#FarmBoxEats - What Am I Not Making is the Question...


Oh, how I love my Farm Box every week - these 2 chicks started a fully organic, farm-to-table delivery service of such amazing goodies that I get dropped right at the front door of FLO every single week.  It literally makes my Sunday.  I crack a bottle of something chilly and delightful, dig into the box, lay out a bunch of thoughts on random recipe ideas and really just get to it.  "It" meaning a not-riddled-with-guilt-about--absolutely-nothing-totally-FREE-day to just explore all the elements of food that I love.

I break out the cast iron skillet (love of that straight from my grandads spot in TN) and char up any veg available (carrots and fennel are awesome), whip up some FLO house buttermilk dressing, drop it on a bit of lettuce with shaved carrot and perhaps some peppery radish; and you know I whip out the tin of heavy cream for some kind of leek, shallot, white wine, butter reduction to spread on everything.

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I take a whole chicken and shove it full of rosemary, lemons, oranges, garlic and then cover it with fresh squeezes of cara cara oranges, a little oil, crushed fennel seed and garlic + onion powder.  Then cook it on 300 for about 4 hours totally uncovered.   What comes out is a damn near revelation on the bird.  So easy, so delish, such a good smell penetrating the house all day.

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I toast some everything bagels smeared with butter, slap a ton of cream cheese on them, layer on some wild lox, salty capers, fresh Lily's eggs, and a ton of dill.  Once you pop on a blast of fresh lemon, watch out.  This little number blows AWAY versions I get from restaurants.

All the flowers, herbs, plants are coming back in - and I just love being inspired on Sunday.  It's the best day of my week, that's for sure.  Unless I bust up my SUP like I did the other day.  No worries, it's  being repaired...but dang...guess that is what Rose is for!

I'm also super inspired by my bud Ky's (@kyfurneaux) new veggie garden in her back yard...I am stunned at how quick all her greens came popping up...what deliciousness!

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Oh, and there's usually some kind of full on rearrange involved.  :)  Tiny space, but big living!  Loving this new layout - more palatial space for the dining table - more spreadout happening - just more life lived overall. 

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R is for RV Parks


R is for RV Parks

Absolutely, my new fave way to live. Chilled up at the RV park in Malibu for about a month while the FLO remodel takes place and now repo'ed down to Borrego Springs (90 miles E of San Diego) as it all winds down.  Literally love it here. It's the place to come for pretty dang near perfect weather and freedom of the mind. It's like I can finally make some good food with proper ingredients, read a ton of books, research recipes, do a bit of hiking, get through piles of magazines, wander the awesome library in town and just generally chillax. I can write. I can think. Ponder. Dream.


Mouse has the most active social schedule ever. 3p in the doggie park is a MUST for anyone who's anyone in the dog world. She sprints desert trails. She traces the perimeter of our perfecto spot. She is the perfect tennis spectator.  She is truly a participant in nature here. No need to bark at every little motion. She's livin' in them all.


This little town is pretty tidy. Just a few stores. Couple of Mexican restaurants with decent margs (though I do have to request my style of drink - silver tequila, fresh lime and little else). Tish's Health Food Store makes me so happy with a well curated array of goodies.  The only grocery store in town in loaded with stuff you'd find in Whole Foods and there is a perfectly awesome Farmers Market on Friday in the town circle.  It's pretty delightful running into town to grab some sesame seeds for spelt bread or pick up a few jalapenos for tortilla soup (makin' that today) and not have to wear myself out thinking about all the options.  There are none.  And, they are GOOD ones. Really dig the escargot at the French restaurant in town too.  And, what mussels.  They roll out in a huge pot - so freaky good.


As for the actual RV park.  I mean.  It's just nutty.  I want to spend every Jan here just regrouping.  In between the daily sessions in the hot springs, nightly swims in the heated pool, yoga & pilates classes, tennis games, and golf if you want it - is a super efficient gym, a little library, a wellness center, and just the friendliest people ever.  It's all surrounded by palm trees, an beautiful golf course and super dramatic mountains.  Cocktails begin about noon-o-thirty (usually a margarita or two), and this comes after either a hike to Hellhole Canyon (6 miles round trip to a secret waterfall), perhaps a yoga class where a bit of marching happens after each move (the ancient hips really loved that part of it) or a whirl in the gym rockin' the Tibetan Rites. 


