November 30, 2011

Edible Wednesdays: Jam, Tomatoes, Muesli and more

I had a free hour after dinner last night to churn out some staples for the week ahead. I was able to make raspberry jam (from homegrown raspberries that I had frozen specifically for making jam), roasted tomatoes a la G.Paltrow, some breakfast Muesli, a sourdough starter and some yogurt. Yes, in an HOUR (well, the yogurt "cooked" overnight). Talk about multi-tasking - not something that I am known to like to do but you do what you gotta do when free time is of the essence.

Raspberry (or strawberry, gooseberry) Jam (from the River Cottage Every Day):
Makes about 6 cups

3 pounds of fruit (raspberries was about 7 1/2 cups)
juice of one lemon
4 cups sugar

Sterilize some Mason jars in hot soapy water or dishwasher.

Divide fruit in half - smash half of the fruit and leave half of the fruit whole. Add the lemon juice and sugar. Stir to combine and leave for an hour or so to draw out the juices. Transfer the mixture to a preserving pan or a wide, heavy saucepan. Bring it quickly to a boil, stir a few times and boil hard for exactly 5 minutes. Take off the heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Then pour hot jam into warm jars and seal. Store in fridge and use within 3 weeks.

November 29, 2011

Interior Tuesdays: Bathrooms

Bathrooms usually just functional - it takes some doing to make it a pleasant place to hang out. They are usually small, filled up with useful accessories like sinks, tub and/or shower and toilet...not a lot of room to add your personal touch. But these bathrooms added just enough to make it feel loved - a place you may want to hang out in. Weird to want to chill out in your bathroom? Well, take a look at these and you may change your mind.
I like the deep deep tub and rug - white against the colors. 

November 28, 2011

A Few of my Favorite Things

1. Ylang ylang. Mmmmmmmm yummy! This is the most wonderful decadent smell known I love to mix this essential oil with coconut or tuberose to get a tropical feel going on. 
2. Kir Royale cocktail. My absolute favorite drink - champagne and creme de cassis. Can be make with sparkling wine and chambord too. I am not a big drinker so the choices of drinks are quite limited for my palate but this is a winner every time. 
3. Dressed up Elephants. Just because.

November 27, 2011

Monday Memo: Fun Shirts

Some beautiful shirts - if I could afford to, I would buy my clothes exclusively at EmersonMade and Les Amis (in seattle!) but alas, I have to be a little more creative than the average bear. Eih, it makes things interesting and fun :) Plus, almost all of these shirts are un-nursable so they will have to wait for a different time.


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November 23, 2011

Family Fridays: Pooh-Mania

This week has been grey and rainy. Typical PNW week this time of year, so I shouldn’t be surprised. And I’m not. Just disappointed it is here I guess. We have had such a beautiful Fall so far so I was deluded into thinking maybe the nasty raining season would sit back this year and let the magical snowy season take its place. No dice. That’s fine – just means you have to be a little more creative in entertaining your kids. I like to go outside rain or shine but now with itty bitty Sebastien, I need to be a bit more selective. We HAVE gone out in the rain and dressed him in his rainsuit, but he wasn’t exactly thrilled. He didn’t complain too much so a few times a week should be good enough. Once he is walking around (another six months?) we can head out in any weather every day. So, needless to say, we stayed inside a lot this week.

Edible Wednesdays: Sweet Potato Cakes

Since it is Thanksgiving and all tomorrow, I guess I should post something Thanksgiving-ish. But I know you have enough cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie recipes so here is something I stumbled upon that uses the typical harvest crop: sweet potatoes. But with a kick. 

I tried this out last week and it was delicious. For the topping I just used a can of black beans and salsa mixed together. It's what I had.

Recipe from Lisa is Cooking:

Sweet Potato Cakes with Sour Cream and Chipotle Black Bean Salsa

For the sweet potato cakes:
Adapted from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi
(Makes 34 small cakes)
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into large chunks
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 green onions, both white and green parts, finely chopped
4-6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4-6 tablespoons butter

November 22, 2011

Interior Tuesdays: Kid's Rooms

I am constantly changing my kid's room around. When it was just Maya, I think we rearranged every few months. I would sit on the chair, nursing her to sleep and just start changing things in my head. After a few nights of this, I would physically move things around the next day. It is fun. I remember rearranging my room all the time when I was younger. Now that there are two of them sharing a room, the options are limited but I have still managed to move things around a few times. It feels right now but give me a few months...
Here are a few of my favorites kid's room lately:

November 21, 2011

Monday Memo: A Balanced Routine

About ten years ago, I read a book that changed my life. I know, that sounds so dramatic doesn't it? But it's true - it changed the way I look at health. I set off to find every book I could find on the subject of Ayurveda and recently completed the Ayurveda Counselor program. Every class was so inspiring but I was pregnant during the whole program so by the time the classes were complete I had a newborn on my hands and wasn't able to fully practice all that I had learned. Fast forward two years - now I have another newborn (ok, he's 7 months, but that's still newish, right?) and a toddler, which doesn't lend itself to very much free time or any time really to fully take care of myself. So I find little ways to balance my days. Here is a typical dinacharya or ayurvedic and yogic daily routine. I have bolded the parts that I am able to do everyday - with the goal in mind to complete them all...some day.

