Monday, April 30, 2012

menu of the week

(image via Kim Deslandes)

So it's 9:45 and I'm only now getting around to writing my weekly menu post. I've been putting it off since last week was a total bust in terms of cooking. Chief among my problems was that I only made three meals and I didn't like two out of the three. Sigh. This week isn't going to afford me much opportunity to redeem myself either, as we went out for pizza tonight and are probably going out for my brother's birthday in a few days. Any suggestions for getting out of this rut?

omelet with asparagus, greens, and pecorino - Yummy and perfect for spring, this omelet was light and fresh tasting. Just make sure you wash your arugula thoroughly because although I spun mine in the salad spinner it was still a bit gritty.

tortellini and cannellini bean soup - This soup had potential but the dried herbs kind of ruined it for me. Use fresh if you try it and I'm sure it will turn out fine. I felt like I was eating lawn clippings with each bite because the dried herbs were too prevalent. Also, don't burn the first batch of beans or else your house will probably still smell like smoke four days later. Not that I know anything about that...

black rice stir fry - I turned this into a soggy mess and still don't know where I went wrong. The rice was cooked but it was swimming in water and still seemed like a mess even after I drained it. Chopped peanuts improved the dish greatly as they added a much needed crunch.

One night I just defrosted a batch of ginger and lentil soup which was leftover from the last time I made it and another night we went to Stan and Karissa's for dinner. She made the most delicious fries and Stan made hamburgers covered in stinky blue cheese, also known as heaven on a bun. We brought a simple salad and homemade strawberry ice cream. Mmm, mmm good.

Friday, April 27, 2012

hello weekend

(image via Camille Styles)

Last night was the second PVD Lady Project event at Bravo Brasserie... once again Hillary and I met some pretty cool people and I'm looking forward to future collaborations. Also, Erika of Foxtrot Press gifted me with some of her awesome cards and a print, too! Will definitely be sharing those here next week. The weekend is already looking like a busy one - this morning I'm going to a "yard" sale hosted by John Orton Events (it's really much more than that - see details below) and later in the afternoon I hope to make it to the LLL meeting in Providence. Maybe I'll stop by Seven Stars for a pastry. Mmmm. Tonight Matt and I are visiting our friends and their new baby and I can't wait to squeeze his little cheeks. Then tomorrow we plan on finally getting some mulch so I can finish the flowers beds in the front yard. Oh, and I'm making these for Matt's grandmother's birthday celebration on Saturday night. On Sunday it's church as usual. What do you have going on?

- certainly don't need new ones, but I'm drooling over these sneakers
- this wallpaper is making me seriously wish I had an iPhone
- super sweet gift ideas for Mother's Day
- free printable rainbow invitations for your birthday girl or boy
- definitely adding an animal circus train to my list of things to make (and out of empty tea boxes!)
- I want my whole house to look like this bright space
Matt just unveiled the new bluecube, a revolution in photobooths
- pretty (and free!) printable gift tags

P.S. The weekend yard sale details...
Maybe I'll see you there!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

tea with Rose // Felicia's

Felicia's Coffee in East Greenwich was the next stop on my tea tour with Hillary. We headed south because Hillary was on her way to drop off some merchandise at a shop where she'll be selling some of her jewelry.

I ordered a medium blackberry sage tea as soon as we arrived (it's by Republic of Tea) and was disappointed to find out it was black tea after taking a sip. I think I've mentioned it before, but I don't drink anything caffeinated so I was expecting an herbal blend. I added some lemon and that helped, but also masked the flavor. Bummer.

Despite the black tea disappointment, we enjoyed our time at Felicia's. It has a real neighborhood feel and people were constantly streaming in and out the doors throughout the hour we spent there. The noise level was on the moderate to high end - always good when you have a toddler with you. Ezra didn't bother any one since his babbling and shouting just blended in. I think.

It took all my will power to resist a raspberry chocolate chip cookie at 9:30 in the morning. I'm thinking I should have caved...
Read Hillary's post about our morning right here

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

DIY // a jewelry display frame

For years I've allowed jewelry to collect on my bureau, both gathering dust and inexplicably tying itself in knots while I'm sleeping, I'm sure. I finally decided to do something about it and put an old frame to use in the process. Read on for a full tutorial on how to put together your own jewelry display frame...

What you need: a frame without the glass, cork, fabric, a stapler and staples, and push pins, and possibly some sort of craft glue/hot glue/liquid adhesive

What to do:
First, measure the opening of the back of the frame so you know what size cork you'll need. The rear opening on my frame measured 10" x 14". Now cut the cork to fit the frame:  

I purchased a package of four 12" square cork tiles at Target (it set me back about $5), so I needed to trim two inches off the width and add two inches to the height. You may find it helpful to score the cork with a utility knife first, and then cut along the score mark with scissors. 

