Sunday, November 7, 2010

spicy lemon-ginger tea

M is sick. Stuffy, runny nosed, head achey. All that awfulness.
So today I am doing my best to hook him up. I am forcing him to use the neti pot, gargle and later I will make sopa de limon. I am a big proponent of natural remedies. Since it's cold and flu season I thought I would share my favorite one with you.

Start with a health focused type of tea if you have it. I am a big fan of everything that Traditional Medicinals makes. A handy favorite is the seasonal herb tea sampler because it includes a variety of remedies. This time I used echinacea, but if you don't have anything like that use whatever herbal tea you have.

1 tea-bag or diffuser of tea
1-2 Tbsp freshly ground ginger (use a cheese grater or finely dice)
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 thick lemon slice with rind
1 Tbsp honey

pour boiling hot water over and let steep covered for 5-10 minutes.
it is very spicy and warming. Drink 4 cups a day and drink tons of water.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

rock out.

Maybe it isn't your style, but on cold gray almost winter days I keep finding myself going back to old scratchy Enrico Caruso songs.
Caruso was a famous tenor of his time and one of the early opera singers to embrace phonograph recordings. His recordings can be found on public spaces like YouTube, on commercial recordings or if you are cheap like me you can make a Pandora station. This type of music is being lost, check it out before it is gone. I promise that even if you don't like it, it will be worth your time.

M and I carved our Hallowe'en pumpkins happily sipping bourbon cider cocktails and listening to my Caruso. It was a really good time. You might think that whisky and sharp objects don't mix, but our pumpkins turned out lovely and we managed to not stab ourselves nor each other.

M went with a cyclops, and mine was a pirate. Meaning that both of our jack-o-lanterns had one eye. When you are married things like that just happen.

Recipe, a seasonal take on the classic Manhattan:

Big Apple

1 part bourbon, e.g. Bulleitt or Maker's Mark
1 part cider..... or 2 parts cider if you like standing upright....
dash of cinnamon or mixed pumpkin pie spice
shaken over ice and served in a martini glass
garnish with a cinnamon stick or an orange rind twist


Wednesday, October 27, 2010


If you are *dying* for something creepy to do this October, hasten to the grave of Edgar Allan Poe. Located in a decent part of Baltimore (I assure you that your car will not be stolen) and the admission is free! It is a cute and quaint little kirkyard where a few crumbly tombstones and some truly beautiful tombs are in evidence. Bring some whisky or brandy and sneak a few sips. I promise no one will notice. And if you pull out a copy of "The Tell-tale Heart" for an outburst of oratory no one will mind. Get your creep on!

I did.

Monday, October 25, 2010

elementary mycology

Brown Oyster mushroom, or Pleurotus cystidiosus

from left to right
crimini Agaricus bisporus
enoki Flammulina velutipes
white button Agaricus bisporus
shiitake Lentinula edodes

Yellow oyster mushroom Pleurotus citrinopileatus

Mushrooms are freaky things and I love them. They are mysterious and do not fall into the same category as anything else we eat.

For all of you paying close attention, you may have noticed something funny about the Latin names of the white button and crimini. You get gold stars!

So lets clear up some myths about mushrooms that your local grocer would not want you to know...
White mushrooms--old pedestrian staple--the fancy criminis and those gourmet portabellas...well they are all the same mushroom!

White buttons are the babies all fresh and tender, then the gills darken and open and the cap turns that lovely silvery brown and it is a crimini then its a whole dollar more per box but essentially the same thing and then when they mature they turn into the juicy steak thick portabellas. Hulking and delectable and so expensive. So just one type of mushroom has so many different flavors, it is amazing!

I admit, it has taken me years to appreciate different flavors and types. My hardwon love of shiitakes is proof of this. Much to the chagrin of multitudes of Japanese gasping at this admission...
anyway there are multiple eclectic and generally scruffy looking folks who sell mushrooms at my two local farmers markets. I found these gorgeous specimens at the seldom visited JFX market (we usually head to 32nd street) I was enthralled with a container of brilliant orange lobster mushrooms, but they were quite pricey and I settled instead on the mixture above. I nibbled some here and there, and ate some with eggs, but most ended up sauteed in butter with white wine and added to a delicious scratch chicken pot pie. Which turned out ugly as sin- but tasted amazing. So amazing in fact, that we forgot to take a picture of it before we ate it. In lieu of that here are the beauties sauteing...


here is a lovely recommendation for some fizzy bubbly.

