Make This Warm Huckleberry Galette

Where we live it is Huckleberry season, which means these sweet little berries are now available at Albertson’s on Broadway, who I have been working with on several tasty projects this summer. Huckleberries look quite similar to blueberries but their taste is more intense with more juice which makes these intensely delicious once baked as the juices release and mix with he sugar/flour mixture to make a syrup.
This is another simple and quick recipe that appears and tastes more labor intensive than it actually is! Check out the recipe below.


Ingredients:

pie crust (make your own or purchase one ready-made)
fresh Huckleberries, about 5 oz
3 fresh figs
2 tlb flour
2 tlb light brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
pinch of salt
zest from 1/2 lemon
1 egg, beaten
coarse sugar or honey for garnish

Directions:

Roll out your pie dough into a circle, approx 12″ wide. Rinse your Huckleberries and figs and drain. Mix your sugar, flour and spices together and gently toss your fresh berries in them. Now fill the center of your crust with the dusted berries and then top with quartered figs and lemon zest, being careful to leave about 1 1/2″ of dough to folding over the edges. Pleat your edges as you fold them up, brush edges with the beaten egg and then sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake at 350ºF/176 C for 40 minutes. Once galette is removed a cooled slightly you can drizzle it with a bit of honey. Serve with fresh vanilla ice cream or mascarpone cheese!

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Albertsons on Broadway. The opinions and text are all mine.

Mondays and To-Do Lists

You might have already seen this on my Instagram and morally I try to post different content to the blog & Insta but I thought I’d share here to as it’s nice to update the blog as frequently as possible. Our dining room right now with our Muuto dining…

Have a Look at our New and Bigger Family Sofa!

If you didn’t already know, we are a family of four! Obviously that isn’t a large family but it’s still important to me that I make sure everyone has room enough around the house. Each of the kids have their own bedrooms and places to sit at the table …

Hair care favorites

Do you ever think about doing something and later realize you didn’t ACTUALLY do it? This happens to me all of the type, I think about texting me mom back or I think about how I need to get back to an email and somehow the thought becomes a memory of something I didn’t really do.

If this has never happened to you then…oh come on, it happens to everyone! This is one of those things and with blog posts I’m guilty more often than not of photographing something with the intent to share but then life happens and you forget that you didn’t follow through. Sounds like na organization problem or maybe it’s mom brain, keeping everyone else’s life straight I tend to put my own on the back burner. Which is a great segway to share this hair & skin brand from New Zealand who, I may have forgotten about for a second, but is exactly what I need when I’m thinking of everyone else’s needs. My hair is naturally somewhat curly, loose curls but they’re definitely more than waves, which means my hair is also naturally dry. Sans [ceuticals] lets you fill out a profile that customizes products for you, so if you have dry hair like me or even if you don’t, they suggest products that suite you specifically.
It’s been a few weeks and I love what I use, the tube I even keep next to my bed and run a little dab of it through my hair before braiding it and falling asleep. Also, let us not overlook their lovely packaging, functional product and beautiful packaging is the formula for my affection!

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String grid as a bathroom organizer

If you’re familiar with String then I’m sure one of the first products that comes to mind is probably their Pocket shelf. We’ve owned a few at home, some in white and oak. They’re perfect for spring small objects in the kitchen, bedroom or wherever. I …

Welcome, 2018

I never did schedule a post for Christmas day or even Christmas Eve but I wanted to make sure to wish everyone a Happy New Year! 2017 was a greta year in many respects but I have new goals for 2018 and am making them a priority. More on that later.For …

5 Days of Christmas Day 3 / Make These Easy Cream Cheese Mints

December is the month we bake the most, by far. For better or worse the kids and I make a lot of festive treats as a means to occupy the kids who are inside more and a way to celebrate Christmas. Of all the things we’ve made though, sometimes it is the…

The weekend plan

Our living room corner was just about the only part of the house this week that looked decent, and even then if you get too close you’ll see a light coating of dust on everything! I’m not going to pretend everything is perfect because it’s not and that…

What I gained from the loss of my father

This post is sponsored by Prudential Financial and Bloglovin’

Just when you think you’ve got life figured out, when you can set your actions to autopilot and live like a pro, when you can map out short term plans and are finally old enough to make them happen. Just when you’ve outgrown the rebellious stage of purposely resisting your parent’s advice to show them you can do things your own way. Then having become a parent yourself, find that you see your own mother and father for more than the dictators of your life you thought they were as a teen. Just when you can now see that they did their very best to love and protect you, as you are now attempting to do with your own small child. Just then, it takes a most unexpected turn.
That’s how I felt four years ago when my father passed away without warning. He was young, healthy, and strong with a good 40 years of life ahead of him. I don’t know, maybe even more. He was just beginning to settle into the role of a grandfather with my then three year old son, and I had never known he could blossom into such a nurturing and affectionate being, someone wanting to right all of the wrongs from his role as a father with the love and patience only a grandparent can possess. My father was the last person I worried about who always seemed to be invincible, and anyways, he was usually the one worrying about me. Then, one early Saturday morning in May, while I slept in peaceful ignorance next to my toddler son, the life of my dad ended abruptly.

