Monday, October 31, 2011

Weekend in Photos

When there's a freak snowstorm on Halloween weekend, there are a couple of activities I recommend. First, spend the entire day inside making fall treats, then consume those treats while working on Halloween costumes. I roasted pumpkin seeds, made a batch of buckeyes (more on those later this week), and we perfected our Hunter S. Thompson à la Johnny Depp in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and dinosaur/dragon/ hallucination costumes. I still haven't decided what exactly I am, but I did learn a hoodie, green tights and and some yellow duct tape create Halloween magic. On Sunday, the sun returned, the snow melted and life was back to normal with a little more chocolate and peanut butter than usual. Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Reworked Pumpkin Pie

This icebox pumpkin mousse pie has all the appeal of regular pumpkin pie, but in a lighter, creamier form and with a chocolate crust. I had no idea chocolate and pumpkin went together so well! You probably need to make one this weekend, I mean it's Halloween colors and everything. Happy Friday!

PS - A special note to all you NYC bloggers, the fabulous Amy of Old Sweet Song and I are hosting a little fall blogger party next weekend. Shoot me an email, southernhostess[at], if you're interested and we'll send along the invitation. Space is limited since it's at Amy's apartment, so let me know as soon as possible.

Icebox Pumpkin Mousse Pie
Recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart

30 chocolate wafers, such as Nabisco's Famous
2 tablespoons brown sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 1/2 cups pure pumpkin puree (15-ounce can)
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 cup cold heavy cream

1 cup cold heavy cream
1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar

Make crust: Preheat oven to 325º F. In a food processor, process wafers and brown sugar until finely ground. With machine running, slowly add butter and process until mixture resembles wet sand. Firmly press crumb mixture into bottom and up side of a deep dish 9-inch pie plate. Bake until crust is dry and set, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool completely in plate on a wire rack.

Make filling: In clean food processor, process pumpkin puree, cream cheese, brown sugar, cinnmon, and nutmeg until smooth, scraping down side as needed. With machine running, add maple syrup in a slow, steady stream. Set aside. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat cream on high until stiff peaks form, 3 minutes. With a rubber spatula, gently fold pumpkin mixture into whipped cream. Spoon filling into cooled crust and refrigerate until set, 3 hours (or up to 1 day).

Make topping: In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat cream and confectioners' sugar on high until stiff peaks form, 3 minutes. With spatula, mound topping over chilled pie and serve immediately.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Boys and Blogs

My husband is convinced that blogs are just for women, at least all the ones I visit. And don't even get him started on Pinterest. So I went on a hunt for some man blogs, and I found one, just one, but a good one. It's called Emerald Son, and it's packed with guy-friendly design, fashion and art. It's run by Jeremiah Hagler who just so happens to be married to Jennifer Hagler of A Merry Mishap. A blogging super couple. I love it.

Have you come across any cool guy-friendly blogs or as Beyoncé would say do girls run the (blogger) world?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Batch of Biscuits

I love biscuits and sweet potatoes, but I'd never thought to combine these two favorites. These sweet potato biscuits are light, a little bit sweet and best served warm with a pat of butter tucked inside. I'm a big fan of the color too. They'd look so pretty on a Thanksgiving plate.

Sweet Potato Biscuits
Recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading and shaping
2 tablespoons light-brown sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus 1/2 tablespoon melted butter and more for pan
3/4 cup sweet  potato puree, chilled
1/3 cup buttermilk

Make the dough: In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. With a pastry blender or two knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal, with some pea-sized lumps of butter remaining. In a small bowl, whisk together sweet potato puree and buttermilk; stir quickly into flour mixture until combined (do not overmix).

Shape the biscuits: Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, and knead very gently until dough comes together but is still slightly lumpy, five or six times. (If dough is too sticky, work in up to 1/4 cup additional flour.) Shape into a disk, and pat to an even 1-inch thickness. With a floured 2-inch biscuit cutter, cut out biscuits as close together as possible. Gather together scraps, and repeat to cut out more biscuits (do not reuse scraps more than once).

