Monday, December 9, 2013

Homemade Jam Ice Cream - vegan & gluten free

Homemade Jam Ice Cream - vegan & gluten free

Guys, I'm sorry. Turns out Decembers are hard, even when your other person is not in Sweden. Are Decembers hard for you too? I'm going to go ahead and blame the getting-dark-early, the cold, and the crazy-work-because-it's-the-holidays. There, see? Not my fault.

ice creaming
Moving on.

Perhaps you've started eating that jam you made this summer? Perhaps some of it didn't turn out perfectly? Perhaps some of it is over-set and so stiff as to be unspreadable? Yes? Well, then do I have a solution for you!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Weekend Reading

Portrait of a morning

Hello and happy weekend! I hope you (Americans) had a good Thanksgiving, whether you were celebrating with friends, family, or hibernating by yourself. I had an exhausting week at work, but I'm grateful I made time to host a small gathering. And that I (finally) had a chance to sleep in this weekend. The craziness of a bakery during Thanksgiving week is my only excuse for not posting this past week, and I hope you can forgive me.

However! I do have some interesting reads and recipes for you this weekend. Enjoy, and please share what you're reading!

Awesomesauce. In 1963, an enterprising young lad asked novelists about whether symbolism in their work was intentional. Some of them actually answered.

oh my. Sweet Potato Cake with Marshmallow Frosting

A note from the other side: I'm Marrying a Feminist

Another horrible custody battle, only this one also seems to be a battle for a woman's right to move, travel, and get an education.

mmmmm the Christmas version of a root beer float

O. M. G. no, seriously.

"And compassion isn’t a sign of weakness, but a mark of civilization" A conversation about empathy for fellow humans in distress

How fun- a monthly subscription service for donating to charity. Sounds like a great Christmas present to me

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Kitchen Art

kitchen art

When Mr Official Taster and I combined households, two of the hardest collections to cull and integrate were our respective stashes of artwork. We both have a good number of photos, prints, paintings, etc. to hang on the walls, and our styles are, to say the least, rather different.

We've managed hang most of our artwork since we've moved, but one place I didn't have anything on the walls was the kitchen. It seems hard to believe, I know, but it's true. The biggest hurdle was the lack of wall space. Here's a before picture to help you remember:

kitchen, before
The one real wall has a (much-appreciated) window taking up most of it. I'm (slowly) thinking of ways to spice it up, including stencils or just a bright paint color under the window. We'll see. Anyway, if you look carefully under the cabinets, you'll notice there's not wall there. The same black counter material forms the backsplash, and it reaches all the way to the bottom of the cabinets. According to the paperwork left by the previous owner, it's a quartz composite material, and even if I wanted to, there's no way I could pound in some nails to hang art. 

hooks on kitchen backsplash

Enter, 3M hooks. I had the idea that I could use one of those 3M hooks to hang a picture with. You know the ones I mean- they have some sort of sticky stuff that will hold the hook+it's weight and then you can remove the sticky strip from the wall without leaving residue or a nail hole behind. (I swear, 3M has no idea I exist). 

oops, forgot to photograph first

So I perused Target's collection and ended up with these clear guys that are supposed to be used as utensil hooks. The package of three was in the neighborhood of $3-$4. Since the package says each hook can hold up to half a pound, and I'm somewhat of a worrier, I decided to use two hooks. I simply followed the directions on the box, eyeballed the hanging height I wanted, and centered my hooks. This particular model lies pretty flat against the wall and my art now graces the backsplash above the stove. You can still see the clear parts above the frame, but they don't bother me. It's the same print that was in our last kitchen, and I'm so glad I was able to find a home for it in this one. 

kitchen art

Obviously, I wouldn't recommend hanging priceless artwork above a stove, but I think it's a great place for dollar store frames and replaceable prints. Painted frames and glass wipe off easily, so I'm not worried about any splatter. I think spaces like this where you don't want something precious are perfect for pretty pictures torn from magazines, cute cards, or photos. 

Have you been hanging art in new places? Experimenting with paint? Have any bright ideas for my one real kitchen wall?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Weekend Reading

Work It

I hope everyone is having an excellent weekend. I'm taking my own advice and unplugging a bit (I wrote this Friday night). I always feel better after I do.

