Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Danner Drive

In case you're wondering what I will be doing this weekend: 

Making a buttload of pecan pie!  But its for a good cause though.  Not because I have an odd fascination with pie.  Not because my mom says that I will have to have a tiered series of pies on my wedding day in lieu of a cake.  For charity, guys, come on.  Let's be serious.

My lovely pal Jill is holding a fundraiser Saturday on behalf of her friend Sam:

Sam was biking home from work in Charleston earlier this year and hit by a drunk driver. Sam was badly injured and had to have almost immediate surgery on his knee. The driver didn’t have insurance, and neither did Sam. He now faces over $30,000 in medical bills, and his recovery has been slowed because he simply hasn’t been able to afford the cost of rehab.

I’ve known Sam for over 5 years, having worked together first at Press Here Publicity and then at 7-10 Music, but will always think of him first and foremost as one of the most compassionate, kind, cheerful, and clever people to grace this earth. He’s the kind of friend who calls to check in on you if he hasn’t heard from you in a couple weeks, and tells the dirty jokes you always wish you could have thought of.

In honor of this special Southerner, I’m putting together a Southern-themed cook-off/fundraiser the first weekend of October.

Come sample some of Brooklyn’s best cooks’ offerings, drink some beer, and then cast your vote for your favorite to win! Ticket price includes entry and food, and you’re welcome to bring your own drinks.

Southern Twang Cook-Off & Fundraiser
Saturday, October 1st
4-7PM (Judging at 5:30PM)
684 Leonard Street (Greenpoint, Brooklyn)
Tickets: $25 At Door (It’s BYOB!)

** 100% of proceeds go to Sam **

All are welcome, so please spread the word! Thanks for your love and support!

Cheers, Jill

So, if you're in the NYC area this Saturday, October 1 and want to chow down for a good cause, let me know!  You can also check out Jill's site for the event .

If you can't make it, you can still donate here.

Busting out my pie plates as we speak....

**Update - the donate link above is now fixed - so sorry about that!!**

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Zombie Punch

Just in case you wanted to add something special to your punch bowl at your your next festive event....

How awesome is this!  Perfect for weddings, bar mitzvahs, birthdays, etc....provided they are all Zombie themed.

OK, fine then, use it just for Halloween if you want to limit yourself.  But really, this is an all purpose idea.  Check out my tutorial here on!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Care Bear How To

I spent Friday in Danvers, Massachusetts - formerly known as Salem Village (of Witch Hunt Infamy).  While the reason I was there was way more fun - a wedding! - seeing the signs for Salem got me thinking about Halloween. 

Who am I kidding, really?  I start thinking about what I'm going to be for Halloween on November 1.  This year's costume is still in progress but I'm happy to share a tutorial on how I put together something fun for a Halloween of yore!  You may remember my Care Bear Costume:

But now you can make your own!  Check out the tutorial I've put together here on - it's super easy!  You don't even need a sewing machine, kids. 

Start this weekend, and you won't be stressing over what to wear in a month's time - and you'll have a unique homemade costume to boot! 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Party Hats for Grown Ups

Another fun activity we did for Sasha's birthday - DIY birthday hats!

None of the participants were under the age of 29, but we all got creative and made some damn fine hats!  We used craft supplies I had on hand - cardstock, ribbons, googly eyes, pipe cleaners, and more, which was super fun, and free!  A great excuse to get a little silly. 

Try it out for your next birthday bash! 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Yay for Beth and Geoff!

An amazing celebration is happening today - Beth and Geoff's wedding is upon us!

Congratulations you two crazy kids!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Animal Farm

Another stop on our Block Island Adventure - The Abrams Animal Farm near the Manisses hotel. 

Lots of animals to pet and feed and coo over. 
Not that I did that.  I may be one of the only vegetarians that doesn't get all mushy around cute animals.
Melissa loves them though.  So they weren't neglected, don't fret. 

