This year, instead of sharing a week of gift guides I decided to mix things up and think a little more local! All this week I’ll be sharing interviews with local Boston business owners to get their tips for holiday gift giving and entertaining. Hopefully it’ll inspire you to hit Main Street for small business Saturday this weekend and support local business! First up, the fabulous duo, TJ & Hadley, owners of the Urban Grape:
The lovely folks at Calypso St. Barth invited me this weekend to preview the new store in Chestnut Hill at The Street, and it’s absolutely darling. First off, they have a great collection of resort wear that had me craving a warm weather getaway. And it was great to hear that despite being a national brand, they support local designers and has some beautiful jewelry pieces from local Boston artisans. They kindly helped me pick out a few things for myself, and to say I fell in love with the cashmere v-neck sweaters is an understatement – I mean, I might actually live in these in for the rest of the winter. Be sure to check them out if you’re in the neighborhood!
Sweaters gift c/o Calypso St. Barth, all opinions are my own.
I’ve never been much of a winter boots girl — despite almost 10 years living in Boston. I’ve always opted for rain boots during New England winters because of the slushy mess I tend to trudge through during my commute. Recently, I got sent a pair of adorable Joules rain boots to take for a test run and I absolutely love the patterns they come in – stripes, florals, even a darling fox print (plus the mid-height boots are perfect for those who are vertically challenged like me!). The cheery floral pattern I chose makes having to weather a gray day just a little more tolerable. I’m eyeing a pair of the striped rain booties next!
Wellies c/o Joules USA, all opinions are my own.
I got a head start on some holiday crafting this week and have some fun stuff in store for the blog in the coming weeks! I spent the greater party of Saturday surrounded by piles of rhinestones, bowls of glitter and glue, and lots of ribbons and paints. In between crafting sessions I took a break to have an afternoon catch-up with one of my girlfriends, where I steered clear of my usual cheese plate assembly and opted for a hummus and olive spread instead. Sometimes there is nothing better for the brain than stepping away from the internet and actually creating stuff with your hands, hanging out with friends, and enjoying some much needed screen-free time!
I was brainstorming some new appetizer ideas that were easy to make in advance and came up with a simple formula for a snack that has some variety, without requiring tons of grocery shopping or dirty dishes. I purchased some frozen puff pastry dough, thawed, rolled and cut it into 2″ circles. Then I experimented with a few combinations of filling: herb goat cheese and rosemary sea salt, blue cheese crumbles and a drizzle of organic honey, and my favorite combination, slices of heirloom tomatoes sprinkled with fresh parmesan cheese. All three combinations got some fresh cracked black pepper on top as well before I rolled up the sides to resemble bite-sized -tarts. After following the baking directions on the puff pasty box (375 degrees for 10-15 minutes), they came out of the oven golden brown. These lasted about 3 minutes from plate to table at a family party I brought them to, which I think means they were pretty good? I’d love to hear what combinations of fillings you might try!
I have one more recipe to share from our apple-picking porch party that was featured on SMP Living last week — and this one combines my two favorite things, gooey baked cheese and sweet apples. The best part about this recipe? You can make it the night before and freeze it, just pop it in the oven before guests arrive! I’d be lying if I said we didn’t eat the full wheel of brie between the few us gals — it was delectable!
- 2 apples, sliced in thin pieces
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp Royal Rose’s cardamom clove simple syrup
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- Dash of nutmeg
- Wheel of brie (6 to 8 oz)
- Frozen puff pastry dough, thawed
- 1 egg, beaten for wash
- Preheat oven to 375°F
- In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Combine apple, sugars, simple syrup and spices in saucepan until apples are fully coated and sauté for 4-5 minutes while stirring. When sugars start to bubble up, remove the mixture from the heat and let cool.
- On a floured surface, roll out thawed puff pastry dough and cut into a 10″ circle.
- Cut the wheel cheese in half horizontally, place bottom half off cheese wheel on the rolled out pastry dough, top with 1/2 of the apple mixture. Place the second half of the cheese wheel on top, and cover the top with the remaining apple mixture.
- Working in a circular fashion, begin to wrap and fold the pastry dough around the brie, leaving some room at the top for the apple compote to show.
- Brush the dough lightly with one beaten egg, and then bake off in the oven for 35-40 minutes on a baking sheet, or until the crust is a golden brown. Let it rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting, and serve warm with a crusty baguette or crackers.
All images by Bring To Light Photography
I’m still so excited over our apple-picking porch party that was featured on SMP Living last week. And it’s not a party without a signature cocktail — our autumn apple punch was a perfect pairing for our tasty treats. We mixed up Bulleit Rye, apple cider, and cardamom clove simple syrup with a squeeze of lemon juice and served them in mason jar mugs with an apple garnish. I’m not going to lie, we had quite a few of these that weekend, and they were so darn delicious—I had to share the full recipe with you below!
- Apple cider
- Bourbon or Rye
- Royal Rose’s cardamom clove simple syrup
- Fresh lemon juice
- Apple for garnishing
- Combine 3/4 cup of apple cider, 1/3 cup of bourbon or rye and 1 tsp of cardamom clove simple syrup over ice.
- Squeeze a slice of fresh lemon juice into the mixture and divide into glasses.
- Garnish with a fresh apple slice.
All images by Bring To Light Photography