Jul 1, 2011

The girl becomes a woman~

"The doll is one of the most imperious necessities, and at the same time one of the most charming instincts of female childhood.

To care for, to clothe, to adorn, to dress, to undress, to dress over again, to teach, to scold a little, to rock, to cuddle, to put to sleep, to imagine that something is somebody--all the future of woman is there.

via: http://www.kellehampton.com/2011/04/firsts.html

Even while musing and prattling, while making little wardrobes and little baby-clothes, while sewing little dresses, little bodices, and little jackets, the child becomes a little girl, the little girl becomes a big girl, the big girl becomes a woman.
The first baby takes the place of the last doll.
A little girl without a doll is almost as unfortunate and quite as impossible as a woman without children."
-Victor Hugo, Les Miserables

Jun 28, 2011

Blueberry Pie

A generous family from our debate club hosted a party on their property this past week. Their business is growing berries, and some friends and I were lucky enough to pick and take home a load of beautiful, crisp blueberries.
I made a blueberry pie today, and since I have not posted in oh so long (having an invalid for a camera is not very inspiring) I decided to post the recipe even before I tried a piece!
The crust is whole wheat. The recipes used are found below.


Whole Wheat Pie Crust
Adapted from Cheeky Kitchen's poptart crust recipe.

1 1/2 C whole wheat
2 t sugar
1/2 t salt
½ c. cold, cold butter, sliced
4-5 Tbsp. cold milk

In food processor (or large bowl), stir together flours, sugar, and salt. If using a processor, add butter and pulse to form a course meal; or, cut in slices of butter using a pastry cutter (or fork, if you have to).. It’s important that you don’t touch the crust with your bare hands, no matter how tempting that mixing option might be. You want the butter to stay as cold as possible and your hands will warm it up and make the crust less flaky. Pour the milk over the mixture, one tablespoon at a time, just until moistened enough to hold the dough together. Use a fork to stir the dough after you’ve added each Tablespoon of milk. Quickly form the crust into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use (at least a 1/2 hour or up to a few days).

Note: This recipe makes enough dough for the bottom crust of a 9 in. round pie pan. I made a separate additional batch about 2/3 of this size for my lattice crust.


Blueberry Pie Filling

2 pints blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tb Lemon Juice
3 Tb Cornstarch

Combine and let ingredients meld.


Assembling Pie

Take chilled dough for bottom crust from the fridge and lay on a spacious work surface covered with a large piece of wax paper or plastic wrap. Roll out dough to approximately 1/4 in. thick. The dough should be roughly circular with a 10-12 in. diameter. Remember, it must cover the bottom of the pan and reach up all sides.
When dough is rolled, invert your 9 in. pie pan in the center of your dough. At this point, you may want someone to help flip the crust. One person grab the edges of the wax paper/plastic wrap and begin to lift it up. Another set of hands sandwich the pie pan and crust and quickly flip the pan and set it on the work space. Once flipped, peel off the wax paper/plastic wrap and gently press the dough into the bottom and sides of pan.

NOTE: This can be done with one set of hands. I have done it. The best way to do so is to be sure you have enough margin on your wax paper/plastic wrap to fold it over your inverted pan. This way, you can both lift the pan and slip a hand underneath.

Pour blueberry filling into the crust.

If doing a lattice crust, roll out second ball of dough as the first. Slice into 1/2 in.-1 in. strips. Lay every other strip across pie, and weave the remaining strips through them the opposite direction. (For video instructions, see here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Jv8BGw31Cg)

Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees, then lower the heat to 350 for 35 minutes, or until nicely browned.


May 10, 2011

Marinated Artichoke Hearts

I have been quite the absentee of late, but I know the only way I will get back into posting is to
Therefore, I am sharing with you what little I can at the moment. Yesterday a familyt friend brought over a bag full of steamed artichokes which he had scored at his local farmers market. The seller offered him nearly her whole stock free for his chickens since they were beginning to look too old to sell. Always adventerous and resourceful, our friend decided instead to use the abundance of hearts for a new adventure:
Marinated Artichoke Hearts.
He was generous enough to share his bounty with us, and the following is the beautiful result of our efforts.

(iphone photo)

Mar 10, 2011

Patterns in the Mundane

Creativity is a lifestyle. Like many exercises, it tends to get lost in the mundane. Nevertheless, there are times when pleasing patterns manifest themselves in the most unexpected places, and those are moments of true inspiration.

Feb 14, 2011

Happy Valentines Day!

