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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Lemon Chicky Salad

I have made this chicken salad twice in the last week, and am still not tired of it. It's a simple recipe with classy touches.

Lemon Chicky Salad

3 chicken breasts, cooked
1/2 medium onion, minced
2/3 c. dried cranberries
1/2 c. pecans, chopped
2 tsp. grated lemon rind
2 T. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. minced lemon basil
1 c. mayonnaise (olive oil based)
salt and pepper

Shred or cube cooked chicken, set aside. Combine remaining ingredients, mix well. Add chicken, salt and pepper to taste. The lemon flavor really comes through, but is softened perfectly when paired with croissants and baby arugula.

(I used lemon basil since I have a monster bush of it in my garden, but if you can't find it, substitute 1- 1 1/2 tsp of regular basil.)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

ICP Featured Artist: canoo

We have finally gotten to the point where we have confirmed artisans for Indie Craft Parade! The jurying is complete, all applicants have been notified, and those that were accepted are confirming their reservations.

Let me tell you, we have an amazing line-up of artisans and crafters. This event is going to kick some serious patootie! I wanted to give you a sneak peak at some of the gorgeous work you're going to see in the fall, so from now until Indie Craft Parade is held, I'll be featuring some of my personal favorites, one post a week. I could honestly post about each and every single artist, as they are fabulous, but then when would I find time to blog about chicken salad? (tomorrow)

First to be featured: canoo!

Monsters! Are you in love with them yet? canoo is run by the delightful Krista, who, according to her Etsy profile, "is a worrisome monster who, at the age of 37, still can't figure out how to put on deodorant without getting it all over her shirt." All monsters are hand-crafted from upcycled wool sweaters and other salvaged stuff. I've gotten to see her work in person, and everything is extremely well made and perfectly done.

Take a peek at her shop, and save your pennies for Indie Craft Parade!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Weekend Glimpse

What a full weekend, flowing into a full Monday. I literally sent emails for about 5 hours today.

We held the long-awaited jurying of Indie Craft Parade applications on Saturday... nearly 300 applications! I was so glad to pass off the picking and choosing to the jury, there were so many wonderful applications and just not enough room for them all. I brought my camera, and fully intended to takes some pictures, but got so wrapped up in my duties that I completely forgot until it was all over. So just pretend that there's a lovely picture of them right here, complete with a lively discussion of the merits of one applicant over another.

After a this, I went home and took a short nap, as I had basically pulled an all-nighter from before. I was awakened to the suggestion of a dip in a friend's pool, which was perfect.

Annie, Marshall, and Cory chilling in the pool.

Friday was our 4 year wedding anniversary, and Cory surprised me 
with this vase after I mentioned a longing for it.  
Too sweet!

Not pictured:
- a lovely dinner out
- Toy Story 3! Again!
- a momentary melt-down when it appeared that I may have lost all the ICP applications (I hadn't)
- Chinese food with Cory's grandparents
- trying to tactfully word emails

Friday, June 25, 2010

Oreo Truffles (and other treats too)

I've a treat for you today, a guest post by my friend Michelle! She's here to share her secret recipe for Oreo Truffles.

But first, a look at some of the other goodies from the surprise party...

I made these sweet pink cookies using this set from Williams-Snoma. The messages said things like "Birthday Girl" "Heather Rocks" and "Yay for Thirty"... and to make them even better, I sandwiched these babies with some sour cream chocolate frosting. YUM.

These cupcakes. Oh, these cupcakes. Let me just say that I basically never buy baked goods, I can usually make it better and cheaper myself. But I cannot make cupcakes this good. These little bites of heaven are made by FiggyWhigs, and once you taste one you will never look back. My absolute favorite variety is their Strawberries and Cream, and Red Velvet is a close runner up. Amazing how these flavors just happened to work with my color scheme!

Look at those glorious strawberries! Michelle dipped and drizzled these beauties, and we gobbled them right up. It didn't hurt that she managed to find some of the largest strawberries in the universe!

