Summer lovin’ and postcards from Cape Cod…

Summer lovin’ and postcards from Cape Cod…

Postcards from a few days on Cape Cod.

Hi sweet readers. I hope this first week of August finds you soaking up the sunshine, going barefoot whenever possible and enjoying the last of our beautiful late sunsets… We have one month to go, and I, for one plan to make it the most of it!

I was in Cape Cod for a few days…  Is there nothing more quintessentially summer than East Coast beach towns?

Here are just a few snaps.

Spotting this color burst was like that feeling you got when you were a kid and you opened a box of crayons for the first time. 

I was intrigued by the simple design of the front of this building and the modern take on a traditional Cape Cod structure. The barn door covering the glass doors in particular. Since it's the office of an architect, I naturally had to check out her work…omg…







I heart nooks! What a yummy spot to curl up in for a nap or with a good book.

The above 6 photos are from the portfolio of architect Jill Neibauer. For more info and images click here.

This house is in Provincetown and while I was taking these two photos, a local explained to me that there were five fire stations built like this around town. They have all been sold and converted to homes. I saw a few more as we were leaving, but this one with the fire truck space converted to a porch was my fav. 

 This post could also be called 'Hydrangeas and Blue Doors' but that's kind of boring.

 I wish I had taken pictures of the lobster rolls we shared at The Canteen. There are two varieties – cold with mayo and celery and hot with warm butter on toasted bread an inch thick. Best. Sandwich. Ever. Or as they say there 'Evah'. Here are some from their website.


The clam chowder was delicious too.


On an unrelated note, a thank you to Barn Light Electric for their blog post about a recent project I did in Glen Ellen, CA (see photos below). You can read about it here.

When The Lights Go Down In The City …

When The Lights Go Down In The City …

A typical day in San Francisco.


Even though it was a gray day and a typical Tues, everything looked extra beautiful, poetic and new. Perhaps because it was gray and a typical Tues… Anyway, I took pictures of whatever caught my eye. Here's a sliver of San Francisco…

Dinner at State Bird Provisions. I had been dying to go to this place for a year and never could get in. It was one of those rare dining experiences where the bar is so high you almost set yourself up for disappointment then you take the first bite and you realize that there's good food and then there is strataspheric. That is State Bird Provisions.




A morning run along Crissy Field. This is a great place to walk. run, hang out on a blanket, people watch etc. On this day the air was perfectly still as it rarely is. Zero wind and with the fog and all the gray…. Pure.Bliss.









Indeed it does…

Enjoy your week!



It’s Negroni Week + Some Bar Ideas + a Cocktail Recipe or two!

It’s Negroni Week + Some Bar Ideas + a Cocktail Recipe or two!

I bet you didn't know it's Negroni week? I didn't either! But once I found out AND since it's one of my favorite cocktails (tied with a Gimlet) I thought I would pass on the info as well as some bar inspiration to you!

Negroni Week launched as a collaboration with Campari and Imbibe Magazine in 2013 to celebrate of one of the world’s great cocktails in addition to raising money for charitable causes around the world. 

Negroni Week will take place from June 1-7, when bars around the world will mix their favorite Negroni variations and donate a portion of proceeds from each one sold to a charity of their choice. For more info and to find a participating bar in your area click here.


If you're not familiar with a Negroni, it's amber color, curly twist of orange peel and small stemmed cocktail glass make it as appealing visually as it is tasty.



 I prefer my Negroni served straight up vs on the rocks…




Created in 1919 in Florence, per the request of Count Camilo Negroni

1 oz Campari

1 oz Cinzano Rosso Vermouth

1 oz Gin

Pour ingredients over ice into a shaker. Stir and strain in a chilled martini glass. Garnish with an orange twist.


Be A Peach

Created by Mia Mastroianni, Soho House Los Angeles


1.5 oz Campari

.75 oz Fresh Lemon Juice

1/2 oz Orgeat

1/2 oz Amaro Nonino

1/2 oz Peach Liqueur

Soda Water


Combine all ingredients into a mixing glass. Add 1 ice cube and whip. Pour contents over fresh ice into a Collins glass and top with soda water.

If you are in the spirit to create a home bar or spruce up your existing. Martha Stewart has a great step-by-step with photos to get you going. Click here for that.

And for some inspiration…


I took the above photo at the SF Decorator's Showcase a few years ago. I love the big basket tray. Just a great way to layer, add texture to the glassware, etc.





For more Negroni recipes click here.

More bar inspiration can be found on my Pinterest board here.




College Care Packages

College Care Packages

Ideas for College Care Packages

My son Luke is a freshman at George Washington University.  He's doing great, I'm happy to report but it's finals week soon. I put together a care package to hopefully lighten the load and stress. 

Here's what I included:


His favorite locally roasted coffee.


Homemade granola.


Pumpkin Bread – for the recipe, click here.


A coffee mug from the Starbucks 'You are here' collection.


A few pairs of socks and underwear since I seriously doubt there will be much laundry being done.


I tried to find some inspiration for college care packages, especially ones that are geared to boys (girls are SO much easier), and couldn't find much. Here are a few that I liked:

The Ice Cream Sundae Care Package



The I Hope It's Not Mono Care Package


The I Ran Out of Money Care Package


If you have sent, going to send, or have a great idea for a care package for a college student, please send your idea to me either in email or the comments! Would love to hear from you!

Happy week to you!

