Specific love for Need Supply Co.

I don't often give total props to a store, but I love this place. I love the design, I love the usability and cleanliness of the site, with the black san-serif type. Their blog is interesting and they sell the most amazing shoes. And pretty much if money weren't a problem, I'd shop there all the time. I love their clothes!

Did I mention they specifically have a large and striking selection of Jeffrey Campbell shoes that I adore? I don't think I've ever seen a Campbell shoe that I didn't like.

Things I'm loving right now, the Gregg coat and Thistle shoes by Rachel Comley. ♥!!!

Why I love Fridays

Well, its Friday and my last day of work before we start off into the great unknown that is our vacation. I'm excited (thrilled even), but nervous.

Number one there are protests going on in France.

I won't bore you with details, but basically the large unknown of what we'll be walking into when we arrive there and fact that we were going to dependent on a car (rented) to get us to the multiple locations and countries we'll be visiting while on our trip. I'm all for fighting for your rights as citizen, and I think that its totally rad that there is such a civil unrest about raising the retirement age by only two years. Damn...retirement at 62 here would be fabulous ... I'm sure most of us in the states can agree that retirement even at 65 is highly improbable because of most of our retirement security-net being gutted over the years and being forced to be on the graces of the commercial stock market to gain our freedom from a long life of work and toil. But I digress.

Number two, I hate flying (as in, I probably certifiably have a medical reason to need to take medication to combat my anxiety), and we have a good day ahead of us just in flights.

But ... I'm going to attempt to not focus on that, and instead share some lovely work I've been drooling over for awhile.

I've been oogling over Studio on Fire for awhile now. I would give my right arm for a lovely little table top letterpress and their ideas are just so pretty I could look at them all day.


Why I love sweet things.

I think Christmas is the only time you can justifiably eat baked goods with frosting and not feel that bad about it....but I say screw it. Frosting has single-handedly done me in year after year (and probably responsible a few extra pounds that I end up pouting over and then struggling for the next 5 months to get rid of). Because I know this year I will more likely be saved that anguish through the "healthier" eating during my trip to Europe (wishful, delusional thinking, I know), I want to share some of my grandmother’s all time best frosting recipes, because I won’t be here to partake in the yummy goodness of it all (at least for a few weeks).

Coconut-Pecan Frosting
Combine 1 cup sugar, 1 cup evaporated milk, 3 slightly beaten egg yolks, 1/2 cup butter, and 1 tsp vanilla.
Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened (about 12 minutes).
Add 1 1/2 cups coconut and 1 cup chopped pecans. Cool until at spreading consistency, beating occasionally.
Makes 2 1/2 cups.

This next recipe is one of the best frosting recipes I’ve EVER had the pleasure of enjoying. It is that good if it is done right. If it’s done wrong however, you’ll end up tasting blackened sugar…and that’s just gross.

Burnt Sugar Frosting
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup boiling water
2 tbsps butter
1/2 cup milk
dash of salt

Brown 1/2 cup sugar in heavy sauce pan. Remove from heat and add boiling water. Stir until dissolved. Add remainder of sugar and milk. Mix in salt well. Bring to boil and boil without stirring to soft ball stage. Add butter and vanilla after it has cooled a few minutes (maybe 5).

Then beat until smooth. It will become a little lighter in color and loose some of its shine. Beat until spreading consistency.

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 pound cream cheese at room temperature
3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 1/2 pounds confectioners’ sugar, sifted

In the bowl of an electric mixer, on low speed, cream together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla and almond extracts. Add the confectioners’ sugar and mix until smooth.

While I love edibly-odd things ... tomato soup cake?

I know what you’re thinking…because I’m thinking it too.

That’s totally gross and just doesn’t sound right, but for some reason, it works. My mom swears by this cake.

I have yet had the guts to try making it, so if you happen to be rather adventurous on one cold and dark night, let me know how it goes ... unless I happen to beat you to it first, in which case I'll document my experience with some lovely photos.

1 can tomato soup
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. soda
1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chopped dates
1 cup chopped nuts

Cream sugar and shortening. Add egg. Alternate sifted dry ingredients with soda and tomato soup stirred together. Add chopped dates and nuts. Bake at 350 degrees. About 30 minutes.
Best with icing made of powdered sugar, melted butter, cream and vanilla (but now would be a fine time try out one of grandma's frosting recipes I'll be posting soon!).

Why I love penuche.

I have to say I’m not even close to an expert by any means on baking, but this has been a wonderful lesson in my family’s history and the history and definition(s) of the art of baking in general.

This recipe for example … I was kind of like, “what the hell is penuche?” 

So I looked it up and found out that it is candy [that] is similar to fudge in texture and softness. However, it does not contain chocolate, and it is made with brown sugar instead of white granulated sugar that is used for fondant, and as a rule, for fudge. The name also is derived from the Mexican word for "raw sugar" or "brown sugar."

I’ve included the recipe as is (as in the original), but also with my notes, since some ingredients are highly toxic if you get my drift. So without anymore rambling, here it is ... Orange Penuche.

1 lb. brown sugar (see Notes 1)
3/4 cup light cream
1 tbsp. white corn syrup (see Notes 2)

1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp grated orange rind
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

1. I substitute the organic version since most commercial brown sugar is refined white sugar that has molasses mixed in, providing no additional health benefit. 2. I've figure out that I don't need to use corn syrup for this recipe. Corn syrup is a highly refined, artificial product. Dietary experts are singling out this fake syrup as one reason for the startling rise in obesity in America and related increase in diabetes. So, I use a form this recipe instead. Yah, like how they used to do it?

Place all ingredients, except vanilla and walnuts, in a large, heavy saucepan. Stirring constantly, heat to be be boiling, and continue cooking at 238 ° or soft ball (mixture may curdle, but beating makes it smooth). Remove from heat; let stand, without stirring, until bottom of pan feels lukewarm; stir in flavoring and walnuts, and beat with spoon until thick and creamy and surface looses its gloss. Pour into buttered 8-in. square pan. Cut into squares while warm.

What I love about fall.

There are a few things in life that really make me happy. One of them is Fall, when it decides to actually be Fall that is. Seattle doesn't always give us the million colors of red and orange nor the crisp weather that begs us to put on our warm sweaters, wool jackets and riding boots. I want warm knit blankets and sweaters, drink tea in the evening and coffee in the morning, warm pillows, crisp morning fog, and an excuse to preserve food. This year so far it has actually giving us our Fall.

I love how Autumn's arrival automatically warrants dragging in our wooden furniture and pulling out the crocheted blankets that your grandmother made for you out of all her left-over yarn, while curling up in a cozy corner somewhere to do nothing.

One of the things I'm obsessing over right now is chairs. This is mostly to do with the probability that I could really use a chair in my main living area for reading and all-around book laziness.

The Ellery Chair from West Elm. Couldn't you just see yourself snuggled into it while your legs drape over a fabulously cozy footstool? (yes that ball-o-yarn is a footstool)