Capturing Time.

March 22, 2013

My friend Karina wrote a really nice post about trying to slow down time, and offers some great ideas for achieving the feeling that life is not whizzing by.  I am always searching for ways to capture the special moments that happen everyday.  I have a terrible memory for details, but it gets better when I actually pay attention and really experience those moments.

Here are some techniques that I use (but should be using more).  The first two come from a trusted friend.

1.  Stop and pay attention to all of your senses.  Ask yourself: "What do I hear? smell? see? feel? taste?" It is amazing how that always grounds me and puts me in the present.

2.  Close your eyes and "breathe" through the tips of your fingers.  Draw your breath up your wrists, arms, shoulders, body, down your legs and out your toes.  (This is great for awakening your senses which helps with the previous exercise.)

3.  Just say no to over-scheduling.  I have never been one of those people who loves to pack my day with a million things.  I have no problem saying no if I don't really want to do something (non-essential), or if doing it will crowd my day too much.  This really works for me.  I need downtime and I need slow.  Life in a family of five is fast and busy enough.

4.  Go offline.  Nothing makes me feel less in the moment then killing an hour on the Internet.  Oh, I still do it, but that's when I feel that "time is slipping by" anxiety the most.  I am not good at turning off my phone and shutting the top of my laptop, but it always works when I do find the discipline to do it.

5.  Make a cup of tea.  It's mental, but this always relaxes and comforts me and helps me pay attention to what is going on.

What about you?  What do you do to stay in-the-moment?

photo credit unknown

Family Photos.

March 17, 2013

I'm not sure why, but I have never posted the photos that Kim took of our family last fall.  She came out on a beautiful October weekend (unseasonably warm as I recall) and we took advantage by being outdoors much of the time.  We ventured to the Salk Institute and Glider Port for a few shots late one afternoon.  The only regret I have was that B was not able to join us so he wasn't part of those photos.  Ah least we got a bunch of the kiddos in such a spectacular setting.

 I'll share some of the photos of the whole family that we took at the house sometime soon!

Homemade Pantry Party.

March 8, 2013

For at least a year or so, I had been wanting to have a casual party with some girlfriends to exchange homemade goodies.  The idea is we all have something we are more comfortable making....some bake, some are into canning, some are experts with gluten-free goodies, some ferment, some have loads of homegrown produce that need to be turned into something delicious.  The idea was to bring something you enjoy making.

So, finally, after a lot of thinking about it (and then reading this article in the NYT.....hey if all the Brooklyn hipsters are doing it, we should too!), Lyann and I hosted a little get-together in January.  There were 12 of us who wanted to join in (there was no pressure if someone felt it was too much extra work), so we brought 11 items of whatever we made to share with the group.  We made it a "drop in" so that friends could come at anytime and leave whenever they needed.  What ended up happening was everybody stayed the whole 3 hours, drinking tea, snacking on plates of (even more) goodies that friends brought to share.  It was a really, really nice time and I think everybody was really excited to take home their "loot."

{lyann brought shortbread for everyone to sample her butterscoth and muffins to sample her lemon curd}

There was a great variety of items offered: granola, kimchee, an indian cilantro chutney, ketchup, ghee, salad dressing, marmalade, a pomegranate chia seed drink, and lots more.

{scones, clementine cake and "secret ingredient" truffles to snack on with tea}
{little e's friend ida and her mom came to the party}
After the party, Desi was smart (and nice) enough to set up a blog for all of us to post the recipes we used.  A really great resource.  Hopefully a few more friends will add their recipes (hint hint).  We are about to plan a second party in the next couple of weeks.  There is so much inspiration in spring.....I can't wait to figure out what I'm going to make this time.

{one friend's basket of goodies to take home}
Have you ever done something like this?  How did it turn out?  We are still trying to figure out the best, most fun and easy way to do this every couple of months, so I'd love to hear your thoughts or suggestions!

Pasta With Brussels Sprouts, Chile and Pancetta.

