Risotto for the springtime

avocado risotto

A dish in regular rotaion around my house, this avocado risotto really does feels like springtime.

I know it might seem odd to put avocado into risotto, but once you try this, I swear you’ll be a convert. This is currently one of two ways that I can get avocado into my daughter without us playing the I-never-liked-avocado-why-are-we-eating-this record that is (in various incarnations) so frequently on the playlist in our house.

And as we eat our meals together as a family, whatever I am cooking for the kid has to pass muster with the grown ups as well, which this does with flying colors.

I thought I’d originally found the recipe in Fred Plotkin’s The Authentic Pasta Book, but when I looked this morning, I realized I was mistaken. And I should have known… Risotto is RICE, not pasta. Shame on me. Regardless, the book is worth a look if you ever come across it. As far as the exact methodology goes, you will unfortunately just have to deal with my very unprofessional instructions.

First off, toss out any ideas about how difficult it is to cook risotto. If you can stir rice in a pot, you can do this. It just requires that you pay a bit of attention to what you’re doing. Click on for the recipe… — Read more

Yesterday, at some point…

LACMAtempura

Ok so this photograph is not exactly from yesterday… it’s from last week, when we were pretending we lived in LA and had a house with a pool (thanks to a cousin who let us borrow his pad) and no real commitments. It was what spring vacations are meant to be like. And you’ll hear all about it by the end of this week, I promise. Just got to wade through the photos, organize my notes, etc etc etc…

Anyway, this is a picture of some of the tempura paintings we made in the Boone Children’s Gallery at the LA County Museum of Art (LACMA.) Their kids programs are amazing– and if you come with your little ones on a family day, each child gets a membership card to the museum that’s good TILL THEY’RE EIGHTEEN YEARS OLD. How cool is that? Plus they can bring a grownup with them for free.

Now that’s a great use of philanthropy, if you ask me.

Happy Earth Day!

joshua tree

My favorite fellow travelers, exploring the desert at Joshua Tree National Park. There’s no other place like this on Earth.

If I had remembered last week that today was going to be Earth Day, I would have posted a whole bunch of eco-style links in here yesterday. But the post spring break fog is only just beginning to clear now, and what’s done is done. I am living in the present, which is what we’re supposed to be doing, right?

First thing I did when I got back from school drop-off was turn on Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On to hear Mercy Mercy, which is Mr Gaye’s seminal piece on the physical state of our planet. (ok full disclosure, they were playing it on NPR, so I got out my record so I could hear the song in it’s entirety.)

Here it is for your listening pleasure:

I am also listening (right now, so I’m actually having a hard time writing this at the same time) to Brian Lehrer on NPR speaking with climatologist Dr. Katherine Mach about climate change. People are calling in and actually asking intelligent questions, as opposed to the kind where people just want to hear themselves talk. Well worth a listen.

Now of course, for the kids, every day should be Earth Day. But here’s a great list of ecologically interesting kids books I found online that can help get us started in the right direction.

And lastly, here’s a super home-made-almost-punk style video of author Frank Asch reading his beautiful book, The Earth and I:

Now, shut down that screen and go outside. Even if it’s just for a minute.

Monday, Monday – or more links about us all being in it together

dhobi ghat mumbai laundry

The Dhobi Ghat is an entire neighborhood of Mumbai that is the central laundry service for the rest of the city. Your dirty clothes leave home in the am and arrive back home clean and pressed in the afternoon. Everyone’s clothes are washed together, putting a whole new spin on communal living.

Everybody should watch South African naturalist/activist Boyd Varty’s moving TED talk about the profound concept of ubuntu, which means “I am, because of you.”

Here are 26 stories that celebrate our humanity with beautiful imagery and a subheading that tells you exactly how long it’s going to take to read each one. (Because you might actually click through if you knew the piece was only going to take 5 minutes to read, right?)

San Francisco based artist Hunter Franks shows us how a simple postcard can build community.

The Art Shanty Project creates a temporary village of creative and interactive projects on a frozen lake.

Idealist is an amazing organization that is helping people everywhere connect and collaborate to make the world a better place.

According to Good Magazine, April 26 is Neighborday. So go out there and actually talk to the person who lives next door, instead of passing them by whilst texting.

Or you can just switch screens to your Krrb.com app, find out what your neighbors might have for sale behind those closed doors, and bring home an actual treasure (as well as that warm neighborly feeling.)

Time to eat

Brooklyn Larder

There is nothing but deliciousness at the Brooklyn Larder, thank you very much.

