Sunday, January 30, 2011

oh and this too...

From Apartment Therapy... Check out this loft house tour..


There is something about this space that makes me so happy. The mix of old and new. The fact that it is not so perfect and stylish at every glance (I am thinking of the sofas and chairs). It is so beautiful and lived in and real. I love seeing a home that has clearly made use of what they had and what they could find than felt the pressure to make everything perfect in a designy kind of way.
I  lerve the  HUGE kitchen sink! And the SPACE!  If I had to live in a city I could handle this...

granola bars

Lately I have been getting into the habit of spending a larger portion of my weekends baking or preparing nytimes  no knead dough for baking. For the last two weekends I try to get most of my reading for the week done by early afternoons Sunday and spend the rest of the day being domestic. Last week it was all about baking biscuits, poaching chicken,  preparing bread dough, and making a labor intensive beef stew. This weekend I made the granola bars my friend and neighbor has been making and enjoying. She got the recipe from smitten kitchen  (a fabulous cooking blog).
Her thick chewy granola bars are amazing. The recipe is so flexible, which means you can probably make them right now.

This is the perfect thing to have around two growing boys who are always hungry and for whom the "grab a piece of fruit" answer only works so many times.

Here is the recipe... Though it is hard to read os you should probably go straight to Smitten kitchen...

1 2/3 cups quick rolled oats (if gluten-free, be sure to use gluten-free oats)
1/2 to 3/4 cup granulated sugar (use more for a sweetness akin to most purchased bars; use less for a mildly sweet bar)
1/3 cup oat flour (or 1/3 cup oats, processed till finely ground in a food processor or blender)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 to 3 cups dried fruits and nuts (total of 10 to 15 ounces)*
1/3 cup peanut butter or another nut butter (I used almond butter) (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional, namely because I was not convinced that the flavor came through)
6 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup honey, maple syrup or corn syrup
2 tablespoons light corn syrup (see Note above)
1 tablespoon water

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8″ x 8″ x 2″ pan in one direction with parchment paper, allowing it to go up the opposing sides. Lightly grease the parchment paper and the exposed pan, or coat with a non-stick spray.
Stir together all the dry ingredients, including the fruit and nuts. In a separate bowl, whisk together the vanilla, melted butter or oil, liquid sweeteners and water. Toss the wet ingredients with the dry (and peanut butter, if you’re using it) until the mixture is evenly crumbly. Spread in the prepared pan, pressing them in firmly to ensure they are molded to the shape of the pan. (A piece of plastic wrap can help with this, as you press down on the back of it.)
Bake the bars for 30 to 40 minutes, until they’re brown around the edges — don’t be afraid to get a little color on the tops too. They’ll still seem soft and almost underbaked when you press into the center of the pan but do not worry, they’ll set completely once completely cool.
Cool the bars in their pan completely on a cooling rack. (Alternately, after about 20 minutes you can use your parchment “sling” to lift and remove the bars, and place them in their paper on the rack to cool the rest of the way. This can speed the process up.)
Once cool, a serrated knife (or bench knife) to cut the bars into squares. [Updating to note, as many had crumbling issues:] If bars seem crumbly, chill the pan of them further in the fridge for 30 minutes which will fully set the “glue”, then cut them cold. To store, wrap the bars individually in plastic or stack them in an airtight container. In humid weather, it’s best to store bars in the refrigerator. They also freeze well.

A few notes...I used peanut butter and butter. I had just run out of honey so I used a combo of molasses, agave syrup and granulated sugar (all in all , less sweetener than she used)
I used walnuts, dark and light raisins, unsweetened coconut and a small handful of dark chocolate chips. 
I added a bit of wheat germ. I barely measured anything, mostly eyeballing it all and they turned out wonderfully. Delicious and holding together very well. 

  Some girlfriends and I hung out last night. we nibbled on appetizers, slurped soup from freshside, drank vino and played the old 1970s board game CAREERS. By the end, I had gone on and expedition to the moon, found uranium, acted in Hollywood, spent a year at sea and been elected to the Supreme Court.  And I still lost. But it was fun.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

a little boy's desk

I feel like I may have posted something about his desk when we first go it, but I was struck today by how sweet and colorful his desk looked today (after I dusted all of the eraser bits and pencil shavings off of it..).
 Henry's latest lap top creation..

