summer daydreaming: cabins!

June 30, 2011


Hello friends! It's Blake from Salt, Teak & Fog. Jora also asked me to post something Summer-y while she's off living The Life. I was delighted to write something, since Ms Fabulous Vacations was a high school classmate of mine... and DR is one of my absolute favorite blogs.

And now for something just about the opposite of where Jora is!

Growing up in San Diego, my family always nixed the beachy Summer trips. Yep, I've never been to Hawaii. It's the cruel truth. Instead, we would pack up fishing poles, sleeping bags and latch-hook kits for a two-day (plus, sometimes) drive to Montana. Three kids in a van, lumbering along the scorching desert--anyone getting inspired?? It was fun, actually. Mostly.

Well, way back when my Dad was a teacher (at my high school, before I attended), he and his teaching buddies all purchased small parcels of land in southwest Montana. All in a row. (They called it the La Jolla of MT: funny.) Kind of a random pick, but not a bad idea, turns out. It's gorgeous, wildflowery country. When I was very little, we tent-camped for a good chunk of the Summer. Picture 70s gold tones: grassy fields, semi-naked children, pine cone crafts. The entertainment of a roaring campfire.

My parents casually planned to build a cabin or something more permanent... someday. Well, it was very casual planning because it never happened. Together with my brothers, we now own this little spot of pretty and absolute quiet... and I am an Unrepentant Daydreamer.

So, these days, with my own semi-naked child running around, I'm itching for some sort of cabin or fancy tent thingy, so we can relocate to MT for a good month or so each Summer and I can play Ma Ingalls. Of course, this type of daydreaming requires stockpiling inspiration (thank you, Pinterest!) and slowly making plans of our own.

Here are a couple of my favorite cabin fever-y dreams. Wouldn't you just love to spend a chunk of the Summer here? (You know, when you're not touring France and Italy!)

Classic Rustic Hideaway
With ancient wood-burning cookstove and general kitchen branchy-ness, of course.

I could sip lemonade on that porch for days.

Or, maybe a chic French-style "cabin"?
This cute minimalist retreat is actually right outside Paris.
Which translates perfectly to MT, right?? A girl can dream.

Then again, there's always fancy camping.
I'll never stop loving a classic Airstream or a posh tent.

- header: me
rustic cabinstovekitchen; flower: me

I'm packing my bags....

June 29, 2011

Good Morning!! Michelle here from Pretty Mommy filling in today...first off, I'm super excited to be writing on one of my favorite blogs and so, so inspired by Jora to take the plunge next summer and bring my two kiddos on some grand European adventure...but until then I'm doing a bit of fantasizing about taking a solo trip to some tiny Greek Island where I would spend my mornings walking the cobblestones, exploring crumbling, ancient byzantine castles, and my afternoons in an infinity pool gazing out at the sea with a good book in one hand and a cocktail in the cars, just a trusty bike with a basket for transport, knee high daisies lining the pathways, dinner at the water's edge where I'd stuff myself silly with feta and fresh fish and then jet back home tanned and refreshed to my husband and two girls (who were perfect angels while I was away, right?)
In My Bag:  Sunhat - Chance, Overnighter Bag - Clare Vivier, Arrowhead Amulet Earrings - Dream Collective, Navy Triangle Bikini (hey! this is a fantasy snickering) - Petit Bateau, Raglan Touring Dress - Loup Charmant, Sandals - K Jacques for Opening Ceremony, Vic Sunglasses - tenoversix, Greece on My Wheels - Edward Enfield...oops, and I almost forgot my favorite new sarong as well that can double as a shawl on chilly nights!
xoxo, M

my favorite summer travel.

June 27, 2011

Hello!  Molly here from My Favorite Things.  Jora asked me to post while she is away on a summer holiday with her family and I'd be silly to say no, so here I am.  I thought it fitting to share with you my favorite travel of all time.
 (bondi beach)

My husband's little brother was getting married over in Sydney, Australia - so we courageously thought it a good idea to take a family vacation.  I say courageously because we had a two and a half year old and a ten month old at the time.  The flight was hellishly long (18 hours) but I have such fond memories.  I can vividly recall how comical we looked walking into customs after we landed.  Our two year old pulled his own carry-on, my husband was loaded down with the car seat and multiple bags, I was wearing baby Ben up front, a back-pack, a purse, diaper bag and pulling a suitcase.  See, comical.

