Wednesday, March 31, 2010

saki to me!

Sakitini Saturday was magic.
Our goals were simple:
great food and drinks
affordable ingredients
easy clean up
nature/eco friendly as possible

It was a beautiful evening where cactus pads became salad plates,
banana leaves were unfurled into table runners and
dinner plates and lettuce cups were handy entree vessels.
Hollowed out oranges and romas were fragrant and
effective bowls for easy to pour sauces.

Washing plates.

The vivid green looked really fresh against the surface of
white banner paper.

See that rectangle above the salad? That's japanese vermicelli that
I cooked and then placed in loaf pans. I covered the loaf
pans with wax paper and weighted the tops with cans.
Once chilled, I was able to cut them into rectangles
and dust the tops in peanuts.

Daffodils were on sale $1.50 a bunch! They
fit the criteria of our evening perfectly.
Everyone had their own sides of peanut and lettuce wrap sauce.
Nice work Kalynn!
Roll it up.
Presto! Clean up done
and we're out the door.
Like I said, magic.

Friday, March 26, 2010

sakitini saturday

Any big weekend plans?
Kalynn and I are hosting our dinner club
at a nearby boat dock. Since there's no kitchen,
we'll be cooking everything in advance. That way,
our work will be done and we can have just as
much fun as our guests.
Here's our menu and table decor planned
out on the Weiss' chalkboard wall.

sakitinis and/or wine
roasted beet with goat cheese salad
chicken skewers
lettuce wraps
peanut sauce
roasted veggies
lemon sour cream pound cake over lemon sorbet

Nice pawdicure Button!
Happy weekend.

sweet tart

My dinner party dessert is lemon sour cream poundcake
from Art Smith's 2001 cookbook, Back to the Table
You might know Art as Oprah's former personal chef.
If you saw him compete on last seasons Top Chef Masters,
you likely fell for his kindness, his great laugh and his
modern southern cooking.

Lemon sour cream pound cake
3 c. flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
3 c. sugar
6 large eggs, room temp
1 t. vanilla
zest of 2 lemons
1 c. sour cream, room temp
Lemon syrup - super tart
zest of 1 lemon
1 c. fresh lemon juice
1/4 c. water
2/3 c. sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour pans. Art calls for a Bundt pan. I used 2 loaf pans because I want to cut them differently.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder and soda and salt together. set aside. Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl with a hand held mixer on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla and the zest. On low speed, add the flour in 3 additions, alternating with 2 additions of the sour cream, beginning and ending with the flour and beat until smooth. Spread evenly in the pan.
  3. Bake until tip of the knife comes out clean, about 1 1/4 hours.
  4. Meanwhile, make the syrup. Bring the lemon juice, zest, water, and sugar to a boil over high heat and cook until it is reduced to 1/2 cup. (It's intense!) Allow syrup to cool before drizzling onto the cake.
  5. Transfer cake to wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. Drizzle half of the syrup over the bottom of the cake and the other half over the top. Cool completely before cutting.
Quality control, aka the girls, gave this cake a thumbs up.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

i ♥ paper + thread

Sewing on paper is loads of fun. You never get the same look twice.
You don't even need to own a sewing machine.
All you need is needle and thread.
Besides, handmade is special. It makes people happy.
This little birthday book started with a beautiful piece
of handmade paper from PaperSource.
If you don't have a Paper Source in your city,
they have an extensive online store.
$4.95 will get you a gorgeous sheet
of paper to work with.

I hand stitched with embroidery floss around the circles.
Use the design on the paper as your guide, or simply stitch
freehand. No right and wrong here. It's about the
personal touch.
I bound the booklet by machine and added a festive
tassel/bookmark of yarns and ric rac. I played with
a variety of stitches for the binding.

I took a portrait of the birthday girl, drawn by her son, and reduced
it to fit inside one of the circles on the backside of the booklet.

My pal Stephanie and I vowed on January 1 to see one another the first day of each month.
A walk, a cup of coffee, a quick bite....whatever works. So far, so good.
I made her this simple card from our new year fortune cookie.

I sent this furry notecard to a crafty shop owner that I admire.

It's really not too early to start collecting bits and pieces to make your Mother's Day card!
Look at this post for ideas. Send me photos if you make something. Have fun
with it. No need to make it hard.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

maiden voyage

I told you in this October post that our family is celebrating Sadie's bat mitzvah this year! Sadie and I thought it would be fun to blog about the process of pulling this shindig together. This will be a simple and fun way to deposit our big and small ideas, share resources
and show off our incredible family and friends
whose talent, creativity and generosity will blow you away.
We couldn't do it without them. And honestly, wouldn't want to try!

Sailor Glam, 10/9/10
Come on over!

This was my ginormous binder from
planning Sophie's bat mitzvah. A blog
has got to be easier than lugging this thing around!

