Friday, December 21, 2012

Cookies, Holidays, and Photography Show!

Hello and happy holidays to anyone who still reads this blog. A lot going on lately so there hasn't been much baking this holiday season. Gasp. I did make a carrot cake a couple of weeks ago and this past week I had a taste for chocolate peppermint cookies (photo above). Instead of researching recipes I just combined a couple of my own and it worked out fairly well. I took my base cookie recipe from this and the icing recipe from this. I smashed up some of those yummy, soft peppermint candies and sprinkled them on top. They are sweet but deelish.

Christmas Eve and Christmas day will be packed full of cooking and baking and wine and turkey brining and foods and wine and good friends. AND WINE. So looking forward to it.

On a side note, I'm doing another photography show at Kitchen Sink. My work will be up until January 31st so if you're in the Andersonville area stop in and see.

Above two photos generously contributed by Roberto.  Happy holidays all!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Gallery Show & Photography Sale

A lot going on these days. Deleting my Facebook and Twitter accounts back in June has given me more time to focus on things I want to do. Specifically focusing on creative outlets. I've always loved photography and have been taking and editing photos for years. An opportunity came about recently to be a part of the newly formed 8x8 Gallery. With limited time I managed to pull everything together and learned a lot in the process. There are things I would definitely do differently but I suppose that's all a part of the learning process.

Tonight is the opening night and I'm so excited. Looking forward to seeing old and new friends. And my apologies to my blogger friends. I will catch up with you soon!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Spinach Mushroom Feta Tomato Frittata

Say that three times fast! I know it's a rather wordy name but I felt like it was right and suited this dish. All those ingredients are prominent and deliciously delicious. So tah-dah. That's the name. To be quite honest, I really just threw this together with very little precise measuring. I think when it comes to frittatas, you can really use ingredients that fit your taste and lifestyle. If you like meat, put in meat. If you like only veggies, put in only veggies. Just use the base egge recipe and you'll be all set.  


6 large eggs
4 tablespoons whole milk
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon dried parsley (you can use fresh)
Salt and pepper to taste

4 tablespoons butter
1 shallot - diced
8 ounces baby portobello mushrooms - washed and sliced
6 ounces spinach - chopped
1/4 cup feta cheese
12-20 cherry tomatoes cut in half


1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, crushed red pepper, parsley, and salt & pepper. Set aside.

3. In a medium-sized cast iron skillet (or oven-safe skillet), melt butter over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté for about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook down to your preference. Add spinach and sauté for an additional 3 minutes. Turn off heat and evenly spread the ingredients in your skillet.

4. Pour egg mixture over all the ingredients. There is no need to stir. Evenly sprinkle feta cheese on top. Evenly place cherry tomatoes on top with the round side up.

5. Bake for 15 minutes.

6. Broil for 2-3 minutes (optional).

7. Cool for 5-10 minutes. Slice and serve. 


Thursday, August 30, 2012

How to Use a Zester

I suddenly feel it is my mission to show people how to properly use a zester. Seems simple but nooooo! I see so many chefs on TV using it incorrectly. It drives me rather insane so to rectify that and make myself feel better I am providing a simple “How-To”. Please people. Use your zester to its full potential!

Example 1

This next photo is NOT how you should use your zester: 

Zester on bottom, lime on top is a big fat NO. 

Example 2

Okay, this isn't the best photo but I think you'll get the point. There are different types of zesters but most have these curved sides:

Those curved sides are there for a reason. Yes, it's true! 

Example 3

You want those little curved sides to face up with item to-be-zested underneath:  

Making sense, right?

Example 4

When your zested item is on the top of the zester (see photo 1) you cannot see how much zest you are actually taking off: 

Anything below that first, thin layer is bitter. So basically, the center part (where it is white) is bitter and you don't want to zest that deep. Again, with the lime on top of the zester, you can't tell when you hit that white part. AND you can't evenly zest what you are zesting. 

Wow, this post is so zesty.

Example 5

Look, when you can properly see what you are zesting, you can evenly zest! 

