On Sunday evening, I had the honor of hosting a small birthday celebration for a dear friend of mine.

It started with fresh veggies and dip.


And a bottle of prosecco.


The main event was, but of course, macaroni and cheese. Made by none other than VoraciousGirl herself.



It was delicious. Note: This was just the first serving. We all went back for seconds.

Lorraine sprinkled a delightful salt from Secret Stash Sea Salts on the mac 'n' cheese.


Then we quartered and shared four lovely cupcakes from Trophy that Nora picked up.



It was not hard to eat them all.


Happy Birthday Susanna!

The Woodland Park Zoo

I took my Little Sister to the zoo on Friday. I've been wanting to go all summer, and with the impending seasonal change (it is fall now, isn't it?) the timing was perfect. The weather was ideal.

I picked her up after school and we went and got some bubble tea. Boy does she love her bubble tea! But then, as an occasional treat, so do I. I had lavender with tapioca. She had vanilla with tapioca.

We got to the zoo at about 5:00. I was a little worried that they'd be closing soon and we wouldn't be able to see everything. On the contrary, it was perfect timing. They let people in until 6:00, but you don't have to leave the grounds until 7. Two hours turned out to be just enough time to do one quick lap around the zoo.

I know there are often free tickets circulating for the zoo. They have a $2 off coupon pretty much all of the time. But, it turns out, they were offering $4 off on Fridays after 4:00 pm. Fun!

I have a few favorite photos from the zoo.

This baby gorilla put on quite a show for us. The angle was hard to shoot, but you can just tell he was adorable, right?


I remember when the flamingo campaign started. I actually thought it was for Dexter. It wasn't until I looked it up online that I realized I was seeing pink splatter.

Anyway, they were, indeed, quite pink.



Isn't this little guy cute?


We became fast friends with some emus.



This bear kept us entertained for awhile. Check out those teeth!


Look at his grin. Much less threatening when the teeth aren't showing!


We didn't get a chance to see the baby snow leopards, and quite a few of the animals were asleep. But it was totally worth it going on a Friday afternoon. No crowds. Few people in general. No waits. Just us and the animals.

Although this guy made me sad...


He was looking at us, looking at him.

St Germain Chapagne Lemon Rosemary Sorbet

Last Sunday, my dear friend Lorraine invited me to a boozy desserts party. Unfortunately, I overextended myself the day before and was too exhausted to be social. So, even though I had spent Friday making my mixture for the dessert I had planned to contribute, I bailed.

I recently bought a bottle of St. Germain. If you haven't tried it, I can't recommend it enough. Most liqueurs are too sweet for me, but St Germain mixed with a little sparkling water and a squeeze of lemon is just delightful. If you like subtle hints of flowery flavors, then you very well might fall in love with the elderflower taste of St Germain.

There aren't a lot of recipes on the internet that include St Germain, so I searched for some with limoncello. I found many results similar to this, which inspired my recipe.

St Germain, lemons and Cristalino, extra dry.

I decided a little additional herb would be nice, so I picked just a little bit of fresh rosemary from our community herb garden at my condo.

Fresh rosemary and lemon.

I put sugar, water, rosemary, and lemon zest into my simple syrup.

Rosemary lemon syrup

Then I juiced lemons.


I strained the lemon juice and the simple syrup and added champagne and St Germain. I love that those two beverages rhyme. The sound lovely together and taste lovely together.

I chilled the concoction and then began the freezing process in my ice cream maker. I added 2 egg whites to make it creamy. I put it in this container to let it freeze harder.

St Germain Champagne Lemon Rosemary Sorbet

Served in a small dish and garnished with a little rosemary, this would make a lovely pallet cleanser. Or just a refreshing dessert.

St Germain Champagne Lemon Rosemary Sorbet

Repost and some new thoughts on Fall

It's been strange transitioning into fall with this bizarre warm weather. This is also my first fall transition in my new condo/'hood. For my 5 years in the Queen Anne house, I marked changes in the season from spring into summer, and then summer into fall with the opening and closing of a window.

I lived on the top floor of an old house, facing west. In the winter, it would get frigid. Even if I wanted fresh air, I couldn't bare opening the window. Summer, in contrast, meant my room was a good 10-20 degrees hotter than the rest of the house. It was awful. Window open, blinds shut for the duration of the summer months. Staying up late in the living room, waiting until I was super tired to ascend into the oven that was my room.

I have noticed conversations about changing seasons. People are getting their pumpkin spice lattes, but the weather has still been in the 80s! I know I'm not the only one a little out of sorts. I'm noticing the sun setting a little earlier. There's a chill in the evenings that wasn't there a few weeks ago. But the leaves still look pretty darn green.

This morning I woke up to gray skies and a chill that wasn't there a few weeks ago. The marine layer burned off, but it's a sign of things to come.

I'm saying good-bye to flip-flops and sandals. Good-bye to being able to leave my jacket at home. Good-bye to iced beverages.

