It's the Measle Birthday Cake!

We've been a bit neglectful on the blog. But, it's because we've been doing FUN stuff. We celebrated two birthdays this week -- one for our niece, Lily, and one for Lo's mom!

You'll appreciate the cake we made for Lily. Peef was very excited about licking the measles on this one.

Look at that chocolate butter cake with cookies & cream filling. YUM.

Now that our sugar high has passed, we might be able to sit still for long enough to blog again...

Just for Fun: One Word Meme

One Word Meme

You're feeling: chipper overwhelmed
To your left: phone apple
On your mind: dinner Lo
Last meal included: strawberries cumin
You sometimes find it hard to: relax stop
The weather: lovely overcast
Something you have a collection of: books papers
A smell that cheers you up: lilacs grill
A smell that can ruin your mood: sewer foot
How long since you last shaved: days hours
The current state of your hair: blonde proper
The largest item on your desk/workspace (not computer): scanner sculpture
Your skill with chopsticks: intermediate adequate
Which section you head for first in a bookstore: bargain entertainment
Something you're craving: vacation attention
Your general thoughts on the presidential race: unsettled typical
How many times have you been hospitalized this year: zero none
Favorite place to go for a quiet moment: outside head
You've always secretly thought you'd be a good: decorator pet
Something that freaks you out a little: cicadas punctuation
Something you've eaten too much of lately: barley apples
You have never: karaokeed reproduced
You never want to: fail regret


Provincial Thoughts

Something fantastic happened to me this weekend. It seems so silly, and yet I think it's going to change the way I approach my cooking in the future.

I discovered Herbes de Provence.
My new favorite herb combination is comprised of rosemary, cracked fennel, thyme, savory, basil, tarragon, dill weed, oregano, lavender, chervil and marjoram.

No, it's not the first time that I've come across the blend. In fact, I've had a bit of "the south of France" in my cupboard for most of the time I've had my own kitchen. And yet, it eluded me. I think that the thought of using lavendar for savory cooking was just a bit beyond my mental palate's reach. Until now.

It all started with a trip to Penzey's on Friday afternoon. I conducted my usual "round" of the store to pick up the things on my list -- and then I lingered a bit, as I usually do, to contemplate some new possibilities. As I rounded the corner and glimpsed the dried rosemary and bouquet garni, my eyes fell on the jar of herbs de provence. And something moved me to pick up the jar and take a whiff.

I'd never been affected by the odor before. But, just then -- Sheer Heaven.

I don't know what flipped the switch in my head. But, I bought that jar of hdp before Peef could even argue with me about it. We happened to be grilling up some chicken on Sunday evening, and I was hunting through the spice cupboard to find the usual suspects. Somehow, my fingers grazed the brand new bottle of Herbs de Provence. I pulled it out of the cupboard, and crushed a liberal dose between my fingertips. The smell was positively intoxicating.

Imagine my absolute delight when the grilled chicken came back into the house. Those simple thighs were more aromatic, more flavorful... than just about anything I could imagine. And I think I'm hooked.

I've heard it's fantastic on roasted asparagus...

Just for fun: Our Personal Slogans for Today

Your Slogan Should Be

Lo; What You'd Eat if You Lived on Mars

Peef; It's What's for Dinner


"Did they die?"

If this is the question you've been asking yourself, we're here to provide an answer.

No, we're not dead. But it seems that the cleanse that we did last weekend has extended into the week. Both of us have had quite the catching up to do -- both at work and at home -- and we've simply had no time to post. Until now.

Here is a quick glance at what we ate and drank this past Friday - Monday...

No, not green beer...but a delicious green food tincture with hint of unsweetened cranberry juice. We got to indulge in this treat twice a day (along with our daily dose of cod liver oil). YUM!

Slightly steamed asparagus with a squeeze of lemon.

Tea, supplements, and freshly carved pineapple.
(That pesky lemon appears to really enjoy getting her picture taken...)

A delicious salad of baby arugula and mache with red peppers, cucumbers, and avacado chunks. We dressed this with a little apple cider vinegar and flax oil.

Overall, we feel about the same as before the cleanse -- except we seem to have more energy, stamina, and a renewed sense of commitment to good eating. Our recipe binders and pot racks also benefited remarkably from the cleanse, as we took some time to do some much-needed organizing. It's nice to know that both our home and innards are a little bit cleaner.

Life is good!


Jason Castro is a Good Thing

I'm never really sure if I should admit to watching American Idol or not.
But, when I glimpse lovely performances like this, I'm pretty sure it's OK.

Quote of the Day: Peef

This morning, in his usual effort to declare a sick day, Peef announced that he had the measles.

"The measles?" I asked, "Now how did you get those?"

"I licked a measle," he replied, without even the slightest hint of a smirk.

Jelly Bean Soup

Rebecca was nice enough to offer up the following poem (c/o Grandpa Tucker), which might shed some light on the mysterious "jelly bean soup" concept offered up at the last soup night.


Gearing up for the Big Cleanse

Maybe you've noticed that we've not been terribly active here on the blog this week. But, there's a good reason for that. In great part it's because we're busily planning our annual "cleanse". We've set aside the upcoming weekend for our Big Detox, and we've been spending a good deal of our time planning and shopping for supplies.

After a long winter, a cleanse (or detox) is a great opportunity to rid the body of toxins, boost the immune system and get back on track with a healthy diet and exercise program. So, we make a good faith effort each spring to make it part of our spring cleaning routine. Last year, we only managed a couple of weeks of "cleaner eating." But, this year we're actually setting aside the time for a 3-day non-fasting cleanse. And I'm getting excited.

