Fig and Corn Muffins

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My Fantasy LIfe

 

My fantasy life: gorgeous food, successful recipes, and time to revel in my success with a good book and a big mug of tea.

 

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Real Life

Real life does not always (often?) work that way for me.  I had been fantasizing about a fig cupcake with a goat cheese frosting for months.  There is about a three week stretch in which figs are available.  So, despite it being a super busy month, I forced myself into the kitchen to give it a go.  I tried 3 different versions of the recipe and none of them were what I was imagining.  Grainy corn and grainy fig are a weird texture combination.  My goat cheese frosting was runny and did not hold a piped shape no matter what I tried.  After several attempts, it occurred to me that I didn’t like figs last year. .. or the year before that . .. so perhaps I don’t even like figs.

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Frustrating!  But ultimately worth it.  Dreaming helps me know where I want to go.  Sometimes, its exactly what I was hoping for and I get to live the fantasy.  Sometimes, it just doesn’t match up.  I realize that I just don’t like figs and I have renewed energy to work on the basics and hone my skills.

Postcards from Portland

Wish you  were here!

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I am so in love with Portland this Fall – the colors, the sunny crisp days, and the produce!

In August and September, we had a series of house guests.  My parents, my sister, and some friends were all up at separate times.  Showing them around and seeing Portland through their eyes really highlighted what a gorgeous and tasty place I live.

Indigo Rose Tomato

Indigo Rose Tomato

 

One of the highlights of  living here is living so close to local farms (about a 15 minute drive) and close enough to OSU that we get to try the new produce that is being developed there.  For example, the produce in these pictures are Indigo Rose tomatoes developed at OSU. A little bit sweeter and less complex than some tomatoes and a striking addition to a salad.

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The other fruit pictured is a pineapple tomatillo.  I don’t know where these were developed but they are so much fun.  Small and sweet, they are delicious eaten by the handful like cherry tomatoes.  I also make a nice salsa with them which I served as a garnish for chile verde stew.  The play of the sweet pineapple tomatillos with the more savory green tomatillo stew tickled me.

Anyways, its gorgeous and tasty here right now.  I wish you were here.   I would drag you through the aisles of the Beaverton Farmers Market, feed youpineapple tomatillos, and make you scoop the gross bits of the pumpkin out for me.

Closet Strategies

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I mentioned that I am working on updating my wardrobe.  The goal is to look put together, appropriate, and to be able to put it together cheaply and easily.

The first step was to organize my closet.  We separated it into work, weekend, and super casual.  We also defined 4-5 colors for each category.  By limiting the colors in each category, the hope is that it will be easy to interchange pieces and create more outfits.  Also, the hope is that a limited number of colors will make it easier to shop.

Work Clothes

Work Clothes

 

Work clothes are grey, blue, black and white with pops of yellow and maroon.  What shapes or fabrics will make it through my work day?  I get up at 6, take public transit for an hour in, sit at a desk, and sometimes go to yoga at lunch.  I need work clothes, make up, and a hairstyle that will make it through all that and still look put together.

Weekend

 

Weekend clothes are almost harder because there is more room to play.  The colors I’ve picked are black, green, and maroon. Brett says I should just pick whatever catches my attention and who cares if it is cohesive.  I don’t know.  I think it takes me two hours to get ready on the weekends and it could be easier.  Also, give me a project and I go into it whole hog.

As you can see from the above photos, cleaning out my closet left my closet a bit bare.  Where do you go for wardrobe inspiration?

Kafte + Wedding Update

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We are no longer wedding visioning, we are wedding planning!  We made a budget, we are starting to look at venues and still I can’t shake the idea of self catering.  I haven’t followed through on the 300 deviled egg challenge but I have continued to think about feasibility and a menu.  (I will do the deviled egg challenge soon.)

Our menu would probably be pulled pork, lamb kafte, and some sort of lasagna/baked pasta.  The goal would be to have a menu that could be completely finished 24 hours before the wedding itself so that we did not have to worry about cooking on the day.

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I love kafte – lamb, tomatoes and cumin!  Additionally, one of our first dates was grilling lamb together so it seems like a natural fit for the wedding menu.

Lamb Kafte

Recipe:

1 lb ground lamb

1/2 onion finely chopped

1 egg

1 Tbs cumin

1 pinch of salt

Non Stick Spray

Preheat oven to 375.  Mix all ingredients.  Roll into large walnut sized balls.  Spray cookie sheets with non stick spray.  Bake for 15- 20 minutes until the center of the meatballs are no longer pink.

Serve with cumin tomato sauce and mint yogurt sauce.

Closet Confessions

Whats up

This is a food blog. It is not a fashion blog, its a food blog. And it is a reflection of my life in which I pay way more attention to what I eat than what I wear. Because really – I have no idea what is fashionable or what I should wear.

Seriously?  Socks with open shoes - I know its wrong and I wore it to work anyway.

Seriously? Socks with open shoes – I know its wrong and I wore it to work anyway.

