Monday, November 30, 2009

One Crumble to Rule Them All

The Apple-Blackberry Crumble was delicious.

I wound up using Ina Garten's Old Fashioned Apple Crisp recipe, minus 1 tablespoon of lemon and plus 2 pints of glorious blackberries. Don't believe the reviews on the recipe site that claim the crisp is too tart. Those people must have a serious sweet tooth.

Although there were seven pies for fourteen people at BB's Mom's for Thanksgiving, my crumble went the fastest. This is me coming clean about my ugly competitive baking streak.

And, in other news, now I want to write a musical called Seven Pies for Fourteen People.

The Coffee is Back

While BB and I were home over Thanksgiving, we picked up our final round of wedding presents, that had been mailed to my Mom's house. And among them was the new coffee maker that we've been waiting for. Our old coffee maker passed away about a month ago and we've been suffering through the wretched brew from my old french press. (The french press is not at fault. BB and I both are just terrible with it. We never get the proportions right.)

Our new beauty had her inaugural run this morning and it was absolutely delightful. She's been given a place of honor on top of the refrigerator and BB has taken to polishing her like a Ferrari.

We also picked up a shower curtain that looks like this:

So the great bathroom renovation has begun! I think BB is just relieved that I didn't go with the zebra shower curtain.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving Travel Plan

I am counting the hours until we leave for Thanksgiving. Although I can't say I love the Boston to Philly traffic, I do love a good road trip with BB.

I need to swing by the library tonight and pick up one of the Harry Potter audiobooks. Listening to Harry on the road has become something of a holiday tradition for us. And even though we've heard them all many times over at this point, I think the trip would seem lacking if we went without.

My 5 pronged plan of attack for comfortable Thanksgiving travel this year:
1. Harry Potter audiobook

2. Bagel chips and cream cheese from Zaftigs

3. Knitting - The scarf that I started in Florence, for when traffic comes to a standstill. (I never knit in a moving car. I've heard horror stories.)

4. The most comfortable shoes in the world - I picked up these Camper boots while I was in Rome.

5. A very early start time! - BB & I have never been able to pull this off before. We usually leave at around 8pm. I'm so excited to leave while it's light out!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Safe travels and a very joyous holiday to you all!

Monday, November 23, 2009

BookLooks: Winter Holiday

I finished reading Winter Holiday by Arthur Ransome, the fourth book in the Swallows and Amazons series, this weekend. And I was so pleased with the whole thing that I decided to make it the focus of my second BookLooks.

The Amazon's picks:
8. L Flag - $25
9. Jolly Roger Flag - $13.99
12. Ribbed Cashmere Hat - $48
13. Cableknit Beanie - $19.50

The Swallow's picks:
2. Spyglass Telescope - $24.98
3. Aran Isle Hat - $38
4. Merino Trapper Hat - $45
5. Red Tea Kettle - $28.39
6. Blue Cups - $6.95
7. Antique Brass Pocket Compass - $9.95

The D's picks:
1. Faux Fur Trapper Hat - $29.50
10. Ladies Figure Skates - $27.99
11. Ultimate Flyer - $99.99

Friday, November 20, 2009

Cook the Books: Wind in the Willows

Although a selection of glorious picnics, fry-ups and teas tantalize the reader throughout The Wind in the Willows, the meal that always stands out for me is the bubble-and-squeak that the jailer's daughter serves Mr. Toad.

"Now, cheer up, Toad,' she said, coaxingly, on entering, `and sit up and dry your eyes and be a sensible animal. And do try and eat a bit of dinner. See, I've brought you some of mine, hot from the oven!'

It was bubble-and-squeak, between two plates, and its fragrance filled the narrow cell. The penetrating smell of cabbage reached the nose of Toad as he lay prostrate in his misery on the floor, and gave him the idea for a moment that perhaps life was not such a blank and desperate thing as he had imagined." -Chapter 8

I should be very clear that what I'm about to suggest is in no way a proper bubble-and-squeak. In fact, bubble-and-squeak purists will likely be scandalized. In fact, they'll definitely be scandalized. Consider yourself warned.

