Tag: cooking

and now, the rest of the story.

Fresh Scratch, Kelli Samson, Shelby Payne Photography

I gave you the run-down on my trip to Europe, but the rest of my summer has also been sweet, and I want to share that with you, too.

At the start of summer, I declared that my goals were to read {check!}, watch movies {could do better at this!}, bake {got it!}, and paint the girls’ bathroom {um. yes. uhhh…there’s still time.}. I’d say I’ve been pretty successful so far. Here are the little highlights, via my Instagram:

Matt grew up in Alaska and has always held high hopes that the three of us ladies will be bad-ass hikers. I try – I really do. I love getting out there, especially now that the kids don’t need so much help. I have come to realize I am a mom who is hitting her stride more and more the older the girls get. The little stage was not my strong suit. On Father’s Day, we took off into Capitol Forest, and the hike sort of broke down. We’ve kind of passed that sweet spot where everything is an adventure for Annabelle – now that she’s 10, there is way, way more complaining.

I think the flank steak I grilled that evening made up for the hike. I hope. Because if Matt is anything, he is a great dad.

Oh, these guys at Folk Magazine. They drive me a little bonkers. I love their magazine and all that it stands for {I mean, any publication whose tagline is “live authentic?” Come on!}. It’s gorgeous and story-centric. But this paying for an issue in January…that doesn’t come until July because they take their sweet time? I’m not so sure about this business model. It was kind of endearing at first. Now? Not so much. But! Always worth the wait. Always.

Grab it while you can!!

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One day you are going to look back on this summer and miss the heck out of it. I hope you’re making some good memories that will keep you warm and dry this winter!

I found them doing this. Matt had gotten them my tripod and helped them attach the old Flip Cam; otherwise, this was all them. They didn’t ask for any other help. Annabelle so desperately wants a cooking show, a food blog, anything! She’s had Clementine enlisted as her cinematographer, which I LOVE. Clementine went to a little kids’ film camp while I was in Europe, and she seems to know her way around a camera unsettlingly well for a first grader.

Like me, Annabelle is always tentative about the step of sharing her creations, so I am trying to get her permission to put a cooking video here. So far, no dice. Baby steps!

@mrsfreshscratch & @browsersolympia – Now officially Brotherhood alums!

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The cool dive bar place here in Olympia is the Brotherhood. I somehow missed the boat on this one because I am always so focused on the fancy drink places. Same for my friend Andrea, so we decided to try it out together. It’s just a few doors down from her very sweet book shop, so we met one evening after closing. There was a wall of hooked rugs featuring JFK’s image, holiday lights, shuffle board, and a cash-only bar that we had to belly-up to in order to get a drink. It’s full of quirks, just like the rest of Olympia, so I am in love. Andrea had a gin and tonic, and I had my first ever Negroni. I am trying to love them, but am not so sure I will be successful at that!

Being a baker is pretty awesome. But being the mom of a baker? It’s got its perks!

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Seriously. Annabelle and I have to schedule our baking around one another or there are just too many sweet treats that can’t possibly get eaten in time! I so love it!

But, you know, if I’m honest, it’s strange. A big creative outlet and calming activity in my life is baking. It’s kind of weird when we are swimming in baked goods and it truly is impractical for me to churn something out. Like all twists and turns in this parenting gig, I am adjusting accordingly and – I hope! – gracefully and graciously.

My fave cap’n and his first mate ? @evolvingemily ⚓️.

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A little boat-picnic this evening on the Sound! What a way to be welcomed home!!

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Matt wanted to throw me a little welcome home shindig last month, and when he invited Emily, she had the brilliant idea of hosting us on their boat for an afternoon. Good call, Em!

It was a record-breakingly hot day, but it felt perfect out on the water. It was a reminder of all that I miss when I am away – Mt. Rainier in the distance, the smell of Puget Sound, my girls’ peels of laughter, seeing Annabelle with her BFF, Matt’s thoughtfulness, and the perfect, comfortable company of Emily and Lauren. I love the way Emily and I laugh when we are behind her boat on the tube together, bouncing over the bay.

Turns out, Limoncello had no answers for Mama. And Clementine now has no Lip Smackers for four years. Good thing she’s cute. That’s sort of our mantra this summer with her.

I cannot say enough about this podcast! It’s so important, and, somehow, it was entertaining to listen to despite its weight. Give yourself an hour.

Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away…my fam forced me to go inside the crazy Star Wars store in Aberdeen. Whoa.

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I sure grumbled about this! I so badly wanted my girls to love Star Wars, but they have surpassed all of that and entered the world of obsession.

Kind of like the man who owns this store.

