2016

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Two weeks into the new year, how's it going for you? I've been on my own for half of it as my people were off visiting more of our people. I missed them terribly, but was quite excited to have a long moment completely by myself for the first time in ages...a little introvert recharge, if you will. I had great intentions for projects and adventures, some of which I accomplished, but mostly I found myself sitting still, binging on shows and books and forgetting to feed myself or sleep properly. Ah well…guess that’s what I needed?

Truthfully, it usually takes me about a month to transition to a new year. There are the holidays to recover from and mental knots to untie from the previous year so you can daydream about the year to come. But if I'm not careful I can get a bit mopey about it all, especially left alone in a quiet house to listen to my own perfectionistic, regretty bullshit. My approaching birthday gets me going, too. To get me through it this time around, I'm tying knots in dough. I've been a bit obsessed lately with The Great British Baking Show (which due to trademark issues is sadly NOT called The Great British Bake Off here as it is across the pond). It's utterly charming and inspiring, so I decided to put my hands where my brain is. This month I'm practicing pretzels and using terms like 'cling film' and 'bicarb.' I found Baking is something I've dabbled in over the years (I'm told my apple pie is very good...probably excepting that time I made it with Splenda). I’ve been approaching it all in good fun as a true learning experience, without getting frustrated when things don’t go exactly according to plan. It could still be yummy in the end. That’s how baking is, and that’s how life is, and I would do well to remember that.

if, then.

If you need a holiday treat then make sugar cookies. If you find you don't have an egg then substitute a mixture of ground flax seeds and water like someone on the interweb said to do. If you decide the cookies taste a little weird then make some icing.  If you discover there's no powdered sugar at home then you can try making your own in the blender. If the flavor of the homemade powdered sugar icing only adds to the cookie weirdness, then go to the store to get ingredients and make gingerbread cookies instead.

Here's to a happy and safe changing of the calendar... Best wishes to all of you for the coming year ♥

pie tin

When I was a kid we ate at Marie Callender's restaurant fairly often (are they still around?). Often enough that I have a lot of memories of it. We mostly stopped eating there when TGIFridays came along, haha, but would still pick up a pie on occasion. You could get like a hundred different flavors of pie there and if you brought back your aluminum pie tin you got a 25 cent deposit back or something. When I was really little I thought we were straight trading the tin for a pie...what a deal! We always had a few of those tins in our house...I can still hear the sound of a fork scraping around one while my Papa beat eggs for french toast. One of my favorite pies was the sour cream lemon. I googled a recipe online to try to re-create it. I'm not going to share it because it didn't turn out as delicious as I'd hoped...maybe I had the wrong pie? Lemon cream cheese? In any case, I had fun in the kitchen that evening and enjoyed the memories...from pie to croissant club sandwiches to baby spoons to a funny double date I went on in high school.

Any themed memories kicking around in your head lately?

(Definitely not a sponsored post)

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I'm making chicken stock today. Do I know what I'm doing? No, but it makes the home smell cozy and it will be good enough to make rice with at least. And it's a good experiment. We ate a store bought roasted chicken the other day so I threw the remains in a pot with water, salt, a few carrots, half an onion, a couple of bay leaves, some pepper, some sage, and some marjoram (what do people normally use marjoram for?). I know I could have researched in cookbooks and online, but I kind of just wanted to go for it. Wish me luck!

sort of a recipe

I was going to post this on Mother's Day, but I only had questionable strawberries in the fridge, ha ha. My mama and I are champion eaters and I have a lot of fun memories of sharing snacks with her: eating grapes after hot days at the pool, dipping popcorn in gooey cheese for a classic movie night, NOT sharing bagel sandwiches (it's a long story)... I need to think of a name for the snack I'm showing you today...it's healthy, but not...sweet, but not... it's classy, but simple: strawberries+sour cream+brown sugar. It sounds weird, but it's so tasty! 