What with Easter coming up and holiday treats on the brain, my mind naturally roams towards The Brooklyn Larder, one of my favorite local spots for stocking up on all sorts of supplies to soothe the savage appetite.

Better known as Bklyn Larder, this emporium of deliciousness is located on Flatbush Ave in Ft Greene and has everything you need to fill the shelves of the perfect pantry. There’s also a cafe and cheese shop, plus the kind of small batch artisinal beverages we have all come to expect from these Kings County-style food establishments.

A few things for the chilled section of your kitchen...

A few things for the chilled section of your kitchen…

bklyn larder spices

And how cool would we be if all of our spice racks were filled with bottles like these?

And if you’re not so into cooking yourself? Check out their house made treats or really go for broke and have them cater something for you. They have some great looking Easter baskets that are well worth the trip (they do ship, but I’m thinking it might be a bit too late for on-time delivery at this point…)

The Sandman doesn’t cometh nearly enough…

Sleeping_beautyedwardburne-jones

I have to admit to secretly being jealous of Sleeping Beauty… I could use 100 years of sleep right about now. (painting by Edward Burne-Jones)

Basically, I am in a constant state of tiredness. I’m either exhausted, or just plain tired, pretty much all the time. And I’ve heard that when we sleep 5 hours or less a night for 3 nights in a row, our ability to function is the same as when we are legally drunk.

Without any of the fun.

That being said, I am trying my damndest to do anything I can to remedy this situation, but the most obvious thing (Get more sleep!) seems to elude me. An engaged life in the big city with a kid and a husband and work and not much childcare does not leave a lot of room for shut-eye.

Enter sleepyti.me, which I am hoping is going to save me.

According to all sorts of science, we sleep in 90 minute cycles and it is much easier and more beneficial to wake up at the end of a cycle than in the middle. In other words, it’s not so much about how much sleep you get as whether or not your sleep patterns align with these cycles. So, in the case of shut eye, less can sometimes mean more.

All you have to do is tell sleepyti.me when you want to wake up, and it will calculate the optimal times for you to fall asleep. So if I need to wake at 6:15, I can fall asleep at 9:15 or 10:45 or 12:15 to reap the benefits of my natural cycles and wake up feeling refreshed. You can also tell it when you are going to bed, and it will give you the ideal times to rise and shine.

Needless to say, I will be trying this tonight. Anyone else game?

Limeade to the rescue!

braggs limeade

The apple cider vinegar people of choice have now gotten into the beverage business.

It’s spring break this week, so for us that means all bets are off, routine-wise. Movies every day, extended playdates with friends, a general optimistic feeling that warmer weather is here to stay…

Then comes the dreaded email from school about a student having strep throat, and the whole world of swimsuits and butterfly chasing comes crashing down around us.

Especially as our little one has a bit of a cough.

So I turn to all of my usual remedies with a vengeance, and while I was stocking up at the local health food store, I discovered another addition to the arsenal. Because while Mommy’s apple cider vinegar and honey tea is dutifully consumed, a prepackaged limeade from Braggs (that just happens to have that same magic vinegar in it) goes down like a treat.

And who doesn’t like a treat every now and again?

Monday, Monday– or more links about apps that will improve our lives (maybe)

I wonder if anybody ever made apps for her phone?

I wonder if anybody ever made apps for her phone?

Vertical videos have always driven me crazy… here’s an app called Horizon that keeps all your shots horizontal, no matter how you’re holding the phone.

Can’t bear the idea of going to the gym? Try Tabata, an app that delivers short (starting at 4 minutes) and sweet workouts you can do anywhere.

Why bother learning how to write more clearly and succinctly when there’s an app that will essentially do it for you?

Jauntful is an app that lets you print out (and digitally share) your own travel maps, complete with favorite spots and secret routes, so you have all the info you need in your pocket, without using up you batteries.

For the design-obsessed among us, there is finally Canopy, a filter that brings all the beautiful, useful and lovingly designed merch on Amazon into one spot.

Now that we’ve got all these well designed products coming into our homes, here’s a whole list of apps to help with spring cleaning – digital and otherwise.

And last, but definitely not least, we have Forecast, an app that gives you up to the minute weather reports wherever you happen to be.

Staycation!

Our view from the Standard Hotel in the East Village.

Our view from the Standard Hotel in the East Village.

A couple of weeks ago my in-laws (god bless them) came and stayed with our daughter at home while my husband and I took off for a two night (childless!) voyage to the far off island of Manhattan. One of the great things about New York City is that it’s as fun to be a tourist here as it is to be an insider. Here’s what we did (if you’re curious, or want to copy us– which you should…) — Read more