Monday, February 28, 2011
I have my sights set on a holiday in Paris to celebrate our first anniversary later this year. Of course, this is a very half baked idea, but it never hurts to take a look at what's out there, right?
This apartment is so charming! I love that garland over the bed. Wonder if I could make that? It has the same feel as these cute coffee filter garlands.
Friday, February 25, 2011
Still not sure what I think about this project (based on this one - Lindsay's is significantly cuter!). I will say this about it though -- it's fast and very inexpensive to make. The how-to is over here.
This afternoon Peter is picking me up from work and we are heading out to Long Island for a cooking class at Sur La Table! The course is called "Winter in Bordeaux" and the menu includes Lillet-steamed mussels, beef tenderloin with Bordelaise sauce and a caramel apple tart. Oh la la!
Wishing you a very happy weekend, sweet friends!
Thursday, February 24, 2011
If you cook with some regularity, you know that inspiration and excitement come in waves. Some weeks, everything sounds amazing and you can't wait to head to the store. Other times, it's nearly impossible to get excited about cooking, especially for those fast, easy weeknight dinners.
To help beat this rut, I've started to keep a running list in a draft email called "things that look yummy." Anytime I see a recipe that looks good, I add it to the file. Bonus points are awarded (virtually, of course) to interesting looking salads and vegetarian fare, because I try to eat that way most weeknights.
Here's a little peak at my current yummy list:
- Chicken tagine with fennel and olives, Bon Appetit
- Green bean salad with fried almonds, Smitten Kitchen
- Mushroom, butternut and Gruyère tart, Food and Wine
- Pear pizza with Gorgonzola and caramelized onions, Culinary Couple
- Wild mushroom ragout, Pink of Perfection
What do you brilliant ladies do to get out of a cooking rut? Any tips or tricks for making it easier to get excited about cooking on a random Thursday night?
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
I've been reading As Always, Julia before bed. It's like a little piece of dark chocolate sitting on your pillow - such a delightful, sweet end to the day. I find myself, of course, charmed by Julia and Paul's life in Europe, but I'm equally smitten with Avis and Bernard's family life in Cambridge.
Avis is this remarkable woman: mother, editor, literary agent, book reviewer, and most powerfully evident in this book, a remarkable friend. Through their letters, you really see how much Julia struggled with confidence in herself and her cooking throughout the writing of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Avis cheered her on and buoyed her up again and again, for years on end.
Selfishly, I want a friend like Avis. But I know it would be better to set my sights on being a friend like Avis.
Friday, February 18, 2011
On little trips, I love collecting brochures and tickets from places we visit and business cards from restaurants so that I can remember everything when I get home. I love being able to give friends travel recommendations, but I have a terrible memory, so without these little bits and pieces, I would never remember it all. I was lacking a good way to collect all this vacation junk, until I saw this cute idea!
I've adapted it a bit to make it slightly more adult looking. The basic idea is the same though -- label a few envelopes (I used Word clip art and my sticker maker!), attach them together with ribbon or a binder clip, and let your inner-organization-beast run wild!
This weekend we are headed to Boston, so I'll be putting my envelopes to good use!
Hope you all have fabulous, happy long weekends. Until next week, lovelies!
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Last Saturday afternoon, I was oddly bored, which is kind of shameful to say as an urban dwelling adult. Only unintelligent losers get bored, right?! But it felt like one of those endless childhood summer afternoons, where in theory, there are dozens of things to do, but nothing sounds appealing. Read? Sure, I could read. Call a friend? Oh yes, that's an idea.
After a brisk walk around the neighborhood, I finally settled on making some new potholders. The fact that this was my antidote to boredom (and that it actually worked!) probably says something telling about me, but let's not dwell on that.
There's something extremely satisfying about making something because a need exists rather than a want. Of course, on the need vs. want scale, a potholder doesn't really compare with hand grinding cornmeal or insulating your house with mud, but you guys know what I mean, don't you?
I've had the same potholders for the last five years, and oh my goodness, have they seen better days. Using some fabric scraps from my first patchwork pillow, I cut out eight 2 inch squares and two 4 inch backs. Stitched together with some batting in between, and behold -- new potholders!
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
It's a good thing I'm not sick very often, because it turns out I'm pretty bad at it.
- Whenever I'm alone in the elevators at work, I sigh very dramatically (through my mouth since my nose is stuffed!) and then rest my head against the wall and close my eyes. I did this probably 10 times yesterday and today, until it dawned on me that there are probably security cameras in there, and some amazing team of security guys has been watching me do the old huff and lean in the elevator over and over again.
- We did make our awesome dinner last night, and decided to do a bit of veal stock with those lovely left over bones. After it simmered away and then cooled, I put a strainer in the sink to catch all the gunk and leave me with my beautiful golden stock. I swiftly poured it all into the strainer and watched it all go down the drain. I failed to put a bowl under the strainer to catch the stock.
