NaBloPoMo. Check.

November 30, 2008

Oops, I almost blew the whole NaBloPoMo thing by forgetting a post on the last day! Since it's late and I don't have much, I will leave you with two cute (in my opinion, anyway) shots of the kids from the weekend. I know it's the total easy way out, but hope you like anyway!

2 Peas 1 Pod.

November 29, 2008

Are you looking for some cards that will stand out a bit from the crowd? I have decided to share a source that I had kept to myself because, hey, I didn't want everyone else sending my same cards! But, I have used them for too many occasions in the last couple of years, so I thought it was time to let you all in. I never see this company mentioned in the usual places: magazines, blogs, etc., and I don't know why. They really are so much nicer than your average photocard or birth announcement. Heavy cardstock, bright colors, good font. And for you greenies out there, they will also send beautiful e-cards. No carbon footprint guilt!

Awesome company, by the way, run by mom Stephanie Socie. Totally professional and timely. Won't make you feel bad for changing things around a hundred times (ahem). And the design? Totally modern, fresh, superior. Kind of like yourself.
I super especially totally love this "Peace" design. You can use any languages you want:

And because Stephanie is such a cool person, she is offering all D.R. readers Free Shipping. Just enter "Domestic08" at checkout. Note that the cut-off to receive orders before the holidays is December 5th.


November 28, 2008

If you are lucky enough to have a turkey carcass hanging around, make this soup! The carcass is, after all, the best part precisely because you get to make soup from it. (Come on... that meat isn't all that... even if you buy organic free range hippie birds, then brine, baste, truss and fuss all over it.)

Turkey stock makes the best base for soups like this. The flavors here are fresh and exciting (oohhh exciting!) -- ginger, coconut milk, lime, fresh cilantro. Probably different than the tastes you've been having lately. I make this every year. And, yes, every time I make it I think of the Soup Nazi episode of Seinfeld. "NO SOUP FOR YOU!"

Turkey Mulligatawny Soup with Cilantro
Gourmet November 1992

the carcass of a roast turkey, broken into large pieces
about 4 1/2 quarts (18 cups) plus 1/3 cup water
4 garlic cloves
three 1-inch cubes of peeled fresh ginger
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons curry powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 large boiling potatoes (about 1 pound total)
4 cups chopped onion
3 carrots, sliced
1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
1/4 cup fresh lime juice, or to taste
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

In a large kettle or stockpot combine the carcass with 4 1/2 quarts of the water, or enough to cover it, and simmer the mixture, uncovered, for 3 hours. Strain the stock through a large sieve into a large bowl, return it to the kettle, and boil it until it is reduced to about 10 cups.
In a blender purée the garlic and the ginger with the remaining 1/3 cup water. In a heavy kettle heat the oil over moderately high heat until it is hot but not smoking and in it cook the purée, stirring, for 2 minutes, or until the liquid is evaporated. Add the potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes, the onion, the carrots, and 5 cups of the stock and simmer the mixture, covered, for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are very soft. In the blender purée the mixture it batches until it is smooth, transferring it as it is puréed to another large kettle. Stir in the remaining stock, the coconut milk, the lime juice, and salt to taste, simmer the soup for 10 minutes, and stir in the chopped cilantro. The soup may be made 2 days in advance, cooled completely, uncovered, and kept covered and chilled. The soup keeps, covered and frozen, for 2 months. Serve the soup garnished with cilantro sprigs.

Pumpkin Pie.

November 27, 2008

I have always had a deep, deep affection for pumpkin pie. I have tried countless recipes through the years, but I always come back to the recipe on the back of the old Libby's Pumpkin Can. If you're looking for a classic, super smooth, not overly sweet or spicy version, try it. I think you'll like it!

Pumpkin Pie

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 large eggs
1 can (15 oz.) canned pumpkin (or the equivalent in pureed freshly-roasted pumpkin)
1 can (12 fl. oz.) evaporated milk
1 unbaked 9-inch deep-dish pie shell (try this recipe)

Mix sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.

Pour into pie shell.

Bake in preheated 425° F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350° F; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate. Top with unsweetened freshly whipped cream before serving.

Swinging on a Star.

