Monday, January 31, 2011

Vintage Monday: Estate sale finds

Here's our under $10 haul from last week's estate sale: 
vintage patterned pillow cases and a yellow throw (not pictured)
along with this kitten embroidery picture frame
An old tobacco box for safe keeping treasures
A bright green glass bottle and some Westclox clocks 
to group together on bookshelves

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Le Garage Sale

It's that time of the year again!  If you're in Austin, head on down and check it out!

Le Garage Sale

Friday, January 28, 2011

Favorite Friday Recipe: Truffle butter pasta

Thanks to Sydney, I am now obsessed with truffles (of the fungi variety, though I do love the chocolate kind as well).  She tipped me off to this amazing truffle butter at Costco and I've been consuming it in alarming quantities ever since.  I knew I had to convert B if I was to continue this obsession, so I carefully planned and plotted his first introduction to these little morsels.  I chose an Ina Garten recipe and added chicken for his carnivorous palate as well as his other favorites: mushrooms and broccoli. 

Truffle butter pasta
(original recipe can be found above, I tweaked the recipe below)

  • kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3 ounces white truffle butter (I used black truffle butter)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (8oz) package pasta of your choice (I found some fancy tri color pasta on clearance at the grocery store and wow it was delicious!  I just might splurge every once in a while!)
  • 3 ounces shaved Parmesan 
  • chicken or whatever protein of your choosing
  • mushrooms
  • broccoli or whatever vegetable of your choosing

  • add 1 tablespoon salt to a large pot of water and bring to a boil, cook pasta as directed
  • in a saucepan, simmer cream over medium heat
  • swirl in truffle butter, black pepper and salt over low heat
  • add drained pasta to the cream sauce and use up to 1/2 cup pasta water to keep pasta creamy
  • mix in your cooked chicken, mushrooms, and vegetables
  • serve in shallow bowls and sprinkle Parmesan on top

This is a really simple recipe and it takes 15 minutes tops to put the pasta together (additional time if you're cooking the protein and veggies).  I roasted the broccoli in the oven for this dish and it was amazing--will share the recipe next week!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wishlist Wednesday: Travel Bug

Although I love the comforts and familiarity of home, I am continually bitten by the travel bug.  I feel it especially in January with the cold weather pressing upon me and the whole year looming ahead of me that it's time to set up some travel plans!

Here are some locations I've been dreaming of for some time now...

The Galapagos Islands

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Asian snacks part 2: Kit Kat bars

You know how some things always taste better from your childhood?  Well I actually just found out that the Kit Kats of my childhood were made by Rowntree/Nestle versus the Kit Kats found in the US which are manufactured by Hershey's.  I still remember the old school Kit Kats being wrapped in wax paper and then foil with the iconic red label on top.  Anyone else?

Well things have certainly changed and who knew that there could be so many different varieties of Kit Kats out there now!  Here are a few interesting ones we picked up in Japan:

Green tea

Sakura flower (not sure what a flower tastes like)

Wasabi (eep!)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Vintage Monday: Wooden Giraffe

We found this little guy at Uptown Modern, where we were doing our customary credenza search (no luck again).  I love his little ears and the graceful slope of his nose and legs.

Here he is perched at our little entryway nook that I keep reworking (if only I'd get to the rest of the house!)  The mini parsons desk finally went on sale and I was happy to snap it up to replace our $3.99 stand in table from Goodwill that we spray painted.  I think it fills out the space better, the drawer is handy for keys and such and there's more room for our little zoo to expand!

So far, the zoo consists of the giraffe, a stone elephant from Bali and love birds on a vase by Whitney Smith.  I forsee some heavy recruiting in the future for more critters!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Favorite Friday Recipe: Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is my go to recipe for cookies.  No matter what I do (and trust me, I've left out/added a lot of ingredients to things I make), these always seem to turn out.  In fact, for this batch, I added too much oatmeal so that's why the cookies remained puffed up instead of spreading out--they still tasted amazing though!

I think you can add pretzels, m&ms, raisins etc. to the batter to make it more monster cookie-like.  In fact, I think I'll be doing that next...

  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup peanut butter (if using natural, use above sugar amounts, if using regular pb, cut down the sugar a bit)
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 tsp of vanilla
  • 3/4 tbsp of corn syrup (I don't even know what 3/4 of a tsp of corn syrup does so you could try to leave it out if you're not into that.  B claims it's what makes the cookies great)
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 4 cups oats
  • 1/4 to 1/2 lb chocolate chips (I highly recommend Guittard milk chocolate!)

