Category Archives: friends and family

Butterscotch Baked French Toast




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My parents were hosting a brunch the day after the stateside celebration of my cousin EM and Kristina’s wedding, and my mom was all, “Just bring something over that everyone will like. Brunch starts at 11.” So, since A. I planned on being mildly hungover B. I love sleep, especially on the weekends, more than anything, and C. I still wanted to make something good, I started searching for make-ahead brunch meals that I could put together the night before and just throw it into the oven the next morning. When I found Smitten Kitchen’s “boozy baked french toast,” the words read like a song. This was the one.  I love Smitten Kitchen, and I love anything that tastes this good with minimal effort, and I especially love the post-event rehash with some of my favorite trash-talkers (my family).

If you’re looking to throw together something that requires little effort the day before, but is hands-down amazing – and also may or may not soak up your New Year’s hangover – this french toast is here to save the day.

BUTTERSCOTCH BAKED FRENCH TOAST (serves 6, generously – barely adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

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Destination Wedding

We just got back from Puerto Rico to celebrate my cousin EM & Kristina’s wedding. The wedding was one of the prettiest I’ve ever been to, the food at the resort was amazing, and it was so great being able to spend that kind of time with my cousins, our friends and family. Lots of cocktails and catch-up sessions, both of which are my favorites. I’m already looking forward to their stateside celebration at the end of this month at the Westmoreland Club, when we can all be together again!

Food was amazing – also, my standard 3-drink brunch order
Brothers <3
Villa loungin’

My mom is great at many, many, many things. Picture taking isn’t one of them. Outtakes of Collyn and me trying to get one good shot.
My cousin Erin, her husband Brian and their son Ethan
…Did I mention that the food was amazing?

Last cousin picture before EM became a husband!

Seriously, this reception. Unbelievable.

The bride and groom (one of my favorite couples, ever) – how gorgeous are they??

This space was so, so pretty. Look at those flowers!

Welcome to the family, Kristina!!!

Bagels a la Heather

Sometimes I get recipe ideas from the weirdest places. In this case that place was, “Lies That Chelsea Handler Told Me.”


Chelsea Handler is hilarious and apparently the world’s greatest liar. Her coworkers and friends – who wrote this book together about the times she’s full-blown made up the most ridiculous stories ever, which they believed 100% – seem like they love her despite this. And “Lies  That Chelsea Handler Told Me” is just another in the series of Chelsea Handler books that made me laugh out loud. 

In a small paragraph written by Chelsea’s coworker and panelist Heather McDonald about her breakfast, though, I read:  “You slice the bagel, scoop out all the carb-infested middle, then toast what’s left, and pile on light cream cheese, tomatoes, and cucumbers, and a hint of fresh lemon juice. You get all the crunch and flavor with half the calories!” This, of course, spoke straight to my heart. 

My parents had this gorgeous dinner party last night, and Brendan and I slept over afterwards, and for breakfast this morning I came down to the bagels and coffees for us from my dad. My parents had everything for these Heather McDonald bagels in their fridge, so there you go. I wasn’t feeling great so I made these, got a glass of fresh-pressed OJ and went upstairs to have breakfast in bed, which was exactly what I needed. When’s the last time you had breakfast in bed? Make this and Treat Yo’ Self.

BAGELS A LA HEATHER 
– Bagel
– 1 tbsp. capers, chopped
– 2 tbsp. cucumbers, chopped
– 2 tbsp. tomatoes, chopped
– thin layer of cream cheese
– squeeze of lemon

1. Scoop out the “carb-infested middle” of the bagel. Toast.

 

2. Add a thin layer of cream cheese, cucumbers, tomatoes and capers. Top with a squeeze of lemon and enjoy.







Happy Mother’s Day








I hosted Mother’s Day brunch this year for the world’s best, kindest, most devoted, fun and stylish (obviously) mom, and it was such a nice day. Colly made deviled eggs, the herb & romaine detox salad, and this amazing lavender lemon pie, and I made mini potato pancakes and those awesome tuna stacks, which might have been my Dad’s favorite thing I’ve ever made. We had such a great day with my mom, her girls and our boys. Happy Mother’s Day to all of you out there. <3

Birthday

I’m officially at the point where I’m no longer talking about my age, which makes the fact that my boyfriend is in his early 20s even better. :] This was a great birthday in so many ways – if you had told me a year ago that this is what my life would look like, I never would have believed it, which makes being here better than I ever could have imagined. Over the last year I’ve really tried to put into practice 3 things: patience, presence and gratitude. This week was a celebration of all of that with some of the people I love the most.

Me and my Dad as babies…same little rosebud lips!

