August 16, 2017 by Sarah
I’ve been on a little bit of a hair journey in the last decade. For a long, long time I had my hair cut the same as straight hair and treated it the same way. My mom and every other female family member has straight hair so I didn’t really have anyone to learn from and just did what I could. I didn’t really give it much thought and often it was just kind of blah and a little poofy and awkward, but I didn’t really think about it.
Fast forward to college where the weather was warmer and I’d let it air dry and experimented with gels and mousse and tried to work that crispy, wet curly hair look. For most of those years I had a love/hate relationship with my hair, mostly on the hate end of the spectrum. More recently, I’ve been embracing my curly hair and feeling like I just needed someone to help me understand it!
A few weeks ago I finally had a haircut by a new stylist that completely revolutionized my hair routine. She totally got curly hair! She understood my questions and for the first time ever, cut and styled my hair as it was meant to be, curly. If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, you’ve got to try her out, Tara at Juut Salon.
The routine: I’ve always washed my hair every other day, but from my stylist’s recommendation, now only use shampoo about once a week. The other times I just rinse it with water and use conditioner as normal. (Side note, in my new routine I continued to use the same shampoo and conditioner)
After showering, towel drying, and while my hair is still wet, in my palm I mix together about a gumball sized amount of the conditioner creme and 2-3 drops of the oil. Then I run it through the bottom 2/3 of my hair. Sometimes I twist small sections of my wet hair into curls, just randomly throughout, but I’ve been forgetting this most of the time. I go to bed with my hair wet and it dries overnight.
For a long time I was using the wrong kind of curling iron! I was using too big of a barrel that didn’t mimic the size of my natural curls. I picked up this iron and now use the 0.7-1inch wand. The tapered end also mimics natural curls more accurately! In the morning when my hair is mostly dry, I part my hair where it makes sense that day (curly hair is a little different every time) and curl sections near the outside that seem like they could use a little love. I curl much smaller sections than I used to, again, I grab the amount that matches more my natural curls. I also don’t hold it around the curling iron as long, just a few seconds (maybe 3) to prevent heat damage. I end up curling maybe about 10-12 sections total, again usually just the outside. Then I shake it out a little with my fingers to make it look more natural, and then maybe pull some back in a clip depending on what I’m doing that day.
The curling step takes less than 5 minutes! I was amazed at how quick this routine was but how much I love it. I really don’t need to do more. And let’s be real, I have 3 young kids and barely have time for 5 minutes on my hair. Again, I’m loving this routine and thinking I’ll be following it for a long time.
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August 6, 2017 by Sarah
I don’t know how it happened, but all of a sudden we have a very soon-to-be kindergartener on our hands. Gianna is 5 going on 6 and starting school in 7 days! I don’t feel ready at all, we’ve been enjoying the summer days a lot. Especially the flexibility in night times and wake-up times. Soon, the school morning craziness will be here where I have to somehow on my own get 3 small children ready and out the door by a way too early time.
An added element to this year is needing to pack school lunches! This is a whole new world. Last year Gianna was in transitional kinder, so I did pack snacks. But lunches feel like a whole different level. Thinking about picking out the lunch gear was actually very exciting for me, and I’m feeling good about what we’ve got. I think we will have to try it out and maybe add things along the way. It was really helpful to just ask Gianna what kinds of things she wanted to pack for her lunch. Spaghetti was her answer for first lunch food! Love it. She also loves Korean soups and rice, along with fruits and veggies. We’re also headed to Costco this week for her to pick out snacks that she’s excited to pack.
For school lunch making veterans out there, what do you pack for your kids? Any tips to make the process easier? I’m sharing the lunch box container items that we have below, I’d also love to hear about containers that you like.
Thermos Food Jar: I’m thinking this will be prefect for the spaghetti and soups.
Kleen Kanteen Water Bottle: We have these for all our kids and love them.
All this gets packed into Gianna’s lunch bag that she picked out for herself last year.
Category in the kitchen | Tags:
April 7, 2017 by Sarah
One of my weaknesses is cookbooks. At the library, I can easily come by with stacks of them. Most of them I flip through pretty quickly, with maybe only 1 or 2 recipes sticking out to me. There are just a small handful of cookbooks that I turn to again and again and have a permanent spot on my shelf.
Barefoot Contessa Cookbook Collection: Pat got this for me for Christmas a few years ago, this set really covers the basics of good old American cooking. Ina Garten is spot on with all her recipes, everything is seasoned so well and and delicious. You can never go wrong with Ina! If I’m looking for a basic, classic recipe, this is the set I go to.
Maagnchi’s Real Korean Cooking: This cookbook is like the Barefoot set, but for Korean cooking. I’d heard of Maangchi and her wild pink hair and Youtube videos but was always deterred by not aesthetically pleasing website. But then, she hooked me, with her video on how to make your own soybean paste. After checking out this book first from the library, I found countless recipes that remind me of my mom’s and aunt’s cooking, my Korean comfort food. I soon after bought my own copy.
