Sunday, May 22, 2011

chrome + gaga

It is no secret that I am obsessed with Lady Gaga - but I have a whole new reason to be obsessed.  Love her new Chrome commercial.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Bravo Benji!

Benji was one of my very best friends in college - where would I be today without our friendship?  Anyway, he's back at Maryland getting at PhD and sent me this story and SWEET video.  He is part of a team that built a human powered helicopter - the first in history!  Amazing work!  Congrats to Benji and the rest of the UMD team.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday

In honor of Good Friday I made hot cross buns this week!  I used a combination of a few recipes so I'll share those soon - the bun recipe is from and the frosting recipe came from my mom (tangerine)!

Have a great weekend!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Breakfast of champions

Some oatmeal, flaxseed, granola, and almonds. Not exactly cheese grits with cream and bacon, but it will do. :)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sauerkraut Sunday

Today the hubby and I went to the California Ave farmers market after a long absence. How could I have gone so long without a chicken naan wrap? Anyway, we discovered many new booths since we'd last been there - including gourmet sauerkraut. Sauerkraut is among my least favorite foods, but my hubby loves anything vinegary - ick!  I insisted that he try the krautwich (even if he wasn't hungry) because it looked so interesting.  The guy gave us two for the price of one. The krautwich was like sauerkraut in a giant pretzel. Interesting! I observed while eating butter chicken in a naan wrap. :)

I heart waffles

When we were in Norway, we discovered heart-shaped Norwegian waffles.  We ordered the waffle iron on amazon right after we got back, but somehow the weeks slipped away from us before we finally got our act together to make some waffles.  Last Sunday, in honor of our wedding anniversary, we finally were organized and motivated enough to veer from our normal Sunday routine of oatmeal and coffee.  Using a recipe from the Joy of Cooking, we made heart-shaped waffles!

getting the iron hot

The waffles were delicious - crispy on the outside, soft on the inside.  Paired with coffee and the Sunday New York Times, it was the perfect Sunday morning.  What is not pictured is that I also spent the morning cuddled in my LSU Tigers snuggie... but that is for a different post. :)

elements of a perfect Sunday morning

Sunday, April 10, 2011

First Anniversary! Time to eat cake!

Today was our first wedding anniversary!  Since our wedding cake topper is still in New Orleans in my parent's freezer, I decided to make almond white cake cupcakes so that we could eat a slice of our wedding cake (in spirit) today.  It turns out to be hard to find a recipe for white almond wedding cake, but I found a well reviewed version on (and I had all of the ingredients)!  Anything with 4.5 stars after 9,200 reviews is worth a try!

the ingredients

A special thanks to John for supplying us with farm fresh eggs.  Look at those yolks!  To keep the cake white - I set aside the yolks to use for something else as the recipe only called for the whites.

yolks from my co-worker's chickens
Snowy white almond cake batter.
batter was SO hard not to just eat raw... 

Little white cupcakes - the recipe yield was 30 cupcakes.  They weren't as almond tasting as I expected.  Next time I would double the amount of almond extract to get them to taste more like our actual wedding cake.
cupcakes hot from the oven

The cakes were topped with a little almond vanilla frosting and a sprinkle of white pearls for decoration and crunch (my favorite texture).
wedding cupcakes to eat
I also put 15 cupcakes in a to go tray to take to work tomorrow and share with my co-workers.  I'm always brining sweet treats to work since I like baking more than I like eatings desserts  (I'm more of a cheese kind of a person).
wedding cupcakes to share!
We shared our wedding cake cupcakes with Alison and Eli, who are getting married later this year.  It was fun to share the tradition of eating wedding cake (a realistic recreation in our case) a year later with our best friends.

Monday, April 4, 2011

girl crush

Isn't Gwyneth the cutest in this video?  I think I need to start watching Glee...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Tom Hanks and Tiaras

Since Big and Money Pit, I've always had a weakness for Tom Hanks...  

Friday, March 25, 2011

Baby Shower: The Favors

Recently I hosted a baby shower for my friend Suchi.  Since I enjoy planning parties, I had fun thinking through the menu, the crafts, and the games.  The group of 12 attendees were mostly women that I didn't know, so it was fun to also meet new people.  I figured I post the various elements over a few different posts.

As I mentioned a while back, I recently took an invitation making class with Alison where I learned about embossing paper.  Since that class, I have bought a lot of various supplies which I wanted to put to use for this shower.  I ended up embossing the gift bags and a photo matting (which I'll cover in the games post).

embossing zebras on bags
Since her baby shower was animal themed - I got a zebra stamp on ebay that I thought looked very tribal and not cheesy.  I then embossed black zebras onto the food grade kraft paper coffee bags that I got to use as favors for our wedding and never used.  They are the perfect size for a little gift.

the zebras

I then filled red and white checked paper sandwich bags (super super cheap at Sur La Table) with homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.  My hubby made them the night before while I was doing something else.  These cookies have become his specialty (we got the recipe from Philip) and we always have pre-made dough rolled into little balls in our freezer.  He made 6 dozen of these bite size cookies.

cookie time

Next I tucked the red and white paper into the bag.  I like edible favors the best.
filling up the bags...

