Saturday, February 28, 2009

Martha's cinnamon swirl cookies

Baked these today. Mine are on the left, obviously; Martha's are on the right.


What Mark faces every weekday around 4:30 p.m. Good times.


Friday night, I made Cioppino, which I think is yummy when there's a chill in the air. Here's the recipe:
1/2 cup olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup white wine
1 bay leaf
2 cups tomatoes, chopped (I used a 28 oz. tin of diced tomatoes for the extra juices)
2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp red pepper flakes (this makes it spicy enough for my lips to burn just a bit, so dial that back if need be)
3 lbs mixed seafood (clams, mussels, crabmeat, cod, bay scallops) I used 1 lb each of mussels, scallops, and shrimp

In a large stockpot (of course, I used the ever-present Dutch oven), heat oil. Add onion, garlic, and parsley and saute until onion is transparent.
Add chicken stock, wine, bay leaf, tomatoes, basil, thyme, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer, covered, for 25 minutes.
Add assorted seafood to broth. When clam and mussel shells open and fish easily flakes (about 20 minutes), remove from heat. Discard bay leaf. Serve.

**Notes...The liquid here is not quite enough to completely cover the seafood, so I periodically gave it a stir. Add more of the liquids if desired. This isn't so much of a soup as it is a seafood dinner that's in a marinade. We had it with a nice salad and crusty bread, and it definitely fills you up. It makes enough to feed 6, so we have lots o leftovers!


Yay for the weekend. It snowed a couple of inches last night, just enough to remind us it's still February. As a nod toward spring, I've planted seeds for cilantro, arugula, spinach, basil, and cat nip--all in pots on a shelf in our kitchen window. So far, only the arugula, cilantro, and spinach are sprouting. This weekend's agenda items include: running; knitting (maybe I'll start the project, above, in time to wear it before June); checking out American Gothic, the Grant Wood painting that's visiting our art center from Chicago; reading; and cooking.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Abandoned Houses

I'm so intrigued by this Etsy seller (junquegrrl) who makes these tiny (like 3 inches tall) abandoned houses out of cardboard and layers of paint. Who hasn't been entranced by happening upon an abandoned house in the woods? As the artist says, "it has a beauty of a different sort." In a word: beguiling. Looks like they sell for $15 each.

Arrested Development

Ron Howard says he's working on the movie, but there are still some cast holdouts. Five words to Michael Cera: Back to the banana stand!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

More wants

I stopped by this vendor's booth at the NY gift show. Love the fun home accessories. The top item is porcelain.

Gray day

View from my office (ignore the overhead lighting reflected in the window). It's 12:30 and it looks like it's 6 p.m. or London. OK, maybe not London.


CrEATe: Eating Design and Future Food by Martin Raymond.

Sibella Court

After the post about prop stylists, I had to mention my favorite of late, Australian stylist Sibella Court. Unfortunately, there's not much on the Web about her. I believe she's moved back (from NY) to Australia to open her own design shop. In any case, I do have pics from her NY loft, which is amazing. Sort of like Anthro meets a museum of natural history.

Prop Stylists

I'm addicted to finding new prop stylist names because when it clicks, I'm entranced by the images. Each photo tells its own story and makes me dream up what the rest of the house could look like (even though I know these sets are made up). Here are a few images from some stylists, who include Jaimi Holker, Martha Bernabe, and Stephanie Hanes. I found some of these people (and there are more listed in this link) through the blog,

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Dinner tonight

Tonight we made fish and quinoa, but it was the sauces that made it really good.
I cooked Tilapia in a cast iron skillet after seasoning it in Adobo seasonings.
Here are the recipes:
Quinoa (from Gourmet)
2 Tsp. grated lime zest
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 Tbsp veg oil
1 Tsp sugar
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 14 oz can of black beans (drained
2 medium tomatoes, diced
4 scallions, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro
Whisk together lime zest juice, butter, oil, sugar, and 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper in large bowl. Add quinoa (cooked) and rest of ingredients and salt and pepper to taste.

For the fish, I made Chimichurri sauce (was inspired by that same sauce we had at a local restaurant in Des Moines called Flying Mango). This recipe is from Bon Appetit:

1 cup (packed) Italian parsley
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup (packed) cilantro
2 garlic cloves, peeled
3/4 tsp (I used 1 tsp) dried crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt

Puree ingredients in food processor and transfer to a bowl. This can be made up to two hours ahead. Let stand at room temp.

