Thanks, Universe.

So after the last post, I was having "all the feels" (as the kids like to say).  I really miss creating content.  I miss having a space for my creative self.  But the internet is pretty full of voices.  And I doubted my addition to the noise.  So I thought.  And I thought.  And I walked a lot, and painted my house, and cooked... and just thought.

One of the thoughts that popped into my head was how one of the most popular posts was when the boys and I discovered the litter (yup, had to look up the proper term) of black bunnies at Discovery Park.  It almost didn't make sense.  It was just this little moment of innocence and discovery.  One I'll never forget, but still.  It wasn't planned or shot with the fancy camera.  It was just... it.

Two days later, I'm walking through the very same park.  I'm thinking again.  Is this the right move for me?  It was a rare, kidless moment.  The sun was starting to set... it was that magic dusk hour where the world starts to quiet.  And there came a response to my walking meditation.

oh, hai.

Thanks for making me smile, Universe.

xo, k


This one time...

I created a blog.  And then totally bailed, because life got complicated.  Well, turns out, life has a way of simplifying itself again.  Three years and a baby later... I'm back.  Oh!  And in case you were wondering... I'm now a mom of three boys.  Plus two furry boys.

xoxo, k

Big Red in some New Year's snow. 



Our budget is a weeeee bit tight this week (who's isn't?) so I'm digging deep to find out what new goodies I can create from what I have on hand.  Gotta keep with the resolution, right?  I'm looking and looking... I have olives, cheese, veggies from the garden... I am going to attempt homemade pizza.  EEK!  Long story short, it was so freaking awesome!  Wish I had pictures, but I was feeding four hungry kids under 5 years old.  You do the math on that one.  :)

I started with this recipe, read all the reviews (I swear that's the best part) and here is what I ended up with:

Pizza Crust

3 C. all-purpose flour
1 t. salt
2 T. olive oil (plus a bit more for drizzling on the dough)
1 (.25 ounce) package dry yeast
1 T. white sugar
1 C. warm water

Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water.  Set aside and let stand until frothy (10ish minutes.)

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt.  Drizzle in the 2 tablespoons olive oil and then mix in the set-up yeast mixture.  Knead until dough is formed and then set aside in a bowl coated in olive oil and covered lightly.  Let rise for 30 minutes.  Knead once more and let rise for an additional 15 minutes.

For the kiddos, I formed six, 8-inch pizzas.  Each kid was able to decorate their own and even mama and papa got a pizza.  I literally just used what we had on hand... the remainder of a can of olives, half an orange pepper, and basil and green onion from the garden.  I think all we bought was some pepperoni for the Handy Husband.  I guess a guy has to have his meat, right?

I tried a pizza sauce recipe too, but it wasn't quite what I was looking for.  Don't get me wrong, it was totally edible and there wasn't a single complaint from the kids (miracle!)  But for my taste, it was too heavily scented and flavored with olive oil.  And the seasoning didn't quite hit the mark either.  But, guess what.  That's life.  Sometimes you have a kickin' recipe and other times it's just, "meh."

At the end of the day, homemade pizza was surprisingly easy, the kids ate every last bite, and, when served up with a salad from the garden, it is awesomely budget-friendly.

xo, k


Tartar Sauce

Tartar sauce... some people are lovers, some people are haters.  I am in the lover camp.  Maybe it's my Seattle upbringing, maybe it's my deep deeep deeeeeep love of pickles, but I cannot imagine a world of fish and chips without the stuff!  So in my yearly effort to expand our eating habits and be more creative, I decided not to limit myself to just new main course recipes.  Sides are important too!  And condiments!  For those of you who know me, I am a condiment addict.  Don't judge.  It's a family problem. 

So here is the recipe I've been working with (via Simply Recipes):

Tartar Sauce
- 1C. mayonnaise
- 1/2 C. chopped dill pickles
- 1 t. capers, chopped
- 2 t. dijon mustard
- 2 t. shallots, chopped
- 2 T. scallions, chopped
- 2 t. lemon juice
- 6 drops Tabasco sauce (or more to taste)
- salt and pepper to taste

Directions:  Mix it up!

YUM!  So freaking good I can't even stand it!  The capers and Tabasco were game changers for me.  Seriously.  Now, I know not everone has shallots and scallions on hand.  Heck, I don't.  Here is the alterations I've made and what has become a staple in our household:

Kate's ever so slightly adapted variation:

- 1 C. mayonnaise
- 1/3 C. dill pickles, finely chopped
- 1 t. capers, chopped
- 2 t. dijon mustard (can sub in regular, but dijon hits the sweet spot)
- 2 t. shallots, chopped (or sub. 1 1/2 t. dried onion flakes... use watcha got)
- 2 t. lemon juice
- 1T. fresh dill, chopped
- 6 drops Tabasco sauce (or more if there are no kiddos eating)
- omit all salt and pepper... doesn't need it!

Directions:  Mix it up, yo!

