Loving: Biscoff spread

For those of you who don’t know, when I was in 9th grade, my best friend Erin moved to Alaska, and I ended up visiting her there three times. I think my love of travel was cemented at the point that we had to travel 3,000 miles to see each other. And not only did we shuttle between Alaska and Kansas, but we also went to Arizona to stay with her grandmother, Florida for our post-graduation vacation, Portland, Vegas, and numerous other places over the years. And most of that time, in order to accumulate frequent flyer miles and free tickets, we flew Delta.

And if you fly Delta, you know about the deliciousness that is a Biscoff cookie, which they give you as a snack on flights. I really came to love those cookies over the years, so I couldn’t resist temptation when I saw a jar of Biscoff spread at the grocery store.

I’d already heard about Trader Joe’s cookie butter, and I imagine this is pretty much the same thing. It spreads like peanut butter, but is obviously sweeter — more like Nutella, I would say. It is truly evil stuff, and I’m so in love with it.

Loving: post-Christmas edition

We have some new additions around the house, thanks to Christmas gifts.

Mike got this San Francisco poster, which we had custom framed. It’s huge!

When you get up close to it you can see all the details are actually words.

We also got a new small TV for our bedroom. Our old one was so ancient, when Mike pushed the power button it fell into the TV.

I also got a nice frame for my octopus flower print.

And some Merrell hiking boots from REI. They’re warm and comfy and waterproof.

Last but not least, I finally spent a whopping $8 to replace the totally non-functional Mac mouse I’ve had for like 3 years now. It works so much better it’s ridiculous.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

We got into the full holiday spirit and put up a Christmas tree this weekend. I love having a fresh one — it smells divine.

In case you were wondering, yes, a two-door Yaris can hold an entire tree plus two people. Oh yes it can.

Anyway, we don’t have a ton of our own Christmas ornaments yet, but we do have a few really fun ones. I have to have some odes to “A Christmas Story,” including the double dog dare ornament,

and a tiny leg lamp. It comes in a little crate that plays lines from the movie. The dogs love it.

I’ve had Kermie and Piggy for a while now, but they’re extra special now that there’s a new Muppets movie.

Then there’s the Grinch

and adorable Cindy Lou Who.

I switched out my pinecone centerpiece for my favorite sparkly ornaments. They’re too pretty to go on the tree!

December also means it’s time to break out the monkey pants.

Other things making me smile this week:

Leftover pizza from Tony’s.

Whole wheat fig bars from the Berkeley Bowl. These are so much better than Fig Newtons it’s ridiculous.

The cutest owl Kleenex box. Owls refuse to go out of fashion!

And these vintage looking wire baskets I got at Marshall’s for $5.99 each. They will be perfect for craft fair displays.

Speaking of, I will be participating in a holiday trunk show this weekend hosted by the Pumpkin House studio in Oakland. It’s 1-4 p.m. Saturday at 5725 James Ave. in Rockridge. There will be treats!


Things that are making me happy this week:

Trader Joe’s sparkling waters. These totally satisfy my need to drink something carbonated, since I’m trying to avoid soda. And they’re only $1!

Red tomatoes in December!

There’s only a few of them, but my plant is still hanging on.

The cutest takeout container. I got this at a Korean restaurant, and they sealed it up like it was a little Lean Cuisine or something.

Chicken tikka masala over turmeric rice with peas.

I’m obsessed with this dish at a local Indian place so I thought I’d take a stab at making it myself. I found a recipe on the Pioneer Woman, cut it in half, and it turned out really well. You can’t replace the smoky flavor of the tandoor oven, but by cooking the chicken under the broiler you can come close. The sauce was right-on in color and texture, but next time I would use less garam masala and a little more cumin. Still, yum!

I also got crafty and made a stocking for Sadie to match the one I made for Reggie.

Sadie’s features a turkey, as we discovered on Thanksgiving that she will knock down a whole turkey carcass when tempted. You can’t stop the hound nose.

And finally I leave you with my favorite song of the week – Shake it Out!

Loving: scissor earrings

At my craft fair on Sunday I managed to trade for these lovely pairs of earrings from the seller across from me, Boobadeeboo.

I just couldn’t resist the ones that look like little sewing scissors!

There are all kinds of wonderful miniatures in earring form in her shop, so check it out.

Food trucks!

