This past weekend was awesome. And blueberry season has officially begun!

Blueberries Morning Light

What started as Girls Night In (proof here) became such a fun adventure in helping out at the Sierra Cascade Blueberry Farm stand at the SF Ferry Plaza Farmers Market last Saturday! Some of you may remember that I also helped Armen at the Berkeley Farmers Market last year. Armen is Will’s (my good friend and college roommate’s) mom.  And this year, we joined Will’s dad, John, at the Ferry Building.

As much as I missed Armen’s wonderful personality and natural ease when chatting with her devout blueberry fans this time around, the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market was such a fun experience!

Ferry Building Farmers Market

I’ve gone here on the weekends before but have never been on the selling side of the stand. We go to our spot and started setting up at 7:30am on Saturday morning. We couldn’t have asked for a more gorgeous day. The morning light…was ah-mazzzz-ingggggg.

Amanda Nicole Carolyn Blueberries

 Amanda, Carolyn, and Nicole pictured above.
John (the farmer!) below.

John

Of course, Nicole and I had to show off the goods….

Nicole Steph Blueberries

Blueberries

These blueberries taste amazing too. And they’ve been certified organic for over 20 years! (See blueberry mojitos and blueberry pie recipe if you’re in the blueberry mood.)

As I mentioned last year, helping this family sell their blueberries is truly incredible. Customers come up left and right asking for John and Armen…wondering how their sons are doing, what’s new on the farm, and just being genuinely happy that the Sierra Cascade blueberries are back at the market. The blueberries were 3 weeks early this season too, something John and Armen haven’t seen in previous seasons before.

Amanda, Carolyn, Nicole, and I had a blast dishing out these blueberries to everyone. So much so that we sold out half an hour before the farmers market closed! Even though it’s blurry, I couldn’t help but post the picture of all of us below.

Blueberry Stand Group

The rest of the market was fantastic as well. As a vendor, it’s really exciting to trade your produce with the other vendors. We walked away with delicious cheese, fresh veggies, and some killer lox sandwiches.

Cherries and Bread

There was also an awesome stand, EatWell Farm, that came by our table and chatted with us for a while. The sweet gal then came back with homemade naturally-fermented probiotic drinks for all of us (pictured below)! So nice of her and so glad I got to taste the Cherry Lavendar flavor they make. Seriously, that’s the true spirit of a local farmer and sustainable friend right there. Plus, I’m keeping the cool glass bottles to put flowers in at home :)

Cherry Lavender EatWell

We also got to see a lot of the chefs and kitchen staff of all the local restaurants get to the market early so they could get first pick of the best produce. It was really cool to ask what restaurant they were from. flour + water even stopped by and bought a flat of blueberries! I almost fainted. That gives you an idea of the quality of these blueberries :) Here are some more photos from the Farmers Market:

Carrots

eggs

Open Faced Lox Sandwiches
Group Photo Ferry Building
After we left the Ferry Building, we went and ate dinner at Bask in North Beach with even more college friends (one who flew in from Wisconsin!), and then my parents came to the city on Monday so I got to spend some time with them. Lots of food, sun, and great times this weekend.

How was everyone else’s long weekend?

{photo via Pinterest}

Tomorrow, I embark on a new beginning.

Tomorrow, my skills and strengths will be tested at the next level.

Tomorrow, I officially begin my new job with optimism, courage, and strive. But as I welcome it with open arms, my heart is heavy because it also marks the reality that I am not longer at my old job.

Today, though, I embrace this change. Today, I celebrate how lucky I am.

They say you can’t have everything and although I definitely understand this, somehow I find myself wishing–just for a split second–that it was possible. To have everything. Then I wouldn’t have to leave one thing to follow my passion for another. Then I wouldn’t have to accept that change is a constant that can’t be messed with. Hell, then I would just eat bacon all day and swim in a pool of hot chocolate! That would be my everything. Can I just have that?! No?