 A collection of knick knacks

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Poem About Snow

The Snowfall Is So Silent 
by Miguel de Unamuno
translated by 
Robert Bly

The snowfall is so silent,
so slow,
bit by bit, with delicacy
it settles down on the earth
and covers over the fields.
The silent snow comes down
white and weightless; 
snowfall makes no noise,
falls as forgetting falls, 
flake after flake.
It covers the fields gently
while frost attacks them
with its sudden flashes of white;
covers everything with its pure
and silent covering;
not one thing on the ground
anywhere escapes it.
And wherever it falls it stays,
content and gay,
for snow does not slip off 
as rain does,
but it stays and sinks in.
The flakes are skyflowers,
pale lilies from the clouds,
that wither on earth.
They come down blossoming
but then so quickly
they are gone;
they bloom only on the peak,
above the mountains,
and make the earth feel heavier
when they die inside.
Snow, delicate snow,
that falls with such lightness 
on the head,
on the feelings,
come and cover over the sadness
that lies always in my reason.

Friday, January 21, 2011

stuff to be pleased with...

This etsy shop was practically designed for me, being such an unabashed Janeite.

Scarf- Mr. Darcy proposal scene
Imagine a soft GRAY scarf (I am obsessed with gray lately) adorned with Mr. Darcy's proposal to Jane.

Momofuku's Cereal Milk Ice Cream

The above is ridiculous. And sounds delicious.  It is cereal milk ice cream. It reminds me a bit of  my beloved Mukki Cereali which I was addicted to when I studied abroad in Florence. In the Spring, when my Brioche top has abated and I can validate cooking with heavy cream and cornflakes, this will be made.

In the meantime, my mind is on B.F Skinner and Behaviorism.

Which is fascinating and not completely believable to me yet, sorry Dr. T., Free Will has been ingrained in my psyche for a while now.

And whether I should get a nook or a kindle for a class concerning technology and education.

This article and the debate and hulabaloo Amy Chua's book has stirred is quite interesting...

Have a great weekend folks, it is almost time for my friday glass ov vino! Cocktail hour! Woohoo!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Thank You

So much

Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Madame Bovary

I finished Amy and Isabelle by Elizabeth Strout. Wonderful. Heart rending. Beautiful writing. In the novel, Madame Bovary by Gustav Flaubert is mentioned. I have yet to read it and it has literally been at the top of my "to read" list. Maggie B (thanks for the book idea Maggie!) and I are going to start reading it soon. If any of you dear readers care to join us please do.  We could talk about it via email or blog or something. Lydia Davis' recently translated version is supposed to be a masterpiece..."[Davis] has a finer ear for the natural cadences of English, in narrative and dialogue, than any of her predecessors, and there are many moments in her Madame Bovary when one pauses to admire how clean and spare a sentence seems by comparison with its earlier translated versions. . . . Only a very good writer indeed could have written it. . . . The bones of the original French show clearly through her English, and the rawness of her translation is, on the whole, invigorating." 
-Jonathan Raban, The New York Review of Books 

Friday, January 14, 2011

maiden voyage of the new ice cream maker...and another attempt at a melancholy song

1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups heavy cream, well chilled
1-2 tsp peppermint extract

dark chocolate, chopped

As I poured the above (except for chocolate) ingredients (after they were blended and the sugar was dissolved) into my spanking new ice cream maker (my thighs thank you mom and dad), I was thinking- my kids don't even have to know I made this, they are at school right now. This was thought with my mouth full of chocolate. Then I realized how ridiculous I was being. I can save them a little of it. Sheesh.

I plan to make grapefruit sorbet. I promise. But the cookies are gone and well, I have all this high fat dairy in my frigo.

Below is For Maggie and Aunt Denise- Because you requested another song. I haven't gotten much better. Too busy reading and stuffing my face. Also, I am sick of my repertoire. I found the chords for this song today, which partially explains that mistake towards the end. It makes me think of those desperately sad commercials for aspca. I need to improve my strumming. But it is so hard.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Logic out the Window or Molasses Chocolate Chip Cookies

Some people approach the holidays with caution, telling themselves that they are going to limit the number of sweets they eat, keep active, fill up on salads and water before every meal. Some day, I may treat holidays like this but I am not ready for that yet. I generally do the opposite. Weeks before the holidays I start dreaming of the number of cocktails and glasses of wine I will consume. I revel in the anticipation of eating cutouts decked out in frosting, thick molassesy slabs of sponge candy drenched in fine chocolate, gooey wedges of my neighbors boozy rum-soaked cake, sticky sweet pecan pie and coffee with cream. And I plan on sitting and reading. Drinking vino, eating and sitting. Because before the holidays comes stress of being in grad school, of teaching, of having two active boys and living in a sardine can and general life stress.  So it is my gift to myself, to let go. And it is why now my middle feels like a tub of jello. Also my gym closed but that is another story.

 So yesterday I baked cookies.

Because moms bake on snow days. That is one of my rules. It just is. Sorry. FYI, they also go out in their own snow pants for about an hour, if they want to. And maybe they watch part of a BBC adaptation and knit. 