- Someone at work very thoughtfully came by and gave me a Cherry Cordial Candy Kiss, which I promptly ate. But alas, it was disgusting and I almost had to spit it out. I am choosing to blame my illness not the candy though, because come on. I once ate an Easter marshmallow peep in October and declared it delicious.
I promise, even if I'm not better tomorrow, I won't whine about my sad little cold anymore!
Monday, February 14, 2011
Happy heart day, friends! Wish I could say "Wish you were here" a la Julia and Paul, but I don't actually wish you were.
You see, I often like to brag about my immune system of steel (thanks to all that exposure to germs Peter brings home from school), but said immune system has let me down and I have an icky drippy cold. On a holiday no less! Hope I can get it together later on to make my chocolate mousse.
Nonetheless, I wanted to wish you all a very happy, healthy, lovey-dovey day! XOXO
Friday, February 11, 2011
I take great pleasure in throwing together a meal from kitchen scraps, and I've recently discovered a similar kind of joy from crafting with odds and ends. Using this cute thing as a guide, I made a little bird with scraps of felt, a tiny bit of fabric and a sparkly button that's been sitting on my dresser for weeks.
When the Easter tree comes out in a few weeks, I'll throw him on there. Maybe some felt eggs and bunnies will join him?! Until then, he's happily floating on the knob of a lamp in the living room.
Wishing you all a happy, relaxing weekend! We have dear friends coming up to visit tomorrow, and I'm so excited!
Thursday, February 10, 2011
(Last years Valentine's Day feast!)
For our first Valentine's Day together, Peter and I made what felt like an insanely decadent meal, involving a warm bacon vinaigrette on frisee salad, asparagus goat cheese pasta and chocolate espresso cheesecake. This meal was a huge undertaking, especially because we relied on Trader Joe's frozen pasta creations for most dinners (and I often ate rice with lots of butter and salt for meals when we were apart!).
Now, we mainly use the holiday to buy things that are a bit too expensive for an ordinary dinner, like duck breast or lobster. I'm so excited for our menu this year, which is heavily inspired by my new love, Dorie*.
- Radicchio and haricot vert salad
- Veal chops with rosemary butter
- Garlic mashed potatoes
- Chocolate mousse
What are you all up to for the holiday? A fun restaurant date? A meal at home? Chinese take-out?!
P.S. Cookie Bar this week! I'm hoping to sneak away sometime tomorrow to pick up a treat!
Monday, February 7, 2011
My brain knows that I love a full social calendar, but I have to seriously fight my homebody tendencies to make this happen, especially in the winter. Movies and books and cooking can seem so easy, so effortless. This weekend, though, my brain totally won.
There was a game night, a museum visit, a clothing swap and a Super Bowl party. So many different kinds of fun, my brain was still churning with excitement around midnight last night.
* * *
If you've got a gathering with friends on the calendar it in the near future, might I suggest this black bean and corn dip? I first had it at Peter's step-mother's house last spring, and I've made it half a dozen times since. It's such a crowd pleaser!
Black bean and corn dip
You will need:
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 bag frozen corn
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
Zest and juice of one lime
Throw first four ingredients into a bowl and stir together with a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper. Put chopped cilantro on top, and chopped avocado if you're feeling extra fancy. This is a great dish to make ahead and set out, since the frozen corn needs time to thaw a bit anyway. Enjoy!
Thursday, February 3, 2011
I fell in love with this idea after seeing it on Daisy Chain, but I modified it to be a bit easier. I'm always impressed by those homemade envelope-type things, but eh. They look kind of annoying to make. Though I do think these would be super cute with a square paper doily folded as the envelope. Someone should make that and post it!
I made text boxes on Microsoft with numbers 1-8 in each one, and then did a second page with text boxes where I wrote little love notes to Peter.
I'll spare you most of my saccharine-sweet sentiments, but this one is fairly innocent. He always makes my coffee the exact perfect color, you know what I mean? Coffee is just one of those things that always tastes better if someone brings it to you, preferably while you are still in bed.
He has to wait until Monday and can read one per day so that the last one will fall on Valentine's Day. This is the sort of thing that would drive me insane, and I would clearly look at them all ahead of time, but Peter doesn't have that gene and I know he won't cheat (except he will likely see the one above early!).
You can find a bit more on the project here.
P.S. I seriously need a new camera. You guys are brilliant -- any fab suggestions?!
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
(Photo taken in Germany by my fab sister-in-law Sammy)
On Saturday Peter and I spent a full day skiing in the sunshine. There was so much snow that we could easily go on glade trails, which usually scare me with the dirt and leaves poking through.
At one point toward the end of the afternoon, we found ourselves alone on a thin, easily winding trail cocooned by trees that were covered with snow and ice. The sun was low in the sky casting a bright light, and it positively glistened in there. Peter turned back to me and said, "I'm not mad at the snow anymore!"
I couldn't agree more. But still. Thank goodness we finally made it to February. Can I get an amen?!