Ten Things on My Mind.

May 25, 2011

1.  Threads for Thought Yoga Pants.  I have a feeling you are just like me.  You might wear yoga pants a little more than you want to admit?  And it's probably time for a new pair?  These are the best.  I don't want to hear about your butt in Lululemons or whatever.  These are better.  And about $80 cheaper.  And made from organic cotton.
{photo courtesy pink of perfection}
2.  Almond Butter Cookies.  Totally addicted to these cookies.  They are healthy.  Gluten free.  Lots of protein.  Make them.  I promise you and your kids will love.  (By the way, I have been using the Ghirardelli 60% Cacoa Bittersweet Chocolate Chips, per Molly's recommendation, and they are soooooo good in this recipe.)
{ok, not my pork, but it looked this good and was 10 times easier!}
3.  Crock Pot Shredded Pork for Tacos.  OK, so I had big plans to make Bon Appetit's Chile-Braised Pork Shoulder Tacos a couple weeks back, but I got lazy (actually, just too darn busy with three kids) so I came up with a shortcut and I can't imagine it tasting any better.  Put a pork butt (don't let the name scare you! it's not really the butt of a pig!) in a crock pot seasoned with cumin, coriander, salt and pepper.  Stick a couple of whole ancho chiles in there.  Pour a bottle of Mexican beer over it.  Cook on high for, I don't know?  Five or six hours?  It will be all shreddy and yummy and perfect to put in a taco (squeezed with lime and topped with avocado, cilantro and onion of course).  Again, I promise you will love.
{me *serving* cocktails to b last friday night?}
4.  Aperol Cocktails.  You guys.  YOU GUYS.  I think I have an addiction to Aperol.  And that's not really something to be proud of, if you know what I mean.  It all started with Orangette's recipe (but using 2 parts white wine, 2 parts Aperol and 1 part freshly-squeezed strained pink grapefruit juice....it came out a bit less juicy and a bit more Aperol-y).  But now, NOW, I have been converted to Zuni Cafe's Aperol Cocktail.  We may or may not have put away many of these on back to back nights last weekend.  Ouch.
{photo courtesy melissa clark}
5.  My Butter Keeper.  This wasn't my idea, and normally I am so not a kitchen gadget girl.  But Melissa Clark highly recommended hers, so I had to try it out.  I can't believe I lived this long without one now. Fresh, yummy, soft butter at a moment's notice.  It doesn't get better than that.  And don't go telling me you don't like butter.  Shame on you.  Don't you know that fat is good for you???!  ;-)

6.  JuJu's Paintings.  I know every mom loves their children's art, so why should I claim to be any different?  I love watching JuJu paint (she is so happy and free-spirited and in the moment), the colors she chooses and pretty much everything about them.

7.  My Father's Daughter.  I admit, I have a conflicted opinion of this book.  I am not a huge GP fan (I know that's basically sacrilege around these blog parts)....it's something about the whole "faux populism" (not my term) of her cookbook and GOOP newsletter that just doesn't jive with me.  But of course I was totally curious to check it out and you know what?  She included a lot of things that I really like to eat and in fact, do eat.  She gave me some ideas and I've tried a few things which, let's be honest, weren't earth-shattering, but were comforting and tasty and hit the spot on a weeknight after the kids were down and I had a nice fat glass of red wine in hand.  The pictures are really nice too.  (Where is that white embroidered dress from??)  Maybe don't buy the book but borrow it from your friend Alice is what I'm saying?  ;-)  (I'm about 99.9999% certain she doesn't read this blog, but in case she does.... I loved you, Gwynnie, in Shakespeare in Love!!!!)

8.  Old Navy String Bikinis.  I think I have been wearing these for about 15 years.  I am a firm believer that a string bikini is one of the most flattering two pieces you can wear.  You can adjust the straps to fit perfectly (no squish!).  I buy basic solid colors (black and turquoise are always in rotation).  And I like the Old Navy ones because I don't worry about ruining them.  They are seriously about $10 on sale and they look (I think) almost as good as the designer ones, and again, I don't have to worry about snagging the fabric or stretching them out, etc., etc.

9.  Benton Bacon.  I originally heard about Benton Hams quite awhile back and wanted to give them a try.   And they are mighty good.  Yes they are.  Most of the time you can't order online and have to give the nice lady a call.  She has a heavy Tennessee accent, but she will call you "honey" and let you know that while their ham is delicious, you absolutely MUST try their bacon.  "You're in for a real treat, honey."  Hoo boy.  If you love bacon, you must order some.  And that's all I'm going to say about that.