And although the trip took lots of planning and in the end lots of flexibility, I love that we were adventurous enough to have jumped at it.  We grew, we stretched and created memories I will always treasure.

What exciting adventures do you have planned?


summer is here for the taking!

June 23, 2011

Helloo it's Elizabeth from the littlest. Jora asked me to post while she is off on a fantastic summer adventure with her family. i am doing quite a bit of traveling myself over the next couple of months and cannot tear myself away from brian ferry's travel photos so i thought i'd share those and my top 10 list of simple but highly enjoyable things to do for summer.

1. sit on a colorful blanket and count clouds
2. eat castelvetrano olives and some deliciously cold vinho verde (both are the perfect color green)
3. put on the sprinklers (for just a little while) and run through them with your child(ren)
4. ride bikes
5. make lots of summer salads packed with fresh veggies
6. bbq, bbq and more bbq
7. plant a big beach umbrella in the sand and take a nap (ok, this might be hard with a toddler)
8. might i suggest a hammock or a canoe ride or a picnic?
9. walk through an outdoor market and sample some amazing cherries or peaches
10. slow the mind down and enjoy life

even though summers are not the same as they were when we were little, they are still a beautiful time to r-e-l-a-x.

p.s. you don't have to be in italy to be find the beauty in where you are! enjoy your summer!

images: brian ferry

A veggie burger recipe

June 22, 2011

Hello there! I'm Kristina from Lovely Morning, popping over to share a recipe that Jora actually shared with me a few months ago. Keeping with the summer food theme that Alice began on Monday (who knew we'd be so coordinated!), I have one very delicious veggie burger to share with you.

I've updated Jora's go-to veggie burger recipe a bit, because 1) I can't ever seem to keep my sticky fingers off the specifics of a recipe and 2) I'm always looking to cram more veggies and protein into food that my 16 month-old son will eat... I'm sure you mamas can relate?

I spent much of last summer trying to perfect a recipe of my own, before ultimately burning out and giving up on it entirely. But I'm happy to report that this one is staying in the family and will be a staple this summer in our backyard. It's decidedly old-school vegetarian... with no tofu or soy or frilly things. Just simple ingredients and lots of cheese, which it turns out might be the magic I was missing last summer. I added carrots because I like them and summer squash because I add summer squash to everything this time of year, due to the perpetual bumper crop that comes with growing your own zucchini. And I encourage you to toss in any and all herbs you might have in the garden or your fridge. I used parsley, thyme, oregano, even a bit of lovage.

I think if you follow the basic framework (and don't skimp on the glue - the cheeses and eggs), you could add all sorts of things to this with fantastic results. Chopped kale, beans, whatever!

The perfect old-school veggie burger
(Adapted from the Columbia Bar and Grill in Hollywood, way back when. According to Jora.)

1 1/2 cups chopped mushrooms
1 large clove smashed garlic
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 carrot, diced smallish
1 small summer squash, diced smallish
1/2 cup regular rolled oats
3/4 - 1 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 cup each shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheeses, or all of 1 kind
3 tablespoons chopped walnuts
3 tablespoons low-fat cottage or ricotta cheese
2 large eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
various chopped herbs from the garden
Salt and pepper
Toasted buns or bread
+ whatever you like to dress your burgers in

In a 10- to 12-inch nonstick frying pan over medium heat, cook mushrooms, garlic, green onions, carrots and squash in butter (plus a bit of sea salt and pepper), stirring often, until vegetables are limp, about 6-10 minutes. Add oats and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from heat; let cool slightly, then stir in cooked quinoa, mozzarella, cheddar, walnuts, cottage cheese, eggs, and herbs. Add salt and pepper to taste.

On an oiled 12- by 15-inch baking sheet, shape into 8 patties, each 1/2 inch thick. You might need to cook them in two batches. Broil 3 inches from heat until deep golden, turning once. The original recipe says 6 to 7 minutes total, but I think mine took almost 15 minutes last night. So watch them closely and flip them when you see fit. But definitely don't over cook them. Made that mistake the first time.

We ate ours last night with mayo, mustard, ketchup, avo, tomato, lettuce, pickles, red onions and radishes. I would have added sprouts if we'd had them. Cheese seemed like overkill due to the amount in the actual burger, but we've definitely doubled up before.


