Thursday, September 30, 2010

Peabody's Nursery Inspiration

It came to me this weekend... after I pushed all thoughts of blush and rose and peony out of my mind... A book that has captured my interest for over 10 years: Albertus Seba's Cabinet of Natural Curiosities.
Albertus Seba's Cabinet of Natural Curiosities (Jumbo)
I am fully aware that this book is the muse for Pottery Barn's Summer Collection and for the ubiquitous use of red coral pillows and such. My plan deviates from the au curant (but at this point a bit ho hum) studies of sea life.
Peabody's tiny room (9X11+two teeny closets and a heck of a lot of wallspace consumed by windows and doors) will be a modern twist on Seba's cabinet. Clean lines mixed with natural textures, it will feel like a clearing in the forest where deer come to graze and lizards come to bask. I'm working on sketches and I can't wait to share more as it develops!

Winter Garden

The tomatoes are long gone. The pepper plants stopped producing. Time to say goodbye to summer veggies and hello to the cold-hardy seedlings of the winter garden season.
This is the first time we've tried to grow a veggie garden in the fall and winter. I have visions of sauteed crispy kale, roasted brussels sprouts, and stewed cabbage in my head. (Far cry from sugarplums, I know, but I'm pretty darn excited about my greens!)

I'll keep you posted on how our crop fares!

2010 Winter Veggie Line-Up
Brussels Sprouts
Red Cabbage
Tuscan Kale
Buttercrisp Lettuce
Mascara (Red Leaf) Lettuce
Collard Greens

Cool Front Week Continues

It's warmed up a bit after the cool front... (Boo! More to come this weekend, I hope.) But that hasn't stopped me from churning out dinners that warm the soul and could possibly induce a hibernation spell.

If your belly feels empty, whip these up tonight!
Slow Cooker Beef Pot Roast with Gremolata
Mom's Chicken and Dumplings OR Chicken and Rosemary Dumplings

Chicken and Rosemary Dumplings 
Prepare Mom's Chicken and Dumplings as directed, except for dumplings.
For Rosemary Dumplings:
1 1/4 c flour
1 tbsp chopped rosemary
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 tbsp butter
1/2 c milk
1 egg

Combine dry ingredients. Using pastry cutter or two knives cut butter into flour mixture until pea-sized pieces. Add egg and slowly add milk, while mixing until slightly sticky dough forms. Bring broth to a low boil. Drop tablespoons of dough into broth, one at a time. Cover and cook 10-15 mins or until dumplings are fluffy and cooked through.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Emeril's Chili- Our Adopted House Recipe

Wow, today was amazing! 
Windows open, playing outside, and a big bowl of chili to top it off.
Emeril's Chili recipe has been our go-to guide for thick, hearty yumminess. Even the little guy approves!  The two-year old, that is, I'm sure Peabody will have his payback in the form of major heartburn! But, I'll take it... this chili is that good.
But you don't have to take my word for it...
Chili Chilly Night
Emeril's Chili with Colby Jack, Onions, Jalapenos and Sour Cream
With Tortilla Chips (or  Crackers)

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • Salt
  • Cayenne
  • 2 pounds stew meat
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • Crushed red pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 3 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 cup canned dark red kidney beans
  • 2 tablespoons masa flour
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 1 bag Tortilla Chips
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
  • 6 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 small jar of jalapenos


In a large saucepan, heat the vegetable oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions and saute for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the vegetables start to wilt. Season with salt and cayenne. Stir in the stew meat, chili powder, cumin, crushed red pepper, and oregano. Brown the meat for 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, beef stock, and beans. Bring the liquid up to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer the liquid, uncovered for 1 hour, stirring occasionally, or until the beef is tender. Skim off the fat occasionally. Mix the masa and water together. Slowly stir in the masa slurry and continue to cook for 30 minutes. Reseason with salt and cayenne. Place a handful of the chips in each shallow bowl. Spoon the chili over the chips. Garnish with the grated cheese, sour cream and jalapenos. And a side of crispy multigrain crackers- or tortilla chips.

Menu for the Week

Cooler temperatures are officially upon us! (For the time being.)
This week's dinners certainly reflect that:
Monday~ Italian Pot Roast
Tuesday~Chicken and Dumplings
Wednesday~ Emeril's Chili
Thursday~ Daddy's Night Out
Friday~ Hmmm... Something in a bowl...

