Thursday, January 5, 2012

Good bye, 2011!

Oh, the holidays were merry and bright! I'm excited about what 2012 is going to bring!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Wedded Bliss

It was a delightful evening...


Happy Anniversary, my love.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Baby love...

I can spend hours listening to my wee one "talking". She's so curious and inquisitive. Due to her wiggliness, I find it hard capturing her on film. But, for the sake of posterity, I give it a go...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Busy, busy...

Did you hear that? Summer just flew by.

I'm a bit embarrassed about the length of time since the last post. So, let's get up to speed:

The latest:

  1. Husband is on new diet and lost 30 lbs without spending time in a gym. And I'm not spending any extra time in kitchen. We love the 4-Hour Body diet.
  2. My sister got a surprising job offer here. So after spending 15 yrs on either the west coast or east coast, she has returned to the midwest. Yipee!
  3. I've started a new business and it's looking promising.
  4. Every weekend we enjoy waffles or pancakes for breakfast. Thanks to my rediscovered old cookbook.
  5. Many a-little family get-togethers. My darling husband is lucky I'm so normal.
  6. Daughter is starting to walk and expressing her will. It's hard negotiating with a 16mo. She always wins.
  7. I've got a little suntan. Quite a surprise if you knew me and knew my love of sunscreen.
Quel Summer 2011.

Monday, July 4, 2011

My Perfect Getaway

I especially love reading the Financial Times Weekend Edition.  My dear husband always points out articles he thinks I'll especially like to read.  This weekend included My Perfect Getaway interviews by Victoria Maw and Fernando Augusto Pacheco.  In case the FT isn't in your reading schedule, here is two of the interviews that made me smile and contemplate my favorite getaway.

Salvador Dali, lying down, wife Gala and friend sailing on a boat named after Gala

Tamara Mellon , founder and chief creative officer of Jimmy Choo
Where are you spending the summer?
I cannot wait to go to the Hamptons. I go to unwind and get away from it all and it’s always very relaxed. The water and beaches are breathtaking and I always leave there completely rejuvenated.
What do you do when you arrive?
I put on my bikini and go to the beach with [my daughter] Minty for our first swim. We are at our happiest by the sea together.
What are you looking forward to reading?
Why Not Say What Happened?, the autobiography of Guinness heiress Ivana Lowell.
What do you like doing on holiday?
Relaxing and spending time with Minty. Reading, exercising and just getting away from it all really.
Will you be online or offline?
I tend to check my work e-mails first thing for anything urgent, then my BlackBerry is off limits and it’s family time. I am on Twitter (@TamaraMellon) and have been known to tweet from the beach occasionally.
Ideal travelling companion?
I would love to take a trip with Hillary Clinton or Queen Rania of Jordan.
Item you are unable to leave at home?
Lavender oil and Vie Luxe scented candles for my hotel room.
Where would you like to go next?
Brazil is top of my list. Its tropical climate, glamorous beaches and characters, sun-bleached colours and wild carnival nights inspired my current collection.
Gary Shteyngart , author
Where are you spending the summer?
No time for holidaying this year, sadly; I have to promote my last book from Wales to Rome by way of Copenhagen and Madrid. My idea of a good holiday is lying on a blanket with a book while a friendly ant tickles me between my toes. Aren’t ants the best?
What do you do when you arrive at your holiday destination?
I realise I’ve forgotten my swimming trunks. I always forget my trunks. And then there are weeks spent trying to pry trunks from some reluctant Anatolian merchant. Why is life so difficult?
What are you looking forward to reading?
An actual printed newspaper would be nice. The kind that gets me all inky like a squid. I don’t like to think too much in the summer so, in terms of books, maybe early Evelyn Waugh.
What do you like doing when on holiday?
Deep coma. A little reading. Back to coma.
Ideal travelling companion?
Any long-haired dachshund will do, particularly one named Felix.
Item you are unable to leave at home?
My cholesterol medication, lorazepam, Xanax, various subclasses of barbiturates.
Do you eat in or out when on holiday?
I barely know how to boil water, so eating out is the way to go. I love snout-to-tail kinds of food where I eat the whole animal.
Do you buy postcards and if so, who do you send them to?
Postcards? Is that like a printed e-mail? I guess I don’t.
How do you feel when the holiday is over?
Depressed. But happy to see my dachshund, if we’ve been separated.
Where would you like to go next?
Hudson, New York. A little town upstate where I feel very relaxed.

