baked oats green chile chicken enchiladas chow mein bakery-style butter cookies

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social month

I was planning to do a recipe tonight, but we have had a busy social schedule as well as work schedule. Work hard, play harder, right? Recipe tomorrow. Tonight let’s just have a little fun…

Yesterday evening we had dinner at our friends’ house in Boulder. I can’t tell you how long it has been since a foodie (other than family) has cooked for us! This was such a treat. Not only are they a really awesome couple, but their dogs are amazing – four Border Collies. Two of them are competitive in agility trials. Jane gave us a little demo in the front yard. She’s so fast – it took her less than two seconds to do this exercise:

go girl!

It’s quite the amazing thing to be around dogs as smart and fast and active as these when you live with a happy-go-lucky dopey dog like Kaweah. These dogs in particular are Ferraris. They make Kaweah look like a Honda Accord four-door sedan. Sedan, I said. No turbo option.

jane loves her toy

I won’t bore you with a recap of all the ski talk, geek talk, photography talk, computer talk, dog talk. Instead, feast your eyes on the lovely and delicious dinner that B (the husband) made.

goat cheese and green chile croquettes

avocado, chili shrimp salad with cilantro and mango chipotle salsa

betty was keen on the camera when i photographed the salad – she likes lights

the most amazing roast potato and chile salad

grilled pork tenderloin with apple cider reduction glaze

for dessert i brought flan and chocolate mousse (pictured)

This afternoon, before friends of ours arrived to go out for dinner, I had a little time to shoot around the kitchen/dining area for a quick supplemental on the urb kitchen tour. It seems that people aren’t so enamored with layouts as much as handy ideas – particularly space-savers. It used to drive me mad when I had to go hunting for a bag of pistachios or a bag of chocolate chips among the shelves because they always wound up in an avalanche slide. They just don’t stack well. We have had a rolling bin for Kaweah’s kibbles for years, but I decided to get a second for my baking ingredients which allows me to take advantage of an otherwise difficult-to-utilize vertical space. It rolls out easily (make sure to get one with sturdy wheels that can handle a decent load) and because it is clear, I can see where everything is.

hooks are great anywhere : bins for holding dog food or bags of baking ingredients

There is also space under my wonderful Ikea Varde cabinets which typically accumulates a lot of dust and dog hair tumbleweeds. I bought a couple of short, but long plastic bins with covers (to protect from dust) to slide under the cabinets. Because we have hardwood floors, I placed self-adhesive felt rounds on the corners for easy sliding. It’s a great way to store extra baking and pastry tools like molds, disposable pastry bags, muffin liners, cake circles…

see all of the dust on the lids

The refrigerator is where we hang kid art. Despite not having any kids of our own (and that is entirely by choice, believe you me) we know and love plenty of wonderful little people who draw pictures, write notes, and make cute crafts for us to show off on the fridge door with our oddball collection of magnets. And I had to include a shot of my favorite corner cabinet that holds our recycling bins.

fridge door : recycling bins

I tend to forget about things like glassware and dishes we have for entertaining until we throw a party (which we recently did). I collect a lot of inexpensive (read: cheap) glassware because it doesn’t hurt as much when they break. I like clean lines, simple designs, and functionality – they never go out of style and they are appropriate for any occasion.

drinking glasses, shot glasses, and juice glasses

plain, cheap, plentiful – great for parties

The majority of my partyware lives in the cabinets along the wall of the dining area. I just like to have them separate from my daily dishes and glasses so that I reduce the risk of breaking anything that I don’t use too often. It’s not that I’m a klutz and break things all of the time – I’m just risk-averse.

japanese tea cups, asian saucers, martini glasses

I threw pottery for ten years before that hobby fell victim to graduate school. The coolest part of throwing pottery was making my own dishes. If anything broke (especially in an earthquake) it was easy enough to go back to the studio and throw another. I gave most of it away before moving, but I still have a number of pieces that I use when guests come over.

