Friday, December 30, 2011


Year's end is neither an endIMG_1162-1

nor a beginning…

but a going on



with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.

~Hal Borland, Outdoor writer

IMG_1159 May the year 2012 meander in with grace...

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Chocolate Christmas gift for you…

While the chocolate hazelnut Nutella

cake is cooling

nutella cake2

And our traditional Christmas Eve fondue Bourguignon is awaiting…with umpteen delectable sauces

I thought I would gift you with the most wonderful recipe.

It truly tastes like it is from a European Bakery

Fine chocolate, cognac, hazelnuts…





Nutella Cake with Chocolate Hazelnut Ganache
Adapted from Nigella Lawson

6 large eggs, separated
pinch salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 13-ounce container Nutella
1 tablespoon cognac or brandy

1/2 cup finely ground hazelnuts
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted and

4 ounces whole hazelnuts
1/2 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon cognac

4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate

Preheat oven to 350 degrees; butter a 9-inch springform pan. In a large bowl (preferably metal),
whisk the egg whites and salt until stiff. In another bowl, cream the butter and Nutella, then add
the cognac, egg yolks, and ground hazelnuts. Fold in melted chocolate.

Add a blob of beaten egg whites to the chocolate batter, and mix gently until well-combined. Fold in the remaining whites, one-third at a time, very gently but thoroughly. Pour into springform and bake for 40 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting tester, which should come out mostly clean; lightly pressing finger into top to check for a slight bouncing-back; and observing edges beginning to separate from pan. Let cool completely, in pan, on a rack.

Toast the hazelnuts in a dry skillet, or toaster oven shaking them around frequently. Do it for about 4 minutes, or until they are lightly browned, then let cool completely. If hazelnuts came with skins on, put them in a towel after toasting and rub around; this will remove most of the skins.

Chop chocolate, and add to sauce pan with half and half and booze over medium-low heat. Once chocolate is melted and components are combined, whisk until mixture reaches desired thickness, then cool. Remove rim of cake pan and pour cooled ganache over, spreading lightly to create a smooth, shiny surface, and apply hazelnuts all over.

Rich and heavenly…what Christmas is all about!


To all of my blog readers and friends.May your

Christmas or Hanukkah include some chocolate

and LOTS of LOVE.

Love Me.

Last two images from google…mine is not ready to pour the ganache on yet...slurp.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas cheat alert…

So…If you don’t happen to have a mantle for stockings

and you have stockings santa needs to find

ya make one…


Out of tropical's from the yard, lights and candles and an old credenza.



Merry Tropical Christmas…

from our Casa to yours!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Martha and I have the same nativity…

who knew?


Ok…maybe hers is a tad more decorated...and lovely


Ok…maybe hers isn’t under a cigarette smoking Buenaventura…

and hers probably wasn’t made by a sweet older friend who passed away several years ago

and could hug you like nobodies Grandma. miss ya Eleanor!

But let me revel in my teensy kinda not but sort of ish

Martha moment.

Carry on.

Images: straight from Martha herself

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Form follows function…



The familywho happen to like sitting down to a meal together

Don’t so much appreciate


My decorating skilz


When it happens to effect where they can put their plate down.


Form follows function.



not so much.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Christmas peek into our humble casa…and a wish for YOU

Wishing you Peace…


a little bit of glitter…


A little bit of green…


And lots of love…


Monday, December 12, 2011

Ya know…It’s funny…

Some of you were looking forward to seeing our tree…

However, Like many…our tree is not so much decoration…


But family history.

look at that angelic golden face…carefully crafted 20 years ago…


It is the little hand crafted…Paper crumpled, pieces that are THE most cherished

The ones that don’t match…but were created by little hands

that grew. and grew.

and now some 20 something years later….truly are more important than any hand blown artisan glass.

And these are opened so carefully by all of us

because now, even the creators recognize how fragile and special they are.

each year ... put in the special boxes at the bottom of the bin with care

knowing they won’t last forever. what does?


THIS is our Christmas tree.

celebrating the growth. The beauty and the fragility of each passing year.

Maybe not ‘pretty’… to some

But so full of life….our lives.

Beautiful to us. To me.


yep. Baby shoes. first baby shoes. 16 years later. Exactly where they belong.



A celebration of us. Of growth.

Of change...

that is maybe postponed for one more glittery, beautiful season.


Opening hearts.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Getting the Christmas tree today…



First we need to wrestle the boxes of decorations out of the barn…


Have you flocked your tree with faux snow?


I dunno if we will use white or colored lights this year



Off we go…

Images: pinterest (last one our front door “tropical” wreath)

Thursday, December 1, 2011


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