Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Making Memories with Ornaments!

Watch Sibila Vargas from Fox talk with me about Christmas traditions!

Now before each segment, I like to test out my ideas and crafts on the family. Here is Uncle Matt (my handsome bro) with our nephew Carson making ornaments of his little hand using glitter, paint, felt and more. Aprons are definitely neccessary!!!

I pulled a lot of these craft items from my mom's place and after squeezing that paint so hard my face turned red, I guess it's safe to say the paint quite possibly could be as old as I am!!

Share with me some of the fun crafty stuff you and your family do together around the table during the holidays! I'm all ears!
happy birthday jesus! boom.

Monday, December 28, 2009

I heart NYC

My good friend Gia Passalacqua is not only one of my favorite chefs and wine maker of Dancing Lady Zinfandel wines but one of my favorite people in the world. Gia got me pumped to live out my dream in NYC during Christmas, and because of her generosity I was able to make that dream come true. I couldn't have asked for a better partner in crime to live it up with. She is truly a one of a kind blessing.

And then there's Molly Del Monte: another amazing chef with an incredible palette. She is the one who mostly compiled this list, which was oh so very generous. You'll see my comments below so please enjoy an insiders track to NYC.

1. Bowery Hotel
It's a happening hotel. Mario, the floor manager is amazing, kind, and insightful; a whole ball of love. It’s really an amazing place. They have a great white wine. Gruener Veltlinerthat, was my staple.

2. Gramercy Tavern
I like the tavern better than the restaurant, yummy drinks! This is an institution and the most popular restaurant in NYC. It's a gigantic MUST that you eat here. A DOUBLE MUST SEE! Address: E. 20th between park and 5th

3. Back Forty
(Dinner only)- sustainable yummy casual eats. Yummy drinks Address: Ave. B between 12th & 11th *They have the best Brussels sprouts, drink menu is amazing, oh their pate' mousse is so good.

4. Lupa
Casual Mario Batali joint and my old stand by. good pasta and veggies, good atmosphere. at dinner, prepare to sit at the bar. (***Side Note: If in LA go to Mozza Pizzeria or Osteria- my favorite spot) Thompson between Bleecker and W Houston
*Mario Batali is a fricking genius, he's food is always so good.

5. The Spotted Pig
Great beer, food and it’s a great establishment. Mario Batalli is a investor in this restaurant.

6. Momofuku Ssam
Trendy - pickle plate is the most memorable I've ever had, for the pork obsessed. Get the pork buns. Address: 2nd and 13th KJoy's Menu Favs: Cured hamachi, horseradish, edamame - taste like butter it's so good I'm obsessed. Fried Brussels Sprouts – fish sauce vinaigrette, mint, delfino Yum Yummerson! Honeycrisp apple kimchi – jowl bacon, maple labne, arugula. So delish! Steamed pork buns – hoisin, cucumbers, scallions. Most popular dish, it was good but i took out some of the meat. A big winner for the man in your life :) Spicy rice cakes – pork sausage, chinese broccoli, crispy shallots. Bought his book because of this dish - if you buy book at the restaurant it's signed by David Chang himself! David is probably one of the most influential chefs in NYC right now, it’s delicious and innovative.

7. Milk
Right next door to Ssam, the best dessert ever!!! I highly recommend for a ladies night out!. Their compost cookie is a blend of pretzels, candy, chocolate, and just about anything yummy. It's so moist and chewy and amazing it's heaven sent.

8.Tipsy Parson
Haven't had full meal here yet, reviews are hit and miss, but decor alone is worth a visit. Brand new and lots of buzz. American comfort food with southern emphasis. Address: 9th between 19th&20th.

9. Minetta Tavern
Address: MacDougal St Manhattan, New York, NY 10012 Seriously the best burger I've ever sunk my teeth into, 26 bucks but it's so good. It melts in your mouth, also the drink menu is amazing.

cheap(ish) eats:

1. Caracas Arepas (get the la del gato and enjoy the secret sauce!!!) 7th between 1st and A

2. Crif dogs (bacon wrapped hot dogs) St. marks between 1st and A PDT- a speakeasy accessed through a phone booth in crif dogs. (It sounds so mysterious, doesn't it?)

