Friday, August 31, 2007

Am I the last to know?

Does everyone know about and shop at Etsy? I just recently started getting into really reading blogs all the time - and I read a lot of design blogs, all of which talk about, post about, shop, and skim Etsy! Its a great site for gifts of every kind - I especially like all the handmade cards and stationary. Here a just a few of the many things to be found there - take a few minutes (or hours) to check it out. [I also posted about lots of cool labels that I found there a few days ago]

Cards: Seller time2cre8; Purse: Seller garbagebag; Necklace: Seller chainchainchained


Sometimes, you just can't beat the original. My mom and I have this discussion all the time because I'm always asking her for a recipe for one of her dishes and then I go and change it - just a little :) She always says, why do you ask me for the recipe if you are just going to go change it! But sometimes, I do have to agree, that you just cannot beat the original (even if you do tweak it slightly) - so check out these recipe cards!

I found these posted at Outblush and I think they are a great gift (you can buy them here)! They have an awesome vintage look - and remind me of the Betty Crocker Cooky Book that was reprinted in 2002 (original was published in 1963).

Monday, August 27, 2007

Wild Blueberry Muffins

I was up in Maine this past weekend with my family - and it is wild blueberry season up there! They are everywhere - farm stands, bakeries, grocery stores, in candy, ice cream, drinks - blueberry everything. I took a quart of wild blueberries home with me - thanks to my mom and mother-in-law for holding all the blueberries on their lap in the back of the car during the 9-hour drive home!

I had been wanting to try Cook's Illustrated Blueberry Scones - I saw some photos on the blog Eat.Drink.Think and they looked great, but I didn't have all the ingredients and I just didn't have the energy to go out to get them. So, I fell back on blueberry muffins. I decided to make the ones in my MS Baking Handbook. They came out really good - check out my tips at the bottom of the recipe which I think will make them even better.

Blueberry Muffins (recipe: MS Baking Handbook)

1 stick unsalted butter @ room temperature, plus more for pan
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups fresh blueberries (I used wild blueberries)
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla (I use pure vanilla from Trader Joe's)
1/2 cup milk (I used skim milk to reduce fat content)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter and flour (generously) a standard 12-cup muffin pan. Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Toss blueberries in a separate bowl with ~1.5 teaspoons of the flour mixture to lightly coat (this will help blueberries not to sink in the batter).

In a 2nd bowl, use electric mixer (recipe calls for stand mixer with paddle attachment, but I used a hand mixer) to beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined. Mix in vanilla.

Add flour mixture to butter mixture on low speed, until just combined - do not overmix. Add milk and beat until just combined. Again, do not overmix. Fold in blueberries. Divide batter evenly among 12 muffin cups. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until the muffins are golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean from center. Cool pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Turn muffins on their sides after 10 minutes and let cool.

  • Make sure you really butter and flour the pan - I did mine generously and the muffins still were diffiult to get out of the pan without tearing the tops off.
  • The recipe suggests sprinkling a small amout of granulated sugar on the top of each muffin before baking - definitely do this! It makes the tops a bit crunchy and sweet.
  • I used skim milk instead of whole milk and they turned out fine and saved calories :)
  • If I was going to use wild blueberries again, I might use a bit more since they are a bit smaller than regular blueberries.
  • You may be able to use frozen and thawed blueberries for this recipe, but I would make sure they were whole berries and that they were very dry - wet berries will throw off the recipe.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I love labels...

Not the labelmaker kind....although those are kind of retro, but I love design labels and tags for presents, food gifts, jars, favors, etc. Here are some of my favorites lately.

Etsy -- Shop Remake

Etsy -- Shop everyjotandtittle

Etsy -- Shop hhayden

Etsy -- Shop livetosew
I like a lot of these repro vintage travel stickers,
I just happened to find these on etsy, but I've seen them elsewhere.
They look great as gift wrapping over brown kraft paper.

Easy drinks

Summer is almost over, but these seem perfect for a Labor Day BBQ or other end of the summer party. I saw them over at The Hostess Blog [great ideas over there] and they are from Rachael Ray's newsletter. They seem so easy...and no blender is required (which is perfect for me because we cannot fit another appliance into our small kitchen!).

There is no mixing of the ingredients - just add the liquid to the glass, top with sorbet and either spice or lime as indicated in the ingredient list.

