Thursday, December 30, 2010

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone! Just wanted to poke my head in and wish you all a very happy holiday. We are currently at my parents' house and are finally done opening presents. I'm glad we are at my parents' house, mainly because I've seriously lost my holiday mojo and I'm hoping to get it back soon, even though the holidays are basically over (Dave, the kids and myself all caught a nasty cold that wiped us all out). I didn't decorate at all! Wishing my house kind of looked like that above. Oh well, another year. 

I hope you've all had a wonderful time celebrating the holidays, and thank you so much for reading this measly little blog. Looking forward to seeing you all again in the New Year!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Weekend Listenting - Holiday Edition

Merry Christmas Eve! The big holiday is upon us, and if you're like me, you have just as much anticipation over the pending festivities as you did when you were eight. I think I get more excited for everyone to open the presents I gave them than opening my own presents! Before you nuzzle into bed and dream of sugar plums, grab a cup of eggnog, cozy-up by the fire (don't forget to put it out for poor Santa!), and put on some good Christmas music. I think the following selections are perfect backgrounds for wrapping those last-minute presents and stuffing stockings.

Windham Hill Holiday Guitar Collection

I love classical guitar, and the Windham Hill Holiday Guitar Collection  is no exception. Each track is driving and exciting, but still mellow and melodic. The version of "The Holly and the Ivy" does justice to one of my all-time favorite holiday songs, and I only wish my version of "Angels We Have Heard on High" that I begrudgingly sang each Christmas Eve in church sounded as beautiful as this one.

A Scottish Christmas

A Scottish Christmas by Bonnie Rideout, Maggie Sansone and Al Petteway is a fun spin on Christmas classics. "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" and "O Come All Ye Faithful" have that traditional Celtic sound, merged with the familiar melodies of Christmas. I definitely think this album deserves to be listen to with a nice glass of Scotch, you know, to keep with the theme.

Well, lovelies, have a wonderful Christmas! I hope tomorrow morning brings lots of smiles, love, and okay, a present or two. Enjoy the day and be grateful for all the goodness in life! I'd love to hear about how you spend Christmas.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Happy Sunday everybody! Just wanted to mention that my chocolate chip cookies were featured over on the A-MAZ-ING blog, A Friendly Brown. I hope you'll go pay the wonderfully sweet, charming, and down-right hilarious Kelly a visit. She's very crafty and creates breathtaking photos, as well.

Here's another way to enjoy my Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend. I hope if you're not up to your neck in holiday baking, you're in bed with the Sunday paper and a nice pot of coffee!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Weekend Listenting - Holiday Edition

Wowie, can you believe it? Only one more week until Christmas! I don't know where 2010 went, but I know it's been an exciting and fortunate year for us here at Silly Goose Farm. To keep us in the holiday spirit, let's explore some holiday tunes, shall we?

Jingle All the Way

First up: Jingle All the Way by Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, one of my favorite bands. I can only dream of playing the banjo as perfectly and effortlessly as Bela. Bela and the boys have some great, inventive covers on this album. I love Victor Wooten's bass solo on "The Christmas Song," and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" makes me want to put on my dancing shoes. My nostalgia-loving heart really swells when "Christmas Time is Here" and "Linus and Lucy" are queued up. Speaking of which...

A Charlie Brown Christmas: The Original Sound Track Recording Of The CBS Television Special

...Here the original versions on A Charlie Brown Christmas: The Original Sound Track Recording of the CBS Television Special by Vince Guaraldi Trio. Of course we all know and love the movie, but the music, I believe, is great anytime of year. It just makes me laugh thinking about all the Peanuts characters pointing their little noses in the air and "Oo Oo Oo-ing" their favorite Christmas carols. I think "Skating" is my favorite song on the whole album, although truly, each song is a gem.

Good luck with the final push towards Christmas!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Twisted Felt Garland

I wanted some playful decorations for Edie's birthday party, but wanted something that wasn't to "hokey."  I found an awesome tutorial on The Purl Bee for a twisted felt garland. It was so easy! A nice "sit in front of the TV and catch up on The Real Housewives, uh, I mean Meet the Press" project. I think I bought about two yards each of blue and white felt, and it made a TON of garland. I have a big garbage bag full of it! But, it was really easy, and for the amount shown here, it would probably take less than an hour to make and only cost a few bucks. Check out the tutorial here.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Chocolate Chip Butter Cake and Buttercream Frosting

I wanted to make a somewhat unexpected birthday cake for Edie's birthday. And since she's such a little thief when it comes to chocolate chips, I thought I'd try a a chocolate chip cake. I found a recipe here, and put my own spin on it.


