Sunday, September 26, 2010

day of decadence

Saturday was a day of pure decadence around here. I spent the afternoon getting my hair cut - did you know I love getting my haircut? Head massages while getting a shampoo and someone having someone cut and style your hair while you just sit and relax - a piece of heaven in my book!! I tried Kat's hair stylist and I loved her!! The fun cut and style she gave me were in perfect time for a fancy schmancy dinner date night with loverboy.

After a full day of classes for Joe we decided to do it up right and made our way to a classic San Fran restaurant that has been on both of our lists for some time now - Greens. It's a beautiful restaurant overlooking the water at Fort Mason with spectacular windows that look out to the Golden Gate Bridge. We were having summer weather in the bay yesterday and boy did we get some spectacular sunset bridge views. Little life side note here - this restaurant was more expensive than our usual out to dinner pick - and I have to say sometimes the penny pincher in me is reluctant to spend lots of money on meals out because I'm usually either underwhelmed by what you get for your money or just feel plain ol' guilty for spending lots of money on meals - but I have to say, this meal was worth every penny so - Here's to seizin' the day and livin' it up every now and then with a gourmet dinner out!

It was so fun to take our sweet time and to stretch our meal out over a couple of hours, making a special point to savor every mouthful - here's what we ate..

Andante dairy Crottin (basically really yummy, incredibly creamy goat cheese); Mediterranean cucumbers with lemon and Green Gulch mint; olives. Served with Acme pain epi with Straus butter.

Chilled beet soup with orange creme fraiche and dill - This stuff was the bee's knees - the color was stunning and the smooth consistency knocked my socks off.

Capay Farm heirloom tomatoes and avocado with Green Gulch lettuce, ancho cress, spiced pumpkin seeds and lie chili vinaigrette - The ancho cress was the most unique part of this salad - it's also known as pepper grass and boy is it peppery.

Corn and poblano chili gratin with grilled onion, peppers, cheddar, cilantro and fromage blanc custard. served with tomatillo sauce, early girl tomato salsa, Yerena Farm fijoles de vara, grilled Gren Gulch madga cousa zucchini - Can you say flavor expolsion in your mouth - the fromage blanc custard on top of the gratin was my fav.

Chive crepes with Green Gulch chard and kale, savy spinach, leeks, goat cheese and lemon herb cream. Served with chaterelle muschroom, sweet 100 cherry tomato and summer squash ragout - the mushrooms sent me swirling up into the clouds on this one.

Peach ice cream sandwich with gingersnaps and berry compote.

Lemon verbena granita with chantilly cream and biscotti.

Hope your weekend was full of lots of soul satisfying yummy treats this weekend!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Following those blood quickening feelings...

Inspiring words from Tea & Cookies

"Throw your hat into the ring. Whatever it is, however slim the chance might feel to you, try it anyway. We should never take ourselves out of the running for something that matters to us. We should always try.

The “no” we hear should never come from our own lips.

What do you want to try? Do it. Go now."

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Song of the day

Plain White T's - Rhythm of Love

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Song of the day..

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Made with Love...

I knew that my love of jars would be put to good use one day! Woo hoo that day has come. Joe and I made our first batch of strawberry jam today and boy was it fun and boy was the end result beautiful. Pretty, quilted crystal jars full of sweet strawberry goodness...I think the only thing prettier than jars, are jars full of something yummy.

Strawberries from the farmer's market.

Mashed strawberries and more sugar than you'd care to know bubblin' away.

Funneling the jam into the jars--the Ball Bible of Jarring forgot to tell you that you would probably burn all you finger pads away in this process - but oh well the end result is worth it.

Heat-processing the buggers.

Jam lilned up for the symphony of the jars!

Mmmmm, jam on toast.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Kitchen of my Dreams

Vanity Fair recently did a feature piece on Alice Water's kitchen and it just tickled me's exactly as I would have imagined it - a big, wood island, earthy green craftsmanship cabinets, tons of fresh, local produce, an eclectic collection of french bowls, a compost bucket, jars full of beautiful grains - here's to re-creating some of this in a kitchen of my own one day.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Simple Pleasures...

1) Coupa Cafe's Twitter Word of the Day - gets you all kinds of free booty - caffeinated booty which is pretty darn good kind :). Today's word was Michael Tilson Thomas- just say that to the barista and voila - free mocha :).

2) Having a Coupa Cafe walking distance from my office :)

3) Runner's High group runs - gosh it's been about a year since I made my way over to one of these runs and boy do I love them. The group has really grown and I just so enjoy all the talk about half-marathons and marathons goin' on - quite inspiring I must say :). I ran with this really great girl tonight who is training for the Chicago Marathon on 10/10/10 - she pushed my pace and I loved it!

4) Episodes of Barefoot Contessa - I heart her, plain and simple.

5) DVR'd episodes of FIT TV's half hour yoga sessions - I'm turning my living room into a yoga studio.

