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My 33rd Birthday and Cookbooks

2015 October 6

Guys, I think my skills are hitting an all-time high. Things are clicking better than ever in the kitchen. I’m in the zone, a relaxing-but-focused zone. Best of all: I am not taking the time to get a photo of the process. Unlike the last almost 7 years of this site. I’m just in it and getting the most joy I’ve ever felt from homecooking. I’m also eating a hot meal instead of a mildly warm version after trying to snap a photo. High five!

I’m buying better quality cookware which includes a lovely oval Staub coquette, a 33rd birthday present to myself back in September. Not that it’s always necessary, but I think there are basics to save up for and that’s what I did.

Along with the Staub was a trip to Eugene/Portland where I ate/drank at Falling Sky BrewingOakshire Brewing Public House (thank you Kris for the suggestion-LOVED their sour cuke berliner weisse), Sweet Life Patisserie (one of their employees wished me a happy birthday twice which was so kind), Deschutes Public House for a beer before dinner at Trattoria Gallo Nero (the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile went by while we were there and the staff ran to the window for a pic, loved it), Tasty n Alder for brunch or what was second breakfast for us, Sizzle Pie for late night slices, and hit up not one but two farmers markets where I bought armloads of produce (and feta) which was more than I should have but nothing went to waste. All delicious.  I’ll never forget the experiences. Gonna go back soon.  (Thank you to my sis-in-law Leslie for dog sitting.)

I’m also buying cookbooks. I was poor(er) and foolish in my younger years and deprived myself of the joy of a good cookbook. The feel of the pages, the photos, the tone, tips, wisdom, passion and, with the true greats, a guarantee the recipe was tested and tweaked then well-written and would turn out just as you’d expect. It won’t let you down. It can give you joy with the simple (and sometimes not) process of making, creating. It can give you a learning opportunity, improve your skills. It will give you a moment in time where you’ve provided something special for those dearest to your heart. You will want to do it as often as you can. You will want to find quality ingredients and gather the best equipment you can afford-not a lot of things, just what it takes for your current ability. You will want more and respect more and (for me) dance more and talk more about food in general with whomever will listen (or whomever is too nice to tell you to hush). Greg and I have the best conversations at our kitchen island while I’m preparing a meal, bread, cake, whatever. He places himself on a stool then pours two glasses of wine (or beer) while I weave around the kitchen.  He claims he is spoiled, but I think it’s what we all deserve, a good meal.

I finally bought Canal House, Food 52’s Genius Recipes and their Baking & Vegan books. Inspiration and adoration.  I relax in our newly finished master bedroom reading, rereading, planning what I’m going to make over the weekend or for the following week. Those cookbooks are very much worth your time and money.  I don’t have much, but those I do have are classics or going to be anyway.

My most current cookbook purchase is Ruth Reichl’s (one of my absolute favorite people) My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life. When Gourmet was chopped out of existence I think most of us subscribers, food enthusiasts and general society were shocked. The crew behind the publication and Ruth were, of course, the most astounded. She describes the pain and growth of the situation with the same personal, touching tone she brings to all of her works. I highly recommend this cookbook memoir and her older books.  She is an inspiration and fascinating human being.

What are you reading? And what are you gaining from it?

Life In the New House

2015 April 2

I am to still rocking the kitchen. Not because I’m fat and the new house has a lean to it in that particular room.

There it is. The kitchen. In all its glory. So it needs some help. I just thought it would be nice to show you. I’m the kind of person who likes to imagine and know where people do their thing.

I just finished making a cilantro, jalapeno, sherry vinegar sauce to go on some black bean soup and whatnot then prepped a cabbage-cilantro slaw to put on the next 2 meals. I made “Sloppy Joses” as seen on my Instagram (not the name I gave them) that involved pork, corn salsa and pickled jalapenos. They were delicious. On the menu is ham and cabbage soup with rosemary-infused broth. Yeah, I used the word infused. Deal.

I also wrote a post at the Wits (the stuff I do when I’m not cooking) about life in the new house. Yep, another point the finger (not pull the finger), go that way without something written with more value on this old blog. Deal.

Here’s maybe all the value you need in this post-we’re very happy in our house in Washington and in Washington overall. Very happy indeed.

Hey 3 Months Later

2015 February 12

So…I’m still cooking, kicking, biting, screaming, resting, dreaming and creating, people. We’re 3 months in Washington and put an offer on a house over the weekend, had it accepted the following day and are doing the inspection today.

It’s another fixer, like we wanted, but not a super duper fixer and not nearly as much needs updating as our last place. The house is pretty similar to our first one in Minnesota-only 3 years older, bigger, with hardwood floors this time, a 2 car garage for our workshop and a bunch of other awesome features. Win, win, win, win, win, etc..

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll notice I am indeed still cooking. I’m trying out some vegan days, vegetarian days and eating less meat in general. Trying to lose some poundage and find that healthy sweet spot again. (That grossed me out a bit too.) I’m also kicking my ass doing some high intensity interval training (HIIT). You basically stand looking in Death’s face, dripping with sweat with your lungs screaming, then you bring your energy back down, bring it back up to say hi again, back down and so forth. Then you either feel completely energized and jump around the house to 90’s alt, the Kills station or Disney music (guilty pleasure recently) then crash later or just crash right away. That’s how it goes for me anyway.

Hurting myself, feeding myself, house hunting (myself), getting new glasses, watching Game of Thrones and Curb Your Enthusiasm, planning trips to visit family in southern California and the coast, taxes, waiting for my puppy-child’s foot surgery. That’s what I’m up to nowadays. How about you? What are you up to?

The Pro Photos

2014 November 11

Curious how our old Minnesota house turned out?  Here is a link to the professional photos and post about life these days for me.


2014 November 5

I come to you from Washington.  We rolled in Saturday after 5 days of driving/vacation time + a week visiting family in Indiana and are living with random belongings in a rental house for the time being.  Things are good.   My stove…is…well…leaves something to be desired and I’ve yet to cook a single dish.  That said, we have found a number of delicious places to eat within 10 miles.  And that’s blowing our minds.  We’re in Federal Way, not Seattle, not Tacoma.  Not yet.  Greg and I are figuring things out, so bear with me.  I wrote a post at the Wits about our trip across the country to our new state with details about the sell of our house.  You can check that out here.