Scrumptious Banana Bread

The other morning when I was at my good friend’s house, she had just pulled banana bread out of the oven (how she makes banana bread while dealing with two kids on a school morning amazes me to no end!). She offered a piece, and although I had already eaten breakfast, I couldn’t say no. And HOLY crap, this was the best banana bread ever. Thankfully, she sent me the recipe and here it is!

 

This is how I bake....6:30 am on a Sunday morning, in my pajamas, totally disheveled, with my little baking partner (my 4 year old), with flour all over myself. But at least I am wearing FEATHERS undies.

This is how I bake….6:30 am on a Sunday morning, in my pajamas, totally disheveled, with my little baking partner (my 4 year old), and flour all over myself. But at least I am wearing FEATHERS undies. (I promise you this photo was not staged — Ken took  a photo of me because he said it looked ridiculous with the hand print).

 

Ingredients:

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Chameleon Cold Brew Coffee

I am a big believer in having quick-easy-access to coffee. Sure, I love my morning hot coffee in the morning (but not if I have to make it — thank you, Babers, for prepping the coffee maker every night). But after my first (of two) cups of coffee, I want something quick and effortless. I am also a coffee snob which makes it that much more difficult. Thanks to Chameleon Cold Brew Coffee, I get everything I want just by opening up my fridge.

 

Big jugs of coffee.

Big jugs of coffee. Actually they are coffee concentrates, so they can be diluted. It depends on how jacked up on coffee you want to be.

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Food Truck Wedding

My sister got married this weekend in an amazing wedding in Portland, OR (yes, we just relocated the family back from the West Coast the weekend prior… lots of travel!)  It was beautiful, heart warming, emotional, and fun. I am so #blessed (#sorrynotsorry) that I love my family as much as I do — my sisters, brother, and parents (obviously, my husband and kids too)– so much that I just want to be with them all the time (which makes my re-entry to NYC all that much more difficult).  Outside of the event and family, the highlight of the wedding was my sister’s WEDDING FOOD! BEST WEDDING FOOD EVER EVER EVER.  And not just any food, it was FOOD TRUCKS. Yep, food trucks at a wedding. And it was AWESOME. There were three food trucks for the main meal, and one food truck for dessert #Winning.

 

hawaiian

Hawaiian Cuisine? Yes please! This truck was from 808 Grinds and served an assortment of meats, rices, and sides. My favorite dish was the Fried Chicken.

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Around The Web September 2016

Sorry for all the personal posts recently! Seems like there has been a lot of traveling and exploring, and therefore lots of pictures and stories to share with you all. So here is a break from my personal life (thank god, right?) and links to things around the web that I find interesting!

 

My cool kid in the gorgeous state of Oregon.

My cool kid in the gorgeous state of Oregon.

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Napa Weekend

On our final weekend on the West Coast (Best Coast), we went to Napa to celebrate our best friends’ joint 40th birthdays. It seems like there were a lot of California trips this summer (there were), but this one topped them all.  Just like we did 10 years prior for our friends’ wedding, we stayed at The Carneros Inn. Over the weekend, we had an incredible (INCREDIBLE) dinner at Ad Hoc, one of Thomas Keller’s restaurants, brunch at The Fremont Diner, and the party at The Barn at Cornerstone. Not only was it hog heaven food wise, but the weather, the company, and the experiences were all top notch. I already miss the ease of flying from Eugene to San Francisco, and all our West Coast friends….

 

White farm flowers.

White farm flowers.

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Blueberry Hazelnut Crisp

With a flat of blueberries in our house from our local CSA, I went on a hunt to find the best blueberry pie recipe. That said, searching “best blueberry pie” on the internet does not necessarily lead to the best blueberry pie, especially when I add words such as “low sugar” or “healthy.” So instead, I went the old fashioned route and asked a friend for a recipe. Needless to say, this much more experienced baker (read ‘older’) instantly emailed me her go-to-blueberry crisp recipe. So I made it (but of course, with some minor adjustments) and IT IS SO DELICIOUS.

 

The result.

The result.

 

Ingredients for Crumb Crust and Topping:

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My Eugene Summer Routine 2016

I love my summers with my parents in Eugene.  It couldn’t be any different than our routine in New York, and I love the change of pace both for me and for our family.  Not very glamorous or fashionable or social; but very nature-centered, kids focused, with lots of fresh air. Take a look.

 

I wake up very early and do my morning workout before the kids eat breakfast. I just get up, and do it. Then, after the kids are fed and dressed, I take Cruzzie to camp (in the car). From there, Tusia and I start our day of Tusia-Mama Camp (the oh so exciting camp) which means:

 

Trips to the grocery store...who knew that they could be so exciting?

