13 June 2011

This Weekend, I Ate

My weekend was fabulously lazy and unproductive. It was a welcome change after a busy week. But sometime, in between the Lifetime movies, I baked, I pickled and I ate. A lot. Here are two original recipes guaranteed to whet your whistle.

Bread and Butter Pickles

1½ cups distilled white vinegar
½ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup kosher salt
2 cups white sugar
6 cups sliced cucumbers
1 cup sliced red onion
1 cup sliced banana peppers
3½ tsp mustard seed
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 cinnamon stick
1 Tablespoon Mulling Spices
½ tsp turmeric

1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring vinegar, salt, sugar and all the spices to a boil. Boil until the sugar has dissolved, about 10 minutes.
2. Place the cucumbers, onions and peppers sterile jars. Pour the vinegar mixture over the vegetables. Seal immediately and transfer to the refrigerator.

Trail Mix Cookies


1 stick of butter (softened)
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar (packed)
1 large egg
1½ cups bread flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 cup Guittard’s white chocolate vanilla chips
½ cup chopped pecans
½ cup dried sweetened cranberries
1½ tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine butter, sugar, and egg on low speed until creamed.
3. Add the flour, baking soda and salt and mix on low until blended. Do not over beat.
4. Add remaining ingredients and mix until just combined.
5. Spoon generous dollops of dough onto a cookie sheet and bake for 9-11 minutes or until cookies are lightly golden.

10 June 2011

Hello Nurse: Fun at the Medical Supply Store

When I was young, I used to ride my bike to the hometown hardware store to buy candy and I would always go up and down the quiet aisles, stepping softly on the old wood floors, and check out all of the gadgets.  At the time, I had no real use for any of the things I saw, I only liked to look, but as I got older I would peruse the old hardware shop in search of vintage-y finds or utilitarian beauties.  In France, I loved popping in the "hardware" store and would almost certainly uncover at least one little gem with an alternative use.  While visiting Cagliari, Sardinia, I found adorable wine carafes at the hardware and would have stuffed my suitcase full of them to bring back for friends and family had I not run out of space. 
Another unlikely place I like to scour for home decor is the medical supply store.  Although I often come across my share of icky things that I don't want to think about, I also always discover fabulous furniture and decor.  Here are ten of my favorite medical supply finds:

I love cart.  I think it has something to do with the gene that requires me to carry at least two bags wherever I go.   It's the bag lady/hoarder/I like junk stores gene and I got it bad.  What's better than a cart to haul all your shenanigans around?  Nothing.  Except for a wagon maybe.  But for real, I love these little carts on either side of the bed as nightstands.  With a plant and an earthy looking lamp.  Yumm.

China cabinet? Anyone?  Anyone?  Not for actually storing China, of course.  I saw a similar one used to hold books and magazines and I loved it as a bookcase.  It could also be quite smart if used to display a collection of, let's say, cameras or binoculars or perhaps something softer like pitchers or milk glass vases... Just a thought.  I would line a wall with these tall handsomes filled with books and juxtapose the look with an antique velvet sofa.

I might put this little fella atop a stack of books on a console table or bookshelf for some quirky visual interest.  It's sculptural and colorful and a little bit strange.  Me likes.

I never met a glass jar I didn't like.  I've always loved these jars and I notice them whenever I go to the doctor or vet's office.  They make for cute bathroom storage and also come unlabeled.

The uses are endless.  This is actually the exact work desk going in my mom's kitchen that I am currently redesigning.  I would love this desk anywhere: kitchen, workspace, bedroom, office.

This eye chart would be fetching as part of a grouping of photos, prints and paintings. 

A red locker?  Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!  If I had a mudroom, I would love to put one of these in both corners and put shelves, hooks and a bench in between.  Some red toile wallpaper or maybe some carnival stripes would soften these right up.

Measuring in at a whopping 2 1/8" by 2 5/8", I would buy these little buggers in mass and line them up on mantles, windowsills and the like holding buds and various yard clippin's.  They also come in a size that would be perfect for holding frequently used kitchen utensils.

Trays are like shoes- you can never have too many and these stainless steel trays go with everything and since they are stainless they can go almost anywhere.  I would use the small one atop the back of the toilet to corral cologne, shaving gear and other oft-used bathroom products.

I love this German anatomy chart.  I would frame it in a modern white frame and put it somewhere I needed a pop of red or orange. Every room needs at least one quirky bit and this would certainly do the trick.  Sagenhaft! 

05 June 2011

Before and After, Sneak Peek

So many before and afters, so little time.  I have a lot to document and virtually no motivation, but here's a sneak peak.



01 June 2011


This weekend we headed down to South Florida for my sister-in-law's baby shower.  It was a long and tedious journey down I-95 with two young in the backseat (Lilly and my nephew Ewan), but eleven hours and more bathroom breaks later we arrived in Boca Raton and didn't stop moving until 8:30 last night when we got home.  In addition to being lovely, as always, to visit with family and enjoy the tropical Florida weather poolside, it was a surprising culinary adventure!  My brother's wife Rayna is from Lebanon and her mother is a phenomenal cook and, lucky for us, she fed us until my pants no longer fit comfortably!  We had homemade hummus, tabbouleh, felafel and many more dishes that I wish I knew the names and recipes for!  One bite I particularly liked was a small date-filled cookie called Mamoul. 

They are as delicious as they are beautiful and the recipe is en route via Rayna's mama. In the meantime, here is a recipe from food.com .