Monday, February 28, 2011

Now! 20% Smarter!

If "smarter" means able to read street signs at night and Power Point presentations from across the room. I finally got new glasses. Only 10 people probably even knew that I had glasses before because I only really use them to drive at night (and I still pass the vision test fine without them).  The optician sort of laughed and shrugged when she handed me my prescription. Evidently it's one of the lowest she can write. But more importantly -- they're cute, right?

And they have the added benefit of making me look more librarianish. The cardigans and stern looks just weren't cutting it.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Suburban Sunday

We had a pretty typical Sunday around here - drank coffee while Colin tortured the dogs played (video to come), visited Costco and Wegman's and took a walk around the neighborhood. I think this was probably the only interesting thing of note:

At least the graffiti artists in our neighborhood have exceptional penmanship (spraymenship?).

Saturday, February 26, 2011


We had a fabulous playdate with three of Colin's buddies (and one friend that is still baking), who happen to be the children of my good friends from college. These three boys are all within a few months of each other and get along so well. That secret pregnancy pact worked out pretty good.

I love how you can see the top of Cate and Kim's heads as they try to get the boys to smile!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Hello, luvahs.

"What do I want a Thin Mint for? I might as well chew a piece of gum." - Chris

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Remnants of Monday's snow still scatter the ground, but my daffodils are trying their damnedest to show the world that spring is coming.

And you know what else is green and ready for spring? 

This guy. He's got some patio maintenance to take care of.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Salmon in Puff Pastry

This turned out pretty well for a weeknight meal, if I do say so myself. It was also surprisingly easy for something that combines pastry and seafood (and yes, I realize that sounds kind of gross, but think beef wellington, not Rachel Green's Thanksgiving Trifle).  The serving size is a little odd, but that worked out perfectly for our family and the salmon fillet I bought (.7 lbs) was an exact fit for one sheet of puff pastry.

Salmon in Puff Pastry
Serves 3

  • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 skinless salmon fillet
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbs brown sugar
  • 1 tbs stone ground mustard
  • 1 egg, beaten
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lay out puff pastry on floured work surface. Roll out until it's a little over a foot in each direction. Cut in to three strips.
  2. Divide salmon in to three portions. Season all over with salt and pepper. Mix together brown sugar and mustard. Spread over top of each piece.
  3. Place a piece of salmon in middle of each strip of pastry. Fold over long edges and seal with egg wash. Crimp open ends with fork tines. 
  4. Bake 30-40 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool at least five minutes before serving.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Teething Toddler For Sale

Asking price: Six pack of Hoengaarden, OBO. Colin was a bear today. A rabid bear. A rabid bear coming off a ten day meth bender. Who couldn't find his keys. Since that's the kind of day I've been having, I'll treat you to a handful of underexposed, out of focus shots commemorating it. 


To his credit, he was a perfect angel over the weekend, as we carted him across the state for various social functions. So, here is one of his better moments today. Paci-face and all. We generally limit his pacifier to the crib, but desperate times, man. Des-per-ate times.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Smoke and fire

Our route to Baltimore today was interrupted by brush fire. Yikes! Guess the wind can do worse things than tip over your shed.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Spring preview

After all of my bitching and moaning about how cold it's been, the weather gods threw me a bone and made it 70+ degrees today. Super sweet! So we headed out for a playdate with my cousin and her kids. Colin had a blast, as he usually does. On a sidenote, I'm kind of disappointed in my photos - a lot of my favorites have very soft focus. I was even shooting in AV instead of manual, so that shutter speed was one less thing I had to worry about and I could actually nail focus. Ah well. The kids had fun and so did I.


Getting a push from Claire. He loves her.

Slide static!

Who needs playground equipment when there are STICKS!

So sweet.

Helloooooo down there

Laney girl

Boys being . . . boys? Colin was stuck in the stroller. Kelly helped him out. I took a picture.

