Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Our CSA Box from Hedlin Family Farms

For those of you unfamiliar, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. The basic concept is that you pay a subscription to benefit a farm during its growing season and in return receive a box of local, organic fruits and vegetables each week. If the farm does well, more food to go around. If the growing season is troubled, you bear the weight of that along with them and go with less. It's kind of like a dividend on an investment, except it's edible.

We decided to support a local Skagit Valley farm called Hedlin Family Farms for our first adventure in CSA-ing this year. We split a full subscription with our downstairs neighbors. For $310 each we recieve a big box of fruits and veg each week for 20 weeks. If you do the math, that's a pretty sweet deal and we don't have any guilt that this stuff had to be trucked cross-country in refrigerated semis. Talk about your carbon footprint.

The strawberries last week made the whole thing worth it in one fell swoop. Tender, sweet, and delicious, you'll never find these babies at a supermarket because they are just too delicate to survive the travel and shelf life required. Leave that to those never-tender-enough genetically bred Franken-berries we see at Safeway. These were farm fresh from just down the road and full of that unbelievable juicy red quality that is summer. Don't get me started on the just-picked tomatoes.

So far this season, we've seen: onions, scallions, turnips, radishes, tomatoes, rhubarb, strawberries, basil, oregano, garlic scapes, spinach, red leaf and green leaf lettuces, baby lettuces, and shallots.

If you live in the Seattle area, you may be too late to get in on a CSA this year, but consider your local farmer's markets as another alternative. Hedlin Farms can be found at the Bellevue and Mercer Island markets.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Moving Update

I wanted to check in and let everyone know what Matt and I are up to right now and the coming month:

.:. Matt is still on the job hunt with no solid leads yet. We are still hopeful to find something in the Everett/ Seattle/ Tacoma area. It seems like the boat industry is still suffering from the economy, so we'll probably start looking in new arenas.

.:. The pregnancy is going well and we heard the little bean's heartbeat again last Wednesday at my monthly check up. First trimester is officially over on the 4th of July and I am sincerely hoping the morning sickness abates. I had a week break from the nausea that I thought was the end of it, but yesterday and today have proved me wrong. Otherwise, everything seems fine and we are still so excited and amazed by the whole thing.

.:. Next Tuesday, June 30th, our lease is up and for awhile we had no idea where we would be going. God has been so gracious, and we have found temporary housing for the month of July in the married apartments at Northwest University, where my parents work. We are excited to be in Kirkland for the month and close to friends and family (and good coffee!).

.:. Moving day is next Tuesday! We're looking for helping hands to load the truck in Anacortes on Monday evening. Pizza provided as a thank you to anyone who can help.

.:. We are really excited to get a little vacation to Minnesota to spend time with Matt's family for the 4th of July weekend. After the move, it will be nice to play at the lake and relax with people we love.

That's it for now. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we continue our job/life/home search. We hope not just for Matt to find a job, but for us also to find a home and a place to put down roots, literally (I want to plant a garden so badly--upstairs apartments don't lend to this), spiritually (as we seek a community of faith to be a part of) and physically (as we settle down from all the wandering we've been doing). We are grateful for somewhere to lay our head for the next month, but we still have no idea where we will be after that. Thanks for all the support and encouragement you've all given so far.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Kitchen Doings

In the midst of all this morning sickness and bizarro energy lows, I have had some good moments. And, of course, for me a good moment means food and cooking. So, a few weeks ago I had the wherewithal to do some summer baking and I was pretty happy with the results.

I've been dying to crack Leslie Mackie's amazing Macrina Bakery and Cafe Cookbook, a Christmas gift whose depths I have yet to plumb. Seriously, Macrina is one of my favorite places and a first hit whenever we come down to Seattle. Living three blocks away from the Queen Anne bakery for two years left its mark (can anyone say "addict"?). I love their egg bialy sandwiches (roasted onion and red peppers, goat cheese, basil, and a fried egg sandwiched between toasted savory bialy bread), their velvety double tall lattes with vanilla infused sugar, and their breakfast pastries like lemon lavender coffee cake, morning glory muffins, and Italian plum pastries.

