Friday, February 19, 2010


Hey kids! What a crazy week its been, eh? I've been up to my eyeballs in paperwork, which has been super fun. And though it seems I've been slacking 'round here lately, I've been working on all sorts of blog-related goodness.

I just wanted to welcome ya'll to the weekend with a little punch of pink to remind us that spring is coming (or so I hear). Have a good one & I'll catch you next week! x

Monday, February 15, 2010

all nestled in

Good morning! I hope you all had a lovely weekend. Did you do anything special for Valentine's Day?

 Unfortunately, my Valentine had to work all night but, I surprised him with some hot chocolate fondants upon his return. In a word: divine. So rich and wonderful. I'll take one over candy anyday.

To make those sinful treats for my Sweet, I bought my first set of ramekins ever. Its about time, right? Anyway, as I browsed through lots of lovely kitchen goods this weekend, I pined for many a set of nesting bowls. I don't know what it is about them but, I just have this "thing" for them lately. They're cute, they store neatly together and they can work outside the kitchen, too -- collecting odds 'n ends and organizing desk/dresser clutter. Not to mention, they come in so many beautiful shapes, sizes and colors. Here are a few Etsy faves I've been lusting over...

{clockwise from top left}

Aren't those lotus bowls amazing? They come in a gorgeous jade green, too. Love. Seen any cute nesting bowls lately? Do share. x

Friday, February 12, 2010

sweets for sweets

As I stood in line at 7-11 the other morning, waiting to pay for my gas, I observed all these pink and red-hued monstrosities around the register: heart-shaped gobs of sugar, sad [dusty] fabric roses, oversized novelty cards and fuzzy 'love cuffs' (?!?). It was a grim reminder: Valentine's Day is this weekend, and some poor fools are actually going to buy this junk. Eek.

I've never been a fan of the mandatory gift-giving on this (or any other) holiday -- especially when it comes to over-priced flowers and poor quality confections. I think that a holiday expressing love -be it romantic, platonic or familial- does have merit. So why give your loved ones the predictable commercialized crappola that stores seem to be stuffing down your throat this time of year? No, no. Your nearest and dearest deserve something made with love: dessert.

Making a sweet for your sweets is a great way to say 'I love you'. I mean: you take the time to carefully measure ingredients, combine them in just the right way, to create a scrumptious finished product -- and then to resist the temptation of devouring it yourself. That's love in my book.

Here's a round-up of some fantastic dessert recipes from my fave sites, perfect for Valentine's or any other day. Best of all: you can whip them up at home in about an hour or less (while everyone else frantically grabs the leftover Whitman's samplers and abused bouquets at the store).

Trust me when I say, they won't miss the chalky conversation hearts.

{photo from Martha Stewart}

What's better than an ordinary cheesecake? One with a sweet strawberry base layer, topped with a rich vanilla cream layer, that's what. Your Valentine(s) will surely appreciate the extra effort that goes into this decadent dessert.

{photo by Ken Kochey for Real Simple}

Something light: Citrus Salad with Honey & Mint
Have a health-conscious Valentine? How 'bout a succulent citrus salad bursting with fresh flavors, and a drizzle of naturally sweet, golden honey. Less than 10 minutes of work for a gorgeous unexpected treat. Perfect for a surprise breakfast in bed.

{photo by Maria Robledo for Real Simple}

For the Chocoholics: Chocolate Caramel Ice Cream Pie
With 'chocolate', 'caramel', 'ice cream' and 'pie' in the title, you know this one is gonna be good. And with no cooking required, how can you go wrong? The hard part: letting this bad boy set up in the freezer before digging in. Are you drooling yet?

{photo by Frances Janisch for Sweet Paul}

For the kids: Heart Cookie Lollipops
For the wee people in your life, these adorable cookie lollies are the answer. Let's face it: everything is better on a stick, and these are no exception. Sweet sugar cookie hearts with hard candy centers like stained glass, they will surely delight the yougin's (or the young at heart :-) ).

I wish you all a Happy Valentine's Day and a fabulous weekend. x

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Hello there!

Just poppin' in on this sunny Thursday to say "hi" and to give you a heads up on some changes that are going to be made 'round here. All good things, I assure you -- but you may have some WTF? moments while I test & tweak. Please bare with me while I remodel my little piece of Blogland :-)

Above is an inspiration board for my space here, that I made as a homework assignment for a fantastic blogging class I'm involved in, taught by Holly of decor8 & Leslie of A Creative Mint -- lovely ladies they are! The exercise really showed me which direction to take the ol' bloggy blog and I've got lots of fun stuff in the works! I hope you'll be along for the ride. x

Monday, February 8, 2010

edible exploits: Texas caviar

Its Monday again, sigh. My weekend was productive but, it doesn't make the Monday grind any easier. How about you -- did you do anything fun? Did you catch "the game"? Yeaaaah, not me. Not having the slightest interest in football, the Superbowl is purely an excuse for me to try new dip recipes (to keep me occupied while I tune out the play-by-plays). And yesterday, I found a winner!

What's more exciting than salsa but, much healthier than those sour cream and cheese dips? Texas caviar. Yes, you heard me right. But you won't find any overpriced fish eggs here, my friends. This dip is like a bean salad bursting with flavor-- courtesy of jalapenos, hot sauce and a homemade vinaigrette. And its oh-so-satisfying. Pair it with a whole-grain pita chip (I love Stacy's) and you've got a snack thats truly lunch-worthy.

Texas caviar

{Recipe from Joy of Cooking, 75th Anniversary Edition}

Total time: 15 minutes, plus chilling time if desired

  • 3 - 16oz. cans black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 - 6oz. jar pimientos, chopped, with juice
  • 3 fresh or canned jalapenos, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded & chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup sliced scallions
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped oregano
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup basic vinaigrette* (recipe follows)
Combine all ingredients together in a large bowl. Serve immediately or chill in the refrigerator -- the longer it sits, the better it tastes. Serve with your favorite chips or crackers.

*Basic Vinaigrette

(makes 1 cup)

For garlic flavor, mash:

  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2-3 pinches of salt

Put mashed garlic in a bowl and add:

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, or fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon minced shallot (optional)
  • 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon prepared mustard (optional)

Whisk together until combined. Gradually add:

  • 3/4 cup olive or walnut oil

whisking constantly as you drizzle. Refrigerate if not using immediately.

Its probably best that I'm starting out the week with a healthier snack, 'cause the Valentine sweets are a-comin'..... cheesecake and cookies and chocolate, oh my! x

Saturday, February 6, 2010

road trip: NYC

Howdy friends!
I've been MIA this past week, mostly recovering from our trip to New York City last weekend. It was so nice to just unplug from life, seek out some adventure and experience something totally new. It filled me with so much inspiration (and lots of delicious, expensive food).

With my battery recharged, I'm finally ready to get back to work here in Blogland. My first order of business will be to recreate a famous New York City delicacy. Hint: it starts with cheese and ends in cake. I think I've said too much...