December 31, 2012

New Year's Dinner!

PKR Cranberry Vodka on the Rocks and Kettle One Up with a Twist
Roasted Rabbit Terrine and Truffle White Bean Dip with Crusty Bread and Olives
Baked Shrimp with a duo of dippers:
Raspberry Chipotle Sauce and Lemon Garlic Remoulade
Fried Artichoke Hearts with Seared Lemons, Capers and White Wine over Wilted Spinach
*Rainbow Fruit Kabobs for Elias
To Drink: Pouilly Fuisse and Bear Boat Pinot Noir
Cowgirl Steaks with Gorgonzola, Truffle, and Cracked Black Pepper Butter
Baked Onions 
Seared Porto Mushrooms with Balsamic Glaze
Red Bliss Potatoes Au Gratin with Rosemary
Roasted Brussel Sprouts
*Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Brown Butter for Elias
To Drink: Brunello
Duo of Miniature Creme Puffs; One Sweet and One Savory
Vanilla Ice Cream with Strawberry, Balsamic Vinegar, and Black Pepper Drizzle
To Drink: Bust out the Single Malt Baby!
Happy New Year!
Stay Tuned For Pictures!

December 29, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

Ya, I know, I is now the trend to NOT make resolutions...
But come on, have we really gotten that lazy?
We can't even muster up the energy to lie to ourselves anymore?!
Well, I'm still a fan of learning defeat, so here it goes; my top ten resolutions:

1. To start searching for my prom dress. Elias will be 17 before I know it.
2. To eat more green, less white.
3. To redefine "exercise" as "playtime."
4. To try a new recipe at least once a week, and open myself to new cuisines, techniques and food combinations...and to de-bone/fillet a fish somewhere in that process... (stay tuned as I am also going to attempt to add this adventure into the blog)...
5. To stop lying to myself and really clean out my closet...honestly, am I ever going to wear that shit again?!
6. To take as many baths and naps with Elias as possible before it is considered inappropriate.
7. To do one thing a day for myself; read, paint, draw, create, stretch, exercise, nap...
8. To plant a flower garden
9. To ween myself off of my magazine/newspaper addiction. Honestly Karra, when was the last time you read any of those 'New Yorkers', cover to cover? Get real.
10. To continue to make my family and true friends my priority; to laugh with them, to cry with them, to love them and to foster our relationships from a new place. To make every day, every week, every month brighter than last.

Happy New Year's Everyone!
I hope this new year finds us, and our loved ones, all happier and healthier!
See you in January!
Cheers, k

December 28, 2012


I hope you are all having a festive, fun, and friend-filled holiday season!
As we approach the New Year's weekend, I try to remember to balance the good with the not-so-good; This is why I run and do yoga. I read, and I write and play memory games. I love my family and friends, and try to tell them as much as possible. Then I drink copious amounts of red wine, eat blocks of cheese, and swear like a truck driver.
 It is all about balance, my friends.
 I like to think that this cranberry infused vodka is a great way to get my red fruits into my diet while celebrating the season. 
Made by two of my favorite people on earth, I know they have my best interests at heart.
 Cranberries are great for the kidneys, liver, digestive and urinary tracts; so go ahead, sip up, and think of all the good you are doing!
Like I said, it is all about balance.
Happy Friday!
xx, k
PS. I stand corrected from my last post...this was my favorite gift!

December 27, 2012

Favorite Gift!

This cookbook might be my favorite gift!
Katie Quinn Davies is a food/photography blogger from Australia, and the images of her food are works of art. They are truly stunners...texture, lighting, color...
My sister turned me onto Katie a few short weeks ago, and I adore her much that I went out and got it for myself for xmas. He he he...
Thank you Whitney, this may be my new coffee table book of the season!
 I look forward to flipping through this again and again.
If you haven't seen her blog yet, check the link below, or you can access it from my blog list as well.

December 23, 2012

Shout Out Sunday

Dear Bill,
A lifetime of shoutouts go to you, your love, your generosity, your humor, and your spirit.
This week, more than ever, I hope that everyone holds their loved ones closer, and celebrates the season Bill Martin style.

This was the last picture take of Bill before he left us this past year.
We are still waiting for you to walk back through that door...
You are so missed.