November 26, 2008

Since about the time C-Man started talking (not just words, but little phrases), he has always been a singer. Sometimes we get the *joy* of waking up to him singing in his room. (Problem is, it is usually still pitch black out. Any ideas on how to get him to sleep later? We've tried EVERYTHING.) Off and on during the day, we get to hear him singing to himself around the house or performing a new song for us. His personality is such that he obsessively sings the same song over and over and over until he moves onto a new one. "Swinging on a Star" by Bing Crosby is what we've been hearing from him lately.

Not familiar with the old tune? I urge you to refresh yourself with this clip from YouTube:

Now go ahead and feast your eyes and ears on this rendition by the one and only C-Man.

Swinging on a Star. from domestic reflections on Vimeo.

Keeping Up With Magazines.

November 25, 2008

Ever since #2 arrived a year ago, I can officially no longer keep up with my magazine subscriptions. Now, we all know one of the great, simple pleasures in my world involves a hot bath and a brand new magazine, so it is actually quite sad that I now have piles of magazines I no longer read.

This past weekend however, B and I found ourselves with one of the ultimate parental luxuries: an entire afternoon at home without the kids. Yes, you read that correctly. My mom came over and took C-Man and Baby J to my parents' house from about noon to 5 p.m. Pure bliss, people, let me tell you. B and I had never been in our house alone, if you can believe that!

We napped, watched a movie, and, yes, I got to read a few magazines. One of which was the September issue of Domino (I had been through it quickly a couple of months ago, but hadn't dissected it, if you know what I mean). When I came across Vanessa Bruno's apartment in the Marais district of Paris, I about fell over. As in B couldn't communicate with me for a couple of minutes. Now, I love most all homes that Domino features, but this one. This one could be mine. All mine. Take a lookie.

The living room is fabulous. Rustic, open beam ceilings, light and airy furniture. Lots of natural light. Sleek and modern, but with a rustic, homespun feel. Sort of the epitome of "organic modern," as The City Sage calls it.

Don't you just love it??

photos via the style files

Meal Planning Monday.

November 24, 2008

I won't be cooking much this week, but here's what I do have going:


Sloppy Joes on Trader Joe's Brioche Rolls
Molly's Escarole Salad with Avocado and Parmesan


Baked Potatoes with all the Fixings
Steamed Broccoli


Turkey Mulligatawny Soup with Coriander

Sunday Supper.

James and AliceQ were nice enough to invite us to a lovely Sunday Supper at their home yesterday afternoon/evening. I sort of made one of those parental faux pas and assumed it was OK to bring kids (moms, has that ever happened to you?). Anyway, James and AliceQ were gracious and accommodating despite the fact no other kids were there and they weren't really expecting ours to come.

Luckily, C-Man was on his best behavior. So cute, in fact. He held B's hand while walking in (he had heard about their rather large and *friendly* dogs and he didn't completely believe us that they would be locked up in the dog run). He smiled and said hello to the other guests and then went on his own tour of the house. A few minutes later he came to find me (Champagne in one hand, cheese straw in the other, chatting away), and pulled me down to his height and whispered:
"Mama, where is the room for the children?"

I told him there wasn't one, and his face fell. He insisted we go look for one anyway, which we did. When he finally realized there wasn't a "children's room" -- not sure if he was looking for children to play with or perhaps toys -- he said:

"Oh, noooooooo!" (As if, "What will I ever do with myself now??")

Fortunately, we were able to distract him from a meltdown by whisking him away to the lovely backyard, complete with a tangerine tree to pick ripe fruit from (ours does not have fruit ready to pick yet), little LED "candles" to switch on and off, and a nice low wall upon which to walk around the perimeter of the yard. Three things that proved to be immensely entertaining for a three year old. Even without other children to play with.

We had freshly-shucked oysters (courtesy of Candace) and Perrier-Jouet champagne to start. How lucky are we? (I told you this wasn't a kids' party!)
I'll betcha AliceQ is going to post about the menu on her blog, so be sure to check it out!

Vintage Punch Bowls on the Brain.

November 23, 2008

I'm thinking of single-handedly bringing the punch bowl back. Maybe it's already back in some circles, or maybe it never left others? Those people are too cool for me. When was the last time you were at a party with a punch bowl? I know haven't seen one since my mom dragged me to a baby shower in the mid-eighties. I'm pretty sure it was filled with some non-alcoholic fruit punch with scoops of orange sherbet. Not exactly what I have in mind this time around.

