Back to basics

Hello dear reader!  I realize the posting has been off and on lately. The free time comes in spurts and so do the posts. I came across an old post I did at my old blog, Tigerlily Designs and realized I don’t just write and update as I used to. No quick hello posts, no short notes on what I am growing. It’s time to get back to that, back to basics.

So, dear reader, how are you? What is new in your world?

The summer was over in a blink, and fall flew by quickly as well. We’re in this odd early winter place where the weather fluctuates between snow, rain and sunny and in the 60’s. It’s all over the map. Never sure how to dress, we grab rain slickers, sweaters, and gloves; maybe even sunglasses. I’ve decided champagne works for all weather types, so I’ve been keeping a couple bottles in the house for special occasions-you know, like a Tuesday.

I’ve been slowly putting the gardens to bed, pulling out the plants, and mapping out the next years’ haul. Straw is covering a few of the beds where my garlic and shallots are nestled in for the winter. The seeds from the leeks, sage, chives and lemon balm are saved and packaged away, ready for the next seed swap and to be planted this spring.

I’m crafting herbal remedies and bath products to help with the gloom and cold of winter, and the freezer is stocked with bone both and soup bases for those days where I am too tired to cook. That’s this time of year-preparation for the long nights, and cold days. Soon, I’ll need to order another cord of wood, and add more fluff to the chicken and rabbit coops-making sure the animals and I are all ready to be snuggly and warm.

This winter, like every year prior, I am doing home repairs-this year is redoing the crawlspace, adding insulation in all of the walls (finally!!) and installing ductless heating. The old, broken furnace and ductwork will be gone; the baseboards taken out; and even the cadet heaters removed. With all of that will come drywall repair and painting, which isn’t my favorite, but it will be great to have one source of heat that isn’t crazy expensive. There’s so many things I want to do, but I keep reminding myself: one project at a time. My sanity and my bank account will likely thank me.

As the days get shorter, and the to do lists gets longer, I am still so grateful for good health, happiness, and the ability to do so many things.

Here’s to longer days, or at least making the most of the ones we have now and getting back to basics.


To the pumpkin patch!

It’s fall again here and I couldn’t be happier! This is one of my favorite seasons and with it comes changing leaves, cool weather, cozy fires and my very favorite, trips to the pumpkin patch. Each year we drive down to Carpinito’s to play in the hay mazes, throw corn and play with the animals. Izzy leaves tired and happy and I get to take pictures and pick up pumpkins. I love supporting local businesses and farmers, too, so it’s usually a win-win and this year was no different! I’m convinced that these traditions are my favorite part of parenting; I love watching her explore and play.

We ran from one animal pen to the next, squeals of happiness coming from all of us (ok, mostly me). We giggled at the frizzle chickens, cooed over the week-old piglets, and fed the goats. When the skies darkened and hard rains arrived,  we ran into the barn to play in corn and hay; the screams of happy kids filling the air. An hour later, the rain had been replaced by sunny skies allowing us to make our way back outside to do rubber duck races and rope cows. We sipped lemonade, and ate chili and talked about how great all of the animals were.

We made our way past the corn stalks into the muddy fields on the hunt for the perfect pumpkins. Green ones, orange ones, speckled ones were all inspected by my tiny pumpkin hunter until we found 5 that met her expectations. More pictures were taken as we headed back to the car, holding hands and excitedly talking about which ones we’d carve first.

My sweet girl. I wish every day could bring as much magic as my time with her this weekend. These are the days that make my heart happy.

goose girl and goat girl and goat goat corn pig pigs piglet unicorn and happy girl little girl and unicorn water pie pumpkins happy girl little girl shoes pumpkin family in pumpkin patch girl in pumpkin patch girl with pumpkinFather and daughterunicorn and pumkins

Giving Thanks


The holidays have officially kicked off and I’m considering breaking out the maternity pants like Joey on friends.  We’re gathered with family, the buzz of stories and laughter with the recordings of “Alice’s Restaurant” playing in the background. Dinner is cooking, and the house smells amazing. I can’t wait to eat everything. This year, I am grateful for my health, a good job, wonderful friends and family. Things are so good, and days like this where we talk about all that we’re grateful for remind me of how far I’ve come and how fortunate I am.

