Category: Slice of Life

A Slice of My Life – Weeks 28, 29, and 30

July 29, 2013

I several weeks worth of Slice of Life posts to catch up on, so I figured I’d do them all in one.  In rough chronological order:

I announced that I am starting up teaching again!  This is the screen shot on Instagram.  I can’t tell you how excited I am for all my upcoming classes.

Speaking of classes, this is some of the prep for the July/August Warm Weather Soups and Salads class.

A different kind of prep.  Beets!

I decided I needed a new shoe to teach in.  I used to always wear flats but flats are not great for your feet when you are standing for 6+ hours.  My feet don’t really like clogs, especially Dansko clogs, but for some reason, these really worked for me.  Plus, don’t you  love the color?  It’s actually surprisingly versatile.

We left a perfectly sunny and 72º day in Oakland to be enveloped in fog at Half Moon Bay.  Totally worth the temperature drop and lack of sunshine.  It is so beautiful there and we will certainly go back in the fall.

What is it about sand and sand toys?  The boys could have played there all day.

In a sweet shop, I saw slices of gorgeous frittata topped with stalks of broccolini and just had to try and make it myself.  It didn’t come out exactly like I wanted it to.  The middle wasn’t set and the broccolini sank more than I wanted them to.  Still, eggs for dinner are always nice.

Our old coffee table.  We got it right after we moved into our “black house” in Seattle.  Some friends came over and their young son ran a toy car over the top and it scratched the surface.  Our friends were horrified that he had “ruined” our table.   We had no idea how destroyed the table would get over time.  A friend of ours is an interior designer and she found us something a little more artistic.

We are in love with it but it makes our couch, which we need to replace anyway, look frumpy.

A lovely neighbor had a mobile knife sharpener come to our street.  My knives hadn’t been sharpened in almost two years so I was so excited to get them back.

The view from an empty lot on our street.  Takes my breath away every time.  At this time of year, the fog is almost like an animal, settling itself over certain places and avoiding others.  San Fransisco is often fogged in as are parts of Marin County, which is where it sits in this photo.  We continue to think that Oakland has the best weather in the Bay Area.  Even Berkeley, which is just north of us, gets more fog than we do.

At the beginning of the summer, we joined a community pool.  It is so nice to be able to just pop over there for a few hours of swimming on a nice day.  I also signed up the boys for swim lessons and they have made a staggering amount of progress already.  I feel like such a suburban mom taking my kids to swim lessons.

Eggplant and porcini meatless meatballs in sauce.  This made a huge amount and I thought we would have tons of leftovers.  The boys didn’t like it (big surprise) but even so, we only ended up with two leftover meatballs and a bit of sauce.  SO GOOD.

This past Friday was my birthday.  I took BART into the city and shopped a bit.  I walked down Market St. to the Ferry Building and had lunch there, followed by a food shopping trip.  I love that place so much.  So many treasures.

This wasn’t written for me, but I still appreciated it.

When Randy asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday, I said I wanted to go to Healdsburg for the day.  I had never been and had heard so many great things about it.  So we packed up the boys and headed up there.  It’s such a great place.  Lots of galleries and wineries all on the square, plus easy proximity to lots of Russian River and Alexander Valley wineries.  I want to go back next year again but stay the night and without the boys.

Birthday celebration continues!  We took the boys to an A’s game on Sunday – a day game.  We were able to take BART and it was so easy!  They came from behind for a big win and we all had a really good time sitting in the sun and cheering on a winning team.

I wanted to end my birthday weekend with a recipe I’ve been wanting to try for a while.  This is an attempt at the Saveur method of making pizza.  Basically, you allow your dough to rise for 48 hours and then heat up your stone with the oven turned to “broil” for at least 30 minutes.  I was expecting blistered charred crust, but it was pale and flabby.  Very disappointing.  At least the flavor was good.  Spring onion, the most amazing burrata from Italy, and arugula.

Finally, file this under “start your week with a smile”.  The boys used their Lego’s to make a “wine store”.

