Blog Archive for June, 2010

Sunday was hot – like, 102ยบ hot – in the east bay, and Dave and his dad and Anabelle and I decided to take a field trip to the little delta town of Port Costa. Why we thought trundling into our black, 1992 Honda with minimal air conditioning on such a hot day was a good idea is still unclear to me, but I guess we were seized with the spirit of adventure. We weren’t really sure what to expect, but some friends had told us it was a cool spot, so we thought we’d check it out. It turned out to be a very small but definitely cool town – really just a bar, a coffee shop, a post office and a couple of antique stores right on the water. Oh, and a whole bunch of bikers with really impressive bikes. I was a little worried about our 6-week old freaking out at the noise of Harleys zipping up and down the street, but they didn’t phase her at all. Mellow kid that she is.

Turns out one of our mystery fruit trees is a plum! And it’s now covered with the sweetest plums I’ve ever tasted. I wasn’t sure they were ripe until they started dropping all over the ground, so we got out our ladder and picked a bunch yesterday. SO delicious! I only wish they wouldn’t ripen all at once – I’d love to have them for the rest of the summer.

Dinner has been a little harder to pull together lately. Anabelle seems to have an instinct for when we’re trying to cook, and she likes to pick that time to want to eat, or be changed, or just try out her new lungs. So I’ve been trying to find simple options. I made this soup last night, and it was really good – and only took about 20 minutes to make (I know, because I was trying to finish so I could get to the post office before it closed). Plus, there will be leftovers, which means a bonus night of no cooking! I never thought I’d say that, but being a new parent has tempered my enthusiasm for elaborate meal preparation. Hopefully that’s just temporary.
Corn Chowder
1 large onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
1 red bell pepper (chopped fine)
2-3 stalks celery
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/8 tsp. (or more to taste) cayenne
4 cups corn (fresh, or 2 small bags frozen)
32 oz. chicken broth
3-4 slices bacon, cooked (optional)
1 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream, or 2 Tbsp. sour cream
1 tsp. salt (or to taste)
Cracked black pepper
Sprigs of cilantro for garnish

In a large soup pot, saute the onion in olive oil or butter until soft. Add the garlic, and then the bell pepper and celery. Add the spices and saute until mixed, then add the corn. Pour in the chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Then add the bacon (if using), broken into small pieces. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until the corn is soft. Then add the milk and cream or sour cream and heat until just simmering. Season to taste. Remove the soup from heat, and put about 1/2 of the soup in a blender and chop for a few seconds. This step is also optional, but gives the soup a thicker texture. Serve garnished with sliced red pepper and cilantro.

new website!


After some delay, the new Monaluna website finally went live last night! There are still a few things to tweak, and the fabric won’t actually be available to ship until early July, but I’m excited to finally have it up! Check it out by clicking here.

Wow – this has turned out to be a much longer blog break than I’d planned! Turns out it’s not that easy to socialize with a houseful of visiting family and friends, take care of a new baby and photograph, write and post blog entries. Things are slowly getting back to “normal” here – or, at least, we’re finding a new normal. I’ve been testing the boundaries of what I can do between feedings and diaper changes (not a lot, it seems, but I’m getting better…), and we’ve found that Anabelle really likes to be outside in the garden and especially likes being at pubs full of soccer enthusiasts watching the World Cup. So far, that’s where she’s the quietest and seemingly most content. That’s our child. No sign yet what team she’s backing, though (Dave wants to get her a little orange Netherlands onesie).

One of the daily activities that I’ve really enjoyed with the new baby is watering the garden we planted just before she arrived. She and Sadie, our cat, sit in the shade of the plum tree and look around (Anabelle usually watches the sky, and Sadie the closest Scrub Jay) while I water and weed and check the progress of the plants. I can’t believe how much they’ve grown in just over a month! We had our first zucchini and summer squash the other night, and we already have a whole bunch of tomatoes on the way. Dave and I got some straw at the local feed store to use as mulch, and it’s made the whole garden smell like a farm. Nice! The rest of the yard is still un-landscaped, but we’re working on that…

Some of the “mystery fruit” has turned out to be red plums! I’m really excited about these.
Another tree turned out to be a peach, though with red leaves. It’s covered with fruit right now. I know I should thin them, but I haven’t got the heart to pull off the little fruits.
And speaking of growing, here’s Anabelle at 1 month!