Red Pants

I love colorful pants. I also love skinny leg pants you can wear with knee-high boots.

The perfect marriage if both is in the Gap’s Always Skinny Cords:

I of course bought them in red (they come in basic colors too: black, navy, and gray) and have worn them non-stop since I got them a couple weeks ago.

These are just perfect for the holiday season: dressed up for an after work holiday party or paired with a cute, warm sweater for Saturday errands or Sunday brunch. I have worn these red cords in all 3 occasions and then some…

Cute Cupcake Christmas Cookies

I was shopping at Crate & Barrel recently and came across this adorable cupcake cookie cutter, I obviously couldn’t leave the store without it. Well, this weekend I made a batch of Holiday Gingerbread Cookies with the cupcake cookie cutter.

To make them more resemble a cupcake, I decided to use a thin wooden skewer to make imprints on the bottom of the cupcake (the stump, if you will) vertically, which resembled the baking cup, and one horizontal imprint to separate top from stump. To finish, I decorated only the top with frosting and sprinkles.
These could not have come out cuter…

New Art!

For our honeymoon a year and a half ago, my husband and I spent a couple weeks in France. At the end of the trip, we were in Paris for 5 or 6 days and it was just spectacular! Every night we went somewhere fantastic for dinner and one of our favorite dinners was at Willi’s Wine Bar on Rue des Petits Champs.

Willi’s Wine Bar is known for the artist-commissioned posters; from their website:
Art & Wine make natural playmates. Mark Williamson, convinced that art can pay homage to wine & that wine is indeed an art form, began a unique adventure 25 years ago with the edition of the first, mythic AM Cassandre Willi’s Wine Bar poster. Since then, every year, a contemporary artist has been commissioned by Willi’s to create an image for the ongoing Willi’s Bottle Art Collection. “
Well, we bought one! In 1997 Sophie Herhheimer designed the poster and here it hangs proudly on our wall.

One Last Fall Recipe

We made one last fall recipe the other day before we dive into WINTER! We made Beef and Butternut Squash Stew with popovers made from scratch. The popovers are SO easy to make and always turn out looking very impressive.

Beef and Butternut Squash Stew
from Giada De Laurentiis

3 Tb olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tb minced fresh rosemary
1 Tbchopped fresh thyme
2 lbs stew beef, cut into 2-inch cubes
1/2 Tsp salt, plus more to taste
1/2 Tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
2 Tb all-purpose flour
1 C Marsala wine
1 lb butternut squash, trimmed and cut into 2-inch cubes
3 to 4 C beef broth
In a large soup pot heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, rosemary, and thyme and saute until the onions are tender, about 2 minutes. Toss the beef cubes in salt and pepper and flour. Turn up the heat to med-high and add the beef to the pot. Cook until the beef is browned and golden around the edges, about 5 minutes. Add the Marsala wine. Using a wooden spoon, gently stir up all the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the butternut squash and sun-dried tomatoes and stir to combine. Add enough beef broth to just cover the beef and squash. Bring the stew to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 1 hour. Season the stew with additional salt and pepper to taste.
from Barefoot Contessa Parties! by Ina Garten

1 1/2 Tb unsalted butter, melted, plus softened butter for greasing pans
1 1/2 C flour
3/4 Tsp kosher salt
3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 C milk, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Generously grease muffin tins to make 12 popovers (they say you need a popover pan, but regular muffin tins work fine). Place the pan in the oven for exactly 2 minutes to preheat. Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, salt, eggs, milk, and melted butter until smooth. The batter will be thin. Fill the popover pans less than half full and bake for exactly 30 minutes. Do not open the oven and peek.

Turkey Day Dessert

We decided this year to do a non-pie dessert for Thanksgiving. I saw an episode of Giada at Home on the Food Network and thought the cake she made look delicious!! Not only did we eat it for dessert on Thanksgiving, but we ate it as a sweet tasty breakfast throughout the long holiday weekend.

…and it looked just lovely under the glass dome of my cake stand.

Spiced Apple-Walnut Cake with Cream Cheese Icing
from Giada De Laurentiis

3 medium green apples, peeled, cored and diced into 1/4 -inch pieces
1 1/2 C maple syrup
3 eggs, at room temperature
3/4 C light brown sugar
3/4 C vegetable oil
1 Tb pure vanilla extract
3 C flour
1 1/2 Tsp baking powder
1 1/2 Tsp baking soda
1 Tb ground cinnamon
1/2 Tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 Tsp ground ginger
1/2 Tsp fine sea salt
1 C chopped walnuts

1 C powdered sugar
1/4 C heavy cream
4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
3 Tb water, plus extra, as needed
2 Tsp pure vanilla extract

For the cake: Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Liberally butter and flour a 10-inch fluted tube or Bundt pan. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the apples, maple syrup, eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt. In batches, mix the dry ingredients into the apple mixture. Stir in the walnuts. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake until a cake tester or skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes and invert onto a wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour.

For the icing: In a food processor, combine the powdered sugar, heavy cream, cream cheese, 3 tablespoons water, and vanilla. Process until smooth, adding more water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until the icing is pourable. Spoon the icing over the cake and allow to set for 20 minutes before slicing. I also garnished with additional chopped walnuts sprinkled over the icing.