Almond Milk

23 July 2012

I know I just posted on my stellar kitchen practices but I felt the need to update you: my sourdough starter has gone flat. 

I'd read to be wary of Day 4. Curse Day 4 when all the life fizzled out of my lovely dough. Now I'm toying with the idea of buying an established starter. I just can't take the emotional roller coaster a second time.

But to cheer myself up, I the Dud Dud Duderson Kitchen Lady, made fresh raw almond milk (from my way overpriced "truly raw" organic almonds.) 

...and it was delicious. So delicious that I'm memorializing it on the family blog: the first ever recipe to be posted on the Log Blog. Food photography? Check.

Super Complicated Raw Almond Milk

1/2 c. raw almonds (soaked in water overnight)
1 1/2 c. water
2-3 dates

1. Put all ingredients in blender and blend (a lot) and then strain. 

I strained it through some cheesecloth (old Ikea curtains). You really have to squeeze it to get the milk out. The thickness of the milk will be affected by how fine the weave of your cloth is. (You could probably also strain it through a mesh strainer but you'd have to press it hard and long to make sure you're extracting all the milk. But you should really go the cheesecloth route. It's way cooler because you get a semi-authentic milking experience and who could pass that up?)

I've now made this twice, so I feel like an expert.

In the end you are left with a slightly sweet almond meal, that I forbid you to throw away, but don't worry. Once I do one more practice run, I'll post a raw cookie recipe and won't you love me then? 

If you have no interest in my culinary meanderings then I shall tell you a story about Jake. Who after playing angelically and independently on the porch yesterday came waddling into the house and brought me two sticks. He handed them to me and smiled, and I about died a happy mother's death. My baby had given me a present.

Well, so I thought. But based on his behavior since then I think he was bartering for something. Something big since sticks are a precious in Jakeland.  Probably an airplane. 

Excuse me while I check on him because he hasn't made a peep in about 5 minutes which means he's probably eating flakes of concrete on the porch.

Update: he's fine. He's holding a stick and waving at an airplane.

On Friday's Post

21 July 2012

I published the gushy-I-love-my-husband post yesterday, and I furiously gchatted Jacob to get him to read it. 

Afterwards he told me he was a little self-conscious about it. He said it felt a little like PDA, like making out in public. I told him if it was PDA it was definitely of the appropriate and expected hand-holding variety. He said OK. Then I asked him if he liked it. And he responded.

Also, he came home insisting that I'd exaggerated about his arm length.

Well the indisputable tape of measure confirmed otherwise. The official number from fingertip to finger tip is:


7 (Not So) Quick Takes

20 July 2012

Our hearts and prayers are with those who died or were injured last night and with their families. I can't imagine the horror, and I don't want to.

It feels awkward to post something today that doesn't involve this tragedy, but I'm going to. I will post something about the man that I love, because it's easier to love your loved ones on days like this.

Since Jacob's traumatic hospitalization and major surgery, I've noticed him a little more than usual. I mean. I notice him in general. Especially when he comes home early or changes the first and richest diaper of the day. I've just been noticing him more lately. So Papa Jacob gets the spotlight for today's quick takes.

 - 1 -
Since I've banned Jacob from using the table saw or the hammer for the next week at least, I've remembered how much I love that he builds things that then get tucked into corners of the house. Like this:

which he built from salvaged wood for our anniversary last month...and then carved our initials into...

And this:
 And this: 

- 2 -
Since the doctor forbid Jake (and me for that matter) from using Jacob as a human jungle gym for the next few weeks, I'm reminded that I love how tall he is and how awkwardly long his arms are. 


Height: 6'5''
Wing Span: 6'7"

- 3 -
He manages to be encouraging when I stuff some concoction usually involving almond meal and coconut oil into his mouth after the end of a work day. Like yesterday I got a: "It tastes just like the desserts from the Whole Foods freezer section."

- 4 -
I find it adorable how orderly he is. He puts everything away in deliberate places, and I can count on my fingers how many times he's left something haphazardly lying around in the three years we've been married. 

