the cake

back to food people. the all star anne having just returned from Italy and a foodie internship there came home to make goodies for the brunch, favours for each table, and most importantly, the cake!! it was delicious with some blueberries she hand picked between each layer, the world's best buttercream, and decorated with sunflowers from the garden. I'm telling you- Martha who?!

the cleve

I finally walked the streets of Tremont and was actually thinking, "if Cleveland got their act together, this could be great." It reminded me of the highlands in Denver where you look out onto the city. We went down there for drinks at the bride and grooms home, then walked over to the famous Sokolwski's University Inn for dinner. We passed Michael Symon corner- maybe a little or a lot over the top Michael. Someday I want to get to his restaurants. It was a great night, lots of laughter, happy tears, and stuffed cabbage that reminded me of summers on the back porch at my grandparents.

call us florists

The first thing on my list for 'the best backyard wedding' was flowers. Anne and I headed out all ready to go with our clippers and made our way to some patches where wild sweet peas were growing. It felt in a way like we were 'pumpkin-ing.' even though I never did do that as part of my high school experience. We went to a flower farm next and also used with Bev had been growing. So beautiful. Finally Friday afternoon and Sunday morning we did the assembling. Friday night after the rehearsal dinner my mom called the father of the bride concerning him with the possibility of deer coming into the tent and eating all the flowers. Thankfully worst case scenario did not happen and the flowers looked beautiful on the tables, decorating the bar, and Sunday at brunch.

current events

It's important to keep up on current events. I was updated while I was home by my mother on all the latest celebrity gossip (she is my very own and well, currently with me I'm overwhelmed but thankful for the nights where I haven't thought about work. Tuesday was a real gem when my dear friend from home visited with her lovely aunt and cousin. I showed them my house, the garden (where I just discovered that plant isn't a weird pepper plant- they are green beans!) and then down the hill to Hendry's and the Boat House for a glass of Briddlewood Syrah before heading out to Ca'Dario. Winner all around. Wonderful company with 4 chagrinites and a young lady who has been raised by wonderful parents with midwest roots. I don't care if I'm biased. It was a night that could have gone on... and perhaps more just like it will happen in the near future when one wondering and wandering and wonderful friend decides it's about time she moved to CA...


I just got back from Chagrin. A ton to post about from the best backyard wedding possible, but until then here are some images of what summer has been to me. The village that raised me (thanks Hillary), the lake that was my backyard, the hanging flowers that beautify the already quaint town.

power of two

another night of good music by two incredible artists. ray really got me on a kick and i couldn't let indigo come to santa barbara without going. bon iver is all the rage right now with the hipsters. that said, jess was all about it, and i was all about indigo. i'd consider them one of the first groups i got into. i remember the 1200 curfews cd well. i remember listening to certain songs a lot, and i got really excited when they played least complicated, power of two, and closer to fine. i maybe got just as excited when bon iver's justin vernon said his biggest musical influence- indigo girls. take that hipsters. here's to good music that doesn't get old. and here's to sitting in the granada theatre watching mom's dance with their little girls and jess whose never heard 'galileo' yell it, then pretend to sing along when it became the encore.

the best thing

i didn't take my camera into the Hollywood bowl. even though a bottle of wine was allowed, for some reason i thought they'd want to confiscate the camera. regardless, you can picture an amphitheater outside on a California summer night. you can picture the mountains and the Hollywood sign. you can picture two girls high on summer, not the pot their neighbors are smoking, and you can picture happiness. i know you've got it in you for those times you can't fall asleep. no one pictures sheep- they picture... good. right there. well, so we sat and so we listened. we listened to jenny. good one jenny, good one. and then. there was ray. there is ray. and it is such a good thing there is ray because he is going to be making glorious music inspired by his farm in maine, wife, and two sons, for years to come. it was incredible and i don't think i'd let another summer go by without seeing him. ray- you are the best thing.

staycation: most favorite days in sb

part one of my weekend. okay part one b. part one a. is a BBQ. picture picnic tables and white lights dangled under the stars. summer. friends. old and new. ping pong. check.

wake up and get asked, 'want to go on a boat in 45 min.' yes. yes i do. and so ensued my staycation weekend. boat ride. water. really enjoying being with non-type A planner people. let's eat a sandwich. let's gawk at Kevin Costner's boat. let's see how close we can look into the windows of that boat. all around, great times.

We boated down to summerland. Wow, it'd be nice if dolphins came out. hellooo dolphins. Overall, your picture perfect day. We even tied up at the harbor and walked around. And then, there was the evening...

Come home, shower up for dinner. Wait. I live here- this isn't vacation, right?! Okay back to life. Shower, dinner... Hungry Cat! Oh HC it had been too long! Then... Yogurtland.. then adios to the Ransoms. What a wonderful wonderful day...

carrot cupcakes and the best cream cheese frosting

for some reason I thought it'd be a really good idea to buy a massive bag of babby carrots. Surely I'll make a carrot cake and get really good at it. Well, life these days has a way of sneaking up on you and all the sudden the carrots were close to not being in their prime anymore. Time to make carrot cake...

