Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Just a little tipsy: A no-stick way to roll out your dough

Even my 3-year-old can do it. . .may she never know the pain of a sticky rolling pin!
Wishing I got this one out before the holidays to save some of you fabulous people the frustration of a nicely battered rolling pin during the throws of holiday panic baking. . .11 months to practice for next year!  ;)

Something about the idea of using a rolling pin is fabulously domestic.  In reality, however, my experiences actually rolling out dough are usually two parts profanity and one part feelings of inadequacy.  Why can't I just roll the darn dough?  No amount of flour or freezing the pin can prevent the mess I inevitably create and I am often left scraping the dough from the rolling pin and then squooshing it back together Humpty-Dumpty style.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tasty Bites: Peppermint chocolate & white chocolate brownies



This one's a holiday treat I am certain to be making year-round, although I'm not even going to pretend it's healthy. I think it's worth the splurge, however, since it pulls together two of my favorite flavor combos: salty and sweet with chocolate and mint. Totally delicious. In fact, I think I'll go have another taste. . .

Yep, still delicious.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Tasty Bites: Pecan pie (sans corn syrup) with whole wheat crust


Pecan pie is my new favorite pie to bake from scratch.  If you're like me, you have probably always assumed that pecan pies are difficult to make.  I don't know why but the pecan pie has always seemed somehow out of reach to me. . .too classy and high brow for my mediocre baking skills.  Maybe it's because the pecan is such a fancy nut?  It feels sinful to ruin a pecan while I'm willing to commit all sorts of culinary atrocities to the common peanut.  Some of you, however, have been holding out on me, keeping this well-guarded secret---pecan pie is ridiculously easy.  It's almost a stretch to call it baking.  And so, in the spirit of the giving season, allow me to share with you this slice of deliciousness composed of my own variations of Rachael Ray's perfect pie crust and Chef Eddy's pecan filling, corn syrup free.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Fun-kid-elic Activities: Homemade Pine Cone Swag

Siena's really into "making collections" these days, most of which are usually composed of variations of found objects. The back seat of my car is full of twigs and I live in a world where it is not uncommon to find a stash of rocks under my pillow. So when it came time to start brainstorming holiday crafts this year, I decided to embrace the little hoarder in my life, letting her loose to scavenge anything that caught her interest during our morning run. The results: lots of pine cones, sticks, leaves and acorns.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The strange confusion of autumn


It's a strange confusion
I feel in autumn
as the cool touch of death's finger
explodes my world
into a kaleidoscope
of red, yellow
and orange.
Leaves,
who free fall proudly
in somber certitude,
form a jewel-toned carpet
of crunch and swoosh,
a landscape of beautiful decay
against which I am startlingly alive.
Yet in the silent stoicism
of a gently fading world
there echos the unspoken terror
of another year gone,
the buds whose birth
I first witnessed
like gems
shining me awake
from my winter's sleep
are now
too soon
returned to their darkness.
And in this heady mix
of vibrance and death
of awe and grief
I am shrouded
in fiery remembrances
and left to wonder
at the beauty of an end,
to envy the perfection
of nature's last breath
and to hope that my exit
from this world
might be as poetically
purposeful
as the falling
of an autumn leaf.


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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Tasty, Healthy, Easy & Seasonal: Sweet Potato, Apple & Celery Salad


Gosh I love it when I find a recipe that falls into all four of my favorite categories: tasty, healthy, easy and seasonal.  This one's my go-to bring-along for any fall get-together and is usually a big hit.  The original recipe comes from the South Beach Diet Cookbook, although my version is an even simpler one.

You will need:
  • 3-4 sweet potatos (washed)
  • 3-4 apples (whichever are your favorite)
  • 5-6 stalks of celery
  • extra virgin olive oil (enough to drizzle and toss)
  • salt & pepper to taste

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Last Taste of Summer: Tart Cherry Clafouti

The finished product hovered over by an eager taster. :)
I meant to blog this one a while ago since ***brrrrr*** I'm pretty sure summer ditched us a while back but hey, clafouti is good year round.

