food, travel, lifestyle, and a hearty serving of motherhood

Month: November 2014

Thanksgiving Morning

Whew, I finished my baking around 11pm last night and then had a really difficult time falling asleep. Perhaps it was the anticipation of today’s festivities and tasty treats… or maybe it was because I kept thinking, “OUR WEDDING REHEARSAL IS ONE MONTH FROM THANKSGIVING DAY!”

Yep, the REAL countdown has begun, folks. I couldn’t be more excited (which, yes, explains the sleep issues).

Rich and I are up and sharing a large French press of Colombian roast with milk, Merlin is in the window playing guard-kitty (keeping an eye on evil neighbor cat), Ellie is likely still asleep on our bed, and Gretchen is curled up on Richard’s lap purring like a diesel engine.


Speaking of Merlin, check out his lovely construction view. New homes are going up right across the street! The noise in the mornings (not today, whew!) is unbearable… You can also see how some of our plants are holding on for dear life now that the cold nights have rolled in.



Wishing you a safe and relaxing Thanksgiving.


I, for one, can’t wait to dig into this cheesecake.

xo Cassie

It’s Beginning to Look…

Yep, we did our holiday decorating before Thanksgiving.


I love Christmas decorating. The candles, the greenery, the lights, the music, the cats eating the faux Christmas tree — okay, don’t love that part.

We haven’t done the outside lights yet, as we don’t want the neighbors to think we are TOO crazy. Ha, we’ve already got the most brightly-painted house on the block.

As far as the interior goes, here’s a little photo-tour of our holiday home so far!







Kitty stocking


I just love the quirkiness of the three little stone kitties perched next to Santa Claus and the lovely African woman mini-statue. Richard and I purchased the “three wise kitties” (too cheesy?) in a little shop in Cozumel and the African statue was given to us by Richard’s Mum, who lives in South Africa.

Aaaaaand did you happen to notice the ENORMOUS tin of various chocolate Christmas candies? Richard thinks I’m insane.

Have you started decorating? I know it SEEMS early, but Thanksgiving is only a couple of days away! I really need to get cooking.

I’ll be making the ever-tasty and vegetarian-friendly Very Full Tart along with a butternut squash foccacia with thyme and honey (recipe to come!). My family is partial to red wines, so I’m bringing a robust Cabernet-Syrah blend and a spicy Malbec. For dessert, it’s going to be Nikki’s Carrot Cake Cheesecake.

Wishing you a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving!

xo Cassie

Almond Biscotti, Three Ways

I opened the curtains this morning to find a foggy abyss staring back at me. Blah. My mood definitely changes with the weather, does yours? Dreary mornings get me in a funk. And wow, over the next couple of days, we’ll see the temperature drop quite dramatically. For example, today’s high is 72° and the forecasted high for Friday is 46°. But it’s not the cold that bothers me! In fact, I quite like bundling up and heading out into that crisp air. What gets me down are those pesky clouds that create a hazy, overcast day.

Anyways, on to happier things!


Completely on a whim, I tried my hand at homemade biscotti yesterday! With a few additions of my own, I followed this couldn’t-be-simpler recipe video via I mixed the 3/4 cup of toasted almonds into the entire batch, but then instead of making the two “logs” that Stephanie calls for, but I split my dough into three smaller logs instead. One log stayed almond-only. I added chopped dried sweetened cranberries (I used Craisins) to the second log. And for the last log, I added chopped milk chocolate chips. For the Craisins and the chocolate chips, I just pulsed them (separately, of course) in a food processor for a few seconds, super easy!

Three types

Perfect with coffee, or even just for a quick snack! For the final baking or “drying” phase, I baked mine for about 10 minutes per side. You can bake them longer, if you like super crispy biscotti… I just don’t like to break my teeth if I’m snacking on one without coffee!

Three types with coffee



As you can see, we’ve got plenty of biscotti at our house now, so stop by for a hot cup of coffee or tea. You may catch a sneak peek of our holiday decorations, which we started on last night!

Decorating early this year

We know it’s early… but with the wedding fast-approaching, we want to enjoy the magic that this time of year has to offer before the wedding / holiday / guests arriving hustle and bustle begins!

When will you begin decorating for the winter season? Do you think it’s too early? I just love how this time of year awakens my senses. Aaah, the shadows formed from flickering candles, the sounds of festive jazz tunes, the smell of almond biscotti baking in the oven, the taste of a soul-warming red wine or a chocolately porter, and the warmth of a cozy fleece-lined blanket… and the all-too-likely addition of a cat asleep on your lap.

xo Cassie

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