Fire courtesy o yours truly, beans by Bush’s. Yippee Ki-Yay! #liveauthentic #livefolk #nrthwst #pnw #longlivetheadventure

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Ruby Beach ?? #nrthwst #longlivetheadventure

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We couldn’t believe it when we looked at the calendar a couple weeks ago and realized that we had one night for a camping trip this summer, as Annabelle’s play rehearsals were starting. Luckily, there was a spot left at Willaby Creek on Lake Quinault/my happy place, so we snatched it up. And, yes, it ended up being big enough for our gigantic tent.

We headed further up north on 101 to Ruby Beach. Matt and the girls went while I was in Europe, and they thankfully didn’t mind going again so I could explore it, too. It was breathtaking. Better than the Oregon coast, and you know that’s saying something.

PS: I made this fire. Can’t touch this!

Cantaloupes remind me of Dad, of our trip to Italy when Annabelle was three, and of the time I actually grew a couple in our garden.

And I don’t want to straight up copy Dorie Greenspan when I tell you what my last meal would be if I got to choose, BUT she said chocolate pudding and chocolate chip cookies, and I pretty much think I would add butterscotch pudding and call it perfect.

Can you believe it’s been TWELVE years since I rode off into the night in a wedding dress with this guy in a pink ’57 Chevy?

12 years, 3 houses, 1 dog, 4 chickens, 2 daughters, and a million fights and make-ups and lessons learned.

We celebrated at the Peddler Bistro. I wish I could eat there every single night. One of our very favorite restaurants in town – Acqua Via – closed last month, but instead of being sad, I am resolved to be happy that there is something new to distract me and gush about. Kind of like a raccoon – new shiny things.

This girl. She sure loves performing. The few nights they haven’t needed her at rehearsal, she has been seriously bummed. Emily and I joke that we will one day be visiting her roach-filled little apartment somewhere in NYC to see her first off-off-Broadway show. I huge part of me doesn’t doubt it.

If you’re around, buy a ticket. She would love to see you in the audience!

Thanks for letting me use your phone to nab this sweet Vespa on Patmos, @4hammy4 ! You’re a ?.

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I stole a photo back from Steve. He posted this on his Instagram as if he had taken it. So not the case. It was me.

When we came ashore on the Greek island of Patmos one afternoon to go swimming at a beach with most of the kids, I decided to not bring a thing. I panicked without my camera when I spotted this pink beauty later that evening, and he nicely lent me his phone.

Then took credit. I’ve killed for less. Just kidding.

Lawd have mercy! This is one of the best parts of summer.

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Planting basil is one of the best things I do every summer. Well, this summer I think Matt actually planted it, but you know what I mean.

And when you make Caprese salad, do yourself a favor and use either fresh mozzarella or mozzarella de buffala {made with milk from water buffalo} and DON’T put any balsalmic vinegar on it. Do not. It covers up the flavors that are already there. All you need is olive oil, salt, and a little pepper.

It’s enchanting. Come over.

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Emily has these gorgeous lights up all over the back of her house, and she texted me from Costco last week that they still had some. Holy festival of lights, Batman! They are perfection. Matt put them up, and we have been enjoying them ever since.

During these dog days of summer, my favorite times of day are early morning and late evening when I can just sit outside and cool off in the quiet.

Best tea ever. Planting a pot of spearmint and a pot of peppermint a decade ago has not disappointed me yet.

Probably my favorite Hitchcock film is Rear Window, despite its corny ending. The mix of Jimmy Stewart, Grace Kelly’s wardrobe, and Thorwald sitting alone in his dark apartment with only the glowing tip of his cigarette showing just blows my mind.

So glad the Olympia Film Society has started up a matinee series of some classic films. It’s going to be fun to see them on the big screen.

I have zero patience for decoration on cakes. So mad props to Annabelle. She does all the things I wish I liked – crafts, cake decorating, acting, you name it!

Scotty and I go wayyyy back {20 years next month!} to Beck Hall, freshman year, 1995. He wore vests all the time. And he liked Natalie Merchant and ate lunch at the same table with the same group of friends as me, and THAT, my friends, is how Scotty and I became friends.

We were some of the only ones who stuck around campus the summers after junior and senior years, so we’d do homework at the swimming hole, watch World Cup soccer, watch Road Rules: Europe, and he would make tuna melts and pancakes with peanut butter on them. Once we had an epic road trip through the southwest when he was in grad school at Texas Tech, and we saw the Alamo, Carlsbad Caverns, and Billy the Kid’s grave together. His dad officiated my wedding!

He is one of my very best friends in all of the land, and he is in the thick of stay-at-home-dad-ness, trying to get a cidery up and running, and I am so glad his family agreed to spend his birthday evening at our house last weekend. We tried to spoil him as best as we could.

