Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Okay, so I haven't actually sewn a stitch, but I did get all my pieces cut out for my patriotic / nautical quilt(s).  Hundreds and hundreds of half-square triangles.  I usually gravitate toward a quilting style that evolves as I go, but I'm trying something new: traditional planned quilting!  I actually cut everything out ahead of time and (loosely) counted my pieces.


I love the navy/white stripe fabric best.  It is actually an old sheet I bought at Good Will during Katie's visit.

Then, I auditioned various layouts before sewing.
 alternating red and blue

 (the rest were taken with the camera phone to text to abby in real-time brainstorming. Please excuse the graininess and coloring.)

thick diagonal stripes of three, alternating

red and blue horizontal layout

4) winner #1:
red with a random smattering of blue

5) winner # 2 (my personal favorite):
blue with a random smattering of red

I'm pretty sure I have enough for two coordinating twin bed sized quilts.I'm really liking the freshness of the blue and white with little red surprises.

Friday, June 25, 2010


Dear God, please teleport me into this photo.  Love, Monica

Have a great weekend!
Tonight is the belated family Father's Day dinner.  This is the card I'll be giving him.  It's pretty much spot on.  Love you, Dad!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I like to cook.  A lot.  Monday night I made one of the more delicious dinners I've had in a long time.  The pasta dish was inspired by a recipe I'd seen on Smitten Kitchen for asparagus, goat cheese and lemon pasta, but I simplified it for my own ingredients, using peas instead of asparagus, and leaving out the tarragon.  The peas were actually really nice in the dish because it offered a subtle sweetness rather than the subtle bitterness asparagus has.

The herbed cucumber salad was inspired by a dish I saw in my latest issue of Food & Wine Magazine.  I didn't actually go look at the recipe; I just gawked at the picture with its chunks of cucumber tossed in fresh herbs, and thought, I could do that.  I just peeled a hothouse cucumber, sliced it, and tossed it in the Splendid Table's Basic Vinaigrette, and snipped some fresh dill and fresh mint I had on hand.  I lightly salted and peppered it before serving.  It was fresh and delicious.

It is the pork chop I'm most proud of.  Safeway was having a 30% off special on thin-cut pork chops, so I snagged a package of three.  I rinsed the chops under cold water, patted them dry, let them sit at room temp for about 30 minutes and rubbed them with Montreal steak seasoning before putting them on a pan to sear them.  Andrew always gives me a face when I suggest pork, probably because of a bad past experience he had with over-cooked dry pork.  One bad experience and he tends to write off an entire food.  Same thing happened with an over-garlicy lamb burger (not mine), but I've done lamb he said was delicious, so I take his protests with a grain of salt and as a challenge to prove there's a delicious way to prepare all food, and it doesn't have to be masked in butter and cheese.

I've been doing a lot of reading on the proper way to cook meat, and I think I've got it down: pat it dry, rub it with seasoning, place on medium-high heat and don't touch it until it's ready to flip.  It's also a cardinal sin to stab your meat with a fork in order to pick it up and flip it - I got myself some silicone-coated tongs to turn meat, and they work great.  Above all, don't over-cook it!  I allowed the meat to rest for a couple minutes after taking it off the heat and it ended up being super flavorful and juicy.  Andrew said a couple times how delicious it was.  See, Andrew?  Pork is delicious if you do it right.

The best part?  There were leftovers, and I get to have them for lunch today.  Yessssss.

[update: the pasta does not reheat well, but it tastes great cold!]

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Test Drive

In about three weeks I leave to embark on an east coast mother-daughter vacation of epic proportions.  The first part of the trip will begin like my normal adult life:  Andrew and I have a friend's wedding to attend in Baltimore.  After the Fourth of July, the dynamic will change; my mom, who is a teacher and has summers off, will be flying out to meet me and thus begins two weeks of a mother-daughter adventure unlike any other...