A Slice of My Life – Bethany Beach, DE

July 10, 2013

My husband Randy’s immediate family lives in Richmond and Houston, but the entire extended family, and there are a lot of them, live in the Baltimore area.  The family is close and they see a lot of each other.  Every year, over 4th of July week, the entire crew picks up and heads to the Delaware shore for beach time, eating, drinking, and singing.  We go every other year and it is a trip I really look forward to.

On the West coast, if you tell people you are going to Delaware, they look at you funny.  Why Delaware?  For the beach, of course.  Beach to a West coaster, unless you are talking about Southern California, is a place to enjoy beauty, maybe play in the sand, perhaps dip a toe in the water on a really hot day.  East coast beaches are for lounging all day and swimming, really swimming, in the ocean.  Every time we go, I have a hard time with the sand for the first day or so.  My boys do too.  “Where is the pool?”, they want to know.  But then we all settle in, get used to sand being everywhere, and adjust to long lazy days with nothing much to do.  Every morning, Uncle Dan heads down to the beach in front of his house and sets up chairs and umbrellas and then people come and go throughout the day.  Some stay all day, some just come for happy hour beers.  It is a great vacation.

We flew Virgin America for my first time.  I’m no longer a Virgin virgin.  It was great having the convenience of screens in the seats, on demand movies and food and drink.  It was also great flying out of terminal 2 in San Francisco where there are great restaurants and even a yoga studio.  We were able to take advantage of these things because we had a three hour delay on our way out.  Then we had to circle for an hour over Washington D.C. because a tornado hit near National airport.  It was quite a trip out but the trip back was worse.

We never try and make it to the shore in one day because of things like delays and tornadoes.  We spent the night near the airport and the boys shared a bed.  When they went to sleep, they were head to head but sometime during the night this happened.

Weird to drive over two Bay bridges on opposite sides of the country within 24 hours of each other.

This is so not a West coast sky.

One of the highlights of the trip was spending time with Randy’s sisters, their husbands, and all the kids.  Cousin Charles got a big kick out of his big boy cousins.  (The frozen custard was pretty great too.)

Each time we go to Bethany, we make sure to spend at least one day at the boardwalk in Rehoboth.  It has a great area for rides that is especially good for young children.  It was bittersweet to walk by all the kiddie rides and realize that my children are much too old and big for them now.  They still get a tremendous kick out of trying to win animals.  For some reason, we had never gotten fries at Thrasher’s but we remedied that this trip.  I was disappointed.  They were greasy and not salty enough.

One of the biggest family activities is the one or two hootenannies that happen each week.  Many of the family members are musical, so singing and playing guitar is a big part of their lives.  I sing and play the guitar, I used to perform in coffee houses, but I almost never sing or play anymore.  Each visit, I am coerced to play for everyone so I spend some time practicing so I don’t make a fool out of myself.  The boys were captivated when I played.  (Note to self: play more often.)  Spencer thought he might perform a song of his own but decided he wouldn’t sing.  He would play the guitar only and it would be “jazz”.  In the end, he opted to play with the cousins instead.

Graham, on the other hand, performed a song of his own writing, music and lyrics, on both hootenanny nights.  I was proud to bursting and he brought the house down.

At the 4th of July parade.  Yes, you can see up my dress but I promise that is a bathing suit underneath.

You know.

This was home for a week.  So many of the houses along the shore are huge like this, built for multiple generations to be able to stay in one house and that is exactly what we had.  15 of us slept comfortably!

On our way back to D.C., we always stop in Annapolis to visit Randy’s alma mater.  We walk around the beautiful campus, stop in a few buildings, then hit the store for Navy gear for the boys.

Our flight home was supposed to leave at 10am.  We got to the airport at 8:30am and proceeded to wait for 12 hours.  The crash in San Francisco closed down two of the runways so everything was backed up.  It was one of those, “are we ever going to get home?” days.  We have been lucky with flying and had never been severely delayed so I wasn’t sure how the boys would do.  It turns out they are expert travelers and were amazingly flexible with our weird airport day.

