Today in the mail I got a much anticipated letter from Belen, and a piece of post I was afraid actually got lost in the mail, but thank goodness I was wrong. Usually mail only takes 2 days to get from her to me or vice versa since we are only a couple hours drive apart, but this letter took about a week, so I was worried! It was quite a thick envelope, though, and a little lopsided and special, and I can tell by the blurred/cockeyed/cut-off stamp cancel that the mail machine didn't do to well while sorting it, so that probably explains the lateness. I was so excited to see it in the mail today! ANYWAY, it was well worth the wait, as it was chock full of goodies! A wonderful letter (as usual) and mail tag responses and requests. Take a look:
^Front - love the envelope and stamp!
^Contents: Letter, her mail tag requests, and my mail tag requests: paint samples (LOVE THEM), list of ten, and some vanilla rooibos Tazo tea that I really can't wait to try; it smells so good and she said she enjoys it latte style, which I will definitely try since I always get vanilla lattes...perfect choice Belen!
Can't wait to reply to Belen, really. That's it for incoming for the past couple days. Here is some outgoing mail:
^Front of a postcard for Postcrossing. From Postcrossing I checked out the receiver's blog and found out she is Courtney, a follower of my blog! Cool coincidence, huh? Her blog is really fun, and she's got some great mail on there, too. Check it out!
^Back of the postcard...little blue fish is a 3D sticker I got on sale at Michael's in a sticker pack for like, $1.00. I've been putting them on lots of stuff lately.
^A thank-you postcard for Anu. She sent an entry for my 50 State Challenge and asked for a postcard in return...no problem there! :)
^Back of postcard...another 3D fish and some other fishy stickers I got in a Swap-bot swap.
^Handmade map envelope and intro letter to Zoe. I have such a hard time writing intro letters...anyone else in the same boat on that one? I just find that I'm kind of at a loss for what to say to a stranger. I hope that doesn't come off the wrong way - I am so excited to write to new people and build up my contact list, but things just seem to get rolling easier for me after the first couple letters have been written.
^Back, with big ol' 3D octopus from the same sticker pack as the fish.
^Cat fold-n-seal with a quick note to The Missive Maven.
Just a quick note before I wrap up the mail portion of this post: I am totally always looking for new pen-pals! Last post, Zoe commented and said she'd like to become pen-pals and I was so happy...I feel like I haven't really expressed that, and since I don't make my address public it's not as easy for people to just write if they wanted to. So, that said, always feel free to comment on posts and exchange e-mails and we can write from there...I would truly love it!
Oh, and one more note for mail...and I'm sure if you're reading my lonely little blog, you've already heard about this, but just in case you haven't, Bianca is doing a fun giveaway to celebrate the opening of her Etsy store/200th post/reaching 200 followers, so you should totally enter and try to win! Speaking of which, I have to go do that myself.
To celebrate Easter this past Sunday, J and I cooked a nice dinner for my mom and grandparents. I don't give up anything for Lent, but my mom gave up wine and my grandma gave up sweets/treats/snacks, so this was definitely a joyous day for them, especially because during Lent it's both my grandparents' birthdays and there couldn't be dessert because of my grandma's no-sweets thing, and both celebrations this year ended up on Fridays, which means no meat either! We go to go all out for Easter dinner this year. Once again, our menu came from Suzanne Goin's Sunday Suppers at Lucques. As I've said before, this is a cookbook with recipes that require some time and TLC to complete, which is why we save it for occasions like this. Farmer's Market produce helped make this meal super fab:
^Kabocha squash and fennel soup with candied pumpkin seeds. I'm not a huge squash fan, and haven't loved Kabocha when we've cooked it before, but this was one yummy squash! Super fragrant and sweet tasting...yum yum.
^Devi'ls chicken thighs with braised leeks. (We all laughed when we realized we made a dish called Devil's chicken thigh's on Easter...) I wish this was a more photogenic dish, but oh well, it tasted delicious! The chicken is seared on the stovetop, then coated in a dijon mustard sauce, and then topped with homemade herbed breadcrumbs before being baked on top of the braised leeks, which were also really, really tasty.
^Dessert: hazelnut-brown butter cake with sauteed pears. OMG, best part of the meal in my opinion. Cake made with, and pears sauteed with, fresh vanilla bean, which makes such a HUGE difference! To make the cake you grind hazelnuts with powdered sugar and flour for the dry ingredients, then alternately fold brown butter (butter that you cook until it's super nutty and delicious) and the dry ingredients into whipped egg whites for a super light and yummy cake. Fresh whip cream for fun on top, plus syrupy goodness from the pear pan.
Hope you all are well, and hopefully the rest of the week brings me some good mail and/or food to blog about in the coming days. Until next time!
Song of the moment: Window Seat
Artist: Erykah Badu
Album: New Amerykah, Pt. 2: Return of the Ankh