Monday Goodness: Merry Belated Christmas.

I got to work at 7:30 and had to spend only two hours working off someone else’s computer before my beloved MacBook showed up via FedEx (and sporting a new screen and logic board)! Seriously the best Monday of the year.

Yet I still have mixed feelings because…
… I didn’t get to share my last few days of
Gift Lists
… I didn’t get to wish you all a timely Merry Christmas
… I didn’t get to get any work done while in PA

But at the same time…
… my hard drive arrived back to me intact
… I had a lighter carry-on on my 6:00 am flight back yesterday
… belated Merry Christmas wishes are nice none the less

Merry Belated Christmas!

I hope you and yours had a lovely little holiday. I’ll be sharing more about mine a little later on.

:: photo via ffffound


Round Up: Gift Tags.


On the Rocks: Top 10 Christmas Cocktails.

Welcome to the Top 10 Christmas Cocktails version of On the Rocks! Grab some hot buttered rum or a glass of mulled wine and settle in. Because I’ve found ten of the best classics and the best newbies for you to savor this holiday season!

– 25ml Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka
– 25ml Krupnik honey vodka liqueur
– 25ml Cranberry Juice
– 15ml Lemon Juice
– Dash Egg white

Shake all ingredients with ice and fine-strain into chilled martini glass. Garnish with an apple fan.

:: cocktail recipe and photo via ednbrg

– 1 oz Monin gingerbread syrup
– 2 oz Bacardi Big Apple rum
– 2 oz apple juice
– splash of lemon juice

Place 1/2 cup of simple syrup and 4 tablespoons of graham cracker crumbs on separate plates. Dip outside rim of martini glass into simple syrup, then into graham cracker crumbs several times to ensure coverage. Set aside. In a cocktail shaker, combine rum, gingerbread syrup, apple juice and lemon juice. Shake with ice in a cocktail shaker and strain into rimmed martini glass. Garnish with red apple slice.

:: cocktail recipe and photo via Cocktail Times

– 8 large eggs
– 4 egg yolks
– 1 cup granulated sugar
– 5 cups whole milk
– 1 1/2 cup Mount Gay Eclipse Rum (or dark rum)
– 1 cup 80 proof Kentucky straight bourbon
– 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
– 1/2 tbsp freshly grated nutmeg
– 2 cups whipping cream
– 2 tbsp superfine sugar

In a mixing bowl, whisk egg,s yolks and granulated sugar until smooth. Pour into a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir in milk, gradually, blending well with each addition. Heat slowly over very low heat, stirring steadily, until the mixture reaches 160 – 170F on an instant read thermometer. The custard should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. If you draw your finger across the back of the spoon, the line will remain distinct and the custard sauce is done.

Pour the custard through a fine-meshed sieve into large bowl. Stir in vanilla, rum, bourbon and nutmeg. Let mixture cool, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, at least three hours and or up to one day.

Just before serving, whip cream to very soft peaks, beating in, superfine sugar as you go. Gently fold into custard mixture until incorporated. Serve from a chilled punch bowl or ladle into individual martini glasses, garnishing with grated nutmeg if desired.

:: cocktail recipe and photo via Cocktail Times

– 1 lb light brown sugar
– 1/2 lb unsalted butter (softened)
– 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
– 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
– 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
– 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a mixing bowl beat together softened butter, brown sugar, vanilla extract and spices until well combined. Refrigerate in an airtight reusable container for up to a month, or place in your freezer until ready to use.

To make Hot Buttered Rum: In a pre-heated coffee mug combine 2 heaping tablespoons batter with 1 1/2 oz. Mount Gay Eclipse Rum. Top with boiling water and stir well to mix. Serve with a spoon.

Hint: It is best to make the batter in advance so the spices have an opportunity to mingle. Be sure to remove batter from refrigerator at least 6 hours prior to serving to allow it to soften.

:: cocktail recipe and photo via Cocktail Times

– 1 large lemon, cut in half
– 1 medium orange, cut in half
– 16 whole cloves
– 3 cups apple juice
– 1 cup rum
– 1/2 cup honey
– 4 cinnamon sticks, 2 inches long
– 1/4 tsp ground ginger

Cut two slices (1/4-inch thick) from each lemon and orange half. Insert whole cloves into slices; set aside. Squeeze juice from reminder of fruit halves into a medium non-reactive saucepan. Stir in apple juice and honey; mix well. Add cinnamon sticks, ginger and reserved fruit slices. Bring just to a boil over medium-high heat. Add rum. Serve immediately in a heatproof serving bowl. Makes 6 servings.

