Archive for October, 2008

Playdate in the park

October 30, 2008

Had to replace yesterday’s photo with something a little more appealing! I’ll take these guys over pictures of (my) 80s fashions any day.

And yes, it really was that chilly here today, even though we still have green leaves on the trees. Eeek.

Hope for warmer weather tomorrow for all the little gremlins!

Why I love Facebook

October 29, 2008

Because when I got to my desk this morning, I had a message saying a dear high school friend of mine had tagged me in a photo. And this is what I saw when I clicked through.

OMG the glasses. OMG.

Apparently I needed a major fashion intervention way back in 1989. And a harness to support the wingspan of my glasses.

OMG.

Thanks for the laugh, Lucia!

I DARE the rest of you to find something else like this and post it. And leave it in the comments for me to see. Because NO ONE had glasses like this.

Edited to add:

P.S. Can you make out the person wearing “topsiders” on the background? The 80s left their mark on us all.

Molly Got Married

October 27, 2008

Molly got married this weekend, and it was wonderful!

Molly & Mom

Flowers from the church, enroute to the reception.

It was a perfect, sunny October day on the coast of New England, and all these beautiful people came.

Mike & Renee

Alena & Mike

Doug & Chelle

Wade & Elizabeth

Dan & Sara

Me & B

Former coworkers reunited. (It’s a fun place to work, as you can see!)

And then the beautiful bride and groom

And their sweet little sweetheart table

And they danced

And we had a delicious dinner…and for dessert?

Milk, cupcakes and cookies. Yum.

We had SO much fun, thank you for a beautiful wedding, Molly & M!

No surprise that there were a few bloggers in attendance.

From left to right, Mike’s Got Nothin,  Fabulous Former Blogger Whose Blog Identity I Will Not Reveal Here But Many of You Can Figure Out, Wearing Stilettos and Living on a Farm, These Little Moments, Hank & Willie, If I Had to Pick Five and Sunny’s Side of Life. We missed a few other bloggers in the crowd, sorry!

Things started to get a little silly. Did I mention how much fun we had?

But, if you made it this far, you’ll see my favorite shot of the night.

The shoeru’s bridal shoes!

And this is my Best Shot Monday.

Maine, in pictures. Part 1.

October 22, 2008

Food Friday: Sour Cream Apple Pie

October 17, 2008

So today’s Food Friday finds me in the kitchen of my dear friend and accomplished cook, Ellen. One of the things I admire most about her cooking is that she always tries new recipes. She is a cookbook collector like me, but unlike most of us, she really gets out the cookbooks and tries new things often.

So I asked her for the latest fall recipe she had tried, and she had to think about one…she had plenty to choose from, but she wanted to make sure and give me one she would absolutely make again.

So while I haven’t made this or tried this, consider it tested and home-cook approved.

Sour Cream Apple Pie

Crust:

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup butter, melted

Filling:

2 Tablespoons flour

2/3 cup packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

pinch salt

1 egg

1 cup sour cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup raisins

4 cups apples, peeled and sliced

Topping:

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

1. Combine crust ingredients. Press mixture onto bottom and sides of nine-inch pan. Chill.

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cobine all filling ingredients except raisins and apples. Stir in raisins and apples and pour into chilled crust.

3. Bake pie for 15 minutes; reduce oven to 350 and continue baking for 30 minutes.

4. Prepare topping by combinging ingredients until crumbly. Sprinkle evening over pie and bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Serve warm or cold.

Fall Foliage for Everyone

October 16, 2008

Molly & Michael. Getting married in 8 days.

You see fall in all it’s multi-hued grandeur.

You take your camera and shoot away.

And you get home and wonder why you didn’t quite capture the rich, eye-popping color you saw with your own eyes.

While I am nobody’s idea of a landscape photographer, there are a few basic tips that I can share to improve upon your images of fall at it’s peak.

1. Stay away from midday sun.

Remember how bright midday sun washes out people? It does the same thing for fall colors. To really appreciate those gorgeous shades of red, orange and yellow, shoot in the early morning or late afternoon and let the soft tones of light bathe the leaves.

cc by Rod the Rabid Rodent

2. If you can’t stay away from the midday sun, use it to your advantage.

Take a leaf or leaves, and shoot with the sun behind them, backlighting the leaf.

cc by clairity

3. Think small.

Sometimes the whole vista is just too much to take in. Think small and get close, look for some stunning detail in the fall scenery.

cc by Lost My Headache

4. Make it pop.

For the real vivid colors of fall, a polarizing filter on your camera can’t be beat. Don’t have a SLR or a polarizing filter? USE YOUR POLARIZED SUNGLASSES! Seriously. Give it a try and you might be surprised at the intensity of your blue skies and orange leaves.

cc by psoup

Happy fall, everyone! Can’t wait to see what you shoot this month.

