Many years ago this film was recommended by a friend (so creative and talented) and I finally got around to watching it.  It had been in my Netflix queue and kept getting pushed down the list.  I wish I hadn’t waited to so long – it was wonderful!

Visual Acoustics documents the life and career of Julius Shulman, an amazing architectural photographer who worked with the most influential and stellar architects (Neutra, Wright, Lautner) of the modernist movement.  Most of his work was based in California and he is responsible for iconic images that almost everyone who follows art or architecture has seen.

Stahl House

Pierre Koenig’s Case Study House No. 22, 1960 (The Stahl House)

The Stahl House is a fantastic website about the house above, which is featured in the documentary.  (I find it remarkable that the house is still owned by the Stahl family!)  Great article about it, too, here.

That website had this to say about Julius Shulman:

Working mostly in California, Mr. Shulman staged his photographs as tableaus to promote the idea of casual living in a Modernist context. Carefully composed and artfully lighted, his images promoted not only new approaches to home design but also the ideal of idyllic California living — a sunny, suburban lifestyle played out in sleek, spacious, low-slung homes featuring ample glass, pools and patios.

Mr. Shulman photographed buildings by some of the era’s best-known architects, including Richard Neutra, Frank Lloyd Wright, Charles and Ray Eames, Mies van der Rohe and Oscar Niemeyer. But he also photographed less exalted examples of American buildings, like gas stations, apartment buildings and shopping malls.

Although his best-known work was made from the late 1940s through the 1960s, he continued to photograph into his 90s. In recent years a new appreciation of postwar architecture and design has contributed to renewed interest in Mr. Shulman’s work. In 2005 the Getty Research Institute acquired his archive of more than a quarter-million prints, negatives and transparencies.”


If you have any interest in modernism, 1950s-60s architecture, art, or photography, you need to watch this film.  It is a fantastic story and a lovely tribute to a genius photographer.

Oh my.  It appears that we have skipped Spring entirely and moved right on to Summer down here in SoFla.  It is hot, humid, and has me dreading the real months of Summer.

Luckily, I have lots of popsicle and ice cream recipes lined up to try and I know that this treat will definitely make a showing again in the months to come.  [As an aside, I can NOT believe I am here writing about ice cream when, this afternoon, we made the journey to this special place that requires fasting beforehand and stretchy pants afterward.  TOTALLY worth it though!]

Mint Chip Brownie Ice Cream Squares

I’ve written before (here, here, here) about the Misses love for all things mint-flavored, so I knew just reading the recipe over at Glorious Treats that they would flip for it.  Flip they did!  The picture above would be better, but so little was left that I had to make this one little piece work…

The recipe may seem very long and involved, but you can go the cheaty store-bought route and I am sure it will be just as fantastic.  Even the from-scratch parts that I made weren’t hard, just a lengthier process.

If you enjoying Spring right now, I envy you.  But, save this recipe.  Trust me, you’ll need it later! :)

Mint Chip Brownie Ice Cream Squares

Yield:  One 9 x 13 pan (12-16 servings)

For the Brownie Layer:
You can use any boxed mix that is supposed to fit in a 9″ x 9″ pan, or use your favorite from-scratch brownie recipe.  (You will use a 9″ x 13″ pan to make the brownies though.)  I used a recipe called “Brownies Williams” from Gourmet (May 1996) magazine that produces a dense, moist and not overly sweet brownie.  This recipe for “Brownies Williams” is incorporated into the directions of this recipe.

2 large eggs

1 cup granulated sugar

2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

For the Ice Cream Layer:
1 carton (1.5 quarts) Mint Chip Ice Cream, I used Blue Bell (duh!)

For the Chocolate Layer:
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

OR Use a good-quality hot fudge sauce (1 to 1 1/2 cups)

For the Whipped Cream Layer:
1 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

OR Use one 8 ounce tub of Cool Whip

For the Garnish/Toppings:
Chopped Andes Mints or mini chocolate chips

 To Make the Brownie Layer:
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9″ x 13″ pan with parchment paper.

2.  If using a boxed mix, prepare brownies according to package, then spread batter into pan and bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with some crumbs.

