Thursday, October 28, 2010

A little bit new

Quick note: I know all the grass is all dying, but I couldn't help but change to a greener header.

Hope you like it!

Recipe of the week, 10/24

This week was another one of those times where I didn’t have an exact recipe per say, so I pulled from a bunch of different sources.

Truly this is probably one of the easiest things to make and probably the most hearty – Pulled Pork Sandwiches. Oh yea!

I wanted to buy Pork shoulder/butt (I guess these things are interchangeable…I can tell you the meat on my shoulder versus my butt is not) but alas the butcher didn’t have anything smaller than 6 lbs. So I decided to get a nice manageable 3 lb pork roast. It didn’t yield that nice bone-in-taste but it was easier to shred.

I went home on my lunch break to start cooking the pork.


I began by trimming away that top layer of fat then I rubbed each side with cumin, salt and pepper.

I just happened to be wearing my favorite (faux)pearl necklace that day and was channeling a little Julia Child


After the rub, I placed it in the crockpot with some beef broth and water until it was submerged.

pork (5)

Then I set the crockpot on low and went back to work

When I came home four hours later, I shredded the entire roast and started to make my Pulled Pork sandwich.

I’m only using a small portion of the shredded pork for this sandwich as I have plans for the rest of it. I began by cut up an onion to put in with the pork and coated them both in Rich’s Sweet Heat (a delicious locally made BBQ sauce). I let this bake in the oven at 350F for around 15 minutes.

Then I served it with my favorite side dish – sweet potato fries (those are sweet potatoes in the photo above, already peeled).

pork (4)
These are easy to chop, season (with whatever your preference is), and bake for 30 minutes in the oven.

Then once everything is all baked and compiled, I had a delicious, hearty pulled pork sandwich with sweet potato fries

pork (3)
I’d love to hear if anyone else has some hearty meals to get them through the winter!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Neat shit worth sharing

Sometimes I get inspired to share some of the things that I think are cool/helpful/exciting. I'm going to originally name these posts, "Neat shit worth sharing" FYI.


I'm currently more in love with my new 2011 planner then what I'm guessing is healthy, but it fits all of my calendar needs: monthly view (this is a must!) followed by the dates on one side with a "Notes" page on the other.

This way I can give myself a list of things to do per day, per week and per month - aww endless deadline torment! Oh and it’s Cath Kidson, so it’s adorable to boot!

I know it's only November (okay, almost November) but I couldn't pass it up.


I just found this fantastic free font website, thanks to Creature Comforts. It’s called Font Squirrel and it truly is an awesome resource for free, cool fonts!

be-yourself-oscar-wilde via creature comforts using dubtronic

lemondrop via Emily Heskett Photography using FFF tusj


And lastly, Poolga which I mentioned in THIS post, has an iPhone app. You receive 15 images with the free app. I’m hoping that they continue to add or update with new backgrounds because I love what they do.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Oh deer

I have a confession to make, although it’s only October, I am already  getting pretty excited for Christmas. This is very unlike me as I’m normally the person bitching about how Thanksgiving doesn’t get enough love because it’s just completely overshadowed by Christmas.

But for some reason, I cannot wait to decorate for the holidays and, I think this is key, getting to go home and celebrate with my family!

My excitement may have initiated when I found these cute little candle holders at Salvation Army

I couldn’t pass them up! They just screamed Christmas to me. And oddly enough while scanning one of my favorite blogs papernstitch, I found this image in one of her tutorials

Which was actually kind of perfect because I was thinking about what color I wanted to paint these two guys and gold was one of my options.

I was also considering my oh-so-favorite color turquoise or a nice yellow, but since I’m considering buying some candle sticks for these I opted to go with white.

I bought this spray paint a long time ago for another project (that I swear, one day I’ll get around to) but I was always concerned about spray painting indoors. Luckily this weekend was beautiful so I turned on my ceiling fan, opened my windows and went at it.

After a couple of coats and some touch-ups here and there they were all finished


So until I can no longer contain my holiday excitement, they will quietly adorn my bookcase – with the ranks of my favorite photo of my two favorite people, busts of Mozart and Beethoven and my books.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Recipe of the week, 10/17

I had initially planned on blogging about THIS recipe recreating a Top Chef hot and sour eggplant winning dish on the show. I don’t watch this show (or any reality TV, really) but I thought it’d be neat to try something gourmet.

