Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Big Changes to Come...

I know I've said it before, but I really mean it--things are going to get big here on the blog.

I haven't forgotten!


Ok, maybe I forgot when I was in that ice cream coma last week...

But otherwise, I haven't.

Anyway, stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Goodbye, Summer...

...and a big, football-watching, hot cocoa-sipping, sweater-covered-arms hug to autumn.

Welcome back. You look great. You are just as cool as I remember.

I missed you.


And to you and yours, I wish you a happy St. Matthew's feast day, too.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Ides of September

Since today is the middle of September, thus making it the Ides of September, and today is exactly half a year from the Ides of March (that notorious day of betrayal), is this the day we can trust people the most?


Just a weird thought for anyone lurking here today.

Enjoy the Ides!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Friday, September 10, 2010

Free Fallin'

If you're anything like me (and I like to think that you are)...well, not clones or anything...just...similar....



If you're anything like me, with autumn approaching your neck-of-the-woods at a markedly-fast rate, you're scrambling.

Scrambling to get in your last summer activities. Scrambling through your calendar trying to find a day open for all these new fall events. Scrambling to find your fall and winter clothes under that super-organized grouping of very important fabrics packed quite nicely in your closet.

And if you're really like me, you're scrambling eggs for you and your husband for dinner. Gotta save those pennies.

Wait, come back! Don't let the cheesiness drive you away! I have links to clothes coming!


Thanks. I love you, too.

Mostly, to prep for fall, I'm trying to find my old fall sweaters and other clothes from the bundles and bags of my stuff scattered throughout my new apartment. It can be a task.

As a ploy to keep you from sitting down and truly dedicating actual free time ("free" time--ha!) to hunt down your autumnal attire, retailers are eager to get you into their stores to buy the latest trendy cool weather items.

I am trying not to fall for their tricks.

Tricks include "sales" and "clearance" and "essential fall colors" and "free snow globe with purchase" and "we carry your size."

While I might not be able to indulge in all of the new fall clothes my heart desires (remember, I eat eggs for dinner), I can probably still afford a new item or two this season.

Given my predilection for classic style over trendiness, and my impatience for the cooler weather to JUST GET HERE ALREADY, I will probably choose from:

Neutral colors: Last year, jewel tones and other rich colors were big. This year, you can stock up on this "trend" and build the basics in your closet at the same time. Looks like this and these should work well.

Jeggings: While the name is accurate, creative and utterly ridiculous all at the same time, I have to admit that there is some appeal to the versatility in this clothing item.

Polka dot: It's all about* leopard and red this fall for most of the trendsetters out there, but I can't get over the cuteness factor of polka dots.

Scarves: Great for cooler weather. I like this and this.

Fun shoes: I would like a pair of colorful flats. Can anybody find cute loafers?

Blazers: Which will likely never go out of style. More casual, blazer-related items are also a fav, like this, this and this.

Cardigans: Like this one...paired with polka dots. Sorry, I can't help it.

What are your favorite fall trends? Do you have a least favorite? Either way, happy scrambling!

I don't get a kickback or anything from any of the retailers featured in this post (remember, I eat eggs for dinner). I just like their stuff.

*Wow, I cannot believe I just used that phrase. It's written down. It exists on my blog.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Belated Blessed Birthday

A big happy birthday to the Blessed Mother today (although I am a little late in declaring this). Did you do anything to celebrate her birthday today?

Personally, I'm wishing I had made one of these. Next year.

You people are holding me accountable. Rosary for now.

Monday, September 6, 2010

How Many Miles To The Sugar Shack?

I stepped into cupcake nirvana this weekend.

I spent part of the Labor Day weekend with my sister Stephanie. During the week we had talked about doing something over the weekend, but when it finally came we got into a bit of a funk. To avoid from getting lazy-crazy at home all day Saturday, I forced Stephanie out to lunch and to run some errands with me.

On our drive out, something caught our eye.

Correction. As we drove past it at 30 miles per hour, a tiny glimmer of pink no bigger than a beach ball and no closer than 100 feet caught Stephanie’s eye.

A new gourmet cupcake and frozen yogurt shop, called the Sugar Shack, had opened up at Sommerville and Perrin, and we had spotted its fabulous sign.