This tasty last bite of summer was inspired by the remaining tart cherries we picked on a summer trip to Larriland Farm.  To be honest, I have been carefully (and somewhat selfishly) rationing them, too sad to see them disappear entirely.  These are the same cherries I used in my "Patriotic Muffins", first ever "Blue-cherry Jamboree" and Cherry amaretto cake (See below).  And yet, even after my baking frenzy, I was still swimming in cherries. . .such a happy predicament!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Patterns in the fabric


Outside my bedroom window
there once sliced
an endless stripe of blue
the precise union
of ocean and sky
indecipherable to the eye
the dance of palms
on the beat of the trades
cast wild shadows 
across our day.
At night
the hum and whoosh 
of the surf
the rise and fall of the Pacific
pounded in our ears
until to sleep was to swim
and our dreams 
sailed on crashing waves. 
Sunlight and palms,
ocean and sky,
a tapestry
within which we
lived our lives.
Outside my bedroom window
worlds away today
a dizzying mix
of sturdy trees
rolling grass 
brilliant sky
and cityscape
blend until I am unclear
which is which
leaves still green
yet touched
ever so delicately
by the brightness of a new fall
sway to the rhythm
of a crisp wind
punctuated by the bustle of traffic below. 
And as I lie in bed 
ears filled with the wind
and the passing cars
and the dancing leaves,
I can hear the ocean
and the trades 
and the palms
echoing 
in the pulse
around me 
and I am submerged
in the beauty
of the patterns in the fabric.



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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Where does the poetry go?

This is apparently what I look like when I am stressed. Thanks to Jeremy for capturing this moment when I thought I was going to fall to my death.  

Where does the poetry go
when stress moves in
creeping through the edges
of each door I close
daring to breach
unashamed
the solace of my dreams
covering me
heavy and leaden
tucked tight
against my will?
Where do the words escape to
when my head goes fuzzy
cluttered with
to-do lists,
lesson plans,
groceries,
bills,
schedules,
the din of others
so thick
that I can no longer decipher
the tenor of my own voice?
Is there a place
where the poetry
and words
hide
while I fumble
through life
wondering why
they escape me?
If only
I could live
in that place
week and weekend alike,
summer and winter,
at home and at work,
alone and in company,
so steeped in their presence
that the words
become my breath
and the poetry
becomes my blood.
Instead
I am breathless
my verse broken
each word
a stretch
for the serenity
that lies out of reach.
Who am I
without the poetry
and the words?



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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tasty Bites: Almond Flour Pancakes


I am the person who will talk to you in the grocery line.  I just can't resist.  If you are buying something interesting, I want to know what you do with it.  It's honestly not all that more awkward than standing next to each other in silence pretending not to read the Enquirer titles.

So the other day when I saw the person in front of me piling no fewer than five bags of almond flour onto the conveyor, I had to ask.  It turns out that in lieu of gluten, she uses almond flour in just about everything---cakes, breads and. . .pancakes!  Cue the light bulb.  I was immediately smitten and planning our next pancake breakfast.  Why did I not think of this sooner?  In an effort to create a low carb dessert, Jeremy has perfected some almond flour pie crusts (which, incidentally, are totally yummy) but that's about as far as we took it.  Almond flour pancakes packed with healthy fats and protein. . .now that is something to get excited about.

An internet search yielded a variety of recipe choices so, as usual, I created a little hybrid:

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Just A Little Tipsy: Sneaking vitamins into your Mac & Cheese


I happen to love Jessica Seinfeld's book Deceptively Delicious.  Siena loves her vegetables most of the time but when the end of the week rolls around, our vitamin checklist is looking naked and she is in a mood, I am so not above slipping some extra veggie purees in the spaghetti sauce.

Anyhow, one of my favorites of hers is the Macaroni and Cheese with Butternut Squash (the recipe is actually featured on her site and the homemade cheese sauce is easy and quick to make).  But you know how some nights easy and quick just isn't enough?  The nights when you can just about muster the strength to open a box?  Yeah, those happen to me too.  A lot.

So here's my tipsy: Stock up on a few cartons of butternut squash soup (sans sugar is best in my opinion) and in lieu of milk, mix it into your kiddo's mac and cheese.  Siena absolutely LOVES this and has never noticed the difference.  It's a win-win.  She gobbles it up like a treat and I get to inwardly smirk with the knowledge that she is scarfing down a healthy dose of Vitamin A (the one I find most difficult to check off the checklist each week).


