Tuesday, April 27, 2010

simple kitchen

Here's a wonderful recipe from one of my all time favorite cook books, Cucina Rustica, by Viana La Place and Evan Kleiman. Cucina rustica translates as "simple kitchen." With a few choice ingredients, you can whip up a fantastic meal! Here's a nice spring salad for you to try.

Chicken and Mozzarella Salad - serves 4

1 whole chicken breast
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
5 T olive oil, divided
salt and pepper
1 green bell pepper (yellow, red or orange would be great too)
1/2 hothouse cucumber
1 large tomato
1/4 lb. haricots verts or tender green beans
3 celery stalks
1 fresh mozzarella, about 8 oz.
3 T. red wine vinegar
5 fresh basil leaves

Under the skin of each 1/2 chicken breast, insert a sprig of rosemary and a few slivers of garlic.
Rub with 1 T of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast in a 450 degree oven for 15 minutes or until the juices run clear. Let cool. Remove the skin and bones and cut chicken into dice. Peel the pepper with a vegetable peeler. Remove the seeds and membranes and cut into thin strips. Peel the cucumber, cut into half lengthwise, and remove the seeds. Cut cucumber crosswise into slices. Dice the tomato. Cook the haricots verts or garden variety green beans in salted boiling water to cover until tender but crisp. Refresh under cold water and drain on paper towels. Slice the celery stalks crosswise and coarsely chop the tender leaves. Cut the mozzarella into dice and drain on paper towels to remove excess moisture.
Assemble chicken, vegetables and mozzarella in a shallow salad bowl. Add the remaining olive oil, vinegar and season to taste. Tear the basil leaves and sprinkle over the top.

Monday, April 26, 2010


Leave it to Anthropologie to give us hair bands that are actually worthy
of being worn as bangles. (Do you have that habit? I sure do.)
So long ho hum Goody elastics!
You're absolutely NOT worthy.
At Anthropologie stores now, $10 for a set of 4.

If I were buying real bangles today, I would definitely pick these. I love the beautiful simplicity. Made by joyodesigns, I spotted them here. Lovely. How's your Monday?

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Today is Earth Day and I find myself overwhelmed by the beauty of these images taken from the Hubble space telescope.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

just cinch em

I have never figured out how to wear this dress. This is a lot of fabric my friends. Look, it spans the width of our queen size bed. It came with this dinky self belt. Not enough when you don't have much of a waist to begin with. This dress calls for power cinching.

Then I remembered these incredible sashes
from Vivienne Westwood
that I saw on the lil bee.

I think I'll dive into my
stash and make a sash.

Title refers to this funny long ago SNL skit. Remember this one?

Monday, April 19, 2010

ka-bow wow wow - explosion of color

We've had a few gray days around here. Dreary, blah days.
These photos from The New York Times really perked me
up this morning. Meet some of the colorful
contestants from Intergroom, a trade show for dog groomers.
Look at these patient poodles!
Buster and Olive won't even sit still for a nail trim.

Francesa the seahorse.

Indiana Bones

Look at Skye. Do you see the dragon on her side?
The intense color is phenomenal!

Tucker as the Mad Hatter. Aren't the spools of thread clever?

This is Missy. Her owner Angela Kumpe won Sundays contest
with this design of a grieving angel created in memory of her mom
who died in February.

Aren't they remarkable?
Happy Monday everyone.

photos by Suzy Allman for The New York Times

Thursday, April 15, 2010

for liz

This is not a typical post for me.
This is a sad post in honor of my friend Liz.

My friend Liz died on Saturday. She should be celebrating her birthday today. Sadly, her cancer was cruel and unrelenting, so this birthday wasn't meant to be. Liz would tell you she did a lot of things she wanted to do in the past couple of years. She mostly caught up and shared laughs with family and friends, and she travelled. Liz fell in love with Africa. She gave me this amazing story quilt from one of her trips. She knew I would cherish it and that I would appreciate the great effort and handwork of the woman in rural Zimbabwe who made it. Liz wanted women to succeed, no matter the vocation or location.

The applique and embroidery are incredibly detailed.
Carefully placed stitches turn utility cotton into
the drawn, haggard face of an old woman.


...hands intertwined.

The sweet story is handwritten by the artist on a small piece of paper,
folded and tucked in a pouch in the lower right corner of the quilt.
Liz stories wouldn't fit on a tiny piece of paper.
The sweet and funny stories of her kindness need to be told again and again,
never to be forgotten.