These baby BLT's were a smashing success, every single one was snatched up. Michelle put these together using baguette, roma tomatoes, romaine lettuce, thick and crispy bacon, and this amazing mayonnaise. Make it. You will not be sorry.

And now, for the reason we are gathered here... Oreo Truffles! Take it away, Michelle!

These Oreo Truffles are supposed to turn out a tad bit smaller and not the size of golf balls... the ones for the party ended up gigantic. Funny thing, no one complained!

Oreo Truffles

1 package of Oreos (not the double stuffed...even though it's tempting)
1 (8 ounce) package of cream cheese, softened
2 (8 ounce) packages of Baker's semi-sweet baking chocolate (or almond bark candy coating)

Take out 9 cookies from your pack of Oreos, crush, and set aside for later. Now it's time to crush the remaining cookies into small crumbs. You can do this by using a food processor, putting the cookies in a plastic resealable bag and crushing with a rolling pin, or (my favorite way) putting in a plastic resealable bag and pounding with a meat hammer/tenderizer until all of the cookies are squashed into fine crumb.

Place the crumbs in a medium, add the softened cream cheese, and mix until blended. Okay, here's the sticky part; you need to roll the mixture into 1 inch balls and place them on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Once you have rolled them all, place the cookie sheet in the freezer for 15 minutes so that they can chill.  Meanwhile, you can melt the chocolate. Use your preferred method, either on the stove top or in the microwave. If your chocolate seems too thick, you can thin it with a tablespoon of shortening.

After you have melted the chocolate, dip the chilled balls in the chocolate using a spoon or two to roll them around. (I used white chocolate with a couple of red food coloring drops for the pink Oreo truffles). Let excess chocolate drip off, then set to dry on waxed paper. If you want, you can now sprinkle them with the set aside cookie crumbs or let dry then drizzle with extra chocolate. Refrigerate until they are firm, and eat up! Erin found cute gold mini-cupcake liners to put them in, I bet you can too!

Yield: 42 one inch truffles

Thanks, Michelle! Isn't she just wonderful?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Chocolate Mousse

I wanted to serve something rich and elegant for the surprise party, and immediately a chocolate mousse came to mind. The only difficulty I ran into is that a lot of mousse recipes contain raw eggs, which is not something my pregnant friend is supposed to consume. So I dug around until I found a suitable recipe, though of course I couldn't resist altering it a bit.

Chocolate Mousse

3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup whipping cream

2 oz. softened cream cheese
3 tablespoons sugar

In a double-boiler, melt chocolate chips over simmering water; stir until smooth. Stir a small amount of hot chocolate into the egg yolks; return all to the pan, stirring constantly. Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla. Cool, stirring several times. 
In a mixing bowl, beat whipping cream until it begins to thicken. Add sugar; beat until soft peaks form. Beat in softened cream cheese. Fold in cooled chocolate mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Yield: 4-6 servings 
(recipe adapted from here)

Mousse photo by Olivia Griffin

I chilled my mousse overnight, then piped it into small serving glasses. If you're doing mini-portions, as I was, it'll serve 10-12. I sprinkled the mousse with gold sanding sugar (so pretty).

I also garnished it with some chocolate curls, using Pioneer Woman's tutorial. For the most part, it was very easy, except that my chocolate seemed to soften way too quick, so I had to do a small section at a time, then re-chill the chocolate.

Annie has posted her photos from the party! Here are a few of my favorites:

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Berries + Brie

This is a tasty little appetizer I threw together for the surprise party... mini tartlets of blackberries and brie! They turned out so cute and tasty too.

