lentil beet salad chocolate mirror glaze hazelnut pralines and hazelnut praline paste naturally colored homemade sprinkles and yuki's birthday


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rambling brain dump

No recipe today. Just me blathering away…


ahhh, sangria



Is it July yet? Just yesterday I was freaking out because I realized we were nearing the end of June. My summer is almost booked solid and even though summer technically began less than 2 weeks ago, I can’t help but get this panicky feeling that summer is already over – gone! I psyche myself out like that though, because I cannot ever relax except under heavy sedation… If I wake up after 7 am I feel as if my whole day is done for. Hey, I never claimed to be free of mental issues!

strawberries and peachy



June has been a bit of frenzy for me, but with the tele betties barbecue we threw yesterday, I can breathe a sigh of calm today and smile at the spread of leftovers in our fridge! I had BARBECUE for brekkie this morning, and that, my friends, is a beautiful thing.

bacon makes it (baked beans) good



My aunt was visiting this weekend ever so briefly – to crash at our place for a night before picking my cousin up from camp in Denver and driving the 7 hours back home to New Mexico. Older relatives in my family are always “elders”, but not so with Elena. She’s always been my friend ever since I was a wee tot, and she still is – even more so now that we are adults.

my favorite aunt and uncle by the globe fountain in boulder



The barbecue was great fun yesterday. I have this thing about the company I keep – specifically the female company I keep. They are almost exclusively what I call alpha chicks. What did you expect of me? I have LOADS of amazing women friends and each one is a superstar in her own right. I adore them all and yes, they kick ass. That’s actually a pre-requisite to be my friend… kick-assery. Nothing like cooking up a storm for a bunch of alphas and chilling out together well into the mountain night. And don’t feel sorry for Jeremy… he loves an evening with tele babes.

the menu
chips and salsa, crudités and spinach dip
blackberry-lime cordial cooler, sangria, iced tea
texas barbecue beef brisket
carolina-style pulled pork
mayonnaiseless coleslaw
baked beans
german potato salad
potato rolls
chocolate pistachio cake
mojito jello shots
watermelon sorbet


oh yeah, i made cake for the chicas



Now that my cooking/baking frenzy has abated, I am getting around to visiting blogs and taking care of some desperately-needed digital house keeping. I can tell that my health is improving because a number of things have begun to annoy me on my web travels… I’m just tossing some observations out there:

1) It pains me when blogs play music on their site. This is usually because I am playing iTunes or some public radio show feed on my computer and then I am suddenly accosted with cacophonous noises because frakking Céline Dion (them) just doesn’t jive with The White Stripes (me).

2) I hate sites that make my browser crash. Because I usually have a million tabs up and when the browser crashes I have to go and reload every page, swearing all the way. I usually never revisit those sites again.

3) Tastespotting is back. It is being run by Someone Else. The new Tastespotting is woefully short on technical prowess because it accepts the changes to my profile, but then it doesn’t. Bastards.

But this brings us to another issue, which was the void left by the old (and in my opinion, better, version of) Tastespotting. Everyone was sort of dumbstruck for the first day or so, and then a bunch of folks stepped up to the plate and implemented their own versions. There are quite a few out there. At first this was nice, but soon it became obvious that there was a lot of overlap. And while I believe that redundancy is good in many situations like climbing or emergency planning, I most definitely do not want it in my daily food porn. For what it’s worth (probably not much, but – this is my blog, so I can rattle on as I please), I’m getting behind Chuck’s Food Gawker because it is not only the best in design and functionality, but because Chuck is SO DAMN GOOD about feedback and improvements.

And while Food Gawker is my choice for the onslaught of all that is delicious and documented in the food blogosphere, I also visit Robin’s FP Daily for the beauty of food porn and because I enjoy her little commentaries. I like witty, and Robin is just that.

4) I understand that blogging is not a commercial production for most people, but… would it kill ya to spell check the damn entry before you post it? Or maybe read it over once to catch the misuse of your in place of you’re? [Just watch, I’m going to make this very mistake in my next post…]

5) I have great hatred for Blogger. Sure, call me elitist. I can’t help that I happen to prefer blogging platforms that actually work.