I first need to find a punch bowl, ideally with all of those coordinating cute cups with the little handles. Vintage. Ebay. You get the idea.

How about this, which just happens to be listed on ebay right now?

I'm thinking of filling it with something like this Pineapple Punch from a 1959 issue of Gourmet Magazine. It is certainly from the era I'm going for, and it looks like it would give a real, er, kick in the pants. Just right for a cocktail party at this time of the year. What do you think?

Pineapple Punch
Gourmet June 1959; reprinted September 2001

1 large ripe pineapple (4 1/4lb) (preferably "extra sweet")
2 750-ml bottles dry white wine
1/2 cup brandy
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
2 chilled 750-ml bottles Champagne

Cut off and discard top of pineapple. Cut off rind and cut rind into 2-inch pieces. Quarter pineapple lengthwise and cut away core, then cut core into 2-inch pieces. Blend rind and core to a coarse purée in a food processor, in batches if necessary.

Put pineapple purée in a bowl and stir in white wine. Chill, covered, 1 hour.

Cut remaining pineapple into 1/3-inch dice and stir with brandy and confectioners sugar in another bowl. Macerate, covered and chilled, stirring occasionally, 1 hour.

While pineapple is macerating, bring granulated sugar and water to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved, then boil syrup over moderate heat, undisturbed, until it registers 230°F on candy thermometer. Cool syrup.

Pour wine mixture through a large fine sieve into a punch bowl set in cracked ice and stir in syrup, pineapple with liquid, and Champagne.

For the Love of Gifting (#4).

November 22, 2008

If you have a foodie friend you really want to make happy, adopt an olive tree in Italy for them. For less that $100, your very happy foodie friend will get all of the oil produced from that tree in a year. Check it out here.
via (the very awesome) inside the loop

Let the Onslaught of Photocards Begin.

November 21, 2008

I must admit one of my favorite things about this time of the year is getting all of the photo cards and even those family update letters ("Johnny just THRIVES in his Latin class"). I like checking out the new babies, the family pets, someone's sherpa. You all know the drill.

One of B's old friends sends her family's letter out before Thanksgiving, so it is always the first we receive. She and her family are very special -- for the last many years they have run a non-profit organization that provides clean drinking water to small villages in Central America. They are, obviously, very selfless and spiritual people. This year, Dana's letter was uplifting as usual, but I really, really liked something she wrote at the very end. I've been thinking about it ever since I first read it.

"May gratitude continue to take over your heart -- crowding out worry, fear, jealousy, envy, hate and the litany of other useless emotions."

Such wise words.

For the Love of Gifting (#4).

Here's another gift idea for a baby or toddler in your life. A bamboo utensil set with cloth napkin in a darling carrying case. Just $20 at this etsy shop.

A Little Treat.

I had so much fun participating in Amy's "It's Friday I'm in Love/Inspire Me Series." Check it out.

I first discovered Amy way back when she guest blogged for Design Mom. Here are some things you need to know about Amy:

1. Her blog is always full of thoughtful reflections and great music picks. Plus she posts everyday -- NaBloPoMo or not!

2. She and her husband make the BEST maple teethers (and other goodies) for your little one.

3. I love that she wears her heart on her sleeve. As just one example, on election night, twitter was going crazy with people posting updates on returns, feelings of nervousness and excitement, general random thoughts. Lots of blabber to get through (although I admit I was glued to twitter that night...along with CNN). When the returns from Ohio (where Amy and her family live) were coming in and going for Obama, I smiled and got all warm and fuzzy when I read Amy's tweet. It went something like: "OHIO!!!!!!!! I love my crappy weather state everybody!!!" She's just that sort of sweet and excitable spirit.

In other words, I highly recommend you go check her out.


Cheese Muffins -- Yes, Please.

November 20, 2008

I am way too excited to make these cheese muffins from The Pioneer Woman . I'm going to serve them with chili (unless they get devoured on their own).

Just a Teeny Tiny Shoutout for B.

B is a pretty amazing guy, if I do say so myself. He definitely thinks (and lives) outside of the box. He is the hardest worker you will ever meet. He's extremely generous. He is a completely authentic person -- there are no airs about him and what you see is always what you get. He also happens to be an excellent father. Plus, he can rock the courtroom or the chicken coop. That's why I love him most, I think. He is just as comfortable and capable in either of those worlds.

