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Monthly Archives: June 2014

Cherry Pickers

There are multiple (irrational) things that both my children are afraid of, including but not limited to:

Germs (they’ve been brainwashed by Matty B)
Ski boats
Loud noises
Asparagus (at least, today- who knows about tomorrow)

However, these fears are tame in comparison to the ultimate fears which happen to be:

J Man: thunderstorms
Miss Rae: cats

So, we went cherry picking. It was a little sprinkly on the way and we could see storm clouds in the distance. But the cherry orchard was a good 30 minutes from our house and now that we don’t live in Portland anymore, 30 minutes is a long way! So we Matty B and I didn’t want to turn back.

Of course, as soon as we got settled in with our cherry picking buckets, the sky opened up and it poured. Poured!

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Matty B grabbed my yoga mat from the car for the kids to sit on and we covered them up with a blanket and an umbrella. J Man was stressed to say the least. You can tell from the above picture that the wheels in his old man brain are turning. “If I multiply the seconds between flashes of lighting and crashes of thunder, I should have that number divided by pi in kilometers to get back to the car…”

Miss Rae is pretty happy in the above picture. This was about 14 seconds before a cat came ambling up through the orchard, hoping for some attention. Baby girl freaked out.

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It was not our most glorious moment. I’m dubious, at best.

But then the downpour turned to a sprinkle.

And it stopped thundering.

And the cat went away.

And the kids picked a few cherries before discovering a playhouse that kept their attention for the remainder of the afternoon.

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And we picked cherries: rainiers and lapins. I wanted bings, but lapins are pretty close. $1 a pound. We spent $16 and I’m so excited to make:

Dark Chocolate Cherry Muffins

Very Cherry Chocolate Ice Cream

Cherry Strudel

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Do you have any “must try” cherry recipes? As long as they don’t involve cats or thunderstorms, I’m game.

She & Him, 26/52

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A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014

She: This is what happens when little miss refuses a nap.

Him: Soccer obsessed, chocolate on his face, swinging.

P.S. Anyone else good at math? Did you catch that 26 is half of 52? Meaning, we’re officially halfway through 2014? Unbelievable.

Lemon Thyme Shortbread

Sometimes I feel like I’m running out of time.

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These two know how to pump. Meaning, my days of standing behind a swing for hours, pushing one child and then the other, are over.

It’s a mixture of wistful relief.

Because it’s pretty fabulous to sit in the grass, sun on my face, iced tea in my hand, and watch my kids playing on the swings, pumping their little legs furiously, enjoying being “big kids.”

But the meloncholy part of me knows two things:

1. This is just the first step of independence for these little munchkins. Pretty soon I’ll be handing over my car keys.

2. There’s something really therapeutic about pushing a child in a swing over and over again and I already miss it.

I think I’m running out of time.

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Thankfully I’m not running out of thyme. (Was that cheesy?)

This is lemon thyme, specifically.

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And since I’m missing my swing pushing therapy, I’ve found another form of brainless relaxation: pulling lemon thyme leaves off their stems.

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Standing at the counter, stripping the stems of these fragrant herbs was the perfect opportunity to ponder life’s greatest mysteries: how do I raise my kids to be Christian in a messed up world, and where did that large bag of coconut flour I just purchased disappear to?

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A basic shortbread recipe is made even better with the addition of lemon zest and lemon thyme.

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Topped with a tart lemon glaze, these taste like summer.

Quick and easy in the food processor, they’re barely 20 minutes of prep. With all of the extra time on your hands, go push your kids on the swings. Even if they think they’re too big…

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Lemon Thyme Shortbread

Ingredients
1 cup flour
1/4 cup stemmed lemon thyme
1/2 tsp salt
2 TBS lemon zest
1/2 cup earth balance vegan butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3 TBS fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla

Glaze: 1/2 cup powdered sugar+3 TBS fresh lemon juice, whisked until smooth.

Instructions
In a food processor, combine flour, salt, thyme and zest until thyme is in small flecks. Add butter and pulse until sandy in texture. Add powdered sugar, lemon juice and vanilla. Pulse just until combined.

Spread dough into a greased 8″ square pan. Bake at 325 for 30 minutes. Let cool. Pour glaze over cooled bars and let set.

A Tale of Two Veggies

I go grocery shopping on Sundays.

I pick up our CSA share on Tuesdays.

I have this uncanny knack for buying on Sunday the exact same veggies that are provided to me on Tuesday. (Except for garlic scapes. I never buy garlic scapes. Seriously! What am I supposed to do with these things???)

So, it came as no surprise to me that when I picked up our share on Tuesday, I was greeted with this:

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Specifically, broccoli and carrots- two items that I purchased large portions of on Sunday. (Both are foods that my kids will willingly eat. Unless they’re roasted. Never roast them. Steam them to oblivion, but don’t roast them.)

What do you do with a lot of broccoli and carrots?

Naturally, you have a taste test!

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On one side: Andy’s Market (think mom and pop grocery store- not Walmart, but not farmers market either).

On the other side, veggies from Welcome Table Farm .

Both tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper. Both roasted at 450 for 20 minutes.

You don’t even have to ask who won, do you?

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The farm fresh carrots blew my mind. The flavor was earthy and sweet and they caramelized beautifully – like eating candy.

