Friday, March 27, 2009

after a rough day, I feel inspired!

So, while researching Marvin "Popcorn" Sutton (the legendary moonshiner who just killed himself to avoid a jail sentence for my other blog Squash Blossom), I came across a blog of his daughters, which led me to her website, which is her myspace.  Anyway, long story short, this is her quote and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it so much I want it tattooed all over my body:

"Ladies, live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders and says: "Oh, shit - she's awake!"

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Salt Art

So i was peeking around on the Free People blog this afternoon and stumbled upon some very interesting art..salt art!...who knew?  Done by Motoi Yamamoto. 
This one in particular made me feel calm and reminded me of springtime which is upon us..but there are quite a few on the blog that are a million times more elaborate and amazing to look at..there is quite a story behind salt seeing it used this way only enhances it's uniqueness..check out the other pics and the artists site if you have a sec..

Sunday, March 22, 2009

the sea bag...

I can always tell when it is Spring . . . 
I want to redecorate
I want every Free People item I lay my eyes on
I want to reinvent myself....  and this year, I want a Sea Bag.
I just discovered these today and they are even better in person than they are in pictures and they don't even show my favorite bag on their site!  But here are a few images to whet your appetite and I would highly recommend glancing at their web page for a better view.   All the bags are made from recycled sails so they are durable, eco-friendly, and enchanting!  What more could you ask for??...oh, did I mention they are made right here in Portland, Maine?!



Large Star

Large Anchor

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Cooking Obsession..

My love of food-good, wholesome, food-hasn’t always been such a huge part of my life, but i do believe i was destined to get there at some point when considering my upbringing. When i was  little, my mom made all of my baby food from scratch. And as i grew up, smashed apples and pureed sweet potatoes for breakfast turned into puffed wheat or cheerios. There wasn’t a whole lot of unhealthy stuff in the house (especially since my grandmother also lived with us and she refused to put sugar in ANYTHING-thankfully now, all her baking includes sugar) until i was about 15 or 16. So i grew up enjoying tastes and flavors that the most kids maybe weren't exposed to, and although i fought my mom on this tooth and nail during those lovely years of adolescence,  begging for her to buy me Lucky Charms or something that had a sugar coating on it, i am so glad that she was insistently against it. My parents also cooked almost every night, but i never wanted anything to do with the kitchen or any of the food preparations. I didn’t even want to boil water-nor could i..So it came as a shock to my mom when i became very interested in my eating habits-reading food labels, experimenting with the vegetarian diet, and eventually, cooking. Now i can’t get enough of it. I’ve become obsessed with cookbooks, buying the best ingredients, and the creative outlet and satisfaction cooking can give you. I believe the best meals are when they are shared with friends-or close family-and that has only become more true since living in a small town in the south with little to do. When we first moved down here, and i was jobless for 4 months, it was a great opportunity for me to educate myself on kitchen basics, tools and techniques, which i did by reading most of my cookbooks cover to cover. Man, i learned alot! But being bored and jobless for that amount of time also gave me the opportunity to experiment with all kinds of different recipes, and feed those experiments to a couple of hungry Phil and Nick. But above all, there is really no better feeling than cooking a meal, sitting down at your table and watching everyone enjoy the fruits of your labor.


Monday, March 16, 2009

Friday, March 13, 2009

this one's for you chris...

I found this blog and I LOVED the name so much that I checked it out.  Not so bad, I must say, but the name just out does the entire site!!  So, when I read the title, I immediately thought of my best friend over there in the great state of North Caroline and it made me laugh so hard that I couldn't resist posting it.  And GREAT is this title!  


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

just one of those days

Today has been one of those days.  Nothing exceptional or exciting - even, I would dare to venture, below average - and it seems as the day progressed, the more bland it got.  The sun was out, I went to my 7am yoga class, the dog park, caffeinated, made pumpkin whoopie pies, a carrot cake, kaiser rolls for veggie burgers tonight, and walked to the beach with Finn.  Nothing seemed to satisfy or relieve me from this funk I am in.  However, not all was lost.  I think right now, I just hit my high point.  I have Finn snugged up beside me all warm, cozy, and sleepy on the porch and I FINALLY found these mugs I came to obsess about that I wanted to share. 

I found these mugs at a couple of different shops during Christmas time and I contemplated gifting them, because they are so great.  I couldn't bring myself to do it because if I gifted one, I would need to have one for myself as well (sounds selfish I know, but I just couldn't do it!).  I dream of sipping my morning coffee out of these sweet sweet mugs.  


These great cups are made by Iittala Group
Iittala group is a leading company in modern Scandinavian design with a philosophy against "throwawayism."  Not only do I absolutely adore these cups, I love what the company that designs them stands for.  They say it so well:

"For a long time, Iittala has been part of an ongoing revolution. This is based on the belief that all human beings can make conscious choices in everyday life. Choosing objects that will last in design and quality will please our senses and create harmony in our everyday lives. Fortunately, this is also a choice for a more sustainable society, and against buying short-lived things destined for the rubbish bin. "

 I encourage everyone to check out their website and read the rest of Iittala's philosophy and what's even better? You get a two in one - a visually stimulating AND educational experience.  Happy reading!  