December 22, 2012

A Stew by Heart

Cold weather doesn't mean that seafood has to be off the docket. This seafood stew (my own version of bouillabaisse/cioppino) continues to shift and develop every time I make it. It is the perfect solution to heavy meat, cheese and/or carb-based comfort foods. However, you don't want to push this concept too far...a quality loaf of warm, crisp, crusty bread is a must for sopping up all of those holiday emotions.
Dippy Dippy.

Basic recipe (feel free to adjust ingredients to your taste):
1 lb. of hot sausage (loose or link cut into coins)
1 small yellow onion (chopped)
1 small bulb of garlic (chopped)
1 handful of fresh basil, torn into pieces
seafood stock (+-2 cups)
1 large can of whole San Marzano tomatoes
1 large jar of crushed San Marzano tomatoes
1/2 cup of quality dry white wine
crushed red pepper (+-2 tbsp)
Seafood/fish (I use, and recommend a mix of large scallops, shrimp, squid tentacles, chopped and fresh clams, cod fillets...however you can use any mix of your favorite seafood/shellfish); go light on the seafood stock; add the seafood, simmer and taste; add either more stock and/or seafood depending on the amount of diners or preference.
parm/romano cheese for serving
escarole (1 head, triple cleansed, spun and chopped)
1. Set up your stuff; chop garlic, onion, slice sausage if it is links, clean/de-vein the seafood, clean and chop escarole....
2. In a large soup pot, brown sausage with a splash of oil
3. Add garlic and onion and cook until fragrant. Don't overcook the garlic!
4. S/P and Hot Pepper
5. Add tomatoes, wine, seafood stock and basil
6. Simmer and adjust spices to taste 
*Put bread in oven to warm/crisp*
7. Add seafood and cook approximately 10 minutes before serving. Watch carefully and don't overcook! Don't add your seafood too soon, it cooks almost directly and you don't want to kill it.
8. Taste and adjust spices. Add more red pepper if you want it spicier, add more stock, parm cheese and/or some butter if you want to mellow the acidity.
9. Add escarole and stir in about 5 minutes before serving (or place on top for presentation/tell your guests to stir into their stew)
10. Serve with fresh parm/romano and chunks of warm crusty bread. 

December 21, 2012


Happy Friday Everyone!
Due to his extremely busy schedule Santa is coming to our home tonight. Let the big lie begin...
Dark Chocolate, Cherry and Salt Oatmeal Cookies for Santa

Energy Treats for the Reindeer

December 20, 2012

Chalkboard + Pretty Song for the Holidays

I have a number of songs that bring me back every holiday, but Kate Rusby's 'Here We Come A Wassailing' is the one that truly touches my heart. I love her voice, and although she is British, her accent and the instrumentals in this song are reminiscent of my stay in Ireland. On the way to school today, Elias asked to hear 'the pretty song,' and this was what he was talking about:

December 19, 2012

Artichoke Piccata Love

Recently Todd and I went to a Spanish restaurant in town. Hurrah! A date! When we got there we were a little concerned because it was prime dining hour (7:00), but the restaurant was empty. Regardless, we decided to stay, and try it out for ourselves. We were going to have a date, dammit!

We ordered the 'Artichoke Picatta' appetizer and it was incredible! We practically licked our plates clean.
Everything else we ate was equally as delicious, and because we had the place to ourselves we had the undivided attention of the waitstaff. Also, because it is 'byob' we got to enjoy our favorite wine without having to pay the typical restaurant mark-up. 
We were even joined by a visiting professor, who sat next to us, ordered the fried sardines, and drank his '40' from a paper bag. The next time I go, I am going to take his lead because they looked perfectly salty and crisp...however I think I'll stick to our wine (but maybe drink it out of a paper bag to create the allure of being a bad ass).

This is my version of the artichoke appetizer we enjoyed.
You can serve it as a salad or an appetizer, and is a great vegetarian option for a dinner party.
It is as fast and easy as it is delicious.

