My House: A Plan for Breakfast

Breakfast Table Designing In Chatham NJSaturday mornings are bliss, aren’t they? We get up late. My husband and son work together to make pancakes while I catch up on my blog reading and Pinterest. I know. I’m super lucky! It gets better. The pancakes are amazing, and every week the recipe rotates: blueberry, cottage cheese, banana nut, or apple pancakes in the fall.

Some days we have lots of family and friends join us for the now famous pancake breakfasts we have. If our peeps are coming we make spicy eggs, and pull out champagne for some mimosas. So fun. The entire table gets filled to maximum capacity for quite a few breakfasts every year. Here’s a recent pic from my Instagram (stay tuned because the room is getting a fix up with some new pieces and Uma Stewart fabrics soon!).

Kitchen Decorator In Morris County NJBut other days it’s just the three of us for breakfast, and that is equally nice. I still try to make the table look decent. Right now black-eyed susans are growing wild in our front border. I am frequently inspired to head outside with the snippers to pick a few. I’ll often snip at the unplanned Japanese maple tree growing onto our patio steps too.

Dining Area Decoration In Short Hills Nj

I’m all for dressed up and ornate as you probably know by now! But these simple breakfasts for three call for a simple table. As it turns out, we don’t need much.

Once we’re done eating we might put on some music, dance (at least Aadi and I will), and read the news or a book. This week Michael had me listen to a new album he downloaded by Christine and the Queens. I loved it, and he knew I would. How about you? Do you have a pancake routine?!

Christine & The Queens Chaleur Humaine

Here’s a recipe for my favorite pancakes. I love it for the low fuss days because the cottage cheese makes it filling and more protein heavy! No side dish needed.

Cottage Cheese Pancakes
Adapted from The Joy of Cooking

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk
1 cup cottage cheese
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla

1/3 cups finely chopped pecans
1/3 cup dried currants, plumped

2 large egg whites

Pure maple syrup or honey, or plain yogurt (optional, for serving. I like them with just some butter because the currants are sweet enough.)

Lightly butter, oil, or spray your griddle.

Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, cottage cheese, butter, egg yolks and vanilla.

Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and gently whisk them together, mixing just until combined. Stir in the pecans and currants.

Beat the two egg whites until they are stiff but not dry and fold them into the batter.

The batter will be thick and bubbly. Spoon 1/3 cup batter onto the griddle for each pancake, nudging the batter into rounds. These are thick and might take a little longer to cook than most other pancakes. Cook until the top of each pancake is starting to dry around the edges – you will get a few bubbles here and there – then turn and cook until the underside is lightly browned. These will keep in a 200 degrees F oven while you finish making the rest, but they are best served ASAP!

Cooked Three Ways: Baked Cheese

955cbc8c621aafbe78ff0272793e3313Who doesn’t love wonderfully warm, melty cheese, especially as the weather grows cooler? These three baked cheese dishes are on my list to try as appetizers for a season of entertaining. First up, this Baked Ricotta with Lemon, Garlic, and Chives dish can take on more of a winter flavor by swapping the chives for thyme. A sure crowd pleaser. Have you ever met ANYONE who doesn’t like ricotta?

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This delicious Warm Fennel and Parmesan Dip is another take on baked cheese, but heavy on vegetable content, which is always a good thing. This can be done with roasted peppers as well.

roasted camambert with figs-5I’m very excited about the recipes on the food blog Multiculti Kitchen. And I was especially excited to come across this Baked Camembert with Honey Roasted Figs there. A perfect way to dress up the “cheesy appetizer” for a special gathering.

Do you have any favorite baked cheese recipes?

Cheers!: Game Day Cocktail

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Super Bowl Sunday generally entails cold brews and a pitcher of margaritas. It seems inevitable that there is a cocktail that combines them both, right? We mixed up the ingredients pictured here based on this recipe. In my quest for drinks that are not so sweet, I have to say that I rather liked it.

photoThis beer cocktail will pair excellently with classic Super Bowl foods like nachos, beer nuts, and seven layer dip. Serve two hours before kick-off if you want to catch the sun glowing through the amber like this. Enjoy responsibly!

Photos by Uma Stewart.

Entertaining: Science Themed Birthday Party

birthday tablesOne big event of last month that I never did have the chance to blog about was my son’s sixth birthday party! It was the first party we hosted at our new home so we decided to pull out all the stops. First, Aadi himself picked the theme. “I like lots of different animals. And I like leaves too. Let’s do ALL living things!” he said when I asked him if he had a favorite animal. Suddenly I had a vision of a birthday party designed around vintage natural history ephemera. I thought maybe I could do this somehow!

birthday popcorn

We started the party off with some popcorn “bird” snacks. Here’s my little chickadee enjoying his before his friends arrived. We did an evening party to accommodate my family, so I decided to let the parents get festive with their own goody table.

parent's tableI had assigned a few Dads the role of “Bird Guide” and they took the kids out for a bird treasure hunt in the yard. Luckily we were blessed with the last 60 plus degree day in November for the party! Here are some of the birds in hiding outside.

humminbird hidingwhite doves waitbarn owl hidingWe did our best to teach the kids about Hummingbirds, Blue Jays, Robins, Rock Pigeons, Chickadees, and Barn Owls, but the quest to find these bird treasures (which I sourced from a floral trim outlet) for their favor bags caused too much excitement to contain.

favor bag

Speaking of favor bags, I was most proud of my hand-painted sacks. I purchased the plain drawstring bags from Oriental Trading Company, and used acrylic paint to personalize them. After the treasure hunt we headed to the “party room” where we decorated miniature frogs and played reptile bingo.

birthday table

The party room was really our sunroom decked out with party tables and posters that are actually gorgeous gift wraps by Cavallini and Co. that I mounted to foam board. We topped the tables with simple unprinted newsprint leftover from our move this summer.

boy's science party tabletopI made the reptile bingo boards by finding illustrations of reptile species online and creating a layout in a page design program. We printed the boards on antiqued card stock, and ordered some colorful bingo chips to use and kept them in bright bowls on the table. I saved the whole game in one of the drawstring bags for Aadi’s game collection. Anyone want to play a round?

favors on table boy's science party

I ordered succulents from San Pedro Cactus to decorate the table, along with bug boxes with magnifying glass lids and rubber insects. At the end of the party each child added a plant and bug box to their gift sack.

dirt and worms ice cream cupsAfter a round of mammal charades everyone returned to the tables to eat. Dessert included these dirt and worm ice cream cups, made with dark chocolate ice cream topped with blended Oreos and gummy worms. These special ruffled kraft paper cups were on Etsy. Finally, my favorite, Able Baker‘s mini-cupcakes topped with these edible moth-like butterflies I ordered from Sugar Robot, also on Etsy.

moth cupcakes

The whole thing was quite a production but came off smoothly with lots of help from family, friends, and helpers. Most importantly, my 6 year old was thrilled…and his party guests left very happy!

Postscript: Our Thanksgiving

thanksgiving tableHi everyone! I hope you all had a beautiful Thanksgiving holiday! Here is a shot of the dining table Michael took right before our company arrived for dinner. We were a happy crew of 16 and there was plenty of eating and thanks giving.

I gifted each of our guests with a small notebook with a quote about gratitude tucked inside. We each shared our quotes along with what we were thankful for. It was a fun twist on our usual tradition!

I set the table very similarly to my practice setting, and added menus with each person’s name at the bottom as place cards.

place setting

Now on to the rest of the holiday festivities as we finish out the year! Shopping anyone? I definitely over did it this Black Friday. Returns may be in order. How about you?!