Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Ught Oh!

Only 4 weeks left of summer and so much left to do with the kids. Yikes. I'm feeling like a big failure.

Japanese Garden
UW Water Activities Center
Local Farmers Markets
U-Pick Farms
Woodland Park Zoo
Seward Park
Magnuson Park
Madison Park
Matthews Beach
Ella Bailey Park
South Lake Union Park
Seattle Mini-Ferry from UW to South Lake Union
Volunteer Park
Golden Gardens
Burke Gilman Trail
Discovery Park
Sculpture Park & the Seattle Waterfront
Pike Place Market
Kelsey Creek Farm Park
Ballard Locks
Pacific Science Center
Space Needle
Mountlake Terrace pool
Seattle Aquarium
Chihuly Garden & Glass
Jetty Island
Bainbridge Island
Vashon Island
West Seattle
Gas Works
Ride the Duck
Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium
Museum of Flight
Seattle Art Museum
Snoqualmie Falls
Enchanted Village/Wild Waves
Mariners Game
Sounders Game
Seattle Great Wheel

Reading Assignments

Lots of interesting articles here....

How to Raise a Child: ‘Teach Your Children Well,’ by Madeline Levine

A Final Message From My Mother

Two Classes, Divided by 'I Do'

Friends of a Certain Age: Why Is It Hard to Make Friends Over 30?

The 'Busy' Trap

Pinterest, Tumblr and the Trouble With ‘Curation’

The Making of an Olympic Sex Symbol

Love, Money and Other People’s Children

Small Farmers Creating a New Business Model as Agriculture Goes Local
(There is a photo with this article of Wilson Fish at the Ballard Farmers Market, and you can see Tim, the guy I buy my fish from every Sunday. He's the best. If you go there, wait for Tim and tell him I sent you. And tell him you saw him in the New York Times!)

Have you read anything interesting lately? If so, send it my way.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Thank You, Ina!

I just whipped up a batch of Green Goddess dressing for the first time in a year and am so happy to have it back in my life. I try to enjoy foods when they are in season and fresh from the market so I wait patiently all year to have the things I love. It makes me excited for every meal. Tonight we'll have a Ina's green goddess salad and her California BLTs.

Again I used half the mayo and sour cream and it is perfect. I even used Veganaise this time and you can't tell the difference. The recipe makes a huge jar so there's lots for leftovers or you could share some with a friend. I'm stingy with my goods so I might use some on this Kale Market Salad or even use it for these Green Goddess Grilled Cheese Sandwiches. Yum!

A Memoir of Fate, Friendship & Love

I just finished "What Remains" this weekend and really enjoyed it. I highly recommend it.

Amazon Description:

What Remains is a vivid and haunting memoir about a girl from a working-class town who becomes an award-winning television producer and marries a prince, Anthony Radziwill. Carole grew up in a small suburb with a large, eccentric cast of characters. At nineteen, she struck out for New York City to find a different life. Her career at ABC News led her to the refugee camps of Cambodia, to a bunker in Tel Aviv, and to the scene of the Menendez murders. Her marriage led her into the old world of European nobility and the newer world of American aristocracy.

What Remains begins with loss and returns to loss. A small plane plunges into the ocean carrying John F. Kennedy Jr., Anthony's cousin, and Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, Carole's closest friend. Three weeks later Anthony dies of cancer. With unflinching honesty and a journalist's keen eye, Carole Radziwill explores the enduring ties of family, the complexities of marriage, the importance of friendship, and the challenges of self-invention. Beautifully written, What Remains "gets at the essence of what matters," wrote Oprah Winfrey. "Friendship, compassion, destiny."

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Good Morning Tomato Sandwich

The tomato sandwich has changed my life. I've eaten 5 of them this week already. I actually wake up excited to eat one for breakfast with my coffee. If you're a tomato fan, try this bad boy for breakfast, lunch or dinner!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Current Salad Obsession

Terrible photo. Tastes way better than it looks.

