Year: 2011

dark chocolate truffles to take to party at work

Although I am running between jury duty and work this week, I have committed to bake something for my co-workers. It’s been a tradition of mine forever and this year, no matter how hectic this week is, if I am excused from Jury duty before Friday, I will take these dark chocolate truffles to work. Ingredients 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream 1 2/3 cups (10-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Dark Chocolate Morsels Finely chopped toasted nuts, toasted flaked coconut and/or NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Baking Cocoa for coating truffles Directions LINE baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. HEAT cream to a gentle boil in medium, heavy-duty saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chocolate. Stir until mixture is smooth and chocolate is melted. Refrigerate for 15 to 20 minutes or until slightly thickened. DROP chocolate mixture by rounded measuring teaspoon onto prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. Shape or roll into balls; coat with nuts, coconut or cocoa. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.      

holiday decorative table setting

I love the holiday season and truly do not mind walking through different stores to gather ideas for the buffet table setting. However, in the past I had always avoided the color red because I hated the orange hues visible in the tone, so I stuck to golds and silver to play it safe. This year, since the color has been perfected to a vibrant red, I can’t help but lean towards a more red, white and silver theme.  Check out some of my favorites from here: 1. Red Bridge Tea Kettle 2. Peppermint Dish Towel 3. Flatware Stockings 4. Matte Metal Red Pillars 5. Antique Red Votive 6. Diaz Red Candleholders 7. Tasmin Dessert Platter (my favorite) 8. Ombre Red table mat 9. Happy Holidays Tumbler

christmastime in the napa wine country

I have never been to Napa past October, let alone during the holiday season. Usually because, the countryside past the turning of the leaves, isn’t  as appealing during this time of the year and if there is rain involved, the region usually experiences flooding, making it difficult to travel.  However, this past weekend, we decided to venture out to Napa since it’s been unusually warm and dry around the bay area. I must admit, I was actually surprised to discover still remnants of fall all around, with colorful trees standing strong, bright orange leaves hanging on their last thread along the walls of the wineries, vibrant green holy leaves and red berries blooming  through the bare twigs of the fig trees. It was truly a sight for sore eyes.  To top it off, once we opened the doors to all the wineries we visited, I was captivated by the warm glowing lights and sparkle from all the Christmas decor and the subtle smell of cinnamon and spice incense emanating from every room. I loved every …

holiday party cocktails

Every year I dream of hosting a holiday party and after contemplating the venue, I end up not following through.  This year however, I have decided to host a small get together with friends and with it I asked each person to find a unique cocktail we can all try and bring it to the party. While I wait for their suggestions to create my drink menu, I have found some of my favorites so far. Click on the photo for the recipes    

christmas tree decor for small spaces

Decorating a small apartment or studio can sometimes be challenging since space is an issue. For example, placing a tree in a multi purpose or multi functional room requires moving some furniture around to accommodate  the decor, subsequently making the limited space feel even more smaller. While I searched for ideas to decorate a small space, I came across some wonderful christmas tree suggestions here which will not require any furniture moving. Check out the pics below:

holiday decorating tradition

While most people run to the stores the day after Thanksgiving (in America that is) to shop until they drop “literally,” I, along with my family, decorate the house for Christmas. It’s been a tradition in our household for years, to wake up, not to early and  have a hearty  breakfast. Afterwards, while sipping our morning coffees, decorate the entire house whilst still in our pajamas.  It’s actually an amazing feeling and probably the most fun the entire clan has together and afterwards, maybe, go to the mall or just stay home and watch classic movies and nibble on popcorn :). What can I say, I am most sentimental during the holiday season. {Borrowed Photographs}

thanksgiving day thanks from an american

Every year we begin with optimism and hope and set some goals for ourselves to stir up positive thinking. Yet as the year unfolds, we are faced with so many difficulties or challenges, that we not only forget the optimism and hope, but find ourselves constantly struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel. However, although that may be the case, we should take a moment on Thanksgiving Day, if not at least once a week, to say thanks to our family members for being with us through thick and thin, for the soldiers who are abroad keeping us safe, for volunteers who dedicate their time in making someone happy, for organizations who truly support a good cause, for retailers who offer give back programs for the needy, for all those  who have become conscious about saving our beautiful planet and for all the amazing pets who keep us going, even when the going is tough. Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving

side dishes galore for thanksgiving dinner

I  spent this past weekend, choosing my recipes and planning my  Thanksgiving menu.  Since I am not a fan of turkey and neither are the members of my family, it is very important to have a fun selection of side dishes which are not only easy to prepare but also fun to eat. So below are the side dishes on my menu for this year’s Thanksgiving dinner. {Click on the photo to get the recipe}