Looking Forward to Summer Food.

June 20, 2011

Grilled corn, ready for mayo and cotija cheese!
Hello!  This is Alice, filling in for Jora again while she and her family are lounging on their favorite beach in the South of France!  When Jora asked me to post something here, she suggested the theme of summer, so I thought I'd talk about some of the summer recipes I'm looking forward to making in the next few months.  We don't really get our hot weather here until late July and August - around here, those are the days of popsicles, ice cream, tomato salads and grilled corn.
summer foodsWhen I think about summer food, the first thing that comes to mind is a tomato and burrata salad - thick sliced heirloom tomatoes, sprinkled with sea salt, drizzled with olive oil and a tiny bit of good balsamic and topped with torn basil leaves and chunks of fresh burrata or mozzarella.  There's almost nothing I'd rather eat when it's hot.  Except maybe ice cream, but I guess that's not really fair.
summer foods
We also eat a lot of chilled cucumber soup when it's really hot - which Jora introduced me to a couple of years ago.
super local bbq 017
The summer stone fruits haven't shown up in the markets yet, but when they do, I will definitely be making this  Peach and Creme Fraiche pie again.  If you're going to turn on the oven, you certainly want it to be worth while, and this recipe is easy and delicious.  Lemon Meringue pie is another favorite - the Joy of Cooking recipe is perfection.
Peach and Creme Fraiche Pie
I might also try my hand at lobster rolls this year for a little taste of the East Coast. They were everywhere in NYC last fall, but they're kind of hard to find here.

Some other tried and true favorites I'll be making -  Ian's Fresh Tomato Pasta, Farmgirl Susan's Tomato Pie, Zuni's Roast Chicken with Bread Salad (just go outside while the oven is on!), Chocolate Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream, Summer Pudding and Fried Squash Blossoms.

For more inspiration - check out Mark Bittman's list of 101 Simple Summer Salads, or Deb from Smitten Kitchen's Summer archives.   I predict you'll be craving fried chicken and blueberry pie in no time!

Until Next Time....

June 17, 2011

{oh how I wish this is what my suitcase looked like}
Greetings from the land of packing and packing and packing and packing!  We leave in just a few hours, but I wanted to be sure and stop by and say au revoir!  and arrivederci!  I'm not sure if I will check in while I am on our trip (we usually try to go off-line as much as possible) but I may sneak a post or a tweet or an instagram in....  In the meantime, I have a few old friends and a few new ones who are going to be posting while I am sunning myself in St. Tropez chasing my kids down with a bottle of sunscreen and dining with my hubby in a seaside cafe bribing my kids to please eat something with their third gelato of the day.  You know, all the stuff I do here, just over there.  Mwah!

photo credit

Granola My Way.

June 9, 2011

{i love this photo just because of the yogurt hanging out on c-man's face}
I realize that title may qualify as Most Boring Ever, but I am tired.  Little E has been waking every night at around 4 (or 3:30 if we're talking about last night!) asking for "nuh-nuh!" and "mama hold! mama hold!"  Which I do not do until the *civilized* hour of 5 a.m., doesn't she know that??  Then, I don't go back to sleep, the other kids are up and ready to party at 5:45 or 6, and there you have it.  TIRED.

Anyway, back to the recipe.  Because you need this recipe.  Although I do buy granola from time to time out of sheer laziness and a tendency to be seduced by almost any Trader Joe's product, I always regret it.  Way too sweet and not tasty enough to warrant the calories.  And yet, we need granola in this house.  My kids, if asked what they want to eat (which I don't very often), will 99 times out of 100 respond, "YOGURT AND GRANOLA!!"  (Or "yo-durt and bee-nola" if you ask JuJu....)  I don't give it to them for every meal (although I am tempted, believe you me), but they usually end up eating it for one meal plus one snack per day....I am guessing anyway.  So, I had to come up with a recipe that didn't make me cringe at the sweetness factor and it, of course, had to be tasty because that is what we are about in this house.

{nice and clumpy, see?}
Enter five plus years of trying recipes that leave me....unimpressed?  unexcited?  I like a nice clumpy granola (which usually means a lot of sweetener), I like a lot of nuts and seeds, and not much, if any, fruit.  A friend of mine lent me her Whole Grain Baking book (which I love and am very sad to have to return!) and the recipe for the Maple Granola (with my modifications) is my standard now.  I've made it a bunch of time and the kids are plowing through it at an alarming rate.