Personally, I really loved this turtle statue.  And in case you were wondering, yes, I am indeed wearing both leggings (the first of the season for me!) and a bathing suit under my dress.  I'm prepared for anything, kids.  (I did go swimming after all.)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Congratulations Sasha & Billy!

I spent the weekend with one of my oldest and dearest pals  - and some other excellent individuals, too.  It was Sasha's 30th birthday bash, but Billy had a surprise...

Yay!  So happy. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

What time is it?

Man I love winning stuff! 

I entered a twitter contest via ideeli earlier this summer, and won!  I finally got my prize today - so cool!  A hot pink La Mer wraparound watch.  Way cooler than me.  

I like that site - some major deals to be had.  Plus now I like them better since I won this!  They do a new prize every Friday - check out their twitter: @ideeli, #flashfriday.  While you're at it, check out mine: @emmanemhandmade


Monday, September 19, 2011

Happy Birthday Sasha!

Happy Birthday Friend!  You are the very best. 

Also, you are way cooler than me too, so thanks for still being my friend even after 25 years of crazy.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Celebrations Chat with Shawn Rabineau!

Hello there!  Just wanted to share something fun with you - especially those of you out there who might be planning a wedding!  This Thursday, September 15th (as in, tomorrow!) will be hosting a  live chat on facebook with Shawn Rabideau at 130pm est.  You may know his work from Bethenny's Getting Married on Bravo, and even if not, you've probably seen it in the magazines for fabulous celebrity events.  Log on and you can chat with him and ask questions about your upcoming events, holiday prep, Halloween ideas or what its like to deal with a diva!  

I'll be taking part and asking a question or two myself - so join in the fun during your lunch hour if you can! 

You can read up on Shawn here via his bio on, or check out his blog here

Celebrations has hit the 10,000 friend mark on Facebook too - so feel free to check it out here for the chat, or anytime for party ideas and so much more! 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Nothing to do with crafting whatsoever but....


 Me and Stefanie, hanging with Shaq. 

That is all.  Besides this, of course....

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Sunflowers in my Cubicle

Summer may be over, kind of, but look at these beautiful sunflowers from my mom's garden!  She packed them up for me to take back to New York this weekend.  So pretty, and they really spruce up my (obscenely messy) desk.  Thanks mom!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Witch's Brew, Oooo!

Happy Fall!  OK, so I know it's not officially autumn for another few weeks, but you can't wear white shoes until May, so post-labor day seems like fall to me.  (Not that I have any white shoes, anyway.)

We've still got some more summery weather to enjoy, so this recipe might be premature, but I tested it for recently and man, did it smell autumnal.  It made me want to wrap my hands around a hot mug of it after apple picking on a crisp fall day.  Not there yet, OK.  But you should check it out, anyway! 

As is it might be a little sweet - test it, and feel free to add some plain brewed tea, unsweetened, if you wish.  Kids will probably like it as is.  If you do choose to add alcohol, that will cut the sweetness too, of course. 

Anyway, its delish, and made my apartment smell divine.  Try it out!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Punch it Up!

 How I spent my summer vacation: making mass quantities of delicious Halloween Punch!  Not to worry though, today's recipe is fun year round, and kids will LOVE it.  I mean seriously, look at how happy Dorian is to try it:
He actually said that the thing he was most excited about for vacation was drinking punch.  So it's got his seal of approval.  That should be enough, right? 

 So, swing on over to for the full recipe - its fun and easy, and a real crowd pleaser for the small set. 

Ta da!  Toad-ally Tasty Punch. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

Fancy Schmancy

It was a quiet week here at work, with many of our regular number on vacation, or just mentally checked out. Two of my lady colleagues (ie friends, but I'm trying to sound classy, OK?), decided we deserved a very special lunch to celebrate the end of summer and our beautiful friendship. (I kind of made that part up but its sounds so nice, right? I'm SUCH a good friend, you guys.)

