eat your vegetables

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Who doesn't need more green vegetables right around now? We've been on the Pumpkin-Pie-Twice-A-Day Diet over here (complete with whipped cream) and something's gotta give.

In desperate need of some vegetation, I threw everything I had in the kitchen that grows out of the earth (save the spinach) on a baking sheet, tossed it with olive oil, s+p, fresh herbs and roasted at 425 for 20-25 minutes. Ok, nothing new about roasted vegetables but hang on: when it came out of the oven, I took a few big handfuls of fresh baby spinach and tossed it all together with another sprinkle of evoo and sea salt. Genius, right? The spinach gets perfectly wilty and mixes so nicely with the caramelized roastiness. Plus, it makes you feel proud and healthy. You might even reward yourself with a Rhode-Island-size slice of pumpkin pie for dessert.

The version in the photo above includes:
fresh rosemary and thyme

I also made one the other day that involved:
brussels sprouts
fresh rosemary, thyme and oregano

If you do that one, give the carrots a 7 minute headstart.

Happy Thursday!

scenes from a dermatologist's waiting room

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

May I offer you a tootsie roll? Or some onabotulinumtoxinA?

merry merry

Sunday, December 26, 2010

I'm a day late but wanted to wish all of you lovely readers the most wonderful Christmas week! DP and I have been spending such lovely time with family all week long and cooking cooking cooking and then eating eating eating. My lord, the food! I hope you are slowing down and remembering to give gifts to yourself, too. I've been following this no-complaining pact all weekend (suggested by Chelsea and Joanna) and it's been a revelation! I consider myself a pretty positive and optimistic person so it's been a bit of a surprise to realize all those little gripes that pop up (even if they're inside my own head). It's challenging me to bite my tongue and change directions or just drop it altogether. It's amazing how most things just fall away so quickly given no spoken word or mental traction. Also, it's making me be nicer to myself since I've added 'no complaining about myself to myself' to the pact. What could be a better Christmas gift? I hope you give the gift of kindness to yourself, too. Merry Christmas! 


jam on

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I made some food gifts this year with Kathleeny. We made apple butter (this was our 2nd annual run) and cranberry jam (a new addition) and I gotta say they both turned out great. The apple butter is majorly time consuming: it requires stirring stirring stirring for literally two hours to get the right reduced consistency. The cranberry, however is speedy. And there's something special about it to me that it's truly seasonal. It is (as the tag purports) great on toast with butter, smeared on cheese or with pork tenderloin (rub this on it first before cooking and you'll lose your mind!)  

The apple butter is liquid gold, my friends. Despite its watching-grass-grow slowness to make, it does not disappoint. A piece of toast with spicy apple butter will make your toes curl. I have a friend who considers it a food group in and of itself.

I know canning (which in my opinion should be called "jarring") sounds scary and complicated but it's really not. Try it once and you'll be hooked. Here is a great website to get you started. Just make sure you get one of these. We've been working with silicone glove-mitts that get HOT. Plus it makes us feel like him. And that does make canning scary.

Cranberry Jam
(I cannot remember for the life of me where I recovered this recipe)

3 12oz. bags fresh cranberries
3c sugar
1 1/2 c fresh squeezed OJ
1 1/2 c water
3t vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in a large non-reactive pot. Bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and gently simmer for about 15 minutes, until the berries soften and break apart. You can kinda smoosh them against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon and help them along. That's what I do but I'm not known for my patience. Take the mixture off the heat and cool slightly (you want the jam to still be quite hot when you put it into sterilized jars. To clean and sterilize jars, run them through the dishwasher (don't run the lids in there or they could warp) and keep them hot until you fill them. Then follow proper canning procedures from the website above.

yields 7 full 8oz. jars and some left over for the fridge!

Apple Butter
(adapted from this recipe)

4 pounds granny smith or gala apples
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 cups water
3 cups sugar
pinch of salt
2 t cinnamon
1/2 t ground cloves
1/2 t ground allspice
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

Quarter the apples without peeling or coring and place them in a large, wide, non-reactive pot. Add the vinegar and water and cover. Bring to a boil and then simmer until apples are very soft, about 20ish minutes. Ladle the mixture into a food mill or chinois and using a pestle or reamer, push the pulp through the sieve. Get as much pulp as you can out of the mix. Now, add your smooth apple sauce back to a clean pot. Add the sugar and spices and start simmering on medium heat while stirring constantly. This is the annoying part I was telling you about. Cook until thick and smooth. It takes about 2 hours. You can check its set-level by spooning a bit onto a plate fresh from the freezer. If it's thick and not runny it's done. Spoon hot apple butter into sterilized jars and follow proper canning procedures from the website above.

