January 31, 2013

Mother Nature is Making me Fat

I have been wanting to go for a good run all winter, but the weather seems to be fighting my will. 
Too cold, too snowy...blah, blah, blah. 
So last night I made the decision that I was going to run today, no matter what the weather left on my doorstep. 
Now, as I sit here looking out, and the wind is pushing the trees to the ground, this picture sums up how I feel. 
I'm going...even if it will be like running one step forward, two steps backward.
Magnus von Magnusan
The World's Strongest Cat.

January 30, 2013

Passing Storm

"Passing Storm"
Oil on Canvas (36x84)

This large work is another painting from my abstracted landscape series last year;
All of these paintings are symbolic of life, health and the passage of time.
This time last year was just the beginning of what was to become the largest storm our family faced, and now, more than ever, I am thankful for my mom, my husband, my baby, my brother and sister, and all of their extended families.
Let each year be more joyous than last. 

January 29, 2013

HaPpY BiRThDaY to YoU!!!

Happy Birthday Mama!
Now go play your Lexulous Hand,
Maybe I'll let you win this game...
Wink, wink

January 28, 2013

Vacation Fetches

I know that is freezing cold outside, and the last thing from our minds is wearing anything other than cozy sweaters, extra leggings and wool caps, but some of the best sales are on as retailers try to get rid of last years leftovers. 
Here are a few of the things I've fetched!
Better than Crocs, in my opinion, these cute kicks come with interchangeable back-straps. Thank you www.zulily.com!
If you have children and have never visited this site, you should. They send you daily deals on clothing, toys, shoes, books, cookware...I have found that the shipping is slow, but the deals are great. Check it out for your next vacation!

Nautical shirt from Target; Reminiscent of mini-Boden t's for a fraction of the cost at only $4.00!

City Threads swim trunks on sale from last season. $13.00 Baby!

The one vacation purchase I can't resist; Elias' mini-Boden Euro-swimmies. This is probably the last year we can get away dressing him in these adorable trunks, so I had to do it. These aren't on sale yet, but if you use the code "WAFL" during checkout you will get 15% off and free shipping! So cute. So, so, so cute.

Maybe we all can't live in, or visit tropical weather, but at least we will look cute and have a few extra bucks for some foo-foo drinks once the weather improves!
Get out there and fetch some savings!
Happy Freezing Rain Storm Everyone!

January 27, 2013

The Herbivore's Dilemma

"One Week of Vegetarianism in a Home of Carnivores"

After a weekend of complete and utter gluttony, I have decided that this week we are going vegetarian to give our bodies some peace.
I've been brainstorming menu ideas, and I have decided on the items below. I did this for a few months last year and it exposed us to some great flavor options, we lost weight and felt better.
I used to make fun of vegetarians, but you cannot beat the colors, textures, and flavor spectrum of vegetables. I always need my cheeseburgers, but I guess I can say that my perspective has shifted.
 I'm getting soft with age.

Portobellos, Roasted Poblano Peppers and Swiss toasted on Heidelberg French Peasant Bread (the best bread in the world) for us...grilled swiss on pumperknickle for Elias
(see recipe below)

Vegetable Stir-fry with Red Rice Noodles

Sweet Potato Thai Curry

Cauliflower-Puree Pierogies with Brown Butter, Caramelized Onions and Roasted Brussel Sprouts (PKR you inspired this new dish. I could eat your cauliflower puree for breakfast, lunch and dinner. So good!)

3 Bean Chili with Sour Cream and Garlic Bread (for Todd and Elias); Miso soup and Green Goddess rolls out on the town for me! Woo-hoo!

Vegetarian Nacho-platter (Using left over chili from Thursday)

Black Bean Soup with Charred Corn, Sherry and Creme Fraiche

Strawberry Shortcake

I will be posting the recipes each day this week so stay tuned.
Let me know what you guys think! Any other ideas? I love hearing from you all!

Portobello, Poblano and Swiss Recipe:
This recipe is so easy, so quick and so delicious. It even satisfies my meat-eating husband, and has become a regular item on our kitchen menu. The key is the Heidelberg bread; when toasted it becomes crispy deliciousness, that balances the textures of the mushrooms and peppers. If it is unavailalbe in your area, try to find a good quality homemade bread, sliced on the thinner side.

