Overheard.

December 30, 2008


C-Man has entered the Middle Ages phase -- a la kings, queens, dragons, princesses, etc. It's weird how these things happen. One day he is inexplicably obsessed with anything with wheels (before we had bought him any such toys). A few months later, it's trains. That one lasted a lonnnnnggggggg time. Then dinosaurs. Now he talks about The Royal Family like he's had tea with the Queen or something. I really don't know where this stuff comes from. No doubt your little one is the same. This was from this morning.

Mama: What is a king?
C-Man: A boy.
Mama: How about a queen?
C-Man: A girl.
Mama: And a princess?
C-Man: A girl.
Mama: What about a daddy?
C-Man: He's a boy.
Mama: That's right. Now what is a mama?
C-Man: (Thinks for a minute.) She's a boss.

At least he is picking up on something important.

Meal Planning Monday.

December 29, 2008

Monday

Leftover Smoked Turkey, Broccoli and Black Bean Soup based on the George's at the Cove recipe

Tuesday

Pasta a la Norma (eggplant, tomato and basil)

Wednesday

Not for sure, but I want to do Fondue after Joslyn wrote about it (problem is, I don't have a fondue pot....maybe we can eat it really fast)

Thursday

Lentil Soup
Green Salad

Friday

Potato Pancakes
Straciatella

I Need Some Baby J, How About You?

I have come to realize poor Baby J doesn't get much press time here. It seems her big brother sings, dances, says hilarious things....none of which she does yet. Although she's starting to get some pretty mean dance moves down. I haven't managed to get that on video, but I have got lots of her walking lately. She started walking just after her first birthday, and now, she's pretty much a pro. But she still has that oh-so-precious proud excited look on her face at times. Like "Look at me! Can you believe I was a sleeping-around-the-clock-infant this time last year??" No, Baby J, I can't.

Untitled from domestic reflections on Vimeo.

Somehow C-Man still manages to catch the limelight....

What's Buzzing in My Ear.

December 28, 2008

Well, first there is the earache thing again. What am I, two and a half?? I will be happy to be rid of this. I am on the Mullein Garlic big time. Fingers crossed.

Then. There is the very, very cool mix my friend Adri put together for me. With Adri, whose musical tastes are varied and all-around dynamite, you never really know what you're going to get. So when she gave the CD to me, I wondered: Is this going to be a musical trip down memory lane for us (we go way back)? Some sort of tribute to music she knows I like? Well, yes, sort of to both, but more than that, it has become my ultimate chill music for this lazy, homey, family and friends-filled week. Oh. And this song? It is for sure my fave.


On the Occasion of My 35th Birthday.

December 24, 2008

Yes, yes I was born on December 24th. Everyone always seems so surprised, but someone's got to have that one, right? I had the annual "Blankety-blank years ago right now, your father and I......" call with my mom, of which I never tire. And of which I always learn something new. Like it was so cold that long dark December night on the Oregon coast that my dad kept having to go outside and chop wood for the fire all through the night. That's how the neighbors knew my mom was in labor. And that my mom labored in that maroon overstuffed chair most of the night, digging her fists into the sides of the cushions each time she felt a contraction come on. Anyway, these are stories really just for her and for me, not really for anyone else. Plus, you all are busy elving around right now, most likely.

So, instead, I prepared something kind of short and sweet (to me anyway). I'm really going out on a limb here, because I don't write poems. But I like them very, very much. Many months back I was quite inspired when I read George Ella Lyon's beautiful poem Where I'm From. I also read other people's poems which followed her template (like Bleeding Espresso's and Susie J's). At first, I thought, how can a poem be based on a template? That's sort of cheating. But then, for some reason (probably because I realized I couldn't write a poem to save my life), I felt this overwhelming desire to write my own version of Where I'm From. I've never showed anyone this poem or even told anyone about it. Anyway, here goes. You'd better read it quick, because I'll probably take it down once this wine wears off!

Where I'm From

I am from strong black coffee softened with cream, from Malt-o-Meal, and all good things baked from foaming, living yeast.

I am from a gardenia bloom sweetly decorating the eve, the tomato plant rich with ripe fruit.

