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Black Bean-Spinach Enchiladas

Black Bean-Spinach Enchiladas

Last week, I made a delicious, healthy version of Mexican enchiladas – using fresh spinach, sweet corn, and creamy black beans.  Did we love them as much as chicken or beef enchiladas?   Almost.

I found this recipe by The Garden Grazer on Pinterest, and besides adding white Cheddar, I did not change much at all.  The homemade enchilada sauce was good, but not great.  It’s a little bland, and I think I also didn’t love it because I’m not especially fond of red sauce; I usually opt for the creamy white cheese sauce atop my chicken enchiladas at our local Mexican restaurants.

Black Bean-Spinach Enchiladas

Let’s briefly talk about the filling.  It’s colorful, easy to prepare, cost-effective, incorporates a leafy green into your diet (!), includes a variety of textures, and is hearty enough to forget about meat for a meal.  The flavor combination is fantastic, especially with the “zing” from green onions and cilantro.

Black Bean-Spinach Enchiladas

Black Bean-Spinach Enchiladas

I used whole wheat tortillas for these, and while they were excellent the first night, they got pretty soggy as leftovers.  Ever since I was little I’ve had an issue with soggy textures, so next time I may use corn tortillas.  I can handle their sogginess a little better.

Black Bean-Spinach Enchiladas

{For the enchilada sauce}
3 cups organic low sodium vegetable broth
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. chili powder

{For the enchiladas}
15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups corn (I used frozen, thawed)
6 oz. fresh baby spinach
6 green onions, thinly sliced
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
2 tsp. cumin
3 cups shredded 3 cheese blend (I substituted a cup of Cheddar)
8 whole wheat or flour tortillas

Make the sauce: in a saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add tomato paste, flour, 2 tsp. cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, and chili powder. Cook 1 minute, whisking. Whisk in broth, bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer, and cook until slightly thickened about 8 minutes. Salt/pepper to taste, and set aside.

Saute the spinach in olive oil over medium heat for 1-2 minutes until slightly wilted.
In a large bowl, combine beans, 2 cups cheese, spinach, corn, green onions, 2 tsp. cumin, and cilantro.
Preheat oven to 375. Lightly spray a 9×13 inch baking dish, and pour a small amount of the sauce to coat the bottom.
Generously fill tortillas with mixture, roll up tightly with ends tucked in, and place seam side down in dish.
Pour remaining sauce over the enchiladas, coating evenly. Sprinkle 1 cup cheese on top.
Bake about 20 minutes, and garnish with cilantro and/or green onions (optional).

Black Bean-Spinach Enchiladas


Chronicles of a Commonplace Life

This week I’ve done a lot of reading in preparation for a writing institute I’m participating in next month.  One of the books I’ve scanned talks about a writing activity based on Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s book, Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life, which is an alphabetized series of her life observations and experiences.  I love this idea, and it has inspired me to create a space for my own reflective writing.

One of the goals I have for my students is to get them to write expressively and reflectively.  It occured to me that I don’t do much of this type of writing myself, so I look forward to not only sharing some of my non-food-related thoughts and ideas with my readers, but also experiencing personal growth as a writer.

Please come along with me as I embark on this new venture at Chronicles of a Commonplace Life.

Massanutten and Harrisonburg, VA

I apologize for my brief hiatus; I had our state standardized test last week with meals that weren’t quite blog-worthy, and then we went out of town for the weekend.

One of my husband’s friends owns a timeshare at Massanutten Resort in McGaheysville, Virginia, and we were invited there for a “free” owner’s referral weekend.  We deposited $100 for a 3-day/2-night stay with an obligatory tour of the resort…in hopes, of course, that we would buy a timeshare.  They promised that our deposit would be refunded and that we would be gifted a $100 Visa giftcard upon exiting the tour, whether we bought a timeshare or not.  It sounded like a decent deal for a quick getaway, and it ended up being a lovely little trip.  Besides the annoying, interview-like tour.  I literally felt like I was being interviewed about my vacation philosophy – the entire time.  I’m not sure if some car salesmen and Massanutten salesmen sell their souls to the devil, but I have suspicions. It’s a very good possibility.

We spent most of our weekend in the nearby town of Harrisonburg.  There was a small downtown area and a newer, more developed section that we explored.  Of course my favorite activity on any vacation is checking out the dining scene, so we took in a few local establishments.

I apologize in advance for the cell phone-quality photos.  We seem to always forget our DSLR when traveling, so the iPhone was all I had at my disposal.

