Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday flowers (fabric edition)

Playing with flowers and stripes this week.


These sashes won't be in the shop for a while (um, possibly months, because I'm pretty far behind on my new listings as it is) but one of them will be offered as part of the giveaway for Liam. I thought it would be fun for someone to win the very first one and have it in time for the start of summer.

stripey sashes
{stripey sashes}

I've already entered (did you notice that the Heath set that's been on my wish list is one of the items available? - that would allow me to neatly sidestep the whole hiatus issue, I think). Details are here.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Quick choker re-do

Lately I've been looking for vintage chains at the thrift store. You would think they'd be easy to find, but you actually don't see them that often, so when I saw this three chain piece I snatched it up.

thrift store choker
{thrift store choker}

Sadly, my sense of scale failed me completely here. I got this out of the store before I realized that it is a choker. A serious choker, as in, I put it on as a joke and then started to have a mild panic attack when I realized it was inhibiting my breathing and I couldn't get it off quickly enough because man, that clasp is sturdy. Thrifting life is exciting, you guys. Full of drama and adventure.

I let it sit around my house for several months, which is sad because 10 minutes + a couple feet of silk ribbon remedied the problem nicely. I don't have a picture of me wearing it because it is truly difficult to take a picture of your own torso if you are too lazy to get out the camera tripod.


DIY details: I just made a long braid out of the ribbon and then tucked each end through the clasp ends of the choker, folded them over and secured them with a few stitches (you could use hot glue if you're sewing averse, or simply knot it if your ribbon isn't too thick). I ended up cutting the braid in the middle, holding the entire thing around my neck and then tying it back together so it was the perfect length for me.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Silver, reclaimed

Our everyday flatware is very simple and I love it. But I have a serious soft spot for ornate silverplate and when I saw this box full of mixed pieces for $8, I couldn't resist.

old silver
{old silver}

This is my favorite kind of antique find - it's like a treasure hunt because you really have no idea what you'll find under all that tarnish. And it is some serious tarnish. The polishing process is going to be slow going, because my hands can only stand so much and each piece takes 15 - 20 minutes. So far I've unearthed several pieces of this beautiful pattern, all large enough to be used as serving pieces.

old silver, polished
{old silver, polished}

silver crests
{silver crests}

It's hard to tell, with the scroll-y script, but I think those might be "B"s. But if I squint a bit I can call them "R"s.

There's much more to come. I'll share as I work my way through it.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Shopping hiatus, week ten

Major cheating last week. For the second week in a row. Sad.  Especially because we're in the home stretch.

Ikea cheats
{ikea cheats - 1, 2, 3, 4}

We kind of did it on purpose, too. I mean, I was resigned to the purchase of a new pillow (#2). But then a friend told us he had some extra tomato seedlings that needed a home and that meant we had to make a home (#3). We could have taken a terracotta pot from my mom's stash, but we wanted something sleeker. And I've been wanting my beloved mandarin quat to get a new outfit (#1). He's still living in the black plastic pot he came in, which is apparently not good for his roots. And, having already cheated, I threw caution to the winds and purchased 3 teeny tiny white ceramic pots that I've been eyeing for months now (#4). For tiny plants around the house, which will probably not survive my care.

D tried to excuse us by saying that it was all for the house and not really for us. I considered not telling you at all and hoping no one would notice. But I'm confessing after all.

As far as the pillow goes, the jury is still out. It really is a nice down, but I'm thinking I should have bought the "back sleeper" one, which has more volume. Ikea believes that stomach sleepers need a thin pillow, but I'm not sure I quite agree. I'm giving myself time to adjust.

Things I want to buy:
*Sunglasses (2 pairs - from Zenni - upgraded to SEVERE want)
*Pillow (purchased from Ikea)
*Perfect workout tee shirts (must be thin cotton, loosely fitted, nice and long, v-neck)
*Serving pieces from the Heath summer collection (specifically, the summer appetizer set and possibly the serving and cutting board set - still want, D on board)
*Small rug for the my office (STILL looking on Craigslist - no luck yet)
*New clock for the kitchen area (specifically, this one which D and I are obsessed with)

Monday, April 26, 2010

The weekend, briefly

The weekend was full of little bits of color

fabric swatches
{fabric swatches}

a determined balcony garden (hanging on from last year - original post here)

neglected plants
{neglected plants}

disdainful terrier faces

circe, bored
{circe, bored}

an afternoon walk

sisters walking
{sisters walking}

an attempt to organize my work room

work room, chaos
{work room, chaos}

and a tired little girl bundled up and ready to go to bed.

circe, tired
{circe, tired}

Friday, April 23, 2010

So excited to be participating in ...