November 20, 2011

Zara - a video

This is a pretty video - made for Zara by Selby. What a beautiful life, eih?

November 18, 2011

Family Friday: Things that Make Me Happy

This sort of relates to family but mostly it is about me. I was inspired by this post to sit down and write what makes me happy. 

A few months ago, after a particularly rough day with the kids, I escaped to one of my favorite spots in my neighborhood for a solo take-out dinner: the marina. I love sitting on a dock and watching the boats go in and out, listening to the waves and smelling the salty sea water air. It dawned on me that I do not take advantage of this water enough. I am surrounded by it - we live a few miles from a beach (on the Sound), a mile from a canal, another few miles to two get the idea.  I don't use it in my everyday life and I NEED to. I was born on one island and grew up on another so water is sort of an essential in my life but yet I don't actually physically use it in any way. So as I was sitting on this dock, watching the sun set no less, I promised myself to start taking advantage. Maybe throw on a wetsuit and swim every week, maybe take sailing lessons, maybe just get a dingy to motor around in.

November 17, 2011

Coveting Now: Simple yet Lovely

I love everything about this photo - the bun, the color and textures in the necklaces, the shirt falling off the shoulder. Just lovely. Just lovely. 

A Few of My Favorite Things
1. Co-Op Grocery Stores - There is something about co-ops that I just love. The bulk items, the natural soaps, the beauty products, the different juices...the smaller the shop the better it seems as they really have to be choosy of what they carry. Where ever we travel, I also look up where the nearest one is. It feels a little like home and exotic at the same time. Some of my favorites are Mana Foods in Paia and Nature's Health Food store in Palm Springs.
2. Rooibos Tea - I haven't found one here that is as delicious as the ones I tasted in South Africa but they are still satisfying and yummy.
3. Ferris Bueller's Day Off - In my humble opinion, one of the greatest films every made. Scary enough, it turns 25 this year. Yikes. 

November 16, 2011

Edible Wednesdays: Hot Drinks

It's getting to be that time of year drinks by the fire. Here are a few recipes to try out this year.

November 14, 2011

DIY Freezer Paper Stencils

Freezer Paper Stenciling is so easy you'd be a fool not to try it. It is a fun way to add some jazz to those boring ol' plain clothes you have. I stenciled the above onesies for my baby and the "neigh-neigh" on some plain PJ's for my toddler. It is SO hard to find 3T pajamas that do not have a Disney figure on I found some plain ones and added my own design. Pretty spectacular if you ask me. For directions go here. Have fun!

Monday Memos: Puffy Jackets

French Connection
The Gap

vs. Dreams

I am in the market for a new pouf. I have always owned a trusty Patagonia jacket but I think this time though around I may opt for something a little more fashionable. It still needs to be uber warm and it can't be ridiculously expensive. Actually, it can't even be expensive so that may throw this whole mission off but I will browse all the same. Apparently we are to receive our first Winter Blast 2011 this coming week so I want to be prepared right? (Sadly, the reality is that I should just buy myself a real and true raincoat cause that's what I am going need most of all this Fall/Winter. A search for another day perhaps)

P.S. Since writing this post, I went along and purchased a Patagonia puffy jacket after all. If I'm going to spend that kind of money on a jacket, I want to know that it will last forever. And I discovered that I fit a kid's XL which slashed the price down considerably. AND it was in a color that I love and it is just long enough to feel a little fashiony.

November 11, 2011

Felting Fun

I purchased these felt food patterns from this etsy shop a few years back before my daughter was born (you can also find a lot of free patterns online or make them up as you go). I went to town creating a whole assortment of felt goodies. When she hit the 2 year mark, she really started getting into them and they are getting their fair share of use in her daily "kitchen" play. I am going to have to start on a new batch for my little boy as I am sure he will want in on the action too in a few short years. When I will have the TIME to make these is another question but it doesn't hurt to put it out there. If I think about it long enough, I will eventually find the time for it. 
So, may I bid you a very merry weekend and encourage any and all acts of creativity! (It's raining here for the foreseeable future so this may be a good time to get on it)

November 10, 2011

Family Fridays: The Story of Stuff

Hi. This is something that has been swirling around in my head for some time now: stuff. You have stuff, you don’t have stuff, you want stuff – but what I’m really interested in is how much stuff is too much? 

I recently transcribed an oral history interview I did with my grandfather in 1997. The part that interested me most was when he spoke about growing up post-Depression: they lived on a farm with very little luxuries aside from running water (which WAS a luxury given the house they lived in before did not have it) and their meals more or less consisted of the same ingredients harvested from their land. In the Fall, they bought 2 pairs of cords, one pair of shoes, a few shirts and sweaters and one jacket. This was to last them the entire year. It got me thinking…do we really need a rack full of coats and a dresser chock full of clothes or can we get by with a little less?

