Thursday, December 29, 2011

Templeton Rye Whiskey

After hearing that Templeton Rye Whiskey was a favorite of Al Capone's during prohibition, my family wanted to try it out. Templeton is made in the very small town of Templeton, Iowa and it sells out quickly. We spotted a few bottles at a grocery store in Fredricksburg, IA and we each decided to buy a bottle. I got a chance to sample my whiskey tonight and it's deliciously smooth.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas Y'all

I'm heading home to Wisconsin to be with my family.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Winter in New York

I've been able to stop by NYC a couple of times this winter and visit with Laura and Feifei.

A few of my new favorite things:
2. A view of Central Park in the winter
3. Walking along The High Line
4. Dim Sum at the Golden Unicorn in Chinatown
5. Shopping at Uniqlo (A Japanese store similar to H&M)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sweet Vintage Find: Reindeer

I don't have too many Christmas decorations, but when I found these sweet little reindeer at the Antique Village, I had to snag them.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas on the Farm

Buster is spending his Christmas vacation with family on a farm in South Carolina. You can keep track of his every move right here.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Ladies Night: Cookie Baking

Each week a group of ladies and I get together to try out a new restaurant, sample an excellent happy hour, or discuss important literary works like Mindy Kaling's new book. Earlier this month, we got together to make a Smitten Kitchen favorite, Chocolate Toffee Cookies. The cookies were delicious and I highly recommend you try them for your next holiday cookie swap.

Chocolate Toffee Cookies

Adapted from Bon Appetit

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 pound bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

1 3/4 cups (packed) brown sugar

4 large eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

5 1.4-ounce chocolate-covered English toffee bars (such as Heath), coarsely chopped*

1 cup walnuts, toasted, chopped

Flaky sea salt for sprinkling (optional)

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in small bowl; whisk to blend. Stir chocolate and butter in top of double boiler set over simmering water until melted and smooth. Remove from over water. Cool mixture to lukewarm.

Using electric mixer, beat sugar and eggs in bowl until thick, about 5 minutes. Beat in chocolate mixture and vanilla.

Stir in flour mixture, then toffee and nuts. Chill batter until firm, about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment or waxed paper. Drop batter by spoonfuls onto sheets, spacing two inches apart. Sprinkle with a pinch of flaky sea salt, if you’re using it. Bake just until tops are dry and cracked but cookies are still soft to touch, about 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on sheets. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.)

I know that it will be impossible to let them cool completely, but they really taste a lot better cool, as they continue baking once they come out of the oven.

Slice and bake option: After struggling a bit to scoop these cookies, I rolled the dough into a log 1.5 inches in diameter and chilled it. When I was ready to bake the cookies, I cut it into 1/2-inch slices. You can store the dough log in the freezer, wrapped in waxed paper and then two layers of plastic wrap for up to a month, just baking the cookies off as you need. Cookies baked straight from the freezer may need an additional minute or two in the oven, depending on their thickness.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December Desktop Background

I look forward to seeing Christiane Engel's illustrated desktop calendar each month. To see more of her calendars and other illustrations, visit her blog here.


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

happy birthday anne!

dear anne, here are 10 reasons why i'm so happy you were born:

1. you are my oldest friend, and i never would have survived 6th grade without you. seriously. middle school was rough.

2. you're so kind and giving. you have been volunteering, teaching, or caring for kids since i met you.

3. you're always up for a trip to cy's, bao ju's, or victoria's
and you usually let me pick.

4. you never give things up. if you had sundance & tom's wedding story episode on anything else but vhs, you'd watch it everyday.

5. you bravely left home and traveled throughout india.

6. you know and love every lyric of total eclipse of the heart and every line of super troopers.

7. i'm not sure if you still play minesweeper, but i bet you do.

8. you always had me over for thurow family dinners and i loved every single one of them.

9. you always hated being the "cute" one.

you fell in love, married a wonderful guy, and moved too far away. i miss your face.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Grandma Erma

I traveled to Iowa this week to be with family and to say goodbye to Grandma Erma.

Grandma always had sugar cookies, lefse, or fresh rolls waiting for us when we visited. Her handmade birthday cards were the best.

This Kodacolor photograph of my grandparents was taken on their wedding night in 1951. Grandma looked ravishing. I will miss her terribly.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Letterpress Prints

A few things that Meredith and I created during our letterpress class at the Richmond Visual Arts Center this fall.

Now that our class is over, we've joined an encaustic class. More projects to come...

"In Budapest, surgeons operated on printer's apprentice Gyoergyi Szabo, 17, who, brooding over the loss of a sweetheart, had set her name in type and swallowed the type." -TIME Magazine, 1936

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

500,000 Cigarettes

Contemporary artist Xu Bing has a wonderful exhibition at the VFMA that focuses on tobacco. My favorite piece is a large tiger-skin pattern rug that was made from over a half a million cigarettes. From one end of the gallery the rug is white and orange, on the other end the colors are brown and white. The exhibit also includes tobacco advertising & slogans as well as a 30 foot long cigarette.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Hollywood Cemetery

Hollywood Cemetery is the perfect spooky place visit in Richmond. There are plenty of ghost stories and legends to celebrate Halloween.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Happy Halloween!

I chose to make my costume after the honey badger this year. No one really recognized me as a honey badger, but the honey badger don't care.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Letterpress Love

I'm so fortunate to be close to the Visual Arts Center of Richmond. This fall, Meredith and I have been taking a class that allows us to print on a really old platen press. So far we have learned a ton. For example, I knew that the graphic design term "leading" meant the vertical spacing between lines of type, but I didn't know it came from literally adding pieces of lead in between the lines of type.

It's also been fun to scour through large drawers of type to find the perfect letters.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Virginia Beach Sand Sculpting Contest

My mom came to visit me this weekend and we headed to Virginia Beach to meet up with friends & family. We all got to check out the final results of a sand sculpting contest. Competitors from around the world came to beach to show off some serious skills. I also enjoyed a lot of yummy seafood and also some delicious pumpkin spiced pancakes.