Snow Dayz

by Kelsi in , , , ,


 

We are coming off of a long week of epic snow here in Seattle…

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School closures allowed for some good sledding runs in the backyard…

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There was also boredom (my son’s). So I made him read “Let Children Get Bored Again” in the NYTimes. Kidding, but it is a great article that you should read. It’s a good reminder for us adults too…

And in a throwback to my childhood, we made Shrinky Dinks. While my son was busy drawing characters from Zelda, I traced a favorite photo of him…

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I made the soccatas from Gwyneth Paltrow’s new cookbook The Clean Plate for breakfast and they are super easy and so satisfying, especially on a cold winter morning…

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I harvested the remaining kale from the garden that I planted back in August, just in case it didn’t survive the heavy snowfall…

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Which reminded me to make a Row 7 seed order. I ordered two pounds of the Upstate Abundance Potatoes that were a hit last summer and a packet of these new absolutely beautiful Tetra Squash

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I had my eye on that classic Filson briefcase to carry my laptop but my husband just gifted me his AER Commuter Bag that I love…

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Brandi Carlile’s 2007 album The Story may be the last cd I ever bought before everything went digital. I used to listen to that title track over and over when I was alone. I would crank it up so loud, her powerful voice overwhelming everything. I have now watched and listened to her recent grammy performance over and over which brings tears to my eyes every time and I can only think “what a badass.” Thank god for artists and thank god for music…

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Simple Pleasures

by Kelsi in , , , , , ,


 

We are enjoying a quiet long weekend at home before getting back into the regular swing of things with school starting this week. Like last year, I am taking the first part of September off to not only help ease us back into school life at home, but to spend two weeks recharging myself and gearing up for the new year ahead. To me September feels more like a time of renewal than January 1st does. 

I have a few house projects on my list, like repainting the hallway,  and lots of purging/organizing endeavors. But I'm also finding time just to think and work on an upcoming creative project that I'm really excited about.

I've finally started an Instagram account for the blog so you can also find me here.

The weather this weekend has been stellar. Comfortably warm but with a bit of a chill in the air that seemed to happen as soon as the calendar flipped to September 1. These are perfect conditions to spend time in the garden.

 

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I harvested the last of my cucumbers and my Row 7 potatoes which were a  huge winner. I'm devoting an entire bed to them next year. I also started moving plants around and cleaning out crops past their due and cutting back the blackberry vines that take over my front slope this time of year. 

I wrote about Floret Farm's book at the end of last summer and followed through and ordered Dahlia tubers from her in the spring. These giants are lighting up the front yard right now...

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I've been making watermelon juice that is even more refreshing than the gazpacho I've been downing the last two days. If you don't have a juicer, simply blend up the watermelon in a blender. Strain it through a fine mesh strainer and let it chill until it's good and cold. When you're ready to drink, squeeze half of a lime in your glass and a pinch of salt.

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It is summer in a glass...

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I have loved watching All or Nothing: Manchester City. LOVED. Go watch it.

I also just finished reading Attachments which was recommended by my mother-in-law (Hi Pierr!). It is such a perfect summer read - great dialogue, smart and incredibly funny. I couldn't stop reading and read it all in one go...

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My hair is the longest it's ever been and after a summer of playing in both the surf and sun the ends are bit fried. I love Weleda products and just discovered this rosemary hair oil. I've been putting it on my ends (and even my scalp) before bed and washing it out in my morning shower. It has made a world of difference. You can also find it here...

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I've also been using this wonderful salt scalp scrub shampoo (say that three times fast) the last two months. You use it just once a week though I really want to use it daily I look forward to it that much...

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Also in need of a little TLC after the summer heat and constant sunscreen, my skin needs a little decongesting and I super love this new Squalane + Glycolic Renewal Facial from Biossance...

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I'm looking forward to testing out their new deodorant...

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I bought a few of these air-purifiers recommended by Wirecutter this spring during allergy season and the difference was immediate. After one night, we all woke up with cleared sinuses. Fast forward to last month when Seattle was hit hard from wildfire smoke. We were so grateful to have these in our house. I also bought one for my studio...

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I'm really liking these twin-line flossers. They are also helpful for teaching my six year old how to floss...

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And I have a new pair of favorite jeans. These relaxed boyfriend ones from Everlane remind me of my old 501s from high school. I have the vintage sky blue wash below...

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But I have my eye on the washed black ones as well...

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Easter Weekend

by Kelsi in , , ,


 

Along with chocolate bunny eating and hanging with family this weekend, I'm excited to spend some quality time with my new book, Rules of Civility...

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I'm also making this beautiful, herby potato salad from Nadine Redzepi's cookbook. I checked it out from the library a few months back and loved it so much I had to buy it. It's one of my new favorites...

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I really hope to spend some time in the garden while the sun makes an appearance. I have seeds to plant, mostly salad greens, and my new Row 7 beets!