That Saturday back in 2013 spurred me to later write a blog post about my feelings surrounding my loss which were still as fresh and raw as any open wound. I attempted to type in black and white the powerfully swirling cacophony of memories mixed with future fears. My mind bounced relentlessly back and forth from the past, where it tried desperately to retain any fragment of memory and experience I had with my father, then all the way to the distant future where I would have lived my life and raised my children without my father alive to witness it.
Looking back I experienced every classical stage of grief. It wasn’t possible to absorb the volume of my loss all at once or even during those first subsequent months. Even now after four years and 4 months and however many days until this is published, the loss continues to unfold in new ways as I experience personal milestones or watch the achievements of my children, as the world keeps spinning and humankind keeps moving forward one step at a time, knowing he should be here with us all the while. He is not though, he is not here to participate in any of them.
Not only do I miss the role he played as supportive father in my life but I miss his personality, his unique view of the world, his brash sarcasm, his ripening as a person over the course of time. Often I wonder what he would be doing now if he had never left us, what hobbies he would be into, what movies would he’d be excited to see, his opinion about the current political climate, and his even his graying hair.
I’ve had four years to process and try to understand my loss. There was a time when I would overthink the normally automatic behaviors of life. My brain was so exhausted from running laps around the thoughts of grief, that deciding what to eat or leaving the house put me into an emotional tailspin. During this time of barely functioning it felt that there was no end in sight. “Is this my new reality”, I would ask myself. “Will I ever be normal again?” and “What is normal now anyways?” I can’t tell you exactly how I got from that place to where I am now able to talk about my father in the past tense without crying every time. Able to tell my kids funny stories about him without feeling full of sorrow and overcome with emotion. Even to look at a photo of him and just smile, remembering only the good he left behind. There’s no way I would have thought something positive could come from something so painful, only bad and void and sadness could possibly result from losing someone that so greatly comprised my inner circle. Fortunately I was wrong.

Losing my father has changed me, that’s one thing I know for certain. I’ve never returned to the normal I once knew when I had a father, but I also no longer attempt to mimic the life I had when my father was alive. A new normal has had to be created over time. Like a graft in a tree, the old branch is not replaced but rather a new, different one diverges from the wound.
Now that grief has become more manageable I’ve been able to see the good which has come from losing my father. Spending time on those things that add value to my life is one of the biggest changes that has come in the last few years. This sounds like a no brainer but many things throughout the day are competing for our attention and it truly takes effort to edit out the nonessentials that add meaningless static to our lives. The things that keep us busy but not necessarily productive. I try often to focus on what matters most like spending time with my growing kids, working on tasks and jobs I’m passionate about, not overcommitting myself, and setting aside time for activities that simply give me joy. Doing more of what I love helps me to feel that the time I have is being spent in a way I won’t regret later. This often means saying “no” to people or offers that could deter me from the goal of creating a life with meaning and purpose.
Learning to say “no” to people, to overindulgence or to extra commitments that take up too much of my time is a practice. But each time I flex this muscle and turn something down that I know is not adding value to my life, the next time this needs to happen becomes a little easier. How effortlessly we get sucked into hours and hours on social media, or into another show we didn’t really need to watch, or even eating that extra cookie when you know eating just one was sufficient. These are the things I try to avoid now because they add up quickly and I don’t want to spend what time I have tied to things that aren’t truly important to me.

Something else I’ve learned in the wake of losing my dad is how important self care is. I hate to admit it but before I used to avoid visiting the doctor whenever possible. Scheduling an appointment or finding time to spend the afternoon in the doctor’s office were obligatory things I avoided if I could. Now I don’t hesitate as much, I ask a lot of questions, and I do a little of my own research to prevent a visit. I also try to eat as many whole foods as possible and work out a few times a week. Sometimes it’s as simple as buying a new candle or picking up a book I had intended to read weeks ago that makes me feel that I’m not totally neglected. Not fitness guru here, but before I might have procrastinated with these little self care basics. Now I make time for them knowing that being physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy for my children and family are one of the most paramount of priorities.
Loss has also propelled me to set higher goals for myself and for the future. Before my dad passed away I was in my late 20’s and still felt that I had all the time in the world. Considering the future was not a regular habit and my choices were mostly influenced by the present circumstances, what resources I had at the moment, and what I wanted in that moment. I’m not so much older now, but I feel I’ve become much better at long term planning and sticking to my goals.
Part of having that long term mindset is planning for the future. With a family of my own I have to think about staying physically and emotionally healthy for my kids but also about practical things like finances. I think much more about the long term effects of my financial choices and spend more time planning for future expenses than before. Not only do I keep these goals at the forefront of my mind but I aim a little higher, take a little more risk, and try new things. As someone who works freelance and who has irregular payment terms with each client, I’ve learned how imperative it is to be putting a portion of that away to save. Saving is probably my biggest financial goal each month, and we have several accounts so we can save separately for individual goals. One account can be for trips and travel while another may be for the kids’ activities. With a daughter in ballet and a son learning the piano there will be many costs associated with their lessons to be prepared for. Being a mom has also taught me to be prepared for the unexpected, which can also include unexpected expenses so really saving is also a necessity. Thinking big picture is about continuing to grow and set new goals for yourself as an individual, as a family, and not allowing a defeated mentality even in pain.

