Wednesday, September 30, 2009

... summertime


today is the last day of september. and that's making me nostalgic for the summer. which is silly, because summer is really not my favorite season. but this one... this one really got me. i guess all that sun just may have managed to warm my cold, hard heart.

but here are some outtakes from my summer. things or events which didn't quite make the cut here, but will be happily remembered nonetheless.

picnic on a city bench

a city picnic on a bench in front of the library.

face painting on the 4th of july

faces being painted in preparation for 4th of july celebrations.

corn & tomato pie

corn and tomato pie, which, despite the crummy picture, was actually insanely delicious.

rainbow chard

rainbow chard from the farm share. lots of rainbow chard from the farm share.

cafe lago

finally having the lasagne at cafe lago. highly recommended.

dahlia garden

the dahlia garden at volunteer park. which, in fact, is probably still going strong.

see, there's a little bit of summer left somewhere.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

... apple pancakes

apple pancake

sometimes, it's just about waking up and deciding that it's a pancake sort of day.

short stack

and hey! why not throw some apples fried up with cinnamon and butter on top?

because it's that kind of day.

Monday, September 28, 2009

... my second summerhouse pillow

summerhouse pillow

it seems somehow appropriate that i finished this pillow yesterday, in the fading light of the setting sun after a gorgeous seattle day. today the dark clouds blew in, the wind whipped through the trees, and the skies have been threatening rain (which will most certainly start tonight). while i am thrilled (thrilled!) that autumn is coming, it seems almost sad to say goodbye to summer. but what better way to remember the beautiful last few months than with another summerhouse pillow.

this was even easier to sew the second time around, and the piping looks better on this one than the first. whew! and yay for me! as you can see, i still can't get enough of the brown/blue/pink combo.

i am also very pleased with the new home these pillows have found on our guest bed.

summerhouse pillows

now don't you want to come stay with me for a while? i make delicious scones.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

... the center for urban horticulture

you are here

every season is a good season to visit the center for urban horticulture, but late summer is particularly lovely. and it's such a hidden gem--it seems that even long-time seattleites don't know that this place exists. what a shame. why aren't you here?

fading black eyed susans

you know the summer is coming to a close when the black-eyed susans are starting to fade.


but the dahlias are still lovely, no?

grasses in the wind

and the tall grasses sound nice rustling in the breeze.

black and blue sage

the black and blue sage is also still going strong. this is one of my favorite perennials.

green grass

the grass is still green in the serviceberry grove.

long shadows

and the shadows are long.

red flower

this flower-that-looks-like-a-poppy-but-isn't-a-poppy-at-all catches the sun nicely.


and the sweet vegetable patch set in the middle of a field is churning out some pretty tomatoes. i would say they were tasty if i had sampled one, but that wouldn't be a nice thing to do, would it?

but let's just say hypothetically, it was pretty tasty.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

... my neighbors' porches

cheese plate

my neighbors have the best porches. i especially love them when they invite us all over for an early evening gathering with some impromptu food and wine. jenn puts together the best cheese plates.


it was a fitting way to spend the first dusk of autumn.


dogs were invited, too.


as were adorable children who like cupcakes. fortunately we have that in spades in this neighborhood.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

... cornbread


i'm going to admit it. this cornbread wasn't the best i've ever made. but the next day, warmed in the toaster oven and slathered with butter and a generous drizzle of honey, it was divine.

i feel incredibly fortunate that one of my friends, krista, is a beekeeper so i get occasional jars of her delicious local honey.


sometimes, especially when those times lie firmly in late summer territory, cornbread is exactly what i need to hit the spot.

Monday, September 21, 2009

... señor moose cafe


entomadadas. slow cooked tomato salsa with roasted chilis. huevos rancheros. sopes con huevos. tomatillo salsa. strong coffee with cream. huevos divorciados especiales. enchiladas de puya. tortitas de papa con queso. huevos con nopalitos. all topped with giant dollops of sour cream and avocado.

moose mug

i have few words to add to the above to tell you how great--no, how wonderful--señor moose cafe is. sometimes i dream about the food. some days i declare to be "ballard tuesday" so we can take a field trip to ballard for señor moose, the quilting loft, and swanson's.


but mostly it's for the señor moose.

Friday, September 18, 2009

... this week in baking



cherry chocolate maple oatmeal cookies



carrot spice muffins



dark chocolate sour cherry cookies



cherry almond scones




Wednesday, September 16, 2009

... old friends


i had the most amazing time in la this weekend. seeing stephanie, who i haven't seen since college, was a super treat, as was celebrating her birthday with her.


however, this trip proved to me what a horribly unreliable picture-taker i am when on vacation. i took all of two pictures the entire weekend. and you just saw them.

cutter, me and stephanie

fortunately, stephanie had taken one of us with our old friend cutter at her party. yay! did you know that we all met when stephanie cast both cutter and i in the play the dining room my sophomore year of college? it's true!

but this trip also reminded me how lucky i've been in the last couple of months. i've had all sorts of old friends resurface lately, and it's been thrilling and a wonderful reminder of all the amazing people i've known in my life.

a couple of weeks ago we had a mini-reunion with some old bastyr peeps.

