Thursday, December 31, 2009

happy new year!


Is it here yet?


How about now?




Wake me up when it gets here.

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 28, 2009

going, going, gone

Have you noticed how many gadgets that were essential items in 2000 are mostly non-existent as we head into a new decade?

Fax Machines. I actually had a designated phone number for this gadget that I had to pay an extra $30 a month for. Several times a day I would send and receive documents using this device. Toward the end of its existence in my home office, I mostly received spam through it. That’s when I cut the cord and sent it to the dump. Now I have room for a cute charging station to charge my gadgets.

Landline. In 2008 we eliminated this once and for all. It’s now cell phones all the way, with each person having their own specific number.

Dial-up Internet. Remember the sounds that used to make? Sounded like aliens landing in the room. You can still listen to it here if you’re feeling nostalgic.

Handwritten Letters and Christmas Cards. You remember the ones that arrived in your mailbox outside? This year, for the first time, we sent out digital holiday cards, and saved a bundle in postage. We received exactly 20 Christmas cards in our outside mailbox this year. I'm very glad some have continued with this tradition.

Film Cameras and Film. With digital cameras and phones, the only film you’ll see around here is on our windows (and possibly a roll or two in the back of the freezer).

Telephone Books. Even though trucks still deliver these things in our neighborhood, if I see them coming, they don’t deliver to our house and haven’t since 2005. If they sneak them in, they're quickly thrown in the recycling bin (the books that is). I can search for any business or person on my phone or computer. I can even map out their exact location and take a look at their street. Scary!

Encyclopedias. Some of you are probably not old enough to remember these. People actually sold them door-to-door. They took up large amounts of space on bookshelves. They’ve been replaced by Wikipedia. People also did research in books like encyclopedias in libraries. Lately it seems when I go to the library, there are more people sitting at computers than browsing the isles of books. When my daughter does homework, it’s now Google she goes to first for information. I do still check out plenty of fiction and non-fiction books at the library though. You can’t beat this free resource for entertainment.

Classified Ads. These have been replaced by Craigslist. And their service is FREE. We’ve successfully sold many of our old gadgets through Craigslist in the last few years.

Checks. I rarely write checks anymore. Between debit cards and online bill paying, my checkbook doesn't get out very often.

Wires. So many wires used to be strung throughout my office. My new computer actually has just one. The mouse and keyboard are both wireless items that I can use across the room if I want to.

Here’s the newest gadget in my office...

red Swingline

It’s a Swingline.

“And if, if they take my stapler, I will, I will set this building on fire.”

(a line from one of my favorite movies from over a decade ago, Office Space)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

there's a tree in our house

Getting a Christmas tree into our living room and decorated involves a series of traditions. These traditions have remained unchanged for the last 12 years.

First, we must drive into a less populated area than where we live, preferably to a higher altitude where there is the possibility of seeing some snow fall, or at least fog, which was the case this year. Second, we must hike approximately two miles and view 282 trees before settling on the perfect tree at a u-cut tree farm. After sawing down the perfect tree and securing it onto the top of the car, we must have hot chocolate from the Thermos I carefully prepared and remembered to put in the car along with the mugs, can of whipping cream, rubber boots, raincoats, scarves, hats, gloves, dog leash, poop bags, camera, and extra socks.

cutting down the tree

That's the one! M struggles to cut through it's massive trunk. Hence the strained expression on his face. Isabel had to complete the job, cutting through the trunk like butter. Just kidding, but she looks like a tough girl with the saw doesn't she?

cutting down the tree

cutting down the tree

cutting down the tree

That same night, the tree is decorated while watching a Christmas movie. But not just any Christmas movie. It has to be this Christmas movie...