Berries + Brie

1 package frozen puff pastry
6 oz. Brie
1/3 c. blackberry jam

Thaw puff pastry according to package directions. Remove one sheet, wrap up the remaining sheet and stick back in the freezer (use it to make chicken pot pie, apple dumplings, or more berry tarts!). Place the thawed puff pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface (I use parchment paper). Roll it out a bit thinner, you want it to increase in size by 30%-50%. Using a round cookie cutter, cut out circles that are large enough to use in your muffin pan (I stretched my circles slightly to get them just the right size). Place dough circles in greased muffin pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 5-7 minutes, just until pastry puffs up. Meanwhile, cut the brie into small chunks. Once the pastry is pre-baked, remove from oven. Using a spoon, gently push the pastry back into shape and form an indentation in the center. Put a few chunks of brie in the center of each pastry, top with a small dollop of jam. Bake for another 5-7 minutes, or until brie is melty and the pastry edges turn golden brown. Cool for 1 minute, then run a sharp knife around the edge of each tartlet. Remove from pan, cool on a wire rack. Serve warm if possible.
Yield: makes 2 dozen (mini-muffin pan) or 1 dozen (regular muffin pan)

- Use whatever kind of jam you want! I actually made a compote using fresh wild blackberries, but this would be great with raspberry, peach, apricot... or throw in some pecans and drizzle with honey!

- I wasn't able to serve them warm, and they still tasted great.


The marvelous Mollie Greene has posted her lovely pictures from the party! Check them out here.

These are a few of my favorites:

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Surprise Party

One of my very best friends is turning 30. Her name is Heather, she's wonderful, and she's also beautifully pregnant. I wanted her birthday to be special and to celebrate her, so I planned a little surprise party for her and just our close friends.

The party color theme was pink and gold, and everything from the decor to the food to the invitations coordinated. I held the party at a local art gallery, White Whale... it was the perfect setting for a night of girly fun!

The marvelous flowers were arranged by Annie, of course. Here's some of the food (recipes to come)... I used some vintage china, gold trays, and an antique gold mirror to display it.

Here's the gold pendant garland that Annie and I made, along with some large tissue poufs and a small pouf garland. The beverages played along with the color theme: IBC cream soda (gold), Pomegranate Izze (bright pink), and Sparkling Strawberry Punch (light pink).

See those expensive looking gold vases? I spent $4 at a thrift store, brought them home, cleaned them up, gave them a few coats of metallic gold spray paint, and voila!

 Here's my lovely co-host, Michelle. I couldn't have put this all together without her... she helped with the decorations, the food, and keeping me calm. She deserves her own party.

The wall you see above was our photo wall... I hired a photographer, Olivia Griffin, to come and do a photo shoot with us, and we used this area as the backdrop. Olivia is as sweet as she is talented, and I can't wait to see her images! I'll be sure to share them with you all.

Here's the guest of honor recovering from the surprise. We all shouted "surprise!" when she walked through the door, and she stood there looking blankly at us... "Surprise what?" she said. I reminded her that it was her birthday. "Oh yeah!"

Heather and her sister Kelly, playing around with the chalkboard.

Sad story here. You'll recall she is turning 30, not 3.

I ordered these gorgeous balloons off eBay weeks ago, and planned the entire party around them. How cute for decor, how sweet they'd look in photos... but it was not meant to be. I had the balloons filled at my local grocery store, an esteemed, high-quality business that shall remain nameless so that I don't get sued for libel. I got the balloons home just fine. I got them back in the car and to the party location just fine. I bring the 3 inside. I go to get the 0, and am walking up to the door, clutching tightly to the string when all of a sudden the balloon slips off the string and is gone before I realize it. I look up just in time to see it hit the power lines as the string softly falls to the ground. I stood there in disbelief. I wanted to cry but I didn't have time. I wanted to do terrible things to the girl at the grocery store who did not know how to tie a knot, but I didn't have time for that either and I didn't want to go to jail.

HOW HARD IS IT TO TIE A KNOT?????? Isn't this a basic life skill that people learn when they are toddlers???

I have dealt with this. It didn't ruin the party. (My mother tells me it probably happened because I was proud... and she is probably right... but it was an awesome party!)

The worst part was walking in, dragging the empty string, and seeing that 3 waiting so expectantly. I didn't have the heart to tell it what happened.

A good time was had by all.

Stay tuned for some killer recipes this week!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Weekend Glimpse

I can't believe I missed posting yesterday! That was the first day I missed since I started blogging. I was throwing a surprise party, and got so crazy that my post never made it.

