Wednesday, April 28, 2010

bella nigella returns

Nigella Lawson is coming back to TV!

Per yumsugar ...
If you're a huge fan of Nigella Lawson, like I am, get excited. The British bombshell of a chef is set to begin filming a new series. In an interview with TV Squad, Lawson reveals that a program based on her recently released cookbook, Nigella Fresh, will start shooting in a month or so.
Some of her recipes are a little 'out there'--things I'd probably never make; but much of her culinary fare is super sinfully delish. And it always reminds me of my British mother (who hooked me on Nigella from the start). Watching her whip together her Pasta with Ham, Peas, and Cream (photo below), for example, is a thing of beauty (no, it's not low-cal/low-fat; but yes, it's high yum).

This makes me happy
Don't look for Nigella Lawson to go on a crusade to help America eat better. While she admires what Jamie Oliver is doing, she also likes her potato chips. Lawson's book, 'Nigella Fresh,' recently hit shelves in paperback form on April 20 and the British food writer is getting ready to freshen up your kitchen year-round with new recipes and a new series.
Cannot wait.

Monday, April 26, 2010

magical hydrangeas & cava sangria

I'm loving this month's (May) cover of Southern Living.

And the Cava Sangria recipe (credit: Marian Cairns) on page 94 is officially on my extreme short list (looks/sounds amazing, huh?).

Cava Sangria

Mom always served a big punch bowl cocktail for parties. I make this fast version for parties of 4 or 24.

8 large mint leaves
1 (750-milliliter) bottle Cava sparkling wine, chilled
3/4 cup white grape juice, chilled
1/2 cup sliced fresh strawberries

1/4 cup orange liqueur

Garnish: fresh sugar cane sticks

1. Press mint leaves against sides of large pitcher with back of a wooden spoon to release flavors.
2. Stir in sparkling wine and next 3 ingredients.
3. Serve immediately over ice. Garnish, if desired.
*Other sparkling wine or Champagne may be subsituted.
Note: We tested with Cointreau and Grand Marnier orange liqueurs.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

xo giada

One of my faves, Giada, left her mark for me on her latest book, Giada at Home.

I admit it. I borderline stalk her. She's amazing.

(Thanks, Mom)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

parducci petite sirah

Am currently enjoying a glass (bottle). One of the better, cheaper wines I've had in the last several months. Saw this online review from Snooth and thought it was spot-on:
A nice note of cured meats with a strong tea note then some spicy wood tones and plenty of white pepper tinged black plum and crystallized black berry fruits and even an edge of dried rose. Inky on the palate with an extracted feel up front. Nicely tannic with good supporting acids and a definite milk chocolate and toast top note to the black fruits. This thins out noticeably on the mid-palate turning a bit dilute yet redeems itself with a moderately long finish with a bit of spice complimenting lurking blackberry fruits with a lovely brisk mineral finale that cleanses the mouth. Not fruity and eminently drinkable 87pts Barbecue Quaffing Value!
Snag a bottle. I don't think you'll be disappointed. Surprisingly full-bodied for such an affordable wine.

italian kitchen linens

Few places inspire me as Italy does. I swear I had to have been Italian in a former life--there's no other explanation for my love affair.

Until my eventual trip to Amalfi materilizes, I'll attempt to conjure the kitchens of Tuscany, via these Vintage Lable Italian Kitchen Towels from EyeItalia

(... wish they'd ironed them, before snapping the photos ....)

Friday, April 23, 2010

brunch at bk?

Brunch = good
Cocktails = good
Virgin cocktails = There's a time & place
Brunch at Burger King = bad

Really? A mimosa with OJ & Mo√ęt Champagne Sprite (served in a plastic cup)? It's true: Burger King Tests Brunch Menu, Complete with Mimosas.

Not everyone is happy about BK's latest marketing ploy:
Burger King's current test of a non-alcoholic mimosa as part of a "brunch" menu is drawing concern from child advocates and other watchdog groups.

In select markets in Florida and Massachusetts, BK is advertising the availability of brunch featuring specialty items like a ciabatta breakfast sandwich -- and a variation of the traditional brunch drink. In this case, the faux mimosa is a mixture of orange juice and Sprite, instead of the usual O.J. and champagne.

This isn't the first time the folks at BK have attempted to push the envelope. And granted, I haven't stepped foot inside one of their establishments in decades. But this idea is weird. And unnecessary. And I remain a little unnerved by the "King."

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

flower power

My sister, brother-in-law, and beautiful baby boy, Aidan, sent me flowers at work today.

My cup runneth over.

There's not much that beats the unspeakable surprise and joy of receiving an unexpected delivery of flowers--particularly when you're in the throes of an insanely insane week/month of life.