So I bought the items, I made it and I didn’t like it.


I was just too spicy for my liking – I needed to cut the curry amount by half and that’s without even adding any red pepper flakes. I saved the rest of it because I think it’s salvageable paired with some Naan, but I just couldn’t eat it as is.

Happily, the next day I received my first CSA delivery

eggplant (1)

Fresh greens (which have turned me off bagged salad indefinitely), local coffee, bread from this great bakery in Providence and local goat cheese. It was all so marvelous!

Since I had leftover eggplant from this recipe, I decided to make myself an eggplant & goat cheese panini!

eggplant (2)

I included an onion and sun-dried tomatoes soaked in oil for some extra flavors.

I started by cooking the eggplant and onion in the oven for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. I lightly oiled and salted them before roasting.

eggplant 8  
While the onion and eggplant were in the oven, I covered one side of the pillow loaf with the goat cheese and topped it with some sun-dried tomatoes. Then I removed the onion and eggplant from the oven and compiled my sandwich.

You could just stop there, but I love panini’s and have always wanted to make my own, so while I was making my sandwich I heated up one side of my grill pan.

Then, because I don’t have a panini press, I filled a large pot with water to weight down the sandwich.

eggplant (4)

This picture makes me laugh, but it worked! I let it cook for a couple minutes on the grill like this, then flipped it and did cooked the other side.

Paired with a side salad and I had a delicious meal

eggplant (5)

This was super tasty and I really can’t stress how great it was that everything was fresh. I regret only getting the goat cheese every other week, but considering how much I gorged on it last night, it was probably a wise decision.

However I will be getting the pillow loaves and greens every week, so more panini’s are sure to come! I know I’m excited!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

eye candy

I haven’t updated in a few days and while I don’t have anything crafty or tasty of mine to share (I’m hoping to try out a recipe tonight), I thought I’d share these amazing art pieces from Yulia Brodskaya.

She does these simply amazing PAPERgraphic pieces. Once you see them, I bet you’ll find in blogs/magazines and squeal a little with the knowledge that you recognize the artist (already happened to me!).


I love irony.




I would love to have this as a welcome into my apartment.

Perhaps one of these days I’ll be inspired and design some thing similar for wallart. There are a couple of DIY’s that I have found online, but you can bet you need a whoooole lotta patience and an equal amount of time. Which I’m lacking both at the present.

Hope this leaves smiling if not inspired!02.13.09_Julia_07

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Homemade Halloween!

I can barely put into words how excited I am about my Halloween costume! Hence why I'm posting on a Saturday!

I decided this year to go after the ultimate fashion no-no icon:
A completely ridiculous idea but I knew the whole outfit hinged on finding cheap, white feather boas. Once those had been found (4 to be exact), it was a matter of being patient and stalking salvation army. Fortunately today was my lucky day!

Here was my cast of characters:


Feather boas, a child's black t-shirt, an orange onesie (it was thicker than a t-shirt and I liked the color), a large men's white t-shirt and the piece de resistance: a child's Christening gown.

In the spirit of New Dress A Day, I couldn't help but put it on before snipping away at it


The muslin in at the bottom needed a little love to get right, but it was the puffiness of this dress that made it perfect!

I started with cutting off, fringe near the neckline. I'm definitely keeping it for when I feel like dressing like a schoolmarm


From there I don't have a lot more photos because I was in full-on crazy crafting mode. But once the neck on the dress was cut off, I worked on the swan neck.

I cut up the white t-shirt into two long strips and sewed them together leaving both the top and bottom unstitched. Then I cut up the orange onesie (which made me feel kind of bad) into two sides to make up the beak and sewed those two pieces together leaving the one side open so that I could then sew it onto the white tube. Once I sewed together the white "neck" and orange "beak", there was visible stitching when I turned it inside out, so I covered this with black ribbon. I hot glue gunned the ribbon and black t-shirt to make the eye. After all of this, this is what I had:


I also glued some jewels on for the eyes that I found in my craft box. I stuffed the swan with the extra t-shirt & onesie fabric - reuse and recycle!