Starting today (Liam's birthday!) you can enter by making a donation here (click on one of the buttons in the sidebar to donate). There are so many truly amazing people donating goodies to be given away as prizes and I'm honored to be among them. My offering is in the works and I'll post pictures soon.

Lynn is the creative genius behind Satsuma Press, and her beautiful son Liam has Spinal Muscular Atrophy. You can read more about him here (or just look at the cute pictures) and there is wonderful interview with Lynn here where she talks about Liam and SMA. All proceeds will go towards renovations that will make the bathroom in their home fully accessible for Liam. This is a wonderful opportunity to help a fellow blogger and to possibly win some very fabulous prizes in the process.

For those of you who want to participate but can't donate directly, you can also be entered in the giveaway by spreading the word via your blog or twitter. Read Lynn's original post for details.

Friday flowers

Full blown garden roses (courtesy of my parents' garden).

roses dyptech
{roses diptych}

the week in review

the roses smell amazing
found a route that lets me walk to work
put a new basil plant in the ground

very busy week at work = tired me
tried to make lazy pad thai using TJs satay sauce, colossal failure
no new episode of parks and rec, again. this makes me much more sad than I like to admit

Thursday, April 22, 2010

On being a wedding guest

With summer approaching, most of us have a few weddings to attend and wedding etiquette can be tricky. People who are about to get married tend to get a crash course in it, but the rest of us remain fairly clueless and happily oblivious of any rules we might be breaking. These aren't official wedding rules, just basic advice gleaned over time. If I'm horribly in the wrong about any of it, feel free to disagree in the comments.

dad and claudia
{one of my favorite weddings - my dad and stepmom got married in their backyard a few years ago and had a potluck reception that was absolutely perfect}

Ahead of time:

1. RSVP. On time. Without making the couple hunt you down on the phone. They're not obsessive - they  need to know exactly how many people they'll be feeding.

2. Order a gift or send a card. Technically, you have an entire year to handle the gift situation. Personally, I feel awkward attending a wedding when I know I haven't taken care of it. If you have unerring taste and you know the couple well, buy them whatever you think is appropriate. I actually love ordering from the registry, so I always go that route. Sometimes I even place the order while I'm getting dressed for the wedding, because that's when I think of it. Oddly enough, best etiquette is to send the gift in the mail (easy with online registries). It was years before I realized this and now I understand it, because as a bridesmaid I've spent a fair amount of time schlepping gift boxes around (from the ceremony site to the reception site, from the reception site to someone's car who is later willing to deliver it to the couple). Not to say that the couple won't be thrilled to receive your gift however it arrives, just that logistically it's actually easier if it comes by mail.

3. Book a hotel room, if one is required.  Usually the couple picks a convenient hotel and reserves a block of rooms at a discounted rate (if they do, it's probably noted in the invitation). You still need to call and reserve a room. Just mention the names for the discount. You can also choose to stay at a different hotel if it's easier/cheaper for you. This isn't offensive. 

4. Figure out what you're wearing. This is mostly just for you, because no one really cares what you're wearing (or so I like to tell myself). Maybe it's a byproduct of living in California, but I swear that almost every wedding I've attended has had a vast range of clothing choices. There is ALWAYS some guy that shows up in shorts. Weird, right? As long as you are not the guy who shows up in shorts, and you don't wear white (theoretically a mortal offense to the bride, although I've never had this confirmed) then you're good to go, at least in my opinion.

