Monday, November 9, 2009


i've been eating the heck out of store-bought tabbouleh (from trader joe's), so i thought i'd try making my own. very easy to do, but prepping the parsley is a little time consuming. bulgur can be found in the bulk bins at whole foods (pretty affordable way to buy your grains!) this recipe is adapted from mark bittman's tabbouleh recipe in "how to cook everything vegetarian" (he used more olive oil & scallions instead of red onion). 


½ cup bulgur
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (or more as needed)
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chopped parsley, leaves and small stems only
1 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
½ cup finely diced red onion
 several cherry tomatoes, chopped into small pieces

1) soak the bulgur in almost-boiling water until tender, 30-45 minutes. Drain well in a sieve, squeezing out as much water as possible. Toss the bulgur with the oil and lemon juice and season with salt & pepper.
2) Add the parsley, mint, onion and tomatoes and toss gently. 

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Pumpkin Muffins

cooking and food blogs are ripe with pumpkin-related recipes this time of year, so now it's my turn to add something. i'm not vegan, but i've been exploring more and more vegan blogs lately (out of boredom and curiosity) and have had luck with a vegan cranberry apple cake in the past. thought i'd try these, from the "post punk kitchen". normally i don't take any liberties or make substituions the first time i bake something, but i made some subs. THEY ARE AWESOME.  Perfect texture & consistency. Not super sweet. Perfectly replicates non-vegan baked goods - you wouldn't even know the difference.

Here's what I did:

Vegan Pumpkin Muffins

1 1/4 cups flour 

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup sugar 

1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup pureed pumpkin (fresh or from a can)
1 tablespoon vanilla soy yogurt
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon "ginger people" syrup + a little bit of molasses (original recipe calls for 2 tbs molasses, i wanted to try that syrup out! I found it at World Market for $2.99. You could probably leave it out altogether...)

1. Preheat oven to 400 F*. 
     *my oven runs hot, so i had mine set to about 325.
2. Grease muffin tins with vegetable shortening or spray on oil.   
3. Sift together dry ingredients (flour through cloves). 
4. In a separate bowl, wisk together wet ingredients (pumpkin through molasses). 
5. Pour wet into dry and combine. Fill muffin tins 2/3 of the way. 
6. Bake for 18-20 minutes, till a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 

I also whisked together some softened Neufchatel (1/3 less fat cream cheese), some pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice and powdered sugar to spread on top.  Kinda like this, but i really just threw things into a bowl... 

Friday, October 30, 2009

He says I got to obey him

The wind blew this note onto my driveway today, which was obviously passed back and forth between two friends. I didn't know teenagers (or pre-teens?) still wrote notes. With pencils and paper. I thought it was all text messages nowadays. The scan didn't really turn out, so I'll transcribe it below. If I can get a decent scan, I may try to submit it to FOUND Magazine. I wish I knew what Chases' letter said.

Chase gave me a letter, but there are some parts that are sort of rude
Can I read it?
Wow, thats deep
Yeah. It encourages me a little bit but Chase needs not be so rude on certain parts.
He says I got to obey him and I don't necessarily have to! I love him, but he doesn't need to be rude!! And if he's not rude, I want to kiss him!! But he won't be rude to me!!

awwh. How Long have you been going out?
Since May 22nd

Wow thats a long time.
Yeah. I had known for almost 2 years and now its been over 2 years since I met him
That's awsome. Ive know one of my friends scence we were 7 years old.
Wow. Um, I met somebody and known her since I was 5.
Oh wow. Ive known Mariah scince I was 4.

Monday, October 12, 2009

a few recipes

I did a bit of baking/cooking this weekend. Both the recipes were well-received, so I thought I'd share:

-i used coconut oil. it was only $5-6 at kroger and it doubles as a moisturizer (it's solidified!)
-remarkably, the lowry st kroger in smyrna had seitan (publix doesn't even carry it). it was my first time using it - very good! i may try making my own soon.
-added more red pepper flakes
-everything i've made from 101 cookbooks has been fantastic. very flavor-able and nutritious.

-instead of 3/4 cup canola oil, i used 1/2 cup canola oil & 1/4 cup applesauce. next time i may use all applesauce and light sour cream and then you could even possible deem this to be slightly "healthy".
-i loosely followed her recipe for my jam thumbprint cookies. she's 2 for 2 in my book.

