Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Monday, December 17, 2012
Things have been getting real Christmas-y here around Xanadu. We have decorated, watched Elf, and gone through 1.5 containers of soy nog.
On Friday night we did our annual BFF gift exchange. We do this every year (see last year!) and this year's was earlier in the month than usual because we are all so busy. It was also way more casual. Usually, we make all sorts of fancy appetizers, or we do it Rachael's house and she cooks dinner for us, but we totally "phoned it in" this year and ordered pizza. It was nice to not have to worry about doing a bunch of stuff before the party, and throwing out a couple of cheeses with some condiments I already have on hand is a cinch.
I did manage to whip up the cake above. I was proud of myself for trying a few different Pinterest things this weekend. This one being, "how to make box cake mix taste like homemade." Apparently all you have to do is substitute the usual water, oil, and eggs for milk (I used buttermilk), butter, and one extra egg. The verdict - it helped the texture a lot. Maybe I'm a cake weirdo, but I do not like those fluffy, spongey store-bought cakes. I like a dense, moist cake. It was still kind of overly sweet like cake mix. I'd still prefer just baking one from scratch, but if you are in a time crunch, this trick is totally worth trying. The frosting was browned butter frosting, which I kind of winged. I originally looked up a recipe that called for 1/3 cup browned butter and 3 cups of powdered sugar, and I thought it sounded disgusting, so I altered it a bit to use more butter and less sugar.
Sorry, no pictures of us because some of us were hags that night. And by "some of us" I mean "me" and by "hags" I mean "wore pajama pants to my own party" because duh, cheese, pizza, cake, booze.
There was meat on that platter next to the olives, but I didn't take a photo until it was already devoured. The cheeses on my board are both from Trader Joe's - white stilton with cranberries (mellow and creamy with pieces of cranberry) and one I'd never tried, which was their featured cheese - Cinco Lanzas. I loved this cheese. It's a similar texture to Iberico, and it has a sweet after taste.
A couple of other "Pinterest things" we tried this night were 2 cocktail recipes - a Cherry Whiskey Smash, which was really good and refreshing, and a Spicy Ginger Man, which tasted good, but was over the top sweet. It was like drinking dessert.
I moved some things around on the dining table and tried to make it look holiday-ish. I know whales aren't very holiday-ish, but that Jonathan Adler pitcher is one of my favorite things I own, and it stays! I've been eyeing the cable knit sweater vases at Target, but I found these ones on sale at Michael's. All the Christmas stuff was 50% off, so these were like $2.50 each!
Zoey made this gingerbread house! She was so proud of it. Look at that angelic face. Later that night, we tried to drive around and look at Christmas lights, but homegirl was not having it. There is this one house in Nellie Gail where you tune into a certain radio station and their lights flash along with the music. But Zoey was in total 2 year old melt down mode, so we just drove past it and enjoyed the 3 seconds we saw of it and decided to head home. Of course, right when we turned out of their neighborhood, the crying suddenly stopped and I turned around and she was asleep. Poor tired baby.
We ended up having a lazy day on Sunday, since it was all gloomy and rainy outside. This is what half of Xanadu looked like at the end of the day. On one hand, this is why I would prefer to go out and do something on weekends. But on the other hand, this mess is kind of proof that Zoey still managed to have a fun day.
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Friday, December 7, 2012
Caposhi Handmade. She's been on the show circuit for a while now, so I tried to pick up a few tips from her. She was so nice, a great booth mate, and extremely talented. I wanted to share some of her awesome jewelry with you! Visit her shop if you are looking for a unique gift for a friend.