What would be your perfect getaway? I'm still trying to figure out mine.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Figaro, Figaro!

A woman falls in love so many times in a lifetime.  About 20 minutes ago I fell head-over-heals for this baby.  May I present to you, Mademoiselle Figaro:

How does one import a car from the UK? Emissions test? Insurance? I guess I will need to learn how to drive sitting on the right-hand-side.

After taking care of all the messy details, all I'll need to do is channel Grace Kelly in To Catch a Thief.  How fantastic. This is going to be fun.

Ciao, baby love!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Oh, the Memories

Sigijor, Philippines
Mr. Mig and I were reminiscing the other day about our travels.  It always makes us smile and wish for another trip to the Philippines.  

It was actually a huge family trip for my youngest sister's wedding.  It was also the equivalent of a week-long Seinfeld episode which included family members, who shall remain nameless, wandering the Shanghai airport at night looking for toast, Grandma getting dreadlocks, vodka shots for the bride walking down the aisle, bugs attacking bridesmaids, cows in the basketball court, and boats exploding with fireworks. And that, my dears, is just a glimpse of the our petite souvenirs

On a cool evening this summer, we'll have to sit down and share a cold drink and tell you more about our unforgettable trip to Sigijor.  

I'll let Mr. Mig share his memory of the bachelor party with the drunk German. It's too good for you to miss.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Margaux takes Maryland

In April I did it. This mom traveled via plane with a 1 year old.  All. By. Herself.  With a little trepidation and great success Margaux took Maryland by storm. We saw...

the Washington Monument...

the Lincoln Memorial...

the White House...from a distance...

and a commemorative for each State of America....

And, the best part? We got to spend a whole week with Auntie Inga. The coolest and bestest aunt a little girl could ask for.  Loves from Margaux.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Pavia Soup

I love reading cookbooks. I have quite a collection. I even check-out cookbooks from our local library.  A perfect weekend afternoon involves a half dozen loaned cookbooks and a spot of tea (and the assumption that daddy is entertaining baby).

I've been on an Italian kick lately. Yesterday I watched Roman Holiday again.

For dinner, I decided to cook from the big book: Italy The Beautiful Cookbook. The pictures throughout are delicious too.  I settled on a dish from Lombardia: Zuppa Pavese or rather Pavia Soup.

Essentially, it's a poached egg soup. Yep.

Doesn't this look elegant? Of course, mine didn't look like this, but it tasted fantastic. I was actually quite thrilled. Let me tell you how easy it is and you can see for yourself.  I made a few additions, which I'll include too.

Zuppa Pavese
2 slices firm, coarse-textured bread (and a bit o' butter)
32 oz chicken broth
2 eggs
2 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
chopped parsley
my extras:
4 tablespoons chopped spinach
2 tablespoons chopped onions
dash of cayenne pepper

This recipe serves 2 people. So, pull out 2 oven-proof soup bowls.
Preheat oven to 350 and then turn off. Toast bread and spread with butter. Add 1 tablespoon of onions and 2 tablespoons of spinach to each bowl. Lay 1 slice of buttered bread on top of spinach and onions in each bowl.  Make sure bread is resting firmly on vegetables. Put bowls in warm oven.

Meanwhile, bring broth to a boil. Add pepper and cayenne pepper to broth. When broth has started boiling (note: simmering broth isn't sufficient; must be boiling to poach egg) take bowls carefully out of oven.  Carefully break 1 egg over toast in each bowl keeping yolk intact. Pour boiling broth into bowls. Sprinkle with cheese and parsley.

