Salty oatmeal cookiesDo you bake for the holidays?  I enjoy baking and every year I try a new cookie recipe.  I made this recipe for the High Heel Race party that I attended in October.  While the guests of the party enjoyed them, I thought they were mediocre.  (I'm a tough critic!)  First, I thought they were bland.  They need more cinnamon and a little acid (lemon zest??)  Second, I like a chewier, flatter oatmeal cookie.  Meanwhile, it's still a delightful recipe.   If you decide to bake them, make the changes I mentioned and the results will be spectacular.

Salty Oatmeal Cookies

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 3/4 cups flour

2 cups rolled oats (not quick-cooking)

Sea salt for sprinkling

In a large bowl, beat butter for a few minutes on medium high until light and fluffy.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the sugars, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon, beating until well blended.  Reduce the speed to medium and add eggs and vanilla extract, mixing until well incorporated.  Reduce the speed to low and add the flour and oats, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, mixing unitl they are incorporated.  Cover bowl and chill dough at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line a large baking pan with parchment paper.  Form the dough into golf ball sized balls and place 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.  Sprinkle sea salt on top of each cookie generously, as you would sugar.

Bake one sheet at a time for 15 minutes or until the cookies are puffed and beginning to turn golden.  Don't over bake!  Cookies should have a tender center.  Transfer the cookies, still on parchment paper, to a wire rack to cool completely.

*recipe courtesy of The Washington Post

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Riveting Rooms

Anthology xmas photoIt's that time of year again…it's time to decorate!  For the next several Tuesdays, I'm going to feature a room full of Holiday decorations that inspires me.  Maybe you'll see elements from one or two when I decorate my parents house.  This lovely room is from the Anthology 2011 Winter Gift Guide.  I like the use of non-traditional colors.  Bring on the neon!

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Charleston via Instagram

Charleston instagram
I just started using the Instagram app.  I know..I'm behind the times.  It's a ton of fun.  This is my trip to Folly Beach and Charleston.  It was as enjoyable as it looks.  I hope you all had a fantastic holiday.  

Now back to reality..I've got a home inspection in an hour and a half.  

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65 years of memoriesThanksigiving is always a big deal in my family.  It's my birthday and then my Mom's birthday four days later.  Every year, we have a dual celebration.  

This year, my Mom turned 65.  It's a big year.  She retired.  My Mom and Dad took up semi-permanent residence at their beach house.  They've traveled.  One of those trips is our Thanksgiving at Folly Beach.  Since we weren't in NC surrounded by the usual bunch of family and friends, I decided to bring the friends to my Mom.  

The idea was from Nothing But the Bonfires.  I wrote an email to my Mom's friends, co-workers and relatives.  I asked them to send (by mail and eventually email) their favorite memory of my Mom for her 65th birthday.  My Mom is really sentimental.  I knew this would be the perfect gift.  

The memories rolled in slowly.  At the beginning of Novemeber, I was starting to panic that I wouldn't achieve 65 memories.  I sent out a reminder email and a deluge arrived.  They were hilarious, heart felt and covered all aspects of her life.  There were pictures and notes.  Several themes became apparent.

Mom 65My Mom likes to have a good time.  She definitely likes her wine.  She's a great friend.  She's hilarious.  Everybody always wants to eat at the restaurants my Mom chose because they were always good.  She loses her keys frequently.  Last but not least, she cries.  A lot.  Which she did the entire night as she opened her envelopes.  

Happy birthday Mom!

*a sincere thank you to everyone particpated in the project.     


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Happy Thanksgiving!

Cranberry sauceThis is the easiest fresh cranberry sauce recipe in the world.  It's also declicious.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Cranberry Sauce

2 lbs. of fresh cranberries

1 cup fresh orange juice

1 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons chopped, fresh ginger

In a sauce pan, combine cranberries, orange juice, brown sugar and fresh ginger.  Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.  When cranberries burst, cranberry sauce is done.  Place in a bowl and chill. Enjoy!

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Rabbit_Window with logoRabbit, the salad joint in Clarendon from the Tangysweet and Red Velvet people, is a perfect lunch spot.  I visited a couple of weeks ago while working in the neighborhood.  My friend that recommended Rabbit joined me.  Rabbit saladWe both ordered the steak+potatoes salad (above).  It's baby spinach, marinated grilled flank steak, roasted onions (mine didn't have any..not a fan of onions), roasted tomatoes, pine nuts and baby red potatoes with balsamic vinaigrette.  For me, the roasted tomatoes made the whole thing slimy.  I enjoyed the rest of the salad but after several bites, I avoided the tomato.  Overall, it was good but the real highlight was the CUPCAKES we had for dessert.

Rabbit cupcakesIs your mouth watering?  Are you heading out the door to buy a few at Rabbit or Red Velvet in Penn Quarter?  They were as delicious as they look.  Mine was the cupcake on the left: pumpkin spice with cream cheese icing.  My friend had the classic cookies and cream on the right.  It was divine.  

Although my salad was enjoyable, the cupcakes stole the show. I hope on my next visit to Rabbit, I'm as enthusiastic about my entree.