10.  Oprah.  I don't think I can say just how sad I am about her show ending.  In truth, I have not watched it regularly since probably college and law school (hello, free time!).  But she, and her show, have always been there, in the background of my life (and undoubtedly yours too).  There really is no one else like her.  So much positive has come from her.  And so I have been watching some of the final episodes in these last weeks and again, hoo boy.  Lots of tears.  Lots.  I love the Last Show Project that Mighty Girl is doing (hat tip to Sarah for sharing it).  What was your greatest lesson learned from Oprah?

And tell me, what has been on your mind?


  1. Great post. I have a lot on my mind and it looks like you do too.

    I've done the pork thing and I will give you a amen sister on that one. I have been in love with the new corn tortillas at Trader Joe's and I can't find enough ways to eat them.

    I can't wait to try those cookies and I'm pinning them right after I finish this comment.

    I also love Old Navy string bikinis and I've had some good luck with some of their better patterns too ( I always have black on hand ).

    I'm now in love with JuJu's paintings too. My sister teaches Art at Urban Discovery Academy by Balboa Park and the younger kids art blows my mind. She has them doing amazing stuff and they have no creative blocks. Good stuff.

    You have me questioning my butter containment system. I've had a few butter dishes, but it gets a little to hot in my kitchen so it almost always stays in the fridge.

    I guess that's it. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Okay, I have lots to say about this, but let's talk Aperol. What is it? What does it taste like? And do you use that exact brand of vodka in the Zuni Cafe cocktail?

    (Also, I love Old Navy bikinis and fully agree that string bikinis are the most flattering!)

  3. love this post.

    where do you get those yoga pants? just order online?

    and love Juju's paintings.

    and yum, cookies & pork & cocktails.

  4. You read my mind! OK, I wasn't thinking about butter keepers, and you wouldn't catch me dead (well, maybe dead) in a string bikini (48 y.o.) but I definately wear my paint-splattered yoga pants waaaay too much and these you recommended look great. Ordering them tomorrow even tho I hate paying shipping on anything. And my feelings about Gwyn - "faux populism" is exactly what I sense in her GOOP newsletter that I unsubscribed from. So I borrowed her cookbook from the library and was pleasantly surprised that I liked it. Except for the over-usage of duck bacon...I mean I love bacon but for some reason duck bacon sounds yucky to me. And expensive.
    Keep up the good work, love your blog!
    Still not sure what Aperol is?? Saw it on Orangette and need to hit the link and read up on it.

  5. I just eat up everything you suggest! I'm off to order up my pants, find some Aperol in Canada, and get the crock pot out! Thank-you, Jora!! I've missed these!

  6. Sheesh... So much information to comment on! Think I'll number...

    1) Thank you. Just forwarded the link to my email.
    2) Do you use Sucanat or raw sugar?
    3) Aside from the meal, I'm kinda obsessing over that yellow pot.
    4) I have the same questions as Sarah (Whoorl)... This has been on my list to try!
    5) Buying. Today. (perfect butter solution)
    6) Love.
    7) Made the bolognese Sunday. Same thing- not earth-shattering, but simple & tasty (like the combination of turkey sausage and ground turkey).
    8) Old Navy was already on the agenda today (heard they have a good selection of shorts), so, it looks like I'll be picking up a bikini too!
    9) Still NEED to try.
    10) "Surround yourself with an A-Team."

    *On my mind... THIS.

    (great post Jora =)

  7. A couple answers/further comments: you can get the yoga pants at whole foods and online.

    Aperol is a bitter-ish Italian aperitif sort of like Campari but better I think. And no, I didn't use the vodka that Zuni uses...I used tito's from trader joes and it was very good.

    I used sugar in the raw in the cookies but i want to try sucanat...if you do let me know how they turn out!

  8. Those cookies are damn good! Thanks for posting the recipe. Plus, Juju's paintings are amazing. You are not the only one who thinks so. Truly her use of color, I love. I say, put her to work and sell some art ;)

  9. Think the white dress is from Isabel Marant, but could be wrong! Just found a shirt similar at Green Apples in Sausalito- will be great with skinnys.
    Love, love, love the blog!
    (Am such a neophyte don't know how I should post so will just have to be anonymous :)

  10. anonymous....then just tell us your name! who are you?? :-)

  11. Just because I tried your scone recipe last night and it was the latest in a string of fantastic Jora recommendations, I'm going to try those yoga pants. But for the record, lululemons DO make magic things happen to my butt.

  12. Love this post! And I feel exactly the same way about Oprah. Law school was also the time in my life when I consumed the largest amounts of pop culture, much of it low brow (Bachelorette anyone?).