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All you need is a dollop of sour cream, a little pile of brown sugar, and some quartered strawberries. Dip a strawberry in sour cream, dab it in brown sugar, then pop it in your mouth. When you run out of strawberries, you'll probably swirl your finger around in the sour cream and melty brown sugar. Okay, so maybe that's not so classy...but you could use a fork?

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Enjoy!

saturday as it should be

I love it when a Saturday turns out just right. We started out with coffee+pastry at a new cafe in our neighborhood called Cassava (if you go: go for lunch & get it to go. Cassava is adorable & so very yummy, but TINY...plus the park being 2 blocks away = picnic!).

Mid day I've been tinkering with my blog a little (new header + updated 'clicks' page).

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And this evening we're having dinner with friends, making Ad Hoc fried chicken...yum.

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What did you do today?

Thanksgiving

Hey guys...how was your Thanksgiving holiday? I know I was already supposed to ask you that LAST Monday...I lost a week somewhere, have you seen it? 

We had the best Thanksgiving! I knew a few weeks ago that we would be tapped out from launching Flora and that we probably wouldn't be traveling to see family...so I semi-surprised Scott and got us Thanksgiving dinner reservations at the Ahwahnee Lodge in Yosemite National Park.  We had a lovely fancy prime rib+yorkshire pudding dinner and spent the long weekend camping and hiking in the beautiful late autumn weather. It was definitely a little strange having non-homemade Thanksgiving, but what a good meal!

I still have some pics to download from my camera (mushrooms & bear tracks!) and stories to tell, but thought I'd share these iPhone snaps...the few I got before my battery was drained by the frozen night!

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book report [a homemade life]

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A BFF lent this book to me ages ago (you'll get it back soon, I swear...like next week).  Lucky me! She thought I'd like it...and I did. I put it to the side for far too long and sort of forgot about it until same BFF was visiting and asked if I'd read it.  I wanted to read this book when it first came out and a lot of bloggers where raving about it..but I didn't realize the one my friend sent was the same book until I finally cracked it open.

A Homemade Life is something of a memoir entwined with food.  The author Molly Wizenberg has a blog called Orangette (yes, she's one of those magical people who, deservedly, got a book deal via blogging. She also got a husband). The posts on Orangette are lovely and clearly from the heart...just like the book. Molly has a great way of wrapping stories from her life around stories of food.  Her stories of food, family, travel, and decisions are cute and sad and wonderful...all well told, and the food sounds delicious. Have you read it?

I'm flipping through the book again now, looking for recipes to write down before I return it to its rightful owner...remembering the wedding in Bellingham, the monster macaroon birthday cake, the so-very-French boyfriend in Paris...seriously, you should read this book. 

[FYI, I link to Green Apple Books in San Francisco and/or Powell's in Portland because they are my favorite bookstores...local, independent, and awesome. They have no idea who I am, nor do they  give me anything for linking to them. Where you buy your books is your business. I also advocate the public library [and the library didn't waive any fines or give me anything to say that]

here's to another year

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Happy Birthday to the love of my life...I hope you had a pleasant day and enjoyed your apple pie and "powerful Welsh cheddar" (note the coal miner on the wrapper...i hope he did not eat coal dust with his cheese. do not note the quality of that photo...I had to take it quickly before you gobbled it up...and I had to edit it before it wasn't your birthday anymore).  I can't wait to see what 34 brings to you...or rather what you bring to 34 ♥

P.S. Good job actually purchasing books on our traditional bookstore date :)

desert roll

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The subject of the [terrible] photo above is the newest menu found at our local sushi spot...the one 2 blocks up, 4 blocks over. See that roll...the Desert Roll? Yeah, we named that.  That's OUR roll.  We went up there dinner one night and were the only ones eating.  The waitress and sushi chef brought us 2 pieces of their experimental roll and asked us to help brainstorm names for it.  And we did...and they liked it! It was tasty too...it's a baked roll with crab, salmon, and a delicious creamy sauce.  Yum.

Lo and behold a few weeks later...there's a new roll on the menu. There's no footnote at the bottom with our names or anything...but we have the satisfaction of knowing we are creative sushi naming geniuses.