Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Gobble, Gobble, Gobble

Having been a vegetarian for more than half of my life at this point (I refused to eat meat at 12, and for some reason never had the desire to go back, still dont) I don't eat turkey but up North where we often have our Thanksgiving dinner with family they are everywhere. I was looking up turkeys on Google today, according to the Encyclopaedia Brittanica, they've been in the USA since the 17th century, they were originally bred for their beautiful plumage. And I didn't know this but the males heads which are normally red, turn blue when they're excited.

So there's your turkey facts for the Holiday.

I'm off to Carmel for the long Thanksgiving weekend. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday with family and friends. Eat, drink, and be thankful for all that we have been given. Enjoy.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Christmas in a pan

Some of the Persimmons were starting to go soft on me, and after looking through what I had in the cupboard and the recipes online, I found a recipe for Persimmon pudding that looked delicious.

I've never cooked with Persimmons before, my dad always made Persimmon pudding when I was younger but I never really appreciated it.

This was DELICIOUS, and tasted like Christmas on a plate, and like all the recipes I have posted was really easy to do. It took almost no time at all. Even the boy liked it, who initially refused to eat the Persimmons cause he'd never had them before and "they look gross."

What you need:

2 cups of Persimmon pulp
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups of all purpose flour
2.5 cups of white sugar (although, I have to be honest, you could probably cut back on this a bit, it was pretty sweet)
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of ground Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 pinch of salt
2.5 cups of milk
4 tablespoons of melted butter

Preheat the oven to 325, butter a 9x13 inch baking pan

In a mixing bowl, combine the Persimmon pulp, baking soda, sugar and eggs. Mix well.

Add flour, baking powder, cinnamon, vanilla, salt, milk, and melted butter. Stir in to combine.

Pour into baking pan and bake for 55 minutes.

This is what it looks like when you pull it out, it kind of sinks into itself.

Serve with warm with whipped cream.

So good, enjoy! And have a great weekend! Ours will be rainy :)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

This is Fierce


Tonight is the Project Runway season finale!! I LOVE this show. And today, they're having a project runway marathon (will I ever get anything done?!!). This is Fierce.

I love me some Tim Gunn, big gay man crush on Tim Gunn, and would anyone look good in that pink suit other than Heidi Klum? Please.

My very favorite of all seasons was Laura Bennett. I think she's what every woman should be. She was successful, put together all the time, calm, cool, collected and even though she was the mother of 4 boys (ugh) she always looked fabulous and that things were always under control. I like that she could be a mom and still embrace who she was as a woman (that's a hard thing for a lot of women to maintain when they get married and have babies...something that makes me furious). Her entire persona took effort, and it showed; I don't like laziness.

I can't believe she didn't win, all of her clothes were deliciously tailored and represented total luxury with the fabrics she chose.


Christian Siriano was pretty fab. He's such a diva, and he made clothes with flair, and style. So pretty and all drama.

Okay, so Kenley was a total whiney beast, but she made cute clothes. And I loved all her feathers. Cute stuff. Vintage chic.

Leanne Marshall made cute clothes. Period. Pretty and put together beautifully.

Fun times! Can't wait to see who wins tonight.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

succulents, the gift that keeps on giving

At my old lab I used to work at, we had a bunch of plants and vegetables we grew outside and tended to as a distraction or to fill in gaps while waiting for our experiments, and this was where I was introduced to succulents. I had heard of them before but I had never seen how hearty these little guys are. One of my coworkers brought in a little cutting off of one of his plants and after almost no time at all, the entire wine barrel was 1 huge plant, it practically took over! So I broke off a couple of pieces and took them home, liking the idea that I could stick it in the dirt, hardly water it at all, and it would grow.

It was starting to get a little shabby looking, and I've been seeing some very beautiful displays and great ideas on how to use succulents as arrangements instead of spending money on flowers every week. I love having flowers in the house, but this is a nice way to add some greenery and you don't have to keep going back for more.

I came upon this cute website for a place in Oakland called fernseed, and they have a bunch of different succulent arrangements:

Aren't these cute? Individual succulent "blooms" locally grown in Oakland, $12 each

Of course I have to love the arrangements in the Erlenmeyer flask.

I liked the idea of this arrangement a lot, and I had a bowl that looked just like this I got at Ikea for $12, so I wanted to do my own. I went to Home Depot and bought a couple of little succulents and this is what I came up with:

Isn't it cute?! I love the little button looking one, and the glassy looking green one in the last photo. Each cost about $1.50. And for $20 I have an arrangement that will last, saves money and is less wasteful!

It also makes a great gift for someone who isn't so green thumb inclined, which frankly is me.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Weekend Shenanigans

I have a serious bone to pick with NASA, the boy and I sat outside last night freezing to death to watch the meteor shower, and not a thing. I have never seen a meteor shower in all my life, and this was my fourth solid attempt at viewing one without success. I would really like to see one, NASA stop pulling my leg, please?