Friday, October 2, 2009

antique store treasures

the mister & i went to southern indiana to visit with his family & to "get away from it all" for a few days. the antique/thrift/junk stores seem more untouched compared to the places around nashville, plus you can tell the strong european presence in the community based on some of my acquisitions:

wooden finger puppets, still in the original box. made in czechoslovakia

dutch painted shelf/bar (we'll hang it in the kitchen)

plastic tea canister

irish (?) carved wooden monk/saint dudes

green glass owl pitcher and owl trivet

record carrying case (for my future career as a wedding dj -ha!)

holland dairy metal tray

Saturday, September 5, 2009


how many of you get prints made from your digital photos? i just started thinking about how future generations aren't really going to have the experience of looking at actual tangible photographs. i always loved looking through my parents' photos. granted - we only had 2 photo albums (our early-80s trip to the grand canyon). everything else was in a box in the garage - hundreds and hundreds of rolls of developed film - and we'd pull the box out on occasion and flip through photos. it was fun until we got to the rolls of NASCAR races (my dad, courtney and carrie were into NASCAR for a bit??!!) courtney was always awesome about archiving her pictures. just last week she pulled out tons of photo albums (circa 2001) and we had so much fun going through those. no one ever really gathers around a computer to look at old pictures (right?). i tried to get into the habit of archiving things on flickr, but it's just not the same (plus, i'm already tired of spending $25/yr on that pro account). that being said, i feel like i should start getting prints made of some of my favorite digital photos. also... i know that CD-R's don't last forever. and finally, i haven't even gotten prints of my wedding photos, and that was 3.5 years ago.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

swap em if you got em

i'm getting ready to sound like i'm getting paid to promote this (i'm obviously not) - but i cannot recommend swaptree enough. if you have any books, dvds, cds or games that you're no longer into, you put them on your "have" list. and then you make a "want" wish list. and they find trades for you. you pay the postage to mail away your trade - it's so easy. i've gotten several awesome cookbooks (moosewood, cooking light) out of it. i like to keep most of my books after i've read them, so i've been keeping my eyes open at the goodwill and buying trade-able books for a buck or two (mostly best seller-ish stuff) and that's mainly where my "have" list comes from. my best trade yet - a cd for this! SCORE! (but...i haven't really been playing my ds lately, so who knows when i'll start playing this. seems like i've taken to exercising in my 'free' time, which yields better results than my hand cramping up from too much tetris.)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

new desk!

i've been trying to straighten up the office (again...) after R was able to move out some of his music gear. we put about half our CD collection away in storage boxes and the next task: replace our glass top desk with a different desk. i didn't know what exactly i wanted - just something old and cool. so i've been perusing craigslist daily in hopes that i would find "it" and if i found "it", "it" would still be available. i saw an ad for a vintage steel tanker desk and the guy responded quickly. still available! AND...he was willing to deliver (for free!). that's a major score because we don't have easy access to a truck AND the desk is heavy as . he meticulously brought the desk in the house with furniture dollies and packing blankets and was awesome about it all. (the last time someone hauled something into our house {new fridge} they managed to scrape the pergo floor, rip the linoleum in the kitchen, chip the concrete on the porch and bang up for the door frame). so i was so impressed and grateful with the way he brought this behemoth of a desk into our home.

i love it. it's all mad men-y and awesome. we have lots of clashing greens and turquoises in the room now, so i need to figure out how to tie it all in. i still need to file away all my goodies into the 7 (!) drawers.

i have always had a deep rooted love for desks and stationery supplies (i'm channeling my grandpa butch). stamps, pens, papers, staplers, typewriters, tape, erasers. i love it all. i still have some work to do in the office, so i'll be sure to post more pictures when it's finished.

-website w/ restored steel furniture
-and another one

Thursday, August 6, 2009

New Purse!

I'm never going to be able to afford an Orla Kiely bag, so I settled for this Fossil knock-off version. $24 on sale at Dillards!
I'm not the sort of girl who changes purses and handbags daily (even monthly...or yearly). I use the same darn purse regardless of if it's "in style" or "in season" or whatever. So expect to see this draped over my shoulder for the next 12 months (at least!) A fond farewell to the corduroy flowery bag that Carolyn got me last year...I'll miss you, bottomless, buttoned purse!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

my husband, the style maven

as featured on, in their "capturing the scene at bonnaroo" photo album. he's so hip! and cute! this is likely to be the only fashion-related post i ever make:

Thursday, June 11, 2009

hooray for carolyn!

My pal Carolyn's awesome bookshelf is featured on design sponge today... I am so proud of my super-crafty friend (and jealous of all of her tchotchkes)!