I'm super proud of him this week especially because he is featured in a National (!) Magazine (!). Granted, it is not GQ or Vanity Fair or (thankfully) The National Enquirer, and it is not a magazine that most of you read at all. But still. I am so happy for him. Go B!

For the Love of Gifting (#3).

November 19, 2008

One of my favorite go-to gifts for a girly-girl friend is an apron. Not a utilitarian Williams-Sonoma one. Those are fine and dandy and you need one of those too, but I'm talking a '50s housewife, pretty frilly one. Specifically, the ones from Anthropologie (there are lots and lots to choose from, so go take a look).

Take a look at this, for example. There isn't a woman alive who wouldn't feel instantly prettier, more feminine, I dare say more capable in the kitchen wearing this darling apron -- even if she is just transferring fish sticks from the baking sheet to the Elmo plate. It's $28, by the way. You can't tell me your girlfriend isn't worth that.

Throw in these pretty measuring spoons if you really like her. So much nicer than the Plain Jane ones I use from the hardware store.


November 18, 2008

I really love the idea of online magazines. I mean, think about it:

1. Magazine
2. Internet
3. Saving the trees and other resources
4. Free

What's not to love? I especially like this magazine, LMNOP, an Australian magazine about design for children.

I will never give up real magazines, however. They are the most rewarding $2 I will ever spend. Jora's Happy Night = Bath, Candles, Fancy Bath Products, Stack of New Magazines. Can't do that with a laptop. Oh well.

Blog Overhaul.

OK. So I want to spiff up this thing, this blog here. Who wants to help? Or who knows of someone who can? I am thinking of some big changes, including a name change (I have never liked it. I picked it under duress one late night while trying to decide if I was going to start one of these things. What can I say? All the good names I thought of were taken.) Maybe a name change would be too hard at this point. I don't know. But I definitely want to change the whole look of this thing. Help me!

One More From the Memory Pages.

November 17, 2008

One of the first times C-Man held his new baby sister.

Purse Lust.

I hate when this happens. Really, I do. I discovered a new line of handbags that are To. Die. Check these babies out. You can link to your wish list here. Warning: they are a wee bit pricey.

My Baby, Baby J.

November 16, 2008

Can you believe it? My baby girl will be one year old tomorrow. Actually, tonight at about 2:19 a.m. My thoughts are more with her today because this is when I went into labor. This is when she first made her intentions known.

I will spare you all the intimate/gory/uninteresting (depending on your perspective) details. This isn't really the place for that. (Although, if you know me in real life, you know I could talk your ear off about it.) But I will say this: she surprised us by coming early. She slipped into this world almost effortlessly. And she is the absolute sweetest, snuggliest, prettiest baby I could have imagined. Thank you, Baby J. You make life worth living.

Baby Cradle.

I really need to get off this baby kick. After I show you this, that is. Coolest baby cradle. Ever.

For the Love of Gifting (#2).

November 15, 2008

A kid can never have too many books. Why not go vintage? Here is a set of Golden Books that you just might remember from your childhood. The Saggy Baggy Elephant, Dumbo, The Color Kittens, and Busiest Fire Fighters Ever! All for $12.

Baby Jewelry.

November 14, 2008

I have never been much of a jewelry fan myself (unless, of course, we are talking about *the basics*). I like it and I do wear simple things, but mostly, I just feel like some sort of over-dressed gypsy when I wear it. No need to worry, I have friends trying to help me out of this rut.

In the meantime, I want to get Baby J something nice. Something simple, classy, keepsake-worthy. Nothing crazy expensive, just something she can always have. Necklaces are sort of out of the question (too dangerous, right?), and I don't really believe in piercing babies' ears, so I guess it has to be a bracelet. I like this sterling silver one:

It's made in San Francisco and hand-engraved with the following: "Who and what art thou? 'I'm youth, I'm joy, I'm a little bird that has broken out of the egg."' ~ J.M Barrie

Sweet, no? Any other ideas?

Neighbors and Fruit Trees.