:: cocktail recipe and photo via Cocktail Times

– 175 mL (3/4 cup) cranberry juice
– 90 mL (3 oz.) simple syrup
– 175 mL (6 oz.) orange liqueur, such as Cointreau
– 750-ml bottle Champagne, chilled
– 18 fresh cranberries

In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine cranberry juice, simple syrup and orange liqueur. Shake well (until the shaker is covered with condensation). Strain mixture, dividing it among six Champagne flutes. Add Champagne, dividing it among glasses. Garnish each drink with 3 cranberries skewered on a cocktail pick. Makes 6 servings.

:: cocktail recipe and photo via YourHome

– 1 bottle full-bodied red wine, like cabernet or merlot
– 1 cinnamon stick
– 2 cardamom bods
– 6 to 8 cloves
– 6 to 8 golden raisins
– 1 pinch nutmeg
– 1 vanilla bean or 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 3/4 cup white sugar

In a small saucepot, simmer wine and all other ingredients except sugar over low heat for about 30 minutes. Do not let the wine come to a boil. After 30 minutes, stir in sugar until fully melted. Take wine off heat, strain out solids, and serve while hot.

:: cocktail recipe and photo via Appetite for China

– 1 quart heavy cream
– 10 ounces store-bought sticky toffee pudding (see Note)
– 6 eggs, separated
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons Cognac
– 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark rum
– 1/2 teaspoon salt

In a container with a tight-fitting lid, pour the cream over the sticky toffee pudding. Cover and refrigerate for 2 days. In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar. Stir in the Cognac and rum. Strain the infused cream through a fine sieve, pressing on the solids. In a medium bowl, whip 3 cups of the infused cream until stiff. Fold in the egg-yolk mixture. In a large bowl, using clean beaters, beat the egg whites with the salt on high speed to stiff peaks. Fold the beaten egg whites into the whipped cream. Refrigerate the eggnog until chilled, about 2 hours.

:: cocktail recipe and photo via Food & Wine

– 2 oz whiskey (I used bullet)
– 1 oz simple syrup
– Light 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin spice seasoning (I used McCormick)
Р2 oz pumpkin pur̩e water
– 1 egg, whole

Combine all into a shaker filled with ice and shake very hard to emulsify the egg. Strain into a Collins glass filled with ice (try this with crushed ice and without ice too) and top with a straw and 4-6 seasoned pumpkin seeds.

:: cocktail recipe and photo via Mark Sexauer’s Cocktail Blog

– 1 cup sugar
– 4 cinnamon sticks
– 3 lemon slices
– 2 cups pineapple juice
– 2 cups orange juice
– 6 cups dry red wine
– 1/2 cup lemon juice
– 1 cup dry sherry
– 2 lemons, sliced

Boil the sugar, cinnamon sticks, and 3 lemon slices in 1/2 cup of water for 5 minutes and strain. Discard the cinnamon sticks and lemon slices. Heat, but do not boil the remaining ingredients. Combine with the syrup, garnish with the lemon slices, and serve hot.

:: cocktail recipe and photo via use real butter


In the Spirit.

Are you there yet? I’ve been listening to Christmas music to keep things in perspective.

What have you been doing to get in the Christmas spirit?

::photo via ffffound


Take a Peek: My Holiday.

As I’m about to post this I just realized that I have yet to show you my home. Any of it. Not the exterior, or the interior or even anything. I promise to get on the ball at the start of 2009 and reveal too much information, more than you’d like most likely. But for now, these teeny, tiny tidbits of my holiday decor will have to satisfy you. I didn’t go all out this year since I’m leaving town so early (December 19 – eek!), but what I did put up are my favorites. Thanks for stopping by my home!

The Tree. I’ve been collecting glass ornaments – mainly pink and clear – for the past few years and this is the first year my tree has been able to sustain itself on glass alone. I’m thrilled with it. And at night, when the lights are on it’s so sparkly and lovely!

The Mantel. I didn’t change everything out just to decorate – the candlesticks on the left, the vase on the right and my For Like Ever print are constants. And that guy in the middle? That’s Herme. I bought him two years ago from artist Brenda Little here in OKC. He stands about 20 inches tall and is entirely handmade. He’s also my favorite decoration – I love the slight grimace on his face (that’s what attracted me to him in the first place!) that most of us feel during the holiday season.

Elsewhere.I love the “ice” covered grapevine wreath that’s hanging over the door to my hall closet. When I first bought it a few years ago I left it out year-round. The Merry star that adorns the door to my garage was a super great deal last year at Target the 26th! This little rolly-poly Santa that sits on my end table is my most fun piece! As you should be able to tell by now, I love vintage Christmas pieces and he fits the bill nicely.