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

...general conference this weekend.

...making these for said general conference weekend.

...(maybe) going early morning raspberry picking at a little farm lindsey and i visited last week.

...receiving the postcards i purchased from sheena in the mail.

...making a festive wreath out of colorful leaves.

...wearing a sweater all day because I actually need to.

...art weekend.

...pumpkins, mulled apple cider, ghost stories, the magical month of october.

I thought I was genius when I made up the most incredible, perfectly seasonal, morning oatmeal. But then I was full of disappointment mixed with a smidgen of contentment when I found that instead, it was everywhere. I thought I was so clever, adding extra pumpkin to my oatmeal. That I was creating beauty, adding chopped nuts, some cinnamon, maple syrup until just perfectly sweet, and itty bitty currants to seal the deal. But no. I am not original. I am not genius, I'm not even clever because apparently pumpkin and spice in oatmeal is old news. People have been enjoying it for ages and I'm just late to the party. It doesn't matter though, I am glad I finally know, even if I had to figure it out for myself. Although next time there's something fantastic I don't know about, I'd appreciate the tip.

And if you're like me and haven't been introduced to the comfort of pumpkin and spice oatmeal, you're about to fall in love.

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Every once in a while I am incredibly confident, other times I'm the biggest weenie around. On a good day I can recite the rehearsed eloquence in my head, most of the time I scramble words in a way that is irreparable. After many a meal I crave something dense, crumbly and comforting, but on warm nights I'd rather have something fresh, and lighter than air. On occasion I will remember to be that person who is unfailingly kind, but mostly I notice I am surrounded by them. On saturdays I forget about the mail, mondays I remember. I like to think that I am witty and constant, but I think I am more often too serious and even more fickle. Usually he readies my toothbrush for me, but the evenings he falls asleep on the couch, I get to them first. Sometimes I know the perfect way to introduce a beautiful dessert, but still other times I am at a loss.

like right now.

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i had big plans for our harvest moon dinner. lots of chinese flavors, noodles and veggies in a soup, since it was rainy. but instead i made creamy polenta with oven roasted tomatoes. my previous plans were for naught, but it didn't matter. sometimes spontaneity is what you really want, even if you don't know it yet.

happy weekend!

i plan to get past the first chapter of my latest read, work a little more on the babe's bedroom curtains (we're going on 8 months now, maybe 9?), teaching another delicious class at jacob's cove, and working out details with sponsors. I will be sure to fit in a nap or two, and maybe a scenic drive through a colorful canyon.

what are you planning?


This saturday I will be teaching another class at the Jacob's Cove farmhouse in Orem at 11:30 a.m. I would love to have you there, talk with you, and feed you. All the details for signing up are in this post.

saturday's menu includes:
chipotle and lime baba ganoush
week night ratatouille
pumpkin and cardamom rolls
naked apple gallette

come hungry.

update: this class has ended, for more classes check here.

Yesterday evening after tucking the babe into bed I walked down the stairs and was amazed at how different things suddenly were. It was dark. There was no golden glow coming from the street out front, not even dusk, only dark. at eight o' clock. It was as if the sun knew its deadline of keeping my litle street alight in summer sun had come. It felt so sudden, and very final.

I guess it's just as well, especially since today is the moon festival, or mid-autumn festival. It's the celebration of the end of the summer harvest and the bright autumn moon. As a child we would look forward to this holiday and the dense, palm size, and perfectly sweet mooncakes my father would purchase each year to celebrate. There were a few ways we would eat them. Shared, cutting it into the exact number of pieces for each family member. Nibbled, bite by bite so as to make it last as long as we could, days even (the preferred way to eat them when we each had our own). Or all at once, which often proves to be a futile attempt made by the senseless glutton since the density and richness of the cake is just too much for a person to handle alone. I can specifically remember the year I attempted it. One of my father's friends (or maybe a relative?) sent us a box of the golden, soft, and fragrant cakes. Even though we still had cakes for months after the celebration I waited for the next year to have another, and only a slice. So it was decided then, and every year after, that my favorite way to eat a mooncake was shared, like every delicious treat should be.

About a week ago my baba took a trip to hong kong where he stayed with my grandparents, did a bit of business, a lot of shopping, and skyped with us here at home. It was my grandparent's first time seeing their eldest grandchild, and our first time seeing the causeway bay through their bathroom window. my father brought home the usual treats we usually buy from our neighborhood asian store, but somehow they seem more fun when purchased in the motherland and hoarded in his luggage. Treats like pocky, pretz, mango gummies, and my favorite black currant pastilles, aka fruitips. He also brought us a dozen don tot molds and a perfect little cake especial to the season, a white lotus seed paste mooncake with double egg yolks. We saved it, and will be celebrating tonight by slicing it up into pieces just big enough for the three of us, unless you want a nibble.

this little blog of mine is in its third year, and like any toddler it mightn't be as big and important as some other kids, but it has grown quickly and continues to grow and develop in the most wonderful ways.

I have been playing with the idea of sponsorships for a very long time. I decided it is just like many decisions, sometimes the best way to learn about something is to just try it out. So I am putting the offer out there. Would you like to become a sponsor for delightful delicacies? Do you know someone who would like to become a sponsor? I am offering ad space for the month of october in my sidebar. If you have a small business, or would like to see more viewers come to the shiny new blog you designed yourself, I would love to send my readers your way.

If you are interested please send a letter addressed to hoiyinjohnson{at}gmail{dot}com, we can discuss details and get to know one another better.