By far my favorite thing about Valentines Day is the photos people take.
This adorable photo of little Breckyn found here:


Feb 12, 2011

When I grow up, I want to be a ballerina.

When I see pictures like this, I long for the chance to be a ballerina. I know it's a hard life, but it is disciplined and beautiful. I miss dancing.

So Beautiful.

Feb 11, 2011

Micro Valentines

Some good family friends hosted a little valentine-card-making-get-together at their house. I never get around to making valentines unless it is so conveniently arranged. I have decided to call these micro valentines.

For the square ones, I used a scrapbooking punch that was about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.

The lollipops didn't fit on a square, so I gave them their own shape.

Making itty bitty valentines is so fast and they seem to evolve on their own! These felt like they just made themselves.

My little sisters made their own valentines as well, and Bethany gave this one to me.
Sparkle is Love.
Family is Love.

1 John 4:8
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

Happy Valentines Week!

Feb 7, 2011

A Touch of Spring

As winter starts to lift its face and wave its flag,
And put a touch of spring into each brightened step--
As fairies spread a soft green blanket over all
Earth displays the warmth that she, till now, has kept.

The melodies suppressed by winter’s gloomy face
Are beckoned out to sing and dance with sunny rays,
And as the birds are singing to the waking world,
The children dance along with each rejoicing day.

How do colors intertwine and blossom here?
What art replaces winter as it melts away?
What magic brings such miracles that now appear?
Is Earth the canvas of the Artist painting over grey?

The Great Magician orchestrates each tiny change.
His breath, the breeze that dances with your hair
His ornaments, the stars that decorate the skies
His hands unwrap each bud to bring us flowers fair.

I feel the change in nature’s countenance
A permeating joy has seeped through one and all
I cannot help but feel it as I venture out
And join in praise with nature to it’s one and all.

I wrote and posted this poem in Spring of 2008. This is a repost with new pictures. CA has been beautiful and balmy this week, so I deemed it an appropriate ode to the imminent change of seasons.

Jan 29, 2011

Chocolate Fountain Cake

This was my birthday cake this year. It was in some ways an accident; but haven't you heard of accidents that turn out simply fabulous? This was one of them.

It began with the recipe for chocolate cake linked below. It is a large recipe. This fact dawned on me slowly as I mixed everything together. (TIP: Always read a recipe carefully, all the way through, so as not to suffer such dawning revelations.) I had assumed this recipe would make two 9-inch cake rounds, but as I poured that beautiful chocolate concoction into my two 9-inch cake pans, there was an obvious excess of batter.

One Bowl Chocolate Cake
(Martha Stewart, found

1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for pans

3 cups all-purpose flour

3 cups sugar

1 tablespoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

3 large eggs

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

When I accepted the fact that my batter would not fit in two nine inch cake pans, I rummaged around in the cabinet to find a third. The only pan I found was an 8-inch pan, which I used despite the discrepancy in size. My sisters and I decided that it would not be the end of the world; we would simply put the small round on top.

Thus, my revised instructions:

Butter two 9-inch round cake pans, AND one 8-inch (2 inches deep); dust with cocoa.
Sift cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of a mixer. Combine well. Mixing on a medium speed, add eggs, buttermilk, water, oil, and vanilla. Beat until smooth, about 3 minutes.

Divide batter between pans. Bake until set and a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes. Turn out from pans. Transfer, face-up, to wire racks. Let cool completely

The second accident was my "frosting." I scanned a few chocolate frosting recipes, and told myself I'd just improvise--how wrong can you go with chocolate frosting?

Telling myself I was just making minor changes on this recipe, I combined the following ingredients in a small saucepan:
Aprox. 1 bag of semisweet chocolate chips
Aprox. 4 1/2 Hersheys chocolate bars
Aprox. 2 cups whole milk
Aprox. 1 cup half & half

Ok. When you have that many approximations, chances are you have no idea what you are doing. That was the case with me, deny it though I may.
As I stirred this chocolaty brew, it became clear that it would never have the privilege of being called frosting; it would remain a humble chocolate syrup.
However, there was nothing to be done, except hold my course and be content with the consequences. And so I did.

My mother assembled the cake while I was busy with something else, and when I saw the cake myself it was nothing like I would have expected. But could this cake have been a more beautiful accident?

Assemble layers, pouring chocolate over each layer before stacking, and being sure to place the small round on top. Cover with the remaining chocolate syrup.

It will forever be remembered as the Chocolate Fountain Cake, with a pool of chocolate reflecting each candle flame, and rivers of syrup running down the tiered layers of moist cake.


