thursday things – merry christmas (and happy new year!)


Happy Thursday! (and Happy New Year!)

I spent my New Year’s Eve on the sofa with FH (Future Husband). That’s my new name for him now.  He loves it (even though he’s probably seeing it for the first time in this post).  My whole plan for New Years was to stay up and watch the ball drop on Times Square with one little hiccup – apparently they don’t broadcast that out here.


So instead we ended up eating chinese food and watching a modern family marathon, then switching to watch the ball drop only to be disappointed when just our local news came on, and they didn’t even mention the ball drop.

Christmas was great – I was lucky enough to get a whole week off of work.  FH’s birthday is just a couple of days before Christmas, so I love having the extra time off to spend with him.

This year, I made him a fossil-filled dinosaur cake, because apparently in my head 32 is the new 2. 😉  The cake was inspired by 1 Fine Cookie,used my favorite chocolate cake recipe with a cream cheese frosting that was then covered in pulverized Oreos.

dino cake 2013

I also took him to see The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug (because it seemed like the kind of movie that dinosaur-loving kids like, right?) 🙂 – Side note: did you know that Stephen Colbert is in there??

Christmas was full of food, movies, presents, and fun 🙂

xmas tree instagram

The Food

I hosted Christmas Brunch, which this year consisted of:

My usual meat & cheese spread – Chances are if you’ve ever come to my house, then you have indulged in this.  If you come over often, then you might even dread it by now. Seriously though, it’s the easiest, most stress-free and satisfying appetizer you can make! Just get a variety of meats and cheeses along with some sliced crusty bread and voila!

xmas apps instagram

This spread had some salami, prosciutto, parmesan, and I don’t even remember what other cheeses – then some fig jam and pesto on the side – basically a “build-your-own” bruschetta bar.  On the right are some little phyllo puffs I got at Trader Joes – not everything has to be labored over, ya know? 😉

You may also spot some deviled eggs (courtesy of the future sister-in-law) and some olives to the left.

Monkey Bread – This is one of FH’s favorites (OK, mine too).  And, since it’s so indulgent (think cinnamon-sugar meets caramel) I never make it.  Like, ever.  It’s dangerous if there are less than 10 people around to help you consume it.

monkey bread instagram

Cranberry-Orange Muffins – I had actually made these around Thanksgiving with my leftover cranberry sauce and froze them back then.  Thawed them the night before Christmas and voila – good as new!

Ham & Cheddar Frittata – It was actually my first time ever making a frittata and I am pretty sure I’m going to start making them every weekend from now on.  The leftovers heat up wonderfully and made a perfect breakfast for the rest of the week.  I even stuck a piece in between a toasted english muffin and made my own little on-the-go breakfast sandwich in no time flat!

frittata instagram

Honeybaked Ham (our once-a-year treat!)

Bacon – because, what’s brunch without bacon?

orzo salad arugula 9934

Orzo salad and a regular salad – because sometimes you need vegetables.

For the drinks we had mimosas & sangria – of course you could enjoy your juice alcohol-free as well if you prefer… 😉

In other news…

sophie betrayed instagram

The kitties lost their kitty tower on Sunday.  It was a sad day for them.  Sophie took turns staring out the door, where she saw it dragged out, and staring at me with her sad eyes.

Sam, on the other hand, just kept staring at the empty space where it once stood.  “Maybe it just turned invisible.”  “Maybe if I just jump there, it will actually hold me up.”

sam betrayed instagram

What kind of cruel human would steal their beloved children’s joy?  If they spoke english, I could tell them that their old cat tree was old and gross and that we had a brand new one on its way.  But they don’t speak english, so they just lay around like sad little lumps and stare at the wall.

I found a new favorite nail polish color – it’s a rich red with a bit of shimmer to it.  (The picture below really doesn’t do it justice, but we have like one light in our whole house so what can ya do).

nail polish instagram

I made it my “holiday” polish – or that’s the excuse I used when I bought it at least.  I don’t usually buy things like nail polish and make-up because there are so many better things I could spend my money on (like cupcakes and chocolate).

