For some reason I've been shy in sharing that we are expecting another little one around here this Spring. This time around, it felt safer to me to keep the news close to home for as long as possible, waiting to let the world know until we just couldn't "hide" it any longer. Perhaps it was the miscarriage that took place before this little one, perhaps I'm more of a private person than I care to admit. But once the news was out, it was just that. And we reveled in the love and well wishes that came our way. Telling the boys was perhaps one of the sweetest moments I'll ever remember. I hadn't any idea how they would react, but it was a perfect memory of watching their faces fill with joy and excitement. 

Another change this time around is that we don't know what the gender is. I wish I had a better reason other than just wanting to be surprised. It's amazed me how many people tell me they don't know how I can wait that long, how they would be crazy with curiousity after having two boys. Don't I want to know as soon as possible if it's a girl? Of course part of me does. Some days I think I really know, other days I really don't. But there is something about embracing the mystery of it, the mystery that is life, of teaching myself to be trusting and in a space of opening my heart to whatever it ends up being. And in someways I only think that's possible by waiting until that extraordinary moment when all the speculations and predictions go out the window and you're greeted by a percious new soul who will be adored regardless. 

Until then, I've been knitting a few things that can go either way, namely baby blankets. I just finished the one above, based upon this pattern that I greatly adapted with a different size and yarn. I do love to imagine wrapping it around this little one. And the crazy thing is, sooner than later I will be blessed to have that chance. 



Even with only two children, it's sometimes hard to carve out one-on-one time, especially during the week when there's always homework, or playdates, or some after-school activity that slurps up our late afternoons.

Nico had been asking for a "date" with his mama for a while now, and specifically one where we could go to the pier and get veggie corn dogs and lemonades from Hot Dog on a Stick. 

So yesterday, on an unseasonably warm winter afternoon (even for LA), and Mateo off with a friend, we found ourselves alone together with an hour to kill before his swim class. It was the perfect time to head down to the pier where it felt almost like a ripe summer day. 

The corn dogs and lemonades were perfect. And to be able to sit on a wall with my little boy, watch him savor his treats, talk about his day, watch the Cirque du Soleil tent go up and the volleyball players against the ocean, why I could have stayed for hours. 

But life keeps moving and so did we onto the next thing. But not before a promise to come back before it's officially summer. It's one I'll have no problem keeping. 














new trampoline for the boys/making a seed stitch scarf/tulips/fort building/drawings from our Winter Solstice celebration/books left everywhere/millet muffins

After a flurry of holiday making, baking, celebrating, gifting, and visiting, we made it a priority these last couple of days to simply be…at home and enjoy the comfort that can bring, especially when it's still a relatively new home at that. As the last hours of 2011 unwind, I find myself not in such a reflective mood this year. It feels more right to keep looking forward to the big changes that are to come, to all that we have in store, and how this new home of ours will further reflect who we are and what matters most to us: family, community, cultivating and creating our own food, DIY when its practical, exploring the world, comfort, creativity, and love. 

Here's to a joyous and fulfilling 2012. 



It was not so much of a blowout this year as a minor explosion. This year I pursuaded the boys (little and the biggest one included) to help, and I may be spolied from now on because I can’t imagine not having all of those hands again in the kitchen next year. It was the first time that it truly felt like a family effort, and it made the reason we do it year after year that much clearer to all of us. Sweetness indeed.

This batch of cookies was again an attempt to keep things well rounded. Something a little wacky, something nutty, something with spice, and something with one of my favorite flavors maple syrup. There are of course always a million options, and choosing is a third of the fun (after baking and then testing them), but for me, it always comes down to simplicity. Something that’s sometimes in short supply around the Holidays.

{yes, those are spheres of butter left behind on the parchment paper.}


The Compost Cookie

From Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook by Christina Tosi

2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

2/3 cup tightly packed brown sugar

1 egg

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. kosher salt

3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup butterscotch chips

1/2 cup Graham Crust (recipe below)

1/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

2 1/2tsp. ground coffee (any kind is fine)

2 cups potato chips

1 cup mini pretzels

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on medium high for two to three minutes until fluffy and pale yellow in color. Scrape down the sides with a spatula. Add the egg and vanilla and beat for 7 to 8 minutes (it seems long, but it’s necessary).

Reduce speed to low and add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix until the dough comes together, no longer than a minute. Scrape bowl again with a spatula.

Still on low speed, add the chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, graham crust, oats, and coffee and mix until just incorporated, about 30 seconds. Add the potato chips and pretzels and paddle, still on low speed. Be careful not to overmix or break too many of the preztzels or potato chips.

Using a 2 3/4-ounce ice cream scoop (or a 1/3-cup measure), portion out the dough onto a prachment-lined sheet pan. Pat the tops of the cookie domes flat. Wrap the sheet pan tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or to 1 week. Do not bake the cookies from room temperature–they will not bake properly.

Heat the oven to 375-degrees.

Arrange the chilled dough a minimum of 4 inches apart on a parchment or Silpat-lined sheet pan. Bake for 18 minutes. The cookie will puff, crackle, and spread (a lot.) After 18 minutes they should be very faintly browned on the edges yet bright yellow in the center. Give them an extra minute or so if that’s not the case.

