- June 11, 2012
As you all know, I have another blog and foodie website, Gorge in the Gorge that is intended to support the wineries, breweries, restaurants, etc. here in the Columiba River Gorge. This spring, I was invited to join The Gorge Magazine team as a contributor for their Partake section. The goal was to feature recipes with mostly local, season ingredients that are easy, tasty, and healthy. The recipes are for Lemon and Herb Chicken Under Brick with Grilled Kale Caesar Salad. I did all of the photography as well which was really fun! I chose a local red, and white wine, and a locally made beer to pair with the recipe. I'm so proud to have been a part of this and am already working on my recipe for the fall issue! If you live here in the Gorge, make sure to pick up your copy of the The Gorge Magazine's Summer 2012 issue!
Tomorrow I'll be posting the recipes here, followed by my first cooking video featuring these two recipes! it's gonna be a good week on the blog.
- June 12, 2012
Grilled Kale Caesar Salad
This is one of my favorite things to eat. It's fun and different, takes no time at all and you'll feel good about what you're eating with every bite. When I was working on my Lemon and Herb Chicken Under Brick recipe for The Gorge Magazine's Summer 2012 issue, I knew that this smoky, salty, flavorful salad would be the perfect compliment to the lemony, grilled chicken. The Caesar salad dressing is really easy to make and it's perfect with the charred, smoky, crisp kale leaves. Once you make this salad and dressing, you'll be craving (and making) it all year round.
*pictured with Lemon and Herb Chicken Under Brick
2 large bunches kale, cleaned and roughly torn (stems discarded)
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste
pinch of kosher salt
pinch freshly ground black pepper
In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, Dijon, anchovy paste, garlic, salt and pepper.
heat the grill to medium. Toss the torn kale pieces with olive oil in a large bowl. Put the kale directly on the grill, use tongs to toss the kale until it shrinks and the edges begin to turn brown and crisp. Transfer the grilled kale to a large bowl, toss with the dressing and top with Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.
- June 12, 2012
Lemon and Herb Chicken Under Brick
I've always wanted to make Chicken Under Brick. It's a classic Italian dish where a chicken is butterflied or separated and cooked under a mattone, a heavy tile. It's essentially like cooking the chicken under a panini press. The heat is condensed and because the backbone is discarded, or the chicken separated, it cooks quickly and stays moist and flavorful. This was the perfect recipe to develop for The Gorge Magazine's Summer 2012 issue. I had so much fun experimenting with this recipe until I got it just right. We will be making this a lot in the coming months.
*pictured with Grilled Kale Caesar Salad
1 whole chicken, cut into 10 peices
juice of 3 lemons
zest of 1 lemon
4 Tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 Tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
1/2 Tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
Place the chicken Pieces in a large Ziploc bag, add lemon juice, olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper. Seal and refrigerate for 4 hours.
When you're ready to cook the chicken, heat the entire grill on high. Carefully oil the grill. Place the chicken pieces close together, skin side down, over indirect heat. Place a cast iron skillet, or two bricks wrapped in foil, on top of the chicken. Cover grill, and cook for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, mix together the butter, garlic, thyme, rosemary, lemon zest, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper.
Return to the grill, carefully remove the skillet or bricks from the chicken. Using tongs, flip the chicken pieces over and, using a basting brush, coat each piece with the butter mixture. Cover the grill and cook for 20-25 minutes, or until the chicken is completely cooked through. Check the chicken with a thermometer and remove from the grill (breast will take longer than thighs, wings, and legs). Let the chicken rest for a few minutes, and enjoy!
Tomorrow I'll be posting my first cooking video featuring this recipe and my recipe for Grilled Kale Caesar Salad!
- June 13, 2012
I'm so thrilled to share my first cooking video with you! It's been a lot of work, but so much fun. I really hope you enjoy it, use it, share it, cook along with it... Thanks for watching!
- June 20, 2012
For the past months, even the past year, I have felt overwhelmed... overtired... overworked. That might be typical for a new mom, but none of that exhaustion has been as a result of having a baby. Of course I get less sleep and have more demands on my body and time, but for me that results in a satisfied, rewarding kind of tired. I'm tired because I've been pushing myself too hard in all directions. I've been doing too much. What's resulted from this chronic over-work is that my home is disorganized, my relationship with Kyle feels strained at times (probably because when I'm stressed I tend to be a little sensitive and snippy), Sesame Street and Winnie the Pooh are regular babysitters in our house, our dining room table is my (messy) desk, about 10 times a day I realize I've forgotten to send that check/call that friend back/burn that disc/take that bottle of milk out of the backseat... I could go on but you get the picture.