White Christmas

Every year I threaten to purchase new lights because these are so energy inefficient. I just love the brightness of these big round blue, green, yellow, pink, red and white orbs though, and will be sad when we have used the last extra string for replacement bulbs.

energy inefficient lights


Monday, December 7, 2009

bah humbug

a letter to Santa

I stare at the boxes marked 'Christmas decorations' occupying several shelves along a wall in our basement. Attempting to maneuver around several large objects, my mood is quickly turning sour. I'm tired and grumpy. Just trying to get through the holidays. Too much to do and not nearly enough time to do it. My 12-year-old daughter bounds down the stairs, "Want some help?" I tell her I don't think we'll be putting up Christmas decorations this year. She thinks I'm kidding and immediately pitches in, clearing a path, carrying several wooden Santas up the stairs. Before I can say bah humbug, holiday tunes are blasting and the Santa collection lines the mantle. Iz and I dust and polish.

"Are you going to put out milk and cookies for Santa this year?" I ask.

"I'm not going to break tradition."

My husband opens a bottle of wine, pours me a glass and thanks me for creating such a nice home. The three of us share a family hug.

How can I stay Scrooge in this environment?

We don't have a tree yet. We're hoping for some snow by next weekend as we head out in search of the perfect tree. The weather has turned very cold, but sunny.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

gooey chocolate brownies and stick to your ribs beef stew

The stew was/is fabulous! It may even be the best beef stew I've ever had. The key ingredient? red wine. Sundried tomatoes added a little something yummy too. And so did the fresh rosemary. I wouldn't know about the carrots or peas, because I opted to leave those out so my family would actually eat it. The le Creuset performed beautifully! The chuck meat was marinated in an expensive bottle of red wine all night remember. Ouch! I hesitated before pouring in the last half... does it really need all that? I did include the entire bottle. I did think to pick up an extra though, so all is good.

We mopped up the sauce with these soft delicious dinner rolls featured on The Pioneer Woman's site. I'd show you a photo, but they were gone quicker than I could grab my camera. She has a beautiful one over there though. They are the easiest thing ever to make, and your family will think you slaved for hours making bread dough and then they'll thank you profusely for dedicating your day to the kitchen and their stomachs and sense of well being. I happened to have some French sea salt in the cupboard, which added just the right crunchy touch. But any coarse sea salt, or even regular table salt for that matter, will do in a pinch.


For dessert I whipped up these brownies. This is my go-to brownie recipe and the brownies that all other brownies are compared to by my dear sweet husband. He especially loves them slightly under baked so they're extra gooey in the center. Shhhh, don't tell him... it's a recipe I acquired from an old boyfriend.

Parker's Beef Stew 
Ina Garten's (aka the Barefoot Contessa)
2 1/2 pounds good quality chuck beef, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
1 (750-ml bottle) good red wine
2 whole garlic cloves, smashed
3 bay leaves
2 cups all-purpose flour
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Good olive oil
2 yellow onions, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 pound carrots, peeled and cut diagonally in 1 1/2-inch chunks
1/2 pound white mushrooms, stems discarded and cut in 1/2
1 pound small potatoes, halved or quartered
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
2 cups or 1 (14 1/2-ounce can) chicken stock or broth
1 large (or 2 small) branch fresh rosemary
1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas

Place the beef in a bowl with red wine, garlic, and bay leaves. Place in the refrigerator and marinate overnight.

The next day, preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Combine the flour, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 tablespoon pepper. Lift the beef out of the marinade with a slotted spoon and discard the bay leaves and garlic, saving the marinade. In batches, dredge the cubes of beef in the flour mixture and then shake off the excess. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot and brown half the beef over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes, turning to brown evenly. Place the beef in a large oven-proof Dutch oven and continue to brown the remaining beef, adding oil as necessary. (If the beef is very lean, you'll need more oil.) Place all the beef in the Dutch oven.

Heat another 2 tablespoons of oil to the large pot and add the onions, carrots, mushrooms, and potatoes. Cook for 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Place all the vegetables in the Dutch oven over the beef. Add 2 1/2 cups of the reserved marinade to the empty pot and cook over high heat to deglaze the bottom of the pan, scraping up all the brown bits with a wooden spoon. Add the chicken stock, rosemary, sun-dried tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon salt, and 2 teaspoons pepper. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables in the Dutch oven and bring to a simmer over medium heat on top of the stove. Cover the pot and place it in the oven to bake it for about 2 hours, until the meat and vegetables are all tender, stirring once during cooking. If the stew is boiling rather than simmering, lower the heat to 250 or 275 degrees F.

