Category Archives: Holiday

#shoplocal AVA AND RUBY LOVELIEST OF GIFT BUNDLES!!

Over the weekend my daughter Liv and I headed to The Barn at Todd Farm. We simply love how Barbara Breaker, the proprietor, decorates her multi-dealer shop, especially at Christmas time. All the dealers stock and decorate their individual areas in the holiday spirit as well. We find the most amazing vintage treasures at The Barn at Todd Farm, from housewares to jewelry to furniture to festive decor.

I also brought along my camera to take photos of my dear friend Briar Forsythe’s display at The Barn for a post I had planned for today. Briar has a wonderful new business endeavor, Ava and Ruby, where along with her friend Dona, create the loveliest of gift bundles. Each of the themed bundles are thoughtfully curated and packaged exquisitely. One of my favorites is the one for the baker on your shopping list.

Ava and Ruby bundles range in price from $44.00 to under $200.00. Shipping is very reasonable, a flat fee for all bundles. You can either purchase the gift bundles at The Barn at Todd Farm or at their online marketplace here at Ava and RubyJoyful surprise of surprises, when I arrived home Monday, there was a package waiting from Briar, addressed to Charlotte and myself. We eagerly opened to find inside the baker’s gift bundle!! The lovely hand painted box (that also serves as a recipe box) is a treasure trove of fun. Included are a charming polka dot tea towel, cookie cutters, a complete set of measuring cups and spoons, ruby red sparkle sugar, and blank cookie recipe booklet for keeping track of your favorite cookie recipes. Charlotte was thrilled, and me, even more so!

Check out Ava and Ruby’s website here: Ava and Ruby. And visit The Barn at Todd Farm at 275 Main Street, Rowley. The barn is open Wednesday through Saturday from 11am til 5pm, and on Sundays from 10am til 4pm.

GO TO WOLF HILL FOR WONDERFULLY WHIMSICAL SUPPLIES TO MAKE A SIMPLE HOLIDAY COASTAL WREATH!

The wreath that adorns our front door was made from stock found at Wolf Hill, and it was super easy to put together. We used a 12 inch wreath, 5 sea stars, green wire, and a bow made from a stunning champagne hued sparkly snowflake wire ribbon. I made the bow, but if you don’t have the time, Pam at Wolf Hill has a fabulous selection of bows ready made. Additionally, you can pick a ribbon from their gorgeous stock and she will custom make a bow for you. You’ll find a lovely array of starfish, sea urchins, sand dollars, and seashells to include in your coastal holiday decor.

Note – The battery operated string of bubble lights we had on hand from last year, purchased at Ikea. However, Wolf Hill also has strings of battery powered lights.

 

 

WONDERFUL GIFT BOXES AT PASTIO VIA CORTA!

Danielle has a tantalizing array of gift boxes to make your holiday shopping easier. The boxes may be filled with Pastio organic handmade pasta, homemade wines, and only the freshest and most delicious provisions from family farms in Italy.

Pastio Via Corta is located at 123 Main Street, Glucester. Closed Monday and Tuesday, the shop is open 11am til 7pm Wednesday through Saturday, and Sundays from 11am until 5pm.

A hug shoutout to Danielle who was recently featured in Food and Wine magazine. Doesn’t the recipe pictured look fantastic? Can’t wait to try!!

AT ALEXANDRA’S BREAD CHRISTMAS SHOPPING FOR HOME GOODS!

Holiday shopping with my favorite little Christmas elf. Someone really wants that mermaid apron!

Alexandra’s Bread is chock-a-block full of beautiful tea towels, aprons, vintage treasures, honey, teas, and all manner of fun (and useful) gifts and stocking stuffers. And of course, fabulous baguettes, olive bread, cobbles, scones, and cookies (chocolate bsicotti!)

Alexandra’s is located at 265 Main Street in Gloucester. To pre-order bread for your holiday dinners call 978-281-3064.

 

PRINCESS CHRISTMAS ELF

Because all Christmas elves wear their purple princess crown when helping decorate the house for the holidays. Not seen in the photo are the much beloved gold glitter sparkle ballet slippers.

HAPPY CHRISTMAS FROM MARITIME GLOUCESTER DECK THE DOCKS!

How beautiful the Maritime Gloucester and Schooners Adventure and Ardelle look decked out in holiday glow!

Merry Christmas dear Friends. Wishing you the best of health, peace, and joy.

A LOT MORE LICKING THAN STIRRING TAKING PLACE HERE

Best Christmas <3

NEW SHORT: THE 2020 GLOUCESTER LOBSTER TRAP TREE LIGHTING WITH TELAMOR’S CHRISTMAS PARTY!

