As soon as it was time to put away the ornaments and leftover wrapping paper, the stores had their shelves stocked with tempting treats for the next holiday on our calendar, Valentine’s Day . I was honestly shocked when I walked into Target in the 1st few days of the New Year and saw all things pink, red, and sweet lining the aisles already. As a result, I have spent the past few weeks wondering what Valentine’s Day craft I might want to do. Quick, cheap, cute, and kid-friendly were all adjectives I wanted to hit with this project. So, when I looked at several new flour sack kitchen towels I had received for the holidays, I thought why not decorate some of our own using the whimsical method we all remember from our own childhoods, potato stamps.
Cold, wet days often call for warm, comforting, rich food. However, when your mood needs a boost let your taste buds be invigorated by a burst of sweet, tangy citrus. As I mentioned in last week’s post about preserving lemons, I have always found the contrast between the darkness of winter and the bright citrus flavors that peak at this time of year a confusing paradox. So while I work to get over it and invite these flavors into my winter cooking and eating regime, I look to the below for inspiration.
On a recent cold & drizzly Saturday morning I checked off my first goal on my “Things To Do In Oakland in 2016” list. I attended a walk hosted by Oakland Urban Paths through the streets of what was once a town that sat next door to Oakland, named Brooklyn. As our city has moved to the forefront of the national stage recently, there have been numerous comparisons to New York City’s neighboring borough, Brooklyn. I am going to bow out of the “my town is cooler” debate and find humor in the irony that the 2 town names once sat side-by-side on a map.
It’s cold, grey, and barren outside. Yet as I walk the streets, I see bright pops of orange and yellow in yards all over the neighborhood. It has always been an interesting contradiction to me. The bright, color-filled, fresh flavors that we associate with warm summer days, actually peak in the depth and dark of winter. Magazines, blogs, and cookbooks abound with ideas on how to bring the sweet tartness of citrus to your winter dining room table. My family and I have been blessed with a Meyer Lemon tree in our yard. While I look forward to this time of year when I can pop outside anytime I need a lemon, I also know their arrival means I have work to do. While it is one thing to walk the aisle at the store and pick up a few tangerines, lemons, or blood oranges, what does one do when hundreds arrive and are at your disposal?
El Nino is here. Our days are filled with clouds, rain, and an occasional punctuation of sun. We can’t complain, it’s what we need. So lets focus on ways to enjoy these dreary days. A bookstore and a warm, indulgent sandwich were the ways my sister and I chose to spend a recent cold & cloudy Friday. I was in need of a new book to read, so a trip downtown provided the opportunity to pop into Laurel Bookstore’s new home in the historical Lionel J. Wilson Building. A stroll through the neighborhood then took us to Stags Lunchette; a cozy little spot serving up oozy deliciousness in sandwich form.
Happy New Year! 2016…Holy Cow.
It is always interesting to turn our heads and hearts towards a new year. A new year offers you a chance to reflect on where you are in life; it is an opportune time to consider any “course corrections” that may be in order. 2015 was a mixed bag for me. It was full of challenging times as I continued to learn how to navigate being a mom to not just one, but two. It was a successful year for me with my own eating and exercise hurdles. It was the year that this website was born.