My poor blog has been a bit neglected lately and I apologize. Things have been pretty busy here around my cottage and at Mr. S.'s casa. We now have the kidlets full-time so a lot of our time is spent hanging out with them. Lately they've been into bike riding, racing radio controlled (nitro and electric/lipo) cars as well as watching The Office and the X-Games. The full-time thing has been a bit of an adjustment  and definitely exhausting but it was nice when for Mother's Day I received this gorgeous lily plant from Mr.S., the kidlets and Pepper pup.

Kidlet#1 also made this cool card for me (on the right) at school. I'm still not quite sure what a rooster has to do with Mother's Day but I love it and it's on the fridge at my cottage. He's such a sweet kid. I can't believe he's starting high school in the fall!

Now this past weekend was a bit insane and I felt like I didn't get much sleep...but it was insane in a good way. My weekend started with an early wake-up, as Saturday morning I was volunteering at the the Mid-Century Modern Home Tour. I was stationed from 10am to 1pm in the game room (aka "The Big Lebowski Room") of my friend Gretchen's phenomenal Eichler home in South Land Park. I had such a fantastic time chatting with the folks that came through and learned all kinds of interesting bits of historical information about the area architecture and furnishings. One sweet gentleman even swapped me one of the Atomic Fireballs in my candy dish for a recipe on how to make a drink that tastes just like an Atomic Fireball (Fireball Whiskey, lemon juice and maple syrup).  The entire morning went by in a flash. After my volunteer shift, my friend Amanda and I went to check out a few of the other homes on the tour. I instantly fell in love with the backyard garden at the Skelly Duplex on Gilgunn Way. Such a great use of space! With it's lush greenery, bubbling water fountain and outdoor firepit, it's the perfect hideaway to curl up in and read a book during the week and soak in some tranquility. Then on weekends, you could switch it up and throw a fun, outdoor dinner party with friends under the stars. *Sigh* Now if only I could convince Mr. S. to build me a gazebo, a little garden studio getaway and an outdoor shower in his backyard like the ones I saw!

Hands down though, my favorite home on the tour is still Gretchen's Eichler. The vintage Ray-Gun collection, whimsical retro lunchbox display and sparkly Sputnik light- all  intermingled with the bright colors, clean lines and big windows- it just makes it such a fun house to be in; it's no surprise that it's been featured in Atomic Ranch magazine. Here's a few random pics I snapped of things that caught my eye:

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Now if all that hub-bub wasn't enough to wear me out, I had plans to go to Napa with my friend Michelle to see Adam Carolla and Dr. Drew at the Uptown Theatre that night. It turned out to be quite hilarious... even the fart jokes (ok, maybe I have been hanging out with the kidlets a leeee-tle too much).

Anyhow, amid all this running around, I found the time to make a new recipe...and it's oooh so good! It's made with fresh juicy strawberries, creamy goat cheese and some wonderfully nutty-tasting farro. I also threw in a handful of toasted slivered almonds for crunch and drizzled on some homemade vinaigrette to give it a nice subtle lemon-kissed taste.  You'll love it! It's the perfect quintessential summer recipe. Pack it to take on a romantic weekend picnic, whip up a batch to take to a BBQ with friends or you can even make some to have as part of your weeknight family dinner. (Which is what we did. I served it alongside some seared scallops mixed with morels and topped with a brown butter sauce. Ohhhh yeaaah!) By the way, if you haven't tried farro (pronounced FAHR-oh), it's good stuff! It's a grain that looks a lot like brown rice but has a lighter, chewier texture and a nutty taste. It's also rich in fiber and low in gluten. Farro's also quite easy to cook. You can use it as a replacement for rice in salads, risottos and soups.

Summertime Strawberry and Farro Salad


3 oz. slivered almonds

1 cup semi-pearled or pearled farro

1 basket (pint) of whole strawberries

3 green onions (white and lighter green portion)

1 cup baby spinach leaves

3.5 oz. crumbled goat cheese


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. 

2. Take a baking sheet and spread the slivered almonds out in a single layer. Place in oven for 5-8 minutes. Flip and stir them about every 2 minutes. Keep a close eye on them as they can go from toasted to burnt very quickly. Remove them from the oven before they brown (remember they'll continue to cook somewhat once they're removed from the oven.)  Allow to cool. Set aside.

3. Rinse the farro. Next, bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Add the farro, cover and return to a boil. Then bring the heat down to medium-low and allow the farro to cook for 30-35 minutes. When it's done most of the water should be absorbed. If you have a little bit of water left, go ahead and drain it off.

4. Place the cooked farro in a bowl and place it in the fridge to cool.

5. While your farro cools- hull and quarter your strawberries, roughly chop your baby spinach leaves, and finely slice the green onion. (If the strawberries are on the smaller side, just cut them in half instead of quarters.)

6. Mix up your vinaigrette (see recipe below).

7. In a large mixing bowl, toss together the farro, strawberries, spinach, green onions and goat cheese. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad ingredients and mix well.
8. Serve cold.

Lemon-Honey Vinaigrette


4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon honey

1-2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 teaspoon sugar (optional)

salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste


1. Place all ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Whisk together thoroughly.

2. Chill in refrigerator.
1 Response
  1. Gretchen Says:

    Thanks for your kind words and for being there on tour day! Your presence, along with our other friends, was very calming! Took me a while to get to reading this post in full. That salad looks delicious! Hope to see you again soon! <3 G

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