Lots of walks up and down the terminal, new books, comic books, coloring books, treats, a surprisingly small amount of screen time, and they were true troopers.  We finally got on the plane, took off, and I breathed a sigh of relief.  And then I realized we still had a 5½ hour flight and a drive back across the Bay to Oakland to get through.  We got home at 1am which was 4am our time.  Still, I will never take landing safely for granted, especially at SFO.

Finally, I like to let you know what I am reading.  This is the current book.  I had high hopes.  Let the Great World Spin is on my top ten list of all time.  This book is beautifully written.  I have to stop and slow down and just marvel at the sentences and images sometimes.  But I’m not captivated by the story.  I admire it.  I can’t say I like it.  I have a lot of other great-sounding books waiting in the wings though.



A Slice of My Life – Week 24

June 25, 2013

Last week started on a high note.  We joined a community pool for the summer.  If you want to swim in the big pool, and jump off the diving board, you have to pass a swim test.  That means swimming a full length of the pool and treading water for 30 seconds.  Graham passed on his first try.  He was so proud of himself and I was so proud of him.

Speaking of Graham, I forgot to share this photo from last week.  People ask me all the time about his skin.  It is beautiful, right?  He is so brown.  I am brown too and most of my family is, but not like this.  We use sunscreen and he often wears a swim shirt, but he is just a really tan dude.

A rare coffee (and bagel) date with just one of my children.

My chocolate supply was getting a little low so I went a little overboard.

I grew up in a house with a lot of art.  My parents have a very cool collection of things they have bought over the years.  Randy and I have some really great pieces too and this is my very favorite.  It has a little story.  In March of 2004, Randy and I were living in London.  My parents came to visit and my mom and I took a little trip to Paris for a few days.  We went into a lovely gallery on the Île St. Louis and saw this artist’s work and we both fell in love with it.  I was just a few days pregnant at the time but didn’t know it.  Later, in July, just in time for my birthday, Randy and I were in Paris again, just before we moved back to Seattle.  I was 22 weeks pregnant and just starting to show, and I took him back to the gallery so he could see the paintings.  Our last full day there, Randy went to see the Tour de France riders come down the Champs d’Elysées while I stayed off my feet.  On his way back to our hotel, he stopped in to the gallery and bought this painting for my birthday and had it shipped back to Seattle as a surprise.  In our house in Seattle, it occupied a wall where it could not be appreciated as much as it should.  Here in Oakland, it has a prime spot.

If you are on Instagram, you probably see a lot of selfies (Instagram-ese for self shots).  I have unfollowed two people for their excessive selfies.  I try to limit mine to good hair days (check), new articles of clothing (check), or photo bombs by boys (check).

Date night in my neighborhood!  We are so excited to have an A16 in Rockridge.  We ate at the San Francisco location in the fall and are thrilled to have another East Bay place to frequent.  We had a terrific meal there and I can’t wait to go back.

We had friends come over for brunch on Saturday and I decided I wanted to make these chocolate brioche buns using the same dough as this recipe.  The dough looks so beautiful after its rise.

The recipe didn’t mention that the long side should have been opposite of where I put it.

Also, the glaze recipe was off.  You were supposed to dredge the dough in the glaze but it was too thick so it ended up not being dredge-able and looked a little funny.  Sometimes the Macrina recipes do this to me and it makes me mad.  But these were still spectacular.

Randy’s company did a picnic in Menlo Park complete with pony rides, a petting zoo, shave ice, and lots of swag for the boys.

Fresh chickpeas at the farmers’ market.  I’m going to make this recipe.

This week is Mommy Camp.  We leave for the Delaware shore on Friday so I thought the boys could stay home with me this week.  We could do fun stuff around the East Bay.  And then it started raining.  I don’t remember what to do with rain.


