Friday, June 26, 2009

4th of July - Redding California style!

P1020218 (by *MASTIFF*)

I know it’s still June - but you need to know about an incredible place to go for the 4th of July and sometimes a little time to plan is good! Where’s the best place to go for the 4th? Redding California - that is if you can stand the heat! The fireworks are the best I’ve ever seen - sort of like everybody else’s grand finale - only an hour long of the best fireworks!! The colors are incredible and they have shapes! Like hearts and lips and other things I didn’t know you could do with pyrotechnics! For a glimpse of what you’ll have in store check out

Scramento River Bridges, Redding, CA (by bridgepix)
And during the day, you can stay cool at Shasta Ice Caves, the pool, or shop or visit their amazing water park!

Viva La Fourth!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Robin Sharp - Mastering the Art of Kosher Cooking

Several years ago I discovered the amazing photography blog of Robin Sharp. Her style really caught my eye, as you know I'm huge on visuals. I started following her blog, drawing inspiration from her and her gorgeous photos. Recently she started a fabulous new photo blog documenting the creation of kosher dishes and I knew it was time to feature her amazing work. Her impressive client lists boasts companies such as Pepsi, Johnson & Johnson, New Balance, and Frommer's Travel Guides. Trust me, you'll want to pay attention to her.

What made you want to start a blog about kosher cooking?

I started Mastering the Art of Kosher Cooking when I began my conversion to Judaism. My fiance is Jewish and I've been slowly learning about the culture and the values of Judaism. Pretty early in our relationship I realized that if we got married I would want a Jewish wedding and I would want to live a Jewish life with him after we were married. His family were originally kind of hesitant to accept me, but once they did they became just as close as my own parents and siblings. I've learned a lot about Jewish cooking from R's grandmother (or, as she's called by the family: Baba Luba) and because I no longer have living grandparents of my own, I understood how important it was to preserve her recipes. We had started a cookbook on paper at home, and I thought: Why not blog about it? Everybody else is doing it. Haha. So the blog is kind of a mix of me learning her recipes and creating kosher recipes of my own, plus a few thoughts here and there about my conversion.

And of course, the ever present cliché - What inspires you?

I get inspired by a lot of things. As far as the blog goes, I'm inspired by food magazines, other food bloggers, and of course the name of the blog was inspired by Julia Child's book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I'm also inspired by my conversion classes. It seems that almost every Jewish holiday has food as its focus. So as I learn about the holidays, I learn to cook the traditional foods that go along with it. This year I made Hamatashen on Purim, cauliflower latkes on Chanukkah and an apples and honey pie for Rosh Hashana.

What has been your favorite dish to prepare so far?

I think that it has to be Baba Luba's chicken soup. It takes a while to prepare: You have to tear apart a whole chicken and cut up the vegetables, and then you have to let it simmer for as long as possible (like, 5-7 hours is perferable) and then you have to make the matzoh balls to go in it. But it's the epitome of Jewish comfort food and the fact that it takes so long just makes it all the more worth while. Plus it makes the whole house smell like your grandma's house, and during the winter it steams up our kitchen windows and makes you feel so warm inside.

What has been your least favorite?

Hamantashen. I don't know if I'll ever be able to make a good batch of hamantashen. They're these cookies that are shaped like triangles and they traditionally have prunes or poppy seeds in them, but I wanted people to actually eat them so I used raspberry and apricot jam. The problem is that I can never get the dough quite right, so it always ends up falling apart and the triangles bleed jam all over the cookie sheet. It's such a mess! But this year it was fun because I did it with my neice, who quickly got bored of the "making" part and while we were filling the cookies with jam, so she made herself the Official Jam Cleaner Upper, which soon turned into Official Eater of the Jam Straight From The Jar. Her parents picked her up and she was covered with flour and jam!

How do you keep up with your job at the university, photography business, planning a wedding, AND your blog?

Jeez, when you say it like that it sounds like so much! Really, it balances out perfectly. I'm really fortunate to have my job in the photography department at the university because I only work there 3 days a week, but it gives me a steady paycheck and allows me to keep current because it's my job to know about the latest technological advances in cameras and equipment. On the other two weekdays I'm either out at a photoshoot or I'm delivering things to clients or I'm updating my portfolio and website, which are constantly changing. I tend to find time to cook things for the blog on days when I don't have a heavy photography workload. R and I are pretty much planning our wedding in our spare time. We're having a fairly simple wedding, so the amount of planning we have to do is manageable. The wedding's still almost a year away, so maybe you should ask me this question in 7 months and see if I'm still managing to keep up with everything!

Any cooking gadget you're dying to own?