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Monday, September 19, 2011

Just a Little Tipsy: A vitamin checklist


I am the mother who bought all organic produce and pureed all of my baby's food for the first year.  I sent her to daycare with her little bag of lunch food because I didn't want her eating anything of uncertain origin.  Then Siena turned one and simultaneously discovered that 1) she did not want to eat most of what I made and 2) she didn't have to.  Ack!  The first in a string of lessons in letting go was realizing that I would no longer be in complete control over what she ate, that I would need to learn to let the kid have a fruit snack now and then and that I needed to shift my gaze from every bite to the bigger picture.  Having spoken with Siena's pediatrician at length over what vitamins my little toddler required, he suggested that instead of stressing about getting her every vitamin every day that I should think of the vitamin requirements over the course of the week.

And this is when I developed one of my favorite little Mommy tools: A vitamin checklist.  Adapted from a list of vitamins (and corresponding foods) toddlers require found in the Williams-Sonoma Cooking for Baby Cookbook, I made myself a little checklist, laminated it and stuck it to the fridge.  Each week, I use a dry-erase marker to check off food items in each vitamin category and monitor what hasn't been taken care of yet.  In this way, I am able to incrementally chip away and even with a busy schedule, can quickly assess what she has been eating a lot of and what she still needs.  Hurray for the little things!

I am happy to share if anyone is interested in a copy.  :)  Just post a comment with your email address and I'll send it along to you.


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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Nutritious Cookies Take 2 (AKA Yum!)



For those of you who haven't been following, I am in hot pursuit of a recipe for nutritious cookies that I can feel good about feeding my family and still actually want to eat.  Last week's first attempt at making the Runner's Kitchen recipe for "Best vegan cookies. . .ever!" was kind of a debacle, mostly due to the disastrous choice to use 100% cacao in the hopes that the other sugar (which I felt was a bit high already) in the recipe would compensate.  Not so, as evidenced by the sad words of my 3-yr-old daughter, Siena: "Mommy, this chocolate tastes bad".  Epic fail.

Anyhow, this weekend I'm back on the saddle and Siena is ready for another tasting, brave little one that she is.  I chose to return to the same recipe, only this time with a few important changes:

Monday, September 12, 2011

Nutritious Cookies: Take 1 (AKA "Mommy, this chocolate tastes bad.")


I have been wanting to try these cookies since stumbling upon them on a random webquest for healthy cookies. (Worth a shot, right?).  When a friend later posted this recipe on a discussion thread we were having regarding healthy eating tips (Mahalo Kelly for the inspiration!), I decided it had been fated and to Whole Foods I must go!  I have to admit that I tend to avoid Whole Foods.  Something about that store just sends me into the grocery version of a shark's feeding frenzy.  I can lose hours in there, circling the beautifully displayed culinary treasures, poring over labels and generally salivating over everything.  Inevitably, however, I walk out of the store with one bag of random items that in no way adds up to a meal despite adding up to a small fortune. (By the way, if you haven't already you have got to check out this hilarious video: Whole Foods Parking Lot.  "Pay my 80 bucks for six things and get the heck out."  Love it.  I can so relate.)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Reflections of a mother/teacher: Are we raising humans or test scores?

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." -Albert Einstein
As I drove my daughter Siena to her first day of preschool, I watched her clutch the two pictures she crafted enthusiastically and unprompted for each of her teachers. I saw the hope and excitement in her eyes and internally, I felt myself cringe.  School, in her eyes, is a wide open world of possibilities, a limitless terrain of new discoveries. As an educator, I wish desperately that she were right, yet I fear that indeed this is becoming less and less the case.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Making space

Whew. . .what a lot has happened since last I wrote!  Five trailer loads and one hurricane later, we are settling into our new house and beginning the process of making it feel like ours.  As I work on my new home, I have been doing a lot of thinking about the making of spaces.  Part of creating a home, at least for me, involves the creation of favorite nooks, the discovery of little surprises hidden until one actually lives in a house.  Some are discovered, like a view from a window or a particularly fantastic sun-lit corner.  Some are created with paint, elbow grease and often a few tears of exhaustion.  One at a time, this is how I make a place my own, carving out spaces for daydreaming in the cradle of cozy familiarity.

So far, these are my favorite spaces in our new home:


Thursday, August 25, 2011

House and home

Yikes! Any of my Michigan friends see what's wrong with the keys we were handed
by the sellers of our new house?
 