Books are being plowed through (thank god I discovered the town library), and I'm just happy browsing recipe suggestions from every mag and cookbook I'm always too busy to jam through.  The sun is pretty much always shining (been near 80 all week) and each little slot here has it's own lemon or grapefruit tree.  Hell, these camp hosts even cruise around in the AM picking up your trash and recycling.  It's just nuts.  Portlandia in the desert.  

Early afternoon, I might start up a soup (clam chowder is just so so easy to make and I think the key is skip the flour...I loathe glompy soup); throw on Greek green beans; or just let a big pot of beans simmer.   The days fly and fly here - up at 6 am and I swear to God, I'm tucked in with a book 'round about 7p.  Guess this is life.  Not a program.  Just life.  Where does work fit back in?  Having a real hard time even thinking about that one.












My New Kayak - Tarpon Wilderness 100


Kayaks - what is really needed?

Freaky deaky how much time it takes to find the right vessel for your vibe.  I just wanted a kayak that was small - like 10'.  Weighed something insignificant - 53 lbs.  Was a super cute color - I'm calling it cucumber (The Cuke as in fatty speak).  And, that I could literally flip and flop about the marina in.  No fear.  No hesitations.

I ain't looking to traipse the damn Congo in the thing.  I like sneaking up on peeps.  Peering into situations.  Observing from up close and afar with nobody none the wiser.  A nice cup holder will do as well (full of something saucy of course).  Couple of hatches to stow some things in.  Sleek and sassy.  And, I dig the sit on top.  I'm claustrophobic you know.  Can't be trapped down low - which means a full flip and near death experience for me.

I tried out one this weekend - a pals pal had it for sale.  14' of super fast, super white insanity.  I was flying in about 2.2 and literally slid straight up under a 50' catamaran.  Just cruised on thru.  God help me.  Was a good deal - but more next level kayak.  I need the baby girl that's gonna have my back.

This one arrives on some giant 18 wheeler this week - and will be put to good use this summer and onward.  Have you ever seen a more adorable kayak?  I can strap it to the roof of my Land Rover and head to Baja - no problemo.  I can haul about in the water with my Whisper Light paddle.  I can step off the back of the FLO directly onto it.  I can lock it down on my sailboat easy peasy.  Guess I could bench press it at 53 lbs :)

Tarpon Wilderness 100.  Love it.


Manitou Springs, Colorado: Historic Hippie Town USA

Img_2992Yet another perfect place to live was discovered this past week.  While driving from Chicago to Colorado to pick up Yatz, I stayed the night at a motel in this little mountain town called Manitou Springs, just outside of Colorado Springs, CO.  Talk about adorable. It's really tiny and super hilly and perfectly situated at the very base of Pikes Peak.  The folks were definitely friendly (seems I got into very heated debates in the local watering holes regarding global warming, third world travel, eco-minded retreats, etc...) and they all seemed to step outside the bar every few minutes for a bit of doobage which lent to the hippie feel of the town all night long.  At one point, I was sitting at the bar enjoying a convo with a wild-eyed war vet named "Black" when I glanced out the window and saw a few of the locals pushing a coffin up the street.  Turns out they were practicing for the big coffin race coming up that weekend.  Interesting stuff all the way around.  It'd definitely make a good basecamp for an outdoorsy type--hell, when the rugged sporting goods store has a liquor license and does open mic nights, you know somethings gotta be right in the world!

This Is Really Chicago~


Pretty crazy to think that this image was taken just a few steps from my front door.  My building cradles a tiny private beach and with the weather being in top form these past few weeks, I'm still amazed to walk out, look right and boom...see a sailboat just floating by.  I'm on my way to the Carib in a few weeks to check out a slightly bigger boat than the one I have (not that I don't love my C & C but I'm having a real hard time accepting the fact that I can only sail 5 months out of the year here in Chi)-- and I just have a feeling that once I get there, I'm not going to want to return to the cold.  Thankfully, Indo is on the horizon and I'll be in mad heat for a month. In the meantime, I've got my boat in the water 'til Monday and I've always got my view.

