There was a time not long ago, maybe even a few months ago, when my dear oldest boy would sit down to draw and what would emerge from his crayons was a jumbled tangle of lines. There would be lines darting furiously in every direction, Mateo's hand moving like a roadrunner's legs. Then suddenly the line making madness would be over, and when I would ask him what it was, he would invariably say, "Oh, it's a rocket ship." Oh.  Okay.

But within the past few weeks, it's as though a light has gone on in that cute head of his and now there are recognizable shapes and even people and characters. Now he seeks out the time to draw, and has many ideas of what he wants to create. There are still lots and lots of ships, but these ships have definition and many cool features. Light rays, lasers, crystals with magic powers, "water tornadoes." He's created underground worlds with skyscrapers, glass spider webs, secret prisons laden with jellyfish. Lately he's begun dictating stories to me based on his work, and I've been amazed at the details. Where did this all suddenly come from? I can remember all those days I worried about him not having any sort of artistic expression. Another lesson in, it's all in their own time.












Ever since we brought the book Blueberries for Sal into our house a few years ago, there has been lots of talk about blueberry picking. Little Sal, and the blueberries that “kuplink”  (or don’t) into her little tin pail just seemed very enticing. Matt’s tales of picking berries with his grandmother Morm in Cape Cod as a kid, and the tangy blueberry sauce she would make, didn’t help either. So we finally found this place that was far, but not too far, that would give us relief from our itch for picking. It was blueberry heaven, I tell you. I could barely stop myself. In total we picked 18 pints, which math whiz that I’m not, I think comes out to 18 pounds. It’s a lot, I know. But I had no fear that we would not use every single berry before the week was through.

So after freezing some for smoothies, we made muffins. But these were no ordinary muffins. Mateo devised a recipe that gave these muffins a crunchy, cinnamon-y bite with loads of juicy berries inside. We also made jam, lots and lots of jam. Enough to hopefully last until next picking season. Then there were blueberry oat bars, and lastly, there were many, many, many that were simply eaten straight. I think Sal and her mom would have been proud of us. 

Mateo’s Blueberry Muffins

adapted from allrecpies.com

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.

Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder. Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup. Mix this with flour mixture. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups right to the top, and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.

To make crumb topping: Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix with fork, and sprinkle over muffins before baking.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.

Blueberry Oat Bars

adapted from grouprecipes.com

1 3/4 cup rolled oats (not quick cooking type) 
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
3/4 cup chopped walnuts 
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup butter; melted
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 Tbsp. water
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. lemon juice 

Heat oven to 350 F.
Grease 11×7-inch baking pan
Combine oats, flour, brown sugar, nuts, baking soda and salt
Add butter, mixing until crumbly.
Reserve 3/4 cup mixture; press remaining mixture onto bottom of prepared dish.
Bake 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine blueberries, granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons water in medium saucepan.
Bring to a boil, simmer 2 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally. Combine remaining 1 tablespoon water, cornstarch, and lemon juice; mix well. Gradually stir into blueberry mixture; cook and stir about 30 seconds or until thickened. I used two jars of our newly-made jam for this step, but you can make it as described here, or buy a jam that you like.

Spread over partially baked base to within 1/4 inch of edge; sprinkle with reserved oat mixture. Press topping down into blueberries slightly.

Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until topping is golden brown. Cool on wire rack; cut into bars. Store tightly covered.










This little book store in Leimert Park has been on my list for a very long time. It's shameful to me that it took us this long to get there, especially since I've known of it's existence for many, many years. Well, it turns out that we happened to pick the perfect day for our inaugural visit since it was children's story hour that day, which is held on the third Saturday of each month. In walk these two beautiful women, Baki and Ellaraino, carrying baskets overflowing with toys, books, cowrie shells, and instruments, their arms laden with beads and bracelets. "Hello, children!" they greeted them with ancestral pride, and us adults couldn't help but also feel special. 

They shared stories of coyotes and lizards, and clever riddles, songs, taught us some Yoruba greetings, and there was even a little theater involved. We each picked out a stone in commemoration of slave children whose prized toy possessions often consisted of little more than that. And to top it all off there was a little limbo, which I was too involved in to photograph….

We hope to make this a monthly tradition of ours, as there was so much history and meaning packed into those 60 little minutes. I wish I had taken more photographs. Perhaps next time I won't be so enthralled…or shy.

Wowee, I had no idea how much I would miss this little space of mine after two long weeks of my computer being at the repair shop. What was supposed to have been a quick little upgrade, turned into a massive overhaul that really tested my patience sometimes. Thanks to those of you who sent me very sweet e-mails telling me how much you too were missing our little website. I really appreciate it!

So, I've got a lot of catching up to do. We're going to go back in time all the way to May 9th, which was Mother's Day. In some ways, I like this little holiday even more than birthdays. I like the idea of being celebrated, not just as an individual, but also as a collective, global community of women and all that we do for our children everyday. And I also love the aspect of giving back to my own mother, and watching my boys want to create something out of love for her too. 