4 Large Portobello Mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2 Poblano Peppers, roasted, pealed and sliced (or red bell pepper is good too)
4 slices of swiss cheese
4 pieces of Heidelberg French Peasant Bread

1. Prepare your poblano peppers (char over an open flame, seal in a paper bag until cool, peel and slice)
2. Saute mushrooms in oil and season with salt and pepper
3. Toast your bread in the oven and add the swiss cheese to each slice for the last minute to melt
4. Layer mushrooms and peppers and sandwich; salt and pepper to season
5. Cut in half and enjoy!

January 24, 2013

Happy Friday!

HaPpY FriDAY EvERyONe!!!!
On the docket this weekend: 
Sledding, skiing and snow-angel making with a toddler in sub-zero temps. 
What are you guys doing this weekend? 
My girls got me these A+ treats last year for a beautiful summer boat ride, and I might have to go get a few for our winter adventures...individually packaged, sealed glasses of wine are not only perfect for boating, but I am assuming they will be equally great for backyard winter playtime. 
As for the salted caramels...need I really explain?
You really want to pick up a few packs of these caramels for Valentine's Day...
...for yourself, of course. 
These are the Worlds. Best. Caramels. 
Ever. Ever. 
Thank you Jo for introducing me to these beautiful, delicious, bite-size delights....
I can't wait to try the chipotle caramels..........
Happy Friday everyone!

Oh, and here is the link to heaven:

Fun Fetch of the Day

So I have been searching for sheets for my son's new big-boy bed for the past few months, and I can't seem to bring myself to spend the money on the super cute sheets at places like 'Serena and Lily' or 'Pottery Barn Kids.' 
Sure, they are darn cute, but the prices are crazy.
It would be one thing if he was fully potty trained, and I knew he would be in this bed for more than five seconds, but neither is the case, so I can't bring myself to spend the money. 
Anything over $50 for kid's sheets makes me slightly angry...c'mon people, really?! It isn't like we are talking 500 count Egyptian cotton, or silk, or king-sized sheets here, we are talking cotton, kid's sheets.
So, much to my great pleasure, I stumbled across these sheets at...you guessed it...Target! 
They are so soft, and they come in all sorts of cute patterns, with matching blankets, throw pillows, carpets, lamps and other bedroom accessories. 
Oh, and did I mention they are on sale for $16.00 for full - sized sheets?!?!
I was so excited I bought two different sets... 
Here is the link!

January 23, 2013

New Recipe of the Week; Coq Au Vin

My husband's favorite meal is a roasted chicken dinner. 
However, in sticking to my New Year's resolution, and only being able to make so many roasted chicken dinners, I decided to channel Julia Child last night and make her recipe for Coq Au Vin. 
Todd agreed to it, somewhat begrudgingly because it was not his requested roasted chicken dinner, but Julia rarely disappoints, so I stayed strong.
I made sure that I served it with copious amounts of red wine, and it seemed to please. 
He might have been being nice, he might have been drunk, or he may have actually liked it...but he said that he loved it. And he said it with enthusiasm!
I thought it was delicious; savory, warm and deep. Surprisingly, I also found that it was less laborious than making an entire roasted chicken dinner.
I forgot that I used my last onion this past weekend, so I used green onions, and added an extra clove of garlic. It seemed to work. 
In addition, I served it over roasted red potatoes, but when I make this dish again, I will serve it with wide, flat noodles to sop up the scrumptious red wine reduction...and because I am a noodle crazed maniac. 
 Oh, and I served it with a big bowl of grated Grana Padana cheese. 
Remember, cheese makes everything better. 

Bon Appetit!

January 22, 2013

Yes, please

Walkway to Wiggins 
Brrr. Baby it is cold outside. The nice thing is being able to wear bulky sweaters, stay inside guilt-free and eat copious amounts of comfort food...
But, I wouldn't mind walking down this walkway this morning...taking a walk on the beach and soaking in the sun, celebrating later with a cold foo-foo drink by the pool. 

January 21, 2013

Do the Laundry, Wench!

Do you know what is fun?!
Certainly not doing laundry. 
However, saving a bunch of money on laundry detergent makes it a little bit more enjoyable. 
I read in a consumer report recently that 'Wisk Deep Clean' out-performed 'Tide,' and is up to 40% less expensive. Zoiks. 
So, I thought I would try it. I have tried other, less expensive detergents in the past, but I always return to Tide. I found that it really does clean the tougher loads better. However, I have now changed my stance. 'Wisk, Deep Clean' works great and is a lot cheaper! 
I am pretty excited that I will have more cash for things more enjoyable than laundry detergent...which is almost anything.
  Let us celebrate our thicker wallets!
Happy Monday Everyone!

