I Heart Cara Cara Oranges

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I have a new favorite winter fruit. By February, I am sick of apples, and satsumas are past their prime. I tried my first Cara Cara orange about two weeks ago and was smitten. Thanks to Whole Foods for always having samples because I was able to convince Clover to try a slice with the promise that it tasted like candy. Since then, I’ve had one a day. No scurvy here.

They aren’t as acidic as oranges. I read a description that said they taste like oranges crossed with cranberries, but it’s not quite that either. Just good.

Our Day in the Country with Hip Chick Farms

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Meet Franny and Lola, the best donkeys I’ve ever met. Not that I’ve met a lot, in fact, these are probably the first two I’ve ever met, minus the living nativity scene from my childhood. Lola was like a dog in that where ever I went, she went. I’d walk off, then a minute later, would feel something at my side and sure enough, it was Lola. We had a connection. Some people have soul mates, I have a soul donkey.

Lola and Franny are six months old and live at Hip Chick Farms in Sebastopol. I’ve written about Hip Chick Farms before, and if you live in California, you need to try their chicken. For those not nearby, but in the West, check your local Whole Foods. It’s really quality food that is perfect to keep in the freezer for nights where soccer runs long or for when watching football or when the kids demand chicken fingers.

Other than Lola, Franny, and the rest of the great company with whom we spent Saturday, those sandwiches in the photos made the day. Not an exaggeration, they were good. Good enough that Kevin asked me to ask Chef Jen how to make the slaw. It turns out I didn’t need to – they handed out the recipe.

Chef Jen’s Hip Chicken Finger Sandwich with Spicy Slaw

Slaw:

  • 1/4 cup each purple and green cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 jalapeno, sliced
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp sugar

Combine all ingredients and let sit for 20 minutes.

Aioli:

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • few drops of lemon juice
  • pinch of salt
  • one clove of garlic, chopped

Use a hand whisk, a blender or an electric mixer. Slowly drizzle the oil into the egg while mixing until it is the consistency of mayonnaise. Add salt, lemon juice, and garlic.

Sandwich:

  • 2-3 Hip Chick Farms Chicken Fingers, ready to eat
  • 1 soft sandwich roll

Split the roll in half, slather both sides with aioli, add chicken fingers with slaw on top. Enjoy the best chicken sandwich in town! (The sandwich recipe belongs to Chef Jen and Hip Chick Farms)

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Thank you to Hip Chick Farms for inviting us out for a fabulous fall day in the country. We had a blast.

How to Tell the Age of Your Tires

I learned a helpful bit of information that I thought I’d pass on. It’s easy to determine the age of your tires with the manufacturing date printed right on the tires. Tires have a tire identification number that is a string of numbers with the age in the last four. The first two numbers are the corresponding week in the year, remembering that there are 52 weeks in a year, and the second two numbers represent the year. For instance the tire below was made in mid-December 2012.

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As someone who needs to purchase new tires soon, I thought this was helpful. I trust the place I buy my new tires will be selling me brand new ones, but if I suspect a scam, this would be the place to look. Of course, if the tires were used, it would show on the tread, yet more likely to happen is paying full price for tires that have been sitting around for a long time. Tires have a life expectancy of six years, and I want as much of that time to be spent on my car.

I learned this tip and many other driving skills that I will be writing about during a Ford Driving Skills for Life training in Virginia last week. If you have a teenage driver, this free program is important to attend. The program tours around the country and is worth watching to see when it comes nearby. 

Portland Road Trip: Cheese & Crack

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We’ve been back from Portland a few weeks, but last Saturday night we were looking for light food that we could take with us to sit outside. That’s when Kevin said we really need a Cheese & Crack. Everyone needs a Cheese & Crack.

Our first night in Portland, I had a list of food trucks to visit for dinner, opting to plan a traveling meal with different courses at different trucks, beginning with Cheese & Crack as our first start, serving as fancy appetizers. Not only was it the star of the night, we went back the next day for lunch. Each of us loved it, despite each person have strong likes and dislikes. It was easy to put together something for everyone, it was fun, it was really, really good, and it’s only $8 a box.

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Here’s how it works:

1. Pick one type of cracker. We chose between butter crackers, gluten-free rice crackers, and oatmeal cookies, and we always picked the butter crackers. Made by owner Will, these crackers are the crack. They are so good. We quickly had to count and evenly divide them to avoid the frantic grabbing for more.

2. Choose two items from the meat and cheese list. The menu at the time was a Mycella Blue, brie brulee, salami, cana de oveja, fromage blanc, garlic and herb curds, and sardine pate. The blue was amazing, and the brie brulee was out of this world. Oh my god out of this world. I think we tried everything, but the fromage blanc, and everything was a winner.

3. Choose three sides from olives, cornichons, dried fruit, seasonal fruit, pickled shallots, and house jam. I think we tried everything, but the dried fruit. Again, everything was awesome. The blue cheese with the pickled shallots was such a winning combination that we plan to make it at home.

4. Finally, pick from the “optional options.” We tried all three: honey, Dijon, and chocolate.

There is a picnic table to eat on site, which we did, with Cheese & Crack’s homemade sodas, which were as popular with our family. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a photo of the drinks. Over two days, we each had cherry and peach, both were good, but I think peach was the winner.

Location: SE 33rd Ave & Hawthorne Blvd, Portland. There is a sandwich board on the main street, but the cart is down the alley a little.

Need Help Meeting Goals for 2013? Make a Vision Board

Creating a vision board makes your goals 96% more likely to be realized. I just made that up, but it feels true, like of form of self-visualization. See it happening, and it will happen. Vision boards are easy to make, even for the highly distracted, like me, and they work as a reminder for your goals and dreams without leaving Post-It reminders around the house. 

When I visited Coca-Cola headquarters a few months back*, we made vision boards, which I'll admit, at first sounded like we were asked to do awkward ice breakers. Trust fall! Then I realized I had been doing a vision board, just less focused, called Pinterest. Pinterest is like a giant, varied vision board, but Coca-Cola was inviting us to determine the most important things in our lives, our goals, our interests, our dreams, and focus on them, then make it visual. When I saw tables of every type of magazine, plus chilled Diet Coke, I was in. 

It was a vision board that look me through the rough parts of the remodel. Now I can see things happening, but months ago, when things were still very rough, and times were even more stressful, I really needed the pictures to help keep me focused on the outcome. Eyes on the prize. I say that all the time to my kids, and while they routinely ignore me, it works. 

Below is my vision board, but I have to say that I got a case of the ADDs during the project and started reading the magazines instead of hunting for items to represent my life. White space as a design tool, was how I explained the gaps to others. Diet Coke, magazines, and no kids was the real reason. 

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Every vision board should include a unicorn, in my opinion. Even more than now, life was focused on the house's construction and design process, and the struggle to balance work, life, maintaining traditions (this was just before Halloween), and having fun with the kids. (The blurred out part in the top included personal information about the house.)

Here it is, on display in the laundry room, amidst the construction:

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Get some magazines, a glue stick, and a poster board and start visualizing your year. When you look back at the end of 2013, where do you want to be? What do you want to accomplish? Find a visual representation of those goals and dreams, put them on paper, and keep it up where it will catch your eye. Diet Coke is optional, but recommended. Unicorns are highly encouraged. 

* I'd written a long post about the trip that was eaten by Typepad, back in October. Because it's gone forever, let's assume it was the best piece of prose ever written and moved all readers to laughter, then tears. Once I get over the loss, I will re-write it. Or part of it. I mean, it's January now, after all.