Before serving, stir in the frozen peas, season to taste, and serve hot. (Or if you have a picky family like mine, leave out the peas and carrots and serve a raw veggie on the side.)

Although I found this recipe online, its also included in Ina Garten's book "Back to Basics" although it's a slight variation that includes beef instead of chicken broth, and she thickens the sauce a bit at the end. Not sure it needs that.


Monday, November 30, 2009

stewing on a dark day

Meet the le Creuset dutch oven I bought this weekend. I'm hopeful that we will be very happy together in the years to come.

The saleswoman at the le Creuset outlet store tried her darnedest to sell me the 7 1/4 quart. When upon lifting it (empty and without the lid) I felt a muscle tear in my back, I opted for the 5 1/2 quart. It seems ample for our family of three.

The weather has turned cold and foggy. As much as I enjoy seasonal changes, it does get a bit depressing when the entire day is dark. There's nothing like a new piece of cookware to motivate a little comfort food cooking. I tried out my new red hot love with a beef stew recipe from Ina Garten today.

Chuck roast meat marinated in an entire bottle of good red wine, two cloves of smashed garlic, and three bay leaves in the dark depths of the refrigerator all night.

A little side note story: at our local New Seasons grocery store yesterday I told the butcher, "I need chuck." As he was giving me the scoop on the various stew meat choices, I noticed a rather goofy looking guy peering from behind him listening intently to our conversation. When I acknowledged his presence, the butcher said, "His name is Chuck."  True story! Okay, you had to be there, it was funny at the time.

I'll post a photo or two tomorrow along with a recipe... or two.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


pecan tart

pumpkin pie

Today I am thankful for stretch jeans and oversized sweaters. Yesterday while I spent a good part of my day creating these two desserts to take to my brother's house today, I was thankful we had stores within a few miles of our house. For some reason I had a few senior moments and had to make a couple trips to the store for things I forgot the first time. I am thankful that my sister-in-law is cooking the turkey and hosting our large family this year.

I am thankful for expressive, beautiful poems like this one written by my daughter a few years back. I found this while cleaning out my office this week...


Wishing all of you a wonderful day spent with family and friends.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

pumpkin pie

pumpkin pie

Have I already told you that I love pie? My secret ambition is to win a $25,000 pie contest so I can leave my obnoxious husband, open my own pie shop and transform my life. Just kidding! That's the premise of "Waitress," a great movie to get you inspired about pie, if you're not already.

On a little trip through Washington many years ago, I stumbled across a darling little pie shop in Long Beach. "My Mom's Pie". It was run by two women who seriously knew what makes a fantastic pie! The older Mom has since passed away, and her friend moved on to other ventures. But I'm doing my part to keep a few of their pies alive. They kindly shared some of their recipes to make this happen. Thank you pie ladies! I've made a few modifications over the years, but I'm sure they would approve. I tried a slew of pumpkin pie recipes before I found this one. It has the right texture and the perfect combination of spices to make it one of my favorite desserts of all time.

This was the first pie crust I learned how to make. Over 15 years ago, in her small, tidy kitchen, my husband's Grammy graciously shared her pie crust recipe and techniques with me. I like the Crisco crust with this filling. It provides a flakiness that can't be matched with butter.

Grammy's Basic Foolproof Pie Crust
(makes one 9-inch crust)
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 cup ice cold water

1. Combine flour and salt in a bowl
2. Add shortening
3. Blend together with a fork or pastry blender
4. Have a cup of cold ice water ready, sprinkling a little at a time over the mixture
5. Work ingredients together gently with your hands until water pulls flour, salt and shortening together. Handle the dough as little as possible. Repeat this until a ball forms and dough is slightly sticky. Stop.
6. Gently dust the dough with flour
7. Divide and roll out with light quick strokes

Pumpkin Pie
a slightly richer version of "My Mom's Pie" recipe
1 1/4 cups pumpkin (I use canned pumpkin, just make sure it's 100% pumpkin, all pumpkin and nothing but the pumpkin)
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 cup half and half
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt

Prepare the pie shell and keep refrigerated until needed.