Oh, and p.s., definitely pay attention to the level lines inside the caps. The caps are deceivingly large compared to how much detergent you need to use...damn the trickery...

January 20, 2013

In the Fridge, With a Fork

Mama's Goulash

This recipe brings me home. 
After a little too much red wine yesterday, and two relatively long runs (relative to the fact that I haven't run in about a month) this dish will fill my belly with some much needed love.
It is the perfect comfort food and a cinch to make. 
The only way to make it better? 
If my mom was here to make it for me. She makes it better...and I would have my best friend here to watch The Housewives of Beverly Hills with me.

One lb. of ground beef, pork and veal mix
One onion, chopped
+-Four garlic cloves, chopped
3 carrots finely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1 small package of mushrooms, chopped 
1 small can of tomato paste
1 large can of San Marzano tomatoes, whole or diced
1 large can of San Marzano tomatoes, crushed
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 cup Parmesan/Romano cheese
1/2 cup of sugar
salt and pepper

Add a tablespoon of crushed red pepper and/or use poblano peppers instead of bell peppers to add some kick.
Subtract the butter and cheese to make a lighter version
Double or triple mushrooms and subtract the meat for a vegetarian version

1 lb. bag of large rotini noodles, cooked and drained

1. Brown meat in a large pot and drain if necessary (To make vegetarian, skip the meat and add extra mushrooms here and brown in pot)
2. Add chopped carrots, garlic and onions and cook until onions are translucent and the carrots are tender
3. Add peppers and mushrooms (unless you did this in step 1), and saute.  
4. Add tomatoes, sugar, salt and pepper (and crushed red pepper if you are adding it)
5. Add the cooked noodles 
6. Add butter and cheese and stir together
7. Serve warm with your favorite bread and/or salad and extra Parmesan/Romano cheese
8. Put on Housewives of Beverly Hills and enjoy....or Toy Story for the five millionth time if your son is around....
*This recipe can sit for a while before serving. In fact, the longer it sits, the tastier it becomes. 

Oh, and for those who know me well, know that this dish served cold the next morning is very possibly my favorite meal of all time...as I eat it directly from the fridge with a fork. 
                                                         So sexy.

January 19, 2013

New Recipe of the Week

Tuscan Bean Soup 
with Sage and Seared Mushrooms 

In order to stay true to my New Year's resolution I felt it was necessary to do a truly new recipe before this week's end. The frittata didn't really count, since I had made the ingredients scrambled style before.
This beauty is a recipe from "The Moosewood Restaurant" cookbook, and a new one for me. 
It is a hearty vegetarian soup that leaves even the biggest meat eaters satisfied...or at least last night it did. 
The sage adds the special 'wow' in this dish, but I can see subbing thyme or rosemary if I had it on hand. Also, I love the suggestion of adding cooked grains like wheat-berries, or greens like escarole to add texture and dimension. 
Oh...and it wasn't part of the recipe, but I shaved and served grana padana cheese with the soup. Cheese makes everything better.

2 cups diced onions
1 cup peeled and diced carrots
4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 tablespoon of olive oil
15 large fresh sage leaves
6 cups cooked pinto, Roman, or small red or white beans (3 16-oz cans, undrained)
4 cups vegetable stock
salt/pepper to taste
Optional: Mushrooms

In a soup pot, saute the onions, carrots, and garlic in olive oil on medium - low heat until the onions are translucent and the carrots are tender, about ten minutes. Stack the sage leaves and cut them crosswise into strips. Stir the sage into the vegetables. Add the beans and stock. Cook on medium until the soup is simmering, about 5-10 minutes.
Carefully ladle about 3 cups of the soup into a blender and puree until smooth. Stir the puree back into the soup pot. If you wish, add more stock for a less thick consistency. Salt and Pepper to taste.
Optional: Sear porto mushrooms in a pan and top on soup.

Other: Drizzle with olive oil; top with croutons. Stir in cooked grains such as wheatberries, spelt or cooked greens like escarole or mustard greens.
*Although the recipe doesn't suggest this, I cooked and added small round noodles to this dish the second time around, and it worked well; even my 3 year old son was sold.


January 18, 2013


Happy Friday Everyone!
This weekend's activities include a long run, hot yoga, bowling, snowmobiling, skiing, sledding and a big bonfire. 
To balance out the yin and yang I might have to spike my eggnog flavored coffee with some Godiva at the bonfire... Ah!
I hope you all enjoy your weekend!