Monday, June 8, 2009

i hear a symphony

separated at birth: nashville symphony conductor giancarlo guerrero and mad men actor bryan batt (salvatore).

i went to see the nashville symphony with my dad saturday night. they did a schumann piano concerto and rimsky-korsakov's scheherazade. it was SO RAD. aside from the separated-at-birth thing, i noticed a few things:
  1. as far as 'fans' are concerned, there's no real diffrence between classical and rock enthusiasts. a girl at our table talked about one of the cellists and the conductor the same way i gush about paul from the walkmen. she noted their enthusiasm and passion and was so excited when the symphony started.
  2. cellos are rad. i like pizzacato strings.
  3. i kind of miss playing percussion. the music-reading, the practices, the concerts. that was a serious part of my life for 10 (!) years, and even though i always just did it "for fun", i still miss the camradarie of playing in a band/drumline/ensemble.
  4. christopher cross is doing a 3-night stint with the symphony in may 2010.
  5. i really don't know much about classical music. i'm familair with a few pieces, but i'd like to learn more. rollum's been obsessed with holst's "neptune" lately. also, neptune in general. that's the picture on our desktop right now.
  6. classical music must've done something right, since it's managed to stay around for so long.
  7. if you ever get the chance to go see the nashville symphony, DO IT. in fact, you should MAKE the chance to go see them. not sure how much normal tickets are though. our seats were free, so i guess that's easy for me to say.
  8. you could get food from a buffet and bring it to your table. i felt kinda funny eating a caprese salad and tortellini as the music was playing.
  9. i'm so ignorant about wine, that i was surprised that my white zinfandel was pink. now i know. (brandon: teach me).
  10. after scheherezade finished, it was absolutely silent for about 5 seconds before they put down their bows and everyone started to clap. no one even coughed. it was a nice moment.

Friday, June 5, 2009


(picture: from the internet)
maybe it's because i'm half jewish. or maybe my distant russian heritage. but this is one of the best comfort foods imaginable. and it doesn't even involve cheese! this is really easy and delicious. don't be afraid of kasha. it rules. (recipe from

Kasha Varnishkes at Wolff's in New Jersey

2 large onions, sliced in rounds
2 to 3 tablespoons butter
1 large egg or egg white, slightly beaten
1 cup medium or coarse kasha
2 cups water or bouillon
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3/4 pound large or small bow tie-shaped noodles
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander (optional)

1. Sauté the onions in 2 tablespoons of the margarine or chicken fat in a heavy frying pan with a cover until golden. Remove to a plate.
2. Beat the egg in a small mixing bowl and stir in the kasha. Mix, making sure all the grains are coated. Put the kasha in the same frying pan, set over a high heat. Flatten, stir, and break up the egg-coated kasha with a fork or wooden spoon for 2 to 4 minutes or until the egg has dried on the kasha and the kernels brown and mostly separate.
3. Add the water or bouillon, salt, and pepper to the frying pan and bring to a boil. Add the onions, cover tightly, and cook over low heat, steaming the kasha for 10 minutes. Remove the cover, stir, and quickly check to see if the kernels are tender and the liquid has been absorbed. If not, cover and continue steaming for 3 to 5 minutes more.
4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the bow-tie noodles according to the directions on the package. Drain.
5. When the kasha is ready, combine with the noodles. Adjust the seasoning, sprinkle with the parsley and coriander. If desired, add a bit more margarine or chicken fat.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Gocco'd Thank You Cards

I made these dudes last night, as my contribution for this Gocco card swap.
This is my first time participating in something like this, and I can't wait to see what I get! I need to find a better resource for blank notecards. The ones from Target and Michael's don't really cut it anymore (I used gold-lined Martha Stewart cards from Michael's, and they were $5.99 for 8!) There's gotta be a more affordable way to do it...But I think it looks pretty cute with the gold ink.

In other news, we started a little raised bed garden with tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, zucchini, and lettuce. I've also got an herb {container} garden on the back porch. Having it has made me feel more settled in this house. We've entertained the idea of {trying to} sell this place in Smyrna and move closer to town, maybe Donelson. Get a 50s brick home with a basement. But because of the housing "situation", I don't know if this is a horrible idea or a good one. So I'm afraid to move forward with anything, even calling the mortgage company. We can be so wishy-washy.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Jam Thumbprint Cookies

Rollum loves these bad boys, so this recipe is my attempt at re-creating them. I bought some almond meal at Trader Joe's last week, so I did a google search for "almond meal thumbprint" and this recipe was first on the list, courtesy of a cute little food blog called pinch my salt. I pretty much followed her recipe (which was actually based on another thumbprint cookie recipe), but see below for the changes I made (to flours & extracts). There's as many jam-filled cookie recipes as there are stars in the sky, but this one turned out pretty darn well - really easy, not a lot of ingredients (i had everything on hand except for raspberry jam), and delicious. They're not really the sort of cookies you want to eat right out of the oven & were a lot better the next day.

Jam Thumbprints

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/3 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup almond meal (trader joe's is way cheaper than bob's red mill)
1/2 cup (or so...) of whatever jam suits your fancy. (i combined about 1/4 cup apricot preserves & 1/4 cup raspberry jam)

1. Using a mixer, cream together butter, sugar, vanilla and almond extract until light and fluffy.
2. Whisk together flours and almond meal, then add to butter mixture and blend well.
3. Shape dough into a log, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
4. Preheat oven to 350.
5. Lightly butter cookie sheet(s) and line with parchment paper. Roll about a teaspoon of dough into a ball & place on cookie sheet. Make an indendation with your thumb in the center of the ball.
6. Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly brown. Cool on wire rack.
7. Fill cookies with jam and enjoy!

