Wednesday, August 21, 2013

August Moon

Grain Moon, Green Corn Moon, Red Moon, August Moon, Blueberry Moon, Full Sturgeon Moon, Blue Moon. All magnificent names, each significant to someone or none at all. One glorious sight.

Full moons always astound me. There is something so beautiful about the light of the moon falling across a pasture, illuminating the lingering flights of horseflies and bats. This August moon is especially lovely. The mild summer that we have had here on the plains made tonight perfect for "moon watching".  I anticipated the moon's appearance all evening. We listened to murder ballads and blues albums and I read a collection of American folk tales. I went to bed and set my alarm for "early".

Ginger and I sat outside in the wee hours, when you can just smell the morning coming, and I watched the moon slowly set. I sipped a cup of coffee between glances to the sky. I allowed my mind to wander as I watched that moon sink low and the morning stars faded.

I thought about this great big ol'earth and our stewardship thereof. I thought about the plants and animals under our care. I thought about dirt, and the bees, and the smell of sweet rain, and drought. I thought about the miracle of sprouting flowers and the wonder of holding their root systems in your hands. I thought about the fish in the sea and the birds in the air. I began to feel downright tiny and full of wonder.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Let's Have Coffee

Let's have a cup of coffee. You would come over and I would have made us some sort of a snack. I would hope that you would be impressed with my coffee making skills and how I can make a cappuccino at home. But because it is summer we take some cold brew out onto the balcony. You tell me you like the plants. That my balcony feels like a tiny forrest in the middle of suburbia. There would probably be music playing, probably something that I knew wouldn't annoy you. Ginger Beagle would want to sit in your lap and you would indulge her. I would ask you about your day. About your new job or work in general. About your kids - if you had them. How are things going for you? 

You would return the questions in kind. You ask about the music I have on. You ask about the coffee we buy (because you know I love to tell you). And you might notice that I am intentionally trying to be upbeat. You might notice that our home is a little different. Quieter. That a spark might be missing. If Grant was home you might notice how much I hold his hand or put my head on his shoulder. You would know that we are still sad. 

The last few weeks have been so hard. Our home feels so different without our noisy Nyx beast keeping us on our toes. Losing a pet is never easy. I think it is especially hard when they are so young. Nyx got pancreatitis and she was gone before we even knew that she was really sick. There was hardly anything that we could have done. To make things harder, I was away in Georgia when it happened and Grant was here alone. 

We miss our growly baby. Our hellcat. I reach to pet her at night while we are in bed. I expect to see her at my feet in the kitchen while I am trying to cook. I have to keep an eye on her or else she will be bold and steal a piece of meat or bread from the countertop. I wait to hear her taunt the birds at the feeder. I hold my breath for the moment that she wants to be cuddly and comes to sit with us. 

So you hug me. You let me know that it is okay to feel this way. Losing a pet is just hard. You might tell me about your own experience with that. We both might cry a little. You decide to tell me a funny story about Nyx, because Nyx always gave us funny stories to tell. We laugh a little, maybe even a lot. We drink some more of our coffee on my balcony with the wind chimes playing. Inside, I am thanking you. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Corncakes

These little babies were inspired by our friend Stephen's most recent visit. Stephen is gluten intolerant and this always delightfully challenges me to be creative with my recipes. These corncakes were also inspired by a recent trip I took down to Georgia where I tried pumpkin cornbread on St. Stephen's Island. It would seem that by providence of Stephens that this recipe has come about!

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Corncakes 

Gather These:
  • 1 pkg gluten-free cornbread mix.          
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup oats (or more if you prefer)

  • Combine all ingredients in mixing bowl.
  • Grease a muffin tin and fill each cup with a generous portion of the mix.
  • Heat oven to 400*
  • Cook muffins for around 15 minutes or until just crispy on the tops.
  • Make 9-10 cakes


I served our cakes alongside a variety of honeys and preserves. The favorite combination was a cake topped with Savannah Bee Company's "Tupelo Honey" and Livesay Orchards peach preserves.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Mint Oh, My!

Thwarting our north-facing exposure our little hanging basket of mint has thrived (as mint is want to do). But as most mint growers know, when you have mint, you have a lot of it. Not wanting to waste a single gloriously fragrant leaf, we have been looking for ways to use our mint. So, we started by researching cocktails. Now the obvious choice is a Mint Julep, but here is a confession, Grant and I hate Mint Juleps. Instead we discovered the Ellison, a delicious and simple gin-based cocktail.

Gather These:
  • Thin cucumber slices (average about 4 per serving)
  • Mint leaves (about 4-5 per serving)
  • 3/4 ounces lime juice
  • 3/4 ounces simple syrup (or Raw sugar)
  • 1 1/2 ounces of your favorite gin
  • Lime wedge for garnish

  • Muddle half the cucumbers and mint leaves with the simple syrup
  • Add some ice and top with the gin and lime juice
  • Garnish with remaining mint, cucumber, and lime wedge.


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Day Dreams

Day Dream 
Alfred Seymour John Tessimond

One day people will touch and talk easily perhaps,
And loving be natural as breathing and warm as sunlight,
An people will untie themselves, as string is unknotted
Unfold and yawn and stretch and spread their fingers,
unfurl, uncurl like seaweed returned to the sea,
And work will be simple and swift
as a seagull flying,
And play will be casual and quiet
as a seagull settling,
And the clocks will stop, and no one will wonder
or care or notice
And people will smile without reason,
Even in winter, even in the rain.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Fresh Fig and Goat Cheese Tart

This tart is one of the easiest meals I have ever constructed. We have decided that this is going on the  "oh, hey, we are entertaining tonight, and we forgot to go to the store, and we also have no time to cook anything else" list. Also, total cook time is about 12 minutes. Prep time...maybe 5...if you're moving slow.

