We’re here now. With roof, and kitchen. Community. Plans for a garden. It is a wonder to me now that we resisted the temptation to carry on as gypsies forever. The further we let ourselves drift away from the clutter and noise of reality, the more absurd the conventions of our lives always seem to appear. The open road and an empty agenda make few demands of a person – curiousity, patience, willingness, a sense of humor, maybe a toothbrush. Tall grasses, mountains, and the wind gently whisper permission to step out from the rigid set of ideas, requirements, expectations we’ve set for ourselves and make space for new truths and new understandings of what our purpose is on this planet.
It’s easy to romanticize the freedom of it all – no sense of time, place, before, or after. And it’s important. To leave, to get away, to lose oneself to it all. But I think it’s also important to come back. There is an even more profound freedom to be experienced when we recognize that we have the power to create that same sense of adventure, inhibition, and joy in our daily lives. That is my intention. To let myself be free everyday. Wherever I am, wherever I go, wherever I don’t.
Thank you for your love, kindness, and support over the past month as we’ve meandered to our new resting place here in Colorado. Cheers to the next chapter.
* Open fire scramble technique borrowed from “Cooking in the Moment” by Andrea Reusing.* * Video shot in our favorite parts of Alaska. For more behind the scenes action on our Alaska visit, see here.
“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”
“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”
“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully.
“It’s the same thing,” he said.
Broiled Asparagus, a Poached Egg, and Charred Spring Onion and Garlic over Grits
1 cup coarse grits (polenta)
1 bundle (about a pound) asparagus
3 spring onions
2 stalks spring garlic
Lemon juice, lemon zest
olive oil / butter
Combine 1 cup grits with 5 cups cold water in a heavy, deep pot. Bring to a boil, toss in a bit of salt and reduce to simmer for 45 minutes, stirring very frequently and adding water and oil/butter to your liking. Meanwhile, prep asparagus on baking sheet. Coat with olive oil, salt, pepper and zest of 1 lemon. Broil on the top rack for no more than 5 minutes. Remove asparagus from pan and set aside. Slice the white and light green portion of both garlic and onions and toss in leftover olive oil from the asparagus on the baking sheet. Squeeze the juice of the fully zested lemon over the garlic and onions. Add a bit more oil if you feel necessary. Return to the broiler, and check every 2 minutes to make sure they don’t burn. Pull them out when they have a nice brown char on the edges. Set aside.
Prepare the water for poaching the eggs in a deep pan. Once things come to a boil, it’s time to start prepping the serving bowls with the warm grits and asparagus. 1-ish cup of the grits, followed by half of the asparagus… bring bowls/plates over to the stove for easy transfer of the eggs.
I have recently adopted this bangin’ poaching technique, thanks to Bon Appetit: when the water has just come to a boil, create a vortex in the center by whisking a fork in a counter-clockwise direction. Once you’ve gotten up enough speed, set down the fork and quickly crack the egg into the middle of the whirlpool you’ve created. Now just watch. Seriously. Magic is happening. Cook for 4 minutes.
Place finished egg on top of the asparagus, and pile on a generous handful of charred onions/garlic.
We sat on the runway together this morning, looking out the window to a city that doesn’t yet feel like home but beckons us both in ways we don’t really understand yet. Deep breath. Is this it? Is this the next step? The “what ifs” the “yeah, buts” drown out the emergency evacuation tutorial and screaming children behind us. Inside I feel ashamed of my insecurities around the whole thing, but I try to remind that these feeling are, in fact, quite normal. It occurs to me somewhere between Baltimore and Chicago that whatever happens, wherever we go from here, the fact that we’ll be going, doing, succeeding, and failing together is enough to keep me from losing my lunch.
