Sep 25

Zuni Cafe Cookbook, etc.

(photo by tvol)

I got The Zuni Cafe Cookbook by Judy Rodgers from the library to explore. I’ve heard that reading certain passages of the hefty introduction is like being in culinary school, and I’ve already learned quite a bit about seasoning, tasting and adjusting. She also recommends spending an extended amount of time with one recipe or one ingredient, so as to become well acquainted with its variations. Zuni Cafe is in San Francisco, and apparently people come from far and wide for the Roasted Chicken with Bread Salad, so I’m going to attempt to make it this week, among other things. It needs to be seasoned a ridiculous three days in advance, but I guess that’s what makes all the difference.

Lots of leftovers coming our way!

Breakfast : Baked Oatmeal w/ Ricotta, Peaches & Honey (yum)
Lunch : Leftover Carbonara
Dinner : Oven-crisped Pork, Peppers & Greens over Quinoa w/ Turkish Almond Sauce

(photo by CraftNClutter)

This is one of my all-time favorite recipes. It comes from The Splendid Table’s How To Eat Supper by Lynne Rosetto Kasper (love her!) and Sally Swift. After a bit of prep work, it comes together super fast and easy, even though it sounds complicated. The sauce is the best part, and there’s usually some left over to put over rice or couscous.

Breakfast : More baked oatmeal
Lunch : Zuni's Sage Grilled Cheese (grilled in sage butter, sounds so good!)
Dinner : Our favorite Noodles & Co dishes for the New Life fundraiser. I usually get the Bangkok Curry and Ellary gets the Mac & Cheese.

Breakfast : And more.
Lunch : Leftovers
Dinner : Farro Soup (never got around to making this last week)
**Gotta season that chicken tonight.

Breakfast : Coconut Smoothies
Lunch : Leftovers
Dinner : Leftovers

Breakfast : Coconut Smoothies
Lunch : Leftovers
Dinner : Leftovers

Breakfast : Cereal
Lunch : Take a guess
Dinner : Roasted Chicken w/ Bread Salad (you’re gonna want to follow this link to Smitten Kitchen to get an idea of just how good this dish looks).

Breakfast : Cereal
Lunch : Wah wah
Dinner : Somethin or other
**This is a preserving day, so I’ll be making and freezing chicken stock from the bones, as well as some pear butter spiced with cardamom (to become gifts!).

I’m excited for this week! I just hope I don’t make us all sick on leftovers.

Sep 18

Time for Fall Food

For some reason, I’m all about the online challenges right now. I’m participating in the Maximize Your Mornings challenge at the Inspired to Action blog, through which I am being kept accountable to get up before my girls in the morning. I’ve also decided to participate in the Plan It, Don’t Panic challenge at Keeper of the Home, because I’ve wanted to get better at menu planning, and have completely fallen out of practice. So I’ll be posting some meal plans here for the next couple weeks. Feel free to be completely disinterested. I just find this kind of thing helps me get going when I’m in a rut.

photo by s.jillian

This week, I am making three recipes out of Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Everyday, which is probably my favorite cookbook. I won it in a giveaway in June and have since made at least fifteen of the recipes, but I’ve been waiting for cooler weather to make these three (Mon, Tues, Wed).

No official meals, just putting up Sally Fallon’s lacto-fermented salsa.

Cauliflower Soup

Warm Kale Salad with Toasted Coconut and Poached Eggs

Farro Soup


Spaghetti alla Carbonara from the Zuni Cafe Cookbook


Breakfasts will be banana chocolate chip muffins (with soaked kamut and oat flours), for as long as they last.

Lunches will be whatever I can scrounge together. My goal for next week is to be a bit more prepared for this meal.

Jul 14

Observations from the First Month

I burst out laughing the moment she was born, because it did hurt, but it wasn’t terrifying. The pain didn’t offend me. I knew that this is my broken body’s portion of suffering for now; I knew I would heal.


I slept without her for the first two weeks, as part of our plan to mitigate my depression and I missed her like crazy. I held her all day long and wouldn’t give her up when my mom asked if I needed a break. I had that famous desire to stare at her for hours.


I shed some grief-stricken tears over my first month with her big sister, two years earlier. It was nothing like this. I was frightened and overwhelmed. I handed her off as soon as she’d nursed. These first few weeks, I worried about that beautiful toddler, as she slept alone in her room. Does she know how intensely I love her?