After being overwhelmed by all the delicious options in Mackie's cookbook, I settled on her Lemon-Sour Cherry Coffee Cake. Turned out exactly like I remember the ones from her bakery tasting. My only complaint is that the recipe is for a big bundt pan, so when I converted to two regular loafs, we had way too much to finish on our own. Unless I'm making it for a party, I'll halve it next time. Click here for the recipe.

The same day we were headed to a BBQ with friends and I was in the baking mood, so I made use of my Martha Stewart Living subscription and tried a simple blueberry crisp from the blueberry article in the June edition. Blueberries are still pretty expensive, so I substituted half the recipe with peaches. It was...awesome. I love crisps. All the rewards of a pie without all the crust-intensive work. Click here for the recipe.

I love summer baking. It seems like a crime to turn on your oven on a hot day, but all the summer fruits and gatherings serve as enough inspiration for me to sweat it out in our hot upstairs apartment long enough to have something special to bring along.

Anyone other sweaty fools baking anything noteworthy these days? Would love to see your favorite recipes in the comments.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Ten on Ten: June

Today was one of those days... I was laid up with nausea and stuck inside. Not a very exciting ten on ten today, sorry folks. Matt and I snapped a few shots between the two of us, but certainly not every hour. And as for meals, I assume pictures of toast and scrambled eggs aren't super exciting for most. So here's ten we took, but not in a row. I'm beginning to feel like I need a do-over for every day! Can't wait for the first trimester to be over and to feel more like myself again.

Morning light

Matt, the smoothie-maker



Naptime continues

Ella never leaves this spot during the day.

My mainstays to get me through: a good book and ginger ale

A package arrived for Matt from a friend in Japan: "Strawberry Pie"
(it was closer to a cookie wafer)


Evenin' tea and sweets

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Exciting News!

Meet the little bean.

Yup. That's a baby. And it's ours!

This is just too crazy.

That little bean is about 9 weeks old and we found out at our first ultrasound yesterday that it's due January 9. We were able to see the heartbeat, and that it's healthy and in the right spot.

So... how did this happen? (Well, aside from the obvious.) The short answer is that we aren't entirely sure. We certainly weren't trying to make it happen. In fact, we were trying to wait until our lives were a bit more settled and Matt was done with his stint at BMW Oracle and on to something more permanent. So, when I started getting these odd cramps, and nausea, and then took a positive pregnancy test, we were definitely shocked. (I think I actually said, "We'll see," like it would go away the next day or something!) This was the Friday before Mother's Day. By Saturday, and another positive test, we were convinced--and excited. We decided to go ahead and tell our immediate families as a Mother's Day gift.

The last month since then has been interesting. I can definitely attest to the fact that I'm pregnant. I feel pregnant. Nauseated, exhausted, and dizzy. Not constantly, but about every other day was a toast and ginger ale day up until last week. Hopefully things are on an upswing now, I've had a few great days in a row, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

The other interesting development is that Matt's job at BMW Oracle has ended. It was a surprise that it happened so soon, but we knew that the building of the America's Cup boat would be done around October in time for the race in February. In a way, it's been a good gift to face the big transition of a move and finding a new job for Matt now rather than when I'm 6 months along. But, of course, transitions are always a little daunting, and we would definitely appreciate your thoughts and prayers as we plan to move out of our apartment June 30, but are still looking for where our new home and work will be.

Meanwhile, we're pretty happy and excited for this journey ahead of us. It helps that my sister's second baby, Betty, is due in July, and that my dear friend Nina is just about a month ahead of me with her second baby. Anybody else wanna get in on this club??

Oh, and just for fun, here is a pic we snapped last week to show how, at 8 weeks, I'm not "showing" yet. Sort of a Before picture.