Monday, February 28, 2011

Weekend Pictures

{banana bread with peanut butter topping, saturday}

{baby shower card, saturday}

{party lights, saturday}

{open window weather, sunday}  

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Bird In The Mail

This lovely little guy came in the mail today.


It's from mysunshinevintage on Etsy and I bought it last week on a whim. I'm not sure what I'll do with him yet, but I liked how his creepy little eye is kind of watching you. He's got a little bit of an attitude, don't you think?

Side note: I'm pretty sure my Dad (or someone's dad) would ask me if a bird in the mail is worth two in the bush.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Weekend Pictures

{pink and purple sky, friday}

{the civil wars, friday*}

{post-show nosh, friday}

{katz's, friday}

{the new doughnut plant in chelsea, saturday}

{brunch at EJ's, sunday}

{not so fast, spring. monday}

*The photo of The Civil Wars isn't mine, I was too chicken to take my DSLR into the show. It's from their Philadelphia show at World Cafe, taken by Lindsey Patkos. Her photos from the night, and her concert photos in general, are really great.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Part Deux

While a trip to Paris isn't exactly in the budget at the moment, I think the next best thing might be one of these lovely French enameled lockets. I'd love to have one in every color and hang them in a pretty row next to my dresser.

Happy Friday, everyone! I'm off to see The Civil Wars tonight and I couldn't be more excited for a relaxing evening hearing one of my new favorite bands. Happy weekend!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

French Kiss

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I've had a little bit of Francophilia lately. Between Jordan Ferney's post on French grocery (and flower!) shopping and her sister's dispatches from her family's new home in Normandy, I've been daydreaming about a spring weekend in Paris.

I went to France twice during my junior year of college (I was studying in London so it was an easy trip). Once for a whirlwind tour of Paris over Thanksgiving weekend (I gave thanks for baguettes and cheap hostels) and once to visit an aunt & uncle who were living in the Auvergne region at the time. They took me to quaint little villages, to some Roman ruins (halfway up a volcano!) with a view of the gold and green valley below, and to Crêperie Le 1513 for the best crepes I've ever eaten.

La Roche Blanche - Village

My favorite part was the "eating like the French eat" that my uncle delighted in showing me. For breakfast he walked up the road to the bakery for fresh, flakey pain au chocolat that he placed in front of me with a bowl full of cafe au lait. After dinner he was excited to introduce me to the French cheese course, which they often eat after dinner, not before. We picked up three cheeses from the region (one hard, one creamy, and one stinky) and a fresh baguette. My favorite was the Saint Nectaire.

Poujauran pain au chocolat

I guess until a trip to Paris is in the budget, I'll just have to content myself with watching this cute video over and over.

EF - Live The Language - Paris from Albin Holmqvist on Vimeo.

Photos (in order) by: Paul Ferney for Oh Happy Day!, Molly Wizenbergsad.isfied, and  Robyn Lee on flickr.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Irish-ish Scones

After posting about Nichole's Irish wedding the other day, I couldn't stop thinking about scones. In particular, the scones that my roommate came back dreaming about. The impossibly tall, impossibly flaky scones the wedding party ate at the Bellinter House.


Having never been to Ireland (I once arrived at Heathrow, ticket to Dublin in hand, and went home instead of to Ireland, but that's a story for a different day) I can't definitively say that this is a true Irish scone. Like biscuits or bagels in America, I'd imagine there's debate among the Irish about what variety embodies the Platonic ideal of a scone (this post, with a biscuit-like scone recipe, hints at that).



I don't know what Plato (or an Irishman, for that matter) would have to say about this scone, but I found it pretty tasty. Nearly as tall as the pictures from Bellinter, with a rich, shortbread-y flavor tasted that just as good plain as it did with jam.


Bellinter House Scones
recipe adapted from this one by Mark Johnston

- 5 cups flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 heaping teaspoon salt
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons butter (Irish butter if possible)
- 3/4 cup of sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 cups golden raisins, if desired

Preheat the oven to 425.

Combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Cut butter into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter (or your fingers) until the butter is in small pieces and the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Whisk eggs and vanilla into the milk. Add the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix just until combined, being careful not to over-mix (I find it easier to do this part with my hands).

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat out to 3/4" thick. It'll be crumbly. Cut into rounds with a biscuit cutter and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the tops are lightly brown. Cool on a wire rack and serve warm.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Weekend in Pictures

{brunch here}

{valentines, made by kate, at brunch}

{a west village stroll}

{will you be my valentine?}

Friday, February 11, 2011

Spoke Too Soon

Oops. It looks like I spoke too soon about not being very into Valentine's Day because this is my second Valentine's post of the day. That's a lot of hearts and pink and red for a girl who intentionally wore black every Valentine's Day in college (dramatic...). But I couldn't not show you this hilariously awesome Kate Spade valentine.

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It kills me. It reminds me of that Friends episode when Phoebe tells Ross that Rachel is his "lobster" because lobsters mate for life. There's tons more of these Kate Spade e-valentines on their site. I think I might send some Valentines after all.

