Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Etsy Goody: allthenumbers

Sometimes I will come upon a newly discovered Etsy seller and think, "Where have you been all my life?" This is one such time. allthenumbers sells the most adorable handmade custom quilts--perfect for your little one's crib or bed. There are also peasant and jumper dresses with hip mod prints. I can see my little fashionista wearing these with a black turtleneck and leggings.

Forest friends quilt, $150

Gingery Glazed Asian Pork Loin Chops

The tour of Italy ended when I ran out of Italian ingredients last week, so tonight I ventured back to Asia for our "exotic" cuisine. I adapted this Real Simple magazine recipe for gingery glazed asian ribs and used pork loin chops from Costco, instead. It worked out really well, and although I've made the recipe many times with the ribs, I actually prefer the pork loin chops. It was accompanied by asian coleslaw and short-grain brown rice. Delicious!

5 pork loin chops (1 - 1.5 inch thick)
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 scallions, thinly sliced (for garnish)

1. Heat oven to 350° F. Place the pork loin chops on a large baking sheet or roasting pan and season with freshly ground black pepper.
2. In a small bowl, combine the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, ginger, and garlic; spoon half of the glaze over the pork chops. Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake until the pork chops are cooked through, approximately 40 minutes.
3. Heat the broiler. Spoon off and discard all but 1/2 cup of the pan drippings. Flip the pork chops over, revealing the bottom side that hadn't been slathered in sauce, and brush with the remaining glaze. Broil until just beginning to char, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve the pork chops over the rice, drizzle with any cooking juices, and sprinkle with the scallions.

Monday, September 28, 2009


Last year near the end of the fall season, I spotted the cutest cold weather knit accessories for kids at Anthropologie. I ended up scoring this hat for Sophie, which she wore all winter long:

image via lilsugar

We received so many positive comments from strangers about the hat that I was determined to search for more items from the designer, LiaMolly. It turns out that LiaMolly designs an exclusive line of children's knitwear for Anthropologie and they've released pictures of their Fall/Winter 2009 line. They've already received numerous inquiries about its kidswear and are expecting to sell out!

Here is a sneak peek of the new collection. These items will be available in late-October or early-November at Anthropologie stores and online, just in time for the holiday season.

images via LiaMolly

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Autumn afternoon

What started off as a wet and gloomy morning today transformed into a glorious autumn afternoon. There was a nip in the air and the leaves were just beginning to change colors. We decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather and took a walk around the neighborhood, collecting acorns along our way.

Are you coming?

Oh yeah! Acorns galore!

Uh oh, big dog coming towards me. Yikes.

Time to go back home.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Discovered via design*sponge: I wish I had a major social event coming up so that I could hire Leigh Wells of inkwells to handwrite my envelopes. Her lettering is so whimsical and lovely. I'm storing this entry away for future reference, should I ever throw a lavish bash!

all images via inkwells

Friday, September 25, 2009


Usually when I'm cooking in the kitchen and Sophie's in another room being really quiet, it means trouble's afoot. But today, when I poked my head in to check up on her, I saw her playing very intently with her Legos. I wish every afternoon could be like this. Absolutely precious.

Italian Pork Tenderloin

I'm on an italian food kick. Maybe it's because I have to use up all the ingredients I bought for last night's pasta with sun-dried tomato and fennel sauce. But tonight, I added pork chops to the mix and made a simple and delicious meal of italian pork tenderloin with garlic mashed potatoes. The only change I made to the recipe below is to throw in mushrooms and garlic to the sauce while it simmered. I will definitely be making this again soon...

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup chopped prosciutto
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped oil-packed sun-dried
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin, cut into 1/2 inch
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the prosciutto, sage, parsley, sun-dried tomatoes, and onion 5 minutes, until onion is tender. Mix the pork strips into the skillet, and brown about 10 minutes, turning once.
2. Stir the broth and heavy cream into the skillet, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until pork reaches a minimum temperature of 160 degrees F (70 degrees C) and sauce is thickened.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Etsy Goody: modaspia

For myself: I like this dress from modaspia.

For Sophie: I like this pin-tucked blouse.

Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomato and Fennel Sauce

I just made this today, and it's the best pasta I've ever cooked! Guess what, I got the recipe from The Costco Connection magazine! Yes, I'm one of the few people that actually reads this before tossing it out. Here's the recipe, which I've adapted slightly:

Kosher salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped fennel (about half a medium bulb)
2 medium cloves garlic, very coarsely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, very coarsely chopped
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 pound dried pasta
1. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the fennel and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the fennel starts to soften and brown, about 5 minutes.
2.Stir in 1 cup water and the cream, chicken broth, sun-dried tomatoes, red pepper flakes and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer briskly, uncovered, until the tomatoes are plump and soft, about 15 minutes.
3.Remove from the heat. Let cool slightly, then puree in a blender until smooth. Wipe out the skillet, return the sauce to the skillet, season to taste with salt and keep hot.
4.Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until barely al dente, 1 to 2 minutes less than package instructions. Drain well and return to the pot. Add the sauce and toss over medium-low heat for a minute or two so the pasta finishes cooking and absorbs some of the sauce.

The only major change is that, instead of using ole' humdrum rigatoni (which the original recipe called for), I substituted this beautiful and delicious lanterne pasta from World Market. The ridges of the lanterne pasta held the sauce in really well and it tasted delicious!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Etsy Goody: Simple Mod Dress

More proof that I need to join Etsy Anonymous: I was innocently browsing last night and came upon this cuuute dress in Amy Butler fabric by perryfinalia...and bought it on the spot. Yep.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Happy Autumn!

Today was the first day of Fall and I wasted no time decorating my house for the season.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Birthday Party Invitations

Even though I'm just having a small family get-together for Sophie's 2nd birthday next month, I love to make all the small details of her party special. I've been thinking about decorations, food, and invitations for weeks now. Remember these red sandals that Sophie wore all summer long? Well, Inky Livie created these adorable invitations for me, for Sophie's 2nd birthday party next month. Cute, don't ya think?

the front of the invitation

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Househunters Northern Virginia

We did a fair amount of running around today. In the morning, Sophie and I accompanied my cousin Jenny to look at homes for sale. For Sophie, this meant a lot of wandering around, observing flowers and reaching for potentially dangerous objects in people's homes.

I'm quite sure this orange barrier was meant to keep children out.

A bit of unexpected beauty in a construction area.

Afterwards, we grabbed some dim sum at Mark's Duck House. It was one of the best dim sum experiences I've had in Virginia. There were a good variety of offerings and the quality was high.

Sophie's cousin (and frenemy) Bodhi joined us for lunch.

Sparring with forks.

Getting a picture with Sophie was hard, since she could not stop watching the DVD player.

Pretty disgruntled at having to turn away from the video.

After a very nice 3-hour nap, we headed over to Reston Town Center for dinner. We had wanted to try out the new burger joint, The Counter, for a while now. They offer burgers made with vegetarian-fed, antibiotic-free beef. I would rate it as an OK experience. On one hand, I'm glad that more and more local places are offering all-natural beef. On the other hand, it was not as good in taste or value as a place like Ray's Hell Burger.

Mark your burger choices here.

I had a chicken breast sandwich with sprouts, grilled onions, a fried egg and garlic aioli.

Darren had a burger with hard boiled eggs, bermuda red onions, black bean and corn salsa, and apricot sauce. It was a real mess!

Sophie kept busy re-arranging the salt and pepper shakers.