Day of: 

1. Show up. On time. Enough said.

2. Be appreciative. My pet peeve at weddings is when guests complain about anything. The couple cared enough about you to invite you to their wedding. I don't care if you don't like their drink choices or their linen selection or if you are offended by a cash bar or if you think it's tacky that they're doing a money dance. I went to a wedding once and sat at a table with guests who complained because there was only one water pitcher on each table (apparently you are supposed to have two?) and they felt the wedding colors would have been more appropriate for a fall wedding (seriously). I nearly screamed. Be grateful that you're there sharing the day. Realize that they are many reasons why people make wedding decisions and it's easy to take pot shots when you haven't spent the last seven months dealing with it. If you must dissect the wedding choices (yes, I admit I am not a saint) do it in absolute privacy on the car ride home.

3. Have fun. I love weddings (absolutely all weddings, across the entire range of the spectrum - I've literally never been to a wedding I didn't enjoy), so this is easy for me. If the music is super cheesy, take advantage of it and dance. Talk to people and catch up and don't expect to see much of the couple, because everyone wants to see them and they probably haven't even had a chance to eat.

4. Carry a bit of cash. Valet tips, bartender tips, cash bar - you'll frequently encounter at least one of these things.

It's also worth noting that you are an adult and you have a choice. If you don't want to go for some reason, don't go. Send your regrets and don't stress about it. I think most couples would rather have someone not attend than be there reluctantly (because reluctant people are a bummer).

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Still looking...

for the absolute perfect barbecue sauce recipe. Tried this one over the weekend and it was pretty close, but not quite there.

bbq sandwhich
{bbq sandwich}

Barbecue sauce is a very personal thing, I know. I like it thick, tangy, fairly spicy and a little bit sweet.

That other bit of deliciousness in the picture is a mess of caramelized onions. I used my usual method, except with red onions instead of yellow. Red seemed more appropriate for barbecue.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Shopping hiatus, week 9

Made a mistake last week...

new fabric
{new fabric}

I was at the fabric store (for the shop, not for me) and I saw this outdoor fabric on insane sale ($3 per yard) and they had enough yardage for our outdoor furniture and I didn't even think about the hiatus. I just scooped it up. We found our outdoor furniture on Craigslist last year and we've been very happy with it, but the cushion covers have seen better days. I've never worked with outdoor fabric before, but I think with a heavy duty sewing needle I'll be good to go.

So, I slipped a bit, but I'm back on track and gearing up for the finish line.

Things I want to buy:
*Sunglasses (2 pairs - from Zenni - upgraded to SEVERE want)
*Pillow (meant to buy one last week, despite hiatus, couldn't make a decision)
*New sheets for summer (still want these, but recognize that I don't need them)
*Perfect workout tee shirts (must be thin cotton, loosely fitted, nice and long, v-neck)
*New TOMS in spring/summer color (I'm lying if I tell myself that I'll wear close toed shoes in summer)
*Serving pieces from the Heath summer collection (specifically, the summer appetizer set and possibly the serving and cutting board set - still want, D on board)
*Small rug for the my office (currently looking on Craigslist - no luck yet)
*New clock for the kitchen area (specifically, this one which D and I are obsessed with)

Monday, April 19, 2010

The weekend, briefly

The weather convinced us to finally get ready for spring.

patio furniture
{patio furniture}

Cushions dusted, furniture arranged.

balcony view
{balcony view}

Plants watered and pruned and cleaned.

mandarin quat spray
{mandarin quat spray}

Driving home in the dusk.

22 at night
{22 at night}

Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday flowers

A tiny splurge on a single, heavy stem of orchids.

Orchids are pricey if you plan to buy lots of them, but I love the uncluttered simplicity of a single stem ($4 at the farmer's market) in a brown bottle. Plus they hold up well. I wouldn't be surprised if this guy is still kicking around next week.

orchids, table
{orchids, table}

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Thrifted glasses

I found a set of twelve Duralex glasses at the thrift store the other day for 50 cents a piece. A pretty good steal considering that they run about $3 a piece if you buy them new (in a 6 piece set here or a 4 piece set here).

duralex still life
{duralex still life}

The only problem is that they are seriously foggy. I've already gone through my bleaching routine so I know they're sterilized and they look perfectly normal when wet, but once they dry you can see the residue. Sad.

