On Sunday, we spent the day north of Seattle frolicking in the muddy fields, soaking up the sunshine, and marveling at the gorgeous tulips, hyacinths, and daffodils that dotted the fields. I love the farmlands up north- such a bucolic sight of barns, tractors, neatly orchestrated rows of flowers, and horses dotting the land in every direction until your eyes stop at the mountains along the horizon, framing it all in.
We played hide and go seek among the trees and walked gingerly through the muddy fields trying not to get too dirty. It was one of those breathtakingly beautiful spring days. I’m glad we spent it outdoors and in the country air.
On the way home, we stopped at one of our favorite places, Snow Goose Produce, for some delicious ice cream and to covet the African handmade baskets that I need to find a use for to justify a purchase. Speaking of snow geese- we saw hundreds floating and flying together inches above the still barren crop fields. From a distance, they looked like a group of paper airplanes floating in the breeze. I wish I would have snapped a photo from the car window.
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Sunday night we took Jack to his first broadway musical- The Lion King! It was a huge hit, aside from the sleepiness that hit him about halfway through the second act. But, he managed to stay awake and sat mesmerized, as David and I did, by all of the beautifully costumed animals. I wish I could have managed to sneak a few photos of the production, which was really quite lovely. I borrowed a few from various sources (named below) just to offer you a peak at what a treat it was to see!
Jack alternated between our two laps and (quietly) asked a lot of questions, as we predicted would happen. My favorite two characters (I think, it’s actually quite hard to pick!) were Rafiki and Zazu. I think that Jack liked them all a lot too and when we let him pick a small stuffed animal to bring home, he had a little trouble deciding, but ultimately went with Zazu who is quite cute.
Thank you to Mia and Popi for the tickets (it was a Christmas present for Jack)! We had a fun family date night!
Above images of the characters from rebloggy.com, maxresdefault.com, and thelionking.co.uk
It’s 3 months shy of our 3 year anniversary of living in Seattle and these giant evergreen trees still amaze me!
Even though spring in the Pacific Northwest mostly means temperatures about 10 degrees warmer (meaning a daily high in the mid to high 50s) amid the still raining skies (in other words not much different than winter or autumn…), I still very much look forward to this season. This area of the country always seems to welcome blooms ahead of most other places and the colors, along with the later daylight, do a world of wonder for my energy. Also, Spring means Summer is coming. And, since living in Seattle, Summer is my most favorite of seasons.
Spring also brings gifts and this weekend, the first one of Spring, was a true gift. The skies were blue. The flowers were busting open. And, we spent all of Sunday outside-the four of us, including Sadie- soaking it all in, letting spring’s renewal, renew our spirits. We romped around University of Washington’s campus where the cherry blossoms were at their peak and the area was swarming with people. Jack ran around the greens and sidewalks, chasing his own shadow!, so happy to have his little legs uncovered despite the still chilly air.
Then, we went to Volunteer Park, one of my very favorite places in Seattle, to play at the playground, take a walk, and enjoy our first (delicious!) outside meal of the year from Volunteer Park Cafe which has the very best cookies in the city, hands down. Our day was finished at home on the grill. We celebrated spring with a salmon and asparagus dinner while the sun created the most perfect end of day lighting. And Jack even did some pruning on the hydrangea bush!
It was a short weekend as they seem to be, but it was a special one. I was in need of the respite and renewal that this first spring weekend provided. Now, I’m hopeful that the peace I found in the start of this new season will carry over to the busy work days I have have ahead of me until I find myself in Florida in April for two weeks!
First video in this year’s weekly photo series…
I was so happy to capture Jack’s air guitar facial expression (seriously, every time he pretends to play guitar, he keeps that scrunched up look on his face the whole time)! I also love his rhythm to the Better Than Ezra song, Still Life With Cooley, that we were listening to! It was too cute not to share!
I love a good salad. For dinner, for lunch, as a side. But as much as I love a scrumptious bed of perfectly dressed greens, I despise a dressing-drenched pile of tasteless lettuce. And, I equally despise bottled salad dressing with all of its preservatives and stabilizers- ingredients listed on the back of the bottle that I cannot even begin to utter aloud as I have no idea how to pronounce them correctly.
Typically, our salads take a side role for our weekend lunch and nightly dinners. And, as a suitable side, our salads are simple and usually consist of arugula, goat cheese, a drizzle of olive oil, and a sprinkling of Kosher salt, and, if we are feeling fancy, a splash of fresh lemon juice and a smattering of dried cranberries. I like our simple salad.
