Wednesday, August 25, 2010

to italia

tomorrow one of my best friends embarks on his italian journey. he is attending one of the most prestigious grad schools in the US and will spend his first year in italy. here's a blog post toast to one of the better people in my world.

toast to good food, amazing friends, language and learning, new adventures, the romans, amazing wine, and i shall revisit good food...

and also a toast to skype and google voice thingy dingy that is coming out soon.

we will miss you stateside, but wish you all things magical and wonderful.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

in the coming years

get a tattoo (and i did...this is it!)
i hope to:

visit greece,aka the motherland...

move closer to my workplace so i can use my cruiser bike to go to work daily...

start my graduate education...

become a swimmer again...

more fully establish becca's bitchin stitchen...

photocredits:{cupofjo, brittany'sspainblog, midwifery}

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

swimming pool

my friend shared this video with me. it is a pool scene from the simple and truthful show Parenthood. it's a show about how bizarre and dysfunction and important families really are whether it is the family we're born into or the family we make. water is important in my family and so this resonated. sit back and delight in this slippery snippet.

there is just something really profound about swimming.

Monday, August 9, 2010


the rain is pouring down on the frontrange this evening. i am eating rosemary bread and feta watching the rain fall. as you might have noticed i've been feeling nostalgic. today i'm reflecting on the jacaranda tree.

they were the first tree that i ever loved. they are a bright beauty beacon on the streets of los angeles. every year i waited for their two blooming seasons. it was my own version of autumn. jacaranda trees= becca's seasonal magic.

many a childhood daydream involved building a house in the branches of a jacaranda. as i grew older i found out that the jacaranda tree also represents international maternal health. in countries like brazil, australia, kenya, and new zealand small clinics plant jacaranda trees to celebrate women's health and successful births.

it's really a lovely tree. here's wishing you a breezy afternoon picnic under a violently violet blooming jacaranda.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

buffalo by the sea

i'm stuffed full of bruschetta and laying on my couch thinking about my coming week. tomorrow morning i will wake up and get ready for work. i will make coffee and hopefully motivate enough to go visit my local florist and pick up some flowers for a co-worker. although i'm looking forward to my morning routine i can't help but wish i was waking up on catalina island, specifically on a cove called campus by the sea.

it is a magical place where my parents worked when i was a child. we spent most of our time living in inner-city los angeles, but every year i spent around two months on the desert island of catalina frolicking among the jacaranda trees. it's a place where after a day your skin tastes like salt and your hair is full of eucalyptus residue. it's an island where buffalo (yes buffalo) live and come down to the shore around dawn.

the cove is a faith based conference center. there was not much quiet time in my los angeles life since my home also served as a community center. at cbs i learned to be still. i was an explorer, a pirate, an was my magical place where all the noise, crime, and injustice my child eyes witnessed daily could be processed and released. it is the place i learned the meaning of micah 6:8. it is where i learned to meditate and pray and it is where i have come after great disappointments to practice release and forgiveness.

i have a vivid memory of waking up and looking outside my cabin to see a buffalo down by the water. it was dawn and i was in love with the sea, with the buffalo, with the island...

although i am grateful to have a job to go to tomorrow i can't help but wish that i was waking up to a buffalo by the sea.

garden bruschetta

Tonight i made a recipe for dinner very similar to the one posted last week. My garden is producing with shocking efficiency and I'm hard pressed to eat all these vegetables. If you are equally fortunate and find yourself with a silly amount of squash make's worth eating. Feel free to vary the recipe. I'm a messy cook and encourage creativity when it comes to bruschetta. Bruschetta is not boring.

garden bruschetta
2 zucchini
1 yellow summer squash (or three yellow squash and no zucchini)
5 tomatoes (any color...the more varied the better)
3 small eggplants or 1 large eggplant
1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese grated
1 whole sweet onion
Coat the bottom of the pan in an inch of olive oil
Half a loaf of french bread (I like to use rosemary french bread)
2 garlic cloves

Chop the onion into crescent moon slices
Slice the eggplant into skinny slices, sprinkle salt on them and set them aside
Slice the squash into thin quarter circles and set them aside
Heat up the olive oil in a cast iron skillet
Put the onions into the skillet and brown them at a high temperature
Turn the heat down and keep caramelizing the onions
Wipe the "sweat" off the eggplant slices
Turn the heat up and throw the eggplant slices into the skillet
Let them brown for a minute then turn the heat to a medium temperature
Add half a cup of water and cover the skillet with a lid (watch the eggplants and onions to make sure they don't burn)
While this is cooking, slice the tomatoes into small bits
Uncover the skillet and make sure the eggplant slices are cooked through. Add salt to taste and black pepper.
Add the squash to the mixture and cover it back up.
Chop up the fresh oregano and basil into small bits.
After letting the whole mess cook for about 5 minutes add the tomatoes and cook for 3-6 minutes.
Add some more salt. Add the herbs. Add the cheese. Put the stove on warm and let the veggies stew.
Take it off the oven and put it all in the fridge until it cools down.

