Good Day Sunshine

A while back, I decided it would be fun to wake up at 4 a.m., drive out to the Great Salt Lake, and take pictures of the sunrise over the mountains. Yep, I'm pretty crazy. I'm okay with it.

Anyways, I lost about five crucial minutes due to dust on my sensor, even after I'd made sure it was clean the night before. Yikes! I have some other photos that are good, but will require more editing than I'd planned on to clean out those dust motes.  Even so, I love this shot too.

Roses in Bloom!

I am extremely lucky to have some gorgeous rosebushes in my front yard. Other than light pruning and occasional weeding, I rarely give them any care. No fertilizers, no special watering, nada. And yet, they still reward me with some gorgeous blooms. I've got a bunch in a vase on my kitchen table right now, and there are still many more on the bush outside. Heaven.

Most of my rosebushes produce little red flowers. They're abundant all season long.

But one of my rosebushes produces these gigantic yellow blooms with peach and blush on the tips. They make me swoon.

What's blooming where you live?

Knitting Update - June Update

This year, I resolved to do something fun. You can check out my knitting goals for 2014 here.

I thought March was a busy month, but April and May were even busier. So busy that I never even got around to sharing what I'd knit in April, so today you'll get a two-for-one  deal (even though the knitting is a little thin on the ground).


In April, I made three squares, finished the socks I was working on in March, and made a pair of ankle socks.


In May, I made three more squares, and half a sock. You can tell the weather is turning nice because I'm spending less time knitting!

Foraging My Garden

Last Friday, I looked in the fridge before I left for work. Besides some cream and lunchmeat, there wasn't much there. Crap. I really didn't feel like braving the grocery store at 5 p.m. on a Friday after a long day of work. And then I remembered - Hey! I have a veggie garden! There's not much in it (yet), but there's definitely enough for a fresh spring meal.

When I got home from work, I set about selecting the ingredients from the garden. There were garlic scapes...

Baby arugula...



And fresh herbs. I even managed to find a cooked chicken breast in the back of the fridge that was still good.

I chopped up an onion (one thing I did have in my fridge), and sauteed it with a little bit of jalepeno that was in my freezer from last year's garden. Then in went the scapes for a few minutes.

I cooked up some pasta, and toasted the broccolini (kinda like kale chips). Once the pasta was finished, I drained it, then threw in the arugula to soften and mixed in the onions and scapes. A dash of cream, a pinch of salt, topped with the toasted broccolini and fresh basil, and I went from having "nothing to eat" to having a feast for two!

Do You Make These 8 Weed Control Mistakes?

As flowers start blooming, other things start blooming too - like weeds. I'll be the first one to say that a weed is just a wildflower that grows where it's not welcome. Still, weeds take moisture and nutrients away from those precious flowers and veggies, so we want to get those pesky weeds out of our yards so we can grow what we want!  

As you're getting ready to tackle those weeds, check and make sure you're not making one of these mistakes. Over the years, I've made some of them, and some of them have been made for me. All the photographs are from my garden this year, and I'm working as quickly as I can to fix them. Some are worse than others, but avoiding these mistakes will make your weeding tasks so much easier in the long run. 

1. You Leave Empty Patches of Dirt

Crabgrass is closing in on this bare patch of dirt.

This practically screams, "Hey weeds! Come live here!" Ever heard the phrase, "Nature loves a vacuum?" Well, that's what an empty patch of dirt is - a vacuum. Weeds will find it, and they will grow there. Use that valuable spot to grow something you'll enjoy looking at instead!

2. You Don't Use Mulch

Mulch helps keep out the weeds in this flower bed.

If you take nothing else away from this post, it should be that mulch is the best weed control strategy out there. There are so many great reasons to use mulch, I don't understand why more people don't use it. 

Mulch helps keep weeds out by making it harder for them to take hold. When they do take hold, mulch makes it easier to pull the weeds, because it's nice and loose instead of compacted. In addition to being great for weed control, mulch is good for the soil - it will slowly decompose into soil itself. So while you have to replenish the mulch every now and then, just know that you're doing great things for your soil.

Want to know more about mulch, and which mulch to pick? Margaret over at A Way To Garden is my mulch guru. 