Lake Michigan and Urbanspoon: Where I'll spend my summer~

Dscn2841I swear to God, when I walk down the little pathway to my front door every morning and look East this is the view I have of Lake Michigan.  I mean, can you imagine? How the heck did I get so lucky to find a super-adorable little place (with a fireplace, mind you) this insanely close to the lake?  Cheesy as it sounds, it's just such a total joy to come home every night and know that yep!  tomorrow morning when I wake up the lake will still be there--I am always just totally stunned.  Needless to say, this summer I am gonna get me a little kayak and this little patch of beach will become my put in for some big time adventures.  I also plan on slowly discovering every single restaurant in my new 'hood (East Rogers Park)---which will be made much easier by using this handy new website I was just turned onto--Urbanspoon.  It's quite a brilliant collection of various citywide reviews of a plethora of restaurants all across the city...and if they just tag in some photos, well, they'll have a 100% winner on their hands~~

A Sweet Little Cottage in Michigan

Dscf2676I've always wondered what it would be like to own a cute little cottage in Michigan,  so this past weekend, after seeing a house for sale ad on craigslist, I hauled up to a tiny town near South Haven to check out a place.  Very cute, indeed.  It was really adorable, set back on a country road, surrounded by blueberry fields, picket fences and a backyard full of apple trees.  I was just sitting on the front porch, listening to the neighbors chickens squawk and imagining that I owned the place.  EEEEEEEE!!!!!  Michigan?  No, no, no....that's not right.  What, am I settling down?  Who needs a country home in Michigan when there's the whole entire world to gallop around? And, besides that, I love the city. When I left there (and I felt like I spent hours pretending), I was delighted that I'd struck yet another location off the on-going Misty List of places to Live.  I'm always in a constant state of motion with that one and 'til I find the place (I have a feeling it ain't in the USA), then I'll just keep plottin', plannin' and pretendin'~

Flagstaff, AZ: Eco-Adventure Central

On the way to Baja, we stopped in the beautiful little town  of Flagstaff, AZ for some Cracker Barrel (beans, greens, salad with homemade ranch and cornbread with honey is truck driver fuel) and a bit of Red Bull.  Taking a moment to jump away from the highway (Route 66), we moseyed through the charming village-like town of Flagstaff and promptly fell in love.  It's now made my Perfect Place to Live list and me and my whole crew just simply wandered about, chatted up the locals and contemplated what it would be like to live in this rustic, eco-hip mountain town.   

Snow-capped peaks, organic restaurants, walkability, free-trade coffee, outdoor gear, mountain biking, deep valley hiking and general goodness spreads up and down the cute, chilled-out avenues.  A fella working at the local mountaineering store says he pays $650 for a 3-bedroom house on the outskirts of town and another local says, "It is by far the perfect place to live."  I believe him.  Dscn9962_1

Chattanooga, TN~Outside Magazine's Top 10

Dscn1302A decade ago, I bolted from what we lovingly call Chattavegas, intent on never returning to the mountain that I was raised on~I was headed for grander pastures like movie-mecca Hollywood.  Ahhh, how times change though.  Not only do I now return every month or so, my whole family lives in/near here and it is literally my favorite spot (besides Yelapa, Mexico) in the world. 
A few years back, Outside Magazine named Chattanooga as one of the Top 10 Places to live in the  USA;  indeed, I definitely took another look at my hometown after reading the article.
Perched directly on the TN river and surrounded by magestic mountain ranges and wide open spaces, what was once a sleepy little river town has turned into an adventure lovers paradise.  There's kayaking, rock-climbing, hang-gliding, mountain hiking, boating, extreme bicycling, rafting, canoeing, lake swimming, and three-wheeling.  The restaurants have become more and more delicious and buying a home isn't going to put you out a cool million.  You can actually purchase a super-cute bungalow, in a cool part of town, for about a $100k.   
The weather rocks, the people are friendly, there is ALWAYS parking, and the vibe is definitely mountain eco-hip.  I just love calling it home.

Sunny Los Angeles, California

Dock_in_laI know, I know---who can stand LA?  Ah, but there is a perfect part of LA that is honest-to-goodness paradise.  It's called South Bay and here's the deal.  About 14 miles south of Santa Monica is this little patch of heaven that is what everyone dreams of when they think about Southern California.  The area is right on the Pacific Ocean and is made up of super-cute little villages like Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach.  I happen to keep my sailboat in Redondo Beach at King Harbor Marina...it is the best marina in Southern California and literally blows Marina del Rey away!  My boat is at the end of the dock and there is nothing like waking up there and being 2 seconds from the Pacific Ocean, as well as The Strand (beachfront path that runs for miles and miles---through Malibu).  Of course, I already need an upgrade on the boat (um....40'?) but even when I do that, I will absolutely keep my boat in the same location.  This area is just minutes from LAX (much needed, for a quick getaway!), and when you are there, you don't even remember the patches of severe depression that riddle Los Angeles.