Doesn't this photo enchant you, and make you feel as if you were Thumbelina or little Tom Thumb?

I cannot wait to share with you the wonderful presents given to me on my birthday by such creative friends; that will come soon. But I am in the midst of trying to figure out an external hard drive, because right now I hardly have room on my computer to load the photos!
Stay tuned!

Jan 24, 2011

Craving Sweet

I keep stumbling across sweet, melty, gooey, chocolaty, crumbly foods, and I can't help but crave something of my own, warm and melty, straight out of my own oven, crumbling in my own mouth.
Here are just a few objects of my cravings.

Peanut Butter Cup Cake
(Photo and Recipe found HERE

Honestly, all of these things were in my bookmark folder labeled "food." I started to notice a theme, and began to query myself: "Come dear, is all this really and truly food?"

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Swirl Brownies
(Photo and Recipe found HERE

Well perhaps it's not. But there is an obvious trend in my attraction toward desserts. It is not normal for me, really. It is an odd preoccupation.

Warm Toasted Marshmallow S'more Bars
(Photo and Recipe found HERE

Perhaps the reason is that my birthday is tomorrow. If I could have all this on my table, and eat a bit of this and a bit of that and a bit of everything else, AND not go to bed with a headache and, well, everything else that comes with an excess of sugar...

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes
(Photo and Recipe found HERE

I would.

Jan 23, 2011


The exhilaration of critical thinking;
The thrill of having the attention of a room of listeners;

The satisfaction that accompanies protocol, a smile and a handshake;

The intensity of persuasion, the energy in refutation, and the sense of closure when a debate finishes;

The anticipation of competition; who will advance? Who will win the prize?

And the etched memories of tournament weekends:
All this and more has been my experience with high school debate. I wouldn't trade it for the world.

All these photos were taken with a Pentax film camera in March of 2010.

Jan 22, 2011

January Ocean

If ever a day had perfect beach weather, yesterday did. January may not remind you of the beach, but we went anyway; my mom initiated a spontaneous trip to Santa Cruz with some good friends, and we couldn't help but marvel at the loveliness of it all.

(Little brother Nathan, and friend Chase)

It was a decidedly beachy day, not excluding hole digging, and castle building, wave jumping, and cliff climbing.

(Juliana and my sisters, Bethany & Mackenzie)

The day also included the essential thrown together sandy beach lunch. You know how it goes; it's time to leave and you remember you have to bring a lunch! So you riffle through the fridge, scan the cabinets, rummage through the pantry, and toss it in a basket.

I was, however, particularly pleased with our thrown together sandy beach lunch. Our sandwiches consisted of the following:
Homemade Bread (baked by myself)
Garlic Mustard Aioli
Cheddar Cheese
Persian Cucumbers
Purple Saurkraut (made by my mom)

Oh yes, blueberries too.

Umm, yum.

After a satisfactory lunch, my friend Chantel and I went and climbed a rock. It is gratifying to finally find oneself off the ground after at least a dozen failed attempts, you know?

The children, on their own explorations, were playing king of the rock mountain, when they found that evidently the rock mountain was already bedecked with purple robed natives.

As the sun began to set, Channy and I took advantage of the evening glow.

The sun left us with a faint green flash, but you can be sure of this--the glow hasn't left us yet.

Jan 19, 2011

Christmas Crabs

Have you ever had a crab-fest?
This is how it happens. Your neighbor fixes your water pressure one day, and as leaves he tells you that he is going to check his crab pots! He promises that if there is a good catch, he'll bring you some fresh crab.
Sure enough, on Christmas Eve he shows up in his red monster truck and walks in with a bin full of crabs.

"Are they alive?" you ask.
They are alive. In fact, they have torn each other limb from limb during their lengthy monster truck ride.

He picks one up to demonstrate their aliveness. He tells you to BEWARE of the claws, (were you planning on touching them?), because with one claw they can crack a pencil. Yes, that also means that they could crack your finger. BEWARE of the claws.

You try not to feel sorry for their sorry faces. Crabs are food, not friends.
He gives you your instructions:
Boil them in your biggest pot for 20 minutes.
Dig in!

You waste no time. As the pot boils and the crabs cook, you spread the cloth and pull out the hammers. Then, limb by limb, you scoop out the delicate meat and eat it, just as it is. With fresh crabs like these, you don't even need butter.
That, my friends, is a crab fest.
And let me tell you: though it may sound shocking...