Apart from a few random sightings of Oakland taco trucks, I hadn’t seen any food trucks parked around Berkeley since I moved here, and I knew there must be a collection of them somewhere. Finally, Mike told me that San Francisco’s food truck gathering, called Off the Grid, comes to Berkeley on Wednesday nights. In the gourmet ghetto, of course.

Last night we actually remembered to go check it out, and I’m so glad we did. Not only is it a really good selection of foodie options (burgers, falafel, cupcakes, Filipino dishes, tacos), but the crowd there is about the most perfect slice of Berkeley’s population I’ve ever seen gathered in one place.

Mike got a sandwich from the Filipino truck (not sure the name), and I got a fried chicken sandwich and red velvet whoopie pie from 3-SUM Eats. I know it was indulgent but that sandwich was life-changing! I’ve never had the one at Bakesale Betty, but it has to be up there with that one.

Cole slaw on a chicken sandwich = a good idea.

Sadly the whoopie pie was disappointing. Next time I will have to try the adorable Skylite Snowball truck. The fivetenburger truck was also calling.

Seeing the complete list of vendors that come to the SF event makes me want to put that one on my to-list for sure.

And while we’re on the subject of food trucks, I have to mention that our new favorite bar, the Hotsy Totsy Club in Albany, has a legit Oakland taco truck parked outside on weekend nights. So if you come to visit, add that to your to-do list, too!


Has anyone else been watching 50 documentaries to see before you die on The Current?

I guess I should preface this by saying that I loooove documentaries. I am a docu-nerd or docu-geek or whatever you want to call it. I’m sure I have several years before I enter the target age range for Frontline, but I have loved that show for a long time (and it’s all the more awesome that Mike’s nonprofit works on stories for them).

Basically, Morgan Spurlock of Super Size Me fame has been hosting a countdown of 50 great documentaries, and the Current is showing a lot of them (yay!). Of course I had to find out how many of them I had seen. Here is the list, with the ones I’ve seen bolded.

50. Spellbound (Jeffery Blitz, 2002)
49. Madonna: Truth or Dare (Alek Keshishian and Mark Aldo Miceli, 1991)
48. The Kid Stays in the Picture (Nanette Burstein and Brett Morgen, 2002)
47. One Day in September (Kevin Macdonald, 1999)
46. Little Dieter Needs to Fly (Werner Herzog, 1998)
45. The Decline of Western Civilization: The Metal Years (Part II, Penelope Spheeris, 1988)
44. Burma VJ (Anders Østergaard, 2008)
43. When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (Spike Lee, 2008)
42. Catfish (Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, 2010)
41. The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters (Seth Gordon, 2007)
40. When We Were Kings (Leon Gast, 1996)
39. Biggie and Tupac (Nick Broomfield, 2002)
38. March of the Penguins (Luc Jacquet, 2005)
37. Inside Job (Charles Ferguson, 2010)
36. Taxi to the Dark Side (Alex Gibney, 2007)
35. Paragraph 175 (Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, 2000)
34. Brother’s Keeper (Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky, 1992)
33. Tongues Untied (Marlon Riggs, 1989)
32. Dogtown and Z-Boys (Stacy Peralta, 2001)
31. Jesus Camp (Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, 2006)
30. Farenheit 9/11 (Michael Moore, 2004)
29. Man on Wire (James Marsh, 2008)
28. Gasland (Josh Fox, 2010)
27. Tarnation (Jonathan Caouette, 2003)
26. Murderball (Henry Alex Rubin and Dana Adam Shapiro, 2005)
25. Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (Alex Gibney, 2005)
24. Paradise Lost (Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky, 1996)
23. The Eyes of Tammy Faye (Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, 2000)
22. Shut Up and Sing (Barbara Kopple and Cecilia Peck, 2006)
21. Exit Through The Gift Shop (Banksy, 2010)
20. Capturing the Friedmans (Andrew Jarecki, 2003)
19. Touching the Void (Kevin Macdonald, 2003)
18. Food, Inc. (Robert Kenner, 2008)
17. Street Fight (Marshall Curry, 2005)
16. Bus 174 (José Padilha and Felipe Lacerda, 2002)
15. Crumb (Terry Zwigoff, 1994)
14. Dark Days (Marc Singer, 2000)
13. The Fog of War (Errol Morris, 2003)
12. Bowling For Columbine (Michael Moore, 2002)
11. Paris Is Burning (Jennie Livingston, 1990)
10. Grizzly Man (Werner Herzog, 2005)
9. Trouble the Water (Carl Deal and Tia Lessin, 2008)
8. An Inconvenient Truth (Davis Guggenheim, 2006)
7. The Celluloid Closet (Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, 1995)
6. The War Room (D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus, 1993)
5. Super Size Me (Morgan Spurlock, 2004)
4. Waltz with Bashir (Ari Folman, 2008)
3. Roger and Me (Michael Moore, 1989)
2. The Thin Blue Line (Errol Morris, 1988)
1. Hoop Dreams (Steve James, 1994)

I think my Netflix queue just got a lot longer! A lot of times docs are available to watch instantly, which is nice.

