Monday, August 31, 2009

3 Bagel Sunday

One of my fiance's friends is working on a documentary about Alzheimer's disease. As I have written before, my grandmother suffered from it for many years. While I have only seen the trailer, it looks like it will be a very interesting film.

It looks like they are in need of some additional financial support to get the movie to the finish line. If you are interested in helping their cause by serving as an ambassador, you may visit their website,, for further information. All contributions to "Three Bagel Sunday" are tax deductible to the extent permitted by the law. If individuals wish to donate by check, please make your checks payable to their fiscal sponsor Fractured Atlas and to write Peripheral Productions in the Memo line.

Checks may be mailed to:
Scott Kirschenbaum
Peripheral Productions
43 Vicksburg Street
San Francisco, CA 94114

If individuals wish to donate online by credit card, they can visit our Fractured Atlas support page here:

Sunday, August 30, 2009

flying carpet

I was reading House Beautiful a few months ago and I feel head first in love with the Oscar de la Renta rug below. I thought it would be stunning in our bedroom. The only snag? The outrageous price. For a 6ft by 8ft rug, it costs $4,320. With lots of help from Audrey, I immediately set out to find a copy. While I am still looking, I think that the Madeline Weinrib below sort of channels the ikat pattern pretty well. What do you think? Any favorite rug stores that might have something similar?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

cool videos on local food

From Canada:

From Japan:
Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

Friday, August 28, 2009

yellow boat

This guy got in an inflatable boat at the beach to get to his real boat tied to a mooring in Tahoe a few weeks ago. It made me smile as he struggled to get out there in this tiny boat with one oar. Smiles are perfect for a Friday at the end of a loooong week.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

eat local

About two years ago, I took a class at Stanford about organic farming methods. The class met once a week for several hours at the Stanford community farm and we grew food! It was incredibly awesome. Anyway, I started to get an appreciation for eating local, seasonal produce. However, I needed to learn what grew when in northern California. My fiance found the above food wheel that was custom for the bay area. Over the past couple of years I have loved looking at it (I have it hanging on the wall of my cube at work). I can now sort of tell you when things are in season (always a work in progress). With our CSA, it is also getting easier.

You can buy a food wheel on this website. They even make one for New York now. They also make a really fun gift.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

curried heaven

As promised, last weekend I made the Curried Chickpea and Summer Vegetable Stew with my fresh stewed tomatoes. I am aware that the following 5 photos are probably too much... but it was SO GOOD. I have been eating it ever since. I have literally had it for dinner every night this week. I love anything with eggplant... a vegetable that I have not yet gotten in our CSA. However we did get 10 Anaheim chilies in our CSA this week. If you have any good recipes for them, let me know.

The veggies

spices: garam masala, turmeric, coriander, cumin, salt

the coconut milk (light) and tomatoes go in

the fished product


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Mrs. Haecker

We seem to give him back, Dear Lord, who gavest him to us, yet as Thou did not lose him in the giving, so we have not lost him by his return. For what is Thine is ours, always. Life is eternal and love is immortal, and what we sometimes call death is only a horizon and a horizon is nothing but the limit of our sight. Lift us up, O Lord, that we may see more clearly. Draw us closer to Thyself that we may know ourselves nearer to our beloved, who art with Thee. That where he is, and Thou art, we too, may be.

This morning Mrs. Haecker passed away.

She was the lovely mother of my lovely Aunt Liz. Mrs. Haecker was a fixture at our family gatherings and was always a warm, gentle, and charming. Towards the end of her life, Mrs. Haecker wasn't well. My mother lost her mother about a year and a half ago, so I know sort of what it feels like. In some ways, you hate to see loved ones in pain, so death can be a blessing. However, for the survivors and the children and grandchildren it doesn't necessarily feel that way. They have lost their mom and their grandmother - the one who stayed up late when they were sick and took them to school and stood by them at their weddings and played with grandchildren when they were first born and snuck them sugary snacks when their parents weren't looking. It is the mom and gram memories that make these days particularly hard. Liz, John, Sophie, Alixe, and Teddy - I am thinking about you.

