Saturday, April 27, 2013

Long Lists and Lazy Language



There's a large sliding glass door in my kitchen that leads out to our front patio.  Beyond that is small pond, and once you get passed the road, there's a field and open sky.  

And a dude doing jumping jacks.  In a white lab coat.  Don't ask, because I won't be able to answer any question you have about it.

This window out into the world is amazing and inspiring.  The light pours in and brightens my kitchen all day long, making it my favorite place in our home.  It is also where I create, photograph, and post my blogs.  The island is my staging area, the bar chairs are my movable props, and my new cutting board resides just within reach, should the inspiration to document bubble out of control.  



This new board is amaze-balls.  Made from bamboo, spanning a large enough space to where you can't *really* tell I'm photographing food on chairs, it's rocking my socks.  Cori was concerned as to where we would keep it, as well as to why we can't cut on a cutting board.  Pshh... I have my reasons.  Crazy reasons, but they're mine.  Don't worry about it, Cori.



I was going to post my first experience with the board, along with a recipe.  But you know what?  I really just want to share pictures with you, as well as a list of things I'm geeking out about.  Is that okay?  Are you cool with my laziness weekend list?  I hope so... because it's happening.  And if it works out and you like what I post (all eight of you), maybe we'll make this a weekly thing!  Awww... weekly internet dating.  That's how it all starts.




Also, we should think about what to call this list.  It's just rand-o things I've found while trolling the interwebs - blogs, Pinterest, YouTube, etc.  I don't want to go all cheesy and go with "Kasey's Korner", or "Listology".  Oh wait... maybe I like that.  Gahhh!  I don't know what to call it.  In the mean time, let's just look at pictures and click links, yes?



This Untitled List o' Mine

1. I wanna see how big your Brave is, epecially while belting this in the car.
2. Apparently, lefties have it rough.
3. We all need to get closer to guacamole and goat cheese.  Like... snuggled up.
4. I'm feeling like this would be wonderful spread on almost anything.  
5. Two rums make a right.  And we're not Dutch, but we are correct.
6. I smell a DIY coming on... Dip Dye napkins!
7. Astronauts demonstrate water craziness.
8. Mom jeans.  Please don't call it a comeback.  I don't care how much Elle Fanning loves them.
9. Tig notaro doesn't want be molested in her hotel room. 
10. I'll follow you down.  Down a flight of stairs.  Down an escalator.  But not that far... 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Pushing me over the edge



It's 5am and the cats are not letting me sleep.  Alba is walking up and down and all around my head.  It feels like... she's stomping on this this pillow.  *tosses her towards Cori*



Ingrid is over on the vanity, jiggling the sliding door where the fish food used to reside behind.  I sit up, hiss at her (this does nothing, as any cat owner will attest to), shout her name somewhat quietly (so as not to wake Cori), and contemplate throwing something soft in her general direction.  There's nothing to throw, so I go to get out of bed and ZIP!  She's under the bed.  *ugh*



It is now 6am.  Alba has taken up sitting on the highest point in the bed, which is somewhere between Cori's shoulder and her hip.  Ingrid, having given up on the non-existent fish food and crawled out from under the bed, is now curled up under my arm like a rag doll.  This would be cute, I think, if it weren't for her strong-armed kneading of my bicep.  Her purring is so loud and is so close to my ear, and she has this look on her face that says "IIIIITTTTT'SSSS JUUUUUUST TOOOOOOO GOOOOOOOOD".  Um... okay, creepy.  What is just too good?  The kneading becomes so intense that I have to toss her further down the bed.  Sometimes I push her off the bed entirely.  She just comes right back up.  *someone save me*



It's 6:30am...  Alba has taken it upon herself to whine loudly while stomping around my head again.  Ingrid has decided my nightstand is full of things she needs to push onto the floor.  She stands ever so still while taking one paw, and with the tiniest motion she moves something off of the stand and THUNK!  There goes my lip balm.  THUNK! THUNK! I think that was a tiny picture frame falling off the edge and onto the carpet below.  I reach my right arm out from under the warm blankets, into the cold morning air... and push Ingrid off the table.  THUNK!!!!  *I'm going to kill her...*



It's 7am now.  Cori's alarm is going off and we're both pretending it's wrong and that we have more time to catch up on sleep before we really have to wake up.  Both cats are yowling, walking in figure eights all around our bodies and our heads, stopping only to knead on a soft bit of flesh here and there.  I know what they want.  It's the same as every morning, every evening, and every moment in between - food.  They're like furry Hoover vacuum cleaners.  I know if I were to get up, fill their treat balls with the object(s) of their desire, the morning madness would stop.  But I also know... I'd never get back to sleep.  So I have this inner battle with myself as to which would suck more - getting up and not getting back to sleep, or laying there, pretending to sleep, hoping Cori will be the first to get up and feed them.  Which is worse?  Which is better?  Ugh!  CAT, GET OFF OF ME!!!

It's 7:05am.  I'm in the animal room, filling treat balls.  *sigh*



Blackberry Macaron Tart
Slightly adapted from Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut (I put it through the food processor for a few pulses and then measured it)
3/4 cup sifted, lightly packed natural cane sugar (or light brown sugar, if that's what you have)
scant 1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled for a minute
2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut (same process as before)
1/2 cup sifted, lightly packed natural cane sugar (or light brown sugar again)
4 large egg whites, lightly beaten
8 ounces fresh blackberries, halved (or any fresh berry or stone fruit you like)
*bonus addition: 1/3 cup crushed pistachios

*preheat oven to 350 degrees and place rack in the middle of the oven*

Butter an 9" round tart pan (or an 8"x11" rectangular pan), and line with parchment paper.  Cut off any excess that is peaking out above the pan line.  Set aside.