We don't mess around, now. We went to Jean Georges, in Columbus Circle (conveniently located across the street from our office). If you're not into food porn you can skip this post, but for those of you who like drooling, I present: our meal.

First, an amuse bouche trio, cocompliments of the chef: at the top is a cube of chilled watermelon topped with Roquefort mousse; at the bottom is pickled cucumber with dill gelee; and to the left is miso soup with popcorn. I liked the miso best - it smelled amazing! And the popcorn added a nice texture.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


I haven't done too much cooking lately (but have done a lot of eating!) so I thought I'd make something relatively healthy that I could keep on hand, and freeze too, so I'd have veggies in easy and edible reach. 
And what better to make from the abundance of late summer vegetables than Ratatouille?  (Pronounced rat-tat-oo-eee, in case you're wondering).   This is a great dish that is tasty on its own as a vegetable stew with some good bread, or try it over pasta, rice or cous cous, inside an omelet - there are a ton of ways to enjoy it!  Try it.  Its good, really!  And good for you too. 

This is the classic ratatouille recipe, in my opinion - I definitely remember having The Silver Palate cookbook come out quite often throughout my childhood for various party foods.  I have my own copy now, score!  Anyway, I sort of adjusted it - you don't really need two whole cups of olive oil, sheesh, but feel free to adjust the seasoning to your liking!  Its a pretty forgiving recipe.  Enjoy. 

  • 2 c best quality olive oil (I did not use this much by far)
  • 4 small eggplants, bout 4 lbs each in total, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes (I used about 3 lbs)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 lbs white onions; peeled & coarsely chopped (I used 2 very large onions)
  • 7 medium sized zucchini; washed, trimmed, quartered lengthwise and cut into 2 inch strips (I used 6 small, plus 2 medium yellow squash instead)
  • 2 medium sized sweet red peppers; stemmed, seeded, cut into 1/2 inch strips (I don't like peppers - skipped this)
  • 2 medium sized green bell peppers; stemmed, seeded, cut into 1/2 inch strips (I don't like peppers, skipped this too)
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 3 cans (16 oz each) Italian peeled plum tomatoes, drained (save the juice, just in case)
  • 1 can (6 oz) tomato paste (I used the drained juice instead)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley (I didn't have this so I skipped it)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill (also didn't have this, so I skipped it)
  • 2 tbsp dried basil (I had fresh so I used about 1/2 cup chopped)
  • 2 tbsp dried oregano
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • And you know I tossed in some hot sauce, right?
You're going to need a BIG pot for all of this, in addition to a roasting pan (or a few smaller baking dishes), skillets, tin foil, plus various knives, measuring cups, cutting board, etc.  Just warning you.  I had to use two pans because the first was overflowing before the eggplant went in.   
 1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

 2. Line a large roasting pan with foil and pour in 1 cup oil. (OK, I don't have a roasting pan, so I used one 13x9 baking pan, plus a couple of smaller ones to accommodate all the eggplant.  Also, you don't need 1 cup of oil.  Put a few tablespoons on the bottom, then toss in your eggplant and drizzle some more on top.) Add eggplant, sprinkle with salt and toss well. Cover pan tightly w/foil and bake for 35 min until eggplant is done but not mushy (Mine went longer - test it and see after 35 minutes). Uncover and set aside.

3.  While eggplant cooks, in a (very!) large skillet or 2 smaller skillets, heat remaining oil  (again, you don't need a full cup.  Use a few tablespoons to coat the pan, and add a little more if it starts to stick.) Saute onions, zucchini, peppers and garlic over medium heat until wilted and lightly colored, about 20 minutes.  Add tomatoes, paste (I used the drained tomato juice), and spices. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

 4.  Add eggplant and simmer another 10 minutes. Taste and correct seasoning. Serve hot or at room temperature.

12 portions.
This makes a TON!  I seriously used almost all of my Tupperware to pack it up.  Its great for a party or a large group, or you can freeze it and eat some later.  Yum!