I got a Kitchenaid mixer last winter and thus fulfilled a lifelong dream. R thought that it might end up as a counter decoration, but I've used it a fair bit! It definitely comes in handy when making doughs, like the one in the peirogie recipe on my blog. It cuts the work in half. The next thing I'd like to buy is a juicer, actually. When R and I were in Israel in May we drank the most amazing freshly squeezed orange and carrot juices. Plus, in Israel they make this drink called "Lemon-nana", which is lemonaide and mint (which is called nana in Hebrew). We have mint growing like crazy in our garden this summer and I'd love to try making some Lemon-nana with it, but I don't have the patience to squeeze that many lemons by hand!

What accomplishment in your life are you most proud of?

That's a tough question! Career-wise it was probably the first time that I had my work published in a magazine. It's harder to say what accomplishments in my personal life bring me the most pride. If I can manage to plan our wedding with as many DiY elements as I'm currently intending, that will be a big one for me.

Name 3 future goals you have;

-To publish a cookbook that would be a collection of the recipes from Mastering the Art of Kosher Cooking. I'd take the photos, of course. :)

-To shoot for Gourmet, Martha Stewart Living, House Beautiful and Bon Appetit. Their photographs are a huge source of inspiration to me and I would love to
someday be a source of inspiration to other young photographers.

-To finish my conversion and have a Jewish wedding that's a true expression of who R and I are as a couple without spending a fortune. We've set a modest goal. I really want to look back on our wedding and feel like it was a perfect day and a perfect reflection of US. I know that everybody wants that from their weddings, but so many people end up giving in to all of the pressures and buy a big poofy dress and get monogrammed napkins and rented linens. That's not what we're about and I'm making sure that we steer clear of all of that.

Check out Robin's work:
Mastering the Art of Kosher Cooking
Sharp Photo
Her Flickr

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Fathers Day

Happy Fathers Day to all the dads out there! And especially to ours :)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Sassy Saturday...

Butter and Honey (by janoid)

Just for fun
Eating ice cream
Water fight, soaking wet
Laughing until it hurts

Kickin’ it with friends
Calling somebody wonderful from the past
Spending time with people who are thoughtful
Saying only nice things – or else saying nothing at all

Time at the mall
Trying on trendy clothes
Buying something for someone just because
Going into the stores usually ignored

However you choose to spend your Saturday, make it fun and different – make it sassy!

Blessings! Theresa

Friday, June 19, 2009

Flickr Friday - Vintage Illustration

A little eye candy for you today!!

I loooooove retro illustration;

retro illustration The perky housewife. (by lemonysarah)

Vintage Cookbook Illustrations (by Lab-Partners)

'All the passengers cheered' (by letslookupandsmile)

three  (by tigerluxe)

provensen SCARBOROUGH FAIR (by judibird)

The Little Tiny Rooster (by nurse_marbles)

Station de métro (by Ωméga 1)

Lampadaires de Paris (by Ωméga 1)

Happy Friday!


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Make You Think Thursday - Simply Jo Designs

I believe every person is important. I believe we all have things to offer and ways we can help make the world a better place. We decided to make our Thursday blogs stories that inspire and encourage this spirit of reaching, teaching and believing.

Recently, we were asked to participate in Great Strides, a walk to benefit Cystic Fibrosis. Up until a year ago, I had no clue what this awful disease is about. But then we met some wonderful friends - the parents of Madison. If you met Madison, your heart would absolutely melt. She is brimming with love and life. Our entire family decided to walk the six miles around River Front Park to help Madison.

The boys in our family were serious about helping Madison and other kids like her, you could tell they knew how important their part was because they passed the playground without asking to play, they passed the carousel without asking to ride. They wanted to do their best so Madison could get well enough to play and ride too.

Not long after our walk, I was privileged to meet another person who loves helping too. Her name is Amanda Jo and turns out she has known Madison’s family since she was 9 years old. She also knows others suffering with CF and has decided to make a difference. Amanda Jo offers handmade jewelry and with her ‘Madison’ collection she donates to the CF foundation - go to her Etsy shop to buy or her website Simply Jo Designs to learn more.

She also put together a video of Madison, Sopia and Matthew - its their story entitled 'A Different Normal'. Very good. Our boys watched the video too and felt proud that they are helping CF suffers, doing their part to help change lives. It is good for all of us to ask ourselves, ‘what can I do to help others?’ - and then do it!


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Inspiration Sunday - Amy Butler and Tiffany & Co

I brought home some Amy Butler fabric swatches yesterday in my continued search for the perfect pattern for my chair seats.

