Category Archives: family

hello, there

Sorry for the unannounced blog hiatus. I promise I am trying to find my way back here! You know how you always wonder how people do it? Yeah, it is hard to find the time to work, play, have a billion hobbies, a backyard farm, and keep a clean house. Throw in some crashed hard drives, surgery, and sick family members and something has got to give. But hey, we are doing great. We are doing so great, I need to get back to documenting our lives because our human family is about to almost double in size. Emphasis on the almost.

Meet half-pint and junior:


Fetus A


Fetus B

Due late August/early September. The chickens are going to be such great big sisters!

xo

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weekending

How is it that project task lists multiply? We started with a two-step plan when our oven stopped working.

Step one: get a gas line installed
Step two: buy a new gas range

And then we decided that before our new stove is delivered, we might as well re-do the kitchen floors since you can’t just unplug a gas oven and move it out of the kitchen. And by some miracle, we pulled off installation of a new floor before the range was delivered and installed, although we still had to polish it.

Eventually we managed to get all 7 layers of polish. Seven! But since all the furniture and kitchen gadgets are out of the kitchen (and as you can imagine, I have A LOT of kitchen gadgets), we might as well paint the walls, right?

You would if your kitchen came with stenciled vines and beige and green walls. It seems worth it, but it is hard to squeeze all these projects in between late-spring/early-summer activities and busy work weeks. And I haven’t even mentioned that the painting led to replacing the cheap trim and also removing and replacing filthy caulk. And every single one of these tasks takes way longer and way more trips to the hardware store than you could anticipate. Our house has been chaotic for weeks as a result.


US, Sweden, and Washington flags all at half-mast on Memorial Day

We are SO close to being finished. And we celebrated “almost finished” with a trip to IKEA where we failed to find new window treatments.

Of course, a trip to IKEA means we have to squeeze in some Seattle food, right? Jess found us an incredible food experience in Katsu Burger. The burgers are different kinds of meat or tofu breaded in panko and fried, served on a giant sesame bun and topped with amazing sauces, pickles, or in some cases wasabi coleslaw.

They were the most gigantic burgers I have ever been served. Veggie burgers aren’t typically gigantic. Levi had a curry pork cutlet.

And then there were the fries. Oh my god. We shared an order of nori fries and curry fries with dipping sauces like wasabi mayo and a spicy mayo made with sriracha and magic.

And to complete the meal – milkshakes! Green tea pineapple and kinako cup (kinako, chocolate, and black sesame). Wow.

The perfect weekend is a careful balance of hard work accomplished and some fun. Sunshine and junk food help. And a bonus chicken Instagram (create your own caption, it’s fun):

My weekend still has one last day. Back to painting, caulking (say “caulk” a dozen times in front of a teenage boy and try not to laugh), and mitering for me.

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Home again, home again

We are back from Disneyland, and have the blisters to prove it. With one adult and a teenager plus a little determination, it turns out you can go on a lot of rides. Whoa. And I am happy to report that the healthy vegetarian food options have improved significantly. The vegetarian gumbo lived up to the hype, and I also fell in love with the tofu rice bowls in the California Adventure park. I only took my little point & shoot and had limited battery time for pictures on my phone, and I decided not to focus too much on photography. But I didn’t come back totally empty-handed.


I <3 Jet Blue.


gumbo in a breadbowl


One of our first rides: The Haunted Mansion!


It’s a Small World after all


This random, tiny praying mantis that landed on me was just a bonus, I think.


We made sure to watch Captain EO twice.


Sadly the Matterhorn was closed for repairs.


The tea cups were one of our absolute favorites.

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color

The theme of this every week.

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Jar Lunch: Cornbread Topped Chili Leftovers

The Jar Lunch: It’s like a bag lunch or a bento lunch, but the next big thing is lunch packed in a good ol’ mason jar. I have to microwave my lunch at work, so metal containers won’t work and heating up plastic has me worried. We often simply fill mason jars with leftovers, but sometimes it is fun to come up with a clever jar lunch and make a big batch. Lunch for the whole family is already packed.

We make a pot of chili every two or three weeks. If I make a really big batch, Levi will sometimes complain about taking it as leftovers. This trick makes the leftovers a little more enticing for him, especially since we don’t eat a lot of bread around here. At dinnertime, vegetarian chili is usually served over quinoa or brown rice and comes with the works: a dollop of crema, chopped avocado, scallions, and cilantro. Here I’ve put some of the leftovers in a mason jar, topped it with cornbread batter, and baked it.

Use your favorite chili and cornbread recipes. Just put about a cup of chili in a wide mouth pint jar and top it with 1/3 cup plus 1 heaping tablespoon of cornbread batter. Use leftovers that are room temperature or still warm, as refrigerated chili could cause your batter not to bake throughout. As always, a jar funnel makes filling the jars easier. I found that baking time for these is about the same as baking a pan of cornbread. For the cornbread recipe shared below, that was 20-25 minutes at 425° F.