3.  If making “Brownies Williams,” beat eggs and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer until the mixture is thick and pale.

4.  Mixing well after each addition, beat in the chocolate, flour, a pinch of salt, and the butter.  Make sure each is well combined before adding the next ingredient.  Stir in the walnuts, if using.

5.  Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, smoothing the top.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a tester comes out with some crumbs clinging to it.

6.  Cool brownies completely in the pan on a rack.

To Make the Ice Cream Layer:
1.  Allow a carton of ice cream to soften at room temperature until soft enough to spread over the cooled brownies, about 20 minutes.

2.  Once the ice cream is evenly spread over brownies, place the entire pan in the freezer to allow the ice cream to re-freeze.

To Make the Chocolate Layer:
1.  Heat the heavy cream in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes until hot (but not boiling!).

2.  Add chocolate chips to the hot cream and set aside (undisturbed) about 3 minutes to allow the chocolate to melt.

3.  After 3 minutes, stir the chocolate until smooth and fully combined with the cream.

4.  Set aside and allow to cool to about room temperature.  Pour the cooled chocolate over the ice cream layer.  Spread carefully to form an even layer.

OR Heat the jar of hot fudge until just warm enough to spread; pour over frozen ice cream layer and spread evenly.

5.  Return pan to freezer.

To Make the Whipped Cream Layer:
1.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla together until thick and spreadable.

OR Thaw one small tub of Cool Whip to room temperature, or spreadable.

2.  Spread whipped cream (or Cool Whip) over chilled chocolate layer.

Garnish the whipped cream layer as desired.

Return pan to freezer and FREEZE AT LEAST 3 HOURS before serving.

The recipe notes that this can be made ahead, and kept in the freezer (covered) up to 3 days in advance.

Source:  Glorious Treats, with the brownie recipe featured in Gourmet, May 1986

Hi there.

Checking in with the part of my Goals for 2015 that involves reducing the number of unmade recipe cards that I’m hoarding  interested in.

March started out slow.  Lots of things on my plate lately and not a lot of time devoted to the kitchen.  I made up for the slow start though and did pretty well.  Here’s what I made:

Sweet Chili Thai Dressing – So good!  I made a salad with this to serve alongside these amazing…

Tofu Banh Mi 1

Tofu Banh Mi 2



Tofu Banh Mi Sandwiches – DELICIOUS.  Tofu instead of pork – vegetarian and genius!

Brown Sugar Salmon

Salmon with Brown Sugar and Mustard Glaze – I found this recipe via one of my favorite blogs, Dinner: A Love Story, and it is fantastic!  Already made it twice this month!  It is one of those rare meals that I can make for us and the Misses (both of whom gave it big thumbs up!).  Delish.

Roasted Winter Vegetables – So good and so easy.  Great side dish and the hardest part is just peeling the veggies.   I love roasted vegetables and this was the first time I have ever made parsnips!  Won’t be the last…

Green Salad with Creamy Mustard Vinaigrette – Delicious salad dressing to serve with simple mixed greens.  Creamy and incredibly simple to prepare.  You might already have all the ingredients in your pantry.

Garlic Soba Noodles with Edamame – A weeknight meal that is quick and healthy.  Good flavor, but the edamame doesn’t integrate well with noodles, so kind of hard to eat but, it didn’t really stop me…  :)

Penne with Brussels Sprouts and Chile

Penne and Brussels Sprouts, Chile and Pancetta (without the pancetta – We sub in some liquid smoke in place of the pancetta) – Please tell me you know that Trader Joe’s sells bagged, shredded Brussels Sprouts?  I would lose fingers if I had to cut the sprouts into slices.  Yummy pasta!

Four-Color Potato Vegetarian Stew – UGH.  Gross.  This was my attempt at something for St. Patty’s Day and it was a poor one.  Recipe is from the Houston Chronicle a long while back, but I can’t find it online.  You’re better off without it.

White Pizza Dip – Soooo creamy, ooey-gooey good.

Oatmeal-Cranberry-White Chocolate Chip Cookies –  Yum.  How can anyone not like white chocolate and cranberries in a cookie?

