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things + stuff: let’s catch up.



The stuff we’ve missed talking about! Consider this my catching-up post, dear friends. Grab your coffee or tea and let’s do this so I can stop feeling weird about not blogging (pats chair.)

The Wee’s Birthday – first time I’ve ever not done a post about her party, and I still can’t decide if I feel bad about that. She’s 5 this year, and for whatever reason, I sort of said fluff it to lots of obsessive photo-taking and massive food spreads in favor of actually getting to spend time with my child at her birthday party. It was awesome. I sat and ate with everyone else – sort of, since it’s always amusing how needs arise the second you sit down – and I took a few photos, but I wasn’t worried about it. We had tons of food, of course, but nothing fussy. She wanted “chocolate and vanilla both” this year, so I opted for the same cake as last year, only smaller, and some pretty amazing chocolate cola cupcakes, which I will eventually post the recipe for, because everyone should throw marshmallows and Coke into chocolate baked goods.


Theme: outer space! We obsessed over Movita’s peg ballerina troupe so much last year, my mom made the peg version of what NASA was up to in the 1960’s:

things + stuff: let's catch up.

I know; they’re the cutest.

Sheesh: I just looked at last year’s party post, and I feel extra jerk-ish for not doing a birthday post this year. Next year, maybe.

Hers’s a photo of some of the decorations: rockets throughout the house, including some larger ones, and many, many glittery stars.

things + stuff: let's catch up.

The best party to date in terms of me not being in the kitchen 95% of the time. Yay! Maybe next year I can figure out how to fully get my act together, and take photos, and not hide in the kitchen. Miracles happen every day, folks.

School – The Wee’s back in, this time in grade school, and she’s loving every single second of it. I knew she’d love attending alongside older kids versus a lot of younger ones, and she’s eating it up just like I did. I couldn’t be happier that she’s so thrilled, and there’s tons of parent involvement, which means I’ll get to do tons of things right alongside her. I’m basically in elementary school again and it’s AWESOME.

My Feast Column – still kickin’ it with weird ingredients, for the 3rd year in a row; I hit my 2-year anniversary with Feast this summer, so that’s exciting. I’ve missed telling you about two ingredients, so I’m going to do that here really fast, if you don’t mind:

nopales frittata.

Nopales / Cactus Paddles (August 2015)

Recipe: Nopales Frittata with Toasted Cumin Vinaigrette – It’s a vegetable-filled, salad-topped brunch essential, especially in the summer and early fall. I know there are beautiful cactus paddles out there right now – I saw them yesterday – so…get moving.

Where to find it: if you’re in the American Southwest or parts of Michigan, you may be able to walk down your street to grab some; they’re pretty common. The rest of us should be able to find them at latin or international markets with a decent produce section. I said this with the prickly pears, but it applies to the paddles as well: proceed with caution. Seems as though if you’re from an area that should know how to handle the spines, they’re less likely to carefully remove the glochids before stocking the shelves. Here in the Midwest, they shave those prickles off them like your life depends on it. Florida, on the other hand, thinks you deserve what’s coming to you if you can’t figure out that there are spines on a cactus.

pepino melon, by Jennifer Silverberg |

pepino melon, by Jennifer Silverberg |

Pepino Melon (September 2015)

Recipe: Pepino Melon Salsa – figs, grapes, scallions, pecans, some fresh mint, and these melons, all tossed together in a honeyed-balsamic situation. The perfect salsa for right now, as the weather (and your mood) gets a little darker and more mysterious.

Where to find it: Whole Foods, for starters, and if you live in an area where they’re grown, try farmers’ markets and even local grocery stores in their “specialty produce” area. International markets may have them also, but they’re not super exotic; just a short season and lesser known than other melony things. They’re utterly gorgeous so I feel compelled to steal Jennifer Silverberg’s photo to show you – I don’t think she’ll get mad. In fact, I know she won’t, because she gave me expressed permission to borrow: one of the many reasons I love her. Thank you, Jenn: everyone on earth knows I don’t take photos like this.