What are you up to?

Meet GoldieBlox, an awesome toy company

One (smart) man's revelations about calling a woman "crazy" and how damaging it is

A new app called iCitizen strives to help you make sense of the issues. I haven't tried it, but it sounds interesting.

Earlier this week I talked about ads on this site. Please read it! I welcome any feedback you have

A smart talk about closets and stepping out of them. sidenote: My husband wears pink shirts, too

A reminder to unplug now and then

In case you missed it, Red Wine Cake with Coconut Whipped Cream will make you happy

mmmmmm.... Spinach Hummus & Sweet Potato Goat Cheese Quesadilla

the always delightful Deb's Cranberry Orange Breakfast Buns

Finally, a yummy looking Spicy Black Bean, Sweet Potato, and Quinoa Burger

Looking for more good reads? Check out all my other Weekend Reading posts here.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Give Thanks - free printable

Hello and happy Friday to all. I hope you've had a good week and have something or someone to look forward to this weekend. Mr Official Taster and I don't really have any plans, though we are hoping to get together with some friends. Aaaaaand I might make some more ice cream (which I should share with you soon), so there's that. 

Today I'm sending you over to On Sutton Place for this seasonally appropriate Give Thanks free printable. I'm thinking you could use this for DIY cards, magnets, lunchbox notes, or even some quick art. 

This week I am thankful for warm socks and washable rugs. How about you?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Red Wine Chocolate Cake with Coconut Whipped Cream - dairy free/vegan/gluten free

Red Wine Chocolate Cake (dairy free) with Coconut Whipped Cream (vegan & gluten free)

I made my mom bread, but I made my dad cake.

I knew I wanted to make my dad a birthday cake while he was here, but I didn't want it to be a tower of sugar and frosting (I know, I know. That would have been awesome). I've had a few recipes saved for chocolate cakes that use wine to add flavor and color, so I looked through what I had, picked the best of the lot, adapted it a bit, and made it. But you pretty much need frosting on a birthday cake or it's not a birthday cake. I wanted something light and not chocolate, so I went with a vanilla whipped cream made from coconut milk. I had good luck in the past with chocolate frosting using coconut milk, so I was eager to try it's vanilla cousin.

Red Wine Chocolate Cake (dairy free)

Monday, November 11, 2013

A Word on Ads

Blackberry Coconut Macaroons - dairy free & guten free
Blackberry Macaroons

So here's the thing. I don't write this blog for the money, and I don't write it for you. I write it for me. Yes, down the line, it would be great if ad revenue was a more substantial part of our household budget, but I'm not planning on quitting my day job any time soon (well, some days I think about it, but that's a different story). Currently, Short & Sweets makes $1-$2 per day from ads. It's not a lot, but it's more than it used to be, and I'm 100% ok with it.

If you're a regular reader, you may have noticed a few more ads on the side than there used to be. If, at any time, you find that an ad is offensive or gets in your way, please, please let me know, and I will work to get rid of it. I don't want the ads to do either of those things. I have some categories of BlogHer ads excluded, and I also can control ads from specific brands/websites if they ever become a problem. I've chosen to increase the number of ads on the side, and there are sometimes ad links in a recipe, but I've made the decision not to use in-text ads (the ones where "reader" might be a link to a bookseller's site, for example) or ads on top of my photos. Those are real options which I think are just too intrusive. The ad links that sometimes appear at the end of a list of ingredients are on probation. I haven't decided yet how I feel about them, so please let me know if you have a strong opinion.

Oatmeal Molasses Whoopie Pies

I have a few different types of ads right now. Some of them pay me when you click on them, and some of the pay me simply when you view the website. I also have some Amazon ads. Amazon ads work a little bit differently. They are what are called "affiliate ads." They don't pay me when you view my blog, and they don't pay me if you click on them. Amazon ads pay me only if you make a purchase after clicking on one of my ads or links. So for example, I have a couple Amazon widgets under the "I'm Craving" headline on the right. If one of those items catches your eye, you click on it, and purchase it, I get a small percentage of your purchase price. You are not charged anything extra, and you won't even see it on your receipt. If, however, you click on something from a widget or from my recommended list of cookbooks (under "I Recommend"), go to Amazon, but ultimately choose to buy a different item, I will still receive a small percentage of your purchase price because you got to Amazon through one of my links.