My favorite colors. My favorite flowers. My favorite people.

I'm so happy. And grateful.


o + d cards

Offensive + Delightful cards. Naughty, with a sense of humor. A sure-fire way to make you smile.

From Olga's website:
yes, these are the best cards ever. well, modesty is not our business: just funny shit. check it out.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

vacay, in absentia

I need a vacation.

Somewhere. Anywhere.

(Statistics/research conferences and field observations do not count.)

Unfortunately work and school are not cooperating. Until graduation in May 2011 (please, God) rolls around, it does not look like I will be sitting on a beach, sipping from a frozen drink with an umbrella and wedge of fruit in it.

So when one of my oldest and dearest friends embraced some down-time in Florida last week, he sympathized with my plight--and via the wonders of digital technology--graciously "brought" me along with him.

Without further ado, I bring you: What "I" Did on My Springtime Vacay.

First stop was the liquor store. He wanted rum (it helps a person "temporarily make sense of it all" and "eases frustrations"). I wanted sparkling wine. Looks like we ended up with the former.

Fishing and frozen drinks were next on the agenda. I am told we also saw four giant manta rays and five dolphins playing; but since no photographic evidence was provided of said sighting, I am not entirely convinced it happened.

Dinner. We apparently "caught the BIG ONE." Not sure I want to know what that entails; but Marley and Buffett were playing at the bar, so it must have been chez trop-i-cal.

He had a deck runner ("Sharky's version of a rum-runner") with light rum, blackberry brandy, and banana liqueur (rum appears to be a recurring theme in this tale); I had a LandShark Lager (with two limes, of course).

I was informed we had grilled mahi on our island salads. Good call.

Headed home ... stopped for oysters and cold draft beer.

Back at the ranch, a hot tub soak was compulsory. Call me crazy, but something tells me there is rum in that cup ....

That is pretty much how it went all week. Sunny and 83 degrees for five days. And just as quickly as it arrived, my vacation ended.

(Oh yeah ... driving home, we stopped at Stuckey's for some pork skins, a pecan log, and a Texas-sized back-scratcher. It wasn't Aggie-owned Buc-ee's, but the restrooms were clean and the Gatorade was cold.)

Friday, April 16, 2010

the architect

Saw Karl Rove last night at the George Bush Library here on campus. I was also fortunate enough to hear him speak about a year ago (with Juan Williams), and he was fantastic; but last night's presentation was in a league of its own. Talk about one of the completely brilliant political scientists of our time. Regardless of what you think of his ideological leanings, Rove's book, Courage and Consequence, is a must-read.

Anyway, the lecture was unbelievably moving--particularly the moments when he described the minutes and hours following the 9/11 attack. Rove was as close to the situation as anyone, and his account is sobering.

Some media coverage from Rove's visit, along with a few photos I snapped (bags and cameras were not allowed inside the lecture venue):

Rove defends George W. Bush & Rove Recalls Success, Mistakes in Speech at Texas A&M

The library, at dusk, on a beautiful spring evening

Statue, with pieces from the Berlin Wall

Another shot at sunset

EDIT: I almost forgot! When we were driving off the grounds of the library, we noticed a car, parked off to the side of the road. Such a sight is highly common along the roads of Texas right now, as folks are constantly stopping to take photographs with the stunning bluebonnets and wildflowers that currently blanket the landscape.

Anyway, two people (an older woman and a young girl) had a couple of dogs on leashes and appeared to be letting the canines "take care of their business." As we neared them, we saw that the woman was none other than Barbara Bush! I don't know how the stoic-looking [federal agent] guy, wearing the dark suit and Ray-Bans didn't tip me off ahead of time as to the importance of the car's passenger. And we knew she was there, since she introduced Karl (41, who was planned to give introductions, is under the weather).

Needless to say, it was a hoot!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

taxed enough already

"No! Ne'er was mingled such a draught
In palace, hall or arbor,

As freemen brewed and tyrants quaffed

That night in Boston Harbor."

--Oliver Wendall Holmes (1809-1894) "The Ballad of the Boston Tea Party"

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

the perfect panties

I won undies! Thank you, Cool Gal!

Aren't they the sweetest? Mi amiga, Cool Gal over on her blog, It's The World I Know, hosted a "commando giveaway," and my tushy was the proud beneficiary!
The latest version of paper-thin lingerie promises a seam-free existence similar to wearing nothing at all -- with unfinished edges.
Read more about these barely-there panties at

Thank you, Cool "and incredibly generous" Gal! I promise to make you proud and work my new undies like a VPL-free rock star.

photos from It's The World I Know

{ pink }

Any of these would look wonderful inside my pink-doored house.

All images from Houzz