I should really call this Friday Cinco, since Sunday is Cinco de Mayo. Which is really an excuse to eat guacamole and drink margaritas. As if we need an excuse, right?
1. From the Archives:
Cinco of my favorite Mexican-themed recipes for your own Cince de Mayo celebration. Or you know, Tuesday.
Super Autentico Carne Asada
Not at all authentic but super delicious Pineapple Avocado Salsa
My mom’s amazing Easy Chicken Chilaquiles (like a casserole made with tortilla chips and cheese)
Shredded Chicken Tacos with Tomatillo Sauce
Super Spicy (don’t say I didn’t warn you!) Aztec Chocolate Cookies
So get in the kitchen, pop open a cerveza, and start the party.
2. Sustainable Scarves:
I am totally jonesing for one of these scarves from FashionaABLE. I heard Barrett Oliver, the founder, speak at Big Traveling Potluck, and it was so inspiring. Each scarf is made by hand in Ethiopia by a woman who is a former sex worker and has been given the opportunity to make scarves instead. And each one comes with the story of one of the women who made it, and how she can educate her children, or support her family because of your purchase. Isn’t that amazing? I think they would make a fantastic mother’s day gift, since they’re so supportive of women. I am eyeing the Frehiwot in Marigold. (Hint Hint husband who may read this)
3. La Dolce Vita
I was lucky enough to have lunch this week with the ladies of Vamoos Travel;. If I had some spare dough and some spare time, I would be waiting in line to sign up for one of their amazing luxury culinary tours of Italy. These ladies don’t just plop you in a tour bus and send you to eat pasta in some tourist establishment — they provide all sorts of fantastic experiences, like visiting a artisan who makes Parmigiano Reggiano, or learning to make gnocchi in the kitchen of an Italian grandma. Their next tour is in November, and they only take about 10 people, so they book up fast.
4. A Kick in the Booty
If there has been a little too much dolce in your vita lately, you have to check out the Virtual Bootcamp from my friend Karen at Balance Personal Fitness in Austin. I signed up for the first round (totally paid for, this is not a sponsored post!) and it’s been great. Karen sends me a workout 3 times a week, provides you tube videos to show me proper form, and answers questions and provides support in a special facebook group. It’s a total bargain. Now, if only I could stay healthy long enough to work out consistently (I live with the world’s cutest petri dishes).’
5. The Foodie Finish
One of the loveliest people I got to meet at the Potluck was Lillian of Chinese Grandma. She’s also a great cook – she brought this amazing Roasted Cauliflower to the potluck and I ate TWO helpings (and there was a lot of food). I’ve found during this year of living vegetally that cauliflower is one of the most versatile vegetables, but Lillian’s dish was a knockout.
Bootsy is now nine months old (look at those teeth!), which means he’s been out for as long as he’ve been in. I, for one, refuse to believe it. In my mind, he’s still a tiny, snuggly, helpless newborn. He, on the other hand, has a fondness for lasagna, wants to be walking more than anything else, and is pretty much ready to move out next week. Having a second baby, nearly five years after my first, was a learning experience. I felt like I had forgotten so much hard-won wisdom. On the other hand (and don’t all second time moms say this?) I was much more relaxed with Bootsy than I was with the Nuni. I stepped away from the parenting articles and books and shoulds and “did yous” and was much happier for it. (As an aside, this parenting article by JJ Keith at HuffPo was maybe the best one I read, ever. You should read it. Especially if you’re in the pregnancy and infancy trenches).
One of the main differences of mamadom, round 2, is that I didn’t buy everything in sight because I thought I needed it. The Nuni in utero got a fully decorated and fully stocked nursery. I learned my lesson when Bootsy came along, though, and we started minimally. Bootsy gets changed on the bed (we’ve only had to change the sheets twice as a result of underdeployed washcloths) and sleeps in a pack and play (it works at home AND on the road), but here are a few innovations in baby gear that have impressed me this time around that I wanted to share with you. (Note: Links are affiliate links, but all the recommendations come from my own sweet self.)