To be clear, I'm Craving items are not necessarily items that I have or am familiar with. They are simply things that caught my eye. The list of cookbooks under I Recommend are books that grace my own bookshelf and which I like. There is also a banner ad for an Amazon Prime free trial. We have Prime and it's worked well for us.

What does all this mean to you and why am I telling you? Well, I'm mainly telling you so that you know, and so that you know that you should contact me (KatesShortandSweets at gmail dot com) if you ever see an offensive or overly intrusive ad.


I'm also telling you so that you can make the choice to support me, my writing, my recipes, and my contribution to the internet by making Amazon purchases through my links. There's this unwritten feeling that bloggers shouldn't ask for money. But I'm asking - if you like what you read, if you come here to find inspiration and ideas, if one of my recipes has gone into your regular rotation - please support my work without spending an extra cent. If November is the start of the holiday season, it's also the start of the buying season, and so I'm asking you to think about making your dollars go further.

Gingerbread Ice Cream

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Weekend Reading

Fall's Petals

Good morning, and happy Sunday, folks. This week I've noticed a distinct shift toward all things fall, winter, and holiday related. The weather has been part of it (it's cold, and because of Daylight Savings, it gets dark early), as has retail (so much red+green), and I think people are turning en masse to Thanksgiving and beyond. This is not news, and I've mentioned it before, but I find it interesting that there's such a giant cultural shift in the beginning of November, and even if we aren't ready for Christmas, or even Thanksgiving, it's like swimming upstream against all of America.

Anyway, I have a relatively short list of links this week. Do you have anything to add?

For such a forward-looking company, Twitter is behind (though not as much as I'd like to think)

Trying to plan Thanksgiving? The Kitchn has you covered

The anatomy of a compliment

Sad & unsurprising - fast-food experts analyze 5,427 kids' meals and only 33 are healthful. Why should this matter? Well, for one, 33% of kids and 41% of teens eat fast-food every day

It's not vegan, but it is gluten free - Marisa's Maple Sweetened Banana Oat Cake. It should be simple enough to swap out the butter for oil to make it dairy free as well

Looking for more good reads? Check out all my other Weekend Reading posts here

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Choose Joy - free printable

I know that any saying with "joy" in it is typically a Christmas treat, but, really, who doesn't need joy the rest of the year? These cute Choose Joy free printables from Lost Bumblebee come in a few colors, and she's even made one that's the right size for your Facebook cover photo, if you're so inclined.

This week at work has been...hard, I guess, but mainly quite busy. I had to make up work/clean up the chaos from being gone for a week, and the holidays are out in full force in the retail world, so the days have been packed. I've left late every afternoon, and I never get everything crossed off my list. The good thing about being busy is that I can pretty much stay in my own little bubble and not get too annoyed by other personalities. Mostly.

So, on this Friday, I'm choosing joy. How about you?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Pumpkin Chili - vegan & gluten free

gluten free Pumpkin Chili {recipe}

I'm sorry I'm such a tease.

I posted on Instagram and then mentioned last week that I made a new kind of chili, and I'm just now telling you about it. Can we still be friends? Yes, you know what it's like to go on vacation staycation and have it somehow disappear much faster than you can understand, and certainly faster than you'd like, and just not get everything done that you'd like to?

oh good, I'm so glad that happens to other people.

gluten free & vegan Pumpkin Chili, from above

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Weekend Reading

Vacation, Day 4

How is it the weekend already? And why does time fly when I'm on vacation? Not ok. What are you up to? What have you been reading?

Onward to links!

Well, this is gross. A new study found 12% of spices imported to the U.S. are contaminated. Once you've digested that, you can read a conversation with a spice buyer about what McCormick and Company is doing about it.

This isn't the newest news, but a study validates the link between BPA and childhood obesity in girls.

