Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Blackberry and Lavender Muffins

I found this recipe last night while trying to find a use for the ridiculous amount of blackberries that I've acquired- and made a few changes to fit my tastes and preferences a bit more.  Either way they're tender and delicious!


- 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour, plus 3/4 cup whole wheat flour (all AP flour is fine if it's what you have)
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon dried or fresh lavender buds
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup plain yogurt (sour cream or buttermilk will also work)
- 1 teaspoon milk
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup butter (1 stick) melted
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups fresh blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, or other seasonal berries. 

- Preheat oven to 400°F.  Line muffin tin with paper liners.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, lavender and salt in a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl whisk together eggs, yogurt, milk, sugar, butter and vanilla.
- Gently fold the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir together just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Add the berries. Do not overmix! You want your batter to be lumpy and just barely combined.
- Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups (noting that this recipe will make 18 muffins). Bake 17 to 20 minutes- until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.  Allow to cool, and enjoy!

If you live in Seattle- Ballard Market has local "unknown blackberries" on sale right now.  They're from a Puyallup farmer who says that they're only ripe for a few weeks out of the year.  You can buy an entire flat for under $6!  I've so far made popsicles, frozen yogurt, muffins, and am going to use the rest up for a batch of jam.  They're a little tart for snacking, but have been perfect for everything else.  The rest of Seattle's blackberries won't be in season for another month or so.


"If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them." - Walden, Henry David Thoreau

Friday, July 23, 2010

Recipe Card: Oatmeal Cookies

A few weeks ago I sent my mom a very excited e-mail telling her that I had finally re-discovered the chocolate chip cookies from my childhood.  As it turns out- it's the exact recipe from The Joy of Baking (and nearly identical to that on the back of the chocolate chip bag!)  That conversation turned into one about my mom's oatmeal raisin cookies.  She sent me this email with a photo attached a few days ago:

"This is the recipe that used to be on the Quaker oats box.
You know I use butter, not margarine. Also, I only put in the 3/4 cup of brown sugar and drop the white sugar. And of course, a hand or two full of raisins and a good hand full of walnuts." 

Sometimes the best recipes are the most obvious!  Thanks Mama!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Shi Shi Beach Video!

Huge thanks to Shane for filming during the trip and putting this together!

Shi Shi Beach from Shane Long on Vimeo.
Music by ISLANDS (
I love that in the longest clip with me in it I am shaking sand out of my hair.  Yes!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Shi Shi Beach on Neah Bay

This is how we spent our July 4th weekend this year!  It's a 30 minute ferry ride and a lot of driving to get to the trail head from Seattle.  The hike is almost entirely flat, if not a little muddy, and only about two miles before you hit the beach.  I hadn't been before and really wasn't sure what to expect in terms of craziness- but there were probably a total of 8 or so other campsites set up on the entire beach while we were there.  It was quiet and beautiful and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

The beach was covered in these tiny dead crabs.  One part had just their legs and claws, and another had their shells.

 We woke up to light rain the second morning, but it burned off fairly quickly, and we didn't let it bother us regardless.

It was my first July 4th in years that hasn't involved fireworks or booze.  And I loved every ounce of it.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Brown Sugar Lemonade with Sea Salt and Mint

Can I call this a recipe?  Yeah?  Alright.  Let's do this.

(Note- The mixture in the jar is just the lemon/sugar/salt without any water added.  I brought it to a dinner with my lovely friends Ellie & Larissa and we mixed it up there.  Also- isn't my hula hoop lovely?)

My favorite favorite favorite summer treat growing up was my moms homemade lemonade.  We started experimenting with it more as I got older and had to have input on everything we made together.  I remember one summer making a beautiful thick almost syrup-like juice out of the cherries we'd bought at Costco, of all places- we added it to our batch of lemonade and I swear we both almost died of a delicious sugar overdose right then and there.

This is not that recipe.  Mostly because there were no cherries in my fridge at the time that I made it.  This recipe is absolutely wonderful, regardless, and easier to boot.

- Enough lemons to make 1 cup of juice (don't buy the bottled stuff- please oh please oh please).
- 1 cup loosely packed brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- 4 large sprigs of fresh mint
- Water
- Ice

- Juice lemons, straining out seeds and pulp.  This little thing is fantastic.
- Heat lemon juice, brown sugar, and salt over medium high heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved and mixture just begins to boil- remove from heat and let cool.
- Add mixture to a 2 liter pitcher and fill to the top with cold water and ice.
- Crush mint leaves and add whole sprigs to pitcher before serving.
 - Feel free to add boozy beverage of choice!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Container Gardening Fail

So, it's July.  At this time last year I had two jalapeno plants full of tiny little green jalapenos, a tomato plant full of lovely little green tomatoes, pots full of herbs, and even a few sweet little carrots that were trying to grow.

