Christmas in the City

img_92492016 sure has been quite the year. Amidst a slew of music and art icons passing away, a wild and contentious political scene, worldwide terrorism and tragedy, I hope you’ve also enjoyed some joyful surprises, good health, successes on every front, loving family and friends. I for one am going to hold onto my wish for peace for everyone, everywhere as we head into 2017.

Even though it’s a little worse for the wear, I am always happy to hang this vintage greeting. Now that we’re living in an apartment, the front door was the perfect spot. In our city place, I take a much more streamlined approach to holiday decorating. I still want that magic mix of sparkle and schmaltz, but I also love the clean lines and flow of our open plan space and don’t want to overdo.

I think I reached a good balance that’s fun for a few weeks but also easy to pack up and stow away in an hour or two. Hope you enjoy our holiday scene!

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Entryway organization with some sparkle, stars and a reindeer.

Cheers to a very Cocktail Christmas!

Pillows from Target and Pottery Barn are affordable decorative updates, add a celebratory and comfy touch, and easily stow away in Ziploc Space Bags until next year!

Cozy up for some conversation.

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Love this view at night. Can you see the Freedom Tower?

Bedeck the Living Room bookcase.

img_9236Let’s eat!

Santa and Buddha meet amidst greenery, berries and votives.

img_9203Don’t forget your doorknobs…

All Photos by MP Allegaert on iPhone.

Is it Soup yet?

img_9153Brrr. It’s cold outside.  So as far as I’m concerned it’s time for soup. “Tasty” inspired this recipe, and since I was missing a few ingredients I ad-libbed a few of my own. What I can say…delicious. Hope you enjoy!

img_9002img_8997img_9008img_9015img_9020img_9023img_9026This Curried Butternut Squash Soup is really pretty simple to prepare. I’m giving you proportions so you can adjust to how many you are cooking for. Seriously, it’s so good I suggest you make more than you think you need and refrigerate or freeze. You won’t be sorry!

Ingredients:

2-3 Butternut Squash Soup (you will have to adjust other ingredients based on this)

2-4 scallions

3-5 cups Vegetable Broth

1 Tsp Curry Powder

4 Cardamon Seeds (or 1/2 tsp Powder)

1/2 tsp Cumin

1/2 tsp Ginger

Saffron (optional)

Fresh Ground Pepper  Salt (I used Kosher)

Olive Oil

For topping: Pumpkin and Sunflower Seeds

 

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (I prefer organic).

Wash, dry and peel 2-3 Butternut Squash.

Slice squash in half lengthwise, remove seeds, then cut into chunks.

Scatter on parchment lined baking sheet.

Peel scallions, then add to baking sheet.

Sprinkle squash with spices (you can adjust to your preferences) and Olive Oil, then mix together by hand. (Yes…you will need to wash your hands with soap and the blade of a stainless steel knife to get rid of smell!)

If you have Saffron, sprinkle a few threads over squash as well. Great for color!

Drizzle scallions with olive oil.

Sprinkle both with freshly grated pepper and salt.

Bake in oven for @ 30 minutes or until soft when pricked with a fork.

Once ready, let cool for about 10 minutes..so you can handle.

Scrape Squash, Cardamon Seeds  and Scallion into blender (or food processor).

Add Vegetable Broth, beginning with 2 cups and then to your desire thickness.

Either transfer to pot and simmer on stove or store and reheat when ready.

If simmering stovetop, lower oven to 350 degrees and put Pumpkin and Sunflower Seeds into baking dish and toast for @ 7 minutes. Then sprinkle on hot soup.

I also treated myself to one piece of toasted and buttered sour dour bread. Think this might be my “Go To” winter soup. Hope you enjoy!

 

 

Black & Camel Combo

img_8923A wee bit tired of black and white as your go-to look? Think about combining black and camel. For me, it’s a warmer palette that’s especially flattering to every skin tone. This bell-sleeved peplum sweater is one of my favorite purchases of the season, so that’s where I started. To balance out its fitted and flared silhouette, I paired it with black skinnies. These have patched pleather knees which gives them a bit more of a fashion edge. For accessories, I chose my beloved and oh-so-plush personalized cashmere scarf, a teeny (but it still holds your phone, keys, lipstick and credit card/cash) bucket bag (note to self: ring handles are “it”) and leopard print booties. And let’s not forget Bowie, the ultimate Black & Camel combo!

Christmas at the Cabin

img_9033We spent this past weekend up at our cabin with Christmas decorating topping my “To Do” list. Since we’ll arrive Christmas Eve day, I wanted everything up and ready to welcome our Boys. We were also invited to a lovely holiday party at one of the historic Adirondack Camps in Keene Valley. So not all work and no play!

I’ve collected A LOT of decorations since we bought our first home in 1993. When we downsized from a rambling Victorian where I decorated every room, I had to pare back and pick what would work in the city and what would work in the country. I’ve also got boxes (and boxes!) stored in a dear friend’s basement. That’s a 2017 resolution. I like to group like things — Santas, snowmen, angels, nutcrackers — in obvious and unexpected places. And I love remembering the stories they tell us every time we unpack them.

Since Home is where the Hearth is, we’ll start there…