Friday, July 30, 2010

the afternoon harvest

Which led directly into last evening's dinner. Quite satisfying if I do say so me-self. Most of the beets were a bit small, but their tops had started to look sad and I think the weather has turned inhospitable to our lovely red friends. I pulled them all out and figured we'd start again in the fall. Which judging by our current weather patterns, should be sometime in December. (WHEN IS SUMMER GOING TO GET HERE???)

In making last night's din, I was reminded of a favorite Deborah Madison quote from Local Flavors (one of my favorite cookbooks, btw):

"When food is cheap we tend to treat it carelessly and wastefully. But when it’s dear, when it costs what it’s actually worth, we tend to pay closer attention to it. In this sense, good food can sharply focus our world.”

I grew those darn beet tops and one way or another (even if it took me nearly an hour to wash all the dirt and bird poop and aphids off of them), I was going to enjoy every last leafy morsel. When I buy my beets at the market, I often ask for the tops off, even though I do love them, because I sometimes can't deal with the cleaning and trimming and preparing. But when you grow your own food, it becomes so precious that you can't help but put in the extra effort in the kitchen.

Hence, sauteed beans and greens with garlic and butter + roasted beet and carrot salad with avo and lime + quinoa (of course) + and a teeny pile of chickpeas for protein.

You should see Brock's face when I concoct a dinner like this. He's like, "We're having what exactly?" You'd think I'd offered him a plate of cheeze whiz and noodles. (Just kidding, my love. Sort of.)

(Look familiar?)

But he does his best to enjoy. And I always say, "But aren't you IMPRESSED that I GREW all of this????" He is. He'd just prefer it if I grew margarita pizzas and everything bagels. But I haven't figured out how to do that yet.

I'm leaving on Sunday for Yosemite for the week with my whole family, so posts might be light, or lighter than usual. But I may pop in with some photos. Ahh vacation. Or as my family likes to call it "Death by Vacation." I'm sure some of you out there can relate. But we always have a big time.

Have a most excellent weekend.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Those pickles

So, the pickle recipe isn't actually printed online anywhere (that I could see). There is a pickle recipe on Jamie's site that I'm sure is plenty good, but I haven't tried it myself so I can't vouch for sure. Though as we all know, everything Jamie makes is delicious.

This recipe is from Jamie at Home and it's pretty darn divine. I will say that I read it and then kind of improvised with what I had so bear with me as I try to remember what I did.

Pickles from the garden

(I think I made a half recipe, actually. But this is the full.)

for the pickling liquid
1 quart cider or white wine vinegar (I used plain vinegar)
1 quart water
2 T salt

for the pickling marinade
2 cups extra virgin olive oil
5 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and chopped (I used a jalapeño because that's what I'm growing at the moment)

for the veg, choose one of the following

*I used cukes, mint, thyme, parsley, and chives

but Jamie recommends either

2 pounds mixed mushrooms and a few springs of fresh thyme, rosemary and sage

2 pounds firm eggplant and 2 T dried oregano

2 pounds firm zucchini and 6 springs fresh mint

2 pounds fennel bulbs and their herby tops

2 pounds small onions and 4 bay leaves

2 pounds red and yellow peppers and a few springs fresh thyme

To make:

If you're going to can, make sure you have some small sterilized jars ready to go. Though I haven't canned this recipe yet so again, can't vouch, but I'm sure it's fine.

Bring pickling liquid ingredients to a boil in a big pan. Put the pickling marinade ingredients into a large bowl with your chosen herbs and mix well. Slice up your chosen vegetables any way you like (I used a mandoline for the cukes), but if it's a larger vegetable try to get the thickness around 1/2 inch. This way the flavors and liquid will penetrate sufficiently and evenly.

Place sliced veg in the boiling pickling liquid and leave for 3 minutes or so - the veg might rise to the surface so keep pushing them down with a wooden spoon. Lift the pieces out with a slotted spoon and place them in your bowl of pickling marinade. Toss them together.

Straightaway, put the hot veg and pickling marinade into your sterilized jars. If you're just making one big jar to store in the fridge, you just need one jar. Which is what I did. Fill to the very top. Cover the veg completely with the marinade. I acutally added a lot of the vinegar mixture as well because I wanted them to taste more picklely. But if you do this, I think you would have to actually boil the finished jars to ensure sterilization? I like to err on the side of caution.

