Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend

My love and I were able to visit his parents over the Memorial Day weekend. Because I'm from the South, I forge that, in other parts of the world, it's cold when the South has begun to melt at certain times of the year. Such is the case where my love is from: The Mountains of Northern California. This Memorial Day Weekend surprised me with SNOW.

I was il-prepared in my flip-flops.

Something about this photo seems ironic...

This too seems ironic. We'd been to a luau the weekend before, enjoying an outdoor barbecue with 90 degree heat. We kept our lei and tied it around the mirror. Somehow it seems very out of place in this photo...

At any rate, it was a fabulous time!

our visit with Yoda

My love and I got to visit Yoda. 

We have a friend that works at LucasFilm just up the road from where we live. He invited us to come for lunch. It was great fun! This Yoda statue is one of the first things you see once you enter the complex that's hidden within the beautiful rolling hills of West Marin. 

Here's Yoda...
I think he's keeping the secrets of the building.

George Lucas' office is held within this beautiful house. The library was something to be drooled over, complete with spiral staircase and ladders to reach the top shelves. There was even a book on display that highlighted the computer animation of our friend! The restaurant inside was serving Thai food for lunch. YUM!

We had a great time seeing the sights and enjoying what lies behind the secret gate of LucasFilm!

Monday, April 11, 2011

The morning I woke up before my love

Beautiful. Gorgeous. Wish you were here (call first though).
I'd been up since 5am. That's not normal, at all. But I was awake, and I mean AWAKE. So I got up. I got ready for the day. I took some photos. I checked Facebook. I jogged up some ideas for blog posts. I tried not to make any noise. I waited for my love to get up so we could have coffee together and it would be hot for him. I enjoyed watching the sun rise. It's the beginning of a beautiful day.

The sun is UP and so am I!

I'd been up for 1.5 hours. I was ready to see him!

(sorry it's fuzzy, I'm still learning) - He's only on his first cup of coffee. I love him.

Confession: We ran out of half-and-half

Don't Judge :)

I love my flatware.

It's love. 

It's called Michelangelo, by Oneida. Love It.

It’s perfect for everyday use and it’s beautiful enough to set a formal table. It’s well balanced, sturdy, nice to hold, and pretty. Everything you need, right?

My love and I received several individual pieces for wedding gifts (A shout of THANKS to the Gift-Givers) and we lucked out on a full 8-piece set on sale right after we got married. We were set, until I started thinking about my “need” (rein it in?) for more pieces of both the everyday forks and spoons, and a few Iced Tea Spoons (I’ve loved Iced Tea Spoons since, forever. I grew up stirring my Nestlé Quick with an iced tea spoon – they have long held a special place in my heart). Since Small Group has been meeting at our place, more people are using the utensils more often. I’ve been saying to my love that we might actually *need* more pieces.

Recently, though, more have been appearing in the stack. Yes, my love does occasionally come home with extra flatware from the workplace for me to wash. These extras aren’t what I’m talking about. Without purchasing anything for the set in three years, we have more. Needless to say, I’m delighted!! I’d like to take this opportunity to thank whomever it may be that is secretly adding to our collection. My love says it’s not him. Perhaps the Lord saw our need and thus provided? I am so thankful!! Whoever it is, they place it right where it should go, as if nothing were different. Only my occasional OCD counting reveals the addition. I want to cry with joy when I count to even one higher number.

Thank you, Secret Flatware Giver. You make my heart smile.


Friday, April 08, 2011

Not Another Recipe - Bread Making: HartStyle

We purchased a book on clearance a few years ago from one of our fa-vo-rite kinds of stores: Used Bookstore.

For real, used bookstores are like a pirate’s treasure trove to me. I love the smell, the lighting, the owners and the workers. I love the vast array of someone else’s stories all over the shelves. Used books are cool, for one reason, because they tell two stories: One, what the original author had intended. Two, the story of previous owners with underlines, dog-eared pages, tear stains, and sometimes food stains if you can get your hands on a well-loved cookbook.