The day was easy, and spent mostly how I like to spend a special afternoon: a doughnut (or two), receiving something handmade by my little boys, and a warm walk in the fresh air (preferably with a view of the ocean nearby.) 










This year my homemade-ness included some mango cardamom hand balm and ginger biscotti, that I think my mom enjoyed.

Mango Cardamom Hand Balm

(adapted from Stephanie Tourles' Organic Body Care Recipes)

4 Tbsp. sweet almond base oil

2 Tbsp. mango butter

1 Tbsp. anhydrous lanolin

2 Tbsp. beeswax

25 drops cardamom essential oil

In a small saucepan over low heat or in a double boiler, warm all ingredients expect the essential oil until the wax and mango butter are just melted. Remove from heat and stir a few times to blend. Add the essential oil, stir, and pour into your storage container. I used a small round tin. 

Lightly cover each container with a paper towel and allow the mixture to cool before capping. Leave product at room temperature for about 12 hours to set. No refrigeration is necessary, but it's best if it's used within a year. Plenty of time. 

** Note: I like to get all of my body care ingredients from Mountain Rose Herbs. The Anhydrous lanolin came from Kalyx.com

Ginger Biscotti

(adapted from The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion)

6 Tbsp. unsalted butter at room temperature

2/3 cup sugar

Pinch of salt

1 tsp. vanilla

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

2 large eggs

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1/4 cup chopped candied ginger

2 tsp. cinnamon

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat together the butter, sugar, salt, vanilla and baking powder until smooth and creamy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time (the batter may look slightly curdled). Over low speed, beat in the flour, mixing until smooth. The dough will be soft and sticky.

If you would like to add finely chopped nuts, chocolate chips, seeds or dried fruit, you can do it after mixing in the flour. 

Shape the dough into a rough log about 14 inches long, 2 1/2 inches wide and about three-fourths of an inch thick. Place the log on the cookie sheet and bake for 25 minutes.

Remove from the oven and lower the temperature to 325 degrees. Cool the log on the cookie sheet for 20 minutes.

Cut the biscotti into straight one-half inch slices. Arrange them so they stand upright on the cookie sheet, keeping a little space between the slices.

Bake for another 20 minutes.

Cool completely before storing in an airtight container or in the freezer.


Having computer woes. All I can include for the moment are these lonely little words. Hope to be back up by tomorrow. xo



A few pics taken by Teo with the very cool Hipstamatic app on the iPhone. Have a great weekend everyone! 




When we made this for a friend who came for dinner one night, our home was completely smothered in the smell of baking, bubbling cheese. It was pretty unbelievable. This little pie was such a delight because the sum was much, much greater than what it's parts seemed to bring. But the amalgamation of a caramelized Vidalia onion, blanketing a thin layer of tangy mustard, matched with the toasty cauliflower, and the creamy egg and cheese combo…wow. 

Cauliflower and Caramelized Onion Tart
Adapted from Bon Appetit, March 2007

1 small head of cauliflower (about 1 pound) 
3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon truffle oil or a few pinches of truffle salt (totally optional) 
1 refrigerated pie crust 
1 large onion, halved lenghtwise and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 large eggs
1 (7- to 8- ounce) container mascarpone cheese (Italian cream cheese)
1/2 cup whipping cream 
1/4 teaspoon ground white or black pepper
Pinch of ground nutmeg
1 cup grated Gruyère cheese 
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese

Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 425°F. Toss cauliflower with 1 tablespoon olive oil in large bowl. Spread on large rimmed baking sheet, spacing apart. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast 15 minutes; turn florets over. Continue roasting until tender, about 25 minutes longer. Cool cauliflower, then thinly slice. Drizzle with truffle oil; toss. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.

Press pie crust onto bottom and up sides of 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Line pie crust with foil; fill with pie weights. Bake crust 20 minutes. Remove foil and pie weights; bake until crust is golden, about 5 minutes, pressing crust with back of fork if bubbles form. Cool crust. Maintain oven temperature.

Heat remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add onion; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until onion is deep golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 40 minutes. Cool slightly. Can be made 1 day ahead. Store crust at room temperature. Cover and chill cauliflower and onion separately.

Brush bottom and sides of crust with mustard. Spread onion in crust. Arrange cauliflower evenly over. Set tart on rimmed baking sheet. Whisk eggs and next 4 ingredients in medium bowl. Stir in Gruyère. Pour mixture over filling in tart pan; sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake until tart is golden and center is set, about 40 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool 15 minutes before serving.



Teo bball
I just had to post this. Mateo was super proud of this little playing card, although I'm not sure how much he really enjoyed playing basketball (as evidenced, perhaps, by the really enthusiastic smile he has on his face.) When I showed it to Matt he said, "Los Amigos?! That's so L.A." I had to laugh.  

Teo bball2
Oh the things we'll look back on and treasure someday….