I'm saying hello to layers, sweaters, boots, corduroy, plaid and lots and lots of wool.

Ok. I guess that's being a little dramatic. The beautiful thing about living in Seattle is... it's mild. We usually don't get too hot. And we usually don't get too cold. Which is why we freak out and complain when it snows or gets above 100 degrees. Actually, we complain when it merely frosts and gets above a breezy 75 degrees.

I saw some ad on TV in the last couple days where there's a guy standing in Seattle with the Space Needle in the back drop. And there's rain. But it looks fake. Because it's POURING. That's something that always gets me in movies, TV shows, etc set in Seattle. It really rarely pours here. We get less rain than many other major cities. Our annual total averages 37.1 inches per year. New York gets 46.2 inches. But, we get more cloudy days. 201 per year for us vs. 152 per year in New York.

We get the drizzle. The gray. And the drizzle.

Alas. I'll be breaking out my slippers when my concrete floors become too cold for my bare feet in the morning. I'll be wearing my REI rain jacket, with the hood up, as I walk to work. I might even bust out an umbrella on occasion, but that's not what real Seattleites do. I am looking forward to curling up more with good books. Cooking more soups and stews. Drinking more porters, stouts and red wine. Baking more. And going to the gym more! I mean, come on, what else am I gonna do when it starts getting dark at 5?

I can't wait to take my Little Sister to a pumpkin patch. To run around in a corn maze and get our shoes muddy.

And now... some reflection.

from September 19, 2007:
Signs of Fall
I saw my first leaf fall a few weeks ago. But I ignored it. Last week was still lovely.

But today I'm wearing a sweater for the third day in a row.

I almost closed my bedroom window this morning. As I've said before, I open it sometime in May and leave it open for the entire summer.

Buffalo Bill's Pumpkin Ale is being featured at Whole Foods today.

I'm enjoying an amazing Blackberry Cider. (Not hard cider, silly)

And on that note, a poem I wrote a few years ago about the fall...


With a harsh wind, but a gentle rustle, Autumn permits us to recoil into a courtship with comfort. She paints warm colors to help us transition into the death of winter. She allows us to build fires and turn the thermostat up a few notches. She is the school teacher in a denim jumper over a rainbow-striped shirt. She wears wool knee socks and sweater vests with atrocious patterns. She allows us to go to bed early and wear over-sized fleece sweats. She encourages us to wrap up in a down blanket and read a good book, or watch bad television. She is gracious as she dries the leaves and she is sweet in her thunderstorms. She raises our necklines, and layers us in casseroles and pot roasts and stew. She blows the whistle at recess, while we kick mud. She bakes brownies and chocolate chip cookies and apple crisp.

-Noelle, October 1, 2005

Thinking about the future of Seattle...

I really enjoyed this morning's ULI Seattle breakfast: The City in 2050: The Infrastructure of Innovation.

The speakers included: the Washington State governor from 1965-1977, Daniel J. Evans - Wonderful speaker - Here's a man who lead this state before I was born, and I felt like I could relate to what he said more than many current government leaders; David Brewster, and Uwe Brandes.

The entire breakfast was motivational and challenging. I really appreciated the message of citizen leadership that echoed during the discussion. (A conversation I could have listened to all day.)

A few interesting thoughts...

By the year 2050, it is projected that Seattle will absorb the equivalent of the entire population of Portland, OR. Imagine everyone in Portland getting in their cars, hopping on buses, trains and planes, and coming here. And staying.

When Metro was first proposed to this region, it was considered Communist. Just sayin'.

Second only to Austin, Seattle has a very high population of more recent transplants. Trying to find the exact stat online - not successful yet. This doesn't surprise me. I often find myself the only person in a group of people who is from here. I can only name a handful of other people who fit this description.

On a similar train of thought... Seattle used to be where people stayed. They had experienced bigger cities and smaller cities and found Seattle to be "just right." Now, Seattle is a "first city." We attract college graduates, who aren't necessarily tied down here.

Our world population is at a threshold - there are more people living in urban environments than rural.

All of these thoughts shape how we govern. There was talk of "de-centralizing" city government, and, although it seems paradoxical, perhaps we will see a renaissance in political involvement. The idea is to promote district/neighborhood level leadership.... hmmm...

It also shapes how we plan and build the future city of Seattle. How we create neighborhoods that discourage driving and offer people what they need. How we allow people to age in place.

The take away from this morning's breakfast is The City in 2050: Creating Blueprints for Change. I'm excited to read it.

Mashed Potatoes with Leeks. Steamed Rainbow Chard

As I've mentioned before, I've been loving having a small box of New Roots produce delivered every other Monday. I love that it's mostly local and organic (occasionally they will arrange to have produce sent up from California when it isn't in season here.) It forces me to prepare and eat many vegetables I may not be in the regular habit of eating. It's convenient and nutritious.