In order to add a piece of cork to the top I trimmed a length from one of the other cork tiles using the same method.

At this point, check to make sure the cork fits inside the frame from behind.

Craft glue is a simple way to bond the two pieces of cork together. I waited a few hours to allow it to dry. (Hot glue would have been faster but I wanted to ensure that there wouldn't be any bumpy spots along the seam.) 

Now lay your fabric down on a surface (make sure you have a piece a little larger than your finished piece of cork, and don't forget to iron!) and place the cork on top of the fabric. 

Pull the fabric tightly around the edges of the cork and begin stapling. I knew my staples would be hidden by the face of the frame, but I still spaced the staples evenly. Just something to consider.

Continue along one side, pulling the fabric taut as you go. Yeah, I'm not good at ironing.

Move on to the opposite side to ensure a snug fit, pulling the fabric taut and stapling along the edge again.

Once the first two sides are completed, move on to the corners. Simply fold and tuck until you're happy with the look, and staple once more.

I found it easiest to work on one one corner and then staple across the side until the next corner.

Repeat the process on all sides.

Place the fabric covered cork inside the frame...

...and flip it over to view your masterpiece. Your frame is now ready to hang. (Actually, mine wasn't - Matt attached a sawtooth hanger and then we were good to go.)

Next step - get yourself some fancy push pins and hang up your jewels!

Your new jewelry organizer doubles as wall art. It's a beautiful thing, don't you think?

Monday, April 23, 2012

menu of the week

(illustration by Lucile's Kitchen)

It's 9:30 at night and I'm only now getting this post up so please forgive me. My computer was malfunctioning on and off throughout the day but Matt has it temporarily fixed for now. We'll see how long it lasts, so if I disappear this week blame Dell. Here's what we ate last week:

broiled salmon with Israeli cous cous and haricots verts - This meal was thrown together last minute because I had planned on making a new dish with haddock but when dinner time rolled around I realized I took the wrong package out of the freezer to defrost. Salmon it was. I sprinkled the filet with sea salt and ground pepper and then started boiling water to make cous cous. Next I tossed green beans with olive oil, sea salt, and ground pepper and steamed then in a pan on the stove. Once the sides were going I stuck the salmon under the broiler for about seven minutes. Not bad for a last minute dinner if I may say so.

pizza with homemade crust - Obviously we don't get bored with pizza (we had it last week, too) and we even used the same old toppings. What can I say... we love ourselves some pineapple pizza.

cannellini bean soup - Surprisingly simple and tasty, this light soup was quick (if you don't count cooking the beans before hand, that is) and delicious with crusty bread. Fresh rosemary and thyme brightened the flavor and whole beans lent an interesting texture. Ezra had seconds.

baked macaroni and cheese - A classic recipe from The Joy of Cooking that I make over and over again, this mac & cheese was actually the first dinner I ever made when we returned home from our honeymoon. Mild cheddar, mozzarella, and some Parmigiano is my favorite combination of cheeses. Sometimes I add roasted broccoli to the mix.

pot roast with porcini mushrooms over egg noodles - Giada has never let me down so I was confident that this recipe would turn out well although I'd never made it before. The sauce was smooth and perfect for coating the egg noodles. Plus, we had leftovers for two days.

We also ate our way through three heads of lettuce, four peppers, one European cucumber, and about half a can of black olives in salads throughout the week. Olives on fingertips were an almost endless source of entertainment for Ezra one afternoon. A little playing at the table is allowable, right? ;)

Friday, April 20, 2012

hello weekend

(illustration by Caitlin McGauley for Lonny)

Isn't warm weather the best? We've been enjoying being outside all week long and I'm so looking forward to a sunny weekend. On the agenda: a bike ride along the Cranston bike path, maybe a pit stop at Sundaes, and yet another birthday party for one of Ezra's one year old friends.

the list of things that distracted me this week:
- such pretty details at this watercolor shower
- I think my dream home is a converted barn
- these cards for Mother's Day are so great
- doesn't this pecan and coconut granola sound wicked good?
- I'm really loving bright white spaces lately and this nursery is no exception
- the word on the street is that domino's quick fixes special edition is finally on newsstands... have you picked up a copy?
- even though I love my set of matching mugs, these are irresistable
- I would never refuse a gift of cookies in a canister
- check out this new to me blog, pretty light... it's a new fave (look at the little dolls she makes!)