Did you know it matters which direction a dog's tail is wagging? I didn't, but apparently it matters a great deal to dogs.

Want more friends? Try courting some. It's the smart way to make more of them.

Whether you're lazy (ahem, Mr OT), taking part in Movember, or still holding onto your playoff beard, you might be interested to learn which days of beard growth are most attractive (or unattractive).

Trying to organize your food-home life? Try this free, printable, bi-weekly menu planner from Northwest Edible.

Now that it's after Halloween, I guess I can admit that The Holidays are right around the corner. Real Simple has tips to make hosting parties easier and less stressful.

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that there's a movement to rid M&M's of artificial colors. Well, Kraft has announced it's going to be phasing out that artificial neon glow in some of it's mac & cheese products. baby steps.

Marissa of Food in Jars is inspiring me to rethink leaving canning rings on jars. She says you should absolutely take them off.

David Sedaris' piece about his sister's suicide.

Until this week, I had not heard the name Joss Whedon, but he's totally my favorite person of the week.  Maybe you're cooler than I and know all about him, but regardless, check out this speech he gave back in 2006 detailing the many smart answers he's given one dumb question he's endlessly asked.

Ever feel upset, intimidated, daunted, _____ by the women you see in magazines? Check out this crazy photoshopping.

Are you a mom? You're probably doing a much better job than you think you are. Just listen to these kids.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Cranberry Hazelnut Quick Bread - vegan

Vegan Cranberry Hazelnut Quick Bread
Mom, this bread is for you.

As I mentioned on Sunday, this week I'm on vacation from work, but entertaining full time at home. We had a great dinner last night with our friend (pumpkin chili recipe coming soon to a Short & Sweets near you), followed by a slice of this bread (it was fresh! we had to try!) and maybe a brownie or two. oh, and some raspberries. It was a feast.

Cranberry Hazelnut Quick Bread

Now that I've recovered from our group gluttony dinner party, I can fully appreciate this easy bread. I pinned the inspiration for this quick bread recipe, oh, a year ago. And I'm just now getting to it. What was I thinking? It's easy, comes together in a snap, and I bet you have all the ingredients on hand. If you're like me and have a seasonal food hoarding problem, you might even have a bag of cranberries from last fall stashed in your freezer that you should really finish off before you buy this year's cranberries to stash in your freezer. ahem.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Weekend Reading

Snickerdoodle Muffins

Good morning (to those on the west coast), and happy Sunday to all! I don't know about you, but I have a lot to look forward to this week. Starting on Tuesday, I'll be off from work for a week. And I'm not going anywhere this time. Three cheers for staycations! We have a far-away friend visiting from Paris via Hawaii (I know, tough life, eh?), and my parents get here later in the week, just in time for my dad's birthday.  I have a birthday cake idea floating around my head, but I'm going to keep it there for now, so as not to jinx it. What's going on with you?

This week's interesting reads are below. What has caught your eye this week?

The best Miss America pageant ever. No, seriously.

Being religiously conservative and feminist.

Deb is a genius. Slab apple pie.

Whole wheat pumpkin pancakes look pretty amazing.

A really interesting article about selfies (a real, dictionary-approved word now, BTW) from the New York Times

Researchers tackled the age old question, "Does bacon really make everything better?" and, predictably, came up with some answers and some much tastier sounding alternatives

The case for reviving home ec.

Will someone not scared of frying things please make these for me? I would be your friend for life.

It's the last week of October, which means my October Favorites will be retired soon. See them while you still can!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Snickerdoodle Muffins - vegan

Snickerdoodle Muffins

Oh, these muffins.

I've had this idea floating around in my head for a couple of weeks for snickerdoodle muffins. It seemed like a delicious and not overly complicated idea. Unfortunately, my first attempt over the weekend didn't turn out so well. I adapted a plain muffin recipe from a food writer I trust (I'm looking at you, Bittman), but it, well, sucked. Most of the batch went into the compost bin, which is something I almost never do.

So I went back to the beginning, thought what I didn't like about the batter (tough, dry, blegh), tried to fix it (more liquids), put the muffin tin in the oven, and crossed my fingers.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Linens 'n Things

linen basket + tag

I had grand muffin plans for today, but, well, they flopped. Hopefully, I'll figure it out and have them for you later this week.

