Sorry Tumblr, I’m switching
Although I have been blogging with Tumblr for a couple of years, I’ve outgrown the tool and have decided to switch to WordPress. Hoping I can stick with this tool for a while. I’m going to gradually update my new blog with the old posts from Tumblr, but in the meantime, you can check out my new posts here: mimiturner.wordpress.com. Enjoy!
Back to basics ... a simple cake
With all the food and sweets around this holiday season, I though I’d make a basic cake that would balance all the heavy dinners and sugary desserts. So, I decided to make my go-to cake. It is my nephew Ethan’s favorite. It’s because the frosting is replaced with whipped cream, the sponge cake itself is light and airy, and I pile on the fresh fruit (Ethan loves fruit). The...
A little gift from LUNA Bar
Lately, I’ve been doing a bit of work with Net Promoter scores, so being able to say that I am extremely likely to recommend something to a friend or colleague has become even more top of mind. That’s why I decided to give LUNA Bar a bit of love. Guess what I got in the mail? Yep, that’s right, a little surprise from LUNA Bar. Totally unexpected, but perfect from a company...
Dynamite Dynamo Donuts
If we’re just hanging out at home on a weekend morning, Jason and I often head up to our favorite San Francisco breakfast spots: Tartine or Four Barrel Coffee. Sometimes, we don’t plan ahead too well and the line at Tartine is way too long. You see, there is a wait to hunger equation that we must weigh. Last weekend, we did not plan ahead too well, so we ended up picking up...
Mini ice cream cones for Jerry
This past Tuesday was my friend Jerry’s birthday. On Monday, we celebrated early at a sushi restaurant and Jerry got to blow out a candle atop two scoops of ice cream (green tea and sesame) and fried bananas. Then, on Tuesday morning, he was greeted with another candle on a slice of chocolate drizzled cheesecake from Hobee’s for breakfast. During lunch, he blew out his third candle which sat...
Carrots and chocolate ... cupcakes
For my mom’s party today, I made a few cupcakes. Since we were going to have tons of chocolate, I thought I would balance things out with a “healthy” dose of carrots. I used a new carrot cake recipe I found from my All-Time Best Recipes from Cooks Illustrated. The carrot cake recipe is as follows: 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour 1 1/4 teaspoons baking...
Grandma's fur coat
I haven’t updated this blog in weeks. Not because I didn’t want to, but because there just are a lot of things going on. But the following conversation was just too funny not to share. So instead of going to bed, I’m sitting here typing away. Tears still sitting in my eyes from the laughter that came about tonight. I’m in the car with Jason. We’re driving home from an...
Primer and two coats to change a room
When my husband and I bought our house, the developer who was selling it had the brilliant (and cheap) idea of painting the walls of the ENTIRE home the same dull pastry yellow color. Because it was new paint, to change it was very low in the home improvement list. We had other things to replace like the front door, the back door, the fence, the dining room lights … the list goes on and...
Toot toot, chugga chugga, big red car
When it comes to my nephews, I’m a softee. They ask me to jump and the natural response is, “how high and did you want to see that done while I sing?” So when Aidan asked for The Wiggles as his birthday theme, it meant the race was on to find any type of paraphernalia related to these four dancing and singing men. A Wiggles party would mean a Wiggles cake. But there were no...
Kim's petite birthday breakfast
I love birthdays and I love them more when they belong to my friends and family. This is because I get to celebrate with them. Yesterday as my friend Kim’s birthday. And since she is a connoisseur of all things cute and petite, Vivi and I thought it would be a good idea to host a petite birthday breakfast for Kim at work. I finally put last year’s Christmas presents to work: We had...
What's that I see?
But another owl looking back at me! My sweet friend Vivi just returned from a trip to the East Coast where she visited the Smithsonian Museums. She (okay, well everyone by now) knows that I love owls, so here’s what she brought back for me: A Peruvian carved gourd in the shape of an owl! Gourd artists begin by carefully selecting, scraping and drying the gourds in the sun. They then...
