Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Perfect Morning

How can morning not go right when it starts this way? (Well, it actually started by waking up next to my best friend. Don't worry, I married him) Any other coffee lovers out there? I'm not a purist- I take lots of additional flavors to my coffee. Lots of flavored creamer, lots of shuggaah. Which is probably a good thing because as it is I usually feel preeetty awake until 1am on days when I drink a cup.

The only coffee maker I own. (ikea french press) Cinnabon Creamer (need I explain the word delish?) and the first mug I ever made in pottery. (yeah, I've made lots better since then, but my attachment to this mug in ridiculously sentimental)

Lately, I've been working on some things with the blog: adding a "follow me by email" button for my not-attached-to-the-internet-yet family and friends, as well as a reel of blogs I love and a general new look to my blog. It's still in the works, people... I'm also concocting a schedule of themed blog posts for each day of the week and more customization for the page.

Oh yes, and also an A W E S O M E giveaway you will not, I repeat, not want to miss.

Give me feedback peeps- what works for your blog, what you like to read about, how you edit and format pages, pictures and posts, how you add "buttons," any useful info you're willing to share with a bloggie-wanna-be!  :)

And if you're feeling especially (see? I used pink!)  generous,  click the Join This Site button and make my day!! :D

Happy Hump Day, Folks! 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Irene Sandwich (yes, like the hurricane)

Today was rather uneventful. According to the news however, it was supposed to be one of the worst storm days since the dastardly hurricane of 1938. Thankfully uneventful, I should say. By the time the hurricane got to our state it was much less strong and had been downgraded to a tropical storm. I should mention however, that we were lucky to never loose power as over 1/2 a million people in our area are without power and have been warned that they should be prepared to be without electricity for a week. Ooof. Definitely thankful we won't have to worry about that.

Church was cancelled so we stayed up late (and then of course woke up late this morning). The funny thing about rainy days is that they always (with few exceptions) inspire me to eat.  (not difficult) Today was no different. A couple days ago I was gifted some homegrown garden tomatoes and have been watching as one by one they spoil. Well. NO. LONGER. I was determined to have tomatoes even if my head exploded with a headache later.  So here's the yuuuummy sandwich I came up with:

It is called the Irene Sandwich simply because I brought it into existence while Irene was blowing around outside :)

Ingredients: toasted bread, cheddar cheese, fried egg (with salt and lemon pepper), bacon, fresh basil and tomato

Toast your bread, fry your egg, slice your tomato and cheese, pick your basil and cook your bacon (our favorite way is in the oven)

Layer the cheese on first and place the hot egg over the cheese to melt. Next on goes the bacon ( I have a heavy hand when it come to bacon, but the basil and tomato really lighten it up)

Lay enough basil to get some in each bite you take (about 4 leaves) and put tomato on top.

Ta-da! Layers Of Flavor.  The Irene Sandwich: hasty, tasty, filling, and flavorful!

What are some of your favorite things  to put in your sandwiches?

Friday, August 26, 2011

This And That Friday

Can you believe it's Friday already? This week has gone by fast, although when you think of the earthquake we had Tuesday and the hurricane we'll get on Sunday, it might end up being a long week after all. Regardless, this week has been great- back in the schedule of teaching, making nice dinners every day, blogging, and crafting. I'm working on some projects for my etsy shop, which I hope to re-open with a bang. Out are the products of old and in will be  some new.  I'll show you just a sneak peek: 

Teal and Sunshine Rosette Headband

Also, I tried those no-head curls everyone's been trying (you wrap hair around a stretchy band before you go to sleep) and was surprised by their results. Even with my short hair it got some curl.

Lovely garden produce from one of my student's parent.
(tomatoes, parsley, and oregano)

One of our favorite week night go-to's. Stir fry (the noodles have not been added yet) with red pepper, italian hot sausage, baby bok choy, onions, garlic and cilantro. Seasoned with soy sauce, sesame oil and cayenne, it's a big, healthy trip to flavor town

This weekend brings us 3 weddings and a hurricane. What's in the plans for your weekend?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Better Than Sliced Bread (french bread homemade)

If you not a lover of carbs, you can go ahead and skip this post. But for the rest of us, I would like to share with you some fantastically delicious bread. (not literally, but the recipe) I have been following Kneady Sweetie Blog and found some great food I'd like to try and make. So far 2 out of 2 recipes I've made from her blog have been winners at our house. (the first one being Garlic Knots and the second one below)

As I've said before, I am no genius (to put it nicely) when it come to making bread or anything that involves yeast, kneading, rising, kneading etc. But this French Bread Recipe caught my eye and I just. had. to. try. it. (also we were running out of bread)

It's delicious right out of  the oven (duh) and as toast, but we also use it to make sandwiches. It's an all around flavorful bread that will make you wonder why you've been making regular bread for so long.