Love this new rocking Christmas song by Telamor!

With thanks to David Brooks, Shawn Henry, Three Lanterns, Traci Thayne Corbett, Cape Ann Art Haven, Jason Burroughs, Gregg Cademartori, David DeAngelis, Andrew Nicastro, Josh Oliver, George Schlichte, Gloucester Fire Department, Mayor Sefatia Romeo-Theken, Ken Riehl, Jill Cahill, and the Buoy Painters.

Music by Telamor – “Christmas Party,” permission granted by the artist

PLEASE SHARE YOUR LOBSTER TRAP TREE PHOTOS!

Friends, please share your Lobster Trap Tree photos. We would love to see them! and it will help lift everyone’s spirits. 

When you post on Facebook, simply tag us at @lobstertraptree and your photos will go directly to The Lobster Trap Tree Facebook page. Thank you so much <3

TEN, NINE, EIGHT…THANK YOU SHAWN HENRY, DAVID BROOKS, THREE LANTERNS, TRACI THAYNE CORBETT, LOBSTER TRAP TREE BUILDERS, GFD, MAYOR SEFATIA, KEN RIEHL, JILL CAHILL, AND EVERYONE WHO HAD A HAND IN CREATING CAPE ANN’S SPLENDID LOBSTER TRAP TREE LIGHTING EVENT!

Despite a major power outage earlier in the afternoon, Sunday evening’s Lobster Trap Tree lighting went off without a hitch. Gloucester’s Fire Department arrived right on schedule. Using an aerial ladder, the firemen hoisted the star to the tippy top of the tree, where Shawn Henry was waiting to secure. Ten, nine, eight… Mayor Sefatia gave the virtual countdown and the vibrantly colored buoys and lights shone brightly.

The Lobster Trap Tree is a very special tradition for our community and we are especially grateful to David Brooks and Shawn Henry for their continued dedication in building, organizing, and sharing through Shawn’s films, particularly during the global pandemic

I love that the tree’s star is currently switched to alternating between colorful and white lights, simply wonderful!

PLEASE JOIN US VIRTUALLY AT 4:30 TODAY FOR THE LIVE LOBSTER TRAP TREE LIGHTING!

Virtual Lobster Trap Tree Lighting – Sunday, December 13th at 4:30

VIEW THE LIGHTING LIVE ON THE LOBSTER TRAP TREE FACEBOOK PAGE @lobstertraptree

Snapshots of Shawn Henry and David Brooks installing buoys today.

MAGICAL JOYFUL CHRISTMAS LIGHT DISPLAY AT THE GALICKI FAMILY HOME

Rich and Stephanie Galicki have created a wondrous Magical Kingdom (as our granddaughter calls the display). For over fifty years, the family has kept the tradition going, each Christmas adding more lights and whimsical scenes. You’ll find a snowman and towering candy cane lined driveway, heralding angels, nutcrackers, a patriotic display created after 911, the Grinch, elf sleigh riders,  and much, much more.

The Galicki’s were planning to take 2020 off, but because of the global pandemic they decided to go ahead. Spanning nearly five acres, the display is so brilliant, it can be seen from outer space.

The Galciki’s Magical Kingdom is located on Linebrook Road in Ipswich, just before you get to Marini Farm if coming from Cape Ann. With an electric bill at roughly $2,000.00, donations are greatly appreciated 🙂

 

SCHOONER ADVENTURE LOOKING BEAUTIFUL IN HOLIDAY LIGHTS

Schooner Adventure

SATURDAY DECEMBER 5TH IS THE LAST DAY TO PAINT BUOYS AT ART HAVEN, RESERVE NOW!

LOBSTER TRAPS HAVE ARRIVED, COME ON DOWN AND LEND A HAND UNLOADING!

Traps are on their way from Maine! We can’t wait to get started building the 2020 tree!!! Swing down to the police station this morning and help us unload the 350 traps that will make up the tree! Truck will be here at 10am thanks to Three Lanterns and Brooks Trap!