I'm New York girl. At the age where most children beg for candy, I begged for noodle kugel. When most children were inhaling french fries, I was eating knishes. So when bubble-and-squeak was first explained to me as being a fried mixture of cabbage and potato by my Mother's very good friend (who hails from County Sligo), the image it conjured was distinctly... kosher.

I know in my head that what the jailer's daughter served Mr. Toad between two plates was probably not made with hot pink pickled cabbage, but you'll never convince my heart.

Lime Street's Catskills Bubble-and-Squeak
1 Cup Pickled Red Cabbage
1 Cup Mashed Potatoes, cold
5 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Flour
Salt and Pepper to taste
4 Tsp Sour Cream (optional)

1. Add chilled potatoes, cabbage, salt and pepper in a bowl and blend with your hands until the mixture is well combined.

2. Add the olive oil to a non-stick skillet and place over medium-high heat.

3. While the oil is heating, form the potato/cabbage mixture into four evenly sized patties and dust both sides of each patty with a small portion of flour.

4. Once the oil is shimmering, place the patties in the pan and cook for roughly five minutes on each side, until the onside of the patties are crisp and golden brown.

I enjoy my Catskill's Bubble-and-Squeak with a dollop of sour cream, but that's entirely your call. May it have the same restorative powers for you as it did for Mr. Toad!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

BookLooks: Wind in the Willows

As my Wind in the Willows mania is reaching a fever pitch, I've decided that the first BookLooks should be in it's honor.

Mr. Toad's Magnificent Selections:
1. Ford Bar Decanter - $38
2. Pair of Noblest Frogs Bookends - $45

Mole's Picks:
3. Cornish Blue Teapot - $50
4. Home Sweet Home Cross Stitch - $12

Badger's Picks:
5. Lion Door Knocker - $53
6. Embroidered Velvet Slippers - $650
9. Kensington Leather Loveseat - $3180

Rat's Picks:
7. Sterling Cocktail Pitcher and Spoon - Engraved with an "R", naturally.
8. Oar Wall Decor - $163

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

BookLooks and Cook the Books

Bookish girl that I am, I've decided to introduce two new semi-regular features, BookLooks and Cook the Books. BookLooks, as you may have guessed, is a selection of items for your home and person, inspired by beloved books. Cook the Books is an exploration of recipes for standout food and beverages from those same books. They're intended to function in tandem and hopefully bring me a little closer to my childhood dream of being able to walk right into my books. (Kind of like Gumby and Pokey.)

Apple-Blackberry Crisp

We're heading to BB's home in Philly for Thanksgiving and I've been mulling over what to bring. We'll bring wine, flowers, etc, but I really feel that it's important to bring something homemade. And the magic words that keep springing to mind are apple-blackberry crisp. I've never actually made one before. Nor have I had apples and blackberries in the same dish. So I hope this isn't a trainwreck.

I think I'm going to tinker with recipes this weekend. I like the looks of this one and this one, but am actually most tempted by Ina Garten's Old Fashioned Apple Crisp recipe. I may just modify it by adding blackberries and a little more sugar.

I'm sure BB will be absolutely heartbroken about having to sample so many crisps, crumbles and buckles. What a trooper!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Mr. Toad Mania Continues

Our Wind in the Willows love knows no bounds. BB and I have spent the last few evenings watching the first season of the Wind in the Willows TV show.

This may actually be my favorite media incarnation of Wind in the Willows, as it adapts chapters of the book that generally don't get any screen time, like Wayfarers All and Piper at the Gates of Dawn.

Truthfully, though, this show had me at Mole's Cousin.

Hold On Your Heart

Today, I'm looking for something to change my life.

What I've found are these sneakers.

Life changing? No. But they do make me smile.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Let Us Not Be Disconcerted

*by Julianna Swaney

I would like to hang this next to my bed.

The Corduroy Appreciation Club

Please do yourself a favor and check out the NYT The Moment entry about the Corduroy Appreciation Club. It's making my morning.

I also recommend going the extra mile and checking out the official CAC website.