1. Mix the spices with the sugar
2. Warm the half and half to lukewarm
3. Beat eggs until smooth and add the lukewarm half and half slowly, beating constantly
4. Stir the pumpkin into the sugar mixture
5. Add egg-half and half mixture, vanilla and salt
6. Stir well, but do not beat
7. Pour into pie shell
8. Bake pie in a preheated 400 degree oven for 15 minutes to set crust (this is very important... it keeps the crust from being soggy)
Turn oven down to 325 degrees and continue baking for about 45 minutes. It may seem a little wiggly, but don't worry it will set up a bit more as it cools.

Friday, October 30, 2009



Why rake them up when you can take pictures of them instead?

While I was shooting leaves, Nelly stopped by for a visit.


Somehow between being sick this week and all the homework, including creating an edible model of the earth in layers for science last night, Iz managed to put together this Halloween costume. She says she's a nerd zombie...



Have a great Halloween!

. . .

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

i only like you when you give me cookies


I love cookies. A tiny dessert. Not big enough to fill you up. Betcha can’t eat just one. Quick to make. Easy to eat. Easy to pack. In a lunchbox. In a purse. Perfect with a cup of tea or cold milk. My dog thinks I’m eating one of her doggie treats. She stares at me in anticipation.

Can you imagine some people actually buy ready made cookie dough? I did this once. It was a fundraiser item for my daughter’s school. People were raving about it. Blech! It tasted very chemical like. On the package it said there was no need to refrigerate it for up to two months. Yikes! What’s in that stuff?

In the first historic record of cookies, they were test cakes. A small amount of cake batter was dropped onto baking pans to test the temperature of the oven before the cake was baked (of course these early ovens, which were fueled by wood, didn’t have thermostats).

I made these oatmeal chocolate chip cookies this week. The recipe makes four dozen and they’ve already been devoured.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 Tablespoon milk
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups oats (rolled or "quick," but not "instant")
2 cups chocolate chips (about 12-oz.)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and the sugars until mixture is light in color. Beat in the eggs one at a time, followed by the milk and the vanilla extract.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Either by hand or with the mixer on low speed, gradually beat the flour in to the sugar mixture until just incorporated.

Stir in the oats and chocolate chips by hand.

Drop 1-inch balls of dough onto the cookie sheet, placing about 1 1/2 inches apart so they have room to spread.

Bake at 350F for 10-13 minutes, until golden brown at the edges and light golden at the center.

Cool on baking sheet for at least 1-2 minutes before transfering to a wire rack to cool completely.

. . .

Monday, October 19, 2009

random life updates


It's been too long since I've posted here. Here's what I've been up to:

Getting ready for Halloween. My daughter has always had a love/hate relationship with this holiday. When she was younger, several months leading up to and following this holiday there was lots of angst. Now that she's older, she seems to love it for the most part. We drove out to our favorite pumpkin patch yesterday and gathered up a few orange orbs for the occasion. I was very disappointed with the size choices this year. They seem to only come in small and extra small. I started a tradition of hosting a party at our house several years ago to help ease her stress. At least that way she could have friends around to make it a bit easier to deal with.

candy corn

School started. This is always a rough time of year at our house. Iz does not love school and each year brings some of the same challenges. Social drama. Schedule changes. Homework. There's been lots of this!


I'm getting into cooking scrumptious comfort foods again. I made this yummy risotto (recipe is from Bon Appetit) last week. I served it alongside a marinated, grilled pork tenderloin. I made so much that we tired of it after eating the leftovers for several nights.

butternut squash risotto

We went to see Where The Wild Things Are over the weekend. Quick review. Disappointing. Did not enjoy it. I found it very disturbing and unsettling. Thought the wild things were whiny. My husband, on the other hand, enjoyed it.

I had a birthday.