Speaking of the well-loved cookbook. My Love and I could spend hours and hours perusing the shelves of just about any used bookstore. Generally, we find ourselves right back, smack in the cookbook section for a significant portion of time. Mosty, we converse like this: “oooh, ahhh, oh check this one out…” but we don't purchase unless it’s a “must have”. And, by “must have,” I mean, we usually “must have” at least one book upon each trip to a used bookstore. Hence, many, many a bookshelf in our home looks like this:

and this: 

Time to Rein It In and get to my point:

We purchased the book 100 Great Breads by Paul Hollywood a few years ago. And, just a few weeks ago I opened it up to see what I could do – I made  a wonderful Brie Brioche. It was gooo-oood!  I have some things to learn, but I’m quite proud of my first try! So, this week, my love decided to try his hand at breadmaking. He began with the first recipe: White Bread. Oh. My. Goodness. I could eat that bread for breakfast, lunch, and dinner … second breakfast, elevenses, tea time, snack time, whatever: It. Was. Good.

Then, he made the second recipe in the book: Crusty Cob. It’s early, I’m waiting for the coffee to finish brewing and my honey to wake up before I bust into it … today (we’ll talk about yesterday in another post). This bread: less olive oil, more butter. So Good.

These recipes will become basics to us. We’re gonna learn ‘em. You know, like really learn ‘em. Like, we won’t need to carry around a book forever because these recipes will be so, um, learned. ...Can you tell I’m really looking forward to bread number three?:: Batch Bread, which is described as “A very old British recipe, mainly baked during the eighteenth century, when white flour was prevalent. This sweet white loaf was favored by the ‘upper crust’ of the country!”

Please sir, may I have some more?!!!?!!!


Saturday, April 02, 2011

Homemade Granola Recipe

I don’t consider myself “granola
…although, with all the Michael Pollan I’m reading these days, I may be headed that way…

        Whatever, I'll own it. 

I like granola. I like a good house-made granola parfait for brunch at restaurants. I like the stuff out of the bulk bins at the store or farmer’s market. And, it’s about stinkin’ time I learn to make my own, have it on hand … and maybe even get good enough that people will want MY recipe!

In the meantime, a friend gave me this site to help get me on my way.

Here ‘s the original recipe:

4 cups old-fashioned oats

1 1/2 cup sliced almonds

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup honey

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries 
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. In a bowl mix the oats, almonds, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon. In a saucepan warm the oil and honey. Whisk in vanilla. 

Carefully pour the liquid over the oat mixture. Stir gently with a wooden spoon; finish mixing by hand. Spread granola in a 15x10 inch baking pan. 

Bake 40 minutes, stirring carefully every 10 minutes. Transfer granola-filled pan to a rack to cool completely. Stir in raisins or cranberries. Seal granola in an airtight container or self-sealing plastic bag. Store at room temperature for 1 week or in the freezer for 3 months.
Here’s what I’ve learned:
*I will add: Flax seed, Toasted Pecans (thanks to my family in the South!), sesame seeds, and Dried banana chips, maybe even sunflower seeds to the dry ingredients.
*Stirring while in the oven is a must, it’ll burn surprisingly quick if you don’t.
*I seem to easily forget to add the stuff at the end. Bummer. It’d be good with dried cranberries/raisins/chocolate chips (all of which I have, just forgot to put it in!).
*The little bit of cinnamon in this recipe is YUMMIE! :)
*Fattening? Yes.  Nutritionally worth the calories (in moderation)? Definitely.

What I’m still learning:
*how to create the liquid without oil. Maybe more honey?

 * If you have a granola recipe you’re wiling to share, I’d love to try it!! *


Friday, April 01, 2011


Rein It In

I’m not sure when it started. Maybe December 2010, Maybe January 2011. We could call it a “resolution”. I prefer to call it a “mantra” for the year.

Rein It In.

It applies to so many areas. It can translate into so many contexts!

How does the budget look? – Rein It In.
Are my stories too long? – Rein It In.
How much do I weigh?  - Rein It In.
What should the menu be for our next party? – Rein It In.
Let’s go shopping. – Rein It In.
Should we watch TV or a movie? – Rein It In.
Am I managing my time wisely? – Rein It In.
Should I go back to school? – Rein It In.
Let’s add more appointments to our calendar. – Rein It In.
Let’s sell everything we own. – Rein It In.
I want to bake every Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe to find my favorite. – Rein It In.
I don’t know the answer, instead of consulting a book, I’ll go online. – Rein It In.
I’m worried about some physical malady. - Rein It In.
Am I leading a group discussion and one person is dominating? – Rein It In.
I’m leading a group and haven’t started or ended on time. – Rein It In.
I need more clothes. – Rein It In.
Let’s take from savings to go to Hawaii. – Rein It In.
Do I have too many points in my speech/sermon/announcement? – Rein It In.
Am I unprepared, or only partly so? – Rein It In.
How many books am I currently reading? – Rein It In.
I’d like to join another club/activity/small group/etc. – Rein It In.
Am I gossiping?- Rein It In.
Did jealousy just rise up from within? - Rein It In.
Am I letting my emotions rein? - Rein It In.
Wait, what’s my point? – Rein It In.

