August 2, 2012

Eggsactly.

by Jillian Douglas

 

I was thinking the other day about how marvelous and magical a simple little egg is.

Ostrich Egg

I mean, really. It’s biologically complex, and yet by sight it’s very simple: shell, white, yolk.

And when you cook it, many different things can happen.

You can boil it, right in its cozy little shell, for a beautifully round and smooth texture to crumble or eat whole.

You can fry it, snatching it quickly before the yolk solidifies, so you can let the happy sunshine flow down over the toast on your plate.

Or you can crack it open into a pot of hot water and watch it float, somehow cooking all together even though (at least to me) it should disintegrate.

But it works.

And, if you whisk air into it just long enough, you can make a beautiful mountain range of white cloud peaks to place on your freshly made pie.

It’s beautiful.

How do you cook your eggs? I’m not very particular about it, although I do enjoy a warm, runny yolk to soak up with a chunk of bread. Has anyone ever tried ostrich or another type of egg?

Until next time.

jj

Photo by The Animal Print Shop.

 

August 2, 2012

a word of motivation

by Jillian Douglas

“You must once and for all give up being worried about successes and failures. Don’t let that concern you. It’s your duty to go on working steadily day by day, quite quietly, to be prepared for mistakes, which are inevitable, and for failures.” {Tchekov}

July 8, 2012

A Smattering of Notes

by Jillian Douglas

Hullo, friendlies.

Today I bring you… a few notes that have been floating in this brain of mine. Enjoy!❤

A. Cities are fabulous, but let’s face it; there’s nothing like a small town. Remember why with this article by Sarah Dobbins at Apartment Therapy

062912_cookeville.jpg

B. Joy in the Morning by Betty Smith. This is a really good book. Like, really, really, really good. Go. Get it. You must. She writes about the first year of marriage for Annie and Carl, two (very) young adults living in the early 20th century in the mid-west. This is one (just one!) step below A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, another book by Betty Smith, that is my absolute favorite piece of literature.

C. Driving home today, I couldn’t help but stop by a little vegetable cart by the side of the road, full of bright and happy garden goods. I picked up some beets and zucchini for practically nothing. (Another wondrous note: that same gardener/farmer sells sunflowers for only 35 cents each! They were all out this time, but next time I see those babies, they’re mine! For you local people, this cart is on East Henrietta Rd, between Rush and Henrietta). But back to beets: this Beet Hummus recipe at The Color Issue looks delicious! And did you know the leafy greens are also edible?

That’s all for now…

Live simply; love deeply. xo

First photo by Sarah Dobbins at Apartment Therapy; second and third photo by Aarean at The Color Issue.

July 2, 2012

As promised: Dark Chocolate + Orange Cake Pops

by Jillian Douglas

Mmmm.

Mmmmhmm.

The combination of dark chocolate + orange interests my taste buds quite a lot. There’s just something so contrasting but balanced about pairing the nutty, rich flavor of chocolate with this light citrus fruit. As I hinted at in this post, cake pops are not my passion. But I do think if you’re going to bother with the fad, you might consider this recipe I concocted with the help of a few friends…

Dark Chocolate + Orange Cake Pops

Ingredients:

16 oz. Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Chips

1 Orange

1 Box of Cake Mix (with other ingredients it calls for, such as oil, water, or eggs, made as a cake, cooled)

1 Can of Chocolate Frosting

1-2 tsps of Orange Extract

Now I am in no way a cake pop guru, so if you know a better way to make them, by all means, go for it. But this is how I did it:

1. Crumble the cake into smithereens. Be aggressive. Be. Be. Agressive.

2. In a large bowl, heap the cake on the frosting and add a few teaspoons of orange extract (to be honest, this was such a long time ago, that I do not recall how many teaspoons I used. But I do know that I followed what was on the bottle, and it came out quite, quite delicious).

4. Mix, mix, mix.

5. Now would be a good time to experiment with chilling this mixture to make it a little firmer. I didn’t have the time, so I went ahead and rolled them up into balls.

6. Zest up some orange peel (we didn’t have a zester tool so my cutie just minced it up like a pro). Melt the chocolate in a pot on the stove.

7. Stick lollipop sticks into those cake batter babies and plop into the chocolate, spooning chocolate all around it for good coverage.

8. Dip the tip of your newly formed cake pop into the orange zest and place on a plate (or in a handy dandy cake pop holder or piece of foam) and refrigerate until stable.

Yum yum yum!

June 30, 2012

The Poet Visits the Museum of Fine Arts by Mary Oliver

by Jillian Douglas

My readers,

I am currently in Manhattan this weekend, visiting my brother and his girlfriend. It’s been a lovely little trip! Yesterday we went to the Met, full of wondrous things (like Van Gogh and Monet, my favorite). I thought it fitting to share this poem I found in my inbox today:

The Poet Visits the Museum of Fine Arts by Mary Oliver

For a long time
     I was not even
        in this world, yet
           every summer

every rose
     opened in perfect sweetness
        and lived
           in gracious repose,

in its own exotic fragrance,
     in its huge willingness to give
        something, from its small self,
           to the entirety of the world.