I'm not orderly at all. Once when he was trying to sift through some documents that I'd stacked poorly, I apologized that I had such a bad system. He responded. "You have a system?"

- 5 -
Oh, but, this orderliness of his has a downside: he is TERRIBLE at looking for things. If something isn't in its designated spot it is immediately and definitively lost. (Isn't that so cute?) He can never find anything in the fridge. Once he lost his tape measure for three days and must have complained about it every half an hour. I finally challenged him that if I looked for it I could find it in less than 5 minutes. He guffawed, and I set out on my quest. And within 5 minutes I returned toting his tape measure. 

Ah. It was delicious. His mouth dropped open: "No! How did you? I can't... Impossible! Where was it? In the car? But I LOOKED in the car!" 

"Not well enough apparently. It was in the pocket behind the driver's seat." I said triumphantly. I was about to lecture him on how to look for things and describe how places like pockets and nooks are prime hiding spots, elementary really, the very places you begin to look for something, when he interrupted me.

"Well then YOU lost it." I looked puzzled.

"Why would I ever have moved your tape measure?"

"I don't know. But I NEVER would have put it there."

And he was right. I was indignant and defensive, but he was right.

- 6 -
I love how big he dreams. I dream goats and chickens, and thus I frequently give him a hard time. Once when he was playfully talking about purchasing a Maserati someday, I butted in with, "And who's going to make the money to buy this vehicle?"

He gave me an incredulous up-down and replied: "Not you. Where are you headed? Babyville?"

Thanks, dear.

- 7 -
I love how much of him I see in our little boy. The independent spirit. The climbing anything climbable. The infinite curiosity.  The slopey eyelids and strawberry lips.


 - 7.5 -
(Don't worry I'll stop gushing soon...)

And I love how utterly precious he makes me feel. When he's around, I feel lovely.

I can't tell you how often I look in the mirror after I've sent him off to work, and I'm shocked at myself: the slouchy shoulders, the oily matted mess of a hairdo, the old mascara smeared under my puffy eyes, and the molasses oatmeal smudged all over my shirt by grimy baby hands.

I look at myself in disbelief and think: "This can't be me, I've been feeling so beautiful today..."

Have a blessed weekend. And go see Jen for (lots) more Quick(er) Takes.

Kitchening Old School

19 July 2012

I'm not a very good cook. I don't mean to disparage myself. It's just the truth. I can cook, and I do, and occasionally I make something that is truly delicious that I never successfully replicate. Thing is I'm not so interested in good food as I am in REAL food.

Recently I've become obsessed with the traditional foods movement. I can't get enough of it. Real Food. I want in from the ground up. I want to eat my own chicken eggs. I want to start with a cow, and I want to feed it the best grass in the world, and then I want to milk it and turn that milk into a matrix of dairy products. 

A big jug of milk is like a choose your own adventure. 

You could go Italian and make mozzarella and then turn the whey byproduct into ricotta. You could go Indian and end up with lassi and ghee. You could go pioneer and make butter and cultured butter and buttermilk. 

I read a book about the history of milk and how it came to be so processed. I became so entrenched in these milk diaries that I lost touch with the reality of normal milk consumption. A friend came over for coffee and when I asked if she wanted milk she innocently asked what kind of milk we had, I responded: "Pasteurized non-homogenized."

Enough about milk let's talk fermentation:
I've got a sourdough starter on my fridge - right next to my hugely neglected kombucha - and it's bubbling. It's BUBBLING I tell you! You know how exciting this is. I'm harvesting yeast. FROM THE AIR. Did you know that? Did you know that you can harvest yeast from the air?!?!

Enough about my Real Foodie-ness. I don't need to go on another rant about my simple living tendencies (simple = usually more complicated.) Outside of yogurt, my fermenting success has been mediocre at best. I will let you know if I ever actually manage to make a loaf of sourdough bread or lacto-ferment some cabbage or pickles that are tasty with just the right amount of crunch - until then if you ever visit my house and see something putrefying in a corner, just look away and don't judge. 