Rein It In.

Above all that, Reign It In. All things belong within the Reign of Christ.                        

Reign It In.


Thursday, March 31, 2011

Oh, and I've decided to start blogging (again)

My poor brain. So much is swimming inside. I'm a natural introvert, but sometimes default to sharer and external processor. Blogging seems like the right answer for this time in life.

-my journal can only handle so much
-my love can only listen and talk through to a certain limit
-my phone battery dies quickly
-email gets difficult sometimes
-my "stickies" are full
-Facebook & Twitter have a strict character limitation
-this adventure called "life" needs to be recorded

also, it's a personal challenge to learn several mediums through one avenue.

Watch Out Web2.0, here I come.


NO MORE CANS!!! - Refried Beans via Crock Pot

In an endeavor to cut out processed foods, we had to find a recipe for Refried Beans from scratch. I’ve tried a few times before, but not so delighted with their turnout. This, however, is a recipe worth recording.

Thanks to Stephanie and her one-year resolution to use a slow-cooker every day in 2008 (she’s so successful, she’s now on her 4th year!). My recipe is based on hers. 

Let me share with you our experience…

Here's the original (seriously, check it out):

*We will ABSOLUTELY continue to use this recipe. We *may* even quit the cans altogether if we can keep leftovers in the freezer for easy access.
*It cost us less than $1.50/lb of pinto beans and around $2/lb of lard (yes, lard)
*All the other ingredients called for in the recipe are regular attendants of our kitchen. Therefore, it’s a very economical way to go.
*We cooked the whole pound of beans (NOT the whole pound of lard) we have 4 servings left over, now sitting pretty in the freezer, awaiting future consumption.

What we learned: 
*absolutely, Crock Pot is the way to go when making refried beans.
*definitely soak the beans overnight...
*10 hours in a crock pot on Low was great.
*I used 2 plain yellow onions because we didn't have red ones in the kitchen yesterday. Could use just 1 onion (though the addition of a red one would be good)
*keep the onions in instead of fishing it out as the original recipe suggests.
*keep the garlic in there too.
*we ended up adding more than 2 tbsp of salt.
*could use olive oil, not necessarily lard (we used maybe 2 tbsp of lard & will use lard again because we have a lot left over). 

anyway, if you get the inspiration, I highly recommend you try it! otherwise, just be proud of me in following the pursuit of domestic goddess. :)


UPDATE 04/09/11: We had some friends over for dinner this weekend and decided to make burritos. We needed refried beans and didn't have enough for us all in the freezer (they were SO good the first time!!). So, we made them again...
*We had to run out and purchase a pound of dry pinto beans THAT MORNING. Came home, rinsed the beans, boiled for 2+ hours, then to crock pot on high. whew.
*We had pork the night before and saved some of the bits from the pan. So, I sauteed the onions in the pork "juice" and bits. GOOD CALL. I WILL be sauteing the onions and garlic from now on (in olive oil). This added a depth of flavor I didn't know was lacking in my first attempt. 
*I kept EVERYTHING (except the water) in the crock pot and transferred it ALL to the frying pan. There will be no more "taking onions out". 
*Not recommended... but you CAN make it the day of - I'll probably get reprimanded for even thinking such a thing, but it's good to know - for real, though, not recommended.
**Honestly, both me and my love enjoyed this batch better than the first. The dinner guests enjoyed them, but didn't have the first batch to compare :).

Monday, June 19, 2006


I'm overwhelmingly tired of the overplayed stuff on the radio. I am in desparate need of new music. I just bought several new cds I'm excited about: Coldplay, Old Blind Dogs, Radiohead, Gaelic Storm, Cheb Mami, and Loreena McKennitt.
However, I would like to ask you to help me find new and great music. What are your favorites??