To make your crust, combine the flour, coconut, cane sugar, and salt in a medium bowl.  Blend with a fork.  Pour in the melted butter and blend again with the fork until just combined and no longer sandy/dry.  Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan with a fork,and baked for 15 minutes.  The tart shell should be just barely browning on the edge and feel firm in the middle.  Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for a few minutes.

While the tart shell is baking, make the filling.  Combine the second allotment of coconut and cane sugar to a medium bowl.  Add in the lightly beaten egg whites and blend with a rubber spatula.  Set a side for a moment.

In the bottom of the cooled tart shell, evenly distribute the black berry halves.  Then, using your hands, drop dollops of the macaron tart filling all around the berries, mushing some of it underneath some berries and over others for a better visual effect). 

Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the macaron filling peaks are deeply golden.  Let cool on a wire rack and serve.  Garnish with the pistachio nuts (if using).  Try to keep your cat(s) at bay while you consume.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Wander/Lost



Today is the day Cori returns from her adventures in Scotland.  But it is also the day I go to be by a friends side while we celebrate the life of her partner in love.  It is a heavy-hearted day.  It is a beautiful day.

Death is a scary, mysterious thing.  The last time I was at a funeral was in 2009 when my grandmother passed.  We were in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, and there are pictures of my family and I standing around and just thinking about my grandmother.  My whole life I've cried from stress, from anger, and happiness.  Watching movies where there's a tragic/emotional moment between a father and a daughter sends me over the edge and I well up with water in my eyes.  But death...  Death kicks into gear something in me I didn't know I had.  Strength.  Few tears are shed, if any, and I assume the roll of the strong, steady shoulder to cry on.  I listen.  I watch.  I feel.  But I never break down like I expect to.  So when it came to my grandmother passing, I missed her and hoped she was somewhere out there in the cosmos, in a happier place, but I didn't cry.  I wanted to, but the strength to be brave and focus on supporting those around me stopped the tears.  It's how I'm wired.  It's how I grieve and channel the swirling emotions.

Which brings me to today.  When I dress in "jascha style", wrap up my dear friend in my arms and hug her tight, I will have that same strong core I always do when tragedy is in front of me.  And I will listen.  And I will watch.  And I will feel.  

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Can We Keep Them

*Ugh* Sorry about my boob.


This isn't a food-full post, but I wanted to share something quite adorable and funny.  I've lifted it from an email I wrote to Cori while she's in Scotland, and then immediately felt you'd enjoy it as well!

"Today we had a high of 70 degrees - can you believe it?!  As soon as I got home I opened every window in the house.  When I was waiting for AAA to arrive, I heard children talking and it sounded as though it was coming from the bedroom.  Three kids, ages 4-7 or so, were standing at our bedroom window and talking to Ingrid (who thought it was the coolest thing ever to happen to her).  I walked in and gave a pronounced "Hi!" and they scattered.  A little while later, I heard their voices again coming from the bedroom, and this time when I greeted them, they didn't leave.  Instead, the smallest one, a sweet little girl, began firing off questions, wanting to know where the cat went, could I bring her back, and what other animals do I have?  She also asked if that was my bed, did my dad also live here, was I alone, and then told me to go get the cat.  The middle child, a boy, talked about super heroes, to which the eldest, a girl, offered "Barack Obama?", and he said "No, a super hero that is from Marvel".  Then the two girls went around the corner and the boy continued to talk to me about super heroes.  The two girls came back, and the littlest one asked if the kitty would like to eat this (she held up a piece of mulch).  The little boy said, "No!  Put that down!  That's poison!!!"  Then the little girl grabbed on to part of the bush and asked about the kitty eating that instead, and again the boy said, "That's poison!  You can't eat that!".  The oldest girl looked at me funny and said, "Is that poison?" and I said, "No... but I bet neither would taste very good... plus she'd get splinters."  That was the most beautiful little girl I think I have every seen.  I told them I needed to go because the kitties were getting hungry and there was someone at the door.  The little girl said "BYE!" like... four or five times probably, and the little boy assured me that they'd "be back later!".  Can we keep them?!?!?"

I think I've made the friend equivalent of the nosy neighbor from Home Improvement (x3).

Friday, April 5, 2013

When life gives you lemons



There are rugs on my porch drying in the sun.

This many not mean a lot to you... but to me, it means spring.  It means I can open up the windows in every room, airing out the recycled, stale air.  It means new fruits and vegetables are in season again, making my brain go on overload with choices for my next recipe.  And it means I'll be dedicating more time to watching my little seedlings of basil, chives, and thyme flourish on the sun soaked porch.  It means spring.

With the change in the air comes a change for lighter things.  Lighter clothes, lighter days, and lighter recipes.  So let's talk about the latter, shall we?

It may not be quite that time for avocado and feta salads, or even margaritas on the Indiana Dunes beach, but it can definitely be time for lemonade.  Crisp, cool, and scrumptious lemonade.  But this isn't your grandma's Country Time, people.  Nooooooo way.  This lemonade... it draws you in.  Enveloping you in a caramelized lemon flavor that only the early months of spring will allow.  Hardly tart, but undeniably packed with punch of its own, one sip and it'll feel as though it's been spring time for months.