Please people, make this tonight. Make it tomorrow. Make it soon and forever.

I used this recipe to get me started and then made a few changes. The first change was that instead of puff pastry dough (which needs to thaw overnight, and I am sure as hell not making any from scratch), we used Philsbury croissant rolls. Okay, not the most refined thing ever, but we were going for quick and easy (see aforementioned list). Anyway, it turned out just fine and dandy. Second, in addition to the rosemary I also added a good few cracks of fresh pepper and some lavender.

You could even add a little roasted garlic and fennel and I think it would be even better. Just a suggestions.

This was a truly delicious dinner and perfect for entertaining. The fig tart is truly sweet and pairs very well with a dry wine (remember our trip to Trader Joe's?). Cut into generous portions this tart easily serves 6...but you could stretch it to 8 and no one would mind.

Enjoy, lovelies. Stay tuned for homemade cronuts!

St. Louis, We Love You

Grant has been on vacation this week and accordingly we have been on so many adventures! To begin with we traveled to St. Louis to visit our wonderful friends Nicole, Matt, and Stephen. FYI, Nicole has a gorgeously scrumptious cooking blog, Law School's Cooking, and you should really be reading it!

We drank such wonderful coffee, went to a guerrilla restaurant called The Agrarian, made homemade chicken and waffles (with a gluten-free alternative), drank lots wine and moonshine, smoked some of my remaining Cloves, played music, Matt taught us some mad Yoga skills, and we got stormed out of a outdoor performance of Spamalot (consequently, we realized that we have no problem entertaining ourselves on such an occasion when you are stuck outside, soaking wet, with only a thermos full of wine between five people). 

While our friends were at work Grant and I explored the city. We wanted to got to the art museum, but it was closed when we were there! Instead, we went to the zoo, Kayaks Coffee became our new hub, Crusco's deli (get their pastrami sandwich, you can go ahead and thank us for the recommendation), the arch, the courthouse were the Dred Scott case was passed, the basilica, and generally just enjoyed the sites. My only regret is that my camera died fairly early into the trip, so unfortunately, many of the wonderful things that we did are not documented. 

We also made a quick hit and run at Trader Joe's before heading home. We basically just bought a ton of wine. Don't judge us. 

Our vacation and adventures are not over yet though! We still have two things on the menu to try: homemade cronuts and a fresh fig and goat cheese tart. Stay posted for recipes and the usual kitchen madness! 

Thursday, June 13, 2013


I am having a love affair. With lipstick.

I have never really been a fan of lipstick until recently. When I have worn it, it was usually because it was mandatory. Stage make-up, that sort of thing. Don't misunderstand me, I have a plethora of chapstick tubes, lip balms, glosses, and tints lurking in the bottoms of nearly all of my purses. I just have never been much of a fan of the "real" thing.

But either because summer is starting, or I have been watching an unusually high number of Marilyn Monroe movies, or it could be that I bought this amazing shade of candy apple red nail polish, and by gosh, I wanted my lips to match! But whatever the reason, lipstick is now my favorite part of "getting-ready".

I think there is a ritual about putting on lipstick. I remember watching my mom put her's on, leaning close over the bathroom sink towards the lighted mirror, concentrating, hands of a surgeon. It was fascinating. (I also thought watching her put on mascara was interesting...but mostly just terrifying!).

So, I am curious...What's your lipstick ritual?

1) How do you pick lipstick? Color, texture, matte, or what?

For me, I loved this glossy dark orange in High School. I thought it matched (or paired well) with my dark red hair. But a classic red lip has always been a hidden favorite of mine. Generally, I just buy a color that appeals to me. Though, my go-to staple since 4th grade as been good ol'Bonnebell chapstick. 

This has also been a favorite of mine for many years

2) What brands do you like?

 I buy based on color and feel. Not brand specific.

3) How do you put it on? Do you start in the middle? Do you have a side that you start on? Top lip or bottom lip first? What's your method?

 I had to check! Bottom lip first, I dot the middle, work my way along the bottom ridge and then back up toward the curve of the lip. Then I rub my lips together, transferring pigment onto my upper lip. Then I lightly coat more lipstick on my upper lip, really just to define the edge of my lip. Then a light press together, and we are good to go! (Whew, that was detailed!)

4) Do you blot after you put it on? And on that note, how critical is this step? 

I only did this with my "stage" lips. But that was a whole other application process (involving face powder!) to get that lip color to stay put! 

5) Did someone teach you how to put it on, or did you figure it out yourself? 

Both my mom and my cousin Clara taught me. My step-mom can be credited with teaching my to apply liner. Hey, it was the 90s. If you could not apply burgundy liner and pair it with gloss, you were nobody. 

6) Did you ever put lipstick on when you were little and kiss a mirror in imitation of Ms. Monroe's classic pucker? 

Yes! Clara and I would do this for hours! We would use all different shades and kiss our mirrored closet doors. I think we were trying to make a mural. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Pearls and Peacock Feathers

The art deco bug is biting me again! It could be because Clarabelle and I went to go see The Great Gatsby and drooled over the Prada and Miu Miu recreations of Daisy's wardrobe. It could have been from the glorious logo alone. Who knows. Right now, I want to convert everything I own into a drop waist wrap dress, and riffle through the antique mall looking for hats. In the meantime, join me by listening to this album, practice writing your address in the font style below, or practicing an out dated - perhaps complicated - vintage cocktail recipe! 

I could not resist!