I went to Portland back in early June (more on that trip soon) and went to a great restaurant called Ox where we had a delicious kale salad. It's just my style to come home, crave it, and then have to re-create it. The problem was that it was not your ordinary grocery store kale, with enormous, mature, tough leaves. This kale was soft and tender. Being the determined soul that I am, I hatched a plan. I would plant my own kale in the garden, then harvest the leaves when they were still young and tender. And that's exactly what I did and I have been eating this salad every few days ever since. I don't think this salad would be as good with the thick tough leaves from the grocery store but you can find some good kale at the farmers market right now that's smaller and softer so I would hunt that down if you can.

The best ranch dressing I've ever had in my life, by far, is from Varlamos Pizzeria in Seattle. No grocery store ranch dressing comes close. So I've been swinging by there every few days for a little tub of ranch to go. If you live close enough, I recommend that. Otherwise just track down some good ranch or better yet, make your own.

Kale Salad w/ Strawberries, Fried Chickpeas & Feta Ranch Dressing

Kale, I used a mix of different kinds, the most tender leaves you can find
Strawberries, preferably fresh, local and organic, quartered
Garbanzo beans
Feta cheese
Ranch dressing, the best you can find
Kalamata olives, optional

To fry the garbanzo beans:

In a medium sauce pan, heat 6 T olive oil over high heat. Add the garbanzo beans and cook for 4-8 minutes, stirring regularly, until they are perfectly cooked. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to plate with a paper towel to soak up the oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Allow to cool. (Can be done ahead of time)

Rinse kale and break into large bite size pieces. Add to salad bowl with strawberries, fried garbanzo beans and kalamatas if using. Sprinkle with a touch of salt and pepper. Put a small handful of feta in a jar and smash with a fork. Add ranch dressing and shake to combine. Toss feta ranch dressing with salad, sprinkle with another touch of salt and serve.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Oh Billy!

Yesterday brought the first round of Billy's tomatoes at the Ballard market and I was thrilled. I can't wait for all the delicious ways to eat and prepare them. First on my list is the Tomato Sandwich from Dinner A Love Story. That will be tonight's dinner with a quick pasta and salad. In the next few weeks I'm sure to make the following and more...

California BLT

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Sweet Onion and Mint

Fresh Corn Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes, Mint & Basil

Tomato & Green Bean Salad with Homemade Pesto

Tomato Salad with Basil Shallot Vinaigrette
My mother-in-law's delicious salad
Butter Lettuce Salad with Green Goddess Dressing
Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes & Basil
Tomato Soup
Tomato Soup, inspired by Nordstrom's Tomato Soup
Slow Roasted Tomatoes

Another favorite with good tomatoes:

Everything bagel toasted, top with plain cream cheese, tomato slices and lots of fresh ground pepper. Eat open-faced. YUM!

Do you have a favorite way to eat/prepare fresh tomatoes? Would love your recipes to add to the mix.

Quote of the Day

"When you have done a good act and another has fared well by it, why seek a third reward besides these, as fools do, be it the reputation for having done a good act or getting something in return?

- Marcus Aurelius

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Quote of the Day

"The 6 P's: proper prior preparation prevents poor performance."

My dad used to always tell me this. He even wrote it on a 3x5 card once and left it on my dashboard while I was at school. Weirdo. He also used to call me some mornings when he got to work to tell me the roads were slick. It drove me crazy, but I know I will do the same to my teenage drivers. Now that I have kids, I can imagine his fear of his young inexperienced driver on cold winter mornings driving 20 minutes to high school on a windy lake road. I appreciate his lessons now and in most (not all) areas of my life, I live by the 6 p's and am hyper aware of when the roads are slick.

Love ya Daddo!

Any good lessons from your dad that you appreciate now that you're an adult?

Saturday, July 21, 2012


I just love these arrangements by Poppies & Posies. Gorgeous.