Anyway, I've got a quick update for you today in the super exciting field of (wait for it) linen organization. One of my major accomplishments this weekend was getting rid of a bunch of boxes, clearing out, and organizing our linens/laundry area. Exciting stuff I tell you.

We have an IKEA Expedit shelf that we hadn't found a spot for. In it's last incarnation, it held my cookbooks, but that doesn't work in the new place. However (and here's the really exciting part), it does fit in the closet next to the washing machine, and it slid right under the existing clothes rod. Score. We also have some extra baskets from our old tv stand, and because IKEA has it's awesome moments, they fit in many of their furniture's cubbies. Double score.

new shelf

So, to make a (not very) long story short, former bookshelf+old baskets=new laundry "room" storage. And really, the point of this post is not how putting sheets in baskets that fit into cubbies seems like it might keep dust and dog hair off them, but rather that I took the five minutes to label said baskets. My reasons were threefold:
  1. So I rember where things go
  2. So maybe Mr Official Taster will see the tags before yelling up to me "where are the sheets?"
  3. So if we have any guests looking for a clean pillowcase or towel, there are clues
linen tags

I was going to use old paint chips, but then I realized they wouldn't be pretty on both sides, so I just used some colored scrap paper, traced circles with a shot glass (I'm classy like that), cut them out, hole punched them, wrote on them, and finally used a piece of ribbon to secure each tag. 

So there you go. A five-minute, free, and painless little update that makes the closet feel more organized. What did you do this weekend?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Weekend Reading

the yeast speaks
Happy Sunday, all! This weekend, Mr Official Taster are still chugging along on getting all the way moved in/organizing/hanging artwork push before my parents arrive next week. There will for sure be some last minute cleaning and picking up the day before (or, really, probably the day of), but we're trying hard to make major progress before the last minute. What are you up to this weekend?

This weekend's list of articles & recipes that caught my eye this week:

It's art, and maybe October appropriate scary-art: factory farms from above 

This Asian Noodle Salad looks like a pretty yummy packed lunch idea.

There's a petition going around asking Mars to remove artificial dyes from M&Ms. They've already done so in other markets, so why not here?

Smart. Smart. Smart. Lily Myers "Shrinking Women" is a must-watch that touches on so many important issues that I can't begin to name them all here, but respect of oneself is pretty high on the list. Go watch this. Now.

mmmmm...Maple Banana Coffee Cake

Are you looking to teach your partner to cook so you can take a nap on the couch? Or maybe you have a teen who's ready to learn? Here's a smart article about doing so.

See? Librarians are cool!

This Pumpkin Spice Syrup looks amazeballs

More research showing just how important sleep is to the health of your brain. Sleep seems to actually remove toxins.

It's apple season! How about Spiced Apple Pie Filling or an Apple Cider & Ginger Beer Cocktail?

What have you been interneting?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Spinach and Tomato Quiche - vegetarian & dairy free, or not

Spinach, Feta, and Tomato Quiche - vegetarian

There are days when you want to do something fancy and there are days when you get take out and there are days when you just want to get a dinner on the table that didn't come from a box. This is one of the latter. It's like my risotto, baked barley, red pepper sauce, and pot pie in that the recipe invites you to make it yours.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Weekend Reading

Happy weekend! Today is Mr Official Taster's birthday, and we're celebrating with his favorite pizza. And a pcake. So really, pie with a pie with a cake. What are you up to?

Without further ado, here's what caught my eye this week:

Perfectly fall, gluten free Pumpkin Oat Pancakes

A creative dad's take on family photos

If you're a blogger, Pinch of Yum has an interesting series about growing their blog.

A slightly snarky take on National Coming Out Day. There's some graphic language; if that bothers you, consider this fair warning.

Fall canning suggestions from Marisa of Food in Jars

A roundup of feminist books

Tasty-seeming homemade veggie stock powder

And finally, a complete guide to homemade flavored liquors. Take some of these suggestions and have your holiday gift shopping done!

