Sunday, October 31, 2010


October 31st: the one day of the year when you wear a spray painted cardboard box and paint your face gray and not look like a loony.

Beep beep boop!

That's robot for Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Things don't always go the way they should.

Like the Apple and Currant Challah bread I attempted to make. Totally didn't turn out.

Just look at it. Gross.

Which is why things like Trader Joe's $1.29 pizza dough exists. Beautiful.

Pretend like it is Challah dough and fill it with apples and currants, and then braid it?

Don't mind if I do.

My. Oh. My. This is some good stuff. Baked right on to my well-weathered pizza stone.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


One year ago today I was in Granada, Spain.

Yes. Granada. Southern Spain. Home of the Alhambra. Incredibly rich in history, architecture, art, gypsies living in caves on the sides of hills...

And the whole time that I was in this beautiful city, I honestly felt like crap. I was homesick, and physically sick. Completely worn down from all the traveling I'd been doing for the two months prior.

I mean, I'm walking around these beautiful streets, cobblestone pathways, and insanely beautiful palace...

...and all I can think about is how I'd like to go back to the hostel and plop myself down on the hammock and eat oranges. Or be at home, letting my mom make me cinnamon rolls and watching crap television.

Okay, I didn't really want to be doing that. I was having the experience of a lifetime. But I was sick and thinking irrational thoughts.

And maybe sometimes it just takes a little bit of time, and reflection after the experience to really understand and appreciate the whole thing.

Because even if I was dripping buckets of snot and hardly had enough energy to stand, at least, one very, very different year later, I can say "I was THERE!!!"

Monday, October 25, 2010


I want you to do you and me a favor. I want you to get into your kitchen right now and make this recipe. It's Polenta Apple Rosemary Bread. And it will change your life.

Finding this gem of a recipe was pure luck. I was just looking for something to go with the already bomb chili that we were having for dinner. And what with all the apples...

Well, as it turns out, its so much more than just cornbread. Its cake-like, almost like a pound cake, and lightly crispy on the outside. We literally sat down at the table, took a bite, then looked up at each other and said "Oh my god. This is good!!!"

Sorry, no photos of the final product. It got dark. And we got hungry.

What the heck are you waiting for? Go. Do it. Make bread.

Polenta Apple Rosemary Bread
inspired by ReadyMade

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup polenta or stone-ground cornmeal
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 apples, peeled and cored (then chop 2 1/2 of the apples into 1/2 inch pieces, leaving half an apple for cutting into slices for the top)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
Preheat your oven to 350.
Spray a loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking soda and salt.
In a separate bowl, beat together the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla.
Add dry ingredients to the wet, and mix just until incorporated.
Fold in chopped apples and rosemary.
Pour batter into pan and arrange apple slices on top.
Bake for 1 hour 30 minutes, or until tester inserted in center comes out clean.
Eat it fresh. Real fresh.

Friday, October 22, 2010


This guy is brilliant. Reverse Job Application.

Do I wish I'd thought of it first? Yes. Am I ashamed to copy him? Absolutely not. But I will do it better.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


What do you do when you make a trip to THE cheese factory and you end up buying way more cheese than any two people could ever dream of consuming? And then, later that week, you also go to an apple tasting, where you end up buying some ridiculous amount of apples? What do you do then?

You make Apple Cheddar Scones. Recipe courtesy of the amazing Smitten Kitchen.

I did this in my other half's very 1970's kitchen. Which means very little light and sparkly countertops. So, please, forgive the shitty photos.

This is cheese.

These are apples.

These are some scones, all cut up and almost ready to go in the oven.

On a sparkly countertop. That forever looks dirty.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Work. Doin it today. Doin it tomorrow. And lovin' it.

Project numero uno: a poster for brunch at a restaurant in San Diego. Buenos Dias mis amigos.

Monday, October 18, 2010


This is why the library is awesome:

Because they carry books like The Star Wars Cookbook.

And it is very encouraging. I could totally write a cookbook that incorporates photos of Star Wars action figures next to food.

Also, don't be surprised if you come over and I offer you some Princess Leia Danish Dos.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


I am a very lucky girl.

Not only do I have an awesome boyfriend, but he also travels for work. Its rad.

And since I am blessed with not having a 'real' job, occasionally I get to go with him.

This week his job brought us to Yakima, Washington. The 'Palm Springs of Washington'. It's beautiful, dry, and quaint. And it's right in the heart of Washington's wine country.

We tasted wine, we drank a lot of wine, we ate some great food, we met some really really fun people. And then we talked and laughed the night away.

I really, truly am blessed.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Attempting to milk the creative juices from my slightly foggy right side of the brain.

