Happy Mother’s Day {Big News!}

12 May

After going three-for-three with my 2013 brunch-a-month goal, I had to take a bit of a hiatus. It has been a busy couple of months in the Polon household and the next few months {and years} show no signs of slowing down! We are closing on our current house in less than two weeks and then on our new house a week after that! When it’s all said and done, we should be in our new house about this time next month {eek and fingers crossed that all goes smoothly!}.

So instead of brunch posts, you can expect a little more of a focus on home decor and the like. Adam and I will be a little sad to say goodbye to his home of the last decade or so and the only home we’ve known together …

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… but we’re so excited to move into the new place and all of the new memories that await us there! I am especially excited for next spring to roll around so that we can see that gorgeous tree out front in full bloom!

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But wait there’s more!  All of the home buying and selling is pretty exciting, but it pales in comparison to our real news!! I am so incredibly thrilled to share with you on this Mother’s Day the most exciting memory awaiting us in the new house: the expected arrival of Baby P in early November! Here’s a first look at the little guy {or girl} as seen a couple of weeks ago at our 12 week appointment.

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A big thanks to everyone who has loved and encouraged us on our journey so far! We look forward to sharing more with you over the coming months and, most of all, look forward to meeting Baby P in less than six months!

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms {and future moms} out there!

Another month, another brunch {Musings on Fellowship & Food}

1 May

While searching for inspiration for March’s monthly brunch, I found myself thumbing through a book that was a wedding gift from a dear aunt on the other side of the country.book cover

I am definitely my father’s daughter when it comes to being overly wonderfully sentimental, and reading the inscription from two and a half years ago started me thinking not only about the wonderful memories from our wedding, but even more so the countless, delightful meals we’ve shared with family and friends since then. We are truly blessed to so often share warm fellowship and tasty food around our table.  I couldn’t express my wish for my life with Adam any better than my Aunt Bonnie did!

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With all of this in mind, I decided to make only dishes from The Culinary Institute of America’s Breakfasts and Brunches this go round. I tried out the recipe for Raspberry Muffins with Pecan Streusel, which seemed to be a hit {and were certainly a hit with me if no one else}! A nice balance of the tartness of the raspberries and the sweetness of the streusel.

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I also tried out a couple of quiches that were quite tasty as well! First off was a a Caramelized Onion Quiche.  Side note: I don’t think I’ve ever truly caramelized onions before and let’s just say we were lucky to have any left for the quiche after I performed my requisite quality assurance taste test!

caramelized onion quiche

Next up was a Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomato Quiche. One guest happened to get a bit of bacon and quiche in the same bite and suggested adding bacon the next time I make it. Can’t go round there as far as I’m concerned!

spinach quiche

And what springtime brunch would be complete without a Peeps centerpiece?!?  Happy May Day!

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Hello, March! {More Brunch + Zucchini Cake}

1 Mar

So far in 2013, I am keeping up the brunch portion of my “doing what you do” resolution pretty well! Adam and I had a few people over for a leisurely Sunday brunch last week and, as usual, it was so wonderful to catch up over my favorite meal of the day! This time it was mostly former co-workers of mine and their significant others, so there was plenty of reminiscing about our good old audit days.

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I made a couple of the standards from my B&B days: pineapple cream cheese French toast and sausage balls {if you click on this recipe link, please note that I chose to pass on the mayonnaise dipping sauce … maybe I’m not a true Southerner at heart, but seriously, Paula?  Mayonnaise dipping sauce for sausage?}.

I tried one new recipe this go round: Martha Stewart’s Zucchini Bundt Cake. I was trying to avoid the overly sweet with this dish, so I skipped the orange glaze and candied zucchini. Otherwise, I followed the recipe as is and found it to be perfectly delicious! A nice balance of savory and sweet, with warm, spicy undertones courtesy of cinnamon, anise seeds, and cardamom. Also worth noting, this cake came out of the pan easily, which is always a plus when making a bundt cake. I enjoyed the leftovers at work and would definitely make this one again!

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The anticipation of spring was definitely on my mind as I put together the centerpiece. I love the bright blues and yellows together and nothing says “spring is coming” like daffodils! The table runner was a lucky {and super cheap!} find on the remnant table at G Street Fabrics that I pressed the night before to look like it had actually been hemmed {which would have involved such complex tasks as changing the thread on my sewing machine!}. I was so excited to find something as on-trend as a bold chevron print on the sale table! I’ve had the teapot for years and loved the idea of re-purposing it as a vase. The tiny teacups were the perfect size for floating tea-lights and added a nice glow to the table {not to mention a few more pops of blue}.

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Cutting things down to size {Note cards for spring}

21 Feb

I don’t know about you, but I am so ready for spring. And what better way to prepare than to pull out some springy colors and play around! I often find that when I have a few spare minutes and feel like crafting, it takes some time to get the creative juices flowing. And usually, I don’t have all day to spend on crafts {shocking, I know}, so I end up putting my supplies away without much to show for it!

This time I tried a different tactic – I started with A2-sized note cards {4.25′” x 5.5″} and then I cut them all in half {down to 4.25″ x 2.75″}. It’s such a simple thing, but it’s amazing what a difference it makes to shrink the size of your blank canvas! Suddenly, my task wasn’t quite as daunting and lots of little ideas started popping into my head. It’s probably a good thing to remember when tackling any project – if you’re staring at blank paper for very long, maybe you just haven’t cut your tasks into small enough pieces!