Friday, March 20, 2009

gocco baby shower invites

my sister carrie is hosting a baby shower in a few weeks, and i had the opportunity to design and create the invites using my gocco. the mom-to-be likes baby elephants, so i doodled the little dude on the invite. i played around with fonts and was going to use the "boring joined" font for the whole thing (it's the font i used for their names), but it looked better to split it up with the helvetica. the picture doesn't really show the colors too well - i used 4X6 single-panel cards in light blue, light green and a few in white (just in case...) with the dark blue/navy gocco ink. i blurred out pertinent info in case carrie has any stalker-ish ex-boyfriends that happen to visit my blog (ha ha).

Thursday, March 19, 2009

to veg or not to veg

i am debating going vegetarian. i've been a proud meat eater all my life. i love hot dogs and my dad's meatloaf, meatballs, and beef stew. but a few weeks ago, i ate a greasy cheeseburger at rotiers and haven't touched red meat since. i know those burgers are supposed to be greasy - that's what makes them good - but i just felt pretty horrible after i ate it. the past few weeks, i've had a bit of chicken and some turkey sandwiches from subway, but i (think i) could happily leave those behind with no problem. (i'd miss bacon more than i would chicken). so now i'm grappling with the decision: go full-on with vegetarianism, or don't label myself as anything, and if i want an occasional turkey-bacon-avocado sandwich, i'll have one?

kind of related: i'm involved in a "biggest loser" competition at work. it began the first of the year, with official weigh-ins once a month, and i've lost about 10 lbs. For the first time ever, i feel like i'm approaching weight loss in a healthy manner. i've never had an eating disorder or anything, but i've tried the south beach diet several times and it ends up doing more harm than good. i realize i'm not willing to choose to have the will power necessary for maintaining such a strict diet:
do phase one --> lose 6 lbs in a week --> follow diet for a few weeks --> stop diet --> gain it back + some.
now it's different. i've been consistently (well, 90% of the time...) using, entering the foods i eat and the exercise i do/calories i burn. it makes me think twice before eating an oreo every time i pass by the package on the coffee table. BUT, i've also allowed myself to indulge in pizza & sweets, as long as i stay within my calories for the day. it makes me look at the big picture - if i know i'm going out for mexican food for dinner, i'll eat salads and other healthy food that day. or i'll walk on the treadmill for an extra 30 minutes. i've become more aware about just how bad most (restaurant and package) food is, with all the high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils.

last thing i want to do is become preachy though. but i can tell the habits i'm picking up now are the right ones. and the weight loss (as slow as it has been) that has resulted is only an added bonus. i didn't enter the contest at work to win a lot of money (there's monthly $ to be had, as well as the overall grand prize in june). if so, i'd have been on the south beach bus weeks ago, depriving myself of bread and pasta and sorbet. no fun. i'm actually enjoying exercising. now that the weather is nice, i've been taking daily 2 mile walks around my neighborhood. went back to yoga tonight for the first time in weeks (schedule conflicts and that regrettable ingrown toenail kept me from going for awhile).

i'll try to update the blog with my progress over the next couple months. until then, i may post some recipes and stuff...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

almond joy

almonds and almond-related products rule. lately, i've been enjoying:

  • almond milk with my cereal (corn flakes + muesli)
  • trader joe's spicy & tangy almonds (flavored with tabasco sauce and lemon juice. it's weird that i like these so much, because i don't really like the flavor of tabasco. go figure. but these nuts are good.)

i haven't tried almond butter, but i'm sure i'd like it. i'd also like to get some almond flour and try baking with it.

hooray for almonds!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Find the Common Link

what do these five movies have in common?  find the common link!

if you said "movies you've watched in the past two weeks", you are correct!  our normal dvd viewing consists of a constant rotation of 'freaks and geeks' and 'arrested development'. together, rollum and i never romantic comedies. rarely action movies. 'darjeeling' is the only "regular" one out of the bunch. here's what i discovered though: i can watch all the romantic comedies i want as long as i rub rollum's feet while doing so.  and i'll watch action movies as long as we eat oatmeal cookies while doing so (but seriously, mel gibson does a fine job in that movie!  that scene in his trailer when he's about know...totally oscar-worthy!)  other thoughts: 'dan in real life' is really lame.  'flashdance' is an inappropriate film for a 6-year-old (my dad co-wrote a song in the movie, so i saw it in the theater when it first came out. i recall there were no open seats so i had to sit in the aisle). 

ps: we combined christmas money gifts and got a new 32" flat screen. hence the increased movie viewing. that, and my 2-week vacation from work.