November 13, 2008

Out where we live, we have the best neighbors. One reason is that everyone has tons of fruit trees, which lends itself to generosity and conversation. We don't have an avocado (darn it!!) or orange tree (actually we have a baby one that isn't producing yet), but our neighbors sure have those and lots more. Everyone shares up here on "the Mountain," as our good friend James calls it. Just the other day one neighbor came by bearing a gift that was so right up my alley. Freshly baked Persimmon Bars with Lemon Glaze, a bowl of ripe Hachiya persimmons (the type we don't have) and a copy of the recipe from Gourmet Magazine from a couple of years ago. Hello. Do they know me or what?

I half-jokingly said to my neighbor, "Hey, do I have to share these bars with the family or can we just keep this between us?" Well, those bars were so darn good, I did almost eat all of them myself (in one sitting). And I immediately began planning to make up a batch with the persimmons he gave me.

Lemon-Glazed Persimmon Bars
from Gourmet 2004

For bars:
3 very ripe (very soft) Hachiya persimmons (1 1/4 lb total)
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 large egg
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup loosely packed dried pitted dates (5 oz), finely chopped
1 cup walnuts or pecans (3 1/2 oz), finely chopped

For glaze:
1 cup confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest

Make bars:Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 15- by 10-inch shallow baking pan (1 inch deep), knocking out excess flour.

Discard dried green or brown calyx (stem and leaves) from each persimmon, then force persimmons 1 at a time through a medium-mesh sieve into a bowl, using a rubber spatula to press hard on solids (discard solids). Transfer 1 cup purée to a small bowl (discard remainder) and stir in lemon juice and baking soda. (Mixture will become foamy, then jell slightly.)
Sift together flour, salt, and spices in another small bowl.

Whisk together egg, sugar, oil, and dates in a large bowl until just combined. Add flour mixture and persimmon mixture alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture and stirring until just combined. Stir in nuts.

Spread batter evenly in baking pan and bake until golden brown and a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool completely in pan on a rack.
Glaze and cut bars:Stir together all glaze ingredients until smooth, then spread over top of cooled cake. Cut crosswise into 8 strips, then lengthwise into fourths, for a total of 32 bars.

Cooks' note: Bars keep in an airtight container 3 days.


I really, really wish I knew how to knit. I would so make these "legwarmies" for Baby J.

Little Boy Cozies.

November 12, 2008

C-Man needed a couple of cooler weather items that he could wear to school (which has a policy of no logos or writing). This cardigan and striped fleece sweatshirt fit the bill perfectly. He looks soooo cute (and grown-up) in them. Maybe I'll post a couple of photos of him modeling. :)

Deep Thoughts About Salads.

I have this theory about salads. Actually, it is my mom's theory, but I long ago adopted it as my own. It goes like this: A salad always tastes better when made by someone else. (A corollary theory is that sandwiches also taste better made by someone else, but that is another post.) No matter how hard I try, my salads are just ho-hum. There is one great exception to this rule, however. And it includes a salad made with the below-described salad dressing.

For a couple of years I was obsessed with making one type of salad. Sure, I made and ate lots of others (especially when made by someone else!), but this was my go-to salad. I never tired of it. Until, well, maybe day 753 hit and then I stopped making it. I finally hit the wall. However, just the other day I pulled out the recipe for the salad dressing (which is the critical component of the salad) and whipped up a batch. We've been eating salads with it ever since.

The salad I make with this includes the following: red leaf lettuce, green leaf lettuce, arugula, thinly sliced carrots, green onions, avocado and homemade croutons. But it tastes good on just about everything.

Everyday Vinaigrette
from Gourmet Everyday Cookbook

1/2 c. red-wine vinegar
1/2 c. freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
1/3 c. water
1 1/2 T Dijon mustard
1 1/2 t. sugar
1 1/2 t. salt
1 large garlic clove
1 1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
1/3 c. fresh Italian (flat leaf) parsley

Puree vinegar, cheese, water, mustard, sugar, salt and garlic in a blender. Drizzle in olive oil while blender is running. Add parsley and puree until finely chopped.

Makes about 2 1/2 cups (enough for a week's worth of salads!) and keep for 1-2 weeks in the refrigerator.

p.s. I still love that other salad dressing, but it is not something I want every single day. This dressing, however, I do want everyday.

Simply Darling.