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The broccoli had a very pungent flavor (which sounds like a negative connotation but isn’t- it just really tasted like broccoli!) and my favorite part was the texture. Compared to the farm fresh broccoli, the store bought version was mushy and mealy.

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With pesto made from Renee’s basil, we were all farm fresh!

So, to test my grocery theory, I’m going to buy a giant watermelon on Sunday, in hopes that the same will be waiting in my basket on Tuesday…:)

WIAW: I do what I want

My sister is 13 years younger than I am.

I can remember being roughly 17 (which would’ve made Aunt B around 4) when my “go-to phrase” was:

“I do what I want.”

Naturally, sweet, impressionable 4 year old Aunt B picked up on this phrase and began using it frequently. My mom was real happy about my influence. Also, Aunt B watched “Friends” at much too early an age, but what do you expect? She grew up around adults and teenagers exclusively.

As a mom, I look back and say, “what was I thinking?”

Regardless, my 17 year old catch phrase is somewhat useful these days – especially regarding food.

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Breakfast: granola, berries, Greek yogurt, covered in almond milk. Yes, I cover dairy yogurt in non-dairy milk.

I do what I want.

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Lunch: Date with a friend, food that was almost too pretty to eat, but I’m so glad I did! Beet salad and carrot coconut curry soup.

In this case, I didn’t do what I wanted to because I could’ve eaten 2 more bowls of this amazing soup.

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Dessert: Chai tea latte. Hot. Because even though it’s summer, I’m still always cold.

I do what I want.

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Snack: 1/4 of a watermelon. Here I’m showing you what was left of the full Tupperware after I was done with it. Yes, yes, I used to hate watermelon. I can’t explain my change of heart, I just…you know, do what I want.

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Dinner: unpictured salad, WW spaghetti, marinara, 1/2 slice garlic bread with the fam.

And then I verbally judged Matty B for eating a lemon doughnut for dessert.

He does what he wants. He learned from the best.

The calm before the storm…

I haven’t mentioned it yet, but Matty B got a job. Yay! Well, kind of yay. Now who will I call in the middle of the day to bring me coffee? Also, now I might have to start doing chores at home. Not to mention the fact that 62% of the reason that our kids are so amazing is because he was home with them. Now I’m going to have to work even harder at my 38%…

He’ll be back in the classroom. He’s gonna rock it. He really is. But there are classes to take (to renew his certification) and a classroom to prepare and it appears that a summer that was originally destined for lemonade on the patio might turn into coffee into the wee hours of the night.

There’s a lot to do.

And kinda like the mindset that dessert is the most important part of the meal, therefore eat it first, we believe that vacation is the most important part of summer, therefore it should come first.

We took a quick trip to my beloved Portland. It was everything I thought it could be. Also, no food poisoning! Score!

We hiked Multnomah Falls.

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We ate at Bob’s Red Mill. We love their cardamom rolls. And their bulk bins. And Bob.

We went to Powell’s Bookstore. If they offered overnight stays, I’d check in. Also, my reading tastes are nothing if not absolutely predictable.

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I ran. Twice. As it had been two whole weeks (food poisoning/Ebola/whatever I had will do that to you) I was nervous.

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Running in a city I love=bliss.

Have I mentioned that one of my favorite things to do (ever) is read the newspaper and drink coffee?

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With this guy, preferably.

Also, there was Sarah.

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You know, my buddy, Sarah McLachlan? Awesome concert. I cried. I always do.

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I forgot to tell you that vegan options in Portland are around every corner. Every. Corner.

Also unpictured:

Dosha massage that made me want to get pregnant all over again, just to get another spa day. Mom, this is me exaggerating. Don’t get any ideas. Still. Best massage of my life.

Shopping. There was a new Banana Republic factory store across from our hotel. How do you say no to that kind of convenience?

And the best way to end an awesome weekend?

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Chipotle has tofu.

My life is officially perfect.

I’m going to do my best to hold on to this feeling of perfection ’cause life is about to get a little bumpy…

Basil Lemonade

I got this really exciting text on Friday:

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Call me a hippie or a nerd, but baskets of herbs make me giddy. Also, fabulous deals on white jeans at the Gap make me giddy. (Original price: $69.50. Sale price: $14.99.)

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My sweet friend Renee brought me thai basil, bush basil, regular basil, lemon thyme, Italian parsley, oregano and mint. The possibilities are endless! Do you know how versatile these herbs are? (Also, do you know how versatile a pair of white jeans are?)

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I had about 3167 ideas for what to do with these herbs, but the lemons we had were the #1 inspiration.

Did you know it’s officially summer? Did you know that summer=lemonade?

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Did you know that white jeans are not only acceptable (it’s after Memorial Day) but trendy? (Right, Bri? Am I trendy?)

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Simple syrup is simple.
Adding thai basil is brilliant.

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You’ll notice the empty glass. This stuff was so good that I guzzled it. Don’t worry. I was careful not to spill any on my white jeans.

Basil Lemonade

Ingredients

7 cups water, divided
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups lemon juice (fresh squeezed)
1 cup loosely packed basil

Instructions

Bring 1 cup water and sugar to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, add basil, cover and simmer 10 minutes.

Remove from heat, leave covered for 1-2 hours. Strain basil leaves out of simple syrup. Combine syrup, lemon juice and remaining water in a large pitcher. Ice.