If you follow Jamie's recipe exactly, you would just "put the jars to one side" (not sure if this means lay them on their side or just put them aside?), wipe the jars clean and label them as you like. Store in a cool, dark place and if possible wait at least 2 weeks to open. Though he also says this is close to impossible due to their deliciousness. I started eating mine right away because they were just in the fridge, tempting me.

He says they'll last up to three months.

Try them. The herbs and garlic and chilli combo is very yum.

(ps. I will report back if I make them with just the oil).

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Lily's Scamp

This is perhaps the best before/after I've seen in a while. Plus it's a freakin' adorable little marshmallow of a trailer. You've perhaps seen it on Lily's blog? If not, here:

It started as this:

And turned into this:

Le wow.

You can see the whole process on Big Bang Studio, and follow Lily and her hubs across the country before they set out for India. Again. Wow.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


I would say "weekend" but the lines between week and weekend are awfully blurry as of late. I seem to be in the habit of blogging Tuesday - Thursday, which is less than I hope to but sometimes all I can manage.

But look at these things I took pictures of over the "weekend":

Dashiell has his first taste of "food". Which is actually this flakey instant rice stuff that you mix with breastmilk until it's basically like milk soup. Supposedly it's whole grain, though I didn't see anything wholesome about the box of white flakes. Can't wait until I can make my own millet cereal for him. Yummm.

We have a miniature Easter Island sort of situation going on along the bike path where we run. There are literally hundreds of these balanced rock sculptures lining the Ballona Creek. Creek should actually be "creek" (lot's of quotes in this post) because it's actually an inlet/outlet from the marina, but whatever. And I've seen the guy who makes them. He's out there every day stacking and stacking and stacking.

Finally got around to finishing the bumper for Dashiell's crib. I'm in love the fabric. It's vintage Marimekko I found at Lincoln Fabrics, of which I proceeded to purchase ever last inch last December. I'm not so in love with my sewing skills, but those could potentially improve.

Also of note, cooking from the garden. I'm on my second batch of Jamie Oliver's pickles. They are amazing. I think I'm going to try green beans next. And then make small jars of cukes for xmas presents. Might as well get ahead while the garden is giving.

And we made it out to the otheroom for a little rosé in celebration of Melanie's birthday. Do you want to hear how nice my husband is? We were supposed to switch off pushing Dashiell around Abbot Kinney so we could each have a dllinkkity-dllrink, but I was so ecstatic to be out in the world, sipping chilled wine and socializing with other adults that he let me stay in the bar the whole time.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Jess Brown dolls

I'm continually amazed at the sheer number of talented people who populate the internet. Christina posted these cute dolls from Jess Brown the other day:

Quite lovely for her baby girl on the way. So much nicer than the plastic-headed ladies out there. But then again, as much as you want to steer your child in the direction of toys that YOU like, it seems they have a mind of their own when it comes to picking favorites.

Somebody buy one of these for their little one, pls.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

a music video of your birth

This might be the next big thing since the Super 8 wedding vids.

Leo Hart from The Panic Room Videos on Vimeo.

(couldn't embed the actual video here).

A gorgeous end to the Walk to 40 weeks series on Pacing the Panic room. Such a pretty memory from their son's birth and the music is spot on. Keep in mind this woman has been in labor for 50+ hours. And she still looks completely beautiful and in control to the very end. Maybe I DO need a home water birth for the next babe? Or perhaps a doula who is very skilled with the video camera.

I don't think I looked anything like this. More like a very freaked out rodeo horse. I shall file this away as inspiration, at the very least.

weekend plus

A few late pictures from the weekend:

Giant milkweed seed pods:

Purple beans from the garden:

Turned into marinated bean salad a la J. Oliver:

We've been roasting peppers a lot too:

And we took Dashiell to the beach and let him roll around semi-neked on the blanket:

Here he is, all 5 months of him:

Man, it really does go by fast. He's just recently found the lower register of his voice. Which means he spends all day going, "heh. heh. heh. heh. heh. heh. heh. heh."