I found a pile of letters from my dad last week while cleaning out an old suitcase for our garage sale. My greatest wish for every person is that they get to be someone’s favorite, too.

It’s August, and we finally made it to one of Marie and Patrick’s Potlucks on the Porch, which they have weekly all summer. Between my traveling and our counseling appointments and, just, life!, it has been hard to make it to one.

I’m so glad last night happened. I love these girls and watching our kids grow up together. And I am a sucker for tradition and a night once a week to laugh and gripe with other adults.

What’s your favorite summer tradition? Drop me a line in the comments below.

Coming up: My pics of London! Some book reviews {can’t wait!!}! Some movie reviews! A zucchini recipe! News about my blog {amen!!}! Free puppies {just seeing if you’re still listening}!

xo, mrs. fresh scratch

father’s day and blueberry pancakes. because, duh.

Recipes, Fresh Scratch

Surprise! A Sunday post! This is from last year, but it bears repeating and is still timely, as, yes, I am off to Europe again in a couple days. Whether you’re up cookin’ the pancakes this morning or enjoying them, this one’s for you.

I ended an email with a close friend from long ago recently with the lines, “I just want my life to be authentic. All of it.”

I was referring to big things and little things. I was thinking a little of my word of the year, “embrace.” I was wondering if my life right now is an honest life.
I was feeling tangled. You know what I mean? Tangled up in stuff that matters and stuff that doesn’t and wondering which was which. Wondering if I needed to keep on keepin’ on or make some big decisions.

And he sent me this video that gave me great pause. I am in love with this little gem. Please give yourself, right now, the gift of the five minutes it takes to watch this so you can fall in love, too.

Amazing, right? And what happens next?

Isn’t that always the question?

After I watched this the first of ten times, my immediate reaction was to disappear off of social media. To take a road trip to the middle of America with zero documentation in the immediate sense. To reconnect with the seventeen year old that still lives somewhere inside of the mom body I masquerade around in.

The next reaction was that I wanted my dad.

I wanted to have a big talk with him that unraveled slowly, as it does between a dad and daughter; Dad not wanting to push, me wondering how much to spill. I wanted to sit on his back deck overlooking Puget Sound with a bowl of Breyer’s mint chocolate chip each, gently rocking in his deck chairs, my feet up on the rail, the spoons making a happy clink on the bowls.

I wanted him to tell me that I am beautiful on the inside and the outside, that he is proud of me, that some things are hard but we must do them, anyway. I wanted him to get me to snap-to.

Luckily I had lots of those kinds of talks with my dad while he was alive, and most times when I wonder what he’d say, I find I knew him well enough to know. And that always feels like a gift he gives me from the great beyond.

But there are times when I’m really unsure of what he’d say – when I’m in uncharted territory; places in life we never really got a chance to talk about as adults because I wouldn’t have understood in my early twenties.

Those times call for me to get quiet. To go off into the quiet spaces of the world and listen to its heartbeat. To make room for knowing.

I leave for Europe next week without my family. That’s where I’m going to find his words. Somewhere strange that snaps me to the present. That reminds me what is honest and true and where my heart lies and what it feels like to be young and free to roam the world.

blueberry pancakesMeanwhile, I’m going to make blueberry pancakes.

My dad loved to go out to breakfast. There was a place where we’d have the most enormous blueberry pancakes – bigger than your head! He was a berry lover, for sure. So, for now, I’ll make pancakes and start to untangle and be thankful to have had a dad who loved me enough to teach me that being authentic is the most important thing, that life is short, and that I am so lucky to have had such a person to miss.

Blueberry Pancakes (he always called them “pan-cockys” – nice, Pop. Nice.)

Makes like 3 dozen, incredibly loosely adapted from Gwynnie.

You’ll need:

3 cups of flour (don’t go for whole wheat)

1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar

1  Tbsp. plus 1/2 tsp. baking powder

3 c. buttermilk

6 Tbsp. salted butter, melted and cooled – microwave it for 30 seconds and stir. That should do it.

6 eggs

2 c. of blueberries


Do this:

1. Whisk the dry ingredients into one bowl.

2. Mix the wet ingredients into another.

3. Combine with a whisk, and don’t worry about the lumps.

4. Toss the blueberries with a Tbsp. of flour so they don’t sink to the bottom of the batter, then fold them gently into the batter.

5. Slick a hot pan or griddle with butter. I usually use a soup ladle to measure out my pancakes. Sprinkle a fine dusting of cinnamon on top of each one {trust me}. When each pancake bubbles, flip it over until it’s done.

6. Serve with maple syrup.