30 March 2013

When it was almost here

This is the time of year when it seems a sunny day makes the garden grow before your eyes. When trees go from bare to blossom-covered within a matter of hours.  Today, it was over 60 degrees and full-on spring in Seattle.  So much in bloom and green everywhere.  I do love this season.

But I also really like the part of spring where it's just beginning to break loose of winter.  Where only a few flowers are brave enough to show their faces.  Where the trees, for the most part, still look bare and you are surprised by the occasional tree in bloom.  Here are a few photos that I snapped a couple weeks ago of spring on the cusp.

17 March 2013

Half Moon Bay

Perhaps one of the loveliest days on our trip to the Bay Area last month was the one we spent in Half Moon Bay.  We enjoyed a bright and breezy day walking the bluff above the ocean, admiring the fields, the coastal rolling hills, and soaking up the company of people we love.  I'm so glad I packed my camera along.

13 March 2013

Starting with juice

Since the third week in January, we've been juicing nearly every morning at breakfast.  It all began with the idea of doing some sort of detox.  That, of course, went by the wayside shortly thereafter, but we haven't let go of the juicing because we really like how we feel when we drink it.  And by we, I mean myself and Byron.  Wyatt isn't sure about all this.  He agreeably tastes our concoctions, but hasn't started guzzling them -- yet. 

Let me say, too, that we are breakfast people.  And by we, I do mean all three of us. It's a meal that we eat together and we like it to be substantial.  Oatmeal almost always.  Maybe yogurt with muesli in the summer.  And then we get crazy on the weekends with pancakes or crepes or waffles or omelets.  You get the idea.

Juice at breakfast has made it easier to get those 6-8 services of fruits and veggies one needs every day.  How cool is it to have consumed the vitamins, minerals and most nutrients (yes, minus some fiber) of six cups of spinach, some kale, and a couple apples before 8:30 in the morning? 

We have owned a juicer for several years so it wasn't a hard thing to try again, but this time we are hooked.  So hooked that we just bought a second juicer last weekend.  And, drum roll please, I signed us up for a juicing share with my CSA that runs for 16 weeks this summer.  OMG, are we going to be be sooooooo full of greens by September!

In any case, here are some of our favorite juice combinations of late.  Use organic, well-washed produce if possible and drink the juice immediately after making it for the best taste and consistency.  My quantities make a generous juice serving for two people.

Grapefruit - carrot - ginger
3 medium-sized grapefruit (cutting the peel off makes it taste a lot less bitter)
10 carrots
2-inch piece of fresh ginger

Apple - celery - fennel
2 stalks of celery
2/3 of a medium fennel bulb
4 apples

6 cups pineapple
3 heads of romaine or a combination of celery stalks and romaine lettuce
2 packed cups of spinach and/or kale

Green Lemonade
4 apples
4 packed cups of baby spinach leaves
2 cucumbers or 6 stalks of celery
1 lemon (rind and all)

12 March 2013

Couple few things

This is what Wyatt asks for all the time now. . .  "couple few things, pleees" or "couple few garage door openers" or " need couple few hand mixers"  -- whatever he'd like more of at the moment.  It's also a great description of what has kept me from posting here lately -- a number of things I'd love more of.  For starters, let me tell you about our February trip to see friends and, of course, what we ate.

Just about Valentine's Day we flew to visit Jill, Mark, and Sadie in the Bay Area and to catch some sunshine in February.  We also planned to spend our last day of the trip with friends Dana, Robert, and Aziza who are spending the year at Stanford (a bit closer than Maine where they live most of the time).

Our plan worked out perfectly and we enjoyed one of our funnest visits yet.  A highlight for me included a leisurely visit to the new Heath Ceramics showroom and factory in Potrero Hill.  After seeing Heath's exquisite tile, in person, I think I'm beginning to narrow down the tile I will use for my master bath . . . now I just need to work it into my budget.

The warehouse-turned-showroom/immaculate factory is just gorgeous. With high ceilings and lots of natural light and a modern-west coast design, it's the kind of place you expect beautiful things to come out of.  I practiced great restraint, coming home with only this pitcher and a bud vase for a friend. Note to self (and anyone going): next time I'll pay attention to the parking information on the website and find the spots provided by Heath for customers.  Parking is nearly impossible, otherwise.

Wyatt loved Heath ceramics, too.  It was the Blue Bottle coffee in the lobby that transfixed him mostly.  I don't think their baristas knew what to do with such a short non-coffee-drinking admirer.

While our time spent with Jill, Mark, and Sadie is never dull, this time we scored with such lovely weather that we spent a lot of time outdoors and walked many places.  After a fun day at a zoo/kid park on Friday, we headed back into the city via the BART to the Mission District for a day of exploring, eating, and checking out another park.  All good.  Perhaps my excitement at stepping into Bi-Rite for a few minutes and having my afternoon croissant and coffee at Tartine seems rather like that of a tourist, but whatever. I was.


We also enjoyed some tasty meals without going so far afield.  Breakfasts of smoothies and oatmeal or crepes with fresh fruit filled our mornings at Jill and Mark's place.  Coffee courtesy of the amazing Nespresso machine on Jill's counter kept us well caffeinated, and the tasty foam on those lattes was so easy to make . . . a little too easy, frankly.  We made a lot of them.

At Dana and Robert's we shared omelettes and fruit salad (or what was left of a fruit salad after Wyatt got to it and picked out all his favorites) and a delicious dinner of marinated and grilled vegetables and sword fish.  Although I wouldn't have a clue how to recreate Robert's marinade exactly, I know it had lots of garlic and ginger, which gave it terrific flavor. We don't grill this time of year at home, so it was a nice treat to have crispy veggies and fish with that slightly blackened summer taste that the grill provides -- and in February. A feta-orzo salad and a nice bottle of red wine (made by yet other friends) made for a memorable dinner. (Not so for my photographs, which I snapped in poor lighting after having eaten most of it with my phone.  You know what I mean. Apologies.) 

And speaking of the wine, I need to explain.  A bit over a year ago we celebrated Jill's birthday with her in Napa.  That day we also stopped in and visited our friends Jason and Helen who have set up their own wine making operation (among many other things like an awesome pizza oven and a lovely home).  They generously sent us home with a couple bottles -- one that Jason's import company brought to the US and another that they made themselves.  Well, we only drank one on that visit.  And rather than bring the unopened one home, we left it with Jill and Mark, who wisely stored it away until another opportunity arose to share it.  So, this trip we found it again and enjoyed it with friends.  What a great tasting bottle of wine it was.  Smooth and full and, well, I'm no wine critic, but we all really liked it.  Kudos to Holman Cellars.

And there you have it: my President's Day long weekend highlights.  Of course good conversations and warm beds, movies, laughs, long walks, sunshine, and cups of tea ranked pretty high on the list with me as well.  It was a super fun weekend because we enjoyed all of those things in the company of a "couple few people" whom we love.