Edible flowers ... cookie flowers!
I am not a big fan of flowers. Not because they are not beautiful, but because once cut, they die. So in thinking of a way to cheer up my mother-in-law Sherri, I decided to make her some flowers instead. I was inspired to make these cookie pops from a post on Sweetopia. Marian posted a step-by-step tutorial on how to make cookie pops. I however, did not use the sugar cookie recipe from...
More cheese please ... cheesecakes.
I work with very generous colleagues. They are always bringing in goodies to share. Yesterday, Wan-Sze gave our team a box of the Charlie’s Cheesecake Works poppers. I’ve been trying to keep away from the sweets, but couldn’t resist having one of the chocolate cheesecake poppers (my favorite). I not only love the cheesecakes from this shop in San Jose because they are...
Say cheese ... grilled cheese!
Lately, I’ve been trying to be good and bring lunch from home to work. Some days are more successful than others. This is because I am not very good at going to the store and planning meals. Add to this the fact that I don’t cook very well and you’ve got a recipe for no lunch the next day. This past week, I made (okay, jammed some food items in a canvas bag) lunch and managed to...
Jeans and vinegar
It seems as though every pair of jeans I own ends up with a hole in them. You see, I’m pretty clumsy, so I run into things that snag my jeans and wah-la, there’s a hole. I am petite, so I tend to climb on things that also put holes in my jeans. Thus, I don’t buy very expensive jeans because I don’t treat them very kindly. Jason however, wears nice jeans to work with...
The Wiggles ... what I'd do for my nephew
I guess kids have this internal clock telling them that their birthday is nearing. My nephew has been caught singing Happy Birthday to himself in the corner lately. Yes, he has very cute moments. When asked what he wanted to do for his third birthday, he said he wanted a Wiggles party. The only reason I know anything about the Wiggles is because I have to watch cycles of Wiggles DVDs on our trips...
Chocolate coffee creme
To the untrained eye, this might seem like a basic iced coffee drink from the local coffee shop. But for those who have had a chocolate coffee creme from Great Bear Coffee in Los Gatos, they know that this is liquid crack hidden in a seemingly harmless compostable cup. It’s a coffee drink blended with chocolate ice cream and freshly whipped cream. It’s delicious and it was something...
Wish list - camera lens
I must admit, it wasn’t a really hard decision. When Jason asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I blurted out, “a pancake lens for my camera!” He knows I love food, so naturally, he said, “What, you want pancakes for your birthday?” Funny, but no. I shoot my pictures with a four-thirds camera - a Panasonic GF1. I chose this over a traditional SLR because of its...
Panna cotta - take two
Last week, in preparation for a party, I decided to make panna cotta. I was feeling adventurous, so I tried a new recipe in a book that called for buttermilk (to bring a bit of tang to the dessert) in addition to cream. Well, all it brought for me was a bit of grief. For some reason, the dessert separated and there was a gelatin layer at the bottom and cream layer at the top of every cup. Fail. ...
Celebrating National Ice Cream Day (yesterday)!
Okay, so I didn’t really celebrate National Ice Cream Day yesterday. I was too busy celebrating the vegetables in my garden. Yep, that’s right, I harvested fresh zucchini, tomatoes and basil from the garden and made a veggie lasagna. Given my culinary skills, I was rather impressed. Yahoo! posted an article listing the best ice cream in the bay area. So I guess this is going to be my...
Croissants with pastry cream and strawberries
We were heading to a party yesterday and I needed to bring something to share with other guests. My friend Vivi recently told me about how she bought nearly a dozen boxes of strawberry croissants from Cream Pan. I figure she didn’t just buy this many because of the distance she would have to travel to Southern California to get her next fill. She told me they were delicious! So instead of...
So what did we do in Maine? Eat!
Some people travel to see friends and family, others to get away from it all and relax. I travel so that I can experience the sights and sounds of places that interest me, which ultimately means that I essentially travel to stuff my face full of the culinary treats native to the location. Here is a doodle of the restaurants we visited in Maine, many of which were exceptional and are on the short...
