Saturday, April 30, 2011

24 Apples - Apple Pie

Mama Burrito dropped off about 2 dozen green apples two weekends ago.  Mr. CP and I rarely eat fresh apples for some reason, but I love apple baked goods, so last weekend, I used the Tartine recipe for flaky pie crust and made a lattice crust pie and made a spicy apple pie filling.

Tartine Flaky Pie Crust
(makes 2 shells)

1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup water, very cold
3 cups  + 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
1cup + 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold

In a small bowl, add the salt to the water and stir to dissolve. Keep very cold until ready to use.

To make the dough in the food processor, put the flour in the work bowl. Cut the butter into 1-inch pieces and scatter the pieces over the flour. Pulse briefly until the mixture forms large crumbs and some of the butter is still in pieces the size of peas. Add the water-and-salt mixture and pulse for several seconds until the dough begins to come together in a ball but is not completely smooth. You should still be able to see some butter chunks.

On a lightly floured work surface, divide the dough into 2 equal balls and shape each ball into a disk 1-inch thick. Wrap well in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours or for up to overnight.

Roll dough out to 1/8-inch thick and place into pie dish. 
The dough should extend beyond the rim of the pie dish by about half an inch.  I use a 9 inch pyrex pie dish.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the other half of your pie dough to the same extent as the first half (about 3 inches beyond the diameter of your pie dish).  Use a knife or a pizza wheel to cut the dough into even strips, 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch wide, depending on how thick you want your lattice strips.

Fill the bottom pie crust with the sliced apples from the recipe below.

Cinnamon Apple Pie Filling

1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup white sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
6 Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored and sliced


Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add water, white sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature and let simmer. 

Gently pour the sugar and butter liquid over the apples.   

Lay out the strips of pie crust in lattice formation over the mound of apples.  Fold the ends of the lattice pieces under the edges of the bottom pie crust
Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Continue baking for 35 to 45 minutes, until apples are soft.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday Wishlist - Lawrence McRae Lamps

I haven't done a Friday Wishlist post in a long time, so I had to come up with something pretty good for the comeback post.  Check out these lamps made by Lawrence McRae - so delicate and colorful - these are just a few of his stunning and beautiful handmade pieces.
Trudeau Lamp
Lacy Brick Lamp
Pops Lamp
Oslo Lamp
Lawrence McRae's etsy shop also features a number of lovely hand-carved ceramic bowls.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

To Baby Shower or Not to Baby Shower....It's a big question...

Kiki La Rue DIY Cake Bunting

I guess it's kind of late to be considering this, as we're at week 33 already, but I'm still on the fence about whether or not to have a baby shower.  Some Chinese and Korean parents wait until after the baby is born to have a 100 day celebration, while others tell me I'll be way too tired to do anything for a few months after the baby is born, so it's best to see your friends and have a party before then.  If I did decide to plan one, I might have to pull in some planning reinforcements, though I think we'll keep it VERY simple.  No weird games...just some food and good company.

Everyone has been asking if we've chosen a name yet...the answer to that is no.  We're still working on it.

Some people have been asking if we're registered anywhere...we are registered at Babies "R" Us and, though it's still a work in progress and I am making changes all the time.

And for those who don't know's a boy. 

So what do you think?  Should I do it?  I guess it's a good opportunity to make some cute party favors.  =)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Rainbow Bicycle Note Cards - SOLD OUT but printing more!

Hi folks!  We've just sold out of our Bicycle Note Card Rainbow Packs again, but I'll be printing more soon. 

Let us know if you would like to preorder any, particularly if you need more than one pack.  Also likely in the works is a new neon pack for summer.  =)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Day 2 - Lyon

On Day 2 of our trip, S and I made our way to the train station in Paris for a two hour TVG ride to Lyon, the third largest city in France, to meet up with Mr.CP and his class.   When we arrived, we checked into the Hotel Des Artistes.  The rooms were small, but clean and the bathrooms were nice.  The hotel is conveniently located and we walked everywhere.

Lyon is well known for its food and we started off our time in the city with a tasty meal at Cafe Le Sud, one of Chef Paul Bocuse's restaurants.  Cafe Le Sud specializes in cuisine from the south of France. Although slightly pricey, the food was quite good - S had a delicious stew.  We were too full to try any desserts, but the ones that we saw come out of the kitchen looked great.
Afterwards, we were within walking distance of Vieux Lyon, the oldest district of Lyon.  One of the most popular things to do when you go to Lyon is to take the funicular up to Fourvière to admire the views.  Again, it was a cloudy day, so my photos don't do the view justice. 

Also at the top of the hill is the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière, a very ornate church.
Facade on the side of the church.

