Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Snow Day! + Catch Up

Hello! Here I am, checking in after a few months' absence. Life gets busy and sometimes that's just how it goes.

Lately the refrain around Portland was how this had been such a mild winter, with only one snow sprinkling on Christmas Eve. In late January and earlier this month we had our annual February Fake-out where Spring teased us with a visit. It was glorious. Then we had a little snow a couple of days ago. This morning it started snowing as the kids were getting ready for school. We got one kid all the way to school, only to decide the conditions were getting worse, pull her out of class and take her back home. Lots of playing in the snow and screen time today.

Did any of you watch the Olympic Ice Dancing last night? It was AMAZING! Gianna kept asking me if I wished the winning Canadian pair were Americans. I don't care where they are from, they were the best and fully deserved gold. This is the first year we have watched the Olympics with the kids. We aren't sports watchers and I think this is the first time they've watched televised sports. Their minds have been blown by the skaters, skiers, bobsledders, snowboarders, everyone! Its been really fun to watch them discover it all.

My favorite parts of the day, so far (it's only 5pm), have been watching the snow fall, researching restaurants for an upcoming trip, and counting five visits to our feeder from the male Downy Woodpecker. It always feels special when he or his lady pay us a visit. They never visit together or even on the same day. Maybe she's not his lady?

I've got a Chicken Mushroom Pea Carrot Skillet Pie in the oven right now. It's snowing. Time to light the wood stove and make a gin-based cocktail. Happy Tuesday, Friends!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Feeling like Fall

Summer left with the smoke from the forest fires and Fall feels here to stay for a while. It's even raining today. This is my very favorite season; cool enough for a sweater with my cup of tea in the morning and warm enough for a t-shirt and sandals in the afternoon.

I am always happy to move the cooking outdoors in the spring. Grilled food is delicious and there are less dishes to wash. By July and August, however, I am feeling uninspired and only want to cook and eat "Fall Food" like stew, roasted chicken, chili, pie, banana bread, basically anything braised or baked. Chicken pot pie? Yes, please! Six weeks ago we had horribly hot weather (highs 106-108) and I found myself at the library checking out an armload of cookbooks, full of weeknight dinner recipes. I think I was reminding myself that the weather would cool down eventually and that school would, thankfully, start up again, requiring the need for meal planning. That coincided with the start of Vincent's work travel. Those were long, hot, cranky days for me.

My return to the kitchen this season is extra poignant this year because I am starting a little cooking business! As you all know, I love to cook and am excited to announce that I am now going to get to cook for my community through Josephine. Josephine is a wonderful community where approved cooks (that's me!) sell their home cooked meals to friends and neighbors. I am so happy to be part of this. You just order online, pick up the food from my house, and take it home to enjoy! Check out my first meal here. I'm really excited to be branching outside of my own kitchen a bit. I've been having fun thinking up meals and testing out recipes. The Brown Sugar Cream Cheese ice cream I made will have to be part of a fall meal soon.

We spent the weekend processing the apples and pears we had picked on my birthday into sauce. This is the fourth year I've made apple-pear sauce. The first year I made it Dean was about eight months old and I distinctly remember giving him a bowl of applesauce for one of his first foods the day we were making it. He made such a funny face when he tried it. I'm glad he loves it now because he sure didn't that day. On Saturday I spent the morning in the house chopping and cooking down the apples and pears, occasionally running bowls of hot fruit to the backyard where Vincent and the kids were set up with the grinder. On Sunday I spent over five hours canning it all. We picked 97 lbs of fruit which yielded 30 pints and 14 quarts. It was a long day that ended with takeout burritos. Oh, the irony...

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Summer Catch-Up

 Here we are, another summer where I inevitably neglect my blog. Vincent has spent much of the last six weeks with the Nike Innovation team in New York City working on a sneaker customization project. Read about it and watch a video here! I'm really proud of him. Solo parenting has left me with little-to-no energy in the evenings for blogging. I'm lucky if I can manage to finish an episode of Outlander and a bowl of popcorn before falling asleep.

We spent a week at the coast, eating fried fish, apple pie and lasagna, playing in the sand, reading, visiting a new favorite brewery and touring coastal towns. The kids went to camp up the street at the park and had a blast, with crazy hair day, the slip 'n slide, and the solar eclipse. I savored every episode of Game of Thrones. I made this salad a few times. It is very good. Make it now before the summer corn is gone. The garden has been growing, giving us more squash than we know what to do with, and glorious, juicy tomatoes. I had a birthday and made myself a Norwegian Cream Cake with Strawberries. It was so good that I'm already looking forward to making it again. We picked 97 lbs of pears and apples. I'm predicting that the pears will all be ripe by this weekend and we'll make our annual batch of apple-pear sauce.

Forest fires are raging less than an hour's drive from here, bringing smoke and ash to Portland. It is almost surreal. The quality of the light is very strange. The sun is hot pink. It's almost like a scene in a sci-fi movie where we are on another planet where the sky is always pink and there are giant glowing moons. It smells like a campfire and ash is swirling around. I heard on the news this morning that the fire is 33,000 acres and is 0% contained. I'm sending all of my good thoughts to the fire fighters and everyone else nationally and globally dealing with the ongoing and impending floods, hurricanes and famines.