Monday, August 25, 2014

Alternately titled "Costco Does it Again."

I know we're "supposed" to be looking for wild-caught salmon when possible (not farmed), so when I saw this package of wild-caught canned salmon at Costco (Bear & Wolf brand), I had to try it. If you're scared of canned meats in general, I totally get where you're coming from, but I ain't. I grew up eating canned tuna salad for lunch every Saturday (a tradition I've carried on into our household too) canned tuna has just been part of life.

I also love "salads" made with tuna and chicken so I thought salmon would be an interesting one to add to the rotation (while getting more omega-3s, always a good thing).

And, I don't know about you, but is there anything better in the world to eat than a perfectly ripe peach? I'm not sure I can think of anything. This summer, I've been buying the (non-recalled) boxes of peaches at Costco whenever we go, trying to take full advantage of peach season. The other day we went to pick up a few things (really, just a few that time), and I was driving home a little before dinnertime trying to scheme something up to eat. Usually when we go to Costco, it's late afternoon so I'll pick up a $5 rotisserie chicken to have for dinner so we don't have to worry about cooking anything when we get home. The other day though, they had nary a rotisserie chicken for sale (no samples either that day! horror), so back to my scheming. I was mentally scanning what we had in our pantry and thought, "peaches...canned salmon...combo?" Quickly googled the two and found that there are lots of fresh salad recipes for salmon salad with peach dressing, etc. but didn't see a "salmon salad" in the "chicken salad" sense upon first look, so voila. This probably isn't original (nothing is), but let me think it is.

It's surprisingly good (my kids both devoured theirs, if that says anything), and came together super-quick (another favorite criterion). I've now had it twice and thought I'd share for those looking for an easy something to put together (for lunch or dinner, for one person or 4...whatever!).

In my everlasting interest in avoiding measuring devices, all of this was eyeballed.

Peach Salmon Salad

1 can wild-caught salmon, drained
2-ish scoops of plain Greek yogurt (I used Kirkland, holla)
1/4 peach, cut up in thin chunks
slivered almonds if you want
3-4 shakes of cumin (or more), to taste
2-3 shakes of coriander (seriously), to taste
salt & pepper
fresh spinach, salad, corn chips (those are the Kirkland organic corn chips), or bread for serving

Combine everything, adjusting to your preferences.

If serving over salad, douse the spinach/leaves with a smidge of balsamic vinegar & olive oil before placing the salmon salad on top. I toasted bread for the girls and made sandwiches and they gobbled them right up! Two cans of salmon/the above was plenty for the four of us.

It would be easy to tweak for Whole30--replace the Greek yogurt with paleo mayo and serve over spinach or salad. Yum!

Let's Do This

Monday, August 18, 2014

The longer I break from this space, the harder it is to come back. In the back of my mind all last week were post ideas, swirling around my brain...then, this small/ridiculous voice would whisper in my ear, "no one would care about that," or "who would want to read that?" or "is this really important enough to break your sudden/short-ish blog hiatus?" Then I would get psyched out and fold some laundry or go read Outlander. "Tomorrow," I'd think. "Tomorrow."

Here I am, Monday night, with nothing super profound or overly important to say. But I'm here. In my little space, putting fingers to the keyboards. Write, self!

The past few weeks of news have felt truly nuts, you guys. It really feels like the world is fraying around the edges. Between the Ebola epidemic, what's going in Iraq, and what's been happening in our own country (not too far from here) in Ferguson, MO... my heart is so heavy. Lord, come quickly. I get the luxury of sitting here, meditating on the heaviness of all of this, doesn't make sense.


Adjusting to residency/my new work schedule hasn't been that bad (thus far). One has offset the pain of the other, in a lot of ways. I love having an extra hour in the mornings, and two in the afternoons. In the old regime, I would have to cobble together a little business-casual on my person, get the toots dressed with all of their accoutrements in tow, and leave our house by the very late hour of 7:20 AM in order to get everyone everywhere on time. Well, no longer, my friends. We can leave a few minutes before 8:30 and all make it where we need to be on-time. It's been so great. We actually eat breakfast sitting down! Ha. The girls get to play for a bit! Heck, I even get to sit down and read them a book or two (how bad does it feel telling your kid you can't read them a book right now because you're in a rush(allthetime)? oh, it's the worst).