So that should officially catch me up on where I’m at, save for the major writing and features work I’ve been doing at Feast, which really does deserve its own post very soon. I’m between features right now (lie: i’m working on one right now but it’s in brainstorming stage) so I have some time to kick back and tell you about everything. I may even start to act like a human again and catch up on all the blog posts I’ve missed; exciting stuff, guys.

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  • Reply Abbe @ This is How I Cook October 3, 2015 at 12:13 pm

    You have been busy with such good things. Wee ones always come first! I just did a bridal shower and didn’t attend any of it because I was so busy in the kitchen-thanks to my wee one who is not so wee anymore! Totally understand. Love the sound of your Feast magazine. It allows you to be so creative and I like that! Take care, Shannon!

  • Reply Willow | Will Cook For Friends October 3, 2015 at 2:30 pm

    Being busy is good, when it’s good things you’re busy with! Cactus paddles? Pepino melons? Color me intrigued! I have seen cactus paddles a few times, but never understood what one was supposed to do with them, and have never even heard of pepino melons. Now I have some new ingredients to keep my eye out for!

    Hold up one second, though… I don’t think you’re quite finished catching us up. Didn’t I hear mention of some videos that might be happening? If there’s a newsletter I can sign up for that will tell me more about that, sign me up! (I’m crossing my fingers it’s an audition for your own food network show, or something equally big, because you would be AWESOME beyond awesome at it!)

  • Reply sue|theviewfromgreatisland October 3, 2015 at 9:55 pm

    I’m crazy for that salsa 🙂

  • Reply movita beaucoup October 4, 2015 at 5:44 am

    GAAAAAAHHHHHH! Those peg dolls! That cake is the cutest thing I’ve seen in forever and ever! Now I want to paint peg dolls. Just kidding! Now I want to eat cake…

  • Reply Ashley October 5, 2015 at 12:19 pm

    You’re a busy lady!!! But you’re still rocking it – that awesome party, going back to elementary school, your column PLUS features (in the plural) for Feast!!!!! I’m in awe.

  • Reply John@Kitchen Riffs October 6, 2015 at 6:40 pm

    I’ve been out of pocket for the last month, so it’s good to catch up. 😉 Sounds like you’ve been up to some good stuff! I wouldn’t worry about not doing a blow-by-blow of the Wee One’s birthday — sounds like this year was more enjoyable for you, and maybe for her, too. Fun post — thanks.

  • Reply natalie @ wee eats October 7, 2015 at 9:47 am

    LOVE THE SPACE THEME. and i’m dying over that frittata

    • Reply shannon November 11, 2015 at 12:35 pm

      make the frittata. you’re the one who has to like, beat down nopales on your way to the mailbox, right? grab some of those things on your way in!

  • Reply Amy @ Elephant Eats October 12, 2015 at 10:16 am

    Aw, your space themed bday is the cutest!!! I bet the Wee One totally adored it 🙂 Totally jealous of you getting to be involved in the classroom…i can’t wait til Berekeley is in school, and am hoping I’ll have time to do that. I’ve missed reading blogs in general, but especially yours…and hearing about your life, so I’m thankful you made some time for this post (and that i found time to read it). Miss you!!!

    • Reply shannon November 11, 2015 at 12:31 pm

      Thanks, Amy! She did really love it: i always liked planning her parties when she was tiny, but it’s almost more fun now that she can actually pick out her theme and get to see it all come together, you know? and yeah…the classroom involvement is SUPER fun: lots of work and i feel like a nomad most days as i drag my laptop out and work remotely as i wait to chaperone a field trip or help at parties, but it’s like the best thing ever getting to be up with her so much. I miss you too! I feel like so many of us have gotten sidelined with work or babies (or both!) that i need some major catching-up time with you. i miss reading blogs in general too – i’ve had so little time to do that that i’d consider it a luxury at this point – and i hope that this little gap here between feature work and the holidays lets me catch up with everyone a little bit. 🙂

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