bon voyage

Seattle, we’ve come to the end of the line, you and I. In a mere 24 hours I’m leaving your cool, breezy hills for an equally cool, breezy (but flatter) city across the continent and across an ocean. There will be so much distance between us. At least for two years, that is. Don’t go thinking I would leave you forever!

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Sun up over the beach at Fort Worden

I don’t want you to go making any big changes while I’m gone, okay? I’d like my house to still be standing and its cherry trees to always bloom soft pink blossoms in spring. I’d like my dear neighbors to stay my dear neighbors—protect them and keep them safe from disease and old age and the lure of selling in this lucrative market.

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Home. I’m not crying! I’m not!

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Goodnight couch, goodnight chair…

I’d like my favorite coffee shop not to be bought out by Starbucks, thank you very much. I would like the crappy grocery store down the street to stay crappy, because I still want to know exactly what’s not on every aisle and the name of every ornery checker and bag boy. And while you’re at it, pretty please protect the blind woman who walks miles in rain, sleet or snow every day along 35th avenue. She’s more reliable than the postman. You can go ahead and do away with the post office, though, if you need to make any major changes, or at least rename it “Dante’s Tenth Circle of Hell: Inefficiency.” The stamps could feature junk mail burning in eternal hellfire and…

I’m going off on a tangent.

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Goodnight dog parks everywhere.

I’d like you to take a huge soft grey cloud—the kind that you’re famous for, Seattle—and wrap it around my friends and family. Keep them safe and happy but don’t let them forget me. Maybe every once in a while the cloud could whisper, “Jenny misses you…” or maybe not, because being enveloped in a talking cloud would just scare the shit out of them and make them pee their pants just a little. Or a lot. [Mental note: Jenny, steer clear of personification.]

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Goodnight Lake Union.

How about this: give them sun in summer and rain in fall (but not too much). Let their visits to doctors only be for checkups. Light up Mt. Rainier when they’re having a bad day. Make their lattes perfect each time, and let the smell of Top Pot swirl through the air on clear early mornings. Remind them to phone me regularly. But above all, tell them that I love them. All. The. Time. And that I’m going to miss them more than cherry trees and Puget Sound and coffee and the perfect chocolate-glazed old fashioned.

Until we meet again,

Your Jenny

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favorite things of summer

You certainly can’t call 56 degrees and rainy “summer.” My patio is still covered in grime; its table and chairs unused. Our window air conditioning units sit lonely in storage. The girls and I haven’t yet made popsicles, ice cream or s’mores.

So to break me out of my un-summer-bummer, I decided to focus on the things that I do like about this “season”…so far.

I used to think pink wine was something imbibed by sorority girls out of a box. Not anymore. Charles & Charles Rosé is sweet without going over the top and has a fuller body akin to chardonnay. It’s the perfect summer refresher. (Seattle peeps: try Met Market, Central Market, and some QFCs, $8.99-$14.99).

Coooooold brew coffee. Yeah, yeah. It’s all the rage right now. But if you try to take my Toddy Cold Brew Coffee System from me I will claw you with my perpetually un-manicured fingers.

All you do is pour 7 cups water and 12 oz coarse ground coffee into the white thingie (that’s its technical name), let sit overnight, filter into the pitcher, and you have a gorgeous coffee concentrate. Serve over ice with milk, or make it hot by adding boiling water (like an americano–that’s what I do). It tastes incredibly smooth (cold brew contains 67% less acid than conventional coffee) so I find myself drinking waaaay too much and buzzing all the way through my day. Amazon, $34.95.

My mom turned me onto these little beauties. 34° Crisps are super thin (and yes, crispy) and come in a variety of savory and sweet flavors. Mom buys the chocolate variety and makes mini ice cream sandwiches by placing a tiny scoop of ice cream between two crisps. I like dunking the caramel crisps in my coffee, or placing a slice of strawberry and a wedge of parmigiano reggiano on a rosemary whole grain crisp. Safeway, Whole Foods, Central Market, $3.99.

I’ve been a fan of Skotidakis Jalepeno Yogurt Dip for a long time, and now they have a new Dill & Cucumber flavor. It’s thick like sour cream and packed with flavor. Dip your veggies or chips in it, or spread on a sandwich or wrap. 50 calories and 3 grams of fat per serving never tasted so good. Costco $5.69.

CO Bigelow Mentha Lip Tints are minty-flavored glosses that moisturize. I’ve been using them for years but recently found some fun new summery colors at Bath & Body Works, so I stocked up. One for the car, one for the purse, one for the bathroom. $7.50.

In the summer I tend to go for more sheer coverage on my face, and Too Faced Beauty Balm does just the trick. It moisturizes, illuminates without being shiny, and it has just enough coverage to minimize those little imperfections (plus has SPF 20). Ulta, $32.

Wella Brilliance Treatment is a must-have if summer dries out your hair. Apply for 5 minutes in the shower and it works wonders, especially if your hair is (shhh) color-treated, like mine. Ulta, $12.00.

I think I’m the only white girl in Seattle not rocking Toms right now. Call me a rebel. I found these Jack Purcells, my feet fell in love, and I decided to call them my new summer kicks (when I’m chasing after the girls and flip-flops aren’t appropriate, that is). I love the violet/gray color and no laces means I can slip them on and go pluck my 23-pound youngest off the 13-pound dog. Nordstrom, $69.95.

