Wednesday, August 31, 2011


It's kinda been one of those weeks. We were having some nice, hot August weather, when suddenly, this week, it took a turn for the worst. As did everyone's attitudes (including my own, I'll admit).

It's not that it's that bad. It's really not. And I remind myself that in order to have amazing days, it's mandatory that you have a few not-so-amazing days as well. That's just how it works.

So I thought today I would take a moment to dwell on a place that always makes me happy: my backyard.

First, I just love the glow of these lights. I think I like them even more at dawn than at dusk. We've been keeping them on at night to keep the moths attracted to the lights outside.

Tissue flowers hang from my birthday. How long will they last?

These tall plants, almost as tall as me, that look like weeds take up a large pocket of real estate next to my planter boxes. They're just starting to bloom, and I'm excited to see how beautiful it looks with all those purple flowers.

My very favorite part of this space: a furry, blue-eyed companion that follows me around, occasionally, giving me a gentle reminder that she needs her belly rubbed.

Our hydrangeas are purple because they're beneath our acidic oak tree. It makes my heart sing.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


For my birthday earlier this month I received a gift card to Powell's City of Books from a couple super sweet bride and groom clients/friends of mine. I was thrilled. I ran right out and got Super Natural Every Day, the newest book from Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks.

The book (and her blog) has all sorts of healthy vegetarian recipes that are not only unique, but easy enough to make them on any weeknight. The black-peppered tempeh and cauliflower recipe has quickly become a favorite.

And it looks like the little quinoa cakes are going to quickly become one too! I made a little avocado sauce to serve with them, which was super tasty. I could also see serving it with sweet chili sauce, peanut sauce, or a fresh salsa. Really, the possibilities are endless.

Dude, that avocado matches my floors.

Quinoa cake and avocado bliss.

Little Quinoa Patties
from Heidi Swanson

  • 2 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 1 yellow or white onion, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan or gruyere cheese
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup whole grain bread crumbs, plus more if needed
  • water, if needed
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or clarified butter
Combine quinoa, eggs and salt in a medium bowl.
Stir in chives, onion, cheese, and garlic.
Add the bread crumbs, stir, and let sit for a few minutes to absorb.
At this point you should have a mixture you can easily form into 12 1-inch thick patties.
If it needs to to be firmer, add bread crumbs; if moister, add water or more egg.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over med-high heat.
Add patties, cover, and cook for 7-10 minutes, until the bottoms are deeply browned.
Flip the patties and cook for an additional 7 minutes, or until golden.

*I made all the patties, and cooked 4 for dinner, then put the remaining patties in the freezer, separated by parchment paper. I just put them straight into the frying pan frozen, and they cooked up really nicely for lunch!

Avocado Cream Sauce
  • 1 ripe avocado, halved and pit and skin removed
  • juice from 1/2 lime
  • 1/2 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1/2 cup soy milk (or more, if needed)
  • salt & pepper
Put avocado, lime juice, and garlic and soy milk in a food processor.
Puree, adding more soy milk if necessary, to the consistency of sour cream.
Add salt and peper to taste.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Last week I took my Little to Wild Waves.

It was quite a different experience from when I was a teenager, mostly because of my changed perspective.

But still ridiculously fun. There's nothing like a roller coaster to put a giant grin on your face.

Friday, August 19, 2011


Ready for another zucchini recipe? Every gardener I know has more zucchini than they really know what to do with right about this time of year, and lord, we can only eat so much zucchini bread!

This is bar is not unlike a chocolate chip cookie bar. Actually, it pretty much is a chocolate chip cookie bar, but with lots and lots of zucchini in it. That makes it healthy, right? Right. Cookies for breakfast!

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bars
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar with a mixer.
Mix in eggs and vanilla.
In a medium bowl, mix together all dry ingredients.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet, in two additions, mixing well after each.
Stir in the zucchini and chocolate chips.
Grease a 9x13 pan and add the batter.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until light brown.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


What a fabulous weekend I had. The only problem was that it was too short. A whirlwind, in fact. Please excuse the poor quality of photos. All I had was my iphone.

After driving up to Seattle late Friday night, we stayed at our friends Bobby and Michelle's place. Michelle was out of town, but Bob was a great host. He must have sensed my butter/flour addiction, because he took us to a fantastic little pastry shop in Ballard on Saturday morning. Apricot galette, anyone?

