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Saturday, April 28, 2012

yesterday was awesome

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the weather was perfect.

we held a beautiful celebration on the schoolyard to officially open our field and garden. there was lemonade with mint from the garden. our school board member came to celebrate his long history with the project. we received a commendation for turning an "asphalt nightmare" into a "place of beauty". friends, neighbors, community members and all the school family were there. (somehow i didn't take any pictures.)

the arc of a project that began when e was in kindergarten came to a close with her weeks away from completing fifth grade.

i am so grateful for so much.





and we already have plans for what's next.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

52 cookies :: week 16 :: chocolate meringue cookies

we have an abundance of eggs. both of our ladies are laying regularly. so meringues seemed a good choice this week.

52 cookies

Chocolate Meringue Cookies
Martha Stewart Living

4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 c sugar
1 pinch cream of tartar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 175 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Fill medium saucepan one quarter full with water. Set the saucepan over medium heat, and bring water to a simmer.
Combine egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in the heatproof bowl and place over saucepan. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and whites are warm to the touch about 3 1/2 mins. (Test by rubbing between your fingers.)

Remove from heat and whip, starting on low speed, gradually increasing to high until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 10 mins. Add vanilla, and mix to combine.

Sift 1/4 cup of cocoa over the meringue, and fold so that streaks of cocoa remain. Pipe out cookies with pastry bag into small coils or desired shapes onto baking sheet. Sift remaining cocoa over cookies; bake until cookies lift off parchment easily, about 2 hours.

52 cookies

{while the kids still like these - i would rate them an F. they did not dry out enough. i think that they could have used more time in the oven - but it was late, i was tired, and i just couldn't do it. must stop midnight baking. i haven't attempted meringue cookies before - but have made this. it uses the hotter and shorter vs. cooler and longer approach to meringue. i'll revisit cookies with the former i think.}

K: It tastes like chocolate gum. They are very good. Nothing can make them better.

E: Mmm mmmm mmm, it tastes like chocolate gum,
It really is yum yum yum,
I think you'll like them too,
If you don't I will for you!!!

Do you like my poem?


D: I know why you think these chocolate meringues are a failure, I also know why K called them chocolate gum, and I know why E wrote a poem about them. I want to rename them "Armageddon"* cuz what else can taste like the end of the world and at the same time pull out a molar? They bring out the homogeneity* in this mixed up world. Their collaboration* reminds me of Australia*. An island and a desert. As I go deeper to accommodate*, I feel as if I am bankrupt* of all descriptions. and now I need a napkin*. I heart you my bougainvillea*! Xoxoxoxx ;-)

*we held a little spelling bee in the family room tonight after dinner. d is showing off a little here :)

Monday, April 23, 2012

good book night

and happy world book day.

books have been such a huge part of my life. they have been with me when i was lonely. and guided me when i was looking for direction. they have brought me happiness and taught me so much about myself.

WBN

I was giver today for World Book Night.

it was a kick handing out books to those who admitted to not really being readers.

the instructions stated to choose a book you had read. i chose to hand out nicole krauss' The History of Love in front of our neighborhood elementary school.

WBN

i spoke with a young mom, new to L.A. from New York who told me her english wasn't very good - but that she would ask her husband to read to her. to a grandfather who told me how much his granddaughter loved to read and so he wanted to read more too. to twenty people i don't know as they entered to pick up their children, grandchildren, friends, neighbors... from school.

a few asked me what they had to do in return.

and i answered "just read it. enjoy it. let me know what you think of it.".

so fun to share the joy of a good book.

Friday, April 20, 2012

make way for ducklings...

two big storms back we spotted a mallard couple on the field at the school... they have been frequently spotted on the schoolyard since.

today it appeared that they have a family. and that they decided to take their ducklings on a tour of the campus.

ducklings

unfortunately when the bell rang, the mama got scared and flew away. she could be seen circling the school - and when things were quiet we returned the ducklings to the field. but she hasn't come back. worried that with darkness falling she wouldn't return for the night, the ducklings have found safe haven with a neighbor. we will try releasing them tomorrow in the school's pond and science garden and watch what happens.

ducklings

ducklings

if the parents don't return, we will have to deliver them to the nearby wildlife rescue center. it has been an adventure of a day.


update! the ducklings, mama and papa are reunited :) happy ending!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

52 cookies :: week 15 :: lacy oatmeal cookies

I was looking for something quick and easy this week. and without any ingredients we didn't have in the cupboard. while we didn't have the rice syrup - i kept coming back to this one. so sent d on a quest - and whipped these up after everyone else had gone to bed.

on cooling them it quickly became clear why the cookbook authors refer to the "butter-stained card" of the cookies origin... they didn't crisp up like i'd hope. i'd say they needed to bake a few minutes longer - or maybe it is storing them in the airtight cookie jar that makes them chewy rather than crunchy, as i'd imagined.

Lacy Oatmeal Cookies
from The Grand Central Baking Book

1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c quick oats
1/3 c unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 c granulated sugar
2 tblsp heavy cream
2 tblsp brown rice syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F. Line 2 baking sheets with silpats.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Stir in oats.

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Remove from heat and add sugar, heavy cream, brown rice syrup and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth. Fold in dry ingredients and let sit for 5 minutes.

Drop "marble-size" (yes that small!) balls of dough on the prepared pans, about 12 per pan as they will spread. Bake for 5 minutes total - turning half-way through. The cookies will be thin and flat, with lightly browned edges. Allow to cool.

K: It is too good to be true. My dad says it looks like cat vomit but I say it doesn't. I love the cookies so much.

E: Ok ok, they're good. They kinda taste like sugar cookies, but softer and mushier. Really, really good. I wonder what the cookies will be next week? 'cause these ain't lastin' long!

