Monday, January 11, 2016

black stars are the new black hearts

via giphy

Last night in a desperate effort to soothe the baby's crying, I turned on the star lamb nightlight in her room. She played with the buttons, changing the colors of the stars, green, blue, yellow, green, blue, yellow. And although she cried when I put her down again, she finally fell asleep to a constellation projected on her ceiling. Perhaps she knew the stars were different last night.

We'll miss you. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Mushroom Leek Strata

In my house, we often end up with a half loaf of stale fancy bread. Am I really supposed to eat a whole loaf of bread in one evening? I may want to, but that's not the point. At the same time, I'm often short on dinner ideas, and the next morning, running out the door without breakfast and hungry. 

So, I finally did something about it. 

The beauty of this recipe is that most of the ingredients last at least a week in my fridge so they may actually be good when I get around to cooking them. And the bread is supposed to be stale. That's the point. It aids in the absorption of the egg-y goodness. 

The first time I made this recipe, it was so good that I had to make it again because I wasn't sure it wasn't a fluke. It wasn't a fluke. It's really that good. You can have it for dinner, and then breakfast or lunch. And you'll still want it. And then you'll have to make more. 

Mushroom Leek Strata

2 cups multi-grain "artisan" bread
3 eggs
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp dijon mustard
2 cups chopped kale 
1 leek sliced and cleaned*
10 crimini mushrooms sliced
2 cloves garlic
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 pinches rosemary salt**
2-4 oz english cheddar grated
2 heaping TBSP pecorino romano grated

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Oil a casserole dish, the wider the better for more crispy topping. 
Add cubed bread. 
Scramble eggs, milk & mustard and pour over bread to soak. 
Saute leeks in olive oil, about 5 minutes. Dish over bread. 
Saute mushrooms, garlic, thyme, and rosemary salt, about 5 more minutes. 
Dish over bread and toss. Top with cheeses. 
Bake for 25 minutes. 

This recipe is highly adjustable to what you have in the fridge. 
*I subbed a sliced yellow onion when I didn't have a leek and it was fantastic too.
** My mother-in-law made me a container of rosemary salt, but you can chop up a 1/2 tsp or so of fresh rosemary and it will be delightful too. 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Elm coffee

On Tuesday I had coffee with my lovely friend Laura. We decided to check out the new Elm Coffee Roasters in Pioneer Square. We were quite impressed. The espresso was fantastic. Laura had a mocha which had a subtle and delightful dark chocolate edge. But almost better than the coffee (almost) the staff was attentive, knowledgeable, and friendly. FRIENDLY!*
We'll go back. You should go too.

*Because baristas in this town are often a little more on the surly side. Just a warning. Tourists beware. Your barista could be a snarky jerk. But not at Elm. You will be pleasantly surprised.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Friday, March 7, 2014

Jumbalaya - a new staple recipe

{photo by me}
It doesn't happen very often. You know, when you try a recipe and it turns out so well that you not only know you'll make it again, but you'll make it again next week. When the leftovers are so good that you actually want to eat them. In fact, you may even crave them. Well it happened.

On Tuesdays, I volunteer in the Food Lifeline office.  While I was there last Tuesday, the lovely Stephanie brought in her lunch of leftover shrimp gumbo.  It smelled so good I decided that I needed the recipe, like, right now, to make for dinner, like, tonight.

So Stephanie sent me the Martha Stewart recipe she used for New Orleans-Style Shrimp and Rice. When I left the office, I drove straight to Trader Joe's for supplies.  While it looked and smelled amazing, I can't ever make anything as is, so I tinkered with the recipe and turned it into Jumbalaya.

According to the internet (the most trustworthy source of all) the difference between Gumbo and Jumbalaya is that Gumbo is a stew served over rice, while Jumbalaya is a casserole with the rice cooked in.  I wanted Jumbalaya.  And sausage.  And the results?  Oh yes, it's good.  It's SO good.  It's so good I'm going to make it again, as soon as I'm done with the leftovers, like maybe tomorrow.

Here's the recipe I came up with:

Jumbalaya with shrimp, sausage and brown rice


4 TBSP unsalted butter
4 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
2 green bell peppers, diced
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 32-oz box Trader Joe's Organic Chicken Broth
2+ TBSP chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1+ TBSP Cajun seasoning (I used Morton & Bassett organic cajun spice blend)
1 TBSP smoked paprika
1 28-oz can whole plum tomatoes
1/2 tsp kosher salt
a few grinds of black pepper
2 TBSP Crystal Hot Sauce
2 cups brown rice
1 package Trader Joe's jalapeƱo chicken sausage, each link sliced.
1/2 lb (half of package) Trader Joe's medium cooked frozen shrimp

In a large dutch oven, brown sausage and then remove from pan.

Melt butter with olive oil over medium heat.  Add bell peppers, onion, and celery; cook, stirring occasionally until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic, paprika, cajun seasoning and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add rice and stir, about 1 minute.  Add tomatoes, broth, parsley, hot sauce, salt and pepper.  Return sausage to pan.

Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until rice is cooked through, about 40 minutes.

Stir in shrimp and cook until just heated through, about 4 minutes.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkle of parsley, and more hot sauce.

Serves 8 to 10 (or, in my house, 2 with tons of leftovers!)

Yum!  Happy Mardi Gras - all year long!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Selfie no. 29

Today is March 3rd, 2014.  As a response to Meg's month of Selfies, I vowed to take 28 days of selfies, one for everyday in February.  Of course, I started on February 3rd so I had two more to go, ending on March 2.  Today I took another photo and posted to instagram.  In taking on this project I hoped to see myself in a different light, to appreciate myself a little more, to see who I am from the outside.  And while I knew when to stop drawing selfie no. 19, I know that I am not ready to stop taking photos.  

I am a creative person.  I have spent a long time discouraging my creativity, letting all the voices in and out tell me that creativity is not the path to take, that creativity does not lead to success, certainly not to financial security, that others may be able to, but I can't have it.  In letting those voices take over, in letting the world sway my place in it, I have lost myself, my truth, my happiness.  

I have decided to take over again.  I have decided to determine my own place in this world.  If it seems as if I don't have a particular direction right now, know that I have grown hungry for a life filled with creativity.  I've grown hungry for seeing myself in this new light.  

Through this project it has become clear to me that I can easily be my own creative muse.  I may not always, or even often, be a willing subject, but I am always available.  And by pre-determining my subject matter, I can stop making some of the excuses.  This is practice.  This is practice being creative.  This is practice communicating.  This is practice determining my own destiny.  

This is Selfie no. 29. 


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