I'm not a fan of the fasting cleanse, which unnecessarily taxes the body. So, we'll be doing a less restrictive (and, I'd argue, more effective) cleanse. We'll follow a very light fruit-and-vegetable-only diet (minimal protein/no grains), with an emphasis on foods high in glutathione (an amino acid which aids in the body's detoxification process at the cellular level). There will be yoga, naps and overall relaxation, and the consumption of plenty of water. We'll also follow the following supplement regimen.

Master Cleanser (lemon, cayenne, maple syrup)
Unsweetened cranberry juice
Green foods
Flaxseed oil
Cod liver oil

Whey protein
Milk thistle (supports liver function)
Dandelion tea

Unsweetened cranberry juice
Green foods
Flaxseed oil

And what happens after three days?
Well, if our last cleansing experience was any indication, we'll feel completely re-energized. Our diet will be back on track, and we'll be motivated to continue with a healthier regiment for quite some time before falling back into our old patterns.

Tonight we'll sit down and come up with some menu options for the weekend, as well as the following week. I know from experience that I'll be having all sorts of killer food cravings, so I want to make sure that we have a healthy plan to follow so that we're not tempted to ransack the pantry. Thursday night we'll venture out to pick up all the supplies and get ourselves settled in for the weekend. I'm hoping we'll be able to take the time to get a few cleaning/organizing tasks done over the weekend. I'd also like to finish a book or two that I've been working on.

How are you spending your weekend?


Soup Night: The Final Episode

Happy Monday everyone!

Thanks to those of you who stopped out for our final soup night. The soup was hot, the weather was fabulous, and we couldn't have asked for a better way to wrap up the Soup Night season! The fact that Peter and Amanda brought cream puffs was an added bonus. Yum.
Creamy Potato Soup turned out to be the overall soup night winner... which probably means that it will make an appearance next year. We also got a lot of great suggestions for soups to feature during the 2009 Spattering (except I have to ask... jelly bean soup??... I might need a recipe for that one!).

If you couldn't make it over for soup night, but you have a soup you'd like us to feature, feel free to leave a comment. Or email your suggestions to us at peefandlo at


Don't Forget Soup Night April 6

Don't forget!
We'll be holding our final "Spattering (Soup Nights with Peef & Lo)" on Sunday, April 6th.

Featured soups will include all the winners from our previous soup nights:
  1. Broccoli red pepper chowder
  2. Creamy Potato Soup
  3. Buffalo Chicken Chili

We'll also be taking your suggestions for soups to feature during our 2009 soup nights.

See you there!


SuperNatural Thoughts

I got one of the loveliest cookbooks I've ever laid eyes upon this year for Christmas. Super Natural Cooking (Heidi Swanson) was lovingly bestowed upon me by my sister-in-law, Jennifer -- and I've been yearning to delve into its contents for months now. Not only are the photographs absolutely gorgeous, but the food is absolutely worth eating (colorful, healthy, and uber whole-grainy -- all things I love). The book also seems to be a great resource when it comes to sources for hard-to-find products (like whole grain Asian noodles).

Now, I have to admit that I gush a little bit whenever I'm around this book. You've got to be a fan of Heidi Swanson. Photographer, cookbook author, and designer, she seems to have her stuff TRULY together. I've been a big fan of her work since I happened upon -- one of the most progressive "girl-centric" sites available on the Web at that time. Little did I know that our lives would converge again in the world of food many years later. She has two sites that I frequent -- Mighty Foods (a collaboration with Rachel Cole) and 101 Cookbooks (her recipe journal) -- both a wealth of information if you're at all interested in natural foods and cooking.

Anyhow, I've been glancing at the book (mostly from afar) for quite a while now. But tonight I'm going to try my first recipe. I've got a pound of lovely spring asparagus in the fridge (not exactly local, but I was having a craving). So, I think I'm going to tackle the asparagus pesto with pasta for dinner tonight.

What could be better than a pesto made with asparagus, baby spinach, garlic, and olive oil?


Nothing like the smell of gritzwurst on the weekend...

Gritzwurst. It's what's for breakfast.

If you were lucky enough to grow up in a household with a bit of German farm ancestry, you might know what I'm talking about. If not, you'll probably think I'm pulling something over on you for April Fool's Day. But, it's all true. I promise.

Gritzwurst (or gritwurst, grutzwurst, or gritswurst, it seems) is made from pork and oatmeal. The pork (originally the meat from a pig's head, but these days something more akin to pork shoulder) is cooked, and then stewed in a great deal of water until it's falling apart and tender. Then it is mashed (or ground) and set aside. The oatmeal (my family uses rolled oats, but traditionally it's steel-cut oats) is cooked in the water left from cooking the pork -- and then the whole mess is mixed together and cooled. It's shaped into patties, or thrown free-form on a griddle to be fried into crispy goodness.

People in my family have been making gritzwurst for a very long time. We loved to fry it up on a cold winter morning and eat it with a liberal dose of maple syrup poured over the top.

Don't ask me how Peef got away with being married to me for almost ten years without tasting gritzwurst. But, the fact is, he got his very first taste of this delicacy this weekend at my aunt & uncle's house. I think he was a bit skeptical about it at first. But, you could see his tune changing as he caught his first whiff of the gritzwurst browning on the grill. The smell really is intoxicating (probably a lot like pork breakfast sausage, when it all comes down). And it's even better when mingled with the suggestion of maple. By the time he took his first bite, he was sold.

Anyhow, I'm glad that he's a fan. I'm on a kick lately with the whole idea of preserving history (keeping the "old foods" alive). Serious cooking is an art form. And it's not something that comes without practice and dedication. It's romantic to me to think about the ways in which recipes are passed along, from generation to generation. And I want to be part of that. So, I've been thinking that I need to learn the art of gritzwurst-making so that I can pass it along. And having Paul on board will make a difference.

If only it had a better name...