Archive for December, 2009

Ginger Muffins

Posted by laura on Dec 17 2009 | Tasty

This afternoon, the combined effects of a crawling post office line (bad) and a bike ride home in a soft grey rain (good) left the kids and me in need of a serious snack. Fortunately, the other day I tried out a new recipe for ginger muffins from Cooks Illustrated.


Take two of these with a mug of hot chocolate, and call me in the morning. Problems solved.

no comments for now


Posted by laura on Dec 14 2009 | Fun

A weekend ago, on Saturday morning, Honey decided to make some scrambled eggs.


She started out with just your basic eggs and milk and some grated cheese. Then she decided it needed some tomato, and as I passed through the kitchen on the way to my room I saw her dart to the fridge, saying, “I know what this needs! Some spinach!” A little salt and pepper later and she had a fine breakfast. It was a little soupy, but boy did it taste great.

After that we headed into the city to meet up with our friends Amy and Scott and their two children, who were in town for the weekend from LA. We met up at the Warming Hut at Chrissy Fields, which is one of the best spots in the entire city, as far as I’m concerned. Nestled right at the southern base of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Warming Hut is a café and store that supports the Golden Gate National Parks (Chrissy Field being one of those parks). It’s the perfect spot for a cup of cocoa and a sandwich while you take in a spectacular view of the bridge, the city and the bay.

There’s a pier where you can fish and catch crabs, and the kids always love walking out to see if anyone’s had any luck. That Saturday, This dude was checking everybody out -


I’m telling you this guy was like the pier mafia. He was half as big as Hot Wheels, and if you looked at him too long he’d come strutting over, all “Are you lookin at me? You got somethin you gotta say? I didn’t think so.”


See what I mean? Don’t let the perspective fool you – he only looks smaller because he’s farther away. Back away slowly, Hot Wheels, do not make eye contact.

no comments for now

Salad of the Month

Posted by laura on Dec 13 2009 | Tasty


I met this persimmon salad at Pizzeria Delfina in San Francisco, and I’ll admit my first impression was that it was a bit fresh. In a good way, fortunately.

Let me start with a quick word about the restaurant – wow. Ha! Now here are a few more words: the staff hit the perfect balance of welcoming and professional, and the food was bright, creative and incredibly delicious. Every once in a while my mind flicks up an image from that meal, like a slide, and I’m back – sitting with good friends, watching mozzarella turn from a doughy mess into a soft balls, listening to the sounds of a restaurant filled with happy diners, taking my first bite of this salad.

Ok I’m back. Obviously, if you want the real deal, you should go straight to the source (come on, East Coasters, we have a spare room), but for a cheat that will still make you incredibly happy, here’s how it goes:

First you get some arugula – if possible the nice, small kind. Add some baby spinach if you’d like a slightly bigger salad and the arugula is overwhelming. (That’s what I did in the one pictured above.) Slice in a Fuyu persimmon and some Ricotta Salata. Toss lightly with meyer lemon olive oil and a little salt and fresh ground pepper. Then you’re going to want to be sitting down, because the first bite will knock your socks off. Where has this salad been all your life?

1 comment for now

Another Bike Post

Posted by laura on Dec 11 2009 | Awesome, Bicycle, Fun, School

Here are three fun biking events from the past two weeks:

1. Family Ride to Tiburon

Over Thanksgiving weekend, we finally took a great ride that we’d been planning forever with our friends Rik and Sherri and their two awesome kids. We went from Mill Valley to Tiburon on a clear and windy Saturday afternoon. The ride was amazing; only one challenging hill and mostly beautiful bike path, tons of people out enjoying the day, stunning views of the bay and the city to the south. Everything went smoothly and the kids all had a fantastic time. We stopped at Waypoint pizza and got the back room all to ourselves – the food was made even more tasty by our ride beforehand. After we ate, we admired the view for a bit before heading back home.


Tom has this great app called Runkeeper on his iPhone which tracks all the stats on your adventures – distance, time, pace and even elevation – using the phone’s gps. Here’s the screen for our return ride from Tiburon:


How awesome is that?! The kids loved checking out the route and looking at the elevation chart – speed certainly is variable when your riders range from six to, well, you know, more than six. I love the information design on these screens – they’re easy to read and beautiful to look at. So satisfying. All in all, it was an incredible day.

2. Walk and Wheel Wednesdays

As I’ve mentioned here before, I put in a small amount of time for the Safe Routes to School committee at our kids’ elementary school. One of the ways we’re trying to build participation in the program is to encourage a weekly walk/wheel/carpool to school day. We try to drum up enthusiasm for the whole idea by putting up posters and a table at the school entrance on the first Wednesday of each month. Whole Foods was good enough to give us some bags of granola to hand out to the students, and we’ve been stamping hands to show they participated. However, we’ve been struggling to come up with other ways to get the message out without printing up hundreds of flyers that will just be tossed when the kids go home after school.

Last week, I started thinking about edible advertising. So I bought a couple bags of cuties and some food markers and put the message right on the clementines.


They had faces on one side, and “Walk & Wheel Wednesdays” on the other. It was fun watching the kids trying to decide which face to choose, and I think they worked pretty well. Anyone out there have other ideas? I’d love to hear them.


3. Xtra Clean

I’ve carried lots of fun things with my xtracycle.


I love having a bike that can carry my vacuum cleaner.

6 comments for now

Think Back

Posted by laura on Dec 07 2009 | Fun, Holiday

Well kids, it looks like we have some catching up to do. All the way back to Thanksgiving, if you can believe that. Do you remember Thanksgiving? I know it’s hard to think with all the carols of the bells ringing in your ears from every store you entered this week, but see what you can come up with. My favorite line from this Thanksgiving came from our neighbor, who is eight. That Wednesday, he strolled over to us outside our house with his hands in his pockets and casually asked, “Where are you guys going for Disneyland?” It’s difficult to describe the “aw shoot!” moment when he realized he’d blown the reveal. We just glossed over it, though, and focused on how excited we were for him.

Turns out we went to Burlingame for Disneyland this year. We’d made plans with our friends from LA to meet along the coast for Thanksgiving, but then it turned out we were all hoping to head to the snow this year, and in the end we decided to meet after Christmas instead. So on a whim, we searched the prices of every Embassy Suites in the Bay Area, and came up with a scorcher of a deal down by the airport, and we decided to just go there for the night. We didn’t tell the kids because we really love watching their faces when they get surprised.

Thanksgiving morning, Tom and Honey did a Turkey Trot – about four miles through the valley to the beach and back. While they were gone, I surreptitiously packed the necessities – a board game, some movies, snacks, and a changes of clothes. We stopped in San Francisco to have lunch at a diner and walk around a bit, and then we headed down to the hotel. When we pulled up and Tom said, “What do you say we stay here tonight?” the kids went bazonkers. And rightly so – it was awesome.


Yep, there were these mammoth trees filling the atrium of the building. There were glass elevators. There was a pool and two jacuzzis. There were koi swimming around in these little ponds and streams that you could walk along to watch them.


Check that out – do you see the little tables and bridges? Can you find the waterfall? Any second now, Snow White will appear.

This is what I’m here to tell you – hotels rock. So do overnights when the kids can basically do all the things they love best in the world. We were right next to the airport, for crying out loud – we just sat on the bed and watched the planes come in. Most of all we were hugely, happily thankful to be together. I hope you all had a wonderful time as well – I’d love to hear what your favorite Thanksgiving foods are. Hands down, mine is apple pie. Although I made Mum’s sweet dinner rolls that week as well just because it’s plain wrong to have a major holiday without them. What makes Thanksgiving for you?

2 comments for now