And this is my “fall” photo for the fall theme at Stacy’s today,plus my entry into the fall photo contest at Hip Momma’s Journal.

Happy love, Molly & Michael!

Wordless Wednesday

October 15, 2008

I’ve never done the Wordless Wednesday thing out there in blogland, mostly because I’m not usually one to be wordless.

However, I’m not really sure what to say about this one, so Wordless Wednesday it is!

For photos and less talk, click over to Wordless Wednesday.

When food bloggers have lunch

October 13, 2008

This is a very late Food Friday post, but I can’t go another week without posting this deliciousness. At a recent meetup of mommies and current/future mommy & food bloggers I enjoyed the most divine lunch, outside on the patio, on a gorgeous 75-degree October day. And now, you can, too.

The bread seen above is a bread that has made the rounds in the food blog world, known as No-Knead Bread or Sullivan Street Bakery Bread. I had always meant to try it, and now that I’ve encountered it in real life I can only say, “Hello, gorgeous, where have you been all my life?” Yum. Read all about it and then try it.

No-Knead Bread
Time: About 1½ hours plus 14 to 20 hours’ rising

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.

Eat with delectable cheeses outside on a gorgeous fall day in New England with wonderful company.

We also had salad, peppered with fresh herbs from the garden, and a delicious carrot soup. Which I ate, instead of photographing, so try it yourself to see what it looked like. I liked this a LOT better than some wintry carrot-ginger soups I have tried.

As prepared by my host:

“The soup: just cook fennel, onions, carrots, garlic in butter until lusciously soft. Add stock. Puree. Add more stock, s & p to taste. I can not find this recipe on line. It is from the Cooking for Mr. Latte book.”

Searching a bit, I didn’t find Amanda Hesser’s original recipe, but did find this adaptation on the lovely food blog, Orangette. Since I don’t have a copy of Cooking for Mr. Latte here, I’m not sure how different this from the original, but it sounds good, too.

Carrot-Fennel Soup
Adapted by Orangette from Amanda Hesser in The New York Times Magazine, and Cooking for Mr. Latte

This light soup strikes a perfect balance between the delicate springtime flavors of young carrots and fennel. Be sure to choose carrots that are sweet and worthy of being eaten on their own; if you make this soup with tired, winter-weary ones, you’ll be sorry.

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced; fronds reserved and chopped
1 ½ lbs. carrots, sliced into ¼-inch rounds
2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4-5 cups vegetable broth (I used Imagine brand)
¾ tsp. salt, or to taste
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
2 Tbsp. crème fraîche, or more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a large, heavy saucepan, warm oil over medium heat. Add the fennel slices, and cook, stirring, until softened. Add the carrots and garlic, and cook for another minute or two. Pour in 4 cups vegetable broth (if, after puréeing, you feel that the soup is too thick, you can add the final cup, but it’s better to err on the side of adding too little at first), and season with salt. Simmer, covered, until the carrots and fennel are very tender, about 20 minutes.

Remove the soup from the heat, and stir in the orange juice and reserved fennel fronds. If you have an immersion blender, purée the soup directly in the pot; otherwise, transfer it in batches to a food processor or blender, puréeing until smooth. Stir in the crème fraîche. Taste, and adjust seasoning as necessary. Serve warm.

We, of course, also had dessert.

Watch this elegant segue—this is my Best Shot Monday.

For more Best Shots and less talk about carrot soup, go to Tracey’s!

Jump Around

October 9, 2008

One of my favorite things to do with subjects of all ages is make ’em jump. Kids in particular can’t seem to get enough of it, and I’ve had a lot of fun this summer stopping the action.

Technique-wise, it’s easy to do, at least from the camera’s point of view.

1. Shoot in manual or in shutter-priority.

2. Set your shutter speed to at least 1/500 or 1/1000 if your light allows.

3. Adjust your ISO (turn it up) for the fast shutter speed. My settings above were f/2.8, 1/500 and and ISO pushed all the way to 1250.

4. If you have a burst mode on your camera, turn it on.

5. Shoot from down low to increase the perceived height of the jump. If your jumpers get more than an inch off the ground, that is.

6. Alternatively, have them jump off a low wall or anchored bench to get some “hang time” with little subjects.

Working on the technique of the jumpers is something else.

Here’s the true secret to jumping photos–if your subjects are really old enough to execute a jump, tell them to bend their knees—it makes them look that much higher off the ground.

Since I don’t have jumpers old enough to get it together, I will illustrate with some examples of excellent jumps out there. (These photos are licensed through Creative Commons.)

cc photo by Xose Castro

cc photo by Fevis Yu

This technique is always fun at weddings or other events where people are dressed up.

cc photo by annieee

The incongruity of jumping in formal wear adds something even better to jumping photos. Take note, Molly—are you and Michael practicing your jumps?

