Archive for January, 2012

Favorite Shots: #weallpicksometimes

I like little kids for their littleness. They dance in the streets. They pick their noses. And 75 percent of the time everyone else misses it unless they are looking down.

Also, this dancer was approximately 10 years old.

Walking it out (lame version),


P.S. I have discovered a new obsession with hashtags. A well-placed hashtag makes everything funnier. It’s the punchline to a good tweet. Heaven knows I am rueing the day that social media pop culture has influenced my life so much, but I suppose I cannot remain aloof forever. #wearetheborg

Pipe Dream #17: To Live With Flowers, Revisited

Easily one of my favorite things about living in England is that the grass stays green all year round. It is so heartening. I purposely scheduled this post for the middle of January so that if anyone is feeling a little bit of SAD kicking in, they can have a boost. I took these shots in the middle of October, and the grounds had beautiful flowers well into November. Craziness! Enjoy these.  :]  A belated Christmas present from me to you.

I wish Christmas was all year round, minus the snow, plus the flowers,


Pipe Dream #79: To Be Gellin’ – Crabapple Jelly

So I told you already about the masterpiece wild grape jelly. But I’ve been holding out on you. There was another, equally as divine, equally as Amish-ish.

I picked five pounds of crabapples one autumn night. It was kind of a last-minute picking—the apples had just turned, and I was leaving the area in just two days. But staying up late to make it was so worth it.

In fact, it would have been worth it even if I had only got the above picture out of the deal. Because let’s face it, neither you nor I have ever seen a prettier picture of crabapples in a bucket.

Crabapples are pretty bitter on their own, but never you mind; I added a million grains of sugar to the jelly. I have ceased being offended by the amount of sugar that is in jelly because my mom told me that if you don’t add enough sugar, the jelly won’t gel (jell?) correctly. Me mum is smart.

I was actually significantly worried that this jelly wouldn’t turn out anyway. The recipe called for five pounds of apples and said that it would make 7 cups of juice. That was false. It made about 4 cups of juice. But I had an exhaustion-induced brain slip and ended up halving the sugar and pectin in the recipe. So there I was stirring away frantically for exactly one minute as the recipe says (whatever, no big deal if you go over by five seconds), when I realized I needed to add more sugar and pectin. It wasn’t the right time to add it, but I just threw it all in and prayed that things would work out.

And it did work out. I wasn’t expecting the jelly to be so red (I thought it would be more browny-yellow), but apparently it can range anywhere from deep red to coral. And it tastes like candy apples. So lovely. There were a ton more crabapples that I didn’t pick—even one tree would make gallons of jelly, so I’m sad I didn’t have time to make more.

Get thee picking! (You know, like 8 months from now. Sorry. I’ll be better.)

Gellin’ like Magellan,


Crabapple Jelly

Adapted from

5 pounds crabapples (or more if you want 7 cups of juice)


1 3/4 ounces dry pectin

9 cups sugar

Rinse the apples, and remove the stems and bad spots. Put the apples in a stock pot, add water until just covered, and cook until soft. Some recipes suggested crushing the apples with a potato masher to check for softness. I did it because I thought it would make the juice more potent, but that is kind of one of my unfounded theories.

Strain the apples and juicy water through a jelly bag to make 7 cups of juice. Some folks say let it strain for a couple of hours, others say overnight. I was foolish and tried to squeeze the apples so I didn’t have to wait for it to strain. This might account for the missing juice, and it definitely accounts for my scalded fingers.

Combine juice and pectin in a large kettle. Bring to a full boil over high heat, stirring constantly. When the mixture is at a full boil, stir in the sugar completely, and return to a full boil, stirring constantly. Boil for exactly one minute (or 65 seconds, or 55), still stirring.

Remove the pot from the heat and skim the foam from the surface of the juice, then pour into hot, sterilized jars. Seal and process the jars for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.


Favorite Shots: Click Of The Clocks

Doesn’t this picture just make you want to beam from happiness?

It does me.

To new beginnings,


Someone Got It Right: Rothenberg

On my little foray to Germany a few weeks ago, I visited Rothenberg, a beautifully preserved medieval city. It was all decked out for Christmas and looked exactly as you would expect a classic German town to look. I loved it. It inspired dreams of having a cute life, living in a cute, coral-colored house. I don’t know how I will feel about coral in 10 years, but right now, it sounds lovely.


I Got It Right: Caramel Pepper Bacon

What can I say about this except bacon? If caramel and pepper sounds like a weird flavor combination to you, please reconsider. It is excellent.

Additionally, this recipe is almost mess free (if you do better than I did and put aluminum foil under your bacon), and it makes a wonderful impression (if you do this better than I and use thick-cut nice bacon instead of fake turkey bacon). Perfect for the after New Year blues, but maybe not for the after New Year diet. Sorry.

It is perfect for those days, when all you want is a piece of toast and a whole lotta bacon. Which is what today is, because you’ve just read this.

Forever presumptuous,


Caramel Pepper Bacon

Adapted loosely from a recipe I saw at Craving Comfort

Lay the bacon on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, or on a wire rack in a baking sheet. I put mine straight on the baking sheet, which was a pain to clean later. Generously sprinkle first pepper, then dark brown sugar on the bacon. Place the baking sheet in a cold oven and set it to 400 degrees F. Bake for 12 minutes, then drain the fat from the pan. Return to the oven and continue baking until the bacon reaches desired crispness. I would check it about every three minutes or so.

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