Monday, January 31, 2011

The weekend in pictures

I tend to go through phases with photography. One week I'm lugging my camera around everywhere and taking pictures of everything, and then I ignore it for a month. Or, I'll only take pictures at memorable events, ignoring the everyday in favor of weddings and trips. So, to try to be more consistent I'm going to try to do a "weekend in pictures" post most Mondays. Here goes...

{snowy backyard, friday}

{snow covered chelsea, friday}

{iron & wine, saturday}

{sunlight, sunday}

{coffee and reading, sunday}

{make that lots of coffee, sunday}

Friday, January 28, 2011

Iron & Wine

I'm so, so excited to get to see Iron & Wine perform at Radio City this weekend. I've been listening to their new album nonstop in preparation, and also a few of my old favorites. Including a lovely cover by blogger Kate Miss and her brother, that she posted quite some time ago (but I always think of this version when I hear the song).

Cinder & Smoke from karmaticoma on Vimeo.

Have a lovely weekend, folks!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

An impromptu hot cocoa party

After trudging home through the beginnings of Snowprahwinfrey ("You get a blizzard! And you get a blizzard!") tonight, I ran into my roommates and two of our neighbors, a can of Reddi-Whip in hand, ready (reddi?) for a hot cocoa party.

In as much time as it took all five of us to remove our scarves, hats, gloves, and snowboots, Megan had whipped up a pot of hot cocoa. Five friends + a blizzard + hot cocoa + whipped cream = a party.

I love having friends for neighbors.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Parties and Polaroids*

I went to a fun engagement party this weekend and wanted to share this great photo booth/guest book/gift idea that the clever hosts came up with.


They bought a mini instant camera and set up a simple photo area at one end of the party. Everyone could pose for a photo, then write a message to the bride and groom and affix it to the back of the picture.


The finished photos were hung with clothespins on twine, making for instant party decoration. And the best part is, the couple got to keep the camera at the end of the night! Such a great idea.




Congrats Bryson and Angela!


*No, these are not technically Polaroids. But I like alliteration. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Against the cold

I don't know if you've heard, but it's been cold in New York. And very snowy.

Once Christmas is over and the chill in the air is no longer a quaint backdrop to the holiday festivities, real winter sets in here. With its wind chill and its "wintry mix" forecasts. It urges us to spend more time indoors, away from the giant piles of hardened, gray snow and puddles of half frozen slush. Winter is the perfect time for slow-cooking recipes.

{chicken chili}

When looking at the forecasted temperature/wind chill combination makes you whimper, it's time to break out your largest pot and some chicken stock. Which is something I've been doing a lot this winter with this simple chicken chili. In part because it's hearty and warming and in part because it lets me say "Oh no, I can't go outside right now. My soup won't be done for three more hours." Plus, it's a perfect vehicle for tasty toppings. 

This isn't the heavily spiced chili a lot of us are used to. It might be more accurately called "chicken and bean stew." Whatever you call it, it's thick, slightly spicy, and a backdrop for whatever you feel like adding. It's good hibernating food.

Chicken Chili with Pinto Beans
Adapted from this recipe.

- 1 whole chicken, cut up (or 3 cups cooked chicken)
- 1 whole large onion, diced
- 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cans chopped green chiles (fire-roasted, if you can find them)
- 1 pound dried pinto beans, rinsed
- 8 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1-2 jalapenos, sliced
- 1 1/2 tbsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp. chili powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 tbsp masa (corn flour) or cornmeal
*Optional toppings: grated jack or cheddar cheese, chopped cilantro, tomatoes, jalapenos and avocado, sour cream.

Cover chicken with water and cook for 20 to 30 minutes or until cooked through. Remove the meat from the bones. Set aside.

In a large pot over medium-high heat, saute onions and garlic for 2 minutes. Add chopped green chilies, then rinsed beans. Pour chicken broth into the pan and add sliced jalapenos. Season with salt, pepper, cumin and chili powder. Place lid on pot and reduce heat to low. Cook for 2-3 hours or until beans are done. Halfway through the cooking process, add 3 cups of cooked chicken.

When beans are tender, mix milk with masa (or cornmeal) and pour into the chili. Cook for an additional ten minutes to thicken. Check seasoning and adjust to taste.