It's the perfect light meal with so little work. I could get used to this. Buono Appetito.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Hello Summer!

Today it's 85 degrees out.  It's so hot that motivation to accomplish anything melts.  My wee girl's in a sundress and barefooted.  We pull on sun hats when we adventure outside.

But it wasn't long ago that there was a huge snow storm in Chicago.

Just a few months ago, my little piglet was a wonderful snow angel. Hello SUMMER.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Birthday Girl turns 1!

It's said that the days go by so slow but the years seem to fly by.  How very true. One year ago today my wee little girl arrived a month earlier than planned. Her Daddy and I were scared and awestruck during our time at the hospital. She was a wee little thing.

But she got busy growing.

 And one year later, look how big our wee plum is! 

Time and emotions seem to be magnified when there are children in your world. We are privileged and so lucky that we are in hers.

Happy Birthday, my sweet wee plum. XOXOXO

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Dark Chocolate Dreams

My honey loves his peanut butter. In cookies, on celery, or on bread, he's an equal opportunity PB eater. So, while replenishing our stock in the pantry, something caught my eye at the store.  What is this next to the plethora of brands of peanut butter? Chocolate, what?

DARK CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER?? What genius thought of this? It's like eating smooth chocolate peanut butter cups. Absolutely fantastic. And you know what else? Not at hydrogenated oil in sight. Bliss.

Heaven on Earth is more like it.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Italian Itch

That's the way it goes in our little household. Every 2 years we move. It's as reliable as the sunrise.

For years, we just moved within the neighborhoods of Chicago. With our wee one, we're outside city limits and eyeing country living next.

But I've got an itch. And it's driving Mr. McMig mad. I want to move to: Italy, France, Philippines, London, Argentina, Ireland... anyplace else.

Typically, my desired destination is influenced by the media: a news article, a movie, a magazine spread. I watch Charade with Ms. Hepburn and Mr. Grant, fantasies about Paris consume me for the day. Unfortunately, Europe is a long commute for his job.

My #1 place to move would be France. Oh la la, la France. But, since my dear husband has a preference for all things Italian, that's the button I'm currently pushing. How about Trieste, Italy:

We may be bound for country living, but a girl can still dream...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Devil's Food Cake

It seems so old-fashioned.  I almost didn't make it.  But a little old voice said, go ahead, my dear, you should do it.

Light, fluffy, moist. Just a dusting of powdered sugar. I just close my eyes and grin oh-so-slightly. As always, follow your instincts and listen to old ladies, especially in the kitchen.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Bond, James Bond

James…er…Daddy was having a little too much fun with little Mig’s toys while Ms. Mig was out.  While the cat’s away…

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Delightful Sqwish

In the world of baby toys, a person can easily get lost.  I even know of a women (who shall remain nameless, aahem...) who, 5 months pregnant, was brought to tears at the overwhelmingly huge amount of products at one of the large big-box baby stores.  Dabbing her eyes, she swiftly left the store bagless.


After spying this Sqwish in another little girl's toy box, I knew I was going to brave another store.
Manhattan Toys makes these elastic-connected parallel rods with sliding beads.  We bought ours at Land of Nod. About the size of a softball, it resembles more of a piece of artwork than a chew toy. The beads of this delightful wooden toy even make a very soothing sound as my little Mig shakes her pudgy hand.

I can't say that this is this is my daughter's favorite toy out of the toy boy, but it sure is mine. Go head, go to the store.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sweet Potato Pasta

The sweet potato and I have a delightful relationship.  I love him and he provides so many ways for me to enjoy a meal.

I always try to have a sweet spud or two in the kitchen.  They are so versatile and can be used for any meal.  As of late, I'm in a pasta fix.  So, I paired the two.

Pasta and potatoes? Really? Really.

My cooking logic stems from the pairing of squash with pasta. So, why not sweet potatoes?