I hesitate to admit this in the same breath, as it were. But BB is staunchly anti-corduroy. He thinks it feels like wrinkly, been-in-the water-too-long hands. I want to tell him about the CAC, but I'm afraid he'll start some sort of opposing organization.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Wind in the Willows

So after sitting through the somewhat disappointing Pythonesque Wind in the Willows last weekend, I felt compelled to Netflix the 2006 Masterpiece Theater version.

I think it's superior in every way, but one. Eric Idle makes an excellent Ratty.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


I picked up a few boxes of Sofia Blanc de Blanc minis this weekend in preparation for the holidays.

I know they're a little silly. But they look awfully cute in a silver ice bucket at parties. And they fit perfectly in that stupid soda can holder in my refrigerator.

A Round of Applause

For these scoop gloves from Topshop...

I'm really digging them. Unfortunately, my yearly Topshop fix is at their Harajuku store. And this year my schedule won't allow me to tag along with BB to Tokyo. So no scoop gloves for me. I know, I know, poor baby...

Monday, November 9, 2009


The first night that BB & I were in Rome for our honeymoon, the temperature plummeted. And as we strolled through the city wearing just about every article of clothing we'd packed, we bought a paper cone of roasted chestnuts to keep our hands warmed. There's something about the smell of roasting chestnuts that makes me immediately feel festive. Maybe I equate it with holiday trips to New York as a child.

Maybe Rome wasn't actually more convivial for those four days, but it certainly felt that way. I think I'm going to try roasting chestnuts in the oven this week, to try to recapture some of that.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

An Abundance of (Literary) Riches

At long last, the new main branch of the Cambridge Library is open! BB and I visited it on Sunday and it is absolutely gorgeous. It's the library of my dreams. Actually, the library of my dreams in the one from Harry Potter, natch. But it's a very close second.

And after all of my previous grousing about the difficulty of finding the Swallows and Amazons locally, I found all twelve books at the Curious George Bookstore on Saturday. Why I never thought to look there before I'll never know. But I picked up the third and fourth books and I'm happy as a lark.

What else happened this weekend? We ate a really tremendous breakfast at one of my new favorite places, the City Girl Cafe. We built a fort in the living room. We bought a vacuum. And we saw this crazy movie at the Brattle:

Friday, November 6, 2009


I've got my eye on this Silk Steamers Cami. It seems like such a versatile piece for the holidays.

You could wear it with swingy black trousers and heels or really dress it up with a skirt and one or more of these Club Monaco necklaces:

Generally, I find holiday dressing pretty stressful, so it's probably not a bad idea to line up a few party wear options. Fortunately, this year, I have an ace-in-the-hole dress:

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Earlier in the week, I scooped up used copies of Swallows & Amazons and Swallowdale at the Harvard Book Store.

I've been trying to get my hands on any of the Swallow & Amazons books ever since reading an allusion to them on Yarnstorm. Why are these books so difficult to obtain in the U.S.? I always prefer to patronize local bookstores rather than Amazon, but it did take almost two years for me to find two of the volumes locally. And I live in a bookstore heavy neighborhood.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Bad Ass Snuggie

Have you ever wondered what it would look like is American Apparel designed their own Snuggie? Me neither, but here it is:

I present to you the Selk Bag. Oddly enough, it grows more intriguing upon second viewing.

More Ornaments and More Cheese

My ornament obsession continues. Here's a shot of one of my best Alicia Paulson ornaments:

Never willing to leave good enough alone, I'll be working on a hot pink version over lunch.

BB loved my bizarro cheese anniversary gift. So a big hunk of cheese may become part of our yearly anniversary ritual.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

One Month Anniversary

Today is the one month anniversary of my marriage to BB and, unfortunately, I'm home sick with a fever. But BB made me feel significantly better this morning by leaving a beautiful pink bouquet by my bedside.

It had been my intention to pick up a special surprise for him today in a neighborhood near where I work. But instead I dragged my sick self out of bed long enough to pick up this:

A hunk of Salers cheese. It made sense as I was buying it. Which probably means that my fever is worse than I thought...

Monday, November 2, 2009


Can you guess who BB and I were for Halloween?

I'll give you a hint:

I'm not sure that everyone knew who we were. But ultimately, any costume that lets you wear fingerless mesh gloves is ok in my book.