I then put the favors in a big woven basket we got a few years ago as a Christmas gift and put it by the front door so people wouldn't forget them on their way out.
I had also ordered stickers to match her invitations (with wild animals) that had her name and date of the shower.  I put them on the back of the bag. 

I was really happy with how the favors turned out.  I thought that they were simple and playful, without being too cheesy.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

flower arranging class

A few weeks ago, my friend Amy emailed a bunch of us and asked if we would join her for a flower arranging class.  Since I love taking classes, I jumped at the chance when I confirmed I wasn't going to be out of town.  The class was hosting by a flower shop called Studio Choo - I just so happened to be obsessed with their blog while planning our wedding.  They have GORGEOUS arrangements, many of which I sent to my own wedding florist for inspiration and insight into my taste.

Anyway, last Sunday four friends met up to learn how to make a beautiful arrangement.  During class they taught us their philosophy of flower arranging: a sturdy base layer, topped with colorful focal flowers, sprinkled with tiny bits at the end.

The sturdy elements

the focal flowers

the bits!

Although the six of us taking the class all used the same flowers, our arrangements came out very differently!  It was a lot of fun to see.  I've posted photos of mine below.  You can also check out Amy's flowers on her blog!  So many beautiful combinations of these flowers.

the beginning
It was hard not to get discouraged in the beginning.  I had to start over a few times.  I think the problem was lack of vision.

it's starting to take shape!
The finished product.  Not too bad!  Loved the combination of the bright orange ranunculus and the dark plum leaves.  I also loved the green and pink ranunculus.  So much fun to be surrounded by beautiful flowers and lovely friends on a Sunday morning in San Francisco. 

Now if only I had been around during the week to enjoy them instead of in Atlanta...  :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My March Obsessions

1. Lady Gaga
I have recently morphed into a teenager as I find myself watching countless lady gaga videos on youtube.

Check out this awesome video of her recent visit to Google.

2. Mugler campaign featuring Rick Genest (those are real tattoos!)
You can check out more images from the campaign here.  I didn't realize it until later, but he is also in Gaga's born this way video above.

3. My birthday shirt from Lizard
For my birthday this year, Lizard gave me a shirt the the print of money pinned on from Dirty Coast.  They used to do this in high school on your birthday - people gave you dollar bills to pin on your clothes.  Now I have a shirt that makes any day look like my birthday! :)

The ultimate in cool gadgets! My husband still wants an iPad 2, but I love my Xoom tablet. A lot. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

melt me

My adorable niece Keira.  Melting my heart in her rabbit outfit. 

hippity hoppity keira!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Happy (Whoopie) Pie Day!

At work I am lucky enough to get free meals.  I don't think this practice is that common outside of silicon valley, but out here it seems pretty standard at tech companies.  The way to my heart is definitely through my stomach, and the food at work has been consistently amazing.  I've tried new grains (spelt, teff, etc), meats (or meat substitutes) prepared in unusual ways, and new kinds of vegetables.  However it was a dessert that caught my attention the other day - a banana whoopie pie.  I emailed the chef team and got the recipe.  The next weekend I made them on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

First I had to make the dough - banana and sour cream meant a light, moist, banana cake.
kitchen aid at work

Next the dough was placed into a piping bag.  I accidentally overfilled mine and had to use a tall drinking glass to hold it when not in use.

piping bag at work
Next they were piped onto a silpat - 1.5 inches in diameter.
post oven

After they were cool, I prepared a cake plate with powered sugar (so they wouldn't stick) and started to fill them with a cream cheese and sugar frosting.  I should say that I very strongly dislike cream cheese, but I made an exception here.  They were too good!
laying the scene
After they were filled, I started to pile them up on the cake plate.
the base of a yummy pyramid 
The finished product!  Ross and Abby were coming over for dinner, and it was the perfect dessert to share with foodie friends over hot chocolate at the end of the meal.
the perfect end to a good day
In honor of pie day (3.14), I thought I'd share the recipe with you.  So for those of you looking for a great new recipe for banana whoopie pies, here it is!  Thanks to Chef Pauline for sharing it with me! 


