Monday, April 13

i'm still here!

Hello, friends!  I'm still hanging in here.  We are crazy busy but well.  I have not been taking too many photos lately in the midst of all the craziness, but I have taken a few from Easter that I thought I'd share.  I baked all Easter morning to get these done in time, but I can tell you, that bunny tush has brought me a ridiculous amount of happiness, making all the effort worth it.  

I had seen this one on line a few years ago and have wanted to make it since.  I carved out a bunny hole, frosted the cake to look like a tree stump, popped the bunny in, and added some grass and flowers.   This one made me so happy!  

For the cupcakes, I stocked up on some yummy Easter candy from Williams-Sonoma, piped some grass out of buttercream, and topped it off with the candy and bunnies I had made ahead of time.   They were all a hit! 
I hope your holidays were wonderful!

Best,
Stephanie

Friday, March 27

and i was doing so well, too ...

Well, I did have the best of intentions.  I did.  And I would have been back had a family member not had a terrible accident just days after my last post.  Thankfully, a full recovery is anticipated.  It will be a long road, but we're grateful there is a road to walk at all.  So the baking, decoration, photo-taking fun stuff has sadly taken a back seat right now.  But I did not want to abandon this sweet life and all you sweet people so I grabbed a free moment to come on and say,  Hello, old friend.  I've missed you.  Are you well?  xoxo

And to share a cute little photo that has been making me smile all day.  
  Because this little girl always makes me smile.  Even if she is a bit of a ham for the camera.  

Best,

Stephanie

Friday, February 20

it's soup weather!

It's definitely soup weather in most of the country.   And what could be yummier than a delicious baked potato soup?   This one is so fast and easy, and I know your family will love it.

1.   Take 6 slices of bacon, cut into one inch pieces, and cook in a large (heavy) stock pot until cooked. Remove from pot, and place on plate - set aside. Then pour off almost all of the fat. 
2.  Add in one small diced onion and 3 stalks diced celery. Season with salt and pepper. Cook about 2 or 3 minutes.  You don't want to brown them, just cook them a little. 
3.   Add six potatoes, peeled and diced into small chunks. Cook about 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. 
4.   Then add in 8 cups of chicken broth. Bring to a gentle boil. Cook 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender. 
5.   Whisk 3 tbs of flour into one cup of milk. When thoroughly combined, pour into potatoes and stir in. Let cook for another 5 minutes or so. 
6.   Use a ladle or large strainer to drain off the chunks of veggies and put into a blender. You don't need to take them all if you like a chunkier soup, but I like my baked potato soup creamy. (Remember that veggies will expand as you puree so never fill it more than 2/3 of the way full.)  
 You may need to go back and add the remaining veggies. I did. 
7.   Pour it back into the pot, check for seasonings and adjust if needed.  (Like things a little spicy?  add in some Tabasco or red pepper flakes or your favorite hot stuff.) 
8.  Add in 1/2 cup of heavy cream, and 1 tbs chopped parsley and stir.  
9.  When you plate the soup, add in shredded cheddar and top with the bacon you cooked at the beginning. 

That's it - takes about 30 minutes all together.

Want something heartier?   Here is the link to my almost famous, completely delicious, steak soup.   Steak soup - click here. 

Best,
Stephanie 

Friday, February 13

baby it's cold outside!

Well friends, it is absolutely frigid up here!   Brrr...  But at least I have some beautiful flowers to keep me warm.   I had some of the girls over the other day, so between that and the flowers the hubs brought me, we have flowers everywhere...

Flowers on my desk .... 




Flowers in the living room .... 






Flowers in the kitchen ....



 And as always, a little something sweet.   




Happy Valentine's Day!   Hope your toes stay as warm as your hearts!   

Best,
Stephanie

Monday, February 9

another week, another Monday school closing...

It's getting a little crazy now.  This is the third Monday in a row the schools are closed due to the weather.   We've had enough Mother Nature.   And the way it worked out, they are closed next week for President's Day too.   But we've been warming things up over here this week.   Excuse the phone shots, but there have been cakes ... 


Little love notes on the front door...  (I had to write on the inside so the snow would not smudge it, but not too bad for writing backwards!) 
 Hot cocoa with whipped cream and sprinkles in pretty pink cups ...
 Warm toasty fires ...
 
And then all of a sudden winter doesn't seem so bad at all.
Hope it is warm and sunny where you are today!  Or at least warm and cozy!  
Best,
Stephanie

Tuesday, February 3

and just like that ...

..it's February!  (And I'm still posting! woo hoo!)    Not to much going on here - the Northeast is pretty much covered in snow.   This is what it looks like around here - though this was about 8 inches ago ...
 I can tell you - it has been pretty cold too.  So cold, that a group of kids from our church, ages 14 to 18 - including mine - participated in a Midnight Run last week.  They went into the city to deliver food and clothing to the homeless in New York City.   I was so proud of these kids!  That night with the wind chill, it felt like it was about 3 degrees out.   They were bundled up in lots of layers as you can see. 


Over several weeks, they collected over 100 coats, about 200 sweatshirts, hundreds of socks, underwear, scarves, hats and gloves.   They also gave out toiletries and personal care items.   Finally, they made and handed out many gallons of soup and coffee, and many many sandwiches.   They had filled three Uhaul vans with things they collected.  And on that bitter cold night, they met kids their own age, and from 20's to one woman who was 82 years old!   So heartbreaking to see so many in need.   Everyone was so thankful though and the kids really made a difference to a lot of people that night.  They were out there from about 10pm until about 2:00 a.m. giving out what they could to help those in need.  

So that is what is happening around here!  I hope you and your loved ones are all warm and safe!

Best,
Stephanie

Monday, January 26

and back to winter ...






 As we sit here anticipating a huge winter storm in the Northeast, I guess it is time to move it along from my southern summer to this year.   We spent a few days up in Newport, Rhode Island this year before coming home for New Year's dinner with the family. 

There was great shopping and trips to small towns outside of Newport.  











 There were great views from our hotel room.  Day and night.


Some beautiful fireworks over the beach on New Year's Eve.  And a drive back to the hotel, lined with gorgeous summer "cottages". 

 
   We finished up the next day with a drive along the water and a reminder of why we love it here. 


 Newport is always one of our favorite getaways, no matter what the time of year.  
For those affected by the storm - stay safe and stay warm!
Best,
Stephanie