3. You "Hardscape"

Gravel makes it more difficult to pull weeds. Can you spot the crabgrass poking up through the gravel?

Hardscaping is like using mulch, but with rocks. Sure, it might work for a season or two - dump some rocks on top of unsightly weeds, and the weeds that aren't crushed won't get enough light to grow. But after a season or two, something else happens. Weeds find their way up through the cracks - just like they do in the cracks in concrete, and they're stronger than ever.

Have you ever tried to pull weeds out of gravel? It's way tougher - you have to pull twice as hard, and if you've ever had the experience of falling backwards once the weed finally gives way, you'll probably have it again - this time with a shower of gravel coming straight for your face. 

4. You Use Weed Control Fabric

See those lines of weeds in the gravel? That's where the weed control fabric is starting to lose its edge.

Like a layer of gravel, weed control fabric will definitely work for a season or two. Then it starts to disintegrate, and weeds find their way up around the edges. What a waste of money (and work!). Instead, lay down some wet newspapers or cardboard, then cover with a layer of mulch. You'll get the same benefits of smothering the weeds for a season, plus you'll be helping the soil build itself up.

5. You Let Them Go To Seed

These weeds have already flowered - meaning they're going to go to seed soon. I'd better catch 'em quick!

Weeds can spread one of two ways: (a) the parent plant sends "runners" along the ground, and a new baby plant shoots up a few feet away (think crabgrass and oxalis) or (b) the parent plant spreads its seed (think dandelions). Many weeds can do both, which is what makes them so difficult to control. If you have time to do nothing else, spend a few minutes pinching off their flowers so they have less of a chance to take control. 

6. You Don't Pull Them All the Way Out

See that milky sap at the end of the root? That tells me I didn't get the whole root out. Whoops.

Many weeds, like dandelions, have a taproot, which extends far into the soil. Taproots are part of what makes weeds so effective - they can draw moisture and nutrients from farther down, protecting them from drought and ensuring they edge out their competition.

But whole new plants are able to generate from little bits of taproots. If you leave any piece of a taproot in the ground, a whole new plant will pop right back up where the old one was. Do yourself a favor - pull the weeds completely out the first time, and you won't have nearly as much frustration as you maintain your weed-free garden.

7. You Use the Weedwacker

You get halfway through May, and the weeds have already gotten away from you. They went from cute little flowers to monsters overnight. Maybe you've even gotten a notice from the city that you'd better mow your grass weeds or else. You freak out, and get out the weedwacker for a quick fix. I've been there. It sucks.

If you're using the weedwacker as a way to mow the grass - getting those tough edges under control, it's not so bad. After all, that's what a weedwacker is designed to do. But really, it's not the best alternative to pulling weeds. If you haven't already gotten the gist of it, weeds respond immediately to threats - by sending out runners, setting seed, and finding ways to live in even the most inhospitable environments. Weeds are smart.

Have you ever noticed how some dandelion flowers have long stalks - as tall as two feet - while others have stubby little stalks, and barely even rise above the leaves? That's because when a dandelion gets cut, mowed, or weedwacked, the plant immediately responds by growing a shorter flower stem. The stems get shorter and shorter over the course of the growing season, until they're level with the grass.

So if you're using a weedwacker to get rid of those pesky flowers (see #5 above), it will only work for a few weeks. Try pulling the weeds instead, and growing something else in that spot so they don't come back.

And, worst of all...

8. You Use Roundup

But wait, you might be saying, if I'm pulling the weeds all wrong, why not just kill them? I'm so glad you asked.

Roundup contains glyphosate, a herbicide that kills just about any plant it comes into contact with (except for crops genetically engineered to survive it, which is a whole different story). So if you're trying to kill the dandelions in your lawn, you'll also be killing your lawn when you use Roundup.  Glyphosate is poisonous to people, too, as are the other ingredients in Roundup. Glyphosate isn't good for the soil, either - it can harm earthworms and other beneficial insects. And when people use Roundup to get rid of the pesky little weeds growing in the cracks in the sidewalk, all those chemicals often get washed into waterways and contaminate groundwater.

One last thing - just like scientists developed crops that could resist Roundup, weeds are now evolving to resist it too. So the Roundup you thought was killing your weeds might not even work as well anymore - and it still causes all the same nasty environmental effects.