In my opinion there is not enough fizzy bubbly drinking going on...this is a lovely prosecco frizzante, meaning that it is only slightly effervescent and it was only slightly expensive [$12 range] which is why I like prosecco and cava, much cheaper than their french cousin, champagne.
Pop this baby at parties and for breakfast (I mean brunch) and people with think you are witty and cultured. It is the perfect thing for all those looming awkward holiday parties and last minute gifts.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Priorities-- I has them.

I admit, I haven't been writing much, but I did miss you. The summer was long, and incredibly hot and humid so sitting in my stuffy office was the last thing I wanted to do. So I escaped!

Things are finally starting to cool down here, we haven't closed the windows in two weeks! I love fall, and it is just around the corner. I can't believe it's been a year since we bought our home, a home-anniversary post will be coming along soon... Things haven't changed much though, our list of projects keeps getting longer but with both of us in school now, we have even less time to procrastinate. Our list of necessary fixes is this;

windows (20 of them!) or
new high efficiency boiler or
bath remodel...?

Granted we have tons of other things that we need to get done as well but these three are the most pressing. Their urgency rattles around in my brain constantly. The windows are ridiculously old and are a huge energy loss in winter and summer. With BGE's monopoly and exorbitant prices, this is a huge priority for us, but with over 20 windows we might have to tackle this project in phases.

The boiler is so old that the company that made it went out of business 50 years ago, so it is inefficient to say the least...and the master bathroom is approximately 3 feet big, meaning that 2 people most definitely do not fit so the mornings can get a bit crazy. The bathtub has a home caulking job that scares the hell out of me, I'm worried about the extent of water damage behind the caulk.

what to do first?

But vacation is over, homework is calling, look for some travel plans or dreams, and some Halloween fun soon.


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Back to School

Summer is quickly slipping away. The heat is still oppressively present, but fall's responsibilities are starting to demand my attention.

I'm returning to school, full time, and its been quite awhile since I've tried this. I hope I don't get the dunce cap...
some things I am afraid of
1. Calculus
2. Statistics
3. Physics
4. Chemistry
5. Burnout

but that means I also get to go school shopping for pens and pencils, compass and graph paper! That should sustain me right?
It was a lovely summer, but I am looking forward to fall.
Take a deep breath..
Let's do this!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Snap the Clam!

Phonics huh?
I just can't stop laughing every time I see this.

free sunrise

this was amazing--- I sleepily tottered over to the beach at 5 am in my jammies and watched the sunrise like it was a personal gift

I should probably do this more often...

Saturday, June 19, 2010

she's having kittens!

so it kinda happened like that kids book, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, only this time it was If You Feed a Stray Cat, She Will Birth Kittens On Your Basement Floor and the SPCA Will Not Take Them... and you will be forced to foster kittens for 2 months
but damn they are cute!

I realize these pictures may be graphic but trust me I kept the more colorful ones to myself.

Monday, June 7, 2010

why do I still love staying up late / avoid going to bed? After a full day of work, a 3.5 m trail run, and bookclub I'm still wide awake staring at this computer.

...I'm definitely going to pay for this in morning....

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

set you a challenge

I really like this wine lately, Parallele 45, an affordable (~$10) Cote du Rhone. It's a bit soft and gentle, not like my usual rough reds. It takes a chill well and pairs nicely with most meals. It just so happens to be the second wine I've really enjoyed with this little importer band on it...

the first was an amazing (big!) Douro from Churchill Estates, it was the first time I tried Douro, a Portugese wine, and I instantly loved it. The nice girl at Bin 604, a fancy pants wine store that I am undoubtedly going to return to, was nice enough to give me a rundown on the Douro, she said its what happens when port wine grapes don't get made into port. (which I really don't care for, so yay for me) to find out more about this exotic wine look here ""

So I challenge you to find a wine at your local booze shop from Wildman and Sons as the importer,
and see if you like it...

Friday, May 28, 2010

little happies

white cheddar grits with spring onion and eggs over easy

blowsy antique roses spilling into the street

a spider that fancied me, he landed on the windshield of my car and tried to spin a web around me

summer clouds!


The sky is one enormous Botticelli painting...everywhere I go I'm staring at the clouds, and more dangerously when I am driving.
It is becoming unbearably hot here, but we have our first ever! grill and it is completely revolutionizing our lives

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

the kindness of friends

This is a lovely sideboard/ buffet that I am going to use as a bar. I already have the bottles and glasses ready. Whoo-hoo! and much love and thanks to my fellow Gary Oldman crusher, Jacki. I will miss you dearly but I hope you have a lovely time down south, I hope to visit someday.
She also gifted me a hutch, a beautiful old chest and square wood table, but I don't have pictures of the last bits yet.
But here is a picture of the awesome hand-made broom that I picked up at the Sheep & Wool, leaning against my new hutch. Reuse Recycle!