You can find the recipe here which I recommend doing. I made this bread in my Kitchen Aid Mixer using the dough hook. The only annoying thing is that you have to wait 10 minutes in between kneading in the final stages. (like I said, click the link to see how it's done) Other than that, this bread is beautiful and delicious!  Another thing that I liked is that the recipe makes 2 loves. So a lot of bread for not so much work. win. win.

Here they are, 30 minutes before they go into the oven. (for 30 min at 375F)
They have not yet tanned. 

                           Ta-da! After 30 minutes, they come out golden!

This one is kind of bulbous.

Yum. You can get plenty sandwiches out of these two loaves. 

Now that we have wireless in the apartment, I have my iPad with the recipe pulled up on a cookbook stand!

What bread do you like to make?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

It's A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood

The past few days have brought loooovely weather. (minus the earthquake we had yesterday. Earthquake in Connecticut??!?!?! yeah, that's what I say) The breeze is cool and the apartment stays a comfortable temperature without any A/C.

Since we moved recently, we have really enjoyed taking walks in our beautiful, new neighborhood. There are still some of the old houses around and each of them has their own personality and character. I love to just take a leisurely down some of the streets and enjoy the scenery and beauty.

On yesterday's walk, we discovered that the neighbors on the corner actually have an apple and pear tree that are bearing fruit. (that's pretty cool for city living)

Here are some of the things I enjoyed on my walk today:

Our apartment building! When it was originally built (early 1900's) it was a ONE family home.

Slate sidewalks- when it comes down to it, they're just really cool.

Self-portrait on walk.

Some may say bug eaten, but I see a heart-shaped leaf of lace.

I love how this chimney was merged into a bay. (see blue sky and puffy clouds? beAUtIFUL daY!)

Reminds me of a typical country house:  long wrap-around porch, blue and white paint, simple structure.

Love the dormers.

My favorite thing is the masonry work. Stone columns supporting the porch with arches. 

Doesn't the bark of this tree remind you of shark skin? (or was I the only one watching Discovery Channel's "Shark Week"?)

We made fun of this house having a circle walk in the front. 

Another one of my fav's. Love the rounded turret and the detail woodwork in some of the windows.

The apples

The pears!

MeGA mushroom

These are the people who have the fruit trees. I may have to meet them.

A lovely house with a barn-house shape. Cool.

What do you love about your neighborhood?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Keepin' It Simple in the Bedroom

No, this post is not about that. It's about how easy it is too keep all your lovely lovlies (no, not those) organized. Yes, that's right I'm talking about what we don't leave the house without donning. EARRINGS and NECKLACES!

It didn't take me too long to realize that 1) I needed to organize the tangled strands of beaded necklaces from each other and 2) if I was going to wear them they needed to be in a place where I could see them every day.

Here's my solution (which came to a total of $7 plus tax, courtesy of Marshalls):

I started by picking up this cool antique-ish looking iron wall mounted hooks. $7 bucks, clearance. (score)

It has 5 different swiveling hooks that each have 3 different levels at which you can hang you necklaces.
(isn't it pretty?)

Since I have waay too many to hang individually, some of the hooks are doubled up on necklaces. I also hang some of my stretchy headbands on one of the hooks.

Right along side of my wall hook, I hung a 2-inch wide ribbon for all my dangly earrings. That way I can pick out my necklace AND earrings all at the same time! 

They end product looks like this. Well, actually it looks prettier in real life cuz there's not bad lighting or fuzzies!

What's your solution for organizing? (shoes especially are my ever present problem!)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Garlic Knots You Won't Want To Miss

Are you a fan of garlic? We are. I always have a couple heads of garlic on hand- it's the one flavor booster that will make my tongue water. You can do so many things with it too! For instance:

Rub a clove on your toast
Pasta Aglio e Olio 
Put it in soups
Rub your salad bowl with a clove to get some essence-y flavor
Put it in salad dressings
Put it in any pasta dish
Season lamb 
Or any kind of meat
Add it to shrimp scampi
Or anything else you can think of!

