Wednesday, February 29, 2012

thursday's the new wednesday

cookies will be a day late. again.


this morning, we loaded 52 eager and somewhat nervous 5th graders onto a bus destined for the san bernadino mountains.


they are participating in three days of outdoor education at the pali institute.


they will be studying archery, orienteering, outdoor survival and working through a ropes course.

they will be sitting around a campfire eating s'mores and looking up at the stars.

for many, this is their first time away from home.

and for many their first experience with snow!

this group of kids rocks my world. i know i am biased, but they are phenomenal. i am so pleased we could work together to make this trip happen for them.

i wish i could be a fly on the wall. i was asked to be a parent chaperone, but after carefully posing the idea to e, and after her tearful confession that she didn't want to hurt my feelings, but that she didn't want me to go, i am proudly imagining what she is up to. and enjoying some very special mama and k time.

so cookies will be back tomorrow...

(thanks to my friend mary for the camp photo. she generously offered to drive up the luggage in her pick-up truck!)

Sunday, February 26, 2012





beautiful weekend. lots of time outdoors. thought we'd play a traditional game of hopscotch but the interpretive version was much more fun.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

52 cookies :: week 7 :: chocolate drop cookies

a recipe we've never tried before...

52 cookies

Chocolate Drop Cookies
from Mad Hungry

1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 c unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted
1/2 c shredded coconut
1/3 c milk

Preheat oven to 350 and prepare 2 cookie sheets with silpats.

Mix together flour, baking powder and salt.

In a separate bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Beat in egg and vanilla. Blend in chocolate and coconut. Alternately add flour and milk, ending with flour.

Drop dough by the teaspoon - about an inch apart - onto cookie sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the edges are set and centers are still soft. Cool on rack.

Makes approximately 30 cookies

K: nice soft buttery chocolate drop cookies RRRRRRROOOOOOOOOOOOCCCCCKKKKKKKKKKK!!!!!!!! I like to have them with milk at night.

E: Very soft and breakable. Yummy chocolate flavor and they taste kinda like semi-sweet chocolate cake. Maybe next time u should put chocolate chips in them and call them double chocolate cookies (just a suggestion). Very yummy with milk mm mmm mm

D: Yummy. A little soft. I can't decide what it needs. Maybe little toffee chunks, maybe an Oreo type frosting middle. Ok, both!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012



i had a meeting at ucla today. such a beautiful campus.

the coral trees were in bloom. and i spent some time kicking the decomposed granite around the serra sculpture - and watching how it changed in the light.

i was there for a visit to the research library's special collections. i'm working on an exhibition to open in berlin this fall. this part of my life often feels like a favourite itchy sweater. a little uncomfortable when first put on - but strangely comforting and familiar at the same time. in the end it feels good.

the holiday weekend has me a day off on our cookies! watch this space tomorrow ;)

Monday, February 20, 2012

weekend round-up


knitting in the dark

working in the garden



reading and playing in our pjs 'til noon

the finale of downton

and of course this:


{as mentioned previously - we are big fans around here of studio ghibli - and of mary norton's borrowers series. we have had this marked on our calendar for a long time. it was as visually beautiful as i expected. the story tweaked only so slightly to take elements of all the books in. without spoiling anything, i think, i must admit i was disappointed by a few of the changes, and that the creativeness of borrowers imagined in the books didn't really make it to the screen. but still a beauty. we rounded up the neighbors and took up an entire center row of the beautiful old el capitan to see it. definitely worth the trip.}

happy {holiday!} monday

Sunday, February 19, 2012


thanks for your kind words - and thoughts. here and elsewhere. xo


yesterday a day in the sunshine working in the yard. and a birthday celebration. so good to celebrate.

off to hollywood!

Saturday, February 18, 2012



this was taken a month or two before losing my dad. he was here with my mom to be with his first granddaughter. he wouldn't put her down.

i am pretty sure he was saying good-bye.

it is so hard to believe 10 years have passed.

Friday, February 17, 2012

:: cozy ::

snug as a bug


this opens today! (we have our tickets to see it here!)

happy friday.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

52 cookies :: week 6 :: classic buttery shortbread

and royal icing

two shortbread recipes in a row. i obviously wasn't thinking ahead on this one. with valentine's day this week i went to my go-to recipe for decorated cookies. i love these cookies. (and i think everyone else does too.) the shortbread is thin and crisp (and good on its own) and the frosting just the right amount of tart.

