Butter Cookies

December 19, 2013

Yesterday I made Christmas cookies with my toddler using an old recipe from my great grandmother. While the cookies baked we all watch Rudolph the Red Nose Raindear as another 8″ of snow fell outside.  It was one of those perfect, perfect moments I will cherish even when I am old and gray.  (I also, didn’t remember all the characters in Rudolph being such jerks.  Seriously, Don Draper looks like a little bunny rabbit compared to Rudolph’s dad.  Gotta love the 60’s.)

But back to the cookies.  My mother would make these every Christmas and all us kids would decorate them with sprinkles.  With our Christmas party on Saturday, I thought this would be the prefect year to bring the tradition to my own family.  The recipe is beyond easy and the cookies are as advertized…butter cookies, requiring nearly two sticks of butter.  Yum!

3/4 lb butter
7/8 cup of sugar
2 eggs
4 cups of flour*
1 tsp vanilla extract

*I found the best gluten free flour!  It is by no means Paleo or anything like that but it totally gluten free and I swear the cookies taste exactly the same.  It is called Cup 4 cup and can be found here.


1. Cream butter and sugar together, then add flour, eggs and vanilla.

2. Stuff dough into a cookie press and go to town pressing cookies.  (If you haven’t used a cookie press before they are super easy and actually quite fun.  Here are a bunch of options on Amazon.)

3. Decorate as you like.

4. Bake in oven at 350˚ for 14-16 min depending on how thick each cookies is.

Here we are going at it yesterday.

ChristmasButterCookies-1 ChristmasButterCookies-2 ChristmasButterCookies-3 ChristmasButterCookies-4

Last Days of Summer

August 24, 2012

As we are nearing the official end of summer and kids are going back to school, I realized I hadn’t shared these images from my dinner party a few weeks ago.  My building seriously has the city’s best roof deck and I wanted get some of Lawrence McRae’s new line of votives in action.  They come in an array of gorgeous colors: mint, sapphire, chartreuse, and saffron, and they make the most gorgeous shadows when lit.  He will be selling them on his website soon, but I was lucky enough to get to borrow some.  I wanted to try and setup a proper photo shoot, but ended up having too much fun with my friends.  Nothing says summer more than evening cocktails outside.


So I am have been eating gluten free for almost 6 years now and am always on the look out for yummy gluten free recipes that don’t just replace white flower with rice flower.  It doesn’t taste as good and doesn’t really add a better nutritional value.  “Not worth the calories” as my mother would say.  Cue the whole Paleo craze.  The whole concept it to eat like a caveman basically, no grains, lots of meat, fruits and veggies.  Back when I found out I had Celiac, IBS and basically a very sensitive stomach I guess I started to eat that way without knowing it.  Now I am in no way a hard core Paleo eater, but I do like trying out some recipes.  I made this Banana bread the other day, which basically consists of almond flour, coconut flour and bananas…and it is yummy!  It is perfect for my busy morning breakfast.

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup flax seed meal
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large ripe banana, mashed
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 small loaf pans (5 3/4 x 3 1/2).
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
  3. Combine wet ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together.
  4. Pour wet into dry ingredients and mix until fully incorporated.
  5. Divide evenly (dough will be thick) into loaf pans and smooth the tops.
  6. Bake for about 35 minutes.
  7. Remove loaves from oven, let cool in pans for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to continue cooling.

Sous Style

July 11, 2012

So it has been an Erin Gates filled month for me.  (I joke that she is the fashion model muse to my Mario Testino.  In that I seem to be photographing her a ton this month.  I know it is a huge ego stretch to put myself in the same camp as Mr. Testino, but I digress.)  Sous Style did a “day in the life” feature on Erin, and I got to follow her around to photograph it.

Sous Style is lifestyle, cooking, home design, fashion website founded by the photo director of ELLE, Pippa Lord, and offers are fun, modern approach to entertaining.  Think a young, hip Martha Stewart.  Here are some shots from the editorial.  Click here for the full feature and to see Erin’s day.  She is one busy girl.

At Home:


At the office:


At the Design Center:


Checking in on a project:


Finally unwinding:

I have gotten a few requests for the White Chocolate & Peppermint Bark Recipe from the previous post.  It is super easy.  I order my chocolates and peppermint from Cake Art in Atlanta http://www.cakeart.com you can order online or call and order via the phone at 770-493-1505 but you can probably buy them lots of places.  That is just where my mom always gets them.

• Ck Products – Merkins 1 lb. White Chocolate
• Ck Products – Candy crunch Peppermint Red & Green 1lb

I typically use 5lb of white chocolate per 1 lb of peppermint.

• Use a double broiler to melt the chocolate. I don’t have one so use a 2 inch or so deep pan with some water.
• Heat the water to almost a boil. Then place a 2 quart pot in the pan of water.
• Place the white chocolates in the pot (I only heat up about 1 1/2 lb at a time).
• Stir until the white chocolate until smooth and creamy.
• Pull off stove and stir in peppermint
• Pour the chocolate onto a cookie sheet
• Place cookie sheet into freezer for 10 min (line the cookie sheet with wax paper helps)
• Break into pieces and eat or share :)

I hope this helps.


For as long as I can remember, my mother has made white chocolate candies for the Holidays.  In particular, white chocolate & peppermint bark.  The stuff is to die for…we are talking crack addictive level goodness.  Old roommates, office colleagues and friends would begin to ask me if my mom was sending the chocolates sometime right around Thanksgiving.  Without fail, that tin full of homemade candy would arrive shortly thereafter.  This year I decided to try my own hand at making my Christmas favorite to share with many of my new wonderful clients and friends.  Thankfully I had a batch of my mother’s on hand to taste test compare.  One burnt batch and 2 1/2 pounds of white chocolate later, I had the whole double broiler thing down to successfully melt chocolate.