This year, we went a little crazy on the menu for Thanksgiving, and I can’t wait to eat it all and snack on the leftovers!  So what’s on tap for today?

Goat cheese, bacon, and leek tart with chanterelle mushrooms
Mango-orange mimosas


Deviled eggs-regular and habenero
Caprese Skewers
Cranberry Wine

First Course:
Mixed green salad with candied walnuts, pomegranates, and a raspberry walnut vinaigrette.
Beets with goat cheese crumbles and pistachios

Main Course:
Deboned, honey brined turkey
Rotisserie roasted pork shoulder

Mashed potatoes
Pear, cranberry, and port conserva
“Green Slime”-pistachio pudding, cool whip and marshmallows
Pineapple coconut salad
Roasted squash medley with port poached cherries, and almonds
Chorizo spinach stuffing (gluten free)
Turkey stock gravy
Wheat bread with orange cranberry pecan butter

Prosecco, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, more cranberry wine


Gluten free vegan cashew and date cheesecake
Cranberry walnut tart
Vanilla bean ice cream
Sandeman’s Port


There you have it!  I’m so excited to dig in and eat.  While it’s a lot of food for 8 people, we’ll all leave with a ton of leftovers. Full bellies and happy hearts, and isn’t that a great way to spend the day?

How are you spending the holiday and how do you give thanks?

Yours in food and happiness,


40 by 40

Happy 4th of July, all!  Tomorrow I turn 38. It’s not really a milestone birthday, but it is another year closer to 40. I’m pretty excited for that birthday, ushering in a new decade, closing out the old one. I’m excited to see that that looks and feels like. Every few years, I write a list of things I want to accomplish by a certain age, like this one I wrote before turning 35. I’m excited to share with you my list of things to accomplish in the next two years, my 40 by 40 list!

Before I get to that list, I have to share how things have gone so far!  This birthday week has been pretty darned good. I’ve been off seeing friends, getting things ticked off the to-do list, eating and drinking wonderful things. The highlight, however, had to be this-you know, just hanging out with these AMAZING birds! I didn’t expect when I went to a BBQ next door, that I’d get to pet a 40 day old owl and handle a falcon. I shouldn’t be surprised, this neighborhood always has magical things happening.

Raina and owl Izzy and owl falcon

The rest of the long weekend will be spent with friends, chatting about old times, sipping cold beers, and eating way too much. There will be hikes, and fireworks, hugs, and well-wishes, so much love and I can’t think of a better way to wrap up 37. I am truly lucky to have such a good life, with great people surrounding me. So, what will the next two years bring? Adventure, excitement, food and more happiness, I am sure based on how this past year has gone and by what I have planned in my new 40 by 40 bucket list!

My 40 by 40 List

1. Do something that scares me, often!
2. Go to Canlis
3. Finally get that tattoo!
4. Pay off a large bill-not super exciting, but getting rid of any bill is more cash for fun 🙂
5. Be more accepting of my body, strengths and flaws
6. Go overseas again/travel more
7. Continue to get in shape
8. Skate more
9. Learn to knit
10. Make sourdough, actually keep it alive for more than 1 week
11. Do 5 push ups, well. Yeah, I said it. 5.
12. Do more karaoke
13. Make a blood orange olive oil milkshake like the one at the Olive Pit, in California-so good!
14. Fix up the garage and make it into a studio
15. Raise rabbits
16. Make more quilts
17. Finish up my herbalism classes
18. Eat less processed foods
19. Rock climb again
20. Hunt a deer and properly butcher it
21. Write more (hmmm…check?)
22. Make cheese
23. Go clam digging
24. Set up a friend version of Outstanding in the Field.
25. Teach Izzy to fish
26. Find more happiness-actively seek it out, and hold it tight
27. Successfully grow peas and carrots, and not little dinky ones
28. Bring Izzy backpacking
29. Take a photography class
30. Dance more
31. Build the fence that has been sitting in raw materials in my garage for 10 years
32. Kayak on Lake Washington
33. Ride in a hot air balloon
34. Go to Disneyland
35. Camp on a beach
36. Buy more nice knives
37. Teach more
38. Hike to a hot spring
39. Take a train ride
40. Read more

That’s it, my 40 X 40 list! What would you add?  Any of these that you’ve already done?