January 17, 2013

Quasi - New Recipe

"Green Eggs and Ham"
I made this delight for the book themed party this past weekend, and I will definitely be making it again, especially if we have a crowd to feed. 

Although I have made what we call in our home "cheesy eggs" a million times, which is essentially the same recipe, just scrambled and cooked in a pan; this was the first time I baked them in the oven "frittata" style. I was a little nervous, and I had to bake them longer than I anticipated, but the results were yummy, and I love the fact that I can assemble them before the party, and bake them while I socialize.
Feel free to adjust the ingredients to taste, or use different vegetables/cheeses. It is a pretty forgiving dish, and I typically use whatever vegetables we have lying around the bin. For example, broccoli, mushrooms, red onion, and monterrey jack or cheddar cheeses are great options. 

Also, I definitely recommend adding the poblano cheese sauce (recipe at the end), but it isn't necessary...unless you love to eat copious amounts of cheese like I do.You can see by this photo that I must have been listening to the angel instead of the devil that day.

12 eggs
1/2 stick of butter
1 cup of whole milk
Handful of fresh baby spinach, chopped
4 green onions, sliced and sauteed in butter; reserve 1/4 for topping
1 roasted poblano pepper, peeled and chopped
1 cup of Canadian bacon, or ham, cubed or sliced
1 lb of cooper cheese, sliced thin
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper

1. Prepare a baking dish by coating the bottom with butter, and preheat the oven sauteed green onions, poblano pepper and canadian bacon into the eggs. *Make sure you reserve some of the green onions for the top of the dish!
5. Layer egg mixture, cheese, egg mixture, cheese, egg mixture, cheese...
6. Sprinkle the remainder of the green onions on top of the eggs.
7. Bake in oven for 35 minutes until eggs are set
8. Let set for 5-10  minutes before serving

Optional: Serve with additional poblano cheese sauce

Poblano-Cheese Sauce

1/2 stick of butter
3 tablespoons of flour
2 cups of milk
1 lb of cooper cheese
1 cup of parmesan cheese
poblano peppers, roasted, peeled and chopped.
1 tablespoon of chopped thyme

1. Make a white sauce by melting butter, adding flour and stirring until incorporated and foamy. Add salt, pepper and thyme.
2. Add milk and cook until hot (do not boil)
3. Add cheeses slowly until melted; stir continuously until creamy and delicious
4. Stir in poblanos 
5. Adjust salt and pepper if necessary
6. Pour over eggs and revel in gluttony.

Enjoy Everyone!

January 16, 2013



I love the flavor of Starbuck's Chai Latte, but on mornings like this (snowy, cold, with child), I would rather drink toilet water than dress myself and Elias, and schlep myself downtown to the Starbuck's on Main.
Luckily, I found that Starbuck's sells their Chai in these perfect little recyclable containers. 

Since I don't have an espresso machine, I use my percolator to make super strong coffee; then I mix half coffee, half chai with a splash of 2%...ahhhh. Now I can relax with my little man in front of the fire, and spend this cold morning inside looking out.

Oh! Also, the mug is a Matt Burton design I bought after I took a ceramic workshop from him up at Peter's Valley a few years back. Matt makes incredible, fun stuff, and is actually teaching another workshop up there this coming summer. I would love to take another one of his workshops, and if you are interested, I suggest registering earlier rather than later as they book fast.

Check out his gallery/website, as well as the website for Peter's Valley below:


January 15, 2013

Candy Apple Inspiration

Candy Apple Inspiration

It seems like every Fall cooking and entertaining magazine this past year had recipes and beautiful images of candy apples. 
I personally don't care to eat them, but aren't they pretty?! 
I took this photo at the New Jersey State Fair a few years back and think it would look great framed in a kid's bedroom or playroom. 



I obviously didn't make this, but had to share. Eat your greens everyone!

January 14, 2013

"Hold On"

"Hold On"
Oil and Collage on Canvas (36 x42)
Text by Nancy Wood
Detail Shot of Text by Nancy Wood
"Hold onto what is good;
Even if it is a handful of earth.
Hold onto what you believe in;
Even if it is a tree which stands by itself.
Hold onto what you must do;
even if it is a long way from here.
Hold onto my hand
Even when I have gone away from you"

January 13, 2013


 Party Party Party!
Here is a picture gallery of E's Third "Build a Library" Birthday Party this weekend. 
We love you little man!
Welcome Bears!
Detail of the Invitations
Felt Mantel Banner. I love you Target.
Three Baby!
Window Book Shelves