I am from cooking and eating and sharing and loving, for all that is one where I come from, from the quietly classy Mary Lou, loving and soft Great-Grandma Ruth, and the gentlest of men, Jacob August.

I am from sharp tongues and sarcasm and sometimes judgment too, but also a love of adventure and language and quick wit.

I am from true believers, those needing answers with sharp edges, demons unknown, and from a quiet, peaceful place that does not ask questions.

I am from a green, small Oregon town, one of simple people, Croatia and also the all-American Mid-West, bubbling fruit pies with the flakiest of crusts (a prized trait) and coffee cake and smoked turkeys….all of us kids picking at the crispy yummy bits.

From Grace, who lost her own mother at just two years and went on to a lifetime of caring for others.

I am from a box of love letters written by my grandfather, flying through enemy fire, living a world away, reassuring and doting on my grandmother even then, seducing her at times. The foundation of a family to come.

I am from these places, not here anymore, but here because I am.

Hangover Help.

December 22, 2008

We had a really nice weekend, including attending a Winter Solstice Party. Which also happened to involve drinking a fair share of my new favorite winter beverage: Glögg. Yowza. Recipe to follow, no need to fret.

In the meantime, I thought I would share this handy visual aid and link, which the lovely Courtney featured on her blog. Hangover help from around the globe!My own personal remedy? An Emergen-C and a couple of Advil right before bed and a Double Double with an extra super huge Sprite with lots of ice the next day. Any other good home remedies?

Acapulco, Take Me Away.

December 19, 2008

Every year, right about this time, yours truly starts dreaming of relaxing vacations in warm places in foreign countries with many tropical drinks and nice servers in crisp white short sleeved shirts. I blame the Resort Wear Collections which get introduced right around the holidays....just to make sure we all keep buying up new clothes. What can I say? I am a complete sucker for this type of marketing.

Usually, my thoughts drift south of the border to Mexico. Now, I know there are two types of people: those who love Mexico and those who don't. I wholeheartedly fall in the former group. I love the people, the culture, the landscapes, the food, yeah, just about everything. I'm one of those types that even likes driving through the barren, littered deserts of Baja California through towns with nary a gift shop or swimming pool in sight. And I actually think it's gorgeous. (Can you tell I am in need of one of those vacations?) Don't worry about me...I also love the crazy beautiful, over the top, five star resorts too. I can go low brow or high brow if we're talking warm relaxing vacation.

One place I have not been in Mexico (there are many) is Acapulco. Not surprising, really. So many other fabulous places to go: Puerto Vallarta, Zijuatanejo, or my personal favorite, the Yucatan. Remember those awful commercials in the '80s by the Acapulco Tourism Group? "The Mexican Riviera!" "Come, let us indulge your every whim!" I guess Acapulco used to be the place to go in the 1950s and '60s. It probably was sort of like the Mexican Riviera, come to think of it. Cliffs hanging over the water. Warm, temperate weather. Movie stars. Beautiful light. I've heard Acapulco is trying to recapture the magic of that time. I just read that the famous Las Brisas Resort has had a total makeover and let's just say: I. Want. To. Go. NOW!!
Check out these cool little mid-century bungalows with just the right amount of kitsch:
All (or at least most, I can't tell for sure) have their own private pools with views over the bay. And you know what that means....you don't have to go to one of those creepy nudist resorts to skinny dip on vacation!

Some of the bungalows have these cool indoor-outdoor pools. And interior rock walls. I love you, all things mid-century modern.

An interior shot of one of the rooms. Nice view, eh?
Several people who were lucky enough to stay here have told me about this little cubby in your courtyard that gets filled with hot coffee and pastries each morning. You don't even have to call room service. It just shows up.

In case you were wondering, this is where B and I would sit and have our "muchas tequilas" each night while watching the sunset.

OK, who wants to go with??

C-Man's First School Pictures.

I don't know about you, but my school photos never turned out. They weren't that bad, I guess, they just never felt very authentic. Posed, stiff, uncomfortable...that one awful year they had us stand next to the globe and my mom pulled my hair back into the tightest ponytail ever. Yeah, those aren't the greatest visual memories from my childhood. So when C-Man was to have his very first school photos taken, I didn't really get my hopes up. Plus, have you ever tried photographing a 3 year old? They are waaaaaayyyyyy too busy to cooperate. But! The photographer somehow totally managed to capture the essence that is C-Man. In three shots. Each one better than the last! Check out this series of my little man:

A Jar of Pickled Carrots.

