Summer of Bernie!

The summer is over! It’s quarter-zip fleece weather! But still acceptable birkenstock-with-no-socks temperature! The apples are getting their color, the sky is cloudy on the reg, wheat harvest is here, and two nights ago we ate PHO. This is my dreamscape. Good gosh geez I love being on the cusp of peak coziness sooo much, I can taste the pumpkin bread already. Bernie’s world is about to start smelling less like fresh basil and Eggboy sweat and more like cinnamon and brussels sprouts with spätzle and butter and it’s awesome. Ok but I didn’t want to zoom to the next season before documenting some of my favorite moments from this summer!

We went to the the county fair! Bernie met baby goats, baby chickens, mini ponies, and a 7-day-old alpaca! We danced to Eggboy’s big band concert and then I ate a big sausage which tasted exactly how fairs smell, smoky and meaty. And we drank a chocolate strawberry malt. A+ day.

We went on our first little family trip, to Bemidji! We stayed about two feet away from the lake in a tiny cabin with gigantic windows, so all of my nightmares about arriving at our destination to find that we had forgotten Bernie’s sound machine went out the window because we had nature's sound machine of the waves all night and it was the loveliest. During the days we hiked, ate pizza and spumoni, had wild rice in our pancakes, tried on Lester Nygaard hats, waved to Babe and Paul Bunyan, and picnic’ed on fancy cheese and ‘ndujia. It was a short but sweet trial vacation for the next time when we choose a destination that’s more than two hours away!

I went to LA for, like, a few hours because that’s all I could manage for a first trip away from Bern! It was for a little work trip and I got to get all dressed up and stand in front of a background while someone shot a fan at my hair. This is what that looked like! Thanks to Getty and Benjo for the left photo and to TV Guide and Maarten for the right photo!

Bernie met Bernbaum’s and all of our other Fargo faves, like India Palace and Twenty Below and Zandbroz and Sandy’s and Barnes and Noble. (Umm have you been the new Bernbaum’s?? It’s epic, get the black and white cookie.)

We had so many visitors! Sonja and Alex came for a pizza party, my bridesmaids came for a Girl Meets Farm episode, and Auntie Cathy even came and did her famous turkey impression :)

I forgot what TV looks like. Every time I turn it on, even just to have Savannah and Craig chatting in the background, Bernie cranes her head and only wants to look at it and not sing Baby Beluga so I stopped turning it on. What happens after they fall down the elevator in Stranger Things? Anything good?

Baby Beluga is always in my head. Always.

We went to The Lake! I don’t know what summer weekends are like where you live, but here everybody flocks to The Lake. The Lake refers to any number of lakes in the area and what I’m told from Eggboy is that the lake is a place where you eat potato chips and relax, either in the water or in a chair looking at the water. I didn’t get it when I first moved here because I thought, we already live in a very calm relaxing place and I already eat potato chips, why do I need to get more relaxed and eat more potato chips? But I’m slowly starting to get it, that’s where the weekend energy is and floating in a lake is fun and it’s acceptable to subsist on boloney on white bread (in addition to potato chips) at the lake. So even though we don’t have a Lake house we found the public access spot where we’re going to go from now on anytime we feel like chips. And next time Bernie will actually be able to go in the water!

I had my fifth summer at Unglued Camp!!! I only went for a quick second since you-know-who had bedtime and other you-know-who was harvesting but in that time we made fancy uncrustables, splatter painted cake, ate delicious ice cream sandwich sliders, and gossiped with all of my new and old fronds. Camp is the bessst.

We celebrated nephew Cliff’s first birthday! I made his cake and smash cake and wow making cakes these days takes serious nap time ninja moves but we did it and Cliff smashed it!!

We gardened, we looked at the baby in the mirror, we danced, and giggled!

Ok the end, craziest/best summer ever!! Welcome, fall!!!

-Yeh!

Bernie, Two Months!

Hello from Bernie’s 10th week! She is nearly 2 1/2 months old and smiles more and more each day! We have settled into the best little routine where every morning we have wiggle time, then go to the gym to stroll and listen to Unorthodox, and then come home and make a big summery salad for lunch. In the afternoon we do a fun thing like read crinkly tail tale books or swat at hanging vegetable toys before snuggles and nap time (that’s when I watch Jeopardy and read Bringing Up Bébé). Then we make dinner and Eggboy and I watch Fargo while we wait for Bernie to poop so that we can then give her a bath without worrying that she’ll poop in it (yep, learned that one the hard way haha). It’s peak maternity leave livin’ around here and we are soaking it in. Also the weather has been amazing, so we are, as Bernie puts it, “GOO!” Some highlights from this past month include:

-Our first little family picnic! On Memorial Day, we grilled sausages, potatoes, and broccolini, and drank rhubarb soda while we enjoyed the evening breeze.

-Bernie’s first out of town visitors! Jaclyn and Katie came to town and we had the best weekend ever, which included a trip to Fargo for the Antiques Roadshow (with a stop at Silver Lining Creamery after), the North Dakota Shakespeare 5K (err- we walked 3Ks of it ;), an afternoon picnic in the backyard with cookies and cookie dough (and carrots for balance), and cinnamon roll pancakes at Darcy’s.

-Cuddle time with Mrs. Moose. Bernie’s been grasping and swatting at toys and in true baby fashion she definitely prefers the super saturated weirdly colored high contrast ones. The muted rainbow lover in me is like “😳🙄 But Bernie, this hot pink neon green bumble bee clashes terribly with your navy car seat, mustard outfit, and olive pacifier…” but it’s ok, maybe one day she’ll love dusty rose like I do??