6) I don’t have a 10-foot wide monitor. How many columns can a blog possibly fit onto a standard page before the main text is relegated to two words per line? People put so much shit on their front pages now: ads, previous posts, blogrolls, photo thumbnails, archives, more ads, twitter… The overly-enthusiastic horizontalization of the blog is really annoying when I’m on my (precious) 12″ powerbook or better yet – on my iphone. It is also Bad Design Practice. And while I’m at it, who the hell wants to read hot pink text in 8 point font on a medium gray background? Pouring salt in my eyes would be a far more entertaining way to ruin my vision.


nosh on this



I haven’t been so good about replying to comments lately. I will definitely get to that tonight, folks. Right now, I’m going to enjoy a nice, long cardio workout before getting zapped by radiation oncology.

28 nibbles at “rambling brain dump”

  1. Kathy says:

    Everything looks so good!!
    Would it be possible to post your sangria recipe?
    Thank you Jen.

  2. jennywenny says:

    Hee hee! I really cant cope with certain colours together on my screen, like cerise and turquoise together made me want to vomit.

    There was one blog that I really loved the content on, but the entire screen was covered in pansies and it just made my eyes bleed. I suppose she never looked at her actual blog, just typed the posts in. Apologies to said blogger if she’s reading this!

    I totally feel you on the music too, and I hate flash taking tons of time to load.

  3. Melinda B says:

    I’m thinking about starting my own blog, so I’m taking all this advice on board. However me having a blog is probably not the best idea, since it takes me all day to wash the morning dishes. Any hoo…. I don’t think you should stress too much about being slack in replying to comments, any person worth their salt will understand.

  4. Kevin says:

    That’s a lot of tasty looks food, especially that spinach dip.

  5. Christine says:

    Jen – someone who loves bbq for breakfasts is a friend of mine, fo’ shizzle :)

    And that menu? It’s kick-assery at it’s finest, Jen. I’m still drooling over the drink choices too.

    And I have to agree with all your observations, particularly that about multi-column pages. If I’m looking at a blog and I can’t easily find the main text amid all the hoopla, it’s a turn off.

  6. Antonio Tahhan says:

    Your observations were hilarious (I must admit though, as I read through them I worried if I had made any grammatical atrocities myself). Also, I just wanted to say that you’re awesome for having a 12″ powerbook. I love mine and think that it is probably one of the best computers apple has come out with.
    ps. you know what I’ve been really into lately? white wine sangria! sooo good… especially on those scorching summer afternoons.

  7. cindy says:

    The music playing blogs really blow my cover when I sneak into my home office and pretend to be paying bills but am really reading blogs. It’s not that I care that my husband thinks blogs are stupid (what does he know anyway?); I’m just sick of hearing him say it.

    And yes, spell it correctly. While you’re at it, use upper and lower case and punctuation where appropriate. Take a little care is all I’m saying.

  8. SarahKate says:

    All of your summery pictures made me so jealous! It’s winter here in Australia and I could really use a BBQ and a pitcher of sangria!

  9. Mrs Ergul says:

    You’re really good! I mean the sensibility and honesty in this (and every) post you have gotten up here! I can’t help but giggle my way through because they are so true. The music, the pink font on a grey background! I too open up just 1 browser with lots of tabs in it, so I know what you mean. I just usually can’t be bothered to find back every damn page! Proof-reading is important, isn’t it! And I’m sorry I’m on Blogger ;) Take lots of care, you kiss-ass chick!

  10. zoe / puku says:

    amen to the 12″ friendly design! 12″-ers unite! we are the last of our kind! (you know, cos mini-powerbooks are 13″ now. scowl). I hear your concerns and ramblings, and nod in agreement.. when you come across a nice clean design, readable text and pleasant images it’s so much easier to stay and enjoy!

    oh, and tiniest of rants to add to the list – I can’t stand ads that flash and jump about and make you feel ill as they dance in the corner of your vision. : p

  11. Jamie in Las Vegas says:

    Another great post!