Then it was just a matter of securing the feather boas to the lacy part of the dress. I found that fishing wire worked perfectly -- it was so easy to knot it into a small part of the lace and just wrap it around the boa so that it held it in place. It took me 3 boas to wrap it around the front of my dress (I left the back plain) and 3 hours later...TA DA:


I left the lace sleeves on because I think it looks kind of cute and it will be warmer in the New England weather. Believe it or not the feathers keep me pretty warm, so I think it will be great for walking around outside.



Happy High Fashion Halloween, ya'll!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Dressing up the Dresser

As I mentioned in THIS post, two weekends ago I was inspired to do a craft project. I had been collecting the materials and waiting on the perfect paper and luckily I found some at Paper Source.

Someone had given me this dresser and although it’s in really good condition, it was decidedly too plain for my liking.


It’s the first thing you see when you look into my bedroom, so I thought I’d give it a little more life. Here is my cast of characters:


I started with the screw driver to take off all of the dresser pulls and once these were off, I made sure to dust off and clean the dresser before I did anything else.

Then I measured the area of each drawer that I wanted to apply the paper to and cut out this length on the paper. In my case, the longer drawers required me to match up the pattern and extend the paper because it wasn’t long enough. I worried that it wouldn’t look right, but you really don’t notice it.

I applied mod podge (which has the texture of Elmer's glue) with a paint brush to the wooden drawer area, laid the paper on top, smoothed it over with the credit card (select a card you don’t ever plan on using!) and then just let it dry. Some tutorials I read online suggested applying mod podge on top of the paper once it’s been applied, but I kind of felt like this was unnecessary, except around the seam area.

After some meticulous measurements, cutting and painting with glue I had this:


I opted to keep the brass handles because I thought they tied the design and wood together. I’ve contemplated spray painting them but it seems like the paint would just wear off since I actually use this dresser.

I did however, want to replace the top pulls with knobs, so with a little searching I found these turquoise cuties at Hobby Lobby (which we don’t have around here so my mom picked them up)


Turquoise and damask! Perfection!


My finished product! I’m so pleased with how this turned out and if I move and decide I want more of a statement pattern, its easy to tear this off and replace with new (or so I’ve been told).

This also started a paper frenzy in me! And with great inspiration pieces like:

via living la vida rita

The oh so plain but necessary ANEBODA ikea wardrobe in my bedroom (the image above is in the ANEBODA family) needs something fabulous like this.

and of course my filing cabinet that’s currently sitting in my living room could use this:

via design*sponge

I found this gorgeous wrapping paper this weekend that I plan on applying to the third dresser in my bedroom (old apartments have NO closet space, so yes, I have two dressers and a wardrobe in my bedroom). Hopefully I’ll get to that soon…

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Recipe of the week, 10/10

I’m kind of cheating with this one but with such an epic weekend (three-day weekend and 10/10/10), I’m giving myself a little break.

Arguably, there is no better place to be during autumn than New England. I’ll give you a few reasons:

1) We actually experience a fall season. In Ohio (where I grew up and my mom lives who came to enjoy the long weekend with me) the leaves just seem to fall and you maybe have a week to enjoy the foliage. But here the leaves slowly change and the colors in the mountains are just…wow. This is outside of a rest stop in New Hampshire.Hampshire

Mind you, all I carry anymore is my iPhone, so these colors are not photoshopped. The sky was that gorgeous.

2) You get to enjoy not just the beautiful fall foliage but also the enjoy the beautiful water and lakes of the region


Burlington, Vermont was breathtaking. These photos do no justice to just how amazing it was to overlook the blue water and see mountains (and New York state) on the other side.

3) The history of the area makes fall the perfect time to celebrate the past. If there ever was a real Halloween town (yes, I’m making reference to that Disney made-for-tv-movie), Salem, Massachusetts would be it! And October is the best time to go! They had a “Bizarre Bizarre” fair, a dog-costume contest, a zombie walk through the town and year-round shops all dedicated to witches, pirates and Nathaniel Hawthorne.


