Saturday, March 26, 2011

It's a New Day

First meal I've cooked all week, freshly gathered eggs I picked up today from a local lady, wilted spinach with sauteed green garlic and fried tomatoes. 
This past week has been rather cruddy with the storm and then the boys and me getting a horrible stomach bug.  The weather was dreary, cold and rainy all week, I literally didn't leave the house the entire time.  I was cleaning up some disgusting messes and I just wanted some sunshine and for everyone to feel better.  Today the boys are all better and I'm feeling a lot better, too.  I actually got to leave the house and go pick up our CSA box, along with some eggs from a local lady, some fresh baked sourdough bread and chocolate chip scones.  It was weird driving down Topanga looking at all the destruction that was still left over from Sunday.  I can't imagine what it must've looked like earlier in the week. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spoiled Rotten

Some pretty treats from the Topanga farmer's market. I just had to stage a photo!

On Friday we took a trip to our little tiny local farmer's market where I snagged up some tasty goodies. We then popped by Canyon Gourmet, as we do every Friday, to get the bean a treat and more importantly, to get me some wine! I came home with loads of Cara Cara oranges, pea tendrils, some beautiful baby red scallions, strawberries, pecan butter, baby carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, baby Persian cucumbers, fresh baked bread from the gourmet store and a lovely bottle of Chardonnay.

Baby scallions and pea tendrils, yum!

For lunch the boys and I gorged ourselves on berries, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers and made honey and pecan butter sandwiches with our fresh baked bread. We followed up with oranges for dessert while we sat in the gorgeous sunshine. If only that were today!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Topanga Storm

Sunday we had our first real storm here in Topanga. I've always loved storms, especially since I was raised in the city and most southern California storms posed little threat to my city life. Sure, neighbors' trees have fallen, but that's about the worst I've seen and it never happened to anyone I actually knew so it was far from my reality.

When a storm is coming I've always looked forward to it. I love the pounding rain, gnashing cold winds and the rare burst of lightning we get in Los Angeles. This past weekend was the first time I experienced a real storm in a home that could actually be effected by the flash flooding and crashing trees. This is also the first serious storm I've been through as a parent.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Balsamic Molasses Lemonade and Pickled Chard Stems

The other day I took the bean to a toddler yoga class. He had a blast. After the class, the instructor (who is also a great friend, the beautiful Vicki Rose), told me she'd brought me a lovely bag of Meyer lemons, she knew they'd go to good use with me. I was so excited! After many more activities, I completely forgot about them and left them behind. I was so sad. The following day I had my dad and his wife over for lunch. They came bearing another unsolicited full bag of juicy lemons! I was so happy! And these ones actually made it all the way to my house!

On Monday the bean came wandering and asked for lemonade. I was about to respond that we didn't have any, but then I remembered my lovely lemons!

In the Garden

I've been working hard out in the garden the past couple weeks. We built the first raised bed with cinder blocks thinking it'd be a cheap way to go and it came with the added benefit of being able to plant in the holes of the blocks themselves. We didn't really think about the fact that each cinder block weighs over 25 stinkin' pounds.

The bean took a picture of me gardening.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mama

Me and my siblings, Mother's Day 2007 (I'm in the green dress)
Today is my mama's birthday. She would have been 64 years young.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Broccoli, Chard and Pancetta Frittata!

Beautiful chard from my CSA
Yesterday was a crazy day in the land of this stay-at-home-mom. My wannabe-acrobat of an 18 month old took a couple nasty spills while I was attempting to make dinner and my 3 year old was being, well, a 3 year old.

We Love Beer!

We love beer! We like drinking it, we like brewing it, we like sharing it.

When I first met my husband I very much disliked beer. We used to go on dates to various beer and ale festivals at Lucky Baldwins in Pasadena. Since I didn't like beer and you really can't go there and drink anything else, he hooked me on Lindemans framboise, the non-beer drinker's wimpy fruity beer (excellent over some vanilla ice cream, by the way). I would drink framboise or ciders. We went to Ireland and pub hopped and even went to the Guinness brewery. It was all wasted on me, the anti-beer person. Somewhere along the way, when I was pregnant with my first son, working summer school as an elementary school teacher, I just needed to pretend to have a drink. I found Clausthaler non-alcoholic beer in my local Trader Joe's and it tasted like real beer to me. It was enough to pretend like I was having a refreshing beer after a long day on my feet in the dead of summer, 8 months pregnant. From that moment forward, I started liking beer. It's now almost like a race to see who gets the good beer in the fridge first, me or my husband!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Urban Homesteading

I'm urban homesteading it up today! I have coconut bread baking in the oven, though I changed it up a little. I used walnut oil instead of ghee, since I didn't have any and was too lazy to make some. I used some gorgeous fertile eggs from the farmer's market in it. I also added about 1/2 a teaspoon of baking soda, based on the comments that it was super flat. It has a few minutes left to bake, but looks and smells amazing.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Little Pieces of Where I Live

Here are some little tidbits of our new home...