  13. I follow Orangette too and have been obsessed with the Aperol/grapefruit/wine cocktail - the latest rain and crap weather in the Bay Area has put a damper on my post-kids-going-to-bed-summery cocktail outside, sadly, but soon again it will be reinstated.
    Yes, everyone wears the Luluemons and I feel slightly Heaven's Gate when at the Dailey Method. Yes, they are 400 dollars. But hot damn they last so long! So many washings and so little stretch or sag. And yes, the butt: miraculous. Nothing will lead me astray - unless my mother starts wearing them.

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  15. Soo many good things in this post! I'm seriously trying them all. (Except the children's artwork...I've definitely tried that and I love it! ;) )

    And the Oprah lesson I love? "The energy you put out in the world is the energy you receive." I am such a true believer in this...

    Have a great weekend!

  16. I love this post, Jora!! And the whole blog! And I am not going to mention my name, because I wrote you once with no response..bohooo:) But I understand, 3 kids do the magic (but I still hope you will one day;)
    Have a good one!!

  17. One of my favorite posts!! need those pants, butter keeper, etc...and yes, that embroidered dress is Isabel Marant (last year - wah!)...I don't watch Oprah too often but she totally got me with that last show...the speech had me choked up :)

  18. Hi Jora,

    Thanks for the lovely comment today :)

    Oh my goodness! i love your blog!

    Where to begin? Let's see. Just tonight in yoga, I thought how badly I need new pants. It's so necessary! And yes, I wear yoga pants more often than I'd like to admit.

    That butter keeper is adorable. I love!

    and those cookies...yum!

    Loving everything about this post :)


  19. Love love love this post! Since I've been wearing the same Old Navy yoga pants for the past oh, 8 years it might be time for a new pair! : ) They've held up surprisingly well, and thanks to your rec I am def going to check out their string bikinis! Not a huge fan of Campari, but I will give Aperol a try. I wish I had an Alice I could borrow Gwynnie's book from...I would def want to try it out before buying, although I have heard good things about it.

  20. Cute post! I had no idea you were an Oprah fan - the things you learn! :).

  21. i love this post jora.

    i love old navy string bikinis. victoria's secret string ones are pretty cheap too (but basically the same, so ON are still better price-wise, cha ching!)

    after baby boy comes, aperol is ON MY LIST.

    i love threads for thoughts vneck t shirts. they are SOOO long and have been great through this pregnancy... i have yet to try their yoga pants. annnnd i will be going to the nearest whole foods soon. (although i do love lululemon but yeah, they are ridiculously expensive).

    i just made pulled pork! except mine called for ginger ale in the crock pot. then we had sandwiches. i was practicing the recipe b/c im making it for the oldest's graduation party. your recipe looks great too.

    finally, i NEED to know more about this butter keeper. is the one you linked to on amazon the one you have? does it keep butter semi-hard? we have the problem where it's starting to get soupy because we've had 80 degree weather the past few days. help jora, help! i think this butter keeper might change my life. and it's cute too.

    longest comment ever.

  22. oh... AND i might've shed a tear when oprah said bye. i have been a pretty loyal DVR'er for the past three years and im going to miss her. i had dreams of watching while nursing my baby boy.

  23. I finally bought a bottle of Aperol just before we left on our trip. I'll be making the Zuni cocktail this week! I also got the GP cookbook but haven't made anything from it yet. I did read through it though and enjoyed the stories + beautiful photos. PS. Sucanat is great!

  24. Trying both of these recipes this week. If you think it's great so will I. You've never let me down! I know the kids will love the cookies and my husband will love the pork.

    On GP, I love her style, she's gorgeous. One of my style icons to be sure but I'm not always buying what she's selling on GOOP.

  25. i swear, i made the same sort of pork butt! i wanted the BA version but the crock pot was just as delish! also, i love my sons three year old art too...what mother can resist?!

  26. I am stuck on the Almond chocolate cookies - Gluten free - I am sold!

  27. My husband thanks you for posting about the black string bikini (I NEVER thought I'd buy one after kids and I just did!!!!)!
    We've got a butter bell and love it, too. It is so nice not having to struggle with spreading butter on a cold, winter morning... or anytime!
    A bottle of Aperol is on our 'to get' list!
    Thank you!!

  28. Hi Jora! I got here from Whoorl's most recent post and I realized it's been a while since I've read you...hello, Baby #2 cutting severely into my free time! :-) I wanted to say thank you for the recommendation on the yoga pants! I have been on the lookout for good ones to replace my ancient Old Navy ones that are falling apart.

  29. Found it. Can't wait to try these. If you would have said your Oprah post I would have had complete recall;)

  30. jora! i was thisclose to ordering from lulu lemon and by some miracle remembered this post. you're a genius! hope all is well. xx


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