Friday, May 31, 2013

End of the School Year

Last Day of First Grade
I have been teary-eyed the last couple of days because my little boy is growing up way too quickly as another school year has come and gone and summer is officially here.  My son had a truly outstanding teacher this year and letting him go will be especially difficult.  To say this teacher went the extra mile, truly loves kids, made learning fun and created a wonderful partnership with me would be an understatement.  

Needless to say, my kiddo is very excited for camp, trips we have planned and the endless hours he will undoubtedly spend in the pool.  Here's to the start of sunny days, baseball games, popsicles and summer adventures.  

Rewind: First Day of School

A final video of my son's first grade glass as they end the year.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Spinach Salad with Roasted Vegetables and Spiced Beans

Girl crush?  Yep, looks like I am headed in that direction with yet another Melissa Clark recipe.

I was not planning on making this recipe.  I blame the New York Times with that "Recommended for You" section next to the "Most Emailed" section.  There she was, third from the top with this spinach salad right beneath the "Modern Love" and "Well" columns.  I happened to have most of the ingredients and that practically makes making a dish obligatory.  Plus, after stuffing myself over the Memorial Day weekend, a salad is in order.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Honey-Glazed Pear Upside-Down Cake

My friend and I are training for the Women's Half Marathon in June and once in a while we are able to meet up at Recreation Drive and do our long runs which for me, is anything over 6 miles.  We tend to chat...a lot and our conversation topics range from food and recipes to relationships, travel and decorating.  Lest you think this banter is frivolous, it was on one of those runs that she told me about the Melissa Clark books which has lead me to love cooking and baking even more than I did before.  

Monday, May 20, 2013

Mixed Salad with Yogurt Tahini Dressing from "It's All Good"

At one point or another, we have all said something along these lines, "Sure I could look like Gwyneth Paltrow, if I had her money and could hire a nutritionist, trainer, a nanny and a staff to clean the house."  All of that stuff is true but thankfully, Ms. Paltrow is putting the recipes on full display so we can at least know what to eat.  I was not planning on picking up her new cookbook, "It's All Good", because frankly, her Marie Antoinette musings are a bit much.  However, I was out and about on a random weekend, had a little time to kill before a dinner reservation and decided to stop by Barnes & Noble.  Her cookbook was sitting front and center on that table they have at the entrance of every Barnes & Noble on the face of the earth.  I picked it up and after looking through the recipes, was intrigued.  

Monday, May 13, 2013

Melissa Clark's "Stupendous" Hummus

I don't know what I did wrong with other hummus attempts but they all tasted like plaster, or as how I imagine plaster would taste.

Enter, Melissa Clark.  She made a good case against using canned chickpeas and gave directions for cooking the dried variety in heavily salted water with several garlic cloves.  Then she goes on to gently suggest that peeling each individual pea might bring the hummus to yet another level of "stupendous".  Really, Melissa?  Each individual pea?  A tedious undertaking for sure but then I realized that this is a great way to busy the hands while, say, quizzing your 7 year old on his spelling words.  Surely more economical than going to websites that just make me want to spend money I do not have.  

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


Japanese Garden
How I got this far in life without experiencing the weirdness and beauty that is Oregon is beyond me.

My attempt to describe this liberal fantasyland will be with bullets. When you know you might be in Stumptown/Portland/PDX:

  • You might be in Stumptown when you pack on 10 pounds in 5 days.  Food Trucks, Voodoo Donuts,  Little Bird Bistro, Beer (and I don't even drink beer!), Wine.  Not only are the food and beverages perfection but, wait, it is affordable!  Cocktail in Portland, $8 vs. Chicago for $16.  Tab for the dinners that made me swoon, $28...with tip.  Freaking food lover's nirvana out there.
  • You might be in Oregon when you take 30,000 steps (my pedometer said so) in one day hiking trails along the Columbia River Gorge and Mt. Hood and only saw a fraction of the trails Oregon has to offer.
  • You might be in Portland when the tattoo on your ankle looks downright conservative.  Holy ink, folks.  
  • You also might be in Portland when like the ink, the piercing in your belly and ears are quaint.  A lot of holes and stretched ear lobes out there.
  • You might be in Portland when you cannot walk a block without getting solicited by multiple panhandlers, The Nature Conservancy and a political campaign.
  • You might be in Portland when you hate your car and the Chicago EL after experiencing the cleanliness, quiet and convenience of the Portland public transportation system.  The fare cards are basically on the honor system and the trains glide quietly up to you on the street.  Blissful.
  • You might be in Portland when you are looking at a map at 7:00 A.M. and someone asks ever so kindly, "Can I help you find something? I live here." You say, "Great! Yes!  I am looking for a coffee shop."  The person replies, "Oh, I don't know any coffee shops.  I save money and bring my own coffee."    
  • You might be in Portland when you get bemused looks when you cross the street when the red hand on the walk signal is on yet there are no cars coming.
  • Finally, you might be in Portland when you think you might be living an episode of Portlandia.  That show is no spoof.

Japanese Garden

Multnomah Falls