For Liz.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


The girls were all abuzz last night. Loud, giggly and excited.
Sophie baked Funfetti cookies from a box, and arranged them
neatly on trays as though guests were arriving any minute.
No kidding, it was festive around here, especially for a school night!
All this hubbub over the continuation of Glee.
This is not surprising to me. They love show tunes.
They just had to.....it wasn't an option.
I was raised on show tunes. South Pacific, Man from La Mancha,
Oklahoma and of course, Funny Girl.
That's me in the white knee socks alongside my sister Dori.
I adored my Babs inspired Funny Girl sailor outfit.
My aunt Kathy bought them for all of us girls. They even came with a
wooden whistle necklace. We loved those dresses and wore them to see the movie.
How awesome was that?!?
Foreshadow: dressing like favorite characters from musicals.

When my girls were very small,
I wanted them to get accustomed to behaving nicely in
theaters so that we could enjoy musicals together. I would drive
one fancy neighborhood in particular looking for placards in yards
announcing upcoming productions. I drove the swanky neighborhood
because their middle school drama department was so well funded
that their costumes and sets and sound were
incredible,like off Broadway!
It was great because walking away from a $2 ticket was
easy to do if people got crabby.
Did we ever have fun! They donned poodle skirts for Bye Bye Birdie,
fringy western duds for Annie Get Your Gun, the yellow ball gown
from Beauty and the Beast and turn of the century street urchin chic for
Oliver.Sadie actually spent an entire year channeling
Jack Dawkins from Oliver.
I think they might've loved Oliver best of all.

blogging betties

The blogging community is uniting today in an effort to raise
money for breast cancer research.
This insidious disease effects all of us. A dynamic group
of bloggers have formed a team called Blogging Betties for Boobies
to complete the Susan G. Komen 3 Day walk.
If you haven't made a donation to a friend or family member
participating in the event I hope you'll consider making a
donation to this awesome group of girls.
This link will take you directly to their team page on the Komen site.

beautiful photo via suchprettythings.typepad.com

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

happiness machine

What a fun idea! Take two minutes to watch this.
You'll be tickled.

p.s. tech support, aka the girls, went to school. Sorry the
words are cut off!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

natures armor

I ran over this turtle. Not with my car, but with my foot.
At first I thought he was a pecan and didn't stop. But I knew
in my gut it wasn't a pecan, so I ran back to take a look.
He was very still, but looked perfect. Internal injuries? Maybe.
Traumatized at the very least. I picked him up and finished my run.

He didn't move for an hour or more, then finally poked his little
head out to say hello.

Was his life spared because I'm so light on my feet? Not likely.
Although I'm sure it helped that my running pace
is less hare, more tortoise.
It had to be his amazing (and beautifully designed!) suit of armor.
His name is Milton. We'll stare at him for a few days before
he moves down the street to our neighbors lush tropical pond.

Photos by Sophie

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

forget all your cares

We went on a Sunday drive. Olive came with us!
Buster decided to sleep in, all day long, because that's what
old dogs do...
He missed all the fun.
Here's our day as seen by Sophie.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

brisket twice removed

Brisket, done well, NOT well done, is a real crowd pleaser. Here is a brisket recipe that I adapted from a smitten kitchen recipe that she adapted from Emeril. I had every intention of making the smitten version in my slow cooker, but started the process too late. Besides, I didn't have all the ingredients on hand to follow her recipe specifically. No worries. I'll use what I have on hand. I refuse to go to the grocery for 2 or 3 items. So, you can read the smitten kitchen version here and see my adaptation of her adaptation right here:

Sunday Brisket - Me via Smitten Kitchen via Emeril

2 onions, I had a purple with a mushy side and a small good yellow one
1 shallot
1/2 packet of dry onion soup mix
4 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
1 t. salt
1 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. black pepper
a little cayenne
1 t. fresh thyme
beef bouillon cube
1 c. water
1/2 c. ketchup
Heinz chili sauce - Not much left in the jar, so I put about 1/2 c. water in the jar and swished it around. I ended up with a little over 1/2 c. diluted chili sauce
1/2 c brown sugar
5 pound brisket

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees
  2. Make the sauce: Heat a skillet over medium flame and saute onions and shallot, stirring every now and again until caramelized and your kitchen smells great. Add the garlic cloves and saute a bit longer. Stir in spices and seasonings, cook for 2 more minutes and remove from heat. In a large bowl, stir together ketchup, onion soup mix, chili sauce, beef bouillon and water, and brown sugar.
  3. Place brisket in a baking dish, spread the onion mixture over the top, then pour the sauce over the brisket. Cover with foil and bake for 5 hours.
  4. When the brisket is tender, remove it from the baking dish to a platter and cover that in foil.
  5. Put the baking dish with the drippings in the refrigerator. Remove the fat with a spatula or big spoon once it has solidified. Reheat the sauce and serve it alongside sliced brisket.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

we've hit the wall

So sorry for this week's post shortage.
You see, I've been up to my wrists in matzah ball batter..hmm, or
is it dough?? Five days in, if Passover were a marathon,
we'd be hitting "the wall" about now.
I'm even tired of macaroons. And I do love my coconut.
Here are a few photos from the first night Seder
over at Susie and Joel's.

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