Friday, December 20, 2013

Holiday Gift Guide: For the Boys

Today is for the men in our lives!

xx Molly

  1. Brass luggage tags to encourage an adventurous spirit $39
  2. iPhone Gramophone for the music geek $159
  3. Wool belt to add just a little something extra $20
  4. Ice shot mold for the party animal $13
  5. Small batch tonic to keep the bar well stocked $16
  6. Road trip guide for fun summer adventures $28
  7. 90’s flip phone iPhone case for just about anyone $20
  8. Colorful socks for the businessman $35
  9. Rose gold razor for the lover of the finer things $90
  10. Guinness memorabilia for the beer lover $9
  11. Campfire cologne for the outdoorsman $13

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Holiday Gift Guide: For the Girls

Ahh the gift giving season, I love it so. I think there are few feelings better than the satisfaction of buying the perfect gift for someone. So without further ado, here are my suggestions for some of the ladies in your life (guys coming tomorrow):

xx Molly

  1. Shimmery candlesticks to add a little glitz to anyone’s home $16
  2. Colorful tray for the home décor obsessed $208
  3. Houseplant for the green thumb or cook ~$25
  4. Serving bowls for anyone who likes to throw a good party $300
  5. Necklace for your edgy, fashion-forward friend $108
  6. Book of cat poems to fuel a little inside joke $10
  7. Tote bag for any of the members of your book club, since it’s true $24
  8. Milk bottle vase filled with flowers for the hostess $15
  9. Gloves to keep your iPhone loving friends’ hands nice and toasty $58
  10. Rainbow trivet for the tea (or coffee) aficionado $22
  11. Major scale wine glasses for the musician who loves her wine $65
  12. Red velvet cupcake mix for just about anyone $15

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Quote of the Week

This morning I was catching up on some overdue reading and read this lovely article about how the Annenberg Foundation secretly purchased Hopi artifacts at auction in order to return them to the Native American Tribe which had tried to stop the auction. Hours after the auction, with the Hopis believing that the items had all been purchased by art collectors, they discovered that in fact, the foundation had purchased as many of the items as possible for return to the tribe. The story gave me such warm fuzzies, because this one act of kindness meant so much to so many. While this article describes a grander gesture than I feel able to make on my own, little efforts can be equally important. While perhaps it feels daunting to try to affect a whole tribe’s day, I’m perfectly capable of affecting at least one person’s, so I’ve resolved myself to do just that. What do you think?

xx Molly

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

What Mama's Cooking: Two Different But The Same Pasta Dishes

What? I'll guess you want an explanation! We like healthy, great tasting food and I work a full day and commute almost an hour each way. I simplify my life by building different dishes with the same major ingredients so I can make one effort and have leftovers but non-leftovers, too. These are two examples.

First steam broccoli, cauliflower, peas, and pearl onions until they are crisp-tender. You can use fresh or frozen and as little or as much as you like. As you steam each vegetable place it in a large bowl then gently mix them, adding salt and pepper to taste.

For one meal you can add cannellini beans which are white kidney beans, red pepper flakes, pesto, and pasta. I used my husband's favorite fusilli, but since I only eat whole grains I had a dish of the veggie and bean mix before the pasta was added.

For the second dish I made lasagne using whole wheat lasagne noodles. You don't even need to precook them. So, using sauce that Molly and I canned this past summer I poured a bit into my baking dish to moisten the bottom, put down a layer of noodles then dollops of ricotta and some shreds of mozzarella (use vegan or dairy cheeses). Next add a layer of the veggies then more sauce. I repeated another series of a layer of pasta then cheese to sauce but put the broken pasta as the final pasta layer. Add more sauce. Then I baked it at 350 for about 45 minutes.

We had lasagne then leftover lasagne. Then I froze the rest and we enjoyed it again weeks later. Count the meals; for one evening of steaming mucho veggies we had five healthy and delicious meals in minutes.

xx Mama and Molly

Monday, December 16, 2013


It was a snowy day in the City on Saturday, but Christmas shopping and holiday sightseeing needed to be done, so we braved the weather for a full day out in the city. We stopped by the Christmas Village in Union Square, visited the Rockefeller Christmas tree, toured the windows, and got lots of shopping done. Bergdorf’s windows, as always, are absolutely stunning this year and well worth a visit if you’re in the city. Here are some photos from our adventures, if you’d like to see.

xx Molly

Friday, December 13, 2013

Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree

C Wonder Top (similar here), Ann Taylor Skirt, J Crew Necklace, Target Tights. His blazer and shirt are Hugo Boss.

Last week the boy and I hosted our annual Christmas party, with seasonal libations (the GingerMan and hot cocoa spiked with peppermint schnapps) and little treats. I tried to keep the food primarily red, white, and green, because I’m silly like that, so we served our go-to tortellini skewers, bruschetta, pumpkin hummus, artichoke pesto, walnut sage spread, of course a cheese plate (I added chestnuts to the accompaniments which I thought was a fun seasonal touch), and vegan except for the frosting gingerbread cupcakes (so, so yummy). We blasted Christmas Carols, had the tree all lit, and enjoyed the evening celebrating with friends.

xx Molly

Thursday, December 12, 2013

What Mama's Cooking: Stuffed Peppers

So, now to use your leftovers from the Mushroom Minestra in a totally different way – make stuffed peppers. You can use leftover quiona or rice, too.