We arrived Friday evening, so we ate dinner on the road.  This may sound “ehhhh” but when Chipotle is involved, it’s more than all right with me.  I’m not sure if Chipotle is an international chain, but if you’re not familiar with it, they operate as an assembly line, offering burritos, burrito bowls (all the fillings without the tortilla), tacos, and salads.  It’s my absolute favorite fast-food.  They use local ingredients when available, and hormone-free and antibiotic-free poutry and meats.  Their corn salsa is also delicious.

Saturday morning was quite dreary, so our planned horseback riding didn’t happen.  However, we had a nice day exploring downtown Harrisonburg.  I had done a little research on dining options, and put Earth & Tea Café on our list.  I wasn’t disappointed; we had two pots of tea and breakfast sandwiches.




They have gorgeous tea tins on the back wall, housing some great varieties of loose leaf tea.


Nothing fancy, but it was tasty and satisfying.

IMG_3252Our next stop was to a little pet shop.  We picked up a new collar for our boxer and a few homemade dog treats.


IMG_3267We saw an advertisement for a gourmet store with wines and cheeses, so we popped in there for a few minutes.  Overall, we weren’t that impressed and didn’t make any purchases.


IMG_3281The most exciting moment of the trip was when I saw a flyer for their town farmers market.  I absolutely love browsing the farm-fresh produce, homemade baked goods, and other handmade items.  Harrisonburg really has a great little market.  We enjoyed a wonderfully flaky chocolate croissant, spotted a Mennonite boy eating bits of the cinnamon rolls he was selling, sampled goat cheeses, and just took in the fantastic sensory experience.





IMG_3276The market closed at 1PM, so after we finished there, we had plenty of time to hit some other local shops.

We had the most delicious cannolis (my very first one, ever) at Shanks Bakery.  The sweet, tangy, citrusy filling was heavenly…and the shell was perfectly crisp.  My sister had told me how amazing cannolis are – and boy, was she right!


IMG_3287Our next stop was one of the neatest stores I’ve been to.  Ten Thousand Villages – which only sells “fair trade” items – has everything from foodstuffs to crafts and home furnishings.  There were so many interesting, handmade products in one spot.


IMG_3282After our day of shopping, we made a stop at J’s Bagels in the more updated part of Harrisonburg.  They were out of a few of the flavors we wanted to try, but their Everything bagels were delicious.  We brought a few home, which ended up “stinking” up the car on the ride home.

We took naps before heading back out for dinner Saturday evening.  Surprisingly, I didn’t get “hangry” (hunger-induced anger) from not eating lunch.  My dinner options were narrowed down to two restaurants I previously researched, so we went to one for a brief appetizer, and then headed to the second one for dinner.

Beyond is an Asian-fusion restaurant featuring sushi and other dishes.  Here, I had my first-ever hand roll of yellowtail, avocado, and a sriracha sauce.  It was delicious, and I probably could’ve eaten two more.

IMG_3293Clementine, which had a very cool vibe similar to a restaurant we enjoy in our hometown, had a great “storefront” that I wish I had gotten a photograph of.  They had a live bluegrass-y band playing that evening but not a lot of customers.  Why?  Well, unfortunately, their food wasn’t that great.  I found it underseasoned, uninspired, and overpriced.  The best part of the meal was probably the risotto balls and baked goat cheese appetizers.  They were “good” at best, though.




IMG_3302Our entrees really weren’t worth mentioning, but I had steak medallions that were cooked well but lacked flavor.  The other entree was a pork chili with grits that was more like pieces of pork in a chicken noodle soup base with a scoop of grits randomly thrown in.  We weren’t impressed.

Although it rained, the weekend wasn’t a wash (pun intended).  I thoroughly enjoyed the downtown shops and spending time in a new town.  We had some lovely tea and got a chance to experience some other eateries, which made for a great weekend.

The Massanutten tour was exactly as I expected – very used-car-salesmen-esque.  We declined the offer at the end and were then passed to two other people who lowered the timeshare price down to a quarter of the beginning offer.  I wonder how many people snatch up the initial offer?  Overall, the sales pitch part was extremely unpleasant.  It began with what I considered an interview of “how” we vacation and “why” and what has the most meaning in life to us.  I’m not the easily baited sort, so I knew where each question was going, and tried to head it off each time.  We were grateful for the opportunity to visit Massanutten, but definitely would not spend money on owning a timeshare there.