Sorry. No pictures.

No wait. Take it back:

Sourdough starter in real time. You make your momma so proud.

Now I must return to Pretty Little Liars...and embroidering.

Growing Up in Rural TX

17 July 2012

Ever since my mother sent me this doozy of a picture a few months ago, I knew I would eventually write a post about growing up in Texas. This is not that post. But when I read Jen's scorpion rant I knew the air was ripe for this picture. 

If you can't handle creepy crawlers then I wouldn't suggest scrolling down. Otherwise...

I've updated this with a picture of Baby Jake to throw off the thumbnail photos...

And a little more space.




A few months ago my mother put some sticky paper down to catch some mice that had become all too comfortable in our utility room. The utility room used to be the back of the house until a necessary addition to the house made it really more like...the middle. Anyhow, back to the sticky paper which my mother remembered to go check after about two weeks of nestling it behind the washing machine. 

And voila. Courtesy of my childhood home.


Texas Forever.


16 July 2012

This weekend wasn't quite what we expected...

It began normally enough. Porch time. Oggling the basketball players at the park. Trader Joe's run...

...emergency appendectomy.

Indeed, Saturday afternoon had us putting in a call to my Dr. Parents to describe a slight but suspiciously persistent lower abdominal pain, a phone call that ended with us visiting the ER. 

When we arrived at the hospital an EMT took Jacob's temperature and checked his blood pressure and got him to describe his symptoms. 

EMT: "How would you rate your pain on a scale of 1-10?"

Jacob: "Ummm. 2."

EMT: (unimpressed eyebrow raise) "Really?"

Me: (unsaid, but aptly communicated in a telepathic glance at Jacob) "Just lie, my stoic darling, or we will be here forever."

Jacob: "Well, when I poke at it, maybe a 3."

Me: (Hangs head.)

EMT: "OK. Why don't you go have a seat over there."

And 11 hours later Jacob found himself with - as he has become fond of saying - "an appendix shaped hole."

Here he is on his gurney in the ER hallway - where he perched for 8 hours as intern after resident after attending prodded at his stomach. Each assuring him that it was probably nothing since he wasn't hurting too badly, but they were going to do some tests just in case.

The CT scan revealed - as one resident explained it - "angry appendicitis."  So into surgery he went. (The same resident informed me over the phone immediately after the surgery that it "went perfectly" and that they'd "found the appendix and took it out.") 

I spent the weekend bustling around connecting Jake with babysitters, parallel parking, and trying to play the attentive encouraging wife to Jacob - especially since he's the hippy's kid and he needed some support while going up against the big bad machine, and I'm the doctor's kid which apparently makes the backyard or something.

Post-op and not too worse for the wear. 

Many HUGE THANK YOUs to this lady and this lady who came to our baby watching rescue. 

Currently, the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and the leaf blowers are humming all over West LA, and both my needy boys are doing me the favor of napping at the same time. 

Pleasantness be mine.

7 Quick Takes - Milestones

13 July 2012

- 1 -
So today we're talking milestones. I'm not a milestone fan, primarily because Jake took forever to hit the primo importante Smile Milestone. Thanks to Babycenter, when Jake was 4 weeks old I began holding my breath in rapt expectation of that glimmer of joy. I watched and I waited and I waited and I prayed, but nary a smile was in sight. Two months old, friends, two months before I got a grin. 


So I stopped paying attention to when baby was supposed to do X, and I have only loose records of when Jake hit any big milestones. So today I endeavor to record some of what baby has if I'll ever forget...

- 2 -
I dutifully noted on the blog when Jake first started saying "ball." Well "ball" still makes up 90% of his vocabulary. Anything vaguely spherical, circular, or cylindrical is a ball. If it bounces it's a ball, if it rolls it's a ball, if it gets thrown it's definitely a ball.

"Ball" peppers his days and consequently mine too. It's the first thing he says in the morning; he sings it in the car; he shouts it in the tub and murmurs it in his sleep.