No. OK–back to reality.

Today is not about doubt or fear or happiness elsewhere, it’s about celebration. I’m celebrating the fact that I even got to experience such a wonderful chapter in my life. I’m celebrating the amazing work-family that I have developed over the last 4 years at my job. They took me under their wing and taught me so much. They believed in me even when I didn’t and they have an everlasting faith in my abilities as a professional and as an individual. To experience that sort of love and support from colleagues, mentors, and superiors exceeds any of my expectations of a work community.

There are no words to say exactly how much I truly appreciate each and everyone one of them.

But there comes a time when ambition drives strength and eagerness to learn more surpasses all fear. I am ready for this challenge and so excited to dip my feet into an environment I’ve had a drive for since I can remember.

Today, I’m celebrating the end of this chapter in my life with a warm heart and sincere gratitude. And I also am celebrating the next chapter that’s about to begin. And the many chapters to come after that…

So as I keep the last 4 years close to my heart, I’m ready to tackle the world.

Wish me luck.

Happy Sunday! :)

Today’s Blogger Guest Post for The Holiday Project:
Carrie from Our Life In Food

[I've been reading Our Life In Food for a while now, and I just love Carrie's great recipes! This dish would make a great antipasto for any event! Thanks, Carrie!]

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Many of the best memories over the course of my life involve sharing good food and drinks with the people that I love. And when it comes to the holidays, there’s just nothing quite as heartwarming as un-bundling from the cold and settling in with family over a great cheese tray and a nice bottle of red wine. We talk, we laugh, we tell jokes, and we make great memories together over appetizers and snacks. And so for me, holiday appetizer recipes might just be my favorite of all of the special foods that we make over the holiday season. They’re the little treats that I associate with the fondest memories and with my favorite part of the holiday season – enjoying the company of my loved ones.

This marinated cheese and olives recipe is a great little appetizer and a unique addition to a cheese platter. It’s a simple recipe – just tangy olives, creamy cheese, and juicy sun dried tomatoes all combined in a lovely dressing made from olive oil, vinegar, brown mustard, rosemary, and spices. It’s the kind of recipe that you can throw together quickly and easily, and it’s the kind of snack that you can leave sitting out for people to nibble on. Just throw a little container of toothpicks next to your serving bowl or onto your cheese platter, grab a glass of wine or a mug of eggnog, and setttle in.

Marinated Cheese and Olives

Source: Adapted from Southern Living Ultimate Christmas Cookbook

  • 2/3 cup pitted Kalamata olives
  • 2/3 cup green olives stuffed with pimientos
  • 6-8 oz block Colby cheese, cut into cubes
  • 6-8 sun dried tomatoes packed in oil, chopped
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar (or any kind of vinegar that you prefer)
  • 1 heaping teaspoon brown mustard
  • 1 sprig rosemary, minced
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • Good pinch Herbs de Provence
  • Good pinch crushed red pepper flakes

1. Place the olives, cheese, and sun dried tomatoes in a mixing bowl.

2. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, and rosemary. Season to taste with a pinch of salt, pepper, Herbs de Provence, and crushed red pepper flakes.

3. Pour the dressing over the olive mixture. Mix gently, and refrigerate until ready to serve.*

*This recipe can be made well in advance and will keep for a few weeks in the refrigerator. Just be sure to remove from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving, as the dressing will begin to solidify when cold due to the olive oil.

Carrie has been the author at Our Life in Food since 2008. She believes in the power of great home cooking and the role that good food and drinks play in enriching our lives. She loves to drink beer, sip wine, try new recipes and perfect old favorites, and spend lazy hours laughing and talking while out to eat at a local pub or a favorite restaurant.

Contact Info

Website: http://www.ourlifeinfood.com

Email: ourlifeinfood@gmail.com

 

Oh, snap! It’s cookie season!

