Monday, September 29, 2008

Monday, Monday

This is what it was like walking home today. It's a good thing I have chocolate chip cookie dough in the fridge.

Did You Know?

That forming a Limited Liability Company (LLC) for your business could help shield your personal assets if you were ever sued?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

What's Cookin'

Tuna and Cannelloni Bean Salad

Creamy Gorgonzola and Mushroom Polenta

So, I've been cooking up a storm and there's a few recipes that I absolutely must share with you. If I didn't pass these along, I would be a bad friend --- especially the Creamy Gorgonzola and Mushroom Polenta. Delish!

Tuna and Cannelloni Bean Salad


2 (6 oz) cans dark meat tuna, packed in olive oil

2 (15 oz) cans cannelloni white beans, drained

1/3 cup small capers, nonpareil in brine, drained and rinsed (optional)

6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (you can also use red wine vinegar)

Salt and fresh ground black pepper (to taste)

A handful of chopped red onion, thinly sliced to 2 inch bits

1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes

2 cups fresh arugula (or 2 cups of Italian mixed greens such as radicchio and romaine)

A handful of fresh basil leaves chopped

A handful of cilantro/coriander chopped (leaves and stalks)


In a large bowl, add the tuna, reserving the oil from the cans in a separate small bowl. Break tuna into bite-size pieces with a large fork. Add the beans and capers. Into the reserved tuna oil, add the balsamic (or red wine) vinegar. You should have 1 part vinegar to 2 parts oil--add more extra-virgin olive oil if necessary. Season with salt and pepper. Pour dressing on the tuna, bean and caper mixture and allow the flavors to infuse while slicing the vegetables. Add the onion and tomatoes to tuna mixture and toss gently. Place the arugula or greens of choice on a large platter and top with tuna mixture. Add the chopped cilantro and basil leaves over the top. Serve immediately.

Creamy Gorgonzola and Mushroom Polenta


1 1/2 cups instant polenta

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, plus more for the dish

1/2 cup (4 ounces) cream cheese 1 cup (4 ounces)

crumbled Gorgonzola (or any blue cheese)

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 pounds pounds cremini or button mushrooms, stems discarded and caps thinly sliced

1 small shallot, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves (very optional - I'll probably leave it off next time)


Heat oven to 350° F. Bring 4 1/2 cups water to a boil. Whisking constantly, slowly add the polenta. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt and the butter. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently, for 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the cream cheese and 1/2 cup of the Gorgonzola. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, over medium-high heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add half the mushrooms and cook for 6 minutes. Add half the shallot and cook for 2 minutes more. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining oil, mushrooms, and shallot. Season the mushrooms with the pepper, thyme, and the remaining salt. Butter an 8- or 9-inch baking dish or eight 6-ounce ramekins. Stir 2/3 of the mushrooms into the polenta and transfer to the prepared dish or ramekins. Top with the remaining mushrooms and Gorgonzola. Bake, uncovered, until the Gorgonzola has melted, about 15 minutes. Yield: Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Pear, Walnut, and Gorgonzola Pizzas


1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large sweet onion, sliced
1 medium ripe pear, sliced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 6 1/2-inch or eight 4-inch whole-wheat pita breads
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese, such as Gorgonzola
1/4 cup chopped walnuts


1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until soft and golden, about 7 minutes. Stir in pear and cook, stirring often, until slightly soft and heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Add vinegar and pepper and continue cooking, stirring often, until the liquid has evaporated and the onion is tender and coated with a dark glaze, about 2 minutes more.
3. Divide the onion-pear mixture among the pitas; sprinkle with cheese and walnuts. Transfer the pitas to a large baking sheet and bake until crispy and the cheese is melted, 10 to 15 minutes.

Plus, last night my friend Marilyn taught me how to make homemade crepes. We filled the crepes with fresh nectarines and served them with Scottish vanilla ice cream (this ice cream is to die for good). I'll have to share the crepe recipe as soon as I perfect it!


Saturday, September 27, 2008

What a Day!