Monday, March 9, 2009


I find once i discover a soup i like, i want to try different variations of it and then decide which one i like the best, or pull elements from the ones i've tried and make a whole new rendition.  It's fun and a great way to find what you like or don't like, and then end up with something really yummy in the end that has characteristics of each recipe you've experimented with.  It's always a such a great feeling to have an experiment turn out well after all the flops..

Serves 6

10 large ripe plum tomatoes (or two 14oz. cans of tomatoes)
3 medium carrots
2 medium leeks
5 ribs of celery 
2 red onions
1 cabbage (or equivalent mixture)
1 T. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 heaping T. of fresh chopped rosemary
3 c. veggie or chicken stock
3 good handfuls of fresh basil, torn
6 oz. pasta (or cannelloni beans, which work basically the same-and you'll get a bit more protein)
salt and fresh ground pepper
olive oil
parmesan cheese, grated

Score the tomatoes and place briefly in boiling water.  Then skin, seed and roughly dice. (unless you're using canned tomatoes)  Peel carrots, quarter lengthwise and chop.  Remove the outer layers of the leeks, quarter lengthwise, wash well and chop. Peel the celery to remove the 'stringy bits' (can't ya just hear the accent?!), then cut in half lengthwise and chop.  Peel and chop onions.  When chopping, try to make them all more or less the same size, about 1/4" dice.  Wash and roughly chop the cabbage.

Put olive oil into a warmed, thick bottomed pan and cook the carrots, leeks, celery, onion, garlic, rosemary over medium heat until just tender.  Add tomatoes and cook for 1-2 minutes.  Add stock, bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes.  Add the cabbage, cover the pan and simmer 10 minutes more, then adding the basil and pasta or beans-which will absorb the flavors of the soup-simmer 5 minutes. Taste and season.  The soup should be thick, full in flavor and the cabbage should not be over cooked.  Serve with some grated parm...
Hope you enjoy as much as i did!

Friday, March 6, 2009

She has arrived..

That's right folks..New Belgium's Fat Tire has finally made it's long anticipated journey east of the Mississippi to our shelves in North Carolina..and let me tell you, you've never seen such pandemonium...this is good....Drink up!


if only i had a fireplace

(photo by Iguana Joe)
This is what it feels like here in Spruce Head Island, Maine today. Cold, wet, dreary...I think I will stay inside, watch a movie, drink tea, finish my book, and brainstorm about our cozy bakery.  

Thursday, March 5, 2009

a really nice TUSCAN MINESTRONE soup..


3t. olive oil

2c. onion

2 c. fennel bulb, sliced

1 c. celery

1c. carrot

4 garlic cloves, smashed


stir in and bring to boil then reduce and simmer 20 min:

4 c. veggie broth

1 can diced tomatoes in juice


 sauté in non-stick skillet and add:

1c. zuchinni


1 can cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed

2t. pesto

salt and red pepper flakes to taste

sauté in batches in 1t. olive oil:

4c. spinach

Put spinach in bowls and pour soup over top.


This Speaks Volumes..

"I must learn to love the fool in me--the one who feels too much, talks too much, takes too many chances, wins sometimes and loses often, lacks self-control, loves and hates, hurts and gets hurt, promises and breaks promises, laughs and cries. It alone protects me against that utterly self-controlled, masterful tyrant whom I also harbor and who would rob me of human aliveness, humility, and dignity but for my fool." -- Theodore I. Rubin, MD

The Queen is Always right...

My Aunt Carol sent me this card for one of my birthdays (can't remember which one it was but..) and i just loved it and it has been in a frame ever since-traveling with me from house to house. It felt truthful, in it's purest form to me.  And it reminded me of myself..daring to believe the impossible, always scheming the most wild & outlandish ideas, in which my mother would try and talk me down off whatever faltering branch of rediculousness i happened to be on at that moment.  I find myself, now that i'm older, being a bit more levelheaded, trying to formulate rational plans and wanting so much to revert back to those days when i didn't question everything-i just did it.

Live, Love and Eat Chocolate...

So i think it's safe to say that one of our favorite movies of all time is 'Chocolat'.  Not that Juliette and Johnny aren't divine enough, but the premise revolves around the delight that is chocolate-sharing, experiencing, experimenting and enjoying it with whomever you can. Could it get any better? Mix chocolate with only the finest ingredients and it's likey you'll create quite a marriage of yumminess. Like coffee, we will climb the highest mountain in search of the best chocolate morsels around.  So in honor of  this delectable dessert, i would like to share a hot cocoa recipe inspired by the movie Chocolat called:


2c. milk

1 oz. semi-sweet chocolate

4 T. cocoa powder

2 T. warm water

1/4c. sugar

generous 1/2t. of ground cinnamon

1/2 t. finely pulverized coffee granules

1/2 t. pure vanilla extract

1 t. cornstarch

2 good pinches of crushed red pepper flakes

In a 2qt. saucepan, heat milk over low heat.