Monday, March 22, 2010

liberty of what?!?

Target 8 am, Sunday morning March 14th. Daylight savings time? No problem. I set my alarm.
I was happy to. Totally worth it. I was there, first in line. Ready for the first peek. They just weren't ready for me. Quizzical looks from the staff. Liberty of What??? I pointed to the colorful romping bunnies in sunny meadows and floral prints covering every surface of the store. This stuff, I told them. Oh, they said, Leon is still unpacking that stuff. Huh?!? But, I had to go. I had plans with my Dad. By the time I returned in the evening, what I really wanted was gone. So, after much hype, and the darling commercials and general hooplah about the fantastic Liberty of London line, the in store experience was sadly lacking. I did, however, end up with this great tunic and some bikini bottoms. Don't ask me what I'm going to wear on top! I'll worry about that later.

Did your families have a happy spring break? Coasting to summer.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

this land is my land

I think it's really cool when people name
and identify their places with signage.
Here are just a few signs that Mom and
I found in and around Hico.

Sign from above:
Sinterra? Santerra? Senterra?
Sunterra? I think it's Sonterra!
What sounds right to you?

Don't you like the off center placement of the letters?!
Very hip.

I'd like to see the house this road leads to....

Choice font. Love it!

Say hello to Bonnie, aka Bon Bon. She sure did enjoy the ride.
She enjoys anywhere my Mom is.

I think Keno enjoyed it too. Unfortunately, he was banished
to the back seat. He has boundary issues.

One of the many, many, many kitties we fed on mom's"rounds".
She's a one woman humane society. But I won't go on and on
about her devotion to animals or how awesome she is.
She doesn't like that sort of thing.

My Uncle Robert's handiwork. He went for a more primitive look.

R.I.P. Pearl and Louise. Salt of the earth.

What would you name your spread?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

get smart

Sophie is taking exams this week.
I couldn't walk a day in Sophie's academic shoes and I've told her so.
I'm really proud of her.
To prepare for exam week, I've stocked our pantry with some of
her favorites. It's the least I can do.
Here are a couple of other good snack recipes for the studious
young people in your home.

Orange Cream Smoothie

1 c. milk
1 1/2 c. orange juice
1/2 t. vanilla
1 c. vanilla frozen yogurt
1/2 frozen banana, cut into chunks before you freeze
3 T. orange juice concentrate

Serves 4

PB Snacks - Lamplighter Family Cookbook

1/3c. peanut butter
2 T butter
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. ginger
5 c. popped popcorn
2 c. Rice Chex cereal
1 c. mini pretzels
1 c. M&M's or raisins or other
candy they enjoy

Directions: In a small microwaveable bowl, combine peanut butter, cinnamon and ginger.
Microwave until the butter melts and mix well. In a 9x13 baking dish, combine popcorn
cereal and pretzels. Pour peanut butter mixture over & toss until well coated.
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, stirring halfway thru cooking time.
Cool to room temp, then stir in candy and/or raisins. Makes 8 cups.
Note to Sophie's pal Taylor.
Sorry you can't have this one. I'll try to find an allergy
friendly recipe for you, ok?

And last, a kid deserves a study break now and then.
How about the latest from VeryMaryKate?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

golden evening

Last Saturday night, I threw together a little dinner party celebrating the visit and birthday of
Deb, my long distance friend and collaborator in quilting.
Although we've worked together for a few years, we had never met. We had a blast!
Now, what to make.
Since the pants were still borderline snug from Tex Mex the previous evening, I decided to go a little lighter. This is my version of a hearty salad from a favorite local restaurant.
Click here for my pal Ann's version of the same salad on amy and ann.

my grocery list:
variety of tomatoes
(cherry, grape, heirloom, whatever you have access to!)
golden or red beets
red potatoes or fingerlings
haricot verts
goat cheese
chicken breasts
crusty bread
italian sodas for the kids

Pinch the stem ends off the haricot verts and cook until crisp tender in boiling, salted water.
Be careful not to overcook.

Trim ends from your beets, peel, dice and toss in a little olive oil and salt.
Put in 375 degree oven and roast until tender. Confession: A ridiculous hot dog and beet diet
in college almost ruined beets for me. Wisely, I gave them another chance. Do any of
you remember that one??

The color is just incredible!

In a separate pan, I roasted the potatoes with olive oil, salt and
rosemary in a 375 degree oven until tender.

I broiled the herb marinated chicken breasts.
I tossed the romaine in a basic vinaigrette, typically 3 parts oil to 1 part
vinegar/acid plus herbs and seasonings to your liking.
Taste it and decide what to add. I put minced fresh
garlic in there too.
Everyone started with a dressed salad base and then we passed around
the toppings so you could pick and choose what you liked.
It's a great meal that's nice for a group.