Royal Society of Scotland
This guy invented algorithms.
Printing Press Demo
The Register

Look who I found in Edinburgh: Abe!

Matt's writing his dissertation on Hume, so of course his tomb was a bit interesting.

Robert Burn's Grave

Does anyone else do this? Whenever Matt and I travel, we completely exhaust ourselves -- we walk, and walk, and walk -- and explore, explore, explore. We just can't stop! And by the end of the excursion, I can hardly walk. Literally.

Today was definitely one of those days. I decided it was 'Act Like a Tourist Day' and whipped my camera out left and right. Being 'Open Doors Day,' we hit the following spots:

  • - Edinburgh World Heritage

  • - Wemyss House

  • - Royal Society of Edinburgh

  • - General Register House

  • - New Register House

  • - Old Calton Burial Ground

  • - Holyrood Palace

  • - Holyrood Abby Church

plus ....

In all our walking, I found not only another TK Maxx but a TK Maxx Home! No more Ikea for me. I'll take the Home Store please!

We had a blast. And now I'm sipping Whittards Earl Grey tea and wondering how I will ever make it off this couch tonight ....

Friday, September 26, 2008

Only in Great Britain

I was online today looking to book tickets for a ballet. Not a complicated kind of thing. Right? I figured out what price I was willing to pay, what seats I wanted, went to confirm those seats and the next thing I know I have to register with the theater to purchase the tickets online.

No problem. I can register. It just means I'll receive a few mailings about various art events in town. Not a big deal.

So I go to choose my title -- as in Miss, Ms., or Mr. -- and look at the selection that pops up:

The Rt Hon Mrs
The Rt Hon Lord & Lady
The Rt Hon Lord
The Hon Lord & Lady
The Hon Lord
The Hon Dame
The Hon
Sir & Lady
Professor Sir
Prof & Mrs
Prof & Mr
Prof & Dr
Mrs & Ms
Mrs & Mrs
Mrs & Miss
Mr & Ms
Mr & Mrs
Mr & Dr
Lord & Lady
Dr & Prof
Dr & Ms
Dr & Mrs
Dr & Mr

What a selection of potential titles! I was debating between the 'Right Honorable Lord and Lady' title or simply the 'Honorable Dame' but then I just settled for Sir & Lady.

Only in Great Britain.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

One year ago today, I boarded a plane in Nashville. I had three suitcases -- the smallest of which had a queen-size down duvet and two pillows shrunk wrapped. I was wearing a heavy, winter coat and my pockets were stuffed with pillowcases. I remember trying to eat that last meal with mom and dad at the airport before we said our goodbyes. Torture. I cried saying goodbye -- but honestly -- how could I not? I'm pretty sure I now cry everytime I'm entering 'departures' at the Nashville airport -- whether it be dropping my husband off or saying goodbye to my parents -- I have no shame in public tears at the airport. None.
As I consider this past year, I can't help but be grateful for all the blessings but also for the grace to face the hardships. It's been said that personal growth occurs by the "places you go, the people you meet, the books you read, and the hardships you endure." If so, this year -- smack-dab in my mid-twenties -- should have been a year of growth. Three words: time will tell. Until then, I'll continue enjoying my adventure.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Random Tidbits

1. Edinburgh has the most cobble street roads of any city in the UK.

2. Fish & Chip shops charge for packs of ketchup. 20 pence a pack to be exact!

3. Topshop, a popular British store, is about to open in the U.S.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Welcome to Glasgow

Glasgow Cathedral
Inside Glasgow Cathedral

George Square

Barony Church

Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and only a 45 minute train ride from Edinburgh. The city is definitely a mix of the old and the new. I read that in the 80's, Glasgow looked like Dallas -- there were cranes for construction everywhere!