Amy Butler swatches (by Lex Leigh)

Fabric swatches (by Lex Leigh)

I think I found a winner, and it just HAPPENS to go perfectly with my dresser! They both incorporate Tiffany turquoise ;)

Amy Butler swatches (by Lex Leigh)

Dresser Project (by Lex Leigh)

Dresser Project (by Lex Leigh)

And a little Tiffany & Co for reference;

Little Bad Habit #1 (by LaMadrileña)

And beautiful just because;

aren't you glad you use dial? (by shutterblog)

Hope you're having a lovely weekend!



Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Laughing Planet

For those of you who don't already know, I'm a pretty big fan of Banksy. So I wanted to share this link with you, an entire museum full of his work! The project was kept a secret from even the highest ups at the museum, known only by the curator and a couple of board members. I think it's note worthy that he has installed many of his own works in museums without being caught prior, and is now being invited to show! An inspiration of sorts to the little man. I've always been intrigued by graffiti, but the illegal aspect is less than glamorous. So one day I will practice freely on plywood.

Today we went to Portland to check out their fabulous artsy stores and grab some delicious eats. One of my favorite Portland places to feast at is The Laughing Planet Cafe. I'm positive all of their burritos and other food shtuffs are amazing, but my favorite and never failing go-to burrito is the Southwestern Green Chili. I mean how can you go wrong with: black beans, mild green chiles, local sweet corn, Tillamook {local} jack cheese, organic brown rice, and pico de gallo?? You just can't. I also drench it in their fabulously HOT sauce - it's a bit sweet at first and then leaves your tongue burning for quite a while. Some pics? Of course, as always!;

The Laughing Planet

The Laughing Planet

Also, wanted to show you a great artist I found on Etsy!

Ok friends, that's all for now! Gotta prep some more photos for a product update on the site!



Thursday, June 11, 2009

The French Press

So it turns out that while we were at the coast, there was a pretty severe thunderstorm back home with funnel clouds and tornado warnings. Thankfully, it seems the worst damage was some blown down trees and some people lost electricity. Tornadoes are unusual in Oregon, but even so, most people have basements. There haven't been any more tornado warnings, but we have had rainy, cooler weather - perfect weather to snuggle up to the computer with a cappuccino and scone and get back to work.

Afternoons have been a great time for creating new artwork for the shop, as well as a few surprise goodies. We've indulged in watching past seasons of The Office (what a hysterical show!) while we work away.

Today we took a break and ran for more supplies - and made a stop at The French Press. This is a great coffee shop that serves up delicious breakfast and lunch crepes, amazing smoothies and other incredible yummies! We had a grilled veggie crepe with black bean hummus on the side (which was spread on top to give this crepe a truly wonderful flavor).

French Press

French Press

More freight has been coming in and tomorrow we plan on taking more pictures and having our second product update since the launch on June 1st!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Pacific City

Pacific City - Cape Kiwanda

Well after the big site launch we decided to go to the coast for a couple days. Little fact: Oregonians usually call the beach the "coast" because it's nothing like tropical beaches. It is mostly overcast, chilly {perfect sweatshirt weather!} and windy. Fun, nonetheless! Crashing waves always calm me down and help me realize that day to day problems are smaller than they seem.

Pacific City - Cape Kiwanda

Pacific City - Cape Kiwanda
One of the three "Haystack" rocks in Oregon

Pacific City - Cape Kiwanda
Climbing this hill is a GREAT [intense!] workout for your legs!

Pacific City - Cape Kiwanda

Pacific City - Cape Kiwanda

Pacific City - Cape Kiwanda

When I was little I wanted to be an Oceanographer. Ocean life fascinates me! I missed this scenery so much when I lived in Kansas City, but glad to be close to the Pacific again. Did anyone else watch the BBC's Ocean series recently? Amazing! I get my fill watching shows like that and visiting places like this!

And we found the cutest coffee shop in Pacific City! It's called Stimulus - great name, no?

Pacific City - Cape Kiwanda

Pacific City - Cape Kiwanda

They feature the art of local artists, which always makes me happy in my heart!

Pacific City - Cape Kiwanda
I absolutely adored these giclee prints of oil on canvas by Marilyn Burkhardt

Pacific City - Stimulus Cafe

Pacific City - Stimulus Cafe

Pacific City - Stimulus Cafe

And some gorgeous mixed media pieces by Teresa Mahannah also!

Pacific City - Cape Kiwanda

Pacific City - Cape Kiwanda

I found her on Etsy with two GREAT shops, Artsy Rubbish which sells really fun tiles, and Yellow Dog Vintage that has some amazing vintage finds! Now if only I could find where she sells her mixed media pieces like the ones found at Stimulus...

That's all I have for today! I'm working on setting up the Etsy shop and adding more products to the website!


You can see more pictures of our trip in my Flickr stream if you're interested.