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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Thank you's

I've been meaning to post thank you's. I finally figured out where my digital camera was! It was in the trunk of my car. Sheesh, what a silly place for it.

Anyhoosit, I was able to take photos of the wonderful packages my SP Angel, Maureen, and my colorwap partner, Dana sent me.

Maureen sent me a lovely package with some beautiful speckled green wool, an awesome pattern booklet to make a wallaby sweater, some great notecards and stitchmarker, and a nice set of bamboo circulars (yay!).

Dana sent me an amazing green package for May colorswap! Look at all these goodies! There's yarn, green striped candy canes, green ribbon, a very much needed pin cushion, a CUTE CUTE CUTE pouch with a knitted sweater on it, some new green flops, a cute froggy thermometer, a yankee candle scent for my car, some stitch markers, a cute butterfly measuring tape, some wind chimes (that my cats find fascinating), and some wonderful mint chocolates with a cute sugar turtle and frog on top (those were quite tasty!). Phew! Wow Dana. Believe me, I was blown away! I think you definitely should win an award for the best colorswap pal ever!

My kitties LOVE the wind chime. They stare at it with their kitty laser eyes trying to decipher what the tinkling of the tubes means...

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Yay! Still happy and glowing!

As requested, here's a shot of the ring! It's so sparkly! It's hard not to walk around in the warm Californian sun and not be distracted by the sparkles. Ervy likes it too. Too bad this picture doesn't capture all the sparklyness well.

Thank you all for your congratulations! And seriously Janis, we must have some weird psychicly linked lives.

This was going to be a post where I talked about how ervy and I met and how we got to where we are... then I told the erv man I was going to post that and he said, "yup--the sappy post." How very correct indeed erv man :) It's funny, because neither of us is normally sappy, but engagement bliss seriously tramples over all those normal habits.

*happy sigh*

Did I mention both evan and I are most looking forward to cake tasting? Mmmm...

I have some photos and thank you's I need to post about the wonderful packages I've received from my colorswap partner and Secret Pal Angel. But of course I need to take the photos first. All I can say is, WOW! I've really been spoiled by these wonderful people.

Tantalizing Tea Note!

I got a card from my Tea Swap partner! I love it! I love how it's so cryptic.

I got to my mail box, and thought, "What's this letter for me from Alaska?"

I opened it up to find this:

and inside the card:

Not only am I mad jealous of my tea swapper's artistic skills, but I'm now extra super excited about this swap. This has to be the best TEAse EVER!

Plus the card smelled like cinnamon! Yum!

Thanks Tea Pal! This totally rocked!

Monday, May 08, 2006

cinco de mayo celebration

My Cinco de Mayo turned into a wonderful unexpected celebration. Friday at lunch, ervy and I met at our favorite little family run Italian restaurant in Menlo Park - Buon Gusto. We chatted about some of the studies I've been working on, and some other random conversation I don't recall too well. Then, before the dessert course, my ervy quicly pulled out a ring and slid it across the table saying, "So... do you want to get married to me?

I'm happy to say, I remembered to say 'yes,' after a lot of giggling. I also remembered to take a picture of our dessert for the blog. My favorite dessert at the restaurant - they call it chocolate salami, it's like a marbled chocolate cookie/cake wrapped in chocolate and served with chocolate sauce! It's wonderful. And it was perfectly celebratory!

I do admit though, that I was completely retarded and took a picture of the dessert, but not US at the restaurant. Silly lori. I should mention that ervy forgoto this too. So, silly us.

Sunday, our friends Hilary and Steven took us out to dinner at Cascal in Mountain View for some celebratory tapas and wine! They also gave us a fabulous wedding planning guide book which is helping us figure out all the ettiquette and wedding details we've never known about.

Yay! I love my ervy!

Friday, May 05, 2006


lol. To borrow the naming scheme Adagio uses... :)

This post is for the flash your tea stash for the knitter's tea swap, but I figured it could grace my blog too!