All it takes is a couple potatoes cubed and sauteed with onions, garlic, cinnamon, and cumin. Sometimes I deglaze the pan with some wine or broth. Whatever's on hand. Garnish with a flourish of parmesan.  C'est tout.

This has become one of my go-to favorites.  However, the tides may be changing since Mr. Mig and I are considering a diet.  Pasta may be cooked sparingly for the next month.

Good thing great memories of meals past are without calories.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Delightful Surprise

Yesterday, a woman wrote that every baby has a story about how they entered this world. Each story is treasured by the family and delightfully shared with others.

Over a glass of celebratory champagne, my dear friend told me about the night her darling daughter was born.

This wee one is the first granddaughter in the family. The besotted Grandpa got tears in his eyes when he shared the experience of meeting her for the first time.

It's a little over a month that this little one debuted but, as every parent knows, the days go by so slow but the years seem to fly by.  And this one is just beginning.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Bedside Reading

A weekend isn't complete without a trip to the library.  Needless to say, reading is the national pastime at Household Mig. A stack of books sits on the bedsides and doesn't appear to get any smaller as books are swapped out or added to the pile.

The memoir I'm reading now is fascinating: Madam Secretary by Madeleine Albright.

I bought the book years ago with the excitement of reading Ms. Albright's life story. But, the book remained unopened on the bookshelf.  Every few months I would pick it up and think about reading it but, the timing was never right.  A few days ago I picked the book up again.  My timing was right. Just right.

I've only reached the chapter where she has accepted the post as the UN Ambassador at the start of the Clinton administration.

This woman's life path, so far, it fascinating.  Her choice of words to put to print is so gentle.  Madam Secretary, its been a pleasure.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Surprise Dinner - Cassoulet Salad

Ok, ok.  So I kind of made it up.  Do you ever find yourself in the kitchen, counting down until dinner, you've barely have anything in the fridge, and you don't feel like leaving home and heading to the store.  That was me last night.

So, what do you do?  Me? I just want to cook with ingredients before they went bad: salad greens and white beans.

I christened it Cassoulet Salad.
I was completely surprised at how good it was.  It was the easiest dinner to pull together since the beans were already cooked.  The interesting ingredient was pork skin.

Yep.  That's right.  Pork skin.  There was a bag of it frozen in the freezer from my goddaughter's lechon party.

I added strips of lechon to the sauteed onions in lieu of bacon.  The cooked and seasoned beans were added next to heat up.  When heated through, the cassoulet was scooped onto a bed of greens and shaved cheese topped it off.  Done.  15 minutes. Start to Finish.

The surprising part was the lechon.  The smokiness that it added was so fantastic.  It elevated the humble bean to greatness.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Lordy, Lordy! My Honey's 40!

Today, my wonderful husband's birthday.

Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday, dear Nicholas!
Happy Birthday to you!
And many many more...

Now, make a wish.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Wee Baptism

Our wee plum was baptized over the weekend.  Such a simple ceremony but theologically significant.

Plum's Grandma lovingly hand washed and ironed the gown that was made by hand by Plum's great-great-great grandmother in the late 1800's.  Every child in the family, young and now old, has been christened in this gown.
This little girl is my treasure.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Apple Fries

I like to experiment in the kitchen.  You may not.  But, let's look at the ubiquitous apple.

An apple tastes great with peanut butter. With cheddar cheese. As cider. Pureed into sauce. Let's not forget its classic form as pie.

So, what do you say about breaded apple fries?  Well, I say, they're absolutely delightful.
All you need for batter:
1 cup flour plus 1 cup for dredging
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
3/4 cup sparkling water

Heat oil to 350F. Cut apples into batons. Mix batter together until just combined.  Dredge each apple slice in flour, then dip into batter, then drop carefully into hot oil. Cook in batches until nicely browned on all sides.  Drain on paper towel.  Best when eaten right away.  

I realize that looking at the picture that it's mostly ice cream that you can see. That's because Mr. Mig thinks ice cream is a major food group. With the fried apples, he's absolutely right.

Step outside your culinary comfort zone. Try some and see if you agree.