Of course, you can see more stuff I like by following me on Pinterest. Sidenote: why hasn't "Pinterest" been added to dictionaries yet? Come on, internet spell-check, catch up!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Bourbon Pumpkin Muffins - vegan

Bourbon Pumpkin Muffins

I hope you're not over pumpkins yet.

I know, I know, this is the third pumpkiny recipe in a row here, and for that, I sort of apologize. If you need some balance in your life, I did recently give you a salad, and before that, granola, both of which are quite healthy and a good antidote to overindulgence. (by the way, have you tried the granola yet? as part of my plan to convert everyone I know to homemade-granola-makers, you really should)

But I don't apologize all of the way, because when, if not in October, are you going to overindulge in pumpkin anyway? September's not the season quite yet, and November is Thanksgiving focused, so that leaves (pun intended) October as The Time of Pumpkin. I'm keeping you trendy. You're welcome.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies - vegan

Chewy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies - vegan

In between catching up on Reacher and How I Met Your Mother (Netflix finally got some new episodes!), finishing off another Pride & Prejudice spin off, and sleeping, I also made these cookies this weekend. At one point Mr Official Taster asked what I was up to, and I mentioned that I was debating between making pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and doing something productive around the house (sorry, bad storyteller that I am, I forget what) and he immediately voted for cookies. Smart man.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Weekend Reading

all tucked in

Good afternoon! I hope you're having a good/fun/relaxing/productive/happy/rejevenating/what-you-need weekend. Yesterday I took a good long afternoon nap in my dark bedroom and then slept another twelve hours last night. Apparently, I was tired. I'm a bit slow out of the gate today, but I've still got some interesting reading for you. What are you up to?

Can Millet Take On Quinoa? First, It'll Need A Makeover  Is millet the next big thing?

A good comparative photo essay of what a week of groceries looks like in different countries. The spectrum is pretty amazing.

Name changing in the digital age can be daunting. I'm glad I didn't try. 

Speaking of women online, Lauren Mayberry has things to say.

I have never heard of Greentoe before now, and I haven't tried it, but it's certainly intriguing.

How fresh is your olive oil? Apparently, that matters if you want the health benefits. 

Now that it's October (and therefore unofficial pumpkin-everything month), this Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Bourbon Whipped Cream makes my mouth water.

I like everything about the Raisin Walnut Pumpernickel Bread, except the raisins and the walnuts.

Finally, a little cuteness

Friday, October 4, 2013

Sweet Happy Birthday Card - free printable

Happy Friday! Today I'm sending you over to How About Orange for this sweet birthday card. Jessica is a designer, and I've linked to her stuff before because it's always good. Plus, it's October, which means it's my dad's birthday later this month, and he's a fan of donuts (really, who isn't?), so it seems extra appropriate.

Do you have any weekend plans? Projects to conquer? Crafting? Sleeping? Partying? Watching that awesome local sports team? I'll be at work on Saturday, but then it's officially my weekend. I'm actually not totally sure what I'm going to do with myself. It's the first weekend in a long while that we don't have a place to be or people to see. Mr Official Taster will continue to work on his fish tank situation (are vague references to fish tanks something that people would like followed up with photos? or do you not care much?), and I suspect I'll do some couching/reading and maybe start thinking about this year's birthday dessert for Mr OT.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Pumpkin Gingerbread Squares - vegan

Pumpkin Gingerbread Bars - vegan

Hello friends, and welcome to October. Are you as surprised to be here as I am? Whew, September just flew.

There's an internal switch, I'm convinced, that flips back and forth between summer and fall during September and towards the end of the month eventually makes up its mind and sticks with fall. September is just one of those months with multiple personality disorder. Visually, it's obvious on sites like Pinterest or Tastespotting; recipes run the gamut from raspberry jam to pumpkin cheesecake to zucchini pasta to hearty chili. My blog stats tell me the same- my top five most visited recipes last month were:
  1. Peach Crisp
  2. Raspberry Coconut Bread
  3. Pumpkin Spice Cookies
  4. Baked Steel Cut Oats
  5. Pumpkin & Spice Overnight Oatmeal
I'm glad no one else can figure out what season it is either.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Sapphire Sparkle

blue bedroom

Such a great paint name. Sadly, no, there are no actual sparkles in the paint.

