Monday, June 28, 2010

Current Favorites: Part 6

Item number 6: Slumdog Millionaire.

I don't know how to write movie reviews. I think this might be my favorite movie. Ever. The cinematography, the soundtrack, the story line, the actors, the kiss. The kiss! It was worth buying a Clearplay just to watch this one movie. I watched it 3 times in a week. I felt like giving the disc a kiss goodbye before I placed it into the red Netflix envelope to mail back. Will I buy my own copy? Yes, yes I will.

It is written.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Current Favorites: Part 5

Item number 5: Dial Nutriskin with Fruit Oil Glycerin Bath Soap, Grape Seed Oil + Lemongrass.

Orgasmic olfactory amphibious experience. That is all.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Current Favorites: Part 4

Item number four: BibliOdyssey website.

According to their description: Books, Illustrations, Science, History, Visual Materia Obscura, Eclectic Bookart.

Most of the ephemera they post is available in a large enough format for your own printing. They post obscure folk art from around the world, ancient book design (like the photo above. How would that change your scripture reading if your New Testament looked like that?), the most unusual botanicals (an entire collection of Fungi, anyone?), cartography, and current and recently current finds. I always find my creative well filled.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Current Favorites: Part 3

Item number three: 101 Cookbooks website.

Around this time last year, I made a decision to eat meat sparingly. I've experimented a lot, both to the joy and horror of my family. We are now eating meat-free about 5 days out of the week. I knew it would be a long process and it has. There has been some weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth.

But guess what? I am a lioness at the gate. As Julie Beck said in her speech Lioness at the Gate: Whatever happens in that home and family happens because she cares about it and it matters to her. She guards that gate, and things matter to that family if they matter to her.

So, I ignore the complaints and try to create the most delicious, healthy meals I can. I focus on healthy, fresh, local produce "in the season thereof." And the kids are slowly coming around. They love quinoa and raw macaroons and green smoothies. Mr. Coleman goes to Del Taco some nights. (You can't win them all.)

I love this website. Beautiful photography, seasonal-based meals, new ways to use all types of grain, searchable by category or ingredient. And lots and lots of vegetarian and vegan recipes.

Some favorites have been:

Happy eating.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Current Favorites: Part 2

Item number two: Phoenix's Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix album

It was mid-February. I was in the copy room at the tax office where I worked during tax season feeling like bashing my head against the wall, poking my eyeballs out and screaming: why, Rachel why!? How did it come to this? You've sold your soul. You have become an empty robotic shell who types numbers into a computer. All. Day. Long. When did you give up on your dreams?

Also, I was listening to Pandora.

And a song came on. I loved it. It perked me up. I wrote down the name of the band: Phoenix. Awhile later another song came on that I liked. I wrote down the name of the band: Phoenix. This song was from the same album: Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. And then it happened a third time. So, not being entirely soulless after all, I recognized it as a sign from the Universe saying: Buy this album.

Which I did. And have been listening to ever since. On continuos repeat. Every song. At home, in the car, when I run. This is perk-you-up music at its best: catchy percussion, percolating guitars, and melodic, sweet sounding vocals.

Take a listen and if you like it you should probably go ahead and buy the whole album.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Current Favorites: Part 1

I think it's about time for another top 10. Don't you? And because I'm feeling wordy, let's go ahead and give each item it's own special post. Check back everyday until I'm done. I think I've got at least 10 things to share with you.

Item number one: Ataulfo Mango

Don't confuse these with the other variety of mango you will find in your typical grocery store. I find Ataulfo Mangoes at Costco. Grown by Freska Produce, these little babies are sweeter, deeper orange in color and more creamy (less fibrous/stringy) in texture than regular mangoes. They never taste soapy like their unripe cousins, either. And the best part is that they are cheaper.

Our family eats at least 12 a week, sometimes more. And I put them in my most favorite desert of all time.
Which recipe I'll share with you because I love you. It's adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe:

Mango Raspberry Crisp - Serves 8

6 mangoes, peeled and pitted
2 half-pint container raspberries
4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

6 tablespoons plus 2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cup finely ground nuts*
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks butter, at room temperature


Heat oven to 350 degrees. Slice the mangoes into 3/4-inch pieces; transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in the lemon juice, 6 tablespoons sugar, and 2 tablespoon flour, and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together nuts, salt, remaining 1 1/2 cups flour, and 2/3 cup sugar until combined. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter or two knives, until the mixture is crumbly. Continue working in the butter until completely incorporated and there are no dry crumbs. Squeeze mixture together to create pea-size to half-inch clumps.

Add the raspberries to the reserved mangoes, and pour into a 2 quart glass baking dish. Place nut-and-flour mixture on top, allowing some of the fruit to show through. Bake until top is golden brown and the fruit juices are thick and bubbling, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven; place on a wire rack until slightly warm. Serve with your favorite vanilla ice cream.

*Martha recommends hazelnuts, which I have used with delicious, yet expensive results. I use walnuts or pecans normally; just grind them up in a blender.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Are you one of those people that has a spotlessly clean, gleaming fridge? I'm... not. Our fridge is Command Central at our house. It keeps the kids from asking Can I Play? or What's for dinner?. One glance and they know what they need to finish before they can have free time, what their responsibility is for family night, and what we're having for dinner tonight and tomorrow.

Those kids meal toys from Sonic have been the only fast food toys that have not found their way to the landfill or the thrift store. And, as I'm posting this, I'm noticing that someone has, again, erased the GOOD CLEAN under Friday. Those pesky kids!

Thursday, June 10, 2010


The kids and I took a trip to Zion National Park for Memorial Day weekend. We swam at the pool, ate pizza in our hotel, drove through the tunnels, hiked to waterfalls, and discovered a perfect picnic spot: hidden from the road, tucked in between two towering sandstone cliffs, a floor of fine, cool, white sand.

A refuge.

In this quiet spot I felt an overwhelming sense that this was a tender mercy from a loving Heavenly Father who knew about the burdens and heartache in my life. A time to refresh my spirit and reconnect with my Creator.

And then Micah threw a bloody stump of a lizard tail at me. I laughed more in those three days than I have the last three months.

If you are planning a trip, do stop at the Springdale Fruit Company. They offer sandwiches on focaccia bread, organic produce, and a porch swing.

Skip the Zion Canyon Giant Screen Theater.

Everyone should take a trip to a crowded public place with a three-year-old at least once. And they should ride public transportation. Announcements like: Mom, I just farted! take on another meaning when you are on a crowded shuttle bus with 50 strangers.

It was a great trip. I fell in love with my kids and being a mother all over again. A girl we met at the pool kept telling me how she admired me for "doing it alone with four kids." I smiled but thought to myself: you don't know my kids.