Trips to the grocery store…who knew that they could be so exciting? And who knew I needed to go most days? (Her cousin Nadia is pictured – Toosh is hiding behind the grocery cart).

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Cookbooks – Summer 2016

Everything about my biffle‘s house is blog worthy. It is like walking into a perfectly curated store that carries only the best of the best. Literally, every nook and cranny could be photographed and written about as her taste and style is impeccable (I will take one of each, please). She is also a phenomenal cook who meal plans for her family with healthy, simple, and varied recipes. Here are her top cookbooks of Summer 2016. And perhaps if we have the same cookbooks, then we have the same dinners?

 

Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 12.36.39 AM

cookbooks

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Ice Cream Flower Pots

One of my dearest friends from Ken’s Stanford Business School class, Katie, is someone I have always looked up to. Not only is she brilliant (obviously), fun (best dancer ever), smiley, honest, and real, but she also has the best homemaker skills of anyone I know. Yes –  totally sounds sexist, but when I met her when I was 25 years old, I didn’t know anyone who sewed their own curtains, made their own scalloped potatoes for dinner parties, and hosted lavish, extravagant sit down dinners with all homemade dishes.  So I am thrilled to have Katie guest blog today on “Ice Cream Flower Pots.” Thanks so much, Katie. Love you dearly.

______

 

My mom first made these “ice cream flower pots” for my 10th birthday party which was a joint party with my dear friend Carrie who had a birthday the same week as mine.  We themed the party “Pink and Purple” so all our friends wore everything pink and purple, as did our moms and my older sister who was the “helper”. The party was afternoon backyard games and a BBQ at Carrie’s house, and then a slumber party at my house.  The ten or so girls in attendance are still some of my closest friends, and to this day, everyone remembers the “ice cream flower pots” that thrilled us all when they were revealed as dessert.  They embody the creative and festive flair that my mom was known for bringing to everything she did.  She passed away 6 years ago and I miss her every day, but making treats like this on a lovely summer day for the ones I love makes her feel close in my heart again.

 

Beautiful flowers....but wait, it's a delicious dessert!

Beautiful flowers….but wait, it’s a delicious dessert!

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My Sister’s Bridal Luncheon

Last Friday, my sister Courtney and I hosted a Bridal Luncheon to celebrate our baby sister, Galen, and her upcoming wedding. The lunch took place at Olympia Provisions in Portland. Located in a hip / up and coming industrial area of Northwest Portland, the restaurant (which also is known for its meat sold nation wide) was the perfect venue. The lunch was super special with a great group of girls, delicious food, bubbling sparkling wine,  and a glowing bride-to-be.

 

Truly, a la Portlandia.

Truly, a la Portlandia; garage, brick, burlap, and meat.

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Flower Crown Party

Earlier this month in California, my sista-from-another-mister, hosted a Flower Crown Gathering (yes, I feel the need for it to be capitalized) at her home in the Bay Area. As always, Amy pulled it together like Martha Stewart and made everything look so beautiful and perfect. The party consisted of a couple of friends, delicious home-made appetizers, free flowing drinks, and a class on flower crown making led by florist and designer Sarah Padilla.

Another proud flower crown made by yours truly.

Another proud flower crown made by yours truly.

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Sonoma 2016

Just returned heavier and happier from another great California trip with the family.  We started the week in Yosemite and ended in beautiful Sonoma.  Invited by close friends from Stanford, we spent last weekend with several other families to enjoy nature and beauty in wine country, on a ridiculously beautiful ranch filled with plums, pears, apples, peaches, berries, vegetables, bees, hiking, pool, tennis, and MORE. Every step I took, I was reminded of the movie Parent Trap (top 5 movies for me, and yes, the one with Lindsay Lohan). To take a look at our California Dreaming, see below.

 

picnic

ATV picnic. I love how California can be so high class and cowboy at the same time.

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Roasted Broccoli

Hi all-

 

Sorry about the hiatus.  I had the below post scheduled for Friday, but it didn’t seem right to post anything given all of the craziness going on.

 

Particularly coming from a mixed-race marriage/family, I wish I had something intelligent / insightful / constructive to say.  But all I feel is sadness and helplessness.  It feels like we are in a bad movie right now, and my fear is it’s only going to get worse.

 

The only thing I know I can do is to hug my kids and talk to them about race and everything that is going on. And to pray for all of the families and friends directly affected.

 

——————————-

 

 

Last month, while spending a weekend with dear friends, I was served (lucky me) the most scrumptious broccoli I have ever eaten in my life. I didn’t care that there was anything else being served, the broccoli was TO-DIE-FOR. It was a grilled broccoli recipe from Barefoot Contessa. Here it is.