Today Matt and I headed to the Open Doors Day in Glasgow and were able to experience the beauty of three different churches. We also attended the Organic Food Fair, ate homemade Greek food, explored the City Centre, and went on an architectural walking tour. Overall, we had a very fun day but were glad to be coming home to beautiful and well-kept Edinburgh.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Cath Kidston = Eye Candy

Cutest Bookbag Imaginable

Glass Hurricane

Tea Cosy

Cath Kidston is a company founded in Notting Hill, London in 1992 that specializes in all things floral design. I stopped by their store in Edinburgh yesterday and thought I'd share a few things I spotted while browsing their aisles. Isn't it cute???

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Last night I participated in my first Ceilidh (Kay-Lee) and it was a blast! Ceilidh's are a traditional Scottish dance and are quite similar to barn dances, hoedowns, and contra dancing. After twirling and polka-ing to our hearts content, we were so worn out, we had to take the taxi home -- and that is always a treat. In the taxi Matt said: "Now that's my kind of dancing." Who knew???
P.S. -- My outfit looked just like the girls' above.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Chocolates Please

Since I'm throwing out quotes left and right today, I couldn't leave the most enlightening one off the growing list:

"When life gives you lemons, throw them back and ask for chocolates."

Speaking of chocolate. I finally whipped up a decent batch of chocolate chip cookies. Instead of chocolate chips, I used Lindt chocolate truffles. Remember when I discovered these chocolates? Anyway, you can buy these truffles at Target but they taste like they came from Godiva. Just chop them up a bit and toss them in the dough for an extra special treat. Yum!

Truth & Beauty

"Unlike Lucy, I had the tendency to blur into other people. I had come to Sarah Lawrence from twelve years of Catholic school where we were not in the business of discovering our individuality. We dressed in identical plaid skirts, white blouses, saddle oxfords, and when we prayed, it was together and aloud. It was impossible to distinguish your voice from the crowd. There is an art to giving yourself over to someone else and as a group we mastered it."

- Ann Patchett in Truth and Beauty: A Friendship

Another Perspective

"It must be allowed that the unbounded liberty of the press, though it be difficult, perhaps impossible to propose a suitable remedy for it, is one of the evils, attending those mixed forms of government." - Hume

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Why My Job is Cool

I read things like this:

"Defendants argued that, as members of the Church of Cognizance, they sincerely believed that cannabis was a deity and sacrament essential to their religious practice." See United States v. Quaintance, 523 F.3d 1144 (10th Cir. N.M. 2008).

I Believe in Miracles

I received an exciting call today from my sister. Seems that my long, lost Anthropologie coat that was lost in the mail -- circa February 13 -- arrived in Nashville on this very day. My poor dad thought he was doing me a favor by mailing me the coat, which had been left stateside. Can you imagine my disappointment when my brand new coat failed to show in Edinburgh? Last spring I lost all hope. Months passed and no coat. I figured all expats from time to time just have to chock up lost valuable items in the mail when living overseas. Eight months and three days later a packaged arrived in Nashville. (It must have been on a world tour and failed to inform the rest of us!) All I can say is ... I believe in miracles.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Neighborhood Pictures

The main drag in Stockbridge. I took this on the way to my friend Trudy's the other night -- the sunset was so gorgeous!
Walking along the Water of Leith.
This home is being built around the corner from the Botanical Gardens. Homes like this will have the date it was erected somewhere on the front of the home --- this one says 2005, so I guess they've been building for awhile!

Inverleith Park

The pond at Inverleith Park.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Add One to the List

Look at this cute little store I came across this afternoon when walking home from church: Diana Forrester. Oh goodness. There are lots of goodies in there. I especially loved her extensive selection of hooks and bathroom accessories. Then there were also some gorgeous linens. And have you ever seen French shelf edging?
{Pictures Courtesy of Diana}

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Our New Abode

Look what's in our new neighborhood:

{Anta} -- real tartan plaid

{Caoba} -- a bit of Mexico in Scotland -- too bad they don't serve up fajitas, too!

{DollyLeo} -- a touch of Truefitt & Hill and Becca Cosmetics

{IJMellis} -- the local cheesemonger

{The Store} -- a farm and a passion


a touch of history.
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