Pierogi Pro

My dinner last Sunday night was a traditional Polish feast; potato and cabbage pierogis with sour cream, Polish sausage, and sauerkraut. I'd never eaten Polish food before meeting my Polish sweetie - but ever since I've come to love the comfort food of his homeland.

Usually the batches of pierogis we eat are homemade by his grandparents and mailed express from Michigan. We then immediately freeze said pierogis + Polish treats to save for a rainy day when comfort food is a must. I love this culinary tradition and opportunity to celebrate his rich heritage, but my qualm is, I don't know how to make these myself...

So imagine my surprise when I opened my Martha Stewart Living this month and what did I see? Martha's favorite food is pierogis? And she included a how-to recipe for both sweet and savory pierogis? My lucky day - check out this issue, Martha shows how to make savory cabbage pierogis and sweet blueberry pierogis, apparently her fave!


Rest in Peace

I just found out my that my paternal grandpa passed away. He's been ill and hospitalized for the past few weeks, and in ailing health for longer, but it still feels surprisingly sudden and unexpected. I think I wasn't prepared for the finality of it all. As if I've been subconsciously clinging to this whispering notion that he wasn't really going to die. And now, in the aftermath, I'm not really sure how to feel.

He was my dad's dad and while we didn't grow up living in the same city, or even the same state, I do have fond memories of him through the years. One auditory memory that especially comes to mind was his hearty, scratchy laugh. I'm comforted by the fact that the last time I saw him, he was healthy, happy, and smiling. That's a memory I will hold on to. I can only hope he's in a better place now and my grandma will be okay in his absence and come to accept and absorb the reality that he is no longer with us.

Find Your Mr. Darcy

Love this card! Perfect to send to the Pride & Prejudice fan whose aleady found her Mr. Darcy.


Time Traveler's Wife

I rented The Time Traveler's Wife on Netflix recently and was pleasantly surprised how close the movie was to the book. As an avid reader, I'm always a little wary on how a books is translated in film. You never know how it's going to turn out. Often times, the director's butcher the storyline, others they leave out crucial points in the plot, but in my humble opinion, this one delivered a pretty accurate rendition of the story.

If you haven't read it yet - The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger is an unusual, clever and creatively written love story that literally follows a love through time. I thought Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana had great chemistry onscreen and closely resembled what I'd pictured for the main characters: Henry DeTamble and Claire Abshire. Add it to your Netflix queue and see for yourself!


Friday Fun

Happy Friday! I'm excited it's the weekend again. I so wish it started today, I was super sleepy waking today, would've been nice to have been able to push snooze a little longer...

Sadly, my Huskies did not make it past the Sweet 16. The second half was pretty awful if you happened to catch the game. But going to stay tuned in for the rest of the March Madness tourney today after work. There are still victories to be had! Have a great weekend!


Sweet 16!

My team is playing today! My alma mater twice over, University of Washington, beat New Mexico to make it to the Sweet 16! Tip off is at 4:26 this afternoon, I'm hoping to jet out of work fast to meet up with friends at a local pub to cheer on my huskies!! GO DAWGS!

Anyone else into the March Madness? Tell me about your bracket!


Salad Savvy: Arugula, Beet, and Goat Cheese Salad

I heart avocados. It's ironic because I despised them as a child, which of course was when my family lived in Southern California and had an enormous avocado tree growing in our backyard.

I was thrilled to discover this recipe to use up the remaining avocados in my pantry. Arugula, Beet, and Goat Cheese salad with fresh avocado, ala my fave Food Network gal, Giada DiLaurentiis. It was delicious and nutritious! Of course, my bf isn't a big fan of beets, but I keep reminding him they are chock full of vitamins and very good for you!

Word to the wise: the arugula doesn't hold up well if you're planning on taking this for lunch the next day. If you have leftovers, my advice is: pack up the beets, avocados, and goat cheese mixture and spread over fresh arugula the following day.


