Archive for December, 2011

Our Tree

December 21st, 2011 by pattiebell

Last year was our first Christmas at the Inn. We rounded up a few of the family’s Western ornaments and added some traditional Scandinavian straw stars that I found at our Unicef store. Mitzi, our massage therapist and neighbor, contributed her lovely bird collection. Then we went to town baking and decorating gingerbread cutout cookies in cowboy boot, cactus, chile pepper, and all the holiday shapes.

These I packed up and stored and was happy to find very much in tact a year later.  Next a shopping adventure at Borderlands, a great importer of all things Mexico. They have opened a big new location right around the corner from the Inn. There I collected a nice variety of painted tin cutouts, and some really sweet tiny hand blown glass bulbs.
Diana forged out on a cold and rainy day and chose this absolutely perfect spruce that reaches almost to our ceiling. A crackling fire and the Rat Pack Christmas album set the decorating mood. The candy canes are a nod to the Bells, but I must admit I draw the line at tinsel when it come to honoring family traditions!

A Most Admirable Amaryllis

December 21st, 2011 by pattiebell

One of my favorite things about the holiday season is the appearance of these floral favorites.

Every year I adopt one and enjoy the process of seeing it burst into bloom. This year’s may be a record breaker ~ SEVEN blossoms at once!

I have to keep adjusting it’s stance just to prevent it from toppling over.

 

Peppermint Kisses

December 20th, 2011 by pattiebell

These little delights are on the cover of December’s Bon Appetit magazine. I thought I’d give them a try.

Light, minty meringues, with their cheerful red swirls…what’s not to like?!

I just followed the recipe. Here’s the link. Lots of other good cookie offerings there as well.

http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/2011/12/peppermint-meringues

 

The last piece of Carrot Cake…

December 4th, 2011 by pattiebell

I meant to take a picture of the whole cake, sitting regally on it’s stand before I served it Thanksgiving day, but that didn’t happen. So here it is… after all the guests are gone, along with the rest of the leftovers. The last piece of Carrot Cake…

As I savor the moment before I indulge I think about all the Carrot Cakes I have known.  If you are my age you remember the time BCC, that is before there seemingly was such a thing. You probably also remember how suddenly every restaurant you visited, every birthday party and special event you attended had a Carrot Cake to offer.

I have made a few and tasted many. In my catering days there was the ubiquitous Carrot Wedding Cake ~  prettily piped and adorned with fresh flowers. I especially and fondly remember the one I watched the Cream Cheese Frosting flow from as it awaited it’s ceremonious serving at an unrefrigerated beach wedding in North Florida (not to be confused with the rest of Florida).

It was certainly a first for me to serve one at Thanksgiving, and it was a big hit. I perused quite a few recipes and settled on this approach ~ carrots, crushed pineapple, shredded coconut, walnuts and no raisins.  The frosting was 2 to 1 cream cheese to butter, plenty of vanilla, and just enough powdered sugar to put a dent in the zingy tartness. Two layers were sliced into four with very thin applications of frosting between and on the sides. A little extra on top to make it look pretty and some more nuts pressed on the sides to cover any bare spots and voila!

I am going to miss having a polite slice every day, but it is, after all, time to make room for Christmas Cookies. More on that soon…

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