When I find myself in moments of relative panic, I bring together all the absurdly supportive people in my life into vision, and borrow some of their love and light to lock-up the monkey that has become of my mind. This weekend especially, I think of Shaun. I love that despite the fact we’ve been together for six+ years, Shaun still says things that surprise the heck out of me. Little phrases that come out of nowhere that make me find him even more charming than when we first met. “Let’s winterize this place,” he exclaimed last week, slapping his hands together and going on a window-locking spree around the apartment. Sweet nothings aren’t much for me. He knows better than to buy roses from South America. I feel more connected when we’re both sitting at the kitchen island in our sweaty running garb eating eggs and avocado and scratching out budgets for the big road-trip come June on a water-warped legal pad. Shaun only buys red sharpies for some reason, and when he holds the cap in his mouth, adjudicating that we’ll need a cooler in the car for my homemade nut milk and allocating funds for fresh vegetables along the way, I know there is no one on this planet who I would want to climb a mountain or jump the cliff with.
We (humans, partners, friends, family) take turns carrying each other, cheering each other on along the journey. We prop each other up when things feel soggy, sick, or scary. I think most of the time, we don’t even know we’re doing it for one another either. When you become so close, so connected to someone it’s like the dance starts happening on its own and the very nature of our being can be enough to shed light, comfort, or set straight. Seeing Shaun hunched over Southwest Soduku, oddly, does just that for me. When we’re open to it, the innoncence and predictability of what might appear quite mundane can be enough to tickle us pink and shake away the dark parts of the big mystery. Our future destinations and any call to action seems so vast and unknown, except for each other. There will be great changes, but there will be great love. When everything feels like it doesn’t make sense, there will be red sharpies, and we will have one another to hold and tease and carry each other through. Exhale. It’s going to be a great ride.
Before deciding on this recipe for a blog post this week, I had no idea that I would be consuming so many potatoes over the next few days after. In fact, every amazing dinner and rich conversation that we spent with Shaun’s brother Cody and his love, Michelle, involved some variation on the nightshade. So it seems this post turns into my ‘ode to the potato and how it somehow became the conduit for so much good energy, so much love. Heidi uses mustard, tarragon, capers, parsley and a few other goodies in the original recipe. This may be a watered-down rendition, but delicious nonetheless.
Broccoli GribricheAdapted from Super Natural Everyday
1 lb broccoli florets
1 lb fingerling potatoes
1 sweet onion
4 eggs, hard boiled
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 tsp red wine vinegar
salt/pepper to taste
Preheat the oven for 400.’ Rinse and dry the fingerlings. Place on a heavy baking sheet and massage with olive oil and the minced garlic to fully coat. Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes. Halfway through the cooking process, toss broccoli with a bit more olive oil and lay flat onto another heavy baking sheet. Slice 2 lemons to 1/4″ thickness and lay on top of the broccoli. Sprinkle with salt/pepper and roast on the lower rack of the oven until they begin to brown 10-15 minutes. Remove both potatoes and broccoli from the oven and allow to cool for 5-ish minutes.
Saute the onions until browned and set aside to cool. Mash hardboiled eggs roughly in a large bowl with minced shallot, 3 tbsp olive oil, and the vinegar. Toss in the broccoli, potatoes, roasted lemon slices, and the caramelized onions. Stir to coat evenly. Squeeze the juice of the third lemon over the top, and add a pinch more of sea salt.
Over the past few years I’ve been curating a short (but sadly growing) list of things I’m worried my (someday) kids will never get to see or experience in their lives. Although I am a pretty optimistic person, my heart does sink every now and then when I step back for too long and watch the great world spin before me. I tend to stumble upon these things gently, usually in nature where I am reassured that everything is going to be the way it should.
Alas, this has not been the case for my most recent fear. Books. The end of books. The real hold-it-in-your-hand, check-it-out-at-the-library, pass-it-to-a-friend, dog-ear-the-page, make-your-purse-heavy kind of books. The gutting of bookstores large and small across the nation is the beginning of what I fear will soon turn into a world entirely of e-readers and online textbooks. The idea that one day I might be able to say “when I was a kid, there used to be stores the size of supermarkets filled with just books” and get a response like, “no way!” is scary.
The Borders liquidation sale was a war-zone this past weekend — books falling off the shelves, on the floor. People were manically digging through stacks of movies and rows of greeting cards as if their lives depended on it. An ugly scene, to say the least. We left empty handed, and when I asked Shaun why we had even checked it out in the first place he responded, “to remember.” Gulp.
