Saturday run

21 Jun

Things that will make this weekend’s training run infinitely more enjoyable than fighting the heat in DC: running here.

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Morning glory muffins

19 Jun

Because “morning glory” are not the words usually used to describe Monday mornings, I decided to bake these muffins, found on the Bitten Word, to bring to work tomorrow.

They are fairly time-intensive and have a few random ingredients, but so very worth the effort!

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Makes 12 muffins (note: I made small muffins and got 24 out of the recipe)

Don’t throw away the juice from the can of pineapple; you’ll need it. To toast the coconut and walnuts, place them in a dry skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until they’re golden, about 5 minutes. Cool before grinding them. We prefer golden raisins here, but ordinary raisins will work, too.

INGREDIENTS

¾ cup sweetened shredded coconut, toasted
½ cup walnuts, toasted
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup sugar
1½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and shredded
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ cups shredded carrots (2 to 3 medium)
1 cup golden raisins

DIRECTIONS

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 12-cup muffin tin. Process coconut and walnuts in food processor until finely ground. Add flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt and pulse until combined. Transfer mixture to large bowl.

Place pineapple and shredded apple in fine-mesh strainer set over liquid measuring cup. Press fruit dry (juice should measure about 1 cup). Bring juice to boil in large skillet over medium-high heat and cook until reduced to ¼ cup, about 5 minutes. Let cool slightly. Whisk melted butter, cooled juice, eggs, and vanilla until smooth. Stir wet mixture into dry mixture until combined. Stir in pineapple-apple mixture, carrots, and raisins.

Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Bake until toothpick inserted in center of muffin comes out clean, 24 to 28 minutes. Cool in tin for 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack. Serve warm. (Muffins can be stored in airtight container for 3 days.)

Upholstery

15 Jun

I saw two beautiful pieces today that I can’t get out of my head.

First, this upholstered bench that immediately went on my Pinterest board.

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The other is this pillow that popped up on my “things you might like” tab on Etsy.

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Since I’m not quite ready to drop $500 on that bench, and I already have new pillows for my couch, I am planning to combine these two lovely items. I bought a chair on craigslist a few weeks ago that is all ready to be reupholstered and painted (before and after pictures to come!) I’ve been looking for a perfect fabric to use for the cushion and I think this pillow is it. I’m going to either use the pillow cover as the fabric or see if I can buy it by the yard.

Stay tuned for updates on this little project!

Shelter magazines

10 Jun

(Note: I’ve been drafting this post for a couple of weeks, so if you read 75th and Sedgwick‘s post earlier this week it might look familiar!)

The New York Times recently wrote about the slew of online shelter magazines that have emerged since Domino so sadly folded. The article focuses mostly on Lonny, the first and arguably most popular of these magazines. After Lonny came Rue, High Gloss, and Matchbook, all following generally the same pattern. It’s easy to flip through the pages on the website. You can click directly through to the product’s page to buy an item (genius). Very little editorial oversight and basically no limits on space.

I’ve tried to get on the online shelter bandwagon. I’ve flipped through various issues of each of them several times. The layouts are always pretty and I definitely love the abundant use of color on each page. If I had to pick a favorite, I’d go with High Gloss – not only because I adore the blog of its editor, La Dolce Vita.

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Overall though, I just can’t get on board. Just like Deweese, I can’t get past not being able to hold the magazine and easily flip pages back and forth. To really see the images you have to view in full screen which means hitting ESC every time you need to look at something else. But here’s my real issue with these magazines: they all look the same. I find it really hard to figure out what the editorial view point of each is, and how it differs from the others. Mirrored vanities, bright pillows, light airy bedrooms, metallic accessories. (Ok, so I basically just described my apartment decor) I love these themes, but it would be nice if one of the magazines took a different tact and showed a different design aesthetic.

Maybe I’ll get over my slight aversion to the online shelter industry one day. Until then, my trusty Google Reader filled to the brim with design blogs will do just fine.

Union Jack love

9 Jun

I’ve been really drawn to anything with a Union Jack lately. It might be leftover wistfulness from the Royal Wedding or just my general love of all things English.

(PS. British immigration system, please lighten up on your Visa regulations so I can move to London. Thanks!)

Here are a few pieces that have caught my eye.

Poster via

couch and ottoman at ABC Home

Pillow via

Painted dresser via

Notecards via

Another dresser via

7 Jun

This video clip, which I saw posted somewhere yesterday, is dedicated to LW and the hours we spent watching Rich Girls on our busted couch in 2421 in college.

That this show wasn’t picked up by MTV for more seasons  (yet the Real World is still on television) is one of life’s great tragedies.

Summer potato salad

6 Jun

As soon as I saw this salad on Smitten Kitchen I knew it was next up on my cooking list.

I bought all of the ingredients at the farmer’s market yesterday, which made me so very happy.

The verdict: another Smitten Kitchen win. It was delicious!

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2 pounds small new or fingerling potatoes (I used a mix of reds and yukon golds)
1 pound asparagus
1/4 pound sugar snap peas, green beans or other spring pea
4 small-to-medium radishes, thinly sliced

Pickled spring onions
3 spring onions (about 6 ounces)
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon kosher salt (I use Diamond brand; use less if you’re using Morton or table salt)
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

Sharp mustard vinaigrette
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons whole grain mustard (both Roland and Maille make a whole seed one I’m tremendously fond of)
2 teaspoons smooth Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with one inch of water. Bring to a boil and cook for about 15 minutes, or until the tip of a knife easily pierces through a potato. Drain the potatoes and let them cool until they’re almost room temperature. You can hasten this by covering them with cold water, and replacing the water a few times as it warms up.

Meanwhile, pickle your spring onions. Whisk vinegar, water, salt and sugar together in the bottom of a small container with a lid until the salt and sugar dissolve. Slice the bulbs and paler green parts into very thin coins and submerge them in the vinegar mixture. Cover and put in fridge until you’re ready to use them; if you can put them aside for an hour or even overnight, even better. Reserve the onion greens.

Refill the saucepan you used for the potatoes (here’s to fewer dishes!) with salted water and bring it to a boil. Prepare an ice bath, a large bowl with ice and water in it. Trim the tough ends off the asparagus. Once the water is boiling, add the asparagus. One minute later, add the sugar snap peas. Two minutes later, drain both together then dump them in the ice bath until chilled. Drain the vegetables and spread them out on towel to absorb excess water.

Slice the cooked asparagus spears and sugar snaps into 1/2-inch segments and place them in a large bowl. Chop potatoes into moderate-sized chunks and add them to the bowl. Cut the radishes as thinly as possible, with a mandoline if you have one. If they’re especially big (mine were), you can first quarter them lengthwise. Cut some of the reserved onion greens into thin slivers (no need to use all of them, as the onion flavor might take over) and add them to the bowl.

When you’re ready to serve the salad, or an hour or two in advance, whisk the dressing ingredients and toss it with the vegetables, to taste. (You may find you don’t want to use all of it.) Stir in as many pickled onion coins as you please, save the rest for anything and everything. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, o taste. Eat and enjoy!.