Roundup might be the easiest solution in the short run, but it has the most long-term implications of any weed control strategy. Do yourself - and the environment - a favor, and stick to pulling weeds and mulching.

What weeding mistakes have you learned from in your garden? I'd love to hear about them in the comments!

Weekend Links

Another weekend at home, and it was mighty full - waking up at 4 am to catch the perfect sunrise, getting caught up on errands, antiquing, the first farmer's market of the season (!), gardening, and trying a new DIY project. Even Odie's worn out, and that's saying something.

Here are this week's links:


I love this sweater in so many ways...


I saw this in action at a local restaurant (along with the cutest pallet garden). Would love to see something like this more often. Also, I thought this infographic was interesting. Apparently, I should be about 15 years older based on my gardening habits...


I planted a bunch of lavender this weekend, and am already planning on what to do with all the dried flowers. This is pretty high on the list.


I love "template" cooking in all its forms, and am seriously thinking about getting this cookbook.

What links caught your eye this week?

Surprise Date Night!

Mike and I went on a surprise date night last night to the Natural History Museum of Utah. It was a hopping place! Mike was more interested in dinosaur bones (they do have some cool new discoveries), but I was fascinated by textiles and fossilized plants. Of course. They even had displays on how yarn is spun, baskets are woven, shoes are made, and how blankets are woven.

It was a beautifully laid out museum with tons of interactive exhibits for kids (and kids at heart), and we'll definitely be headed back there soon.

After dinner, we went to Vinto for our "usual" dinner of the V Salad and the Tuttabella pizza. Delicious (and gluten-free) as ever!

Weekend Links

Happy Memorial Day! I've been planning on a day full of work (womp, womp) but it looks like I might get a day off after all. Last weekend I pulled weeds until I was sore and sunburnt, and then we had a surprise flash trip down to Moab for a little craft fair. Hopefully you are getting to rest up, connect with friends and family, and of course remember the service of so many to our country.


Not that I need another scarf/wrap/shawl, but this is gorgeous. Also, I saw the most beautiful lavender-colored Shetland shawl this weekend, and now I must knit one for myself. Obviously.


So...I totally don't wear gloves when I garden. It's gross. Usually I scrub, scrub, scrub for a couple days after an intense garden session, but next time I'll be trying this trick.


Not quite DIY, but definitely helpful. The dirty on getting clean.  Also, I am very tempted to buy this book, since I vaguely know all the basics about sewing but can never quite remember the details.


Somehow I'm at that point in the year where my frozen and canned supply of fruits and vegetables is starting to let me down. As in, I saved almost exactly enough for a year, which is perfect, but now I can't just grab random things out of the freezer to fix dinner. I can't wait for my garden to start really producing (and for the farmer's markets to start), but in the meantime, foodgawker fills in the gaps with inspiration for what to do with what's left in my freezer. I've been using this site for so long, I forget that people don't know about it.

What links caught your eye last week?

Happy Birthday to Odie!

(Almost) two years ago, my little guy looked like this:

Now he's all grown up...mostly. He still loves to do silly puppy things, and he'll always be my "little baby puppy."

Odie is two today. We'll be celebrating with lots of playtime and puppy treats. Happy birthday, buddy!

Weekend Links

It's been a crazy couple of, work, and more work, and last weekend Mike and I went to Moab to chill with some friends. Except we didn't really chill, we hiked in the already baking May sun. It was a great time, but I must say, why is everything sore?

Anyways, here's what's been catching my eye:


This pattern. Everything about it is lovely. Color, shape, stitch pattern...


Don't know what to do with all those herbs in your garden? Here's how to dry them.


Loving this honey body wash. Also, I just finished reading Modern Pioneering. It's pretty much a DIY-gardener-cooking fanatic's dream. I highly recommend it.


As always, Shauna Ahern says it best. Recently I've had some scary run-ins with ordering gluten-free at restaurants. She explains why joking about gluten-free people is really endangering our ability to eat well, while managing not to go off on a rant like I would. On a lighter note, this looks amazing (minus the pistachios).

What links caught your eye last week?

