April 28, 2011

#10: Reading... & #14: Sunrising...

I've decided to combine two of my "30 Things" for this blog. They are simple & sweet stories, with limited photographical evidence, so they make a perfect pair!

#10: Read "To Kill A Mockingbird"

What a true pleasure this has been! I have loved diving into the story of Scout, Atticus & Boo Radley all over again...

High school did not quite do this book justice, thanks to the distraction of plot development or character comparisons or whatever was required once I was done reading! Now I'm free to simply sail away with Harper Lee's amazing storytelling, and I can see why it remains so well loved & respected. It's a beautifully crafted story, a mixture of childlike innocence & adult depth.

And best of all, its the favorite book of one of my favorite friends. There is goodness in sharing.

#14: Watch the sunrise with Nate...

As it turns out, this wasn't as difficult as I first thought! (convincing Nate to rise before the sun was making me nervous).

Easter Sunday means Easter sunrise service.... We headed out to Shelby Park with a group from church to read from the bible & pray together as the sun rose over East Nashville. 

It was a clear, warm & peaceful morning, filled with joy in the story of a risen Savior. What better way to see the sunrise with Nate than that? 


April 25, 2011

#1: Learn How To Make Macaroons

Time for numero uno! 

It may be poor-form to begin with a disclaimer, but I do feel it's necessary to point-out my utter lack of cultural understanding, & therefore minor error in the macaroon department!

My cousin, Pixie, was quick on the up-take with the suggestion of macaroon's for my '30 Things' list & I boldly jumped-in one night last week. I'd had my eye on a tasty looking Ambrosia Macaroon recipe from Bon Appetite for quite some time...

It wasn't till weeeeelll after mixing, baking & tasting that I realized there are actually TWO types of macaroons... Or should I say - lest I offend the French - one real type of macaroon, & then the coconut macaroon.


For this challenge, coconuts were my choice of 'roon & so that is my 30th birthday achievement - I hope it still counts Pixie?! 

Since I accidentally chose to make the more simple member of the macaroon family, there is not much to report from this cooking endeavor.

It's quite an easy combination of butter, coconut, egg, sugar & a few other goodies baked with ease.  

Although, if I may say-so myself, I did employ some pretty tricky swishing with a fork, to create a most delectiable covering of chocolate.

The hint of orange zest mixed with dark chocolate & coconut made for a very satisfying little macaroon lump.

I shall file-away the challenge of the more fancy, coloruful cookie-style macaroon's for another day...


April 21, 2011

#2: Watch the Movie "Giant" staring Elizabeth Taylor & James Dean

I thought it was time to tick-off something from my '30 Things' list other than food! And what better choice than a classic 1950's movie...
'Giant' is one of my Dad's favorite movies and that in itself is enough reason for me to watch it. He has been encouraging us to check it out since moving to America & enjoying our fair-share of Texas time (a top-notch US State, might I add!)

Having visited the Lone Star State years ago himself, & then chuckling at our own first-ever experience of Texas - oil-pumps, tumbleweeds & not a tree in sight - he was all the more keen for us to watch an iconic movie saturated in Texan culture.

'Giant' is an epic movie spanning 3 generations. Elizabeth Taylor is beautiful, dramatic & perfect with her teeny-tiny waist... James Dean is fresh-faced, enthralling & sadly wouldn't make another movie after this one... And Rock Hudson is imposing & everything you hope for in a 1950's cattle rancher.

Should it take your fancy, hold onto your ten-gallon hats. This movie has some major YEE-HAWS!, whoops, cattle-ranching good times & oil-splurting drama.

I loved it entirely & am so pleased I took the time to watch it - even if it was over 3 viewings. Yep :)

[Dad - we still remember your vivid descriptions of this movie & your own Texas visit. We love & miss you!]


April 19, 2011

#18: Track Down & Try Nashville's Grilled Cheeserie Van

I'm on a roll! As was the Grilled Cheeserie van making it's way to Cummins Station on thursday.

(How'd you like that bit of literary trickery?!)

Onto #18 of my '30 Things'. This was a particular favorite for a number of reasons...

(1) Food van's are a fascination to me in their unique menu ideas, teeny-tiny-ness & ability to keep you guessing as to when & where they'll next turn-up!

(2) I absolutely love & adore grilled cheese. It is comfort food at it's most basic & good. Two slices of bread hugging a piece of melted cheese in toasted perfection. Yes. Please.


(3) I'm all about the outside lunch date with Nate when the sun appears after a few days of gloom. This was a cheeky way to take time out with my love & shake-off the inside blues.
So.... Another item is crossed-off the list & another week begins.

And I promise, wallpaper is "in progress". I can tell you are eagerly awaiting the results - be-it straight, crooked, stuck or unstuck!


April 13, 2011

Sometimes it's the little things...

Over the past week there have been a few moments of particular goodness that have caused me to pause & hold-back the rush of life...