Granola My Way
(adapted from Whole Grain Baking)

7 c. old-fashioned oats
1-2 c. unsweetened flaked coconut
3/4 c. flax meal
3/4 c. almond meal (this is my secret ingredient and very important, methinks)
1-2 c. sliced almonds
1 c. walnuts, chopped coarsely
1 c. sunflower seeds
1/4 c. sesame seeds
1/2 t. sea salt
1/2 c. maple syrup
1/2 c. brown rice syrup
3/4 c. vegetable oil (I use safflower oil)
1 T. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  Combine oats, coconut, flax, nuts, seeds and salt in a very large bowl.  Mix well.  In a separate bowl, whisk syrups, oil and vanilla.  Pour syrup mixture over dry mixture, stirring and tossing with your hands until everything is well combined.

Spread granola over two parchment-lined baking sheets with rims.

Bake 2 hours, stirring after an hour or so.  Let cool completely and store in airtight container at room temperature.  Makes a ton.

You can add dried fruit after the granola has been baked and cooled.  I leave it out because I think it is sweet enough and my kids eat tons of fruit anyway.

Also, I know there are a lot of other recipes out there with less sweetener, but again, I like the clumps, which requires a certain amount, and the natural sweeteners in this recipe are hopefully better than regular sugar (that's what I tell myself anyway).

21 Memos From Your Child.

June 4, 2011

I recently came across this and had to share.  There is so much good stuff here, I feel the need to read it in bits and pieces.....

21 Memos From Your Child

1. Don’t spoil me. I know quite well that I ought not have all I ask for. I am only testing you. 
2. Don’t be afraid to be firm with me. I prefer it, it makes me feel secure. 
3. Don’t let me form bad habits. I have to rely on you to detect them in the early stages. 
4. Don’t make me feel smaller than I am. It only makes me behave stupidly “big”. 
5. Don’t correct me in front of people if you can help it. I’ll take much more notice if you talk quietly with me in private. 
6. Don’t make me feel all of my mistakes are sins. It upsets my sense of values. 
7. Don’t protect me from consequences. I need to learn the painful way, sometimes. 
8. Don’t be upset when I say “I hate you”. It isn’t you I hate, but your power to thwart me. 
9. Don’t take too much notice of my small ailments. Sometimes they get me the attention I need. 
10. Don’t nag. If you do, I shall have to protect myself by appearing deaf. 
11. Don’t forget that I can’t explain myself as well as I should like. This is why I’m not always very accurate.
12. Don’t make rash promises. Remember that I feel badly let down when promises are broken. 
13. Don’t tax my honesty too much. I am easily frightened into telling lies. 
14. Don’t be inconsistent. That completely confuses me and makes me lose faith in you. 
15. Don’t tell me my fears are silly. They are terribly real to me and you can do much to reassure me if you try to understand. 
16. Don’t put me off when I ask questions. If you do, you will find that I stop asking and seek my information elsewhere. 
17. Don’t ever suggest that you are perfect or infallible. It gives me too great a shock when I discover that you are neither. 
18. Don’t ever think it is beneath your dignity to apologize to me. An honest apology makes me feel surprisingly warm toward you. 
19. Don’t forget how quickly I am growing up. It must be very difficult to keep pace with me, but please try. 
20. Don’t forget I love experimenting. I couldn’t do without it, so please be patient with it.
21. Don’t forget that I can’t thrive without lots of understanding and unconditional love, but I don’t need to tell you that, do I? 

original author unknown

Kinda Cute. Kinda Sad.

June 3, 2011

{c-man's "screen time"}
One of the somewhat controversial aspects of Waldorf education is the strict no-screen time for young children.  We adhere to it most of the time (save for the occasional save-our-sanity weekend movie), and our children have pretty much never been on a computer (or asked to be, for that matter).  That's why B and I were especially amused when C-Man created these cardboard laptops the other day during quiet time.  They are modeled after B's laptop and his screen saver (which happens to be the middle photo here).
{screen saver}
{detail of keyboard...dude, how much time did it take to make all those keys?!}
{set-up on mama's desk}
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