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Category Archives: Christmas

Being Happy with Where I Am

Being Happy with Where I Am

January is definitely the month of self-improvement, or at least affirmations of self-improvement. I guess I’ve jumped on the bandwagon. This post will, therefore, be rather self-indulgent and fairly meander-y (because after a long day at work fighting bad guys, the last thing I want to do is write up an outline for a blog post).

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Something that I’ve been struggling with lately is feeling dissatisfied with what my apartment looks like, and letting that make me really depressed.  Yeah, it doesn’t look like a picture out of HGTV. And yeah, it’s a work in progress. And no, I still don’t have art for over the TV.  But what I want to focus on is not what is wrong with my apartment or what I want to change. Rather, I want to focus on what is working and try to find more ways to make moments that are working.

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On step I am taking in this direction is participating in Apartment Therapy’s January Cure.  So far, I am really digging it. It’s a realistic way for me to make progress on getting my apartment in shape, but not in a picture perfect way. Just in a normal people, with normal lives, trying to make their homes a little more beautiful.  After just scrubbing the crap out of my floors and vacuuming behind and underneath furniture I don’t usually move, plus adding fresh flowers, my apartment already feels a million times better. Who’d have thunk?

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Sort of in the vein of being happy with what I’ve done instead of focusing on what I want to do, I am sharing pictures of my bar area. I’m happy with how this “moment” in my apartment looks.  Everything in it was either thrifted, DIY, or is an heirloom.

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My GREAT GRANDMOTHER made that charcoal horse drawing. I’m obsessed. It’s still in the frame I got it in, because I’m scared that if I change the frame, the picture will disintegrate. This came into my life just at a time when I was really wanting more horse art, and the fact that it’s an heirloom (I have only one other real heirlooms), well that was awesome.

I painted the little owl painting, and blogged about it here.

I found the small deer antlers at Brooklyn Flea for $20.

I MADE both the deer and moose taxidermy. It’s papier mache, and I’m pretty stoked with how it came out. I will try to post a tutorial soon.

I got the dresser for $35 on craigslist and the distressing you see is REAL distressing because that’s exactly how the paint chipped just from being old. No faux distressing for me. I’m currently debating repainting it, but part of me loves the original paint finish.

Here’s this area all dolled up for the holidays, with a garland of pom poms and bells that I made (tutorial from A Beautiful Mess). IMG_0519

So I guess what I am trying to say is this: I’m going to be proud of myself when I am awesome, and go easier on myself for things that aren’t perfect. And keep my floors clean. 😉

Happy New Year, my dear readers! I am so glad you are on this journey with me.

Love,

Rachel

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DIY Christmas Ornaments

DIY Christmas Ornaments

I’m a little behind the rest of the blogosphere (but that’s nothing new) on Christmas decorations.  But, I made some new Christmas tree ornaments this year to supplement dinosaur Christmas from last year.

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These are super easy to make, and you could still make some this year before Christmas gets here. And you could probably take better pictures than I.

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I rolled out some sculpy to about 1/4 inch thick, cut it into desired shapes with cookie cutters. I made holes in the top to hang the ornaments by using a straw. Bake according to sculpy directions.  Once the ornaments were cooled, I spray painted the sculpy white and then decorated the ornaments with a gold paint pen and sharpies.

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So if you are feeling creative, place an order on amazon prime for sculpy and get out your favorite cookie cutter shapes.  Go to town!


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Merry Dinosaurus Christmas Redux!

Love,

Rachel

A Dinosaur Christmas

A Dinosaur Christmas

I don’t have much time to write a long post now, but just decorated my first* Christmas tree and wanted to share. (*I am Jewish – on occasion we would decorate the ficus, but it was never the real deal…)

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Happy Dinosaur-Holidays!

Love,

Rachel

Pumpkin Streusel Swirled Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Pumpkin Streusel Swirled Cream Cheese Pound Cake

That amazing Julie over at Willow Bird Baking does it again. This time it was her Pumpkin Streusel Swirled Cream Cheese Pound Cake. Again, my pictures aren’t as good as hers, but I think the final product was just as tasty.

This thing was WAY more than a pound. It was probably closer to 4 lbs of delicious cake.

I was in charge of dessert for Christmas day. Since I spent with Christmas with a bunch of people who were all at least 30 years older than I am, I didn’t mind that I had to spend a fair bit of time in the kitchen assembling this thing. Actually, it didn’t take that long to do, and it was SO worth it. Plus, there is something so therapeutic about baking – it totally calms my nerves, nerves that can get a little frazzled around the holidays. Plus, with a nice glass of Syrah, it really calmed my nerves. Go figure.

Look at all that maple-y glaze and toasted pecan goodness...