If you get a chance to visit Harrisonburg, while it’s not exciting or fast-paced, it is a quaint town with some interesting spots.

Have a great week!

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Teavana’s Customer Service


If you’ve been following me, you might remember that I “ranted” about Teavana’s terrible sales tactics.  Recently, after another unsatisfactory experience with our local Teavana, I decided to write to the corporate office to express my concerns, and to see how they chose to respond.  I had high hopes that they would at the very least, respond.

First, know that I’m not one of those customers who frequently writes companies with complaints in hopes of receiving free loot.  This was my first time ever contacting a corporate office.  After sending a polite, descriptive e-mail outlining the situation, I received correspondence within a day.

Thank you for contacting Teavana. On behalf of the entire Teavana Corporate Office, I would like to apologize for your store experience, and thank you for your valuable feedback. I would like to share this with the management team and the employees of the location you had visited in order to correct behaviors and prevent future experiences similar to yours. It seems that there was definite presence of aloofness on the employee(s) part, and lack of training. This can and will be corrected. Once again, I sincerely apologize – the experience you had does not represent the virtue that we exude, and this must be communicated. In order to extend our apologies, we would like to send you a gift. Would you mind sending me your shipping address?

I was pleased that Teavana took my issues seriously and aimed to make things “right” with an unsatisfied customer.  While I still don’t agree with some of the sales tactics I’ve witnessed, their corporate customer service has been excellent – and for that, they deserve some praise.  They had an opportunity to show their willingness to acknowledge and act upon unacceptable business when they could’ve easily written off my e-mail as frivolous.

Thank you, Teavana, for taking the time to address the concerns of your patrons.

As far as what they sent to extend their apology, I received a rectangle tin with two 2-ounce bags of teas, and an additional 1-ounce sample.



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Liebster Award

I’m so very thrilled to share that I’ve been awarded the Liebster Award, which is for blogs with less than 200 followers. This completely made my morning! Thank you, applepiezucchini!

The rules for this one are:

• Post 11 random facts about yourself.
• Answer the 11 questions made by the person who nominated you.
• Create 11 questions for the bloggers you pass the award to.
• Choose 11 bloggers to pass the award to and mention them in your post.
• Go to their blogs and let them know that they have been nominated.
• No tag backs.

  • I love Julia Child re-runs. I really wish I had thought of the Julie & Julia blog idea first.
  • I often wish for a “Brady Bunch” type of backyard (the outdoor carpet material found on miniature golf courses) so we wouldn’t have as many bugs.
  • I have no patience when I’ve had less than six hours of sleep; I have very little patience even when I’m well-rested. Clearly, we don’t have kids yet.
  • I played the flute for a little over seven years.
  • When I asked my husband for a fact about me, he said, “You’re stubborn!”
  • I would much rather be cold than hot.
  • I prefer soft lighting in nearly every situation; fluorescent lights are harsh and offer no benefit to the complexion.
  • I have a weakness for puppies. While I don’t want a household full of them, I do love holding a sweet, warm puppy.
  • I’m terribly nearsighted. I got prescribed glasses in fourth grade, and have been dependent on visual aid every since. When I reach the maximum prescription for contact lenses, I’m in big trouble. (Read: bottlecap glasses)
  • I do not enjoy the beach as much as most people due to the fact that I don’t like lounging in the hot sun, and I don’t like seaweed and debris wrapped around my ankles.
  • I do not enjoy long car rides, as motion sickness quickly affects me.

And my answers in response to applepiezucchini are:

  1. What was the first thing you ever learnt to cook? The earliest memory I have of cooking was making yeast rolls in preschool. Obviously, we were the “assistants” for the task, but I fondly remember those little clover rolls.
  2. Where would your perfect holiday be? My perfect holiday would be in New England in the spring.
  3. Are you an early bird or a night owl? EARLY BIRD.
  4. What is the recipe that you’ve always wanted to make but have been a bit scared to try? Fried chicken. I love a great piece of southern fried chicken, but I’m too afraid of deep frying.
  5. What is your favourite song / piece of music? This changes frequently for me, but currently, I’m loving the little intro piece to The French Chef episodes.
  6. Best ice-cream flavour? I’m always a fan of fresh peach, but Homestead Creamery makes a delicious Butter Pecan.
  7. Countryside or city? While I’ve always wanted to spend a day on a farm, I’ll have to say “city.” I could only dodge bugs and bad odors for so long.
  8. Which chef do you admire the most? Julia Child!
  9. Your biggest food dislike is? Raw tomatoes.
  10. What is the next cookbook on your wishlist? Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan
  11. Hearty plates of food or michelin-style precision? I love great presentations and value quality over quantity.