I love traditional cookies–chocolate chip, peanut butter, etc. etc. but sometimes I like to switch it up. While I often revert back to the comfort of simple and traditional cookies, it’s fun to experiment a bit with the cookies you’ve always loved.

This year for The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap (hosted by Love and Olive Oil and The Little Kitchen), I decided to make chewy gingersnaps with a twist. I added some chai icing and sprinkled some grated crystalized ginger to top off each cookie! The crystalized ginger gives the cookie an added kick and the chai icing slightly sweetens each bite–it’s a great balance, if you ask meee!

I was hesitant on making these for the cookie swap because I know some people don’t favor ginger, but then I thought, why not?! Ginger is healthy and good for you. Plus, if they don’t like the cookies, I’m sure they can find someone who will eat them! Hopefully.

I really enjoyed the cookies myself, especially with a steaming hot cup of earl grey tea. They didn’t have too much “snap” and were soft and chewy…just how I like them. The crazy thing about this whole cookie exchange was mailing the cookies! When I packed them carefully, I thought I did a pretty good job. But once I handed the boxes over to the lady at the post office, she literally threw them about 10 feet into a large bin. Whaa??? So I hope they weren’t just a box of crumbs when they got to their respective addresses.

For this cookie exchange, I made 3 dozen of these cookies and sent 1 dozen off to 3 different bloggers. In return, I received 3 dozen cookies! 1 dozen each from 3 other bloggers. Unfortunately, my mailman doesn’t leave packages at my door so I still haven’t picked them up! I went on Saturday but the post office closed early! I’m so curious about who sent me cookies! And of course, I want to EAT THEM!

So to the bloggers who sent me cookies, THANK YOUUUU! I will find out who you are very soon and taste your delicious cookies.

And to Baking With Basil, Rhubarb and Honey, and A Gilt Nutmeg: I hope you enjoyed the cookies! Happy Holidays!!

Gingersnaps with Chai Icing and Crystalized Ginger (Cookie recipe adapted from Alphabet Soup Blog)

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup unsulphured molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • additional granulated sugar for rolling, about 1/4 cup
  • crystalized ginger, chopped or shredded
For the icing:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2-4 teaspoons chai concentrate

Cream together the butter and sugar. Then mix in the molasses and egg until everything is well incorporated.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and baking soda. In small amounts, slowly add this mixture to the butter/molasses bowl. Once everything is well mixed, wrap the dough up in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour. You can also refrigerate it overnight!

When ready to bake the cookies, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put the additional sugar in a small bowl. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and roll in the sugar. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Each ball should be about 2 inches apart.

Bake cookies for 9-12 minutes. Let cool on the sheet for a couple minutes, and then transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

While the cookies are baking, make the icing and chop/shred the crystalized ginger. For the icing, place the powdered sugar in a small bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of chai concentrate at time until you get a nice icing consistency. Be careful because a single teaspoon can go a long way!

Once the cookies are completely cooled, drizzle or pipe icing across the cookies. While the icing is still wet, press on a couple pieces of crystalized ginger on each cookie.

Enjoy!

 

So now that my blog has successfully moved over from wordpress.com to a new host, I’m still moving. Physically, that is. To a new city!

Frankly, it’s exhausting, especially because I hate packing and moving. I wish I could be cooking away right now but instead, I’m trying to convince myself which pots and pans I should keep and which I should donate.

I am very excited to be moving though and can’t wait to begin this next chapter in life (more on that in the next post). It’s all very bittersweet. So for the time being, you may not hear from me for about a week (give or take a couple days) so I can get through my move smoothly!

Can’t wait to tell you all about it, so stay tuned, you lovely readers :)

In the meantime, these quotes express how I’m feeling right now–curious about the world ahead of me…maybe you can relate to them too…

Cheers :)

 One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well. 

Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known. - Carl Sagan

If we couldn’t laugh, we’d go insane. - Robert Frost

Logic will get you from A to Z. Imagination will get you everywhere. – Albert Einstein

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world. – Harriet Tubman

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