Leftovers: ‘Tis the Season

Tis the Seasontis the seasonpumpkin pievanilla buttercreamsholiday dessertsThe best kind of leftovers from Thanksgiving have nothing to do with turkeys. They do have everything to do with an extra Tupperware of vanilla butter-creams though. Stick around for the recipe for those beauties because they are the best thing that ever came from Thanksgiving recipe-trials. This year we tried a few little twists for the dessert table. Not so many pies and more things that don’t have to be formally served, but can be swiped sneakily off the buffet again, and again, and…

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I’m so looking forward to the official beginning of Christmas-month. I wasn’t expecting to take such a blog-break this past week but somehow vacation-days fill faster than work-days and breaking out the Christmas boxes, learning how to use my new cappuccino machine, and watching Sandra Dee/Bobby Darin movies became a swift priority. I did finish planning out my December posts though so at least that’s something. There’s the cutest DIY’s comin’ up and I’ve officially decided to let you all in on my secret this coming week. Eek!

– <3 A. 

November Highlights

november highlights

| 1. | 2. | 3. | 4. | 5. | 6.

Someone said this week that how quickly this year has been passing is “almost comical.” I think that’s honestly the best way to put it because as it speeds by, all I can do is laugh a bit: Laugh at the disparity between what I want to do and what actually happens, between my to-do list and my done list, between my need-to-dos and my goodness-that-will-never-be-dones. But this week I’m so thankful for everything I can do, all the people who love me no matter what I do, and all the the things I’ve been given to do.

It’s officially time to play Christmas music ad nauseam, decorate every surface, shop, and wrap, and spend as much time possible in your pajamas watching Irving Berlin movies. Before that though, I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and regardless of how excited everyone is for the next and best month of the year, you have to admit November was pretty wonderful. I’m excited to share my ideas for December though and to finally reveal (hopefully next week!) my big secret about VMMV for 2014.

– <3 A. 

Reel Women: Barefoot in the Park

barefoot in the park

drop earrings | delia fur circle scarf | hammered bangles | vintage snakeskin clutch | wool bow coat | velvet pillow | lasso pillow | charlotte sofa

Happy Friday to everyone and happy birthday to my wonderful, adorable mother, I love you so much! Thanks for introducing me to Barefoot in the Park and pretty much every other movie that is worth watching.

I love this movie and Jane Fonda’s character Corrie Bratter had to be my November reel woman because you love her but she simultaneously drives you crazy. Her and her uptight, newlywed husband Paul (Robert Redford) move to this insanely small apartment after they’re married that’s about 10 flights of stairs up from the street, leaks snow in from the roof, has a bedroom the size of a closet, and an eccentric neighbor who tries to flirt with Jane Fonda’s mother. Jane is terrified every fight she and her husband have spells divorce, so she’s constantly trying to make the best of their ridiculous apartment, crying inconsolably about their fights, and ending up realizing that perfect isn’t going to happen but that doesn’t mean imperfect means the end of her marriage, and she and her husband figure out sometimes it’s best to just go barefoot in the park and accept that life is what it is and whoever is in it with you, if they belong, is going to figure it out right along with you.

The holidays are coming up and sometimes it kinda feels like perfect has to happen. As if, if you don’t paint a picture with your life that resembles the inn in White Christmas or the Thanksgiving dinner in Holiday Inn that everything is going to crumble and every tradition ever created has been failed…doesn’t it sometimes feel like that? This season I’m going to try and enjoy though instead of survive. I’m not going to care if certain things do or don’t happen, if everything looks right, feels right, is right. I’m just going to go with it and if I have to, run barefoot in the park to let off a little stress. 

– <3 A. 

Between Seasons


I’ve been posting a lot about food lately, I know. But I simply can’t help it with all the beautiful bounty from Thanksgiving yesterday. Hope everyone had as lovely and as tasty a day as I did. Black Friday doesn’t … Continue reading

DIY Natural Thanksgiving Garland

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! If you’re still feeling desperate for something to bake today, don’t forget to check out yesterday’s post for some fast, two ingredient mini-pies! I still have lots of baking to do myself so I’m keeping it simple today:

Yesterday, I was staring out the window at this…

Gingko Trees


…and thinking how sad that the last burst of beauty all the deciduous trees show us just ends up being raked away. The color was what really transfixed me, but if you’ve ever seen a Gingko tree you will know that each leaf looks rather like a butterfly and I suddenly had the idea to string them together to make a garland.

The table I wanted to set the dessert (read: pies) on for today was looking a little un-festive; so I thought the strung leaves would be the perfect backdrop for some natural Thanksgiving decor as a little celebration of fall before the season is swept away to make room for Christmas.

DIY Natural Thanksgiving Garland

Thank goodness I had the afternoon alone for this project because I marched outside to the tree and found a little hole between the azaleas to sit in with my needle and thread. I’m sure I looked absolutely ridiculous.

DIY Thanksgiving garland

1.) I used an embroidery needle for this project and a little twine. The embroidery needle is thick enough to handle the twine and easily slide through the leaves, yet dull enough not to slide into my finger with every leaf.

2. Just string the leaves onto the twine until you have the lengths you want.

3. Initially I thought I wanted all the leaves to face the same way but I made some mistakes and got them all backwards and then decided it looked better a little topsy-turvy anyway.

4. I decided to hang my garlands like stripes. Its a little modern view on the traditional swag and I think it looks pretty snazzy.

natural holiday garland

gingko garland

homemade holiday garland

homemade garland

Hope everyone has a wonderful day giving thanks and perhaps getting a little crafty with some DIY garlands!

– <3 A. 