I knew when I signed up for full time school on top of everything else that I do, it was going to be insanely challenging. But the trade off of finishing my degree in one go, rather than drag it out over another year, was worth a little sacrifice. During the quarter I found myself saying to Kyle, "When the quarter is over...", "Once this is done..." The quarter couldn't be done with soon enough for me. As of last Friday, it's done. My BA from Portland State is complete and I will be graduating with close to a 4.0 GPA. I finished something I started 11 years ago. While I'm very proud of this accomplishment, I underestimated how hard it would be and how much stress and strain it would cause in my home.
I have always had very high expectations of myself, and I derive great joy in challenging myself to try new things, do more, see more, do it all. When I would tell people that I'm a full time mom/photographer/blogger/website runner/full time student/actress/etc. I used to feel a little pride at the surprise on their faces, now I just feel a little ashamed. As a reflect about this past year of doing so much, I am surprised at how little satisfaction I feel about the quantity of things I've done, and seen, and tried. Because the cost of those explorations and challenges was a hell of a lot of stress.
When I look back at my journal entries from these past months the focus is on prioritization. The older Gigi gets, and frankly, the older I get, I want more simplicity and organization. I want focus. I want my values to be clearly reflected in my actions and choices. I want my family to know that they are my priority. I have a lot of catching up to do to achieve this simplicity but for the sake of my happiness, my families well being, my marriage, and my passions, it's time. It's time for me to weigh and reevaluate and consider each and every item in home, every hobby I put energy into, every thing on my schedule... I'm pretty sure there's going to be some sacrifice, some letting go, some weight lifted. It's time to simplify and prioritize.
When I started this blog I was younger, was a nanny to Miss Poppy, had just gotten my photography business off the ground, was a newlywed, was working more as an actress, was renting a little apartment. I had all the time in the world to blog about pretty things, new shoes, books I was reading, movies I loved, fashion fresh from the catwalk... Sometimes looking at my old blog posts makes me laugh a little. My life, my days, my time, my interests are so different now! It's hard to believe how much I've changed in just a few years. I started this blog as a way to find myself, to discover, create, be active in and distill my passions, and now I'm kind of drowning in them.
While I was in school Kyle suggested, more than once, that I take a break from this blog. I absolutely refused. This blog, this space of mine, this creative outlet, is very important to me. I have made some wonderful new friends, learned a lot, been creatively inspired, and touched a few lives. When I get an email from a reader saying that my blog makes them look at their life differently, makes them happier as a mom, more positive in their pursuits... I feel so fulfilled and grateful. I won't give up blogging, but over the next few months I'm going to be reevaluating what it is I want this space to be. As with all aspects of my life, expect it to be simpler, more focused, cleaner, and more organized. I so appreciate your coming to visit my little internet space, and I simply want to make this website a more accurate reflection of what I love and who I am.
- June 21, 2012
p.s. Thanks for your feedback on my "Simplify" thoughts yesterday. I am so appreciative of your input and support.
- June 25, 2012
This weekend we escaped. Invited by our good friends, Jeremy and Tara, to their family's lovely vacation home in Birch Bay, we loaded up the car and headed North. After so much hustling around the past couple of months, it was hard to leave again. But the promise of R&R beconned so off we went.
We arrived in Birch Bay fairly late on Friday evening and got quickly settled in. I love the feeling when you walk into a new place and get to take it all in and say, "This is going to be my little home for the next 24 hours". After getting Gigi cuddled up in bed, we made dinner and played board games.
Our darling girl woke us up early on Saturday morning and I felt like I was in a swamp. The thick comfy matress and sleep deprivation from the last few weeks had an unexpected effect on me. I spent the whole morning rather, the whole day, in a haze of muddled half-sleep. I'm pretty sure I wasn't forming my sentences properly. Kyle, always the early riser, headed down the stairs to the beach with our on-the-go-girl, and I followed, bed-head and all. Is there anything more enticing than a wooden staircase leading to the water?
One of the best things about spending time with our friends is seeing how much they love Gigi. They embrace her, love her, snuggle her, and play with her. It makes both Kyle and I so grateful to have such amazing friends. "Aunt" Tara and "Uncle" J hold an extra special place with me because of their love for our daughter.