duralex stacks
{duralex stacks}

I'm thinking it's hard water deposits from the previous owner's dishwasher. I've been reading up on solutions and it looks like I'll start with a simple vinegar soak and if that doesn't work I'll move on to more drastic methods. I'll report back. I'm determined to salvage them because they are truly amazing glasses (made in France since 1939, stackable, handle hot or cold liquids, difficult to break) and they don't deserve to be tossed.

duralex outside
{duralex outside}
duralex inside
{duralex inside}

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Meet Roomba

Although Roomba made his first appearance here on Monday, he's actually been an important part of our household for a long time. For those of you who asked, here are my thoughts:

I've had my Roomba for almost 4 years now, so the exact model probably isn't available anymore. He's a scheduler series and was purchased at Costco (I think he's most similar to this model). Pricey, yes. But we have Roomba instead of a vacuum, instead of in addition to one. And I think he's cute.

roomba moving
{roomba moving}

Why he works for us: We have a two bedroom apartment, one level, fully carpeted, no area rugs. He doesn't take up any closet space, which I love (he has a little dock that sits under the couch). He is low enough that he can go under all kinds of furniture that I wouldn't be able to get to with a regular vacuum, like our bed. Supposedly he works on hardwood floors, but I have no personal experience (sigh - hardwood floors would be heavenly) although he does okay on our linoleum in the kitchen. If you have area rugs, Roomba will get stuck on the edges and try to eat them sometimes. Not convenient.

Cons: Roomba is slow, compared to a human. He bumbles around and it takes him about 45 minutes to completely clean a room that a person could clean in 15 minutes. I don't care because I'm not lugging a vacuum around, so he can take as much time as he wants.

You have to clean him out each time you use him. This involves emptying the dustbin and (much more annoyingly) removing all the hair that's gotten caught in his brushes. He comes with a little grooming kit that makes this a little more fun.

Roomba's battery life is not as good as it could be. You end up needing a new battery almost every 2 years, which drives me crazy, but hasn't gotten me to give him up yet. Batteries cost about $35. You don't have to buy vacuum bags, so I guess there's that.

Sometimes he goes haywire and spins around in circles. So far, I've successfully revived him every time. It's usually because he has dirt on his sensors, apparently. An occasional thorough spritzing with compressed air clears the dust out of the cracks and prevents the craziness (or cures it, if you've waited too long).

Yes, I do talk about him like he's a pet. Bizarrely enough, Roomba is extremely personable. I frequently catch myself watching him while he works. When I'm standing at the kitchen counter and he comes into the room he sort of nudges at my feet to get around me and I find it endearing. It's not just me. Witness the amazing Parks and Rec clips of DJ Roomba right here. Now admit that you kind of want one.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Shopping hiatus, week eight

Week eight went by fairly easily, except that I woke up one morning with a neck that felt entirely twisted out of joint. I've had a new pillow on my list for a while, and I think I'm going to go ahead and break the hiatus this week to invest in a better quality one. D swears by his funny shaped memory foam pillow, but I think I need something different and more downy.  Anyone have anything they love?

unmade bed
{unmade bed}

I've decided to keep a little running tally of my post-hiatus shopping list for the remainder of the hiatus. I'll update it each week, crossing things off if I decide I can live without them, adding things as the urge strikes.

Things I want to buy:
*Sunglasses (2 pairs - from Zenni)
*Pillow (will probably buy this week)
*New sheets for summer
*Perfect workout tee shirts (must be thin cotton, loosely fitted, nice and long, v-neck)
*New TOMS in spring/summer color
*Serving pieces from the Heath summer collection (specifically, the summer appetizer set and possibly the serving and cutting board set)
*Small rug for the my office (currently looking on Craigslist)

Monday, April 12, 2010

The weekend, briefly

Thank you for all your sweet words about Circe last week! It's a relief to hear how many of you have dealt with the same issue. She's scheduled for a biopsy soon and we have our fingers crossed.

It was a chore filled weekend. Cleaning, with my favorite assistant.