Our Italian Restaurant(s): Venice, Part Three

Let's be real. The best part about Italy was the food. It seemed like we started the day with a big spread at our hotel (where there was always hot cappuccino, and gluten-free options for me), and then we spent the rest of the day figuring out what our next culinary indulgence would be. In between, we checked out some famous - and amazing - historical sites, museums, and churches, but it was really all about the food. In this series, I'll share the amazing meals we had, just in case you're planning a trip to Italy anytime soon ;)

 Our last day in Venice was spectacular. We finally found the gluten-free grocery store, called Mea Tutti Libre. We stocked up on gluten-free bread, pasta, and cookies to take home with us, and the guy made some restaurant recommendations - complete with good directions for finding them in the crazy streets and alleys that is Venice!

At lunchtime, we finally found Risto Bar - which is actually a generic name for a type of Italian restuarant. Here's how unassuming it is - not even a sign on the awning:

Our dishes were probably reheated frozen meals, but they were delicious. I had cannelloni beita e ricotta (cannelloni with chard and cheese), and it was delicious. I don't know about you, but it's been ages since I've had cannelloni since it's so hard to find large gluten-free pasta. The dish even made me re-think my stance on chard. The chard was chopped so fine, the texture was manageable for me - usually I think it's too chewy and give up.

Mike enjoyed another gluten-free rarity - tortellini panna e prosciutto (tortellini with cream and ham). The photo's not great, but it tasted amazing.

Best of all was the dessert - a gluten-free tiramisu, which I had been craving the entire trip. This one was definitely frozen and then thawed, but it was still delicious.

 After lunch, we took a gondola ride. Mike negotiated for a much better price - forty euros instead of eighty - though it didn't hurt that we went during "off" hours. The gondolier pointed out the palazzos of people like Marco Polo and Casanova, which are now occupied by banks and insurance companies. It was chilly, and even though it was definitely all it's cracked up to be, we were glad to get off the water when it was over.

For dinner, we went to Ala Vecia Cavana. They gave us a grapefruit juice cocktail and a delicious sampler plate of gluten-free bread with wonderfully crunchy breadsticks.

Our first course was mussels and clams in a light tomato broth, and our second course was pasta carbonara. Both were absolutely perfect. For dessert, I had another tiramisu, which was exactly the same as the one at Ristobar, but with a lovely presentation.

If you ever make it to Venice, I definitely recommend  stopping by Mea Libera Tutti, Ristobar, and Ala Vecia Cavana. 

That's it for our Italian Restaurants! To see all of the places we dined while in Italy, just click here.

Our Italian Restaurant(s): Venice, Part Two

Let's be real. The best part about Italy was the food. It seemed like we started the day with a big spread at our hotel (where there was always hot cappuccino, and gluten-free options for me), and then we spent the rest of the day figuring out what our next culinary indulgence would be. In between, we checked out some famous - and amazing - historical sites, museums, and churches, but it was really all about the food. In this series, I'll share the amazing meals we had, just in case you're planning a trip to Italy anytime soon ;)

On our second day in Venice, we visited the island of Murano, where the famous Murano glass is made. After our visit, Mike was hungry for lunch, but I wasn't so we went to a dive bar where he had pasta that was definitely microwaved. Eeek!

For a dinner appetizer, we stopped at what looked like a chain - Rosso Pomodoro, where we had some wine and a meat and cheese appetizer. 

But it was at a restaurant called Muro Venezia San Stae where we learned a new trick for ordering gluten-free food at Italian restaurants. Previously, we had always asked if the restaurant could do gluten-free, and heard either "no" or only "pizza and pasta." There was even one restaurant where the owner wouldn't feed me a salad because it wasn't pizza or pasta! This time, we decided what we wanted to eat - fish, since we were in Venice, after all - and asked the waitress which dishes could be made gluten-free.  We wound up with the most delicious salmon drenched in a creamy white wine sauce with herbs. What a win!

Next week: Our last day in Venice, two delicious meals, and a gluten-free grocery store!

Gluten-Free Tucson

Impossible cacti, blazing heat, mountains ... and great gluten-free food. Mike and I hopped down to Tucson for a weekend to celebrate a friend's wedding. After stepping off the plane, we headed over to Piezano's for a gluten-free pizza. We were the only ones in the restaurant, so the guy running the show was more than happy to make us a half "big and meaty" and half Hawaiian pizza. We inhaled it, and didn't regret it one bit.