Since Gigi naps at 9am everyday, we were able to spend some time relaxing with our friends while she caught some zzzs. During her nap the clouds burned away and we were blessed with an outpouring of sunshine. When Gigi awoke we were all playing cornhole and relaxing in the sunshine. I loaded that girl up with sunscreen and proceeded to spend the next hour battling with her that she must keep her sunhat on! She just loves hats so, so much that she wants to hold them and present them to everyone around her. Jeremy had bought her some bubbles at the market and unwittingly, with the first blow of tiny bubbles, became the royal bubble master for the afternoon. Who can deny a sweet "more more more" from a child who adores you and thinks your bubble blowing skills are spectacular?
I could hardly wait for the tide to recede so we could take G out to explore the shore. When I was in L.A. with her she couldn't get enough of the water and the waves. In Birch Bay, the shoreline is quite shallow so when the tide goes out you can walk out one hundred or so yards. We took off her shoes, rolled up her over-alls and trundled down the stairs with four dogs in tow to see what we could see.
By the time we walked back up the stairs from our long explore Gigi was nodding off. We rinsed her feet, stripped her of her wet clothes, kissed her sunscreened head, and plunked her into bed. The sun was high in the sky and everyone was sipping beer that Kyle had provided. Since I'm not much of a beer drinker I eventually accepted a glass of red wine, kicked my feet up, picked up my book, and ignored the clock that said it was only 2:30 in the afternoon. I'm in the middle of reading Very Fond of Food by Sophie Dahl. I've lately found myself reading cookbooks instead of novels. I am obsessed with the stories behind the recipes, the photography, the ingredients. Cooking has really become my main passion in life... other than being a mom it's what I derive the most joy and satisfaction from.
By the time Gigi woke from her afternoon siesta it was pouring rain and we were all taking shelter inside. It rained on and off for the rest of the evening. There was a lot of cuddling, cooking and eating to be done so perhaps it's a good thing that the rain came down.
We stayed up late playing games and drinking wine and whiskey, oh my. The sun didn't set until nearly 10pm and when it did we were surprised with the most bizarre moonset! We tried to figure out why the moon might be setting, decided it may or may not be the apocalypse, bid each other goodnight/it's been lovely to know you, and headed for bed.
To be continued...
- June 27, 2012
Continued from Birch Bay: Part One...
On Sunday morning we woke up early again, but this time I was ready. Ready for coooofffffffffeeeeeee!, for reading books on the couch, for walks on the beach. We were planning to head for home during Gwyneth's morning nap so we spent the morning caffeinating and packing up. Gigi is in love with Who Will Comfort Toffle? which was a gift. It's from Sweden and it's beautifully illustrated. She spent the morning in her cozies, finding and comforting Toffle with kisses.
We got dressed and headed down the waterfront to say goodbye to the great blue herons who flew by and the tiny little crab we discovered. When I was a kid I loved turning over "big" rocks to reveal scores of baby crabs living underneath. Despite my unshakeable fear of spiders, these eight legged creatures amuse me. I found this little guy living in a shell. Which, incidentally, is how Toffle's story ends too.
After draining our coffee, we saddled up and hit the road. We spent almost as much time in the car this weekend as we did in Birch Bay, but it was totally worth the trek. I love nothing more than spending time with my family.
- June 29, 2012
Yesterday Gigi and I finally left the house. I've had the flu all week so we've been laying low.
We went cherry picking with our neighbors. G is a great little cherry picker.
This has been my look this week. Pajamas, glasses, bedhead. I've been catching up on photo
editing and organization and movie watching.
After being pretty cooped up, this girl has been getting into so much mischief! Covered in yogurt, oatmeal, and any other food item put in front of her. She also discovered the joy of Sharpies...
Despite being under the weather, I did manage to get to the Benjamin Moore paint store to pick up a few colors, and have some old gallons remixed so I can paint our bedroom, guestroom/office, and bathrooms. I've already gotten a great start and am thrilled with the bold colors! Can't wait to share the repainted spaces with you!
Tomorrow I'm heading to Portland and am going to hit up IKEA for some organizational things. It's a whole new world over here and I'm feeling so much better already.
I'm getting really, really excited for our trip. I can't believe it's coming up so quickly. Luckily we'll have family and friends staying here and keeping our kitty company while we're gone. Three weeks is a long time for a kitten to be alone.
I'm working on organizing my photos from my CF cards, Photoshop/Lightroom, my backup drive, Photo folders... it's kind of a mess actually. Does anyone have advice on this topic?
I hope you all have an amazing weekend.