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It is a little early to put them in the dirt, but my dahlia tubers from Floret arrived today!

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I'm also going to be wearing this sweet jacket I just got from (surprise) Everlane. Seeing as I already have two army green jackets that I love, I got the black one. But if you don't already have an army colored jacket in your closet, get the surplus one. It will be a staple that you will wear year round...

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Also on the fashion front, check out this recent shot of the editors at French Vogue. Perfection as always...

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Last thing for now, I LOVE this mascara from Burt's Bees. (I've found it locally in Seattle at Bartell Drugs.) I'm not usually a regular mascara wearer, but I really dig this one. I learned about it from Katey Denno (celebrity makeup artist and green beauty aficionado), whom I've followed the last several years. I'll write more about Katey at some point, but I adore her. And if she loves/recommends a beauty product, I'm in...

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Happy weekend and happy spring!

 

March 4

by Kelsi in , , , ,


 

Ah Sunday. My favorite day of the week. Just today I feel like the cold I've been carrying around the last two weeks is finally on its way out. Right now as I type, I have some blueberry sauce bubbling away on the stove, laundry ready to be folded and a fridge that needs to be cleaned out and a grocery list to be made. This is the stuff of my days off, the basic routines and rituals that make me happy.

Also on task for today, I am attempting to make preserved lemons for the first time with the help of Renee Erickson's lovely cookbook...

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The light this week has changed and it finally feels like Spring is nearing. My rhubarb thinks so too...

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My raised garden beds still need some fresh dirt and amendments to get ready for planting but the prospect of digging in the dirt and getting things going puts a smile on my face. I am even more enthusiastic after reading about Dan Barber's new seed companyRow 7.

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Dan Barber's On Being conversation is among my top five (I mentioned it back here) and in that conversation he spoke about why pursuing flavor matters...

***

MS. TIPPETT: Right. And this wonderful — I don't know why it's surprising, but surprisingly, between doing the right thing and doing the ethical thing, is also the pleasurable thing. And that sustainability is also about resurrecting flavor.

MR. BARBER: Yeah. And the most pleasurable thing and the most delicious, so that they're all run along parallel lines. I mean, that's the serendipity of what I do, which is that, you know, my shiv is like I want to cook good food and it's in the pursuit of great flavor. It just so happens that you're attached to great ecology by definition. I mean, this is one of those things that's so axiomatic we forget. I think it's part because of what you mentioned. We went through this period, especially in the United States, where we're so removed from how food was grown and where it's coming from and who was growing it that we forget just the most obvious thing is that a delicious carrot, a delicious slice of lamb, has attached to it these decisions in the pasture and the field that are both thoughtful and intensely ethical as well as ecological, that you can't have an unethically raised lamb, an unthoughtfully raised carrot, and have a delicious lamb and carrot dish. It's impossible. Even the greatest chefs couldn't do that.

AND THIS...

MR. BARBER: There's two things really quick. The first is that I think one of the things that's been overlooked in this issue that we've talking about is breeders. I'm not talking about bioengineering, genetically modifying seeds. I'm talking about old-school breeders. At Cornell, they're like the hippies that came in the '70s that are there and have seeds literally in their desk drawers that we've been growing now; unnamed varieties of tomatoes, unnamed varieties of onions, unnamed varieties of squash have been sitting for years in the desks of these breeders.

So these breeders — and they are largely retiring, at least at Cornell — are the ones who have literally a vault — literally a vault — of information that I think is going to be so important as we transition away from the conventional mindset of agriculture and into this more regional look at agriculture, which is going to rely on these seeds that can withstand the challenges of growing locally and in a diverse system. So I'm really excited about that and I'm working with Jack Algiere and with a lot of these breeders in trying to get them to stay on and work more with us. What they say to me over and over again is, "No one's ever asked me about flavor." I hear it every time from the breeders. It was like clockwork, it's so weird. No one asks me about flavor. They always ask me about yield and about disease resistance. They're just like all we have to do is select for flavor.

***

I  want to try them all, but am going to start with the Badger Flame beet, Robin's Koginut squash, that tiny beautiful 898 squash, and the 7082 cucumber.

Image from  Net-a-Porter

Image from Net-a-Porter

On the Spring fashion front, Trenchcoats are in and I like the way they're being styled. Time to pull mine out of the back of the closet. I have a great one from Everlane, but think this one from Zara is super cute!

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I also love these new little suede sandals from Loeffler Randall...

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I think I'm adding them to the wishlist...

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If you don't have anything in mind for dinner tonight, you should cook this simple and delicious dal with lime kale from Tejal Rao...

We devoured this last week and I plan to make it again this week. While you're at it read Tejal's guide on how to cook rice...

In fact, all the these NYT cooking guides are just fantastic resources. Even if you know your way around the kitchen, you'll learn some perfect little tip. 

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A few great ones...