Monday, August 24, 2009

hello goodbye

This weekend we said goodbye to an old friend - my fiance's 1996 Grand Jeep Cherokee. With Cash for Clunkers running out, we knew it was time. We probably would have done Cash for Clunkers a few weeks before, but we were waiting on a copy of the title from the Massachusetts DMV (long story). With 160,000 miles and going strong (well except for the transmission), it was sad to say goodbye. I remember the first time that he picked me up in that car, for our second date (he was on a bike for the first).

What did we get to replace it? After an entire day of frantic phone calls and dealer visits, we are the proud owners of a 2010 Suburu Forrester. It is awesome - the first time either one of us has bought a new car. Just under the wire as well, many bay area dealers stopped accepting clunkers with close of business on Saturday.

Friday, August 21, 2009

my sweet niece

Isn't she beautiful? I will get to see her soon and I am so excited. Pretty soon I will have another niece as well. :)

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, August 20, 2009


This week we took about 15 beefsteak tomatoes from our CSA and made Fresh Tomato Sauce from my most recent Fine Cooking. It ended up looking A LOT like stewed tomatoes from a can, but it tastes great. I'm not going to lie - peeling and coring the tomatoes took a while. We only did about 15 beefsteak tomatoes, even though the recipe called for 8 lbs (~40 roma) tomatoes.

The genius of this sauce is that once you make it, they suggest 3 other recipes that you can use it in. I plan to use it to make Curried Chickpea and Summer Vegetable Stew with it.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

words of wisdom...

Today's the day - my fiance is losing his wisdom teeth. We are prepared with lots of pudding, yogurt, milk, jello, fruit (for smoothies), ice cream, sorbet, and hummus (a suggestion from an online source for people tired of eating sweet things). We also have ice packs and frozen veggies to strap to his face. I am sure that he will be sleeping for most of the day. Wish him luck!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

andrea + ilya

Here are some shots from Andrea and Ilya's wedding last weekend in Tahoe. It was a gorgeous wedding held on her grandmother's land - right on the lake in Incline Village. Her step mom did the flowers, her sister made the cake, her dad made the chuppah, another sister sang, etc. It was really, really fun. Congrats!

Monday, August 17, 2009


This past weekend I went to Lake Tahoe for a wedding. Not only did I get to see Andrea and Ilya get married, but I got to hang out with Emily, a great friend from high school who happened to be in Tahoe as well. It was the first time that I have been there in the summer and it was beautiful. I would be tempted to go to Tahoe more often if it wasn't for the 3.5 hour drive turning into 7 with Sunday evening traffic.

Friday, August 14, 2009


I can hardly believe it is the middle of August. There isn't much of summer left. Pretty soon the kids in my neighborhood will start back at school... and fall will be underway. I am not yet ready for sweaters and boots. I am still interested in backyard bbqs and summer heat.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Bridget's favorite peppers

On Tuesday night I made a batch of stuffed bell peppers. We had a bunch left over from our CSA last week, and they weren't long for this world. It is a recipe my mom has made forever, particularly for my sister Bridget (see the recipe below). The recipe involves cheese whiz (believe me it tastes amazing in this recipe), but I couldn't find it at the Whole Foods near my house. Therefore I substituted a bag of shredded Mexican blend cheese (because I knew it would melt well). It definitely wasn't the same! Partially because there was so little salt with the cheese whiz missing. Next time I am going to make an effort to find cheese whiz or maybe even velveeta cheese. I don't usually use processed cheese, but in this recipe it is necessary! It even looks like the recipe was developed to use cheese whiz in the 1920s (see note below).

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I love lakes

Last weekend I spent a few days in Lake Almanor and it was sooo relaxing. My shoes were off for most of the 4 days I was there.