Cook 1 cup of brown rice in 2.5 cups of liquid, however much mushroom broth you have left over plus water or veggie broth to equal 2.5 cups.

Clean 4 peppers and cut them in half vertically. Place them in a baking pan with a sprinkle of water, cover and cook until they are crisp-tender. Drain.

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan then add 3 garlic cloves and cook until they are golden.  Cut up an onion and sauté with the garlic until it is translucent. Add 2 cut up portabello mushrooms and sauté until they shrink a bit and give off liquid then add the leftover mushrooms from the minestra.

Add spinach or any other greens, fresh, frozen, or leftover. Use whatever amount you like – a lot or a little. When the greens are warmed (or thawed) add the rice and a handful of chopped, pitted kalamata olives. Finish the stuffing with a couple of ounces of crumbled feta cheese or crumbled savory tofu.

Fill your pepper with the stuffing making a nice mound on each. Bake in a 350° for 30 minutes then you have a very different leftover meal from your Italian minestra.

Bon appetite, or as my grandmother would say. "mangia!"

xx Mama and Molly

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Halls Are Decked

It’s Christmas time! One of my favorite seasons, and the only winter month I enjoy, December is always such a rush to get in all the special holiday events before the season passes me by. While I’m always tempted to start earlier, I always force myself to wait until after Thanksgiving to begin the celebrations, so this year I’m feeling like my celebration season is a little condensed. On our way home from Thanksgiving with my future in-laws (!!), the boy and I stopped to get our Christmas Tree, a Blue Spruce (my favorite), which will hopefully fare a little better than last years! The halls are deck, the shopping is almost done, the Christmas party has been had, and the cards are at least purchased, if not quite written, addressed and mailed. Ah I love this time of year!

xx Molly

The first ornament on the only Christmas tree we'll ever have as an engaged couple :)

The tree is just a little pokey (we've been calling it our Christmas cactus) so we needed gloves to string the lights!

A souvenir from our trip to London

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Striped to Perfection

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m constantly reworking my apartment, it never stops. I think one of the major blocks I’m up against is my inability to paint / wallpaper the walls. At least in my renter’s head, if I could simply paint the walls, it would provide the major changes I’m constantly searching for (and wouldn’t take that much effort to switch up again in a few months once I’m ready for something else ;).  All of this to say, I’m so happy I found an easy, affordable, and totally nonpermanent way to add some much needed color and interest to my walls – washi tape. Our apartment is laid out a little strangely (in a good way) as we have a couple nooks that make the apartment seem larger and make our three-room one-bedroom feel like a five-room apartment (including a dining room and dressing room). This washi tape striped feature wall is in our “dressing room” between the bedroom and bathroom and off the living. Since you can see the space from the living room, I wanted to add some visual interest but also didn’t want to overwhelm the small space, so I striped one wall with four different colored tapes in a repeating pattern. The key to straight lines is careful measurement, patience, and a level. It took us a couple evenings to finish (mostly because we ran out of the tape and had to order more) but it was well worth the effort. And the best part? It’s totally removable!

xx Molly

Hope no one minds a little Belle butt ;)

And of course it's always helpful to have an engineer who's good at detailed measuring on hand!!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Happiest of Birthdays (To Me)

Target top and skirt, Anthropologie blazer, & my Mama's "almost" vegan cake (except for the frosting)

I turned 26 on November 10th, and my parents came to visit for the celebrations. They, along with the boy, surprised me with a day full of events, including tickets to the ballet. Oh, how I love the ballet. It was a lovely way to ring in the end of my first quarter century.

xx Molly

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

What Mama's Cooking: Mushroom Minestra with Braised Swiss Chard

I'll bet you're asking yourself the same question I did----What is a minestra? I thought "stew," the definition, "tends to be lighter than zuppa and with smaller pieces than minestrone," came from Wiktionary. Hub Pages describes the difference between the two names for Italian soups in a more satisfying way with some history, too. So, this is a recipe for soup, though mine came out more like a stew.

I follow Veranda magazine on Pinterest and I guess they pinned some posts from Town & Country magazine. The image of this vegetarian mushroom soup
 caught my eye. Turns out it's from a restaurant Richard Gere owns called the Bedford Post Inn just north of NYC. Their photo of the soup looks a lot prettier than mine, but mine still tastes delicious.

It was quite involved, definitely a weekend recipe. I stored the leftover components separately and used them this weekend in stuffed peppers. I'll give you that recipe next week. Give it a try, perhaps for a special meal and don't be surprised if yours looks different, too! Save the leftovers, if there are any, for next week.

xx Mama and Molly



Tuesday, November 5, 2013


Target jeans and tank, Anthropologie blazer

I guess I lied when I said I’d shared my last New Orleans photos, because here they are again. Lately I’ve found myself obsessed with blazers; I feel they’re a versatile piece that I can wear both to work and casually (a must these days since I have neither the budget nor space for two wardrobes) and really pull together an outfit. While this is one from a couple years ago, I recently purchased one in a burnt orange color that I love. Are blazers a no brainer for you too?

xx Molly