My questions for my nominees:

  1. If you could cook with one famous foodie (chef, food writer, TV cook, etc.), who would it be and why?
  2. What is your favorite kitchen utensil?
  3. Hot or cold breakfast?
  4. Tea or coffee?
  5. What is your favorite cookbook?
  6. Sweet or savory snacks?
  7. What is your favorite travel destination of all time and why?
  8. If you could only eat one specific meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
  9. What is your most accomplished moment in the kitchen?
  10. What are some of your pantry staples?
  11. What are your top three food aversions?

Here are the under-200-followers blogs that I would like to nominate! I realized that I don’t follow many with less than 200 followers, but here are some great reads.

The Wayfaring Baker

Graceful Nutrition

Heaping Tablespoon

Soul Kandy

Whisks & Chopsticks

Sweet Life Daily

Auckland – A Survival Guide

fotog foodie

These Little Moments

It’s Only Rock and Food and…

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Honey-Lavender Profiteroles

Honey-Lavender Profiteroles

For my family birthday get-together, I decided to forgo the typical birthday cake and ice cream and serve a twist on traditional profiteroles.  Before you think, “She had to make her OWN birthday dessert!?” know that both my husband and mom offered to make the dessert, but I’d had these in mind for weeks.


So, instead, of sheet cake and Neopolitan, I turned to my cooking inspiration: Julia Child.  Pastry is typically something I have very little patience for, due to past bad experiences with pie dough.  However, this year, I  somewhat forced myself to conquer it, and have two great recipes that I am able to prepare with ease for my pies, tarts, and galette needs.  Now I’ve moved on to the impressive Pate a Choux – or the dough that’s used for eclairs, cream puffs/profiteroles, crullers, and the like – which is actually very, very easy to make.  When I was little, my favorite doughnut was the French Cruller.  I was delighted to find out that this dough is used for those, too.


Right before I lightly flattened the peaks with a pastry brush and egg wash…

Honey-Lavender Profiteroles Pate a Choux gets its name from its appearance: small cabbages.  “Choux” is the French term for cabbage.  I piped mine, but you can also just drop the dough onto your sheet pan using spoons, too.  *If you don’t have piping bag, I’ve used plastic sandwich bags to pipe with great success.

Honey-Lavender Profiteroles

Honey-Lavender Profiteroles

Last week, we received a free KitchenAid ice cream maker for our stand mixer from a rebate offer, so I was anxious to try it out.  One of the flavors I’ve wanted to make ever since watching Steve Martin and Meryl Streep in It’s Complicated is honey-lavender. Meryl, a bakery owner, makes this for Steve one evening, and he raves about it.  (Do you like how I used their first names, like we’re on a first-name basis?  I wish!)  Steve and Meryl – my favorites.

When I heard of this combination, I imagined it to be beautifully light and floral with an herbaceous sweetness.

Honey-Lavender Ice Cream

…and that was pretty accurate.  Traditional profiteroles are filled with ice cream and are topped with chocolate ganache.  Instead of using vanilla ice cream, I opted for this unique substitute, and instead of ganache, I drizzled them with raw honey.  Like Ina Garten, I like finishing dishes with bits of something that’s in the dish, so I sprinkled on the TINIEST bit of delicate, fragrant lavender.

I just put together and photographed a serving of these after baking and stuffing the profiteroles, so I haven’t served them to my family yet.  My best taste-tester gave them high praises this morning, though, so I’m anxious for my small crowd to try them.  The Pate a Choux turned out nicely puffed and airy.  They’re the perfect “vehicle” for the honey-lavender ice cream.

Honey-Lavender Profiteroles

Honey-Lavender Profiteroles

Honey Lavender Ice Cream Recipe (adapted from AlwaysOrderDessert

2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 Tbs. lavender buds, crushed
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup raw honey

In a small saucepan, combine the whole milk, heavy cream, lavender buds, sea salt, and honey. Heat on medium heat just until it starts to simmer, then remove from heat and let cool slightly. Transfer to an air-tight container, and let chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, up to 24.

Once chilled, pass the mixture through a strainer to remove the lavender buds. Whisk briefly, and then pour into your ice cream maker, freezing according to manufacturer’s instructions.

The ice cream will be soft-serve texture after it runs through the ice cream maker; freeze for at least 4 hours before serving.