What are your favorite things of the summer?

 

will bake for food

Hello friends! It has been too long. Since I was here last I conquered migraines, was a single parent for 3 long weeks, got very little sleep, and spent a dreamy 5 days in NYC with great friends. I’m so anxious to get back here and cook for you, and I promise that day will be soon. But for right now, I’d like to invite you to join me for an event that is very dear to my heart.

Will Bake for Food is a food blogger bake sale, put on by myself and Jenny Richards of Purple House Dirt, to benefit the Emergency Feeding Program. Our second annual event to help fight hunger in our community will take place Saturday, November 12, 2011, from 11 am to 2pm (or until we run out) at the University Heights Center in Seattle (you may know it as the big building next to the University District Farmer’s Market).

Here’s how it works: bring non-perishable food items or monetary donations (cash or check payable to the Emergency Feeding Program) to trade for goodies baked by your favorite local food bloggers. Taste treats from famous bloggers and discover the sweet talents of new ones. Mingle. Drink coffee. Sip local apple cider.

Last year’s event raised $1,000 and nearly 1 ton (2,000 lbs!) of food. This year our goal is to double those numbers and help feed even more hungry tummies all over this city. We can’t do it without your help. Read our blog, follow us on Twitter, grab a badge, and most importantly, mark your calendars for 11-12-11.

Fight Hunger. Eat Cake. Will Bake for Food.

 

bake for hope

What are you doing this Saturday? Eating some delicious treats baked by your favorite bloggers, that’s what.

Come on down to Ghost Gallery on Capitol Hill this Saturday, May 7th from 11am-3pm to scoop up some sweets and support a great cause. Bake for Hope is a nationwide bake sale with proceeds benefitting local Susan G. Komen affiliates. Breast cancer is a devastating disease, and every little bit that we can do to help will make finding a cure all the more attainable.

I’ll be baking for the event and can’t wait to sample the treats baked by others in the Seattle food community. And if you’re not in Seattle, check out this list of other bake sale locations throughout the nation. Hope to see you there!

Ghost Gallery

504 East Denny way

Seattle, WA 98122

Corner of E Denny Way & Summit Ave E (Enter on Summit side next to Hillcrest Market)

-RDG

 

for granted

Yesterday I visited the Cherry Street Food Bank to pick up boxes for tomorrow’s Will Bake for Food event. I felt awkward, like I didn’t belong. The security guard knew the same thing—he eyed me like I was a fish out of water. Lucy in arms, I walked through the doors and asked the nice folks at the desk about the boxes. While they were being retrieved, I had the chance to observe some of the Cherry Street Food Bank’s patrons.

They have a sort of assembly line set up for people to pick and choose from: formula, diapers, baby food, canned food, potatoes, rice, beans, and a few fresh fruits and veggies. A volunteer hands out what people choose, although the items seemed to be limited to by the cards that they presented upon walking in the door. One woman with a baby in a sling (no coat on either the mother or the baby, in 40 degree rain), picked up a few diapers, some potatoes, a can of chicken broth and a bunch of kale. A man with two babies received two cans of formula and some potatoes. I can’t help but think that neither family is getting nearly enough for one week, especially when you have small mouths to feed. Do they have money to go to the grocery store when they run out?

I wished they would hurry up with my boxes. I was beginning to tear up, and I didn’t want the volunteers to see me cry. Here I am with my designer purse and rain jacket, carrying my bundled up toddler clutching her teddy bear. The spoiled rich girl with the bleeding heart. These babies must be freezing, and if they’re hungry to boot I might break down into uncontrollable sobs right here in the middle of the downtown food bank. As a parent, I can’t imagine what it would feel like to not be able to satisfy all the needs of my child.

Finally the boxes arrive. The volunteers help me to my car. I strap Lucy in, turn on the heat and then allow myself to completely lose it.

I cry all the way home. We’ve been organizing Will Bake for Food for weeks, and I have yet to put a face on the people we’re trying to help. I knew it was bad—according to recent reports the number of food insecure households in Washington state has gone up 36% this year alone. But when I see the faces of this statistic I can’t seem to do anything but weep. I know that I’m doing what I can, but I still feel like it isn’t enough.

That’s why I’m asking you to come out to Will Bake for Food tomorrow. You can help. Bring non-perishable food or baby items (scroll down for a full list of what Northwest Harvest needs) to trade for some delicious treats baked by Seattle’s most talented foodies. Come by, say hello, and support a very worthwhile cause. I’ll be the one in the WBFF tee and the huge pregnant belly.

Read on to see what foods we need most…

-RDG

Northwest Harvest buys rice and beans in bulk, so other items are encouraged. They ask for items low in saturated fats and refined carbohydtares (sugar, white flour).

General food items:

Oatmeal
Whole grain pastas
Brown rice
Tomato products
Canned vegetables
Canned fruit, especially with low sugar (but not artificial sweeteners)
Canned fish or meat
Shelf-stable milk
Beef stew, chili and similar meals with low sugar and saturated fats

Baby Items:

Baby formula, infant cereal, jars of baby food, powdered or canned milk, diapers