It's hilarious. And to his mama, pretty much the cutest thing ever.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Yummy Tummy baby food

Saw this at the Venice farmer's market on Friday:

Super fresh organic baby food! This is really only a good post if you live here because as far as I can tell, you can't buy it anywhere else so far. But I was mostly inspired by her pretty jars full of bright food. Her site has a list of some of her flavors, which might good to reference if you're into making your own.

I cannot WAIT to make baby food in all sorts of delicious combinations. We're getting close, but I have to say I'm not sure if I'm ready, weirdly. That will mean my baby is so big! Of course the lure of better sleep with baby cereal is tempting.

Also learned one v. interesting bit of information. She makes young coconut baby food, which is totally delicious. I tasted it. But more importantly it has a nutrient (I forget what it is) that is only found in young coconuts and breast milk. Isn't that cool? So if you are feeding your baby formula for one reason or another, you could supplement them with a bit of pureed coconut too.

My friend Ami recommended Super Baby Food as a good reference for making your own. So far it seems to have lots of great info. Ami, btw, makes insanely delicious sounding food for her daughter Lila. Like sweet potatoes with cumin and ginger. I would totally eat that.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Rifle does a recipe box

Which I very badly need. Want is not the appropriate word. Need.

And she of course makes pretty recipe cards too. I already sent the link to Brock. Like, um, dear husband? If you were perchance looking to buy me a gift in the the near future? This would be the one.

Friday, July 16, 2010

some things for Friday

After a solid hour or so of internet surfing yesterday. Oopsies! Haven't done that in a while. Sometimes I miss those days of tireless trolling of the internets.

But look what I found:

These cute fabrics from Umbrella Prints on Etsy:

This cute honeycomb teething toy from Asher Jasper... also, shockingly on Etsy:

Wait one more from etsy, cute city prints would make nice decor in a kids room:

Pretty cake plates from Ninainvorm (etsy):

This very studly track jacket on super sale at Polarn O. Pyret (am currently resisting):

And then there's this book I spotted in the new Martha. Pretty sure I need it.

I'm not going to count how many times I said cute in this post.

Hope you all have a hot hot weekend, with lots of delicious cocktails to cool you down. I'm hoping to scratch around a bit in the garden and give my baby 1mm kisses. He is getting to be pretty unbearably cute, if I do say so myself.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Bugaboo vs. BOB - a stroller review

I think it's safe to say that when you're excited about a stroller comparison for your blog, you are officially moving into mommy blogging territory. Whoops! When did that happen?

But I'm so beside myself with joy now that we have a BOB that I had to share. Mostly because for other pregnant ladies out there, I thought you might enjoy a comparison.

I shall begin by saying that I am coming from a v. biased place at the moment. We got our BOB on Friday and I haven't so much as sniffed in the direction of the Bugaboo since then. But I will also say that the Bugaboo is a great stroller. It's gorgeous and smooth and fun to drive and served as Dashiell's bed for his first 4 months. Which is why I thought this post might be helpful for moms to be who are pondering the great stroller debate.


Love it because it's convertible. We used the bassinet as a bed for 4 months and snapped the carseat on the wheels when we needed a stroller. I felt so smug about not buying a separate bassinet for the house, especially since our house is tiny and we don't need anymore furniture. I highly recommend this option if you plan to buy a Bugaboo or any of the other stroller systems out there. It's also great for walking around town, shopping, and light strolling. But it's a big stroller. And when you attach the cup holder (which is essential), beware of door frames and people's pockets. Seriously. the first day I had it on the stroller, I was walking into the post office and snagged a man's pocket on the way in. He's all, "OH, hey hey!" as I dragged him along with me. AWKWARD.

The downside is that it's expensive. And it's not GREAT for legit walking. It's fine, but you get held up by rough road and cracks and such. And I'm afraid it's going to spend many a month packed up in the garage until Melanie and Sky have a baby. At which point I am forcing them to use it as their first stroller because making it the family Bugaboo is the only way I can feel okay with abandoning it until our next baby. Plus, if you're an active person and intend to get a BOB anyway, you might consider going straight for the jogger. Also, it's two pieces and kind of annoying to collapse.