And what's a birthday without cake?! Kalynn picked up these
beauties from Whole Foods. They do a very nice job with desserts!

Great food, wine, dessert and company......a perfect evening.
Happy birthday Deb! So nice to meet you.

Monday, March 8, 2010

let's party

Spring is natures way of saying, "Let's party!"
-Robin Williams

I had just enough daffodils in the yard to dress up my table for dinner
with friends on Saturday night. I'll share my menu tomorrow.
I hope everyone had a nice weekend.
Now go and show Monday who's boss!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

star gazing

I love movies. I love sitting in a dark theatre with Twizzlers and popcorn watching endless trailers. I'm just wild about the whole experience. I enjoy going with others or by myself. I'm game for most any genre except horror. I'm a scaredy cat from way back. I also love celebrity trivia. My head is filled to the brim with useless facts. My mom, siblings and pal Sue are the same way. Warning: Do not engage in celebrity trivia with my family unless you're bringing your "a"-game. You will be trounced. It's not pretty. Mommy Elta, my grandmother, always had celebrity mags around her home. Long before the Star, Enquirer or People, she was reading Screen Play and Modern Screen. I'll credit her (blame her?!?) for these mad trivia/trivial skills.
That said, I'm super excited about watching the Oscars tonight and the red carpet chatter that precedes it. I've seen only half of the nominated films this year. Enough to be somewhat in the know.
I've actually had some memorable brushes with celebrities. In the 90's I worked part time in Los Angeles. It was paradise. The work was fun and the nightlife was a blast. I had many fun celebrity sightings. Absolute most thrilling??
Robert Redford, hands down. I ran straight to the pay phone to call Mom. He was magnificent. I even shared a moment in Spago with Veronica Hamel a fine actress from Hill Street Blues fame. She spoke to me like I was a trained therapist. She spoke of aging in Hollywood and what a curse it was. Shortly after her confessional, Wolfgang Puck sat down at the bar with us. My moment with Veronica over, Wolfgang signed a cookbook for me and bought a round for the bar.

Another restaurant, another night, all the patrons were being rushed through dinner. The place had to be cleared for a private party. My big ears heard something about Sylvester Stallone and a premiere party. That sounded like fun. My friend Colleen and I ducked into the bathroom and pulled a stunt from the Lucy and Ethel playbook. We stood on top of the toilets and waited quietly for the place to clear out. When the crowds arrived, we left our porcelain perch and went out to mingle. Although Sylvester never showed, we did chit chat with an actor who had an unusual name. Keanu.
Any fun stories from you? Do tell. In the meantime, be glamourous dear readers and enjoy the Oscars!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

give me liberty

Did you hear that Liberty of London is releasing an
extensive line of products for Target?
Clothing and housewares so lovely you'll want
something from every department!
The patterns are happy, cheery and whimsical. Perfect for spring.
If you just can't decide which pattern suits you best,
take their patternality quiz by clicking here.
As for me? They called me arty and delightful.
Why thank you very much.
MARK is my patternality match, but I really love them all.
What's your patternality? Available March 14.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

midweek resolve

My Weight Watchers resolve always get a bit shaky around midweek. Today, I'm really craving sweets. I decided to make these Oatmeal-Raisin Bites, a recipe from one of my weekly WW handouts. They are delicious! You'll notice the recipe calls for butter and sugar, the mandatory ingredients for a tasty cookie, but around half as much as the average recipe. Although the recipe says one point per serving, they fail to mention yield, so the point value remains a bit of a mystery.

Oatmeal-Raisin Bites

1 1/2 c. rolled oats
3/4 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 c. butter, softened
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. packed brown sugar ( I used Splenda brown sugar)
1 large egg
1 t. vanilla
1 c raisins

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine oats, flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon; set aside.
  2. Using a mixer, cream butter and both sugars until thoroughly combined. Add egg and vanilla and mix again.
  3. Add oat mixture and stir just until combined; fold in raisins.
  4. Drop rounded teaspoons of dough about 1 inch apart onto ungreased cookie sheet.
  5. Bake 9-10 minutes for chewy cookies and 11-12 minutes for crispy ones.
My recipe made 32, but I confess, I ate some dough. It probably should've made 36 of the teensiest cookies ever!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

flown the coop

I finished and delivered the egg quilt yesterday. I just love it.
I hope the bidding parents love it too.

Scraps and bits of gold hued fabrics stitched willy nilly make up the hay.

The tip of the ultra suede beak held in place with
a stitch resembling a chicken or bird track.
This rubber stamp pattern was the inspiration for
for my wild eyed chicken.

The kids names and special sentiments about their school
are stitched throughout the quilt top.

An egg pattern is stitched everywhere in between.

The back of the quilt is super cool too. It really shows off Deb's handiwork.
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