Then it was time for the rehearsal, and rehearsal dinner at the Old Pueblo Grille, where we had a lovely cocktail hour and sat down to dinner. I had the Avocado Chicken, which they made specially gluten-free for me, and it was mighty tasty.

When we booked our hotel, the Hacienda del Sol, I knew it would be nice, not just because of the price tag, but because they made a note that I'm gluten-free for their in-house restaurants, "just in case" I decided to dine with them. I did - while Mike was out with the groom before the wedding, I ordered myself room service - my very first room service ever.

It was a salmon salad, and the hostess made sure to check with the chef before even placing the order, just to make sure it was totally gluten-free. It was, and I was so glad. The salmon was delicous - grilled to a crisp on the outside, but still moist and tender on the inside. The dressing was good too - light and creamy and just right. At first, I thought the corn was raw, it was so sweet and crisp, but it was actually charred a bit on the grill, then chilled. Yum!

Finally it was time for the main event, which was absolutely beautiful. After the ceremony, we headed back to the hotel, where the reception was, for a wonderful party. We checked with the servers, who checked and assured us that all the menu items for the evening were gluten-free! We had steak and salmon, and both were amazing.

The next morning, we trudged over to the airport to go home. I didn't expect to find much, so I was pleasantly surprised to find Cibo Express Market at the Tucson airport. They had a range of gluten-free snacks, and some were even nut-free. My favorites were these gluten-free cookies that tasted just like Pepperidge Farms Milano cookies. They even had healthier options, like red pepper-artichoke spread, and cut fruit.

I'm sure we'll be heading back to Tucson soon. Have you eaten gluten-free there?

Weekend Links

We had a wild weekend over here...well, in Tucson, anyways. We went for a friend's wedding and had a blast. The best part, besides watching two amazing people tie the knot? I was able to eat gluten-free at every meal, including the wedding dinner. More on that later. Anyways, it was great seeing old friends, making new friends, and celebrating looooove. Now it's back to work and real life!

Here are this week's links:


Because I can never remember which way the yarnover goes. (You'd think, after almost 15 years of knitting, I could remember a thing or two about it!)


I'll be consulting this website to try and identify some more of my weeds next weekend. After a couple of weeks away from home, they're starting to take over...again.


I tried to do a photo transfer like this way back in high school, and it didn't work so well. I'm excited to maybe try it again. Also, I'm thinking of making some DIY air freshener, because the canned stuff smells...canned.


It's going to be another crazy-busy couple of weeks at work, but I still want to do everything I can to eat real food. You can bet I'll be consulting this list for quick meal ideas.

What links caught your eye last week?

Our Italian Restaurant(s): Venice, Part One

Let's be real. The best part about Italy was the food. It seemed like we started the day with a big spread at our hotel (where there was always hot cappuccino, and gluten-free options for me), and then we spent the rest of the day figuring out what our next culinary indulgence would be. In between, we checked out some famous - and amazing - historical sites, museums, and churches, but it was really all about the food. In this series, I'll share the amazing meals we had, just in case you're planning a trip to Italy anytime soon ;)

If you're planning on going to Venice, plan on getting lost! There are some real gems of restaurants, and some are easier to find than others. 

On our first day in Venice, lost and after having a seafood lunch (pasta, sea bass, tomato, scallion, and wilted arugula) that made us both a little queasy, Mike and I were not in the mood for more pizza and pasta. We were looking for "Bar Risto" which was incredibly difficult to find - and not in the plaza where it was supposed to be. Grr. We finally settled on a restaurant called Pane Vine e San Daniele, a name that made me nervous since pane means "bread," but it turned out to be a good choice.

The restaurant had gluten-free crackers, which turned out to be tasty, and we munched on them while we split a divine plate of cheese - mozzarella, burrata, smoked ricotta, and another soft, creamy cheese. We also split a plate of the house ham, which was a type of prosciutto.  It came out with a pickled onion and pickled shallot - both of which were delicious.

While our meal was not exactly a "normal" dinner, it was a combination of some of my favorite foods - cured meat, cheese, and red wine. Happy with our choice to stray from the ordinary, Mike and I meandered back to our hotel.

Next week: Another mediocre lunch, but a discovery about how to order something other than gluten-free pizza and pasta!

