Quick & Easy Chinese

We got this book from Crate & Barrel last summer, and let me tell you: I LOVE IT.

The recipes are definitely quick & easy. I did have to buy a couple special ingredients, but they weren’t hard to find (I just didn’t usually have them on hand). The directions are clear and concise, and nothing is too complicated. And, of course, a great cookbook comes with great photos! Not every recipe has one, but they don’t need them since most of the dishes are ones you’ve seen before.

My favorite recipe from this book is Spicy Beef Lettuce Cups (although I use faux meat instead of beef). I had the dish once at P.F. Chang’s and was amazed. I’m so happy that I can cook it for myself now! I actually hosted a dinner party using just recipes from this cookbook, and it was a hit. They’re so much fun to make, and easy to modify.

I still have several recipes I want to try out 😀 I know I’ll be using this cookbook for a long time to come!

A Modern Bookcase

Data Furniture Otto Shelving

Can I just say how much I love these shelves by Data? You can tell in all of their shelving that they’ve really considered how books will look in the finished product. Each shelf of the Otto has 8 metal rods that act as bookends; they can be moved around to accommodate your collection. Plus, the shelves are varying heights to fit both hardcover and paperback books in a way that saves space (a genious idea, if I do say so myself, that we had when designing & building our bookcases!). It’s the little details that really make the difference. Overall I think it looks a bit top-heavy (though pretty) when empty, but it’d look great with tall, hardcover art books all along the top shelf!

What’s your favorite bookcase?

a surprise and a good book

Lego creationCreationary

I threw a surprise Lego party for Alex’s birthday Thursday, and I just have to tell you that it was a hit! Good dinner, great friends, and lots of Legos!! I also decorated his cake with chocolate Lego men. [Here’s how: Buy a Lego minifigure ice cube tray. Melt white chocolate and color it yellow. Fill the mold and wait for it to set. Pop out, and draw faces with black icing gel!] It was awesome. He got lots of Lego gifts and afterward we played Creationary. I love theme parties 😀

In other news, I’m in love with this book:

You may have seen me tweet about it a couple times. I’ve now read it cover to cover! It contains tutorials – some are simple and obvious, some are novel and interesting. It gives many ideas for living sustainably (cheaply, resourcefully) by reusing things in new ways, by creating your own natural products instead of buying chemicals, and by many putting to use things you’d otherwise throw away. And it includes a ton of profiles on art projects and artists who have done all these things! There are chairs made from suitcases, chandeliers from eyeglasses, and speakers from paper cups. There are vintage products made new, packaging made into furniture, and a million other trash-to-treasure stories. I’ve found it to be a great source of inspiration, and I bet you’d like it, too :)

You Amaze Me, Pasta

NPR recently did a story on The Geometry of Pasta, a new book put together by designer Caz Hildebrand and chef Jacob Kenedy. What a beautiful combination! There are so many types of pasta, which work both graphically (she’s filled the book with black and white illustrations of pasta shapes) and, of course, as food. Every pasta pairs well with different types of sauces and preparations (he’s filled the book with recipes). There are over 1,000 types of pasta and that is amazing.

PS: You should watch their animated recipes, because they are awesome.

Harry Potter

I’ve been rereading Harry Potter in anticipation of the next movie coming out. I tried to not get into them at first, but I fell into it anyway. What can I say? I love a good story!

Anyone else excited for number 7? And maybe annoyed that it’s only 7, part 1? ;P

New Flavors for Vegetables

I just got this new book from Williams Sonoma. Actually, I got a whole set! I was debating buying this book ($23) until I saw a set of four on sale (from $80) for only $20!! My friend and I each got one 😀 I’ve already made several dishes, and I absolutely love it.

Since I mainly cook vegetables, it’s exciting to find new ways to prepare them! So far we’ve had a delicious mint snow pea salad, tasty potatoes with chives, and zucchini “pasta.” With each dish, I’ve learned a new technique! Not only does it have clear directions, it also includes beautiful photographs of each dish and descriptions of the ingredients. Plus, the recipes are sorted by season, so it’s easy to locate fresh ingredients. I highly recommend this book if you love veggies!

You Amaze Me, Phaidon

You know I have a love affair with books. One of my favorite publishers, and one of the leading art book publishers in the world, is Phaidon. They produce books on subjects from film to fashion to food. I am proud to own a few of their books on art, architecture, and design (three of my passions). When you buy a Phaidon book, you know you will be getting a quality book with beautiful images and great design. [I should be getting paid for this.] It doesn’t matter the subject, I love looking at any of their books! That’s why, this week, you amaze me, Phaidon.

(all images from Phaidon)
Just thought I’d share with you :)
Whose books do you adore?

You Amaze Me: Book Sculptures

These paper sculptures by Su Blackwell are simply amazing. I absolutely love books, and I think it’s beautiful to see them used in art (even if I’m a little sad they’ll never be read again ;)). I can only imagine the time and care it took to create these intricate and magical works of art.
(images via fffound and google image search)
I hope you find them as inspirational as I do. Happy Sunday, and happy crafting!