So last week, when I hit the equivalent of writer's block in the kitchen, I went on this website called (click Here to go There) and found some great inspiration. (I personally will blame my friend Susan for sharing the addicting website with me) You will find some really mouth watering food on that site and if you click on the picture, it brings you to the blog or website that has the recipe. (you can spend a lot of time on the websites that I will be sharing with you)

It didn't take me long to come across a picture and recipe for garlic knots. Garlic knots? LOVE THEM. I went to KneadySweetie Blog and decided to make them for dinner that night. They were delicious. flavorful. easy. 

Usually when it comes to using yeast and having to wait and let rise and wait and bake and so forth, I am very skeptical because I am very unlucky when it comes to that sort of thing. But these turned out great!
We got a bakers dozen out of the recipe and are also using the bread for sandwiches. (since they make fairly large knots) 

I have to admit, my picture of the garlic knot is not the greatest, but go to her blog and look at her picture. It's much nicer. Also next to try (from her blog): Raspberry Cheesecake Ice Cream.

What's  y o u r    favorite way to use garlic?

Saturday, August 20, 2011


I've always wanted to have a green thumb and enjoy greenery inside. But truth be told, I am actually quite horrible with keeping things alive.  So I've stayed away from getting any plants/flowers/herbs for a couple years now. But after moving into our new apartment, I was inspired by our little outdoor balcony to get some herbs to plant and enjoy fresh in our food.  (And of course, I couldn't stop there) The next logical step? Make some terrariums! I've used mostly all succulents mostly because I wanted a plant that I didn't have to do anything with. (I just have to water these suckers once a month!)

So easy to make and a lot of bang for your buck! Eventually I want to get some moss growing in a couple of these terrariums.

This one is my favorite. I've decided to call her "Please Grow" since all of her roots came off when I was  transplanting it.

My next favorite. No name. yet.

This is where I've put 2 of the terrariums- on the two little shelved underneath our living room mirror.

Not sure what kind of plant this is, but it has 3 different colors of leaves growing on it!

Shelf terrarium. Rocks, Soil, Plants.

Half of our little balcony which I've so far gotten a basil plant and some hearty mums.

I'm looking forward to all the delicious food that will be seasoned with fresh basil!

That's all for now, but I hope to do a post on our new little apartment if you'd like to see it!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Summertime Wrap-Up

Can you believe the summer is already coming to a close? Where did all that free time to relax and travel to Hawaii go? (oh, wait. That was never on the agenda.) All in all, this summer has been good: we drove a couple thousand miles in our car and had some great times and good experiences.

As you may have noticed, weeks 3 and 4 of the music festival were so busy I didn't do any posts. So here are of the pictures we took during the last leg of the festival.

 I finally tried the ribs. Big time disappointment. They were dry and no so flavorful. 

My new friend Alice (also the 2nd violinist in our quartet) tried this Watermelon and Shrimp salad. Looks fantastic!

I also had the Peach and Mozzarella Caprese which was ok. 

One night I ordered a side of the Green Beans with my meal. Another blegh. Does anyone else out there believe in slightly cooking their green beans so that they're still green?

One day they took about 20 of us musicians down to Monticello (Jefferson's estate) to play/perform some of our music around the grounds. Our first location was at the back of the house. We were right in by the fish pond (which was a pretty shallow pond that they used to keep fish fresh in until they were ready to kill, cook and eat it). You can see part of the pond in the right corner of this picture.

Part of one garden. Behind the garden to the left lay the orchards. (wouldn't that be wonderful to have? gardens AND orchards?)

After we were all done playing, we stopped in at the gift shop where you can buy an oversized nickel nickel for $4.95.  (probably worth its weight in......nickel!)

During the last week of the festival we also got to meet our sponsors (they are the first two people on the left) and have a lunch at their uh-MAz-ing house. They gave over $20,000 this year so that we could come study and perform at Wintergreen. (Notice Karl is not in this picture. That is because he is neither Hispanic nor Black, which you need to be in order to receive the scholarship) 

This is the Evans Center Tent where most of the performances are held backdropped by the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains. 

Walking to a concert! On the left you can see the yellow snow-makers which they use often! (since it is a ski resort in Virginia!)

More Evans Center. With the concessions stand nearby.

After the festival, we stopped and had lunch with my amazing and wonderful friends. It was so refreshing to see them (for the first time since my wedding!).

And last, but not leastly (yeah, I know it's not a word) we spent a couple days with my mom in NY. This was our first meal there: LAMB TIPS, roasted zucchini and carrots, salad, jasmine rice and garlic bread. No matter where you travel, whether near nor far, across the globe, into a 5-star restaurant, remember this: nobody-NOBODY makes lamb tips like my MAMA!