Here’s what I found interesting this week!

1.) Try this refreshing, fun, cocktail! The best part? A sprig of rosemary!
2.) I bet you’ve never tried candy bark quite like this!
3.) Still can’t get enough Christmas cookies? Why not make these gingerbread pancakes!
4.) Feeling fancy?  Why not try this 15 layer cake!
5.) Check out this holiday celebration, where they played with their food to create words!
6.) Thinking of something fun to do on New Year’s Eve?  Why not stay in and make some fondue!
7.) Curl up with this bowl of creamy mushroom pasta when you’re craving comfort
food!
8.) Feeling under the weather? Try this meyer lemon hot toddy!
9.) Did you love the candy dots as a kid?  Now you can make them yourself!
10.) These crispy parmesan rosemary potatoes would be the perfect side to any meal!

Two Cent Tuesday for the Holiday!

1.) Nothing says Christmas quite like chocolate and peppermint. What a fantastic combination!
2.) Are you looking for a fancy holiday party ‘do?  Try one of these pretty looks!
3.) Try these cinnamon cream cheese bars at your holiday breakfast this year!
4.) Mashed potatoes are a holiday fan favorite, but add some goat cheese and you might crave these all year long!
5.) Not only is this shrimp bisque recipe making my mouth water, but the pictures are beautiful and the story is touching.
6.) How do avocado fries with spicy dip sound? Tempting?  I thought so.
7.) These green tea and raspberry trifles are so beautiful and decadent!
8.) I always love unique desserts like this recipe for pineapple upside down cookies!
9.) Why have I never thought to make this?! Rice Krispie french toast!
10.) Here’s a festive recipe for traditional Christmas cookies!

Il Pittore.

When I heard that Stephen Starr would be opening yet another new restaurant, Il Pittore, I just had to try it out.  It was also Jay’s birthday celebration, so there was a perfect excuse to splurge. 
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The restaurant is located in Rittenhouse Square and reflects the décor of an Italian countryside.  Chef Chris Painter, which translates to pittore, drew inspiration for the menu from different regions of Italy.  289
Dark wood and dim lights create a romantic atmosphere as you walk into the restaurant.  Several communal tables are set throughout the restaurant, where diners can share an Italian meal with a twist.  The main restaurant is on the second floor, and an herb garden sits on the roof, which fresh herbs are used in recipes daily.

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Jay and I sat at a cozy table for two, where we had a good view of the dining room.  Our server was friendly and informative. 

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While we were deciding on what to order he brought us some tasty bread.  I loved that there were several varieties.

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To start, we shared:

Ravioli di Ricotta.
swiss chard and ricotta filled ravioli with
chanterelle mushrooms and truffle butter

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The pasta is homemade so the ravioli were light and fluffy.  I loved how the truffle butter and mushrooms melted into the ravioli and created a perfect creamy, savory flavor.
As an entrée I had:

Black Bass “Gamberetto”.
rock shrimp, creamed spinach and
sopressatta

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This was actually the first time I tried black bass but I really enjoyed it.  I loved that the outside was crisp but still tender. 
Jay had:

Pollo al Mattone.

brick-roasted half chicken, brushed with
mustard and rosemary bread crumbs

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Of course I had a few bites!  I loved the mustard that was used on the outside of the chicken because not only did it add extra flavor, but it helped the crispy bread crumbs stick!
And it wouldn’t be a birthday celebration unless there was dessert!

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We ordered several kinds of gelati: vanilla, chocolate with chips and cinnamon.  I think my favorite was the cinnamon.  They really made it fun and special by writing Happy Birthday in chocolate and giving us a few biscotti to dip into the gelati.  It is the little things after all Smile
To make the birthday celebration even more special, the manager came over with an affogato, an Italian dessert. 

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There was gelato and cream in the martini glass, and then he poured hot espresso over it.  Served with a spoon and uniquely delicious! 
Our experience was so great that we’re talking about returning soon.  Although I wouldn’t expect anything else from Stephen Starr!  I highly suggest trying Il Pittore, where a perfect imagine and taste of Italy will be painted on your taste buds!

Two Cent Tuesday… Back Again!

