Monday, July 30, 2012

Manic Monday

If I had the closet of my dreams, this is what I would be wearing today...
Mix Prints
In real life...this is what I am wearing today. I would do this each week, but I don't want to embarrass myself too much - I am comfortable today though.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Oatmeal Cookies

Tim and I had a hankering for some Oatmeal Raisin Cookies and we were watching Ina Garten she made her famous cookies, so I decided to alter her recipe and make it GFV (gluten free vegan) and they are delicious! I am usually a no oil added gal, and these break all the rules.

1 Cup (2 sticks) Earth Balance Buttery Sticks
1 Cup Dark Brown Sugar (lightly packed)
1 Cup Sugar
2 tsp Vanilla
2 eggs worth of Egg Replacer (mix in bowl and let sit for 5 minutes)
1 1/2 Cup Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
1/4 + 1/8 tsp Xanthan Gum (1/4 tsp per cup of flour - this is used in GF baking to add volume)
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Salt
3 Cups Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Rolled Oats
1 1/2 Cup Raisins
1 1/2 Cup Pecans (toasted and roughly chopped)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Toast Pecans on cookie sheet for 6-10 minutes until fragrant - take out to cool before roughly chopping.
Sift dry ingredients together and set aside - this is important with gluten free all purpose flour as it tends to clump at times.
In the bowl of a mixer, cream together "butter" and sugars until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and "eggs" and mix together. Slowly add flour mixture to wet mixture until well blended.  Add oats, raisins and pecans until incorporated.

Scoop (I use a small ice cream scooper) onto parchment paper covered cookie sheets and slightly press down, then bake 12-16 minutes.  These cookies don't spread too much, I didn't press down my first batch to gauge how much I need to press the second batch - it is slight, don't press too much.

Cool on cooling rack and enjoy!

Happy Birthday Dad

Photo: 9/08 Twin Lakes, June Lake, CA

Today is my dear ole' Dad's Birthday. As most of you may know, my Dad is my hero, the inspiration behind a lot of things I do and a great mentor. Thanks Dad, I love you!

Art on the Street

I am trying to be more aware of my surroundings when walking Korra in the neighborhood. You know how many times you could walk down your street and some of the most amazing things go unnoticed? I have been treating our walks like an exploration of the senses, mainly to influence my writing of silly short stories. The last couple days have produced some amazing finds and I had to take photos.

This first one I will call, The Future of Political Comics - this was stapled to a telephone pole by my house along a main drag. I guess kids are getting more politically active these days...

This one was done by more of a natural artist, the eight legged sort.
I call them Duplex and Crazy Quilt.

Next time you are out, make a goal for yourself to notice a couple new things within the space you are in each day. I bet you will be surprised. I think life gets so hectic and we are so worried about our "To Do" lists and what needs to happen next, that we miss out on life that is happening right in front of us. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

When Life Gives You Tomatoes

I make sauce!

Tim made some a couple weeks ago, yes, you read that right, Tim made sauce a couple weeks ago and it was fantastic. This week was my turn. It is kind of fool proof and super fun to mix stuff together and let it simmer on the stove for hours on end.
My recipe is simple (I don't measure so these are estimates):
  • Chopped tomatoes (8-10 cups) - peeled and seeded as best as you can (mine still had some seeds)
  • One large or two medium onions (diced)
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic, minced
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Oregano 
  • Basil
  • Thyme
Heat up a large heavy bottomed pot (4 Qt) until a drop of water dances around and fizzles out fast. This is a sure sign you can saute without oil. Add onions and saute until slightly translucent (3-5 minutes).

Add garlic, herbs and spices, salt and pepper - toss together and then add tomatoes. Pretty eh?

Cook on medium until the mixture comes to a simmer and then turn down to low and let it rip for at least an hour without a lid.  I like to cook the sauce until it shrinks down about 50% - you can tell by the ring around your pot. I use it as a sort of gauge to tell me how far down my sauce has gone.

I like my sauce a little chunky and not super cooked down so there is still a freshness about it. I cooked this about 1.5 hours and then had to dig in. I put a huge scoop on top of some gluten free spaghetti and it was fantastic.

As you can see, I didn't do the best job getting my seeds out, but I am ok with it. I dream of this tool in my kitchen, it would help me out and save me some time for sure.
After  Tim and I each ate a plate of spaghetti, I still had a jar of sauce left over to use in the next few days. When I reheat it, I will cook it down a little more so it will change the flavor a bit (intensify) for it's next performance.
I can't wait!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Vegan "Cheezy" Polenta

We LOVE Polenta at our house, grilled, sweet, savory, you name it, we will eat it.
I wanted that cheesy, creamy polenta that I know and love, but since my diet has changed and I have not gone astray I decided to try and make a vegan version and you know what? It was delicious!