Something to think on...

You are either changing or fighting change, growing or fighting growth.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Watercolor Menu

from paper taste buds


You could recreate something like this for your next dinner party.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Look of the Day: Diane Krueger

Simple but chic...

Good News, Bad News

The good news is that Nordstrom is partnering with Topshop and will be selling Topshop items in their stores this fall. The bad news for Seattleites is that you have to drive to Southcenter to get the goods. Southcenter is closer than London though so I guess I shouldn't complain.

"Nordstrom + Topshop: Breaking Banks this Fall"

Isabel Marant Fall 2012

J'adore Isabel Marant. Season after season I love her looks.

Quote of the Day

“People think, what’s one shard, one stone, when there are so many?” Sanders told us. “Of course, if everyone took a piece, there would be nothing left.”

- from the NYT's article "Looted for Love"

I am trying to teach my daughter this lesson. Every time we go to the Japanese Garden we have this conversation because she wants to take some flowers or leaves.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Look of the Day

A Visit, and What Really Happened

A good Modern Love story from May (I'm so behind on these)....

"A Visit, and What Really Happened"

Great New Salad Recipe

Photo credit: 101 Cookbooks

Last night I had red butter lettuce in the fridge but no plan for a salad. I had some toasted almonds and Kalamatas left over from my orzo pasta and an orange so I did a little googling and came across this recipe for a Butter Lettuce Sunshine Salad. I used her dressing, minus the parmesan and voila, a delicious new salad. This makes more than enough dressing so you'll have some for the next night too.

Butter Lettuce Salad with Orange, Almonds and Kalamata Olives

red butter lettuce
orange slices, torn into pieces
sliced almonds, toasted
red onion, sliced paper thin
kalamata olives, cut in half


Zest and juice of 1 orange
1 T minced shallot
1 T white wine vinegar

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Quick & Easy

My daughter doesn't like any type of pasta with red sauce (is she crazy?) so I usually pull some noodles out and make her some variation of our meal. Last night I was making Toasted Orzo with Chicken, Kalamata Olives and Feta so I came up with this version sans red sauce. I thought it was quite good and will make it again for the whole family next time.

Toasted Orzo with Chicken, Kalamata Olives, Toasted Almonds and Parm

3 T butter
2 T olive oil
1 cup orzo pasta *
2 1/2 cups water
1 Rapunzel brand vegetable bouillon cube (no salt version)
2 T minced shallot
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 chicken breast, cubed (I buy 1 or 2 grilled chicken strips from PCC)
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, sliced
1 t fresh parsley, minced
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
freshly ground pepper
feta, optional

Put 1 T butter and 1 T olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add orzo pasta and saute for a few minutes, stirring regularly. Once it starts to brown a little bit, add water and vegetable bouillon cube (breaking apart as you sprinkle it in). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, sprinkle with some salt. Simmer until the liquid is absorbed (10 minutes or so), stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, combine 1 T butter and 1 T olive oil in a second pan over medium heat. Add shallot and saute for a few minutes. Add garlic and saute until it starts to sizzle. Add kalamata olives, chicken, parsley and some pepper. Stir to combine and remove from heat. Once orzo pasta is completely cooked (you may have to add a little more stock or water if it's not cooked all the way and give it a few more minutes), add 1T butter and parmesan. Stir to combine. Add chicken mixture and toasted almonds. Stir to combine. Check seasoning, add salt and pepper if needed, and serve.

* Orzo pasta usually comes in 12-16oz bags. If you want to use a whole bag, increase the other measurements.


Cute custom, handmade pinatas from a local artist: pinyadayada. Such a fun touch for your next party.  

White Sangria

We had our second annual summer fiesta this past weekend and once again, the white sangria was the hit of the party. I made extra this year and we still blew through it. Then the bartenders used all the white wine to make more on the fly and we blew through that. Then I sent my sister to the store for more white wine to make more and we even blew through that. Have I convinced you that it's good?