Okay. I'll be the first to admit I'm a tea fanatic. I mostly prefer loose leaf teas, but I do have some herbal tea bags, and chai in bags (because I can't seem to find a decent loose leaf chai anyway). I suppose I may adore tea too much, and I'm very conscientious about my brewing time and water temperature so that each cup of tea can be its very best :) I guess I'm a tea activist.

Anyhoo, here's my stash (it's missing some tea that my bf and I keep at work)


Here are my favorite teapots that are most often in use. The three in the middle are cast iron. The biggest can serve 8-10 people, the middle 2-3, the smallest pretty much me or 2 small cups. I generally use my IngenuiTea from Adagio at work, as it makes it easier to brew loose leaf. I think I have an affinity for blue tea pots, don't ya think?

Tea for me! A hot cup of Pu-erh and some mini blueberry muffins!

cross-posted to Knitter's Tea Swap

Thursday, May 04, 2006

One Singular Confection

I'm SO excited! I've been wanting this personal cupcake holder ever since I saw it on 52 Cupcakes! Now the container store is selling them! *happy dance*

One Singular Confection

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

With silver bells and cockle-shells, and pretty maids all in a row

Nikko and I go out to check on my little deck garden everyday. I'm so amazed how much plants can grow in a 24 hr period. Every time I go out there, my lemon tree has put out new leaves and buds overnight! My radishes and carrot sprouts grow another inch while new sprouts pop up all the time. I woke up yesterday and my Old German Tomato plant and grown a couple inches over the wall-o-water!

Nikko always gets tuckered out after our balcony visits as it's pretty warm out there. Today he walked back in the house and decided to plop right down on the kitchen floor until he cooled off:

My mint plants, planted only about a month ago have vigorously put forth new growths. Today, I decided I needed to cut them back ALOT. I was quite aggressive with my pruning, but both plants still look full and healthy. I washed and destemmed the cuttings, and placed all the mint leaves in a pint jar. I've covered it all with Absolut vodka to create a mint extract to use in either cooking or cool summer cocktails. Apparently, over the next 10 days I'm just supposed to shake the jar a couple times a day. Then I strain out the leaves from the liquid, and voila! A strong mint extract!

Just in case y'all forgot, the title of this post is from a nursery rhyme... apparently full of religious symbolism

Monday, May 01, 2006

In the pursuit of happiness, craftiness, and great buys...

Seriously, this weekend was beautiful. It was so gorgeous, I had to take Nikko out for a walk on his leash around our block. He had the most fun when a couple of doves crossed our path on the sidewalk!

Okay, so my weekend really started Friday. I didn't intend for that to happen. I had a bunch of work I was planning to do from home after I went to dim sum at Koi Palace with Minger, Adam, Adam's Mom, and the Fu. But you know, since none of us had hard set schedules for the day, we ended up going to Target to buy Trivial Pursuit 90's edition and headed out to Dolore's Park in SF to play games and watch the many many ADORABLE doggies! This toy poodle named Emma came bounding up to us. I didn't know what breed it was (the owner let its fur grow out naturally), I just kept yelling, "OMG, IT'S A TOY. IT'S A STUFFED ANIMAL!" It was THAT adorable. We hit a couple of neat stores including Dog Eared Books and Retro Fit Vintage. I bought these two books at Dog Eared:

Left: Vogue Baby Knits Two $5 (it has some cute patterns, and I'd like to start prepping for when family members have more babies so that I can have some handknitted items to send right away!) Right: The WASP Cookbook $6 by comedienne Alexandra Wentworth. She collected a bunch of recipes from distinctively white upperclass Americans and compiled them into an amazingly humorous book. I was tickled pink when I got home and found out that since it's not in print anymore, it's actually worth more than $6. Plus, it's been quite fun to read.

