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Sep 30, 2011

Friday Flowers.

I love fall.  And its colors.  And its flowers.  Like these:


They were purchased in anticipation of my mom's surprise 60th birthday party on Sunday.  She doesn't know that yet, but she's enjoying them nonetheless.  Double awesome.

Have a great weekend y'all!

Sep 25, 2011

Sunday...Wherein I Love Me Some Rice Pudding...

Fall's spice/herb to study is... cinnamon.  That's right, folks.  It's inordinately predictable, but I don't care.  And so, to start off the cinnamon study... I used something that wasn't cinnamon.  Okay - so maybe that's a bit like art class where you draw the negative space around an object in order to draw the object itself (it could seem backwards to some), but it worked today.  

One thing I am not great at in cooking and baking is knowing what spices and herbs, even what ingredients in general can be grouped together.  Case in point, I love rice pudding.  This has not always been the case, but lately I've been a RP fanatic.  And I know that rice pudding is good buds with cinnamon.  HOWEVER, today I made Coconut Rice Pudding, and while I was in the last fews minutes of simmering, a phone call from a friend led to the suggestion that the cinnamon likely wouldn't pair well with the coconut, and that I use cardamom instead, as both cardamom and coconut were used in Indian and Eastern cooking.  Now, we don't have fresh cardamom here - in fact, ours is likely at least ten years old.  My dear grandma gave us that little vial years and years ago.  She has since passed away but I was glad for the excuse to unearth it and look at her handwriting again, and think of how she'd feel receiving my excited phone call about using it in the recipe today.  (:

{RP and Grandma's cardamom}

If you're raring for some RP, and you REALLY like coconut, here you go:

Coconut Rice Pudding
3 cans coconut milk, 14 oz each (I like rice pudding thicker, so I'll probably go less on this next time)
1/2 cup sugar (increase slightly if your coconut is unsweetened)
1 cup shredded coconut (sweetened)
2/3 cup rice (I used white, but will try brown with an increased cooking time next)
3/4 tsp salt
dash of vanilla extract

Combine everything except the vanilla in a large saucepan.  Bring to a gentle boil, reduce the heat and then simmer gently for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Once the rice is cooked and the pudding is thick, remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.  Serve however you like - cold or hot!  (And the cardamom works well!)  Enjoy!

Sep 22, 2011


Well, folks, I missed this week's "Word Wednesday"... but if I had posted, the word would have been "aspire"...

I could make a long long list of the things I aspire to, but maybe that's for another post.  

{lunchtime reading}

Currently, I'm reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.  I can relate to the quote she mentions from Yeats: "Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that, but simply growth.  We are happy when we are growing."  This ties in to the idea of "arrival fallacy", described by Tal Ben-Shahar as "the belief that when you arrive at a certain destination, you'll be happy".  I've heard the "journey, not the destination" idea so much, you'd think I get it... but it's one more thing I aspire to.  I don't know how many moments I have left, and I want to relish each one, keep the right spirit in each one... and grow along the way.

For your viewing (hopefully) pleasure, here are pictures from my adventures since Labor Day:

{lovely village cafe a la Amelie}

{whole food at whole foods}

{burnt sugar ice cream, chocolate chai ice cream beneath}

Note: Mt. Tom's in Easthampton is my favorite ice cream store ever.  I went there three days in a row.  Good thing I don't live closer as an intervention would then need to be staged...

{summer love}

{cat-in-law nose}


{vermont at 57 mph}

{friday night supper at stone soup with jill and kate}

{last week's friday flowers!}

{of the intervale community farm}
{procrastinated wedding project}

Note: I did finish... 8 minutes before we left for the wedding.

{fancy kate in front of the ethan allen III}

Third level: our wedding party.
Second level: another wedding party.
Deck: pirates.  Not kidding.

{wedding fun}

Today is the last day of summer.  My original intention for this blog was to research an herb or spice each season, draw it, grow it (if possible), cook and/or bake with it - generally make friends with it.

Cilantro was my summer herb of choice.  We are not friends.  This is due to a total lack of effort on my part.  Cilantro grew away in my garden, (in the metaphorical sense - cilantro was on the stoop, leeeeeannnnin' on the doorbell), but I turned a deaf ear.  As was the case with spring's tarragon, here I am, on the last day of the season, ruefully writing that I didn't fill the place I aspired to as herb researcher extraordinaire.  

Right now, the fall doesn't look half as busy as the summer was.  That can change quickly.  But, for now, I'm looking forward to growth. (:

Sep 9, 2011

Friday Flowers

I had to look at the label to find out these are - waxflowers!  Indeed, they look like flowers that would be easy to create out of wax, given you had experience in that area.  Wikipedia, giver of answers to my mindless internet searches, says that the "wax" name likely comes from the way the leaves feel.  I can't exactly vouch for that as the "leaves" are thin little pokers.  I'm enjoying the summer-to-fall transition colors though...

{Chamelaucium uncinatum}

{close-up, at work}

Enjoy your weekend!

Sep 6, 2011

I Put the PUNK in Punctuality...

Punctuality has never been my forte.  But my lateness in posting my "chal-lenge" response is bordering on embarrassing.  Without further ado...

{cupcakes, finished} 

Since the chal-lenge was pre-Freedom convention, and I had a couple of stops planned on the way, the lucky recipients were: my dear friends Audrey and Belva (whom I know through meeting) and Michael and Sam (whom I know through gardens and clown noses in West Virginia and Superhero Training Academy thereafter) ...and then hapless folks in the women's dorm at Freedom as I tried to pawn off the rest before they went bad (they don't skimp on the butter in buttercream frosting...).

{at the house of my friend sam, who owns this curious squirrel-go-round} 

I would love to expound on the merits of these fine people (I truly do not know how I am so blessed to know so many wonderful people, yourselves included...), but I am an old 28-yearer and I am itching to go to bed, so pictures of goofiness will have to do...

 {staged cupcake awe}

{staged cupcake feeding delight}

Summer happenings have been plen.ti.ful. here lately, including:

 {loveliness bought from a local stand}

{light on dark leaves} 


{bumper crop of 'matos, cukes and bikinis this year} 

{this lovely woman's birthday}

{sightseeing & hiking in thacher park} 

More from Labor Day weekend later kids - I'm whooped.

Sep 2, 2011

Friday Flowers

It's almost Saturday but I couldn't leave Friday without sharing these with you.

{red gerbera and white freesia}