Thursday, March 31, 2011

etsy love...

There's a lot of etsy love at my house right now. Here's a peek, if you care...

This 8 x 10 will go in one of the Pottery Barn gallery frames for the guestbook table. Cute, right? Order from Your Keepsake Co. found here.

How about an announcement? Find them here at minkcards.

How about these favor tags? Find them here at maidavale.

Need some return address labels? lettercdesign is one of my favorites.

There's more. Because more is better. Please pass the cookies.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

revisiting the 'more is better' theory (again...)

I once read a "beauty tip" about washing your hair in vinegar. It was the famous Ree from The Pioneer Woman. Let's face it, she knows everything (AND she sent me a set of Wusthoff knives.) So I took the plunge and followed her advice. Every day. Except maybe I didn't dilute that vinegar because, as we all know, more is better. In a week my hair looked like straw. Not the regular 'lack of estrogen/old lady' straw hair. No, not like that. So much worse I can't even tell you. Off to Zharmen, my little Iranian hairdresser. She gasped. WHAT have you been doing? I don't have much hair and the hair I happen to have, well, it just isn't that great. More isn't better, as it turns out. AGAIN. Luckily, her fix helped quite a bit . . . and now I'm a fan. Phyto Intense Hydrating Shampoo. I don't use it every day because I am learning more isn't always better. Also, it's pricey. End of story.

Sun. Let's talk about the beautiful sun. An hour in the sun? Awesome, yes? Six hours in the sun? Even better. I still agree with this, but the age spots on my face do not. Sigh.

Other things that might possibly fall into this category:

water for my plants
fiber one bars
make up

It's quite a quest for balance, this life, yes?

All I really want to do today is share this picture. If I have to blog about 'more isn't better' to get there, I will. Did you know? My daughter is getting married and I'm just a little preoccupied. Aren't they cute?

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

broken things... (I couldn't make this up)

This is fascinating stuff. Again.

The garage door opener broke. I suppose I don't have a single thing to complain about, honestly, because when the new garage door was installed the installation team suggested that opener would only live another month or so. That was three years ago. So yes, I had to park in the driveway for a few days, wipe the pollen off my car . . but it isn't exactly like I'm living in Japan or anything. We have a new one.

Next the dishwasher broke. Not the first time. It isn't old, it was top of the line . . .and as it turns out, that doesn't matter one single bit. I can't believe I'm saying this, but KitchenAid, you disappoint me. Again. The repair was scheduled and, just like always, it required another visit since he didn't have the part. Same old, same old.

Same day the dishwasher was fixed . . . the toilet in the master bathroom wouldn't work. Small thing. My spouse took care of it. This morning? Not so much did it work again.

Did I mention the water coming out of the faucet in the guest bathroom - and that the faucet wasn't turned on?

How about my Cuisinart? Yes, it's broken. The one kitchen appliance I own that I've repeatedly said I would replace the same day. Not replaced. I want this one so much it hurts. I just knew those cooking classes would trigger some appliance-envy...

Have I left anything out? Yes. The pretty red hose that matches my red Adirondack chair. Turned it on to water my pretty new flowering plants. An unexpected outdoor shower.

The seal on the bottom of my shower door? That metal piece with rubber attached? Yes, it broke off. Rather than fix it we placed it on the wall over the shower. That came crashing down, too. On my toe.

Last night the remote to the new garage door opener - yep. Doesn't work.

What does it all mean? What's next? Huh?

no segue...

I made this for someone last night. A little risky behavior on my part since I'd never made it before. It looked yummy. I shall make this again and maybe tweak it a little.

no segue...

Have you seen One Born Every Minute? It's awesome.

a real segue...

I held a day old baby on Tuesday. Held him, sniffed him, rocked him and stroked his velvety hair. Did you know babies wear ankle bracelets now? As in mini bracelets that remind you of house arrest and Lindsay Lohan? They do. Leave those doors and alarms go off. I'm glad I asked because I was tempted...

I am surrounded by broken things. I am not broken. I'm whole. And happy.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

postcards from the edge...or more things nobody cares about

The blogosphere can be so nice. Like that woman who took the time to send me a touching note after I posted this, reflecting on my son's birthday. And then there's the flip side, like when that woman sent me an email that said, "HEY, that recipe you have for Gilchrist's macaroons on your blog- it's just terrible." Both instances made me reflect. A perfect stranger took the time to send this to me? Go figure. Also, balance is good.

No segue...