I work as a life coach (in an office full of people who are adorable inside and out).  In coaching, the belief is that “Awareness improves performance.”  So I want to loop you in and get your help me increasing my awareness and (hopefully) my performance.

What makeup can I wear that wont melt off during yoga and will still look polished?

What makeup can I wear that wont melt off during yoga and will still look polished?

The goal is to be able to roll out of bed in the morning and throw something on that looks put together and appropriate to where I am going.    So, help me out.  What should I wear?  What strategies do you use in your shopping, outfits, and makeup to walk out the door looking put together every morning?

 

Cheers! Back to School Cocktail

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Happy September!  It is almost fall here.  A kind of magical time in food, weather, and education.  We are enjoying figs, early delicata squash, and corn.  The weather is getting crisp, the rain has started, and sweaters are coming out.  Because I work in education, it is a really energetic time at work as well.

My sister came to town :) We went hiking, shopping, and exploring.  I am so impressed by how successful she has been this summer and how on top of it she is as she heads into her senior year of college.

I traveled down to the Bay Area for my Mom’s birthday.  I had a lot of fun exploring new restaurants, seeing friends and family, and floating down the Sacramento river.

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We adopted a new kitty!  His name is Stilton.  He is sweet, playful, and a little too smart for his own good.

I love this cocktail right now.  Crisp apple, spicy ginger, and whiskey.  It tastes like back to school September.

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Fill a glass with ice.

1 shot of whiskey.

Fill to halfway with apple cider.

Fill to the top with ginger ale.

 

Vacation!

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Oh my goodness , we had a lovely week.  We both realized about a month ago that we were very close to losing vacation hours.  We haven’t taken a week off together since we started working two years ago.

We thought about a couple of different destinations.  We thought about Yellowstone.  We thought about Victoria.  We thought about the Oregon Coast.  And then we thought about just staying home and savoring summer.  We are homebodies and on a budget so our staycation was just about perfect.

I splurged on a hammock and gorged myself on tomatoes with basil, olive oil, salt and pepper and good bread.  It was simple and quiet and so good.

We also challenged ourselves with a few projects.  We canned and preserved peaches, cherries, basil, and tomatoes (recipes to come).  Brett continued to try to teach me how to play DnD.  Apparently, when goblins surround your campsite it is a bad thing. . . who knew? Finally, we wrangled my closet into some sense of order (no small feat).

What about you?  What are you doing to embrace these last few weeks of summer?

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Summer Buffet – Cobb Salad and Bruschetta

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I am in produce heaven.  Portland has a shorter growing season than California.  When it is good, the produce here is very very good.  It has been a wonderful couple of weeks of gorging ourselves on fresh produce and canning (lots of recipes to come).

Friday, we made dinner for friends who had been on a business trip throughout the week.  We wanted to make something that would be healthy (ish), easy to customize, and embrace all the tasty produce.  We decided on a Cobb Salad and Bruschetta Bar.  It was pretty simple to throw together and super tasty.  Added bonus – we brought the leftover bruscetta components with us to DnD the next day and had vegan/paleo snacks.

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Cobb Salad Bar

Pre washed greens

In season veggies

Chicken – pan fried for about 10 minutes w/ some salt

Bacon

Avocado

Dressing

Chop all ingredients and lay out as attractively as you care to.

Bruschetta Bar

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Tapenade Recipe – Super tasty but we added a bunch more basil and quite a bit more olive oil

Cheese Free Pesto – Was a kitchen magic to taste and consistency.  We used kalamata olives in place of the Parmesan cheese.  It was a pretty good substitution.

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Tomato Bruschetta -

2 large heirloom tomatoes

2 cloves of garlic

6 basil leaves

Chop, mix, and add:

Drizzle of olive oil

Drizzle of balsamic vinegar

 

 

Friendship and Pancakes – pt 1

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Friendship: I find connection and inclusion fascinating.  I wrote my Rhetoric thesis on the rhetoric of inclusion and momentum building.  I work as a life coach promoting a sense of connection between college students and the online school they attend.  Unsurprisingly, I believe in the value of connection and friendship.

 

Brett and I moved away from our college friends when we graduated.  It took awhile to figure out how to make friends without school as common place to meet them.  But we did it.

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At the beginning of that journey, I looked and couldn’t find anyone talking about how to make friends as an adult.  I want to take some time here to talk about the experience we have had so far- what worked, what didn’t and why.  It is going to take few posts to fully express my thoughts out on the subject.

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In the meantime, July was Friendship Month over at the Practical Wedding blog.  I know a wedding blog seems like a strange place to go for a conversation on friendship but it is a really thoughtful conversation they are having about the importance of friendship as well as the whys and hows of making and ending friendships.

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Pancakes: I stole this morning’s pancake recipe directly from the Joy the Baker cookbook.  The pancakes were really really good and the recipe was scaled for one.  I doubled it so that Brett and I got to indulge in pancakes without have to exert any self control.  I added chocolate chips and raspberries to the pancakes and prosciutto and pesto to the eggs.