I apologize that this post is late today, but last week was one of those crazy busy, non-routine weeks, where it was hard to get a grasp or handle on any one thing. I felt like I was running on a hamster wheel, but not getting anywhere. Do any of you have weeks like that? There were also a few big unexpected hiccups along the way that I would rather not go into, blech. I’m sincerely hoping that we get some better juju this week, because we need it. I did have some happy blog successes the past few weeks. Bon Appetit featured my citrus-marinated photo on their Facebook page as well as on their website. The Kitchn featured my pesto-yogurt drumsticks on their delicious links page and the Huffington post featured my grilled bruschetta with heirloom tomatoes. That was all good and happy news for the blog, so I’m grateful for that.
Last week was also not my week for making videos or for cooking. I came back from MN with all of these high hopes for healthy dinners and lunches, but I ended up eating PB&J’s for lunch most days and dinner out a couple of nights. Summer can be hard with everyone home 24/7. Meal preparation and cleaning up after each meal becomes an all day activity, so sometimes it’s just easier to make up something simple like a PB&J or to just eat out.
As you can see from the top photo, I attempted to make a video with one of my best girlfriends, Yvonne. The kids and I went to her house for dinner and we made broccoli lemon pasta and crispy garlic bread together. We thought it would be fun to have Zoe videotape the process, and it was fun making the video together, but sadly it’s not going to make it to the blog, as I forgot to mention a few key things in the video, bummer! I guess we’ll just have to try and make another one Yvonne. Are you cool with that girl?
Aside from all of that, we had a great day last Saturday. We do an annual bike ride through Sebastopol each August to go Gravenstein apple and blackberry picking. We’ve been making this trek for the past 6 years and each year different friends join us. Our friend’s Kim and Campbell and their children, Sofia and Toby have joined us for the past 3 years. It’s our August family tradition.
We start by biking on the Joe Rodota trail, which begins in Santa Rosa, and take that to the West county regional trail, which runs between Sebastopol and Forestville. It’s a beautiful bike ride that takes you through beautiful vineyards, farms, the town of Sebastopol and the town of Graton. We always make a pit stop for lunch at Willow Wood Cafe and then to our favorite art gallery the Graton Gallery. Graton is the cutest and friendliest little town and one that we love visiting each year. Before we hit Graton we stopped off for lemonade at this cute little lemonade stand run by this adorable girl, Lila. She and her mother hand squeezed over 100 lemons to make these two huge batches of lemonade. We all agreed that it was some of the best lemonade we’ve ever tasted. Here are the kids posing with Lila!
After lemonade and lunch, it was time to pick those blackberries. Can I just tell you that these are some of the best blackberries we have ever eaten? They taste like dark chocolate, they’re that tasty. My kids kept saying, “Oh, I just had another dark chocolate blackberry mom.” I know blackberries don’t actually taste like dark chocolate, but that’s the way we described them a few years back when we first tried them, and it’s stuck with us ever since. You can’t buy blackberries like these in the stores, as there’s no comparison to ones just picked off the bush. The kids were amazing pickers even thought the majority of blackberries went into their mouths Here’s Eli showing us his blackberry jazz hands below.
Here’s a picture of Sofia and Zoe with their blackberry stash. Of course we had some amazing blackberries, but we also had a few sour ones. John was videotaping me as I took a bit of a sour blackberry. We posted a snippet of the vidoe on my Instagram account and my face at the end says it all, “Sour pickings.”
What did we do with all of those blackberries? John made up some blackberry cobblers and we topped the rest on our morning steel-cut oats. So delish!
Zoe was a great help in the kitchen this week. She made the Paul McCartney refried bean tacos all by herself by following the recipe on my blog, and Eli helped John grill up the tortillas. It was a family cooking affair and I hope that this trend continues, as we had a lot of fun playing in the kitchen together.
Sunday night dinner: Buffalo apple burgers with sage jalapeño pesto, corn on the cob and onion rings.
Wednesday night dinner: Kid friendly caesar salad topped with leftover buttermilk chicken.
Thursday night dinner: Heirloom tomato soup and grilled Gruyère cheese sandwiches.