November 11, 2008

This little girl's bedroom from Cakies has to be the cutest I have ever seen. I want a little vintage daybed like that for Baby J! Seriously, how darling is it? Check out the whole room here.

For the Love of Gifting (#1).

Over the next couple of months I would love to feature gifts that are unique, well-priced and, of course, totally desirable. If you have any ideas of your own, let me know!

I seem to buy gifts for children more than anyone else. So, first up, are these cute Alphabet Animals Flash Cards. As any mom knows, flash cards are great entertainment and a practical teaching tool. Why not get some that actually look nice? These guys are $15 for the set, so stock up.

Meal Planning Monday.

November 10, 2008

(We had leftovers and I roasted a chicken)

Eggplant Parmigiana (I stole this idea from Sarah)
Tossed Green Salad

Escarole and Orzo Soup with Turkey Meatballs

B's Seriously Good Italian Chickpea Soup
Bruschetta with Cavolo Nero

Cauliflower Salad with Green Olives and Capers (we already made and ate a batch of this yesterday -- so good!)


You remember Anne, right? She truly has one of the most beautiful and inspirational blogs out there, The City Sage. She has a very cool new feature called Blogger Book Love and I am honored to be included! Check it out.

Tagged: Seven Randoms.

Kelly from the delightful blog The Misadventures of Kelly and Kelly tagged me. And since I am doing this whole NaBloPoMo thing, the timing couldn't have been better.

Seven random facts about me. Here goes:

1. I had both of my babies completely drug-free. The births were the most difficult and rewarding things I have ever been through. And I wouldn't have done it any other way. I realize this also makes me just the teensiest bit crazy in most people's minds.

2. Although I absolutely love shoes, I spend most days of the year barefoot or wearing flip flops. I hate having my feet constricted, I guess.

3. I was cooking my family complete meals by the time I was 10. One of my first "specialties" was buttermilk biscuits. I really wish I still had that recipe.

4. Growing up, I had an alter ego that I named "Martha Beauty." She was my more sophisticated, beautiful, grown-up self. It is a little embarrassing to admit, because it sounds like I am talking about, you know, The Martha. But I didn't know who Martha Stewart was.

5. I knew I would marry B within seconds of meeting him. Also, the first time I met him in person, we didn't say a word, but he did give me a kiss on the cheek and put a Baci chocolate in my hand.

6. I didn't celebrate any holidays growing up. That (and other things) made for a very unusual childhood.

7. I was born at home without a doctor present. My parents were total hippies. I spent my first year or so in an A-Frame cabin (no electricity or running water) that my dad built in a small town on the Oregon Coast. No doubt this is where my obsession with teepees comes from.

I tag:

Rachel of Heart of Light
Kim of 180/360
Emily of Cupcakes and Cashmere
Sarah of Sarah's Fab Day
Sarah of Whoorl
Alyson of Unruly Things
P from What Possessed Me

More Etsy Rubber Stamps.

I think I like these little rubber stamps more than the last ones (and that's saying a lot). Don't they have a nice retro feel?

Charley Harper at Old Navy? Really?

November 9, 2008

My sister just found out she's having a boy!! And you know what that means...she's going to be sending me all sorts of links to cool boys stuff. Like this morning. Did you know Old Navy has Charley Harper T-Shirts? Check these out. Sooooo not Old Navy, right?

And a cute Charley Harper coloring book and peg puzzle. Better put those on my gift lists.

AliceQ Went to NYC and All I Got Was This.

November 7, 2008

Actually, I got lots of cool stuff, but I *especially* liked this. A handwritten note from Tony.

The Mother-in-Law.

Have I told you about mine? I have the world's greatest. She is fun, totally girly, never meddles and always tells me how lucky her son is to have me (and not the other way around -- we girls must stick together, you know?). But.....a foodie she is not. It's not that she didn't feed her family right. She had a home-cooked meal for her family of five probably 360 nights per year. But she was the type of woman who was more into painting (art), playing softball, trying out new hairstyles, etc., rather than slave over complicated recipes. That being said, the woman has some damn fine recipes. Like some of the best. I know. This doesn't really make sense.