December 17, 2008

AliceQ had a little tea party and cookie exchange last Sunday afternoon. She also asked everyone to bring a handmade gift to exchange, because she's cool like that. I feel sort of bad because I know I came home with the very best gift of all (and I even stole it)....a big fat jar of pickled baby carrots wrapped up just so in that burlap right there, and tied with gorgeous velvet ribbon and fresh herbs and flowers. The lovely Donna was the gifter (and the grower and the pickler).

Jackie as Mom.

December 16, 2008


I first saw these photos of Jackie and her kids over at Villa Pacis. I love how they capture the essence of what it feels like to be a mom (for me anyway).


Photos available through Svenska Mobler

Meal Planning Monday....on Tuesday.

Forgot to post this yesterday. Things are just a wee bit busy right about now.

Monday

Chicken Noodle Soup
Salad from the garden (greens, carrots, radish) with homemade croutons and Parmesan Balsamic Vinaigrette ("the brown salad dressing" as C-Man calls it)

Tuesday

Mushroom Risotto
Grilled Italian Sausages

Wednesday

French Onion Soup
Salad

Thursday

Leftovers

Friday

Dinner with friends

Favorite Food Gifts.

I love giving food gifts...all year round. Homemade are always, always the best, but when that isn't practical, here are a couple of my favorites to send via ye olde Internet:

The Chocolate Babka from Russ and Daughters in NYC is To. Die. I like to send this to new moms, especially, as they are needing the extra pampering and calories. If you have never tried Babka, please do. There is a reason Jerry and Elaine and George had that big fuss over it.

I still never tire of a box of Royal Riviera Pears from Harry and David. They are around a lot more than they used to be, so some would say there are not quite as special, but hot damn. They are the sweetest, juiciest, prettiest (not to mention biggest) pears you will eat all year. I like when they come all by themselves, without any chocolate or nuts or dried fruit to distract.

I also really love the tropical fruit hamper from Manhattan Fruitier. There is nothing like a taste of the tropics in the dead of winter. A very sweet and classy friend of B's sent this to us a few years back and we just stared at it for days it was so beautiful.
A box of heirloom beans from Rancho Gordo. If you think all dried beans are the same and there's nothing swoon-worthy about them, get thee to the Rancho Gordo website and order some. They make a huge difference in taste and texture, plus they have all sorts of varieties you can't find anywhere else. Nice gift baskets too. Grown in beautiful Napa, California.

For you fellow cheese-ophiles out there (I am flat out suspect of anyone who doesn't love cheese, by the way), send something special from Murray's, or better yet, a fine local shop in your area. Nothing says a party quite like some fancy cheese. And, well, something yummy to drink with it but of course.
What are your favorite food gifts to give and receive? Do tell.

A Wish List (Just For Fun).

December 15, 2008

B and I have never done the whole wish list thing. He never really wants anything, and he likes to surprise me (or at least try to). He is an excellent gift giver, so this list is just for fun.

The following would be a few things lurking around my Wish List 2008. If I were super fancy, I would make a collage like this or like this. Alas, I am computer illiterate and have no idea how to use Photoshop, so you are going to have to suffer through my list item by item.

I lost one of my favorite basic gold hoops about a month ago. Life just hasn't been the same.

At long last, I am ready to take the skinny jeans plunge. I had been so reluctant for so long. Until I found these. They. Are. Perf. Best denim wash I have ever seen (I'm super picky about this), and I am loving the whole mid-rise thing. Does that make me too much of a mom?
Kiehl's Creme de Corps is my favorite body lotion. And I am just about out.
Oh. And while you're at Kiehl's, can you pick up some of that Lavender and Sea Salts Bath Soak? My girlfriend Krista turned me on to this a couple of years ago and I simply love it.

I really need this cookbook. I make so many recipes from it that I get from other sources. Nobody does vegetables better than Ms. Waters, in my opinion.


