red wine sangria

with a bag heavy with unused oranges sitting on the kitchen shelf and a lonely bottle of wine in the cupboard, what’s a girl to do except stir up a pitcher of sangria?  i also happened to have a little glass container of sour mix waiting in the fridge, so this recipe was truly just a glorified way of cleaning out my leftovers.

to me, the best sangria is a balance of strong, sweet, and fruity – and i’m quite smitten with this version.  i used a bottle of chianti from trader joe’s that i picked up for under 5 dollars (under the label aquila d’oro), so it would be pretty painless to turn this into a punchbowl drink for a crowd.  i can’t wait for this warmer weather to ramp up and the start of the season for grilled steak, fresh crunchy salads, and chilled glasses of this sweet stuff all around.

Red Wine Sangria
Makes 1 pitcher

1 bottle dry red wine
¼ cup brandy
2 Tbsp. Cointreau
2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
about 2 cups sour mix, or to taste
3 organic oranges, thinly sliced

Mix the first four ingredients in a standard-size pitcher (about 60 oz. capacity). Add orange slices, cover pitcher, and refrigerate overnight.  Serve in pretty glasses, ice cubes optional.


after the rain

after a week of busybody bustling and a weekend filled to the brim with to-do lists (and quite a lot of rainwater), it was so nice to slow down.

to take a step out the front door and see the sky opening, our mountains deep indigo and looking soft as suede, the light breaking through and making all it touched luminous.





of sea and sky

over here, we’re riding that wonderfully hopeful transition of winter into spring. every few days the skies cloud over and the air stays cool and gray, but it’s never too long before a new wind blows through, bringing fresh warmth and delicious sunlight.

until spring shines through in all its most vivid hues, i’m finding myself dreaming in shades of blue – the color of these cool mornings and mild days.


tuxedo ruffle curtains at urban outfitters



linen “bardot” dress at talbots



“curve” teapot with mesh infuser
(at places like stash tea, paper source, and amazon)


clothbound penguin classics, covers designed by coralie bickford-smith



latte bowls at anthropologie



capri blue jar candle in volcano at anthropologie



japanese washi tape at urban scarlet



painted dot airgo chair at pbteen



“jubilant” – fine art photograph on etsy

honey mustard

it is a firm belief of mine that a sandwich will only be as good as its condiments, a salad only as interesting as its dressing, fried food only as delicious as the little cup of dipping sauce that comes with it.

kicky brown mustard, creamy peppercorn sauce, deeply verdant pesto, bright and peppy lemon shallot vinaigrette, garlicky paremesan-flecked caesar dressing, smoky chipotle mayo, garlic basil aioli… all mvps in my book. (obviously i’ve done some serious research.)

so when i was making my way through a chicken salad sandwich that was pleasant but rather plain, while remembering wistfully a more fantastic one i had at a little coffee shop in boston, i knew exactly what was missing – the magic lay in the honey mustard. a drizzle on each slice of bread made all the difference.

and when i was done with that, it even took a half-forgotten bag of salad greens and charmed them up a bit.

there are a lot of versions of honey mustard out there. paula deen has one to go with chicken nuggets; bobby flay has another to add to a muffuletta sandwich; even my beat-up, old crinkled-page betty crocker cookbook has a version in its salad dressing section. but i like this simple version i came up with in a moment of great laziness: it’s equal amounts of three ingredients i almost always have on hand, a squeeze of lemon, and that’s it. it’ll perk up a light lunch in no time at all.


Honey Mustard for Dipping, Dressing, or Spreading
1 part Dijon mustard
1 part honey
1 part mayonnaise
fresh lemon juice, to taste (optional)

Stir or whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl. Use as a dipping sauce, salad dressing, or sandwich spread. Store leftovers in refrigerator in a jar or other airtight container.