Monday, November 23, 2009

Kissably Delicious

A pretty tube of lip gloss is never meant to be eaten, but I am like a little kid and when I find something that gives my lips a glossy finish and tastes as sweet as apple pie, I can't stop putting it on! A few weeks ago, I took a quick trip to Bath & Body Works to pick up some of my favorite gloss from C.O. Bigelow Apothecary and instead of grabbing a usual tube of my clear minty gloss, I discovered an array of holiday flavored glosses just in time for the season! I shrieked a little bit and quickly smelled each tube of the sparkly-shiny-glossy-spirit filled-make your lips pretty stuff. The "Winter Cordials" special edition glosses are like instant Christmas magic on your lips. A flavorful adventure for your lips with Triple Hot Chocolate, Hot Buttered Rum, Vanilla Cream Eggnog and my personal favorite, Warm Spiced Cider. Anoyone want a holiday kiss?!

*photo courtesy of

Monday, November 16, 2009

Red Cup Day!

It's not even Thanksgiving and this is already my second post about the delightful red cups of Christmas cheer at Starbucks all season long but I just cannot help in spreading the love. I found out about this little spot on the web thanks to my blog friend Nina over at According to Nina. The site is, "strangers sharing their celebration of the season". I saw Nina's post on Twitter and wanted to join in on the fun! Sunday afternoon, my gorgeous little sister and I sipped on our first peppermint mochas of the season. I have an affinity for all things Christmas tasting but there is something about a Starbucks Peppermint Mocha that makes me feel like a little girl on Christmas eve all over again. We took a picture to document the occasion and I sent it to Red Cup Day. Much to our sister excitement, our faces were sparkling with Christmas magic only a few hours later as our picture was posted on the site!

Nina and Natalie of Charlotte, North Carolina drinking their first peppermint mochas of the season!! My friend, Lindsay, says peppermint mochas might as well be called “Christmas in a Cup”.

Do you have a red cup and a reason to celebrate? Send your cheer to

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Friday Night Pizza with my Blonde Twin

It is without a doubt that I have my wonderful parents (and my Italian roots) to thank for my love of inviting people into my kitchen and spending time with great friends while sharing good food. I love an excuse to entertain and was so excited when my dear friend Sophie and I were able to squeeze in a snippet of time and finally run into each other's arms!

Sophie's upcoming April wedding was our excuse to get together as I am tapping into my planning skills and helping her with her big day! Delicious Doug (Sophie's future husband) was prince enough to let me steal Sophie away for the night as we discussed her wedding details and even came up with the most perfect wedding day hair! Sophie arrived at my door with some wine and I took care of creating a homemade pizza that was actually quite out of the box for me and somewhat of a culinary risk. I only say risky because of one specific pizza topping that was requested by my gorgeous guest and I must say, I was delighted and surprised at how much I loved it! I conquered another food fear (after years of crinkling my little nose up, I just developed a positive relationship with hard boiled eggs earlier this month) and I must say, those little anchovies are not so scary after all. In fact, they added so much character to our pizza.

White Anchovy & Artichoke Pizza
  • Whole wheat pizza crust (I use Trader Joe's)
  • Olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Sundried tomatoes
  • Shredded mozzarella
  • Anchovies
  • Fresh cracked pepper
I start by flattening out the crust on a pan. When I Use Trader Joe's, I cook the crust first for about 8 minutes on 350 degrees otherwise the toppings make the crust soggy. Once the crust is partially cooked, the toppings can be added. Drizzle a bit of olive oil, and a sprinkle of cheese. Add artichokes, sundried tomatoes and gently place anchovies one by one (as many or as little as desired...and if you are not feeling the love, just leave them off!) Sprinkle the fresh garlic and top with more mozzarella. Crack fresh pepper to finish and pop the pizza back in the oven for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbling.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Law of the Garbage Truck

I spent another delightful weekend in the Midwest and amidst our organizing, label making and rearranging, Mark shared this little single sheet of paper story with me. I have no idea who to credit this to but the message is so true. This has nothing to do with the delicious persona that my blog typically takes on but sometimes it's nice to take a pause and pass on a little bit of refreshing inspiration.

The Law of the Garbage Truck

One day I hopped in a taxi and we took off for the airport. We were driving in the right lane when suddenly a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxidriver slammed on his breaks, skidded, and missed the other car by just inches! The driverof the other car whipped his head around and started yelling at us. My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean, he was really friendly. So I asked, 'Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!' This is when my taxi driver taught me what I now call, 'The Law of the Garbage Truck.' He explained that many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it and sometimes they'll dump it on you. Don't take it personally. Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Don't take their garbage and spread it to other people at work, at home or on the streets. The bottom line is that successful people do not let garbage trucks take over their day. Life's too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so..... 'Love the people who treat you right. Pray for the ones who don't.' Life is ten percent what you make it and ninety percent how you take it!

Peace & Love

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Pumpkin Pie Dip

I first had this pumpkin treat last year at one of our delightful work lunch extravaganzas and I fell in love. This is such an easy dip to whip up and with all of the upcoming holiday festivities, it is a great go to item. Sweet dips are a great surprise to the palate and far from conventional. I have an affinity for finding recipes that require creative, outside the box thinking and this is one of them. Special thanks to Carolynn for sharing this little gem with me.