If you become a canning nerd, you can join this group!
Happy Wednesday:)

it never rains in southern california

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I took the time to snap some pics yesterday while we had a momentary lull in the week-long downpour.  I actually got a new umbrella which is making me so much more cheerful about the weather. I have no idea why but for YEARS we've been a one-umbrella household and usually that one umbrella is basically inept and requires some form of gymnastics in order to keep the user dry. I mean, it's LA. We hardly ever have rain. And when we do have it, usually a dash from the car into your destination is sufficient. I have a friend who bragged to me the other day that he's been umbrella-free since 1998. So I know I'm not the only weird one.

For a good long stretch we had a small travel umbrella that broke in such a way that I'd have to push my head up into the top (between the spokes) to keep it open. I realize as I write this how ridiculous this sounds (and I'm sure looked) but it seemed like no big deal at the time. It did prove difficult to keep my neck extended at the perfect angle while simultaneously crouching down to pick up dog poop, but I managed to do it. {side-note to Rude Dog-Owners: Just because it's raining does not mean you are exempt from picking up your dog's poop.}

Most recently, we had a J. Crew umbrella that would pop open quite nicely but the bastard just wanted to STAY open. There was no shutting him down. We had to wrestle it to the ground, squeeze it closed against its will and snap the strap around it quick-like. Not unlike hog-tying a...well, hog.  

So now I am in new-umbrella heaven!! It snap-pops open perfectly and pulls shut just like a new umbrella should. And I couldn't be happier. Although the irony was not lost on me earlier today: I was using my fancy umbrella to keep me dry after becoming soaking wet in a spinning class.

Happy Tuesday!!

getting in the spirit

Monday, December 20, 2010

How stinkin' CUTE are these ornaments?! I bought the kit from alicia's delicious website/blog weeks ago and having finished my Christmas shopping, I've been sewing sewing sewing this past week (which has been perfect in this crazy non-stop-rainy weather we've been having!) I have such fond memories of my mom sitting and making felt ornaments like these when I was small. Of course, they were a lot more 70s in design (one series was a Santa Band--a set of four different Santas each playing their own fabulous sequined instrument!) They're all still on her tree and I LOVE finding them every year and seeing my mom's name and the date on the back. So I was super excited to start making my own. And the fact that these are so beautiful and not hokey-pokey makes me swoon. This pattern calls for making the backs look just like the fronts so they're reversible but I couldn't resist scrawling my 'JoLiE 2010' on the back in crude stitches instead.

What are you up to today? I plan on hunkering down as much as possible and enjoying the rain from inside until I have to go out for an audition later: guess who has a callback for Frosted Mini-Wheats after this happened?  


frosted mini-what?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A story from the Commercial-Audition Trenches awaits you on this fine Saturday. I went in this week for a Frosted Mini-Wheats spot. At most commercial auditions, you go in with a group of actors to get an explanation of the "scene" you're about to shoot. This one included a Mom sitting with the little animated Mini-Wheat guy and updating the upcoming calendar of events for her family.......

The Casting Guy running the session went on to explain:

"So, very important: The Mini-Wheat is not your friend. You're not sitting and chatting with him while having coffee. That would be ridiculous. He's more of an ally. A teammate. Ok?"

10 women who look exactly like me nod.

"When you mention Drew's spelling bee, the Mini-Wheat has great ideas about whole grains really supporting him through it."

10 more nods.

"Don't forget to non-verbally acknowledge the Mini-Wheat after his line."

There was a small figurine standing in for eye-line purposes.

"And then your last line is, 'You rock!' You'll say it and then give him a fist bump."

So, mime a fist bump with a tiny Mini-Wheat's stick arm. That's not ridiculous at all.

Welcome to my life.

double dream hands!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Please-oh-please-oh-please watch this!!!

"Point your hand over there!"

Happy Thursday,

loved this!

this lady knows her champers

Monday, December 13, 2010

She doesn't look very effervescent now, does she? 
I told my brother on Thanksgiving that Veuve Clicquot means "The Widow Clicquot" and that she was a real gal. He was gobsmacked and promptly gave one of the best replies anyone ever gives anything: "Huh." Then we we opened the bottle and you know that little quaff of steamy stuff that floats up right when you pop the cork? He asked if that was the spirit of the dead husband.