3. The Little Owl
90 bedford street corner of Bedford and Grove. The best meatball sliders - super quaint decor.

4. death and co.
a bar that you make a reservation for, 6th between 1st & A(212) 388 0882

for places to go/ things to do:

1. Reservoir in Central Park
I love strolling through Central Park sipping on a cap. Amazing.

2. Staten Island ferry
Free and beautiful views of the city. Walk through Battery Park city on your way there. World Trade Center is in Battery Park. Also a great breakfast place: Cowgirl Seahorse. (Thank you Heather Ross)

3. Brooklyn Bridge
Take the A to High street or the F to York. Get lost in DUMBO and find Jaques Torres chocolates. Use your blackberry to find your way to the bridge and walk across. You can walk back up to your hotel from there.

4. Ice Skating in Bryant Park
Skip Rockefeller Center!! I seriously had one of my favorite memories of my life here. I skated in circles for over an hour, by myself, it was awesome. Eventually, I caught up to Gia who was also going in circles by herself.
5. Walk through West Village
This is where Carrie lived in SATC (on Perry between Bleecker and W. 4th). Stop in Magnolia Bakery for a cupcake if you are dying and the only thing that can save you is sugar. I like the vanilla the best!

6. Chelsea market
75 9 AvenueNew York, NY 10011 Such a great spot and so much fun. Food Network holds their offices there.

7. Ninth Street Expresso
It's delish/ get it there and you can stand and sip like they do in Europe.

8. Murray's Cheese Shop
Get some cheese and bread (preferably from Tom Cat) and you'll be set for lunch.


You can walk Bleecker street between 7th and 8th Aves for high-end boutiques.

2. Bergdorf Goodman
754 5th Avenue New York, NY 10019 -so great!

I leave you in the words of Jay-Z "Theres nothing you can’t do, Now you’re in New York, These streets will make you feel brand new, The lights will inspire you, Lets here it for New York, New York, New York ".

Christmas with Kristen.

Many thanks to my friend Liz Jordan for the recent post on her afternoon show blog!

"Kristen Hilyard is one of the most creative and gifted designers and stylists I’ve ever known. She primarily works with Chef and Author Domenica Catelli styling food for TV segments, photo shoots and much more.

Kristen has traveled all over the U.S. using her gift for design and eye for a bargain to help others discover creative ways to decorate, celebrate and make lasting, colorful memories.

Kristen is pictured here with her family and you can watch her live tomorrow morning on Fox Morning Extra just after 9 a.m. Click here for her recent appearance with awesome tips on setting the table!

Check out some of her latest decorating and memory making ideas for the entire family!

Gingerbread Man Decorating Race!
·Pre-bake Gingerbread men
·Race kids vs. kids / Adults vs. adults - decorate gingerbread men and have an adult race where kids cheer on adults. Give extra time for kids and minimal time for adults to decorate the cookies.
· Everyone vote and declare winners for the race. Make a crown for the winners to wear and maybe give a gift.
·Turn on KSBJ Christmas music to create an atmosphere of excitement and Christmas cheer!

Making Simple Tree Ornaments:
· It can be as simple as tracing your hand on felt and decorating it.
· Get a plain ornament and decorating it. Place a photo inside as well!
· Make sure to write year and name of the person who decorated it on ornament creating memories for years to come!

Extra Fun Stuff:
Go watch a Christmas movie with the family
Go look at lights and bring a thermos of hot cocoa with you
Go pick up a Christmas tree and decorate
Go help out at a charity
Make your own hot cocoa mix.

Staying Jesus Focused:
Have everyone sit around and read scriptures from the Bible about the birth of Jesus
Go to Christmas Eve service at church
Bake a cake and sing Happy Birthday to Jesus
Sit around and sing Christmas songs and teach them to kids
Ask what Christmas means to everyone? Favorite Christmas memories from the past!

Santa Fun:
Read T’was The Night Before Christmas out loud
Bake cookies and leave out for Santa! (Parents: make sure you take a bite out of cookie so kids know Santa really came!)
Make reindeer treats and eat while you watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Santa Clause the movie or Miracle on 34th Street
Follow Santa at http://www.noradsanta.org/en/index.html

My Family’s Tradition:
Easy dinner: Turkey Chili from Domenica Catelli’s Mom-a-licious cookbook
The children wrap each other’s Christmas gifts for mama and we all watch The Christmas story movie over and over again
Every year we get new p.j.’s from my mom and wear them that night for Christmas morning!

Merry Christmas from my family to yours!

Christmas Centerpieces to the Rescue.

Webster defines firewood as "wood suitable for fuel" .... I'm here to add to that definition.

who knew you could do so much with firewood?