Friday, April 16, 2010

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Yeasted Bread

The kids and I discovered the wonders of baking our own bread--a great way to pass the time on a rainy day (which seems to be every weekend these days...). Izzy loved kneading and "thwumping" the dough, and she diligently monitored the rising process.

See Mollie Katzen's The New Enchanted Broccoli Forest cookbook for a great guide to baking yeasted breads...lots of illustrations and expert advice (+yummy recipes!)


(Sorry, too lazy to rotate the image!)
We have 4 artichoke plants, which have grown monstrously large this past month... I have been so concerned about the artichoke plants overcrowding my strawberries that I didn't think to look for artichoke blossoms (is that what they are?). We ate our first artichoke tonight, and have 2 more baby artichokes that will be ready to eat in about a week. Rigel and Izzy loved dipping the steamed leaves in Veganaise...Yum! Click here for some great ideas on artichokes from our local paper.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Snow day!

We're making the most of this cold, rainy weather at Mountain High North Pole tubing park
From Tubing video
Click the above image to view the video

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Only in Southern CA...

Who ever heard of winter-time sunflowers and tomatoes? My spring tomatoes are invincible--they won't stop flowering, even in this colder weather!

Our peas are just beginning to produce. So far, they have a tasty sweet flavor.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


When everyone is asleep and you have some down time, what could be better than some homemade candy and a good book? Click here for some delicious candy recipes.

photo credits:

Friday, November 27, 2009


I don't take enough time to appreciate just how much of a gift Rigel and Iz are--it's a bit too easy to get caught up in life's routine. I'd like to get better at savoring each moment with these two treasures, and spend less time attempting to balance all our daily details. Beauty is in the details, right? We just have to allow ourselves to be distracted.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Easy Couscous Recipe

We love visiting Shanna's house--the kids get to play with their pals Maz and Ava, and I get to witness Shanna's gifted hostess abilities. She can serve a kitchen full of people an impromptu meal and make it look easy! Maybe she should try opening up a restaurant... Oh, wait, she already did that. One particularly delicious dinner was a combination of leftovers from the night before, and it was so good that I have recreated it a few times since.
It is a blend of couscous, orzo, fava beans, salmon, fresh basil and tomatoes... yum!
Shanna's Salmon & Couscous
1/2 bag Trader Joe's Harvest Grains Blend
1 pkg of Trader Joe's frozen marinated salmon (or non-marinated wild salmon)
fresh cherry and/or grape tomatoes, halved
fresh basil, coarsely chopped
lemon juice
1/2 pkg Trader Joe's Steamed Six Bean Medley or Fava Beans (refrigerator section)
olive oil
salt & pepper
Parmesan (Trader Joe's shaved grana padano parmesan is great!)
chicken broth
Cook 1/2 pkg of harvest Grains blend according to instructions, substituting water with chicken broth.
Cook the salmon (either saute in olive oil, or broil).
Combine beans, tomatoes, basil and harvest grains, then season with olive oil, lemon juice, salt & pepper. Serve salmon on top, or mix in the salmon (in chunks). Garnish with parmesan.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Trick or Treating in University Heights

Halloween is almost here, which in our neck of the woods means it's about time to venture a visit to our neighborly Norbert the Dragon...
photo credit: Norbert's Lair

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Seedlings For the Fall

Beans & Peas


Brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts...)

4 seed trays of 72 seedlings each equates to a lot of veggies... too many to fit into our garden. One entire tray is devoted to tomatoes: Cherokee Purple, Beefsteak, Black Krim, Sweetie (cherry), Garden Peach, Martian Giant, Black Plum Paste, Brandywine & Tigerella varieties. What to do with 72 tomato seedlings? Another tray is all legumes: Alaska, Progress #9, Wando, Green Arrow, & Mr. Big peas, as well as Kentucky Wonder, Contender, Blue Lake 274, and Romano beans. I love the names of all the different varieties, and can't wait to compare the results once they start to produce.