If you’ve checked out the recommended reading page, you’ll know that there is something very spiritual to me about having a house filled with good books. There is a Horace Mann quote that embraces my sentiments perfectly, “a house without books is like a room without windows.” It’s so true. They help develop our perspectives of the world, bringing us closer together without ever taking step out the front door. Even if that stack on your nightstand has gone untouched in the past six months, they still serve as physical reminders of our beliefs, our hopes, and our curiosities.
Pick out a good book from your stash and have a brownie. Cherish the pages.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a large baking pan with a tsp of coconut oil and set aside. Grate zucchini into a strainer, press with a towel to remove excess moisture.
In a large bowl, mix together coconut oil, eggs, brown rice syrup, sugar, and vanilla. Beat in the dried, pressed zucchini. In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa, salt, and baking powder. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture slowly, stirring to combine. Add the blackberries last, stirring together gently.
Bake for 40-45 minutes and let cool for 20-30 minutes, if you can resist temptation.
He is twenty years old today, twenty years of laughing, learning, growing, and thriving with every curve-ball thrown his way. He’s more than my blood, he’s my lifelong friend. It hasn’t always been easy, in fact sometimes it was downright hard. I was bossy. He was stubborn. We’ve both grown up a lot since the days of our backseat bickering, and our relationship has been in constant evolution to become something I cherish with all my heart.
Austin, I love you so much! Your visit this past weekend was a much needed tonic.
These are my birthday wishes for you this year:
Trust your intuition. When everything is a mess, get quiet, and just listen. You know what to do. Take chances on love. Girls are confusing. They have no idea what they want. We’re all trying to figure this thing out. Love ‘em anyway. Choose Joy. Rugby. Trivia Night. Whatever. Life is short, keep doing the things that make you happy. Take a ginger or turmeric supplement. Okay, I’m trying to sneak this in here. They help with inflammation. For your back, (cough) rugby. Spend more time at the ocean. The cure to everything is salt water. This is coming from someone who spent four months on a boat. Trust me. Buy a journal. And use it. Write stuff down, get it out, no erasing. Trust the process. Invest in an ice cream maker. Seriously. Your friends will love you. Screw the system. You’re more than just a number. Get out there and experiment. Ask for help. Find a mentor. There are people who want to capitalize on your potential. Pray. Call it what you want, God, The Universe, Nature, Hayden, Hare Krishna, I don’t care. They’re waiting. Ready to listen. Plan an adventure. Hit the road. explore. Go alone. Pack a Clif Bar. Don’t stop dreaming the big dreams. Remember underwater roller-coasters? Let your mind wander and keep dreaming. Keep loving. “Intense love does not measure, it just gives.” You rock at this. Keep loving. Keep giving.
August Birthdays call for something light and fresh. Alice recommends that leftovers be toasted the next day.
In a medium bowl or in a stand mixer with the whip attachment, whisk the egg whites until frothy. Whisk in the water, lemon juice, and cream of tartar. Keep whisking until the foam is very soft, holds a slight shape, and has increased 4 to 5 times in volume. Whisk in the final 3/4 cup of sugar. Continue whisking until the mixture forms glossy, soft peaks. The mixture should not be stiff or dry. Sift a fine layer of the dry ingredients over the whites, and fold them in with a rubber spatula, gently and quickly. This is easier with four hands. Call a neighbor! Continue sifting and folding until all the dry ingredients are incorporated.
Pour the batter into an ungreased 10- by 4-inch tube pan with a removable bottom. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. When done the cake should spring back when touched gently. Invert the pan to keep the cake from sticking or deflating. (If the cake pan has legs, turn it over onto them, otherwise invert the tube pan onto the neck of a beer bottle.) Let cool.
To remove the cake from the pan, run a knife around the inside of the pan and around the center tube. Gently push up the bottom, using the knife to help guide the cake out, if necessary. Use a sharp serrated knife into water between cuts to help keep the cake from sticking.
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp sugar
orange zest (for the end)
With an eclectic mixer, combine heavy cream, vanilla, almond extract, and sugar on low. Increase speed to high and whip the mixture until it thickens to 2-3 times it’s size and is no longer a liquid. Top cooled cake with cream, strawberries, and zest of one orange.