Love Those Ends

It's a given...everyone loves brownies. But if you had your pick, wouldn't you always pick the corner brownies? You know the ones, they hug the edge of the pan. Let's face it, the end brownies are just superior; better consistency and crust, the perfect blend of crunchiness and chewiness. If this is you (as it is indeed me), check this out, The Baker's Edge Brownie Pan. This lovely little tool enables you to always ensure you get the pick of the brownie batch! Ingenious! Why didn't I think of that?!?


Last Great Book I Read

I recently finished Little Bee, by Chris Cleave. This book is a little mysterious in that if you Google or Amazon search it - you glean almost no information about it's plot. Even when I checked out the book in the flesh, the blurb inside the front cover was surprisingly vague - the author merely insists you give it a try and see what the pages behold...

Well, I succumbed to curiousity and read Little Bee. And I have to say, this book was unlike any other I've ever read. It's realistic fiction and set in present day, and the storyline emotional and full of sorrow at times, but written with such a frank and heartfelt poignancy you cannot help but turn the next page. Now a word to the wise: this is not really a light read. It is an intense, thought-provoking novel, but one that I've continued to think about even after I turned the final page.

So if you've got time, maybe indulge your curiousity side and read it for yourself.


Natural Wonder

Isn't this amazing? A Venezuelan church has been submerged since 1985 when a hydroelectric dam was built, and was finally exposed because of a countrywide drought. This 82-foot tall church is located in Potosi, Venezuela, an Andes mountain town. While a drought is nothing to celebrate, it revealed this beautiful structure that's been hiding all these years just below the surface.


In Defense of Food

Per my friend Carol's suggestion, I picked up a copy of Michael Pollan's famous book, In Defense of Food. Unfortunately I couldn't get into it, I found it little too food-jargon heavy for me. But rather than give up I went for the book on CD and...success!

It's amazing how many processed foods we eat without knowledge - try flipping over a loaf of bread at the supermarket and you'll be surprised (like I was) to find that the list of ingredients goes way beyond yeast, flour, and water.

As a new subscriber to Pollan's wisdom I've been trying to reconcile my supermarket spending and stick to foods my great-grandmother would recognize as food. A.K.A. no frozen pizzas, pre-packaged veggies, etc. It's really eye opening! Now I'm onto his next book, The Omnivore's Dilemma...


Desperately Seeking Travel Advice

Hello fellow bloggers - as you probably read a few weeks back, I'm going to Japan this summer! I am super excited, but need to start planning the specifics. My friend and I are flying into Tokyo, and planning on doing Tokyo & Kyoto for sure, and hopefully beyond!

As excited as I am, I'm feeling a little overwhelmed as I crack open these guidebooks. Turns out, Tokyo is enormous! If anyone has been to Japan I would love some advice - what neighborhoods to stay in (or what to avoid), great restaurants, sites to see, really...ANYTHING!


Disney Mean Girls

If you like Disney princess movies and you like the movie Mean Girls, check this out!

Happy Birthday Babe! ♥

It's my boyfriends birthday today! Happy birthday to him! He's a dedicated reader of my blog, and reads it every morning before he heads off to work...so here's a message for my most devoted reader: Love you babe, I'm so happy you're in my life. I love you, love you! ♥♥♥

Dinner Last Night: Shiitake & Sweet Pea Risotto

It was a risotto kind of day - and I tried this recipe: Shiitake & Sweet Pea Risotto. The recipe claims it takes 40 minutes total but I found it to be slightly quicker and still ended up being tasty!


Report Card Season

Please excuse this blogging interruption - report cards are due this week, and I'm dedicating every spare ounce of time to meeting that deadline. See you soon hopefully...


Meet Bear

Meet Bear - isn't he a love? He's just a pup right now, so small the leash my mom bought for him slides right off his little body. He's super mellow (very un-puppy like), loves to be pet, and already is all about sleeping in laps. Isn't he cute?

