Monday/Memorial Day

May 30, 2011



To a happy Monday and a thoughtful Memorial Day. I'll be out of town, and (possibly) unplugged for the next week and a half, but I hope to have many things to share with you when I get back. Until then!

Wedding Wednesday

May 25, 2011

Matt and I have been really busy this week with wedding projects, but I don't get to share them with you until they're camera-ready. All I can say is that I'm really, really excited!

This week, I came across some images of inspiration for a few simple wedding DIYs. The best part? I already have all or most of the materials required to make them. I love it when that happens.

Ring pillows via The Ritzy Bee Blog

Dried flowers and herbs from Design Sponge.

 Flags made of washi tape via Pinksuedeshoe.

Drinking jars with name tags via Ruffled

Sheet music backdrop by Pobke Photography via Postcards and Pretties.

In the Garden

May 23, 2011

Summer is less than one month away. I know this because the first full day of summer is June 21st, the day after my birthday. This is now one of my favorite times of the year (I can't pick just one!) because things are sprouting and growing, and the dirt isn't soppy and wet anymore.

Yesterday was a little rainy, but Matt and I went out to the local farmer's market, and then worked out in the garden all day. After we were done, we lit up the barbecue. I had to bring out my blanket and a hot cup of tea, but it was really nice. Especially after the coals in the grill were red enough to warm my feet.

As for our garden, the lettuce and Thyme seeds that we planted last weekend have sprouted.

Lettuce Seedlings Lettuce Seedlings

Our whole backyard area is really shady, so we have to be strategic with where we place our planters. I'm still not sure we have the right conditions to grow tomatoes and peppers, but we're going to give it another try. Last year was a huge failure, but that was mostly the weather's fault.

This year, we're planning to grow some of our vegetables out at Matt's grandfather's place, which will make things a lot easier for us. They have a beautiful (and huge!) garden, and I'm so glad they're willing to share part of it with us.

Mint Bulgarian Carrot Pepper

We'll probably plant some beans and cucumbers for pickles, and we'll plant most of our tomatoes out there, too. But for our apartment, we decided to try a couple cherry tomato varieties: Yellow Pear and Riesentraube.

Yellow Pear Tomato Plant Riesentraube Tomato Plant

We also transplanted some dill, and planted our chive and chamomile seeds. A lot of these herbs are first-timers for me, so I'm crossing my fingers.

Lunch

May 19, 2011

Lunch

My favorite way to eat tuna: mixed with homemade bread & butter pickles, dilly beans, a minced clove of garlic, salt & pepper, and just the tiniest squeeze of mayo. I rarely eat breakfast, but lunch has my utmost respect.

How do you eat your tuna?

Wedding Wednesday

May 18, 2011

This week, with the help of this tutorial, I made wreaths constructed from toilet paper rolls.

TP Wreath

I was afraid that they would look tacky, but I think they're going to fit in nicely with our wedding. Especially after I add flowers and ribbon. After the wedding, I'll try to find a way to reuse them for Christmas.

I also finished my crocheted flags...

Crocheted Flags


Crocheted Flags

I wasn't sure I liked them enough, so I hung them on the wall to contemplate the issue. The next morning, I came downstairs and was pleasantly surprised. I guess they're keepers!

And last but not least, Matt and I found a cute couple at the thrift store for our dessert table.



This will hopefully be one of many little pairs we make/find. We'll see!

On Sourdough

May 16, 2011

Matt and I were finally able to plant some seeds last week. The sun breaks were so nice that we spent most of our time gardening and walking around the neighborhood. I like it when the weather is warm enough during the day to open the windows. The fresh air is always welcome, even when it's raining.

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls

I also spent some time experimenting with sourdough. I've had my homemade culture for over a year now, and I've used it every week to bake our daily bread, but I haven't gone beyond my go-to recipe (King Arthur's Rustic Sourdough Bread) until now. When I first started this process, my sourdough starter wasn't very active. As a result, I used it exclusively in recipes that called for both sourdough starter and commercial yeast. Over time, my starter has developed into something that can handle itself, so now I'm experimenting around to see how much it can do.

Right now, I'm working on a recipe for sourdough cinnamon rolls. So far, so delicious! I hope to share it with you soon.

Lemon Curd

May 13, 2011

Lemon Curd

I wrote about lemon curd for My Own Labels the other day, and I wanted to share the recipe over here with you folks. Lemon curd is actually really simple to prepare. I've made it on several occasions, and will say that the recipe from The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters is my favorite. I really love sour foods most of the time, but there are some lemon curd recipes that really make my mouth pucker. This recipe, however, is nice and mild, and can be used in several different ways: baked in a tart shell, spooned over scones, whipped into heavy whipping cream as a filling for cake...