Losing my father is the saddest event I’ve ever experienced and happiness can seem like an emotion out of reach. However fleeting happiness may seem I truly believe we have a choice to be happy to a great degree. If someone is suffering or has recently experienced a loss I would not dare to tell them they have simply not chosen to be happy. For those of us who have a roof over our heads, food in our bellies, healthy friends and family, a safe place to call home, we have a choice. I work on this every day and sometimes each minute takes some effort. Before loss I felt a little more of a victim to my emotions. Now I know reframing my thinking, taking a deep breath, and looking for a new perspective on a tense situation can go a long way to helping me have more moments of happiness. It’s a conscientious choice I have to make. When I choose to make happiness a priority, when I choose a positive attitude in place of a negative one, everyone around me benefits.
I will forever be grateful to my father for the things he taught me in his life and also in his death. If he were still alive I don’t know if I would have spent as much effort as I have in remembering times with him, understanding who he was, and recalling what he taught me. Don’t misunderstand me though, I would bring him back in an instant if that was a real possibility, however I understand that he is gone. The pain is still there but simultaneously the joy of our memories and the life lessons I have learned from his absence since then have added to my life in ways he would have smiled proudly to hear about.

MAKE / Milk Jello

When I was a girl I remember eating Arroz con Leche, which is basically a Latino version of rice pudding, at my grandmother’s house or made by my mom. Sometimes she’s ruin it with raisins but mostly it had this sweet condensed milk and cinnamon flavor, the flavors of which is still incredibly nostalgic for me.

So last week I came across a recipe that is pretty much the jello version of this called Gelatina de Leche or Milk Jello. Wait, jello?! Who makes desserts from jello anymore? This isn’t the 1960’s!
Well maybe lack of trendiness made it all the more intriguing for me to try and when I showed the recipe to my mom she said my grandmother used to make this. Of course she did!

In part because my family-isa recipe to resurrect and after buying 2x the supplies, just in case the first effort didn’t turn out, along with three stops at thrift stores for old copper jello molds, I was ready to give it a try. If you follow my Stories on Instagram then yesterday you saw Elin helping me and part of the process, ending with my son jiggling the set and unmolded yellow creation.

It tastes like my childhood and so I thought I’d share because, being a cold dish, it just might be the perfect dessert for a summer night. The recipe I used was found here, where their flawlessly bright white jello doesn’t resemble my own in the slightest! Even though I removed the cinnamon sticks after 4 mins, part of them separated and then sunk to the bottom of the mold while chilling. I’m sure straining the mixture before refrigerating would have prevented this, but the recipe never called to do so. Also, how is theirs so white?! I used the table cream, just like the recipe asked for, and it has a very oyster white color that keeps this from being a true, stark white.

Regardless of the aesthetics I thought it was good, so here you are with the directions:

Ingredients
1 cup cold water
5 tbsp unflavored gelatin
4 cups of milk
2 large mexican cinnamon sticks, broken in half
28 oz condensed milk
1½ cups crema mexicana (table cream)
2 tsp vanilla extract

/Start by blooming 4 or 5 tbsp of unflavored gelatin (reduce the amount to 4 tbsp if you don’t want it as firm) in the cup of cold water.
/Then in a medium saucepan add milk and bring to a boil. Once the milk reaches boiling point, add the cinnamon sticks, reduce the heat and simmer for about 4 minutes. Remove from heat.
/Using a slotted spoon, remove the cinnamon sticks, add in the unflavored gelatin and whisk gently until completely dissolved. Mix in the condensed milk, crema mexicana and vanilla extract, stirring until everything has been fully combined.
/Pour your mixture into your mold and refrigerate for about 4-5 hours until firm.
/Unmold your jello by dipping in a larger bowl of hot water for 3 seconds. Place a plate ontop of your jello and invert. Garnish with fresh berries, or not.


TRAVEL / Visiting L.A. with Kids

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A favorite smoothie bowl that’s a staple at home

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