I got new glasses.

new glasses

What's new with you?

Are you enjoying fall?

. . .

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

for the love of logos

I love logos! I love the idea of creating a logo. I love creating logos. I love the long process of researching a company, brainstorming creative ideas, sketching out all the unworthy ideas that immediately come to mind and getting them out of the way. Eliminating the garbage. Reducing the clutter. Then I walk away from it all and do something completely different than think about logo design... clean out the chicken coop, pull out all the spent plants from the garden, make a batch of pesto with the last of the season's basil, bake some chocolate chip cookies... well, you get the idea. It's then that the best ideas hit me. Then I sit down and sketch more ideas. Nothing. Panic. Nothing. Panic. Beat myself up. Nothing. Panic. Sketch. Okay, I'm liking this a little. Sketch. Way too much going on. Simplify. Simplify. Simplify. That's the amazing part of logo design. It's a long involved process. It's the process of taking in tons of information and reducing it all down to the most simple terms imaginable.

Here are some colorful logos I spotted while walking through Disney's California Adventure and Universal Studios this summer...






Have you ever had one of these In-N-Out burgers? Like a logo it's reduced to it's simplest essential ingredients. A thin meat patty, a large slice of tomato, a chunk of crispy lettuce and special sauce on a perfectly toasted bun. Yumola!

In-N-Out burger

Our good friend Ian stopped by with his Dad last weekend. I made some chocolate chip cookies. One of Ian's favorite things to do at our house. Eat as many of these as possible without getting sick. That and having fun with Isabel.

Is and Ian


I made four batches of pesto from the remaining basil to stash in the freezer for winter. These should get us through October.

end of season pesto

Last night was Back to School Night. Parents attend their child's classes in brief increments of about 15 minutes per classroom (six total) to learn what's in store for the year and what's expected of students. The stressful part was learning about several missing assignments. Then there were the tears when we returned home, and several hours of work through those tears. Each new school year brings at least a month of transition time. Maybe it's the shock of reality that life is not really a giant summer vacation.

On the positive side... I was very proud to see my daughter designed a logo that was on display outside her art class. I frequently find papers covered with small drawings around the house. Little logos in the making. Perhaps I've passed something on to her.

The disorganized part must come from her Daddy.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

eating locally

I've become a bit obsessed lately. Food obsessed. I'm purchasing (or growing) exclusively organic, local meats, fruits and vegetables. It's pretty easy to find these items in some of our local grocery stores. Farmer's markets and farm stands also offer an abundance this time of year. The problems occur when we go out to eat. I can't cook all the time! Recently we discovered a small, local, par excellence cafe. Ladybug Coffee Company in St Johns, Oregon. They use exclusively organic, locally sourced ingredients to make very tasty things. Everything. I do mean everything. Is made from scratch at Ladybug. We were pretty excited to discover this little gem.


Meet Angelcake. A flaky, buttery homemade buttermilk biscuit. She holds a perfectly cooked egg, topped with white cheddar cheese and a slice of slightly spicy organic chicken sausage. In a word... scrumptious!

Everything at Ladybug is made completely from scratch. Ladybug's owner, Angel O'Brien believes in sustainable living practices and puts these to strict use in her cafe. Her 15-page job application for potential employees includes questions such as, 'What is something that you do on a regular basis to make the world a better place?' and, 'What is one thing that you think would make Portland a better city? The statement that she has chosen as her business model is this. We believe in local. We believe in organics. We believe in sustainability.

homemade chai

sipping chai

My taste buds have never been seduced by a chai tea latte this delicious.

molasses cookie

sweet cake

Ladybug Coffee Co

It's estimated that on average, a restaurant in the United States contributes around 50,000 pounds of garbage to the landfills in one year. Ladybug has created less than 150 pounds in the nearly two years they've been open. Pretty impressive huh?

All electricity used at Ladybug is purchased from 100% wind power. They use secondhand silverware and cloth napkins. All edible leftovers are donated, egg cartons are given to local chicken farms, and egg shells and coffee grounds are taken by customers for use in their gardens.