Berry Cosmo: vodka, strawberry sorbet, lime

Mango Freeze: rum, mango sorbet, dash of cayenne pepper

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Take 2 - Chocolate-Chip Cookies

So, upon further tasting, I decided that I hated the other chocolate-chip cookies that I made (see post below). I decided to look around for a Cook's Illustrated recipe - I get their magazine and they are always doing tons of testing to find "the best recipes" for common standards. I found their recipe and it was....awesome. The cookies are definitely bigger, better, softer, and bake-sale worthy :)

I made a few changes to the recipe - I baked them for 11-12 minutes and added 1/2 cup peanut butter chips and 1/4 cup chopped walnuts. Next time I would also use bittersweet chocolate-chips instead of semi-sweet.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Chocolate-Chip Cookies

So, yesterday, I decided to make chocolate-chip cookies for Tim. I bake a lot but don't usually make chocolate-chip cookies because I'm really not a fan, but Tim is, and he had been out all night djing, so I thought I would make him something. I also thought that I could find a better recipe than the classic toll-house recipe, so I checked all my cookbooks that I have in the new apartment (Ina, Giada, Classic baking book, Martha's baking book, etc.). None of them had a good chocolate-chip recipe! Even this book called Classic American Cooking - what is more american than a chocolate-chip cookie? Anyways, I went to the internet and ended up making this recipe. I was not really that impressed - Tim said they were really good but I thought they were a bit cakey. They look nice...but I guess I should have went with the original. If anyone has a good cookie recipe, can you email to me?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I will be buying this t-shirt...

Find it here

We've been blogged!

Our wedding has been blogged by Zlatko Batistich, our wedding photographer! Check it out!

Fruit & Flowers

I just love this combination - I think it looks rustic, a little country, but elegant and chic all at the same time. Also, it can really help cut down on the cost of event flowers since you use about half of the flowers you might normally use for a centerpiece. For my wedding, I really wanted to mix fruit and flowers so our floral designer (Flowers by David Anthony) mixed herbs, hydrandreas, pears, apples, roses in a garden urn (that we bought from Christmas Tree Shops!) - I loved how they came out.

These photos are from a recent Martha Stewart Weddings article. I like the use of seasonal fruits with the peaches in the 2nd photo and the plums in the 3rd photo for a late summer wedding.

Wide-Leg is Back?!

Over the last few months, I've seen the new push for wide-leg pants/jeans back for the fall - I'm super excited! But, then I checked the blogs....and there is some discussion over whether you are a 90's reject if you wear super wide-leg, or if they are here to stay. I'm not into the super-wide leg look, but I love the regular ones. Check out this article on Style*Dash. Here are some potential buys for the fall (maybe not the Michael Kors pair though...)
Gap - $50

Nordstrom's - Michael Kors - $750 (yikes)


BCBG - $218


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Beautiful gift...or for yourself?

A guest blogger posted these earrings today on Weddingbee:

photo courtesy of (guest blogger)

She made these as favors for a wedding (90 female guests) - I love them! She provided a whole tutorial on how to make them, plus her web sources for all the supplies - click here. She made them for about $3 a pair - that is incredible. Wouldn't these be perfect gifts for a friends or for a bridal shower, or just for yourself? I made a cute necklace a few years ago that would look great with this - I'll try to post pics and directions for that soon...

Summer Salad Recipe

A few weeks ago, I made this awesome recipe from the Every Day Food magazine - Watermelon and Feta Salad. If you don't like arugula (how could anyone not!!), you could substitute spring mix or baby greens, but in my opinion, it really would not be the same. The fruit really takes the sharpness out of the arugula and makes for an awesome combination. I'm going to make the salad again in a few days - I'll take a photo so you can see the real life version.

photo courtesy of

Here is the recipe (with a few edits on my part):

2 tablespoons balsamic white-wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 package (box) baby arugula

1 1/2-pound piece chilled seedless watermelon, rind removed, cut into small thin slices
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

Optional: thinly sliced raw red onion (I didn't use)

1. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar and oil. Season with salt and pepper.
2. In a large bowl, combine arugula and onion; toss with dressing to taste. Gently toss with watermelon and feta, and serve.

*I cut my feta and watermelon up a few hours before and left them in the refrigerator - then I made the dressings in the bottom of a large bowl and put the arugula on top (don't mix!). Then before servings, all I had to do was toss the salad ingredients together.

New blog!

Thanks for checking out my new blog - I'll be posting regularly on some of my favorite topics - food, art, event design, etc.

Check out my other blog for photos and information about Uplift Photography!