Don't you just love three day weekends? I do, especially when they're full of fun activities like this one. Friday night, Mr.S. and I took the kidlets to the cinema to see Fast and Furious 6...I'm not sure who was more excited, me or the kidlets. It's funny because I'm not a Vin Diesel fan at all but I've loved every F&F movie that's come out and have watched them all repeatedly. It's a (not so) secret guilty pleasure, all that super fast car racing is exciting! On Saturday night, I had Supper Club with my girlfriends and Sunday I got to indulge in a marathon session of Arrested Development over at my friend Michelle's. Has anyone else watched the made-for-Netflix Season 4 yet? I liked it but I thought it was nowhere as hilarious as the original three seasons. Where was the chicken dance, the Final Countdown and the banana stand? Maybe it would have been funnier if I had had unlimited juice while I was watching it?

Monday was my only real "quiet" day, I did a few things around my cottage including creating a new salad to take to Mr.S.'s for dinner. We had plans for a BBQ but the weather was so gloomy and wet, that we ended up just grilling some chicken and eating indoors. The salad I made though came out wonderfully and I think it'll be in permanent rotation in our dinner plan. Also I used farro again in this recipe...Mr.S. and Kidlet #1 seem to love it and can't get enough of it. Which is fine by me as farro is rich in antioxidants, cyanogenic glucosides, high in fiber and a good source of iron and protein. I also tossed in some dried figs, which added a nice chewy texture to the salad and are high in iron, potassium and folic acid.

Figs and Farro Salad with Mandarin Balsamic Vinaigrette


1 cup semi-pearled farro

1/2 cup chopped dried Calimyrna figs (to make the figs easier to slice, place them in the freezer for a bit beforehand)

1/2 cup candied walnuts (Trader Joe's has these at a reasonable price)

1/2 cup dried cranberries

4 oz. crumbled goat cheese

2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion

3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

2 tablespoons of your favorite citrus balsamic vinegar (I used a mandarin balsamic vinegar by Lucero)

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons Dijon

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper


1. 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.

2. Put the cooked farro in a bowl and place it in the fridge to cool.

3. In a large mixing bowl, place the chopped dried figs, candied walnuts, dried cranberries, red onion, parsley and goat cheese.

4. In a separated smaller bowl, mix together your: mandarin balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, olive oil, Dijon, brown sugar, salt and pepper. Whisk well.

5. Add your chopped ingredients to the chilled farro. Drizzle with the vinaigrette. Toss together thoroughly. Serve.

A few years ago, some awesome friends of mine and I started a Supper Club. It was a great way to try out new recipes and get together to eat, drink and chat. We had a Mediterranean night, a vegan night and a seafood night among other themes. A lot of fun times and laughter were had in the kitchen and the dining table. Well, life got a bit busy (as it always seems to) and the Supper Club got back burnered for awhile; however, recently we decided to resurrect it and I'm so glad we did! It was wonderful to get together again with the ladies and nosh and socialize. Last night's theme was "comfort food." It was not only comforting but incredibly delicious- we had cups of tangy tomato soup with mini-grilled cheese sandwiches, bowls of spicy chili with cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream, a classic Caesar salad with homemade dressing, a hearty veggie pot pie, creamy smashed potatoes,  and two tantalizing desserts--- banana bread pudding and cherry pie. The cherry pie made by Amanda was renamed Pie "Alamo" and you can see why here:

Pie "Alamo"
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:

For more info, check out: or

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.

What: Screening of the documentary film "A Place at the Table" followed by a panel discussion.

Moderated by:

Elaine Corn, Reporter, Capital Public Radio


Don Saylor, Yolo County Supervisor
Roger Dickinson, Assemblymember, 7th District
Y. Armando Nieto, Executive Director, Community Food & Justice Coalition
Jessica Bartholow, Legislative Advocate, Western Center on Law and Poverty
Eileen Thomas, Executive Director, River City Food Bank

Where: Crest Theater

When: Tuesday, May 21st, 6pm-9pm (doors open at 5:45pm)

Sponsored by:  Sacramento Hunger Coalition.
This event is free, but donations are appreciated. All proceeds will go to the Sacramento Hunger Coalition

Additional/Ticket Info:   Website
Contact: Samantha Hodges at the Sacramento Hunger Coalition,

Misc: Article that appeared about the film on NPR's website: A Call To Action On Hunger