In the warmer months, which means July through October in this strange land of the Pacific Northwest where we find ourselves living, we make a large salad on the weekend that we eat throughout the week for our work lunch. Since this salad is our main dish at lunch, we add to it protein and flavorful savory bursts of summer’s produce bounty. Most weeks the salad consists of baby kale and arugula topped with oily roasted tomatoes, lentils, salty feta cheese, briny olives, roasted potatoes, and garlicky sautéed turnip and collard greens. I skip on the dressing as all of the vegetables come with their own oily, flavorful punch and it works on its own to provide a lovely earthy flavor that keeps us interested for months.
A main dish salad for dinner is quite a different undertaking. Salads can make you think wimpy or sensible and that is not how I like to think of my dinner. I might be a dietitian, but I also enjoy good food. Food that is wholesome, yet also sultry and sexy. Flavorful food that elicits an audible “mmm.”
I’m from the South where flavors are big and unhealthy is commonplace. And, while my palate has been primed with fried catfish, pulled pork, ham hock flavored collard greens, and sickeningly sweet coconut cake, I cook and create food to marry big tastes with wholesome ingredients. I love to make a good southern recipe just the slightest bit healthier by adding local foods and less saturated fat, to add fiber to a biscuit by using whole grain flour instead of bleached all-purpose white, yet to preserve the flavor so as to remind the eater that the South creates things that are both bigger AND better.
All of this to say that this salad, inspired by the blog Canelle et Vanille, is on repeat at our house. It is a sexy salad, far from chaste. It elicits an audible “mmm” from my husband and a “Mama, this apple dressing is delicious” from Jack. It is packed with many of my favorite flavors. I love the bitterness of the micro greens (the small shoots of edible plants that are harvested just as the plant peeks above the soil) and arugula, the saltiness and chew of the prosciutto, the earthiness of the lentils and beets, and the crunch and tang of the green apple. And, the dressing, well, it is probably the best dressing that I have ever had. Seriously. It’s good. You will have more dressing than you need for your family’s salad dinner, but you won’t mind the leftovers. It will beckon you to make and eat more salad or call you to dip your finger in the pitcher for just one more taste.
Salad of beets, lentils, and prosciutto with Apple Shallot Vinaigrette
5 small red beets
1 cup cooked French lentils
1 Granny Smith apple, finely diced (1/4-inch dice)
1 shallot, finely minced
2 teaspoons coarse ground mustard
2 teaspoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
4 cups bitter greens (I use a mixture of arugula and the micro greens from Trader Joe’s which contains mizuna, tatsoi, red mustard, purple kohlrabi, red cabbage, kale, broccoli, collards, celery, arugula, beet tops, amaranth)
4 this slices of prosciutto
3 heaping tablespoons of feta cheese
1. Preheat oven to 400F. Wrap the beets in aluminum foil and bake for 40-60 minutes or until you can easily insert the tip of a knife all the way through. Let them cool in the foil for a few minutes. Then peel and slice and set aside. (Or, take the easy route, and buy the pre-cooked beets from Trader Joe’s which are found in the produce section.)
2. Place the lentils in a pot and cover them cold water (3 inches over the top of the lentils). Cover the pot and heat over medium high heat. Bring the water to a boil and reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until lentils are tender but not mushy. Drain them and rinse in cold water. (Or, buy the pre-cooked French lentils from Trader Joe’s that have only salt added and can also be found in the produce section of the store. Seriously, what would I do without Trader Joe’s?! I wonder, and then I worry…)
3. Make the vinaigrette. In a medium bowler or pitcher, whisk together the apple, shallot, mustard, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.
4. Assemble the salad. Arrange the bitter greens, top with sliced beets, lentils, prosciutto, beta cheese and then drizzle with just enough vinaigrette to lightly coat all of the ingredients.
Have you guys taken this dialect quiz published in the NY Times a few weeks back? Boy, I was pretty surprised by my own personal dialect map (shown below), particularly that the cities my dialect is most common to are Lubbock, Texas (?!), Amarillo, Texas (?!), and Little Rock, Arkansas!!! I’ve never even been to Texas and only spent a few days in Little Rock, which was quite a fun time but I can’t say I identified with place….Hmmm.
I took the quiz a second time the following night (which had some different questions so its worth a retake) and got the following results:
Turns out my southeastern upbringing shines through despite my current Pacific Northwest locale. And, Little Rock shows up again…I’m so intrigued by this! David also is a true southerner it turns out…he identified most with Shreveport, Louisiana, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Jackson, Mississippi.
The questions are interesting…I’ve never even heard of some of the words and phrases that people in our own country use! Would love to hear what location of the country your dialect most closely fits!
“A photo of Jack once a week, every week, for one year.”
“A photo of Jack once a week, every week, for one year.”