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Holiday cheer

December 12, 2011

It finally feels like Christmas. This may or may not be because my roommate, Alex, and I just shared bourbon spiked hot chocolate, next to the Christmas tree, while watching The Santa Clause, but I think it’s just finally beginning to creep in anyway.

The air is finally cold, the  parties have begun, and I am ready to a. Christmas shop online at work tomorrow and b. power through this work week so I can let the celebrating begin.

Luckily for me, my friends are a step ahead and we got some good Christmas cheer in this past week.

Blue Moon is Christmasy, right? I told you, I’m a wine girl!

Our tree! + Fordham love.

We actually graduated in 2009 but Liz, my roommate is an Admissions counselor at Fordham, and for some reason, we only represent the year after we left. I’ll take it.

Friday I was treated to my ultimate favorite dinner at Flex Mussels. I know I am moving to California where seafood will be in abundance, but I don’t care, this place is heaven and I will die a little without their San Daniele mussels and salted caramel donuts. I didn’t take any pictures because my friend, Chris, was embarrassed enough during this one.

He’s under the impression that taking picture at a New York restaurant isn’t swanky. Fool.

After our pretty spectacular dinner, we attended our first Holiday party of the year. There was Mariah Carey, there were Christmas lights, in other words, it was a success.

On Saturday I decided to bake Blueberry muffins, does it count as seasonal if there’s streusal on top?


I got this muffin recipe from Food and Wine and consistency wise, they were ideal. Not too cakey, nice and fluffy, and marvelously crunchy on top. They weren’t the exact amount of sweet that I personally prefer, but I guess that just means you add more butter to even it out, right?

CRUMB TOPPING

  1. 1 cup all-purpose flour
  2. 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  3. 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  4. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  5. Pinch of salt
  6. 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

MUFFINS

  1. 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  3. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  4. 1 cup granulated sugar
  5. 2 large eggs
  6. 1/2 cup canola oil
  7. 3/4 cup whole milk
  8. 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  9. 1 1/2 cups blueberries
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Line 18 muffin cups with paper or foil liners or spray 2 muffin tins with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour with the brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in the melted butter, then pinch the mixture until it forms pea-size clumps.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, eggs and canola oil and beat with a handheld electric mixer at low speed until combined. Beat in the whole milk and vanilla. Add the flour mixture all at once and beat at low speed until the batter is smooth. Stir in the blueberries.
  4. Spoon the batter into 18 of the cups, filling them about three-quarters full. Sprinkle the crumb topping on top of each one and bake for about 30 minutes or until the muffins are golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Let the blueberry muffins cool in the pan for 10 minutes before serving.

Give it a try, and let me know what you think. Slight confession, I was about 1/4 of a cup short on the sugar, which may be the make or break here. I’ll try again once I’ve gobbled these up and report back.
I also thought it would be wise to exercise on Saturday, if only to balance out the good eats that the holidays bring, and I think I may have found the Yoga class that will allow me to finally hop on the Yoga bandwagon.

I’ve always been more of a runner, not because I love it, or because it clears my mind, but because it’s fast and I can feel it. Every time I try to sit through a Yoga class, I spend half the time planning my dinner, or silently mocking the whispered tones of my teacher. I watch as everyone comes out refreshed, and all I can feel is that I somehow skipped out on really working out to sit on a mat.

This may be optimistic, but this class made me re-think it. My arms are weak this morning from the positions we tried yesterday, and the class itself flew by. Maybe my slightly pre-mature New Year resolution can to be factor a little more Yoga into my life? I hear it’s good for the mind, right? Plus, my knees will appreciate it.

After my deeply purifying Saturday afternoon, I spent the eveing exploring the touristy spots of New York, including the tree at Rockefeller center and guess what? The lights were off! If I hadn’t had such a calming day, it may have bothered me more, but luckily my newfound balance, and waking up on Sunday to my muffins and a Sbucks, kept the Christmas spirit humming.

I also decided to redeem my “Free Birthday Dinner” coupon from Alex on this very chilly winter evening. She was a sport and whipped up some pretty exceptional Ratatouille. It was a little non-traditional, and she served it over pasta with goat cheese. She’d made it before and it really does taste like instant comfort, plus, it’s GOOD for you. Alex is a vegetarian, so I know when she makes me something, it’s going to be tasty and healthy. Zucchini and onions and tomatoes, oh my, + a baguette that was still warm when she bought it. YUM.

And that brings us to where we began, an evening next to the tree with warm hot chocolate and good company. Yep, definitely feels like Christmas.


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