I think of them, thousands upon thousands,
     in many lands,
        whenever summer came to them,
           rising

out of the patience of patience,
     to leaf and bud and look up
        into the blue sky
           or, with thanks,

into the rain
     that would feed
        their thirsty roots
           latched into the earth—

sandy or hard, Vermont or Arabia,
     what did it matter,
        the answer was simply to rise
           in joyfulness, all their days.

Have I found any better teaching?
     Not ever, not yet.
        Last week I saw my first Botticelli
           and almost fainted,

and if I could I would paint like that
     but am shelved somewhere below, with a few songs
        about roses: teachers, also, of the ways
           toward thanks, and praise.

 

You shall see more of me soon. Pinky promise.

April 17, 2012

Portlandia + Owl City (How Indie!)

by Jillian Douglas

So for a while I’ve been enjoying this lovely image as my wallpaper:

https://i0.wp.com/media.ifc.com/img/portlandia_posters/catnap_1024x768.jpg

Catnap! From Portlandia!
It’s the best thing ever. (Will be replaced within a week, however, as you know how my Desktop ADD goes). There’s actually a whole bunch of wallpapers for all you Portlandia fans, done by different artists (“Catnap” is by Nate Duval).

https://i1.wp.com/media.ifc.com/img/portlandia_posters/fbs_1440x900.jpg

“Feminist Book Store” is my new one… created by Methane Studios, Mark McDevitt.

This makes me so happy.

I also have a bit of lovely music for you! Adam Young (of Owl City) released a new track (or perhaps it was prematurely released? I have no idea). Anyways, enjoy Dementia here on First Listen. (Does anybody else love Owl City as much as I do? And Adam Young just seems like a spectacular man, introverted and always dreaming).

April 15, 2012

The most relaxing place…

by Jillian Douglas

I love my porch.

It’s by far my most favorite part of the house that I grew up in. I didn’t realize my love for it until a couple of summers ago, enjoying the shade it offers so kindly and the quiet changes to its surface; every season the paint chips a little more, the weeds around it grow a few inches taller, the pine tree’s boughs reach through the railings a bit more. The colors of the porch are what first drew me to noticing it. Once a crisp, dark green, the paint now appears faded and more like teal, much of it completely gone and baring the gray, brown wood underneath. While most people would disapprove of the bright green growth on the wood, I admire it for complementing the other colors so well.

The porch is full of music, too. I often hear birds chirping in the pine trees and the wind rustling the yellow brilliance of the forsythia bushes. Mid-summer I hear jets creating new paths across the cloud-freckled sky and the boy next door practicing his swing, the crack resounding between the hills. In the fall, the gentle sound of a distant, huge motor in the farmer’s fields tell me they are harvesting; in the spring, the farmers, again, sowing, sowing. In the winter, when I miss the porch the most, I can still hear the music; the crunching of icy snow beneath my boots and the wind whistling through the railings, the structure creaking with shivers, whispering, Don’t worry; I’m still here. Spring will come soon.

I can’t capture the whole porch in one photograph. Looking at the whole thing, you wouldn’t be able to soak up its beauty, and looking at the little details, you wouldn’t be able to understand the connection between them and their significance. So I won’t even try. But I can share a glimpse of a moment, and with the few wonderfully warm days we have had so far this spring, I have a few to show you. Maybe they won’t mean much to you, having never experienced my porch, but I hope it will inspire you to seek out a place that means as much to you as my porch means to me.

A simple dinner for my parents and me.

Honey Wheat bread resting on the picnic table before the meal.

Pots containing little treasures: basil seeds.
(They never grew, but it was fun planting them. I’d like to try again).

If you do find a place, please describe it to me. I am curious..

April 15, 2012

Maple Sugaring

by Jillian Douglas

It was not my intention to neglect you, oh blog! Life has the uncanny habit of swallowing me whole at times.Don’t worry though, it spat me back out. It’s good to be back! I have many posts floating through my head, ready to land in the crisp screen of a blog post.

First up is fun with maple syrup making!

Image

Mid-March I went to my dear friend’s house and had a great time with her family and another friend, watching the maple syrup process and making maple cream candies with them. They only have 3 sugar maple trees, each tapped twice, but this apparently creates a substantial amount of sap, which is then boiled down to syrup.

Image

This process interests me a lot! I love handgrown and homemade things. Collecting sap for syrup-making is on my list of Dreamy To-Do’s, along with beekeeping, canning homemade salsa, and sewing my own clothes.

Unfortunately, I forgot my camera when I went over (sigh), so I only have photos of the delicious syrup they gave me. Which we consumed it in a week. (hah!)