THE COOKIES from Joy the Baker. She is hilarious. Read her blog. It cracks me up. 
Curt made these over the break but his were even better than mine. And mine were really good. He doesn't know just what he did differently but he adapted it a bit. Which frustrates me and also is a relief. For my waistline.

My children played outside nearly ALL DAY. The rule is they have to come in once it is dark. They still have all of their fingers and toes. But their cheeks were numb for a bit. 
 Ez is still mucho cheek so his face wasn't working well for a bit.

H. looked like a Yeti.

Monday, January 10, 2011

I want to go to here.

My dream couch is a deep teal velvety number like this. from Poppytalk...

Simon Upton for Elle Decor via Poppytalk

and with the golden  side table and yellow pillows? I am in love.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


One of my goals, yeah right, over break was to knit a cowl. I bought some beautifully variegated emerald green yarn and knit what is more like a snood. It is soft and pretty but it is not at all what I originally wanted to knit. I did it rather quickly. Below is what I originally wanted and still want. But now I can't really validate buying more expensive yarn and school is about to begin. So the end of my wealth of extra time is nigh. Whine whine.

Below is the exquisite Herringbone Cowl at purl bee which I discovered on Poppy talk, fast becoming one of my favorite blogs, which means not so much since I heart a dozen blogs...oh well.

I think one of the things I need to work on is being patient and focusing on achieving what I really want without taking shortcuts because I inevitably regret them.

I am starting a new book. That is something I have time for. And it is not Winter's Bone, I can't handle that much melancholy right now. I am reading Amy and Isabelle- Elizabeth Strout. Which I certainly hope is less melancholy. I will let you know. Maggie B. loved it and she has wonderful taste in literature. And Elizabeth Strout wrote the Pulitzer winning Olive Kitteredge, which I loved.

Can you tell I am feeling blue? Lately that has been my default emotion. But to cheer me up, and you too should you need it.... Masterpiece Theatre has a brand new miniseries premiering this very evening!!!! Downtown Abbey

It has gotten some good reviews and should be very helpful to me on the next few cold Sunday evenings. Oh and just in case you don't have television, this is something you can watch online on the Masterpiece website, how utterly convenient (said with a British accent of course).

Friday, January 7, 2011

A Memory of Rose, who passed away three years ago.

Rose and I decided to be in a talent show together. Most likely she talked me into it. We always sang together, so of course we chose to sing a song. She sang the low notes I sang the high. I had such stage fright. She held my hands and we faced each other and sang the song below.  And now whenever I hear it, I smile a bit and I cry a bit, thinking of her and her strong hands and her beautiful belt-it-out voice. The way she did so many things with such force and passion inspired me then and it continues to inspire me now. I love you, Rosie. Thank you.

Under African Skies

Joseph's face was black as night 
The pale yellow moon shone in his eyes 
His path was marked 
By the stars in the southern hemisphere 
And he walked his days 
Under african skies 
This is the story of how we begin to remember 
This is the powerful pulsing of love in the vein 
After the dream of falling and calling your name out 
These are the roots of rhythm 
And the roots of rhythm remain 

In early memory 
Mission music 
Was ringing 'round my nursery door 
I said take this child, lord 
From tucson arizona 
Give her the wings to fly through harmony 
And she won't bother you no more 

This is the story of how we begin to remember 
This is the powerful pulsing of love in the vein 
After the dream of falling and calling your name out 
These are the roots of rhythm 
And the roots of rhythm remain 

Joseph's face was black as night 
And the pale yellow moon shone in his eyes 
His path was marked 
By the stars in the southern hemisphere 
And he walked the length of his days 
Under african skies

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Oh yeah and I read a bit...

The Hunger Games Trilogy was my holiday, Apocolyptic, non-stop sci-fi, page turning indulgence.

This cookbook is turning into exactly what I needed to resuscitate my cooking blahs.

This has some fun crewel patterns in it, perfect for winter crafting.
This is one of my favorite novels and I haven't reread it in a few years...

This is my next read...

The New Year- Look, Listen, taste, sit.

Inspiration for a NEW FABULOUS YEAR. If you say it like you mean it, you might end up believing it.

These chickens make me OH SO HAPPY. From United Thread.

Two Chicken -Limited Edition Print

And this new single from Adele is a winner. New album is coming out soon ish?

Let's eat some of this...

Baked Farro Pasta

And lets sit in a soft velvety jewel-toned chair like this ...I must say I love the chair but wouldn't necessarily choose everything else in the photo...

Happy New Year! May your food be delicious, may you see beauty, may you sit in comfortable chairs. May you hear lovely music.


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