I’m Kristina - freelance graphic designer, backyard farmer, cookbook reader, project starter, and new mom to a gorgeous little boy.

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Archive for July, 2011

July 29, 2011

Recs for the Big Island?

I’m calling on your expertise again, chickens. We’re leaving for Kona on Tuesday and while I don’t think we’ll be doing much more than playing in the sand and eating mangos, I do want to know what we absolutely shouldn’t miss. Restaurants? Hikes (possible with a baby on your back)? Best beaches?

I know we’ll be going over to Hilo one day for the epic farmer’s market and to visit my cousin’s new school. He starts at the University of Hawaii in a month.

We’re staying north of Kona at the Mauna Kea. Any tips?

I thank you as always for your super ideas!

July 28, 2011

Lemon verbena iced tea

I have found my drink of summer, people. After 4 years of growing a wily bush of lemon verbena with the intention of at some point using it, I think I’m on the verge of becoming verbena-obsessed.

See I planted it 4 years ago because I read a recipe somewhere for white peaches in lemon verbena simple syrup (to pour over vanilla ice cream, of course). Funny how you remember such things. But have I made that recipe? No, of course not. In fact, the poor verbena has been largely neglected since planting. But it turns out to be practically a weed that comes back stronger every year, even when in winter it’s just a tiny woody stump.

Yesterday, at the suggestion of our nanny Gloria, I decided to hack off a few branches and pour boiling water over them to make tea. Is this a known thing? It seemed so obvious after the fact. In Mexico they apparently drink this iced tea when it’s really hot out and Gloria wanted to take some to the park for Dashiell. Um, hello hidden gem of Mexico!

You guys, it’s so delicious. It’s sort of gingery and ever so slightly sweet. Not really lemony at all. Just divine, poured over ice after steeping for a few hours.

I think you could mix in a teensy bit of honey when it’s hot too. Or even a few sprigs of mint. I tried it with a lemon wedge, but decided after the fact (and after taking photos) that I prefer it on it’s own.

And the best thing is that you can either grow it yourself with very minimal effort, or because it really must be a weed, buy huge bunches of it at the farmer’s market for only a few dollars. I’ve always seen those bunches and been like “what could one possibly do with so much verbena!”. Make delicious iced tea for the week, to start. I’m just about to go on a verbena binge, I can tell.

So I’ll report back with more ideas.

Starting with that original recipe for peaches in syrup, of course. Also thinking it would make a lovely addition to popsicles and cocktails. But do start with the tea. It’s so so good.

July 27, 2011

Go the F*ck to Sleep

Please, PLEASE. Parents of children who have at times refused to sleep reliably come bedtime (or throughout the night), READ THIS BOOK.

It will at least provide a bit of much needed comic relief. We nearly cried while reading it with Melanie and Sky the night of their baby shower (a very hilarious gift).

Oh man. Those were the days. I can happily report that Dashiell now excels at sleeping and in particular going to sleep. There is hope! But wow, those first 5 months. I’m certain I muttered, or at least thought these very same things many times.

July 26, 2011

Geronimo Balloons on sale in the Pop-Up Shop!

This sale is too good not to share, you all. Gorgeous, special edition balloons from Geronimo are in the Pop-Up Shop this week. I think there are still some brides-to-be out there reading this blog, but for the rest of you, how pretty would they be for a baby shower or birthday party or really any festive event? 50% off this week, peeps.

Photos by Love Me Sailor and Hak Lonh of Champion & King.

July 21, 2011

A beach tent

I didn’t know I needed this, but now it’s very clear that I do. A beach tent from Australian company Hollie & Harrie.

Maybe I can have one shipped to the condo in Hawaii so we have it for vacation in two weeks. I’m feeling very desperate for it, can you tell? It seems so perfect for having a little one at the beach.

July 20, 2011

Chewbeads nursing necklaces

These are pretty genius you guys. I saw them at Kid Firefly a few months ago and wanted them even though I was at the time nearing the end of nursing this go ’round. They really are cute and I love that they’re non-toxic, feel good on little gums, but also totally smooth and washable. And actually look pretty chic, right?

I so want a strand or two of Chewbeads for next time. They’d make an excellent shower present. Or maybe birthday present for a mama who’s baby is due any second?

July 18, 2011

Eat Real Fest

Good morning! Look at me, posting on Monday! It’s shaping up to be a good week already. How about a few photos from the Eat Real Fest? It was pretty fun and pretty delicious and a big adventure for all of us. We decided to go carless for the weekend in honor of the 405 closure, so we loaded up the BOB and ran to Culver City for Eat Real. Which was great, though hot. And we lost Dashiell’s moccasins (and only pair of non-croc shoes) on the way.