 

A green forest

A green forest

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Homemade Raspberry Chia Jam

Last week, we ventured to a nearby farm to harvest raspberries and cherries. Not only was it a family fun activity, but we also brought home pounds and pounds of fresh fruit. We made (although the term “we” actually doesn’t include “me”) cherry cobbler and cherry pie. I made raspberry chia jam with no refined sugar. Take a look!

 

My raspberry picker.

My raspberry picker.

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Summer 2016 To-Do-List

I realize that for many of you, summer started almost a month ago.  But it is never too late to create a summer 2016 to-do-list / wishlist.  (Here is my To-Do-List from last summer). Enjoy!

 

1. Go to Hot Yoga twice a week. (Already been twice in this past week, so we are off to a good start! #HumbleBrag)

 

Shavasana counts in yoga, right? (This is my dad last year on the Oregon Coast)

Shavasana counts in yoga, right? (This is my dad last year on the Oregon Coast)

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Air Fryer: Homemade Chips

My mother is multi-talented.  In addition to being a great chef, she is also a flamenco dancer, champion knitter, embroider, biker, and nia participant. In the kitchen, she is known to experiment, and loves to buy random kitchen gadgets to try different cooking techniques. She owns a dehydrator, a Vitamix (who doesn’t?), more pots and pans than imaginable, and…..an air fryer…..yes, an air fryer. What *is* an air fryer? An air fryer fries your food without the grease and fat. Last night, we opened it and made potato chips (seemed like an easy recipe to try without too many steps or ingredients!)

 

A BIIIIIG machine...not NYC apartment friendly, but good for Oregon where there is a lot of space!

A BIIIIIG machine…not NYC apartment friendly, but good for Oregon where there is a lot of space!

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Paris with Kids – Itinerary

Below was my itinerary in Paris for my recent trip with Cruz. While it was just from my own research, childhood memories, recommendations and experiences, it worked great. Stay tuned for Friday, for tips on *how* to travel to Europe with children, and things that *worked* for us.

 

Day 1: Jardin des Tuileries, Ferris Wheel, Place de la Concorde, outside of the Louvre, crepes.

 

ferris wheel

A view of La Place de la Concorde in the Ferris Wheel. It was great elevating and showing Cruz where our adventures would lead us the rest of the trip

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I’m BAAAAAACCCCKKKKK

I’m back from a whirlwind mother-son-Paris-adventure with Cruzzie, and I am more tired, jet-lagged, exhausted, and yet more full, cultured, and educated than I ever knew was possible. Who knew that a trip to Paris with a 6.5 year old would be so difficult and yet so rewarding! Currently, I feel like I could write a book (a best selling book, too!) about what to do in Paris with children….and I *also* feel like I could pass out from being up for 40 hours straight-and-traveling-across-the-Altantic-WITH-child. So come back on Wednesday for a 5 day guide for Parent-Child-trips-to-Paris, and until then….

 

Paris Guide Coming to the JGB soon!

Paris Guide Coming to the JGB soon!

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No Bake Chocolate Deliciousness To The Max

If you have a free 15 minutes, then you need to make these cookies. Doesn’t matter if you are running to the next appointment / pick up / drop off / or work, if you have the time, then you must make these. DELICIOUSNESS TO THE MAX TIMES INFINITY. (Sorry for the limited amount of pictures — my iphone was in the Apple Store #FML due to a cracked screen, so I did what I could do….and I needed you to have this recipe for the long weekend, so sorry!)

 

This is the end result. It tastes better than it looks. And the smell is divine, too.

This is the end result. It tastes better than it looks. And the smell is divine, too.

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Mother’s Day in Paris

Bonjour! Hello from NYC after a whirlwind trip celebrating Mother’s Day with my special mother-in-law Josie Natori! As most of you know, I have a deep profound love for Paris and feel that it is my second home (Cruzzie corrected me and said “third’ — after NYC and Oregon, so true true). As it had been over a year since I had last been there, I was dying to get there. So my mother-in-law and I (just the two of us), jumped on a plane and went there for the long weekend. And what a special and wonderful treat it was. I am currently cross-eyed from no sleep (Jet Lag and I don’t mix), and we #ShoppedTillWeDropped, but it was so special and fun; a weekend to always remember. Take a look.

 

The view from the apartment. There is just something so special and glamorous of the buildings there. #BuildingEnvy

The view from the apartment. There is just something so special and glamorous about the buildings there. #BuildingEnvy

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Must Reads on the World Wide Web

Recently, a lot of blogs I read have been doing “round-ups” of interesting articles on the internet. I love those posts as they always have at least one article that interests me. So I am doing the same (imitation is the sincerest form of flattery). Here is my current round-up:

 

Why read online when you can read the Lego catalogue in a sleeping bag?

Why read online when you can read the Lego catalogue in a sleeping bag?

 

I want to see this movie.

 

Good work advice.

 

Love Lenny. Love Amanda Peet. And love this essay.

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