So even and not too deep. Let's celebrate.

Example 6

How glorious. Look, all that yummy zest is contained within the curves of the zester. You can easily scoop it out and measure for baking and cooking.

Any questions?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Happy 100th Birthday Julia!

Today would have been Julia Child's 100th birthday. To celebrate, here is my girl Martha cooking with Julia:

Oh Julia, how you have changed the way we all cook!

Also, THIS still cracks me up.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery

'Tis the season for weekend getaways. If there is one thing Rob and I like to do it's get away from the city for a few days. Personally I'm happiest being amongst nature and fresh air.

We took a trip recently to Galena, Illinois. A historic town right along the Mississippi river. The city is super duper tourist-y but still a lot of fun. One of the highlights was our trip to Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery. Vineyard tours and wine tastings are always a good time. Wine time! Oh yeah. I was really impressed by their dry reds. I find that a lot of Midwest wineries have sweet reds. Yack. Not a fan but sweet wines are quite popular. They're just not for me I suppose.

After our wine tasting and tour and our sharing a bottle with some new friends (fun!), we took a walk around the property. I took the above photo just across the street from the winery. Cornfields as far as the eye can see. Although the corn crops in that area are suffering because of the drought and should have been much taller. Sad.

Picturesque puffy white clouds. I love when clouds look like cotton candy. I just want to pluck them out of the sky and eat them. Ahhhh, nature!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Peach and Blueberry Cobbler Fail

Okay, so I found a Martha Stewart recipe for a peach and blueberry cobbler that's made in a cast-iron skillet. It sounded deelish, looked deelish but was not 100% deelish. I think with some tweaking it could be better. It definitely needed more sugar and maybe more butter or some vanilla or something! Maybe more blueberries. There weren't quite enough. The original recipe called for apricots but I had peaches. Maybe it's better with apricots? Hmm, who knows! It looked good though....

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

It's Blueberry Time, Again!

It's been a rough year for fruit in these here parts. We had a long string of 80 degree days back in March. The fruit trees prematurely bloomed and then a frost came in April and destroyed the early blooms. Each year I go blueberry picking in Michigan around the first two weeks of July. This year there were very few places doing U-pick because of the damage to the blueberry crops. The same goes for cherries, peaches, and apples. Not the apples! My favorite thing to do in autumn is to go apple picking. Huff huff. There has been a drought this summer as well. All of these factors are affecting farmers and their crops. Such a shame.

Even with the lack of U-picks for blueberries, I did manage to pick some a few weeks back. Last year I picked 10 pounds of blueberries. On the day I picked this year, it was in the upper 90s and humid. Horrendous temps for picking. I literally almost passed out in a giant pool of sweat. So Rob and I only got two and a half pounds. Such a disappointment since each pound was only a $1.70. Huff huff, again.

I am going to put them to good use though. Tonight I am going to make a peach and blueberry cobbler in a cast iron skillet. Stay tuned for the recipe.    

Friday, July 13, 2012

How Does My Garden Grow?

Very well, actually! One of the great things about our new place is our porch. Tons of sunlight and space which is conducive to successful growing of plants. But man, plants need water. A lot of water. Who knew? I sometimes dread, sometimes look forward to watering (it's a lot of back and forth filling up watering cans). But it feels good to know you are nurturing and sustaining life. And eating food from my garden is satisfying in a way that is different from store bought veggies. And the flowers! The flowers are so purdy. I can't wait to some day have a full garden. But for now, this is really great.

Here are some photos from the garden with captions explaining. Our tomato plants are close to taking over the porch. If they get any bigger I may just put them to work. I think they'd be capable of filling up watering cans...

This is 1 of 3 humungous tomato plants

Yummy tomatoes from said humungous tomato plant

Love the hibiscus flowers

Lots of basil! I see pesto in my future.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Natalie Merchant & Random Ramblings

I saw Natalie this past Tuesday. I can’t quite articulate how I feel right now. I become strangely emotional after I see her. I don’t really understand why. Maybe it’s the connection I feel to her/her music? The fact that such anticipated moments come and go so quickly, which feels unfair? I don’t really know.

