celebs on sandwiches, because why not?

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So, what are you having for lunch today?

To tempt your pop art palate, nibble on Jeff McCarthy’s Celebs on Sandwiches.

Aren’t we always hungry for celebrity anyway?

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Miley Cyrus on a Bacon, Egg, and Cheese.
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Barack Obama on a Tuna Melt.

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nine cool things on a tuesday

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1. It’s always nice to see new prints in Katie Daisy’s Wheatfield Shop — bright colors are just what we need to get us in the mood for Spring. Of course I have a weakness for hand lettered alphabets and I couldn’t resist the reminder to “Be Kind to Others.” These inkjet prints of her original watercolor and acrylic paintings come in three sizes. Lots more to choose from!

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2. New Book Alert! Look what’s coming out next Tuesday, March 22Let’s Go to the Hardware Store by Anne Rockwell and Melissa Iwai (Henry Holt, 2016)! This is the same team who created the wonderful picture book Truck Stop (Viking Books, 2013), about a family who runs a diner and gets ready to serve a nice hot breakfast to all their regular customers (blueberry muffins! pancakes! bacon and eggs!).

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This time, a family who’s just moved into a new house needs to do some fix-ups, so they visit the hardware store to get some tools and supplies:

When the new house needs fixing up, it’s off to the hardware store to find the tools and materials needed to get the job done―a hammer, a screwdriver, a shiny tape measure, and even a stepladder.

This family outing explores a familiar errand that fascinates plenty of young children: the hardware store. Anne Rockwell’s perfectly pitched story and Melissa Iwai’s child-friendly illustrations make this book ideal for the preschool audience.

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Anne Rockwell is a household name to picture book lovers; it’s such a treat whenever she publishes a new book. And of course Melissa Iwai won me over big time when she published Soup Day (Henry Holt, 2010). 🙂 Love her cheery palette and engaging details (such a fun way to introduce kids to some basic tools). Her pictures make me miss the small neighborhood mom and pop hardware stores. Everything’s a big superstore these days. Click here to read Melissa’s post about doing the illos for the book.

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a fond farewell to downton abbey

“All this unbridled joy has given me quite an appetite.” ~ Violet

The soufflés are sinking, the puddings are pouting, the meringues have taken to incessant weeping.

I fear much of our “unbridled joy” is rapidly dissipating — Downton Abbey is ending its 6-year run on PBS with the series finale on March 6!

Only one more episode to go. No! 😦 😦 😦

Treated myself to a Crawley family Spode Stafford White cup and saucer just to drown my sorrows.

I’ve been hooked since Season One, Episode 1, only too willing to spend my Sunday evenings with the entire Crawley family at their opulent digs in Yorkshire. Not since the original “Upstairs, Downstairs” (1971-1975) have I been so emotionally invested in the lives of an aristocratic British family and their servants. I find the entire class system fascinating, rooting for those who would dare defy the established social order, sympathetic to characters grappling with changes beyond their control.

Today serving Mrs. Patmore’s Pudding Tea: “This decadent dessert tea has the homemade flavors of vanilla cake drizzled with rich caramel sauce.” Good afternoon tea, a perfect pairing with puddings, scones, and shortbread.

Indeed, when I first started watching Downton, I was instantly reminded of “Upstairs, Downstairs.” The time periods somewhat overlapped, with UD beginning about a decade before the sinking of the Titanic and ending in 1930. Both series revealed interesting aspects of post-Edwardian social life set against significant historical events. Instead of Mrs Patmore there was Mrs Bridges, instead of Daisy, there was kitchen maid Ruby. Bellamy son James marries his secretary Hazel as Crawley daughter Sybil marries chauffeur Tom Branson — both compelling, frowned-upon liaisons championing the triumph of true love over all impediments.

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ho ho ho!: scrumptious treats and a holiday blog break

IT’S CHRISTMAS WEEK! IT’S CHRISTMAS WEEK!

Put on your best bibs and elf shoes and ring those bells!

Now that I’m done with shopping, wrapping, mailing and decorating, I can finally “relax” and concentrate on my favorite part of the holidays — food! Needless to say, the Alphabet Soup furry kitchen helpers are beside themselves with excitement. This year, we decided to try a couple of new recipes to keep things interesting, and we picked up a few treats from the British Pantry in anticipation of “Downton Abbey” starting up again on January 3. Mrs. Patmore, here we come!

To me, there’s nothing more British than mince pies at Christmastime. The only person in my family to ever bake mince pies was Auntie Ella, and she made the full size pies that are common in America, rather than the individual serving tart-size ones that you see in the UK. Mince pie also appeared on the Thanksgiving table in New Hampshire; when Len’s parents were still alive, mince and apple pies were served more often than pumpkin.

 

 

 

Those little mince pies are just too cute — couldn’t resist buying a couple of boxes from the BP, Walker’s Spiced Orange and Cranberry, and Mr. Kipling’s. Of course they’re perfect with a cup of tea, so we stocked up on some Downton Abbey Holiday Cheer and Christmas teas.

Also treated ourselves to a tin of Quality Street confections. These yummy chocolate covered toffees were made by Mackintosh in Halifax, West Yorkshire, before Nestlé acquired Rowntree-Mackintosh in 1988. Happy to see that the Quality Street sweets are still packaged in the familiar pink/magenta boxes and tins, something I first saw when I lived in England, and which I’ll always associate with traditional British holidays.

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for colin firth’s birthday: what turns him on?

“I like you very much . . . just as you are.” (Colin Firth as Mark Darcy, Bridget Jones’s Diary)

AMUSE-BOUCHE

Colin: Is it true about Poldark?

Me: Whaaa?

Colin: Has he replaced me in your affections?

Me: Never.

Colin: Haven’t I told you (endlessly) how ardently I admire and love you?

Me: Yes.

Colin: Didn’t I plunge into a mucky lake on your behalf?

Me: Uh-huh.

Colin: And say I like you “just the way you are” despite your blue soup?!

Me: Yes, yes.

Colin: Of all your Eye Candies, don’t I still TAKE THE CAKE??!!

Me: Of course!

Colin: Well then, what’s all this talk of Cornwall this and Aidan Turner that, topless scything, and windswept hair?

Me:

Colin: I thought so. You’ve gone all Irish on me, haven’t you? To think that an inadequately bathed whippersnapper on horseback could have stolen your heart! What is the world coming to?!

Me: But Colin, I made crème brûlée.

Colin: Oh well in that case 🙂 . . .

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