For the past few weeks when I drive home from the gym I have noticed a huge persimmon tree right on the side of the I-5, completely burdened with the weight of unused and unappreciated persimmons. Feeling that this was a waste I finally convinced the boy over the weekend (who isn't huge on taking things that don't rightfully belong to him) to grab a bag and help me pick a bunch.

We pulled over on the side of one of the busiest major freeways of the West Coast, ran up the shoulder, charged the embankment of the huge ditch, up the other side knee deep in dirt and weeds at this point and start pulling bunches of persimmons off the tree.

Having finally gotten to the tree I realized it was on someones fence line, but after committing, I didn't think they would notice a few missing off a tree completely covered in them! We pulled off as many as we thought we could without being obvious, and since we were right in the viewing field of every trucker, commuter and road tripping folk in the greater Northern California region we stopped and ran back to the car.

But I got at least 15 good ones, and I'm just waiting til they ripen to use them in a recipe. In the meantime, I found this pretty hammered silver bowl over the weekend and put them in it as a table arrangement for now. I'll put up the recipe when I finally get to working with these pretty persimmons. I'm half thinking I should go back to get more...is that so bad?

Have a beautiful day.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

You say tomato, I say lasagna

So I was looking through the recipes I have posted and they are all baked goods; this is not surprising as I love baking. There are no real meals to be seen, and I'm thinking I might need to share a few things you can actually put on the dinner table, although I don't know how many ppl would complain about tarts, and cookies for dinner; I know I wouldnt. I bought an Italian cookbook today to play with, very excited as Italian food is one of my very favorites. It got me thinking about 2 of my favorite things in the whole world, cheese and pasta and so I decided to post a recipe for skillet lasagna that I found and tried and can tell you is delicious, and oh so easy to make. It's also vegetarian, but I'm sure if you wanted you could add meat.

What you need:

1/3 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, sliced
1.5 lbs of ripe tomatoes, diced
4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil and/or parsley, plus more for garnish
Salt and Ground Pepper
1 cup of Ricotta cheese
1 large egg
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
6 sheets of no-bake lasagna noodles
1 carrot, peeled into ribbons
1 zuchinni, pealed into ribbons
3.5 cups of baby spinach
1/3 lb mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced

How to make it:

Heat the 1/4 cup of olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add the garlic, cook until golden brown. Add the tomatoes, 1 tblspoon of the herbs, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper to taste; cook until it's saucy, about 5 minutes.

Transfer to a blender and puree to make a sauce. Return 1 cup of the sauce to the skillet, and reduce to low heat, leave the remaining sauce in the blender for now.

In a bowl, mix the ricotta, egg, parmesan, and the remaining 3 tblspoons of herbs, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper to taste.

Place 2 lasagna noodles over the sauce in the skillet. Layer half of the carrot and zuchinni on top; drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cover with half of the spinach, half the ricotta mixture, a few pieces of mozzarella and 3 tblspoons of the saved sauce. Repeat all the layers, until you run out, ending with noodles.

Top with the remaining sauce from the blender and cover with mozzarella slices. Cover and simmer until the lasagna is cooked and the cheese melts, about 20-25 minutes.

Let rest for a few minutes before cutting, Garnish with more Parmesan and herbs.

This seriously is so good, the sauce is fantastic, all garlicy deliciousness. I highly recommend it, just don't plan on making out with anyone after.


Friday, November 13, 2009

This is Rad

Thank you NPR, for doing yet another epic piece that made me smile today. I love that station.

You have to go look at this website:

My Parents Were Awesome.com! Totally putting my mom on this, I have some pretty epic hippy photos of her from back in the day. The 70's and 80's...the gift that keeps on giving.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Walking on Sunshine

I'm just wondering how the lovely ladies are supposed to walk in these LAMB heels? They look awfully tricky if you ask me. I wouldn't want to walk in these babys after a martini night with the girls.
On the other hand...These Dolce and Gabbana are really cute.

The Technicolor Dream House

So one of my favorite things to do, always has been, is go look at people's houses, and see how they decorate them. When I was younger, my mom, my sister and I used to drive around Carmel at night and look in the windows (from our cars people, not like peeping toms or anything) of people's places and see what they did to them. So I still to this day notice what people do to their places when I go visit, and I only have one real issue...I am so tired of tan! It's tan-mania. I feel like there's a disconnect between design and real people, there's lots of color in magazines and none in our homes. Maybe it's a California thing cause we like to be "earthy," maybe it's fear, maybe I just have some crazy radar that notices it more than any other shade but seriously, we need some color in our lives people! Stop being so vanilla!

Tan couches, tan carpet, tan cupboards, tan walls, even tan tile...

I know it's a neutral so you can keep it around for a long time and it doesn't clash with everything, it's easy, but there are other neutral palates out there no? Ivory, Grey, even Brown for Gods sake.

Here's some images I've collected for a while that I love, and I'm going to use somewhat for a new place:
Grey is a good neutral, it's calming but still has more depth to it, and you can add any color you want to contrast!

