DIY Weekend + Birthday Brunch

Sometimes you just need to get things done.

This weekend, Shaun and I spent most of Friday night and Saturday spackling, painting and installing a new closet system in our den closet. It's a fantastic storage space, but it needed a whole lotta TLC. So I'm a little tired today. And a lot sore. Admittedly we did take a small break on Saturday night and headed to Michael Anthony's in Newport for some drinks, appetizers and basketball/giant moon watching over the Hudson.

Sunday marked my mom's birthday. It's a big birthday month for the Cannon-Humistons. If you recall, last week I whipped up this little beauty when we celebrated my mother-in-law's birthday with dinner and dessert at our place. Last year, my sister Kimberly and I threw our mom a dinner party at the old Humiston residence (more on that here, here and here). This year, my mom obliged to do something similar...but this time, Mom wanted brunch. At the new Humiston residence. So from DIY closets to DIY brunch, it was a busy one.

Mom, Dad and me

I absolutely love brunch. There is simply nothing better than breakfast food and prosecco-laced cocktails in the late morning/early afternoon. It's casual, fun and pretty darn delicious. I also love hosting. I bet you didnt know that. :)

For this little soiree, I set up our little bar with wine glasses and drinking glasses. I also used one end to house the desserts until singing time and to display some beautiful roses that my parents picked up for the occasion.

To start, we dined on smoked salmon with cream cheese and capers, blue cheese + honey on crackers and a giant bowl of fruit.

Mom, Dad and Kimberly

Oh and Shaun was on drink patrol. He mixed up some rum & diet for Dad, white wine for Mom and mimosas for Kimberly and me. Gotta love him.

Kicking off the main attraction, Kimberly made a fantastic salad with goat cheese, dried cranberries, sliced almonds and a honey mustard vinaigrette. It was just about the best salad ever.

We also got to work on a strawberry baked oatmeal (a healthy one that you need to make immediately so I'll be sharing later this week!)

and a goat cheese, roasted pepper and basil frittata. Oh and we also whipped up a little mushroom frittata while we were at it.


And in case that wasn't enough food for ya, you know we had to get down with dessert. In addition to a glazed blood orange loaf cake that I had frozen from last week...

...I was on a mission to make a dessert that Mom would love. For as long as I can remember, Mom has proclaimed her love for malt. Specifically Whoppers, the quintessential chocolate malt candy. So I researched (and researched) until I found the perfect recipe for some stretchy-pants-inducing chocolate malt cupcakes. Oh yeah. I went there.

Stay tuned for the yum-inducing recipe later this week because no doubt you will want to subsequently get your malt on immediately. We lit some candles and sang Happy Birthday!

The only thing missing from this fun, food-filled day was my sister Christine who is off at school. Miss you Stine Bean!

So that was how we spent the weekend. DIY'ing, spending time with family, cooking and eating ourselves into a coma. How did you spend your weekend? What was the last thing you DIY'd? What's the last thing you needed to break out your stretchy pants for?

Brunch at Lighthorse Tavern

As I mentioned yesterday, Shaun and I had a Sunday Funday Valentine's Day. A full day of hanging out and having fun. It's what any holiday should be, right? A few of you asked about The King's Speech, and I just want to say that for the record, we really liked this movie. It was just so fun. I've always been a Colin Firth fan and it was fun to see him in a different kind of role where he could really show his talent! We didn't know what to expect from this movie (and admittedly we both felt a little daunted by it before the movie) but we were really glad we picked this as our date day film :)

Before the moooovie, we decided that it would be fun to go out for brunch, rather than dinner. It's one of my favorite past times, after all. And that way, we could enjoy the night at home with a candlelit dinner. We picked Lighthorse Tavern, my absolute favorite restaurant in Jersey City. Though it's called a Tavern, don't be fooled by its moniker. Though it is casual, the food is upscale and absolutely out of this world. We've gone for a few dinners (their skirt steak is uh-mazing!) and always sit in the upstairs, overlooking this cuteness:

Though we hadn't ever gone for brunch, after spotting oysters, bourbon vanilla French toast, eggs Benedict and other delectables, we were pretty sure we were in for a whole lotta delicious. We started out our meal with some cocktails; mimosa for me, bloody mary for Shaun.

And since we share a love of oysters, these were a must. We ordered 6 oysters to share. They were cool, crisp, fresh and sweet. A bit of cocktail sauce made these pure seafood perfection. Oh and in case I wasn't already missing summer like it's my job, these little bits of summertime just solidified it.

You know there was no way I could pass up my ultimate favorite breakfast...pancakes! These were ricotta pancakes with a bit of blueberry compote and lemon ricotta. They were fluffy and super moist. And perhaps the best pancakes of all time. Just sayin'.

Shaun, always the savory man, ordered the special...eggs benedict over duck, rather than ham. A bit of truffle oil finished off the dish. Though it was rich, it was entirely fantastic.

Which made my non-pork eating Valentine pretty psyched.

I kinda liked it too.

It's no surprise that by the end, our plates looked like this.

Don't tell anyone.

So there it is. The tale of our favorite brunch to date and a couple of pancakes that I've been dreaming about for the last couple of days. Oh and the oysters weren't bad either. So what I want to know is: Do you like to go out for brunch or stay in? And bonus question: What good movies have you seen lately?