December 20, 2015

Christmas Miscellany

I came across this little snippet by Harper Lee.  Quite a bit of emotion somehow packed into this short paragraph...

Outside, snow was falling, an odd event for a New York Christmas. I went to the window, stunned by the day’s miracle. Christmas trees blurred softly across the street, and firelight made the children’s shadows dance on the wall beside me. A full, fair chance for a new life. Not given me by an act of generosity, but by an act of love. Our faith in you was really all I had heard them say. I would do my best not to fail them. Snow still fell on the pavement below. Brownstone roofs gradually whitened. Lights in distant skyscrapers shone with yellow symbols of a road’s lonely end, and as I stood at the window, looking at the lights and the snow, the ache of an old memory left me for ever.

By Harper Lee, this story was first published in McCall’s magazine in the December 1961 issue, titled Christmas To Me.

Not sure where this picture was taken, but I love it. The ladies in their coats and hats and gloves. The street decorations are so wholesome, and it feels like snow is on the way, somehow, doesn't it? I wonder what the photographer was doing?

I love this photo, too.  It was captioned Mistletoe Sellers in France.  Perhaps they would sell people a snippet to put over their door?  Do they kiss under the mistletoe in France?  I suppose they do... noël amour.

Came across this Christmas card with my dad (on the right) and his brothers, David and Mike (upside down).  Everyone sends photo cards now, but I think Grandma was a bit ahead of her time to do so in the 50's.....

Carry on everyone--the season is fast upon us!

December 17, 2015

Happy Christmas

Here's hoping you are all on the, "downside" of your Christmas shopping. Happily, I've turned the corner, and now have things well in hand on that front....
It's lovely to see you all this time of year (and year-round, for that matter, as we're always here.) Western Springs really is like Bedford Falls, from It's A Wonderful Life; local, charming, friendly and quite comforting. This time of year always reminds me how blessed I am to live and work in this community. I know that I've already said it, but we're here to help (open late tonight, and every Thursday until Christmas) so bring in your shopping list, and let's get going!!!  
Happy Christmas from all of us at Clever Girl...

December 11, 2015

Hot Chocolate Time

A brief reminder, we're here to help with that list you're working off of.  The web site has lots of suggestions if you want to preview...

For Christmas gifts, so many of you now bring in you addresses and have us UPS everything out for you.  It's a terrific way to shop locally, and a tremendous time saver!  Let us take care of it for you!!! 
When you do have a moment to catch you breath this season, try a cozy mug of our favorite Hot Chocolate from Stonewall Kitchen.  We sell an absolute TON of it this time of year.  It's rich and delicious and always a treat.  Put on some Christmas carols, make a mug, and savor the season!  {Check out the Hot Chocolate right here}

December 4, 2015

"Y" is for Yummy...

We recently had our annual Christmas Open House, and I must say a very good time was had by all.  It's always so much fun to share a relaxed moment with our lovely customers, sip a bit of wine, sample some food and enjoy the Christmas music.  This year we were blessed to have pleasant weather as well!  

Our signature cocktail is the always festive, Clever Girl Cosmo, made with good vodka, Cointreau and served icy cold. [Click HERE for the secret] And, below, are two of the recipes I promised to post for everyone.  So glad you all liked these so much!!!  Ina Garten's scrumptious Frittata Squares, and the super tasty (super easy) Stonewall Kitchen Cranberry Horseradish dip seem to be real crown pleasers.  

Potato Basil Frittata Squares

(Serves 20 )

Gather the goods

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
3 cups peeled and 1/2-inch-diced boiling potatoes (4 potatoes)
12 extra-large eggs
22 ounces ricotta cheese
1 pound 2 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1¼ cups chopped fresh basil leaves
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 12 x 18 x 1½” half sheet pan.

Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a 12-inch sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the potatoes and fry them until cooked through, turning often, 10 to 15 minutes. Melt the remaining 8 tablespoons of butter in a small sauté pan and set aside.

Meanwhile, whisk the eggs in a large bowl, then stir in the ricotta, Gruyère, melted butter, salt, pepper, and basil. Sprinkle on the flour and baking powder and stir into the egg mixture.

Distribute the potatoes over the bottom of the sheet pan. Pour the egg mixture over the potatoes and spread evenly. Bake the frittata until it is browned and puffed, 30 to 35 minutes. Allow the frittata to cool and cut into 20 single-serving squares.

Cranberry Horseradish Bacon Dip
Serves 8 as an appetizer
Gather the Goods
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup Stonewall Kitchen Cranberry Horseradish Sauce
1/4 cup bacon, cooked and crumbled
3 Tablespoons scallions, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients and mix until uniform.
Serve with crackers, pretzels or baguette slices.

Both of these are easy and can be made ahead.  Thanks to all of you who attended our party.  Ready or not, here we go into another Christmas season!

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