Thursday, April 26, 2012

rainy days and perfect lattes

It has been raining here. And raining and raining! All I want to do is read books while cozying up with one of my husband's lattes. (Why are they so much better when he makes them?)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

blue and brick

This blue door is so unexpected among the red bricks of Boston's South End, and at the same time seems like such a natural choice. I couldn't resist snapping a picture as I walked by. It would be so nice to come home to this door - even in the rain there would be a morsel of blue sky.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

paper hearts

I have a stack of multi-colored paper hearts on my desk, asking to be taped up somewhere. They first made an appearance on my walls on Valentine's day. Inspired by Katie Sokoler (her blog is amazing), I cut paper hearts out of cardstock and taped them all around the dining room.

Through pinterest I found this great tutorial on edible paint at How About Orange. I mixed water, food coloring, and icing sugar. So simple! The mix was perfect for decorating old-fashioned almond macarons too.
So now what should I do with all these paper hearts?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Beacon Hill stroll

I was in Boston for the Easter weekend visiting family, and we had such a great time. I haven't lived in the same city as my parents or my sisters for 12 years now, apart from summers in undergrad. It is so nice when we have a few days together, and instead of saying "goodbye" at the end of an evening we can say "see you tomorrow."

We spent a good part of the weekend strolling around different Boston-area neighbourhoods with my sister, having lunch / coffee / ice cream (of course!), and imagining ourselves living there. So many spots were great, but Beacon Hill really captured my fancy.

  The red brick, the little streets....

The flowering trees were in bloom, and were incredibly gorgeous.

The cutest alley ever. Seriously.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

wheat-free baking

I have recently had to cut wheat and rye, among other things, out of my diet for health reasons. (It is not to avoid gluten - but rather the sugars (fructans) in wheat that can exacerbate other types of sugar malabsorption.) Of course I miss eating bread, and living in the plateau neighbourhood of Montreal, the boulangeries every few blocks offer abundant temptations. But what I missed most was the ability to take out flour, sugar, eggs, butter, and make something. The act of baking is so calming, and is what I was craving most of all.

The first few forays into gluten-free baking were disasters. You cannot simply substitute other flours in for wheat flours - I learned this the hard way! More recently I have found some recipes that, while different from the wheat-based classics, are also delicious.

Yesterday I made the chocolate and hazelnut financiers from Béa of La Tartine Gourmande. I substituted almond flour for hazelnut flour, and sorghum for amaranth, and the results were delectable. Now I am even more enticed by the new Tartine Gourmande cookbook!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

young adult books and not-so-young adults

I, along with so many other people, saw the Hunger Games movie this week. I thought they did a good job of adapting the story to the screen while remaining fairly faithful  to the book. (But of course the book is so much better!)

A friend told me that I "had" to read the Hunger Games series maybe a year ago. Sure, I thought. But in the bookstore, finding the book in the young adult section, noting the rather large typeface, I didn't buy it. The location in the store and the presentation of the book made me skeptical that I would enjoy it. Upon another friend's recommendation, I finally borrowed the first book and read it in a few hours on a Saturday afternoon. I literally didn't put it down. It inspired the kind of breathless, immersive reading experience that often kept me up at night with a flashlight under the covers when I actually was a 'young adult.' The next day, I went to the store to buy the other two books in the series, and devoured them over the following few days. I found them incredibly addictive (obviously), but also so thought-provoking. What do normal people do when placed in a kill or be killed situation? How do individuals and governments manipulate reality to protect their lives, or their power? How are rebellions sparked and subdued? The story is brutal, the heroine is complicated. Yes, she is 16, but this story is not only for children.

The New York Times recently published a debate on the power of young adult fiction.