This pound cake was a huge hit. People were raving, and rolling their eyes back in their heads as they licked their forks. Always a good sign. The pumpkin and pecan swirls made this pound cake so much more interesting than plain pound cake (which I also love). It didn’t hurt that it was served with some premium ice cream as well. Because we needed more fat and sugar on Christmas.

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Plus the maple-glaze was so interesting and awesome with all the other fall flavors.  And when sliced, there was beautiful marbling on the inside (which I neglected to photograph since I was pretty busy stuffing my face dantily eating a small slice).

Pound cake and wheat grass: a match made in heaven.

I am pretty tired from a long day of thrifting (cannot wait to share my finds with y’all), but just wanted to finally post this and to send mad kudos over to Julie for this awesome recipe. Besides, the words don’t do it justice – pictures say it much better.

Love,

Rachel

PS. I am not responsible for breaking anyone’s New Year’s Resolution by posting this recipe. Suits and Aprons is a limited liability corporation. (Not really, but wouldn’t that be cool if it was? Well, sorta… Sorry. Bad lawyer humor is taking over. Must stop writing because I say more really dorky law stuff. . . . Torts. . . . Rule Against Perpetuities . . . . Sigh. Too late.)

Chili Rellenos

I went to California over winter break, and of course, I needed some Mexican food like Donald Trump needs a better hair cut (you are not fooling anyone, Don). We drove from the Bay Area to Redding to spend Xmas and Xmas Eve there. At the halfway point, there is this little taco stand where we always stop for lunch. They have AMAZING food at dirt cheap prices. It’s called Roberta’s Taqueria, in Williams, CA, right off of I-5. Right across from the Burger King. There is only one I-5 exit into Williams, so you cannot miss it.

I'm drooling right now.

This chile relleno was BOMB. The pepper was charred before being stuffed with gooey cheese and then, shall we say, “lightly” fried with a delightful egg-y coating. The charring gave this relleno a distinct smoky flavor that not all chili rellenos have. Trust me – I know my chili rellenos.

Close up.

What I really love about this little place is that it’s across the street from a Burger King, and has no in door seating, but it constantly has a steady stream of customers because its so freaking good. People, like my family, who would rather eat at a delightful hole-in-wall any day over traditional fast food keep this place hopping.

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Epic Holiday Cookie Party!!

Epic Holiday Cookie Party!!

To celebrate the holidays, I hosted an Epic Holiday Cookie Party.

So many cookies!

This cookie party included two different types of cookie fun-ness:

1. It was a cookie swap. Friends brought their favorite cookies so that we could all try some new recipes.

2. I made 4 batches of holiday shaped sugar cookies for frosting. All my friends then weren’t allowed to leave until they were all frosted. I’m only half joking. We finished frosting almost all of them.

Cookies with Friends!

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Super Gingery Gingerbread

Super Gingery Gingerbread

Have you ever bitten into something and happily sighed, “This tastes like Christmas,” as you smiled to yourself (even though you may be Jewish and don’t technically celebrate Christmas)? Well, this super gingery gingerbread tastes like Christmas. BUT, it would also be a great addition to any Thanksgiving dessert table, which is why I am posting this now, before I have gotten around to posting the recipes from my Epic Dinner Party. I don’t want people to miss an opportunity to enjoy this easy to make and INSANELY delicious dessert.

Super Gingery Gingerbread

Unfortunately, someone dropped my digital camera on the ground the day before I made this, so I had to take the pictures with my phone. For that I apologize. Those pictures do not do this WONDERFUL dessert justice. The camera was a gift, so I guess it’s easy come, easy go.

Regardless, this gingerbread is warm, sweet, dense, spicy, tangy and tantalizes all of the senses (I am not joking here). The recipe comes from Jorge at Cafe Navarro in Eugene, OR, that unfortunately is out of business. However, if you all make this bread, its legacy will live on in deliciousness forever. Seriously, make this bread. And then take pictures, and send them to me so that I can put better photos of this delectable dessert on my blog, because Super Gingery Gingerbread deserves better.

Upclose of Super Gingery Gingerbread - do you see that big chuck of candied ginger, front and center?

Super Gingery Gingerbread is good on its own, but it is elevated to a WHOLE NEW LEVEL when served warm with a dollop of cool freshly-made whipped cream. The warm/cool combination, and the spiciness of the bread contrast with the creamy sweet of the whipped cream. I am telling you, it is out of this world. Boyfriend, who has a very discerning taste, was a little hesitant about the gingerbread on its own (I think he never had molasses before or something), but when I put some whipped cream on the top he was all about this dessert. Seriously people. (And if you don’t have whipped cream, a little bit of premium vanilla ice cream could do in a pinch, but the whipped cream is still preferable).

Recipe Follows:

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