  12. manggy says:

    Mm-hmm, are you sure you posted those music choices in the right order? ;) I’m not going to comment much on the design faux pas-es of blogs as some of them are my favorites, but I did write Allen once, “can you help me figure out this site? I love ____ but I swear, that site is the biggest mess I’ve ever seen!” (I couldn’t find the proper link for the RSS feed. Somehow the user signed up for FeedBurner and it coexisted with the current (dead) default feed for the blog and fucked everything up.) ELITIST! :P I give Blogger a lot of credit because they’re able to offer customization of blog templates at no additional cost to me. I didn’t seriously learn CSS like I thought I would, but once I parsed all the jargon and pulled the reins on the monster, I was able to make it do my bidding :) And, it’s tested on my 12″ (er, laptop, heh). It helped to be a print designer and HTML 4.0-er (and to see all the web design gargoyles of the past) before I was a blogger. I’ve been trying to streamline it as I hate the way my current blogroll looks (too many links and no-one clicks on one), but I haven’t had the time. I visited one of those free template sites for WordPress and Blogger, and it seems they are actually encouraging multi-column layouts for maximal use of tiny little widgets and ads. Yum, cacophony. (you’re not the only one who can blather, heh)

    Jack White is a good writer but I don’t like the band… The 2-instrument set-up is a little too “jam-my” for me (and the drumming, omg). Your aunt and uncle look really young! I am guessing she’s one of the youngest among your mom’s (dad’s?) siblings.

    Yes, bacon makes everything better :) I hope you won’t think I’m gross if I think baked beans out of a can are excellent, haha. I’m a little freaked out at the thought of using my oven for more than 2 hours, that’s a lot of energy!

  13. Merry says:

    Yikes! I hope my blog doesn’t break too many of those rules! I must admit that my spellchecking has been a bit lax of late. That happens when you are trying to blog around a one year old’s schedule. :) I love your blog & your photography. Perhaps, one day, I will be able to get nearly as good as you at at least one of them.

  14. Tim says:

    That’s the peachiest peach I’ve seen photographed. It’s the middle of winter here, but thanks to your picture I can practically taste it. By the way, thanks for the blurb on your ‘about’ page describing your photography equipment. On your advice I’ve decided to look for a tripod so I can start taking better photographs in natural light.

    You can really feel the annoyance behind your (more or less spot on) rant — happy to hear your energy’s returning :)

  15. peabody says:

    The new Tastespotting isn’t doing it for me. I have submitted three times now. I made the changes they asked for and they still aren’t taking it. I am sticking with Food Gawker…much easier.
    I can’t spell even with spell check. :) I do stuff like there and their kind of crap. What can I say, I am a math and science person…grammer and spelling is for other people.
    Looks like a awesome menu you had going on.

  16. Kitt says:

    Amen on your blog observations! Especially on the music and spelling. (Though I don’t mind Blogger, maybe because I don’t have a lot of bells and whistles on my blog.)

    Glad you’re having some fun! May I have some of that cake, please?

  17. Laura @ HungryAndFrozen says:

    That menu is incredible. Sounds like one heck of a feast. Gorgeous photos as per usual :) Loved the blog pointers, made me chuckle. I like Blogger but I don’t know any better; I’m there because I’m there. And I hate too many blinky widgets. Yay for the White Stripes – they were one of the best gigs of my life.

  18. robin says:

    Thanks for the shout-out, Jen! And, ehk, I hate blogger too. Sometimes I’ll not comment on blogs simply because I don’t have the energy to go through all the blogger check-points.

  19. Tartelette says:

    You know what everybody just did, right?!! Load up their own front page just to check gramatical issues and what nots. I blame my faulty keyboard for any missed letters….and if you get a double that is because I got lucky and pressed twice on my “h” in happiness!! Anyways….Worpress and Typepad were my first choice but they drove me insane so Blogger it is…hope that won’t stop you, especially if I throw in a little surprise and a couple of macarons here and there, right?!!
    That menu…I am forever and ever hungry.

  20. Patricia Scarpin says:

    I agree with you on several things (sites with music drive me crazy).
    I love your sangria, and love the cake. Plus, I’d kill to have your aunt’s hair. :)

  21. Ramblings « FP Daily says:

    […] love getting insights into my favorite blogger’s heads. Check out Use Real Butter. No Comments so far Leave a comment RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI […]

  22. Andrea says:

    Now that sounds like the perfect menu for a great evening! I’ll have some of that spinach dip, please! And I have to agree on the music and fonts/colors issue. If the site makes my eyes or ears hurt, I’m done.