November 9, 2011

Edible Wednesdays: Khichadi

That nasty little friend, the common cold, has come to visit and he is overextending his stay. In times like these, I turn to good ol' fashioned Ayurvedic/Indian food to get us back up to speed.

November 8, 2011

Baggy Sweat Pants

I forget what movie it was, but the main female character wore these really comfy yet not frumpy sweats. They were fitted somehow...I was pregnant at the time so I knew I couldn't try on a pair but as I was browsing H&M one day I found some that fit the bill. I bought them in my normal size and stored them away for post-pregnancy. You better believe that as soon as fit back into my pants, I tired those puppies on and I LOVED THEM. They are, first and foremost, comfortable, but they are also not the baggy sweat pants you wore in college - they FIT. They somehow make you feel COOL and HIP. Not bad, not bad at all. I mean if J.Crew is making some and they list them under not Sleepwear but, get this, Weekend Wear, than you know it's a trend you better get on. 

Photos from Victoria Secret and American Apparel and Jcrew

She & Him

She & Him Pandora station. Do it. It's unbeatable. The best station I have programed YET. 

November 7, 2011

Now that's Style with a Capital S
Love this. Multiple necklaces, rings, big earrings.  Whoever said get dressed and then take one accessory off was way off given this look. It is fabulous. The rest of the look is simple which balances it all out. I wonder if she feels weighted by all that glam?

Monday Memo: Fun Kid Treats

Above 3 from Meet the Dubiens
Holy smokes. These kid's plates are ridiculously amazing and creative. I hereby promise to attempt this at least once when my kids get a little older. How fun would this be?

November 4, 2011

Family Fridays: The Family Bed

Ok. I get it. It’s more fun to sleep with another person in your bed – it’s warm, it’s not scary and it’s comforting. But, sweetie, you have to sleep in your own bed. What? Why do Daddy and I get to sleep in the same bed? Um…

How do you answer that one? Gotcha.

November 2, 2011

Year 4: Beyonce

Wow. This documentary (only 20 minutes long, watch it!) is amazing. I am a little late to the game on this one since it's been out since this summer but it floored me. She is just so super cool! I then ended up watching her videos for 45 minutes...she has some MOVES. Again. Wow.
There should be a class you could take to learn the moves from her videos...

Edible Wednesdays: Artisan Bread

Artisan bread in five or seven minutes. Fresh bread is the best, is it not? This bread is really as easy as it sounds. I was in a pretty good run at making these every week but then I got too busy one week and never looked back. This is a reminder to myself that making bread is DOABLE. My daughter makes bread every Thursday at her preschool so if two adults can make bread among 8 toddlers, then my gosh, it can be done!

My Dad mills his own flour which makes the biggest difference in everything he bakes, especially bread. I had him mill me a few pounds of red winter wheat during my last visit and so far every muffin and cookie I have made with it has tasted so...right. Real substance and flavor. I will have to use some for bread this week.

Adapted from ”Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day,” by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt coarse salt (kosher or sea salt)
  • 3 cups water
  • 6 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, more for dusting dough (*you can replace about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of white flour with any whole grain flour with great results).
  • Cornmeal
  • 1. In a large bowl, mix yeast and salt into 3 cups warm water. Add flour, and stir to combine completely. Let dough rise in a warm place for at least two hours, until it rises and collapses (up to 5 hours – or even overnight won’t hurt it). The dough may be baked at this point, or refrigerated for later use.
    2. Cover dough, but make sure it is not airtight – gases need to escape – and place in fridge. When you are ready to use it, throw a small fistful of flour on the surface and use a serrated knife to cut off a piece of the size you desire. (The authors recommend a 1 pound loaf – which means cutting off grapefruit-sized piece of dough). Turning the dough in your hands, stretch the surface of the dough and tuck in under. The surface will be smooth, and the bottom with be bunched.
    3. Dust a pizza peel (or any flat surface – I use a rimless cookie sheet) with cornmeal. (This prevents sticking, and adds a nice, rustic crunch. You can use flour instead, but you’ll need to use a very generous dusting). Allow dough to rest in a warm place for 40 minutes – longer (up to an hour and a half) if you use some whole wheat flour in place of the white, or if you make a larger loaf.
    4. Twenty minutes before baking, preheat oven to 450 degrees with baking stone (or overturned baking sheet) inside on the middle rack, plus a shallow pan on the top rack. Throw a small fistful of flour over the dough, slash it 2-4 times with a serrated knife (in a cross, a tic-tac-toe, or a fan), and slide it into the oven, onto the baking stone. Throw 1-2 cups of tap water into the shallow pan, and quickly shut the oven door to trap steam inside. Bake for 30 minutes, or until crust is well browned and bread sounds hollow when you knock on the bottom.

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