I know these pictures are overdue, but these things happen. Our bedroom only gets natural light in the morning, which makes it a bit challenging to photograph since a) I'm usually at work before the sun rises and b) it's often cloudy in the mornings here. On the plus side, it makes the room good for afternoon naps.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Weekend Reading

l'll have another bath, please

I should probably change the title of this post to Monday-morning-at-work-before-you're-ready-for-work Reading, but that doesn't quite roll off the tongue, does it? Besides, it's still the weekend! This was a weird week at Chez Sweets. We got home from an epic trip, my work schedule was all sorts of wonky, the delicate flower of a dog, Roomba, is still getting over being sick, and we have bunches of friends in town this weekend. Last night we had a few over for a dinner of barley risotto, salad, watermelon, and a yet-to-be-announced dessert.

Anywho, I hope you all had the weekend you wanted. Here's what I've found this week. What about you?

Is it fall where you are? Cardamom-Spiced Apple Butter sounds like a delicious way to celebrate

oh, sigh. Barilla pasta should be beyond embarrassed, and I won't be buying their products. It's 2013, people!

Erica over at Northwest Edible Life is giving away a stack of 6 books. Enter to win!

mmmmm...grape juice.

Karin's Lonely Places, which I accidentally found via google+ the other day. I really love this piece, but, full disclosure, she's my cousin. More full disclosure: if I didn't like it I wouldn't tell you about it. Even more full disclosure: she didn't know anyone could see it! Welcome to the interwebs, Karin

I don't have an occasion in mind for Raspberry Cordial, but I love the story behind it.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

To Do List - free printable

It's getting to be that time of year when schedules collide, entire months pass in a busy haze, and the to-dos can start to become overwhelming. Then there's the looming specter of The Holidays. Normal people may not feel it yet, but it's peering over my shoulder at work and I can feel it also in the blog part of my brain.

In any case, whether you're normal or not (ha!), I came across this free printable To Do Life List via Pinterest (where else?) and it struck me as a super useful one. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Breakfast Salad - gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian

Breakfast Salad

Hi all- I'm back again. For those of you who don't follow along on Instagram or Facebook, Mr Official Taster and I went on a pretty epic trip. One Phillies game. Two weddings. Three flights. Nine States. Ten days. Seven beds to rest our weary heads. 

Let me be clear: it was fun and I'm so glad we went. The weddings were lovely, the flights uneventful. We visited with so many people, some of whom we hadn't seen in years and years and years. But, boy, were we glad to get home to stinky puppies, piles of mail, laundry for days, and our own kitchen where we could make instead of buy food and snack when we felt like it. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Black & White Kitchen Art - free printable

hello, friends. It has been a crazy week (or two. or three) here at Chez Sweets- what about you? Today's short and sweet post is me pointing you towards Lost Bumblebee's black and white free printables for your kitchen (or if you're lucky and it's another room) and pantry. She's got a bunch to choose from and links to get them in fun colors if you're looking for a pop of happy.

I hope you have a fantastic weekend!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Weekend Reading

a beautiful bowl & the makings of granola
Maple Granola in the making

Happy Sunday, friends! I hope you're having the weekend you want, whether it's lucrative, organizational, relaxing, productive, book-filled, and/or inspiring. Yesterday after work I (finally) finished painting the bedroom, and I'm hoping to share pictures later this week. Even though it took longer than anticipated and was more of a pain in the neck than I planned, I'm happy with how it turned out. What are you up to?

As always, please share what you've found interesting this week!

Researchers out to promote healthier eating habits are using gentle cues, like strategically placed mirrors, to steer shoppers toward fruits and vegetables. And you know what? Mirrors aimed at people's guts help them aim towards the healthy stuff. Interesting article about too much and too little.

Hot summer days often mean air pollution warnings in big cities. But the air inside your kitchen can sometimes be just as harmful. I had no idea! Note to self: use fan over stove.