Friday, September 24, 2010

It's A(Nother) Boy!!!

We were thrilled to find out that our H will have a baby BROTHER! Two boys... Wow. I can't wait to get all of the little onesies and swaddling blankets down from the attic and revisit tininess. Now, just 20 more weeks to go!

Not only is this special for us, but it completes a full round two of baby boys for our playgroup! Twelve boys running around... whatever will will do? (Well, we won't have a problem fielding a baseball team!)

I learned a thing or two from round one, so here are some things I think will make life easier this time around! (You might notice a theme...)

Nap Nanny- H had terrible reflux and, as a result, slept in his swing... or in his carrier, for the first 6 months of his life. This looks like a better solution.

Arm's Reach Cocoon- H also didn't sleep well in a regular bassinet when we first brought him home. The Cocoon looks like a cozy place for a new baby to get some rest.
 radius cement daybed
Daybed- A place for mommy to crash next to the crib. This one's from CB2.
Galaxy Grey carrier with embroidery - galaxy lining in action
Ergo Carrier- Those side slings were always terrible on my back. And I have a feeling I'll be carrying this guy will be taking a lot of naps on the go!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

Boardwalk Empire

Last night we watched the premiere of HBO's new drama, Boardwalk Empire. Sleek and dazzling, brutal and grizzly, this show has it all. The Prohibition Era styling is spot-on and I thought I'd share some sources for 1920s style.
For flapper-worthy fashion, shop The Boudoir Queen. Vintage pieces and one-of-a-kind details come together to create couture items for a night on the town or on the runway.
Chesterfield Upholstered Sleigh Bed
The Chesterfield Bed from Restoration Hardware makes a statement in the bedroom.

The Budmojiggler font from echoes the lights of Atlantic City.
Get into bootlegging with your own barrel of Garrison Bourbon. The only bourbon made in Texas!
Create some drama of your own with these Pumpkin Damask Window Panels from Pier One.

Red lips were all the rage in the 1920s- Pretty up your pout with MAC Red. And tune in to HBO next Sunday for the second episode of Boardwalk Empire!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Cream of Roasted Tomato Soup: A Food52 Recipe

So, false alarm, the busy, busy boy is still napping. And who could blame him? It's a dark, rainy afternoon. I'm dreaming of tonight's creamy roasted tomato soup and thought I'd pre-post the recipe and rev your salivary glands as well.
It's from Food52's collection. Check out their blog/store/email blasts and prepare to be wowed.
If this kid doesn't wake up soon, I won't have time to make the soup! I'll type loudly...

Cream of Roasted Tomato Soup
Minute Steaks with Basil Butter
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
For the Cream of Roasted Tomato Soup:
Serves 4
  • 8 medium beefsteak tomatoes, cored and quartered 
  • 4 cloves garlic 
  • 1/ 4 cup olive oil, plus more for the tomatoes 
  • Salt 
  • 1 sprig rosemary 
  • 3 sprigs thyme 
  • 6 tablespoons heavy cream 
  • Sugar, if needed 
  • Coarsely ground black pepper 
  • 4 thick slices country bread, toasted and brushed with olive oil, for serving
1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Lay the tomatoes cut-side down. Add the garlic cloves (with skins on). Sprinkle with olive oil and season with salt. Roast until the tomatoes are soft and caramelized, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let cool.
2. Add the ¼ cup olive oil, the rosemary and thyme to a small saucepan and place over low heat. Let warm until you begin smelling the herbs, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.
3. Peel the tomatoes and add the pulp and juices to a soup pan. Squeeze the garlic from its skin and add it to the pan. Place the pan over medium heat, and begin mashing the tomatoes with a potato masher until it’s pulpy, but not chunky (if you prefer to use a food processor, go ahead – just make sure you leave it pulpy). When the mixture is hot but not boiling, stir in the cream. Season to taste with salt. Add a pinch of sugar, if needed. Ladle into bowls and season with pepper. Sprinkle a little herb oil on top of the soup. Pass the toasts at the table.
For the steaks:
1 sirloin or thin-cut new york strip steak per person
coarse sea salt and black pepper
1 tbsp butter and 2 tbsp olive oil
Heat a large skillet over very high heat. Add butter and oil to pan. Pat steaks dry. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add steaks to pan. Cook 2-3 minutes per side, until desired doneness.
For the brussels sprouts:
1 lb brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved, if large
3 tbsp olive oil
coarse salt and black pepper
Toss brussels sprouts in olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. If roasting tomatoes for soup, roast brussels sprouts at same time. (375degrees for about 25-30mins.) Quick fix: Use frozen brussels sprouts. Thaw in microwave, season, and roast at 425 for 15 mins or until slightly golden/crisp on edges.

