Friday finds: Elephant & chair

Things have been a wee bit hectic around here what with Shane getting his entire knee removed, and then replaced with a new prosthetic knee. But don’t despair, Friday Finds is here to brighten your evening with a little* old metal elephant on a crooked little metal chair.

*1 1/2 inch long, or so


Second to last supper

I kind of felt guilty about not cooking tonight. It’s the weekend, and I have the time, and I love to cook….  Then again, Shane is having his knee replaced on Monday, so I might as well take advantage of having him in the kitchen since it’s going to be all me for the next few months.

Yeah, I might as well sit by the fire with a glass of wine and enjoy having an able-bodied husband while I can.

Shane made one of his favorites, a recipe he got from my dad, Penne with Anchovies, Tomatoes & Garlic. My mom contributed a gorgeous green salad with corn, gem-shaped mini mozzarella & sunflower seeds.

And all I did was sit on my butt and then combine these two photos into one to make it fancy-like.

Friday Finds: marbles

Welcome to the very first Friday Finds post! Here’s some background on the Friday Finds feature, in which I show you, one week at a time, some of the cool old objects in my home that bring me joy. In other words, stuff that makes me happy besides food, family and friends.

Here’s a small collection of antique, vintage and vintage-ish marbles. You’ve got to love marbles with their cold roundness and ability to mesmerize. As a teenager, marbles got me hooked on collecting old stuff, a glorious habit that has stuck with me for life. Hooray!

I also have a soft spot for old glass jars, especially if they have lids.

Enjoy. Happy Friday!

It’s like I only know how to make cauliflower

I feel like every time I do the cooking, I make some kind of cauliflower dish.

The cauliflower gratin I made tonight was really, really decadent and good. It’s like mac & cheese except with cauliflower instead of mac. We had it with roasted tricolor carrots. Shane and the kids had the leftover chicken & rice from last night.

Scroll down for the recipe. Also I had a cute helper.

• Cauliflower Gratin•
Adapted from Ina Garten
serves 4-6 

30 minutes prep (with kids around), 1.25 hours start to finish

1 large head cauliflower broken up into bite size florets (approximately 6-7 heaping cups of florets)
2 cups grated gruyere or comte
1/2 cup grated cheddar
4 tablespoons butter divided
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups hot milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
a pinch of grated nutmeg
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs

Heat oven to 375. Boil a large pot of generously salted water. While the water is boiling, grate your cheeses, combine & set aside. Break the cauliflower up into bite size florets and boil in the pot of water for about 5 minutes, until tender. Drain and set aside.

Heat the milk on the stovetop or (carefully) in the microwave. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan over low heat. When the butter is melted add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon for 1 minute. Add the hot milk, increase heat to medium and whisk constantly until it begins to simmer (about 3 minutes). Whisk for an additional minute, until thickened.

Remove sauce from heat and add 1 cup of the cheese mixture, salt, pepper and nutmeg, stir well to combine. Spread a layer (about 1/3) of the cheese sauce in the bottom of a greased 8 x 11 x 2 inch baking dish. Add the drained cauliflower. Top with the remaining sauce and then the remaining cheese. Sprinkle panko evenly over the top. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and drizzle all over the top of the gratin.

Bake for 40-45 minutes until the top is golden. Let sit for 5-10 minutes (so it’s not totally molten) and serve.

30 days of posting challenge: day 30!

We made it to Day 30. The challenge is complete. I should really have a better quality and/or celebratory image, but I don’t. Some nights are just like that.

I’ve learned a lot in the past 30 days. I was reminded that I love and have missed blogging daily. I figured out that that the connection between this personal blog and my job designing brand campaigns for real estate developments, is that they are both about home.

Most importantly though, in the past 30 days we finally started to move into the first real home we’ve had in over 3 years, and that just tied in really nicely with my return to the blog.

I posed the question a few days ago about what makes a home feel like home. And then I spent a lot of time thinking about it.

Of course it’s different for everyone. For me, it’s about my family but it’s not only about that. Living with my family in a tiny, dismal, dark hole of an apartment for a year didn’t make it feel like a home.

I want my home to be the nicest place I go all day (except on days that I go to the beach). I want it to be filled with beauty, light & art. I want to be comfortable and happy there, and I want to cook and eat good food there. And I want… my things.

Yes! My things. I know it sounds horribly superficial and un-Buddhist-minded of me but it’s true! My stuff makes me happy.

By stuff, I don’t mean pedestrian stuff like lotion, belts or Coach bags (or whatever). I mean the carefully curated, mostly-vintage, yard sale finds that are pretty much useless but for the fact that finding, collecting and admiring them brings me great joy.

You may have seen some of these things if you were following the black and white challenge The Steady Table did on Instagram last week. If not, no worries because I’m going to start featuring these wonderful items—I hope you’ll find them wonderful too—on Fridays. Friday because it’s the day that I am most likely to find the time to shoot pictures. And because then I can call it Friday Finds.

In the mean time, happy Tuesday! Shane made chicken and rice and was so hungry that I didn’t even get to set up the shot. I threw a hunk of cheese on my salad.


Day 29: Throw a hunk of cheese on it

My dad cooked for us tonight, except for the broccoli which I made while Sid alternated between crying, playing with slime, using a garlic press as a nut cracker, crying more and eating cereal – all while wearing a purple cape and mask. Good times.

The main course was salmon with anchovy and caper brown butter. I’m going to go ahead and assume he used this recipe because as you may have heard, my dad always cooks Melissa Clark.

He also made some lovely roasted root veggies and there was the broccoli.

So what does a vegetarian person like me do when my family is eating meat? Oh, nothing special. I just throw a hunk of cheese on it.

30 days of posting challenge: day 27

We had our first fire in our very own fireplace tonight. It’s actually the first fire in the first fireplace I’ve ever had in my own home as an adult, so that made it extra awesome. That and the fact that I got to watch out the window as Shane sharpened a hatchet and then chopped wood.

For the record, yes, I certainly did yell out the window: “Aw yeah! That’s the way to do it! Chop that wood, baby!” Which Shane may or may not have appreciated.

We had dinner with the downstairs neighbors (aka my parents) since we had the good fireplace ambiance and all. Shane made some steaks. I made pasta with Marcella’s Sauce. My mom made grilled romaine with a Franks Red Hot and mayonnaise dressing (yum!) and red peppers stuffed with panko, feta and chopped pistachios (also yum!)

It’s really feeling like home around here.


Day 26: When in doubt, penne alla vodka

It’s not so much that I didn’t know what to cook, than that we didn’t have much in the fridge. I was going to make my usual last-minute-on-a-Friday go-to dish—pasta with corn and whatever else we’ve got, but we didn’t even have frozen corn. And the only vegetable we had was a piece of a head of cauliflower.

All in all it was a decent meal considering. We were fortunate that there was some leftover vodka sauce in the fridge, that bit of cauliflower, and a lemon. I really need to eat a green vegetable tomorrow.


Day 25: An outing

I went out tonight. That’s right. Out!

Some mom colleagues and I went to the make-you-cry-hilarious Pump & Dump Show. Before that, we had dinner at Explorateur. I had the burrata and tomato flatbread which looked an awful lot like pizza and was excellent. Also, you gotta love pizza that’s served with a side of salt. Seriously.

Ok, it’s late folks. Goodnight.