Because this is a new to me idea, I am open to a variety of arrangements which might include swapping ads (suitable for blogging friends maybe?), ad space for trade or goods, or the old fashioned pay as you go sort of thing. If you would like to host a giveaway, that would be fantastic too. It would be ideal if your business/blog was relevant, but not necessary.

p.s. sorry about my little mishaps with posts publishing that shouldn't have. sometimes silly things happen like that and i blush, then move on. consider it your sneak peak to the first wonderful sponsor.

Saturday morning we woke up early with a chill in the air. It has become a regular thing, the nip that autumn brings. However the forecast for the day boasted an afternoon much more like summer. So we decided to dress quickly, packing extra jackets and adding leg warmers underneath the babe's blue jeans to guard us from the morning chill, and visit a favorite park in our neighboring canyon. Our plans were to see the colors of the changing leaves, but we will have to go back sometime next month because the trees in the park were a vibrant green, with a few spots of red and yellow creeping down the mountainside. It might give comfort to those still holding on to summer that you're not alone, even mother nature is taking her time.

I have been mixing temperatures and flavors in our meals like the seasons have been blending during the day, summer squash filled with hot curried grains, roasted winter squash atop cool crisp greens, late summer stone fruit with spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom. I don't think there are many things as wonderful as freshly grated nutmeg. It is the epitomal scent of early autumn to me. Invigorating and fresh like summer while simultaneously comforting and cozy like fall. It's a good spice to use in abundance when you find yourself indecisive about which you love best, because it lets you enjoy both.

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I had no idea that the blueberry season for northern states like oregon and maine is at its peak. I wish I could drive to a blueberry farm and pick (and nibble) to my hearts content. I'm pretty sure Jane would go nutso, she drops anything for a plump blueberry and is a proficient at saying "buh! buh!".

I should have shared this blueberry and lavender honey tart recipe with the maple pastry crust recipe I shared last week. I won't admit to being late though, because I'm just in time.

happy last weekend of summer, or winter; depending.

We have already made a few seasonal changes like boxing up all of the babe's summer frocks and replacing them with pants and sweaters (although there are a few rompers still hanging around being paired with little leg warmers), reassigning the down comforter to bed duty and my slippers to cover my chilly toes until june, and serving dinner from the oven instead of the cutting board. But I find myself still playing with the ideas of tomato sandwiches for dinner or raw sweet corn on the cob and even find myself serving chilly green smoothies for an occasional breakfast rather than our beloved oatmeal.

This year I have been holding on to summer as long as I can, and if you know me, that's a first. I am usually so excited for autumn that I start to don sweaters prematurely and regret it when I am so hot I'd rather be in nothing but my underwear. But after being fed a delicious butternut squash salad this afternoon by lindsey, and a hot plum and peach crisp after dinner, I think I am ready to make the change. It must have had something to do with the spicy and comforting aromas of autumn that filled my senses today. But there has to be one last hurrah, and since there's no beach within a day's driving distance to do it properly, it will have to be ice cream.

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This summer we celebrated baby jane's first birthday. It was simple and low key, we only invited immediate family. Since there are mostly adults in my family, we had a sushi party. My dad brought the seafood, my brother demonstrated the technique, my mother brought presents galore, and one of my sisters helped with the decor, entertainment, and brought two boxes of polaroids. I used this pizza party as inspiration for the brown wrapping paper on the table and it was a good choice, i love minimal clean up.

I originally thought sushi was a great idea but my nephew ended up making himself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and I think my sister's boyfriend wanted to too, I tend to forget that some people don't like sushi. weirdos.

Here are a few more details.

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When I walk out and see the dotting of red orange and yellow hues in our nearest mountains, I can't deny it any longer; summer is indeed coming to an end. Usually, I can't wait for the cooler temperatures, evening meals of hearty soup and sleeping with an extra layer of down, but this year I am having a hard time saying good-bye to the warm sunny days, afternoons in the shade, and all the fresh food. I will probably be putting up a fight for the next few weeks. But as each day loses the appearance of summer, I have accepted the change of season that is obviously all around me, and just in time too because around these parts autumn doesn't last near as long as I ever want it to.

check out this maple pastry crust recipe i've been using all summer, then get some oregon blueberries to make a fresh fruit pie asap, any fresh blueberries will do. don't forget to read my tips on blind baking a pastry crust too.

enjoy whatever season you're in this weekend.

last saturday's class was fantastic. it was a small group, which made the class intimate and comfortable, plus all the participants got to have as many samples as they wanted. my favorite moment was when the eggplant rollatini came out of the oven and we didn't have any plates to serve up samples. Everyone grabbed a fork, gathered together elbow to elbow, and shared the meal. It was cozy and although potentially unsanitary, fun.

A month or so ago we were given the okay from our family doctor to reintroduce dairy into my diet. She recommended that it be raw cow's milk, but I hadn't done much research on the benefits and risks of it so I tried goat's milk instead and both babe and I did well, no negative reactions. I took that as a green light to try a few more things so I made my own ricotta cheese from the goat's milk. It was easy, and I loved having sweetened ricotta again, however we still use rice and almond milk as our primary 'dairy' sources.

After such a great experience with the goat's milk I decided to try raw cow's milk, making my own ricotta with it too, but I felt sick afterward. Not because it was raw, but because my body just isn't used to cow dairy. Husband loved it, of course; but I will have to continue taking small and gradual steps with this reintroduction process, although looking at the benefits of plant based milks (including monetary) we may just stay animal dairy free.

except for the cheese. I'm so glad it's back.

check out today's zupas post about making ricotta cheese at home.