What do Thomas Keller, Martha Stewart, Stephanie Izard and countless others have in common? Well, their cookbooks are collecting dust on my bookshelf. It’s not that I don’t cook, I love to cook but these days I tend to make up my own recipes or go online for inspiration. I decided that it was time to dust off the books and cook at least one recipe from each book in 2015. I will photograph and document each recipe here good, bad or meh. Join me for this cooking challenge. I think it’s going to be good!
Well, my spring has been a little different than I expected. I imagined trips to the beach, lots of runs along my favorite trail by a lagoon, fun at the water park with the kids, and more. But then the great skateboarding accident of 2015 happened. Nev has been getting into skateboarding and I thought I could show him a few things (yeah right!) – one swift jump off the board in flip flops led to a terrible fall with my foot turning underneath me. After that it was two ER visits, X-Rays, an MRI, three broken metatarsal bones in my foot (2, 3 and 4 in case anyone cares) and a fiberglass cast. Oh and crutches. All of the sudden I went from independence to total dependence upon my sweet husband for everything from a glass of water to help getting up the stairs. For someone who was running many miles a week, spinning at the gym and enjoying being active it has been a practice in patience. But five weeks in, I’m finally in a walking boot – FREEDOM! People look at my with sympathy as I limp around on the boot but I tell them to not feel sorry for me, I can get around! There is this contingency of people who have had food/leg injuries and needed crutches a cast – they come out of the woodwork everywhere I go and I hear stories. I now know and will lend that same sympathy to the next poor soul I see crutching around.
Despite that, its been a fun few weeks. Lots of fun with the kids, Easter with family, neighborhood BBQs, and just enjoying life. I am slowly working on some house projects – redoing my room, one small part at a time. And planning to redo my master bath. I will post some of the inspiration pics for the new bath in another post.
These are the world’s best chocolate chip cookies ever, I mean it. These are adapted from a friend’s recipe (you can read her version here).
2 sticks butter (8 oz) (I like KerryGold grass fed)
1/2 cup white sugar (2 oz )
1 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed (12 oz ) (or if you like it with more of a molasses flavor Trader Joes brown sugar works well too)
2 tsp vanilla (1/4 oz)
3 1/2 cup All Purpose flour (1 lb. )
1 1/2 tsp Baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 lb. chocolate chips (personally I like Trader Joes semi sweet chocolate chunks for more chocolate chip goodness)
1/2 teaspoon maldon salt for sprinkling on top – this is the key feature don’t skip (you can order the salt off Amazon or I bought mine at Sur La Table)
Cream the butter and the sugars until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes on medium high. Scrape down the side of the bowl. Continue mixing while adding the eggs one at time. Add the vanilla. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula. Add flour, soda and salt. With the machine on low, slowly add the flour and dry ingredients. Stir in the chocolate. I then put the dough in the fridge for an hour or more. Something about the dough being chilled makes it SO much better. After its cooled, form balls and I kind of smooth them down and then sprinkle them with the Maldon salt. Bake at 360 – I like mine gooey and doughy so I take mine out at exactly 10 minutes and let them cool a bit – you could cook for 11-12 if you want to crispier cookie.
I have a LOT to be thankful for. Its been a year of recovery, insight and just gratefulness. After you have been through the fire, life becomes so much more special. I really don’t take things for granted (at least as much as I used to!) Here are a list of things I am so grateful for and some things that I have learned this year:
1) Faith and trusting in Christ can pull you through the darkest of times. When I get stressed out, I try to take a deep breath and just think about Jesus taking the burden out of my hands and I really do feel His peace settle over me.
2) I’ve fallen in love with His word. I used to like reading the bible but over the last year I have been just loving learning more about him, studying and memorizing scripture. When I feel overwhelmed, having the words of God and His promises come to mind give me such comfort. I’ve also gotten to do some amazing bible studies with the Women’s Ministry this year – some favorites have been Jonah by Priscilla Shirer, Children of the Day by Beth Moore. I’m excited for our study to kick up again after the New Year.
3) My family is amazing – I already knew that, but I have had so much fun with my kids and hubby this year. Its a great time (2 and 4) for my children as they discover new things every day. I love seeing the world through their eyes. I am just praying for guidance on how to help bring them up, protect them but not shelter them too much. Its such a fine line.
