Friday, December 31, 2010

spruce up your champagne toast!

I'm a sucker for champagne.
(Especially on New Years Eve!)

However, on this low-key New Year's night I will have to pass on the bubbly, with a bun-in-the-oven, after all. Yup, I am sticking to Pellegrino...but that doesn't mean our guests have to!

I'd like to share a cute way to make your champagne toast a little more fun and festive. First of all, let me say that one of my favorite holiday purchases this year was this rosemary "tree." I'm sure you noticed them at the grocery store: cute little shrub, looks like a pint-sized Christmas tree, smells like hhhhhheaven? Yeah, I bought one of those little lovelies. I set him on a small plate {to catch drainage} wrapped his base with some festive garland, and delighted in the fact that his black plastic pot acted as a fun little chalkboard:

Cute, right?

Back to the carbonated loveliness that is champagne. I found this garnish idea on a sweetener ad last holiday season, and finally am able to do it! {I am a firm believer of ripping pictures out of magazines and shamelessly using the ideas. Admit it. You do it, too!} Plus, this gave me an excuse to use my favorite stocking stuffer from hubby -- my herb mincer! Ain't she a beaut?

You'll need:
fresh rosemary (1/4 cup finely chopped and 1 small sprig for each champagne glass)
1 tsp lemon zest
1/4 cup water
several packets of all-natural sweetener

To make:
1. Combine chopped rosemary, lemon zest, water, and 1 packet sweetener in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Empty shaken concoction into a glass.
2. Take a sprig of rosemary, dip in mixture, allow excess to drip off.
3. Sprinkle the sprig with sweetener until a layer of "snow" covers it.

4. Set sprig on rim of champagne glass, fill with champagne -- or in my case, Pellegrino! -- and serve. Enjoy the Christmasy aroma with every sip!

PS: For some extra zip, pour a little of the mixture into the glass with the champagne!

Happy New Years Eve, my friends, old and new!


Thursday, December 30, 2010

thirty before 30 #5: a secret revealed!

I am terrible at keeping secrets...
...especially those wonderful, happy, ridiculously awesome secrets worthy of shouting from the rooftops!
But now, since we have finally told the rest of our immediate family and most of our dear friends, I can share with the rest of the world...
I am pregnant!!!

People keep telling me life is about to change...but it already has! I have traded in my wine for ice tea, my afternoon Red Bull for unreasonably long naps, my size S clothing for, well...let's just say more loose-fitting attire.

Yes, life has changed already - and will change much more!

We are ready {as we'll ever be}!
Change is definitely oh-so-good in this case!

{we can only pray that baby has my ginormous head}

Oh, and did I mention I'm done with my first trimester? Yes, Baby and I have made it through 12 weeks together.

{the little one waving at you}

Some answers to some questions you may be dying to ask:
  • Yes, we are going to find out the sex, and yes, we will share that the world!
  • Yes, we DO have our girl and boy names picked out, but unless you are my sister you will not know until baby has been born. I know, annoying, right? :o)
  • Due date = July 12th, 2011
  • Yes, you can rub my tummy! Please do!
So that is #5 on my list of Thirty Before 30 checked off: get pregnant. {This was definitely my hubby's favorite - ha!} I had to keep it a secret as we really had no idea when it would happen. Turns out first official try is a charm. :)

Welcome, Baby Ford - to the world, er, womb!


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

thirty before 30 #10: hostess a wine tasting

I consider myself a lover of wine. An oenophile, if you will.

I've always wanted to host a wine tasting, but since my energy has been down to nil and planning/executing a large party seems a little overwhelming at the moment, I decided to incorporate a mini-tasting into a small gathering of girlfriends last Saturday night.

The style I chose was simple, as my guests were admittedly novice wine drinkers: three different varietals, from three different vintners, paired with three complimentary cheeses: Swiss with the pinot, cheddar with the cab, and {my personal favorite} g-g-g-goat cheese. LURVE!

I led the tasting, poured the wine, shared my meager technical knowledge, and had a lovely time doing it all! :)

Have you ever hostessed a wine tasting?
What type was it? I would love to do this again on a grander scale, and would value any advice you might have!

Another item accomplished on the {30 before thirty} list - phew!



Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Spiced Apple Cider = {cup of cheer!}

When deciding beverages to serve for a small Christmas gathering I hostessed over the weekend,
I couldn't help longing for a childhood favorite: hot apple cider. My mom always had a piping hot vat of cider on Christmas day ready to be dispensed to all the guests we welcomed in that day.


6 cups - apple cider
1 teaspoon whole cloves
4 cinnamon sticks {more for garnish, if desired}
several generous shakes of nutmeg

1. Bring all ingredients to a boil in a large saucepan, then simmer for 10 minutes. The smell that will fill your kitchen is A-Ma-Zing.

2. Using a strainer to remove the cloves/sticks if you want, carefully pour the cider into your desired container. I used a large stainless steel serving thermos which held 12 cups, kept the cider steaming hot throughout the evening, and was easy to dispense.

3. Serve in cute mugs, garnished with cinnamon sticks!

That's it -- so easy and so cozy delicious!
Or for you less-ambitious types...just go to Starbucks and get some Caramel Apple Spice...extra hot, don't hold the whip!!!
Linking to this fun food par-tay:

{bits of christmas}

I must sincerely apologize.
I have been a very bad blogger lately. As in, completely MIA.
My only excuse I can give you right now is this: sheer exhaustion!

The holidays have finally taken their lovely hold on me, so I thought, just to stick my toe back into blogging, I would share a few bits and baubles from my home at Christmas so far...

{the smell of cinnamon-scented pinecones}

{some red and gold lovelies from the tree}

{shiny foil with deliciousness inside. p.s. these will not last long}

{our tree. white pine. freshly cut}

{Christmas sugar cookie baking. my very first time. can you believe? so yum. so messy.}

So this is Christmas so far at our Kentucky home --
much love to you and yours!