Baked Parmesan Tomatoes – Made with the most gorgeous farmers market tomatoes!!  From Eating Well magazine, this made for a really yummy, healthy, and super easy side (note: the fresh oregano is key…).

Cheese Sauce for Cheese Fries & Nachos – I wanted to love this, I REALLY did.  But, alas, it turned out with a grainy texture.  I did all the right things – used good cheese, shredded it myself – but not so great.  The recipe comments are a mixed bag with lots of testers reporting the same issue, so there you go.

Chianti-Spiked Italian Shells

Chianti-Spiked Italian Shells – Vegetarian baked pasta! Full of spinach and mushrooms, this is an easy weeknight dinner (because it is cheaty and uses jarred marinara and pre-sliced mushrooms) that even the Misses liked!

Pesto Mashed Potatoes

Pesto Mashed Potatoes – Another easy side dish, especially when you use Trader Joe’s Pesto…  :)  (Recipe from Cooking Light, so it’s not that bad for you, and I used non-fat milk.)

14 more cards filed this month, 41 to date this year.  Woo Hoo!

I hope everyone had a nice Passover / Easter weekend.  I feel like I didn’t stop all weekend and indulged in one too many Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs, jellybeans, and Sour Patch Bunnies (please tell me that was not just me…).  Definitely need to back slowly away from the Easter basket sugar overload and head over to something healthy.

Fortunately I have just the thing to offset all those jellybeans – kidney beans!  :)

Red Kidney Bean Curry

To say that I am a little obsessed with this recipe is an understatement.  I’ve made it twice now and forced my mother to make it too.  If I could, I would force you all stop right now and make it too!

It is so easy – with LOTS of pantry ingredients – but is so complex and flavorful with all those wonderful deep, aromatic spices.  I use canned beans, and served with some rice topped with plain Greek yogurt and loads of cilantro.  Obviously, you can omit the cilantro if you are not a fan like some (crazy) members of my family. The level of spice is up to you also – I leave some seeds in because I like the heat, if you don’t use a smaller jalapeño and remove the ribs and seeds.

Spicy Red Kidney Bean Curry

Yield:  4 Servings

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

2 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger

1 medium white or yellow onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 large jalapeño chili, seeded and chopped

8 oz. can of tomato sauce

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. ground coriander

1 tsp. ground turmeric

1/2 tsp. cumin seeds

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

3 cups boiled red kidney beans OR 30 oz. canned red kidney beans

1 plum tomato, diced

1 cup of water

Chopped fresh cilantro, non-fat Greek yogurt, and/or rice to serve

1.  Heat olive oil in a deep sauce pan over medium heat for one minute.

2.  Add ginger, onion, garlic, and jalapeño; sauté for one minute.

3.  Add the tomato sauce, salt and remaining spices.  Cook for five more minutes, stirring frequently.

4.  Add the kidney beans, tomato, and water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and let cook uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

5.  Remove saucepan from heat.  Spoon over rice, garnish with cilantro and yogurt, and serve.

Source:  Pink of Perfection, who adapted (mostly by reducing the amount of oil and ginger) from Smitten Kitchen

Why, this totally amazing clutch purse, of course!!!

cassette clutchEdie Parker Cassette glow-in-the-dark and pearl-effect acrylic box clutch (Net-A-Porter)

Sadly, this Edie Parker clutch sold out before I had a chance to scrape together the $1,295.  (I am kidding, this is so out of my realm of possibility right now, but a girl can dream…) Also sadly, the Misses have NO idea what this is supposed to be.  A cassette tape is a completely foreign object.

I so love their acrylic bags (Google “Edie Parker” and fruit and tell me you don’t love the cherries and watermelons!).  Here’s a sampling of current offerings:

Edie Parker Heart


Edie Parker Silver

Silver Confetti

Edie Parker Cool

Cool.  Indeed.

Edie Parker nude stripe

Nude and White Stripe

Edie Parker Solar System

Solar System

But given my love of all things monogrammed, this might be my favorite thing yet:

Edie Parker personalize

A personalized clutch in any color combination with any name, words or monogram of your choice.  Love.  Would also be a killer Texas flag clutch!  Endless possibilities.  Limited wallet.


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