Thursday, March 31, 2011

embroidered books!

I'm going to write about more book covers now... don't hate me. I'm sorry, I simply can't help myself. I love books; I love publication and book cover design; I REALLY love embroidery. So imagine how excited I was to stumble across these lovely books from Jillian Tamaki for Penguin. As I've said before, there's probably no reason for me to have five copies of Emma {or any other Jane Austen book for that matter} but I can't stop buying them. I suppose I should issue a simple plea to Penguin: Stop releasing gorgeous special editions of all my favorite classics.

Do you think they'll listen? Probably not. I'm clearly destined to be surrounded by countless copies of the same books. At least they'll be very pretty.

Monday, March 28, 2011

sunday sweets {cookie dough brownies}

This is actually one of my Mother's recipes. It probably shouldn't be called a brownie since there's so much going on, but for the purpose of this post, we'll call it that. These are so decedent and rich that one will fill you up as much as an entire meal, which is why I'll be packing them up and taking them with me to work later. I can't have these sitting around the house, they're kind of dangerous.

For the Brownie {you can use brownie mix, but if you want to make them from scratch, here's an awesome recipe}:
2 oz unsweetened chocolate
8 tbsp {one cup} of butter
2/3 cup cake flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease Brownie Pan.
2. Melt the unsweetened chocolate. You can microwave the chocolate alone on 50% power for 2 minutes {i would do 1 minute, check, and repeat} . Add the butter to the melted chocolate and stir until combined. Set aside to cool.
3. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in a small bowl. Set aside.
4. Whisk sugar into cooled chocolate mixture. Whisk in eggs and vanilla, then fold in flour mixture until just combined.
5. Pour batter into greased 8-inch square metal baking dish, bake about 20 minutes, or until slightly undercooked, but not gooey inside. Set aside to cool.

For Cookie Dough Filling:
1/2 cup butter softened
1/2 cup brown sugar {packed}
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp milk
1 cup flour
1 cup chocolate chips

1. Beat butter, brown sugar and sugar until light and fluffy.
2. Add milk and vanilla, blend well.
3. Lightly spoon flour into mixture and mix well. Add chips and spread over COOLED brownies.

For Chocolate Glaze:
1 cup chocolate chips
1 tbsp butter

Melt chips and butter in microwave about 1-2 minutes or until melted. Stir until combined. Smooth over filling. Chill until set.

It may seem like there's a lot of steps to these, but they're really not difficult at all. Plus they're super delicious. Enjoy!

holy hail, batman!

{via anzu}

I got a really late start to this Monday morning partially because of the CRAZY storm we had last night. Seriously the thunder shook the house at one point. Also partially because I had to get up at 5 and drive my sister to the airport, so I was in rough shape.

Aside from last night's storm was yesterday afternoon's hail {!}. This is not something that happens very often here, and what made it even more shocking was that it had been 80 yesterday up until about 3. Totally crazy. The storm flooded our backyard and left all our plants looking a little rough today, hopefully the sun will come out soon.

Friday, March 25, 2011

happy weekend!

My sister is in town this weekend so I'm hoping for some beach and shopping time. I'm so happy spring is in full swing, I'm trying to enjoy as much time outside as I can before the weather becomes gross and unbearably hot.

Some things I've enjoyed around the internet this week:

Have a wonderful weekend!

P.S. Isn't Karen O amazing?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

hearts to japan and meatloaf mondays

My talented friends Taylor and Erik have a hilariously clever blog called Meatloaf Mondays. They started out picking a headline from the newspaper and illustrating their take on it every Monday, now they've broadened their range to include various other topics. They have recently donated their talents to Hearts for Japan where all proceeds will be donated to a charity that will benefit the relief efforts in Japan. The illustrations are so awesome and it's for a good cause get some, and check out Meatloaf Mondays while you're at it!

morning eye candy

I know Design*Sponge is showing these today, but I felt like I had to put them up since I've talked about Coralie Bickford-Smith's books more than a couple of times. This woman can do no wrong when it comes to book covers, they're absolutely beautiful. Her new series "Great Food" is due out in April and the covers are just breathtaking, literally, I almost fell out of my chair. I can't wait to have these displayed in the kitchen, unfortunately they won't be for sale through amazon until October. Luckily, you can pre-order them, which is what I plan on doing. Yet another reason to look forward to fall.