6) Free trial memberships at Equinox - voted the number one gym in the States and there is one close by! I have a co-worker who is a member and she says they have euculyptus towels that smell divine - sounds lovely-can't wait to give those a try - along with a new yoga class :).


the lululemon manifesto - love it. want my own.

  • Drink FRESH water and as much water as you can. Water flushes unwanted toxins from your body and keeps your brain sharp.
  • A daily hit of athletic-induced endorphins gives you the power to make better decisions, helps you be at peace with yourself, and offsets stress.
  • Do one thing every day that scares you.
  • Listen, listen, listen, and then ask strategic questions.
  • Write down your short and long-term GOALS four times a year. Two personal, two business and two health goals for the next 1, 5 and 10 years. Goal setting triggers your subconscious computer.
  • Life is full of setbacks. Success is determined by how you handle setbacks.
  • Your outlook on life is a direct reflection of how much you like yourself.
  • That which matters the most should never give way to that which matters the least.
  • Stress is related to 99% of all illness.
  • Jealousy works the opposite way you want it to.
  • The world is changing at such a rapid rate that waiting to implement changes will leave you 2 steps behind. DO IT NOW, DO IT NOW, DO IT NOW!
  • Friends are more important than money.
  • Breathe deeply and appreciate the moment. Living in the moment could be the meaning of life.
  • Take various vitamins. You never know what small mineral can eliminate the bottleneck to everlasting health.
  • Don't trust that an old age pension will be sufficient.
  • Visualize your eventual demise. It can have an amazing effect on how you live for the moment.
  • The conscious brain can only hold one thought at a time. Choose a positive thought.
  • Live near the ocean and inhale the pure salt air that flows over the water, Vancouver will do nicely.
  • Observe a plant before and after watering and relate these benefits to your body and brain.
  • Practice yoga so you can remain active in physical sports as you age.
  • Dance, sing, floss and travel.
  • Children are the orgasm of life. Just like you did not know what an orgasm was before you had one, nature does not let you know how great children are until you have them.
  • Successful people replace the words wish, should and try with I will.
  • Creativity is maximized when you're living in the moment.
  • Nature wants us to be mediocre because we have a greater chance to survive and reproduce. Mediocre is as close to the bottom as it is to the top, and will give you a lousy life.
  • lululemon athletica creates components for people to live longer, healthier and more fun lives. If we can produce products to keep people active and stress-free, we believe the world will become a much better place.
  • Do not use cleaning chemicals on your kitchen counters. Someone will inevitably make a sandwich on your counter.
  • SWEAT once a day to regenerate your skin.
  • Communication is COMPLICATED. We are all raised in a different family with slightly different definitions of every word. An agreement is an agreement only if each party knows the conditions for satisfaction and a time is set for satisfaction to occur.
  • What we do to the earth we do to ourselves.
  • The pursuit of happiness is the source of all unhappiness.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Another recipe for the fall cooking files...

Courtesy of one of my new favorite food bloggers - Mrs. Wheelbarrow.

Roasted Tomato and Garlic Soup

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Count downs...

9 days to the first day of Fall - yay for football, boots, autumn leaves and big pots of soup!

7 days to the season premier of GLEEEEEEEEEE- yipeeeeeeeee!

345 days until loverboy is done with Grad School.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


I couldn't resist sharing a pic of my new cloth napkins that I am in love with - they're at Cost Plus right now for $2.99 a piece, I love the patterns so much, I want a dress in each pattern!

And, I couldn't resist sharing pics of the jarring tools that Joe and I got today - let the jarring adventures begin!!

Jars, Funnel, Jar Removing pliers, and a magnetic lid lifter.

The great big, huge jarring pot.

The jar rack on the inside of the pot.

I'm doing a little research on this jarring madness and eve bought a book about it - oh brother what am I getting myself into here? Ball Book of Home Preserving.
And I've been reading up on Pioneer Woman's website - Canning 101 and Strawberry Jam and Strawberry Jam: Part II.

A couple weeks back Lindsey heard a bit on NPR about canning/jarring and sent it to me - check it out - - I especially like the part about the popping noise that the jars make when they're sealed - can't wait for that!

More food, more friends :)

The girls came over to my place this weekend for a Love in the Time of Cholera tea party and you know what??? I love tea parties - I just had too much fun thinking about how to set the table, display the teas, honey, milk etc and I just loved busting out my very eclectic assortment of tea cups and plates, bowls, utensils etc. for the occasion. I can't wait to have another one!!! The possibilities are just endless! Ooooh and the occasion gave me the excuse to make my way over to Cost Plus to purchase the cloth napkins I've been eying for some time - there were so many fun patterns I had to get one of each of my favorites - I figure it's more fun to be mismatchy any ways!! The girls came over dressed in their tea time dresses and pearls and we sat around for a few hours sipping tea, eating egg salad sandwiches and gabbing away about life and of course our latest book - Love in the Time of Cholera - whew what a love story! I give it a 6 out of 10 on my book scale --- beautiful writing, long, drawn out sexcapades and then finally some heart warming love at the end - here is the quote that made the book for me...
"The Captain looked at Fermina Daza and saw on her eyelashes the first glimmer of wintry frost. Then he looked at Florentino Ariza, his invincible power, his intreid love, and he was overwhelmed by the belated suspicion that it is life, more than death, that has no limits."

