rustic-tarts-sarah-jio

Since this summer was completely swallowed up and eaten by the Great Big Real Estate Monster, I’m thinking back, fondly, to last summer (well, spring actually) when I made these amazing rustic fruit tarts for my editor at Hallmark magazine. The project: A big food feature centered around a progressive dinner (remember those from the 80’s?) that was photographed in my home and neighborhood. Hallmark sent out their production crew (including stylists and a makeup artist, which was so fun and yet kind of a trip–they put makeup on my husband even!) to photograph the event, which was a ton of fun. Too bad the issue of the magazine that this was slated to appear in was at the press exactly when Hallmark decided to pull the plug on the magazine and shut it down due to economic woes. Oh well. I’ll always have these tarts to show for myself. Recipe follows…



pancakes-beauty-shot

On a sunny afternoon walk with the boys today, we stopped to check out my friend Annette’s garden (remember her–the one who turned her entire front yard into a city farm and introduced me to the amazingness that is French sorrel?). Carson, my 2 year old went wild for her three big orange pumpkins sprawling out onto the sidewalk. (He whispered in my ear, “I want to eat them.” The kid is on an eating kick. He wants to eat everything. More on that in another post.)

Annette sent us home with on gargantuan zucchini, an acorn squash (which is too beautiful to eat, I’ve decided) and a genius idea that I can’t believe I’ve never thought to try. Her 3 year old,  she said, goes through picky-eating stages. Lately, all he wants is pancakes! So, she makes big batches of homemade (and of course, healthy!) pancakes and then freezes them in batches. All you have to do is pluck one out of a Ziplock bag and toss it in the toaster. Brilliant, right? So you know what I did? I walked straight home and made pancakes. Here’s a recipe for the most satisfying little whole-wheat banana-cinnamon pancakes and photos of my pancake-crazed afternoon…



pumpkin-final

So first I tell you about my fall fashion faves, and now I’m blabbering on about autumnal things again. Think I’m ready for a season change? After the long and windy road of this summer (which will forever be known as The Summer of Real Estate), the answer is yes. As I’m writing tonight, I have my office window propped open here in Seattle, and there’s a cool breeze spilling in–cool as in, it has a little bite to it. I love it. Don’t get me wrong, I think summer is fine, but I absolutely love fall. The sweaters. The leaves. The wood-burning fire smell. The pumpkins. The pumpkin-spice muffins, lattes (P.S. They’ve just arrived at Starbucks!), well, anything pumpkin-flavored. Squash, of all kinds. Fall TV shows. Slower-paced evenings. Candle light. Soup. Apples and cinnamon. The countdown to Christmas. Rain boots. Scarves. I’ll take them all. (I’m not alone, other bloggers seem to be bitten by fall too, like Stephanie, who keeps the beautiful blog Nie Nie Dialogues). More ramblings, and an update…



uniform-scarfI work at home (code for: I can stay in my pajamas all day if I want to), and have two little boys (code for: life gets messy), so I tend to dress casual–a lot. Actually, casual is an understatement most days. So, I’ve been feeling the need to update my daily “uniform,” and I think I’m going to wear a variation of this comfy and belly-flattering outfit a lot in the autumn months ahead. What do you think?



0821-bakingDo you remember that episode of Gray’s Anatomy when Izzie’s terminally ill boyfriend dies, which sends her into a craze where she bakes muffins all day every day for about a week in order to cope? OK, I’m not quite there, but I’ve been baking a lot–brownies, cookies, zucchini bread, muffins, and these amazing black bottom cupcakes (recipe to follow) that I turn to now and then when things aren’t going so well. Truth is, nobody’s dying here. Everyone’s healthy, we have jobs (and frankly, I have too much work). And we have a roof over our heads–a nice roof, which covers a pretty darn nice house (time to be grateful!). But you know when you dream a big dream and it doesn’t pan out the way you hoped? It’s tough.



The thing that always makes everything just a little bit better after a long and difficult day? For me it's so simple: a hot cup of peppermint tea with a generous drizzle of honey. I don't know how, but it always--without fail--does the trick for me. It's like a spa in a cup. Ahhhhhh. That's all. [Photo: thebittenword]