remaining gingerbread, pudding, and whipped topping. sprinkle of the top with crushed gingersnaps, if desired. refrigerate overnight. trifle can be layered in a punch bowl.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

the good life for less...

i'm a coffee person in the morning and a tea person at night. i believe in magic and wonder. i believe that it is the little things that truly matter and it is in the little things that true magic can be found. i think the right words can be dreams crystalized, and i use a camera to preserve the little moments of wonder that i see all around me everyday. the secret is to enjoy each day for what it has to offer. never wish away the day in hopes that tomorrow might bring something better. enjoy every moment. xo

Monday, November 9, 2009

simplicity + pleasure...

is what i seek from my every day existence. little things, a few lingering moments. a few moments is all it takes to make a day wonderful. my coffee made every morning, filling the house with an intoxicating scent of promise. little pleasures that fill me with calm. our seemingly unimportant interactions with everyday people really do affect the quality of our life. who, after your family couldn't you live without? think about it. who you really care about might be countless everyday people who touch our lives and influence us personally. maybe it's the people in your neighborhood who smile and wave when you go by the bus stop. maybe it's the elderly bagger at the grocery store who always has something cheery to say. or the guard at the office door who calls you smiley. i think we all really want to make connections. i think everyone loves to be validated. think about what kind of significance everyday people bring to your life. take a moment to appreciate the supporting players. then remember to do something kind for someone else and remember the role you play in others lives. the little things. the little moments. they aren't little.

pear and pecan salad....

{pear and pecan salad with mixed greens and feta}
salad + toppings{amount based on how large you would like the salad}
mixed greensspinachpears, cut into bit sized piecescandied pecans (recipe below)feta cheese (can also substitute gorgonzola)bacon crumblesdried cranberries

sweet red wine vinaigrette dressing
1 inch strip of a red onion
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup vegetable oil
finely chop red onion. add sugar, dry mustard, salt and vinegar and whisk until frothy. Slowly add oil.

candied pecans
8 oz. pecans
4 tbsp. sugar
in small skillet, sprinkle sugar over pecans and cook over medium heat until pecans are coated and sugar has dissolved. (may need to add more sugar if all of the pecans are not coated) be careful so the pecans don’t burn!
add dressing just to coat the salad and serve immediately.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

thanksgiving dessert idea...

i don't know if this will compare to christines healthful flaxseed muffins.

caramelized pumpkin & armagnac bread pudding

8 cups of 1/2 cubed bread (such as brioche or challah or other soft enriched bread) or pound cake or gingerbread.
1 1/2 cups chopped prunes… hmm…. I don’t like prunes… dates maybe?
1/4 cup Armagnac, cognac or brandy

pumpkin custard:
5 cups half & half
5 large eggs
4 large egg yolks
1 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fresh nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon clove
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
confectioner’s sugar for sprinkling on top

candied walnuts:
1 1/2 cup walnut halves or pieces
1/4 cup maple syrup
pinch salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon fresh nutmeg
1 cup heavy whipping cream for garnish, whipped to stiff peaks

in a bowl add the armagnac to the dates and allow them to macerate for at least 30 minutes, but as long as overnight.
to prepare the pudding, mix together the half & half, eggs, yolks, pumpkin, salt, sugars, spices and vanilla,
using a hand held blender or carefully with a whisk. Set aside.

layer half the bread cubes in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish and then the prunes
top with the remaining bread cubes and then pour the pumpkin custard over them. you may not fit all of the custard in at once, but when the bread absorbs some of it, you can add the rest.
gently press the bread down into the custard to make sure they are all soaking it up. let it sit for about 30 minutes to really absorb the custard thoroughly.

when you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325. place the baking dish in a larger pan, lined with a kitchen towel. add HOT water to the larger dish to create a water bath. the towel and the water act as insulation and create a more even baking temperature. bake for about 45 minutes or until just set in the center of the pudding.
remove from oven and sprinkle generously with confectioner’s sugar
turn the oven to broil and return the pan to the oven, watch very closely … just until the sugar is melted and is caramelized. If you have a chefs torch you can achieve the same effect with your torch

to make the candied walnuts:
turn the oven to 350. In a bowl combine the nuts, maple, salt and spices. spread the coated nuts onto a cookie sheet lined with a silpat. bake for about 10-15 minutes or until nicely toasted and golden brown. be careful not to over bake or they will turn bitter.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


those of you who know me know i am all about the presentation..... this is a perfect example of highlighting the packaging and making something simple into something spectacular... this lets the true essence of the item shine... you can be sure these will be showing up with holdiay gifts.... or maybe favors? shhhhh

wasn't my idea tho this came from twig and thistle - oh the beauy of the internet.

Monday, November 2, 2009

i'm hugging you - hope you can feel it...

thankful - that's the theme for november.

is not how much we do,
but how much love we put in the doing.
it is not how much we give,
but how much love we put in the giving.

-Mother Theresa

it's november - i'll try to be thankful for one thing every day. today thanks for the extra hour of sleep and my lunch hour. xo


as promised woody and buzz lightyear showed up and they made my night...

to infinity and beyond