Friday, May 14, 2010

I finally got my wool on

I've wanted to attend this festival for about 3 years now, and was so excited that I finally made it! We were slackers and didn't show up until 2 p.m. on Sunday (the last day) but according to my early bird friend, Saturday was crazy-packed with a line of cars 3 miles down the road and the exhibit halls were cheek by jowl. Sunday afternoon was mellow and I'm pretty sure the prices were a bit lower than the previous day.

here are some yummy pictures, if you are interested in attending next year's festival check out the website

I only ended up purchasing one skein of yarn, I will add pictures of it soon. It is a lovely mustard color wool, from Seacolors and it was solar dyed in seawater from the midcoast of Maine! The beautiful skeins are pictured above on the right hand side. If you are interested check out, M gets the husband of the year award for going with me and he truly enjoyed himself, I'm just not sure how much of that can be attributed to the lamb kebabs and corndogs...
A great time was had by all and we will definitely be attending next year.
We picked up some pen and ink artwork, a hand-made broom and an amazingly simple Mason jar lamp [pictures to follow soon] The coolest thing about the event, aside from the delicious concessions were the sheep pens, all of the beautifully unique breeds were displayed and proudly exhibited with informational placards and posters. I had no idea that so many different types of sheep were to be found in this region!

There were also hand shearing competitions, sheep dog herding competitions and other fiber bearing species present, e.g. Alpacas and Angora rabbits. If you happen to be in Maryland next spring, make sure to get there.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

spring fling

the ephemeral spring blossoms came and went in the blink of an eye, dogwood, cherry blossom, forsythia, magnolia, tulip, daffodil, hyacinth and cyclamen.....

...another breathtakingly beautiful mid-Atlantic spring has come and gone. I'm really beginning to like this place. The air is moist with promise and the trees are a riot of verdure, climbing and exploding in the least expected places. Sadly, the blossoms are all blown out now and tossed in the gutters, but the trees are vibrant and glowing. I think some of them are actually ents sleeping...

I was so happy to share this spring with a few of my friends...I had lovely and dearly missed friends come visit, others pick up their lives and stake a claim out here too--old friends are like dog-eared novels, on any page you know where you are.

some dried magnolia branches are still lingering on my bookshelves--so insubstantial that the leaves fall apart if you touch them but I don't have the heart to throw them out--the smothering heat of summer is just around the corner but for now some bitingly cold May showers and a glass of spicy Malbec are keeping me company.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


I have this crazy old toilet. It has a scary cast iron pipe and a tank that is probably, most likely, terribly inefficient. Yet somehow I really like it and I don't want to get rid of it. I'm wondering if I can replace the tank and keep the bowl? We have a lot going on lately with the anticipation of house guests, spring cleaning and lots of painting happening. Be on the look out for more appropriate pictures soon! Spring is springing everywhere and the trees in the neighborhood are obliging.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

I'm in love...

with a cleaning product.
Those of you who know me, realize how inappropriate and wrong this is for me. Cleaning is usually such a drag and definitely not my favorite activity. After buying this, I cleaned on top of my kitchen cabinets, and scrubbed 2 bathrooms from top to bottom in record time just so I could inhale the heavenly fragrance.

Mrs. Meyers Clean Day in Geranium! I tried the lavender scent a few years ago and it was nice and all but I didn't buy it again. Yesterday I went to the Waverley Ace Hardware (that is located in a repurposed old post office, tres cute) and I tracked this down by scent alone. I actually went there for paint but the scent was so irresistible it came home with me too!
My sister also strong armed me into getting a Shark steam mop that is pretty freakin' awesome, so I'm well on my way to becoming an OCD cleaning junkie.

The crazy rain has kept activities at a minimum and an unplanned spring scrub kinda crept up on me. What are your plans for spring?

It's electric, part deux

These are the lights that need replacing

1/ classy bare bulb in the back staircase needs a sconce, I'm looking for something gilded and delicate, and we are planning on painting this staircase a deep turquoise
2/ the second landing has a plaster ceiling medallion and is currently sporting another classy bare bulb- the medallion makes it difficult to find a good one
3/ entry light with a home depot fixture that doesn't fit at all, will be replaced by the Edison bulb in a glass sphere (see last post)

If you happen to see anything, drop me a line.