{reading a book with my precious Miss P on the other side of the sea}

For these simple, fleeting & beautiful moments, I am thankful.

{fresh berries & homemade muffins with nate}

They remind me of God's goodness & provision.
His hand of artistry.
How near He is in every moment of every day.

{twilight in Franklin TN}

And of His abundant grace in giving us a glimpse of Heaven.
These promises of true beauty, joy & peace are refreshing for my soul.


April 10, 2011

#11: Spring-clean my closet

Another week begins, I am 1 more week closer to June 1st, & there is still quite a list of "30 Things" left to go! Today #11 got the call-up.

I love purging my wardrobe, & finally coming to grips with the fact that some items really-truly may never cycle back around in the world of fashion (a term I use loosely when referring to the below bundle!). No matter how hard I envisage re-inventing /  adjusting / dying the item in question, there always comes a day when I must accept my extremely limited seamstress skills & let it go....

(I know you're spying that dashing rainbow-inspired turtle-neck at the top of the pile, & wondering to yourself how I could be so quick to send it packing... Call me crazy, but it's suction tight fit & encircling brightness do me no favors.)

Heading into this week, I feel conquering wallpaper should be on the agenda. Cannot wait!

April 7, 2011

#15: Learn How To Make No-Knead Bread

1 down, 29 to go!

I wont lie, I have experienced a few technical difficulties this week while trying to accomplish several items on my "30 Things" list*. Sure, they were minor hiccups, easily overcome, but I do feel it's quite an indication of my lack of experience for the role of a 30-year-old.

SO, I was very relieved to start and finish one thing this week. That being... #15: Learn How To Make No-knead Bread. Mm-hmmm, definitely didn't take much convincing to give it a go!

This recipe is care-of Mark Bittman, a New York Times food writer. He has delivered a devilishly easy way to make bread, eliminating kneading, dough-hooks, bread makers & overall anxiety.

It takes just 4 ingredients - flour, salt, water & yeast - 20 hours of "rest" time (that means rest for the baker too!), a few simple folds (see above) & 45mins in a hot oven.

Viola! A round, golden bundle of love, with a crispy crust & soft center.


Simple as it is, the bread lacks nothing in taste & texture & is good both fresh & toasted. Truly, you will want to marry this little loaf & ride-off into the sunset.

Our loaf was almost that lucky - a dinner date with Paige & Chase! What better way to enjoy & savor fresh baked goods than with sweet, Mississippian friends?

Chase & Nate, Me & Paige.
And Maggie Beer's divine Barossa Dukkah for dipping (say that fast 10 times!)

I hope this has inspired you to try your hand at something new & fill your kitchen with the scent of fresh-made bread.

Thanks for stopping-by... x

*An enthusiastic trip to the farmers market in search of fresh herb plants was short lived since they aren't even in season yet (*blush*). And completing the wallpaper job does actually requires a full quantity of wallpaper... Don't even ask.

April 1, 2011

30 Things

Thank you for answering my cry for help & providing some '30 things' assistance! I can't tell you what a delight it was to receive a response & to have suggestions far better than my own scrappy attempts.

I now have a healthy list that ranges from easily attainable to somewhat optimistic, to absolute pie-in-the-sky. (Literally - see #12, care-of dear Anne-Marie. She would have me falling fast from a plane!)

'30 Things to do before I turn 30':

1. Learn how to make Macaroons
2. Watch the movie Giant staring Elizabeth Taylor & James Dean
3. Start a herb/veggie patch so I can make fresh bruschetta this summer
4. Finish off my pancake blogs with an all-time winner
5. Watch 30 of my all-time favorite movies
6. Hang the wallpaper I bought 4 long months ago (I'm a scardy-cat)
7. Start going to the Yoga classes I keep talking about going to (again, scaredy-cat!)
8. Re-Upholster our bedroom chair
9. Take a Spring bike ride around Radnor Lake
10. Read 'To Kill A Mockingbird'
11. Spring-clean my closet & give the 'dont-need' to Goodwill
12. Sky-dive. Ahem.
13. Find 5 new favorite blogs
14. Watch the sunrise with Nate
15. Learn how to make No-Knead bread
16. Listen to "There's a Hippo in my Bathtub" record, beginning to end.
17. Host afternoon tea for a couple of girlfriends
18. Track down & try Nashville's "Grilled Chesserie" van
19. Discover a new London coffee haunt
20. Have a hit of tennis with Nate
21. Learn how to straighten my hair
22. Sample a sweet thing & a savory thing from the Borough Food Markets
23. Write & send a note to some of the people who have been influential over my 30yrs
24. Take a short but sweet vacation with Nate, sans guitar/merch/van/gig contract. Yee-haw!

As you can see, I'm still 6 short, so if anything springs to mind, I'm all ears!

And please continue to stop-by & check my progress if it takes your fancy. I will endeavor to blog on as many of these as I can.