Friday, July 24, 2009


We're moving! Today and tomorrow! Right now Dylan is taking a carload of the "craft/guestroom" items to the new place. I'm still packing up the kitchen and organizing what we already have packed up. It's chaos, but we can't wait to settle into our new place with our new things and really make an effort to get/stay organized. I'll post pictures of the empty place as soon as I upload them, and will post more once we're moved in. Right now we're thinking western-themed living room, ship/ocean themed dining room, and air travel in the guest room. We have so much stuff...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

101 simple salads for summer

Mark Bittman is one of my all-time favorite columnists and cookbook authors. Several times a year he posts an extensive, amazing, simple recipe list. Today it's 101 Simple Salads for the Season

Here are a few that initially popped out:

13. A red salad: Combine tomato wedges with halved strawberries, basil leaves, shaved Parmesan and balsamic vinegar.

35. Combine cooked or canned black beans with shredded cabbage and this vinaigrette: olive oil, fresh orange juice, not much sherry vinegar, ground cumin.

38. Cube watermelon; combine with roughly chopped mint, crumbled feta, sliced red onion and chopped Kalamata olives. Dress lightly with olive oil and lemon juice. Despite saltiness of feta and olives, this may need salt.

49. Toss greens with walnuts, blue cheese and raspberries; drizzle with a simple vinaigrette. Sell for $14 a serving.

95. Mix cooked couscous or quinoa with orange zest and juice, olive oil, maybe honey, sliced oranges, raisins or dried cranberries, chopped red onion and chopped almonds. Serve over greens, or not.

Monday, July 20, 2009

mason jars and dance floors

I love mason jars- I love drinking from them, canning, storing stuff in them, and decorating with them. I have vivid memories of canning homemade salsa, chili sauce, and pickles as a child, and recently I've made/canned applesauce, apple butter, and blackberry/strawberry jam. While planning my wedding I obsessed over several wedding blogs. One was a backyard wedding where I found inspiration for mason jar lanterns. My brother and I made 10 and hung them from Shepard's hooks around the dance floor. The centerpieces ended up being a large circle of 6 jars, alternating ivory votives in jelly jars and bouquets in pint jars. They were gorgeous (thanks Jess, Hillary, & Ed!). I bought a lot of jars, and I have all of them left over, which means lots of canning in my future :). Here are a couple reception pictures from after the party:

We considered a lot of options when it came to dancing: a bigger tent and a real dance floor underneath ($$$$$), a snap-together hardwood floor to put on the concrete patio, dancing on concrete, on the grass, digging a pond and putting colored lights and a clear dance floor over top (we seriously had one company suggest this)... and ended up talking to the builder who suggested a roll of laminate flooring over concrete. We were able to buy a remnant of a neutral, smooth floor, which cost at least several hundred dollars less than any other option. It was super easy and fast and now my aunt/uncle are covered for the next decade of patio dance parties. I absolutely loved what they did with the lights over the floor: I hit up BigLots a day or two after Christmas and found pearl lights marked down to $5 and bought 8 boxes. They were a little more elegant than standard white Christmas lights, and were just beautiful.

I'll leave you with some blurry boogieing!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Banana Cupcakes

Lately I've just been wanting simple, easy food- basically lots of pasta, salads, and soup. I got Moosewood's Simple Suppers from the library the other day, and love it. The first (and only) thing I've tried at this point, are the banana cupcakes with chocolate cream cheese frosting. I thought they were delicious, but a little sweet. My husband said "I want to be buried in these" :)

moosewood's banana cupcakes with chocolate cream cheese frosting
wet ingredients

1 1/2 c mashed bananas
1/2 c veg oil
1 1/3 c brown sugar

3 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 c plain yogurt

dry ingredients
1 1/2 c flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
8 oz cream cheese (room temp)
3 T butter (room temp)
1 c powdered sugar

1 T cocoa
(I also added about 1 T strong coffee)

Use an electric mixer to combine wet ingredients until smooth, sift dry ingredients together then add to wet and mix on slow speed until completely combined. Spoon into 2 lined cupcake pans, filling each cup 2/3 full. bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

For icing- mix all ingredients with electric mixer until smooth, ice cupcakes after they cool.

**A note about my icing: I realized as I was beating the butter and cream cheese that we didn't have powdered sugar, so I used about 2/3 c granulated sugar that had been food processed. it didn't get very fine, and the icing ended up looking a lot like melted chocolate ice cream, but it was really, really good.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

So I've been married for three weeks and it's pretty wonderful. Both Dylan and I thought the wedding and reception were perfect. It was warm, but the rain held off and everyone made it safely. Our buddies Glenn and Travis wrote original songs for the ceremony, Jess did an incredible job arranging the flowers, the reception site looked absolutely gorgeous thanks to my cousins/aunts/uncles, and people raved about Jeni's Ice Cream (we decided on lemon with blueberries yogurt, dark chocolate, and gravel road). I'll post lots of photos once they're all uploaded.

Right now we're looking for a place to move in two weeks, I'm still trying to land a full-time job, and Dylan's looking for something new and a little more exciting for work.
I'm also thinking about making the banana cupcakes with chocolate cream cheese frosting I saw in a
Moosewood cookbook I checked out from my new favorite library, Grandview Heights...