Lemon Zest

I've heard that it's best to use Meyer Lemons (a cross between a lemon and an orange) for lemon curd because they're sweet, but I've never been able to find them. I bet you could mix a little freshly squeezed lemon and orange juice together to make something interesting. Or you could replace the lemons with limes.

Lemon Curd
Makes two cups, or one pint.
 •4 lemons
• 2 eggs
• 3 egg yolks
• 2 tablespoons milk
• 1/3 cup sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon salt (omit if using salted butter)
• 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) of butter, cut into small pieces

Grate the zest of one lemon and set aside. Juice the lemons; there should be about 1/2 cup juice. Beat the eggs, egg yolks, milk, sugar and salt together until just mixed. Stir in the lemon juice and the lemon zest. Add the butter.

Cook in a nonreactive heavy pan, stirring constantly over medium heat with a wire whisk. Continue stirring until the mixture is thick enough to coat a spoon, and remove from heat. Do not allow the mixture to boil, or the eggs will curdle.

Pour into clean glass jars to cool. Cover and refrigerate for up to two weeks.

Wedding Wednesday

May 11, 2011

Wedding Invitations

Our wedding invitations are ready to go out this week! Whew. I think they're perfect, and I'm really excited to send them to our friends and family. A huge thank you to my friend, Rachel, who designed, printed and cut them for us.

Wedding Invitations

Stamps

Because our guest list is modest, I was able to stamp each address/return address by hand with my alphabet stamps. It took about two days, but I really like the way it looks. I also found a flag banner stamp from a local craft store, and used it to border the addresses.

I originally intended on buying a pre-made return address stamp, but changed my mind because of the issue regarding last names. I knew I'd be changing my name after the wedding, so I didn't want to be stuck with a stamp that carried my old last name, but I also felt it would be inappropriate to jump the gun and have the stamp made with my future last name before it was even official.

Silly details.

Anyway, we'll be sending these out this week with the 29-cent postage stamps that Matt and I found online. Each stamp has a picture of a different herb, and in case you hadn't already noticed, I'm pretty much sold on anything with herbs.

Monday

May 9, 2011



Good morning! I hope you had a fun Mother's Day weekend. Matt and I spent the day over at his parent's house, filling our bellies and watching The King's Speech. It was so cozy and warm over there that we had to take a quick stroll around the block (in the rain) to wake ourselves up when we got home.



Speaking of rain, I'm crossing my fingers for a little break. Matt and I have been itching to go outside and play in the dirt...

Wedding Wednesday

May 4, 2011

Good morning! I can't believe it's already May, and that our wedding is only four months away. I have a lot to do, so today I thought I'd share some things that are inspiring me for D.I.Y. projects:

 Whimsy Crown via Pinterest (if you know the original source, please let me know).




 Table Settings via Style Me Pretty.

I think it'd be really neat if Matt and I could make a cupcake stand, table settings, and cake toppers in similar styles. As for the whimsy crown and necklace? I may have to treat myself as a reward for all the hard work. :)

Star-Anise Scones

May 3, 2011

Star Anise Scones

I wanted to make these star-anise scones because I thought they'd go really well with the lemon curd that I made last week (recipe coming soon). They so did.

I'll be honest, these scones are somewhat of a triumph for me. I've never liked the taste of anise, licorice or fennel seeds, but lately I've been craving hints of the flavor. It's pleasantly surprising!

Now, if only I could change my feelings about beets...

Star Anise Scones Star Anise Scones

I've found that there aren't many foods I don't like. There are, however, objectionable methods of food preparation. But I find that most foods have 'delicious potential,' and that's a hopeful thought. Maybe someday I'll find the right way to prepare those dreadful beets that everyone claims to love so much. I'm (trying to be) optimistic.

Star Anise Scones

Star-Anise Scones
Recipe very slightly adapted from Bon App├ętit.

2/3 cup heavy whipping cream, divided
1 large egg
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons freshly ground star anise
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick (or 6 tablespoons) butter

2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons raw sugar

Preheat oven to 400°F. Whisk 1/2 cup cream, egg, and lemon peel in medium bowl. Whisk flour and next 5 ingredients in large bowl. Using large holes of box grater, grate butter over dry ingredients. Using fingertips, blend until coarse meal forms. Add raisins and cream mixture. Stir until moist clumps form, adding more cream by tablespoonfuls if dough is dry. Turn out onto floured surface; knead just until dough comes together.

Pat out dough to 1/2-inch-thick round. Using 2-inch-diameter cutter, cut out scones. Gather dough scraps; press out to 1/2-inch thickness and cut out additional scones. Transfer to baking sheet.

Brush tops of scones with 2 tablespoons cream; sprinkle with raw sugar. Bake until golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 16 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

May 2, 2011

032

It's interesting to see the different reactions to Osama bin Laden's death. Some people are overjoyed, disgusted, indifferent... I find that such strong reactions in either direction make me tense.