Um, this is brilliant and looks so fun. I remember an intense game of Jenga among my friends almost exactly 2 years ago...

I don't really like apple pie (I know, I know), but this is such a cute take on it, I couldn't resist

Finally, I was trying to explain this idea to my mom last week, but a picture's worth a thousand words, right?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Medium-Big Cluster Maple Granola - gluten free & dairy free

Medium Cluster Maple Granola

I've never been what anyone would call a "trend-setter." I couldn't tell you what this year's New Black is, though I do happen to know the Pantone color of the year. I wear heels as few times per year as possible, and I blow dry my hair even less often. I don't own anything ombre. I refuse to make Instagram videos, and the rugs at Chez Sweets tend to fall into the washable-because-we-have-dogs-who-vomit category rather than the chic-and-trendy one.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Weekend Reading

Aggressive Cuddling

Good morning, and happy Labor Day Weekend! I hope you, too, have some aggressive cuddling in your future. It does a body good- pass it on.

You all are probably way ahead of me here, but have you watched Sherlock at all? It is good. And each episode is a whopping hour and a half, so it feels really full and juicy. I started watching it on Netflix this week, and I know I'm going to be super sad when I get to the end of their inventory. Have you come across any good tv lately?

Anyway, onto links:
Mark Bittman on how to make jam and that not all industrial food is evil. That second one feels like it ends kinda soon, but still worth a read.

Canning inspiration from Northwest Edible Life's Can-o-rama 2013. Holy. Smokes.

Salmonella in spices? oh dear.

Looking for some new Pinspiration? The Kitchn suggests 13 boards you should follow for mouthwatering food and drink. Of course, I'm partial to mine

From The Huffington Post a list of 9 ingredients to add a boost of nutrition to your next meal

For the smartphone addicts, a short film you must watch. And then put your phone away for the weekend.

An interesting look at fertility and infertility in Africa from PRI's The World

An easy way to do some good and help low income folks eat better with a text.

Finally, here's what looks super yummy to me right now:
--Butterscotch Pudding Popsicles
--Caprese Mac 'n Cheese
--Fig, Brie, and Caramelized Onion Pizza
--Homemade Kahlua
--Small Batch Cinnamon Rolls

Anything you want to share with the class?

Friday, August 30, 2013

Framable Quote - free printable

Happy Friday! I hope you have had a good week and are looking forward to a long weekend. For those who do not get an extra day off (me included!), I hope you make the most of what you do get. I'm thinking about tackling one of our many house projects. Here's a clue! Mr Official Taster bought a saw last tonight so that he can start building a fish tank stand. Not going to lie- I'm a little nervous about how that's going to go. He's made one successfully before, but there was a lot of help from our old neighbor. Hopefully he learned all he needed to last time! I have no doubt that a lot of cursing will be involved, no matter what.

I will be back tomorrow with another installment of weekend reading, but in the meantime, I thought I'd share this free printable. I like both the quote and that you get a choice of design. I don't know about you, but after a long week, I often have to try especially to be kind.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Raspberry Coconut Bread, or is it Cake? - vegan, or not

Raspberry Coconut Bread, vegan or not

Friends, I have a problem. I can't decide what to call this sweet, delicate, summery thing I'm eating. On the one hand, it's a quick bread, totally appropriate for toast and a pat of butter (or perhaps this new coconut spread? I sampled it, and it was delicious. And, no, not sponsored, just my own two cents). On the other hand, I'm sitting here, feeding myself with a fork between sentences. Who eats bread with a fork? Not me. sigh #firstworldproblems

Monday, August 26, 2013

New Kitchen, New Knobs

kitchen, before

A month ago, Mr Official Taster and I got keys to our very own home, and then we moved in over the following week or so. Needless to say, the past couple of months have been rather hectic and task-filled. I'm not complaining! No, if anything I am more grateful every day to come home to a place I already love. I know it's only going to get better.

so much brass

As with any new place, we have a running list of things to do, to fix, to paint, to change, to replace, etc. Some of the things on the list won't be happening anytime soon, some will happen over a weekend (painting!), and some are quick, cheap, and can really happen whenever we decide. Our first couple projects fell in the last category.
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