Weekend Links

Mike and I had quite the adventure last weekend - we'd planned on hiking all day in Moab, but it was windy and rainy, so we popped down to Grand Junction for a few wine tastings. It was a busy day with a lot more driving than we'd planned on doing, which was fine since it meant more time for knitting! I've been caught up reading the Divergent novels, and am waaaay behind in my blog-reading, but here's what managed to catch my eye this week:


Wool People Vol. 7 is here, and of course I'm in love with all of it, but especially Seacoast.


I'm a little bit sick of paper towels and pre-moistened wipes, but not ready to completely give them up. This is a great idea, though I might use old clothes that are too raggedy for even the thrift store - like hubby's undershirts! Also, I'm filing away this tutorial on how to make a silicone mold. Would be great for soap molds!


This is pretty timely for me - I'm busily working on making the outer perimeter of our garden look appealing for the neighbors (and me). I especially love the last one - edible treats tucked away into decorative plantings.


This salad looks perfect. The end.

What links caught your eye this weekend?

Don't Pull Those Weeds Yet! 5 Ways Weeds Can Help You Grow A Better Garden

Happy Earth Day! I don't know about you, but this is the time of year when I'd rather be playing in the garden than anywhere else. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, plants are starting to grow...including the weeds.

If your garden is anything like mine, weeds are starting to pop up all over the place. And while it's best to pull them before their root systems get too established, every year I take some time to look at the weeds to see what they're trying to tell me about my garden.

One clump of weeds that got away from me last year

Just like any other plant, each species of weed tends to have a preference about where it will grow. And, believe it or not, weeds can actually be beneficial to your garden - if you're not growing anything else!

1. Weeds Prevent Soil Erosion

To me, this seems like weeds' primary function. Often, weeds grow where nothing else will grow, and they do a darned good job at it. Sure, they're annoying when they pop up in the middle of your lawn or vegetable patch, but that's just a side effect of their primary directive.

If you're not planning on putting another plant in a weed's place, you're just opening up your precious topsoil to erosion. Not only will your soil lose nutrients, but you risk soil runoff and dust in your eyes whenever the wind starts blowing.

2. Weeds Absorb and Recycle Nutrients Back Into the Soil

Secondary to preventing soil erosion, weeds actually use the nutrients in the soil. Sure, that's annoying when they're competing with your precious rosebushes, but weeds also help break down tough soil, and when they die they give those stolen nutrients back to the soil. Circle of life, baby!

3. Weeds Can Tell You If The Spot is Bright or Shady

Some weeds seem like they can grow just about anywhere. (I'm looking at you, dandelion!) But others have preferences for sunny spots while others prefer shade. As best you can, identify what kind of weeds you have in each section of your garden. Try to find out as much as you can about their preferences, if they have any. For example, wild violets prefer shade, while bindweed tends to like sunny spots.

Once you've identified your weeds' light preferences, you'll know whether you can really plant that full sun annual in that spot. I find this method a lot more useful than trying to look at the spot and decide if it's mostly sunny or mostly shady.

4. Weeds Can Tell You The Moisture Content of the Soil

Just like their preferences for sun and shade, weeds have preferences for moisture. Sure, water is essential to life, but some weeds thrive in drier conditions while others prefer it to be nice and moist. For example, chickweed and nutsedge grow in moist soil, while purslane and black medic grow in dry soil.

When you know the basic moisture content of your soil, you can adjust your watering schedule to both meet the needs of your plants and thwart your weeds.

5. Weeds Can Tell You If Your Soil Is Healthy

Lastly, some weeds thrive in poor soil where nothing else can live, while other weeds love rich, healthy soil. Chickweed, red clover, and stinging nettle, all love rich soil, while daisies, red sorrel, and plantain thrive in poor soil.

Knowing how healthy your soil is can help you decide what plants will thrive best in your garden, and whether to amend your soil.

After playing detective with your weeds, it's finally time to pull them all out - as long as something else is ready to take their place! Weeds really are amazingly helpful, if you know how to read the messages they're sending!