AC at dawn

Guess where this is?  Lucy the Elephant  <3

Ebbit Room dinner

Mad Batter, which I’ve been going to since I was a little girl and has the BEST BLUEBERRY PANCAKES IN AMERICA.

winter beach days…lovely.

Some of the prettiest flowers I’ve ever seen from my family. Love you guys and thanks for another wonderful birthday!

Happiness – winter edition

 Bright pink manicures in December

 How cute my mom is with packaging little snacks for me

 My amazing Dad’s last day in the office and a surprise champagne celebration for him by his girls.  <3

 NYE with 2 of my favorite California guys

 Gift exchange party with my girlfriends

 Finding Maggie’s incredible peanut butter cup cheesecake bites in my purse the day after the gift exchange party

 ORGANIC EVERYTHING, ALL THE TIME. It was honestly ridiculous how happy looking at everything in this cart kept making me.

  

 How in love my Mom and Dad still are after 36 years together

 Saturday celebrations that begin at 3 pm

 My favorite girl’s 4th birthday and her awesome approach to cake-eating.

Wine Club dinner at the Westmoreland Club – at least 2 things on that menu that I’d never had before.

New TV. Comprehensive installation directions. Somebody who actually knew how to assemble it.
Snowstorms (although, okay, I’m just about over them at this point).

I love you, winter! Looking forward to missing you when you go away real soon.  xo

Merry Christmas


Ugh, I know, I’ve been the worst at writing for the last couple months. 2014 is going to better on every level. If it makes any difference, though, December has been a blast.

The last official party in the Piazza’s basement – great memories of this place!!
Beer pong table as notarized by Steppacher Law Offices 
Dad’s birthday, and Mom’s birthday:
Trips into NYC, where I had an unbelievable dinner at Mario Batali’s Tarry Lodge and did not take one picture of anything but the amazing cheeses and local pears I bought from Bedford Cheese Shop
Hearts in the snow on the drive in to a 4am morning show taping at the hospital with the lovely Jasmine Brooks of WBRE:
Live nativity performance…this was way more elaborate than I was expecting:


Friends & Christmas cocktails. Book Club Christmas party. Walks home in the snow with friends.

I love this season.
MY FRIEND Klob <3 





Christmas singalongs on the prettiest piano I ever saw in real life.




Our family’s Tree Lighting Party – haven’t had a tree go up in flames yet:

And, Christmas Eve. Christmas Day. Merry Christmas, everybody.


Dad making the Christmas ham with A Christmas Story playing in the background…perfect.









Cape Weekend

I haven’t been up to Cape Cod in a solid ten years, but it was – incredibly – more beautiful than I remembered – those adorable cottages and hydrangea everywhere, some of the most gorgeous beaches I’ve ever seen, the most amazing sunsets of maybe anywhere. We had great food and conversation in Dennis…it was just a perfect little getaway.


There are really few people I’d wake up at 3am on a Saturday to drive 5 hours with (or, 7 hours behind, if RMBA is at the wheel of the car in front of you) for a quick weekend on the Cape with the “girls” of her family, and come away from it thinking it had been the best weekend of my summer. 


Re’s family has been coming up here since she was little, and now the group is “girls only” – with the exception of 2 year old Henry. Life happens, and so the QT I get to spend with her now is less than what it used to be when we both lived in Philly, pre-moves (for me) and pre-law school (for her). Saturday night after a gorgeous day at the beach, we went driving around the Cape so she could show me the things that she loved when she was younger, and then we literally just sat and split a six pack and listened to music and just caught up for a while. She’s been an incredible sounding board and support system to me for over 20 years now (!!), is one of the people I admire most in the world, and I’m just so lucky to have her as a friend, and to know and love her family, too. 

This summer has been full of really beautiful moments where I sometimes least expected to find them. This weekend was one of the prettiest. 

This basically sums up the ride up there – pop tarts, coffee, gas station-brand water. Sick. Oh and also like a million episodes of This American Life. Standard road trip.

Almost there!

Insanely clear water.
G & Clairey, looking at the hermit crabs.
Cutest.

Wine on the beach at sunset in a Dino cup? What, like you haven’t?
G, totally miz despite being about the eat the best blueberry muffin of anyone’s life from the Merc.
Go here. Get the muffins. Enjoy.


sun-squint selfie
Definitely coming back here next year! This beach felt like the end of the world. It was unbelievable. 

Double Rainbow! Good sign and a perfect ending to the weekend.
Oh, all right. Just one lobster roll.
Thanks for hosting me, ladies!







50,000


Thank you. This blog has been one of the coolest/best things, by far, that I’ve done over the last year, and the response to it has been so amazing. Back when I really started doing this last winter, I never imagined I’d reach 50,000 hits. I know I’ve taken some time off lately, but I needed to work through some stuff and get back to me again. I’m so happy to be back.  Thanks again, to all of you.
xo