Our afternoons have involved lots of blow-up pool/sprinkler time in the backyard, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, the park--summer goodness. The nights when Jonathan has gotten home around bedtime, I've been able to jet out for a little run/walk C25K action (sans Jules, she's over it for now), which has felt so good. We're staring down a pretty sweltering week coming up, but otherwise this has been (broken record of America) the mildest summer and ohmygoodness I love it. It's mid-August and we're finally getting a full-on hot week. I can deal with this--the light is at the end of the tunnel.

The evenings (writing time) have been a little more difficult to manage, with Juliette going to bed later, and the chores piling up. I finish all the chores and it's time to go to sleep! This is the life of everyone, I know / #nothingnewunderthesun. Just not sure where this fits into our new world order.

I never regret writing posts here, if for no other reason than I like to read them years down the line. This blog may only be for me, but I want to try to keep the wheels in motion.

This is 3

Monday, August 11, 2014

"Mommy, what did you do at work today while I was at school?"

These are the types of insightful questions brimming from my now-three-year-old.

We had a grand time yesterday, celebrating this little pistol, who spent the first portion of her party running around the yard yelling, "IT'S MY BIRTHDAY! IT'S MY BIRTHDAY!"

This girl is nonstop. She's curious, she's a little rough & tough, but manages to also be thoughtful and has a soft heart. She notices everything. Somehow she's girly but also not. She can 100 percent hold her own with the boys, but her favorite toys are purses and heels.

She loves collections, loves gathering pieces of things into containers, bags or bowls, and carrying them around to redistribute them. This morning it was the pieces to the new Frozen memory game in her purse; yesterday it was Molly's tiny bows she wanted to collect.

She still loves to sleep (when we can get her there). Once she's asleep, she sleeps hard (including naps). She would out-nap Molly six days out of seven. (I think they might even sleep the same number of hours in a 24-hour period.) She LOVES that sissy of hers too.

It's an understatement to say that music is her thing. I catch her almost studying songs when we're riding in the car, her lyric recall impressing us constantly. She loves "Paul" (McCartney, in any form), Feist, Sam Cooke, and songs from musicals (Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, Music Man, Singin' in the Rain, Annie, etc.).

I love her.

I'm so proud of her. I can't believe she's a whole separate person sometimes (well, I can, she is asserting this fact to me daily). She is a joy. I'm not sad she's 3. I'm wistful, sure, but so excited to watch her grow up.

p.s. Two things I want to remember specifically: one, when I'm putting her to bed, she pulls me in close by the neck and says, "I'm gonna keeeeep you" (like from Frozen). Second, "A Whole New World" has always been our bath song, and ever since she's learned the words, she sings, "but when I'm way up here, it's Kristoff clear, that now I'm in a whole new world with you..." -- again, Kristoff from Frozen, and I can't bear to tell her it's "crystal." I hope she says "Kristoff clear" forever.

Leftover Quinoa "Stir Fry"

Thursday, July 31, 2014

This afternoon, we had the end-of-the-year parties at the girls' school. They're about to be promoted to the next room up, which always makes my heart ache a little. These years go by so quickly....Juliette is about to be in her FOURTH classroom at our school! I just can't believe it. And we have her birthday coming up too... heart. ache.

So we got home a little later than usual tonight (later for our new schedule later...yay!), and I needed to put some dinner together quickly. The kiddies weren't too hungry because there had been snacks at the parties.

I scanned our fridge real quick and saw:

- rotisserie chicken, already pulled off the chicken
- cooked but unseasoned quinoa, leftover from another recipe
- green beans from last night
- eggs

Hmm. We tried a new ramen/yakitori restaurant last night, so I already had rice dish/stir fry-ish things on the brain. I thought, what the heck? I'll give it a whirl.

Isn't it pretty? Ha.