1.) What would be better to warm you up than adult hot chocolate with Bailey’s marshmallows?
2.) Looking for a comforting, warm, chocolatey dessert? How does peanut butter brownie pudding pie sound!?
3.) Have you started baking for the holidays? These wreath cookies are a perfect, creative twist to ordinary holiday cookies!
4.) What’s better… smores or truffles? What if you could have both!?
5.) Are you looking to make homemade gifts this year?  Try this recipe for homemade hazelnut spread!
6.) Try making these north pole cupcakes to get into the Christmas spirit!
7.) Wouldn’t you love to curl up on the couch with a nice, warm bowl of… lasagna soup!?
8.) You have to check out these cute fruit Christmas tree pastries!
9.) Another great idea for a holiday gift is this really delicious recipe for peppermint bark!
10.) Chocolate and peanut butter are the best combination but add pretzels and the mix and you get this delicious recipe!

Cute as a button, pretty as a flower, little Leah’s baby shower!

Remember when I told you about my sister’s gender reveal party?  Well baby Leah’s arrival is quickly approaching and the celebrating has begun.

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My sister Carrie’s baby shower was actually back in November. Leah isn’t due until January but with the holidays approaching and everyone hustle and bustling, we figured it would be best to have it early.
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While we held the shower at a restaurant, The Mozzarella Grill, most of the decorating and planning was done by my Mom and I. 
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I did a bunch of research and found so many cute baby decorating ideas. 

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The one decoration/favor I was most proud of was the cake pops that I made.  They turned out really cute but wow are they a challenge to make.  Of course I checked out a bunch of bloggers, youtube videos and most importantly, Bakerella, the queen of cake pops. 
 
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Let’s just say that if you are going to make them then make sure you have set aside some time, effort, and patience.  Oh, and you might want to practice a few batches first. 

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But the results will be so worth it, especially because it is a labor of love.

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Leah has so much waiting for her!  Every baby supply or trinket you could think of.  And most importantly, endless love.  There are only a few weeks left until her arrival and I can’t wait to be an aunt!

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Make way, it’s Two Cent Tuesday.

1.) Whether you’re having a party or simply want fancy way to eat your veggies this holiday season, check out this adorable tree!
2.) My good friend Beth started a blog recently and I highly recommend you check it out Smile
3.) What’s more decadent than brie as a savory appetizer?  Fried brie! 
4.) Try this easy, healthy recipe to make your own tasty nut butter!
5.) I admit that rainbow desserts are so appealing!!! And this one is no exception.
6.) I’m a huge fan of anything that has to do with monkey bread, especially when it is portable and easy to make!
7.) If you’re looking for a warm, comforting bowl of soup, try this Guinness and Onion Soup with Irish Cheddar Crouton!
8.) Looking for a winter cocktail? Try this tasty recipe.
9.) Are you making homemade gifts this year?  Why not make homemade candy, such as these Twix bars!?
10.) These gingerbread whoopie pies are a unique twist on a holiday favorite!

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It’s beginning to feel a lot like soup!

    The official start of the holidays began yesterday!! Yes, I said it.  The official start.  Because according to me, the holiday season does not start until December.  Every holiday deserves their respectful time Smile 
    That being said, I am not giving up on fall foods.  Sure I am going to drink hot chocolate and eat Christmas cookies all month, but pumpkin, squash and fall type foods are still allowed in my book.  Call me a hypocrite, but you may feel differently after trying this soup!

    Buttermilk Squash Soup

    Yields 7 cups, or 8 servings
    Ingredients:

     

        • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
        • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
        • 3 garlic cloves, minced
        • 2 pounds yellow summer squash, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
        • 1 russet potato (about 3/4 pound), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
        • 3 1/2 cups homemade or low-sodium store-bought chicken stock, skimmed of fat
        • 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
                 Directions:
          1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Tear bread into 1/2-inch pieces (to measure about 1 cup). Transfer to a medium bowl; drizzle with oil. Season with salt and pepper; toss. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet; toast bread in oven until crisp and golden brown, about 13 minutes. Let cool.
          2. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, squash, and potato; cook, stirring often, until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add 3 cups stock; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, stirring occasionally, until potato is tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
          3. Let cool slightly. Carefully ladle soup into a blender (work in batches to avoid filling blender more than halfway); puree until smooth. Pour through a fine sieve into a clean large saucepan.
          4. Place pan over medium-low heat. Stir in remaining 1/2 cup stock; while stirring, slowly pour in buttermilk. Heat until warm, about 5 minutes. Divide soup and reserved croutons among bowls.
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          Enjoy and have a great weekend!