I'm post-dating it so I can pretend it didn't happen.

Annie and I made a garland out of a vintage gold lame ("la-may") tablecloth. 
It was fabulous.

Sugar cookie dough. 
Pink, of course.

A little spray painting project in progress.

Not pictured:
- A flood of Indie Craft Parade applications. Seriously, we were overwhelmed by the outpouring of support. So many good ones! I am glad the decision is not up to me, how could I say no?
- Making lots of lovely decorations for the party. Think pink and gold.
- No sleep. I have been running on an average of 4-5 hours a night for about a month now. I'm not making that number up... will crash shortly. I have figured out when I can finally get some rest: November. 

 P.S. Pictures of said party to come shortly!

P.P.S. As I was attempting to tidy my kitchen tonight, I was watching America's Got Talent. Those people are crazy! The guy who pulled string out of his stomach? Writhing in horror. Then the sweet epileptic kid with the kite? Tears.

Friday, June 18, 2010


Here's a few items that have caught my eye recently...

I'm wishing for mad calligraphy skills, 
or at least a reason to use a place setting as lovely as this!

 This scrumptious chair has been making the rounds,
and I've been in love with it since the beginning.
Grasshopper Chair by Tectona, $398

Every Ink + Wit design steals my heart, and this foxy tea towel is no exception.
Foxy Friends by Ink + Wit, $20

This sweet vase is longing for my windowsill, I just know it.
Barnacle Cluster Vase by Urban Outfitters, $16

That's it for me, enjoy your weekend!

P.S. We are extending the deadline for Indie Craft Parade applications until Sunday, June 20. This is for all you procrastinators! Actually, we realized that we weren't going to be working them over until Monday, so we figured we'd give you all the weekend too. So if you or someone you know has been dragging their heels about applying, here's your chance!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

New Art from Annie

Exciting news! The world famous artist, Annie Koelle, has just finished a new series of work! Annie is known for her masterful painting skills, a wondrously delicate color palette, and her impeccable sense of style. Can the 80's be impeccable? Obviously.

And guess what... I know her! Am I lucky or what? 

So without further adieu, take a peek at these new treats!  
(click on the images to shop)

Amazing, huh? And the miniature paintings range from only $30-$60... at prices like that you have no exscuse not to snatch one or two up! Your walls will thank you.

Poke around Annie's shop, blog, and portfolio.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Before & After: My Office

I meant to show the living room before & after next, but that one has more pictures to edit and will require more time to write. And as time is something I am sorely lacking these days, you get to see my office instead.

Here is my office before...

Not horrifyingly ugly, just extremely bland. And ugly carpet. And ugly paint. And ugly window trim. And ugly valances.

Here's my office after...

Big surprise, I painted the walls gray! Shocking, I know. Though this shade has a nice tinge of green in it. As always, wood floors go a long way, and they make me happy. The curtains were made by my darling mother, and I love the sophistication they add. I found the fabric at an outlet near here for a sweet deal. It's hard to tell from the photo, but they are very tapestry-esque, and feature birds, deer, and foxes hidden among the flowering vines. The desk was a Craigslist find that I painted white. I'm going to cover the top with a patterned white paper, but just haven't had time yet. And it's difficult to see, but the cubbies in the desk are painted a mustard gold. The chair was an involved reupholstery project that I will eventually post about. (FYI, I don't actually sit in this chair all day. But it looks way cuter in the photo than my normal desk chair.)

There's actually a lot more to my office than this, but it's trashed right now, so you can't see it. And I have to finish painting the bookcase first. (I did the first coat a year ago.)

I think I need an intern.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


I know I already mentioned the new Lonny mag, but I have to gush about it again. I think this issue might be my favorite! I keep going back and staring wistfully at it all. So wishing they bring this to print someday soon, I'm a purist when it comes to reading magazines.

Here's a few of the images I keep coming back to...

all images via Lonny, June/July 2010 issue 
 I'll take it, thank you very much.