When you nail the technique, you can see how much fun you can have with it. To take this amazing photo,  the photographer zoomed his or her lens at the same time, to give the feeling of movement. It worked.

cc photo by pasotraspaso

And for the truly accomplished jump photographer,  you can start playing with light and silhouette.

cc photo by clspeace

Need a little help getting your jumps off the ground? Check out this site, bedjump.com–your best jumping shot on a hotel bed. Fun for the whole family. Maria, Ellen, don’t we have some we could submit from long ago college cross-country meets?

Hope to see your jump shots out there soon!

Want a G-U-N, too?

October 7, 2008

Okay, my heart is officially broken. The real world, it has broken through our little bubble, and everyday little nuggets like this one pop out.

My sweet firstborn boy, carefully examining the youthful, bright blue-and-green repeating dinosaur pattern on his pajamas last night said, “Mom, is this cam-U-flage?”

“Uh, yes, I guess you could call it that,” I choke out. “See how that kind of pattern would make it easy for you to hide in, say, a garden?”

“So, Mom,” he says, ignoring my garden reference. “Can we get cam-U-flage shirt and pants?”

Thank you, Henry, for falling off the bed just then! I’m so not ready to have a conversation about “army guys” and soldiers and war. For like 30 more years.

Go ahead. Don’t vote.

October 4, 2008

Unless you care about things like, oh, the economy, our environment and global climate change, civil rights, health care, Social Security, the war, the future of the Supreme Court, women’s rights, rising fuel prices, the future of clean energy, gay rights and education. If you do care, then you might want to vote.

Leonardo and friends say it loud with their reminder to register and vote. Today is the last day to register in several states, including my neighboring Rhode Island.

Looking for the voter registration deadline in your state? Click here.

Then go register. Unless you don’t care, of course.

Food Friday: A Roundup of Fall Birthday (and Holiday) Cupcakes for Kids

October 3, 2008

Well, it happened.

Someone found me by Googling hedgehog cupcakes.

Which reminds me that was in a post about summer cupcakes, and it is high time for a roundup of fall cupcakes. Ready? Start your ovens!

(Complete recipe and decorating instructions linked to the titles.)

Pumpkin Patch

There are lots of weird, overly-orange-pumpkin-homage cupcakes out there. This isn’t one of them. I say this is pumpkin done to perfection.

Apple Cupcakes

This one is a little weird, only because I’m not sure I’m on board with red frosting. But what’s fall without an apple cupcake?

Touchdown Cupcakes

If you’re a football family, you’ll need to become a football cupcake family.

Wicked Witch Cupcakes

Halloween in general has gone off the deep end in recent years, but these are simple Halloween classics and won’t (I think) scare my children.

Hairy Daddy Longlegs Cupcakes

Cutest cupcake with least appealing name. I could have done without the word “hairy.”

Eyeball Cupcakes

How is it, exactly, that bloodshot eyes came to represent Halloween? I’m not sure how I would explain that to my kids, but these are the most beautiful bloodshot eyeball cupcakes I’ve ever seen.

Tombstone Cupcakes

Now these I love. Most delicious graveyard I’ve ever seen.

Sweet Monster Cupcakes

I was okay with the green on top, then I read something about a gooey, green pudding surprise inside. Pretty cute monster, though.

Thanksgiving Cupcakes

I won’t say no to toasted coconut!

Tiny Turkey Dinner Cupcake

Also, weirdest fall cupcake ever. Not really sure what to say here. But if someone Googles “cupcake that actually looks like a turkey dinner”  I am SO HERE FOR THEM.

And a few just for the grownups, though kids might like them, too. If you’re willing to share.

Zucchini-Ginger Cupcakes

This is suitable for breakfast in my book!

Cranberry Cupcakes with Dulce De Leche Pecan Frosting

You had me at “cranberry-flecked” cupcakes, ever before we started talking about the frosting.

Spiderweb Pumpkin Ginger Cupcakes

I’ll share the recipe for these soon (because I know you probably can’t read that one below), these are from the lovely Cupcake Deck which every cupcake lover should have. Gorgeous photos, beautiful, yummy cupcakes. Mine came this year on my birthday from a fellow cupcake lover, and I could (and probably will) make every single one in it.

Dean & Deluca Fall Cupcakes

Or just order these from Dean & Deluca.

Three each of Pumpkin with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Icing, Cinnamon with Mayan Chocolate Buttercream Frosting and Vanilla with Vanilla Frosting.

$55 for nine cupcakes plus shipping and WORTH EVERY PENNY, I AM SURE.

If someone wants to send them to me, I promise will do an exhaustive quality control check and report back.

Happy fall! And if you find a good fall cupcake photo, please share it in the comments.

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Best part of watching last night’s debate?

Reading the live feed from election.twitter.com at the same time. Each wink generated about 500 new tweets, doggone it!