THREE CROSSES OF GLOUCESTER

Wishing all our readers a joyous spring holiday, Happy Easter and Happy PesachView of the three crosses of Our Lady of Good Voyage and Saint Ann Church from Good Harbor Beach

Holiday Blooms

The first of our amaryllis, planted about a month ago, are blooming, and just in time for the holidays. This variety is Amaryllis hippeastrum ‘Papillion,” and is one of the prettiest I think. ‘Papillion’ has three separate stalks, which means three bunches of flowerheads!

amaryllis-hippeastrum-papillion-copyright-kim-smithAmaryllis hippeastrum ‘Papillion’

dscf2240Chinese Paperwhites for fabulous fragrance

Sunday Afternoon Chocolate Party

Our hot cocoa party quickly became a chocolate party when Nicole arrived with a platter of chocolate-dipped-and-delicious strawberries, pineapples, and bananas (and I had as usual doubled the amount of chips in the chocolate chip cookies). I so hope the kids fall asleep tonight!

friends ©Kim Smith 2015

See Happy Hot Chocolate Snow Days

Calling All Chocolate Lovers ~ Happy Valentine’s Day ~ with a Gorgeous Gift of the Most Decadently Delicious Chocolate Cake Ever!

Divine and To Die-for Flourless Chocolate Cake Recipe From Our Friends Chef Matt Beach and Meghan Pozzi

Meghan Pozzi Making Flourless choclate Cake cooking class ©Kim Smith 2014 copyLast week I had a fabulous and fun evening taking Chef Matt’s and Meghan’s Decadent Desserts cooking class, held at Savour Wine and Cheese. I was planning to post this on Valentine’s Day, but thought that if you want to make the cake for your loved ones for Friday, I had better share today. And, if you don’t have time to make the cake, please contact Chef Matt and Savour Wine and Cheese. They will be happy to make this yummiest of cakes for you!

Flourless Choclare Cake ©Kim Smith 2014

Enter Chocolate Heaven ~

Flourless Chocolate Cake

8 oz. Semisweet chocolate (Meghan used Bakers)

¼ lb. Unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened

6 large eggs, 2 whole and 4 separated

1 C. Sugar

2 Tbs. Grand Marnier (or Cointreau ot Triple Sec)

Zest of one orange

*

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1) Line the bottom of an 8” spring form pan with parchment paper.

2) Melt chocolate and remove from heat.

3) Whisk in butter and set aside.

4) Whisk 2 whole eggs and 4 egg yolks with ½ cup of sugar. Whisk in the warm chocolate mixture, whisk in Grand Marnier and zest.

5) In a separate bowl with an electric mixer beat the remaining 4 egg whites until foamy. Gradually add the remaining ½ cup sugar until the whites form soft mounds.

6) Stir about ¼ of the whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten.

7) Gently fold in the remaining egg whites

8) Pour into pan and bake for 35-40 minutes.

9) Let cool.

Note: The cake will sink, forming a crater with high sides.

*

Whipped Cream Topping

1 ½ C Heavy Cream

3 Tbs. Confectionary Sugar

1tsp. Vanilla extract

Whip cream, sugar, and vanilla. Fill the center of the cake with the whipped cream and spread evenly. Dust with shaved chocolate.

Flourless choclate cake ©Kim Smith 2014The cake at first looks like this when you take it out of the oven.

Flourless chocolate cake fallen ©Kim Smith 2014Shortly after removing from the oven, the cake falls.

Oftentimes flourless chocolate cakes seem somewhat leaden-like to me. Have you had that experience? That simply is not the case with Matt and Meghan’s recipe. This is the dreamiest and most cloud-like chocolate cake imaginable! My family loves my chocolate cake with lemon frosting and they will barely allow to me make any other cakes for birthdays. I think they may change their minds after sampling this cake! My daughter Liv is coming home next week and I’ll post a photo then.

Briar’s “Little House” Cookies

Briar Forsythe Willowdale Cookies -6 ©Ki Smith 2013 .Don’t these cookies remind you of the Virginia Lee Burton children’s story The Little House?

Briar Forsythe Willowdale Cookies ©Ki Smith 2013My friend Briar Forsythe, proprietor of Willowdale Estate, made this gorgeous gift of fabulously delicious baked treats for my family. The bursting-full-of-yumminess box contained gingerbread cookies, Willowdale signature cookies, pumpkin bread, apple cake (her Italian grandmother’s recipe), which Briar enhanced to include cranberries.

Imagine, despite the fact that she is the owner and operator of of Willowdale, where she employs over 100 local people, Briar continues to take the time to bake and hand decorate cookies and treats for her friends and family. Very fortunately for we, her friends and her employees, she bakes throughout the year, not just at Christmastime!Briar Forsythe Willowdale Cookies  -4©Ki Smith 2013 .

Briar Forsythe Willowdale Cookies -2 ©Ki Smith 2013 .Briar Forsythe Willowdale Cookies -3 ©Ki Smith 2013 .Briar has perfected her gingerbread cookie recipe. The “Little House” cookies not only look amazing, they are actually super delicious as well (which isn’t always the case with gingerbread house dough).