Today we bought a house.  We went in a small office in a fancy building and after signing an impossibly tall stack of papers, we were given keys and told it was ours.  A house.  Ours.  As I dwell in this state of extended in-betweenness we call "moving", this middle space of both homelessness and an overabundance of house, I am reminded of how deliciously disruptive a move can be.  Shaken from the ease of my everyday and uprooted from the familiar, I am left once again to question my attachment to what surrounds me, weighing the value of each item as I hesitate between the Good Will pile and the keepers.  Do I love this slightly broken chair enough to load it in and out of a truck?  Do I need this old sweater enough to take it along for yet another beginning? And, ultimately, the question that echos most resoundingly in every moment I linger in limbo: Where am I amid all of this stuff?  What is me and what is just more baggage along for the ride? 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Committing to balance


"Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life's
a Great Balancing Act."
                                                               -excerpt from Oh, the Places You'll Go! 
                                                                                        by Dr. Seuss

I had a lovely call from my dear friend Beth today wishing me a happy belated half birthday.  She reminded me of how awful my real birthday was this past year (nothing like a bout of shingles to help you celebrate your 31st year on earth) and thought it would be fitting to celebrate now that I am recovered and feeling alive again.  What a difference six months makes!  This time six months ago was a personal record low for my health that set off a disturbing run of illnesses that I can only infer were stress related.  Now, refreshed and renewed from my summer break, I am full of a desire to do things differently, to commit to this elusive "balance" that I, like so many others, so desperately seek.  Yet even as I begin to dip my toes back into the treacherous waters of balancing work and life, I am reminded of the complexity of the demands, the sparsity of the hours in the day and how easy it is to get swept up in the grind.  So this got me thinking. . .what do you do to achieve and maintain balance in your life?  How do you cope with the stress?

I know that exercise has always been a key ingredient for me---running, swimming and yoga in particular.  Creating space and structured time to connect with my body and escape my head for a bit seems to do wonders to re-calibrate my sanity.  Yet despite my best intentions, once the pace of life picks up and the competing demands of family life and work spin their perilous web, I seem to always lose sight of this and opt to work or rest through time that could have been spent pounding the pavement.  Intellectually I know better yet somehow I get swept up and all of a sudden it has been three weeks since I last broke a sweat.

So, my friends, as I take in a few big gulps of deliciously summer-laced air before diving in, what bits of wisdom do you have to offer?  What tips do you have for staying balanced amid the tumult of a busy life?


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Monday, August 22, 2011

What the heck do I do with this leftover watermelon? Part Deux (A.K.A. Grilled Watermelon Salad)


Okay so here is what I am learning:
1) I have been denying all of my watermelons all of these years the chance to live up to their full potential.
2) Sweet and salty is freaking fantastic.

Turns out that watermelon is pretty amazing, especially when paired with something savory and salty.  Still basking in the whopping success of last night's adventures with Tomato, Watermelon & Feta Salad, I set off today to finish off that last 1/4 of a watermelon.  This one was a straight up recipe road test thanks to The Recipe Girl and her amazingly easy Grilled Watermelon Salad recipe.  (Be sure to check out the link to see her amazing presentation!)  That's right---grilled.  Makes sense when you think about it.  Watermelon is to summer barbecue what cranberries are to Thanksgiving. And so I imagine someone somewhere had a couple of cold ones, was a little bored flipping the burgers and thought "Why not?".  Pure culinary genius.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Stepping away from the mirror and into the self


I have a dirty little morning ritual of looking through the yahoo news headlines while drinking my coffee. This morning, I was intrigued by a YouBeauty.com on Shine article about a bride who has sworn off mirrors for a year, which got me to thinking: Why do we look at mirrors so frequently? According to the article, recent studies show that the average number of times a woman looks in the mirror is over 70 times in just one day and Renee Engeln-Maddox, Ph.D., psychology professor and body image expert at Northwestern University, says that "constantly checking ourselves out in the mirror can be bad for our mental health". So what gives?