This could obviously work with myriad ingredients, but the idea is using LEFTOVERS.

Here's what:

1. Melt some coconut oil or butter in an omelette pan and let it get hot over medium heat.
2. Added however much quinoa (depending on how many you're cooking for) and let it heat up (rice would work too, obv).
3. Crack 1-2 eggs into the pan, let them cook a bit.
4. Shred some of the rotisserie chicken in the pan (any meat would work).
5. Then add some green beans (or something green).
6. Season with onion powder, garlic salt, s& probably would've been nice to cook some onion and garlic at first, but I was in a hurry and doing this on the fly!

Cooking without measuring anything=my favorite.

If you care, this is technically gluten-free (wink), but not Whole30 compliant (the quinoa).

Choosing a White

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

We moved into our house four years ago and promptly painted about five rooms...first the dining room, then the kitchen (and again), our bedroom and bathroom, the hallway, and the den. We were going for comfortable, serene, and some variation of green (being my long-time favorite color) infiltrated its way into about three-fifths of that list. Except for painting our kitchen yellow (it was an attempt to tone down the blasted wood cabinets, but exacerbated the problem), I don't regret any of the paint colors we've chosen.

Being a 1950s ranch, my house has your standard 8' ceilings. This doesn't really even enter my mind, except recently in our den, I've felt like the walls were closing in a little.

Once we found out we were staying here for residency/being in our house for a while, I started letting myself realize how dark and low the den felt. It doesn't feel dark in a bad way, I don't think...cozy, mainly. But I was really ready to brighten things up, clean things out, and make things feel a little more fresh.

Step one was acquiring a rug my mom had offered me a while backa neutral bound carpet piece with a simple/understated pattern, and thus moving our traditional Persian rug into the front living room (I still love it, but it didn't help the den feel "light" in the least. There's a small shot of it here). [You can see some reallllly rough "before" photos/current green paint color in the den here.] Side note: The Persian rug's move to the living room has made that room start to feel like an actual room in its own right, and not just look like our pass-through/expanded mudroom.

Step two was finally hanging the TV on the wall, which I've wanted to do forever and has been accomplished (thank you, T-Bone). It makes everything feel less cluttered and cleaner already. (insert visual image here. sorry!)

Next, I started considering painting the fireplace white or trim color (here's a festive/instagram shot of our fireplace). I remembered from reading Young House Love back in the day how drastically light-colored paint can transform a brick fireplace and thought maybe we would escape having to paint the room and just paint the fireplace (not that that sounds easier, when you think about it...).

But it's really good-looking brick. Exceptional, even.

And, you can't undo painting brick. Jonathan put the kibosh on it anyway, so white paint for the walls was the next place my brain went. We used Benjamin Moore's Old Prairie in the front living room, as well as both entries/vestibules, and the hallway. It's one of my favorite paint colors, and is sister to BM's Camouflage, another beautiful color and the first color we painted in this house, in our dining room (still love it as much today as I did then). BUT, I'm ready for something just a little brighter/fresher in this room.

A disclaimer: it's hard for me to post "inspirational" images because I don't want you to get the impression that I'm going to be able to change much of ANYTHING else about the room besides the paint, for a while. We're in it with the furniture/curtains we have for now (which is fine! really! except our couch, I hate our couch).

Have loved Joni's blog for years, and of course, adore her den. This is actually the closest to what our "stuff" looks like, from what I've seen surfing the internet trying to write this post.

image here

So bright and clean! (Funny though, that rug looks really similar to the one we just moved out! Who knowsit may get swapped back in post-paint.)

Not a den/living room, but one of my favorite kitchens ever:

image here

I'm really excited to do this, and have (attempted) to give myself the deadline of Juliette's birthday in two weeks to accomplish it. Cross your fingers it'll happen.

Now I just gotta pick a specific "color"do you know how many whites there are?!

How did I write this whole post and not use a single photograph of the room in question? And do I deserve an award for this or a slap on the wrist?

I'll (try) to be back, with actual photos.

p.s. my friend Hannah just painted her dining room white, and it's awesome. The internet speaks for itself here.
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