jenware: white stoneware plates and bowls

And lastly… our wine rack. My dad bought this lovely wine rack for us when we lived in California. My dad knows wine and he was so excited when I began to learn about wines – mostly to pair with the food I was serving. Many of our first-time guests always ask why all of the bottles are empty. The great room gets a lot of light and becomes very warm from the passive solar heating, even in winter. The temperatures and light levels are just too hostile for proper wine storage. Instead, we save some empty bottles of wines we liked (the corked ones are used to serve water at parties) and we store our wine down in the linen closet of the guest bathroom on the first floor (cool and dark – perfect).

a placeholder

This summer, Jeremy and I will build some proper wine racks to place in the basement. I have these ridiculous nightmares that the shelves of the linen closet are going to collapse under the weight of the wine bottles. You have probably gathered by now that I don’t like it when things break. Anyway, I hope that will keep you entertained until the next recipe or until the next official kitchen tour on Thursday!

35 nibbles at “social month”

  1. Skye says:

    See, this is why your blog is such a winning combination – cute dogs and delicious looking food. Also, the storage tips don’t hurt at all.

  2. Annemarie says:

    And again the food looks mouthwatering and the dogs? They just make me smile!

  3. Ronine says:

    I’ve never cared for Ferraris so I would still choose the Kaweah-sedan model anytime :)
    Is there any chance that you could get the recipe for those goat cheese and green chile croquettes out of your foodie friend?

  4. Mrs Ergül says:

    Wow! More URB kitchen! Thanks for sharing all those tips and tricks! I cant’ wait to see more!

    That’s wonderful food served by your foodie friends! They look SO GOOD! makes my stomach growl…

    If only you can do a giveaway with one of your stoneware pieces the next time round… I hope it is not too much to ask for….

  5. joanne at frutto della passione says:

    I can’t remember if I mentioned what a great idea I think the kitchen tour is. I love seeing other people’s kitchens because so often you can get a great idea for organizing or doing something more efficiently. It gives me the same thrill that window shopping does!!

  6. Culinarywannabe says:

    The doogies are so cute! And wow, do you have great friends or what?! I need some friends like that! :)

  7. Caitlin says:

    Those dogs are about the happiest animals I’ve ever seen, and watching agility drills is always amazing. And I’m envious of your pottery-throwing skills; that’s one thing I’d love to learn, but there’s no place to do it around where I live. *sigh*

  8. Fiona says:

    My mother is going to enjoy that pottery shot – she makes lovely things, too. For me, the best part is reinforcing my love of IKEA.

    Oh, did I mention that shrimp salad? Any chance of having that Fedexed over here?

  9. amy says:

    Jen, I love your pottery! Beautiful glaze colors. I didn’t know you used to throw too! The tip about keeping miscellaneous baking supplies in rubbermaid containers under the cabinets is really useful…that’s a great space saver. Totally agree w/you on the glasses – I think we have some of the same ones. :)

    The dinner looked great! (And cute pups!)

  10. Jenny says:

    All my cookie cutters, molds, etc. are in those very same containers under my bed! I live on Long Island – you think I could find a foodie friend…in eleven years – I haven’t found one person who loves to cook and bake like I do….boo woo. Okay, enough of the pity party. Love the kitchen peeks – it’s great!

  11. Kristin says:

    Hooray! More urb kitchen! I am coveting your glasses & your beautiful pottery. Were you so creative when you were a child, or did you discover your gifts as a teen, college student…? I’m continually amazed by your talent in so many areas. Love seeing what you create, be it food, photos, pottery, kitchen, or sweet 4-door sedan dog. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Graeme says:

    I learnt to drive in a Honda Accord Sedan. Awesome car. Awesome dog.


  13. April in CT says:

    That dinner looks amazingly good! How lucky to have talented foodie friends! :)

    I swear I am obsessed now with seeing other peoples kitchens. I’m buying bins for under my kitchen cart now to store the things I don’t use often that are taking up precious pantry/cabinet space. Thank you for that idea!