March 5, 2013

{some beautiful eggs I collected the other of these poached over the below pasta dish would be perfect}
Confession: I have been terrible about taking photos of things I've been cooking lately, which is the one of the main reasons I have not been posting about food.  I'm going to try to be better going forward, but I can't keep this (un-photographed) recipe to myself any longer.  

Although in general, B is a very grateful and open-minded eater of whatever I put in front of him, he is hugely critical of most pasta dishes.  I call him My Pasta Snob in the most endearing way possible.  I have to admit, his criticisms are usually well-founded, even if I am the one who made the dish: overcooked (al dente is a religion to him), too much sauce, not seasoned enough, etc. etc.   But this dish.  This dish he declared one of his favorite ever.  He even said it tasted just like something he'd had in Italy.  Better file this one away.

Pasta With Brussels Sprouts, Chile and Pancetta

(from the New York Times)

  • Sea salt
  • 8 ounces penne (I used orecchiette because I love it and think it was perfect for this dish)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
  • 3 ounces pancetta, diced (could substitute bacon in a pinch)
  • 1 large rosemary sprig
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 1 jalapeño or Serrano chile, thinly sliced (or substitute 1 large pinch crushed red pepper flakes)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces brussels sprouts, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • Fresh lemon juice, for serving
  • Freshly grated pecorino cheese (I used parmigiano-reggiano)


Bring large pot heavily salted water to a boil. Add the penne and cook until pasta is just al dente (do not overcook...repeat, DO NOT OVERCOOK, or B will refuse to eat your lovingly-prepared meal).
Meanwhile, heat large sauté pan over high heat and add the olive oil. When oil is hot, add the pancetta and rosemary, and sauté until the fat on the pancetta starts to turn translucent and very lightly brown, about 1 minute. Add the garlic, chile and freshly ground black pepper to taste, and sauté until garlic and pancetta turn richly brown, about 3 minutes. Add the brussels sprouts, a large pinch of salt and a splash of water to pan, and sauté until sprouts just start to soften, about 2 minutes. Spread sprouts mixture in pan and press down to flatten. Let it sear for a minute, then stir it up and repeat. This helps brown the sprouts. Add the butter, and sauté for another minute.
Drain penne and add it to pan with brussels sprouts mixture. Cook, tossing, until everything is well mixed. Spoon into pasta bowls and top with a drizzle of oil and lemon juice, and plenty of cheese.

Puerto Vallarta.

March 2, 2013

Last week, the kids were on break from school.  We decided to take advantage and head to Puerto Vallarta.  We have a friend who has a fantastic place there, just south of the town.  We had been there a couple of times before, but for some reason, this trip was our favorite by far.

{she was so content down there}
{someone was building rock formations down at the reminds me of something my dad would do}
 The whole family was relaxed, in the moment, and having fun.  This is hard to do when you have 5 pretty strong personalities living under the same roof.  At least for our little group it can be.  But, as soon as we stepped into the house and got a glimpse of the view and heard the crashing of the waves, we were "in the zone."

{the view when we walked in}
If you have never been, Puerto Vallarta has a nice town, with cobblestone streets and lots and lots of really great restaurants.  From fine dining all the way to taco stands, the food is a real standout.  It goes without saying that the people are just lovely, but I have found that to be true for every place I have been in Mexico.

{margaritas just taste better in mexico}
{they fit right in}
{the kids were thrilled to drink sodas every time we went for tacos...also, juju ate four tacos in one sitting}
{tacos al pastor + grilled pineapple from pepe's tacos}
{b read to the kids a ton...note juju's hand stroking the side of his face as she always does when he reads to her}
{father-son sunset walk}
{plenty of naps were had by all....the roar of the waves put us right to sleep}
{cookies and cream for her, watermelon paleta for me}
{another rock formation}
{feeling "in the zone"}
{lots of digging for sand crabs and building sand castles...the usual}
{flying kites...juju was into it big time}
{serious shot}
{silly shot}
{and the ever-elusive attempt at a family shot}
{waiting to go to dinner}
{checking on puppy and her new leather purse}
{watching a movie being projected onto a wall across the street from the restaurant we ate at one night}
{i brought back some fun otomi pieces}

{my baby}
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