One of the gifts I got was this awesome waffle maker.  I recommend it 110%. I give it 6 out of 5 stars.  I love it.

waffle instagram

I’ve already made 10x more waffles than I’ve made for the whole rest of 2013 combined – seriously. In fact, just the other day we had waffles for dinner (with strawberries & whipped cream – a nice healthy meal!)  Plus, FH has been enjoying his endless supply of frozen waffles to reheat for his morning breakfasts.

Another gift that I’m loving is the Hyperbole and a Half book, which you also need to get.

It’s no secret that I love Hyperbole and a Half, but this is seriously the best thing I’ve read in a long time.  I’ve been reading and re-reading it (and laughing hysterically) whenever I find myself sitting idly on the sofa.  It’ll be the best $10 you’ve spent, I promise.

Links I’m loving


This girl who is making the best out of losing her iPhone by taking pictures of herself posing as her iPhone thief.

For those of us who spend way too much time in the grocery aisle debating which can of tomatoes to buy, The Splendid Table is here to help.

In case you missed it up there – Did you know that Stephen Colbert is in the new Hobbit movie?

J. Kenji Lopez brings us the best chocolate chip cookies (and most extensive research of the science behind them) on Serious Eats.

How Sweet it Is documented all of her 2013 kitchen failures for us – wasn’t that so sweet of her?

BuzzFeed brought us 35 of the most heartbreaking food fails of 2013.

CollegeHumor reminds us that kids are jerks.  All of them.

Notall spiders are scary (some are just plain awesome).

Reddit helped me with my New Year’s Resolutions.

NPR shows us how to build an indestructible gingerbread house (hint: it involves marshmallows and gummy bear blood).

A plea from Bon Appetit begging us to please make their least popular recipe of 2013. (To be fair, it sounds friggin delicious!)

6 thoughts on “thursday things – merry christmas (and happy new year!)

  1. Natalie – what a lovely peek into your life. It sounds like a wonderfully cozy holiday. FH is a lucky man (good luck and have fun with your wedding planning)! And I love, love that red nail polish. I cannot grow/maintain nails for my life but a couple times a year, I insist on painting them red for some cheer. Never mind that my hands look like a ten year old’s! Happy New Year!

    • Thanks, Monica! I’m sure that nail polish could glam up your ’10-year-old’ hands 😉 it’s currently glamming up only my left hand, as all of the polish on my right hand has been chipped off (or picked off, ya know, same thing) 😉 i’m just keepin it classy over here…

  2. i’m still jealous of your fossil cake and your holiday spread. i can’t talk to you.

    wait a minute yes i can: i’m better now. a few notes:
    1. need to get the HAAH book. NOW.
    2. I like knowing that Bon Appetit has a “least popular recipe.” i mean, everyone has a least favorite, because logic, but it’s fun to hear about it. I wish everyone would track that.
    3. I wanna be Kenji when i grow up. I think i would be Kenji, actually, if i had unlimited time here to do things. seriously, i can see being like that about food at 2 am, because i’ve woken up with ideas and made notes.

    New Year: let’s do this.

    • You should make the fossil cake for Tim’s birthday! (Or Stella’s, ya know, whichever is more appropriate ;))
      1. YES YOU NEED IT!!
      2. Right? 1 hit. And it actually looks delicious, but I’m a sucker for anything with chocolate and peanut butter.
      3. Right? Isn’t he the bees knees. I tweet him sometimes and he tweets back, no matter how mundane my question is. Possibly the only reason I still have le twitter. lol!

  3. They don’t broadcast the ball drop out there?! Where do you live…Mars?? So glad you got time off of work…me too! Hence my lack of blog commenting. It’s so nice to just relax 🙂 I will say again how AWESOME that dino cake is. I will 100% be making it for Nate’s bday this year…like without question. I’m so excited.
    Meat and cheese spread is the perfect appetizer. I would love being invited over to your house (Please invite me to your house). I hope your kitties got their new kitty tower!!! Those little faces are so sad…

    • You’re welcome any time, Amy!! 🙂 Can’t wait to see the dino cake for Nate’s bday!! They did get their new kitty tower and YOU SHOULD HAVE SEEN IT. Yesterday we were just MOVING it from one side of the room to the other and they both attached themselves to it and wouldn’t let go, like they thought we were getting rid of it. It was SO FUNNY! We ended up having to move it with them on it!

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