Vegan "Cheezy" Polenta
  • 4 Cups of Veggie Broth (no salt or low sodium)
  • 1 Cup of Polenta (cornmeal)
  • 1/4 Cup Almond Milk (unsweetened, original)
  • 3 Tbls. Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 Tlbs. Vegan Butter (optional - it adds a creaminess, but you can omit)
Bring broth to a simmer and slowly sprinkle in polenta (this is important so you don't get lumps). Keep at a low simmer and stir often scrapping bottom of pan so it doesn't stick. Let it cook until thick and smooth (about 15 minutes) and then add "milk", nutritional yeast and "butter". 
Top with your favorite sauce or veggies and enjoy!

I made a quick sauce tonight with a small can of diced tomatoes, sauteed onions, olives and a can of white beans (plus herbs and dried red pepper) - easy and quick and no added salt or oil.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Walking with Korra

I am trying to write more each day in my journal (besides my normal update to myself) and rattled this off this evening and thought I would share. A lot of my writing I keep to myself, but may release more into the world if I feel so inclined - today, I feel inclined.

Early this morning we left the house with messy hair and sleepy eyes to walk the neighborhood and for little Miss Korra to take care of her eh-hem…business. The door creaked as it opened proving that it too, was a little stiff from not being used overnight but then the wind took it and slammed it closed forcing all of us to wake prematurely. You see, we are used to taking our morning walk in a sleepy daze, even going uphill we plod along one step at a time until a plant has been watered or fertilized and we can make our way home where hot tea and breakfast will be prepared; that is when the waking up usually begins. At our turning point this morning something drew us across the street, not our normal path which felt foreign but under our hazy veil we were both ok with it and then we saw it. Like a sugar coated toasty golden pillow with red sweetness oozing out onto the cement. Someone had dropped their jelly doughnut, leaving it sad and bleeding on the concrete. There were only two bites missing; enough for the owner of the mishap to get a taste of the tart but sweet filling and get an oily, sugary coating on their tongue, just the right amount to make them want more. What a loss I thought staring down at it, Korra was drawn to it like a hummingbird to fruit.  All of the sudden there was a spring in her step and she was instantly awake as she magnetically galloped toward it and with two words "leave it" she stopped dead in her tracks. She had such a sad look in her eyes, as if to say, "Please, I never ask for anything and I reallly, really want this. I need this. I can't live with out this. I don't even know what it is, but my nose is super strong and I can almost taste the fried goodness of this doughy pocket of jam. Can I pleeeese, just one lick? No, how about a close up smell so it touches my nose? No? Ugh….Ok, let's keep walking."  She begrudgingly gathered herself and we continued walking, Korra licking her chops and my mouth watering so bad I almost HAD to walk to the shop and buy one for myself. You know what, if I would have, I would have given the dog a bite. Well, on second thought, maybe. About ten more paces and we were at the corner of the street  and like a choreographed ballet, in unison we both looked back at the tragedy on the sidewalk. Both of us longing to have our own sweet breakfast. I pictured us at a café along the Seine in Paris, toasting with Café Au Laits and enjoying our morning pastries on crisp white dollies while accordion music played in the background. I am sure Korra imagined devouring the entire thing, not toasting at all to our good fortune but being completely selfish and wolfing everything down not leaving a crumb behind. In my dreamy state, I tripped on my own shoe and was instantly snapped back into reality. We walked the rest of the way home with our heads low, dreaming of eating foods we cannot have but finding comfort in the warmth of our morning routine, tea (for me) and kibble (for her of course).

3 hours later
Needed a change of scenery, the walls felt like they were closing in. Korra and I decided to go and sit outside since it was such a beautiful day and tap into the café's wireless network down the street so I could continue with my work day. The door seemed more loose this time upon opening and letting us out into the fresh air and my legs felt more sturdy and eyes much clearer. Maybe this morning's sight was a dream, I was pretty tired come to think about it. Korra trotted along next to me as we walked down a couple blocks and there it was…the scene of the confection crime all over again in our face and this time in what seemed like Technicolor as the blazing sun had seemed to bake the doughnut a little more and seal the jam to the concrete. The two words were again spoken "leave it" and Korra kept her cool. I, however, was so in my head about who lost their doughnut and how that would have ruined my entire day. I bet they were eating it protecting their fingers with with the tiny piece of satiny waxed bakery paper they use to pull the goodies out of the case and it slipped right out of their hand and landed SPLAT on the ground. Was there a struggle? I didn't see any signs as it looked kind of like it was placed there except for the bloody spray that came out the side. Heartbreaking. The heat had not only baked the red goo onto the sidewalk, it had also brought the smell up to human nose height and it smelled incredible. This time it was my turn to beg for the doughnut. I have been so good. I deserve the doughnut. I'll walk more later but go and get one now. No dice, the voice of reason inside of me stepped in and quelled any sort of combat my tastebuds were shooting at my brain. We kept walking.

6 hours later
Still there but now stepped on. Now I can't stop thinking of who in the hell would step on a jelly doughnut. Heathen!

Thanks Korra for the walks today and inspiring this story; you crack me up and yes, I can read your mind.