R & R Weekend

This past weekend I went to Hood Canal with a friend and colleague I teach with. Hood Canal is a local getaway for Seattlites - about an hour and a half outside Seattle on the Peninsula, and right on Puget Sound. We stayed at her beachfront cabin, relaxed, watched the Huskies win the Pac-10 Championships, and spent a little time working on report cards. The second day we gathered clams from the beach and cooked them up that evening with butter, onions, garlic, and white wine with a thick, crusty baguette...yum! Love weekend getaways!

Natural Wonder

Get this: A tuxedoless penguin was found on the island of St. George off the coast of Antarctica. National Geographic reported that "The all black penguin is an extremely rare find, a “one-in-a-zillion” chance...The tuxedo look is standard feature for the king penguin, and it is rare that a penguin sheds its formal wear for a photo opportunity. What makes this bird even more special, is that no trace of white feather can be seen anywhere on his body."

Nature never ceases to surprise me!



Wow, I feel like it was just New Moon, and now Eclipse is just on the horizon (June 30th, woot woot!!). Yay for Twilight, I mean, I've recognized you either love it, despise it, or have never heard of the series, but I'm a fan, as are most of the teachers in my building.

The other day while having a reading conference with one of my students, and we came across the word "twilight" while reading a book about bats. Thinking this might be an unfamiliar word to a 2nd grader I asked him, "Do you know what twilight means?" To which he responded, "Yeah, it's a book. My mom reads it." All I could think was...WOW. Has this book influenced a generation or what?

Make a Racket

There's just something about these whimsical mirrors that I enjoy. Who knows, maybe someday when they decide to pay teachers as much as professional athletes...I'll have a country house and invite guests who'll pop in at their leisure to do recreational activities like tennis and putt putt golf whilst sip cocktails on the veranda...and I'll have tennis racket mirrors like this. Here's hoping...

via bluemoss

Irish Coffee Cupcakes

I'm ready for St. Patrick's Day next week, and hoping to try out these this weekend - Irish Coffee Cupcakes! If they work out (and I hope they do), I'm going whip up another batch for the St. Patty's next week. A little coffee + a little whiskey = 1 great St. Patrick's Day! Maybe I'll even get a leprechaun to help me...

Irish Coffee Cupcakes
For the cupcakes

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons instant-espresso powder
1/4 cup whole milk
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs

For the frosting
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon whiskey
instant-espresso powder (for dusting)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make the cupcakes: Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Pour water over espresso powder; let cool. Combine espresso with milk. Beat butter and granulated and brown sugars with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with espresso-milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour (batter may look broken).

2. Fill 15 cups (of two 12-cup muffin tins) three-quarters full. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean, 20 to 22 minutes. Let cool; turn out cupcakes from tins.

3. Make the frosting: Whisk together cream and confectioners' sugar until medium peaks form. Add whiskey; whisk until slightly stiff peaks form.

4. Top each cupcake with 2 tablespoons frosting; dust with espresso powder.

recipe via marthastewart

Blog Interview: The Southern Hostess

I'm so excited so have the chance to interview Natalie of The SoHo (The Southern Hostess) on my blog. She is a fellow Seattlite and her blog is one of my faves.

1. What is your current blog crush?
Aside from Lovely Little Things of course -- there are so many fantastic blogs that I have trouble visiting them all, but you are my fave (http://www.youaremyfave.com/) is a daily must.

2. If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?
I would open a little restaurant/cafe with my parents. My dad is an amazing cook, and my mom and I could handle the desserts. It's something we've talked about for years. We just need a lottery level incentive.

3. What is your favorite movie? Why?
Tough one. Right now, I'll say Almost Famous. Cameron Crowe is my absolute favorite director, and I love everything about this movie -- the dialogue, the music, Penny Lane's coat.

4. What quotation best reflects you and what you’re all about?
A line from another Cameron Crowe film, Vanilla Sky. "Every passing minute is another chance to turn it all around." It's on my refrigerator.