Angie has these Prep Bowls by Mario Batali. They also serve as measuring cups, and nest for easy storage! Baby J chewed on these for two days straight during our visit.

They just started selling coffee beans from the best coffee bar on the planet....Rome's Sant' Eustachio.

In 2009, I am going to start having Soup Parties. Easy to prepare, casual, intimate. My kind of entertaining. I'm going to need a bunch of these soup bowls.
A girl can never have too many of the world's greatest panties ever invented, can she?

I'm in Cookie Heaven.


And I'm not talking about the kind you eat. I am talking about the.....Magazine! Actually, the magazine's website. Check out the interview and house tour here. I think I might just take the rest of the day off.

Invitations and More.

December 13, 2008

I thought I would share the invitation we sent out for B's office party. (Since it is, after all, the only thing I really did to contribute to the event!) The card had "Cocktails at B's" on the front (well, OK, we put his real name), and the details were inside. I thought this card was so cute, and it actually kind of looks like his office!

Be sure to check Fabulous Stationery out if you are looking for invitations, new address cards or personalized stationery (the couples' versions are especially nice).

Bill Murray Is Always Invited to My Parties.

December 12, 2008

I have always had a thing for Bill Murray. Can't really explain it. It just is what it is. Lost in Translation for sure sealed the deal for me big time. Um, the scene with him singing Roxy Music's More Than This to Scarlett Johansson? Most. Romantic. Scene. Ever.



Did you at least watch it until you got to second 54? Their chemistry is palpable. If you are forgetting what that looks like, go back and check it out.

I mention all of this because I saw over at A Cup of Jo that Mr. Murray has been crashing house parties in New York and hanging out with much younger hipsters. This slightly odd behavior doesn't bother me. It's his edge that I like. Especially if he wants to come crash one of our parties. Mr. Murray, are you out there??

Those Peanut Butter Kisses.


Last night, B had a party at his new-ish office. (Actually it's his -- and my -- old office space, but he's back in it. Sorry, too much boring background info ....moving on!) From the feedback we got, we think it indeed shall become an annual event.

It was so lovely seeing everyone. We had food from Waters, much of it the same as at our Summer Solstice Party, and the same band played for us. Much prosecco and pomegranate was consumed. Thank goodness it was a warm-ish December night and we were able to be outside on the roof.

One of the unexpected hits was a plate of cookies my friend Danica snuck in. (I told her not to bring anything! But she just had to show up the caterer!) Everyone was seriously swooning over these things. At least four people asked me to get the recipe, and several more asked her directly.

Now, Danica is no stranger to this blog. I shared her most excellent Strawberry Pie earlier in the summer, remember? She is an insanely good baker. That magic touch I wish I had. My grandmother had it too. *sigh* But, lucky for us, Danica is such a nice person she went home and emailed me the recipe (while "working off her buzz before bed") and told me to give it to everyone who was asking her for it.

The thing I really liked about these cookies is that they actually taste like peanut butter. So many do not, in my opinion. Without further adieu, I give you.....

Danica's Peanut Butter Kisses!

1 c butter (softened)
1 c. peanut butter (creamy)
1 c. sugar
1 c. packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 1/2 c. flour
2 t. baking powder
1 1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1 1/2 t. vanilla
Hershey's kisses

Preheat oven to 375. mix flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together and set aside. Mix together sugar and butter then peanut butter, then eggs one at a time until creamy. Add vanilla. add 1/2 flour mixture combine well. Then add the rest, mixing well. Should have a sticky dough. roll into balls, cook 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and place kiss in center of hot cookie (off of cookie sheet so it doesn't melt and lay flat so it doesn't lean).

Danica says she always adds a "bit more peanut butter, and takes out a bit of the sugar and flour" when makes her batches. Sorry, I guess that's where the magic touch thing comes in. Let me know how yours come out!

Also, a big shout-out to my best girly Helena. She ran the whole show last night. *kiss, kiss*
photo via teen diaries online (don't ask)

Etsy Favorites.