While I haven’t had the feeling of a hangover in months (one of the perks on not drinking and pregnancy), Monday mornings are still tough, especially after a weekend of fun, friends and hot breakfasts at home.  I had a wonderful time, cooking breakfast each morning, getting our tree, decorating the house, hosting/attending a progressive dinner party, and having a sweet baby shower thrown for me by my dear Boston girlfriends.  After all that holiday fun, Monday morning comes as a rude awakening even to the most sober.  So back to work and just counting down the days until next weekend’s leisure mornings.


Instagram photo

Gluten Free Buckwheat Pancakes (I used this recipe from here)

  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 Tbsp sugar or honey
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup milk or almond milk
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter

Preheat griddle or large skillet (if electric) to 375 F. Grease lightly with oil. Griddle is ready when small drops of water sizzle and disappear almost immediately.

Mix dry ingredients together; add egg, milk and butter or margarine, beating well after each addition.

Pour 1/4 cup batter for each pancake onto hot griddle. Cook 1 to 1½ minutes, turning when edges look cooked and bubbles begin to break on the surface. Continue to cook 1 to 1½ minutes or until golden brow

Voila!  Gluten free, high protein pancakes.  Top with strawberries, maple syrup, Nutella, whatever.  I like making extra and saving them in the refrigerator as little power pellets to go through out the week.  I think they still taste great cold with nothing on them.

I still want to try these Paleo pancakes.


I fell in love with Cisco Brewers this past October when we visited the brewery and winery on a beautiful Nantucket day. (Live music, great drinks, sunshine, Nantucket…what more could your ask for?  I blogged about it here.)  So I was so super excited when I heard the 21st Amendment, one of our favorite neighborhood bar and restaurants, decided to host a special dinner event with Cisco.  Chef Nick prepared a 5-course tasting menu paired with 5 Cisco Brewery beers, and Matt Lambo from Cisco talked about each paring as the courses were served.

My friend Francesca (special event coordinator extraodinaire) asked me to pop by and photograph the event.  I love photographing food.  It is so fun to try and capture the feel, smell and taste of a dish.


So many great brews.


Starting if off with fresh made hot Bavarian pretzels.  Beer and pretzels, just made for each other.



It wouldn’t be New England with out some Chowda


The sliders looked so amazing I almost forgot I was working and grabbed one.


Captian Swain’s Extra Stout paired nicely with the sliders



Fish and Chips, perfectly paired with the Cisco flagship beer, Whale’s Tale Pale Ale



The 21st Amendment


Watching Matt pour The Woods was like watching an artist.






Beautiful pork tenderloin




Sherry Meatballs

December 22, 2010

At my brothers Christmas party we pulled out an oldie but goody family recipe, sherry meatballs.  The recipe comes from my Grandmother Margie Meyer, the daughter of my Great Grandma Finnegan of Holiday Mashed Potatoes fame. Those Midwest Irish ladies love their super healthy recipes…what else is going to get you though a Cleveland winter?!?!?  I thought I would share the recipe seeing as my husband and I were in charge of making 130 of these yummy suckers for my brother’s Christmas party…from scratch.


Original recipe written by my grandmother to my mother.


I love the vintage label on this container of Morton salt.  Makes me feel like grandma was there.






The hubs, checking on the progress of his batch.


Serve…in a chaffing dish as directed by grandma in her recipe.  I am not kidding.  I love it.


It was a true, old fashion Christmas party with tons of food, drink, family and friends.  It was wonderful.


Grandma Margie’s Sherry Meatball Recipe


1 lb ground sirlion

1/4 cup milk (Substitute soy milk for lactose intolerance…we did this at the progressive dinner.)

1/2 cup bread crumbs (For a wheat free/gluten free option I toasted gluten free bread, cooled them and then grounded the bread up in a food processor.)

2 tablespoons of minced onion

2 tablespoons of butter

1/2 sherry wine

1/2 of ketchup (Grandma wrote “catsup” on her recipe card…love it!)

1/4 teaspoon oregano


1. Mix together 1lb. ground sirloin (I prefer lean, grass feed ground beef), 1/4 cup of milk, 1/2 bread crumbs, 2 table spoons of minced onion, 2 teaspoons of salt and shape into 50 tiny balls (I typically only get 25-30 meatballs per pound.  Grandma must have had some depression era magic or I make mine way too big.  Either way they are still just as yummy.

2. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in saute pan or skilet.

3. Brown meatballs on all sides, drain, then return to pan.

4. Mix together 1/2 sherry wine, 1/2 ketchup, 1/4 teaspoon oregano, add salt to taste and pour over meatballs.

5. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.  Shaking pan occasionally to cook meatballs evenly.

6. “Serve in chafing dish” according to grandma:)


They are so delicious and perfect for an appetizer of buffet item.  They also freeze and reheat great, so make as many as your can and enjoy them for a while.  Let me know if you try the recipe and that you think.   Cheers!


Holiday Mashed Potatoes

November 18, 2010

With Thanksgiving a week away and Christmas right around the corner, I wanted to share one of my favorite holiday recipes: Holiday Mashed Potatoes.  Now 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.


Gorgeous Platine Bleue eggs I found.


Great-grandma Finnegan’s Mashed Potatoes


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)



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)


To serve:

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


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.:)


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