Monday, August 10, 2009

ebay is amazing

Just sold two pairs of shoes from college on ebay! Selling old shoes makes room for new ones. :)


Last week in our CSA (community supported agriculture) bag we got:
  1. Tomatoes (two orders)
  2. Potatoes
  3. Pears
  4. Green peppers
  5. Honeydew melon (and when it was cut open it was orange)
We use Eating with the Seasons and love it!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

stuffed tomatoes

Having grown up in a house living with 8 other people, I first learned to cook for a crowd. All my mom's recipes serve 10 to 12 minimum.

When I moved to college, I was forced to figure out how to cook for four - for two years my three roommates and I took turns cooking on weeknights. Then I went to grad school and basically ate soup from a box and roast beef sandwiches for four years. I have always been terrible at cooking for one.

Having moved in with my fiance, I am slowly trying to figure out how to cook for small numbers again. That being said, usually when he goes out of town for work - I am back to eating mac and cheese or laughing cow and tomato soup (from a box).

So last week, he went out of town for two days and I decided to make something good and surprise myself. I was in the mood for stuffed creole tomatoes, but settled on a recipe from Fine Cooking to use the 6 tomatoes I got in my CSA on Tuesday. It is a creamy polenta stuffed tomato dish.

Came out pretty well - although for the record stuffed creole tomatoes are better (more cream and butter are likely why). I suppose this would be the California version... so healthier in theory. Although notice that I put at least a half of an avocado on my salad. It is my favorite fruit.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

play ball

This week we had a team offsite at Campo di Bocce in Los Gatos. Our entire extended team at work was invited to spend part of Tuesday afternoon eating, drinking, and playing bocce.

It was really nice (really what fun activity in the middle of the paid workday isn't) and we had great sunny, warm weather for our outdoor courts. Why I never thought to organize a trip here in my 2 years of organizing events for graduate students, I don't know...

I have my own set of antique bocce balls, which I have never played with. Looking at the clay ones we used, I don't think my mahogany ones would last very long out there.

Thanks to Brandi for organizing and taking these great photos!

Friday, August 7, 2009

where I want to be...

I would say I have spring fever, but it is late summer. I think I have almost-fall-summer fever.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

banana bread

I love banana bread. I have been making the "gram's banana bread" recipe for years - a recipe I think my mom got out of the New Orleans paper years ago (but I am not sure). I will freeze the bananas when they get really ripe if I don't have time to make the bread right away. One thing I have learned - freeze them after you peel them. Getting a frozen peel off of a frozen banana is really hard.

My modifications:
  • I always double the amount of banana,
  • use regular milk instead of buttermilk,
  • occasionally add something extra like nuts (walnuts below) or chocolate chips,
  • instead of 1 tsp baking spice, I use 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 tsp allspice, and
  • I usually bake it for 1 hour and 15 min or more (until it gets really dark on top).

I actually made this for my fiance about two weeks after we met. I left it for him to eat while I was in New York City visiting my sister. Looks like it worked some magic!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

rose garden

So I have been looking for a way to edit my photos without having to pay a ton for photoshop. Recently I was reading an article about how many services were moving into the cloud (Google docs, gmail, etc). In that article they mentioned, a FREE photoshop like service. So far it is awesome! I used it to label these photos.

I thought I would give you a tour of our roses, which against all odds, are still alive and producing flowers. I wish I could say the same for our herb garden...

#1 JFK

#2 Double Delight

#3 Hot Cocoa (a gift from my fiance's mom)
#4 Mardi Gras

#5 a decadent red rose with what seems like hundreds of petals - I don't know its name
do you?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

anthropologie windows

We live only a few blocks from an Anthropologie store. I was amazed when I saw them creating this store front display last week. Today after work, while walking to the hardware store, I snapped a few pictures. The orange wood strips flow in and out of the store and it looks really cool in person.

I happen to read the blog of an Anthropologie store designer from Southern California, Ruthi Auda. Check out these photos of the Newport Beach store from her blog! The blue wood appears to flow in and out of the windows. I love how it looks like a blue tsunami pulling the blue bench apart. So creative. I like how the two stores are similar, but different. I wonder if other Anthropologie designers have blogs? I would probably read them.

photo from Ruthi Auda

photo from Ruthi Auda

photo from Ruthi Auda
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