Makes about 3 dozen.
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup mashedbanana (from 1 large ripebanana)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar, plus more for dusting


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl. Combine banana and sour cream in another bowl.
  2. Beat butter and granulated and brown sugars with a mixer on medium-high speed, until pale and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, beating until incorporated. Add banana mixture in 2 additions, alternating with flour mixture.
  3. Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch plain tip. Pipe batter into 1 1/4-inch rounds on baking sheets, spacing rounds 1 1/2 inches apart.
  4. Bake until edges are golden, about 12 minutes. Slide parchment, with cookies, onto wire racks. Let cool. (Unfilled cookies can be stored for up to 1 day.)
  5. Beat cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon vanilla with a mixer on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes.
  6. Pipe or spoon 1 tablespoon cream cheese mixture onto the flat sides of half the cookies. Sandwich with remaining cookies. Dust with confectioners' sugar, and serve immediately.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

a baby boy shower!

Today I'm hosting a baby shower for Suchi!  She's having her first baby - a boy!  Lots to celebrate.

I'll share the menu and more details later, so I'll leave you with a teaser for now - homemade banana whoopie pies!

Friday, March 11, 2011

a great book

When you reread a classic, you do not see more in the book than you did before; you see more in you than there was before.
- Clifton Fadiman

Pride and Prejudice
makes my heart go pitter patter

I love these clothbound classics designed by Penguin book cover designer Coralie Bickford-Smith.  I want to buy them all, read them (they are the classics after all), and then line them up in a neat row on a bookcase.  Using fabulous natural rough stone bookends on either side of the pretty perfect row. Beautiful!  Browse her website to see them all. 

photos from
While we are on the subject of Ms. Austen - check out the Etsy shop of Brookish which is devoted to her.  I have ordered a dishtowel or two in my time and have loved reading Darcy's proposal while cooking.  My feelings will not be repressed!

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Today is my brother Johnny's birthday!   Whoo hooo!  Last year I did a photo montage of his adorable baby photos to mark the occasion, but I thought this year I'd focus on food.  Johnny recently graduated from nursing school in San Francisco.  To celebrate the occasion, my hubby and I thought that the best gift would be to throw a big party with southern treats for his friends last December.

We made grits and grillades from the Plantation Cookbook.  The grillades were made at our house and gingerly transported to SF with the help of some painters tape.

grillades on the go
We loaded up the car with lots of goodies (including our punch bowl for some egg nog) - and headed up to SF.

party in a bag
The grits were made in huge batches - enough to feed the 20 or so guests at my brothers small (but efficient) apartment.

The unexpected star of the show was the egg nog. We had gotten the recipe from a priest a few years back, and it has never failed to disappoint.  We get requests each year for the recipe.  It is so rich (and so alcoholic) that you really only can have it once or twice a season.  There is nothing better than homemade eggnog at the holidays.

that's a lot of eggs...

Everyone always thinks that the topping is whipped cream.  Well my friends, that is whipped egg white, not whipped cream.  Sorry to burst your bubble!  That light, glossy confection is not what you think!
topped with whipped egg whites!
The finished product
By the end of the night, the eggnog was completely gone.  Below is a picture of the table at the beginning of the night - before the grits, grillades, and salad are put out.  I didn't take another photo of the table, but it looked really pretty when it was all laid out. 

the table
yes - that is my dad's sazerac bottle in the back
Dessert was a giant gingerbread man - topped with powdered sugar frosting and peppermint pieces.  

Gingerbread man!
Johnny and his friends seemed to have a great time!  It was really fun to meet his classmates, friends, and extended SF family.  This summer we plan to recreate it with a southern style crawfish boil.  Now the only obstacle is finding live crawfish in the Bay Area... 

a happy birthday boy!

Congrats to the birthday boy and recent graduate!  Love you!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Oscar style

Recently I was in an airport and picked up the latest People magazine to check out this year's Oscar fashion.  I missed the actual ceremony because I forgot it was so early in the day!  Anyway, I finally got a good look at the dresses from this year and there were some stunners!  However, my favorite was Mila Kunis in an amazing dusky lavender Elie Saab confection.  The color of the dress was perfect for her skin color.

Photo from

The Elie Saab dress on the runway
photo from
I am officially in love with this dress - and actually the entire 2011 spring/summer collection.  I love the defined waists with grosgrain ribbon.  I love the use of lace and transparent tulle panels around the neck and shoulders of many of the dresses.  I love the delicate femininity of the pieces.

Another Elie Saab stunner
Photo from
I also fell in love with the above dress from Elie Saab spring/summer 2011.  I would love to wear it somewhere special, although perhaps in the lavender color (if I'm going to dream, may as well go big).

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy Mardi Gras!

king cake heaven!
My parents came to town last weekend and we celebrated Mardi Gras in style!  They sent three king cakes to Cali for the occasion - heaven!

Mardi Gras Madness - in Cali!
Thanks to the in-laws (and their friends) for hosting a wonderful party and supplying LOTS of good food. Also, thanks to Plush Appeal (and Uncle Daryl) for supplying the decorations!

Mardi Gras time!

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