Bake the biscuits: Preheat oven to 425 degrees, with rack on lower shelf. Butter an 8-inch cake pan. Arrange biscuits snugly in pan (to help them stay upright). Brush with melted butter. Bake until golden, rotating once, 20 to 24 minutes.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Camping in Style

My husband is into camping and I am not, so I'm always on the lookout for some sort of invention to make it more fun for me and less like, well, camping. This pop-up camper is called The Opera, since it resembles a very famous house in Sydney, and I think it would do the trick.

[spotted on: the designer pad]

Monday, October 24, 2011

Birthday Weekend in Photos

Thank you all for the sweet birthday wishes! It was a great weekend. I got lots of packages in the mail, which is always exciting, and had a fantastic birthday dinner Saturday night at Buttermilk Channel in Brooklyn. Pumpkin and sweet potato soup, fried chicken and cheddar waffles, and a pecan pie sundae. I wore my new white skirt and didn't even spill anything on it. Score! Also, I think my new favorite thing is when friends and family refer to my blog before buying me gifts. For instance, last week I blogged about bells, and for my birthday, I got one! Maybe next year, I'll blog about a million dollars and a lifetime supply of chocolate-covered almonds.

Friday, October 21, 2011

An Early Birthday Present to Myself of Myself

Tomorrow is my birthday. I'll be the big 2-8. I've already received one present ... from myself. It's a custom portrait of me and the husband by the mega-talented Nan Lawson. I'd been on her waiting list for a while, but it just so happened the portrait came together this week. It makes me smile every time I look at it. It might be the best present I've ever given. Hope you all have a lovely weekend! Eat a cupcake and think of me!

PS - Please check out the guest posts I did this week, a little fall decor for Natty Michelle and my one piece of wedding advice over at Lovely Little Things.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

All About AsiaDog

For the past few weeks, food vendors and carts have been gathered across the street from the Flatiron Building for Madison Square Eats. My latest craving of choice there is AsiaDog. You can get an organic beef, chicken or veggie dog topped with things like Japanese curry and homemade kimchi apples, mango-cucumber relish and crushed peanuts, or Chinese barbecued pork belly and onions. Not at all a typical hot dog in all the best ways. The final night of Madison Square Eats is this Friday, but thankfully AsiaDog has a permanent location downtown, which I'll be paying a visit to soon.

And here's my favorite traditional hot dog in New York.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ring My Bell

I love these sweet little vintage bells I found on Etsy. I'm thinking about buying a few and placing them throughout my apartment. I just need someone to bring me a glass of chocolate milk whenever I ring one.

[1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Maple Baked Pears

If there's a smell better than warm maple syrup mingled with butter, I'd like to meet it and shake its hand. I would eat this sauce all by itself with a spoon, but since societal conventions tell us that's not acceptable, it's probably best to go ahead and make these baked pears. They are so simple to make but still impressive, and anything that requires ice cream on the side is a winner in my book. All the better to soak up that sauce.

Maple Syrup-Baked Pears
Recipe courtesy of Sweet Paul Magazine

4 pears
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 400º F. You can peel the pears or not, but cut them in half. Place pears in an ovenproof dish or skillet and pour on the maple syrup. Cut butter into cubes and add. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Turn pears over and bake for another 10-12 minutes. Serve with ice cream.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Weekend in Photos

It was a gorgeous fall weekend, a little too windy, but crisp and clear. Highlights included a yummy brunch and dessert at Peels. I ordered off the build-a-biscuit menu, which is something every restaurant should have. There was a little shopping, which really just meant gawking at amazing, expensive furniture at ABC Carpet and Home. It's one of the most beautiful retail spaces I've ever seen. And a little pizza and sunshine really sealed the deal on a lovely, relaxing weekend.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Halloween Craft for Dummies

It's no secret that I am not crafty, but I do know how to put tape on things, which is the extent of this Halloween decoration. All you need is a pumpkin and washi tape, which you can find here or here, among other places. Make your pattern as simple or elaborate as you like and feel free to mix different tapes. I kept it simple and ended up with what I'm calling my little Tim Burton pumpkin.


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