We also made chocolate-covered maple cream candies! They were so easy but delicious (and I discovered a new chocolate pair that I adore… Nate didn’t like it especially, but I loved it. Even more than chocolate + bacon…).

Simply melt chocolate chips in the microwave, then dollop a bit into paper candy wrappers. This makes a bottom for the candy (it will appear similar to a Reese’s peanut butter cup later). Then place that in the freezer until the chocolate is stiff while you mold your maple cream into little balls (my friend’s dad had made the maple cream by simply heating maple syrup. I didn’t catch how to do that, but here’s a recipe elsewhere. He apparently did it a little longer than usual to make the consistency thicker and moldable, and placed that in the freezer to stiffen a bit as well). Place the maple cream balls in the cups with the chocolate bottoms and pour more chocolate on top to seal the deal. Place them once more in the freezer for a bit. Enjoy!

Image

So here’s a quick list of

Things I Learned on This Adventure:

1. It takes 32 gallons of sap to create… (get this)… 1 gallon of syrup.

Is that not crazy? I am surprised people still even do this; it requires so much patience. But then again, I can understand how they fall in love with the process.

2. Maple cream is really just maple syrup (with a tiny bit of butter) boiled more to create the thicker consistency. I thought for sure there was some dairy yum in it… but nope!

3. This year, because of the unusual weather, the maple sugaring season was much more successful and earlier than usual. When tappers would normally begin in February, they started in January (remember when we had those crazy summer days when it should’ve been frigid? Those triggered the sap).

4. I have awesome friends who I need to hang out with much more.

March 20, 2012

Spring is Sure to Follow

by Jillian Douglas

Spring is, without a doubt, my favorite season. I love watching the world come to life, the buds forming on the trees, the mud oozing beneath my feet. Even though this winter wasn’t very wintery, I still can’t help but feel renewed as I listen to the birds sing outside the window and watch the sun pour into these dark rooms once more. Not to mention, my birthday is coming up, which is always nice, too.🙂

Here’s a lovely poem by Mary Oliver for this fine, spring day.

Spring

Somewhere
a black bear
has just risen from sleep
and is staring

down the mountain.
All night
in the brisk and shallow restlessness
of early spring

I think of her,
her four black fists
flicking the gravel,
her tongue

like a red fire
touching the grass,
the cold water.
There is only one question:

how to love this world.
I think of her
rising
like a black and leafy ledge

to sharpen her claws against
the silence
of the trees.
Whatever else

my life is
with its poems
and its music
and its glass cities,

it is also this dazzling darkness
coming
down the mountain,
breathing and tasting;

all day I think of her—
her white teeth,
her wordlessness,
her perfect love.

 

Well have a fantastic Spring day!

jj

Image by Alyssa Nassner.

March 13, 2012

A List of Lovelies

by Jillian Douglas

Sometimes I just need to make a list and spurt it all out in one quick blog post. So here goes.

Things I am So, So, So, So Grateful For

1. Anticipating new possibilities… big and small, like getting a new job, going back to school (for art!!) and acquiring an iphone. (All still just possibilities. But possibilities turn into plans which turn into the present. So I’m pretty excited.)

2. Experimenting with lace + crayons, and not finding this project on Pinterest, but actually (gasp!) making it up on my own. (I hope that’s allowed…;)

3.  Soaking up Portlandia. Oh, oh, Portlandia. You make me laugh.

4. Wearing my Toms again… they’re a bit thin to wear in the depths of winter, so I saved them until I could fully enjoy and appreciate them once more in this practically-summer-warmth we now have in NY. They make me happy.

5. Making orange + chocolate cake pops with my buddies and boyfriend. They turned out even better than the dream version, which I also spontaneously created in my head one day, while remembering a certain orange chocolate bar with much fondness. Cake pops are fun to eat, but I do not prefer to spend that much time in the kitchen for something I can just eat in a different way (what’s so wrong with just cake? Why does everything have to be a cupcake? Or a cake pop? It just seems so superfluous.)

Anyways, they were delicious and I’ll post a recipe soon after. Also, go eat that chocolate bar. It’s note-worthily mouthwatering (and comes with a poem, too!).

6. Learning about collecting sugar maple sap and boiling, boiling, boiling it down to make the best maple syrup ever. I tell you, I may become as obsessed about homemade maple syrup as I am about honey. I find it so fascinating! More on this topic later… (but you should know that we made maple-chocolate cups, kind of like a peanut butter cup but with maple cream inside. OhMyDearLord. They are so scrumptious. I would share them with each and every one of you if I could!)

7. Reaching new levels in relationships. It’s a scary thing, being genuine, 100% authentic, your soul on display for others to see. Well, maybe not your soul, theologically speaking, but at least your spirit- who you are, your personality, the things that make you you. But as frightening as it is, I can’t tell you how rewarding it is on the other side. In a genuine relationship, you enable each other to reach your potential; this process is love.

Well darlings. What are you grateful for? I want to hear.
Have a splendid day!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.