A great cocktail to whip up for your next party or BBQ. It's best when you make it the night before and it's one less thing you have to worry about.

Terpening Summer Fiesta White Sangria

4-6 cups chopped cantaloupe
4 cups pitted cherries (I used Rainier because I liked the color)
2 oranges, sliced thin
3 lemons, sliced thin
4-5 bottles white wine (I use pinot grigio)
1.5 containers frozen lemonade concentrate
1/2 - 1 cup triple sec

Combine everything but the triple sec in a large container and let sit overnight. The day of, add the triple sec. Serve over ice with a scoop of fruit and a festive stir-stick.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Quote of the Day

"If you're going to play in the mud, expect to get dirty."

- my friend Matt Williamson


I heard this poem on NPR recently and liked it. A quick read for your Monday morning.
by Kim Addonizio

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Today's Reading

Modern Love
Missing the Boat: A Case for Marriage

The Russians Claim the Fashion Spotlight
The Czarinas Are Back 

RSVP - P.S. No Gluten, Fat, or Soy Please
The Picky Eater Who Came to Dinner

Modern Love
A Measure of Desire

Quote of the Day

Love it...

"There is an inevitable cow-chewing-its-cud imagery that comes into play when people watch us working (relentlessly) on a piece of gum. It takes several I.Q. points off their estimation of us, occasionally drives them crazy, and makes us less appealing as romantic partners."

- NYT Social Q's

Monday, July 9, 2012

Fur-ever Cool

PETA would not be proud right now, but if anyone should be allowed to wear fur it's Kate. A little gallery of her looking chic in fur...

Today's Reading

A few good articles I've read lately...

"The invaluable weight of a mother's gifts" - The Week

"What my father gave me" - The Week

"Don’t Indulge. Be Happy." - The New York Times

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Enough Already!

I can only take so much princess and I have hit my limit with the Disney packaged grapes. Seriously?!

Pasta with Mama Lil's & Artichoke Hearts

I had some Lagana Foods Campanelle pasta in the fridge that I needed to use but nothing planned for dinner. I was craving something like the Pasta alla Amanda I posted recently but didn't have any fresh peppers on hand. I did have half a jar of Mama Lil's pickled peppers though and a jar of artichoke hearts that had been lurking around for weeks so I decided to make up my own pasta. I'm glad I got creative because it was delicious and easy. I will definitely make it again.

It was a bit spicy so I used some of the noodles for a kid pasta. If you want to use a full package of pasta noodles then I would increase the amounts of the other ingredients.

Stay tuned for a photo.

Pasta with Mama Lil's & Artichoke Hearts

2/3 lb fresh pasta
2 T olive oil
1 medium shallot, minced
4 cloves of garlic, sliced paper thin
sprinkle of red pepper flakes
6.5oz jar of artichoke hearts, strained and cut in half
1/2 jar of Mama Lil's peppers with oil
Salt & pepper

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan (or more, actually - always more)
1/2 cup feta

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Saute shallots for a minute or two. Add garlic and saute for several minutes, stirring occasionally and making sure not to burn. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes. When the garlic is cooked and just starting to brown on the edges but nothing more than that, add the artichoke hearts. Stir to combine, then add the peppers with the oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low and cook for 10 minutes to let flavors meld.

Cook noodles according to directions, then strain and add to the pan with the sauce. Stir to combine, then stir in parmesan and feta. Serve hot with an extra sprinkle of feta on top.

Snack Time

A few new favorite snacks I can't get enough of...

1. Apple slices dipped in almond butter - who knew this could be so good?!

2. Sugar snap peas dipped in pesto - ditto!

3. Kurtwood Farms Dinah's Cheese with Grand Central Bakery Grande Bolo bread

4. Lesley Stowe Cranberry Hazelnut Raincoast Crisps with fresh chevre