bastyr peeps

bastyr peeps

doesn't everyone look much happier and healthier not being in school anymore?

and shannon, my best most amazing friend from mount holyoke, came through seattle a few weeks ago and we got to meet briefly for breakfast. she is as beautiful as ever.


and silly. beautiful and silly.


and going back to july, we had a 20 year reunion of our theater exchange with smile, a youth theater group from novosibirsk, siberia.

smile/greasepaint reunion


oh man, this was truly mind blowing, gathering with old friends from my old theater group and seeing the few russians who made it out to the reunion. it was a reminder of how lucky i was to be able to travel to the soviet union at age 15 and get to have this kind of experience.



it is a fine balance, revisiting the past without becoming too nostalgic. at times, over the past few months, i may have slipped into the realm of over-nostalgia (isn't it tempting, though?), but overall it has been a wonderful reminder of the lovely life i have led. so far.

Friday, September 11, 2009

... mini vacations

i will be leaving in a few hours to visit an old friend for the weekend. so very happy in anticipation of this little getaway.

have a lovely weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

... cherry chocolate chip maple oatmeal cookies

cookie tower

i have been wondering if i should be posting recipes here. see, pretty much everything i bake is not my own original recipe. i always makes tweaks here and there, but at what point does the recipe become mine? and is it less of a problem if i publish a recipe from someone else so long as i give credit? that seems okay to me, but i am not yet wise in the ways of food blogging.

cookie dough

all that said, i feel the need to share with you the recipe for my most favorite cookies of all time. these are my go-to cookies, the cookies i make when i need to feel comforted and cozy. they combine all of my favorite things: oatmeal, cherries, and chocolate. and maple, don't forget the maple.

these cookies are also from my favorite cookbook of all time, the pastry queen. every single thing that i make from here is beyond delicious. let me repeat that: every. single. thing. i have no other cookbooks about which i can say that. please go buy this cookbook now and bake from it often.

cherry chocolate chip maple oatmeal cookies
adapted from rebecca rather's maple-glazed oatmeal cookies

you will notice that i omit the maple glaze altogether, and i use a combo of chocolate chips and cherries instead of the solo dried cranberries that rebecca calls for. i tried the glaze once, and it was good, but i liked the cookies better without. also, i hate dried cranberries. hate. but feel free to use whatever chunky thing you want in your oatmeal cookies. it honestly doesn't matter.

yield: 3-4 dozen cookies

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed golden brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup dried sour cherries

1. preheat the oven to 350 ºF. line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.

2. using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter, maple syrup, and both sugars on medium-high speed. add the eggs and beat on medium-high until thoroughly combined. add the flour, salt, baking soda, oats, cherries, and chocolate chips and mix on medium-low speed until combined.

3. using a small scoop, drop golf ball-sized mounds of dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 1 inch apart. lightly press the dough down to flatten each cookie slightly.

4. bake for 7 to 10 minutes, until the cookies are golden brown. cool on baking sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely.


(here's an example of what not to do. do not, in your excitement, let half your sheet of cookies plunge into the bottom of the oven as you are rotating the sheets. i do not recommend this at all.)

cookies go with tim hortons

enjoy the cookies that do make it out alive, as i do, with a cup of tea. tim hortons mug not required, but highly encouraged.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

... game night with friends

isn't it nice when friends are kind enough to invite you over for game night? and they offer to make you dinner? and they serve you lovely pink sparkling wine, to boot? oh man, that's what i call the best night ever.

jen and therese's dutch bikes

the first order of business, though, was to admire jen and therese's new dutch bikes. i mean, holy guacamole! am i jealous, or what? i think therese is wiping my drool of the seat in that picture up there. c has promised me that we will get ourselves some dutch bikes as we forgo our scotland vacation this month. because, as we all know, a dutch bike is a vacation on wheels. and that's a vacation that you get to take every day. it's a win win win.


jen unearthed this photobooth catastrophe from our college days. what on earth was i thinking with that hat?

actually, i know exactly what i was thinking. i was thinking, "i want to be just like blossom!" it won't surprise you to know that i also wore lots of overalls, overall dresses, and blue flowered doc martens. ugh.


okay, back to adulthood. i, in my tasteful white tee, j crew jeans, frye boots, and completely inoffensive cozy grey sweater (see, i am an adult, i am!) sipped on a glass of prosecco while we watched jen fry up a batch of beet latkes. yes, that's right, beet latkes.

beet latkes

seriously, they were delicious. and pink. and pretty.

settlers, cookie, bubbly

oh, and settlers! the best board game ever (the bad news: i did not win). our discussion, for a while, was around the five things that someone would put in a trap to catch you. jen's was pretty much the picture above (settlers, cookies, and sparkling pink wine). therese's included custard (excellent choice!), scotch, a microscope, old books, and insect specimens. i would bait c's trap with pizza. he also says that vintage electric guitars would get him. plus books. lots of books. i am certain that the five things that would catch me are a giant pot of hot black tea with half and half, cookies/cake/sweets/whatever, home decorating magazines, pretty fabric, and reality television.

what are the five things that would, without fail, catch you?