Pate a Choux (from Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”)


1 Cup of Water
6 Tbsp Butter cut into cubes
Pinch of Salt
1 Tsp Sugar
Pinch of Nutmeg (optional)
¾ Cup of Plain Flour
4 Large Eggs

Egg Wash:
1 small egg, beaten and mixed with a little water

Preheat oven to 425ºF.

Bring water to a boil in a pan with the butter, seasonings and sugar. Boil slowly until butter has melted.  Remove from heat and immediately pour in the flour and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon for several seconds to blend thoroughly.

Next, beat over a moderately high heat for 1 to 2 minutes until mixture begins to leave the side of the pan and form a mass.
Remove pan from heat and make a well in the centre of the mixture. Break one egg into the centre of the well and beat thoroughly until blended.
Continue with the remaining 3 eggs, beating them in one by one until combined and smooth.
Spoon mixture into a piping bag and then squeeze into mounds, about 1″ in diameter and ½” high onto the baking sheet.
Space the mounds about 2″ apart to allow for slight spreading.
Dip a pastry brush into the beaten egg and flatten each puff very slightly with the side of the brush, avoiding dripping egg down the puff onto the baking sheet.
Put the tray(s) into the upper and lower thirds of the preheated oven.
Bake for about 20 mins until puffs have risen and are golden in colour.
Remove from oven and pierce the side of each puff with a sharp knife to let the steam out.  Put the trays back into the turned off oven and leave the doors ajar for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and put puffs onto a cooling rack.  Fill as desired.

Pumpkin Bran Muffins: Friday’s Fiber

Pumpkin Bran Muffins

Perfect for snacking and/or a breakfast on-the-go, these moist pumpkin bran muffins are full of fiber and have a nice, warm spice to them. They’re not a particularly sweet muffin because the only sugar comes from honey and molasses – so no white sugar! To make these even healthier, in place of all-purpose flour, I used white whole wheat flour. A sprinkling of bran atop the muffins prior to baking makes them look healthy, too. I won’t deny that I’d much rather have a streusel topping, though. The goal here, however, was to make a hearty, nutritious muffin for quick breakfasts…and that was accomplished with these fiber-rich treats.

Pumpkin Bran Muffins

As with quick breads, muffin batter should never be overmixed – or else you’ll have tough, heavy mounds to throw at your enemies.

Pumpkin Bran Muffins

(adapted from GreenLiteBites)

  • 1 ½ cups white whole wheat flour (180g)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp all spice
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 15oz can of pumpkin
  • ¼ cup molasses (84 g)
  • 2 tbsp honey (42g)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ½ cup non-fat unflavored yogurt (I used Greek)
  • ¾ cup Oat Bran (45g)
  • Non-stick cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Double-sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice and nutmeg. Set aside.

In a large bowl, add the pumpkin, molasses, honey, egg, egg whites, applesauce and yogurt. Beat until all ingredients are mixed well.

Pour the flour mixture and oat bran into the pumpkin mixture. Combine until just moistened. Do NOT overmix!

Line muffin tins with papers. Evenly distribute the batter into the muffin cups. Sprinkle with bran and bake for about 20 minutes. (Yield: approx. 18)

Pumpkin Bran Muffins


Tomorrow is my 26th birthday, and I will be serving my family a homemade dessert of honey-lavender profiteroles and plain cream puffs filled with vanilla pastry cream. I’m using Julia Child’s recipe for Pate a Choux with a lusciously floral ice cream that I made last night using our new KitchenAid ice cream maker bowl; I also prepared the pastry cream to pipe into the shells. I’m very much looking forward to my first attempt at Pate a Choux and will report the results soon.

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Very Inspiring Blogger Award


The rules of the award process dictate the following as form of my acceptance:

1. Display the award logo on your blog.
2. Link back to the person who nominated you.
3. State 7 things about yourself .
4. Nominate 5 other bloggers for this award and show their links.
5. Go to their pages and tell them.

So the intriguing, multi-faceted, New Zealand blogger The Peckish Kiwi has nominated me for my very first blog award – The Very Inspiring Blogger Award. To say that I am thrilled is an understatement! When I woke up this morning and checked my WordPress notifications, I was elated. Having inspired such a creative soul across the world enough to select me as a nominee is inspiring in itself. Thank you, Mr. P.