Continue reading Genius Baby Product Recommendations From a Second Time Mom
image: Kym McLeod
So Christmas shopping is underway. Maybe you’re a crazy organized person, and you’re totally done. Or maybe you’re like the rest of us, and you’re still hunting. Here are a few things I happen to love that will hopefully spark your imagination! Also check out The Gift Giver’s Guide to Scotch Whisky, The Savour Fare Kitchen: Essential Cookware and Bakeware, The Savour Fare Kitchen: Essential Kitchen Tools, Stocking Stuffers for Foodies and Cooks and Eight Great Board Books to Read with Your Child. I’ve also been pinning more ideas on Pinterest
(Disclaimer — I participate in the Amazon Affiliates program and receive a (very) small amount of money if you buy through one of these Amazon links. Other than that, no sponsorships or agendas.)
Continue reading Ten Fun Gifts for Everyone on Your List
It’s that time of year. Yes, peace and love and joy and family and cookies and all that, but also the time of year when you find yourself looking for gifts for a variety of people. People like your clients, your boss, your brother in law, your boyfriend’s dad.* In times like these, the eager giver turns to Scotch Whisky (note the lack of an “e.” If you’re drinking whiskey, you’re in the wrong country). Scotch is a good gift — it’s expensive enough to convey value, but not so expensive it will bankrupt you. It’s sophisticated, a little exotic, implies that you know a lot about the finer things in life. The question becomes what scotch to buy. This guide will give you a little overview of how to choose a nice bottle of scotch if you are not a scotch connoisseur, as well as discuss it reasonably intelligently with the giftee.
*Although I know many women who drink scotch, I know of no woman who has ever received a bottle of scotch as a gift. I, for one, would much prefer to receive a nice bottle of scotch than either a scented candle or bath products.
Continue reading The Gift Giver’s Guide to Scotch Whisky
Christmas seems to have snuck up on my this year. I’ve been listening to Christmas music since November, have had our tree up since December 2nd, but here I am, with Christmas less than a week away, and I’m not done shopping! If you’re in a similar boat (greetings, fellow procrastinator) here are a few suggestions for the foodies on your list. All are still available to ship before Christmas.
For the meat lover:
image courtesy of Creminelli
My grandfather is 98 years old and his favorite food in the whole world is salami. Ergo, it must be health food, right? This year I’m giving him a salami from Creminelli. The fine folks there were kind enough to send us a few salamis to sample, and we inhaled them. As in, I couldn’t get a picture before they disappeared inhaled them. The Nuni has been asking for them every day since, and my husband has requested them in HIS stocking. These are good salamis. Our collective favorite was the wild boar, but I have a soft spot for tartufo. You can find them at many local retail establishments, or there’s still time to order online.
For the reader:
I have cooked and posted many a Laurie Colwin recipe on this blog, but I can’t replicate her beguiling prose. Her books are wonderful to cook from, but even better to read. Do someone you love a favor and buy them Home Cooking
and More Home Cooking. They will love you back.
For the mini:
My proudest parenting moment to date was when someone mentioned “Julia” in conversation and the Nuni popped up with “Julia Child”. For your budding epicureI can’t recommend enough Rosemary Wells wonderful book, Yoko, which teaches the lessons of fearlessness and tolerance through sushi. Pair it with this darling Wooden Sushi Set from uber toy makers Melissa and Doug, and get them cooking in the (pretend) kitchen.
For the cocktail drinker:
I first tasted an Amarena cherry in a Manhattan served at Clyde Commons, in Portland, and I was hooked. Their intense cherry flavor, melting texture and ruby syrup elevate any drink to a whole new level. I can inhale maraschino cherries with the best of them, but these are special. Available at igourmet.com or in Williams Sonoma stores.