garden greens {radishes}

Lately Jacob and I have been cultivating a serious garden in the backyard. We've got all sorts of herbs and spices going, as well as tomatoes, salad greens and other veggies. We planted some radishes around green beans and cucumbers thinking it would be a good way to fill the whole pot, but these things grew like crazy. So now we have an awful lot of tasty radishes. I think we'll need to pickle some, but I love eating them with some butter and crispy bread { oolala, how very french}. These are easter egg radishes and they're super peppery and earthy. Another bonus to this veggie is the color, aren't they pretty?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

bedroom inspiration board

I've mentioned before that I can't wait to get some stuff on the walls in my bedroom, but I would also love to fill it with some new furniture. Here's what I'm thinking, well some version of this, unless I hit the lottery and then I'll buy all of these things.

Brainstorm Prints

We need more posters like we need another whole in the head. Right now there's about 10 prints we have waiting to go up, all they need is a frame, but I just can't resist adding to the pile. Especially when I look at prints as beautiful as these. Those blues would go perfectly in our bedroom....

Monday, March 21, 2011

sunday sweets {berry crepes}

When combing through my pantry yesterday in search of something to bake, I realized there was a lack of chocolate. I generally don't have this problem as I try to keep the house stocked with enough chocolate to feed a small country, so I was at a bit of a loss. Luckily, Jacob reminded me that desserts can be made from other ingredients {I know, I was surprised too}.

These crepes are fairly easy and so delicious. They could be used as a sweet dessert or a Sunday brunch dish.

For the Crepes:
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted

In a large bowl mix together all wet ingredients {eggs, milk, water, butter}. Sift the flour into the mixture, add salt and whisk together until combined. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each crepe. Tilt the pan with a circular motion so that the batter coats the surface evenly. Cook crepe for about 2 minutes until the bottom is light brown. Loosen with a spatula, turn and cook the other side. Serve hot.

For the berry topping:
1 cup mixed berries {we used raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries, but you could use whatever you like}
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon cornstarch {or more if needed, this just thickens the mixture a bit}

Add berries, honey and water to a small saucepan. Cook down over medium heat until it forms a chunky paste. Take off heat, serve warm with added whole fruit when plating.

For the whipped cream:
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/8 confectionary sugar {more if you like}
1-2 tablespoons Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur {to taste}

Whisk together at a high speed until it forms stiff peaks.

To add a little more flavor we drizzled some Lavender Balsamic Vinegar over top {you can use regular}. Enjoy!

big love: a final goodbye {spoiler alert}

The series finale of Big Love aired last night, and I have to admit, I'm still kind of processing the ending. I won't spoil it for anyone out there but it's quite shocking, then again maybe it's not. Spoiler: For those of you who watched it, the more I think about it, the more I believe this may have been the only logical outcome. I mean they couldn't end the show by fixing all the problems that had been torturing the characters all season. If they had wrapped them all up in a bow and said "everything is fine now" we all would have been disappointed, right? I think Bill's death was the only way everyone else could move on with their lives, and that final scene of Barb giving him the blessing was so beautiful. What are your thoughts?

One thing I think we can agree on, even if you didn't enjoy the ending, is that it's sad that the show is gone now. I mean this is the whole reason I wanted HBO. I mean, now I watch a whole new group of shows, but it all started with this particular one.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

happy st. patty's!

St. Patrick's Day is a big deal in Savannah. The fountains are dyed green and people have already been celebrating all week {which means downtown has been turned into a public restroom}. I've never been the biggest fan of this holiday, but it's sort of infectious here, it's hard not to get a little excited for the parade and festivities, plus, and this is my favorite part, there's this polish sausage vendor that sets up on Congress. I look forward to this lunch all year, it's kind of gross but also super delicious.

Anyway, however you plan to spend the day, have fun and be safe!

Monday, March 14, 2011

sunday sweets {dark chocolate pudding}|

I will be the first to admit that I'm a complete chocoholic. Rarely can I get through a day without craving just a small piece of the delicious treat {generally accompanied by a glass of cabernet}. So after a weeks of eating lavender honey ice cream, I decided to go the opposite route and make something sinfully rich and chocolatey.

This is a recipe from the Hominy Grill cook book and it's absolutely amazing. I personally like pudding to be cooked before it sits in the fridge. It makes the pudding even more rich and flavorful. I also made whipped cream, but I added a little something extra. I believe I may have mentioned my love for St. Germain liquour here before, but allow me to remind you. It takes like a rose garden, only better. A rose garden in France. Oh, it's that good. Anyway, a heathy dose of it {about 2 tablespoons but you can do it to your taste}, added to your whipped cream {1cup heavy cream + about 1/2 teaspoon of confectionary sugar, or more depending on how sweet you like it} and you're good to go.