I scream ... we all scream for ice cream!
Okay, well maybe it’s just me that screams the loudest for ice cream. I have somewhat of a sick obsession with this magical frosty dessert. Perhaps it is the sugar or the seemingly endless combination of flavors. Or maybe all the toppings you can add to it, or the fact that you can eat the vessel that once held the ice cream. Nah, it’s because everyone is happy when they eat ice...
Top 10 from our 2011 NYC/Brooklyn trip
There were a lot of great memories and laughs from this trip, but I wanted to see if I could pick the top 10 from this visit. Here goes … 10. Fireworks and view from Chris/Matt’s apartment. It seemed as if the fireworks started on July 2nd and continued on through the 4th. Every evening, there were fireworks across the skyline. And the view was just amazing - bridges, communities and even...
Touring Acadia National Park ... on scooters!
During our family trip to Maine, we spent a few days on Mount Desert Island, focusing our time on Bar Harbor. Since this beautiful national park (Acadia) covered the better part of the island, we thought it would be fun to jump out of the car and take in the sights via two wheels. We rented scooters for the four “kids” and took the Park Loop Road by storm. The boys opted to wear their...
Pastrami sandwiches - East Coast Authenticity vs....
Over the 4th of July weekend, we paid a visit to Chris and Matt in NYC/Brooklyn. It was a quick 3-day visit, so by the end of the holiday, we had sore feet and big bellies - just perfect. We visited landmarks, eating establishments, special exhibits, and shopping sites. One of the places we visited was Katz’s Deli in the lower east side in NYC. After seeing a special on the Food Channel, it...
First zucchini harvest of the year!
With the warm weather comes abundant fruit and vegetables from the garden. We just cut a few zucchini fruit from the plant and they are just perfect for a stir fry or pasta. This year, the local nursery advised that I plant flowers around my garden boxes to attract the bees. I guess it was really good advice because there are tons of zucchini flowers and fruit growing in our boxes. Jason likes...
Not just any ice cream ... Mitchell's Ice Cream
My friends and I had a get together this past weekend. To help alleviate all the hassle of having one person host the party, the group typically eats out or goes potluck style. I have an awesome friend, Eunice, who loves to bring more than enough food to parties. She likes to go with the concept of - it’s always better to have more than not enough. Not only did she bring more than her share...
Strawberry filo tarts with pastry cream
Yesterday, on Father’s Day, I made these little desserts for both my dads. It was a busy morning filled with chores around the house, so I had to draw on my go-to, easy-to-make dessert. I’ve had lots of requests for the recipe for this pastry cream, so here it is. It is from the Tartine cookbook (which I LOVE!) Pastry Cream 2 cups whole milk 1/2 vanilla bean 1/4 teaspoon salt 3...
Soft boiled eggs ... a fond memory.
Soft boiled eggs hold a special place in my heart. I have very fond and vivid memories of tapping my spoon on to the tops of these eggs as they sat within delicate porcelain cups. The family only had a set of six cups, but my uncle made sure that the kids each had an egg cup while the adults held theirs by hand. Sunday morning giggles were silenced by the sound of grinding pepper and the...
Magnolia Bakery NYC
On a recent trip to NYC, I paid a visit to the famous Magnolia Bakery. Everybody told me that they were great cupcakes, but I had to try them myself. I hand carried them back to California and shared them with my friends. And although other passengers on the plane were only allowed two carry-on items, the team at Virgin America knew how special these cupcakes were, so they let me bring on a...
Kim spoils me (again)!
I have a dear friend name Kim. She loves baking and all things yummy and cute. Today, she gave me a box of Macarons from Nicole Lee Chocolates. She’s really not helping my waistline these days. I have yet to have one of these because I am saving them for after dinner, but I am sure that they will taste exceptionally delicious. They are just so pretty that I don’t know if I can eat...