Garnish with cilantro, sour cream, cheese, chopped tomatoes, jalapeno and avocado if desired. Serve with cornbread.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Future collections: wool blankets

I have this slightly weird habit of thinking about items I'd like to collect in the future. The future being a time when I might have a bit more space and I can maybe justify owning more than one of something just because it's pretty.

{yellow blanket from littlebyrdvintage on etsy} 

This yellow and white blanket started a new future collection in my head the second I saw it on etsy—vintage wool blankets. It was going to be the first in my actual collection, but I took too long debating the price tag and it was sold by the time I went to buy it. Le sigh.

Here's a few that would look lovely in the basket of blankets I'm imagining:

{red and green plaid throw from HausProud on etsy}

{navy blanket from manmenvintage on etsy}

{red plaid throw from CometWreckage on etsy}

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Mini cheesecakes and a surprise party

I swear on all the good intentions of January, my fridge is full of broccoli, kale and lean protein. But even though it's New Year's resolution season, people continue to have birthdays. And kale is just not appropriate birthday food. Cheesecake is.


{topped with strawberries}

My awesome and hilarious friend Murph celebrated her birthday over the Christmas holiday back home in Texas, but her New York friends didn't think that was enough celebrating. So a surprise party was planned, the guest of honor was lured to a bowling alley in Brooklyn, and silly socks were worn.

{bowling socks}

After a lightning round of bowling, there was one final surprise in store: mini cheesecakes in tiny mason jars. And continuing what is apparently becoming a tradition, we brought them out at the bar. Then ate them on the street.

{celebratory cheesecake in a bar}

{dessert on the street}

Happy birthday, Murph!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Something amiss

Let's ease into Monday with a story from a tiny French girl with a huge imagination.

Once upon a time... from Capucha on Vimeo.

Friday, January 7, 2011

A very pink cake

{a very pink cake}

I made this cake in early December, but with all the stocking stuffers and baked goods to post about, it never made an appearance here. It was a surprise for my friend Bethany's birthday, and my goal was to make it very pink—inside and out.

{pink on pink on pink}

When a friend, wondering why I was making The World's Pinkest Cake, asked if Bethany wears a lot of pink, my response was, "No, but she lives it." So, for a girl with lives pinkly, I made this cake with a few changes: I used pureed strawberries between the layers and added some red food coloring to make the frosting pretty and pink.

{happy birthday, b}

The cake was definitely hit with the birthday girl, and an even bigger hit when it was brought out for an encore performance at the bar after dinner.

{pink cake at the bar}

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A tea toddy


When I was in college, without fail, I spent the first few days of Christmas break sick. My body was only able to maintain health in the face of finals stress, all-nighters, and a steady diet of coffee, cereal and ramen for so long. When finals were over and I'd unloaded four giant loads of laundry into my parent's laundry room, I could finally relax—and so could my immune system. It felt like it was just waiting for me to slow down, so it could too. And I'd be forced into a few days of tissues and OJ on the couch while my immune system got back up to speed.

Apparently, this past December, I was living like a final-crazed college student again. Except that this time, I was Christmas-crazed. My late nights were spent wrapping and baking, and my diet was coffee, fudge, and cookies. And as I should have expected, I arrived at my parent's house with a telltale tickle in my throat.

Enter the tea toddy.

{earl grey, brewing}

A hot toddy is basically any warm cocktail, often made with whiskey, hot water, honey and lemon, but the combinations are really endless. This one, with earl grey tea, a splash of milk and more than a splash of bourbon, isn't really a recipe so much as a method. Combine to your tastes and enjoy to cure what ails you. Even if you're just sick of it being Thursday.

{earl grey tea toddy with bourbon}

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year

The first bite of 2011: a homemade sticky bun. Maybe not the healthiest way to start the new year, but certainly the tastiest.

My New Year's was low key, which is just how I like it. Really, most of my Christmas "break" (it feels weird to phrase it that way, but two weeks of lounging in suburbia feels like a break to me!) was low key. I took advantage of my parent's huge kitchen and made sticky buns (twice), a full turkey dinner, these chocolate chip cookies, and a few other things I'm forgetting. We saw lots of movies (see this one, not this one), did lots of shopping (mostly Target), and spent way too much time paying attention to my sister's rambunctious kitten. All in all, a good holiday. I hope yours was lovely and restful.
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