Manic Monday

If I had the closet of my dreams, this is what I would be wearing today...
Menswear made Feminine

Monday, July 16, 2012

Manic Monday

If I had the closet of my dreams, this is what I would be wearing today...
Royal & Candy Pink

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Saturday in the City

Sunny today and a nice day to check out some new (to me) shops with my friend Amy.
We started at Pot & Pantry which we have attempted before but due to the lack of parking we had to forgo our last visit.  Lucky this time, there was a Monday - Friday loading zone right in front so we went right in and checked it out. Cute place and super nice shop owner. Some new, some used and some indy foodie publications with lovely photos (Gather, Kinfolk, etc.). I got an old Italian pudding mold which is painted so lovely on the outside. I am going to hang it on my kitchen wall which will soon be looking a lot different.
Here are some photos, but I suggest checking this cute little space out in person.
Our next stop was Flora Grub Gardens which was amazing - there is also a Ritual Coffee Roasters in the back of the store. This is my new "go to" for a coffee date, coffee break, place to take out-of-towners, etc. Beautiful store and super lax staff that let you gawk until your hearts content and take as many photos as you want. A old rusted truck was the first thing I saw, and you can climb a staircase into the bed of the truck to sit and have your coffee, well, I am SOLD.  Here are some of my favorite photos, I took a lot there though, super photo inspiring.
After we were well caffeinated (2 cappuccinos for Amy and a latte for me!), we decided we should eat lunch so we headed out but were sad to leave the sunny garden setting of this lovely place.  We headed over to Noe Valley, 24th Street to be exact as there were some other little shops there we wanted to visit.  We stopped at La Boulange de Noe for soup and salad first which were both delicious.
We continued popping in and out of little shops for the rest of the afternoon and when we were done in Noe Valley we headed to Divisadero and Oak since Amy had never been to Cookin'. We stopped in and it was a chaotic as always and I love it. This time I had a fear I would inadvertently knock one of the precariously balanced piles of treasures over. I didn't, but had the fear and that is enough. It was a lovely day and it ended right before it started getting cold for the evening.
Thanks Amy for coming to the city with a list of cute stores to check out - it was a blast!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Colorful Day

I am trying to mix it up with my style a bit and this was my color scheme today...probably as close as I am going to get to last Manic Monday's post with the red, white and blue.  I might add, it was COLD here today (foggy) hence the long sleeves and sweater.
If you are looking closely, yes, my Snoopy watch is amazing (thanks Dad!).   

Monday, July 09, 2012

Manic Monday

If I had the closet of my dreams, this is what I would be wearing today...
Anchors Away

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Sweet as Honey

I grew up going to my Dad's Aunt and Uncle's house once a summer on Lakeville Lake in Michigan. My Great Uncle Roland was a beekeeper - I always remember the bright white stacked apiary's polka dotting the lawn in the hot Michigan sun surrounded by buzzing bees protecting their gold. One time Roland showed me the smoker and how it worked to get the bee's out of the apiary so I could see the honey comb, it was pretty amazing and obviously made an impression on me.
Years ago I joined the San Francisco Beekeepers Association with the intent of learning to make my own honey until I learned how expensive it could be on top of the fact that I am a renter and to uproot a colony if I moved, would be a bummer.  Additionally, some people are scared of bees and I want to be respectful of the neighbors. So, for now, I respect bees from afar (and close up at times when taking photos) and one day hope to have my own backyard with bees.
With the word getting out that there is a shortage of my favorite clothed pollinator (who doesn't love stripes?), I have noticed a huge boost in bee culture for sure. Everywhere I turn there are books, classes, etc. on raising bees - which I love! I noticed today that Williams-Sonoma even sells beekeeping kits now (and chicken coop kits). If one thing, the crashing economy has taught us to become more self sufficient and grow your own when and if you can.
Here are some fun bee/honey related products that I thought I would share.

1 -  The Bee's Knees tote -
2 -  Honey Comb Cake Pan -
3 -  Burt's Bees Milk & Honey Lotion -
4 -  Honey Dispenser -
5 -  Bee Insect Print -
6 -  Beeswax Candle -
7 -  Van Morrison, Tupelo Honey -
8 -  Honees Honey Filled Drops -
9 -  Bee embossed stationary, with honeycomb envelope liner -
10 - Queen Bee Basket -

Friday, July 06, 2012

Big Fuzzy

Look what Korra and I saw on our walk at lunch today...I had to take a photo.
We also saw a hipster with a sweet waxed handlebar mustache riding a ten speed while running his 2 Giant Schnauzers - amazing! I didn't get a photo of that unfortunatly.

To Rome With Love

Why do I think a ticket to Italy will be purchased shortly after seeing this movie? The scenery alone makes my heart beat a little faster.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Manic Monday

If I had the closet of my dreams, this is what I would be wearing Wednesday...
Stars N'Stripes and an AMAZEballs Ring!
Happy 4th of July!


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