Wardrobe done ... finally
Since we live in a little house, closet space is highly coveted. A few weeks ago, I had the brilliant (smirk) idea of building a wardrobe by myself. Jason has been out of commission with this ankle surgery, so it would be me, myself and I working on this wardrobe (although he really tired to help - bless his heart). We found that a custom wardrobe would be cost prohibitive, so I opted for one from...
Strawberries ... I beat the birds this time.
Ha ha! I made it to my strawberries before the birds did this time. I was only able to harvest a handful of them, but they were sweet and had a true berry taste. Strawberries have a special place in my heart because growing up, we grew them in our backyard and I have vivid memories of watching them turn from these pale green blobs into beautiful, vibrant, red juicy reminders of summer. I also...
What a hoot!
For some reason, Jason and I love owls. Maybe it is because they have bright eyes, fly fast, and are wise. I seem to think it is because I have dissected so many owl pellets throughout my youth. Well, I recently came across this porcelain owl candle and it was so cute, he had to come home with me. He is manufactured by a company named Grasslands Road.
Lavender ... fragrant and beautiful.
We’ve been growing a variety of lavender in our backyard to see which one we like best. Prior to visiting our local nursery, I thought that lavender was just lavender. Little did I know of all the varieties - English, French, Portuguese, Spanish … the list goes on. So far, we’ve discovered that our favorite is the Lavandula angustifolia, Munstead English Lavender. The...
Cute dishtowels and teatowels
We’re pretty big on using dishtowels and teatowels in our home. I am a huge fan of the dishtowels from Crate & Barrel because they are great at absorbing water, but sometimes, the designs of the towels are not very fun or cute. Recently, I came across these teatowels from Danica Studio: They are currently in the laundry bin and will be washed soon. I’ll check back in soon to...
Sibby's cupcakes ... delivered right to the...
Delivered right to my colleague’s desk at work today was a beautiful pink box from Sibby’s Cupcakery. My colleague received these lovely cupcakes from an office mate as a congratulations on a job well done in launching a new product for the company (Yes, I work with very thoughtful teammates). We opened the box and found two dozen perfectly decorated mini cupcakes. They didn’t...
The 1976 Paris Tasting ... in 2011
This past weekend, we toured wine country with friends. It was our friend Greg’s birthday, so we were looking for ways to celebrate in a big way. Because Greg had never been to Napa Valley and was going to return to Miami, Florida after a few years of living in the Bay Area, we had to make sure he was given the full wine experience. Of course this meant that we needed to tour two important...
Pomme frites ... hold a special place in my heart
Anyone who has ever dinned with me knows that I am a die hard fan of French Fries. If they are on the menu, I must try them. This past weekend, we had dinner at Bistro Jeanty, a French bistro in Yountville, CA. “Frites” was listed at the bottom of the menu, so it was only natural that I ordered a cone full of these golden sticks. I unfortunately, was disappointed in the ones that...
Yolo Colorhouse ... good for you, good for the...
My cousin Chris recently moved into a new apartment in Brooklyn, NY and asked me what paint he should use to color his walls. I am very passionate about good, environmentally safe paints, so I have been using Yolo Colorhouse for many years now.Their color pallet is limited, but I find the selection to cover my needs. Plus, since there are not a million colors to choose from, it makes it easy to...
Cake Pops ... yummy goodness on a stick!
These are much easier to make than you’d think. I recently went to a girlfriend’s wedding shower and she had made these for her guests. Thanks Kim for the inspiration for this post. And yes, she made all those desserts - she’s an amazing baker! The ones I made were from a recipe I found on the Bakerella site (bakerella.com), with a bit of modification. Chocolate Cake Pops 1...
S’more cupcakes … just like camping, but without...
I love cupcakes. Okay, anything sweet. So since it is a rainy day, I thought I’d liven up the weekend with some cupcakes. I’m doing a bit of improvisational work here, so I was just happy these came out edible. Makes 24 cupcakes 1 box of chocolate cake mix (you’ll need the other ingredients listed on the box to make it) 6-8 graham crackers (the 4x4 slabs) 4-6 T unsalted butter 1 7 oz jar of...