Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Look Back at the Last Decade.

I began to write "a look back at 09"
when I realized that the decade was indeed over.
This caused a massive retrospect, and I was
fairly blown away by everything that has happened.
To save myself from being long winded here is a list of lists
aka: things that stood out.

The Happy:
*I met 2 of my very best friends by pure chance
*Graduated college after 6 long years (and high school in 01)
*I met my boyfriend, which renewed my belief in love
*I traveled to: London, Amsterdam, Paris(twice), Rome,
Charleston(a millionx),New Orleans, Myrtle Beach(2 or 3x),
Tampa, Baltimore and Las Vegas(2x).
*I adopted a hobo dog
*I became an aunt
*I moved to New York (which has been my ultimate dream)

The Sad:
*I lost 2 grandparents and a prom date.
*Saw friends lose their parents/friends
*Saw friendships (that I thought mattered) dissolve
*Had my heart broken 3x
*I was put on the FIT waiting list 2x-which
at the time was devastating.
*I totaled Shelby, (my car) in 2006

Things that I am Proud of:
*I moved to Charleston on a whim
*I finished something that I started (college)
*In 2002 I spent a month in NYC at Parsons and that
forever changed my life
*I'm extremely happy that I was able to give a shelter dog
a second chance...even if he hates most people.
*I started eating fish (and eating better in general)
*I have been off of my anxiety medication for almost a year

Last night a friend agreed that 2010 would be good,
and said that this is the year of the tiger.
The tiger is a symbol of bravery.
So here's to being brave in 2010

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Merry Merry

After a week in South Jersey, I returned to the city
feeling refreshed. Needless to say, I spent yesterday
falling back in love with NY. Not that I ever really fell out
of love, but it becomes so familiar that you forget to really
appreciate how wonderful it really is.

I suppose that happens to everyone from time to time.

Anyhow, the week in NJ was wonderful and relaxing.
Joelie Bear is getting so big!
It's only a matter of time before he will really
start walking and talking!

Christmas Eve is always spent with my moms side
of the family, and this is the second year that it has been
held at our house. We go through bottles and bottles of
champagne and lots of food-so you know it's a good time.

This is another culinary milestone.
I, JessChambers, made a buche de noel!
This was taken right after I rolled it up,
and I'm just happy that it didn't fall apart.
With some more practice at rolling and decorating
I believe that my yule logs will become more
visually pleasing.

Last but never least, is my little burrito.
He only was slightly mean on our visit,
and had very few accidents in the house.
I'm very proud of him.

It was definitely a wonderful Christmas,
giftwise I hit the jackpot! I received that cake plate
I have wanted forever, Hocus Pocus on dvd,
new pots and pans, a Berlin guide, and "No Impact Man"
by Colin Beaven, among other things.

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!
Next up will be a look back at 2009

Saturday, December 19, 2009

WinterWonderland: the quest for pizza

The bf and I braved the snowstorm
(which is currently at it's worst)
to get a frozen pizza and 2 oranges from
our 24 hour grocery store.

It looks like we have anywhere from 7-12"
outside, and the snow keeps falling.
We had both planned to head to our respective
hometowns tomorrow, but I guess we'll see about
that in the morning.

For now we are going to curl up on the couch
with some pizza,( and eventually hot chocolate)
and watch "It's a Wonderful Life".

Being snowed in has never been so nice.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


These are 2 of my favorite cookie recipes.

These spiced cardamom cookies are a nice alternative
to gingerbread. The dough, before it is chilled, is extremely sticky,
but these cookies are well worth the trouble.

One of my favorite cookies, are Girl Scout Thin Mints.
Though after reading the box and finding all kinds of crap ingredients,
I had vowed never to eat them again. Then I found a faux Thin Mints
recipe in the Martha Stewart Living Holiday Sweets edition,
and all of my peppermint cookie dreams were realized.
These are just as delicious without the preservatives and HFC
*high fructose corn syrup

1 cup all purpose flour (plus more for dusting)
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp plus 1/8 tsp salt
6 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1/2 c sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
12 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 tsp pure peppermint extract
*optional white nonpareils for decorating

*In a medium bowl whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder,
and 1/4 tsp salt

*In large bowl cream sugar and butter until pale and fluffy.
Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually mix in flour mixture, mix
until just combined. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill for
at least 1 hr, or up to overnight.

*Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheets with parchment.
Form balls of dough, equal to 1 tsp, and place on lined sheets.
Dip the bottom of a glass in flour and flatten the dough into
1 1/2" rounds. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, for 8-10 min.
Transfer to wire racks, and cool completely.

*Combine chocolate, peppermint extract, and 1/8 tsp of salt
in a large heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water.
Heat, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat.
(I don't own a heatproof bowl, so I used one of my medium
metal bowls and just handled it with an oven mitt.)