A Slice of My Life – Week 23

June 19, 2013

This was my view last Sunday.  I had spent the weekend in Vegas with some friends and our plane had a broken air conditioner so we were grounded while they tried to fix it.  Grounded in Vegas on a plane that only had one working air conditioner in 110 degree heat.  I spent a good 30 minutes talking myself down from panic while my friend dozed next to me.  They finally let us take off but it was the hottest flight of my life.  Drinks were free though.

I still think of produce in Seattle terms.  Meaning that almost every trip to the farmers’ market is a surprise and delight.  Eggplants have always been a late summer vegetable for me and here they were in June.

This was a day that I didn’t need anything at the market.

We are up to our eyeballs in salads these days.  I’ve always made a lot of salad but I feel like it’s all I’m making these days.  In other news make this one!

Last week of school frozen yogurt.

There are still so many places in the East Bay (meaning Oakland and Berkeley) that I have yet to try and Dopo was high on my list.  A friend and I shared a lovely dinner and I’m looking forward to going back.  The pizza was great and the side dishes were swoon-worthy.

The boys thought we should give their teachers my chocolate chip cookies to thank them for a good year.  I thought we should take it one further and paint them cookie jars at one of those paint your own pottery places.  I forced myself to quiet my design critic and not have any input on their creations so Spencer chose three shades of orange and green for his jar.  And a San Francisco Giants theme (his teacher is a big fan).

On the last day of school there was a picnic at the lake right near our house.  We are so fortunate to be a part of this amazing community.

The party was a potluck and I brought the Browned Butter Rice Krispie treats from Deb’s cookbook.  In the time it took me to get my phone out of my bag, they were gone.

Date night with the hipster.

On Saturday we headed out of town to visit some friends and stopped to pan for gold along the way.  Spencer got a few flakes and a lot of rocks.

Our friends, who live in El Dorado Hills, have an incredible backyard complete with this pool.  After catching the boys a few times at the bottom of the water slide, they were totally able to do it themselves.  And within an hour they were jumping off the diving board and swimming over to the side on their own.  This is going to be the summer of swimming.

Randy spent Father’s Day on the lake getting up on a wakeboard for the first time and hanging out with these two.  And me, of course.

This is a Bahn Mi Salad.  Tell me, why did it never occur to me to make this?  Coming to my dinner table tonight!

Limes.  From my lemon tree.  You know.  I guess the guy who rebuilt our house after the fire was an amateur aborist or botanist and grafted the limes onto the tree.  I am very grateful to him.

Many years ago, I started singing the Hippo Song.  It was what I would sing to rock Graham to sleep after he had a nightmare or if I just wanted to hold onto him a bit longer before putting him in his crib.  It goes like this:

I love hippos
Yes I do
I love hippos
How about you?
I’ve got a big big hippo
A little little hippo
And I have a baby hippo too.

As you might guess, this is Big Hippo and this week, Graham decided that he is too big for him.  They gave him a farewell breakfast (of Legos) and he is joining a new family today.  (sniff)



A Slice of My Life – The Past Few Weeks

June 4, 2013

It’s been a mixture of busy and quiet over the past few weeks in the Dana Treat household.  Here are some highlights.

I cut my hair!  I know in the fall I was so excited about finally figuring out the curl and now it’s gone.  Randy has always liked my hair short and truthfully, I look better with it this way.  I have a small face and all that curl can overwhelm me as it gets longer.  When I met Randy, he had a goatee.  I have never been a facial hair person but I really like it on him.  Over the years, he has threatened to shave it off numerous times and I always say no.  A few weeks ago he said, “So, you have gotten me to keep this goatee for almost 13 years, when do I get a say in what your hair looks like?”  So off it went.

Shopping at the Cheeseboard Collective.  You walk in, pick a card, and wait for them to call your number, like “six of hearts”.  I find this so charming.

Even more charming are their English muffins.  They are made with a sourdough starter and about one million times better than Thomas’.  (Sorry Thomas.)

My sleeping six year old.  I check on them every night before I go to sleep and 50% of the time he is faced this way.  I used to encourage him to turn around but now I just leave him.

