Friday, April 29, 2011

Favorite Friday Recipe: Best Chocolate Cake Ever!

I must admit, I've been a little caught up with all this royal wedding fever--and just a wee bit jealous of Prince William's rumored groom's cake made of tea biscuits and chocolate.  I remember our own delicious chocolate wedding cake fondly and never thought I'd chance upon an equal recipe.  But as luck would have it, I was given this recipe by a friend (actually it started out as a chocolate cheesecake cupcake recipe) that I then converted into just pure chocolate goodness.  Interestingly enough, this recipe is vegan friendly as it contains no eggs or milk.  Rather, it relies on vinegar and baking soda to help the cake rise and stay moist.  I've also experimented with subbing out most of the oil for applesauce and it still tasted pretty good though the original version is still my favorite.  It's a surprisingly easy recipe and remember, the secret is in purchasing Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa!

Best Chocolate Cake Ever

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa (must be Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

  • Mix first five dry ingredients in a bowl
  • Mix next four wet ingredients in measuring cup 
  • Combine wet and dry ingredients with whisk, the batter should be very runny
  • Grease an 8x8 pan and pour batter in, then sprinkle chocolate chips on top
  • Bake at 350F for around 30-40 min depending on your oven's temperament
  • Sprinkle with powdered sugar, slick on some frosting or serve with hot fudge and caramel

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wishlist Wednesday: Calpyso for Target

Another great designer collaboration from Target releasing May 1!  I'll be keeping an eye out for these:

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Today was a good day

My brother flew in and surprised me at the ceremony and I got lovely flowers from my friend Jill to celebrate.  Oh and the President wrote me a letter too ;)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Vintage Monday: Fox bangle

I was admiring the cover of the April Lucky magazine of Zooey Dechanel (so cute!) when her bracelet caught my eye:

This adorable fox bangle from Moss Mills reminded me of a similar vintage one I found at a little store in Tallahassee last summer.  Here he is!

Almost identical right?  I guess what goes around comes around, especially in fashion!  And speaking of fashion, I've been thinking of posting a bit more about this other interest of mine, especially vintage clothing that I adore.  I just have to work the nerve up to post pictures of myself online, as well as figure out how to get B to take relatively flattering pictures of me.  I swear it's his mission in life to take the most awkward shots he can get of me.  Probably because then he won't have to take pictures at all...hmmm...I'm catching on to his little game...

Friday, April 22, 2011

Favorite Friday Recipe: Bacon Swiss Chard Pasta

I finally have a new recipe to share this Friday!  To be fair, it's one I make pretty often but I actually took pictures this time :)

Bacon Swiss Chard Pasta

  • 1 pound linguine
  • 12 ounces bacon
  • 1 very large red onion, halved, sliced (about 6 cups)
  • 2 large bunches Swiss chard, stemmed and chopped (I've also substituted a bag of spinach)
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • Cook linguine and reserve 1 cup pasta cooking liquid
  • Meanwhile, cook bacon to a crisp and transfer to paper towels to drain
  • Drain all but 2 tablespoons bacon drippings from skillet
  • Add onion and saute over medium-high heat until softened
  • Add Swiss chard and sprinkle with salt and pepper
  • Add pasta cooking liquid to skillet and toss until chard is wilted and tender
  • Sprinkle vinegar over; cook 1 minute
  • Add linguine and oil to sauce in pot and toss to coat
  • Transfer to large bowl, sprinkle with crumbled bacon and cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Around the garden (late April edition)

It was fun to come back home and see how our garden fared while we were gone.  Even though it's already 90 degrees, the bright side (ha!) is that there is a lot of sunshine for our plants.

Our first strawberry!!

And we've counted 43 little tomatoes growing in our garden--hopefully the squirrels will leave us some!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wishlist Wednesday: a nap

A 6 hour time difference, jet lag, and general sadness that vacation is over and it's back to the real world leads me to wishing for a quiet spot to hide and nap, preferably under a pillow.  As illustrated by Lizzie...

