Saturday, December 27, 2014

Family Christmas Brunch...

 We all look forward to my mom's annual Christmas brunch where the menu is an unchanging homage to all of our favorite things.  Swedish meatballs and hearts of artichoke salad top my list, but the tenderloin, shrimp, smoked salmon, berries, cookies (especially buckeyes), cheesy potatoes, bacon and eggs are pretty appealing, too!

 Unfortunately Nancy was too tired to make the trip this year, but we were happy Emma's handsome friend was able to join in our family fun!  I am sure he had no idea he was going to be responsible for hanging Davy the Deer on the Christmas tree after Emma read the folk tale, but he handled our family tradition with ease!

Thanks for another outstanding holiday celebration, Mom and Dad.
You sure know how to capture the spirit of the season.

Friday, December 26, 2014

A Southern Comfort Christmas Dinner...

We love sharing Christmas dinner with the Tillotsons and our southern inspired menu made an encore appearance this year.  In 2013 Finn had a craving for old fashioned macaroni and cheese and that dictated a soul food inspired Christmas menu.  It was so good that I just had to do it again!

 A Second Southern Comfort Christmas
the menu

Southern Sweet Pickle Deviled Eggs
Spiced Pecans
Lemon Garlic Shrimp and Grits
Fried Chicken
Nan's Collard Greens
Black-eyed pea salad
Green Beans
Macaroni and Cheese

 After enjoying our gluttonous feast we exchanged gifts with Nancy and the Tillotsons before parting ways for the evening. It was a festive and delicious end to a very merry day!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Morning...

Christmas morning is always a relaxed affair around our house. Santa always drops off a ttraditionalassortment of presents for the kids and pets.
 Fitz was especially excited on his first Christmas and loved that Santa recognized what a handsome young man he has grown into.  He received a very manly collar in his stocking and is already making noise about wanting a Harley next year, but his tough guy routine still needs more work!

 Oh and this is the face a girl makes when she learns she will be visiting France in the new year! Hope your Christmas morning was filled with just as many cozy surprises as ours.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve Dinner

 In true Christmas Eve Style, after sipping on a dirty martini and a little shimp cocktail,  we opened a stunning 2008 Chateauneuf-du-Pape and served it alongside a truly stunning beef tenderloin roast I picked up at Carnivore.  I rounded out our steak-house menu with a lovely Caesar salad, broccoli, onion rings, wild mushroom ragout, horseradish sauce and Swedish potato fans. Nancy joined in for our hyper-traditional dinner along with some of our favorite folks on the planet!

After slicing up the red velvet cheesecake Emma helped make for dessert we lounged around in a serious food coma.  After such a lovely dinner all we had left to do was wait for the fun of Christmas morning; what a wonderful way to kick-off Christmas!

Peace, Love and Joy...

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


This afternoon I walked Lu and Fitz over to the new grooming shop around the corner to get their nails trimmed.  Lu was particularly chipper about the outing and since her tail was wagging like crazy I asked the groomer to see if she would let him give her scraggly coat a spruce.  We'll she loved getting her haircut so much she came out looking like a totally different dog. She even went under the blow-dryer.  She looks sort of looks like an irresistible rodent...or maybe a micro deer. So this is for you, Mom...

Monday, December 15, 2014

Looking for Santa...

Fitz is gearing up for his first Christmas at home.  Every time is ask him if Santa is coming he looks out the window like he is waiting to see an old friend.  Our holly-jolly puppy is too darn cute!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Pasta Dinner...

Last week-end we want to get a little Frig fix for the holidays!  I whipped up some Spaghetti all Amatriciana, Caesar salad, fresh bread and assorted antipasto while the Frigs made a batch of their famous Pizzelle cookies. We shared a bottle of wine and a very leisurely family-style dinner before heading to the Morton Arboretum to take in their holiday illumination display.  It was a festive way to spend an evening! 

O Christmas Tree...

Each shining light
Each silver bell
No one alive spreads cheer so well

Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree,
You'll ever be unchanging

Monday, December 1, 2014


The Shamrocks enjoyed their annual banquet this evening where Finn received his varsity letter.
This is a pretty huge honor for any freshman on its own, but Finn also received the Coach's award for his adaptability, work ethic and positive attitude.  He has our entire family bursting with pride!  

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014: Dish of the Day...