Red Hot Red Dot

Women & Their Work Gallery hosted the 15th annual Red Dot Art Sale on Thursday Night. I am so honored to be a part of planning such a fun and fabulous event. W&TW does so much for the Austin art community and beyond- it's great to see the community giving back!
For the past few years Mark and I have found a new art piece (or two) to add to our collection. It's so much fun to fall in love with a work of art "at first sight." And like any budding relationship, we have a great time getting to know the work, the artist, and find a place for it in our home.
This year we were struck by a sculpture by artist Ebbesen Davis. While the piece won't come home with us for another week or so, I'll share Ebbesen's website:

Summer/Fall Smash-up: Summer Squash and Corn Chowder

Using end of summer produce to create a tummy-warming chowder is a great way to quell those "I'm ready for Fall but it's still ninety-plus degrees outside" cravings. So crank down the AC, pull out a scarf and celebrate soup! Cooking Light does it right with a veggie based creation with notes of smoky bacon and melty cheddar.
I recommend buying high quality, applewood-smoked bacon. It's intense flavor will shine in the background of this chowder.

Event: I WANT FALL! (But it's so darn hot...)
Summer Squash and Corn Chowder
Tomato Bruschetta

For the Soup:


  • 2  slices applewood-smoked bacon
  • 3/4  cup  sliced green onions, divided
  • 1/4  cup  chopped celery
  • 1  pound  yellow summer squash, chopped
  • 1  pound  frozen white and yellow baby corn kernels, thawed and divided
  • 2 1/4  cups  1% low-fat milk, divided
  • 1  teaspoon  chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4  cup  (1 ounce) shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese


1. Cook bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving 2 teaspoons drippings in pan. Crumble bacon, and set aside. Add 1/2 cup onions, celery, and squash to drippings in pan; sauté 8 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
2. Reserve 1 cup corn; set aside. Place the remaining corn and 1 cup milk in a blender; process until smooth. Add remaining 1 1/4 cups milk, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to blender; process just until combined. Add pureed mixture and reserved 1 cup corn to pan. Reduce heat to medium; cook 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring constantly. Stir in 1/8 teaspoon salt. Ladle about 1 1/2 cups soup into each of 4 bowls; top each serving with about 1 tablespoon bacon, 1 tablespoon remaining onions, and 1 tablespoon cheese.

For the tomato bruschetta:

PH oven to 425 degrees. Arrange 12 thin baguette slices on a baking sheet; bake at 425 for 6 mins or until toasted. Rub toasts with cut sides of halved garlic clove. Combine 1/2 c halved cherry or grape tomatoes, 2 tsp chopped fresh basil, 1 1/2 tsp olive oil, 1 tsp balsamic vinegar and 1/8 tsp kosher salt; top toasts with tomato mixture. 


Menu for the Week- Seriously

Well, last week was a mess.
The little one and I came down with a yucky cold- the only downside of Mother's Day Out. And Blogger was acting super spotty. I couldn't post or save a thing. I hope the bugs are gone and we can have a week of happy blogging!
(Note: I was able to make some of the meals on my queue last week... I'll try to post those recipes ASAP!)
Menu for the Week
Sunday- Roasted Tomato Soup, Minute Steaks, Roasted Brussels Sprouts 
Monday- Italian Pot Roast
Tuesday- Out?
Wednesday- Parmesan Pork Chops, Garlicky New Potatoes, Wok Seared Collard Greens
Thursday- Out
The little one is waking up- time to grocery shop!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Spinach Pie to Individual Chicken Pot Pies

You know what they say about the best laid plans...

Since last week I've had some mighty bad heartburn. (The Old Wives say this little one's gonna have as much hair as his or her brother does!) Heartburn? What's so bad about that? Well, let's just say it doesn't make me have much of an appetite- for eating or cooking.