Washing dishes and farmer's market strawberries.


kitchen window
{kitchen window}

And a quiet, still moment, sipping tea in a clean kitchen.

kitchen, quiet
{kitchen, quiet}

Friday, April 9, 2010

Friday flowers (double dose)

Huge Easter bouquet (yes, I have pictures of the entire thing, but I like this lopped off one best).

flower tops
{flower tops}

And simple rust red ranunculus for the apartment (in the most adorable 1/4 liter jar that I found at the thrift store a while ago).

rust red ranunculus
{rust red ranunculus}

The week in review:

polished off an entire jar of cornichons in 1 hour, no sharing
made earnest headway on my taxes
had real cream (leftover from easter) in my tea every morning

found a huge lump on Circe's side - we're collectively freaking out*
(benign tumors are very common in dogs, so we are trying to stay calm)
haven't cooked a single meal this week - too tired
realized how much I might owe in taxes, head started to explode

*It's actually hard to detect the freaking out stage in my family because we're pretty stoic in general. No one cries (much) or shouts or runs around in a panic. We get quiet, we eat a bit less and clean a bit more and sleep as much as possible. Basically, we would make the worst candidates ever for a reality television show.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The right kind of heat

I love hot sauce, but I'm pretty picky* and Sriracha** has never done it for me. Luckily, I've found my alternative.

chili paste!
{chili paste!}

Sambal oelek is made by the same company, but it's pure, thick chili paste. The heat level is fairly intense, so consider yourself warned. You can find it at Asian food stores, and in other random places - I actually picked mine up at Smart and Final, of all places. Equally good as a dipping sauce for summer rolls or kefta kebobs. Also makes an excellent addition to cooked dishes that need a bit of heat.

*I won't touch Tabasco with a 10 foot pole, but I have an undying love affair with Tapatio sauce.

**It's probably blasphemy to even admit this while living in Los Angeles. Sriracha (aka rooster sauce) is practically a religion, especially because it's made nearby (excellent NYTimes article about the family run business here). Even if you aren't from LA, you've probably seen it touted all over various food shows. Top Chef contestants are almost universally obsessed with it.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Brioche with chocolate ganache

I should probably admit that I'm not big on chocolate. I like it as an accent to peanut butter, and I'll certainly eat homemade cake if someone is kind enough to offer, but I don't seek it out. Unless, of course, the chocolate in question is coyly hidden inside pastry dough - then it's a whole different ballgame.

I received the Artisan Bread book last year, and I haven't had time to use it as often as I would like. This super rich, barely sweetened brioche was the perfect introduction - much easier to make than my usual recipe (no kneading!) and with the most perfect texture ever.

work horse
{work horse}

You can use the brioche dough for anything, really - the book has several excellent suggestions. I opted for a chocolate ganache filling, because I knew it would go over big with my chocolate obsessed family. And even a chocolate ambivalent person like me can appreciate this deliciousness. The simplicity of the dough provides the perfect foil to the rich filling.

brioche, ganache
{brioche, ganache}

You make a big batch of brioche dough (enough for four loaves) and then you can either store it in the fridge for up to a week or you can divide it into four pieces and freeze it for easy use later. There is something magical about having homemade ready to bake pastry in your freezer, I think. You don't need a mixer for this recipe, at all. I just used my Kitchenaid out of habit. The mixing is minimal and the dough is pretty soft, so you could easily do this by hand with a wooden spoon.

Brioche dough (makes about 4 loaves. Recipe from the Artisan Bread book)

1 1/2 cups lukewarm water (I used milk instead, because I felt like it)
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (2 packets)
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt (no, that isn't a typo, and no, it doesn't taste salty)
8 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup honey (I actually used sugar and it was fine)
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
7 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

:: Proof your yeast (the book doesn't mention this, but I always do it anyways). Mix your yeast with a little bit of sugar and the lukewarm water (or milk, in my case) and set it aside while you measure out the other ingredients. In 5 - 10 minutes it should look nice and foamy on top. If it doesn't, check the date on your yeast and try again.

:: Mix the yeast/liquid mixture, salt, eggs, honey and melted butter in a 5-quart bowl. The dough is going to rise quite a bit, so make sure your bowl is big enough.

:: Mix in the flour, using a spoon, until all of the flour is incorporated. (I actually used the dough hook on my Kitchenaid for this step, for maximum laziness) Don't worry about over or under mixing. It will be fine. The book mentions that you might have some lumps in your dough at this point, but they'll disappear during the rise. I didn't notice any lumps in my dough, but it's worth noting.