Two Ingredient Mini-Pies

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, did you remember that? If you didn’t plan, probably at this stage you’re thinking your visions of this…

image via shine.yahoo.com

…are so NOT happening. But, think again! Regardless of what you still have left on your to-do list, or even if homemade baking never even made it on your to-do list for this holiday, if you have about 15 minutes, you can make these super-adorable and delicious mini-pies:

mini-pies thanksgiving recipes

If you’re an only-from-scratch, cans-make-me-cry sort of baker, you will probably sigh a bit at this post. But seriously, don’t trash it ’till you try it! I’ve made them for multiple parties and every-time, every guest is drooling over these little cuties.

How to Make Two-Ingredient Mini-Pies:


1. The only two ingredients you need are fruit pie filling and
refrigerated pie crust. I always use Comstock for the
filling and Pillsbury refrigerated (not frozen) crust. 
If you're already cringing, I know, I had my doubts at first
too but just try it, you will be pleasantly surprised.

2. Leave the pie crust out until its at room temperature,
and then unroll it on some parchment paper and using 
a custard dish as a template, cut out two circles 
slightly larger than the dish.

3. Gently press one circle into the dish. 

4. Spoon the filling into the crust about 3/4 of the way 
full and then pop on the top crust and you're done!
Bake them at 400°for about 15 minutes with a piece 
of foil around the edges to protect the thin crust-edges
and then turn down the heat to 375° without the foil for
another 10 minutes until the pies are bubbling and golden 

 Crust options:

These pies are so much fun because you can do so many things with the tops if you feel like getting a little fancy. Of course, the traditional fluted edges are pretty but you can also do a crosshatch pattern, a heart, or even initials. Whatever you decide to do though, just remember to do it before you put the top onto the pie. Its so much easier to cut out when its laying flat:

crosshatch crust for berry pie

crust cutoutsI honestly don’t even like full-size pies anymore. You can’t beat how easy the mini-pies are, and they’re also the perfect single-serving-size that looks so pretty instead of handing out a demolished slice to your party guests when you try and extract it from the bigger pie.


mini pies

mini pie recipe

Now there’s no excuses for not baking a little homemade love for whoever you’re giving thanks with tomorrow. Hope you enjoy!

– <3 A. 

Cooking the Perfect Day

With everything and everyone this time of year telling you what to wear, what to buy, what to cook, what to gift, and what the perfect holiday looks like, it seems like more people are trying to perhaps get back to what the holidays really mean and do things a little simpler this year. So, this Thanksgiving, instead of posting about what your Thanksgiving spread should taste like, what your centerpiece should look like, and what your outfit should be, I thought I would share How to Cook the Perfect Day. 

When I graduated from college, this girl:

Redhead curls

Gave me this book:

How to Cook the Perfect Day by Nikki McClureHow to Cook the Perfect Day, written and illustrated by Nikki McClure, publ. by Sasquatch Books, 2010

It’s not exactly meant for Thanksgiving, but it is the perfect combination of adorable, paper-cut illustrations done by the fantastically talented Nikki McClure, earthy recipes, and a little reminder that the experience of cooking and sharing with loved ones is more than half the fun of the day.

How to Cook the Perfect Day illustrations

How to Cook the Perfect Day illustrations

The little book is such fun. It’s almost child-like in its simplicity, something I think most people are actually searching for come each holiday season. So, if you’re looking for a simple day, here’s a few essential tips if you want to learn How to Cook the Perfect (Thanksgiving!) Day:

1.) If you’re baking some rolls,
 make sure to let them “cool if you
 can stand the wait.”

How to Cook the Perfect Day illustrations

 2.) If you’re making a hot beverage,
 some apple cider, or some Morrocan 
 Mint Tea perhaps, “sip for hours 
 enjoying at least three glassfuls.”

How to Cook the Perfect Day illustrations

3.) Dessert is a must, and if you’re 
  making the traditional pies, don’t
  forget to let them cool “on the porch
  but not on the sill of a second story window.” 

How to Cook the Perfect Day illustrations

4.) And my personal favorite could apply
 to almost anything you’re making,
 but most definitely applies to the
 “Midnight Morning Biscuit.”
 If you make them, then you must 
 “eat at least one biscuit immediately.”

How to Cook the Perfect Day illustrations

Tomorrow I’m promising to share tips for making some super-easy mini-pies. I’m pretty sure they could help you cook the perfect day and, honestly, they are the simplest, yet most delicious dessert. You will definitely have to eat one immediately.

– <3 A. 

An Introduction

In case you were waiting with bated breath regarding news of my haircut from the this not that post last friday…it was a success! I feel much more human now.

In other news, I am super excited to introduce to you a new member of VMMV:

Nikon camera photographyI finally took the plunge and upgraded my camera. Hopefully with the help of this guy, I will be able to share more pictures with all of you to go along with my posts. I’ve been wanting/intending to do the upgrade for a few months now but this week, with Thanksgiving and the holidays on the horizon, it was finally the perfect time to do so.

So, stay tuned for the evolution of my photography! And, also stay tuned for more about these guys:

miniature pies for thanksgivingThanksgiving officially marks the beginning of the holiday season and with the numerous parties that I’m sure are marking your calendar, it can be a little overwhelming if you’re planning on making some homemade magic to mark the holidays. Pinterest is packed with updates on traditional recipes and quick, easy dessert options but it really doesn’t feel like Thanksgiving unless you have pie.

These mini-pies are so, so easy and fast that you won’t have an excuse not to make them. Plus, they’re the perfect size for an individual helping and, because they’re so easy, its fun to customize flavors that you know your guests will love. It doesn’t have to be pumpkin, apple, and pecan. Last year lemon was a top-favorite with blackberry a close second: yum, yum!

Recipe and top-secret tips to follow so stick around!

– <3 A.