How to Make Soup

How to Cook Asparagus

Basic Knife Skills

How to Use an Instant Pot

How to Cook Beans

My big plan for the evening is to sit by the fire and read my new book...

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A pretty perfect Sunday.

 

Summer

by Kelsi in , ,


 

Today was a perfect summer day kicking off the long holiday weekend. We lounged around home and I accomplished pretty close to nothing. And I plan to do the same tomorrow, and the next day. In good timing, these two books I've been waiting for just arrived at the library...

I take it back. I will accomplish something this weekend! Reading! A huge feat for someone with a young child. (And I might be sipping on Vinho Verde.)

A few more things adding to my summer mood...

I just bought these jeans from Zara and am in love. They are the perfect summer wash with a cool 70s vibe. I took a pair of fabric scissors and cut them down to size leaving the seam raw. Get them now on sale for just $20!

These water balloons are epic. Not only do they fill in seconds, but they self-seal and are biodegradable. Heads up, I hear you can find them at Costco (in bulk of course) and half the price.

We also finally found the perfect outdoor umbrella stand that will last more than one season and looks great...

I keep this affordable rosewater spray with me and mist throughout the day during the summer. It helps keep my skin hydrated plus it smells divine. Find it locally at PCC or Whole Foods as well...

And the most recent addition to my wishlist are these Marais sandals...

Happy Fourth!

 

80° in Seattle...in April

by Kelsi in , , ,


 

It has been over 80° in Seattle the last four days. For those of you not from here, this is pretty much unheard of around these parts...in April. Summer in Seattle is glorious but we usually have to wait for those warmer temps until after July 4th. Needless to say Seattleites are walking around like it's a party, flocking to the beaches of Lake Washington during the day on a Monday.

My husband has been traveling non-stop so I've been taking more time off from teaching the last few weeks to hang with my boy. We've not done much else lately except plant in the garden, indulge in popsicles and watch Octonauts. I don't have too much else to report although here are a few things occupying my mind this week...

Well said Kurt

I'm really digging the looks of this sweater. And this tie-front shirt.

Our house is west facing and we're up off the street so we get a lot of sun exposure. We've planted our rockery and parking strip with lots of sun-happy, drought tolerant plants like rosemary and lavender. This "Helmsdale" spanish lavender is my favorite variety. After the first year, it is totally hands-off. I never cut it back and it maintains a soft, full shape. The flowers are a deep purple and the scent is heavenly.

Given the warmer temps, we've been having big salads for dinner every night this week. Our Heath salad bowl is our go to.  It is shallow and 13" in diameter and makes for a perfect presentation. I'd like to make this beautiful salad in it next...

I've also been bringing out my old standby Gap denim jacket a lot lately. Mine's a few years old but it is just like this one. It is soft and not too fitted so I can easily wear a hoodie underneath it.

I've been consuming a lot of my favorite local Kombucha these days which makes a good stand-in for cocktail hour...

I've also been making Sarah's Goji Berry Lemonade (though I subbed maple syrup for the sweetener). I prefer it with with lemons but had some extra limes that needed to be put to use...

And finally I've been thinking a lot about this quote from Andy Puddicombe...

One of my teachers used to say “Always keep death by your side.” At first glance that could be seen as rather gloomy, even comical. But it has real depth. Life races by, we miss so much, caught up in all the busyness of the mind. We go to bed and assume we will wake up. We wake up and assume we will go to bed at the end of the day. In doing so, we take our life for granted, we get so caught up in things that we miss the opportunity to connect with those around us in the way we would like to. But if we remember our mortality, we start to appreciate the preciousness of life, we become more calm, have more perspective, and are more able to affect positive change in the world.
— Andy Puddicombe

From here

 

Catching Up

by Kelsi in ,


 

We barely returned home from New York and Aaron was off traveling again. At the same time our basement remodel got underway along with redoing all the original 1940 electrical and plumbing in our house. Things are good here, but needless to say a little chaotic. And I feel a bit upended. 

There is more to write but for now I only have the bandwidth to discuss tomatoes.

We planted three cherry tomato plants this year. One Sungold (my favorite) and two other varieties, and with all of our heat this summer I can barely keep up (below is the haul from just yesterday)...

Quick side note, this book has been my garden guide the last three years. They recommend that after the plants have started ripening their first fruits, you can stop watering them. "This will reduce the size of the tomatoes and the overall yield of the plants, but will encourage ripening and improve flavor." Clearly, this hasn't noticeably affected the yield of my own plants...

Thankfully, I love tomatoes and they make a super quick lunch or dinner. My favorite is this simple salad: halved cherry tomatoes, tossed with a pour of good olive oil, chopped chives, Maldon sea salt and my most favorite sheep's milk feta from Pastures of Eden (which you can find at Trader Joe's). 

Do not forget the salt. Proper seasoning really makes the dish and brings out the flavor. More on this inside this month's Bon Appetit...

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There will be more to write soon.