:: Cover (not airtight - I just draped a damp kitchen towel over the bowl), and allow to sit at room temperature for about two hours. You want the dough to rise and then flatten out. It was chilly in our apartment and when I checked the dough after an hour, I could have sworn it hadn't risen at all. I put the bowl in the oven (which was just a tiny bit warm, because we'd cooked in it a few hours before) and let it sit for another two hours and the dough popped right up. A nice patch of sunlight will have a similar effect.

:: Put the bowl (still loosely covered) in the refrigerator. You can keep it there for up to 5 days, otherwise you need to freeze it. If you want to work with the dough right away, I recommend letting it chill for a few hours - otherwise it will be soft and sticky and difficult to work with.

Chocolate ganache filling (enough for one generously filled loaf)

1/4 lb bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
4 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon rum (I left this out, because the rum flavoring tends to not go over too well with kids)
5 tablespoons corn syrup

:: Melt the chocolate (you can use a double boiler, but I highly recommend a microwave, if you're lucky enough to have one). Remove from heat and add butter. Stir in the cocoa powder, the corn syrup and the rum, if using.


:: Take the dough out of the fridge and cut off about 1/4 of it for each loaf you're going to make. Roughly shape it into a ball, using the heel of your hand to press it down and then shape it. You're basically just trying to warm it up a bit and get it ready to roll out.

:: Working on a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out into a rectangle. You want the dough to be about 1/4" thick, but don't fuss over the thickness or the size too much. It all cooks into a blob regardless.

:: Spread the chocolate ganache over the dough, giving yourself about an inch of space on each side.

:: Starting with the short end, roll the dough up, thus enclosing the ganache inside. Again, perfection isn't the point here. Fold the ends over the seamed edge, and then place the dough in a buttered loaf pan, seam side down. At this point, I actually covered the loaf and left it in the fridge overnight. The next morning I pulled it out and continued on.

:: Let it rest at room temperature for about 1 1/2 hours - it should rise slightly. The book recommends doing an egg white wash and sprinkling some sugar over the dough at the end of the rise, before baking. I didn't have time for that and it still turned out beautifully.

:: Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. Remove from oven, allow to cool, serve.

My chocolate ganache spilled out the sides quite a bit when I went to serve it, but I just scooped up the extra ganache and put it in a little bowl on the serving platter - the chocolate lovers in the house appreciated the chance to load up.

Next time I want to make this dough but fill it with homemade apricot jam instead. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Shopping hiatus, week seven

No major temptations in week seven. I'm a bit itchy to buy some new tights, because we keep having cold snaps in between summer-like days. Tights are like tearaway velcro pants, but classier. Because I can potentially put them on under a dress and then if the weather goes crazy and warms up I can take them off (in a bathroom stall - not quite as dramatic as the tearaway pants, I'll admit) and shove them in my purse.

{chevron & floral tights from Modcloth}

Yesterday we had a little rainstorm and there was a girl on the bus wearing chevron tights like the ones above from Modcloth. So cute with her rainboots. If I were a bit bolder, I might go for the floral ones and pair them with a white dress. Way more spring-y. Although I'm not sure I could convince myself to spend $30 on a pair of tights, even if I weren't banned from shopping at the moment.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The weekend, briefly

It was one of those weekends where I hardly remember sitting down. All movement, all the time. Our very scaled down (out of necessity, really) Easter turned out perfectly.

eggs, water
{eggs, water}

beaters, dripping
{beaters, dripping}

tortillas + eggs
{tortillas + eggs}*

{easter centerpiece}

shells, candy
{shells, candy}

*Tortillas + eggs is one of D's mom's specialties. It's basically exactly what it sounds like - roughly chopped corn tortillas sauteed lightly with eggs folded in and gently scrambled. (NOT the same thing as chilaquiles, so don't suggest it - a resounding chorus of NOs rise up from Dustin's family if you do.) You can make them extra delicious by adding sauteed onions and mushrooms and tossing in some fresh tomatoes and avocados at the end. We brought our favorite salsa to pair with it.