Leftovers

November 27, 2011

Well I have packed one more little plate of Thanksgiving leftovers to take with me on the plane and am heading back to Boston after a wonderful week in Atlanta.  This was my last pre-baby air travel, and I crammed in lots of work (preparing to pass off some projects for a client in Atlanta), visits with friends, dinners with family, a college football game, and some baby shopping with my mom.  It was a great week, but I am ready to get back to Boston.  Christmas is my absolutely favorite holiday and I have lots of decorating and holiday prep to do.  Not to mention cram in all the work, photo shoots and nesting I can do before baby comes in late January.  So I promise, lots more posts.

Thanksgiving center piece created by the talented people at Boxwoods in Atlanta.

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My attempt at some southern style cheese straws…they came out merged as one big cheese straw on a cookie sheet.

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My attempt at an apple chrisp with tart crust bottom…gluten free and Paleo style (used almond flower)  It actually came out quite good.  One point for me!

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But I left the big stuff to my mom.  Perfect as always…

Turkey Time

November 23, 2011

I am in Atlanta for Thanksgiving and my final trip before I am grounded.  Then all I have to do is sit around and wait for baby…well that and get in as much work, organizing, going out to dinners, everything, done before the little cherub enters our life in January.  I posted this last year around this time, but thought I would share it again, as it is one of my favorite holiday recipes.

I am sure there are as many ways to make mashed potatoes as there are families that make them, but this is my family’s way; passed down from my great-grandma Finnegan.  It is not a terribly difficult recipe; it just takes a little time.  I swear, the end result is the creamiest, most savory and seriously delicious mashed potatoes on this earth…like better than dessert good.  My mom and I are making them tomorrow.

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Gorgeous Platine Bleue eggs I found.

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Great-grandma Finnegan’s Mashed Potatoes

Ingerdients

3 lb. or 12 medium sized potatoes

8 oz. package of cream cheese

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup milk

2 eggs (lightly beaten)

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Steps:

1. Boil potatoes until cooked and tender (test with a fork).  Then peal potatoes while they are still hot.  The hot potato skin should just peal off by hand.  (Maybe wear gloves too…they can be really hot.)

2. Beat and mash potatoes while hot and add the cream cheese and butter.  *It is easiest to cube up the butter and cream cheese and blend them in with the hot mashed potatoes.  The heat helps melt the cream cheese and butter in smoothly.

3. Add eggs and milk together as one and blend

4. Salt and pepper to taste if you like

5. Place in 9 x 13 glass, oven safe dish and refrigerate (Do not freeze)

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To serve:

Preheat oven to 350˚F and cook covered for 30 minutes or until warm throughout.

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Would love to hear any feed back if people try this recipe.  Let me know what you think.  I think they are the best on the plant. :)

I am in such admiration my wonderful friend and old New England Aquarium cohort, Christine, that I had to share with you what she is up to.  She is an Environmental Resource Management volunteer with the Peace Corps in Fiji!  Sure Fiji can be a tropical paradise with azure waters and some of the most pristine coral reefs still in existence, but her small village is a far cry from the resorts of Bora Bora.  We are talking spiders hiding in your rolls of toilet paper and no power outlets.  The only source of energy are solar panels on each roof to provide electricity for lighting.  Needless to say I would last about 45 min there. She is amazing.

A project in which she is working involves the children of the village.  She works on group teeth brushing every morning, as well encouraging trash and litter clean up.  For completing these tasks the children get fake coins or money, which they can then use to purchase small toys and games from her little “store.”  Here is where we can help.  Christine needs some help in stocking this “store.”  We are talking about small, dollar store items, nothing too big or expensive.  The items need to fit in with the other toys she has to offer and allow the children the opportunity to save up enough coins to get something.

The hope is that through this program, the children of the village are learning trash management skills, dental hygiene and also learning a bit about handling money and a sense of appreciation for saving it.

If you want to help she would love it!  Here is a list of good items (we are talking dollar store items) and her address in Fiji.  Normal, slow mail will be fine.

• pretty pencils/stationary items

• crayons, colored pencils

• slinkies

• silly putty

• cheap jump ropes (other such outdoor toys)

• bouncing balls, inflatable balls (beach balls

• simple and cheap children’s picture books

• fake jewelry items for the girls

• matchbox car type things for the boys

Christine San Antonio
Box 831
Savusavu, Cakaudrove
Vanua Levu, Fiji
South Pacific

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More pictures from her village

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Christine’s house

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I have a trip to the dollar store on my to do list and a bunch of things I want to send Christine.  I hope you can join with me.

It’s Peak Time

November 14, 2011

The colors are exploding in Boston right now and the city is saturated in every shade of yellow, red and orange.  I know these colors are fleeting and will soon make way for the white of winter, but for now I am loving them.


Plus the colors really get you in the Thanksgiving/Fall spirit.  I even ventured to buy all the ingrediants to make a test-run, homemade, gluten-free, apple pie in preparation for Thanksgiving.  I’ll let you know if I actually get around to making the practice pie. :)

Settling in

November 9, 2011

With almost 3 weeks of no travel, I am finally beginning to feel settled into our new apartment and my new studio.  Believe it or not being pregnant has slowed down my travel schedule and has allowed me to accomplish some small lingering tasks.  Don’t get me wrong, I still have a “to do” list about a mile long and that whole pregnancy nesting instinct has hit me hard core, but I am actually enjoying it a bit.