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Riveting Rooms

Thanksgiving table beachThis year, we're switching things up and heading to Folly Beach, SC for Thanksgiving.  We've rented a beach house down the street from my brother and sister in law.  This table is the perfect inspiration for our celebration this year. 

*photo via Slim Paley from Style Notes.

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In May, I featured two houses near Logan Circle. 

1700 11th St, NW1700 11th St, NW1700 11th St, NW lr

1700 11th St, NW is 3 bedroom, 2 bath rowhouse listed for $659,000.  It was on the market 7 days and sold for $655,000 with a $5,500 seller subsidy.  It's 1,374 square feet and the yearly taxes are $4421.  It features hardwood floors, an updated kitchen with granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances.  It has southern and eastern exposures which equals lots of sunlight.  The house occupies a corner lot and has a lovely yard.  It does not have parking but it's a short jaunt to Whole Foods and the U St. Metro. 

1328 10th St, NW1328 10th St, NW

1328 10th St, NW lr

1328 10th St, NW is a 2 story Victorian with 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths that was listed for $840,000.  It was reduced to $790,000.  It sold in 64 days at $765,000 with a $15,000 seller subsidy.  It's 2,008 sf and the yearly taxes are $6,077.  It has a lovely bay window, high ceilings, hardwood floors, a fireplace, 1 car garage parking and a patio with a hot tub.  It's a short walk to the U St. Metro, the 11th St. dog park and the 14th St. strip of retail.


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First Friday

This week, I couldn't resist this house that's unassuming from the outside but a modern showstopper on the inside. 

1514 Kingman Place
1514 klingman place lr

1514 kingman place kitchen1514 Kingman Place, NW is a three bedroom, three bath rowhouse that's listed for $1,349,000.  It's 1,568 square feet and the yearly taxes are $7,307.  It was built in 1915 but the interior has been completely redone.  The property has hardwood floors, high ceilings, a gas fireplace, custom built in storage in the dining area, a chef's kitchen with an atrium breakfast nook, a master bedroom with an en suite spa bathroom plus a lower level media room, terrace and garage.  It's a beauty!  The house is within walking to distance to the Whole Foods on P St, NW, Studio Theatre and many 14th St. bars and restaurants.  It's Open on Sunday, 11/20 from 1-4pm.

*photos courtsey of Peter Evans photography.  listing courtsey of Phyllis Alexander of Long&Foster.

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Last night I went to Pearl Dive for dinner (it was delicious!) and had a delightful dessert: an apple "pie" for two with cinnamon gelato.  It was too dark to take a photo but let me tell you:  it was divine.  It came in a small iron pan, it was baked to order, the sugar was carmalized around the edges and it had cinnamon gelato.  

For some reason, I've never sampled cinnamon gelato until I had a similiar apple dessert in the Bahamas.  Now I'm obsessed because it is amazing.  I found a post from Pinch My Salt that details how to make it at home.  Good thing I don't ice cream maker…(and no..that's not a hint that I want one.  Like I need an ice cream maker in my house.  Sheesh.)

*photo via Pinch My Salt

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One of my favorite parts of traveling is sampling the local cuisine. The Bahamas is a strange mix (in my opinion) of American chains with a few original restaurants. We could've eaten at Hard Rock Cafe, Wendy's, Subway or McDonald's.  Thankfully, we didn't but we did eat at Nobu.  I wasn't impressed.  Fortunately, my fellow travelers were open to trying anything that isn't a chain.  Our top two meals were the local Fish Fry and a Greek restaurant downtown.

Bahamas fish fry2Conch fritters (top), grilled grouper (bottom left), combo plate: fried snapper, lobster and shrimp (bottom right)

The Fish Fry is where the locals eat.  It's where Bahamians tell tourists to go for the best seafood. It's a collection of colorful restaurants on the shore line.  Bahamians like their food fried and that was evident by what we ate.  We went to Seafood Haven as recommended by our taxi driver.  It was fresh, delicious and we enjoyed every bite.

Bahmas greek2
Hummus (top left), feta and olives (top right), grilled snapper marinated in lemon and spices with roasted potatoes (bottom)

Our second best meal was Athena's Cafe in downtown Nassau.  We stumbled upon this place and I'm glad we decided to give it a whirl.  You enter a jewelry store and then head upstairs for the restaurant.  Although I found it a little strange (jewelry with your babaganoush?), it was a fantastic meal.  The restaurant has been around since 1960.  The hummus and feta were delectable and the seafood was amazing.  We also had a lovely Greek salad which we destroyed before I had the chance to take a picture.  My only complaint was the owner yelling "opa" every five minutes.  The first time was cute.  The twentieth time I wanted to boot him off the balcony.  

Overall, the Bahamas was a marvelous trip.  The combo of beautiful weather, good friends and delightful food made for a wonderful weekend get away.


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Riveting Rooms

India hick kings retreatIn honor of my Bahamas retreat, today I'm featuring a stunning room at King's Treat, a house designed by India Hicks, in Historic Dunmore Town on Harbour Island.  The dark hardwood floors contrast beautifully with the pristine white linens.  It makes me want to hop on the bed, read my book and nap indefinitely.  

*photo via King's Treat website

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