Suddenly, the weekend funk vanished. Stephanie’s attitude changed. The newly-discovered prospect of enjoying a cupcake upon completion of errands had her quite chippered-up.

It was seriously a treat for us both. We walked in late Saturday afternoon to a sassy grayish-blue parlor with sweets on all sides. Yogurt dispensers on the left promised New York cheesecake and Irish mint. Doses of pink accented the ribbon-wrapped cake stands on the right. Mondo-sized and single-serving cupcakes lovingly taunt you behind glass. And they have “Frosting Shots” at twenty-five cents a pop.

I think my heart stopped.

Had we been missing this place all along? No, owner Janelle said they had been open only a day.

And, like dorks, we cheered when we heard that. Cheered.

I think we were happy both for this new business opening up and for the fact that we were one of the first people to discover it. Oh, and we probably subconsciously cheered for the sugar rush we were about to experience.

We can testify that both the yogurt and the cupcakes were spectacular. In particular, we devoured a white cupcake with blackberry syrup across delicious frosting, and got through most of a red velvet with cream cheese frosting before lapsing into a sugar coma.

Red velvet

What's left of the white cake with blackberry

I'm not big on just frosting, but this might convert me.

It seriously bums me out that I can’t link you to their website (they don’t have one—yet). However, go visit them. Eat their food. Chat with the staff. You will definitely enjoy talking with the authentically-nice Janelle. She even shared with us some things that they may and up doing soon, like flavors of the day (so you can know when specific treats, like margarita-flavored cupcakes, will appear). And who knows, their efforts may grow into something like a Twitter account sharing what they’re making for the day with their predicted legions of followers.

Either way, it’s nirvana.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

What a Tart!

Over the weekend, I decided to make good use of all the figs I had accumulated and make a Fig and Almond Tart, which in theory should look just like the picture next to the recipe.

I began the process of creating the tarty goodness by washing a whole bunch of black Mission figs.

To ensure they were good, I had about seven before I started cooking. And darn! I didn't get a picture of that. Oh well...

I put the figs into a glass bowl and dug up my grandma's old food processor to begin forming the tart dough.

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that's old. You're thinking that color (that beige-y sad color) was discontinued in the 1970's because it looks awful. You're thinking it will never work.

Well, I had hope. I was going to give the old girl a shot. I thought, "I'll prove that things don't need to be new to make delicious treats!"

In this coin toss, you won. Fried motor.

With the food processor out of commission, I resolved to make my tart the old fashioned way: with frozen butter. First I put all the dry ingredients together, including a lot of lemon zest.*

Then I folded in the butter, making sure it stayed chunky for tart tenderness, and mushed it with the dry stuff to look like this.

I assure you that in real life, it was not blurry. I then flattened the dough into a disc and put it in the fridge to keep it cool and full of potential.

While that hung out in the fridge, I mixed all of the wet stuff, including some local honey, with my awesome red spatula.

I think the red spatula is the secret. Or following the directions. Either or.

Then I cleaned my workspace so my mom and sister would not have a conniption after reading this blog post.

See, Mom and Steph, look how clean it is!

After basking in this tidiness for about 45 seconds, I busted the dough out of the fridge, rolled it out flat, spread the wet stuff onto it, put some almonds onto that, sliced the figs and laid them on top of everything.

Aww, pretty.

After spreading some fig jam on top of it all for glossiness, I folded the edges over and stuck it in the oven....

...where I stood right outside the door, waiting, wondering, "Is everything OK in there? It isn't doing anything." I think I was waiting for it to bubble like lasagna or something.

The timer finally went off, and all was well. It was cooked and delicious (and, again, not blurry in real life).

I took it to a few places this weekend so people could give it a try, and it was well received (except by my husband, who made sure to give me a kiss on my forehead before he said that I did a really good job, but that he could now confirm that he does not like figs).

I'm really glad people generally enjoyed the tart. It's encouraging when you make edible and likable food. I was sharing my success with my parents this week, which reminded them that that had a gift for me: 3 bags of dried figs.

Oh boy.

*By the way, I do not have a zester either. Food processor, zester...are there other things you think I need?