You'll need 8 ramekins to pour your pudding mixture into.

  • 8oz bittersweet chocolate {I like to use Ghirardelli 60-70% cocoa}

  • cup sugar

  • egg yolks

  • cups heavy cream

  • tsp vanilla extract

  • tsp salt

    Preheat oven to 300 degrees

    • Chop chocolate. Reserve in bowl.

    • Whisk ¼ cup sugar into egg yolks. Mix rest of sugar with cream and vanilla in saucepan and bring to a boil.

    • Pour a little hot cream into bowl with egg yolks. Pour remaining cream over chocolate and stir with spatula until smooth. Add egg mixture and salt. Strain into a pitcher and refrigerate until cool.

    • Once cooled, pour into ⅔ cup ramekinsin a shallow baking pan half-filled with water (water bath) and cook at 300 degrees for about an hour. Chill for at least 3 hours before serving. To serve, top with a fat dollop of freshly whipped cream.


Sunday, March 13, 2011

day dreams {a young mick jagger}

There are few things I love more than Sundays and Mick Jagger might be one of them.

It's beautiful in Savannah today, Jacob is off and we're cooking and drinking beer, is there anything better? Check back tomorrow for Sunday Sweets where I'll be featuring dark chocolate pudding with few surprises.

Happy Sunday!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

oxtail bourguignonne

Yum. This dish is so delicious. Jacob had the day off yesterday and decided he would spend it cooking. Obviously I had no problem with this. His love for cooking is matched only by my love for eating, so it works out perfectly. On days that he has off he prefers to cook things that can sit for a while, filling the house with their aroma. Bourguignonne is the perfect dish for this because it takes about a half hour to get ready but then it can sit in the dutch oven and cook itself for about 4 hours. Trust me, it's worth the wait.

8 slices fatty bacon, chopped
Olive Oil
3 large fresh Italian parsley sprigs
3 large fresh thyme sprigs
2 large fresh bay leaves, bruised
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 to 4 1/4 pounds meaty oxtail pieces, trimmed of excess fat
2 cups chopped onions
1 cup diced carrot plus 6 medium carrots, cut into 2 inch chunks
4 large garlic cloves, peeled; 1 minced; 3 left whole
1 3/4 cups beef broth
1 1/2 cups red Burgundy wine
1 pound crimini mushrooms cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
12 small shallots, blanched 1 minute, peeled

Cook bacon in heavy large pot over medium-high heat until brown and crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to plate. Pour drippings into small bowl. Return 6 tablespoons drippings to pot (add olive oil, if necessary, to measure 6 tablespoons total; reserve bacon for another use). Tie parsley, thyme, and bay leaves together for bouquet garni. Stir 1 tablespoon flour and butter in small bowl to smooth paste.

Whisk 1 1/2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, and nutmeg in medium bowl. Add oxtails, a few pieces at a time, to seasoned flour and toss to coat.

Heat bacon drippings in pot over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add oxtails and brown on all sides, about 6 minutes per batch. Transfer oxtails to bowl after each batch.

Reduce heat to medium-low. Add chopped onions, diced carrot, and minced garlic to pot. Sauté until onions soften, 5 to 6 minutes. Return oxtails and any accumulated juices to pot. Add bouquet garni, then broth and wine. Bring to boil. Cover and simmer until meat is almost tender, adjusting heat occasionally to maintain gentle simmer, about 3 hours. Mix in mushrooms, shallots, carrot chunks, and whole garlic cloves. Increase heat and return to boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover pot and simmer gently until meat and vegetables are tender, about 45 minutes longer.

Tilt pot and spoon off any fat that rises to surface. Stir flour paste into stew. Simmer uncovered until sauce thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

period film street style

I believe we've had previous discussions about my undying devotion to period films. Now I have proof there are others out there. Miss Moss has put together two series of photos relating period films to everyday fashion and they're totally swoon worthy. I could write a paragraph about each of these photos, but I'll try not to bore all of you. I'll just say that these make me incredibly happy.