Bread Instructions

When the veggies are chilled...
Slice the bread into thin slices
Dice the garlic and brown it in olive oil
Turn on the oven to 450 degrees
Once the garlic is browned use a cooking brush or spatula to spread the oil and garlic onto the bread.
Sprinkle some Parmesan on the bread.
Put her in the oven for 4-5 minutes until golden brown and delectable.

Put the cold veggies on the warm garlic toast and savor. Tastes great with red wine...

Thursday, August 5, 2010

love you, hate you pancakes

tonight i'm having breakfast for dinner. it's one of my self comfort rituals. as i stand here in my kitchen brewing coffee, listening to bacon sizzle and thunder crash, and stirring pancake dough i am reflecting on my dysfunctional relationship with pancakes.

with me and pancakes it's a love/hate thing.

i love the way that pancake dough bubbles and sizzles as it hits the greased pan.

i hate the way that sometimes pancakes taste like the love child of stale sourdough bread and cardboard.

i love the way an amazing pancake doused in syrup can cure any bad mood.

i hate that 1 plate of pancakes = 1 new lovely lady lump on my rump

i love that pancakes seem to be like pie in their ability to unite a room of people no matter what the differences or conflicts within a group. if i ever become i diplomat i shall use pancakes...griddle and butter treaty of 2010.

i love that when i make pancakes my desire to own a small breakfast place is quenched enough so that i don't do something rash like quitting my job and attempting to open up a restaurant in my living room.

pancakes, i love you more than i hate you. what more could i ask for really?

*best pancakes in denver: here and here

Awesome Pancake Recipe:
* 3 cups Plus 2 Tablespoons Cake Flour
* ½ teaspoons Salt
* 3 Tablespoons Baking Powder
* 2 Tablespoons Sugar (brown or white, I prefer brown)
* 2 cups Milk
* 2 Eggs
* 3 teaspoons Vanilla
* 1 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
* 1/2 cup of walnuts
* 3-5 Tablespoons Butter
* More Butter
* Syrup

Mix together dry ingredients in large bowl.

Mix together milk, eggs, and vanilla in a separate bowl.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, stirring until just combined.

Melt butter and add it to the batter.

Cook on a greased skillet until golden brown.

Apply syrup. I will not judge you if you pour it on.

pancakes inspired by ree drummond's recipe...thank you lovely cook!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

my great love of basil

i'm having a bit of a moment with pesto. we've been having moments like these my whole life. they are sweet, tangy, and passionate. i love pesto.

hope you all enjoy this simple scrumptuous recipe:

4 cups basil leaves, well packed
4 cloves garlic, lightly crushed and peeled
1 cup pine nuts or walnuts (or a combination of the two)
1-1/2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino cheese (or a combination of the two)
1-1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

magic tips: i prefer to use walnuts and for extra special flare add a tablespoon of honey. trust me, it's incredible.

also, if you're a vegan you don't have to run like the wind from this one. just take out the cheese and add some more nuts. it's a fabulous vegan treat.

shiver me timbers

today my office is freezing. our cooler is on over drive to compensate for the heat wave. it's a pleasant break from the scorching sun. i'm drinking hot cocoa and dreaming about winter.

if any of you are similarly chilly and wanting something sweet and hot try the best hot cocoa recipe!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

mid year check in

it is not the new years, but given we've just finished the steamy month of july i'm thinking that i'd like to commit to some basic concepts in the next six months and it helps to put them in writing. let's see how i do...