Yours in finding adventure,



Finding your tribe

No matter what you do, or where you go, having or finding your tribe helps. Wait…What’s a tribe? You know that group of people that get you, and you don’t have to explain what you’re up to? That’s your tribe! … Continue reading

You should get out more!

Sometimes you just want, no NEED to get out. You need to have conversations with adults that don’t involve Daniel Tiger and to relax, eat good food and have a fun time. That well needed break came in the form of Seattle Food Tours.

I recently had the chance to try this fun organization out. The concept is great-you get together with a small group of people, and go on a food tour of a particular neighborhood. There’s no decisions to make, no dishes to do-you just get out, relax and let someone take good care of you.

We ventured through one of my favorite neighborhoods, Capitol Hill, and stopped at 5 restaurants: Bar Cotto, Le Zinc, Momiji, The Tin Table, and D’Ambrosio Gelato. Coral Sisk, our guide and local foodie set everything up in advance, checking for allergies and sensitivities to ensure a safe and happy experience. Each stop allowed us time to mingle, eat, drink and learn about what we were eating and the people who made the food. Between each stop, we learned a little about the neighborhood, too. It’s really a great way to meet people and learn, in addition to eating! What made this even more perfect for me was that each stop was a different type of food-I didn’t have to commit to any one thing. By the time the evening was over, I was full, relaxed, and had connected with other bloggers in my area. What more do you need?

Let’s get to the good stuff-what we ate!

The first stop was Bar Cotto. This was a quiet, intimate, candle-lit spot-perfect for a date. This was a great “starter” place, but not for those adverse to eating meat-we had torta  fritta, which were little fried pillows of dough, alongside carefully sliced prosciutto, mortadella and salami. We sipped a fabulous sparkling lambrusco and chatted. Despite the space being filled with the tour group, it was still quiet and enjoyable.


We ambled to Le Zinc,little brother to Maximilien in the market. We met the owner and chatted food and wine before having some of the best scallops I have had. Imagine large tender, delicate scallops, coated lovingly in comte cheese and bread crumbs, then seared quickly, and then placed on a hash made of potatoes, apples, bacon and topped with fried taro root. This was my favorite spot of all because of the attention to detail and taste. The presentation was wonderful as well. This lovely little French stop was perfect, but sadly, I learned that they have closed their doors. I would HIGHLY recommend a stop into Maximilien to get your French Fix!


Next up was Momiji, a very popular and busy sushi spot. Board after board of their butterfly rolls were brought out quickly enough to go around and then some!  The butterfly rolls were filled with crab meat, and then topped with tuna, avocado and roe. They were creamy and lovely, and again, the amount of food was just right.



We paused to talk about where Capitol Hill got its’ name and whether it was the hope of becoming the state capitol or if it was named after the hometown of a founder of the neighborhood. We looked at the architecture, talked about how the neighborhood has changed over the years, comparing stories.

We arrived at the Tin Table, housed in the Odd Fellows building. Location-wise, this was the best stop! The building is amazing, and quirky, there was a good amount of people, and the space is really well laid out. This spot in itself is a date night! Not only can you get a great meal here, but you can catch a show, as well as get in your dance fix in the most lovely ballroom. The owner was very sweet and took us on a tour of everything-again, the space itself is worth a visit!  At the Tin Table we had an interesting combination of food-cider smoked salmon laid over cabbage with bits of apple and bacon. There was pomegranate seeds in the dish as well as buckwheat spaetzle. The pros? The salmon was outstanding, the cons-the spaetzel wasn’t my favorite, and the pomegranate seemed out-of-place. Overall the dish worked, and I would definitely go back for the fish any day. The chef and owner were welcoming, and the wait staff were very attentive.



Lastly, we made our way to D’Ambrosio Gelato, for a sweet treat and to wrap up a great evening. This was a fun, bright spot, with rows of soft, tasty gelato. I picked out a scoop each of the chocolate hazelnut as well as the Mexican chocolate-it was a great combination, sweet and spicy and smooth. It was the perfect way to wrap up the evening!


If you’re looking for a great date night, or a fun tour for out-of-town guests, Seattle Food Tours is definitely the way to go; it’s an affordable way to eat your way through the city without having to choose or rush, you just enjoy!  For more information, please check out their website.

Are you ready to go?!


Please note, while I did receive a ticket to this event, all opinions are strictly my own .