Now don’t get me wrong, it was an amazing show. Probably one of my favorite Natalie shows. She played with a full orchestra and she sounded better than ever. I kept track of the set list because as time goes by I usually forget it.  

The Land Of Nod/Nursery Rhyme Of Innocence And Experience/Life Is Sweet/Equestrienne/Beloved Wife/Gold Rush Brides/She Devil/Maggie And Millie And Molly And May/Butterfly (a new song)/Verdi Cries/Spring And Fall: To A Young Child/Henry Darger/This House Is On Fire


The Man In The Wilderness/The Sleepy Giant/The Letter/The Worst Thing/Wonder/Break Your Heart/Carnival/These Are Days/Kind & Generous

Butterfly, which is a new song, was great. And she covered a lot from Leave Your Sleep. And of course, ended with the songs that most people know and love. Don’t get me wrong, I love Wonder, Kind & Generous, etc but man, when she plays those the crowd goes nuts. It makes me wonder (no pun) if people really know her catalog. She has so much incredible music that deserves to be heard.

Anyway, I feel like I have more to say but I’ll say it another time or maybe update this post again.

On a completely unrelated note, I deleted my Facebook account. I also deleted my Twitter and Google+ accounts. I’ve been wanting to do that for a while. It feels very freeing. I’m going to focus more on my blog and real human connections not related to social media.


The man in the wilderness asked me to tell
All the sands in the sea and I counted them well.
He said he with a grin, "And not one more?"
I answered him, "Now you go make sure." 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Blueberry Bars...Nom Nom

Finally! I have used the last of the blueberries I picked last July after my trip to Saugatuck.I found this recipe on Smitten Kitchen and adapted it to my taste. These are deelish with a cup of coffee. Personally, I think they are better the day after you bake them. So make them one day before you intend to nom them.

Printable Recipe


1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
The zest of 1 lemon
1 cup unsalted butter - cold and cut into small chunks
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


The juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
4 cups of fresh blueberries

NOTE: If using frozen blueberries, allow them to thaw prior to making this.


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease (or line with parchment paper) a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.

2. In a large bowl, stir together the white sugar, brown sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest. Add the cold butter chunks, egg, and vanilla extract. Use a pastry blender (or two forks) and mix dough. It should be well-combined and crumbly.

3. Take half the dough and evenly pat into the bottom of the greased pan.

4. In another bowl, mix together the lemon juice, sugar and cornstarch until sugar and cornstarch are dissolved. Pour blueberries in and mix.
5. Pour blueberry mixture into the pan and spread evenly. Take the remaining dough and evenly crumble it over the blueberries.

 Ready for the oven...nom nom

6. Bake 45-55 minutes or until the top is lightly browned. Allow to cool to room temperature before you cut.

On a totally different subject...I received the coolest card from my friend Corene that I just had to share! She made it herself and personalized it with my favorite quote from the Tori Amos song, A Sorta Fairytale. Thank you Corene! <3

Friday, June 1, 2012

Zucchini Pasta

Oooh this is delicious. I got this recipe from my mom a few months ago and it has become a favorite! I could eat it at least once a week. And it's so easy. Go out and get some zucchini and make it.

Printable Recipe


Rotini pasta - about 14 ounces
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1-1.5 pounds zucchini - shredded
4-5 large garlic cloves - crushed
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup grated parmigiano reggiano cheese


1. Cook pasta according to directions.

2. While pasta is cooking, heat butter and olive oil in a large skillet (I use cast iron) over medium heat. Add shredded zucchini, crushed garlic, red pepper flakes, and salt & pepper to taste.  Cook for about 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently.

Note: you can cook the zucchini for as long or as little as you like, depending on your taste. I like mine cooked until soft so I usually cook for 7 minutes.

3. While pasta is cooking, reserve about a cup of the pasta water and set aside. A glass measuring cup works best. Just be careful, it’s hot!