. . .

Sunday, September 6, 2009

fall fare


The long, hot lazy days of summer are already becoming a distant memory as we gather school supplies, organize clothes closets, buy sweaters, all in preparation of the shorter, busier days ahead. I can't help feeling a bit apprehensive this time of year. I've had a great relationship with my daughter this summer, but it's bound to be altered as she enters 7th grade. The daily interaction with classmates has a way of altering a girl's personality. Then there's the addition of homework that will soon invade our world and turn our once quiet home into a battle zone.

It started raining sometime during the wee hours of Saturday and has continued off and on since. I haven't been motivated to go out and prop up the tomato plants, which have fallen over, heavy with green fruit. Bailey even needs a little push to go outside.


I did make this delicious comfort food yesterday, and I'm sharing the love with you...

comfort food

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
6 medium garlic cloves, pressed
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound sweet Italian pork sausage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup heavy cream
Pureed tomatoes (about 6 fresh tomatoes, or one 28 oz. can)
Diced tomatoes (about 5 fresh tomatoes, or one 28 oz. can) drained of juice
1 3/4 cups ricotta cheese
1 1/4 cups grated parmesan
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
15 no-boil lasagna noodles
4 cups grated mozzarella cheese

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat until simmering, but not smoking. About 2 minutes. Add onion and cook until softened, but not browned. About 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. About 2 minutes. Increase heat to medium high and add ground meats, salt and pepper. Break meat into small pieces and cook until it loses its raw color. About 4 minutes. Add cream and simmer, stirring occasionally until liquid evaporates and only fat remains. About 4 minutes. Add pureed and diced tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer slowly until flavors are blended. About 3 minutes. Set sauce aside.

Mix ricotta, 1 cup of the parmesan, basil, egg, salt and pepper in medium bowl until well combined and creamy.

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

To assemble: smear the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish with 1/4 cup of the sauce. Place 3 lasagna noodles on top of sauce. Drop three tablespoons of the ricotta mixture down each noodle. Level by pressing flat. Sprinkle with 1 cup of grated mozzarella. Spoon 1 1/2 cups of the meat sauce over cheese. Repeat layering of noodles, ricotta, mozzarella and sauce three more times. Place the three remaining noodles on top of the sauce, spread remaining sauce over noodles, sprinkle with remaining cup of mozzarella and remaining 1/4 cup of parmesan.

Lightly spray a large sheet of foil with nonstick cooking spray and cover lasagna. Bake 15 minutes and remove foil. Continue baking until cheese is spotty brown and sauce is bubbling. About 25 minutes longer. Cool for 10-15 minutes before serving.

. . .

It helped make the rain palatable.

The chocolate chip cookies that Iz made helped too.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

slow food

When we travel, as much as we'd like to eat well, we don't. We end up eating more fast food than we would ever consider at home. So this week is all about taking time to create homemade meals.


These beauties were ready and waiting in the garden. The potatoes were a nice side dish alongside a roasted chicken on Monday night. I boiled them until tender, then drizzled them with olive oil and sprinkled on a few herbs and sea salt and crisped up their outer skins on the stovetop. Yummy!

The basil was turned into pesto, which was a nice sauce for our homemade pizza last night. Toppings included carmelized onions, roasted red peppers, sautéed mushrooms, sweet Italian sausage, mozzarella and chèvre cheeses. Whenever pizza is served, a movie night is in order. Last night's movie... Forrest Gump. I had a need to see this after having dinner at Bubba Gump Shrimp in California last week. Following our meal, the waiter asked us a bunch of trivia questions about the movie, and I realized I needed a refresher course. I also need another serving of those delicious coconut shrimp. Are those considered slow food?


These little french baby carrots are the best! The seeds were the only package I purchased from a company called Renee's Garden. They'll be on my list for next year.

I'm reading Barbara Kingsolver's book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, and it's got me thinking a lot about fresh, local food. Part memoir, part journalistic investigation, it's a story of how Barbara and her family were changed by one year of eating only food produced where they lived.

. . .