2325Several years ago, I took Briar to the Cape Ann Museum to show her the wonderful Virginia Lee Burton exhibit. I love Briar’s gingerbread house cookies and they remind me greatly of Burton’s extraordinarily beautiful children’s book The Little House. What do you think?

I imagine that if a local baker wanted to make the connection between Virginia Lee Burton, Gloucester, and Little House cookies, it would fill a terrific niche and they would have a ready made market!

IMG_3175What The Little House would look like on a day like today!

sun The Llittle HouseVirginia Lee Burton daisy sun detail.

The Little House images are courtesy of a google image search.

Happy 2014!

Wishing you peace and joy in the coming year!Happy New Year Snow Globe paperwhites -2 ©Kim Smith 2013 copy

Snapshots from Christmas in Cincinnati

Cincinnati Country Club ©Kim Smith 2013Cincinnati Country Club

Liv and Alex copyLiv and Alex

My husband’s extended family has been celebrating Christmas Eve together since they emigrated from Germany in the mid-1800s. I was feeling a bit melancholy, as I think were other family members, because the older generation (now in their 80s and 90s) is retiring from hosting the parties. The festivities will surely still go on, although not in quite the same high style as Christmas’s past because many of the next generation (such as ourselves) have made their homes far and wide.

_DSF5764This year was my mother-in-law’s turn to host the party. The table was beautifully decorated and I love the simple and cheery touch of the cardinals on the apples.

Bumbleberry cake BonBonerie ©Kim Smith 2013jpg copyBumbleberry Torte from BonBonerie

Cincinnati was settled largely by German immigrants and judging by the countless established bakeries dotted throughout the city, I imagine the original emigrees were fabulous bakers. One of Tom’s cousins, Debbie, created a cookbook based on favorite family Christmas recipes, including recipes that date back to the 1800s, recipes from the family’s cooks, and recipes from old German great aunts who also lived in the big house and whose job it was at Christmastime to make thousands of cookies. When we spend Christmas at home and not in Ohio, Liv, Alex, and I love to cook from the family Christmas cookbook and the cookies especially are the yummiest you could possibly imagine.

_DSF5794My father-in-law, who is the most kind-hearted man I have ever met, has a wonderful sense of humor, and is a great storyteller, too–and boy does he have many stories to share from a life richly led!
Liv Alex and Hannah

Cincinnati Country Club snow ©Kim Smith 2013Dusting of snow Christmas Eve morning

Cincinnati Country Club  -1©Kim Smith 2013_DSF6033Cincinnati is just that much further west that sunrise is nearly an hour later than in Gloucester. The club that we stay at is set within a golf course sited on a hill, with beautiful panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.

Cincinnati Country Club  -3©Kim Smith 2013JPGCincinnati Country Club -4 ©Kim Smith 2013Getting ready for Christmas Eve celebration #2!

Liv, Alex, Tom HauckAlways a challenge to get loved ones to stand still long enough for a photo!

Liv, Alex, Tom Hauck -

Liv, Alex, Tom Hauck

Nutcracker ©Kim Smith 2013 copyDouble Exposure Fuifilm X- E1

End Note: In poking around online, I found a photo of the home of Great-aunt Kitty, where the Christmas Eve parties were held continuously for many years. Tom has fond memories of wonderful Christmas’s spent there and especially of the “kiddy table,” where all the cousins and siblings sat together (no adults!), and I gather, where many food fights occurred. The house, still standing, was donated to the Cincinnati park board and you can see more photos of the gorgeous interior at this link: The Gibson-Hauck House. While in Cincinnati we also visited the Rookwood Pottery studio. If you have ever seen Antiques Roadshow, you probably know how beautiful is Rookwood pottery. This post is already too long so later in the week I’ll do a little post about Rookwood.

Hauck Gibson HouseGibson-Hauck House

Panetonne French Toast for a New Year’s Day Brunch Treat

Did you know that panettone makes wonderful French toast?

Panetonne French Toast -- ©Kim Smith 2013 copyWe make French toast with panetonne during the holidays and it is always a much appreciated hit. Give it a try—your family will love you for it!

4-5 eggs whisked

1 ½ Cups whole milk

2 tsp. vanilla

pinch of salt

6-8 slices of panettone, cut into slices roughly ½ inch thick, and arranged to fit your baking dish,

Optional: add grated orange zest and cinnamon to the batter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter 9 x 12 inch baking dish. Dip panetonne in batter. Arrange slices in pan and pour any remaining batter over bread slices. Up to this point the French toast can be made ahead of time and set aside until ready to bake. Refrigerate if longer than half an hour. Bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown and puffy. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar.

Panetonne French Toast ©Kim Smith 2013