Monday, March 7, 2011


I can't remember the last time a movie messed me up the way Up! did. We're talking full on blubbering, sometimes laughing while blubbering... for the entire film. Even now when I hear the theme song I feel myself getting a bit farklempt. I love this movie more than I can express, so when I saw that National Geographic had reconstructed the exterior of the house, attached helium balloons and flew it 10,000 ft in the air for an hour, I nearly fell out of my chair with excitement. I seriously almost teared up at the sight.

Also, fans of Up! have you ever seen this? When I saw these engagement photos last year I was thoroughly jealous that they had beaten me to it, but they're so charming and lovely I can't stay angry.

sunday sweets {banana bread}

{I swear I took more pictures of this while baking, but it appears they have disappeared from my camera. Perhaps someone deleted them while uploading beer pics?}

ANYWAY, I'm going to start a "sunday sweets" post for each week, and I will try to actually post them on Sundays from now one. Yesterday I noticed all of the bananas in the house were past their prime. I'm not sure if we did this on purpose though because this is the BEST banana bread you will ever have. Seriously.

What makes this recipe amazing is it's more like a banana bread pudding. Even if you bake it longer than you should, the inside is still incredibly moist. I came across this particular recipe in an issue of Saveur, which can carry some intimidating recipes, but I promise this one is super easy.

Butter for greasing the pan
1 cup flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
2/3 cup chopped pecans {optional, I don't use them}
3 very ripe bananas, mashed {I don't mash my bananas up completely so there's still some small chunks in the bread}

Heat oven to 350°. Grease a 9" x 5" x 
2 3⁄4" loaf pan with butter and dust with flour; set pan aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

Whisk together sugar, oil, buttermilk, vanilla, egg, and egg yolk in a medium bowl until smooth. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and whisk until just combined. Add pecans and mashed bananas and whisk gently to combine. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean, 60–65 minutes. Let cool for 30 minutes before slicing and serving.


Friday, March 4, 2011

three buns

I wear my hair up for work pretty much everyday so I'm always looking for new ways to get it out of my face. I love this tutorial for three twisted buns on a cup of jo today. So cute!

h&m at home

This makes me really angry that we don't have an H&M in Savannah. It also makes me angry that their online shop excludes North America, but I can't stop myself from browsing anyway. The patterns and products are so cute and, in H&M fashion, they're really affordable. Perhaps not after paying shipping from the UK but before that, really cheap.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

backyard beauties

We're in the process of planning our backyard renovations for the summer and {even though i won't need anything for a bit} I can't help but search for ways to decorate once we've finished. I stumbled across these whimsical tea chairs and just about fell out of my seat. I love the french garden feel of them. I must have them, along with a tiny matching table, macaroons and tea cups. Then I can have a french garden tea party complete with white gloves, dresses and hair feathers. Good idea right?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

lavender honey ice cream

It's shocking that I haven't posted this recipe already. It's also shocking that as I was making this the other day, I forgot to take pictures. I really need to get better about remembering to do that. Luckily I could this lovely picture, which I think will do the trick, even it's not violet colored like my ice cream is.

This is my all time favorite ice cream. EVER. It's so amazing that it may or may not have inspired the name of this blog. Making ice cream takes time. If you are an impatient person like myself you may have trouble with it, but I assure you it's worth it. Homemade ice cream is so creamy and dense you'll never be able to go back to store bought. To make this recipe you will need an electric ice cream maker. We have this one and I really like it, totally affordable too.

I found a recipe for this online, but Jacob and I both like Alton Brown's ice cream recipes so we kind of melded the two. Be warned, this is not healthy at all, but if you're going to eat ice cream and you want it to be delicious, you might as well go all out.

1 cup heavy cream
3 cups half-and-half
8 large egg yolks
2/3 cup mild honey {add more based on your own taste}
2 tablespoons dried edible lavender flowers
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Bring cream, half-and-half, honey, and lavender just to a boil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, then remove pan from heat. Let steep, covered, 30 minutes.

Pour cream mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and discard lavender. Return mixture to cleaned saucepan and heat over moderate heat until hot.

Whisk together eggs and salt in a large bowl, then add 1 cup hot cream mixture in a slow stream, whisking. Add vanilla. Pour into remaining hot cream mixture in saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until thick enough to coat back of spoon and registers 170 to 175°F on thermometer, about 5 minutes (do not let boil).

Pour custard through sieve into cleaned bowl and cool completely, stirring occasionally. Chill, covered, until cold, at least 3 hours.

Freeze custard in ice cream maker. Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden.



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