Old-Fashioned Butter Cake with Chocolate Chips

1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup soft butter
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 cups all purpose flour

1 1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup chocolate chips*

1. Cream together the butter and sugars until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and beat until incorporated. Add vanilla.

2. Add baking powder, baking soda and salt. Combine chocolate chips with a bit of the flour. Alternately add flour and milk, ending with flour. Add chocolate chips. Mix each addition until just combined.

3. Pour batter into greased and floured cake pans (two 8-inch round cake pans or a 9x13-inch pan). Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes. **

4. Cool cake in pans for 15 minutes before removing. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

*I used mini chocolate chips, but feel free to use any type of chocolate chips or chopped chocolate you prefer. Despite my best efforts, the chocolate chips still sank to the bottom of the cake. When I frosted the cake, I just faced the layers so the chocolate encased the frosting.

**In order to get the two-tiered cake for Edie's birthday, I made two batched of the cake. The first in two 8-inch cake pans, the second in a 9x13-inch pan, which I cut two circles out of and layered together.


Buttercream Frosting

1 cup soft butter
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
8-10 tbsp milk

1. Beat butter until smooth and creamy. Add vanilla and salt.

2. Gradually add half of powdered sugar. Add half of milk, one tbsp at a time, to loosen frosting. Add the rest of the powdered sugar and milk in similar fashion. Once incorporated, beat at high speed until white and fluffy.


I added white and red drages to the cake once frosted, then rolled and cut blue and white fondant for the ribbons. When cutting the cake, I removed the top tier and served slices from that first. The bottom tier was cut by making an inner and outer circle and cuting wedges from it. For a tutorial, click here.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Candied Apples

Shiny, glistening, ruby red candied apples. A staple at Halloween and county fairs alike. Edie's birthday party wouldn't be complete without them.


Candied Apples

10 medium-sized tart apples, like McIntosh
10 wooden sticks or skewers
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup hot water
1/2 tsp (about 20 drops) red food coloring
1/2 cup Red Hots candied or 25 Atomic Fire Balls*

1. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Wash and dry apples. Remove stems. Insert wooden sticks into stem end of apples securely.

3. Add sugar, water, corn syrup, hot water and food coloring into a large pot. Boil until temperature reaches 250 degrees Fahrenheit on a candy thermometer.

4. Add Red Hots or Atomic Fire Balls to the pot (Red Hots will complete melt away, Atomic Fire Balls will not). Boil until temperature reaches 285 degrees Fahrenheit on a candy thermometer.

5. Remove pot from heat. Dip apples into the mixture, allow excess to drip back into pot. Allow to cool on foil-lined baking sheet.

*It sounds like a lot of spicy, fiery flavor, but it only lends subtle cinnamon taste.


Edie's Birthday Party

Little Miss Edith's birthday party was just the best ever. She was (relatively) well behaved, had a blast playing with her friends and cousins, and said "Wowie!" every time she opened a present.

We did a "County Fair" theme. I tried to make food that would resemble what you would find at a summertime carnival.

I found inspiration for the party here and here. I think Edie liked it. For more pictures of the party and all the goodies, click here. Stay tuned for some select recipes!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Weekend Listenting - Holiday Edition

Today, I am prepping for Edie's birthday party tomorrow. Even though I'm in "birthday mode," "holiday mode" isn't far from my mind. Over the next few weeks, I thought I'd share some of my favorite holiday music to help us all get through that final seasonal push!

James Taylor at Christmas

First up, James Taylor. The original "JT." The album At Christmas is timeless, and I could listen to his ethereal voice any time of year. I especially love his duet with Natalie Cole on "Baby, It's Cold Outside," (why can't JT try to convince me to spend the night with him? Such a cutie), as well as his version of "In the Bleak Midwinter," one of my favorite holiday songs ever.

Have Yourself a Jazzy Little Christmas

Next, is a compilation of some jazz favorites, Have Yourself a Jazzy Little Christmas. I like to dance around to these tunes, and Billie Holiday's "I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm" makes me want to throw on my best party dress and heels and head out to a fancy Christmas party.

Happy Listening!

Happy Birthday Edith!

Yesterday was Edie's second birthday. I can't believe it! Already? We had a wonderful family day together. I wish it could be that perfect every day. Tomorrow, we will have a party for her. Stay tuned for pictures!

To read about Edie's entrance into this world, please visit over here.