Pumpkin Pie Dip
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 8 oz. cream cheese (I used fat free)
  • 8 oz. solid packed pumpkin
  • 2- 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 jar of marshamellow fluff
Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate overnight. Serve with Nilla Wafers or Gingersnaps!

We Don't do Tricks- Only Treats

Halloween flashed by quicker than a pixie but that doesn't mean that I didn't have time to enjoy the delightful treats that go along with it. I am not so much a fan of the spooky gooky shivery feelings associated with Halloween but I love an excuse to end the month of October on a true pumpkin overload.

The goblins in the Nido house were bustling with festivity on Saturday as we all sprinkled a bit of pumpkin love all over the place. Chili has always been our staple meal on Halloween and this year we didn't stray from tradition. I am pretty confident the only thing that we did was add about 87,000 calories to the night with all of the extra sparks and treats!
Apples were carefully dipped in caramel creating favorite fall treats reminiscent of our visits to the Cider Mill in Northville!
The caution tape was put up once the jack-o-lanterns came to life.
Carved pumpkins made for pumpkin seeds roasted to perfection lightly salted and gently kissed with olive oil.
A creamy, dreamy pumpkin spice ice cream was loved into existence by the newest Nido kitchen appliance, the Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker. A small scoop is all you need to savor the bold taste of Autumn's orange star.
It's never a proper Halloween without handfuls of candy corn and those petite mellowcreme pumpkins. I think they are just the cutest little candies and, call me crazy, but they have so much personality.

To top it all off, I surprised everyone with a new recipe that was shared with me by a friend at work. When I think of dips, I automatically move my mind to a savory flavor but a sweet dip? Be still my dessert loving heart! Carolynn's pumpkin pie dip recipe was breathtaking and it's pretty safe to say that I left everyone in pumpkin love.

And just when we thought the day couldn't get sweeter, the highly anticipated Appalachian State vs. Furman football game ended just the way I wanted it to! Good thing we won or I would have been forced to wear a lot more purple for the rest of the football season thanks to a certain Paladin. I wore my #7 jersey in celebration...insert AppState fight song here!!

Trick or Treat!

Monday, November 2, 2009

It's Red Again!

It's been a fantastic Monday and just when I thought this day couldn't get any better, I found out via Twitter that as of tomorrow, the red cups are back at Starbucks! Be still my heart. To me, these red cups of cheer are one of the first glimpses of the holiday season and the time of year that I live for! My excitement surrounding this small piece of news should not be surprising but nonetheless, I could not keep this information just to myself.

I am no frills coffee drinker as I prefer a well roasted and brewed bean with some nonfat flavored creamer, but Starbucks sees a lot of Nina when the sleigh bells start to jingle. The little red cups also mean the addition of friendly holiday beverages like eggnog cappucinos, gingersnap lattes and the one that tugs at my heartstrings the most- peppermint mochas delicately kissed with red sprinkles atop the playful puff of whipped cream.

The weather outside it about to get frightful so frolick to Starbucks and pick up something delightful!

*Photo courtesy of

Sunday, November 1, 2009

This is Fall Bliss

Fall is such a cozy time of year and in my opinion, is the one season that has so many flavors and foods associated with it. Crisp apples, spiced cider, warm hearty soups, cinnamon, nutmeg and all things pumpkin. In my world, this is all happy food. A few weeks ago, my dear friends Sara and Laura joined me in my kitchen where we brainstormed and created what we considered to embrace some of the most cherished flavors of fall. It was a cold and rainy Saturday and we could not think of anything more delightful than some time well spent- good food and time with each other.

I am what I would consider a "weekly" grocery shopper as my roommate and I always take our grocery trips on Sunday and pretty much stock up for the week, but there is something I love about going to the store to pick up only the items needed to make one meal. We picked up some pork chops (a rare bite!), fresh apples, mixed baby greens and a bottle of wine with an adorable label- Cupcake! As soon as we got home, we popped in Sara's perfect fall playlist (think Michael Buble, Norah Jones, Nat King Cole...) and got to work!

Earlier in the week, my mom had taught me how to prepare and roast a pork chop in the oven and I was so surprised at how easy it was!
  • Lightly sprinkle each side of the chop with salt & pepper
  • Dip each side in egg
  • Cover in bread crumbs
  • Drizzle a pan with a bit of olive oil
  • Brown each side for 2-3 minutes
  • Nestle all pork chops in a baking dish and bake for 15-20 minutes on 350 degrees

To go with the pork, Laura cut up some stunning red and green apples and sauteed them in butter, cinnamon and brown sugar. What cooked up with nothing short of heavenly and my kitchen smelled like a blissful fall memory in the making! Our fresh salad was nothing more than mixed baby greens, sliced grape tomatoes and some dried cranberries sprinkled with feta and all tousled together with a homemade balsamic vinegarette. To top off the meal, we picked out a bottle of wine that we could not pass up for the label alone- it was called "Cupcake"! Our dinner was literally smiling at us from our plates (if that is even possible)- it was THAT good. The only thing missing was our precious Mary Katherine, the last 1/4 of our "quartet", who was out of town for a wedding.

Nights like this just make me smile.