1 Jar of Marinated Artichoke Hearts
2 cups bread crumbs or panko seasoned with s/p
oil for pan searing

1 bag of baby spinach, rinsed and spun

3 tblsp. non-parielles capers
1/2 stick of butter
splash of white wine
juice from one lemon
extra lemon wedges for serving

1. Do not rinse the artichoke hearts;
Keep them in their oil marinade and dredge them in the breadcrumbs.
2. In a hot pan, sear the artichokes until the breading on each side is golden brown.
3. Simultaneously pan sear the capers and then add butter, white wine, and lemon juice to make a sauce. Taste and adjust flavors to your liking.
4. You can steam the spinach if you wish, or serve it fresh and uncooked.
5. Assemble by placing the spinach on a platter; top with the artichokes and drizzle with the lemon/white wine/butter/caper sauce.
6. Snack and smile!

*Alternative: Eliminate the frying and bake the artichokes!


December 18, 2012

Winter at Green Bridge

"Winter at Green Bridge"
Oil and Collage on Canvas (36x42)
Text by James Joyce, "The Dubliners"
Detail of text from Jame's Joyce 'The Dubliners'
"They lived and laughed and loved and left"

With this holiday season upon us, I can't help but think of those loved and lost. This quote is inscribed on Bill's gravestone.
He will be deeply missed this holiday season and forever.

December 17, 2012

Edible Gifts

Strawberry, Balsamic Vinegar, and Black Pepper Preserves

The black pepper in this jam adds a surprising kick, and seems to get more pronounced with time. I serve this on crostini spread with a nice triple creme; or serve it over vanilla ice cream for a decadent dessert. Yum.

8 cups of fresh, ripe strawberries, cleaned and cut
3/4 cup of sugar
4 tsp. aged balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon of fresh ground pepper
1 packet of fruit pectin

1. Prepare your ingredients and your canning equipment; get water boiling for canning process (see link below for canning procedures).

2. Cook and chop strawberries slowly in a large pot over medium until almost boiling. 

3. Stir in the balsamic vinegar and pepper.

4. Stir the sugar and pectin together, then add to the strawberry mixture.

5. Let the mixture simmer for about 15 minutes; remove any foam with a large spoon and discard.  
**You don't have to do this step, but it will make for a clearer preserve.

6. Can the strawberry preserve according to canning instructions (link below)

7. Let cool + add labels so you and/or your recipients know what you made. Dates are always good too.

8. Refrigerate or store; serve over triple creme, goat cheese with crisp crackers, bread or the like...or drizzle over vanilla ice cream for a decadent dessert. Yum.
(I manipulated this recipe from one I found on over a year ago; I didn't copy it exactly or print out the recipe, so this recipe was derived from my scribbly notebook. The first batch I made came out super sweet, so I cut back on the sugar...let me know what you think)!

December 16, 2012

Teacher Appreciation

Make sure you show your teachers, and your children's teachers, how much you care this week. When you are checking your list, check it twice for those who serve as mothers, fathers, mentors, roll models, coaches, counselors, advocates, nurses, mandated reporters, and friends...oh, and educators to your children.
A small token of appreciation goes a long way in showing them you care about how hard they work for you and your loved ones.
(Wrapping paper, ribbon and crayon ornaments all found at Target! Man, I love that store....)

Sad Sunday Shoutout

This Sunday's Shoutout goes to all of the families and loved ones of the victims in the Connecticut shooting this week.
I'll be hugging my baby tighter than ever.

December 15, 2012

Dirty Chai Drinking Yogi

Started the day off with an hour and a half of hot yoga at Lehigh Valley Yoga. It has been since August that I truly pulled out my mat, and I now have a renewed sense of calm. If any of you live close to this studio I highly recommend this class; They crank up the heat, but the instructors aren't as 'mean' as the Bikram instructors I have encountered. They push you, but they don't yell at you and make you feel inadequate. Don't get me wrong, I love a good, badass, Bikram class, but this studio offers a nice alternative. I always leave feeling like I can conquer the world.
Check out this link if you're intrigued:

Directly after my class I headed to the nearest coffee house to fill my belly with caffeine. I have always been a black coffee drinker; luke warm or cold, never hot.
People who ordered elaborate drinks annoyed the shit out of me.
Until today. I asked the barista if it was possible to get a non-fat Chai with two shots of espresso, luke warm...Well this turned into what she has informed me is called a "Double Dirty Skinny Chai Latte done Child's temp." I guess I am living proof that people can, in fact, change...and be crazy coffee drinking fools...I might, however, only order this if somebody is not behind me in line to save face...
Happy Saturdady Everyone!

December 14, 2012

Happy Friday!