While sorting through and archiving photo shoots, I came upon these New York Fashion Week leftovers.

Florence – turista style

November 7, 2011

Just a bit more on my Florence getaway.

What we did, where we ate, and just how much gelato did I consume?  I cannot answer all of these, and will not answer the gelato question (somewhere between slightly shameful and consuming my body weight amounts), but here are some more photos and a small sampling of the sights we saw and places we ate.

Carousel in the Piazza della Repubblica, Santo Spirito, view of Duomo from Palazzo Vecchio

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Inside Palazzo Vecchio

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My old art supply store: Zecchi, and a vintage shop on Via San Gallo, featuring your quintessential American clothes.

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The famous pharmacy, Farmaceutica de Santa Maria Novella, dating from 1612.  They still sell an entire line of perfumes, creams, herbs, teas…practically anything.

They even have a line for pets.  I just adore the logo in the shape of a cat.

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Dinning, wine shops, etc.

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CIRO AND SONS

I found out about this place while searching for restaurants who offered gluten free pasta options.  From the looks of the outside we almost changed our dinner plans.  As my husband said, it looks like one of those places with pictures on the menu and it’s located, right near San Lorenzo, had me worried it was a tourist trap.  Once inside it was much more charming.  Nice design, and not your traditional tratoria, but it still had the kitschy charm of family photos on the wall and the family running the joint.  Oh, and most importantly, the food was great.  I got to have pasta, bread and the most delicious nutella crepes for desert, all gluten free.

via del giglio 28r  Florence, Italy

t. +39 055 289694

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Del Fagioli

Great lunch spot if you are in the Santa Croce area.  It felt very authentic (no English translations on the menu here) and is run by two brothers.  It seems like a popular lunch place for locals as we sway many a Italian business men enjoying lunch there complete with a glass of red wine.  Why can’t we adopt the whole drinking wine at lunch?

Corso dei Tintori
50122 Florence, Italy
t. +39 055 244285

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Enoteca Pontevecchio 

Located right near Santa Croce and Del Fagioli we found this delightful wine shop recommended to us by my aunt.  (Don’t worry this prego lady only tasted.)  The owners, Tony and Laura Sasa are wonderful and have shipping back to the states all set up.

Corso de Tintori

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Ora d’aria Ristorante

I read about this in the New York Times and Frank Bruni loved this place.  It is definitely one of those “dining” experiences, and while we enjoyed it (it was okay) what was more fun was the little “show” that occurred while we were there.  The kitchen is on full display to the diners, behind a wall of floor to ceiling sliding glass doors.  Cool, right…well wait.  Another pair of American dinners were seated slightly after us, right in front of the glass.  The scene played out like this:

Man and woman exclaim what foodies they are.

Man and woman order many courses and much wine.

Pasta course arrives, woman does not like it.

Woman sends it back.

Waiter walks into kitchen with rejected dish and has to tell chef

Not pleased with the critique the chef looks through the glass as if he wants to murder the woman.

A silent ballet continues with the chef shooting death looks at the woman, and she pretending to be oblivious to the chef’s glares, feet away with only a glass door between them.

In short, go for the dinner and stay for the show.  Open view kitchens are fun for many reasons. :)

Via dei Georgofili 11 R Firenze

tel +39 055 2001699

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We stayed at the JK Place located in the Piazza Santa Maria Novella.  The hotel is a pet among the design world and I can see why.  Impeccable decorated, in a chic but non stuffy way, this small hotel is a dream.  The service is wonderful and the food is fabulous.  Our room was ready when we arrived with no sleep and jet lagged (I think my baby discovered kicking on the transatlantic flight and thought it would be fun to practice a Zumba routine the entire time), and after a long day of walking. the common areas were a welcome oasis from the bustling streets of Florence.

It is difficult to visit Florence and not get caught up in a Chevy Chase style European vacation sprint to see all the greatest hits.  There is so much art and history there that you feel if you don’t try to see it all, you are not taking advantage of all the city has to offer.  I can definitely get in my art history major nerd mode, but I was determined to take it slow and really enjoy it.  Plus I wanted my hubby to love the city as much as I do, not feel like he was on some death march of Italian art history.  I think he did. :)  It was a wonderful little “baby-moon.”

Studio Space

November 2, 2011

A month ago the studio space, one door down from my current spot became available, and while I was sad to see my neighbors go (we miss you New Brahmin and Sam Mendoza) and sad to be moving a whole 15 feet away from my awesome shared studio space with Elements of Style/Erin Gates Design, I could not pass up the opportunity.  A whole space to myself, and enough room to properly shoot in studio, it is kind of a dream come true, if not a little terrifying with the added rent, responsibility and growth.  But sometimes you have to grow to grow, so I took the leap.

Plus the morning light that streams in is an absolute dream.

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More, to come as I settle in.  Oh and call me for photo shoots!  I am ready, available and motivated by the extra rent!  :)

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