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Archive for December, 2010

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Christmas Morning: The Food

from Jamie

Rather than just focus on the standard brunch items, I thought it would be fun to sample some exotic fruits on a cold, grey day. There was a lot of excitement in not only trying each fruit, but also in cutting each one open since many are shockingly different from the outside to the inside.

Our favorites (based on appearance)

1. Buddha’s Hand (California): A citron fruit, it is fragrant and citrus, but it’s all rind and doesn’t have a juicy middle like an orange or lemon. It’s grown commercially for its powerful zest, to flavor lemon liqueurs, vodkas and cosmetics.

2. Dragon’s Fruit (Vietnam): This fruit packs a lot of vitamins and nutrients and has a striking exterior and interior. It’s taste is subtle.

3. Kiwano Melon (California): This fruit has a subtle flavor not unlike a cucumber with a jelly center and edible seeds.

Those fruits that we only needed to try once (and maybe never again):

1. Longan (Thailand): Similar to Lychee in appearance and texture, but not in taste! Muskier and not as sweet.

2. Cherimoya (Bolivia): This is supposed to be a sweet tasting fruit, but we didn’t find our sample to have much taste.

We also tried: Starfruit, Kumquats, Papayas, Asian Pears, Baby Pineapple from South Africa, Ugli Fruit, Persimmon, Blood Orange, Prickly Pear Cactus, Feijoa, Pepino Melon, Passion Fruit and Thai Guava.

p.s. Don’t be surprised if the next running shoe’s sole is made from the Pummelo (last picture above). The rind is incredibly thick and soft!

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Christmas Morning: The Giving

from Jamie

For the second year, Livi has participated in her elementary school’s Santa Workshop, during which children can shop for small “treasures” for their list of loved ones, while parents wait outside. The value of this event is not in the actual trinkets, which cost no more than a dollar in some cases, but in the experience that introduces youngsters to the power and thrill of gift giving on their terms… they decide what to buy, for whom and how much to spend of their allotted budget. They leave the shop all aglow, small hands full of even smaller packages. Back home, we spend the next two weeks trying to convince Livi not to give away her secrets.

Price of the plastic light-up eagle: $1. The memory: priceless.

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Christmas Morning: The Drink

from Jamie

The last couple of years I’ve enjoyed the challenge of creating a family-friendly Christmas cocktail.

This year included snow ice cream, thanks to a recipe Livi brought home from school. The ingredients/directions: start with 1 gallon fresh snow, stir in 1 cup white sugar, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract and 2 cups milk. My personal touch: sugar cane stir sticks. A yummy beverage in celebration of a white Christmas!

Last year was all about simplicity (and health!) Fresh-juiced pineapple with star fruit accents.

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Christmas Morning: The Table

from Jamie

I headed out for my last round of errands on Christmas Eve morning, which included a recon mission to Jungle Jim’s International Market. This food-market-turned-foodie-destination attracts shoppers from all over the region and seeing a car with out-of-state plates loaded up with coolers in the parking lot is a daily occurrence. Besides their reputation for far flung foodie finds, they also have a greenhouse and flower shop which are always fun to peruse for new and unusual horticultural treasures.

For the holiday table this year, I wanted something fresh and unexpected, and not the traditional dark green and red palettes. I ended up going home with a few bundles of white hydrangea and these very graphic green bursts which remind me of fireworks. Shame on me for not writing down the name, although I believe it starts with a “d.” (Oddly, the only word I keep coming back to is Deinonychus, thanks to my dinosaur-loving daughter!)

These electric green puff balls were an exciting new find for me! And true to the florist’s tip, they are still in perfect condition five days later! They grow on long stems that resemble those of carnations; I decided to cut mine short for bud vases.

This twig tree from West Elm is the latest addition to my growing collection of natural holiday trees. No color, ornaments or tinsel, just natural materials crafted into simple, yet stunning tree forms.

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Christmas Morning: The Ornament

from Jamie

Each year I look forward to discovering a few new ornaments which symbolize something we love as a family. Which is why the one below is a bit of an oddity, since I don’t profess to being very handy, especially with needle and thread. But I’m definitely drawn to felt treasures and a good friend (who’s quite handy) tells me the awesome colors and texture here are achieved with needle felting (and that I actually might be able to learn the process myself.) Hmm, sounds like a good to-do for branching out in 2011. In the meantime, I’ll need to clear a year-round spot in my office for this little lovely from Anthropologie.

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Christmas Morning: The Toy

from Jamie

Check out the Cubebot, designed by David Weeks Studio. If mammals are more your thing, there’s an elephant, rhino, gorilla and bear which will send you running for your wallet!

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

Advent Calendar Wrap Up

from Jamie

We hope everyone had a fabulous holiday! I couldn’t resist sharing a few more advent calendar finds. Yes, the festivities and end of year are soon drawing to a close, but it’s never too late to consider a countdown project for your next holiday or celebratory milestone!

Found on The Violet Hours; cans by Room Envy.

I had to do a double take when I read that these are flattened toilet paper tubes! Found on The Violet Hours by Maya Made.

Found on Babble; cotton pouches available on Etsy.

Found on Babble; boxes created by Ali Edwards.

Found on Babble; spools with messages by Just Something Made.

Found on Babble, by Country Living.

Found on Babble, ready to buy at Bodie and Fou or make your own takeout boxes at Oh Dee Doh.

Found on Babble; fabric pouches by Quiet Fish.

A shoe-fire way to build excitement! Found on Babble, by Eighteen 25.

Found on Babble; paper cones by The Red Thread.

Found on Babble; leaves by the Etsy shop Between Hitching Posts.

Found on Babble, by Jessica Sprague.

Buckets by Garnet Hill.

Retro drawers of surprises by Garnet Hill.

Monday, December 27th, 2010

Candy Cane Leftovers

from Kate

There is a very cool candy company called Hammond’s that has been making candy canes by hand from natural ingredients since the 1920s. To me, a stocking is not ready for primetime until a beautiful candy cane is gracing the top, but no one in our family really eats them — or at least a whole one anyway. Rather than let these beautiful works of art go to waste, it’s candy cane leftovers to the rescue. The trick, of course, is to crush them into smaller pieces and use them as a topping for dessert or sprinkle on whipped cream for your hot chocolate. Better yet, think ice cream. Do you have an ice cream maker? You don’t need fancy equipment if you own a KitchenAid stand mixer. You just need an ice cream attachment and away you go. If you want to make ice cream from scratch, a tasty approach is to start with a great mint ice cream recipe and add the candy cane chips during the mix. The light green color of the ice cream looks beautiful with the red and white chips — right on brand with the colors of the season! And here is a far simpler, kid-friendly recipe to enjoy with the little ones in your life.

Friday, December 24th, 2010

Santa Fe Christmas

from Kate

One of the most magical places to spend Christmas Eve is in Santa Fe. As dusk falls, the streets light up with luminarias — or farolitos — brown paper bags illuminated from within by candles. Every surface from rooftops to garden walls to pathways are literally covered with them. Often set against a blanket of snow, they beckon neighbors to leave the warmth of their homes and walk the streets. Canyon Road is the biggest draw. It winds up toward the mountains with galleries lining both sides of the street. Huge crowds come to sing carols, enjoy cider and keep warm by the fire pits that dot the way. This photo was taken by Randy whose blog features a daily photo of the city. He’s captured some great images of the season and I’ve been happy to live vicariously through his inspiration!

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010


from Jamie

Ok, so I couldn’t resist the wordplay even though we did not rise to the challenge of transforming pancake powder to fresh powder. But, thanks to the snow day last week, we enjoyed a slow morning making art on the griddle.