5. What is your favorite thing to smell cooking in the kitchen?
Cornbread baking in the oven.

6. What is the most beautiful place you’ve ever seen?
There was something about Montana that was magical. The wide open sky, the wildflowers, the vastness of the place.

7. If you could grow up in a different era, what would it be and why?
Based solely on fashion and The Great Gatsby, the 1920s.

8. If your life were a movie, what song would play during opening credits?
"Walls" by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

9. What is something that always makes you smile?
My husband's interpretative and/or hip-hop dancing. It's the funniest thing in the world to me.

10. What goal do you have for yourself? Something you want to do in this lifetime.
So I have three. I want to write and take pictures for the rest of my life, whether I get paid for it or not. I want to live in New York again. And I want to find the world's most comfortable sleeper sofa.


It's official - I'm going to Japan this summer with one of my best friends from college!! We've booked our tickets and will be flying in and out of Tokyo in July for a total of 14 days in the country.

I have been wanting to go to Japan FOREVER, since I took Japanese in middle and high school, but just haven't had the opportunity, so I'm so excited this trip has finally come together! Can't wait!

Happy Birthday Allie!

This post was supposed to automatically post early this morning, but I guess better late than never! It's my littlest sister's birthday today - she's officially legal. While she's not home to celebrate, I guess she couldn't ask for a better birthday than turning 21 on her study abroad tour of Sydney, Australia. Happy Birthday Al!

Swingin' 60's

I'm always game for a costume party - but it was so much fun dressing up in 60's glam for my friend's Mad Men themed birthday party. We were so impressed with our elegance, we wondered, why don't we wear red lipstick more often?? It was so much fun to get all dolled up in elegant dresses, pearls, and heels. We ate 60's-era food, puffed on fake cigarettes, and did the twist! Here are some pics from the swingin' evening...

Pierogis + Mad Men

Have a great weekend my friends - I'm off to explore Polish culture and cuisine tonight. My bf's mom is in town and we're taking her to the local Polish community center for some Polish beer + pierogis...should be a fun and filling evening!

Saturday is my friend Anna's birthday and she's hosting a Mad Men themed party. I'm super excited to break out my 60's apparel. It's a dress to impress kind of occasion: suits/slacks for the guys and pearls, white gloves, and elegant dresses for the ladies. Should be a swingin' time for drinking Old Fashions, eating cheese balls and jello molds, and puffing on candy cigarettes. I'll report back! Have a great weekend! Any big plans?


Oscar Gold

The Oscar's are this weekend! In honor of the little golden statues that'll be passed out Sunday night, I've been rounding up all things gold from around the blogosphere.

And in case you're hosting an Oscar party - download your Oscar ballots here!


Dinner Last Night: Salmon with Browned Butter, Almonds, and Capers

I was very eager to make this Real Simple recipe as it boasted a mere 5 ingredients! Surprisingly simple and very delicious - Salmon with Browned Butter, Almonds, & Capers. I made a few subtle changes; substituting green beans with garlic mushrooms, and I added a squeeze of lemon to the salmon. Seriously - so easy! Now that I know I can successfully cook salmon, I'll be cooking it much more often.


Travel Dreams: If I Went To...Colorado

Anyone ever indulged in log cabin luxe? While my log cabin days are limited to summer camp, I'd love to trek on down to rural Colorado and set up camp in one of these luxury log cabins at Dunton Hot Springs. Doesn't this look amazing? Rustic yet plus and utterly beautiful.images/duntonhotsprings
via owl and peacock

Book Blades

As an avid reader, I'm usually always in need of a bookmark. I admit, more often then not I just fold the page over (I know, I know). The irony is that I despise when my students do this to the books in my classroom library, yet I'm guilty of this myself...(oops). I think what I need is a sweet little bookmark like these grass blade bookmarks by GreenMarker. It adds a nice splash of color and a natural touch to your bookshelf.

via automatism