Having sworn off scales myself after the hard work of untangling some serious eating and body issues in college, I can relate to this bride's desire to rewrite the script of self-examination. In an effort to focus on how I felt rather than what I weighed, I made the conscious and strangely terrifying choice eight years ago to no longer weigh myself. Never. That means no scale in my house, the awkwardness of turning my back at the doctor's office and exercising tremendous restraint at friends' houses. (Although I admit to the weakness of secretly weighing myself in the aisle of a Walmart bathroom section at least two times.) It was a somewhat drastic move but a necessary step towards healing and making friends with my body. When weighing yourself becomes a ritual that has the power to change the course of your day, your mood and your self-opinion, it's simply time to step away from the scale.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

What the heck do I do with this leftover watermelon? Part 1 (A.K.A. Tomato, Watermelon & Feta Salad)

Why would I think this watermelon was the right size for our family?  It's seriously bigger than my daughter's head!
Oh my goodness have I stumbled upon some yumminess to share with you.  You are going to obsess over this one.  (Or maybe you're just not the kind of person to obsess over food in which case, who are you and what is that like?)  I think it just might be my new summer potluck dish---Tomato, Watermelon & Feta Salad.  I know.  Sounds weird, right?  I was skeptical too, especially regarding the feta factor.  But alas, today I decided that I could not let another pile of leftover watermelon go to waste.  Something about watermelon makes me overestimate what my family of three can consume.  It just looks so darn good but after the second day of sticky summer sweetness, those juicy wedges just start to lose their luster and pretty soon I am sick of the space the sizable hind of the leftover half watermelon is hogging up in my fridge.  So what's a gal to do with a half a watermelon and no one to pawn it off on?  Watermelon, after all, is a cancer-fighting superfood and a one-way ticket to the bin is no way to treat such a gift of nature.  You wouldn't put Superman in the trash if he stayed a little too long, would you?  Not on my watch.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Fun-kid-elic Activities: Homemade ribbon wands

Yes, that is a calf garter you see. What can I say?  It came with the costume.
You're thinking of that scene from Old School, right?  The one where Will Ferrell busts out a fabulously awkward yet strangely graceful ribbon routine to the tune of the theme song from Chariots of Fire?  (If not, you have to check this YouTube clip out.)  Well, take that mental image, subtract the gracefulness and add a toddler-sized tiara and you pretty much know what I was up to this morning.  Just another day in the life of end-of-summer motherhood.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A stolen moment with the rain


Tonight
in secret
and under the clandestine cover
of a slanted awning,
I stole a moment
to be with the rain.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The castration of a carrot

Every morning after breakfast Siena and I like to go examine our garden to see what grew overnight. Inevitably, as we near the bed with the carrots, she asks if we can pull one up.  Can I get her to eat the carrots I lovingly prepare and serve her on her plate?  No way.  Apparently this in no way compares to the delight of unearthing a carrot, washing it off and gnawing away.  And so our carrots lie in wait for our morning walk.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Just a Little Tipsy: What to buy a 3 year old

Seriously. . .what do you buy for this?
Since I am both a teacher and a parent, it may surprise you that I find something crippling about purchasing a gift for someone else's child, particularly if the age of their child exists somewhere in the grey area between the precise age of my own child and the middle grades students I love to teach. The task of gift purchasing casts the recipient in a strange role, the glare from the spotlight illuminating their foreignness until I am certain I have no idea who they are. Who is this alien child and what makes them tick? And so I inevitably find myself wandering the store aisles of some clever toy store, arms weighted with a hazardous combination of what I imagine I might have wanted at said age and gifts I am secretly wishing I could play with now. The alien child slips even further from my reach as I exit the store empty-handed but for the perfect gift I just discovered I needed for my own child. Sigh.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The ebbing tide of summer



This one goes out to anyone who, like me, is feeling the perplexing blend of terror and excitement that comes with an impending school year.

The ebbing tide of summer
is pulling me away
from carefree
from the luxury of a mid-day nap
from candying lemons
from "What shall we do today?"
from the simple beauty of
bats dancing intricate patterns
across the glory
of a sky that hesitates
between day and night

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Fun-kid-elic Activities: Nature is the best paint brush


Today was one of those glorious summer afternoons where the mosquitoes called in sick and the breeze picked up their shift.  It was also one of those loooooong summer afternoons when it became glaringly apparent that I have officially run out of ideas to keep my preschool-starved child busy.  So having discovered that the house was mysteriously 10 degrees hotter than sitting in the shade, I packed up my daughter's IKEA easel (love that thing!) and created a little artist's studio outside.  We've done this before but today's outdoor art session came with an extra twist.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Just A Little Tipsy: Vinegar in your laundry