1. do something active everyday.
2. eat more vegetables and bake more pie.
3. conquer my debt/money phobias methodically.
4. make art weekly.
5. go swimming more.
6. organize my grad school process.
7. Practice this.
8. practice photography and writing.

ready, set, go!!!

what are your mid-year goals?



today i went swimming in a lake. i'm an ocean girl and comically the state park dubbed the softened dirt area adjacent to the lake as a "beach". i scoffed judgmentally at this affront to true beaches. internally i thought, "oh how disappointing to not be at the 'real' beach." for those of you who know me i have an abnormal love of the ocean.

as i sat down on the beach and the gentle mountain breeze danced around me a great deal of my weekly stress melted away. i plunged my toes into the lake water thinking that it might not be quite as satisfying as immersing myself in the salty wondrous ocean, but was pleasantly surprised. the cold rocky mountain water shocked me right out of my coastal judgments. i was delighted by the way the water took me in and realized the absurdity of me placing judgment or attributing disappointment to this lovely lake. how ridiculous was it that i was projecting negative feelings on a body of water that has no obligation to the world besides for existing fluidly in its natural location.

while swimming in the lake and realizing that perhaps my love of water is not sea bound, i reflected on forgiveness. i work in mental health and everyday speak with so many people who have suffered greatly and often unjustly. their lives and dilemmas are nuanced, yet it seems that there is a simple line separating those who can move on and thrive vs. those who cannot move beyond their issues. the bottom line seems to be forgiveness.

the twisted roots of resilience are fed by forgiveness. are we able to forgive people who have wronged us? are we able to let go of disappointment and anger? when confronted with even the simplest of experiences, like my encounter with soda lake, can we unbind ourselves from our judgments and let the experience wash over us? when a disease is eating away at our very physical being can we fight it with dedication and drive without being consumed by hatred and resentment? can we forgive world systems that oppress us or those we love while still advocating against them? can we be forgiven? perhaps most importantly, can we forgive ourselves for self-elements that are disappointing or unsavory? can we be healers?

these are big questions. these are cliche questions.these are very real questions. there is not a simple answer to any of them. some days i wake up and am quite good at letting go and being open to what life brings me. some days i throw little internal tantrums and feel that i must deserve some large prize for my trivial issues. i think most days i just do my best to embrace the people, images, and ideas in my life since it's a pretty precious experience to be living.

the stanford univeristy forgiveness project studies how the ability to let go and make peace with the various troubles in our lives promotes not only mental health, but cardiovascular health as well. although holding anger and entitlement seems to be a natural, it is not healthy for us.

i do not have the answer about how to forgive or how to move forward. all i know is that it requires a great deal of honesty and dedication to breathing deeply, to seeing what is amazing in your life, to empathizing with others, and to doing something that adds a little beauty to your community.

that is all for now. thanks for reading the stream of consciousness post. wishing everyone out there a healthy heaping dose of forgiveness pie...

photos: from another stress releiving trip i took to the denver botanical gardens this week...

summer garden stir fry=biscuit and gravy antidote

the colorado summer heat and afternoon rainstorms have helped me a grow a healthy summer veggie garden. this weekend i decided to apologize to my stomach for biscuit friday by making a colorful concoction.

if you are looking for a festive and easy dish, this one might be for you.

brown rice
summer squash (green, yellow)
tomatoes (as many types as you like)
garlic (to taste)
olive oil
eggplant (japanese or greek)
fresh basil
fresh oregano
fresh mint

first steps

take the eggplant and slice it into thin strips. lay the strips out and put salt on
them. this draws out the bitter tannins (let them sit with salt for 30 minutes).

chop the squash into thin discs and let sit. slice larger tomatoes down and leave cherry tomatoes intact (dish tastes especially good with yellow boy and brandywine tomatoes)

dice the garlic and onions. heat olive oil and saute the garlic and onions. keep them at a low heat from around 15-20 minutes until caramelized.

slice chicken into thin strips. brown and cook with some of the already cooked onions and garlic.

at the same time add the squash and eggplants to the onion and garlic mix (will need too frying pans for this dish). let them cook without water for about five minutes. then add a splash of water to the mix and turn down the heat to a 4 and cover the pan. stir about every three minutes and add black pepper.

add salt and pepper to the chicken and right before it finishes add fresh basil, oregano, and mint. also throw in the tomatoes. let the concoction stew in the chicken juices at a low heat for around 5 minutes.

the vegetable dish should take about 10 minutes after you add water and cover it. make sure the eggplant is thoroughly cooked.

add the chicken to the vegetables and sprinkle salt on the top. add another handful of fresh basil and mint. serve by itself or over brown rice and...wha la...dinner is served!

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