But, now I'm on Pepcid, which seems to be working... and I was able to do a little cooking last night for me and the H.  His daddy was on the road... and ate Woodfire Grill in Atlanta, Top Chef finalist Kevin Gillespie's place. Mark was pretty darn satisfied with his meal. I'm trying not to be jealous! But seriously... Look at the menu:
Peabody was calling for warm and satisfying with no spiciness to rile up the bile. So H and I made Chicken Pot Pies. (Ina's Spinach Pie will have to wait! As well as the other yumminess I had planned!)

Easy Rosemary Chicken Pot Pies
Watermelon Pieces

Ingredients (Makes 6 individual pies)
1 lb chicken breasts, milanesa style (thin-sliced)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
kosher salt and black pepper

3 tbsp salted butter
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 c flour
3/4 c chicken broth
1 1/2 c milk
1 1/2 frozen peas and carrots mix
additional salt and black pepper to taste

1 pkg refrigerated biscuits, buttermilk or homestyle

PH oven to 375 degrees. Place chicken breasts on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with rosemary, salt and pepper. Toss to coat both sides of chicken. Place in oven. Bake 15-25 minutes or until cooked through and juices run clear. Remove to cutting board. Chop into bite-size pieces.

While chicken is cooking, add butter to a large saucepan over medium heat. When butter melts, add onion and cook until barely translucent, 3-5 minutes. Add flour and stir constantly until a paste forms. Gradually add chicken broth and milk, stirring until mixture is combined. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until liquid thickens slightly. Add frozen vegetables and cooked chicken. 

Reduce oven heat to 350 degrees. Ladle soup mixture into individual ramekins. On a work surface, gently press biscuit dough to flatten until large enough to cover ramekins. Place flattened dough on top of soup mixture. Place in oven and bake until dough is golden and cooked through. Approximately 15 minutes. Serve with watermelon slices... good for the pregnant belly. Or anyone else who needs some lycopene!

Toddler Mods: If your kiddo doesn't like foods "all mixed up," reserve some chicken and heat peas and carrots separately. Bake a single biscuit off to the side of the pot pies. H helped me season the chicken, and flatten the biscuits. He's a fab sous chef!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Menu for the Week

It's been a while... and this week is a short one!
Tuesday~ Summer Squash and Corn Chowder with Tomato Bruschetta
Wednesday~ Spinach Pie
Thursday~ Greek Salad with Homemade Falafel
Friday~ Moroccan Stewed Chicken

Thursday, September 2, 2010

New Crop of Cookbooks

For my recent second 29th birthday, I received several fabulous new cookbooks. Simply cannot wait to crack them open! (Menu for the Week should be a snap next week!)
Here's the lineup:
This guy takes Mexican cooking to the next level- Luxury guacamole bar? Sign me up!

Mark Bittman is, quite frankly, a food genius. With him, Julia, and Ruth Reichl by my side, I should never make a cooking misstep.
I'm a sucker for Ina's laid-back hosting style. Effortless and elegant are her middle names, if she has two middle names. Plus the pics in this book make my mouth water!
Happy reading! (Surely I'm not the only one who reads cookbooks like novels?)

Illuminating the Living Room

I've been searching for three years for the perfect light fixture for our living room. I never thought I would land on a fixture that a small aircraft could actually land on, but here it is: the oversized equator pendant lamp from CB2. It's as big as our coffee table (35" diameter) and I think it will lend a certain oomph to our oddly proportioned living space. Placing the order today and anxiously awaiting an elephant of a box on our doorstep! Follow-up photos will, um... follow!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

We All Live In A Yellow Submarine

Wow... two years already!?
We celebrated our little man's entry into true toddlerhood with a magical mystery party at the splash pad! Technicolor cupcakes, a cardboard submarine with cutout portholes, and goodies from under the sea completed the look. It truly felt like our own little octopus's garden in the shade.
While everybody took turns splashing and noshing, our fabulous friend Mike managed to capture our guests' likenesses with caricatures!
What's all that stuff about the "terrible twos?" Bring it on!
Happy Birthday, H-Man!!!

Pink or Blue!?

Will Peabody will be dressed in hand-me-downs or frilly gowns? We will find out on September 23rd!
Until then I'll amuse myself with color schemes and design themes...
The present design for the girlie nursery is a "modern granny" look.  Deep rose, quirky olive, gilded details with modern whimsy.
If it's a boy, then H's macaroni orange will be replaced with a more muted grey or aqua.
Here are some nurseries I'm in love with (Images from, dominomagazine:

Sooo, what'll it be, doc!?