I’ve come to understand what other moms talk about—how it seems all they do is change diapers and fold laundry. It feels like that, and I have to resist stress and anxiety during the moments when I should be “getting something done.” I have this potentially unhealthy feeling of victory and euphoria when I manage a day’s tasks without falling apart. And when I don’t manage, the guilt still hounds me. But this is why I’m in therapy.

Jul 12

Music Update

I knew I was forgetting a few artists on my must-listen list.

The new Bon Iver album
The Wailin Jennys

and there was one more but I already forgot it again. Thanks for the recommendations, everyone!

Jul 11

Read When You Want Control

This is a repost from March 09—seems timely, and I’m quite proud of myself that I’ve barely cracked a baby-related book since October.

On Ellary’s first night at home with us, she seemed so vulnerable and alone, way over there in her cradle. (In truth, I could have touched her without getting out of bed.) And I cried a little before falling asleep. The first few weeks, I kept thinking her newborn grimaces meant I was doing something wrong and that she could somehow be happier if I worked harder.

And then there were the books: one said to hold her until she was sleeping deeply, another said to put her in bed still awake so that she could learn to soothe herself. One focused on bonding, another on training. One book was so specific about what to do when, that I started getting neurotic about Ellary’s schedule. Why wouldn’t she nap for longer than 20 minutes? Should I make her eat more? Does she need a baby massage perhaps?

I was desperate for control, and the books gave me a script to follow. While a few wise women told me to simply follow my instincts, I didn’t want that kind of flexibility. There was too much room to screw up. I thought I could force Ellary to firt inside my new mother parameters, and then I would know for sure that she was going to be alright. But alas, she was three weeks old or whatever; she didn’t exactly know how to make it work.

Now that Ellary is so obviously a “satisfied customer,” as my mom likes to say, I’m relaxing and realizing that the books are just anthologies of skills mothers have learned on their own for centuries. Instead of allowing myself the space to learn these things at my own pace and with Ellary’s particular phase of development, I was anxious and frustrated when the advice of others didn’t match my experience. For example, she never took naps during the first two months, but now I know she’s ready for some sleep at the first sign of fussiness. One of my books instructed me on how to put a baby down for a nap, with five different steps. I tried them early on with no success, so I gave up. I’ve noticed recently, though, that all five of those steps are apart of the naptime ritual we’ve developed over the last month. Did the author instruct me on how to help my baby sleep? I don’t really think so. She just confirmed what I learned on my own through the time I’ve had to get to know Ellary.

I’m not throwing the baby out with the bathwater here. Heh heh. I’ve learned some invaluable information from the many books I’ve read, and the best results arise when I’m gleaning helpful hints from a variety of sources and using what works. But it must never be about control. It can’t be the result of fear. Babies are amazingly resilient and flexible—at least mine is. She’s learning just as much as I am, and we’re growing together. I’m thanking God that we’re doing just fine, and all is right in Ellary’s world. He’s given me an incredible gift in my ability to care for my child. I don’t have the books to thank for that.

Jun 27

Music Mode

8 months later, I’ve probably been struck from everyone’s reader.

I’ve noticed that I go back and forth between music and books. For several months I’ll be in book mode, reading voraciously and relishing the flip of the page; also markedly indifferent to music. Then I’ll suddenly switch for no reason, sick of reading, to thinking about lyrics all day and longing for my next Ellary-free car ride (she is currently obsessed with a CD of nursery rhymes).

I just felt the switch, after a very very long book mode. And I have some listening goals, if you will.

Music I already love but don’t listen to enough:

—The Civil Wars
—Ray LaMontagne
—Arcade Fire

Music I want to get to know:

—Florence and the Machine
—The National (if I were a fish, the hook here would be the song Fake Empire)

Suggestions, anyone?

Oct 23

Somebody remind me of this comic when I am wigging out about nutrition, please. -

In case you hadn’t figured it out, when there’s a little arrow here, it means there’s a link to follow…

Oct 02



Sep 06

My Milennial

I reached the 1000 gifts goal, and on my birthday no less!  My journal is full to bursting, with only four pages left.  It took me a year, but I went from fall to fall, which is fitting because gratefulness seems to come more naturally this time of year. 


Baby steps in yoga. 


Help in my weak moments and enough energy for the day.


Ellary playing sweetly at the playground, watching the big kids run by.


Being on mission in my life and marriage and family.  Walking by faith and knowing that God is good.


Tomato tart with goat cheese, leeks and thyme.




Candles lit; blankets draped.


The discipline of gratitude; it has taught me to trust the LORD. 

holy experience