12.23.2010

Christmas Kenz

That's all for now :)
So much to say, but the Christmas clock is winding down!

ShutterLoveTuesdays

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12.17.2010

Snow Gods- Are You Listening? It's me, Jessica...

It was this weekend last year that the first round of Snowmageddon blasted the Washington DC area. 
363 days ago that public school officials announced that schools would be closed until the beginning of January.
Today, however, it is depressingly cold with no sign of more than an inch of precipitation.
It is these facts that lead me to one important question:
where's the love?
Now as you know, I love my job.
And if this wasn't such a dire matter these thoughts wouldn't be creeping in.
But as we spin wildly closer to December 25th, it is becoming crystal clear how very far behind I am with my Christmas shopping. 
I mean, I am a procrastinator by nature, but this is ridiculous. 
So as I sit on an Amtrak train bound for New York City, I can't help but do a silent snow dance in my seat. 
Because as much as I believe in my ability to spend hundreds of dollars faster than Santa can say Rudolph, I am in need of a no-nonsense snow day to get all of my shopping done.

The Snow Gods have teased me twice in the last 24 hours with both an early school closing and a 2-hour delay. 
However, the inch and a half of snow that fell yesterday has not been joined by any flurry friends.  
And clearly, unlike me, these snowflakes are not procrastinators, and are evaporating into thin air as quickly as they can.
  But melting snow = clean, dry roads = no snow days before Christmas.
You can see why I'm taking issue with the Snow Gods.

If nothing else, playing in the (inch of) snow has made it feel even more like Christmastime. 
And for this I am very thankful.

Speaking of thankful, I have had a whirlwind past 2 weeks!
I celebrated my anniversary in Palm Beach, Florida, threw a festive Christmas party, decorated my entire house until it screamed CHRISTMAS, and watched my Redskins lose pathetically to the Tampa Bay Bucs.
In person.
In the rain.
Here are just a few pictures I captured on these adventures.

Palm Beach, Florida 12.3.10 - 12.5.10
Nights 80 & 81
ENERGIZING.
SOAK IN THE SUNSHINE.
PEACEFUL.
RELAXATION.
JUST US.
LOVE.
HOLIDAY SPIRIT.
THREE STOOGES.
PARTY TIME.
GAME TIME.
RIVALS.
DRENCHED AND HAPPY.

And for the record, getting passes to hang out in the heated, covered Redskins Touchdown Club, before and during the game, with all I could eat and drink, with three people I find wildly entertaining, was absolutely, totally
awesome.

Next stop, the Big Apple!
XO
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12.08.2010

Baked Brie Stuffed with Craisins and Pecans!

Ok- let's get down to business. 
You guys have GOT to make this brie appetizer extravaganza for all of your upcoming holiday parties. 
It is one of my (very few) specialties because it's relatively quick and easy to make, and it is an absolute crowd favorite.
As in I'm not sure my family and friends would still come over if I didn't make it. 
(Kidding)
But seriously, it's delicious!


Your Ingredients:




1/2 cup cranberry relish

1 egg, beaten and mixed with 1/4 cup water to make an egg wash
cookie cutters of your choice
*Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
1. Cut your brie wheel in half like you would a bagel (see picture above)
2. Toast the pecans in a toaster oven, let them cool for a few minutes and combine them in a bowl with the craisins
3. Pile the pecan/craisin mixture on top of one of the brie halves, and then layer your cranberry relish on top of the mixture
4. Place the top half of the brie back on like you're making a sandwich

5. After coating your cutting board with a thin layer of flour, gently roll one pastry sheet with a rolling pin to increase the size of the sheet 1 to 2 inches in each direction. 
6. Place the brie in the center of the pastry and pull all four corners of the sheet up and over top of the brie, one corner at a time. 
This may form a small "bundle" of dough on top.
7. Cover the entire top and sides of the pastry with egg wash (to act as a "glue") and flip the pastry over so that the "bundle" is now on the bottom.

The side of the pastry that is now facing upwards is nice and smooth. Cover it with egg wash as well.
Here comes the creativity!
8. Using your cookie cutters, cut out shapes from the second, unused pastry sheet. 
The brie pictured is from Thanksgiving, so I decorated it with pastry leaves to make it festive.
9. Place your shapes all over the brie and cover your design with egg wash again.
10. Place brie on an ungreased cookie sheet (or another oven-safe dish) and bake for 35-40 minutes  OR until pastry is puffed and golden brown. 
11. Serve with different kinds of delicious crackers.

And last, but not least, don't act too cocky when your guests come a running :).
You won't be disappointed! 




 The DIY Show Off
 



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1 sheet frozen puff pastry (package comes with 2 sheets)

1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup craisins

1 (12 oz) wheel Brie cheese

12.07.2010

Shutter Love: Zoom Zoom!

I just got back from a fabulous weekend in Palm Beach! (pics to come!) 
This is one of the pictures I got while I was there, and it seemed perfect for this week's Shutter Love Tuesday over @ Trendy Treehouse! I was able to capture this little birdie in mid-scamper as he ran for his life away from the tide:).


ShutterLoveTuesdays
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12.02.2010

Gobble, Gobble and all things Thankful

This Thanksgiving had me thankful for so much. 
It was a precious, family-filled evening cushioned by 3 extra days to regain consciousness from my food coma.

As is tradition, my parents hosted the whole family.
And as 4 generations of laughter filled my heart to the brim, I felt deeply, wildly grateful to be part of our close-knit, ever growing family. 
A family full of support and kindness and unconditional love.
It's just the Best.
I was quite proud of the food I contributed to the evening.
Now, I'm no Barefoot Contessa, but I do have a few specialties- and this brie is at the top of my list. 
It is mouth-watering good.
This year my brother and I also attempted to make Turkey cupcakes for our 3 year old cousin Jack. 
And after throwing away approximately 27 Nutter Butters due to trial and error (and error, and error...), we finally created these masterpieces.
I think they are soooo cute, and Jack absolutely loved them!
The entire weekend was a perfect balance of relaxation and moving and grooving. 
Yes, I did watch at least 10 episodes of Law and Order: SVU with my brother, 
but between episodes (or while we were waiting for more to TiVo),
we really made our way around town. 

One absolutely AWESOME thing I did was take my beautiful cousin Tara's engagement photos!
I had never done anything like this before, and was so, SO excited to do it that I counted down for the day to come.
My brother acted as my assistant and my creative director, and somewhere in between switching a lens and lying on the ground to get a shot, I fancied myself a real life photographer!

I am in love with how they turned out and I think it is so cool that she asked me to be part of something so special.
Here are just a few of my favorite shots...



My parents, brothers and I spent almost every waking hour of the 4 day vacation together in one combination or another.
We drove to Middleburg, Virginia to browse through all of the quaint Christmas stores, 
went out to 3 fabulous dinners, went shopping, saw Cher in Burlesque (4 out of 5 stars), and even went to the shooting range.

That's right, Ladies and Gentlemen (Well, actually, probably just ladies) 
 I, Jessica, joined my brother and my dad on our second annual Thanksgiving weekend shooting range outing.  
And let me tell you something- it was bad a**.
I like to think that I pulled off being a natural.
Minus the 100 rounds I went through trying to aim with a rifle.
But my patience paid off. 
Because even with wind blown eyes and frozen fingers, I showed the boys what I was made of. 
This right here would be MY bullseye
As my dad would say, Rock ON.
And as with every holiday or special occasion (or really just every single day), I've got to give a giant shout out to the one and only Big Mama for making the time we all spend together so wonderfully sweet.
I am so thankful for you.
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