In finishing this book, we have read NINE books together, we rock don't we?! Next up is Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert---oooohwee are we in for a fun ride with this one!

So really, though our tea party was part book club, part hang out and part DISTRACTION because little did Laura know that as we were sipping tea, the boys and a few other friends were setting up Laura's back yard for a Garden Surprise Birthday Party!!! And you know, the only thing more fun that having a surprise party thrown for you, is to help plan someone else's surprise party. All week long there were emails swirling around between friends planning the night and it was so much fun because Laura didn't have any idea. Her birthday isn't actually until next weekend, when she will be out of town, so we caught her completely off guard.

Boy oh boy was it hard to keep it a secret, especially when we were hanging out at our tea party. Kat and Lindsey will tell you that I sure did slip a few times, but thank goodness, Laura didn't even think twice when I kept telling her that I was going to change out of my dress before the evening's events :). Oh brother, me and my big mouth!

Here's a few pics of the weekend.

The veggies that I laboriously but very happily chopped and marinated in preparation for Veggie and Chicken skeweres for Laura's bbq dinner.

Curried egg salad for egg salad tea sandwiches. I like this recipe because it doesn't use any mayo! Here is a link to it if you'd like to try - Curried Egg Salad.

It's my moo cow creamer --- oooh and you can see my fun honeycomb honey server to the right.

The tea party table aftermath :). Simply delightful mess of teas.

This is us hiding around the corner waiting to jump out and shout SURPRISE!

So I chopped up all the veggies and chicken for the skewers but in my haste to set up tea party I didn't have time to skewer so everyone pitched in at Laura's. Nate's going to town on the veggies skewers! oooh and Don't you love the twinkly lights? Amazing how such a simple touch can make such a big difference!

My lovebug the grill master!!!! This guy could take on Bobby Flay for sure! I may have made the marinade, but he's the one who came up with the yummmmmy recipe.

Now if this doesn't make your mouth water - well you better check your pulse :). Grilled chicken, grilled veggies and Joe's famous grilled potatoes!!

Garden cupcakes for a garden bbq - complete with cabage patches, carrots, snow peas, flowers and lady bugs - oh and CHOCOLATE too!

And last but not least - the crew - our gatherings around the table are so special to me.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Simple Pleasures

1) Being in love

It's one of those mornings where I feel like I am just bubbling over with gratitude - I've got a simple truth for you all this morning - I can't think of any better feeling in the world than being in love.

I've been holding back a bit on my true feelings about love lately and well to be honest, I am just plain tired of it. I tend to hold back my emotions a lot for fear of overwhelming those around me, because geez louise, when I feel something I sure do feel it. But today is one of those days when I just feel like shouting my feelings from the rooftops and just don't give a darn whether or not people look at me like I'm crazy :). What are we here for if not to completely relish in the good things that come our way and to share the feelings of fullness that those good things create in us?

Joe and I got to have a lovely weeknight dinner together last night. And there's just nothing in the world cozier to me than spending a cool- fall feeling evening with that boy. Nothing fancy, just Joe, me, some yummy food on the stove and a whole lot of cuddling. I just feel so at home sharing our days, making food and gosh I think that boy was just made to cuddle me, because we just fit so darn perfectly.

I feel so darn lucky to have someone like Joe in my life - I am so inspired by the incredible amount of passion that pours out of him in so many different forms - whether it's in his committment to his students (I'm moved to tears by how much he cares about the kids that are lucky enough to have him as a teacher), his love of coffee, tea, grilling, the outdoors etc. etc - he's just one of those salt of the earth people who wears his heart on his sleeve and who humbly and genuinely and generously shares his love of life with friends and family. He's one of those people who just exudes positivity and gratitude and can do-ness and these qualities are so special to me - he gets it, he gets how lucky he is to live in a vibrant part of the world, to be healthy and instead of dwelling on what's wrong and surrendering to feelings of helplessness - he is one of those people who highlights and cherishes the simple things that are so often taken for granted and believes in his and our ability to make positive impacts in the world.

I fall more and more in love with him with each passing day and it just feels amazing.

Joe says and does so many things that truly move me - some are big and others may seem simple or small to the world, but to me they are all truly incredible.

Happy weekend to you lovely people, may it be full of love in many different forms!

Monday, September 6, 2010

moved to tears

I love weddings and I love them even more when my date is loverboy. We spent labor day weekend in minesOOOta (which is absolutely charming by the way!) swirling in all the love that is always in the air at weddings. Here are just a few of the things that brought me to tears this weekend...

This incredible view of Mt. Rainier from the airplane and loverboy sitting in the seat next to me bubbling over with excitement as he pointed out all of the mountains we saw that he has climbed (his studly mountain manness makes me swoon :)).

These incredibly warm blue eyes.

The friendship that these guys share.

and all the extra weekend kisses.