quite a collection

I took this photo for a friend after she and I had talked cookbooks and I raved about how everything I’ve ever made out of these has been fantastic.


(Can you tell I’m a little OCD and that they have to be in rainbow-order AT ALL TIMES?  My mug collection is like that, too. I can’t stop myself from rearranging them each time I empty the dishwasher.)

Cookbooks that can double as decor!  Genius.

Anyway, just thought I’d share.  Whether you’re a beginner or advanced, into gourmet food or just good home cookin’, look no further than the Barefoot Contessa.  Each one reads like a book (at least they do to me) and the wealth of information I’ve gleaned is unreal.  She’s taught me how to steam potatoes, cook steak and get the chocolatey-est chocolate flavor ever.  Seriously, everything I’ve learned about cooking has been from the Food Network and Ina Garten herself.  She is my hero.

So, if you’re so inclined, go out and grab one for your collection today…or all eight.

Pittburgh’s Pamela’s Pancakes Party!

Say that five times fast.

Andrew and I went to Pittsburgh a couple weekends ago to visit Alex and his girlfriend, Mackenzie.  Read the post here.

While there, we went to Pamela’s Diner for pancakes.  It was our second time; Andrew and I went a couple years ago while we were in the city for a weekend.  Pamela’s is famous for super-thin pancakes with rough, scraggle-y, crunchy edges.  The crunch is seriously amazing.  Below are photos from our recent trip:

I ordered mine the ‘classic’ way, which is served with strawberry slices, sour cream and a little brown sugar.  The way the flavors and textures meld together is unreal.


Andrew, of course, ordered his plain.  Check out those edges!


Well,  the morning we were going to leave on our trip, I got my bi-weekly email from King Arthur Flour (of course I get emails from a flour company?!) and what did they feature but Pittsburgh’s Famous Pancakes!  Before I even scrolled to the bottom I forwarded to Andrew with only this line: “Could they mean Pamela’s??”

Yes.  Yes they did.  And now I had the recipe.

So, of course we had to plan a pancake party with Alex’s parents in order to try out the recipe.  Somewhere along the way, we decided to make bloody marys, too….







What a fun brunch-time drink 🙂

And maple-roasted bacon…


Our pancakes certainly didn’t turn out as prettily as Pamela’s seem to…


…but we had a blast together.  We picked up other ‘diner’ sides, like cottage cheese and fruit cocktail, and somehow ended the meal with vanilla ice cream (???).  I’m convinced I can give the pancakes another shot, so perhaps we’ll get another taste of P-burgh soon.



BTW–Update on the frozen laundry room pipes:  After our bout of freezing rain yesterday morning, all the snow disappeared and we’re well above freezing.  I have the first of four loads of laundry in the washing machine right now…

a new beginning

Today is my Jan. 1st.

Today is the first day of my new “diet.”

Today is the first day back to school.

I’m determined to do things differently this semester, in all sorts of areas of my life, and the changes are nothing short of ambitious.

Ambitious. That’s a good word for it.

First of all, Andrew and I started a new bedtime routine last night–pack lunches at 9:30 and up to bed at 9:45–and while we may not have had lights out at exactly 10:30 last night, it’s still a vast improvement from last semester’s 12:30 bedtime.

Second, I drew up (literally) a new morning schedule for myself.


Priorities for me were a regular wake-up time and devotions, as well as actually seeing Andrew–awake–each morning. And the gym, of course.

He’s up for going to work earlier, so I think we’ve found something that will allow me to get to and from the gym and him to stay in bed as long as possible, which is, of course, his main priority.

I’ve been really convicted lately to both read my Bible and regain my healthy eating habits, so I’ve also asked Andrew’s sisters to join me in doing Made to Crave and this morning was day 1. I’m also reading my Bible (I’m ashamed to say I don’t remember the last time I opened it), and I’m starting in John.


The girls and I set goals for ourselves and will work in prayer requests and weekly emails about the devotions we’re reading. I’m not a dieter, but my new “diet” is about having more of God and less emotional (or even boredom) eating.

Freezing rain foiled my plans to go to the gym this morning, but I was flexible and after shoveling the driveway, porch and cleaning off both cars, I bundled up for a run. Three shirts, two pairs of socks and my yaktrax later, I ran around the village for 35 minutes.

I don’t start this semester until 11, and I’m carpooling with a friend, so the morning routine shouldn’t be too bad. After last night and this morning, I think things are looking up :). (Of course, after last semester, it couldn’t get any worse.)

I would appreciate your prayers for my faithfulness to my morning devotions and Andrew and my success with the new evening and morning schedules.