NYT Freemans review

I was more than excited to open the NYT Dining section today and be greeted by those antlers I fell in love with last summer at Freemans restaurant. And the Times' reviewer seemed equally pleased with the pub's fun aesthetic, saying it calls to mind "some spooky-kooky country inn that the Munsters might have frequented, and it got on the taxidermy train long before stilled lives became as popular on restaurant walls as in restaurant kitchens." Sadly, though, that was the high point of the food review. Seems Frank Bruni was less than enamored—again—with his dishes. I will say that I rather enjoyed my lunch there, but maybe that's why I'm not making a living being a food critic. Photo (above) by Robert Wright for the Times. See the story here:

Our little guy

is sick with the flu. his temp was 103 this morning, but otherwise, he's in good spirits—just a warm little head and red ears. doctor said to give him lots of liquids.
here he is at Pop!, a restaurant in Mpls. friends say he looks a lot like mark here. i think it's because of his expression.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Question: Why does Alex sometimes sleep on his head?

Answers (I think these are telling of the people's personalities who responded):
mom: "'cause he's a stooge."
best friend: "he's blocking his eyes from the light. maybe you should get him a mask."
husband: "to quell the demon voices."

great; thanks for playing!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Anthro/Free People Knitting Room

The Free People blog is always pretty interesting for its behind-the-scenes glimpses at the home office of the Anthro/Urban/Free People brands. It looks like such a fun place to work. Here's a post about the shared knitting room. I chose this shot in particular because holy cow, how cool is this get-up that girl is wearing??

Fun desktop wallpapers

Check out some cool desktop wallpapers from CreatureComforts and Decor8.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Dinner and "Baked" brownies

OK, so the brownies come first. Am trying this recipe from the "Baked" cookbook. I visited the pastry/coffee shop in Brooklyn last month. The brownies are officially endorsed by Oprah, so we'll see if they live up to the hype. Dinner is fettuccine with Bolognese sauce. (Recipe from Real Simple.) Also, I can't say enough about how much I like one-pot dinners. My Dutch oven is the most single-used kitchen "gadget" we own, especially during the winter. Which is very long here, compared with the South where we used to live.


Here I go...Learning to knit. My mom knitted these cool socks for me for Christmas. They're my favorite colors and very warm (I'm wearing them today). Doubt I'll get good enough to do such an advanced project, but if I can manage a potholder, I guess that's OK. Also, I highly recommend this inspirational book (and prefer the British version published in 2007, shown, as opposed to the US version, published last year. But that's only because the cover art is different; content inside is the same). The book is "The Art of Domesticity" by Jane Brocket, who has a blog called yarnstorm.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

marc jacobs

love, love, love these new layered looks with boots, tights, and scarves. marc jacobs.

Agenda item b.

with E, jmark, and popcorn (no butter, please).

Agenda item a.

On my to-do list for the weekend: Stop in the local knitting store to see about learning to knit. Because I don't have enough tangents in my life ;)


I adore these paintings by Canadian artist Holly Farrell. Love how worn-in the objects are and the colors are so soothing. Images from

Friday, February 20, 2009


My board at work. nothing really applies to my FT job (it's slightly at odds with the aesthetic of the magazine where i work), but these images inspire me nonetheless.


Awesome sunrise today. Bonus: it's supposed to get gray later on and snow tonight and tomorrow. Happy weekend!

Truth be told

Seriously. from

Thursday, February 19, 2009

can't make it up

Evan: "I want to start washing dishes."
Mark: (uttered in frustration for Evan not concentrating on his math homework) "Well, if you're not going to college, that's a good skill."

Study Hall

I am a follower of Anna Maria Horner and love her new skirt pattern (though I'd do it in a plaid, I think). Mostly, I'm smitten with the combo of books, library glasses, knee socks, and black fingernail polish.


Love that E is into her, too. This is a particularly lovely illustrated version.


We've been eating entirely too much chicken, so yesterday I was in the mood for fish. Ended up making a corn-fish chowder...and it tasted pretty good. We added lots of spices (and cilantro and roasted red peppers) to kick it up a bit.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

NY Gift Show

A few images from the show in January. Love the newspaper-wrapped books and propping. And this bedding is gorgeous--am liking the mix of coral, raspberry, citron, and pale blue.