D: These things are more like a candy, they have a great burnt toffee flavor and an unusual consistency. Strange yet tasty. What more can I say...

52 cookies

D may have ruined these for me ;)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

sweet.treat

its a busy week. and the weather is warm.

yesterday, we made a quick treat after school together.

IMG_2353

raspberry-yogurt ice pops

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today, we shared it with our friends (but not the chickens)

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the bit extra was decanted to a container - and saved for later...

yum!

Monday, April 16, 2012

breaktime sewing

i took a break from writing this weekend with a quick project that has been in my "to do" file for too long.

this was super easy sewing. but considering i haven't made anything (not counting hallowe'en costumes which really don't count) since k's quickie duvet cover a year and a half ago (!) it felt like a big deal.

kindle slipcase

kindle slipcase

e loves it. it used up some of my overwhelming fabric stash.

30 minutes well spent.

pattern via charmstitch. e's kindle is a touch so i adjusted the measurements accordingly.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

last night we went bowling.

we went bowling

we went bowling

the girls had a blast. k bowls like her mama.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

looking up.

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our matilija is about to bloom. they are one of my favourite flowers. pure joy. too fragile to make it is a cut flower. best enjoyed with a cup of coffee on a sunny saturday morning.

today i have the coffee. and the sunshine. perhaps next weekend will bring the bloom.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

52 cookies :: week 14 :: pecan sandies

I am working on a tight deadline this week...

these cookies and a cup of tea are the perfect antidote.

52cookies

Pecan Sandies
via Smitten Kitchen
adapted from Last Course

1 c pecans
2 c all-purpose flour
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2/3 c confectioners’ sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tblsp turbinado sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spread the nuts in one layer on a baking sheet and bake until well browned, 10-13 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool.

In a food processor, grind the nuts with 1/4 cup of the flour. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer with paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until creamy and smooth. Add vanilla and beat well. Sift together the remaining 1 3/4 cups of flour, salt, and baking powder. Add dry ingredients to the dough, mixing until just combined. Stir in nut mixture. Form the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Roll the dough between two sheets of wax paper to 3/16 inch thick (a rectangle approximately 10 x 14 inches). Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into squares or triangles, as you wish. I went with approximately 1" squares.. Sprinkle the cookies with the turbinado sugar. Place them 1" apart on ungreased cookie sheets (do not reroll the scraps). Prick the cookies with a fork and bake until pale golden all over, about 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

52cookies

K: One reason I like it is because it tastes like oatmeal.
Another is because it is so crumbly and nice.
I love your pecan sandies.


E: Mmmm really good!!!! They taste like your granola before u cook it. They are really crumbly and good!!!!!

D: ...and so castles made of sand fall to the sea eventually.
These pecan sandies are so good, warm and crumbly, great with tea; bet they are better with milk. If you could eat the feeling of warm, crumbly sand squishing through your toes you'd have a mouthful of this cookie. Texture, pacific at sunset, smiles on faces, automatic memory. It time for a road trip honey. Xoxoxo


Not sure where the oatmeal and granola references come from. Though logically the pecans. Which I love - and throw in everything...

Sunday, April 08, 2012

easter sunday

easter

waking up to treats from the bunny. church service and egg hunt with annual visitors. yummy brunch with good friends and neighbors. a beautiful bouquet from the garden.

returning to our routine tomorrow. it has been a perfect break. though perhaps a week too short. (i miss the easter monday off of my childhood.)

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Thursday, April 05, 2012

last night

tonight

tonight

tonight

tonight




we ate dinner outside for the first time in a long time.

we roasted marshmallows over the fire and k kept exclaiming "i feel like i'm camping!"

we stayed outside while the sun set.

we stargazed - with help from a very cool app: Star Walk

we stayed up a little too late and went to bed smelling like campfire.

it was perfect.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

52 cookies :: week 13 :: coconut macaroons

flipping through in search of last week's recipe, we marked these, in honor of easter... and passover...

eggs are a central symbol for both.

52 cookies

Coconut Macaroons
from Martha Stewart Holiday Cookies (2001)

3/4 c sugar
2 1/2 c unsweetened shredded desiccated coconut
2 large egg whites (hooray for the chooks laying again!)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
pinch table salt

Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare pan with silpat.

In a large bowl combine all ingredients. Mix well with hands.

Dampen hands with cold water and form heaping tablespoon of mixture into haystack shape; place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat, spacing about 1 inch apart.

{If you are so inclined, and to really make the 10 yr old - who has had a tough day - smile, place a chocolate chip in the center of half the haystacks.}

Bake until golden brown, about 18 minutes, rotating half way through. Cool on wire rack.

Makes about 1 dozen

52 cookies

However you celebrate this weekend - enjoy. Happy Easter & Good Pesach!

K: I really really like them well. I could taste the coconut and I like the chocolate chip.

E: Really really good. I really like the coconut. I prefer the chocolate chip ones more. Really excellent. A little bigger next time, please.

D: Nice change up. These coconut macaroons are toasty and crunchy on the outside dense and sweet on the inside. When my peoples were wandering in the desert they used these cookies for sustenance and fun. Oy!


Monday, April 02, 2012

spring.break

over the weekend we had violin adjudications and birthday parties. we took in a galaxy match and k's soccer team (and their coach d) were invited onto the field for a half-time game. and we hosted our friends and neighbors for a meet and greet with mayoral candidate eric garcetti.

this week is spring break. and we are taking it easy. in the end we decided to stay home. there are fun opportunities for local adventures with the freighbors. and i am so looking forward to just sleeping in. (and the quiet mornings where the girls sleep later than i do. a rarity around these parts.)

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happy monday.

p.s. your ideas for a get-away were not swept aside. looking for dates to visit this hide-away! thank you!