52 cookies

Classic Buttery Shortbread
from The Grand Central Baking Book

2 1/3 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 c butter, at room temperature
2/3 c granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350F

Measure the flour and salt into a small bowl and whisk to combing. Using a stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar for at least 6 minutes (should be lighter in color and fluffy). Scrape the bottoms and sides of the bowl several time during the process. Add the vanilla and dry ingredients and mix on low until dough just begins to come together.

Divide the dough into 2 pieces, shape into flat disk, and wrap in plastic wrap. Dough now can be refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 6 months. I chilled overnight. Next morning I brought the dough to room temperature and rolled out on floured surface. Flip once or twice to keep from sticking. Cut with cookie cutters and carefully place the cookies on silpat-lined baking sheet. Chill for 5 to 10 minutes to ensure sharp edges are maintained.

Bake for 10 minutes - rotating the tray half way through. Centers should remain light while edges begin to turn golden. Let cook on the baking sheets.

Royal Icing
from The Grand Central Baking Book

1 egg white (or egg white substitute)
1 1/2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (or more to desired consistency)
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar

52 cookies

The girls iced these - and the icing was thicker than I usually make it. Would have been perfect for piping. (I usually pipe then fill in with a spoon) but they opted for a spatula... and sprinkles.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies

K: I love it so much ... not the frosting so much. Maybe not the frosting next time.

E: oK ok, the cookies were excellent!!!! I love the frosting and the shortbread cookie part was delicious. U made the correct quantity and they were an excellent size. Wow there is nothing that I said that is bad about these cookies they must be AWESOME!!!!!!!!!! Well there's 1 more thing to say and that's : HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!!!!!!!!!!!! Xo

D: These shortbread are delicious. Classic cookie done to perfection. (Super glad that we got the oven repaired.) And a twist that I enjoyed very much, a tart lemon frosting. I thought that the white tasted better than the pink, but that's only so we can have something to debate later.  Xoxo

52 cookies

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

love makes the world go round...

valentine cookies too. (more on these tomorrow!)

Happy Heart Day!

my "niece" Rose (really D's cousin - but the same age as our older group of nieces... so she falls easily into that category!) never fails to inspire. she taught k how to ride a bike - and has taught us all something about local, sustainable, community-driven love. she has a project up on kickstarter. please go check it out - and if you can, support her hot bike dream. it's a good one:

I have found that by bringing people together around things we are passionate about: food, bikes, community and FUN, and through practicing awareness, predictability, and communication, by striving towards human connection, we are able to move past our fears, towards love, acceptance and healing.

happy valentine's day!

Monday, February 13, 2012

these days

mid-Feburary? how did this happen? february is a tough month for me. the anniversary of the loss of my dad dominates.


it dawned on me yesterday afternoon that valentine's day is this week and that the girls hadn't prepared anything for their class. valentine's day at their school is akin to halloween with the amount of candy and bits and bobs that get distributed amongst classmates. what happened to simple valentine's dropped into a decorated tissue box? (sigh.)  we've done a variety of things in the past - always steering away from handing out stuff that isn't consumable - along with the paper valentines. i know how much fun it is to put little packets together to hand out to classmates, but quite frankly (after a major purge of their bedroom this week) i am so tired of little bits of stuff coming into our home! this year we are sticking to our guns and keeping it simple. i downloaded these sweet valentines - printed them out - and the girls customized with cut paper, doilies, stickers, and fancy penmanship. i think they are great. and weren't stressful for anyone.


it's grey and cold and a perfect february day. banana bread, some cookie dough, and a valentine sewing project are on deck.

happy monday

* * * * *

favourite valentine's gone by:

happy valentine's day

crayon hearts

tokens of my affection

love birds

* * * * *

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

52 cookies :: week 5 :: twice baked shortbread

someone leaked that I was looking at "healthy" cookies for this week. it was not well received around the dinner table. so I'm banking that idea. and going with another...

I love shortbread. especially with a cup of tea. it was a go-to for me during university - and the whipped variety a mainstay of my childhood. in an effort to try some new recipes, I had marked this one from Smitten Kitchen a long while back and decided to pull it out this week. (my friend J sent me a really wonderful lemon shortbread recipe recently - that is on deck - but I decided to try a simpler one first.)