4) I love art. I love painting. I love creating. I love sewing. I love building and remaking. Who knew? As a child my world revolved around art, drawing, creating even through college. But somewhere, probably as my career took center stage, I just completely let that part of me die. But this year it has been revived and then some. I have discovered a joy, a complete delight in creating. Whether its making a pom-pom for the top of a gift, painting a watercolor, or sewing a dress for my daughter or even upholstering a chair. I am creative, and it feels so good. Its like this part of me has bloomed and I feel more fulfilled than I have in years. I am so grateful for this rediscovered part of me.
5) I am grateful for good legs and the ability to run. As I was recovering from the anxiety and insomnia – last February I made this rather rash decision to sign up for a half marathon with just five weeks to go. I trained hard – and I was able to run the San Diego Half Marathon and just barely missed my goal of running it in two hours – by one minute! If I hadn’t stopped for that pee break! I ran 13.1 miles in 2 hours and 1 minute.
6) I’m grateful I had five months with my bestie this year. My best friend lives in Maine which means that we never get to see each other – and that dratted 3 hr time difference is a killer. When she can talk – I’m usually making dinner and when I finally get them down to sleep, she’s already been asleep for a few hours. But last January – her hubby was able to take a job in San Diego for a 5 month stint. We had a blast – her two small kids and mine got along so well. We made the most of it – park days, beach days, the zoo, dinners and even a mini-girl-getaway to Palm Springs. I am so grateful for that time – it was so much fun and I still miss her!
ok, there is a lot more but I’ll stop there. Here are a few extra shots of our delicious Thanksgiving and some table decor. I love me some gold spraypaint
The past month has been so much fun, just figuring out my sewing machine, making tons of mistakes and being so grateful for the seam ripper gadget, but actually turning out a few really cute pieces for my two year old daughter. Some adorable patterns can be found on Pinterest.
While the rest of the country is freezing – here in southern California – we are still enjoying 70+ degree weather- so that means: beach days!
My hubby and I needed a weekend away. Its been a really busy fall, I’ve been working a lot, volunteering a lot with women’s ministry and AWANA, and trying to keep up with friends and family. Its all amazing stuff, but its nice to slow down and just have some time to relax. Dave and I booked a few nights at Hotel Corque in Solvang, a little Danish themed town about 45 minutes south-east of Santa Barbara in the burgeoning wine country area. We got a great deal through Hotel Tonight – its an amazing app with terrific deals on hotels. We’ve used it a few times and were so happy with the hotels and the prices! More $ to spend on food Highlights of the trip:
Firestone – we loved their winery and Dave was in his happy place sampling beer at the Firestone Taproom in Buellton.
Tennis at the Hans Christian Anderson Park in Solvang, a huge beautiful park filled with majestic oak trees.
The views from the wineries we visited.
The “Chronic” desert at Avant Tapas and Wine – also in Buellton – a popcorn, semifreddo, white chocolate, dried cranberry concoction that was so addictive
Pastries from Mortenson’s Bakery in Solvang. Years ago we had a life-changing cheese Danish – but we couldn’t remember where we got it – so we searched Solvang and finally found the amazing pastry!
Mostly we just enjoyed having full nights of sleep without two year old visitors, lazy breakfast’s and pastries, and spending time together.
What have I been doing? Sewing! Upholstering! It’s been fun to see my vision for this guest room start to take shape. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a daybed platform. So (thank you Pinterest) I used Nevan’s old box spring and upholstered it in some Navy canvas. I stained some wood legs a Danish Walnut and my hubby drilled them in. I sewed some pillow covers from some of the fabric that I ordered from Thailand through Etsy. I found a throw on clearance at Target and put up a shelf above the bed. The styling for everything is just temporary. But I absolutely love the vintage rattan table I picked up at that estate sale a while back. Stay tuned for more updates.
This was supposed to be easy! It wasn’t. I made little E a dress, my first attempt. I made her try it on, one time only. Its horrifically bad, but it was such good practice. So I’m not going to beat myself up about it, it will be better next time. She’s so cute, she could wear a garbage bag and look good. Here it is – tada!! (if you could see the inside of the dress you would laugh so hard).