Our favorite online vegetarian chili recipes are Vegetarian Chili with Peanut Butter and Black Bean and Espresso Chili. I’ve included a cornbread recipe you can use below, which makes enough batter to top ten jars of chili. If you have too much batter for your leftovers, bake the rest in prepared muffin tins!

Jalapeño, Creamed Corn, & Cheddar Cornbread
adapted from Alton Brown

Ingredients:
2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 cup creamed corn
1/3 cup grated onion
2 medium jalapeños, finely diced
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425° F.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.

In a large bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, creamed corn, onion, and jalapeño. Once combined, add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and stir thoroughly. Finally, fold in the cheese.

Fill a wide mouth pint jar with about a cup of leftover chili (warm or room temperature). Scoop 1/3 cup plus 1 heaping tablespoon of cornbread batter on top of the chili. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Make sure to cool the jars completely before putting on the lid. Refrigerate enough leftovers to be used the next day. Freeze any additional leftovers to be used up later.

Enjoy!

Please add your photos to the Jar Lunch Flickr pool for this or any other jar lunches you make!

See our other Jar Lunches here.

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I’m going to Disneyland!

Levi & I are starting to prepare for what I have dubbed “Mommy & Me Spring Break 2012.” We have traveled a bit, but we have never done a trip, just the two of us. Jess isn’t a big fan of roller coasters or Disney, so she is sitting this one out. I am so excited, we are going to Disneyland!

Our last visit was 10 years ago, and a lot has changed. I hear they have apps to check the waits for different rides. We need your help! What else has changed? We will be there for 3 solid days with a pass for both parks and already have airfare and a hotel adjacent to the park. So tell us… what cannot be missed? What should we take? How can we keep our cell phones from getting soaked? Where can we get decent vegetarian food? I’m hoping healthy food options have improved a little since our last visit.

Comment with lots of advice, please!

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Jar Lunch: crustless quiches 3 ways

The Jar Lunch: It’s like a bag lunch or a bento lunch, but the next big thing is lunch packed in a good ol’ mason jar. I have to microwave my lunch at work, so metal containers won’t work and heating up plastic has me worried. We often simply fill mason jars with leftovers, but sometimes it is fun to come up with a clever jar lunch and make a big batch. Lunch for the whole family is already packed.

This week’s Jar Lunch is individual crustless quiches in three flavors so your family won’t get bored: rosemary tomato, broccoli cheddar, and pea & leek.

For this recipe you’ll need my absolute favorite jar, the half-pint wide mouth mason jar.


half-pint wide mouth mason jar

These jars are perfect for preserves like jam, but they truly are versatile as you can use them in place of an 8-ounce ramekin for just about any recipe. The bonus is you can see your food from all sides!

Crustless Quiche in a Jar 3 Ways: Rosemary Tomato, Broccoli Cheddar, and Pea & Leek

Makes 8 individual quiches.

Ingredients:
butter for greasing jars
12 eggs
1 cup half-and-half
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Filling options (choose one):
Option one: Rosemary Tomato
(this option requires extra prep time)
8 medium tomatoes
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups halved, thinly sliced onions
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, torn into small pieces
4 ounces crumbled feta

OR

Option two: Broccoli Cheddar
20 ounces frozen broccoli florets
6 ounces sharp cheddar, grated
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

OR

Option three: Pea & Leek
2 cups frozen peas, thawed
1 tablespoon butter
4 medium leeks, sliced (white & light green parts only)
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
3/4 cup shredded parmesan

Instructions
1. Prepare chosen quiche fillings according to directions found below.

2. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Lightly butter 8 half-pint wide mouth mason jars and place them on a rimmed baking sheet.

3. Beat together eggs, half-and-half, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Mix in the prepared fillings along with cheese and fresh herbs or spices listed for your chosen quiche flavor. Using a ladle, divide evenly between the eight mason jars. Though not required, a jar funnel makes this job a little easier.

4. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until set and golden on top. Allow to cool completely before putting on lids and refrigerating.

Preparing fillings:

Rosemary tomato: If you opt for the tomato quiches, roasting will take an additional 45 minutes of prep time. Preheat the oven to 450° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat mats. Slice the tomatoes, and spread evenly over the prepared baking sheets. Roast for 35-45 minutes, until most of the liquid is gone and tomatoes begin to caramelize. Roughly chop the tomatoes after they have cooled.

Meanwhile, heat a medium pan over medium high heat and then melt one tablespoon butter. Sauté the onions until soft and golden, 7-10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Broccoli Cheddar: Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the broccoli florets, and cook for one minute. Drain well and remove excess water with paper towels. Roughly chop.

Pea & Leek: Heat a medium pan over medium-high heat and then melt one tablespoon butter. Sauté the leeks until soft, 7-10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart.

Show us your jar lunches! We have created a Flickr pool for everyone to share. What are you packing in your mason jars? Go here to join the Flickr Group and add your photos!

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