Also, look at this cute/handy magnet I found at Target in the dollar section:

How useful! I always am googling the conversions, now, I'll just look on my fridge!

Saturday, I worked a bit and took some walks with Nikko. I also got some spinning done. I finished a second bobbin of two ply confetti yarn (a blend I concocted of merino and some unknown wool type).

I also carded and spun up some of the merino X locks that I had separated out and washed last week. To my great delight, separating the locks DOES make a difference! I found that in carding, I would get fewer neps and it was easier to pick out the shorter cut bits, and much easier to get any remnant VM out too! For spinning, it spins like a dream, and the fibers are much better aligned! I love this merino X. It's fluffy, and I added some drops of lavender essential oil to the washing machine when the wool was soaking so it's smells heavenly to work with it. This is my spinning set up currently. You can see the TiVo remote has easy access from my chair so I can skip through the commercials on the X-Files!

Strawnanachoc Tart

That's right. Say that three times fast...

strawnanachoc tart...
strawnanachoc tart...
strawnanachoc tart...


By now, you're probably thinking, "okay. wtf is a strawblahblah tart?"

It's this:

Sure. It doesn't look like much. But let me tell you, it's the perfect ending to a wonderfully warm happy weekend. It's been a bit toasty here in Bay Area! Wildflowers are a blooming, and my allergies have blown off the charts. Days start feeling just a mite bit more lethargic, and I'm drawn to the outdoors like bugs to yellow. That's when I start craving fruit tarts. Nice...cold...fruit tarts. This recipe was thrown together with the help of Nick Stellino's inspiration and Cook's Illustrated's guidance.

Strawnanachoc Tart
For the pastry I altered the Cook's Illustrated recipe for a chocolate tart to be a regular tart.

Pastry ingredients:
1 large egg yolk
2 Tb heavy cream (I didn't have this on hand, so I used a tablespoon of melted butter and maybe 2 Tb of nonfat milk, and it still came out fine)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 Cups flour
3/4 Cup confectioner's sugar
1/4 tsp salt
10 Tb cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

your favorite banana pudding recipe or instant banana pudding mix
1/3 C Nestle swirl (milk chocolate and white chocolate) chips chopped into small bits
1/4 C Bailey's Irish Cream
2 bananas
Strawberry Jam

To make the pastry, whisk together yok, cream (or substitute) and vanilla. Combine flour, sugar and salt in a food processor with 4 one-second pulses. Scatter butter pieces over flour and process with short pulses in food processor until mixture resembles coarse meal (20 one-sec pulses or so). With machine running, add egg mixture and process until dough comes together.

Turn dough onto a floured board. Kneed a few times and form it into a ball. Wrap dough and refigerate for 1 hour. After refigeration, remove the dough, unwrap it, and place it on your lightly floured surface. Give it a nice whack with your french rolling pin just for the heck of it--err, I mean it start softening it if it's too cold to be malleable.

Roll out the dough between two sheets of lightly floured wax paper pieces until it's about 15 in around, or big enough to fit in your tart pan with a little excess. Transfer dough to your tart pan and push it into the edges and cut off the excess.

Place the tart pan in the freezer for 30 minutes. After this cooling, preheat ovem the 375F. Set tart pan on baking sheet and cover with lightly greased foil. Place pie weights in the tart to prevent bubbles in the tart. Bake for 30 min. Take pie weights and foil off of tart and cook for another 5 minutes. Take tart out of the oven to cool on a wire rack.

Prepare your banana pudding. After the pudding has cooled, stir in the chopped chocolate and irish cream. Pour the pudding mixture into the tart and let set in the fridge for a bit. Slice bananas and decorate top of the tart. Heat a couple spoonfuls of strawberry jam in a sauce pan on the stove and brush the top of the tart with liquified jam.

Refrigerate and serve cold on a hot day!

Do you think a tart could/should be classified as a type of pie? My friends and I had this very discussion, and I'm curious to hear what others think.