Fall Entertaining and Amber Glass

Fall Entertaining and Amber Glass

My birthday is in a couple of weeks. I decided to have friends over but not tell them it’s my birthday. I just wanted to bask in the glow of being around those who I hold nearest and dearest. Plus, I needed an excuse to have a party!

The Food

There is a local caterer known for his amazing Spanish food as well as preparing Paella outdoors in a pan the size of a Volkswagon beetle. It sounded like a perfect dish for a Fall dinner too.




In addition to Paella, he made two hors d’oeurves – spicy grilled shrimp and manchego cheese with quince jam. I added one more – Barefoot Contessa’s recipe for Potato Frittata for a Crowd.

I tweaked the recipe by replacing the basil with kale, lessening the amount of cheese and cutting out an entire stick of butter.

Potato and Kale Fritatta for a Crowd Recipe (tweaked from original)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cups peeled and 1/2-inch-diced boiling potatoes (4 potatoes)
12 extra-large eggs
22 ounces ricotta cheese
3/4 lb Gruyère cheese, grated
11/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1¼ cups chopped kale (remove the spines, then chop the leaves)
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 12 x 18 x 1½” half sheet pan.

Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a 12-inch sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the potatoes and fry them, turning them often.. Add the kale after 10 minutes. Saute another 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk the eggs in a large bowl, then stir in the ricotta,  salt, pepper, and kale. Sprinkle on the flour and baking powder and stir into the egg mixture.

Distribute the potatoes over the bottom of the sheet pan. Pour the egg mixture over the potatoes and spread evenly. Bake the frittata until it is browned and puffed, 30 to 35 minutes. Allow the frittata to cool and cut into 20 single-serving squares.


The Table


Amber glass has been catching my eye lately. I’m inspired by the color and how well it pairs with both deep jewel tones as well as muted and faded.  

Here a few inspiration photos I found on Pinterest. I'll be hunting for amber glass pieces at flea markets so I can create a mix and match table for the holidays.

Farmtable + mixed glasses

Jess Barfield photography


I found these great apothecary jars here. This site is a gold mine for fantastic craft, tabletop and party supplies. 


Party Decoration

I used pumpkins in place of flowers. They come in so many colors, shapes and sizes they are all really you need, plus they last for weeks.






Have a wonderful weekend!

FarmHouseUrban Kitchen – Pumpkin Bread, a Cookbook and My New Favorite Food Blog

FarmHouseUrban Kitchen – Pumpkin Bread, a Cookbook and My New Favorite Food Blog

Hey Pumpkin, Happy Thanksgiving to you! In keeping with the holiday we most associate with feasting, I bring you a recipe, a cookbook and a cooking/food blog I think you will adore. 

But first… Thank you my dear readers for sticking around and being so lovely always. When I hear from you it makes my day and fuels me to keep going. I wish each and every one of you a day of comfort, peace and joy and hopefully a delicious meal shared with those you love.

I have told you about the Tartine Cookbook before and the story behind how this recipe came into my life (read it here), but I don't think I have shared the actual recipe with you. So here it is.

It is more of a cake than a bread- small, delicate crumb, sweet and lightly spiced. Perfect for breakfast, with tea, as a midnight snack or as I am going to do tomorrow – to be given as a hostess gift.

Tartine Bakery resides in the Mission neighborhood of San Francisco. 


Tartine Pumpkin Tea Cake

1 2/3 cups (225 g) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp (7 ml) baking powder
1/2 tsp (2 ml) baking soda
1 tbsp + 2 tsps (25 ml) ground cinnamon
2 tsps (10 ml) nutmeg, freshly grated
1/4 tsp (1 ml) ground cloves
1 cup + 2 tbsps (255 g) pumpkin purée
1 cup (250 ml) vegetable oil (like safflower or sunflower)
1 1/3 cups (270 g) sugar
3/4 tsp (4 ml) salt
3 large eggs
2 tbsps sugar for topping
3 tbsps pepitas for topping

Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9×5-inch loaf pan. (You can do this recipe with a stand mixer or by hand.) Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves into a mixing bowl. In a large mixing bowl, beat the pumpkin purée, oil, sugar, and salt together until well blended. Beat the eggs in one at a time, making sure each egg is completely incorporated before adding the next one. Scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the flour and mix until just combined. You don’t want to overbeat the batter as it will result in a tougher crumb. Then beat for 5 to 10 seconds until smooth. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and tap the pan on the counter to help flatten the batter out. Sprinkle the sugar and pepitas on top and bake for about an hour or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and let sit for 20 minutes. Invert the pan onto a cooling rack and flip the cake out. Turn the cake back right-side up and let cool completely. Serve at room temperature. Lasts about 4 days (well-wrapped) on your counter or up to a week in the refrigerator. Serves 6-8.

*Note – I don't use the pepitas (pumpkin seeds). I only usually have Canola Oil and that works fine.





To take a look at or purchase the Tartine Cookbook, click here.

My favorite new cookbook (both new to me and new on the shelves) is from the Seattle institution – Macrina Bakery. I cooked and baked my way through the pages of the first book and was just given the newest treasure trove of delectible recipes by my bff. 

Screen Shot 2013-11-27 at 6.27.36 PM

Seriously, has there ever been a more beautiful cookbook cover? Trust me, the rest is just as good.

To take a look at or purchase "More from Macrina" click here.

My newest favorite cooking blog is Alexandra's Kitchen. For awhile I was on a roll, making every recipe she posted – each one filled with fabulous photography and sprinkled with anecdotes of her own life and experiences. I need to play catch up…You will love it.

Alexandra's kitchen

To go to Alexandra's Kitchen blog, click here.


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