Enjoy the weekend! I know I will.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The PVD Lady Project

The PVD Lady Project is a network of women in Rhode Island who are making things happen in our little state. I went to the first event for the group in February and met a bunch of awesome ladies that I hope to work with in the future. Lucky for you (if you're a female, that is, and you live in Rhode Island), there's another event next week! Here are some reasons I'm excited about the event: it's at Bravo BrasserieThe Sugar Honey Iced Tea is playing, and best of all, there will be lots of people to meet and mingle with. Interested in going? Check out all the details here, and make sure you say 'hello' - I'd love to meet you!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

cooking local / a class at Johnson & Wales

Last weekend my mom and I took a cooking class at Johnson & Wales that was focused on farm to table dining. I had been looking forward to the class since Christmas (it was a gift from my dad) and I'm happy to say it did not disappoint. 

There were about twelve people in the class plus the instructor and a few assistants, so the kitchen was packed. All the produce we used was from local farms... we were even provided with a list detailing where each ingredient was grown. A menu was presented to us and the chef assigned each course to a pair of students. My mom and I were assigned what had been deemed the most difficult of all - fresh gnocchi. After the cooking portion of the class we were all going to sit down together and share the meal... talk about intimidating!    

First the potatoes had to be baked so they would be soft enough to run through a food mill. 

Next we created a well out of the potato and filled it with flour, a couple eggs, and some olive oil.

The chef shared a tip with us: before forming the well, lay down four large pieces of parchment paper. Then you actually use them to knead the dough! Fold the paper in half (doing your best to keep the eggs from running all over the table, of course) and press on the dough a couple of times. Open it up, turn the whole mess a quarter turn, and repeat. You continually fold the paper, turning it a quarter turn after each time until everything is incorporated. The table and your hands stay clean!

After I kneaded the dough just a bit more (without the parchment paper) to make sure there weren't any large pockets of flour hiding in there, it was time to roll out the gnocchi. I rolled out long ropes of the dough and used a bench scraper to cut them into little pillows about an inch by an inch and a half. We rolled each pillow into a ball and then over a fork to create the little lines that are the hallmark of gnocchi.

While I was overseeing the gnocchi production line, my mom had been preparing all the other ingredients for our dish: Brussels sprouts that were blanched and then sauteed, shaved Parmigiano, and rendered pancetta. It all came together beautifully to make my favorite part of the meal. Now if only I can work up the courage to try it at home. Whether I make fresh gnocchi again or not, I know I would love to take another class. I'm thinking basic pastry skills would be a good one, if only because we'll be eating pastry afterward. Have you ever taken a cooking class?

Monday, April 16, 2012

menu of the week

We're back from our lazy weekend, and while it was nice to eat out for a few meals I'm looking forward to cooking up a storm this week. Here's the menu of the week:

one pot kale and quinoa pilaf - This one is a favorite of ours and while it's simple to prepare it packs a lot of flavor. If you want to save time, buy a package of kale that's already chopped (Trader Joe's usually has them). And don't skimp on the pine nuts. Oh, and we use goat cheese instead of feta.

pizza with homemade crust - Pizza never fails to please me. We topped one with chopped pineapple (my fave) and one with peppers and onions (Matt's fave). And there was the requisite garden salad to go along with our slices.

chicken pot pie with cream cheese and chive biscuits - I made this for friends who just had a new baby using a rotisserie chicken from Whole Foods. I made the biscuits first, and after stirring together the sauce and precooking the veggies a bit, it was really just a matter of assembling. Ezra snacked on an extra biscuit (I think I made them thinner than Joy suggests) while I cleaned up.

sweet and spicy shrimp fajitas with Caribbean slaw - The bright flavors of the cilantro and pineapple contrasted nicely with the salty shrimp, but one downfall of our fajitas was an unbalanced ratio of slaw to shrimp. Next time I would add four or five shrimp to each fajita instead of just two.

roasted kale with carmelized shallots, beans, and eggs - How can you go wrong with roasted kale? Some people are shaking their heads right now, but if you haven't tried roasted kale you must. Topping those crispy green leaves with white beans and fried eggs put this over the top.

Do yourself a favor and try at least one of the kale dishes listed above. I wish we had some leftovers of the pilaf because I could really go for some right about now.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

hello {early} weekend

I've been a terrible blogger this week and I really have no excuse. There were a few ideas for posts floating around in my head but I didn't get the pictures taken so they remain unwritten. Consider them something to look forward to. And I'm heading out early this week because Matt has the day off tomorrow, so I'm thinking of scheduling a massage in the morning. It's been a while since my last one (I was still pregnant with Ezra!) so I'm really looking forward to it. Since Matt will be home, I hope to get lots of loose ends tied up around the house before we head out to a historic inn for the weekend. I can't wait to spend the next few days exploring a new town with my two boys. Any Southbridge, Massachusetts area recommendations?

