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Showing posts from December, 2012

Least Stressful Holidays Ever

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We didn't travel anywhere for the holidays this year, and so far it has been really relaxing. I was wondering why people make the holidays into such a crazy thing, but then I thought of my favorite holiday things in the past.

In 1990, my grandmother gave me a dollhouse she had made that had real electricity, actual newspapers and magazines, bacon and eggs cooking on the stove and a whole family complete with a dog and a pet turtle.


It was awesome, and I am sure it was probably stressful for her to make that whole thing herself in addition to all that she did for all the other people in her life. The fact that I remember this fabulous dollhouse and that Christmas in general 22 years later must point to the fact that it is all worth the stress - at least maybe for relatives of small children. But for me now, let's hear it for the least stressful holidays ever. Brought to you by:

French press coffee (so, so delicious). I got the Bodum 8 cup Brazil French Press for Christmas, and …

Staples: Mediterranean Pasta

We sometimes like to go to the Troy farmer's market without a preconceived notion of what we'd like to prepare for dinner, because sometimes the available ingredients will suggest a meal themselves.   A couple weeks ago, we got some lemon pepper fettuccine from Flour City Pasta, thinking it would come in handy later that week.   But when we sampled and were then compelled to purchase some remarkably good feta from Danascara Cheese, a meal immediately suggested itself: a Mediterranean pasta dish. I've been making variations of this since learning a basic recipe from my mother.

Since we had a frozen chicken breast we started with that, although it works very well as a vegetarian recipe as well. After putting the pasta water on, saute the chicken breast, seasoned with salt and pepper, in a little olive oil. Add some red pepper flakes. After the chicken is browned, add some minced garlic, shallot, or if you're me both. Saute for 30 seconds to a minute, then add a small …

Mrs. London's Bakery and Cafe

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Dear Mrs. London's,

I love you so much.

I love your baguette (pictured above) - so crispy and flaky on the outside and yet chewy and moist on the inside. It is a marvel of baking perfection that I can't accomplish since I spend my days running around a museum, but payng you $4 is well worth the price.

I love croissants too (I haven't tried them, but Daniel has).

I love the look of all of your pastries, and simply just being in your store.

I love that stopping for anything, not only gives me something that tastes great and vastly improves the sophistication level of whatever I am having for dinner, but makes me feel vaguely glamorous - like I should be carrying a hat box and going to pick up my poodles from the groomer (yes, I will take a pistachio macaron, thank you!).

I love you like I love a sparking rosé wine on a hot and humid day.

I love you like I love Valentine's Day.

I love you like I love meeting a girl who loves watching "13 going on 30", vintage…

Holiday Preparations and "Alias"

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Holidays can be stressful, but I am determined not to feel that way this year. Instead of traveling, going broke, and feeling overwhelmed, how about we remake the holiday season into being all about cookies, television, and pajamas?


There is no reason to get worked up about the commercials with the big bow on the Lexus in the driveway. What I like best about the holidays is someone walking up to me and handing me a jar of homemade granola - simple, thoughtful, not expensive. Check out my post about homemade Christmas gifts last year. I also like cookies - lots of cookies. Check out my Edward Hopper cookies I made last year (am I the only person who Googles "art history inspired holiday cookies"? the search results are not impressive). Also, check out my post about the cookie exchange I organized last year at my former workplace. But - enough about last year!

We received a Miro sculpture on loan at my new job, and there is something about it I really love. I could stare at it…

Chaos and Buttercream

My friend Sandy is a total cake-making genius. What I mean by this is that she does awesome things like putting a drop of cheesecake oil in her frosting and creating cupcakes that are unbelievably light and fluffy. I've gone to parties where I end up taking 4 cupcakes home, and they don't make it through the night. She has recently branched out on her own and created "Chaos and Buttercream", and she has a website! Check out her amazing and beautiful cakes here!

From Scratch Club Holidays

Check out I'm featured in the From Scratch Club podcast this week. Also, I wrote a post about chocolate covered espresso beans.


Dream Puffs S'more

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This morning I was successful in getting off the couch from my watching Alias on Netflix, and we made our way to the Troy Farmer's Market. We got some great items, and saw a lot of cool people.

I'm a huge s'more fan, and when I saw these at the DreamPuff Marshmallows booth I could not resist. I took it home and put in a 350 degrees oven for about 5 minutes. This is a ridiculously delicious item!

 I really enjoy making marshmallows (last year I mailed them out to half the people I know). But I will admit that they make a big mess in the kitchen, so I am happy to buy the DreamPuff ones (usually at the Book House). I also made some graham crackers for the food swap last month, using this recipe. Homemade marshmallows are way, way better than the commercially made ones. The texture is fluffier, and they just taste way better. Homemade graham crackers have a more nuanced flavor and a softer texture. Therefore, homemade s'mores are a brilliant idea. What is also fun is that…