Cool the cookies completely on the sheet pan before transferring to a plate or an air-tight container for storage. At room temp, the should keep fresh for 5 days.

** Graham Crust recipe

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup milk powder

2 Tbsp. sugar

3/4 tsp. kosher salt

4 Tbsp. (1/2 stick) melted, unsalted butter

1/4 cup heavy cream

Toss the graham crumbs, milk powder, sugar, and salt with your hands in a medium bowl to evenly distribute the ingredients.

Whisk the butter and heavy cream together. Add dry ingredients and toss again to evenly distribute.




Peanut Brittle

2 1/2 cups blanched, unsalted peanuts

2 cups granulated sugar

1 stick (8 tbsp.) unsalted butter (cut into quarters)

1/2 tsp. sea salt

Before you begin, have a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or a Silpat nearby.

Pour sugar into a heavy saucepan and on hight heat, stir the sugar frequently with a wooden spoon until it begins to melt, about 3-5 minutes. Do not let the sugar begin to smoke. That usually means it’s burning.

Once the sugar has melted and is a nice amber color, turn down the heat to medium and add the peanuts. Stir for about a minute, then add the salt. Next, add the butter and stir until it’s combined about 30 seconds.

Pour out onto the sheet pan and spread quickly into a single layer of peanuts if possible. It will harden super fast, so work quickly. Top with a light shower of sea salt (Maldon is my favorite for stuff like this.)

Allow mixture to cook on the pan for at least one hour, then break apart with your hands.





Gingerbread Bars

Adapted from Fine Cooking

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

2 1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground cloves

13 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened at room temp.

1 1/3 cups granulated sugar

2 Tbsp. plus 1 1/2 tsp. molasses

4 1/2 tsp. raw honey

2 extra-large eggs (at room temperature)


Royal icing

3 1/4 cups (or more) powdered sugar, sifted

2 large egg whites

2 Tbsp. warm water

Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl with a mixer until it’s almost the texture of toothpaste. If too thin add more sugar, if too thick add more water.


Heat oven to 350-degrees. Lightly butter a 13×9-inch pan. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves until blended.

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or a hand mixer) beat the sugar, butter, molasses and honey until creamy and well blended, about 4 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until blended. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until just combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.

Bake until the edges just begin to pull away from the pan and a pick inserted into the middle comes out clean, about 23-25 minutes. Set the pan on a rack to cool completely. Turn the bars out of the pan and onto a cool sheet pan. Cut into squares or triangles, then top with royal icing (piped or spread) and chocolate sprinkles. Just because.




Nutmeg Maple Butter Cookies

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen adapted from Gourmet

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup maple syrup (Grade B is ideal here)

1 large egg yolk

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg or 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (because it packs more tightly)

1 1/4 teaspoon flaky salt or 1 teaspoon table salt

1/2 cup pure maple flakes (I found some at Williams-Sonoma)

Clear sanding sugar

Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. With mixer running, add yolk and slowly drizzle in maple syrup. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, nutmeg and salt. Add to butter mixture and mix until just combined. The dough will be in loose clumps. Gather them together into a tight packet with a large piece of plastic wrap and chill dough for at least two hours (and up to four days) until firm.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a few baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out a quarter to half the dough at a time, leaving the rest in the fridge. On a floured counter, roll dough to 1/8-inch thickness and cut into desired shapes. Top cookies with sprinkles of maple flakes and sanding sugar.

Arrange cookies on baking sheets and bake for 8 to 11 minutes each, or until lightly golden at the edges. Transfer to racks to cool. Cookies keep in airtight containers for a week.

Merry Christmas!













A new tradition started this year: an advent calendar. I was hoping to do something more fun than simply folding back a little paper tab each day as on the store bought versions. I looked around the internet for some inspiration and found this one that I really liked. I liked it so much that I pretty much copied it, save for a few of my own embellishments and my own treats and activity ideas. Not surprisingly, this is the first thing they ask about each morning, and luckily I don't think it's disappointed them yet. 








{The Living Desert, Palm Desert}

As the days get busier and busier, I've been thinking back to some slower moments just spent a few days ago…. 
















Idyllwild is a place my family and I have been trying to get to for many years, a place in the mountains, not too far from home, where you can get a taste, just a taste, of the true season. It was a weekend of six kids happy to be playing outdoors no matter how cold it was. It was a weekend for six adults to relax, sleep in, overindulge in fresh bread (thanks Matt!) and coffee and doughnuts from town, and play hilarious games after the kids were sound asleep. It was a great way to ease into the full, crazed and sometimes tiring holiday prep that is now upon me. 

Thanks friends. Thanks family.


Happy Dia de Los Muertos.

"Time is an enormous, long river, and I’m standing in it, just as you’re standing in it. My elders are the tributaries, and everything they thought and every struggle they went through and everything they gave their lives to, and every song they created, and every poem that they laid down flows down to me – and if I take the time to ask, and if I take the time to see, and if I take the time to reach out, I can build that bridge between my world and theirs. I can reach down into that river and take out what I need to get through this world."
~ Utah Phillips