Here are a few links to keep you busy until the real weekend begins...
- these little chocolates look so easy... and fancy!
- a rainbow cake made with natural dyes is on my 'to bake' list (yes, I have a 'to bake' list)
- a few words on cookies and being a mom
- still haven't made sock monkey, but this tutorial has inspired me
- definitely making these push pins for my new inspiration board (pictures to come!)
this post got me thinking about my own wardrobe basics
- love the combination of neutrals and bright colors in this studio
- this guide to table manners is spot on

Hope to see you back here next week! I promise I'll be a more responsible blogger.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Happy Monday

I'm skipping this week's menu post in favor of some photos from Easter (and because I already recycled my menu planning sheet and can't remember what we ate without racking my brain). We spent yesterday morning at church, brought Ezra home for a nice nap, and then headed to Matt's aunt's house for dinner. Ezra and his cousin Jacob had a blast searching for eggs in the flower beds and playing with a giant bubble wand and three bottles of "Super Miracle Bubbles," although their older cousins may have had just as much fun...

After looking through these pictures, I've noticed that Ezra is usually running away from the camera, so there are few images with his face in them. We're recovering from the festivities today, just a little grocery shopping and a quick trip to the library earlier and now we're at home napping. Well, Ezra's napping and I just wish I was. Instead I think I'll go have a piece of rice pie.

Friday, April 6, 2012

hello weekend

(image by Tina Fussell via a subtle revelry)

Before I get into the usual list type things I usually write about on Fridays, I wanted to share something that is more important than all the Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs, Peeps, and Cadbury Caramel Eggs in the world...

"Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men. But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.” So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word. And as they went to tell His disciples,behold, Jesus met them, saying, “Rejoice!” So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.” Matthew 28:1-10

Jesus died so that we might have eternal life through our belief in Him. It's that simple. To learn more about Easter and how you can have the same simple faith, come to the Easter concert at our church tonight at 7:30. Please email me if you have any questions!

So, besides going to the Easter concert tonight (Matt will be playing the drums, by the way!), tomorrow we hope to make it to an Easter egg hunt at The Farmer's Daughter, and then I'm taking a class at Johnson & Wales on farm to table cooking. I'm also making these brie and puff pastry bites for Easter on Sunday - my sister-in-law, Becky, and I are on appetizer duty.

- a good article about how to pin on pinterest with respect
mini grilled cheese with tomato soup. two of my favorites never looked so cute.
- I love this simple way to combine three kids in one room (check out the awesome neighborhood map!)
- the most hilarious lip balm ever
- the sweetest Easter stickers you'll ever see
- can't wait to check out the party line for kids at H&M (for all you Rhode Islanders, one is coming to Warwick Mall in the spring!)

Happy Easter, and I hope you're rejoicing this weekend because He is alive!

Thursday, April 5, 2012


Give me a bunch of Muscat grapes, a hunk (or two) of Pecorino Romano, and a square of Ghirardelli 60% chocolate and I'm a happy girl. I recently discovered Muscat grapes at Whole Foods and have gone through four or five bags in just a couple of weeks. They have sweet, almost floral flavor and a slightly thicker skin than other grapes, as well as teeny tiny seeds. Plus, they're the prettiest color, don't you think? They make for the perfect snack any time of day, and I'm looking forward to have a few more later this afternoon.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

take forty-seven // my new profile photo

Everyone always assumes that because my husband is a photographer that I have great photos of myself. Not so. More often than not, I'm trying to jump out of the frame as Matt captures images of Ezra, usually because I don't like my hair or my outfit or some other silly reason. When Matt wants to try out new techniques or styles of shooting he expects me to be his guinea pig but I am the least willing subject he can find. However, recently Matt wanted to experiment with some lighting in our basement and I've been wanting a new photo for the blog since I removed the one I had in my profile months ago. Although Matt took it, he said he didn't like it, plus my hair is longer now (and not as smooth for some strange reason). So I agreed to sit for him for a while as long as I got some profile pictures out of it, but if you ask Matt I groveled. Anyway, here are some of the photos from our basement shoot, complete with outfit changes and outtakes.

here I am just warming up. I was making this face on purpose, I promise. 

my instructions here were "look at the water heater"

goofing off while Matt adjusts the tripods

trying to get my point across

sneezing, and letting Matt know I have at least one more sneeze in me

I was ready to be done before Matt was

and the one I ended up with

Matt, sorry for giving you such a hard time! And thanks for all the time you spent post-processing the images, especially my infamous first selection. Read more on that on Matt's blog post about the shoot right here
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