A nice glass of "Cult" Cabernet in a toddler proof glass + a stack of funny scenario cards = A great way to start the weekend.

Have a great weekend everyone!
Remember that half of that shit you are about to buy will be on sale in two weeks!

December 13, 2012

Birthday Brainstorm

"Cute As Buttons"
1st Birthday Centerpieces 



Even with all of the holiday craziness, I have been thinking about Elias' Birthday coming up in a month. I know, I am obsessed with this kid....Regardless, I found these images from his first birthday and wanted to share them with you. These were the centerpieces for his "Cute as a Button" themed party, and I love the way they almost have personalities. Any suggestions on what this year's theme should be?!
ps. The 'buttons' are from Martha Stewart's craft line at 'Michaels,' and are made out of thick cardstock with a sticky back. I curled the wire and then adhered the bottons together at the top of the wire. They popped apart shortly after the meal, so if you are making them ahead of time, I would suggest using hot glue to adhere them together...unless you want to find a bunch of semi-sticky buttons all over your house...

December 12, 2012

Let the Gift Giving Begin!

Adding a pop of color dresses up this otherwise usual wrapping. Hot pink for a great girl! Let the gift giving begin.

December 11, 2012

Holiday Fun Take One

Small Holiday Tree

Living Room Mantle
Pottery Barn Owl; I love this guy

Some of my favorite characters: 

 Stay tuned for more silliness...

December 10, 2012

Christmas Bouquet

Give your centerpiece a festive and youthful edge this holiday season by adding giant lollipops to your bouquet. The only drawback is trying to keep your eager toddler from gobbling them down...

December 9, 2012

Abstract Landscape

Abstract Landscape 2009
Oil on Canvas
Approximately 36 x 54

Shoutout Sunday

This Sunday's shoutout goes to all of the policemen and EMTs that helped my mom this past week; especially Kevin Birtle who wrangled Lola back home. Old Forge is an incredible town with incredible people. After moving to a larger area, I greatly appreciate that so many people rushed to her aide, knew exactly who she was, who to call, and where to bring her dog.
In addition to the EMTs and Policemen that helped my mom, I also want to send a shoutout to all of those who have called, stopped to visit, and brought food to her during this difficult time.
Thank you Old Forge!

December 7, 2012

Holiday Shopping List

So, I'm off to shop for myself. I mean, I'm off to shop for the holidays. Here are a few of my ideas to make holiday spirit's bright. Mind you, some of these gifts exist in a land without medical bills, house bills, food bills or other life necessities, but a girl can dream...and window shop...or max out her credit card...Others are totally doable regardless of your personal budget.
Dreamy gifts for me...I mean her:
Serena and Lily's Navy Blue Pom-Pom Throw + a bottle of nice Pinot Noir = Happiness
ps. sale until 12/18!!!
Any piece of jewelry from my friend Katie's site, Adler-Grier, or the Sundance catalogue. Fetching!
Classic Gift for Him:
Macallan Single Malt Scotch
Great gifts for co-workers, groomers, friends, friends of friends, teachers...
My good friend Jo brought me these Bequet caramels as a hostess gift. At first I thought, "Oh, that is nice." Then I ate one...then two...then I hid the bag and didn't share them with anyone. Including my husband. I know that sea salt is all of the rage right now, but trust me, there is a reason. Order the sea salt caramels. Decadent.
Another great gift my girlfriend Jo brought: She made a batch of biscotti and put it in a large glass canister. In addition she gave us glass bottles of 'La Colombe' Pure Black, Cold Pressed Coffee. This stuff is crack-cocaine for housewives. I drank one before my half marathon in June, and I was good to go for the first nine miles. I haven't slept since.

Sur la Table's fun and festive holiday ornaments. Some of my favorites; slab of bacon, eggs benedict and the bbq food truck.

