August 17, 2010

The Places You'll Go

Upon the graduation of my high school's class of 2002, our beloved librarian (and my neighbor), Marilyn Nelson, read the class Dr. Seuss's classic "Oh, the Places You'll Go!" Boy was she right. At 15 years old, that exchange gave me a small thirst for the unknown. This thirst comes and goes, much like that for lemonnade, but this weekend it hit me strong. So, I traveled up to Sequim, WA, to visit cousins I recently discovered lived there.

I took the ferry to Kingston and snaked through the Upper Olympic Peninsula with my old car that just won't die. (Seriously, it went through the Rockies last summer with the majority of my belongings.)

I saw retired Hollywood donkeys. It's quite obvious they're past their prime.

We had a delicious dinner of swiss chard pie and artichoke, both vegetables from their garden. As you can see, they have an elevated patio which allows us to see the Buckhorn Mountains all around us. (See the right of the photo. That's them.)

We watched tennis matches, went for a hike to this spit near their house, had a picnic, saw eagles, strolled through lavender farms, had a long discussion after dinner until the meteor shower silenced us in awe, and I even got to sleep in an Airstream. No lie.

If I've learned anything in my tiny 22 (almost 23!) years it's this: The places you'll go is exciting, but it's the people you meet that's important. Thanks Dixie and Dave for the great weekend.

August 12, 2010

It's a Whiz

I’m surrounded by good people. Parents who send weekly temperatures from back home (highs and lows) to make sure I’m informed on the Midwestern-front, coworkers that unknowingly give me future parenting advice from their shared experiences of child-rearing, a friend who invites me over for yoga and blueberries, and a boyfriend who I’m completely smitten with.

This is not to mention the friendly parking attendant, beaming Whole Foods cashiers, and those nice drivers that let me change lanes in rush-hour traffic. Life is good.

And so are smoothies. Having a significant other that’s away for nearly a month and being a busy-bee during the workday hasn’t lent itself well to interacting with these folks as much as I’d like, and smoothies have been a great alternative. Strawberries, yogurt, cashews, oats, honey – these are some new pals. Now that I’m temporarily cooking for one, my immersion blender and I have become besties as of late. (This interest is second to my new(!) camera lens, whose workings you see here.)

I love smoothies because they’re adaptable to any level of hunger and accept you right where you’re at. I’ve had them when I was ravenous, and I’ve also had them when I just wanted something sweet before bed. Smoothies don’t need recipes, really. But you may consult a book if you wish. I’m paging through Nourishing Traditions right now not so much for recipes, rather insights about which natural elements are found in certain fruits, nuts, and grains. Nothing makes you want a smoothie more badly than reading health books.

I like my smoothies on the thick side, spoonable, and with texture. Some may like a more sippable, pourable smoothie. That’s great too. My ideal smoothie has 4 essential parts: rolled oats, fruit, yogurt, and nuts. Specifically, it's been strawberries, whole milk (plain) yogurt, cashews, and quick rolled oats.

The ratio I would start with is 3:1:1:1 (fruit, oats, yogurt, nuts). If you have an immersion hand blender, whiz these together with a splash of milk or juice to thin it if desired. Or use a stand blender. I heavily encourage experimenting with other ingredients or ratios and drinking this in your favorite glass along with your slippers on. Cheers!

August 8, 2010


Now I've got that out of my system. After a previous weekend spent trapsing around the city with the parents (we had a great time!) and rolling into the airport at 5am to drop off the boyfriend for Italy and then again the next morning to escort the parents off to the motherland, I spent all day yesterday doing nothing but sleeping, listening to her, watching this, and taking a short visit to the hair salon. The photo above represents the stillness and sanity that has been restored in my little realm, minus the exertion I used to slide a Newman's Own pizza in the oven this afternoon for lunch and dinner.

Eventually, I even peeled myself off the bed to procure a hot fudge sunday and drive around for the evening -- you know, so I didn't feel like a complete waste. It was so good -- every lick, snooze, word, bite, sound. Exactly why weekends were created. I'm ready to go for another week or two. Also wanted to share the picture of orange juice as it's pizza's best friend in my world. Beer - no thanks.

There hasn't been much by way of fancy cooking here lately -- namely chopping up veg and tossing them with grains or pasta. My recent favorite is a toss of linguini, artichokes, tomato sauce, and goat cheese. Although my kitchen has been fairly quiet, I did have an exquisite dining experience with a great friend at Sitka and Spruce:

smoked mussels on a bed of marinated fennel and cucumbers // pan fried romano beans with roasted red peppers // rabbit with the teeniest mushrooms // sauteed summer squash with fresh slabs of goat cheese // grilled apricots with olive oil gelato and hazelnut chocolate // Basque galette with local berries
(There were 4 of us and the portion sizes were very modestly European -- no worries.)

Definitely one of my best Seattle dining experiences to date.

I'm sure it wont' be long once I'm back around here again -- didn't realize this Italy trip would be such a cog in my wheel. I miss the guy - especially since today is cleaning day and I'm out one extra set of helping hands. Have a great Sunday!