Just like a man - hiding from kitchen work.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sprout it out

It seems the foodie world is evenly divided in to two camps: those who dig on brussel sprouts and those that think they taste like feet. I'm a proud upstanding member of the first group and I think I've found my favorite preparation. It helps that it's also the simplest. The key factor is not an ingredient, it's a hulking piece of equipment that I lug out from under my cabinet probably twice a month:

The magic machine that lives in my cabinet and consists of eleventy bajillion parts. He's complex. Let's call him Jeeves.
Jeeves makes quick work of shredding the sprouts - the key component to cooking them quickly and thus preventing too much of a sulfuric taste. There's lots more you can do with this recipe.  Bacon, garlic, pine nuts. But I like the simplicity of just butter, salt and pepper.

(Wow, this recipe is almost as complicated as Paula Dean's English Peas. Sorry. )

Shredded Brussel Sprouts

  • 1 lbs fresh brussel sprouts. Ends trimmed and yucky outer leaves removed.
  • 1 tsp butter
  • salt and pepper

  1. Shred the brussel sprouts in a food processor fitted with the slicing blade.
  2. Melt  butter in large pan over medium high heat. Add sprouts and season liberally with salt and pepper. They'll caramelize a little when they hit the pan, then just stir and cook until completely wilted. The end!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Lil' baller

For Christmas, my dad and Tessa got Colin this cool ball pit and it's one of the few toys that continues to keep his interest today. Unfortunately, it does lead to a lot of awkward conversations about whether or not he wants to go downstairs and play with his balls . . .

Mom! Stop talking about balls on the internet!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Our own taste of Oz

There were some serious, ferocious, howling winds last night. Enough to knock our shed completely over.

No shriveled witch legs were found at the scene, but I doubt the local possum population fared as well.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Oatmeal Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies

Colin's little daycare class is having a Valentine's party tomorrow where I'm sure the cuteness will be off the charts. I asked his teacher if we could send cookies instead of cards and she was all for it. I promise I'm not trying to show the other parents up or anything - just taking advantage of the opportunity to try a new cookie recipe and then quickly get the delicious outcome out of the house. The combination of dried cherries and chocolate is one of my favorite because of the balance of tart and sweet.

Oatmeal Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Inspired by these, since I am still trying to meet my two Living recipes per month quota, but I ran out of flour and had to improvise with an oatmeal recipe at the last  minute)
Makes 3 dozen cookies.

  • 2 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 c. flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 c. quick oats
  • 1 c. dried cherries, chopped
  • 1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment and spray with cooking spray.
  2. Cream butter and sugars until smooth. Add egg and vanilla. 
  3. In separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in to butter and sugar mixture. Slowly add oatmeal, cherries and chocolate chips. 
  4. Spoon on to baking pans in ping pong size balls, careful not to crowd the pan.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Date night

Pre-Vday dinner at 8407 Kitchen Bar in Silver Spring.

I should add that this post was made possible by the generous babysitting services of local grandparents. Thank you!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Swiss Chard and Ricotta Calzones

Chris asked if we could call these Chardzones.

Swiss Chard and Ricotta Calzones
Adapted from Epicurious 

  • 1 lb prepared pizza dough (I used Trader Joe's herb-y version and I think plain would have actually worked better. The herbs overpowered the chard and cheese)
  • olive oil
  • 8 cups swiss chard, chopped with stalks removed
  • 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2/3 cup ricotta
  • 2/3 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 2 tbs parmesan
  • 1 egg yolk
  • salt and pepper
  1. If chilled, take dough out of refrigerator and leave on counter, 20-60 minutes before baking. 
  2. Preheat oven to 425. 
  3. Heat 2 tsp of olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and stir, just in until garlic is fragrant and soft. Add swiss chard and vinegar and cook until wilted. Remove from heat and drain any liquid. 
  4. Combine cheeses and egg, season with salt and pepper. Mix with chard.
  5. Quarter dough and roll out in to four rounds, about 6-8 inches wide. Fill and fold in half. Crimp over edges - pinching along to form a rope around the edge. 
  6. Bake on oiled sheet pan until golden brown. Allow to cool a few minutes before serving. Serve with marinara.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Lunchtime adventures

A few random shots. I got cocky after my Longwood adventure and I thought I could do orchid macros. In a windowless exhibit hall. Ahahahaha! No, that didn't work out well. I'm also kind of in love with Picasa's collage function. Far and away easier than Photoshop templates. I don't think I'd print anything with them, but they are super convenient for the web. Next time I make one, I'll go easier on the watermarks. Whoops!


