Gimme MoMA...

Modern Art that is.  My sister has wonderful taste and always manages to find the most unique gifts.  This year, she sent me this amazing espresso set that incorporates the coasters into the tray.  I love the simple yet intricate design... functional art!  It turns out the MoMA store is a super place to find gifts or even to register for yourself!  There is also a standing discount for members on all items.

Here are just some of the items that caught my eye while browsing the site:

Toast It Coasters
Agate Coasters
Myria Expandable Trivet
River Stones Bowl
Hot Pot BBQ (& herb grower!)
Fluorescent Colored Pencil Set
Tuck Box
Rubber X-bands


Easy Pain au Chocolat

This is a very easy way to prep some Pain au Chocolate on the quick!  It's a great trick to have up your sleeve to accompany a brunch or to bring in to the office for a simple breakfast treat.  All you need are a tube of crescent rolls (feel free to use low-fat) and your favorite chocolate.

Just follow the instructions on the tube of refrigerated crescent rolls & slip in a chunk of chocolate before rolling them up - then bake as instructed & voila!


Classic Oscar Style

Watching the Oscars last night got me thinking about all my favorite classic movies and what starlets would have worn to the awards ceremony in their time...

Here are some of my favorite leading ladies with Oscar :-)

Vivien Leigh
Vivien Leigh
Elizabeth Taylor
Audrey Hepburn
Grace Kelly
Claudette Colbert
Sophia Loren
Olivia de Havilland
Ingrid Bergman
Joanne Woodward


Baking Bible

One of my dearest friends bought me Chez Panisse Desserts by Lindsey Remolif Shere for my birthday, and it just arrived on my doorstep.  I can already tell this is going to be my baking bible for life.  The beautifully written preface by Alice Waters will inspire and excite you to dig deep into this treasure.   The book itself is simple and sweet, mostly text with sporadic penciled sketches.  It feels like an old favorite paperback novel telling beautiful stories of baking lovely food from the heart.  Its recipes are designed to complement seasonal menus and are arranged in the book around their ingredients.

Chez Panisse first opened its doors in 1971  and is a well known restaurant in Berkeley (one of my favorite cities) which has always focused on local, organic, and seasonal foods.

From what I understand based on reading many reviews, the ice cream recipes are unparalleled - it may finally be time to invest in an ice cream machine...


Vegan Sweet Potato Ravioli

When I'm looking for vegan recipes to try, I am drawn to those that aren't seeking to replace or substitute for an animal product - I feel the best recipes are delicious on their own and just happen to not include dairy or meat.  

The petite kitcheness echoes my sentiments with this recipe, which combines the sweetness of the potatoes and coconut milk with a nice spicy kick from the roasted chiles. 

My last attempt at making my own pasta was one big failure, so trying again was a bit risky.  I think using the semolina flour did the trick (the recipe I tried before used only all-purpose flour) - perfect this time!  The only thing is I am definitely buying now is a pasta machine.  Rolling the dough out by hand with the rolling pin took some serious exertion!


Foil-Stamped Napkins

For my birthday, I received a very sweet gift of personalized foil-stamped napkins.  This is something I'd probably have never thought to purchase for myself, but I think they will be super fun for hosting cocktail parties, as well as for disposable hand towels in the guest bathroom.

I was given a wide range of colors to choose from; I went for a simple white napkin with gold stamping.  I can't wait for an occasion to use them!  These would make great housewarming/hostess gifts too.


Scallops Provencal

We just returned from a lovely visit to Florida to see my husband's parents.  One thing I never worry about when we go is a lack of delicious food.  This visit, my father-in-law had a new dish up his sleeve,  this delicious Ina Garten recipe for Scallops Provencal.  He served it with rice (cooked in chicken broth in place of water).  He also taught me that you can actually substitute broth for wine in any recipe.

While we waited for him to perform his magic in the kitchen, my mother-in-law prepped a great appetizer of lobster & guacamole with chips

Shallots, garlic & parsley

Scallops dredged in flour

Scallops browned in butter

Saute everything together...



Growing Up...