December 11, 2008

OK, so I have a question for you all. If you read this blog and are therefore AWARE of the Internet, you probably have been known to shop on Etsy, purveyor of all lovely handmade items. I try to buy from Etsy as much as possible and have often shared items and sellers on this blog. However, there are so, so many sellers out there and it is just a tad overwhelming at times. Who are your favorite Etsy sellers?

Just a couple of mine are:

paloma's nest
kate szabone
little alouette
moop
zukzuk
dozi
satsuma press
skinny laminx
studio mela
bronwen
leila and ben

This list is by no means exhaustive, just a smattering of the things I like: children's items, letterpress, linens, prints, jewelry and gift-y items for girlfriends. So steer me (and everyone else) in the direction of some other fabulous sellers or items!

Ta-Da!

So, the little blog overhaul is done (for now, anyway!). Ellie over at Rainy Day Templates helped me out big time. (Thanks, Sarah, for the recommendation.) I highly recommend Ellie to anyone who is looking for that new and improved look! She is very patient, by the way, and won't make you feel like an idiot for asking tons of dumb questions (not that you would, but I sure did).

Need a Laugh?

December 10, 2008

I sure did this afternoon. Luckily, a friend of mine who is a high school English teacher forwarded her favorite excerpts from research papers written by her 11th grade class. All of the below were included in an email from her titled: "Why I Drink."

"Fur has existed ever since the 17th century."

"What is it that causes the teens to kill themselves? It could be many things: Stress with family, depressed with any topic, a relationship gone wrong, clowns, old people, having a baby and drinking makes this pain even stronger."

"There is no good proof or evidenct that jurors take sides when it comes to sentencing a criminal."

"Men like beer. Women like vodka. It's a fact."

“Many wonder why would an individual gamble if they are away that this could risk their families financially. Well, why the hell not?”

"For animals to become extinct when this was their home before humans came is a sin."

"If marriage was meant for same-sex then why are we alive today?"

"These days Heart disease kills more people than AIDS, Malaria, War and diabetes."

"By the end of the day, there are hundreds of dead animals piling up because these lipsticks have toxic chemicals."

"Committing crimes is like doing homework, a person is always supposed to do their homework and they know what happens if they don't do it, detention."

"There is a solution to handguns that does not require banning of anything except for maybe a television or two."

"The earth takes time to produce the food we waste and so we waste the time earth spent for us."

"A few years before the song ("Surfin' USA") came out, a group of surfers from the North ventured down to Camp Pendleton to find a surf spot that they heard was amazing. After they fought their way through the U.S. Marines and the jungle, they reached the break called Trestles."

"How hard is it to have safe sex? The answer is not hard."

“Computers will soon come to the point of getting smarter and teaching humans everything there is to know about life and history even though computers are not human?”

“Cultures change by time and some people need to get that in their minds.”

“Muslim women should be treated like goddesses, highly respected and on a pedestal.”

“This claim is like baking a cake with expired milk – just awful!”

Cookies, Cookies Everywhere.

Oh, how I love to bake (and, OK, eat) cookies. There is so much inspiration at this time of the year. Everywhere you turn there are family recipes being shared and beautiful new types to try. If you didn't catch the very super awesome compilation Gourmet.com put together of their favorite cookie recipes from each year the magazine has been in print (i.e. since 1941), head on over. It is really fun to look at the beautiful photos and see the array of recipes...especially how tastes changed through the years, yet are still appealing today (one of the true bits of genius behind the magazine, IMHO, is how it manages to stay relevant decades later).

The only problem I can see with that menagerie of cookies is: Where? To? Start? I thought I might contact my favorite food editor at the magazine, Ian Knauer, and ask him which of the recipes were his favorites. I figured he had a hand in testing all those recipes, right? He reported that he loves the boubon balls (from 1980 -- doesn't that just seem like a recipe from 1980??), palets de dames (madeleine-type cookies with rum-soaked currants, from 1952), Dutch caramel cashew cookies (1972) and the Biscotti Quadrati al Miele e alle Nocce (a.k.a. honey nut squares....2003).

I personally have my eyes and heart set on those jam-filled Trios pictured above. So, there you have it. Get baking!

photo courtesy of gourmet.com.

p.s. Someday I will have to tell you about the time I got to meet Ian and his awesome wife Micheli when they came to town a couple of months back!