Monday, April 18, 2011

Home again

These little guys are the best part about coming home

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Yesterday, we took the Eurostar train from London St. Pancras to the Gare du Nord station, putting us right in the heart of Paris.  After a few minutes (or maybe 30) to orient ourselves to the metro system, we were off to the Lourve to visit the Mona Lisa, walk through the eerie catacombs, gawk at the Eiffel tower, and shop at Fauchon and the Galeries Lafayette. 

I'll definitely be posting more pictures when we get home but for now, thanks to my friend Grechen, I've been using this awesome iphone app called Instagram which has these cool filters to make your pictures look fancy.  You can check out my photostream by following the directions below:

1.  Go to
2.  In the search box on the upper right hand corner, type in 'snowymt'
3.  This should bring you to my pictures which are labeled 'snowymt' (with the exception of the one random picture from someone else of...what else, a snowy mt)

Let me know if this works for you!

Thursday, April 14, 2011


We made it! Today was filled with touristy things like seeing Big Ben, taking a ride on the London Eye, exploring the Tower of London, ogling the Crown Jewels and much more! As for food, we've had lots of tea, scones and clotted cream, Cornish pastries and fit in a Boots pharmacy run for some Cadbury chocolate.

Tomorrow we're off to Paris for the day! Hoping to eat my weight in croissants and baguettes!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


3 guesses on what who doesn't belong in this suitcase...

Don't worry, our pups will be having fun at weiner dog camp while we're away.  The next time I post will hopefully be from London!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Around the garden

Here are some pictures from around our garden this lovely spring!

We planted this gingko tree last fall and are excited to see new leaves!

Some flower hanging baskets in the back yard

And we started a strawberry patch this year too!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Vintage Monday: Modern Star

I know, I know, I should be ashamed of myself for picking up yet another china pattern.  I saw these at an estate sale and scooped them up immediately--once I see a starburst pattern I'm a goner.

Modern Star was made in the 1950s by none other than Homer Laughlin (as in Homer Laughlin of Fiesta, Riviera and all my other addictions)

Happy Monday everyone!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Larry the Lizard

Speaking of attracting more wildlife to our yard, here's a picture I snapped of Larry the Lizard.  He likes to sun himself right on the windowsill of our picture windows in the living room.  I guess that's so he can have a good view of us and we can have a good view of him too.  Check out his protruding belly--I bet there are lots of mosquitoes in there--thanks Larry!

Do you have a little critter that is a frequent visitor at your house?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wishlist Wednesday: an owl box

I was reading a gardening blog from a local Austinite when I came across this post where she detailed her homemade owl box and its new occupant.  I immediately forwarded the link to B and he had the same reaction as I did: "We need an owl box!"

Further reading revealed that owls actually nest in deserted nests or hollow trees so owl boxes make a welcome home for them.  You can certainly buy prefabricated ones online.  This one looks more like an owl condo.

You can also make one yourself which is what we're leaning towards.  And when I say "we will make one" I actually mean B.  There are a lot of plans online with great directions and tips especially here and here.

Now it seems like the most difficult part is actually enticing an owl to make its nest in the box and that may take a while.  We've heard some hooting recently at night so I'm hopeful that there are owls around our area that would love a little owl box to call their own.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Vintage Monday: more estate finds

This weekend's estate finds include an Aladdin thermos, a Westclox Baby Ben clock, and a bright floral bedspread in excellent condition which will be a perfect addition for the guest bedroom.

Happy Monday everyone!

Friday, April 1, 2011

London Calling

 B and I are taking sort of a spur of the moment trip to London in two weeks.  Thanks to FlyerTalk, I managed to score some great deals with airfare and hotel (which leaves more of the travel budget devoted to food!)

Though I've technically been to Europe before (if you count the Germany and Amsterdam airports), this will be my first time actually exploring this continent (B's too) and we're super excited!  We're thinking of taking the train to Paris for a day trip as well.  There seems to be so much to do in both cities it's hard to know where to start!

Here's my list so far:

To do in London and Paris
  1. Obtain every type of Cadbury chocolate made in the UK
  2. Eat my weight in croissants                                              
  3. aaaaand that's as far as I got...                                         


Obviously I need some help--so... what are your must see, must do, and must eat recommendations for London and Paris?