Sweet Hearts

{brownies from smitten kitchen}

I'm not all that into Valentine's Day, but I have to admit that these are pretty cute, if you need
a last-minute Valentine's idea. The time-involvement alone says "I like you," at the very least.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Crunchy Valentine

{megan's granola}

My roommate Megan makes legendary granola. I know most people might not think granola can be legendary, but hers is. Think of the perfect oatmeal cookie, rich with butter and sweetened just enough, and then deconstruct it: add dried fruit, your favorite nuts, and chocolate if you're feeling fancy. That's Megan's granola in a crunchy, sweet nutshell.

She made a batch the other day, and the next morning I woke up to this adorably packaged little sample on the counter. It turns out, she made it for a guest post on Herban Flavor. Head over there for the recipe—this girl knows her granola.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Happy Birthday Ellie!

My friends Jessica & Ryan welcomed their sweet baby girl, Eleanor Joy, into the world this afternoon. As my little virtual birthday present to Ellie, I want to share the card I made for Jessica's baby shower in November.


What's more celebratory, or more welcoming than colorful bunting flags? I stole the idea from a whole lot of places—cute bunting is all over the place these days. The flags are paper (I don't really get along with sewing machines) cut into diamonds and then sealed over the string with a dot of glue. I used a stamp set I have to do the lettering.

Happy Birthday, Eleanor! And congrats to Jessica and Ryan.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Writer's Envy

I have pretty serious writer's envy. A tiny part of me envies novelists, with their ability to create a story that draws a reader in for page after page. But what I really envy, in all writers, is the perfectly crafted  sentence. One that grabs me at first read and makes me wish there was a better way to collect sentences than underlining them in books or ripping them out of magazines and stuffing them into a box on my nightstand.

This article by Tom Scocca and Choire Sicha about the "the city beneath our city," the "viewless labyrinth" of Penn Station contained one of those perfect, envy-inducing sentences.

puffy coat crossing

"Harried people surge through its concourses and tunnels in perpendicular lines, mean salmon in puffy coats going always upstream." Mean salmon in puffy coats! So perfect.

Image via bondidwhat on flickr.

Monday, February 7, 2011

A Wedding In Ireland

My friend Nichole (Amy's twin sister) married her husband Andy at the Bellinter House in Navan, Ireland this past fall. When my roommate Megan, one of the bridesmaids, returned from Ireland I couldn't wait to hear all the details—the house, the scones, the wellies, and how amazing Cholie looked in her Vera Wang gown.

Their lovely Irish wedding is featured today in two posts on OnceWed. There's lots more photos in the OnceWed post, but these are some of my favorites.

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Congrats, Nichole and Andy!

All photos by Cooper Carras via OnceWed.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The dough also rises

Baking with yeast is intimidating to bakers and non-bakers alike. I mean, we're talking about something alive. That is serious stuff. But when yeast does its job (instead of, say, stealing your evening and giving you flat, dense rolls better suited for a game of hockey than being nestled into a bread basket) the process is simpler than you might think. If it didn't require so much time, it'd be easy to convince yourself that a magic wand was responsible.

So when my friend Amy, newlywed and novice baker, announced that she was going to attempt my favorite sticky bun recipe to have waiting for her husband when he returned from a weekend away, I jumped at the chance to convert a yeast-phobe to (at the very least) a yeast-liker. Full disclosure: I may also have jumped at the chance to use their brand new Kitchen Aid stand mixer.

{ingredients, ready to go}

{Amy, prooving that she did most of the work herself}

So we spent a sunny, cold afternoon in January in Amy's kitchen with the mixer and a packet of thankfully cooperative yeast. I thought I'd share the few tips I shared with Amy that day, the few things I've learned that make baking with yeast less intimidating:
  • Rapid Rise Yeast: though it requires a few tweaks to most recipes (heating the liquid ingredients), they may as well call it "Never Fail Yeast." Use this to get the hang of how yeast should behave in a dough, then try the recipe with regular yeast. 
  • Elasticity: A lot of recipes have you knead the dough until elastic. Which means what, exactly? When you press a finger into the dough it should 1) not stick to your finger and 2) bounce back quickly. If it bounces back lazily and the dough feels somewhat hard when you poke it, keep kneading. 
  • Warmth: No matter the season, my apartment is never warm enough to encourage yeast to rise at a normal pace. So to help it along, I preheat the oven to a low temperature then turn it off before putting the dough in to rise.
  • Moisture: Yeast likes warm, moist heat. So sometimes I'll put a pot of boiling water in the oven with the rising dough to help it along. The added moisture in the oven also helps to keep the dough from drying out.

{sticky buns, ready for their final rise}


Amy and I did most of the work the day before she planned on baking them. The next morning she let them rise a final time before baking. Judging from the photo she sent, it looks like they turned out perfectly. And if it weren't for the photo evidence of the baking process, I'd bet you could convince her husband that a magic wand was involved.

(Pardon the dorky literary pun in the title, I couldn't resist.)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Barton Hollow

You guys, the new album by The Civil Wars came out yesterday and you should probably get it. Well, you should if you like beautiful things. And a little bit of country twang. That pretty accurately describes most of my music taste, really.

And be sure to get the version with the extra bonus tracks, they've included some fun covers. Like this one:

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