Flat on My Back.

December 9, 2008

That's how I spent 98% of the day yesterday. It was the weirdest thing: one minute I was lying on my side, snuggled up to B, the next minute we hear C-Man wake up and I roll over to see what time it is. Yeah, shouldn't have done that! Something caught/popped/pulled/strained/who knows what and I: Could. Not. Move. As in: COULD NOT MOVE. My neck and area between my shoulder blades just seized up in an enormous amount of pain and told me, "Mama, you aren't going anywhere today."

Luckily, I am feeling about 50% better today, which means: I am still in tons of pain, but I was able to roll and then slide off the bed and into a standing position, nurse Baby J unassisted, make oatmeal for my family, and actually check email. And I am feeling beyond grateful today.

Specifically, I am grateful that I am not a person who has chronic back problems (this is a first for me) -- or chronic pain problems of any kind. I know several people who deal with something like this on a consistent basis, and boy, do I have about a thousand times more empathy for you guys. Lying on your back all day, unable to move your head from side to side is: 1. Painful. 2. Scary. 3. Incredibly Boring.

I am also so grateful for B. I can't imagine being a single mother or a mother with a husband who travels a lot. My kids would not have gotten out of their cribs yesterday if B had not been there. I am not exaggerating.

I am grateful for my generally in shape, hard working body. We all have moments when we don't like our bodies (why can't you be a little tighter? a little thinner? a little taller? a little more like when I was 17?) But today I am thankful for everything it is. It lets me take care of my family and it gets me where I need to go. Really, what else could I ask for?

Lastly, I am thankful for the friends and family who helped out. It isn't always who you would expect, by the way. Maybe you assume one person would be there and another person wouldn't. You really find out who is a helper when you need it most. I'm looking at you, Jojo, Alice and Paula. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

One last thing. I took one flexeril yesterday and man, why would anyone get hooked on muscle relaxers? That thing, yes, probably helped my back some (not enough to be worth it, however). It gave me the worst dry mouth you could imagine, made me totally drowsy and incoherent, and caused me to burst into tears at totally random times. Like when I was talking to Paula on the phone: "I....ca-ca-ca-can't.....p-p-p-p-pick....uh-uh-uh-up......m-m-m-my...baby girl.....wahhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!"

Anyway, hope you all had a better Monday than I did!

Winchester Cathedral.

December 6, 2008

OK, so I realize this is turning into one of those "Look at My Kid Blogs," but I haven't been feeling so inspired, plus B insisted I post this video of C-Man. Singing. A very old song. Again.

Now, in real life, you can pretty much understand everything C-Man says, but when he sings, you really can't understand the words. I think it's because he doesn't really "know" the words, he's just singing what he hears. Sort of the "el-uh-men-oh-pee"-as-one-letter phenomenon when you first learn the alphabet song. Wait. That didn't happen for you? OK, then, never mind.

Anyway, I thought I might include the lyrics to "Winchester Cathedral" because I realize it's not exactly the type of song you might have on your iPod.

The New Vaudeville Band
"Winchester Cathedral"
(Geoff Stephens, 1966)

Winchester Cathedral
You're bringing me down
You stood and you watched as
My baby left town
You could have done something
But you didn't try
You didn't do nothing
You let her walk by
Now everyone knows just how much I needed that gal
She wouldn't have gone far away
If only you'd started ringing your bell
Winchester Cathedral
You're bringing me down
You stood and you watched as
My baby left town
Oh-bo-de-o-do oh-bo-de-o-do
Oh-bo-de-o-do de-do- duh




Winchester Cathedral. from domestic reflections on Vimeo.

Pickles, Pickles, Pickles.

December 4, 2008



I have always been way crazy for anything pickled. I love tart anything really, but pickles = sour + crunchy = snacking bliss. Plus they are perfect with a grilled cheese sandwich. It's no wonder that I am totally intrigued by Rick's Picks, a whole line of pickles made by a (very cute) guy who lives in Brooklyn. His pickles have been turning up everywhere: Saveur, The Martha Stewart Show, Domino, Apartment Therapy... In other words, they are sort of HOT right now. I really wouldn't care but for the fact that I crave something good and sour almost everyday. (What does that say about me anyway? I was reading the Eat Right For Your Blood Type book recently and apparently I am supposed to stay far away from all things vinegar. Figures.)