Meanwhile, melt chocolate over double boiler.  Whisk in cocoa, warm water, sugar, cinn, coffee, vanilla and cornstarch.

Stir chocolate mixture into warm milk. Stir in red pepper flakes and heat until frothy.

Pour into your favorite mug and enjoy!  


oh how we love to eat!

and what a fitting shirt!!  Made by Xenotees this t is vegan, a portion of the profits goes to charity...oh, and did I mention it's only twenty bucks??!!
found by j.may

another morning with Finn....

Trying to convince Finn that it is nearly impossible to make the bed while he is laying on it is out of the questions (as is trying to blog while he wants to play).  Needless to say I've gotta run, to give all my attention to the beast.  Enjoy the pictures of my morning!!



Tuesday, March 3, 2009


"There are things you do because they feel right...they may make no sense and they may make no money and it may be the real reason we are here; to love each other and to eat each other's cooking and say it was good.."


 HOWCLAY MET the beautiful green mountains of Vermont in a rural town known as Poultney, i was going to begin my first year of college.  Being the only school i applied to, i can not begin to describe how ecstatic i was when i received that letter telling me that i was in fact, accepted and was to arrive at Green Mountain College the last weekend in august for an orientation w/e (which would consist of being a part of some kind of outdoor recreation).  Now let me just say that i was in no way, shape or form a very outdoorsy person at the time. At all...Unless, of course, you consider building forts as a child with your neighborhood friends, chasing after fireflies or playing tag for so long you think your heart might stop at any moment, outdoorsy.  I'm pretty sure that's an entirely different category all together.  And let me just say that Green Mountain was based very much on outdoor recreation/leadership and the environment.  This was going to cause quite the lifestyle change for me..So the school soon sent a form with maybe 10 different orientation options that we could choose from-from beginners hiking to rock climbing to white water rafting.  I went out on my little limb and went with Intermediate Hiking.  Daring-i know, but safe as this was definetely going to be my first experience doing anything like this.  Not that leaving my comfort zone, and going away to school where i wouldn't know a soul wasn't scary enough, but i was going to have to hike for THREE days with a 45lb. pack with a bunch of hippies in the woods.  And i found myself wondering..what have i gotten myself into and- would there be coffee??  At this point in my life, i was still very shy and introverted.  So this was a huge leap into the real-or semi real-world for me.  Sometime during that summer before college, a letter arrived in the mail from Maine from my soon to be roomate, Sam.  She sounded like a very interesting person, full of life and ambition and inquisitive about who i was and what kinds of things i was in to.  I wrote her back equally excited about meeting and getting to know her, and yes, i did want to go halfsies on a small fridge for our room.  We spoke on the phone a few weeks later and decided to meet before leaving for VT so my best friend from high school, Beth and i packed a few things for the w/e and piled into my white Ford Escort wagon and headed North toward mid-coast Maine to meet Sam and her best friend Jess.  I fell in love with Maine that w/e...and met two amazing girls who would each change my life in a different way..Sam, exuberant,halarious, crazy Sam, yanked me out of my shell and helped me to realize the life and humor within myself..and also, that Rugby was NOT the sport for me.  And eventually, over the next few years, Jess and I became long distance friends..we'd chat through emails, updating each other on one another's life and times, neither of us on any particular path necessarily but trying to get 'somewhere.'  Three years had gone by since we met for the first time, and i had taken a leave of absence from school and been working for Crate and Barrel, and had been bitten by the travel bug.  Bad.  I wanted to fly as far away as i possibly could.  So i  picked New Zealand.  No great story as to why-i knew little about NZ so it was intriguing, both tropical and cold,  and  a far, far away distant land.  I wasn't trying to run away from anything, i just wanted to be away for a little bit in an unfamiliar place, to experience and to challenge myself.  Luckily, after sending Jess an email asking her if she might want to accompany me since neither of us knew what we were doing with our lives at the moment, she agreed.  And i was stoked.  Now all we had to do was finalize our plans and hand over a good chunk of money to STA Travel for airfare.  That part wasn't so fun and i think i may have blacked out for a minute but of course, it was well worth every cent.  

That compilation of years between my first year at school and the NZ trip, undoubtedly changed my a positive  hands on, growing through experimentation and experience kind of way.  If i had thought differently at the time, i might of travelled before i went off to college.  I might have had a better idea of what it was i was passionate about and been more driven towards that goal.  However, i am a firm believer in things happening for their own reasons, even if we don't completely understand the path along the way, eventually we figure out our direction.  Jess helped me to figure out my direction..sitting on lava rocks underneath the shade of a coffee tree, taking a break from an ungodly weeding project, i realized i had found my other half.  My soul sista.  And ever since then, our mutual love of travel, great food and drink-and coffee-have taken over our lives.  I can't walk aimlessly out of the way in search for the best cup of coffee in town with ANYONE else.   So maybe someday, the dream of owning our own artisan bakery and coffee shop will come to fruition..