I haven't been to the east coast since I was twelve, and I believe this will be a different experience.  For one thing, I'm about a thousand times less awkward.  I also have zero agenda for this trip - leaving that to my mom who is a compulsive over-planner / over-researcher when it comes to traveling (something I've grown to really appreciate since I became an adult!).  This is not to say I don't have expectations or ideals about how things are going to go.  When we started talking about this trip, I started fantasizing about strolling along some boardwalk somewhere in preppy white shorts, summery heeled sandals, and colorful tank tops, sporting a glorious tan.  My mom and I would be sipping diet pepsis through straws and snapping pictures of ourselves with beach-scapes in the background.  I have no idea if this will actually happen, but I'll be dressed for it and today I am taking one of these summer outfits out for a spin, just for fun.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Black Boots

My friend Anika needs some black boots.  I've spent a little time pouring over my three fave shoe shopping websites and grabbed a selection.  Let's vote (in the comments section).

Under Go Bootie

Foldover Bootie

Daisy Doo Bootie

Ava Bootie

Ultimo Bootie

Dos I Do Bootie

Oxford Lace Up Patent Bootie

Rosabella Bootie

Ruffle Bootie

Fiddle Bootie

Propose Bootie

Ruched Bootie

And one more, which are open-toed and I know not what she wants, but they were funnnnn:
Kernal Bootie

Ok Ani, are there any on the right track?  There were a ton more I passed over just because I didn't want to overwhelm this post.  Do we need a round two?  Leave your votes in the comments section.  I need to figure out how to get a vote button on my blog one of these days.

Friday, June 4, 2010

If My Girlfriends Were Shoes: Alexis Edition

Alexis is one of my nearest and dearest.  We've gone through a lot together and between study sessions in Mission Gardens, crying our eyes out at the marina in Barcelona, and somewhere in there becoming responsible adults, we've gotten ever closer.  She reminds me of a spangly gold stiletto sandal.  Classy dinner or party all night, Alexis is up for it and always has a great time.  She's leading tomorrow's generation by day, but after the students are out of sight she knows how to let loose.  Catch her in the right mood and she just might take you up on that crazy dare!

Sunshine, Please

It's raining again today and I didn't feel like wearing a skirt, but I didn't feel like getting the bottoms of my pants soaked, so I'm going summery with my outfit today.  What are y'all wearing today?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Simple Suppers

Please excuse the cell phone upload.  My camera battery was dead and I wanted to share this with you.

Monday night marked our four year anniversary.  It was the end of a long rainy weekend and we had been celebrating for three days, so we wanted something simple and fresh to cap off the day we'd spent at Green Lake.  A bowl of garlicy salty steamed clams seemed just the thing.  We decided to forgo the wine and give our livers a break, but I did include a little dry white wine in the broth of my clams.  Paired with a bright herby green salad and some fresh baked bread, it was the ideal light feast.  I have to do this more often.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Pina Colada Pie.... A Daydream

 I have been fantasizing about two things: pina coladas and making pies.  In fact, I had a hard time falling asleep last night because I was getting all worked up about the idea of a pina colada pie.  Furthermore, I overslept by an hour this morning because my dreams had shifted to pies and they were just so beautiful.  This morning, I haven't been able to stop thinking about how I would craft such a pie.  I think the best bet is to adapt an egg custard pie and take it up a notch.  Adapted from THIS RECIPE, here's what I have in mind.


  •  zest of 1 lime
  • 1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust, made from my secret family recipe.  (Add the zest of 1 lime to the crust mix and stir through before you add the water)
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 egg white
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 15oz can coconut milk
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup dark rum
  • Sliced fresh pineapple
  • 1 cup whipped cream for topping
  • 2 Tbsp toasted coconut flakes for topping


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). 
  2. On a baking sheet, bake fresh pineapple slices for 15 min
  3. Meanwhile, heat coconut milk, lime juice, and rum together in a pan until just barely boiling and remove from heat source.
  4. Mix together 3 eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla. Stir well. Blend in the heated coconut milk, lime juice, and rum.
  5. Line pie pan with pastry, and brush inside bottom and sides of shell with egg white to help prevent a soggy crust. Pour custard mixture into pie crust.
  6. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on rack.
  7. Fan baked pineapple slices over top of pie, and top with whipped cream and toasted coconut just before serving.
 So there it is.  Of course I haven't tried it yet, but I'm getting really excited about the possibilities.  Thoughts?