Wednesday, June 8

oh (what a) happy day (it would be)

zut alors, people!

this is not usually a SMART-TRADING.PH space I use for promoting contests, but this give-away is so phenomenal I had to share. oh happy day and h繫tel mama shelter are partnering to send a reader (plus-one) to paris (the *good* one—not paris, texas) for one week, housing them in the uber-chic boutique hotel (voted among the top 50 worldwide), and personally showing them around the city of light!

... would it be graceless to add another ten exclamation points to that statement? the astonishingly generous jordan is footing the bill for airfare from her own argent de poche, so, I'd say that warrants at least ten.

go now! check it out!

(coincidentally, b and I hope to visit paris this fall to celebrate our recent marriage, meanwhile devouring anything in print on the topic of food, history, culture, oh...and food.)


Thursday, April 21

this easter bunny speaks gluten-free

two of my very favorite small HTTPS://SMART-TRADING.PH humans are unable to eat the protein in grain (which gives bread its elastic nature). neither are they able to eat the protein in milk (which concentrates in aged cheeses). nor soy (well, that's pro'lly just a plain old allergy developed from recipe substitutions).

so what's a poor girl to do, around holidays when it's customary to send one's favorite small people boxes overflowing with with cookies and cakes and chocolaty chocolaty bunnies???

improvise, that's what.

and with limited time left over after last weekend's wedding (woot!), that means a very quick "cooking" project before popping a box in the mail to the mini-people.

step one: shortcuts
locate the kosher for passover aisle https// conveniently prominent this season, at your neighborhood (maybe) grocer. buy as many bags of pareve (kosher-neutral) chocolate chips as you can manage with your pocket money. you'll know the right ones by the k inside a circle, but without the little d next to it. that d stands for dairy, which, as we've said, is a no-go. while dairy is not usually a dirty word, in kosher tradition it may not be mixed with meat in the same meal, so these chips are right for making passover desserts. soy is explicitly banned from use during pesach, so this kind of chip will never contain soy emulsifiers. also, they will have been produced on dedicated equipment that will never have processed dairy or soy products. rabbis don't mess around with this stuff.

step two: melt
dump chocolate chips into a microwave-safe glass bowl, add one tablespoon vegetable oil and stir chips to coat. realize that oil was 100 percent soybean oil. curse. dump coated chips unceremoniously into the trash. (aren't you glad you bought lots now?)

step three: repeat
in a clean, dry bowl - without oil, this time; it was optional anyway. heat chips in micro for 1.5 minutes at half-power, then remove from microwave and stir until bowl is cool. repeat at 30 second intervals until chocolate is completely melted. stir in large handfuls of shredded, unsweetened dried coconut, until there's enough for coconut to be coated in chocolate, but hold the texture of a haystack.

step four:
spoon a scant tablespoon of chocolate-coconut mix onto parchment, and make a small well in the center of the nest to hold a few jelly belly (the brand is gluten-free casein-free) "eggs." (so what if they look a little like turds? throw a few little candies on there, they taste just fine.)

step five:

{cute gfcf-ness!}

bonus round:
track down mom's favorite brand of gluten-free dairy-free rice crispy treat, and cut bars in half. shape blocks into egg-like ovals. dunk in chocolate (or not). roll in decorative sugar nonpareils.

{a little quality control - shhh. don't tell the kids.}


Monday, February 14

valentines: belated

today a valentine of sorts will make its way to 100 of b's & my loved ones. we sat, shoulders hunched, assembly line style, for a good portion of the weekend (my vision may have been stupidly ambitious, with the wrist cramp to prove it), but they're (mostly) done! so off they go, to wish you a happy st. valentine's day.

... now get busy rsvp'ing.


Wednesday, November 17

150 days ...

... and counting. before d-day, err, w-day (heh.).

I haven't been very good about posting lately. we've been quite good about eating at home, but we've been cooking a lot of old favorites and standbys. we've also been working a lot of late hours. I love election season, but dang y'all. it's tiring.

the good news is we've got most of the important event stuff nailed down: caterer. venue. hotel. a super awesome (non-traditional) dessert. the beginnings of a registry. an inkling of the dress is beginning to materialize, and will hopefully be more real after a much-needed visit home. one by one we're checking off the details. which feels good. really good. and the best part is, it looks we might manage to pull it all together on-budget.

... which means I'm also spending a little time haunting thrift stores and polishing ebay silver (buying a lot saved us 47 cents *per utensil* ... sounds totally loco, but it adds up).

and it's good for me in a zen, water-carrying, wax-on-wax-off sort of sense.

psst ... incidentally, did you know plain old white toothpaste is a pretty terrific silver polish?

I'll try to get back to posting recipes soon.


Sunday, October 31

happy halloween, y'all

stop by for some candy — we have plenty left over (foot traffic in our neighborhood varies wildly from year to year). tomorrow night we'll toast pumpkin seeds, and fall will have officially begun.

but seriously. feel free to drop by for candy.

... or send your address, and I'll box up some banana laffytaffy for you.

Friday, October 15

the waiting is the hardest part

many event arrangements, work and wedding-related, have been set in motion and released from my control. preferred bbq guy contacted for an estimate. savethedate design ordered and paper purchased. vintage dress pattern(s) researched and bought.

at least on the personal front it's mostly ephemera at this point. we have much of the hard details — at least the date and venue — figured out. but among other things, a vintage dress pattern is held up somewhere in canadian customs, and I can't help but feel like 9/11 shouldn't have changed everything. minor event-related anxiety, sure, but it would be one more thing checked off the list, with only six months left to the d-i-y style affair.

for now, all I can do is twiddle my thumbs and notice my first gray hair (seriously people. shoulder-length. how did it escape view *that* long?).

and dodge enormous black walnuts falling in the backyard.

... speaking of enormous, we've recently discovered gargantuan ladybugs invading the garden. maybe they're eating the mutant walnuts.

second cousin to mothra


Tuesday, October 12

weekend piccys - indy

these pics are so, so late. but so was my belated visit to one of my oldest friends, now settled in indy. a few years ago, one of the first trips b & I took together was up to see her marry a man whose young niece and nephew named him "uncle fun." there's really no better way to put it — he's just a wonderful, genuine person and a fun guy to be around. he's a perfect match for one of the kindest, funniest friends I've ever known.

the two of them have since started down the road to building a family, with their first little girl. and so, belatedly (still before her first birthday!) I headed north for a long weekend, to see the adorable little creature for myself.

a new airport made the hardest part quite a bit easier.

as did the warm kitty who made himself right at home on my lap on a rainy fall day.

colors were just beginning to turn

but other evidence of the season was everywhere ~ broad ripple farmers market

though the sense was summer wasn't going without a fight.

when the weather flipped back to "gorgeous" mode, we did get out and about

the dolphin tank at the indy zoo brings people right into their realm (quiet between shows) ~ at one point, casey's mom looked back at the two of walking silently together and wondered aloud what trouble we were into (we evidently had the same mischievous look about us as we routinely had in high school).

but that was not half as amazing as the time spent with little anya ~ "no mushrooms, please"

yep. change is good.

especially when experienced with someone new (yes, I may have managed to teach her a little longhorn spirit in a few short days. heh.).