My favorites from this list are probably Grizzly Man, Super Size Me, Food, Inc., and The King of Kong. Trouble the Water is also really great. I don’t think any movie has scared me more than Jesus Camp.

I did start to think about how many good docs were not on this list, so here are some of my faves that did not make the cut:

• The Human Experience — this one will send you into the ugly cry.
• Wasteland — about an artist who befriends garbage pickers in Rio
• Very Young Girls — scary look at prostitutes in the US
• Ballerina – lovely movie about ballerinas in Russia
• Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soapbox — the story behind the wacky soap
• My Kid Could Paint That —I loved this one because the filmmaker changes his opinion about the subject partway through the movie.
• The Bridge — about people who commit suicide by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge
• Grey Gardens — the original documentary is so quirky you can’t believe it’s real
• The Business of Being Born — I know a lot of people who hated this movie because it’s a little TMI in parts, but I think it’s so important that women start taking back control of the childbirth process.
• God Grew Tired of Us and Lost Boys of Sudan — about what it was like for the lost boys of Sudan to come to America
• Helvetica — the perfect movie for design nerds, about the iconic font
• The Devil and Daniel Johnston — this one’s a trip, you just have to see it
• New York — this is an 8-part series from PBS all about NYC
• Wordplay and Word Wars — like Spellbound, about the intense worlds of crossword and Scrabble competitions
• Who Killed the Electric Car? — even more interesting now that electric cars are finally being sold
• The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill — about the man who was caretaker to the wild parrots in San Francisco

Maybe it’s because I’m a journalist, but I just think nothing is more interesting than the things that really happen.

Loving: snails and such

Happiness this week is a snail creeping down my neighbor’s house,

or down the driveway,

tiny tomatoes ripening on the vine,

chicken and waffles at Aunt Mary’s Cafe,

and a yarn that’s actually called “Really Big.”

Loving: Le Parfait jars

I’ve gotten kind of obsessed lately with organizing our pantry. We have so many random dry beans and flours and other assorted ingredients, and I’d like to see all the ones we use regularly sorted into some kind of system. I bought a bunch of cute red-lidded jars from World Market, but then I saw these Le Parfait jars at our awesome Ace Hardware and I just had to buy some.

These are two of the largest jars, but they have them in all shapes and sizes down to the littlest jelly jars. I’ve seen Weck canning jars all over design blogs lately, but I don’t want to have to keep track of the little metal clips. And I think the Le Parfait jars are much cooler looking with their scripty font.

Now that I am banned from buying any more bowls, I think I am definitely developing a glass jar habit.

Loving: minty drinks and bike trips

A couple weeks ago I bought a whole watermelon at the grocery store. I couldn’t help myself — it was only about $2.50. But since Mike doesn’t like watermelon I had to get creative with how to eat it all.

So I juiced it! It’s so funny — when you juice a watermelon there is basically no pulp. The water part is no lie. I just added a little fresh mint, and it was super refreshing.

Of course then I realized how much mint we had to use up, so I made us some mint juleps. (Used Joy’s recipe).

These were really good. You should have them more than once a year.

For Memorial Day we decided to take a short road trip to Pescadero. We had a little picnic lunch on the beach, and then we took our bikes out on a cute country road.

It was very pastoral. Lots of horses and sheep.

Unfortunately the ride turned out to be one long, slow hill. Not so fun.

But Pescadero is a cute little town. It has bakeries,

and guys playing guitars,

and VW buses.

If I live here long enough I will end up owning a ’60s VW bus with curtains.

Other things I’m loving this week:

-Homemade wheat bread,

(thank you, Mike).

-A new stripey watch band. My old cheap one broke, so I treated myself.

-“Born to Run.”

I really loved this story, and the writer’s hilarious style. It made me think a lot about my relationship to running, and that I should get some minimalist shoes!

You should definitely read it. Next up, I am taking mom’s recommendation for “Water for Elephants.”