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12 Photos of Christmas

(I know, I know. It’s the second week of January. But better late than never, right?)

xo

1. Yearly Scrabble game at Mom’s IMG_3366

2. Prosciutto wrapped pear + grape saladIMG_3368

3. Mom’s antipasti plateIMG_3347

4. Our stockings that we’ve all had since we were babies. IMG_3383

5. Standard. IMG_3359

6. Seth playing with his food (pre-cooking, of course). IMG_3363

7. Isn’t my sister beautiful?IMG_3360

8. Post-present mess at Dad’s. IMG_3391

9. Miso warming up by the fireplace. IMG_3388

10. Salad + our favorite photo of Papa. He looked so much like Seth! IMG_3394

11. Potato gratin waiting to be served. IMG_3399

12. Beef tenderloin, my dad’s traditional Christmas meal, right out of the oven. IMG_3398

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I’ve actually never decorated our apartment for Christmas before. But since I decided to host a Holiday Party this year, I got a little bit more motivated. 

Not too exciting, I know. But it does help make things feel a little festive. And I’m particularly proud of our tiny, tiny tree (Sawyer is obsessed with it). 

IMG_3285I ordered a bunch of crepe paper for super cheap online, and made some (incredibly easy) garlands from Oh Happy Day (she does the best party decor). 

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Sprinkled some Christmas lights on the bar for cheer … 

IMG_3290… and thought Kelly’s guitar could use a little festivity too. 

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Of course, our chalkboard was the easiest thing to update. 

IMG_3288I even got motivated to string up a few extra garlands before the party!

(I told you Sawyer loves that tree)

xo

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In college, I was lucky enough to get a beautiful coffee table from my stepmom. 

IMG_3271It’s a piece with quite a history — built by Drexel Heritage Furniture in 1960 (see the notation on the bottom of the table?). 

IMG_3267Unfortunately, I didn’t quite realize this for the first few years I owned this piece, and brimming cups of sangria, spilled mugs of green tea, and the occasional dinner mishap took their toll on this poor little guy. The evidence is above. 

IMG_3266So I decided to do something about it this weekend. After poking around online a bit for various water/heat damage fixes on antique furniture, I found a mild solution that I thought wouldn’t cause too much damage if I messed it up. 

First, I mixed a tablespoon of baking soda with about a teaspoon of water, to make a thick paste. 

IMG_3270After cleaning off the table, I took the paste and carefully rubbed it (with the grain!) on all of the water and heat rings, slowly buffing them away. 

IMG_3273After washing the baking soda off, I gave the entire table a good coat of lemon furniture oil (this stuff smells great). 

IMG_3275Voila! Isn’t the change amazing? I was ridiculously proud of myself. 

IMG_3276Of course the oil does soak in over time, so I’ll have to keep up the maintenance — but with the occasional rub down and vigilant coaster use, I should be able to keep it looking just like this.

xo 

This year, we did Thanksgiving at my Dad’s house in the Lower Haight — it was the first time he and my step mom had hosted a holiday meal since moving into their new home, and it was absolutely perfect.

Finally, a good shot of the siblings all together!

Pumpkin pies (made by Luke!) cooling in my Dad’s new kitchen.

Drinking wine and poring over old photos of my grandparents before dinner.

Miso!

Elizabeth’s infamous annual cheese ball — a deadly concoction of goat cheese, garlic, sundried tomatoes and basil.

Self-portrait by Seth.

My plate: Turkey, roasted vegetables, wild mushroom stuffing, my Dad’s famous potatoes, and my kale salad —kale, quinoa, red onion, feta, avocado and dried cranberries. 

Of course, no Brunner holiday would be complete without Seth stuffing his face with whipped cream. 

I’m so thankful for this motley crew. 

xo

To me, the best decorations are the easiest ones. Since we never get trick or treaters at our apartment, Halloween decorating is restricted to a few gourds and some new chalkboard art in the dining room or kitchen. (The fact that we have an orange kitty counts too, right?)

Come Christmas, I’ll probably be doing something similar with pomegranates and eucalyptus branches from the Presidio (if Sawyer doesn’t start chewing on them first). 

Happy Halloween!

xo

For our monthly Supperclub meeting (with a Halloween theme!) I decided to make a recipe I’ve been wanting to try for over a year now — a savory, stuffed pumpkin. I winged it a bit, but it turned out amazing. 

Ingredients:
1 Sugar Pie Pumpkin
1/2 white onion
1 baguette
1 cup of heavy cream
1/2 cup fontina, 1/2 cup gouda
spices: salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, paprika

First, carve out the pumpkin. Really clean that guy out. 

If you’re smart, you’ll save the seeds to roast afterwards. 

Next, tear up your baguette and toast the pieces so they have just a bit of char. 

Now it’s time to stuff. Fill that thing to the brim with bread, onions, and cheese. I mean, REALLY stuff it. Then, pour in a cup of cream, mixed with your spices (to taste). 

After that, it’s easy. Pop it in the oven at 400 for an hour and 15 minutes. When it’s done, you’ll have a golden, soft pumpkin full of melted cheesy goodness. 

Cutting it was a little awkward at first, but everyone ended up with a slice of pumpkin and a healthy (?) scoop of stuffing.  

Amanda whipped up some truly delicious pumpkin/portobello/bacon mac and cheese. 

And Kirsten put together some brussels sprouts!
The Giants won, we had plenty of wine on hand, and several good desserts to fill our bellies up even more.

All in all, a perfect night. 

(A view of part of downtown from Amanda’s Pac Heights living room) 

xo

Three new things that make me happy:

1. My airplants, sittin’ pretty in a big vase of navy beans.  I love these little guys. 

2. My new bike! Not only did is it adorable, but I got it from the cutest Italian couple ever in Noe Valley, and it’s been making my commute to work much smoother. Plus, sometimes Kelly and I get to ride home from the train station together, which is pretty great. 

3. My new case! I snagged my dad’s old iPhone 4 when he upgraded, and got a great ombré case (I’m obsessed with ombré) to go with it. 

It’s the little things, you know?

Happy weekend all!

xo