Happy Birthday to me!

Guess who got something shiny and awesome for her birthday today?

It came a month ago, in a box wrapped in red paper, with my name written on it in Sharpie. It sat patiently on top of my wardrobe, undisturbed, patient, looming.

I unwrapped the paper, through the 25 pieces of tape my mom used to secure it (seriously, Mom, what’s up with the tape this year?), to find an unassuming cardboard box. Secretly, that’s my favorite – I like opening the box to discover what’s inside.

And then I got to the top. And then I saw the label. I could not get the tape (so much tape!!) off fast enough.

Hello, pretty.

Pretty rickrack!

It is, as promised, big enough for even a 10″ pie, with awesome non-slip nubbies on the bottom.

I am so, so pleased! If only I had a pretty pie to put in it and take somewhere… After playing with it a little this afternoon, I think one-handed operation of the zippers might be a challenge, but honestly, I probably shouldn’t be trying to unzip my pie carrier with one hand, anyway. That sounds like a recipe for disaster. I have not yet tested whether it fits inside the Vespa – I’m thinking it’s a little too big, but let’s all hope!

Thank you for the wonderful gift, Mom and Dad! And thank you for helping make it happen, Mr. Pie!

Christmas cookies, omg!

I got sucked into an internet rabbit hole of Christmas cookies. It is for the best that I don’t love making cookies, and only got sucked into a vortex of looking at them.

How cute are these Korean flower cookies? I guess they’re not traditionally Christmas-y, I think that’s good. A little surprise is a good thing, right? I want them, bad.

I’m a really lazy cookie decorator, which increases my admiration for people who put together cute things like gingerbread heads. Also, her ‘draw the faces in advance strategy’ is killer.

My go-to Christmas cookie for the last half decade or so has been this Ginger Orange Star from Bon Appetit. I love them enough to make the icing, and that’s saying something.

If I do get it together to make some cookies this year, it may be Dan Savage’s Ma’s Christmas Snowballs. They’re an entirely different cookie than I have generally made, and I like that. I think I would use walnuts, though, because pecans are lame.

Are you making Christmas cookies? Do you try new recipes, or stick to known winners?

Serious bike covetousness

Hello, covetousness.

You know I <3 my bicycle, right? It's utilitarian. It takes me places, it doesn't look like the kind of bike you should steal, it's not super heavy. It's a perfectly fine bike, and I am happy with it. But that doesn't mean that a girl can't do a little window shopping, right? Lately I have been drooling in the (figurative) windows of Sweetpea Bicycles.

I dream of someday cruising around on a cute little A-line, even though I’m sad that orange isn’t one of the colors it’s offered in. But in my imagination, it’s orange, which is really all I need, since that’s the only place I’m ever going to have one.

And now have more covetousness, because they’ve got bags. I may never have an A-Line of my own, but I could totally have a quick-trip messenger bag. I’d put my imaginary Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook in it, cruise down to the coffee shop, and dream up all kinds of ridiculous baked goods.

A girl can dream, right?

Some things I love this week

Hi!

I’ve been thinking about some of the things that are kind of awesome right now, and that might be of use to you. Has something been totally making you smile lately? Tell me about it in the comments!

This is the best vegetable corer in the world. I have destroyed multiple melon ballers. They are not a particularly well-made kitchen product to begin with (that teeny, tiny weld! So fragile!), and they just can’t stand up to the task of taking the cores out of multiple fruits. Tragic! Not this one, though – This one has been going strong for WEEKS! Maybe longer. It has cored a lot of pears, and shows no signs of slowing down. I think the secret is that the open back means that there’s not a lot of pressure on the little weld, but that’s pure speculation.

Serrated vegetable peeler! It looks gimmicky, and I was, frankly, super skeptical when one was gifted to me. But it’s awesome! It’s particularly awesome if you’re peeling something with a delicate skin. Like, for example, pears. Also does a great job on sweet potatoes and carrots. I feel like it doesn’t get stuck, and despite the fact that I frequently hit my thumb with it, it doesn’t tear up my skin.

Customized tours! Seattle is full of awesome things, how will you choose which ones to do? Nell at Localist Seattle runs an awesome little company that will build a customized tour to suit your interests. I have often been in a new city and felt overwhelmed by the task of choosing what to do. I don’t want to do the tourist things! If you’re coming to visit Seattle (or have family coming!), book a tour with Nell, see the city like a local!

Hot chocolate! I shouldn’t have caffeine late in the afternoon. But I am cold, and I love coffee. Compromise? Victrola’s barely-sweetened, just-hot-enough hot chocolate. Good gravy, a good hot chocolate is a thing of beauty.

Making you pie! Yeah, OK, I haven’t actually started making these pies yet (it’s too soon!) but even the planning stages are awesome. And yes, I do think I’m awesome. Do you not think you’re awesome? You totally should.

omg, UCU!

The other evening, as I was toodling around the kitchen, putting together my favorite pie for Pie Life, I discovered that I had hidden away a lollipop from This Charming Candy (which is pretty charming, I have to say), and it reminded me! That Urban Craft Uprising is coming!

Over the summer, I bought a purple and orange Crystalyn Kae purse that continues to tickle me, a slightly-disappointing bacon caramel, and handmade vegan coconut lemongrass lotion. I didn’t even come close to scratching the surface of really cool stuff that was available, and the summer show is the smaller one.

Urban Craft Uprising Winter 2011 is December 3 & 4, at Seattle Center Exhibition Hall. Go early, go caffeinated, go prepared to have your mind blown with cuteness.

DSCN0034
Yeah, there’s yarn… so much yarn.

fuseproject: LOCAL

Despite the frequency with which I talk about bicycling here, (and on Facebook, and on Twitter, and on the Amtrak, and pretty much everywhere) I have come to riding a bike through a sense of necessity. I need to be able to get around on my on volition, and sometimes, in the cold and rain and wet, walking just doesn’t cut it. So, kicking and screaming, I got on a bike.

And it turns out I love it. What I don’t particularly love is packing all of my earthly belongings on to my back and slogging sweatily up Seattle’s many hills. Thankfully I can haul a lot more stuff on the Vespa, but still I dream little dreams of fuseproject: LOCAL. Maybe I’m biased because of all the orange, but that’s a cargo bike I could ride with pride. I can’t wait to see one in the wild!

h/t to tingilinde for so much good bike p0rn.

Vonny Pie Carrier – I wants it.

You know what the hardest part about making pie all the time is? Other than the fact that 98% of the pie I make isn’t for me, I mean? Because, let’s be honest, some days that’s just brutal.

The thing I’m thinking, though? Carrying pies is not always the easiest proposition. I know that cakes suffer from a similar problem (compounded by frosting and layers), but I don’t care about cake’s problems. I have pies that I need to take places! I can’t always be balancing them precariously on one hand; I’m a busy lady! I want a handle, and a lid that actually closes (I’m looking at you, Longaberger pie carrier!), preferably one that is not made of plastic.

You’ll understand, then, the covetousness I am feeling, having discovered pie carriers from Vonny Bags. They’re insulated! And non-skid! And designed so it’s easy to get the pie in & out! And that particular one is both pink AND yellow!

It’s like she looked into my very soul. And the soul of many other bakers, judging from the backorder status. Oh well, a pie maker can dream…

Thanks to The Kitchn for the find!