"Cookie of the Month Club." I have never done this, but I love the idea! You don't use a website or bakery. You make the cookies yourself and send them to your loved ones every month. What a great way to show somebody you think about them all year long. Thank you Maryanne! I'm totally going to steal this! :)

Anything homemade. I know this is a craze, but there is a reason for this craze. Last year's favorite was Paul and Kathy's homemade 'Cranberry Infused Vodka.' It arrived in a decorative bottle, adorned with a homemade label. Kathy's script was the finishing touch....except the floor...where I ended up after enjoying the entire bottle with my brother.
For the kiddos:
Again, I have to give a shout out to Serena and Lily. They collaborated with Hanna Andersson and made pajamas. The result is the Hanna Andersson style we all love with the Serena and Lily textile patterns we can't get enough of. Pair these with a set of Hanna Andersson Swedish moccasins = baby bliss. Elias will be rockin' these this year.
Okay. Serious shit. For any of you who know me, know that I have a problem...a serious addiction to 'Jellycat' stuffed animals. Elias has five million of these, and I give them for gifts to everyone I know who has a child under the age of 16. I am pretty sure I buy them for myself. This season's favorites are 'The Babbington Cat,' or any of the 'Mad Pets Collection, especially Matilda.'

The past year I started to give the gift of books; cookbooks to be more precise. It is a risky venture since we all have different and diverse tastes in what we read and eat, so I always tuck the gift receipt in the front page, but to me, there is nothing that feels as good as a brand new, unbroken, hard-covered cookbook in my grasp. I pair it, wrapped in the ribbon, with a seasonal favorite; a set of ceramic measuring spoons, a cookie cutter, a good cooking knife (I'm not superstitious about that one)...maybe one of the fun Sur la Table ornaments I suggested above.
Here are my top 5 cookbooks for this holiday season:
Edible Selby by Todd Selby. This Brooklyn photographer goes behind the scenes in restaurants from around the world; paired with watercolor illustrations and text this book is a beaut.e.
What Katie Ate: Recipes and Other Bits and Pieces by foodie blog/photographer Katie Quinn Davies. Her food photography makes you want to lick the pages.
The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman. I, like the rest of the world, love this woman. She is not a chef, which is her appeal; she is approachable, and for the rest of us, makes us feel like we are not alone in this culinary adventure. She is a celebrated food blogger, and her cookbook delights both the eyes and the stomach.

The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook by Ridge, Gluck and Kilmer-Purcell. This keepsake cookbook makes a lovely gift that can be passed through friends and family. Bonus: It contains a recipe for Utica Greens!

Tender by Nigel Slater. A staple on my shelf and a gardener's dream.
My Top Five Gifts to Never Give Anyone. Ever. Ever.
1. Fragrance. Unless she/he has been wearing it for years and has specifically asked you for a refill.
2. An etiquette book...although I've been tempted on many an occasion...
3. Fruitcake.
4. Pets. If somebody gave me a puppy I'd knock their block off.
5. Diet pills.
Happy Holidays Everyone! We are very close!

Be Safe This Weekend!
This picture was taken at my mom's and my favorite restaurant in Utica, NY last Spring. Although this was a sad meeting, anytime spent with my mom is good. This weekend's toast goes out to you mama. Cheers to a speedy recovery!
I love you.
Everyone, raise your glasses to your moms! 

December 5, 2012

Mom's Painting

Mixed Media (Primarily Oil on Board); 2010
36' x 36'
 Text from T.S.Eliot, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"
This work was constructed with my mother at heart. I used T.S.Eliot's poem 'The Lovesong of J.Alfred Prufrock' because it is one of her favorite poems, and the application of paint is reminiscent of "the smoke that slides along the street," representing the passage of time. This is one of my favorite pieces and has a permanent place in our home.

December 4, 2012


Goodnight + Sleep Tight

December 3rd Run!?!

December 3rd...
Is there something wrong with this picture? Two days ago the ground was covered with snow... Yesterday, this is what my run looked like. Beautiful, sunny and warm.
I'm not complaining because it got my butt off of the couch, but I think I'll put the aerosol bottles away...

December 3, 2012

Self Portrait


Blind Contour Self Portrait
This is an exercise in observation. Use only one continuous line, and try to look only at what you are drawing (not the paper). This was one of the first exercises I would do with my drawing classes, and the purpose is to get people to look at what they are drawing, not at their paper. Try it! It doesn't necessarily have to be a self portrait, you can try it with any object on your desk. It is a fun diversion from work, especially if you have a case of the Monday blues...

December 2, 2012

Sunday Shoutout!

This Sunday's shoutout goes to family, who are the glue that holds the world together. After a horrible year of loss in our family I am blessed with their love, friendships and greatful for all of them. Thank you for traveling far and long to spend time with us this weekend, and start the holiday season off together!
I love you!