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What do you mean, "It's only Wednesday"?

I typically hate weekday whining as much as the next person. Poor you, another case of the Mondays. Can't wait 'til Friday? Me neither. Whaa whaa whaaa it sucks to have to leave the house five days in a row. WE KNOW. But today, I am wholeheartedly joining the chorus. This week has been kicking my ass and taking my name, relentlessly, every single day.

I owe  my sanity to three things: lunchtime yoga (genius), beer in frosty mugs and these:

My first quick attempt at one of my 2011 Goal Foods: turtle brownies.  Chopped up caramel pieces (1 cup), chopped pecans (1 cup) and brownie mix (Ghiardelli Triple Chocolate. Don't look at me like that, Chris Kimbal. They're goood.).

Gourmet? Maybe not. Soul restoring? Absolutely.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Super What?

On Sunday, Chris decided to go watch the big game with people that knew the difference between a touchdown and a touchback (is that a real thing or did I just make that up?) and so Colin and I were on our own. I threw together this little appetizer, based on my dear friend Donna's classic spinach and artichoke dip. My version just has a little added zip from sun-dried tomatoes. You may remember them from such classic Martha Envy recipes as this.

Spinach, Artichoke and Sun-dried Tomato Dip 
Serves 6-8

  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 brick of cream cheese (4 oz)
  • 1/4 c. grated parmesan
  • 1 c. marinated artichoke hearts
  • 1/2 package frozen spinach, thawed and drained 
  • 1/2 c. sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 tbs. mayonaise
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Set aside a scant handful of mozzarella. Whirl together rest of ingredients in food processor. 
  3. Spoon out in to ovensafe dish. Top with reserved mozzarella. 
  4. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and begins to brown. Serve with chips, crackers, etc.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Happy thoughts

This is a lame post, but I've had a rough day. So, I decided to feature one of my favorite photos from the past year featuring two of my favorite things: my baby and the beach. Okay, three favorite things - I love that hat.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Fleur de me

To put it simply, Longwood was awesome. I met up with about 20 of my closest photo hobbyist friends for a day of learnin' 'bout macros and chattin' 'bout lens. I told Chris I need this now. When he regains consciousness, I'm sure he'll agree.

By the way, if you're wondering what a macro is here is a real definition, but it's generally a very close-up shot. The ones I took wouldn't be considered "true" macros because they're not a 1:1 ratio (I think they're 1:3).

To give you some frame of reference on just how little I knew about, or had played with, macro photos, here is one of my first shots of the day. Please try to contain your yawns:
Big white flower on a big white background. Inspired.

I think I made some pretty good progress and I actually picked up a few more tips and tricks after I shot these:
I think this is my favorite of the day. An unfurling fern that looks like a little baby hand.

Unfurling hibiscus.

Unfurling -- waaiiit a second. Okay, I like unfurling. and this one was taken with extension tubes. They are out of my league. I was all up in this flower's bidness like you wouldn't believe.

Calla lily with a little different post processing.

Dear photo snobs: this is NOT selective coloring. Just a pretty tulip on a bed of dusty millers.

How did a non-flower photo end up  here?

Pretty purple something-or-another with vintagey post processing.

So, that was fun. I didn't know how much I would like macros but they're kind of addictive.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Long day at Longwood

I just got back from a very fun, educational and exhausting day at Longwood Gardens, where I did a lot of this:

Taking photos of flowers.

And this:
Taking photos of other people taking photos.

I can't wait to edit what I've shot but for tonight I have a group date with my couch, a beer and Netflix. I just might invite Chris and the dogs to come along.