  14. Tartelette says:

    Tippy would be the Honda and Bailey is more a Buccati motorcycle, his front wheels are more active than his back ones (still can’t get that dog to lift his leg!!).
    I am afraid my kitchen won’t be that cool…we built to sell so did minimum time and organizing investment in case potential buyers did not like them. Hmm…we are still there :) But I can totally relate on the amount of storage bins!!

  15. siri says:

    What a kick ass stoneware collection. Hey- are you planning on posting that “most amazing potato and chile salad”?


  16. charlane says:

    ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh yum, that salad looks like a bit of heaven

  17. Kathy O. says:

    I love the picture of Jane … she is simply stunning! Her eyes amaze me most, so very human. I read that they are the most intelligent dog, besides the wolf …

    Love your pottery … you have so many beautiful talents!

  18. Melissa says:

    Hehe. Jenware. Thanks for showing even more of your kitchen. And yes, yes I do see all the dust. :P

    Lovely meal your friends cooked for you guys. Nice to have someone else do it on rare occasion. I wish I had foodie friends nearby. Dammit.

  19. Liz says:

    Jen: Please post that potato/chili salad!!! Don’t have the space for bins in our pantry, because it’s all wire shelving (worth every cuss word putting it together!) but, liking uncluttered bathrooms, we sure use small/stackable bins, roughly categorized and labeled, under the sinks. But I digress ….

  20. Margie says:

    You had me from the very first photo. Sweet, I tell ‘ya…SWEET!

    P.S. I enjoyed the kitchen tour too, but there’s just something about a cute doggie.


  21. barbara says:

    I’d really love the potato/chili salad recipe too. Sounds interesting.

    Nice to see more of your kitchen Jen. I was always taught to store glasses with the bowl to avoid dirt and dust getting on the rim. I’d love some of those hanging racks for my glasses so I can store them bowl down top avoid the dust Love the blue glasses.

  22. Mollie says:

    I love cheap and plentiful glassware too! :) Your kitchen looks like a happy place….

  23. Asianmommy says:

    I love your collection of plates & bowls that you made yourself. How cool!

  24. Whitney says:

    I have started to buy pottery from multiple people on Etsy because I just love the homemade look. I love the colors in your bowls!

  25. Kitt says:

    Hmmm. Never thought of Etsy for bulking up my stoneware, Whitney. Uh-oh.

    Thanks for the kitchen tour, Jen!

  26. Pomme says:

    WOW!, your Jenmade pottery is gorgeous, love it! Where do your talent ends?

  27. SallyBR says:

    What great idea! The bin with all the baking ingredients! I have one just like that for the dog food, will get another this weekend for sure!

    awesome. Of course, I will need to make a list of what’s inside – I was planning to organize my pantry this coming weekend, so there…. this tip comes in perfect time!

    loved your pottery, you are way too talented!

  28. Randi says:

    Jen, your pottery is really beautiful and awesome. I salivated just looking at it… Do you still throw? YOU SHOULD. I mean… I will pay.

  29. peabody says:

    Border Collies are sooo smart. My ex had one and she was a great dog.
    Looks like you had a great meal.

  30. Joanne says:

    Oh- wow. the pictures of the food have made my mouth water. Do you have a recipe for the croquettes?

  31. heartkorean says:

    I want a goat cheese and chile croquette right now!

  32. cindy says:

    aw, cute dogs! our friends have a border collie…she loves to play soccer while our queensland heeler patrols the perimeter, sure to herd off any dogs that may come too near :)

    and, i love your pottery…that is something i have always wanted to try doing.

  33. ruthie says:

    I see there is a frisbee pictured with one of those dogs – Is it just me or are border collies OBSESSIVE when it comes to frisbee? I have been dogsitting for a border collie owned by a veterinarian and he is one of the smartest, most well trained dogs I’ve ever met but if there is a frisbee present he will stare at you (mournfully) without giving up until you pick it up and throw it.

  34. Elizabeth says:

    I was wondering where you got those rolling, clear storage bins? Thank you.