Here are some of my favorites from the night – these little cards are not really big enough for mailing, but are perfect for gifts and hand-delivered wishes. Enjoy!

photo 1 (9)They didn’t have a bass stamp, but this one is for the hubs. While he’s out making music, I’m home making cards :)

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I had in mind all of the beautiful women I’m lucky enough to call family when I made this one. Wishing I was sharing a pot of tea with them right now!

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Heat Embossing Tutorial {Wine & Chocolate Party Invitations}

11 Feb

You may remember the wine and chocolate party invitations from the party celebrating my parents’ 60th birthdays last summer. I made them using one of my favorite rubber stamping techniques: heat embossing! With the right tools, heat embossing is a great way to add a little more oomph to your next stamped project by turning a flat image into a professional-looking raised image! I’d like to share a few tips for getting great results every time. All you need is:

  • Heat embossing tool {clip a 40% coupon from Michael’s to pick one up on the cheap}
  • Embossing powder {I love opaque white on bright paper}
  • Your favorite rubber stamps
  • Inkpad {a slower-drying ink is best for heat embossing}
  • Sturdy paper like card stock
  • Scrap paper to cover your work area

invitationStart by putting some scrap paper down over your work area. Heat embossing powder can be messy, but you don’t need anything fancier than a piece of paper to keep your table clean. Then stamp your image. I used VersaMark watermark ink for this project because it’s slow to dry and doesn’t leave any pigment behind.

IMG_3465Make sure you put the embossing powder down quickly before your ink has a chance to dry. Cover the image completely – don’t be afraid to just dump it out. You may be tempted to go easy to save powder, but it’s really easy to get the powder back in the jar. I’ve been using the same jar of opaque white for ages {including about 50 of these invitations with three embossed images each} and I’ve hardly made a dent.

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Shake off the excess powder over your scrap paper, tapping the paper lightly on your work surface. Give the back of your paper a good “thwack” to get any stubborn bits of powder off. When you’re done, you should only have powder on your stamped image.

IMG_3468Make a funnel with your scrap paper and let the excess powder slide right back into the jar.

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Turn your heat embossing tool on and hold it a few inches away from your stamped image. Embossing powder is made of wax, so all you’re doing is melting the wax. Slowly move the tool around the image, moving on when the powder becomes shiny – if you leave it over the image much longer, it will start to look a little less crisp.

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That’s really it! Your embossed image will be cool and dry in seconds! Repeat as necessary :)

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Love is in the mail {DIY Valentines}

7 Feb

With Valentine’s Day a week away, there’s still time to get those handmade valentines in the mail to your special someones! I recently jumped on the seemingly endless mason jar craze after making a post-work Paper Source run for some new stamps. Here are some of my favorites after playing around a bit with my new stamps and other supplies I already had on-hand. I really wish I could bottle up my love and send it across the miles this Valentine’s Day. Enjoy!

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New Year’s Resolutions {More brunches, please!}

23 Jan

Happy New Year! It’s been awhile! One of my new year’s resolutions is to get back to the things I love doing. Back to the little things that put a smile on my face. That’s not to say I haven’t been smiling enough lately … just more of an acknowledgment that far too often I have let excuses like being tired or burnt out suck me onto the sofa for things like the “What would B.D. do? Marathon” of Law & Order: SVU. Yeah, that’s right … as in B.D. Wong, who played the psychiatrist … seriously, USA will make a marathon out of anything!

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I digress. I had this “epiphany” while dancing on a chair on New Year’s Eve. There was a complete stranger next to me who seemed a little too pensive for someone dancing on a chair, so I asked her what was wrong. As it turned out, she was feeling a little overwhelmed by the thought of a new year and all of the lofty resolutions that come with it. And who wouldn’t be? I mean it’s great to take some time to reflect on the things we could be doing a little better and use the opportunity of changing the calendar to make some changes; but it’s like we expect we’ll be a whole new person on January 1 {or January 2 for those you who might have done a little more than dance on a chair to ring in the new year}.

So long story slightly shorter, I turned to this girl and said “2013: The year of just doing what you do.” Whatever that means … haha. Luckily, we’d both had a little champagne and that made perfect sense to her … she even high-fived me! So while you may or may not want to take advice from me at a bar, these words began to resonate with me over the first weeks of January. And I decided that I need to just do what I do. And a few of those things that I do are baking, crafting, hosting brunches, and writing about these things here!

So this past weekend, Adam and I hosted several friends for Sunday brunch. It had been far too long and it felt wonderful! Here are some of my favorites from the day. I hope 2013 is a year full of just doing what you do! Enjoy!

I tried one new recipe, and was happy with the way it turned out. I pretty much followed Smitten Kitchen’s recipe for Lemon Yogurt Anything Cake as it was written and only found that it took closer to 55-60 minutes to cook through in my pan/oven.

photo 1 (8)I also decided to have yogurt parfait bar, which is a a fancy way of saying I put granola, fruit, and yogurt out on the counter for people to serve themselves! It seemed to be pretty well-received and was a fresh, super easy way to supplement the spread without tying up the oven.

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I was also more than a little excited about the decorations that actually made it to the table rather than just being imagined and put off until it was too late to do anything about! I just got some simple, inexpensive flowers at the grocery store and put them together  with things I already had around the house. The centerpiece was a cast iron skillet with candles and flowers on a stack of books. I overestimated the amount of baby’s breath I needed, so I ended up using some bud vases to complete the table-scape. For some reason the white, delicate flowers contrasted with the heavy, black skillet  just seemed to say winter brunch perfectly to me!

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And Zorro pretty much sums up how I felt once the kitchen was clean!

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