Okay so in keeping with this beach theme, second only to my disdain for sandy butt syndrome is my ire for the stench of moldy towels.  Call me snobby but wiping dry with a towel that smells musty makes me want to step right back into the shower and start over again.  You know the smell I'm talking about, right?  Maybe you left the laundry in the washer and forgot about it for a few days too many (oops) or maybe you left the beach towels in the beach bag until your next trip (ick) but either way, once that smell grabs hold of fabric, its hard to shake.  I have tried re-washing, doubling the detergent, even buying the heavy duty stuff designed to eat odor.  Yet even as my hope swells when I pull those clean towels out of the dryer odor-free, it's one shower later and the smell is back, leaving me wedged between the urge to pitch them in the trash and my frugality that refuses to quit on anything potentially salvageable.

So imagine my amazement when I discovered that. . .wait for it. . .

Just A Little Tipsy: Baby powder knows where my sand goes


Do you ever stumble upon a tip that is so fabulously simple and wonderful that you just can't wait to share it with other people?  The kind that you find yourself trying to slip into conversation because it has made your life so much easier, you want to find ways to pass it along?  Yes, I am that person.  The one lurking behind you, waiting to drop a tip-bomb on you that, while perhaps remarkably off topic, will send you running to do your very own road test.  And so, through the magic of the internet, allow me now to indulge in some good old fashioned tip-ology.

Baby powder is the antidote to sandy butt crack.  It is.  But let me, ahem, back up a bit.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Adventures in Baking: Strawberry lemonade cupcakes


A few times a year I find a good excuse to do some totally indulgent, ridiculously time-consuming cupcake baking.  Some of my exploits have been more successful than others.  Admittedly, my weakness is that my love of decorating the cupcakes is often at the expense of the taste of the cake itself.  After all, a marzipan ladybug atop a bed of bright green frosting grass is a steep enough accomplishment unto itself, right?  But why should taste be secondary to beauty?  I am happy to share with you that this recipe for strawberry lemonade cupcakes is straight up delicious.  The cake, the frosting and the toppings all work together to make something uniquely yummy that is not only pretty to look at but also distinctly crave-able (that's right, I'm inventing words).

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Candied Lemon Slices? Really??? Oh yesssssss.


This is obviously a sign that I have too much time on my hands but hey, it's summer break and I don't feel a darn bit guilty.  And so, why not candy lemons?  Had I heard of a candied lemon before today?  Maybe.  Had I spent much time contemplating the magical potential of such a union of sweet and sour?  No.  But tonight as I lie in bed typing, I can't stop thinking about them.  I know they are there, those little slices of sunshine, chilled and shiny, stretched out decadently on the parchment paper nest I have created for them in my refrigerator and yes, they call to me.  But unfortunately for me, these little wedges of lemon heaven have been promised to cupcakes which have been promised to guests of a baby shower I am hosting tomorrow and alas, the shame of serving naked cupcakes doth trump my desire for the naughty pleasure of biting through the bittersweet rind of a candied lemon.

Just a Little Tipsy: Signed, Desparately seeking something to label


What has become of me?  Today, in search of some free label templates to use as book plates and decorations (featured in the pic above) for a strawberry lemonade themed baby shower (also check out the strawberry lemonade cupcakes), I stumbled upon a new love.  Labels!  Vintage labels, trendy labels, labels for school supplies, for my daughter's room, for my kitchen, for my ever-expanding office, labels of all sizes. . .why didn't I think of this sooner?  I shouldn't be surprised.  This new crush is the perfect collision of my desire to organize and my love of pretty things.  And yes, my guilty confession that I harbor the secret suspicion that if everything just had its place in my home, life would be perfect.  Well, maybe not perfect, but at least I wouldn't have to dig through my unfolded laundry twice a week to find my wallet.

Fresh Rosemary & Sage Beef Tenderloin

Tonight I massaged a raw tenderloin.  That's right.  I said it.  But friends, this recipe was totally worth the few minutes spent prodding and juggling the fleshy weight of the beef.  In the words of my husband, Jeremy: "This roast beast is delicious!".  I absolutely agree.  And I'm not lying, it's super easy.