Weekend Links

I hope you all had an awesome Easter weekend! We kept busy - there was knitting, errands, yardwork galore, three restaurant meals (more than we normally have in a month), and a movie. And we experienced our very first earthquake - a 3.2 about 30 miles away from us. I heard the porch creak, then it felt like the house was on a wave of water. Mike and I looked at each other and said, was that an earthquake? Wild. Anyways, here's what caught my eye this week:


I haven't forgotten that I've pledged to knit sweaters this year. Right now, I'm plugging away at my socks and a stealth pattern, but I am loving vintage sweaters and sweaters with lace panels right now.


I'm loving the idea of these DIY infused balms. The infused oils would be fun to try in soaps, as well.


I spent the weekend prepping a new flower bed using this technique. I have another (normally very weedy) spot in the garden where I've used this cardboard/mulch technique, and it's cut down on my weeding time substantially. Win! Also, I'm seriously considering sweet potatoes this year, not just for the food, but for the groundcover as well.


This recipe reminds me of a sandwich I used to love to grab at work. Sadly, the restaurant has left the area, so I'll have to settle for making my own.

What links caught your eye this week?

Leftover Success

Mike and I went to Pasta Jay's on our way back from Grand Junction, and we each got a gluten-free dish. (Here's my review.)

Anyways, the serving sizes are big enough for us to split, so we had some leftover. Mike's leftover pasta lunch became my dinner - with the addition of some frozen peas and grated Parmesan cheese on top.


Our Italian Restaurant(s): Florence, Part Four

Let's be real. The best part about Italy was the food. It seemed like we started the day with a big spread at our hotel (where there was always hot cappuccino, and gluten-free options for me), and then we spent the rest of the day figuring out what our next culinary indulgence would be. In between, we checked out some famous - and amazing - historical sites, museums, and churches, but it was really all about the food. In this series, I'll share the amazing meals we had, just in case you're planning a trip to Italy anytime soon ;)

The Club House might have had our favorite pizza ever, but Giannino in San Lorenzo had the most and best to offer for a gluten-free eater. It was so good, we went there twice.

Both times, we split this amazing caprese salad. It came out on a bed of raddichio and frisee, and had the freshest tomatoes and tastiest mozzarella. Mike's usually not a tomato eater, but these tomatoes were so good I had to fight to get some on my plate. 

On our first visit, I had tortellini in a tomato sauce that was to die for. The tortellini was amazing too - it's been ages since I've had tortellini, since it's so hard to find gluten-free tortellini. Mike had ribollita (not gluten-free), and said it was awesome.

Our waiter even brought us gluten-free bread - a roll about the size of a hot dog bun, split lengthwise and darkly toasted. It, too, was very good.

On our second visit, we split a gluten-free prosciutto pizza. It wasn't as good as the pizza at the Club House, but it was still very tasty.

Hats off to Giannino in San Lorenzo for two delicious gluten-free meals!

Next week: Venice!

Gluten-Free In Moab, Utah

On a recent trip to Moab, Utah, Mike and I decided to check out Pasta Jay's. We've been to other restaurants in Moab, and were impressed with the level of understanding of how to feed gluten-free diners. Pasta Jay's has a card that explains what can be made gluten-free and what can't. Basically, they have a gluten-free pizza crust and keep gluten-free penne in stock.

Mike got the Alfredo d'Madeline - pasta in alfredo sauce with chicken and broccoli. Normally, I'm not much into alfredo sauces, but this one was amazing, and I couldn't keep my fork away from his plate.

I got the Josephina pizza - topped with crumbled sausage and roasted bell peppers. It was pretty tasty, too.

We both stuffed ourselves and still had enough leftovers to feed us both for dinner later that night.  We're adding another tried and true spot to our list of great places to eat gluten-free in Moab!

Weekend Links

Ah, weekend, how I've missed you. Last weekend was spent visiting baby sheep, gardening, hiking, getting caught up on housework, and practicing the fine art of relaxation.


I'm loving this knitting graph paper notebook. I've ordered one and can't wait to get it! Also


These paisley rocks are just too cute. Excuse me while I run down to the craft store...


I love raspberries - I buy them by the bucketful in the summer, freeze them, then eat them all year long. This year, I'm thinking of growing them myself, with this as a guide.


If there's chocolate on the line, I am there. Lately, I've been cutting back on the refined sugar intake, meaning that my chocolate consumption has to get creative. I'm especially loving this chocolate butter ganache recipe - perfect for dipping things in chocolate but without adding too much sugar.  On the sweeter side of things, this chocolate pudding looks amazing.