The challenge is that we lead fairly busy schedules. I find solace in cooking, but I get off work a little later than many. And one of us has soccer 3 nights a week. Which typically means smaller, lighter dinners. Don't want to run around for 90 minutes on a full stomach. And don't want to eat a big meal too late.

Last night was a perfect example of this. Jed went to soccer and I wanted something simple. My mission was to basically only eat New Roots vegetables. Not a problem.

Leeks and taters.  In a bowl.

I had 3 potatoes and some leeks from my sister-in-law. (Yep, it came with the eggplant!) I lightly peeled (I like a little skin left in) the potatoes and boiled them in water.

I sliced the leeks, focusing on keeping the whiter parts.

Sliced leeks.

Then I sautéed them with some butter in a skillet.

Sautéing leeks.

I mashed them with some sour cream.

Mashin taters.  With Leek.  And Sour Cream.

They went nicely with the steamed rainbow chard, sea salt and fresh ground pepper.

Leek Mashed Potatoes and Rainbow Chard.

Simple. Filling. Nothing fancy, but a very satisfying little meal.

I am...

excited to:

refinance my loan.
attend counter uncorked.
attend a ULI bfast.
play soccer.
attend a few political forums.
attend the seattle chamber lunch.
take rosy to the woodland park zoo.
see baby snow leopards at the zoo.
pick up freshly laminated art.
receive a couple impsandmonsters prints in the mail.
boat around lake union while learning fun historical facts.
participate in the Bridge Talks Back.
celebrate our new website launch.
attend a WCV breakfast.
spend a weekend in leavenworth.
go to thailand.

Baba Ghanoush

We had my brother and sister-in-law over for dinner a couple weeks ago. We had eggplant in our New Roots box that week, so we made a simple dish: sliced eggplant, broiled, with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. Over risotto. And we had a side of steamed spinach. Lisanna brought over a leek and an eggplant.

And then I got another eggplant in the next New Roots delivery.

Fresh eggplant.

Time to make Baba Ghanoush!

If you know me well, you know I don't really like to follow recipes (or directions.) I think of recipes as inspiration, not a set of rules.

I roasted the two eggplants in the oven for about 20 minutes at 450 degrees.

Roasting in the oven.

You know they're done when they come our all wrinkly. Like a big, purple Sharpei.

Wrinkled eggplant skin.

I probably could have left them in the oven a tad longer (but dinner was ready and I didn't want to be a slave to the oven while I ate.)

I split the eggplant in half and scooped out the fleshy innards of it. Meanwhile, I juiced two lemons and mixed in a clove of minced garlic, a teaspoon of sea salt and a couple big spoonfuls of tahini. I also added a little chipotle chile powder. I may add more to taste.

Eggplant meat.

Put it all in the food processor. (I like black Kitchenaid, what can I say?)

Food processing.

The finished product is a light brown color, smooth and tastes awesome on pita chips!

Baba Ghanoush

A continuation of writing

Last night I gathered with lovely ladies to imbibe lovely beverages and eat amazing food and discuss a book I hadn't read.

Yes, I was totally that girl who went to book club and never even got my hands on the book. But the amazing Lorna hosted. Everything she described in the evite sounded (and was indeed) divine.

I've come to realize just how much I love pork belly. So. Good.

It was a room of people who embrace social media. Twitter this. Facebook that. Oh, and blogging.

I haven't been blogging much lately.

Why? So many reasons. And I vow, at this very moment, not to make this post your typical, "I never write and I need to write, so now I'm gonna write more," post. Because even when I've been blogging a whole heckuva lot, I still am inconsistent. Sometimes I'm inspired to write multiple posts a day. Sometimes I'm just not feeling it, or don't have time for days on end.

I started this specific blog when I moved closer to downtown. And I L.O.V.E. living where I live. I'm actually very content with my life in general these days. Work is going really well. Love life is dandy. Social life is fluttering along. I don't feel like a total newbie on the soccer field. I ran (mostly) my first 10K in August. I'm planning a trip to Thailand in November. I have the coolest Little Sister ever. Sounders won the US Open Cup and are still contenders for MLS playoffs. Life is good.

I think I've (yet again) tried to pigeonhole my writing and find a purpose. Let's face it. I'm not one of those bloggers. I'm not going to try a new recipe every day. I love food, but am not a food blogger. I love films, but I'm not a film blogger. I love Seattle and SLU, but this isn't about what's happening in those areas either. Go to Seattlest, Daily Candy, etc for that. I'm not looking to replicate.

I'm looking to write.

And, in a perfect world, avoid coming across as completely narcissistic.

I'm also playing around a lot more with photography. There's a deep satisfaction I get when I capture something the way I was hoping to. When my vision and reality synchronize. So look forward to more visuals.

Anyway, since this is just me waxing poetic about waxing poetic, I'll stop for now. Next on the agenda is to... write. More.