Let me give you an example. I love scones. Yummy, buttery, flaky, lightly sweet scones. In other words, nothing that can be found at Starbucks or any other bakery for that matter (although there is one seriously good place in San Diego, if anyone cares). I have tried many recipes through the years, but they all end up like Starbucks': heavy, dense, deathly sweet. I gave up. And then just as the search for my life partner was drawing to a close (hi B!), another prayer was answered. B's mom came to town and made us scones. I have her recipe now, which she scribbled out onto a piece of paper that was to be a grocery list and have since used it dozens and dozens of times. It has all of the crusty splatters to prove it.

As you know, this week I have had pumpkin on the brain and I really wanted to make pumpkin scones, especially after reading Anne's post (seriously, how beautiful are those photos??). But I kept going back to the MIL's recipe because I knew they would be so good. And I really didn't want to mess around with the measurements by adding in pumpkin (what can I say? I am a natural-born rule follower), so I made them just as she does. But with fresh cranberries. Because you can add dry stuff like berries, raisins, nuts, etc. no problem. That's where all my creativity came in.

So yesterday afternoon, Adrianna (not the pumpkin soup one, a different one), C-Man and I enjoyed ourselves some of these lovelies:

The Mother-in-Law Scones

3 c. flour
½ c. sugar
2 ½ t. baking powder
½ t. baking soda
¾ t. salt
¾ c. cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 c. buttermilk
1 c. berries, raisins, nuts, etc.

Mix dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Cut in the cold butter until the butter is the size of small peas (or, rub butter in with fingertips, but work quickly so as to not warm up the butter). Add the berries (or whatever you are using) and mix well. Add buttermilk and mix just until blended. Work dough into ball and knead 10-25 times (this is what the recipe says, what can I say?). Pat dough into two circles about 2 ½ inches thick. (The dough will be sticky and a bit hard to deal with. Don’t worry. Keep going.) Cut each circle of dough into 6 or 8 pie-shaped pieces. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Brush with buttermilk and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Serve warm. (These can also be frozen and heated in the oven until they are crusty on the outside.)


November 6, 2008

Is your kid like mine? He wants to have the same story read to him night after night after night get the point. I try hiding the book and gleefully exclaiming "Oh look! Oh, The Places You'll Go!" "Skippyjon Jones!" "Heck I'll read you Thomas the Train's Big Adventure!" But no, it's back to Winnie the Pooh (it's a collection of stories which aren't bad at all, I'm just a little sick of them, you know?) So, we end up reading the "Winnie the Pooh Walks Around the Neighborhood" story (or whatever the title is) most nights. In the story, Pooh decides to take a "neighborly gift" of (you guessed it) a honeypot to his friend Piglet. (As an aside, what is up with that androgynous bear without any pants??)

Well, the other day, our little man announced to us, "I am going to take this neighborly gift to Nelson!" Nelson is our 85 year old neighbor, and in C-Man's hands are some oatmeal cookies we baked and a few random things from the garden. How cute is that??

(By the way, C-Man's father dressed him that morning.)

Adriana's Pumpkin Soup.

Meet my friend Adriana. She is the consummate hostess, loves to have fun and is an extraordinarily good cook. She is also the wife to a very sweet guy and has the cutest two little munchkins. Most importantly, however, she makes the best pumpkin soup, which she serves at an annual party that also involves chili (and she's Texan, so you know it's good), cornbread, brownies, icy cold beer and pitchers of sangria. She agreed to share the soup recipe with me I think because I make a fool of myself each year eating bowl after bowl of it in the corner of her kitchen while everyone else is out socializing and not making gluttons of themselves. And I am going to share it now with you. I've had lots of versions of pumpkin soup, and I like many of them, but some are just too sweet, too watery, too blah, too something. This one is just right. Before I give you the recipe, however, would you take a look at Adriana and Corey as Governor Palin and Joe the Plumber? (And yes, that is a "Joe + Sarah" tatoo on his arm.) Too freaking cute.

Pumpkin Soup

1/2 c. chopped onion
1/2 c. chopped celery
3 T. butter
1/2 c. white wine
2 c. canned pumpkin
1 t. salt
1 T. sugar
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. pepper
1/2 t. cumin (optional)
3 c. chicken stock
1/2 c. heavy cream

Saute onion and celery in butter until translucent. Add white wine to simmer. Lower heat and add remaining ingredients, except cream. Cook for 1/2 hour. Turn off the heat and add cream. Puree soup till smooth.
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