  35. jenyu says:

    Skye – thanks :)

    Annemarie – they’re cute, aren’t they?

    Ronine – ah ha ha! Thanks, Kaweah is a sweet girl… little sedan… Yes, I got the recipes from him and will post them soon (next couple of weeks, I hope).

    Mrs. E – seeing as I haven’t found a good studio to work at yet, I probably won’t be giving away any pottery any time soon. Plus, shipping that stuff is a PAIN. :(

    Joanne – I love getting ideas from other kitchens too. And I trust food bloggers because you know they cook all the time :)

    Culinarywannabe – Not many of my local friends cook like this :)

    Caitlin – Pottery is great fun and I found it incredibly relaxing and rewarding (much like cooking) except it was difficult to get to a studio that had restrictive hours. Maybe I’ll find a good studio or better yet, purchase my own wheel someday (if I can locate a local kiln).

    Fiona – I really miss it :( I should make the time to get back to it, but I have too many things going on right now. I guess that isn’t such a bad thing? I may ask B to guest blog that shrimp as it is his own recipe!

    Amy – yup, some of those plates and bowls were thrown right at Cornell ;) I find it amazing how some “simple” designs like bowl or cups can be either really cheap or REALLY expensive, you know?

    Jenny – thanks! And it’s taken us a long time to find foodies friends who cook and bake too. I think perhaps we’re too far apart!

    Kristin – thank you :) *blush* I never really allowed myself to indulge in the creative side until I got to college. I was always a math and science kid (plus piano lessons as all Good Chinese Daughters take either piano or violin or both). But I think the creative aspects are really rewarding and I’m trying to explore more of that!

    Graeme – you are so cute.

    April – Yeah, it’s a handy tip! When I finally thought of it I wondered why I hadn’t thought of it earlier ;)

    Tartelette – Bailey is a hoot! If you are in it, hon, then your kitchen is already beyond cool!

    Siri – I just got the recipe from B and will post it in the next few weeks.

    Charlane – it was soooo good :)

    Kathy – you’re so sweet to say. Thanks!

    Melissa – damn dust… no shortage here! I was totally feeling the same way until we got to know these guys (who are totally awesome). I guess foodies just don’t advertise (or perhaps they just hang out in their kitchens!)

    Liz – it will go up in a few weeks.

    Margie – love the pups :)

    Barbara – yup, I will post soon, sweetie :) Glad so many are interested. It was awesome. Re: hanging racks – we would still accumulate way too much dust (and probably dog hair) :)

    Mollie – well, it’s just waiting here for ya!

    Asianmommy – thank you :)

    Whitney – thanks! I love handmade pottery too and there a lot of very talented people on Etsy. Might I recommend: – Jamie is a sweetheart and sooooo talented.

    Kitt – go here: she is amazing!

    Pomme – my talents? ha ha, they ended somewhere back there… ;)

    SallyBR – awesome. I love that bin, mostly because it rolls out so easily! Thanks.

    Randi – oh, I haven’t thrown in years, but I have been keeping my eyes peeled for a good studio to join. It’s just a real pain if the studio is down in Boulder b/c pottery dries out so fast around here. Maybe I should build my own studio, but then I’d have to find a local kiln in town. Just too much going on ;) But thanks, you are so sweet.

    Peabody – they are *super* smart. A little too smart for someone like me, I think ;) ha ha ha.

    Joanne – I just got it! I’ll be making some soon for blogging.

    Heartkorean – ;)

    Cindy – it’s a lot of fun. It takes a little bit to master, and I’m still pretty amateurish, but it is really a lovely art and soooo relaxing. You meet a ton of amazing people (artists, they are amazing – I am too much of an engineer to let myself really go like they do).

    Ruthie – Yes, they are pretty obsessive in general ;) My dog just obsesses about food.

    Elizabeth – oh, I got the first one at the Container Store in Pasadena (before we moved to Colorado). Then I picked up the second one recently at the local hardware store in Boulder. You might try Target or some such place if you don’t have a Container Store nearby.

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