Sunday, November 28, 2010

keeping cozy

we've had record low temperatures at night. it has finished up some of the veggies in the garden - but has also motivated me to get on with planting more winter crops :: brassicas in particular. not sure about my gourd. thinking it may end up a teeny tiny bird house. note to self to definitely plant earlier next year.

the girls still share the bottom bunk and the duvet cover - purchased when k first went to a "big bed" was completely thread-bare. i kept telling myself that i would make them each a quilt this summer. but i didn't. it is still on the "to do" list, but until then, i whipped up a simple new duvet cover out of two thrifted sheets. easy peasy. simply used the old one as a template. extra happy that the fabric matches the roll pillow i thrifted some years back.


cozy too.


back to school tomorrow. it has been a full and wonderful break. next stop: Hanukkah!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Friday, November 26, 2010

damn good.

our wonderful Thanksgiving dinner with dear friends was so amazingly yummy. to quote his mother-in-law..."you're a damn good cook john".





of course the table was beautiful.  and the  apertif, wine, and digestif well chosen.

(good food with wonderful beverage pairings is something our hosts are famous for.)

the pies turned out very well too. so good we are finishing them up with our morning coffee.

pie for breakfast.

no shopping for us today. (though i'll admit to some early morning perusing over at the apple site.)

just reveling in another quiet day at home.

so very much to be thankful for.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks

we are in full prep mode. we are in charge of desserts this year and the girls and i are busy. we made pumpkin puree with the beautiful long island cheese pumpkins we had been saving from our CSA deliveries. we threw in some candied pecans to nibble on while we work.


rosemary and thyme candied pecans

on the menu:

chocolate pecan pie

pumpkin banana mousse tart


and of course... pumpkin pie decorated with pastry leaves and served with fresh whipped cream.


Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 18, 2010


the unexpected thing about discord and upheaval, is that it offers perspective. it serves as a reminder that we are not alone. we have built something around us that protects us. we have a support system in place to bolster us up when we need it the most. to give us strength. we are reminded of what is truly important.

i feel so very blessed.

(don't worry - nothing earth-shattering going on. saddened by a misunderstanding. life. having d out of town for a few days.)

loving this song...

Friday, November 12, 2010

long road to the old place

en route.

we celebrated eleven years today. eleven years since our wedding on a rooftop with those nearest and dearest to us dancing under the stars. eleven years of ups and downs and to-s and fro-s and long walks together. eleven years of defining "home" and "family" and "friend".

we celebrated at a new old favourite place. with our girls. such a part of our eleven years.

yep. i love you cowboy.

the old place

Thursday, November 11, 2010

back on the farm...

we returned to "our farm" today. the girls had the day off for the holiday so we decided to lend a hand and drive out to pick-up all our neighborhood subscribers boxes and save the farm staff a trip. while we were there we weeded. for two hours.

they love it there.

we love it there.

paradise (with kale)
spent the morning in bed.  weeding.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

looking up

::looking up::
chicken hand-pies a la kjg

obligations have me running around a lot lately. i am really enjoying it. it hasn't been an easy adjustment for d and the girls, though i think they are getting the hang of it. it doesn't happen very often that i'm not home for dinner. last night was an exception.

i prepped everything for chicken hand-pies before i headed out - d and the girls assembled and baked - and even made dessert: chocolate coconut hand-pies!

we are all growing in wonderful ways. i am enjoying this next stage of all our lives - and am so very grateful for my amazing family.

Chicken Hand-pies

This recipe came via a friend up in Portland, and is based on one in Mad Hungry by Lucinda Scala Quinn

It was a favourite last winter - and with cold temps returning we pulled it out again last night. Paired with a salad of fresh redleaf lettuce, K declared it "the best dinner ever!"


Chicken Hand-pies

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup chopped green shallot
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups chicken broth
1 heaping cup shredded chicken (I used leftover roast chicken)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Melt butter in a skillet and add the vegetables. Saute over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the salt and flour. Add the chicken broth and stir until thickened (a few minutes). Stir in the cheese and chicken. Cool in the refrigerator.

Cream Cheese Pastry:
8 tablespoons (1 stick unsalted butter) at room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
1/4 cup milk (or heavy cream)
1-1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix butter, cream cheese and milk thoroughly. Add flour and salt and mix until combined and a ball forms. Divide the dough into two disks and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling out.

Roll out dough in two batches and cut 5-inch circles - we use a small mixing bowl as cutter. Place 1/4 cup filling on half of each circle. Moisten edges of circle with water and fold dough over to form a half-circle. Crimp edges with fork.

Place pies on a buttered cookie sheet and chill for a few minutes.

Prick tops with a fork. Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes, until lightly-browned.

Cool 5 minutes before serving.

I prepared the dough and filling earlier in the day - then while I was at a meeting D and the girls assembled (decorated!) and baked. And surprised me by using the left over pastry to make dessert hand-pies: dark chocolate and coconut!

"Best dinner ever!"

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Mmmmmm

On our visit to the farm John and I overheard a conversation around spaghetti squash being substituted for noodles in lasagna. We asked for details. When John mentioned to me he tried it and it was a huge hit with the kids, I thought I would too...

spaghetti squash lasagna

we call it:

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Mmmmm
(based on Mark Bittman's Vegetable Lasagna from How To Cook Everything Vegetarian)

makes 6-8 servings

1 cooked spaghetti squash skin removed
3 cups cooked greens (we used our beet greens and another bunch I'm not what they were!) squeezed and chopped
2 tbs olive oil
2 cups tomato sauce (I simply sauteed an onion with some garlic then added tomato and spices and cooked down)
2 cups ricotta cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1 cup parmesan cheese
(I mixed all the cheese together and added a tiny bit of nutmeg)
a few dried lasagna noodles for the bottom (I used the precooked TJs ones)

Preheat the oven to 400. Grease rectangular baking dish with olive oil, add a dollop of tomato sauce and spread it around. Put a layer of noodles down (John suggested this was helpful in provided a base when serving); top with a layer of tomato sauce, a layer of greens, a layer of cheeses and a layer of spaghetti squash - repeat - finishing with tomato sauce, greens and cheese.

Bake for 45 minutes. Leftovers can be kept in the fridge for up to three days. I am curious how this would freeze? None left to try this time, but next I will make extra, as it was a hit!

i like it too.

while we struggle with keeping our practice sessions on track. while we sometimes grumble about those long workshop sessions. while the dog starts to howl just seeing the violins come out of their cases. i know the girls are getting so much out of this experience.
we are coming on to a one year anniversary of suzuki violin lessons and workshop participation. we were evaluating how we feel about the program. and k presented this drawing.

I can play the violin!!!

yes, i like it too.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

november garden

november garden

november garden

november garden

it has taken me a long time to really understand that fall sort of equals spring in socal. it is my favourite time of year in the garden. our drought tolerant plants start to look alive again!

the pic on the top is of ornamental gourds. i had hoped they would be grown, dried and ready to transform into bird houses by the holidays. (i have carried this image in my memory bank since i first saw it.) we will see.