This year... not so much.  I thought I knew what I was doing.  I started a flat full of seeds back in March- and when those didn't make it I picked up another flat of healthy, local, organic starts.  I lost about a quarter of those right off the bat, and since then most of them have slowly gone down the same path.  Right now my two blueberry bushes and two pepper plants are doing okay.  Tomatoes, herbs, potatoes, strawberries, and fennel are all goners.  Our slow starting summer was a huge factor, especially paired with the fact that we only get morning sun on our balcony.  This past weekend got the rest of them- it was actually sunny and warm, but I wasn't here to water them, and our cat sitter was asked to water the cats, not the plants.

However, in the midst of all of this- I dug around in my potato grow bag this morning and pulled out these darlings.  This may just be our entire haul this year- but they're so sweet that I feel kind of alright about it.  Especially the lone purple potato.  I love him.

What have your gardening failures been like?  Any tips on planting in containers in July for a fall harvest?

Friday, July 9, 2010

Northwest Event Sources: Sailboats, Lavender, U-Pick Farms, and Lots More!

Summer, summer, summer!  As much as the heat makes me want to just laze around in the grass at any old park- it also makes me want to do do do as much as possible.  It's light out later, swim suits double as undies half the time, and dinner is often just an assortment of nibbles and a big glass of lemon water.  Fine by me!

- The 14th Annual Sequim Lavender Festival is coming up quickly (July 16-18), and looks to be a fantastic weekend.  Farm tours, U-pick lavender fields, tons of lavender infused edibles, and a market full of lavender focused goods.  Um, YEAH.  I'm in.

- Sail Sand Point still has upcoming adult classes throughout July and August.  I did a two-week course years ago in boats this size and it was a ridiculous amount of fun.  I won't be able to partake this summer, but it's definitely something that I'm considering in the future.  If you're interested in learning how to sail a larger boat- my friend Ben Hackett runs Allied Sailing here in Seattle and does amazing day trips to a lot of nearby islands- with the choice of just relaxing and enjoying the trip- or getting down and dirty and learning how to work the boat.

- is still the best resource I've found for locating U-Pick farms.  My link goes straight to Washington, but the site lists farms all over the US.  I've found great farms year-round, and am hoping to do some berry picking sometime very soon.

- Portland Pietopia is August 5th at the Buckman Farmers Market!

-  August 22nd is An Incredible Feast which I am missing again this year!  I was in Alaska last year, and will be camping this year.  It's such a wonderful event and if you're near Seattle and love your farmers market it's definitely worth the splurge.

"With farmland continuing to disappear across the nation (due to development and urban sprawl), it is more vital than ever to support and protect our local farmers, farmland, and the markets where small family farms earn the full dollar value of their products.  Our health, our environment, our local economies cannot thrive without healthy, sustainable systems of food and agriculture."

What are your plans for the rest of the summer? 

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Feel Better

I have a confession to make.

My serious lack of blogging has had very little to do with being busy, and mostly to do with being in a terrible funk.

It drives me crazy to admit that it was mostly work related- but that's the flat-out truth.  Someone made a really nasty comment to me nearly a month ago- and instead of just blowing it off and moving on- I hung on to it, and my resentment towards that person and that comment turned into resentment towards my job.  Spending 40+ hours a week in an environment that made me feel completely miserable was an awful way to spend an entire month.  In turn I started to feel overwhelmed and frustrated over my home and social life, and even planning anything fun felt like an awful chore to me.  I kept trying to shake it, but I wasn't allowing myself to just stop feeling crappy.  I'm sure that our gloomy June and trying to function in a still half-packed apartment didn't make things much better- but normally those things alone don't feel so overwhelming.

This weekend seemed to have just knocked all of the grumpiness right out of me.  I got my ass completely kicked carrying an overloaded bag.  I'm sunburnt and my feet are blistered.  I came home with hair full of sand and salt water and bonfire smell.  I didn't think about work, or our messy apartment, or care about the weather.  Our one rainy morning just added a perfect spookiness to being on the ocean.  We ate sandy food, and slept in sandy tents, and my last pair of contacts seemed to glue themselves to my eyeballs.  We drank creek water and ate food that hadn't been properly chilled and never got sick.  I didn't get drunk or watch fireworks for the first July 4th in years.  And it was wonderful. 

I always seem to want to hole up when I feel bad.  I forget that going outside and allowing myself to completely check out is often the only thing that can really help.

Matt & Renai Shi Shi 2010 by Nick Katarow

Friday, July 2, 2010

Kimya Dawson at Ballard Mine

The Ballard Mine is a really wonderful space that I discovered this past winter, when my friend Brittany tweeted that her boyfriend's band was playing there.  I, living in Ballard, and never having heard of this place (I also hadn't seen Brittany in something like 8 years!) was intrigued.  As it turns out- the space is less than a block from my apartment, and puts on a lot of really great shows.  It's an incredibly positive and welcoming space, that focuses on sharing skills and sharing music.

Earlier this week the adorably famous Kimya Dawson played.  Amy and I squished criss-cross-applesauce onto the floor right smack in front of her and grinned like silly fools through most of her set.  Her songs are almost always cute and a little silly- and quite often completely heartbreaking.  I wish that I could have recorded her entire set, and while my camera couldn't quite handle that- I did get her new "rap" on camera.  Enjoy!

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