First Flower of Spring!

Flowers have been popping up all over town, but this is the first flower to bloom in my garden this year. A daffodil, my favorite spring flower. I thought there weren't any in my garden, but I was thrilled to be proven wrong.

What's blooming for you right now?

Our Italian Restaurant(s): Florence, Part Three

Let's be real. The best part about Italy was the food. It seemed like we started the day with a big spread at our hotel (where there was always hot cappuccino, and gluten-free options for me), and then we spent the rest of the day figuring out what our next culinary indulgence would be. In between, we checked out some famous - and amazing - historical sites, museums, and churches, but it was really all about the food. In this series, I'll share the amazing meals we had, just in case you're planning a trip to Italy anytime soon ;)

After climbing the bell tower of the Florence Cathedral (and being in it when the clock struck noon - you could feel your whole body shaking with the tower), Mike and I headed to The Club House, a restaurant recommended by the owner of our hotel. 

It seemed like a touristy spot, but we headed in anyways. We ordered a spicy sausage gluten-free pizza and nothing else, but it was by far the best gluten-free pizza either of us has ever had. 

The crust was amazing - thin and crispy on the outside, but chewy on the inside. It was so good, I had to check with the waiter just to confirm it was gluten-free. It was!

Somehow, we ate the entire pizza before I could think to take a picture of it. And, best of all, I felt great afterwards.

Next week: One last stop in Florence for the best caprese salad ever!

Weekend Links

Last weekend was an interesting mix. I had to work on Saturday, but then I got a massage. I got to garden on Sunday, but then I had to work. Work, work, work, work, work. All I can say is, next weekend had better watch out!


I have one square shawl - knit with laceweight yarn on tiny needles - that took me But I love it. I've been eyeing another square shawl pattern in a heavier weight yarn, like this one. And this. Basically, if it's Brooklyn Tweed, I love it.


Here are 10 ways to add instant spring to your house. Clearly, most of these photos involve flowers, which is why I love it.


These planters are awesome.


Joy the Baker's April Fool's post about how to be a perfect food blogger was hilarious. I've been cutting down on the grains and sugars in my desserts, but since I can't eat nuts, that means getting creative. This recipe for black bean brownies is next on my list.

What caught your eye last week?

Our Italian Restaurant(s): Florence, Part Two

Let's be real. The best part about Italy was the food. It seemed like we started the day with a big spread at our hotel (where there was always hot cappuccino, and gluten-free options for me), and then we spent the rest of the day figuring out what our next culinary indulgence would be. In between, we checked out some famous - and amazing - historical sites, museums, and churches, but it was really all about the food. In this series, I'll share the amazing meals we had, just in case you're planning a trip to Italy anytime soon ;)

While in Florence, we decided it would be fun to take a bus tour around Tuscany for a day.  We started in Siena, where this weekday farmer's market was going on. I desperately wanted to peel off from the tour and explore the market!

For lunch, we went to an organic farm and winery, Fattoria Poggio Alloro. Let's be real - this was the best part of the tour! Our tour guide went around the bus, checking on dietary needs, and gluten-free was no problem. We started with an olive oil tasting - bread for everyone else, and gluten-free crackers for me. The farm's olive oil was incredible, and I had to resist the urge to drink it straight out of the bottle.

The second course was pasta (gluten-free for us) with a light ragu sauce. The pasta was perfectly cooked, and the sauce was amazing too.

With each course came a new wine tasting - a whole bottle of wine for every four people! We quickly became friends with the people sitting around us as the wine flowed. After the pasta course was salad (with more olive oil), meats, and cheeses. I could just taste how fresh the salad greens were, and the meat and cheese were so good that we eagerly scooped up seconds when they came around.

The dessert course was cookies dunked in the farm's dessert wine, which really tasted more like liquor than any dessert wine I've ever had. The cookies had nuts in them, so I had to pass on that, but Mike said they were very good.

I hated to leave Fattoria Poggio Alloro, but I did manage to take little pieces of it with me: some olive oil and a bottle of their white wine, which was my favorite.

Next week: the best gluten-free pizza we've ever had!