A mural inside the church
Stained glass windows of the Basilica
After a little more wandering through Vieux Lyon, it started to drizzle, so we headed back to the hotel to rest a bit before dinner.  The hotel was within walking distance from both Rue des Marronniers and Rue Merciere.  Both of these streets have many restaurants to choose from.  For dinner we stumbled upon a super cute and cozy place called Cafe La Menthe and were lucky enough to snag the last open table.  The daily menu is written on a chalkboard that the waiter brings to your table.  The service was good and the meal was reasonably priced.

After dinner, we headed back to the hotel and were surprised by Mr. CP who crashed with us instead of staying overnight at Le Corbusier's La Tourette.  We did visit the convent on the following morning though...and I'll have photos of the interesting structure in a future post.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Beautiful Yellow Pattern

This wall is striking...It was a DIY project. 
{via Apartment Therapy}

Much to my surprise, I saw the same pattern the next day but on fabric.
{via Poppytalk}
I really like herringbone and chevron patterns, so this is right up my alley.  It's not the perfect uniform pattern that requires loads of precise taping but is a little more freehand.  I think I've just been inspired to paint something similar with my acrylics.  =)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Updated Uses for Chalkboard Surfaces

They've been featured on blogs for a while now...chalkboards...

For those appreciate cute organization ideas, one can find chalkboard labeled jars and canisters and removable and reusable vinyl chalkboard labels. Or you can make cute DIY herb pots like the ones shown below.
Chalk Label Mason Jars from Hindsvik on Etsy
Go ecofriendly while allowing your kids the freedom to be creative...or get a little creative yourself with chalkboard walls!
I like this key hook idea...Mr. CP has access to a laser cutter at we can pick and design a shape of our choosing and then paint it with some chalkboard paint.
{via Helen Rawlinson's Blog}

DIY is inexpensive and easy.  Several paint companies make chalkboard paint and it comes in different shades.  According to the Benjamin Moore website, one quart of their chalkboard paint covers 100 square feet and costs around $16.
Benjamin Moore Chalkboard Paint

Monday, April 11, 2011

Day 1 of My European Vacation - CP and S Hit the Louvre

As promised, I'm sharing some details from my recent vacation.  After a half a day of traveling, I met up with S at CDG in Paris and we headed into the city for Day 1 of my European adventure.  We stayed at a hotel in the Louvre district and the museum was within walking distance, so we made it our first destination. 
The pyramid and the line - Unfortunately it was cloudy that day.
Using my Frommer's Paris Day by Day Louvre highlight tour, we hunted through the HUGE museum for a few key pieces.  We also stopped in to check out the Egyptian art exhibit.
Venus De Milo
It took us a while, but we finally found the Venus de Milo.  I find sculptures fascinating.  Drawing is hard enough, but carving something so detailed into stone is just amazing to me.
Another sight you see in the Louvre are the studying artists who taking great care in painting replicas of masterpieces. 

We walked through a maze of exhibits and hallways and finally arrived in front of another beautiful sculpture,  the Winged Nike of Samothrace. It looks like the wind is blowing through the room. 

Of course, we also saw the Mona Lisa, but she was mobbed and a photo really wouldn't do her justice, so I have no photos to share.  =(

Afterwards, I had duck confit at Cafe Flor for dinner.  The food was decent, but it was a strange little place.  S and I were the only two dinner patrons and everyone else was there to buy lottery tickets and cigarettes.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Scarecrow Keeps the Cats Away?

There had always been a couple cats lurking around in our backyard.  After we had the weeds removed, they were more noticeable, because they've been pawing at the mulch.  Kitty, my backyard is not your litter box!  In addition, cat's can carry toxoplasmosis which can be very harmful to fetuses.  So, I've been advised not to garden while pregnant.  What a bummer!  This set off an internet search on how to humanely chase the cats out of my yard.  Some sites recommend sprinkling cayenne pepper around.  Others recommend using powders that smell like cat predators in hopes that the scent would scare the cats away.  Also, apparently cats don't like prickly things under their feet so you can scatter pine cones on your mulch or even stick forks prong side up randomly in the mulch so it's not soft and inviting...sounds like a lot of work and it wouldn't be very attractive.  There were also two high tech solutions that I came across, both involving motion detective devices.  The first emits a high-pitched frequency repels cats when the device detects motion in the yard.  The other is called the Scarecrow motion activated sprinkler - when the attached motion sensor detects movement, it lets out a spray of water.  As anyone who watches children's cartoons knows, cats hate water. 
Contech Scarecrow Motion Activated Sprinkler
There are hundreds of reviews for the sprinkler and the average is a 4.5 out of 5 stars, while the reviews for the frequency emitter are not nearly as high, so I opted for the sprinkler.  It arrived yesterday, so I'm excited to install it.  I just have to remember to turn it off before the gardener shows up on Saturday...he won't be a happy camper if he gets attacked by the scarecrow.