But then we had to walk 5 miles home after two beers I was completely exhausted by the time we walked in our front door. I’m such an exercise lightweight now! But twas a fun day, all the same.

It was like a very modern country fair with no rides. Sort of. Pigs and baby geese and chickens and everything. Maybe we need a backyard pig?

We ran into the owner of Chaser, who happens to make the kids npr shirt, which was pretty fun. Dashiell was a relatively cooperative model for their upcoming Chaser on the street series.

Anca’s Romanian flatbread was the best thing we tried. OMG you guys. So good. And the little salads (kale + feta and cucumber + olive) were divine. They’re apparently only at the Echo Park farmer’s market on Friday evening at the moment, which is very sad for westsiders, but I srsly urge you to check them out if you live over there. Delicious.

Oh wait, also, Sno Con Amor… very delicious. All natural flavors like beet lemonade, watermelon basil, and walnut. You can find them at the Hollywood farmer’s market on Sundays.

Plus there were all sorts of jams, and salts, and spicy pickles, and tandoori smoked olives, kimchi, and food trucks, and food preserving demos, and music and all sorts of other inspiring, tasty things.

Doesn’t he all of a sudden look like a little boy?? Aye, how the months fly by.

And of course, there’s nothing like drinking summery ale out of a mason jar to really make your Saturday feel well spent.

Hope Eat Real comes back to LA next year!

July 15, 2011

Some summer essentials

Suann asked me to pop over to Simplesong for a little guest post while she and her family are on vacation for her sister’s wedding in Turks & Caicos (jealous!). The theme was summer essentials and here’s what I came up with… but you have to go over to her blog for the explanation and the links, since that’s how guest postin’ works!

Have a great weekend, all!

July 14, 2011

Summer berries

Doesn’t this just embody summer? Eating berries straight from the bramble and running around the yard with all of your clothes off?

We don’t do much, but we have a good time doing it.

Also, if you’re planning to grow berries and would like enough to actually make something with them AND let your child eat them from the bush every evening after dinner, I would recommend covering half your yard with them. Babies will eat as many as you let them. Not that I blame them.

July 13, 2011

The simplest of summer meals

Oh, hello. Is anyone still there? Apologies for sporadic posting! I’m sad when I don’t post too. But this is a delicious little recipe that will hopefully tide you home gardeners over for a few days. I know you’re always looking for ways to use zucchini and basil. And as part of my mission to really eat everything we grow this year, so am I.

The first time I made this, I came up with the “recipe” whilst the water was boiling for the pasta. Srsly. It’s that simple. And it really tastes like summer, at least around these parts. The most important thing is that everything is ready to go before you start cooking the pasta/as the pasta is finishing. Timeliness is of great importance in the dish – as in you want to eat it when it’s super hot and fresh and melty and buttery.

Pasta with zucchini tomatoes and basil

Summer pasta with squash, tomatoes, and burrata
(Quantities and ingredients are loose, kay? It’s really a throw together sort of thing)

Pasta in any shape you like

summer squash cut very thin or preferably with a mandoline
perfectly ripe tomatoes (I used small ones, but that’s because I like small ones)
lots of basil, torn
green beans (if you have them growing too) cut however you prefer them
butter (kind of a lot)
lightly toasted walnuts
salt and pepper

Boil as much pasta as you need in salted water. When the pasta is almost done, add the super thin squash and green beans and cook for just a few minutes. Al dente is better with these veggies. Dump everything into a colander and drain, then transfer to a bowl big enough for tossing together the rest of the ingredients. While the pasta is still piping hot, add a few tablespoons of butter (at least) and mix to coat. Plus a bit of sea salt. Might as well. Then add the sliced tomatoes, torn basil, (and other herbs if you have them!) and walnuts. Add a bit more salt and a few grinds of pepper.


You might need to add a bit more butter or a bit more salt. Then grate a mountain of Parmigiano-Reggiano over the whole mess and toss again. Then, I think this is the best way, serve portions into lovely Heath pasta bowls and add loosely torn pieces of burrata to each serving. Otherwise I fear the burrata may be lost in the shuffle and that’s no good at all. You can also add a bit more parmesean, salt, or pepper just before serving. Just make it taste good!

We had it the other night with leftover cucumber sour cream salad (odd pairing, I admit) and garlic bread á la Brock. He was excited to think that his bread would make it on the blog. Look honey! It did!

Also should share, this doesn’t keep THAT well. I mean it keeps fine, but it’s nowhere near as good the second day so if at all possible just make what you’ll be eating in one sitting.