This is the side of our house, you can see the boys play room. Ignore the messy yard and the ugly baby gate, the baby gate is there is attempt to keep monkey #2 out from under the house!

Our stump!
Never-ending supply of rosemary!!
Our heavenly bamboo Aiden likes to try to eat the berries off of.
Our seasonal creek! It runs long the left side of our house and actually runs along the other side of us, as well.
The wood pile!
I'm a sucker for moss and our house has a lot of it!
The more out-going of our two kitties, Iris.
Blossoms on one of the flowering plum trees in front of our house, so gorgeous!

My Latest Addiction

Oh Cara Cara oranges, where have you been all my life?

With the citrus season in full swing, we have been loading up on oranges, either at the farmer's market or from our CSA box. At the farmer's market I had been mainly purchasing blood oranges, I just love them. Recently I realized what a pain in the butt blood oranges were when you have kids. They are messy! So, a few weeks ago I randomly grabbed a few oranges that weren't blood oranges. I didn't look at what they were, but when I ate the first one I was in pure heaven. The flesh is a gorgeous pink, filled with sweet, sweet juice. There are loads of funny baby pieces on the outside portions of the orange, as well as the inside.

Later the same week I got some in my CSA box, but there was no sheet telling me what they were. Thankfully I have a super nice citrus guy at the Topanga farmer's market and he told me what I was looking for were Cara Cara oranges. I will be oh so sad when their season ends.

If you like your oranges on the sour side, these aren't for you, but if you love them sweet (funny, I'm generally anti-sweet except for when it comes to oranges!) these oranges are for you! Get them at your local farmer's market before they are gone!

It's been a while!

So much has changed since I last posted! I've been a busy girl. In November we moved to a gorgeous new home in Topanga. We are so happy and busy here! My kids are now 3.5 and 1.5 years old and keep me on my toes. We also adopted 2 beautiful new cats to combat the mice we inherited with the house. They've done a mediocre job at best, but we love them anyway.

In the yard of our new home we have a persimmon tree, several pomegranate trees and a plum tree. I look forward to plum season and I hope to be able to can several jars of plum jam. We have a huge grassy yard that is fully fenced in (not something super common in Topanga). We've been hard at work clearing spots for planting veggies and flowers. Unfortunately our yard has horrible drainage. We are in the lower canyon and surrounded by the creek on both sides. I planted some peas in the ground and have been battling both the birds stealing the sprouts and monkey #2 trampling them. I planted some wild flower seeds in another spot, but I think the birds got most of them.

We are currently building our first raised bed. It's about 4.5' by 8' or something like that. We used cinder blocks, but man are those suckers heavy! We put two layers of chicken wire in the bottom to prevent the gophers from stealing our veggies and then a layer of straw, followed by a layer of composted horse poop from our neighbor (I LOVE living in Topanga!!!) and then the most divine smelling organic soil/compost combo we purchased from a dirt place. We just got our dirt delivery yesterday and the best I could do, while battling whiny and trouble-making monkeys, was 3 wheelbarrow loads. I have a lot more to do today to get the bed full so I can start planting! I have loads of seeds for carrots, onions, green onions, spinach, arugula and much more. I can't wait to get it all planted!

Yesterday was quite a day. Monkey #2 was troublesome as always, finding a very intricate escape route that took him all the way around our house, through our wood pile and past the creek bed (yikes) and was on his way up our driveway to the street when I found him. It's incredible how fast they can move! Later in the day he tried to pick up a bee and was stung. It's the first time either of my kids have been stung and I felt very unprepared first aid-wise. He's a trooper and was back to his normal mischievous self in no time flat. Shortly after the bee sting incident I found a hummingbird trapped in the boys toy room, otherwise known as the "glass room". Half the room is windows from the top to bottom, including the ceiling, so you can imagine the poor bird's confusion. It took forever to get the tiny bird to go low enough to go out the window I had removed the screen from. I wish I'd gotten some pictures, it was quite an intimate look at a hummingbird!

I've still been cooking, but not as much as I'd like and I have rarely remembered to take pictures. I have 2 unfinished posts, one on a great goat cheese and sorrel quiche and the other on roasted veggies...One of these days!

Last Friday I got the most incredible salad bag from the Vital Zuman stand at the farmer's market. I don't often buy stuff from them as their prices can be a bit steep, but I just couldn't help buying this funky bag of greens and edible blossoms. I wish they had included a little sheet explaining what each green was and which parts of the greens were ideal for eating raw. I just winged it and discarded any stems that seemed a bit tough for eating. I used all the funky greens in my salad, as well as the blossoms. It also came with a baby garlic, which I thinly sliced and a baby beet, which I microplaned. It was dressed simply with hazelnut oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar, salt and fresh ground pepper. I served it with a huge chunk of filet mignon we got at Henry's. It was so good!