Vegetable Literacy: I am passionate about gardening and growing my own food. I can’t get enough of it. This book celebrates vegetables and makes them the focal point of every dish, instead of the afterthought. I find that even when you put the tiniest thought and effort into vegetables, they transform. This book is packed full of recipes from countless types of vegetables, along with great information and some helpful garden wisdom.
Super Natural Everyday: I do my best to cook with whole grains, vegetables, and in general good for you ingredients. Heidi Swanson really nails it. I’m amazed at how much flavor she develops from such “healthy” ingredients. I’ve learned a lot from her cookbook and food blog, she’s definitely worth following if you are interested in natural foods.
And a few honorable mentions.
I’ve been tempted to add The Art of Simple Food II to my library, I love Alice Water’s cooking philosophy, I learn a lot from her. My friend sent me Small Victories as a gift and I’ve been loving it, such a great gem of a book if you’re learning to cook or want some new ideas to make food taste even better.
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March 24, 2017 by Sarah
one. I somehow managed to start seeds indoors about a month ago, and here they are! Alive and well. We have brandywine tomatoes, sungold cherry tomatoes (my favorite), basil, kale, eggplant, and zinnia and borage flowers to attract good bugs to the garden. We also started another round this week of 3 kinds of cucumbers, marigolds, and cosmos.
three. I’ve been loving being part of a book club, in the last few months I’ve gotten to read books I would have never otherwise picked up. Last month I finished Ready Play One and I’m currently reading Exit West. Both got me hooked.
four. Every year when the trees start blossoming, I am reminded why spring is my favorite season. Trying to take it all in and savor it.
five. We’re in the season of Lent in the church calendar right now. I’ve been reading this Lenten devotional right now when I remember, it’s out of stock but it’s great so keep it in mind for future years if you’re interested!
Linking up with This Ain’t the Lyceum
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March 10, 2017 by Sarah
Spring is arriving in full force over here, and I’m so happy about it. We’re back at the park many afternoons during the week, and the blue tarp is more permanently off our back yard patio table. My cooking starts to transition during this time, a little less oven use as it gets hotter, but we’re not quite there yet, which means, my favorite roast chicken will still be a guest (maybe a less frequent one) during the beginning of spring.
What to do with roast chicken besides make chicken stock and toss it with pesto pasta? This week it accompanied roast potatoes and kale salad, was tossed in Chrissy Teigen’s Sesame Noodles, and then as a finale, chicken and bean enchiladas.
I grabbed what I had in my fridge that would work, the leftover chicken, black beans, carrots (that roasted underneath the chicken, amazingly good), and about half a bunch of kale. Added shredded cheese.
Rolled the filling up into tortillas, eyeballing along the way. The last ones definitely got fatter as I realized I had a lot of filling left. Then I covered everything with this enchilada sauce and a final sprinkling of cheese. Dinner, as always, was a rush as we came back from the park starving, so, a final photo didn’t happen. I included the recipe below, but really, this is such a loose one that you can fill the tortillas with any other veggies or proteins that you think might taste good!
Chicken and Bean Enchiladas
1 1/2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
1 cup black beans, drained
1/2 bunch kale, chopped finely, massaged with a little salt
1 1/2 cup shredded cheese (reserve 1/2 cup for top)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Toss together the chicken, black beans, kale, and 1 cup of shredded cheese. Taste it and add salt if it needs more flavor. Roll into tortillas. Pour enchilada sauce over and sprinkle 1/2 cup shredded cheese on top. Back for 10-15 minutes, until the cheese is melted.
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February 24, 2017 by Sarah
I appreciate routine these days. The kids work best this way and with my mind in so many different places all the time, it’s nice to have defaults that are set. In the kitchen these days, this looks like meals that we rotate through every few weeks. We eat a lot of spaghetti, noodle soup, a version of this, and in the fall and winter, we have lots and lots of roast chicken. I stock up on whole chickens when they’re on sale at Whole Foods, I think I’ve gotten as many as 8 one time! Luckily we had enough freezer space during that particular trip.
So, roast chicken. Then the routine is, get the bones in our slow cooker, add a small list of things along with it, fill with water, and then let it simmer away overnight. All the while the kids are running circles around the kitchen island (why do they have an insane burst of energy RIGHT before bedtime?), but it’s fine because I’m on auto-pilot with this one now. And I love being able to be on auto-pilot at the end of the day, especially when it means I wake up to deep, rich chicken stock in the morning that I can turn into soups or base for risotto or any number of dishes that ask for it.
One little pro-tip that I learned from a friend, keep a ziplock or container in the freezer that you can add veggie scraps from throughout the weeks then dump it all into the slow cooker when it’s time to make stock. There’s no need for a whole carrot when you can use peelings and other odds and ends for veggies that might make sense in stock.
Homemade Chicken Stock
Bones from 1 whole chicken
1 celery stalk
Small handful of thyme and parsley
1 tablespoon peppercorns
Put everything in a slow cooker, fill almost all the way up to the top and cover. Simmer on low for 8-10 hours. Cool, then freeze or use within a week.
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