The museum’s seemed more kitchy than historically accurate, so they were missed. But just a walk around the town gave you a great Halloween feeling.

And, just so I don’t claim this to be a recipe post then feature no food, I’ll share the feast my mom and I had on her last night in RI


The feast included sparkling wine, olives, three types of hard cheeses, goat cheese, duck pâté, liverwurst, prosciutto, calimyrnas figs, peaches, honeycrisp apples, crackers, wheat bread and a sliced baguette.

It was a rather big meal for us two, but has left me with an assortment of left over items that will hopefully yield some new meals. The only item I had reservations about was the duck pâté, it had a good taste but I couldn’t get over the idea of blended duck meat….

As an unnecessary closure, I ended up finding the JCrew pencil sparkly skirt that I fell in love with on sale at the mall. Needless to say, this now gives me two sequined skirts which makes this not yet a full-blown obsession, but it’s borderline.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The fruits of their labor

I'm not sure how popular these are in other areas - I know I had never heard of one until I moved to Providence - but I'm happy to say I joined my first Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)!

CSAs are a great invention for people who can't (and frankly, probably don't really want to) farm but love the idea of having fresh produce at your disposal. It's also a great way for farmers to have a guaranteed sell for their produce. Some of my friends had joined ones this summer and each week they were provided with a fresh variety of vegetables depending on the season and the farm they were ordering from.

The one I went with, Baby Green Farms, is one of the few who goes throughout the winter because they specialize in lettuce/greens and provide you with cheese, coffee and bread from local stores. The idea of having all of this delivered to my door sounded too glorious to pass up!

Most CSAs don't deliver but ask you to pick up your items at a local farmers market. You pay an upfront fee (in my case I pay in full for 10-weeks of delivery) and every week your guaranteed an assortment of items. Different farms do things in different ways so if your interested, I'd encourage you to google CSAs in your area and see what produce they provide and where they are located. There's a handy list of CSAs and farmers markets HERE at Local Harvest.

The majority of CSAs are super affordable! There are even some that provide fresh beef, chicken and eggs. And you get the knowledge that 1) your food is more than likely organic and creating a very little carbon footprint and 2) that your supporting a local farm!

win win!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Recipe of the Week, 10/3

I hope everyone had a good weekend. Saturday was a gorgeous day – perfect to run errands and work on a home project (which I’ll post about later). But Sunday was the kind of overcast, chilly day that makes you want to sit inside and work on things you’ve put off while eating something warm.

I was talking with a friend of mine that morning and she reminded me of the absolute deliciousness of French Onion Soup. I’ve never made it at home – only ever ordering it when I’m out at restaurants – but I remembered seeing THIS recipe, aptly titled, “How to Make French Onion Soup at Home” over at the kitchn.

This recipe is an absolute keeper! It’s the perfect thing to have sitting on your range while you work at something at your kitchen table (such as the Psyc GRE study guide I’ve been neglecting). The give-or-take two hours it makes to let this dish prepare ensures that you will actually get some work done.

This was my simple cast of characters:


I ended up only using the sweet onion and 2 of the yellow onions. This worked for one person, but if you plan on feeding more I would probably stick to a 3 onions per person rule.

I also opted to use pecorino romano cheese because it’s sharp and a bit peppery, but any cheese will do – swiss, parmesean (although don’t use the pre-grated can stuff), gruyere, etc.

After I cut up the onions, with tears streaming down my face and my butter foaming in my handy wok, I threw them in and let them sit on low heat.

After an hour, this:


turned into this:


It smelled so amazing (hopefully my apartment mates agreed!), but in the preliminary stages of cutting and cooking, I did literally have tears streaming down my face. This recipe is not for the faint at tear duct.

Once it got to this stage, I just added my broth and let it sit for another 45 minutes until the broth had reduced to my liking.

And since I don’t have any of those handy crocks to put the soup in and let the cheese melt over, I opted to thinly slice the cheese and put them on the baguette slices. I let them broil for 3-4 minutes which let the cheese melt, but the baguette remain untoasted, so it was nice and soft and able to soak up the delicious soup.

A perfect, wind-down meal that allows you to be productive at the same time. Thanks for the inspiration, Nicole.