Today is my 29th birthday - I've never been one to want to make a big fuss over my birthday, etc.  What I do love about birthdays is, like New Years, the chance to set goals and redefine the direction and focus we want to have in life.  

I remember distinctly being 8 years old and just wanting to be 16 already.  Once I was there, it was 18, then 21, 25... I've always been in a rush to grow up (I think I am 80 yrs old inside in a lot of ways, so maybe I just want to catch up already!)  I've been anxious to enter my 30s, to finally be taken "seriously" (whatever that means).  Now that I'm nearing the very end of my 20s, I'm realizing it's time to slow down and enjoy every moment - I want to savor this last year of an amazing decade and set myself up for an even better new one to come.  Instead of wanting to be taken 'seriously' based on some arbitrary number/age, it's time to take my life and all its potential seriously; the rest will surely follow.

I began this blog as a way to hold me accountable to taking the time to do the things I love.  So far, it has been an incredibly rewarding and motivating force in my life.  Before this, I put those things on hold - there would be time once I finished school, or got my certification, etc.  There are always reasons to postpone pursuing your dreams.  I think doing so is what causes a sense of urgency to hurry forward in life.  I hope to continue to use this medium to grow and explore living life to its fullest NOW.  I believe the "good china" should be used often.  Life is too short to keep everything that is the most precious tucked away; these things, these parts of ourselves, should be celebrated and embraced every day, for as long as we are lucky enough to enjoy them.  I hope that going into this new year, I will remember and embody that sentiment, approaching the close of a chapter and the beginning of a new one.

You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment  ~Henry David Thoreau

Nothing is too wonderful to be true  ~Michael Faraday



How much would you have loved having this kit as a young girl?  I would have fallen all over myself with absolute giddy joy... Just like I always wanted one of those fake cash registers too.

What do you think?  Would this still make a good gift for young children? Would they even know what this is??? I don't know what I'd do with one now, but I still want it! I'm sure you could make some adorable greeting cards or gift tags...


Vegan Chocolate Avocado Cake

As you are probably aware, Joy the Baker's website is one of my absolute favorite go-to places for A-mazing recipes.  I have been wanting to make this cake for quite a while, especially since both my husband and I are simultaneously motivated to eat more Vegan meals (even if we aren't fully committing to the lifestyle...)

It's hard to believe that a cake recipe with avocado could taste like cake, or even good at all.  This cake rocked my world.  I absolutely loved it and didn't feel bad eating an extra piece (or two) either!

No eggs.  No butter.  A little vegetable oil, and that's just good for you.  This cake turned out super moist and if I didn't tell you, you would have no idea it was made with avocado.  I think next time I will throw in some (vegan) chocolate chips to make the cake extra chocolaty & try making the avocado frosting to go with it as well (I used my recent coconut whipped cream to top off the cake this time).


Vegan Coconut Whipped Cream

Ok, so cutting out meat, no problem.  Cutting out dairy, that's a different story.  But recipes like this make it much easier...  Did you know you could make vegan whipped cream???

I personally L-O-V-E coconut, and if you do too, this whipped cream is something you will want to make even if you aren't trying to swap out dairy.  And it seriously couldn't get any easier (or more fun - it's like a science experiment!)

Step 1: Refrigerate a can of full fat coconut milk overnight
Step 2: Open can and scrape off the thick cream layer that has risen to the top into a bowl & drain out the clear liquid that has separated away from the creamy part

Step 3: Beat with a mixer (just like real whipped cream!) until fluffy
Step 4: Add sugar and vanilla to taste (you can add a little cornstarch too to help thicken the cream)

Feel free to add anything else into the mix to add flavor - I personally like the coconut flavor on its own.
This works best after refrigerated for an hour or two and served immediately.


Prove it like a Theorem...

I don't usually feature anything tied to my work life here - this is my creative escape from that world! But when the two worlds collide, I have to say, it's kind of magical to me... 

Hope you also enjoy some of these nerdy (& super creative!) Valentine-worthy ideas from Elisabeth Fosslien.  These are just a few of my favorites :-)

Have a very Happy Valentine's Day!

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