Words cannot express how much I love our BOB. It's so smooth and agile and takes cracks in sidewalks like a champ. It has a massive sunshade and the storage basket is open, which makes it WAY easier to use. (The Bugaboo storage has a drawstring top that is always getting in the way). It collapses like a dream and is just one piece, which makes wrestling with it in the car so much more manageable. It's half the price of a Bugaboo and of course you can run with it, which is awesome. Plus it loves the beach. Because I can't resist posting a photo of Judah and his little headband, here he is on the beach with our BOB in the background:

On top of all of that, it just feels more like me. I think that's maybe the most important part. Finding a stroller that feels like you, because let's face it, it becomes part of your identity. In my heart, I'm an active camping running kind of girl who is happy sitting around in sweaty running clothes all day on the weekend.

If I would have known this before we had a baby, I think I would have opted to skip the Bugaboo altogether and get the carseat attachment for the BOB. But this first go, we are learning on the fly.

If you do get a BOB, I would also highly recommend the warm fuzzy seat liner and the cup holder. Even when it's warm out, the faux sheepskin is supposed to keep baby cooler than the regular seat. But we'll see about that now that summer has set upon us with a vengeance.

Last week it was 64 and overcast and now it's bright and sunny and 80. Yessss.

That wasn't the greatest comparison, was it? Bottom line, figure out what kind of stroller you need. But if you're going to get a jogger/walker anyway and you don't have endless money to spend on baby things, consider going straight for the BOB.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


We stumbled on the most cutest little garage shop in Encinitas over the weekend, just next to the Hansen's ski treadmill (those of you north county folks will know what I mean). It's called M•O•M and it's full of little handmade clothes and toys and buntings and such, styled perfectly with vintage toys and tables. It's exactly what I thought I'd be doing after I had a baby... sewing bloomers and the like. Turns out, NOT! Maybe some day sooner than later I will finish the crib bumpers I started?

But at least there is one mom out there making things I'd like to make one day:

See, it's a tiny little shop, but just the perfect size for what it is.

Cute bunting from vintage hankies.

Little bow ties.

And sunsuits from a vintage pattern.

And ties.

Standing there I had the perfect "I'm sad and glad I don't have a girl" moment. Sad because I couldn't buy vintage sunsuits and dresses and aprons and buntings. Glad for the same reason. Instead I bought a little set of bean bags, which are the perfect size and weight for little hands learning to grab and carry and other important life skills.

Of course I didn't have my real camera, but iPhone is surprisingly good in a pinch.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

dreaming of camping

This photo in the recent Patagonia catalog makes me desperate to plan a camping trip with my children who are older than 4.5 months. The majority of our vacations involved tents and coleman stoves when we were young, and now that I'm the mama I can't wait to take my babies to the dirt too.

It was always so exciting, making pancakes outside in the morning and sitting around the fire at night.

We're contemplating a weekend at El Capitan Canyon this fall. It's sissy camping, but probably all we'll be able to manage this first year of parenthood. Or if we get really adventurous we might try for a night at Sycamore Canyon, up past Malibu, but that might be advanced for our current state.

Most likely the closest we'll get to camping is a week in Yosemite with my family this August. In a house... but a house in Yosemite which surely smells like fallen pine needles and campfire all the same.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Little Winter

Of course this cute handmade market is in Portland... the land of all things crafty and hip and pretty. I spotted it on Unruly Things yesterday when I was checking up on our guest post we did for Alyson while she's off getting married.

I would love to take a little vacation up that way this year, but we have so many things on the calendar that it's probably wishful thinking. Maybe summer 2011? That's when things free up a little. Which is scary considering how exhausting it is to travel with a baby. I assume it gets easier as baby gets older? And conceivably sleeps more?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

holiday weekend... sans summer

Can someone please tell me what happened to our budding summer? It was mostly grey and sad all weekend and this morning it's raining. Come on! This is July, universe. Pls send warm weather soon.

Some things we did:

Plucked radishes for salad

Took the baby to First Friday's on Abbot Kinney, where we attempted to get a drink at The Tasting Kitchen. They have delicious drinks, btw, with all sorts of yummy ingredients.

We ended up enjoying our libations in the entry, while Dashiell played in the corks.

Walked to our local farmer's market for dinner supplies... this is why you have a stroller apparently.

And had 4th of July dinner with Melanie and Sky in the backyard. Tequila cocktails and quinoa burgers. I can't drink tequila due to an old drinking injury from college and my quinoa burger recipe needs work. But it was delicious and fun any way.

Need sunshine now. Need.