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I've been blogging over at Our Sleeping Flowers these days. Still me, and still delicious, come join me!

It may just be me but it seems as though the last dozen holidays have sprung up on me like old photos of my junior year in high school. I have been unprepared and ill fitted for their arrival, then I am scrambling at the last moment to pull things together so I don't seem surprised/embarrassed. More often than not I just brush the few preparations I have done aside and let things happen as they will, and for the most part I do like spontaneity.

Our nation's Independence day is coming up, only days away, and here I am sharing with you something completely unrelated. It's not a thematic salute to my lovely country, or a colorfully patriotic goodie to share at your holiday bar-be-que. I'm not even sharing an actual meal with you; just a snack I made up to imitate (and transcend) something I saw in a bulk bin at the market. Just a nibble; but a good nibble.

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Let me tell you about my twin. Did you know I have a twin? We are not identical, nor are we fraternal. We share a birthday (she's older by maybe twelve hours) and although we were born to different families, different cultures, and in different states, we are twins nonetheless. We were tomboys together in elementary school, survived and supported each other through those painfully awkward years of middle school, and through high school we flirted, danced, and started the transition from silly girls to even sillier women. Even though through the college years we talked less and less, and only saw each other during spring break and christmas vacation, we would always pick up right where we left off. I would say she is my best friend, but she's not; she's really my sister.

She was married today. Have I mentioned? I love weddings.

It was a day full of happy tears, a day I will remember almost as well as my own wedding day. She married a wonderful man, the kind of man that after fifty years will still look at her with the same tenderness as he did today. The people surrounding us were beloved and old friends, and as you may have guessed, there was food involved. However, it was secondary to the company and the reason we were celebrating.  It wouldn't have really mattered what was served, only that everyone we loved were together sharing in the joy of a new family.

It can't always be about the food.

I have been enjoying having my newest cookbook, although I have yet to actually follow a recipe. However I have made a number of meals inspired by the ingredient lists, photos and general meal ideas in the book. Arrogant of me, I know. As I read through each recipe I hear Ina herself, calmly walking me through each step, giving me a personal lesson on how things should be prepared. I can even visualize myself accomplishing each step with loveliness reminiscent of her own. Then in reality, after I've completely disregarded her instructions and skipped corners so I can have dinner finished in half the time to temper a fussy baby, or finish the dishes from breakfast, or feed the babe something other than rice cakes, Ina lovingly assures me that my way was probably the better way in the end.

But let's face it, I'm only talking to myself.

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speaking of, did you notice the new blog header?

so i kind of really wanted to attend this class.
i think it's pretty awesome harmon's offers culinary classes. love it actually.
i am intrigued in the titles of the demonstration recipes, as well as the other classes they offer. i would really love to attend this one or this one. the prices are awesome, and let's be honest, that photo just makes me hungry.

Who says camp food has to be rugged and wrapped in foil? This lovely tart brings beauty and delicacy to the wild outdoors. It’d be perfect paired with your best set of camping lace and china. You do have one of those, don't you? Tarte tatin is traditionally an upside down apple tart, named after its inventor, the Tatin sisters, who ran a hotel in the Sologne region in France at the turn of the century. This version is much the same with its light crispy crust but instead it highlights the fruit of summer, peaches. This is a vegan recipe, and cooked indoors with a stove, but you can easily use non-vegan versions of the ingredients called for and cook it over a fire/hot coals. Regardless how you make it, this is a delicious dessert; or breakfast, if you swing that way.

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I was so busy saturday afternoon I only took a handful of pictures after {almost} everyone was gone, only a few clothed tables were left standing, and I was ready for a nap. The babe made a new friend {not the goat} and they were inseparable the entire day, except naptime. Little Hannah really was the best baby sitter there could ever be. I got to talk to wonderful people, make some new friends, and of course came home with an increased excitement for the growing season and a nice tan; the farm version to be precise, I should have known.

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For some reason I have been having a difficult time getting my groove back, but I think today's ventures helped dissipate it perfectly.

Yesterday evening I got a call from the always enchanting Melissa who asked if I could do her a favor by presenting a recipe at a special day at the farm that Jacob's Cove Heritage Farm is having this saturday. I was planning on attending anyway since I am one of thier CSA members, but to participate was an even better idea. Really, she was doing me the favor.