I love having a wacky array of Thanksgiving side dishes and my menu this year featured everything from dim sum dumplings to bourbon Brussels sprouts. While our mashed potatoes with panko and Parmesan were out of this world and our locally sourced turkey was the star of the day, I have to say that my favorite side this year had to be this super simple confetti corn!  It is filled with so many things that are bad for a person you just know it had to be good!  

Confetti Corn

10 bacon slices, chopped
8 cups fresh sweet corn kernels (about 7 ears)
1 Large white onion, chopped
3/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
3/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
12-ounces cream cheese, cubed
1 cup half-and-half
2 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 Cup snipped fresh chives

Cook chopped bacon in a large skillet until crisp; remove bacon, and drain on paper towels, reserving 2 tablespoons drippings in skillet. Set bacon aside.

Sauté corn, onion, and bell peppers in hot drippings in skillet over medium-high heat 6 minutes or until tender. Add cream cheese and half-and-half, stirring until cream cheese melts. Stir in sugar, salt, and pepper. Top with bacon and chives.

Leftover Day...

No shopping for us on Black Friday!  We all look forward to snuggling up and hunkering down with our friends on leftover day!  We  wore our pajamas and ate as many Thanksgiving leftovers as we could while watching five movies!

Leftover Day Films 2014:
Swiss Family Robinson 
Adventures in Babysitting
City Slickers
Troll 2
Moonrise Kingdom
Even though we enjoyed our Thanksgiving scraps all day long, no Leftover Day is complete without a midnight pizza delivery!
This truly is one of the best days of the year!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Giving Thanks...

Sure I grilled a turkey and we had all the appropriate side-dishes on the menu, but Thanksgiving 2014 at our house was affectionately referred to as the "pass the baby party!"  We were lucky enough to have 7-week old, Kavi and his family around our table this year,  He slumbered peacefully in every set of arms in the house for the full length of his visit; I know we were all thankful for those cuddles. 

We also hosted our dear friends Asim and Madhuri who made the trek to our table from Washington DC; it was an honor to have them share such a special day with our family for many reasons, but most especially because Madhuri had never celebrated Thanksgiving before!  

We were thrilled my brother, his wife and their two amazing boys could make it to our house this year.  I just love watching them hang out with Finn and I know Finn loves his cousins for giving him the opportunity to play like a kid again!
I made the rolls as tradition dictates while Fitz made the most of his first Thanksgiving, too!
I've been hosting this holiday for so long that it seems almost impossible we could be celebrating "firsts" again, but it sure was fun.

My parents bring the appetizers to our celebration and my dad always cooks up something new and unique for our table.  This year he wrapped some crackers in bacon.  They may sound simple, but these little buggers were dangerously good!  My mom rounded our her display with  walnut hummus, crab spread and harvest popcorn.

Madhuri,our Thanksgiving newbie, was hands-on in the kitchen and eager to help pull together the last minute trimmings!  I was more than grateful for her help.
Thanksgiving 2014/The Menu
Pear Sparkler Cocktail
Salt and Pepper Grilled Turkey and Gravy
Sourdough Stuffing With Swiss Chard, Dates and Turkey Sausage
Fresh Cranberry Sauce with Pears and Vanilla
Mashed Potatoes with Panko and Parmesan
Bacon, Bourbon and Dijon Brussels Sprouts
Sweet Potato Dim Sum with Sage Butter, Pine Nuts and Crispy Shallots
Creamy Fried Confetti Corn
Roasted Cauliflower with Dates and Pumpkin Seeds
Pickled Root Vegetables
Green Beans with Oranges
French Rosemary Rolls with Salt Butter
Ginger Snap Pumpkin Pie with Ginger Cream
Salted Caramel Tart
Caramel Apple Cheesecake Jars
Dim Sum for all the little treasures of my heart.
One hour pickles with goat cheese

In addition to this being that final Thanksgiving before Emma heads off to college, we are losing one of our favorite families to the Big Apple.  I am sharing Kaberi's Facebook post here in order to insure she keeps her word that she will bring her beautiful brood back next year despite the distance that will soon be between us.  After-all, Asim and Madhuri proved miles don't matter!
Considering there were a couple of "lasts" among all these "firsts," I made perfect sense to eat our feelings!  Thankfully Emma whipped up a duo of holiday worthy desserts; pumpkin pie with gingersnap crust and salted caramel tart.  O-my-yum!

We could not be more grateful for our house full of friends and family this Thanksgiving.
Celebrating firsts and lasts among our loved one is a privilege not to be taken lightly.
Any it was delicious, too!
Love and Turkey!
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