Coral and Grey work great together, I like the cheery coral with the mod Grey tones, its pretty.

This Blue reminds me of Carrie's apartment re-do in the Sex and the City movie, it's grown up but with a twist. It's a fun color!

Not everything has to match either, those orange chairs stand out and make a statement. The chairs are like room jewelry.

This Green room by Amanda Nisbet Design is funky and fun, it's a lot of color but it doesn't have to be overwhelming. And it sure beats tan.

You can even add color with your accents, to cut it up a little

A woman I know painted every room in her new house a different color: chartreuse, coral, lavender, blue, she even had the kitchen done with lime green cabinets and plum colored walls, and believe me I remember that house over every tan house I have been to; and, I've seen some really fancy tan and ivory houses.

All that color was pretty fantastic, and I always felt good, like I knew I would have a fun time in that technicolor dream house; cause anyone who's willing to take bold risks with color is willing to take bold risks elsewhere, and that can lead to some serious adventures.

All Photos courtesy of Martha Stewart, Ikea and Amanda Nisbet Design.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Little House on the Prairie, or City, whatever.

Why are all houses nowadays put together like the builder slapped everything together with some Elmers glue and called it a day? What happened to quality? I don't wanna know that I could put my foot through the bathroom door with one swift kick. I want a place that has character, a place put together with love and appreciation, and a place where my landlord doesn't run off with my money and I have to take him to court...sigh.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

She wore a Rasberry Beret

I learned to knit when I first started college, and liked that I could turn my mind off from all the stresses of school and work but still be productive. Of course, once school really set in, the demands of being a science major took precedence and knitting was shipped off and shoved under my bed.

But I recently started again. I wanted to start knitting for charity, to knit for cancer patients who need to keep warm, but I could only make scarves and what they really need is hats. So I've taught myself how to make a hat (thanks Youtube) and have slowly begun to make my way through knitting one. None of my hats so far have been much of an accomplishment at this point and I look at them more as practice; I'm not giving someone who's battling cancer a shoddy hat. So I have started to make scarves again for now; to teach myself different knitting patterns and then back to hats I will go.

When I was in San Luis Obispo the other weekend I went to this really cute store that had a bunch of awesome scarves but they were kind of expensive for something that looked like I could make it. So off to the closest knitting store I went, which just so happened to be around the corner and bought a bunch of beautiful locally hand dyed yarn. I've had a lot of fun going on websites and finding patterns or watching videos on how to knit certain stitches. And I made a pretty scarf with the green yarn I found there, which I love.

I'm thinking after I finish the scarf I'm making now, I'm going to try to make a hat, with some yellow yarn I got, not just any hat but a beret, meaning I'm going to have to add extra stitches as I go out, I think? It looks hard, but I figured if I could knit that, I could knit a hundred hats for charity (though lets not get ahead of ourselves).

I really want to do this, I always feel like I have really good intentions with projects like this but then life gets in the way and I have a bunch of half assed, half finished things lying around reminding me that I failed them.

Anyone have any suggestions or pattern ideas for a beret?

Here's hoping I keep up with this project, and here's to the yellow beret, though if Prince would have it, it would be Rasberry colored...good song.

Monday, November 9, 2009

This Sh*t is Bananas

SO I have this problem with bananas. I will only eat them when they are still green. I cannot tolerate them when they start to taste overwhelmingly of banana. It's too much for me, totally gross, but I still love bananas, they're delicious. Unfortunately, after they start to get that distinctive yellow banana appearance to them they just sit in the fruit bowl FOREVER until I discard them. This seems wasteful, and since I had about 4 very brown bananas in the kitchen, I decided to make banana bread.

It's hard to find a banana bread recipe that doesn't taste like you're eating a banana rock, a lot of times they're too dry and inedible. So here's the recipe I just found that I really like, I added a few extra things to give it some depth; but, it's moist, quick and has a good flavor to it.

What you need:

1 cup of granulated sugar
8 tablespoons of butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
3 ripe bananas (I used all 4, to give it a little more flavor, why not? I had 4 after all)
1 tablespoon of milk
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
2 cups of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of salt

*I added about 2 tablespoons of sour cream to make it a little bit more moist, you could also use yogurt. It makes a difference, learned that from a foodie friend. He put some in a recipe we tried a long time ago, and I was HORRIFIED that he was breaking the recipe, but it worked, and made it better. So that's for him.
I also added walnuts. Gave it some texture.

Preheat the oven to 325, butter a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan

Cream the sugar and the butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

In a small bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. Mix in the milk and cinnamon.

In another small bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Add the banana mixture to the creamed mixture and stir until combined. Add all the dry ingredients, mixing until the flour disappears.
Once it's a batter, this is where I added the sour cream and crushed walnuts, and just lightly mixed it all in. Don't beat the hell out of it.

Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour to 1h 10 min.

And there you have it. Yummy. Enjoy! Makes a good breakfast toasted with some butter and a cuppa tea.

Have a lovely day!