I'm on week two of going dairy-free after Djuna had a bad reaction (mad hives) to touching cheese last Monday. She's had chronic eczema, on her hands and feet/ankles, for months and it had gotten worse in the past few weeks. She is still primarily breastfeeding and seems to have little interest in eating food; she won't even open her mouth for me if I try to feed her. In an effort to improve her eczema I've given up nuts too as I worry that almond milk and the other nuts in my diet might be exacerbating the issue as well.

My morning coffee is now an Americano, and I am eating lots of protein, vegetables, and fruit to keep my energy up throughout the day. Without dairy in my body, I actually feel pretty great. If Djuna's skin does improve, I will give it up while she continues breastfeeding, which could mean being dairy-free for two years or more. I have even toyed with the idea of cutting dairy from my diet on a more permanent basis. Though, I do love me some cheese. And ice cream. And buttered toast.

Needless to say, I'm on the hunt for tasty, dairy-free, nut-free recipes. If you have any, send them my way.

ulla johnson style

I'm loving the Ulla Johnson spring 2014 collection big time.


a few friday links

Manhattan Dolls
The Manhattan Dolls
My sister got married on Monday! To help the newlyweds celebrate we surprised them with a "singing telegram" of sorts. Three Manhattan Dolls showed up to their apartment on Monday night and serenaded them with My Funny Valentine, Fly Me to the Moon, Apple Blossom Time, and Blue Skies. Sweet, right?

This Barbara Ehrenreich interview on Fresh Air about her new book, Living with a Wild God: A Nonbeliever's Search for the Truth about Everything, was interesting: "The religions that fascinate me and could possibly tempt me are not the ones that involve faith or belief. They're the ones that offer you the opportunity to know the spirit or deity. ... I think most readily of West-African-derived religions which involve ecstatic rituals where people actually apprehend the spirit or the God or whatever that they are invoking and that they are trying to contact — I have respect for that. But don't ask me to believe anything."

I'm feeling the need for a change and have been coveting this hair/cut for awhile now. To perm or not to perm. I can't believe I'm even writing that...

These honey mustard roasted chicken thighs are so easy and delicious. I've been eating tons of greens of late; I've got my eye of some of these main-dish salads.

The Depth of the Problem. The ocean is a vast, deep place. Via Mary.

Happy Friday!


covering the classics

Shayna recently introduced me to Creative Action Network, "a marketplace for original, visual, meaningful work, crowdsourced from a passionate community of artists & designers around the world." She just finished a Muir Woods poster for their See America campaign.

They also have a Covering the Classics campaign, wherein designers can submit their cover interpretations of classic books; you can buy the book (printed by Harvard Bookstore) in paperback with the design you like, or buy it as a poster. Here are some standout choices:
Jack London's Call of the Wild; cover by Michael van Kekem
Bram Stoker's Dracula; cover by Steve St. Pierre
Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea; cover by Darrell Stevens
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes; cover by Ioannis Fetanis
Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels; cover by Naomi Sloman
Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter; cover by MrFurious


conquering pie

My second pie attempt, Strawberry Balsamic
It's official. 2014 is the year I conquer pie.

Making pie has always daunted me. There are so many steps! The chilling and the rolling and the pre-baking and the resting... So when I got the Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book from my sister for Christmas I decided it was time to overcome my fear of baking pie. 

The first pie I attempted, the Black Bottom Lemon Pie, was not a success. I was too eager and rushed through many of the steps. I learned that rushing does not work when making pie. The custard didn't set properly and it was a mess.

On Friday I decided to try again, this time with a fruit filling and a lattice top (!). I opted for the seasonal Strawberry Balsamic Pie and left plenty of time for each step. I made the dough on Friday and let it mellow overnight in the fridge. On Saturday I assembled and baked the pie. On Sunday we took it to a bbq. 

It was delicious.


in the mood for...

Salty Caramel Pie? Me too...

crushing on jesse kamm

I am seriously crushing on designer Jesse Kamm at the moment. The lady has style. If I had a spare $500+ I would be living in this Jesse Kamm dress...

(Also, this photo of Kamm with her husband and son is really making me want to chop my long hair and get a modern Dorothy Hamill. It might be time for a hair intervention.)

[top photo: claire cottrell; second: of a kind; third: cargo collective "closet visit"; fourth: katrina dickson]


dinner plans: cumin lamb meatballs

What are you having for dinner tonight?

I'm making Melissa Clark's amazing cumin lamb meatballs with tahini yogurt dipping sauce that my friend Shayna told me about last month. We had them a few weeks ago and the meatballs were such a hit. Stella kept asking for more, and there were no leftovers the next day. I'm going to serve them over pearl couscous, with pickled cucumbers, and an arugula, golden beet, goat cheese salad. My mouth is watering already.

[image: Evan Sung for The New York Times]


all is possible

Oh, hey there.

After reading this blog post about the death of the blog back in December, I took stock. Did I enjoy blogging? Sometimes. Do people read/enjoy my blog? Yes, a few. Do I have time to commit to writing and curating in this way? Sometimes; though most of my internet activity happens on my phone and most typing is done with one hand while nursing...which is why Instagram is so satisfying these days. As my posts were getting less and less frequent, I figured a full break from the blog might be in order. And it was so easy to just stop.

Then on Friday night Jordan sat down at the dinner table and said "I need to have a serious talk with you." My heart dropped. "About your blog," he continued. I laughed. Oh, blog... He then proceeded to guilt encourage me to start writing again. For myself. For our girls. As a testament to this life we live together. I listened. So here I am.

Spring has arrived in Oakland, and with it the possibility of a new season. In the spirit of spring, I'm sharing Dvořák's Quartet #12 (the American String Quartet), which I heard on the radio this morning, and which has always filled me a happy wonder and sense that all is possible.


beer tasting at hog's apothecary

One of my gifts to Jordan this Christmas was a beer tasting. I contacted the great folks at Hog's Apothecary, a newish beer hall in Oakland, and they loved the idea of select beer flights with food to highlight the beer flavors. Last night we went in for our tasting and food pairing and the beverage director at Hog's provided a little backstory and commentary about each of the beers as they were brought to us. We loved the interesting bits of beer information and hearing about, and then tasting, the flavor notes of each.

Beer highlights included the Heavenly Hefe (Craftsman), and for us hop-lovers Simcoe Galaxy IPA (Cellarmaker) and our favorite of the night, Double Tap (Berryessa). We also tasted Craftsman's Holiday Ale (a nice red ale with spruce tips) and Old Ale (an oak-aged ale that tasted too much like a sour wine for our liking), and the 2013 Smoked Porter (too smoky for our taste) from Alaskan Brewing Company.

Food highlights were the Hog's Head Terrine, an Avocado and Citrus Little Gems Salad, Marrow Bones with toast and tomato jam, and Smoked Ham Hock Collard Greens. 

We had such an awesome evening, and we can't wait to go back! Next time I'm trying the Lamb Poutine and housemade sausages for sure...