I used a recipe of Nigella's, minus her request for orange peel. I didn't have that on hand and myself post taste-test, would have added in some raisins, and maybe some more carrots. The overall verdict is- the frosting makes it and the cake needs a lot going on. Personally, I thought it's flavor was a bit flat...

Preheat oven to 400. Beat scant 1/2 c. light brown sugar and 3/4 c. oil. Add 2 eggs, one at a time, then add 1 1/2 c. flour, 3/4 t. baking soda, 1 tsp. cinnamon, pinch of salt, and zest of 1/2 a lemon. Now fold in 2 med. carrots, grated. Then stir in, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts. I'd suggest toasting them... and also I'd suggest raisins here.

Put into muffin tins and bake for 20 min. Cool before icing.

This icing ratio is a winner. Beach 4 ounces cream cheese and 1 2/3 cup confectioners' sugar. Put in a squeeze from one third of a lemon or lime. Delicious.

I suppose I'm still in search of the perfect carrot cake, but this frosting was perfection.

beer chicken

Happy Friday. Here's a really good way to make your weekend memorable. My Aunt told me about this recipe and once I got a couple birds, I was so excited to try it out last weekend. Recently I've seen some fancy contraptions to help you make this, but I think it was just fine with the bird and a Heineken up there... I used a young organic chicken so I was able to close the lid but obviously if your birds big...well you get the point.

Put the spice rub on before cooking. I put the beer can up the cave. You're gonna pop a top and take a few sips and reserve 2 T for the glaze. Crumble 2 bay leaves and put those in the beer can. While she was perched, rub on:
  • 2 T packed brown sugar
  • 2 T paprika
  • 1 T salt
  • 1 T black pepper
  • 1 T cayenne pepper

Throw her on the grill. I moved mine around a bit as there were quite a few flames. About 20 min before she's done (sorry maybe it was a he..) brush on the glaze:

  • 2 T packed brown sugar
  • 2 T ketchup
  • 2 T white vinegar
  • 2 T beer
  • 1 T hot sauce

when she's done- you'll know because the juices will run clear although if you have a meat thermometer this would be prime time to take that out- remove and dive in. I found this was really best eaten hot off the grill so invite some friends over and enjoy.

Lavender Shortbread

According to Jamie this is the best shortbread recipe in the world. When he suggested I add in some lavender, of course I obliged.

Preheat oven to 300. Butter a 9 inch pan. Cream 1 cup plus 2 T unsalted butter and 1/2 cup plus 1 T sugar with a whisk or wooden spoon until pale, light and fluffy. Add 2 scant cups all-purpose flour, sifted or whisked, and about 1-2 tsp dried lavender until you have a smooth dough- use your hands!

Transfer the dough to a floured surface and roll it out about 1 inch thick. Press the rolled dough into your pan, poking so it fits. It won't look pretty now but just wait... Prick the dough all over with a fork then pop it in the preheated oven for 50 min, until lightly golden.

While its still warm, sprinkle with sugar. Cool, cut, enjoy.

take a break

it's easy to live in paradise and forget about it. all of you not in paradise are rolling your eyes, but it's true and if you've visited you know and therefore you might be a bit jealous. well, come and visit. because when you visit or when friends have friends visit, i really remember here i live (as if i forgot) and get to sit back, and pack into one weekend day what some might feel in two.

how to wich

I made this sandwich awhile ago and it was a winner. I debated about whether or not to post it, because after all it's just a sandwich, but then again, it gives a good sense of flavour combinations and specifically types of cheese. I toasted the sesame whole grain bread then smeared on a some goat cheese. Olive sauce, spinach, tomato, amen. Feta would have been too salty and cheddar would have been too blah.

green olive sauce. saute 2 shallots with 1 minced dried red chili. cook on low heat for about 8 min. put into a food processor with one jar of Spanish olives, a small bunch of parsley, 2 T sherry vinegar, and 1/2 cup olive oil. blend.

see how my garden grows

it's been awhile since i posted about the dirt and then the little plants I had planted. well a lot has changed and the produce is showing! melons, chard, name a few.

lettuce is a plenty and pretty sure i'll be wondering what else I can do with zucchini! There are tomatoes on the vine, beans which are trying to survive amongst snails, peppers, onions, and I admit- some things that I'm not too sure about. The labels blew away and well- we'll just see now won't we?! Also- below is some pumpkin vines. If we have a pumpkin patch, I'll be more than excited.

Right now there's a gopher trap, or two, in the garden. Maybe it's a gopher, maybe it's a mole. Regardless I'm going to be extremely upset if something comes and takes from me! I think this weekend it's about time I installed a bit of fencing to keep out the animals I hate with a passion..skunks.