Archive from July, 2010
29 Jul

Made it: Brazilian black beans, beets and rice

brazilian black beans beets riceI made this dish during World Cup to show my support of team Brazil. If only I had little tiny Brazilian flag toothpicks!

This meal has such a simple combination of flavors. The beets are the star attraction for me, but I also really like the black beans and cheddar. The Brazilian black beans recipe comes from the April 2009 edition of Everyday Food (and it’s been in my menu rotation since then).

A tip to cut down on the prep time (and fart quota*) is to soak the black beans… I usually start them soaking in the morning. Something I read said black beans really only need to soak for 2 to 6 hours because they are small beans. This really cuts down the cooking time!

For this recipe, I simmered the beets and beans together for about 45 minutes until the beets were done, then took the beets out and let the beans cook for about 15 more minutes before moving on to step 3 with the scallions and garlic. This cuts the total time in half so it takes just 1 hour, 15 minutes. The recipe serves six so it’s great if you want leftovers or extra beans for another dish later in the week. Enjoy!

* The first time I searched for instructions on soaking beans, I was amused at the number of websites and cookbooks willing to talk about farts and flatulence!

26 Jul

Top-of-mind: Twisted neck back zip from LOFT

ann-taylor-loft-TwistedNeckExposedBackZipWhile not the cheeriest name (LOFT’s merchandisers may need some Prozac), this is a really cute top. I’m not sure if the autumn yellow would pair well with my pale skin, but I really like the rich fall feel of this one. It would, however, pair well with dark wash jeans for a casual Friday.

This also screams for cute bright flats like these mustard Seychelles from or these Fossil flats from And if that felt too matchy matchy or hot for summer, I would consider these Cynthia Vincent stone sandals* from

*Please note that I refuse to acknowledge the word ‘thong’ in their proper name.

23 Jul

10 Things Loved in June

1. Punchbowl Falls and the Eagle Creek trail.
punchbowl falls eagle creek june 2010

2. My new iPhone 4. Words cannot describe how much this has changed my life (I know, gag). By far the biggest game changer of the year.

3. Sugar snap peas. Finally, my garden is growing and these are the most delightful harvest so far. They make it possible to make my favorite stirfry.
spicy tofu stir-fry with peanuts

4. Half pint creamer by Fred. I love practical items with a touch of whimsy. Fred has the most hilarious gift and novelty items. This hand blown glass classic milk carton makes coffee time extra fun.
Fred half pint glass creamer

5.  My birthday. The big countdown to 30 begins! I LOVE birthdays. (Who doesn’t love a day of me, me, me?)

6. Bento lunch. This bento box lunch was almost too cute to eat.
bento box lunch mio sushi

7. Havaianas. Why do we feel the need to tell people how long we’ve been loving the cool stuff? Let’s get this out of the way: for me, it’s been since 2000 when Brazilian friends let me in on the secret of the best flip flop ever. At that time you had to get them straight from the source (or Miami) or order online. Now they are EVERYWHERE and I welcome new converts to the Havies club. They’re on my Things Loved list because I got two new pairs of thin strap Havaianas for my birthday (love them), and wearing classic stripe was a fun tribute to Brazil during World Cup.
summer thin strap havaianas

8. Le Hana. Great Japanese food on Portland’s South Waterfront. 50% off entrees makes this place a steal. Yum!

9. Feta cheese. Nothing says summer like feta cheese. Perfect in salads, pasta, pizza, anything. Costco is my secret source.
Orzo with Feta, Tomatoes and Dill

10. Stream silver placemats and coasters. I absolutely love these new placemats and coasters from Modern Twist. They are made from silicone and are screened with silver lines.
Modern Twist stream silver placemat and coaster

20 Jul

#5: Create a wedding album – 30 before 30 list

pez dispenser bride and groom wedding cake toppers

Best cake toppers of all time!
The PEZ bride and groom.

The worst procrastination of my adult life? Creating a custom photo album from my wedding. Comma Mister and I celebrated our eighth wedding anniversary this year. And still, no wedding album… even though the project has appeared on my New Year’s resolutions (I prefer to call them goals) list EVERY year. For the past eight years.

You’d think that since I was able to make time to, oh let’s say, run a marathon, complete a master’s degree and spend countless hours researching crap on the internet, I’d have a day or so of my life to put together a wedding album. Nope. Not me. Until now! I committed to tackling this project for my 30 before 30 list. And I’m happy to say I finished it with almost a year to spare.

Comma Mister and I were married in a time before digital photography, or at least before it was good enough to actually use for anything. We also got married on the cheap, so our barely there budget was just enough for a photographer but not for the wedding album. We walked away from the agreement with 200 proofs and 10 enlargements.

Six months later I had sketched out the photo sequence and layout on a piece of notebook paper, along with my plan for which book and matting pages to purchase from a photo supply company in Seattle.

Fast forward five years and I still hadn’t touched the project. Plus, I had decided it would be better to have a printed photo book, so the first task was scanning and editing all 200 photos. After that tiring job, I was so weary I didn’t go back to the project for three years. Seriously, what is my problem? 🙂

Finally, I had a day to myself and knocked out the whole project in about four hours!* Wedding album at last.

So without further I do ado, I present, the wedding album.

wedding album herbie love bug

Our get-away car was a vintage Herbie the Love Bug
- a 1963 Volkswagen Beetle

* I used Photoworks for the layout and printing. I’ve previously created photo books with Photoworks, Shutterfly, MyPublisher and Snapfish, but I think I like Photoworks the best. While their web-based layout software is painfully slow and sometimes the photo quality or vibrancy could be better, I really like the variety of custom templates and book finishes. (It would be fun to do a comparison with the same order, as it’s difficult to measure projects that are so different.) Photoworks has a special 25% off photo books in July with coupon code JULYBOOKS. (No, I don’t get a referral.)

14 Jul

You’re Fired! 7 for all Mankind Jet Ruffle Tunic

7 for all Mankind Jet Ruffle Tunic7 for all Mankind Jet Ruffle Tunic

Ah, the ultimate question: shirt or dress? Thankfully they made it easy for us by calling it out as a tunic and wearing it over gray faux denim leggings. Classy.

It’s time for another installment of You’re Fired – a focus on work-inappropriate fashion.

While I don’t think it was intended as a work power outfit, the Jet Ruffle Tunic by 7 for all Mankind has me in fits of giggles. I can’t imagine this looking good. On anyone.

I think you have a good chance of replicating this design with a large black garbage bag and some pinking shears. Yikes.

If you’re not a Rue La La member, here’s an invitation code. While hardy elite (Rue La La is an exclusive online destination of premier brand, private sale boutiques) you need to sign up through a member to get access to the site. Enjoy!

See my last You’re Fired post here.