Anyway, back to the pickles. I was thinking they would be a cute gift idea. Rick has these ready-made gift packs on his site: The Pregnancy Pack, The BBQ Pack, Best Sellers and Others. Even a Pickle Club (everyone's doing those club things these days).

Personally, the Pickled Beets (in a rosemary, lemon and ginger brine...which won an award at the Fancy Food Show in NY) and the Windy City Wasabeans (green beans in a soy-wasabi brine) sound insanely good to me. By the way, are you thinking what I'm thinking? Those green beans would be killer in a bloody mary.

By the way, if you want to make a quick, totally yummy pickle at home, try Smitten Kitchen's Pickled Carrot Sticks. Our family plows through them!

Grilled Cheese: How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways.

I never tire of a nice grilled cheese sandwich for lunch, or supper, or a midnight snack. It satisfies all my normal cravings: crusty, buttery, cheesy. Plus, if you whip up a little soup? Culinary match made in heaven. (You can always do the ubiquitous tomato soup, true, but try this pea soup if you are looking to shake things up a bit.) Here are some favorite combinations:
  • Fresh mozzarella, tomato, basil on ciabatta
  • Jack and pickled jalapenos (or roasted green chiles) on sourdough
  • Gruyere and thinly sliced pear on French Bread
  • Sharp cheddar on Trader Joe's Onion Rye with cornichons (a current obsession)
  • The Grilled Cheese I Grew Up With: Cheddar on Orowheat Wheatberry Bread (always served with a milk and frozen banana smoothie)

I really want to try the combo in that gorgeous photo: Taleggio, onion jam and escarole on sourdough. What combo do you like? Also, do you call it "Toasted Cheese" like B and his family do?

photo credit: gourmet

I Heart These PJs.

December 3, 2008

I don't know what it is. I either like things totally feminine-girly or made for a man. Like these perfect, awesome, totally rad old school pajamas.

For All You Fellow Coffee Freaks/Lovers/Junkies.

Check out this piece in the New York Time today. Thanks to B for sending it my way. One junkie to another!

Angie's Home.

December 2, 2008

We had the pleasure of visiting some dear friends in Los Angeles over the weekend. Lucky for all of us, Angie agreed to let me do a little home tour of her 1930s bungalow in West Hollywood.

OK, we all know those houses. The ones you walk into and feel....for lack of a better phrase.... "at home." (What can I say? It's early and the words aren't coming to me quite yet.) Those houses that "hold you," as friend Amy once described it. I can never quite figure out what makes a house have this power over me. The lighting is good, of course. The furniture, colors and accessories fit the place. It's comfortable, smells good, has nice outdoor space. But it's something more too. Because you all have been to a place that has all that, but still doesn't have the X factor, right?

Well, Angie's house just does it for me. The first time I saw it, I loved it and wanted to move in. It's simple and cozy, and it makes me want to curl up on her sofa, cuddle up under a throw, drink tea and chat with her for about ten hours.

Angie is crazy about Art Deco architecture and design. She has some beautiful pieces from that period.

Now this, my friends, is a corner made for napping.

Caffe, anyone? Angie was born in Italy and her "doting signora" personality definitely comes through.


A sweet little spot in her office with the most amazing scented candle.

She has chosen some really beautiful saturated colors for her walls, like here, in her dining room.



Amazingly, the kids stayed away from this totally and completely tempting bar cart.



I love the cow head hanging in her kitchen.



Nonna Rita working her magic in the kitchen. One step in the kitchen and you can almost smell and taste all the meals lovingly and expertly made for friends and family through the years.



Baby J wants to go outside. Shall we?



One of the greatest things about Angie's house is this courtyard in the front. Totally private and hidden from the street, it would be the perfect place to "take one's coffee" in the morning (as they say in Italy....). I crazy love that old mirror hanging on the left for some reason.



Of course, without a doubt, we had the most amazing food with Angie and her family, as usual. This is a cranberry almond tart.


Hope you enjoyed my first house tour! OK, who's up next??

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