Also being distracted/inspired (its the same thing, right?) by this article about famous fonts and their origins. Pretty interesting.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Its chilly outside, and I'm inside staying cozy, plugging away at several graphic design projects.

A matcha green tea latte keeps me warm and energized. Its good stuff.

Pumpkin cream cheese is life changing. Especially on a fresh baked bagel from Portland Bagels just a couple blocks down.

Monday, October 11, 2010


So you can call me Verelle The Homesteader.

This weekend I :
Made Pop-Tarts.
Made vanilla extract.
Made polenta lasagna.
Finished building a compost box.
Finished building garden beds.
Made apple butter.
Made vegan coconut pineapple banana bread.
Brewed a honey porter.
Made smoked cheddar macaroni and cheese.

It was pretty awesome. I'm feeling good about it.

This is my compost. Its filling quickly.

My garden beds are 2' x 8'. And two feet tall. Thats a lot of space to fill. We'll be eating like rabbits next summer.

Friday, October 8, 2010


So why was I at the liquor store at 10 AM yesterday morning?

To buy cheap liquor, of course.

To make vanilla extract.

High quality vanilla beans
Hard liquor
Self-sealing jar
2 months
Vanilla extract!

I bought my vanilla beans from the Penzey's spices that just opened up in the Pearl.
I used Mexican beans (which have a darker flavor) with Puerto Rican Rum, and Madagascar beans (which have a very classic vanilla flavor) with Vodka.

Guess what you're all getting for Christmas?


One of my favorite things about flour is that it can hold neat shapes like this:

One of my other favorite things about flour is that you can use it to make your own Pop Tarts. For real.

I did that today. Because my lover likes Pop Tarts in the morning. And even though these are probably just as unhealthy as the real thing, at least they have a good dose of love in them. That makes them better for you. Its true.

You can put anything you like in them. Cinnamon and brown sugar. Or raspberry jam. I even filled one with gorgonzola and basil and ate it for lunch.

They were surprisingly easy to make, too. And its fun to poke holes in the top. Poke. Poke. Poke.

I even sprinkled some blue sugar on the top of a few. You know, to make them more authentic.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


The actual birthday of my Libra is tomorrow. What will I be giving this special one? Would it surprise you that he'll be receiving a really healthy dose of...

I began by blending chocolate cookies with melted butter.

I put some peanut butter in there, because peanut butter + chocolate = magic.

And whipped cream. That makes it really special too.

The result: Mud Pie for Grown Ups?

I don't know what to call it, but it is delicious! And sinful... the type of thing you really probably should avoid 364 days a year... or probably make an extra trip to the gym for... but it is worth the trip... because, HELLO!, peanut butter and chocolate!!!

Mud Pie for Grown Ups
  • 3/4 bag chocolate cookies (I used the Newman Alphabet Cookies)
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 3/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
Put the cookies in a food processor and make crumbs.
Pour the cookie crumbs into a bowl with the butter and stir thoroughly.
Pour the crust into serving dishes and press down.
Place serving dishes into the freezer while you prepare the other layers.
Put the peanut butter, cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk in a bowl.
Beat with an electric mixer on low until just combined.
In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream to form soft peaks.
Spoon about half the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture.
Gently fold until just combined. I will have a nice light texture.
Spoon peanut butter mixture into serving dishes.
Top with remaining whipped cream.
Refrigerate for a couple hours before serving.

Monday, October 4, 2010


This weekend I celebrated the birthday of my very special Libra by taking him to the beach.

Can you believe it? Look at this weather. Its the first weekend in October, and somehow we are totally comfortable walking around in t-shirts. Lucky us!

We walked around on the beach in Cape Meare, just north of Tillamook. We examined things that had washed up, like this hairy thing:

This dragon was very close to our car. Rad!

Then we drove up to the Cape Meare lighthouse, which offered these incredible views:

We saved the best for last. No trip to Tillamook is complete without a tour of the Tillamook Cheese Factory. Especially when your boyfriend designs and programs machines for a living. And when they have 38 flavors of ice cream.

Did you know cheese factories were so yellow? Go figure!

Sunday, October 3, 2010


The internet. Its full of lots of great things. Like useful advice.

I especially like this fucking design advice.

This one I liked so much, I made it my desktop background:

And I've been thinking about it a lot. The way I interpret it is that you need to make the most of every experience. For me, make sketches, write about, and take photos of everything. Every idea, every book I read, everything I bake. Everything.

And blog about it. Make it work for me. Tell people about it. Get my name out there. Promote myself. Let everyone know that I am a great fucking designer. Capitalize on the fucking experience!