Book Banners. Bad Photo.
Book Themed Menu Cards
"Hansel and Gretel" Breads, Pastries and Bagels

"Alice and Wonderland" Tea Party (and coffee...and hot chocolate...and "book worms," the snack of choice for those under 7:)

"Where the Wild Things Are" Birthday Party Hats

Menu Detail Shot #1
Menu Detail Shot #2

Book Plate Party Favors
Wrapped Book Plate Party Favors

Detail Shot of Girl Favors
Detail Shot of Boy Favors
"Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site" Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese and Candy Rocks

This was such a fun party to put together, and for us i
t was a great alternative after the holidays and an over-abundance of toys.Unfortunately I didn't get pictures of all of the food and decorations, but you get the idea...Martha Stewart would be so disappointed...
If anyone wants to borrow any of the signs, banners or decorations shoot me a message, as I'd be glad to lend them out.
 We are a lucky bunch, and although Elias is young, I can't help but try to instill the importance of books and giving back to those less fortunate. Today we will be decorating the donation card to St. Jude Children's research hospital, and tomorrow Elias will send it out. He probably won't remember, but maybe we'll make it a yearly thing?!
Stay tuned!

January 11, 2013

Preview of Events to Come...

Happy Friday Everyone!!

Three is a charm!
Here is a preview of our little man's birthday extravaganza...

Menu Cards for the Book Themed Party

Stay tuned for more!

January 10, 2013

Whimsical Abstraction

This is an oldie, but it still makes me smile. 
This beast used to hang in my living room when I was getting my Master's degree, and it brings me back. 
It feels like a party on a canvas.  
I wish I had never painted over it, but in the spirit of being broke as crap, a girl had to do what a girl had to do...
Whimsical Abstraction
Approximately 52 x 60
Multimedia on Board (Ink, Acrylic, Watercolor, Pastel, Oil Pastel and Graphite)

January 8, 2013

Lost Photos from Our Wedding

Last Second of Light
Fireflies or Sprites?!

I was looking through some old photo albums and I found these lost pictures.
What a beautiful night we had.
This is where it all began...

January 7, 2013

New Recipe of the Week

Whole Grain Spaghetti and Seared Tilapia 
with Garlic, Spinach, Roasted Red Peppers and Toasted Panko

This was a quick, spur of the moment dinner that came together as a result of me being too lazy to go to the market, and trying to eliminate what we had leftover in the fridge from the holidays. The results were a fresh, surprising delight!

Make sure you don't eliminate the toasted panko at the end. Really! The texture and taste really add that extra special something to both the pasta and the fish. 
(*This is a Mario Batali tip that I have to pass on!)

Also, the pasta is delicious in its own right, so don't feel like you have to add the tilapia, or you could substitute another seafood/shellfish/fish if you prefer a different flavor. I suspect that seared scallops or shrimp would both be great substitutes.

1/2 Box Whole Grain Spaghetti
2 Tilapia Fillets
1 Cup Reserved pasta water
6 Cloves of Garlic, Sliced or Chopped
1/2 Bag of Fresh Baby Spinach
2 Red Peppers, Roasted, Peeled and Sliced (or two jarred roasted red peppers, sliced)
1 Stick of Unsalted Butter, Split in 1/2
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
Kosher Salt + Cracked Black Pepper
Optional: 1 tsp +- of crushed red pepper
2 Cups of Panko 
1/4 Cup White Wine
Romano Cheese

1. Cook pasta in Salted Water until al dente
2. Simultaneously season the Tilapia fillets with Salt and Pepper and Sear them in olive oil. Drizzle with lemon juice.
3. In a separate pan, melt 1/2 a stick of butter, add garlic, salt and pepper and cook until fragrant; make sure not to burn the garlic! Add crushed red pepper.
4. Add white wine, the juice of 1/2 lemon to butter/garlic mix. Stir and adjust flavors if needed.
5.. Drain pasta, making sure to reserve one cup of pasta water; Place pasta and starchy water in a large pan
6. Add fresh spinach while the pasta is still hot and toss to wilt
7. Add butter/garlic/white wine/lemon mix and roasted red peppers to the pasta and toss to coat. Add additional olive oil if the pasta seems too dry.
8. In a small pan, melt the second 1/2 stick of butter; add panko and toss to toast
9. Plate pasta and top with seared tilapia
10. Coat both pasta and tilapia with the toasted panko
Serve with additional lemon wedges and Parmesan/Romano Cheese

Enjoy, and let me know what you think!
Bon Appetit!