In the short few months that I’ve been blogging, I’ve come across such stimulating, expressive, diverse, talented writers across the United States and around the world. They bring to my Reader an abundance of beautiful content – through both language and photography. I am daily thankful that I get to experience the world through various lenses – lenses that often focus on my favorite subject. Food! It’s incredible, the originality and vision I encounter every day.

Now, on to my seven “about me” tidbits…

1) I’m terrified of nearly every single insect and spider on Earth. Pretty much the only ones I can handle without screaming and heart palpitations are ants and gnats. Everyone says, “Oh, don’t be silly! You’re bigger than them!” I’m fully aware of that, but it still doesn’t ease my fear and disgust when I see caterpillars, beetles, and the like. My WIDs (Weapons of Insect Destruction) MUST have long handles, so as to keep a good length between the enemy and me. Suitable WIDs include brooms and fly swatters. Don’t even get me started on cicada season.

2) If I could meet anyone from the past, it would be Julia Child. Thanks to PBS, I get to watch her on “Baking with Julia” every Sunday evening, and I probably squeal, “Ohhhh! She’s so adorable!” at least eight times per 25-minute episode. I think I recently read that her great-nephew, Alex Prud’homme, is releasing another book that they had begun working on prior to her passing. Exciting news.

3) I’m a Grammar Police. This is not to say that I never make mistakes, of course. However, it’s like my brain is wired with a red pen for instances of misuse of was/were, their/there, you’re/your, etc. I’m one of those people who, when losing a petty argument, might just turn to correcting your grammar and spelling. For the record, that tactic typically has a low success rate.

4) My least favorite foods are bananas and raw tomatoes. I’ve been turned off by the flavor, texture, and scent of both for as long as I can remember, but I love tomato products (tomato sauces, salsas, ketchup). Mushrooms and olives were on this list up until a few months ago, when I somewhat suddenly decided they are edible.

5) I learned to downhill ski last winter, and after this winter’s skiing season, I can say that I thoroughly enjoy it. My husband taught me and was SO patient. Were there moments of sassy frustration the first few times? Ohhhh, most definitely.

6) The cooking method in which I’m least experienced is deep frying. I think my fear of at-home frying comes from the talk on grease fires in my high school cooking class. Ever since, I just imagine a pop of grease turning into a “fried chicken fire” nightmare. Luckily, there aren’t too many foods that I crave that require deep frying. I do enjoy the occasional doughnut or piece of crisp chicken, but thankfully, there are wonderful businesses who make those so I don’t have to.

7) I detest professional sports, but love motivational sports movies. The amount of money earned by coaches and “pro” ball-throwers blows my mind and vexes me to no end. In no way am I detracting from the immense talent and abilities of these athletes, but when teachers make a tiny, tiny fraction of the money these entertainers, I think priorities are enormously skewed in my country. That’s a rant for another day.

Now on to my five nominees.

1) Bunny.Eats.Design – Genie’s blog is one of the first that really caught my attention when I began my own. Her content is consistently interesting, with beautiful photography of food and her adorable bunny, of course.

2) The Paddington Foodie – Also one of the first blogs I started following, The Paddington Foodie is constantly posting dishes that make me want to cook them immediately. She and I share a love of many of the same foods, and on more than one occasion, we have cooked very similar dishes around the same time.

3) Vittle Monster – Probably one of the bloggers I see the most on my Reader, Vittle Monster and I share one big thing – our love of food! It’s always fun reading about and seeing the restaurants and dishes he reviews. It’s inspiring to see so many different dining offerings in his neck of the US.

4) JT in Seoul – This blogger photographs the most stunning images of life in Seoul, South Korea – my birthplace. His posts are always beautifully emotive, and offer a glimpse of what my homeland is like.

5) Daisy and the Fox – Bec’s blog might’ve been the first that I read once I joined WordPress. I love seeing young, accomplished writers, and she certainly has made a presence in the blog world. Her food posts always include such amazing imagery. She inspires me to hone the art of photographing my own food .

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Happy Easter

Easter Eggs

Eggs for the “egg picking” tradition.

Today we will be “picking eggs” using these beautifully decorated ones.

Happy Easter to you and yours.


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DIY: Repainting Furniture


Over the next few days, I will be working on my first furniture-painting project.  My grandmother’s cedar chest – which is still perfectly usable, practical, and sturdy (but somewhat of an eyesore) – is getting a face-lift. Here’s a sneak-peek of its forthcoming color transformation…

Sanding and priming will commence this evening tomorrow, and then I will be painting it in Valspar’s “Vintage Teal.”



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