52 cookies

Twice-Baked Shortbread
Adapted from Alice Medrich’s Pure Dessert

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted and still warm
5 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract or the scrapings from half a vanilla bean
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
sugar for sprinkling

Grease a pan with a removable bottom - such as a 9" springform pan.

In a mixer with paddle attachment, mix the melted butter with the sugar, vanilla of choice, and salt. Add the flour and beat until just mixed. Pat and spread the dough evenly in the pan. Let rest overnight (no need to refrigerate).

The next morning, position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Bake the shortbread for 45 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, leaving the oven on. Lightly sprinkle the surface of the shortbread with sugar. Let the shortbread cool for 10 minutes.

Carefully remove the shortbread from the pan. Use a thin sharp knife to cut it into wedges. Place the pieces slightly apart on a silpat-lined baking sheet and put in the oven for 15 minutes. Cool on a rack.


E: First of all they were kinda 2 salty 4 me, 2nd of all make a bigger batch. (u only made 12!!!!) but overall they were delicious!!!!!!!!!

D: Yu-um. I love shortbread. Dense yet soft and just a bit flaky. My review is starting to sound autobiographical. You'll probably laugh when I say that I wish it was a bit more crusty.

52 cookies

ahhhh!  E's sensitive palate picked up that I accidentally added 1/2 tsp salt instead of a 1/4 tsp.  (given I rarely add salt to anything - they are both quite sensitive to it.)

yes - I like it a little crusty too sweetheart. I'm blaming it on our oven. which has not been heating up effectively - nor seemingly hitting the right temperature accurately. time for a tune-up.

Monday, February 06, 2012








another magical day. so good to have friends to share it with.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

friday night lights





we went out last night to see small city calling. they were great. nevermind that our friend's son is in the band. (typing that feels old... c - i had a couple of flashbacks to going here. and seeing our friends' bands. yikes.)

we also hit pink's for a hotdog, fries and a root beer and did some walking around.

picked up the kids by 11:00 and were home in bed by midnight.

pretty perfect date night.


off to disneyland today! both girls are playing their violins there this year. (that means d and i have an hour or two on our own in the park! how often does that happen?)

happy weekend!

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

52 cookies :: week 4 :: peanut butter cup cookies

so after d's last review i thought i'd stay away from more pb, and bank these for later. but the trader joe's dark chocolate peanut butter cups called my name. (who knew you could buy these on ebay?) and d said he'd forgive me, so here we go.

52 cookies

oh my goodness. i remember having these years ago. my first christmas away from home. my first christmas in california. made for me by a friend. i thought i had the recipe, hand-written on a scrap of paper - tucked into a recipe book - but alas it was only the shopping list for the ingredients. these are as i remember them. so bad. so good. demand a glass of milk to go with...

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
via real simple

1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 c dark brown sugar
1/2 c granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
12 oz peanut butter cups, coarsely chopped (I froze them after chopping with the idea that they wouldn't melt as much.)

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Prepare two baking sheets with parchment or in this case silpats. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. In a mixer with paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars until creamy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat to combine. Gradually add the flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated. Fold in the peanut butter cups. Drop tablespoon-size mounds of dough 2 inches apart onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake until light brown around the edges, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a baking rack to cool.

Makes about two dozen cookies

K: BBBBBBBBBBBBEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSTTTTTTTTTTTT COOKIES tasted YYYYYYYYYYEEEEEEETTTTTTTT !!!!!!!!;) I coud taste the peanut butter inside the chocolate. I love these.

E: Yum yum yum those cookies were delicious I loved the peanut butter and chocolate !!!! Was it dark chocolate :) well they were GREAT!!!!!!!!!! ;) :):):):):):);););)

D: Now this is what I'm talking about. Peanut butter with chocolate is like Jake and Elwood getting the band back together. Did I like them? This says it all...48 cookies eaten already!!! It's simple, take an awesome, chewy, gooey, chocolate chip cookie and get some peanut butter swirled in there. Yu-um. No will power.

You got peanut butter on my chocolate.... No you got chocolate on my peanut butter. Crumbs crumbs crumbs as I lick the scraps of the last cookie!


oh my.

looking for a swing in the opposite direction. perhaps these. other ideas welcome!


k has a weekly assignment to use her spelling words in a sentence. i always enjoy reading them. they are usually somewhat telling about what is going on in her world.

some of my favourites (assigned words in bold):

I danced the night away.

I tuned my violin.

I already knew that joke.

I liked it but then somebody took it.