My beautiful Mom was visiting this past weekend and we had Super Girly Fun Time that included not only the Veuve (we have a staunch champagne tradition), but this, this, and this (one of my favorite things in the whole world!!) She then headed back home (just 2 hours away) and DP and I went for a hike here:

(photo by Sirsnapsalot)
It was stunning! (We've had psycho 80 degree weather the last few days.) After that, we went to a Holiday party some dear friends were throwing: Latka/Vodka! Imagine 300 potato pancakes and a vodka bar spanning an entire patio. Fun! Sunday I brunched with an old friend here, attended a most special baby shower and then had dinner with some of our closest peeps here. All such good times but I am POOPED today from all the socializing! Gonna go see about crashing on the couch and drinking the last of the dead husband juice. Happy Monday:)


authentic underbelly

Friday, December 10, 2010

I had a non-audition audition yesterday where I met with such a lovely actor/producer/writer about this film he's making--it's independent, semi-autobiographical and all improvised.  I had a general meeting since there was no script to read so we sat down for a nice chat. All auditions should be so lovely. Anyway, this meeting took place in a casting studio I had never been to before. For those of you non-industry types, most of these places have several studio rooms (where many different projects are casting at once) and one giant holding pen waiting area where they keep the crazies talent. You show up as an actor not really knowing what you're gonna get on any particular day. Sometimes? Great friends you haven't seen in ages. Other times? A room full of hairy vikings. Seriously.

So when I arrived yesterday, a bunch of bikini-clad gals were milling about, preparing to read for a project called SHIPWRECK'D. Some were running lines with each other and it wasn't pretty. Meanwhile, there was a laptop propped open on a chair playing Christopher Cross's "Sailing" on an endless loop. Maybe helping someone get "in the mood"? God help us. As I continued to wait, I overheard this fun interaction between a guy in a cheesy suit (there auditioning for an altogether different project) and a girl in a camouflaged bikini (I almost didn't see her there!):

Guy in cheesy suit: "What are you going in for?"

Girl in camo bikini: "SHIPWRECK'D"

Guy in cheesy suit: "Cool."

Girl in camo bikini: "Yeah."

[Long beat as guy looks at her outfit.]

Guy in cheesy suit: "What type of role is it?"

Girl in camo bikini, deadpan: "Comedic."

Guy in cheesy suit: "What type?"

Girl in camo bikini, slightly irritated: "Comedic. Really funny."

[Guy nods for five full seconds and then walks away.]

Shortly after, I was called into my lovely non-audition audition. I mentioned how nuts it was in the waiting room and we got to talking about how many different versions of LA there are. He said, "Some people think that's what LA is all about," referring to the craziness, "but it's not." I agreed. I told him I think there is this authentic underbelly here that you just have to be seeking and you'll find it easily. But if we didn't have the vikings, bikini-girls and crazies, we wouldn't have anything by which to measure the authentic-ness. He looked at me and nodded sagely and then asked me if I'd be willing to show my boobs in his movie.*


*that part isn't true but it was kinda funny, right?

blueberry goodness

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

For my first featured blog recipe, I've decided to share one of my all-time faves.  This is the best settle-into-your-weekend thing to make for breakfast!  

Blueberry Scones
(adapted from Tyler Florence's Blueberry Scones with Lemon Glaze)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 t salt
5-6 T sugar
5 T cold unsalted butter, cut into 1" cubes
1 cup heavy cream (plus more for brushing the tops before baking)
1 cup fresh (or frozen) blueberries
Vanilla sugar or Sugar-in-the-Raw (for sprinkling the tops before baking)

Stick the cubed butter in the freezer for 15 minutes while you preheat the oven to 400. Mix the dry ingredients together using a whisk. Or better yet, a food processor. (Confession: I hardly ever sift.) Add the butter and pulse until it looks like coarse meal. Pour in the cream and pulse until the dough begins to come together (don't overdo it) and then turn it out onto a floured counter. Warning: this dough is SO crumbly that the first time I made these I was genuinely irritated. It'll be okay. Just squeeze it together as best you can without working it too much. Mix the blueberries in as carefully as possible. If you're using frozen ones, you can just put them in frozen--they'll thaw and cook in the oven perfectly. Tyler Florence says, "Take care not to mash or bruise the blueberries because their strong color will bleed into the dough." Yeah. Guess what, Tyler? Nice try. That ain't happenin'. They are going to bleed and mash because the dough is so friggin' crumbly. It's okay. It'll all be worth it. Divide the dough up into 6 scones and bake on a Silpat or parchment paper. Tyler recommends pressing the dough out and cutting it into shapes but this is quite impossible. Trust me. You have to just grab a handful of this blueberry goodness and shape it by squeezing it into a somewhat recognizable scone-type shape and plopping it on the baking sheet. Brush the blobs with heavy cream and sprinkle with vanilla sugar or sugar-in-the-raw and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden and gorgeous. Tyler recommends a lemon glaze but I think these are perfect without. Let me know how they turn out!


have you ever been to a dog's birthday party? i have.