After a tasty breakfast, we drove to Anacortes to catch a ferry to Orcas Island. I think this is when the vacation mentality was really beginning to take hold. There's nothing to do on a ferry except read, play a few games of Sudoku, and stare out the window.

We were on Orcas Island to attend a wedding at Rosario Resort. Another 5 star wedding! This is the view from the wedding site:

The morning after living it up with bridal party and friends, we hopped on our friends sail boat. They were on a week-long sailing trip in the San Juans, and agreed to meet us in the harbor where we were staying. It was my first time on a sail boat, and man was it exhilarating! I even got to steer!

We sailed on in to Roche Harbor on the San Juan Island. What a beautiful little town.

We enjoyed the sun, the sunset, a few cans of beer, a fantastic dinner, and the company of great friends.

I think I just got a small taste of my dream retirement.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


I've been munching on the 101 Cookbooks zucchini bread that I made the other day, and suddenly I started dreaming up a new variation. And then I just couldn't get it off my mind. So I gave it a shot today, and dang, they're good!

So, here it is, friends! A little bit of spice and a little bit of sweet.

Chocolate Chip Curry Zucchini Bread
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup natural cane sugar or brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups grated zucchini
  • 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon curry powder
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
Preheat your oven to 350.
Line muffin cups or bread pan with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until it's not crumbly.
Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until just blended.
Mix in the zucchini.
In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, orange zest and curry powder.
In two batches, add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing well after each addition.
Stir in the chocolate chips.
Bake muffins for 18-22 minutes, bread for about 40, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


It's my birthday. And I was given 4 giant zucchinis.

What to do with 4 giant zucchinis?

Only one thing. And its two words: Zucchini Bread.

Miss Heidi Swanson over at 101 Cookbooks has a pretty killer recipe. It has lots of spice and hardly any sugar, and I just had to try it. (I also just bought her newest cookbook and freaking loving it! More on that later...). It's got curry, poppyseeds, nuts... basically everything you could ever want in a quick bread.

The recipe calls for 3 eggs. I had two. So I went to my neighbors to borrow one. They gave me a dozen still warm (like from the chicken warm) fresh eggs. I call that birthday present number 2.

The bread and muffins I made with this recipe turned out amazing. But I'm going to be frank: as deliciously healthy as zucchini bread is, it just doesn't photograph that well. Good thing my kitty does. I know you're really just here to see pictures of my kitty anyways.

i haz zukene bred!!! meaaw!!!

Monday, August 8, 2011


I pretty much had my dream Portland date yesterday. And I got to spend it with a very special man: my Dad.

Here's how it went: we started out at Little Big Burger, enjoying veggie burgers, truffle oil fries and a PBR for me.

Then we went next door to Penzey's Spices. I stocked up on sweet curry and vanilla beans and we sniffed lots and lots of spices. Best things you can sniff.

Then we wandered over to Powells city of books. I had a gift card here from a very very sweet couple, so we got to do lots of book browsing. Actually, I hardly made it past the cookbook section. More on that later.

Finally, we did a little jog over to Saint Cupcake's new location on SW Morrison for a sweet treat. Oh lordy. This is quite possibly the best EVER way to end a Portland date. Of all the cupcake places in town, and there are a good number of them, Saint Cupcakes are certainly the best. So moist and delicious.

It's more than just cupcakes though, so we had to do a little sampling, of course. We tried the bonbonbumbums (which were similar to a donut hole), a cinnamon roll (which was much crispier than the ones I'm most accustomed to), and a chocolate espresso cupcake.

Thanks for the great date, Dad!

Friday, August 5, 2011


We have a new restaurant in the hood!

Torta-Landia, a (you guessed it) Torta restaurant on SE Foster and 60th, is just a 7 minute bike ride from our place. And thank goodness. Because they have reasonably priced beer ($4, while everyone else creeps up to $5)...

...the most AAAHHHMAZING grilled corn (with herbs and queso fresco. note corn goodness all over Cory's hands)...

...and of course, TORTAS! I got the pescado. It rocked my world. They even make their own buns in house.

We'll be back very, very soon.

Be sure to check out their website. It was made by the most fabulous Ilana, former Webtrends comrade.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


My office is full of mallets, screwdrivers, cardboard, and partially assembled Ikea furniture.

It's my first official day working from home. I have so much assembly, organizing, and design work to do. Wish me luck!

Hopefully I can get this stuff together soon so I can start having more time to make raspberry scones and peach ice cream. I miss my sad little kitchen.