So here are my notes on the subject:
1.  I usually have dijon, but ran out last week so I had to use the regular stuff in a pinch.  Guess what?  It totally worked.  The difference was subtle and please use dijon if you have it, but you won't be left crying your milk if you don't.
2.  The dried onion flake substitute totally works!  Just make sure to let the mixture sit a little longer so the flavors meld together and the onions can rehydrate a bit.  15 minutes with two stirs during that time usually does the trick.
3.  Gotta have fresh dill.  Period.  I grow it in the garden so it's an easy add-in.
4.  Salt and pepper... no need.  The capers actually add a bit of salt and I didn't feel like the pepper added anything.
5.  I chose to omit the scallions.  I made the tartar sauce both ways and, in the end, preferred the recipe without it.

So there you go.  A new absolute favorite!  Way to go Elise Bauer!

xo, k


New Recipe Compile

Oh, man.  I've been slacking on updates, but I'm really, really proud of myself!  I've been cooking up a freakin' storm!  Here's the recipe rundown:

1. Portage Parmentier**
2. Alfredo Sauce***
3. Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce
4. Lasagna Roll-ups*
5. Red Cabbage Salad with Feta and Mint**
7. Tilapia Fish Tacos (2 versions... we've been taste testing!)***
8. Dandelion Jelly***
9. Momofoku Soba Noodles with Sweet Ginger Scallion Sauce**
10. GP's No-Fry Fries*
11. GP's Best Stir-Fried Chicken
12. Pho
13. Scalloped Potato and Herb Tart***
14. Spaghetti al limone
15. Pork Tenderloin with Plum Sauce**

There are a few more, but I haven't been so good at writing down the recipes.  There are also one or two complete failures that I'd rather forget.  Ha!  Here's what the marking above mean.

* ="kid approved"
** = Mama's new fav!

Here are the things I've learned so far:

1.  My fish-hating kids LOVE tilapia.  Who knew?
2.  Homemade fries beat the frozen stuff by a mile.  They are also waaaay cheaper... especially if you can grow your own!
3.  My family is trying more new foods with less fight (if you have toddlers, I don't need to tell you what a miracle this is.)
4.  Dr. Oz is apparently a big fan of a varied diet (tidbit provided by his #1 fan... my mom!)
5.  I'm incorporating a wider range of veggies than before.
6.  We are actually more hungry for seasonally appropriate things.  I think this is because my monthly mag's are suppling plenty of seasonal inspiration!  No time for out-of-season tomatoes.
7.  The family is a big fan of gruyere cheese.

Overall, it's been an awesome way to keep the family guessing.  While it's been a challenge, and we've eaten a few late dinners due to "miscalculations in preparation time", I'd say we've still come out on top.  There are even a few new recipes in regular rotation!  I also discovered that I may never, ever in a million freakin' years buy tartar sauce again.  Honestly, that one single recipe changed my life.  Coming from a "fish and chips" kind of town, you really have to get a good tartar sauce recipe, and this one is a keeper.

In any event, I will publish links as I dig them up.  I'll also add to the list so check back for updated information.  This week I'll be making stuffed pasta shells (traditional cheese stuffing, but I'll work in some spinach from the garden... yum!)  so I'll let you know how that goes.

xoxo, k


Free Ranging Ladies!

Make no mistake about it.  I am a chicken-a-holic.  This is only fueled by the fact the HH won't let us get chickens.  Forbidden fruit, right?  Anyway, I was headed home from work yesterday when I noticed three chickens just wandering down the sidewalk!  Obviously I pulled over.  I mean, really.  Chickens cruising the bus line?  Awesome!

Well, I only know one chicken owner on that block (oh, God.  I now sound like a chicken stalker!)  So I went over and knocked on his door.  "Ummm, are you missing some chickens?  I just found three wandering down the street."  Turns out he wasn't missing any, but we got to talking and he said he was adding a few Ameracauna chicks to his flock this year!  In case you don't know, they lay beautiful blue eggs.  *sigh*  Anyway, even though they weren't his chickens, we had an awesome "chicken love-fest" talk and he gave me the most precious gift for being a good neighbor and looking after the local flocks...

So what else is a girl to do?  I decided to cancel what I was gong to serve the boys for dinner (I'd probably have to force-feed them the yummy risotto I had planned to make anyway) and they had breakfast for dinner.  YUM!

I'm not sure my iPhone photos do this egg enough justice.  It was a really deep shade of yellow.  So much more brilliant than your grocery store variety.  Anyway, I added some Kashi waffles and fruit and it was perfection.

Well, you heard it here first.  People still appreciate a good neighbor.

xoxo, k

PS.  I did end up finding the actual owners and apparently "the girls" like to go for a little walk every now and then.  Ha!


Silly Plant!

Two days of sunshine and my alpine strawberry has gone bananas!  Seriously.  What are you thinking little plant?

Could it be?  Strawberries in April?  Be still my beating heart...

But I can't judge.  I felt just about like this little strawberry after two days of sun and dirt under my fingers.  In fact, I was feeling so jazzed off two days of glorious spring weather that I took this slightly embarrassing self-portrait with my collards.  Yup.  Me and collard greens.  Take it in.

Oh, Lord.  

What can I say?  I was high off sunshine.  I had just planted King Richard leeks, rocket arugula, early wonder and bull's blood beets, Ingot carrots and French Breakfast radishes.  My peas are up too.  One more?  I discovered that my raised beds had become glorified worm bins over the winter.  It was a beautiful, beautiful day.

Now get out there and dig in the dirt!

xo, k