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How is your summer so far? It's not official for another week and a half but the evidence is everywhere, cool grass between my toes, the first of the season's best produce, angry summer rainstorms, painted toes, bike riders donning sandals, the 'ting' of baseball bats, shouts of neighborhood children playing outside, the dibble of watering lawns, smell of char, sharing watermelon halves, and blooming summer roses beneath the front window. Yep, it's here.

check out my post on the zupas website today, a recipe for pineapple lemonade. It's a sweet little version of the classic and perfect for a summer's day, or evening.

have a lovely, sunny weekend.

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I have a list of things I look for when I go thrifting; here are a few of them. When I stumble upon one of these for a price I can't refuse, I can't wait to take my new found treasure home and start using it. Most of them are related to food, so I figured I could share it in this space.

They may be trash to someone else, but they are treasures to me.

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we are on vacation this week in sunny california. So far we have already spent a morning picking home fresh marion berries and doing yardwork, an afternoon reading in the sun, took a bikeride down to old sac, spent another afternoon under the trees eating freshly picked bing cherries, having seconds and thirds of my bro-in-law's incredible fried chicken, and spending lots of time with family, enjoying the beginning of summer in my favorite place.

i hope you enjoy the week of scheduled posts (today's included). they are indirectly food related, but still good.

p.p.s. if you have any recomendations for sights/food/etc nearby sacramento, i'd love to hear them. see you soon.

Unemployment is capitalism's way of getting you to plant a garden. - Orson Scott Card

I may not be exactly unemployed but I am home every day, and what better thing to add to my day than a little playtime in the dirt? We can thank the itty bitty ones for the inspiration. I swear jane eats a little dirt every day; they're like her vitamins. This is my first time doing a garden on my own. My parents had a garden just about every year growing up, and I have fond (and some not so fond) memories of weeding, watering, planting, sowing, being barefoot in the dirt, debugging, and watching for the fruit of mostly my parents' labor to emerge.

As I have been studying out and researching how to start my own small garden, I have learned a lot and have even more to learn. I mentioned before that I wanted to grow a chemical free garden, and I am glad there are so many resources out there telling me the how's what's and why's. I want to share some of those with you, along with a few things I have learned in my beginning life as a gardener. We're going on three months now.

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For our memorial day bar-b-que we had a picnic with my sisters and tried a burger the husband "dreamed up", although I think he must have subconsciously heard about it from somewhere else. They were portabello mushroom burgers with only a portabello instead of meat. Don't be fooled like my sister treen was, it's not a burger with mushrooms atop a slab of thigh but only a mushroom, dressed as a slab of thigh would; and it was good. I'm willing to bet no one else at the park we went to was bar-b-queuing anything like these bad boys. I am also willing to bet they spent a lot more time on their meals than we did, I like not having to prep meat.

Paired with these baked sweet potato fries, I'm thinking this will be a regular at our bbq's this summer, although I have been dreaming up a veggie burger patty that will rock my world. I am sure it will grace the pages of this blog in the coming months. Check out today's zupas post for my baked sweet potato fries recipe.

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guess what came in the mail this week?

A couple weeks ago I won a giveaway on whitney ingram's food blog rookie cookie for a copy of Ina Garten's back to basics cookbook. I have only seen one of her shows - we don't have food network. It was the same episode, I watched it twice, with two years between each viewing; which of course was by complete coincidence. The one thing I noticed was how calming and serene she was as she taught. I was drawn to her and her subtle method of cooking with whole ingredients right away (both times); but I never attempted to learn much more about her. After thumbing through the book once, halfway through the second time, I immediately knew this would be a well loved cookbook.

As for the vanilla extract, well that was a very special surprise.

whitney, thank you.

What a fun weekend, I am glad that the holiday part of it was sunny. I didn't even mind yesterday's rain, which is normal. I love the rain.

I have had a couple requests for a good curry recipe. Trouble is, every time we make it, it is different.  I seldom measure, and we use vegetables that we have readily available, which means the ingredient list is always changing from season to season. I must get my fickle-ness from my father.

When my friend megan told me she would be coming for dinner, and that she wanted to learn how to make curry, I made preparations shopping for the perfect ingredients, mise en place, and assuring that the babycakes would be entertained during the cooking lesson. Turned out she couldn't come after all. I was sad, but mostly for her because she missed out. I guess it was just as well because I ended up making it the haphazard way I always do, adding this and that, a little more here, a little more there and a bit of a mess everywhere.

Thankfully I was able to translate my whirlwind of a dish into a coherent recipe, so this one's for you megan; make it for the husband and knock his socks off. Be sure to add your favorite things here and there as needed and according to taste. It's the most important tip of any cooking lesson.

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