I should really call this Friday Cinco, since Sunday is Cinco de Mayo. Which is really an excuse to eat guacamole and drink margaritas. As if we need an excuse, right?
1. From the Archives:
Cinco of my favorite Mexican-themed recipes for your own Cince de Mayo celebration. Or you know, Tuesday.
Super Autentico Carne Asada
Not at all authentic but super delicious Pineapple Avocado Salsa
My mom’s amazing Easy Chicken Chilaquiles (like a casserole made with tortilla chips and cheese)
Shredded Chicken Tacos with Tomatillo Sauce
Super Spicy (don’t say I didn’t warn you!) Aztec Chocolate Cookies
So get in the kitchen, pop open a cerveza, and start the party.
2. Sustainable Scarves:
I am totally jonesing for one of these scarves from FashionaABLE. I heard Barrett Oliver, the founder, speak at Big Traveling Potluck, and it was so inspiring. Each scarf is made by hand in Ethiopia by a woman who is a former sex worker and has been given the opportunity to make scarves instead. And each one comes with the story of one of the women who made it, and how she can educate her children, or support her family because of your purchase. Isn’t that amazing? I think they would make a fantastic mother’s day gift, since they’re so supportive of women. I am eyeing the Frehiwot in Marigold. (Hint Hint husband who may read this)
3. La Dolce Vita
I was lucky enough to have lunch this week with the ladies of Vamoos Travel;. If I had some spare dough and some spare time, I would be waiting in line to sign up for one of their amazing luxury culinary tours of Italy. These ladies don’t just plop you in a tour bus and send you to eat pasta in some tourist establishment — they provide all sorts of fantastic experiences, like visiting a artisan who makes Parmigiano Reggiano, or learning to make gnocchi in the kitchen of an Italian grandma. Their next tour is in November, and they only take about 10 people, so they book up fast.
4. A Kick in the Booty
If there has been a little too much dolce in your vita lately, you have to check out the Virtual Bootcamp from my friend Karen at Balance Personal Fitness in Austin. I signed up for the first round (totally paid for, this is not a sponsored post!) and it’s been great. Karen sends me a workout 3 times a week, provides you tube videos to show me proper form, and answers questions and provides support in a special facebook group. It’s a total bargain. Now, if only I could stay healthy long enough to work out consistently (I live with the world’s cutest petri dishes).’
5. The Foodie Finish
One of the loveliest people I got to meet at the Potluck was Lillian of Chinese Grandma. She’s also a great cook – she brought this amazing Roasted Cauliflower to the potluck and I ate TWO helpings (and there was a lot of food). I’ve found during this year of living vegetally that cauliflower is one of the most versatile vegetables, but Lillian’s dish was a knockout.
I have heard that if you spend a lot of time researching in a book, or staring at a computer screen, or focusing on what your hands are doing, you need to stop, frequently, and rest your eyes by gazing off into the distance. Looking at the horizon. Thinking big. Going long. Then you can return to your task with renewed focus and less eyestrain.
I like the metaphor.
Blogging (or “digital publishing” as I will now be calling it) is like this. It’s so easy to focus on the little things – the aperture of your photographs, how to title your posts to maximize SEO, whether Facebook or Google plus provides a greater social media benefit, the best time of day to Tweet. Plus, you’re literally staring at a computer screen. But it’s so important to stop, step away from the computer, and focus on the horizon.
Big Traveling Potluck, held this weekend in Murrieta, California, allowed me to do just that. We were in a beautiful place where the sky was bigger than normal, and you could literally see for miles. And we talked about the big things — motivation, inspiration, creativity, community. The mind’s horizon and the heart’s horizon.
But because the organizers (Maggy and Pam of Three Many Cooks and Erika of Ivory Hut) are, in fact,
bloggers digital publishers, they also knocked it out of the park when it came to details.
Continue reading On Creativity, Inspiration and a Big, Traveling Potluck
After we went to New York this summer, we decided to head up the coast to Maine. Ken and I both love New England — he spent part of his childhood there, and we met in college there. I’m a total California girl, but the other place I really feel at home is New England.
Neither of us had ever been to Maine, though I had been fascinated with it since I was a child. To a kid growing up in Los Angeles, nothing is quite so exotic as the Pine Tree State. We rented a darling little cottage with a water view, no cell service, and a lot of peace.
And here’s the thing about Maine — it’s exactly how you imagine it to be.
Continue reading Summer Vacation II: Great State of Maine and Crab Rolls
I know I am supposed to be charmed by New York. I know I am supposed to wax rhapsodic about the “energy” of the city, to tell you about the fabulous meals I experienced at Eataly and Eleven Madison Park and this tiny hole in the wall I “discovered” in the Village. I am supposed to be converted to the cult of the Shack Burger and say things like “No place is like New York”.
Well, I’m not charmed. The city is dirty and smelly and noisy and crowded. The weather is uncalled for. Everything is too expensive. And it’s hard to navigate. You literally cannot get a stroller out of the subway without setting off an alarm. In the seven years since I moved away from New York (to, may I add, one of the largest metropolitan areas in the United States) I have become old and sedate and suburbanized. I can’t hack it in New York any more. So no, I am not charmed.
But I have to visit, because there live my people. My girlfriends from my young married days, who think nothing of coming to a happy hour near my hotel when I’m in town despite the fact that there are an additional eight and a half children among us and most don’t even live in Manhattan (the half is Mrs. Limestone’s daughter to be). My husband’s family – his father and half sister and stepbrother whose kids are my kids’ only cousins. My baby cousin, who has worked in some of the most amazing restaurants in the city. My college roommate, who was living with me when I met my husband, and knew “us” from the earliest days of our courtship. And the godfathers of both of my children.
So I try to find things to love about New York. One thing to love is the laws on gay marriage. The impetus for our trip was the marriage of the Nuni’s godfather (who is one of my oldest and dearest friends) to his partner of eight years. I was Matron of Honor, Nuni was the flower girl. The wedding was beautiful, and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
Here’s a link to a video put together by one of the grooms featuring the song he wrote for his vows. Aren’t they handsome?
Mike and Dale
And our family, in Central Park (about 5 minutes before the Nuni stepped in a pile of poo apparently left by the world’s largest Great Dane. We had to throw away her shoes)
Another thing to love about New York is street meat, aka halal chicken and rice, which is sold from carts on the Sidewalks of New York. When I was studying for the New York BarExam, my review course was right near one of these carts, and I would often get delicious spicy, savory chicken with crisp vegetables and fragrant rice for lunch. LA has a thriving street food scene but offers nothing quite like street meat, and my only chance to enjoy it was on my infrequent trips to New York.
Continue reading Summer Vacation I – New York and Street Chicken and Rice
I sometimes feel like I’m running perpetually behind. Is it 5:00 already? Is it February already? How am I suddenly six months pregnant? Remember that vacation we took to Paris last July? I never shared it with all of you because I just finished editing my photos in DECEMBER. Expect a post in about April.
The nice thing about being behind on things is that reminders can feel like discoveries. When editing my Paris photos, I found the pictures I took at a wonderful meal we ate in the Latin quarter at Bistro y Papilles. Located in a small wine store, with a different set menu every night, it was the kind of wonderful meals that makes you feel like you’re really in Paris. The menu that night started with a velvety cauliflower soup, served at the table in a big tureen. We were presented with shallow soup bowls that were garnished with a “salad” with lardons, croutons, cauliflower, herbs and creme fraiche, and the hot soup was ladled over the salad. All the garnishes brought a wonderful textural contrast to the soup, and it was one of the best things we ate that week.
Continue reading French Cauliflower Soup with Bacon and Herb Garnish