  23. Madam Chow says:

    One of my personal pet peeves are bloggers who have yet to discover the existence of the CAPITAL LETTER in the Western alphabet. just sayin’.

  24. jenyu says:

    Kathy – yes, I’ll post that next.

    Jennywenny – ha ha ha, yeah – colors can really throw ya sometimes.

    Melinda – oh, you’re sweet. Thanks.

    Kevin – well Kevin, if you lived here I’d have you over for some of our parties :)

    Christine – fo’ shizzle? GF, you keep me hip, yo. Yup – web pages are not about what the author likes to see, it’s about what the readers can tolerate.

    Antonio – I realized too late that folks reading my posts would be examining their own blogs for “violations”. Not my intention at all :) It’s just a rant. Hell yeah on the 12″ powerbook! I love that little guy. It is sweeeeeet. Oh, if you have a white sangria recipe, I wants. I will check your blog :)

    Cindy – hi-larious :)

    SarahKate – it will warm up soon enough for you guys down under! I dare say that our summers here are nice, but incredibly short compared to our winters!

    Mrs. E – don’t apologize about Blogger. Lots of my favorite peeps are on Blogger :) I just hate BLOGGER, not the peeps. hee hee.

    Zoe – yes, those ads make me batshit too!

    Jamie – thanks dear!

    Mark – ah ha ha ha. I love my White Stripes. It’s quite the raw and brilliant combo, in my opinion. He really is genius. Like I said above, I hate Blogger, but not the people who use it :) It’s just so ass slow… Yeah, I didn’t like the free templates of other sites either (but I like them more than Blogger). I basically had to do a full customization of my WordPress on my own server because I’m a control freak like that… My aunt is my mom’s youngest sister – they are 13 years apart. And I have to agree that baked beans out of a can are quite tasty. That’s what my baked beans were (dressed up with onions, bacon, and some other seasonings).

    Merry – not to worry dear. I’m not railing at anyone in particular, just my own brain dump :)

    Tim – the tripod will take you places you’ve never been before in photography. I use it for about 70% of my photographs and for 95% of my money shots. Well, it felt good to get those pet peeves off my chest ;)

    peabody – yup, I am feeling the magic is gone from Tastespotting too. I sort of look forward to your spelling mistakes – but not from anyone else! Wait – I love Helen’s too. She cracks me up with her H-impaired keyboard.

    Kitt – I like blogs that don’t have a lot of bells and whistles. Simplicity is elegance. If you didn’t live so far down the street, I’d make you help us finish this food!

    Laura – I haven’t seen the White Stripes perform. I’m jealous now!

    Robin – *exactly* And the checkpoints wouldn’t be so bad if Blogger weren’t so damn Slooooooooow. I’m really enjoying fpdaily.net!

    Tartelette – ha! yes, I realized it later and felt terrible. Nothing can stop me from visiting your blog, my dear. That is testament to how much I love you – because I frakking hate Blogger :)

    Patricia – she’s youthful, isn’t she?

    Andrea – hey, the sangria I made was from the recipe on your site! I’ll post it soon and link to ya. But thanks – it’s awesome :)

    Madam Chow – hee hee hee!

  25. Chez US says:

    Your 2 cents worth is worth something! Great post. I agree with those points, if I have to look around too hard for what I want, BYE BYE!

    I would write more but I need to go spell check my front page and clean up the clutter! ;)

  26. jenyu says:

    Chez Us – ha ha ha! You’re a riot ;)

  27. mochachocolatarita says:

    Re: Music on blogs

    I was LISTENING to Top Chef (haha) while roaming around for food porns and suddenly I heard Pachelbel’s Canon interrupting Sam the Diabetic Hottie (of season 2) barking at Marcel!! Boy, that pissed me off big time!

    I love my blogger friends (with or without music) but please make the music stop, I beg ya

  28. jenyu says:

    Mochachocolatarita – tee hee

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