Monday, December 6, 2010

On Sunday we attended Brooklyn's first Birthday, being thrown by our friends, proud and sheepish parents Scott and Annie.  

Annie's friend Stephanie made this beautiful cake... 

Me: "Wow! Beautiful! Is that for the dogs? Ha ha!"

Stephanie: "Yes. You won't like it. It's not very sweet. It's made with lots of bananas and carob."

Me: "Oh. (long beat.) Cool."

The proud papa.

Party guests Lucky and Cleo on their best behavior.

We all played Pin the Tail on the Brooklyn with actual donkey tails. Well, not ACTUAL donkey tails but you know what I mean. #7 won because Brooklyn doesn't have a tail. Get it?! Awesome, right?

I LOVED this balloon!! It tottered around on its accordion legs.

It was near impossible to take a photo of the Birthday Girl...


She's almost in focus here with her pals...

There she is! That smile kills me!

Time for cake! We brought home a slice for Lena and I think I discovered its secret ingredient: farts.  


sweet butter

Saturday, December 4, 2010

I went to Sweet Butter Kitchen with sweet Veronica yesterday (btw, you should check out her beautiful jewelry designs here! I have these and wear them at least bi-weekly). It's so nice to have a new lunch place in The Valley, which tends to have a dearth of great restaurants. I had such high hopes and SBK didn't disappoint. Check out the loveliness...

I had this delicious grilled vegetable salad with chicken and chevre...

...and this icy tea that was so refreshing...

V had this turkey sandwich with fig jam (YUM!)

They had lovely pots of herbs growing on the patio...

...and colorful jars of candy on the counter inside.

I wish I would've eaten one of those sugar cookies! Don't they look festive? Next time I shall enjoy one with the Best Coffee on the Planet.


what a difference an H makes

Friday, December 3, 2010

I went to have my hair colored today and my colorist was talking about Ombre. Do you know this new trend? It's where you have this really dark rooty grow out and the color gradually gets lighter toward the ends. Not sure it's for me even though a lot of these ladies look great. But as she went on about it, all I could think of was this hombre:

Tener un gran fin de semana!


cone of shame

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Poor Lena.  She has a boo-boo and I had break down and take her to the vet yesterday. I was trying to avoid it--not only because one cannot visit the vet without spending the same sum as a dinner for four at Mozza, but I fancy myself somewhat of a pup nurse. I've performed minor surgery on her, pulling small twigs out of her back and plugging up the hole with neosporin or removing a tick (A TICK!!!!) with my good Tweezerman tweezers while David stood by, mouth agape. Alas, this current affliction required a true professional.

After working their magic on said boo-boo, and whisking her away to give her a bunch of shots and random tests back in "the back", Our Pal has to wear this cone for the next couple days. She's a champ but it still breaks my heart (and also makes me have to stifle laughter) every time she scrapes against a wall.

David has a cold so we will keep his germs inside of his own Cone of Shame. What do you think? Also--this way he'll stop licking himself.

Happy Thursday!

P.S. Update: A guy already called me this morning: "We have the results back from Lena's fecal test!  She is intestinal-parasite free!!"  Me: "Awesome!"

these recipes are pretty shitty...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I can't even take it!  I giggled like a little girl when I saw this.  

felt mistletoe!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I just bought this cutest felt mistletoe at YOLK, the coolest store in Silverlake.  It makes me smile just thinking about hanging it up!

lena pagani

Sunday, November 14, 2010

We rescued Lena ten years ago and after a short period of adjustment (i.e., wearily trolling the floors of our apartment in circles all night long, growling at anyone other than us who entered, and eating half our couch in the span of one afternoon while left alone) she's been awesome. And maybe it was having an instant adult dog from the get-go and not starting with a little puppy, but I felt so weird being naked in front of her.  Like she was staring at me. Doesn't it seem like it would be easier to be naked in front of a puppy? I digress.

Now she is Our Pal. And aside from the hair avalanche that ensues ten months of the year, she is the perfect roommate.  She has very civilized manners and knows a number of impressive words. 

Her most favorite?  


Hope you have a great Sunday...


my incredible husband

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

How can you stand it??
For as long as I can remember, DP has LOVED The Hulk. Well, pretty much all comic book heroes. I just love that about him. I think it started when he was little and loved drawing and reading comics and then when his mom sewed him a Superman cape at age seven, that sealed the deal. We're not generally Halloween-dress-up kind of people but this year, for nephew Logan's Halloween party, we decided to go all out. I just love DP for this since he's not the most comfy guy in the spotlight (and how could you be more IN the spotlight when you're GREEN?!)  Love you, D:)
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