A couple of weeks ago, Randy had an offsite in Sausalito which is in Marin County, just over the Golden Gate bridge.  He had a suite in a beautiful hotel and suggested that the boys and I join him for one of the nights.  We drove over the Bay bridge,  picked him up in San Francisco, drove over the Golden Gate bridge, and checked in.  I had plans to take a luxurious bath in that tub but at dinner, Randy said he was not feeling well.  So we dropped him off, and drove across the Richmond bridge and home.  (Fact: that dress I’m wearing is really a swimsuit coverup.  Fact: horizontal strips do make you look wider.)

Lots of salad these days.  Actually always.  Potato salad, Panzanella, and my current crush.  Recipe this week.

I did a lot of reading about Oakland before we moved here.  It has been in the press a fair amount as an exciting place to be and eat, independent of San Francisco.  One of the places that kept popping up was Commis.  It is the only restaurant in the East Bay with a Michelin star.  It is a very small place and hard to get a reservation but I finally got one for us and some food loving friends.  The places is spare but homey.  We had excellent service and the wine pairings were truly inspired.  We had sips of things that none of us would have ordered but were snapping photos of the labels so we could buy them to serve at home.  The food?  Hmmm.  It was beautiful.  Every plate, as you can see in the photos above.  I had alerted them that I was vegetarian when I made the reservation weeks before and reminded them again when I called to confirm.  I guess for that reason, and the fact that they have a Michelin star, and the fact that the tasting menu (the only option) is pretty pricey, that they would have done something more than just basically leave off the meat for me.  But sadly, that is what they did.  I had several courses that way and some others where the substitutions were not that inspired.  All this to say that I was nowhere near full at the end of the meal.  Everyone else really liked the dinner but all agreed that it wasn’t enough to eat.

Graham likes to play basketball in our front yard.  Sometimes he just sits on the steps and looks around.  I caught him through the kitchen window.

Apricot Tart before baking and after.

Randy took the boys to a few nights of Cub Scouts camp and I had a night to myself in our house.  Which I don’t think has ever happened since I had kids.  So I color coordinated my beer and my book.

The next day I flew up to Seattle for the wedding of our beloved babysitter.  PS: Southwest stresses me out.  Which is unfortunate because it is cheap and half the Oakland airport is devoted to it.

Before I flew back to Oakland, I got together with my brothers, sister-in-law, and my niece and nephew.  I don’t remember when the last photo of us was taken.  I’m the oldest by four and eight years and the shortest but just over and just under a foot.  I posted this photo on Instagram and on Facebook and many people commented on how much my brother Michael (on the right) and Graham look alike.  You should see photos of them around three years old.  Spooky.

Little monkey.

New Vans and popcorn.

This is often a weekday lunch.  I doctor up Thai Kitchen brand packed pho.  Lots of vegetables and tofu and LOTS of Sriacha.

My friend Philippa is an amazing artist who makes gorgeous jewelry.  She owns an adorable shop in Oakland and she hosted a jewelry making party for some of the moms from school.  I made a necklace and a ring – so cool!

Randy and I hosted a Spring Seasonal Feast, one of our donations to our school auction.  I started with an amazing braised artichoke dish which required me to break down 20 artichokes.  I timed myself – 30 minutes!  It’s a good thing they were 89 cents for two.

I also made Ina Garten’s Borscht.  I didn’t doctor up this photo at all.  It is really that pink.  I like the contrast between that color and my dress.  This soup got raves from everyone except my beet hating husband.  I thought I had the recipe on my site but it turns out that I just talked about it waaayyyy back in the early days and didn’t post the recipe.  I will share!

Rolling cannelloni.  I really enjoyed making this dish and thought it was absolutely delicious.  Will share this one too!

I made a cherry tart with an almond crust and almond ice cream for dessert.  This confirmed for me that I don’t like cherry desserts, especially when they are cooked.  I love cherries but I like them best by themselves.

The almond ice cream sure was good though.

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