*Replace parchment on baking sheets. Holding each cookie across
the tines of a fork, dip in chocolate to coat completely,
then tap underside of fork on the side of the bowl to allow
excess chocolate to drip off. Place onto prepared sheet,
and repeat until all cookies are coated. Decorate with nonpareils.
Refrigerate until chocolate has hardened, at least 1 hr.
Cookies can be refrigerated up to 5 days, between layers of
parchment in an airtight container.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Latest Obsessions

*Assorted Hershey's chocolates in holiday foils

*Purple cardigan from Uniqlo as seen in the photo
of the previous post. (been wearing it 24/7 since Monday)

*Twin Peaks season 2.
(we're only up to the second episode but
this season seems even creepier than the one before)

*Wham's "Last Christmas" and Mariah Carey's "Christmas
(Baby Please Come Home)"

*Hot cider from the greenmarket

*Seeing NYC decked out in Christmas lights.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Oh Tannenbaum.

At 1.30 am last night, or this morning
(whichever) the bf and I finally decorated our tree!

Topped with a red squid, and covered in our
(mostly red) ornaments, it looks so lovely.
Now it really feels like Christmas.

I have a lot of favorite ornaments, but these two
are definitely at the top of the list. I've had them
for as long as I can remember.

I should also mention that I have not one,
but two Christmas Troll ornaments.
Yes, I was a part of the troll fad of the 90's.

These little gnomes are the bf's favorite ornaments.
Apparently his mom was never a fan of them, but always
felt obligated to hang them, so they now
reside on our tree.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Weekend recap

So this past weekend was filled with activities.
Friday morning was spent at the greenmarket
picking up potatoes, celery root, beets,
flowers and milk. The bf also purchased
another bottle of sparkling cider.
I think that we've had at least 5 bottles since the fall!

I took some photos of my favorite flower stand
where everything is dried, this saves me the trouble of
having to kill an innocent plant with my black thumb.
We picked up a winter arrangement which now resides
on our "mantle" (which is what we are calling our long table
since we are sans fireplace.)

And this, this is romanesco cauliflower. I have not
cooked with it yet, but the sight alone is worth a photo.

Saturday was a long but very rewarding day.
The Holiday Handmade Cavalcade finally happened
and I could not have imagined a better outcome.

I had 59 sales and sold over 100 cards!!
I'm still kind of in shock from that.

I should have walked around and taken more
photos, but I just never think of those things
until it is too late. But I did take a shot
of the back room where a bunch of us were-
along with the food and delicious cupcakes
from Nine Cakes.

This is by far one of my favorite items from the show,
and this should come as no surprise to anyone, a cephalopod sconce.
I definitely told Jen (jtopolski) multiple times, how much I loved them.
Hopefully these will be hanging from my bedroom wall very soon.

This was my first cavalcade and it really was a wonderful experience.
I finally got to meet a lot of the other team members,
and see how my cards fared at a larger show. I am definitely
going to get my butt in gear with this card business and hopefully
2010 will be even better.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009


Holy crap it's December!
Time to make my house cozy and bake
delicious things!

I started with Buttermilk Biscuits.
Once you try this recipe, no pre-made
kind will ever be good enough.

3 cups all purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cups buttermilk
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup Butter (or shortening)

Sift the flour to make sure there are no lumps. Add in
the baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Add the
butter slowly, working it into the dry ingredients
(I find that the best way to mix is with your hands)

Next add the buttermilk, working it into the mixture
too. After everything is thoroughly mixed, plop it
down on a floured counter top or cutting board.

Turn you oven to 450 to allow it to preheat. While
it's heating up knead your dough until it is about
the consistency of clay. You can make it a little dryer
if need be by sprinkling more flour on your
counter or cutting board. As you knead your dough
it will pick up more of the flour.

Roll the dough out onto a floured surface and cut out circles
with a cutter or by hand.
Place the biscuits on a baking sheet and cook for about
18 minutes or until lightly browned

I've been topping them with the leftover cranberry compote
from my recent Thumbprint Cookies. It really lasts too! It has kept
in the fridge for about 2 weeks now.

In non-kitchen news The Holiday Handmade Cavalcade draws very near!
Only 4 days away! eek! I'm almost ready- just need to
print up a few more cards and figure out a nice display.

I've given up on the penguin holiday card. After 3 tries it just
did not get any better. So RIP holiday penguins.

And hello holiday bunny!

He still needs some work, but this will be my 3rd
set of holiday cards. Simple drawings are my favorite.

I will end this post with a photo of Joelie,
miracle baby extraordinaire, and my nephew.
Cutest thing ever.