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Coat Dress

I sincerely regret having discovered Fashion Valley's Anthropologie... walking into that store was a lapse in judgement, as was trying on this Blustery Days Dress Jacket
( check out the"wine" color).
This store oozes sophisticated vintage charm with its selection of Country Living-style aprons,
antique reproduction cabinet hardware...

--better I stop there.

If you have a shoe-string budget and a sewing machine, you may want to click here for some fashionable alternatives (though not exactly Anthropologie, a few of these patterns are a worthy distraction).

Sunday, September 27, 2009

...Pumpkin-Time is Around the Corner!

The pumpkin patch at Bates Nut Farm opened up this weekend. Click here to view their event calender (scarecrow contests, Halloween costume contests, and craft fairs...).


Ordering a plate of baby-back barbecued ribs from Stockdale's is on my To-Do list...

This restaurant serves fine southern cuisine (Alabama-style), and is located next to the Joan Kroc Center. Their simple menu includes sweet tea, okra, collard greens, smothered pork chops, seafood gumbo, and "famous fried shrimp." Though I didn't see any pot likker soup on that menu, it definitely sounds like an authentic soul food restaurant.

Also on my To-Do list is this Southern Living recipe for Easy Pork Grillades Over Panko-Crusted Grits Patties. Originally published in Glorious Grits: America's Favorite Comfort Food, just reading this recipe makes me hungry.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Back to School Jacket patterns

So, I've never actually attempted sewing jackets from scratch for my kids, but if I were to be so bold, these Oliver+S patterns would be just the ticket.
...Maybe it's time to break out the sewing machine?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Enter the World of Podcasts

Just call me Jenny-Come-Lately...

Having only now discovered podcasts and how they enhance my iPod experience to the nth-degree, I'd like to share some tips with the rest of my behind-the-times kinfolk.

Rather than taking the responsibility of explaining what a podcast actually is, I am going to suggest all unenlightened readers to click here (wikipedia's definition).

If you own an iPod and have internet access via the iTunes Store, you've got all you need to get started...prepare to enter a whole new world once you select "podcasts" from the iTunes Store menu.
Suggestion: browse through the endless categories and select a feature from NPR. Opt to "view all podcasts" (on your right), and you will be introduced to NPR On Demand. There are 11+ categories to choose from in the left hand column, the "Arts" being one of my favorites. Within this category, you will find podcasts on topics such as books, food, & pop-culture. You have the option of either subscribing to podcasts (which will automatically download the most recent episode and all future episodes), or downloading selected episodes of your choice.
Once the podcasts have been fully downloaded, you can find them in your iTunes library (... if you wish to listen to the podcasts directly from your iPod, you may have to click and drag selected episodes from your library to your device).

click here to access podcasts from NPR's official website.

Some of my favorite podcasts so far: Bon Appetit's Podcasts, Epicurious: Food and Drink, Gardenfork Radio, B&N (Barnes & Noble) Meet the Writers, NPR Music Podcasts, NPR Live Concerts from All Songs Considered Podcast, Washington Post Book World Podcasts, CNN Complete Update... the list is soon-to-be endless.

Finding the time to listen to these podcasts is another matter all together.

(P.S. So far, all podcasts I have selected have been free to download &/or subscribe to... haven't figured out yet if all podcasts in general are free.)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Moms of Picky Eaters Get Creative

If the Goodbyn lunchboxes (bento-style) struck your fancy, then click here to read creative culinary laments from a mother of a picky pre-schooler. This mama baits her child with art--and what child would turn down a meal of hands-on edible arts & crafts? This is even more inspiring than the Sneaky Chef and Deceptively Delicious.

Feeling bento-inspired? Click here for lots of bento recipes (& don't forget to check out Moo Moo Foodie, the mom-blogger's site which addresses picky pre-school-aged eaters)...

photo credits: Bill Watterson & MooMoo Foodie