  • Whip softened butter, sugar, brown sugar and peanut butter together
  • Try to keep your husband from eating all the butter/pb/sugar mixture
  • Add eggs, vanilla, corn syrup and baking soda to mix
  • Threaten your husband that there now are raw eggs in it and he could get salmonella poisoning if he dares to steal any more batter
  • Add oats cup by cup until combined
  • Mix in chocolate chips by hand (I now know this because chocolate chips have bent two of my Kitchenaid wire whisks out of shape) 
  • Scoop cookies out with melon baller or a spoon or your hand, whatever it takes
  • Bake at 350F for 10-12 min
  • Tops and bottom edges should be a golden brown when you take them out
  • Let them cool for a few minutes on the pan
  • Then transfer to a wire rack and try to keep your hands off them!

ps--this dough also refrigerates and freezes very well if you like to have freshly baked oven warm cookies at any time of the day. (which is how our household operates)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wishlist Wednesday: some peace and quiet

The start of the school semester always brings mass chaos at work.  There is a lot of creative and intense problem solving, bad news to bear, and soothing panicked or upset students/parents.  I am absolutely looking forward to 5pm on Friday when the dust settles.  Knowing that today was going to be another rough one, I thought I'd boost myself by wearing a new favorite dress to work.  I was feeling pretty good about finishing a hectic day and rush hour drive home until B pointed out an undone button and asked if it had been unbuttoned all day.  While I saw about 30 students in my office, not to mention 100 more in the hallways, oh and the 20 that were in the class I taught today.  Note to self: get a mirror for my office.

The culprit
And before you ask, yes it was a crucial button that was undone...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Asian snacks part 1

Most every Asian child will recognize the following two snack foods.

Yan yan is a Japanese snack with two compartments--one holds the biscuit/cracker sticks and the other contains the flavored frosting for dipping.  While I grew up with plain old chocolate and strawberry, there are a whole slew of flavors now.  Here are some we picked up while in Singapore including hazelnut, mango and chocolate/strawberry combo.

Pocky is another huge favorite from Japan.  It's a thin biscuit stick coated with a fun flavor such as chocolate, strawberry or almond.  There are a ton of variations and I was excited to find pumpkin, strawberry, choco banana and milk coffee.

I'm glad I finally got around to taking pictures of these so now I can break into them!  Hope they taste as good as they look!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Vintage Monday: adding to my Riviera by Homer Laughlin collection

I've posted about the Riviera line here before and I recently acquired a few other pieces from a wonderful ebayer. 

I love their fun bright colors and these delicately scalloped edges

Here they are sitting on the shelf with their Fiesta cousins
Looks like I'll be needing more space soon!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Singapore: High Tea at the Equinox

The Equinox is a restaurant on the 70th floor of the Swissohotel in Singapore.  They have an amazing high tea buffet and the views of the Singapore skyline make it a special place to dine.

The 3 story restaurant is fitted with floor to 
ceiling windows to maximize the great views of the city
It was a cloudy day but we managed to get some pictures 
of the new Marina Bay Sands casino and Singapore Flyer
The skyline of Singapore with the Singapore River, 
Parliament and the Courthouse
And now on to the food!  
Thai chili fishcakes
Spring rolls
Chicken wings
The salad bar
Japanese soba noodles and sushi bar
Traditional nonya kueh desserts

There was so much more but I think I gave up with pictures and just started eating!  This was just one of three buffets that we enjoyed during our trip (food appreciation runs in the family), so there's more to come!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wishlist Wednesday: January fashion wishlist

January wishlist

I recently discovered Polyvore where you can save your favorite online images and compile nifty collages.  What I haven't figured out is why some of my pictures have a fuzzy grey background.  Ah well.

Here's the first Polyvore set I've made of my January fashion wishlist:  
Jcrew buffalo check boy shirt, striped Madewell tee, Lululemon wunder under pants, Anthropologie field skirt in gold, Chie Mihara bow pumps

What's on your list this month?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Three Belles by Strangefruit

One of the highlights of our trip was catching a surprise performance at the Marina Bay Sands by The Three Belles by Strangefruit.  They are a performance troupe based out of Melbourne, Australia that specialize in a fusion of theater, dance and circus tricks on 5 meter (16 ft!) flexible poles.

These ladies climb up and down on their own effortlessly--these are tall poles!  We took pictures and filmed from the second level.

When they get to the top, they strap their legs onto the pole.  Then they pull up their "belle" skirts.

They are standing the whole time as they perform and their level of strength is amazing--they manage to make every little movement so graceful.

Some videos (sorry for the shakiness of the 2nd one--that's B)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Vintage Monday: Cathrineholm Lotus bowls

 Imagine my surprise when these little beauties were unwrapped!  I'm a huge Catherineholm fan but can't bear to shell out the $$.  B got me my first piece--a teapot for Valentine's day last year and this year for the anniversary/birthday/christmas trifecta, he sourced these wonderful bowls for me!

Sorry that the pictures aren't as great--it was a gloomy weekend with no sun for natural lighting.  Maybe it's time for B to build me a light box!

Here's the large blue bowl

Two small yellow ones

My little Catherineholm family!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Sometimes it pays off to have a blog...

December marks the trifecta of my wedding anniversary, birthday and Christmas.  Usually I take pity on B and try to buy my own gifts but this past year I wanted a few surprises.  From the heart.  Nothing I wouldn't like of course.  Because a present really shows how much you know and love someone.  No pressure, honey.  Really.

Well luckily for B (and me), he perused my past Wednesday wishlist posts, sneaked onto my etsy account to find my favorites list, and picked out some really lovely gifts this year.  I am a lucky gal and my advice to all you ladies out there is to start a blog with a wishlist and not so subtly ask your husband each day to read it.

Oh and B also hunted down something amazing that was at the top of my wishlist.  Can you guess what it is?  I'll post pictures on Monday...