4. Drain pasta and put into a large bowl or back into the cooking pot. Add cooked zucchini mixture and stir into the pasta. Start by adding about 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Add all the shredded parmigiano reggiano cheese and stir. Add more pasta water, little by little while stirring, until you have reached the desired creaminess.

5. Serve on a large plate and garnish with more shredded parmigiano reggiano.

Nom nom!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Chive Flowers!

I just got back from Ohio where I was visiting my family. My dad is growing chives. I had no idea they have such beautiful flowers.

He is also growing asparagus. Unfortunately, those are the only two things he is successfully growing because the deer eat everything. I mean, everything. The deer love the asparagus but my dad has it fenced off so they can't get to it. Thank goodness.

He used to have flowers all around the house and a huge garden. Because they are tearing down forests in surrounding cities, the deer are foraging for food in people's yards and gardens....and eating everything. Such a shame really. They are just innocent hungry animals that have no choice.:(

On a lighter note, if you like these pictures, I have them for sale here. They are high quality prints on canvas. All pics are taken and edited by moi. :)

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Perfect Mojito

I enjoyed my first mojito of the season yesterday. Rob and I started our porch planting and of course, mojitos are a perfect accompaniment. I realized I’ve never actually posted my recipe for mojitos. I have posted about Lingonberry Apple Mojitos, which is almost exactly the same as this recipe. But I wanted to give the original mojito proper credit. Nothing says warm weather and sunshine like a delicious mmmmojito!

Printable Recipe


8 mint leaves
2 ounces of simple syrup - Printable Recipe for Simple Syrup
2 ounces of light rum
Fresh lime juice from 1 and a half limes, strained to remove pulp
4 ounces cold club soda


1. Place mint leaves in the bottom of a tall glass. Add simple syrup and lightly smash mint leaves with a muddler.

2. Pour in rum, lime juice, and club soda. Top with ice and stir. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Iced Lemon Bundt Cake

I baked in my new kitchen for the first time last night. Loved it! It's much more conducive to baking, cooking, and general socializing. I adapted this recipe from the lovely Ina Garten. Her show kills me. She's always having these fabulous dinner parties with some fabulous friend who she usually puts to work. Not gonna lie, I'd barbeque some pork chops if she told me to. It would be a fabulous trade-off for the opportunity to sit on her back patio and have a grand time with her whilst enjoying her fabulous foods. Anyway, this cake is deliciously lemony and perfect for spring.

Printable Recipe 


3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup whole milk at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice + 4 tablespoons
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk at room temperature
Lemon zest from 6 large lemons
1 tablespoon of honey
2 cups confectioners’ sugar


1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a standard sized bundt cake pan with butter. Coat with flour and shake out the excess.

2. In a large bowl, sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a small bowl, combine whole milk, vanilla, and only 1/4 cup of the lemon juice. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, cream butter and only 2 cups of sugar with and electric hand mixer. Mix it at medium speed for 3-5 minutes. Continue mixing and add eggs one at a time, mixing well in-between each egg. Add lemon zest and combine with mixer.

4. Add your flour mixture and milk mixture alternately to butter mixture, a little at a time, until all are combined. Pour the batter into the greased cake pan and even out the top with a spatula.

5. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a wooden skewer comes out clean. 

6. In a small pan over medium heat, combine the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon of honey until sugar is dissolved. Reserve the remaining 4 tablespoons of lemon juice for the icing. 

On a side note, I have an addiction to honey. I love it. I could eat it 10 times a day. This is one of my favorite kinds: 


7. Once cake is done, allow to cool on a cooling rack (with a tray underneath) for 10 minutes. Remove cake from cake pan but be careful as it may still be hot! Evenly poke about 20 holes in the cake with the wooden skewer. Spoon lemon juice/sugar mixture slowly and evenly over the cake. The tray below will catch any additional mixture that is not absorbed. 

8. For the glaze, start by pouring only 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice into the confectioners’ sugar. Stir and keep adding lemon juice until you get a smooth consistency. Spoon evenly over the cake. Again, the tray below will catch any glaze that runs off. 

Ohmygoodness! Yum!