My first grandson turns 12 this weekend. We mailed him a check for his birthday (and always a book) - it was sort of a milestone. A point you reach where you recognize they are old enough to want the cash more than anything you could possibly choose for them. I wrote Matthew a note - it was a little rambling - telling him about the first time I met him. I very sincerely asked his Mom if he could sleep in my room - and I meant it. Actually, if memory serves me correctly, I might have begged. That seems like an outrageous request to me from where I'm sitting right now, but at the time I just really wanted that baby near me. They are just so fascinating, no? Just what do they remember? There's nothing like a newborn...

No segue...

I read something recently about Steve Jobs. He heard someone say, "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on him and he has said, "For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: 'If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?' And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something." It would be easy to let pride get in the way and opine he can make that statement because he's wealthy. I'm going to resist that temptation because I think he's right. To a certain extent we can all do it...

No segue...

My job is extra stressful right now. (Lindsay, COME BACK.) It's a fairly consistent pressure cooker on a good day, but today I felt as if I was one email away from a meltdown. It's been years since I've felt that way. I ended up doing the exact opposite of what made the most sense - I went home. I pulled out everything I needed to teach two YM/YW workshops tonight and started to review everything I'd prepared. All my worries disappeared.

No segue...

I am learning many things in my life right now. There are places I can go that bring an automatic sigh of relief when I simply sit down. I need to frequent those places more. Fairly obvious conclusion, but sometimes I'm a little thick. I have a history of learning my lessons the hard way.

No segue...

Rent Get Low. If you can make it to North End Pizza (over near 215 and Durango) do it. Don't click on the link if you hate websites with music. Their pizza was a taste of home. And finally, check out my former Seminary student/friend/husband to Bridget's best friend's blog, Sin City Eats. We have a bond, Cam and I. He knows what he's talking about.

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Saturday, March 12, 2011


This is Gale Gand's recipe for Strata. I love her cookbooks and have a favorite recipe for chocolate shortbread from her. She is all kinds of awesome.

Strata is perfect brunch food, a cheesy egg bread pudding that usually starts with bread (or English Muffins) either cubed or sliced and soaked overnight in custard. It's a great make ahead dish and actually tastes better if it soaks for 12 hours. The world is your oyster when it comes to making strata. Want mushrooms and bacon? Throw some in. Sausage? Ham? Go for it. I made four of these this morning . . . they are just out of the oven all puffy and golden and beautiful.

5 cups of cubed French bread (with crust)
2 cups grated cheese
10 large eggs
1 quart whole milk
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
Filling ingredients*

1. Butter a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Put the bread cubes in the dish and sprinkle them with the cheese. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, mustard, and salt. Pour the egg mixture over the bread cubes. Sprinkle the filling ingredients over the egg mixture and fold them in gently. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.

2. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

3. Uncover the baking dish and bake for 60 minutes, until the mixture has puffed up slightly and is golden brown on top, and the strata doesn't shimmy with uncooked custard when you shake the pan. Tent the dish with foil if the top is browning too quickly. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Serve by the spoonful, using a large serving spoon.

*Bacon, cheddar, mushroom and tomato. Ham, Swiss, Asparagus. Fontina, Spinach, Salami and Roasted Garlic. Be creative!

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Taste of Morocco

I was dying for this cooking class. Major anticipation. I love this kind of food because it combines sweet and savory spices. Moroccan cooking features a lot of mint, parsley, cinnamon, cumin and a host of other seasonings. I know this because that's what they told me today. Prior to that I just enjoyed the taste. I'm evolving.

The menu was North African-Spiced Carrot and Parsnip Salad. Parsnips. Yum. I will definitely make this . . . and it was simple.

Chicken Tagine with Olives and Lemon was next. Olives are a passion of mine. All kinds. We made Couscous with Apricots and Almonds. Light and fluffy,the couscous was the perfect companion for the chicken dish. If you're not a fan of olives, don't let them scare you away from this recipe. A simple step of putting them in boiling water made the briny taste disappear. I will be making this recipe.

Sadly the Orange-Cardamom Ice Cream was a fail. At first I was extra disappointed because I have fresh whole cardamom at home right from India - I really wanted to learn how to make it. But then I thought, well, I really don't need that ice cream. And there's something to be said about a culinary school graduate having a bad day. It happens. Failures are a part of life, yes? See how the cup is half full, not half empty?

It must be said I have many kitchen gadgets and appliances that completely and totally do not fall into the need category. Still, I do not own a tagine. I thought I might attend this cooking class and come home with one. The teacher used a Creuset instead. Perfect.

The icing on the cake today was a pair of pink cropped pants with green embroidered palm trees in my mailbox. I'm crazy about them.

While I was in cooking class I knew I should be at Leopolds ordering wedding pastry. Eight weeks away. What's your favorite wedding punch, anyway?

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