- 3 -
My mother reminds me that saying "ball" early runs in the family. Jake has an uncle who also shares the fascination. It was my brother Scotty's first word. On a car ride home one night as a "ball"-loving little tike, he famously looked up into the sky and so dubbed the moon.

- 4 -
Jake does say other things. Well...three. He says three other things. And I'm not sure he knows what they mean. One is the obligatory "mama." While he is slowly associating this with me, "mama" is also my iPhone, airplanes, our neighbor's dog, and Jacob (even though Jacob is often called "ball ball").

- 5 -
He repeats "Uh Oh" whenever he hears it. And he says "go."  He doesn't know what either means, but he repeats them. And he very adorably learned to respond with "Go!" whenever anyone says "Ready. Set." (Even though after a "Ready. Set." you just as often get a "Ball!")

- 6 -
So I have a kid who runs around all day saying Ball, Go, and Uh Oh...I know...I'm nervous, too. 

- 7 -
And finally, the reason for this milestone-ish update: Jake took his first steps on Monday - his first steps at a not too shabby 13 months old. He still only walks when he's in the yard or at the park, and he's very particular about this, but I'll take what I can get. I've posted a video of a couple steps here for those of you who want to marvel at his 17 seconds of agility.

Go see Jen for all the Quick Takes. And Happy Friday!

Where were we?

11 July 2012

Oh that's right:

In Seattle, getting our shoes wet and freezing our glutes off waiting for the boys to finish. 

Which they all did. Brothers 2, 1, and 3 (respectively).

 And good ole dad with ole time friend/brother #3 namesake/teeth-straightener of all the Ramsay children Robert. 

Not pictured: the 90+ pounds lost collectively by the men in the above 4 photos.

Travel Tableau pt. 1

10 July 2012

I emerge from the blogging desert with a record of our travels over the last few weeks. At 11pm Sunday night we found ourselves in LAX exhausted from foreign festivities. Over the past three weeks we've been on a glorious jaunt about the country involving relatives and friends and races and breweries and babes and Icelandic chickens and weddings and rainstorms. Below are a few anecdotes from our adventures and much more than a few photos.

Our first leg took the Cub and me to the Ramsay homestead where we reunited with our goat Beatrice and played with puppies and hatched baby guineas and met my Icelandic grandmother's Icelandic chickens. Collectively we were only bit by about 12 mosquitoes and had but one run in with a scorpion.

Soon we found ourselves in the grand Dallas Metroplex where we me up with the Pops, so he and I could become Godparents to the adorable Emma Grace

Jake made his Aunt Lily follow him all around the foyer for the entirety of the baptism, but he enjoyed the after party thoroughly.

as did I


And Jacob got to chill with most of his sibs + offspring.

After Dallas we parted ways with Jacob and made our way with my family to Seattle for some sightseeing before our Rock'n'Roll run.

The race was great.

Four years ago we ran a marathon in Rome together and decided we liked this whole family reunion/race thing, and Seattle became destination dos. I've been fighting off a running injury, so I scratched as a marathon hopeful and joined up with my sister and the lovely Jordan to do the half. Here is the whole troop at the beginning.

Some of us at mile 6:




I wasn't sure I would even finish, but thanks to a little persistence and a lot of 12 minute miles the race was conquered and the old hip seems no worse for the wear. We were only beat by one pregnant woman and were thus riding pretty high.

Alas, photos were not taken of the half marathon finishers, but here's a picture of me nursing five minutes after the race. My kid is patient like that.


Then we went to watch the 26.2ers finish up with Jacob's Aunt Mary and Uncle Steve - some Seattlans who came out to cheer.


Nana and Lily win the trooper awards. Nana for weathering the weather and Lily for finishing her first half marathon with a blood blister the size of Louisiana.


We were stalwart even as the winds blew and the rain came and the temperature dropped way below summer-appropriate levels.


I will unceremoniously leave you on the edges of your seats - and Jordan shivering in the cold - since my blogger is being glitchy. Tune in for some photo finishes soon.
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