-Bernie’s first Syttende Mai, Norwegian Constitution Day! She is 5/16ths Norwegian, so we went to Sons of Norway and ate lefse, krumkake, rømmegrøt, and all of the other faves. She wore her Norwegian accessories from our friend Trude in Norway and had the best time!!

-My first Mother’s Day, it was delightful! Bernie and I worked on her cookbook and snuggled the day away. Then the following week it was my birthday and we went out to lunch wearing identical outfits and spent the rest of the day baking cookies and cake!

-Bernie talks soo much!! We have great conversations about Ooo and Ahh and Goo, I love them.

-She has gotten very tall, she has Eggboy’s legs. Hallelujah!

Ok, we’ve gotta go pick rhubarb!! Bernie’s sending some friendly hiccups in your general direction and I’m waving! Bye!

-Yeh!

everything bagel mac and cheese

Ok, as long as no one we know gets surprised engaged and decides to surprise go to Hawaii and get married at the last minute, we are done going to weddings for a few good months, which I’m kind of sad about because the Rent the Runway dresses I’ve been finding have been off the hook. And I love a good dance party. And the far off destinations that we get to go to. This past weekend we were right on the Idaho/Wyoming border for an Eggcousin wedding at a ranch that made me want to go back and watch Hey Dude reruns. (Was that a good show? Or just an obstacle on the way to Bug Juice and Double Dare? Will we ever know?)

It was my first time in Wyoming and I gasped when I saw the scenery. Mountains are so good. On our first night we stayed at the adorable Anvil Hotel in Jackson and had a delicious and inspiring crispy honey chicken with creamed corn at Glorietta. I pretty much never order chicken at a restaurant unless it’s schnitzeled but our server said get the chicken so we got the chicken and it was one of the best decisions we’ve made at a restaurant all year. The next morning we hiked up Snow King mountain, ate an apple and peanut butter at the top, and then came down and drove across a Teton to the ranch in Idaho for the wedding. Wowee zowee, it was beautiful. We rode horses, saw a bunch of wildflowers, sat around a campfire, and Eggboy played music for the ceremony!! It was the best. 

Now we’re back, just in time for National Macaroni and Cheese Day!!!! Which is the only food holiday besides donut day that I take seriously for now. It’s on Saturday. And I know, it’s kind of dumb to have it fall in the middle of summer when we should be taking advantage of fresh summer vegetables, but I don’t make the rules. So here is a recipe that I’ve been making in my low key mission to everything bagel (v.) all of the things. It was partly inspired by Alex and Sonja’s Everything Bagel Pasta, which looks sooo good. And the things that make this mac bagel-y are: 

-Cream cheese in the cheese sauce, which adds a delicious tang 

-Chives, because chive cream cheese is the best cream cheese

-Just a tiny bit of barley malt syrup, a sweet sticky substance that’s a key ingredient in making bagels taste bagel-y 

-Tons of everything bagel seasoning on top. It seems like a lot when you’re making it but it gets all crunchy in the oven and adds perfect texture. (I’ve included measurements below to make your own seasoning but you can certainly use store bought. If you use storebought: sprinkle it on to taste because some of them, like the one from Trader Joe’s, are extreeeeemely salty.)

 

-And if you’re feeling extra, sub out the panko breadcrumbs for bagel crumbs!

-And for bonus points: add hot dogs or veggie dogs and then it’s bagel dog mac and cheese.

…And there is no bagel-driven reason for the ketchup. I just like it.


Everything Bagel Mac and Cheese

Serves 4

Ingredients

1/2 lb (226g) pasta, I prefer rigatoni
Olive oil
1/4 c (68g) unsalted butter
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
Kosher salt
1/4 c (33g) all-purpose flour
2 1/2 c (590g) whole milk
4 oz (113g) cream cheese
4 oz (113g) white cheddar or gruyere or a mix of both, shredded
1 oz (28g) parmesan, shredded
1 1/2 tsp barley malt syrup, optional
Crushed red
Black pepper
1/2 c chopped chives or scallions
Bonus points: 2 cut up cooked hot dogs or veggie dogs

Topping

3/4 c (75g) panko breadcrumbs
1 tb unsalted butter, melted
1 tb each: sesame seeds, poppy seeds, dried minced garlic, dried minced onion
A few pinches of Kosher salt

Ketchup, for serving
 

Clues

Preheat the oven to 375ºF.

Prepare the pasta according to the directions on the box, cooking for one minute less than directed. Drain, toss with a drizzle of olive oil, and set aside. 

In a large pot, melt the butter over medium high. Add the onions and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring, until soft, 5-7 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add 1 cup of the milk and cook, whisking continuously, until thickened, and then repeat with another cup, and then the remaining 1/2 cup. Add the cheese and stir until melted, and then add the barley malt syrup (if using), a few pinches of crushed red pepper, a few turns of black pepper, and salt to taste. Stir in the pasta, chives, and hot dogs, if using. Transfer to an 8” baking dish or a dish that’s a similar size. In a medium bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs and melted butter and then distribute it over the top of the mac and cheese. Combine the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, dried minced onion, dried minced garlic, and salt in that same medium bowl and sprinkle it liberally over the top.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Let cool slightly and then serve with ketchup.
 


-yeh!

mac and cheese photo by chantell and brett


P.S. I have a few fun appearances on Food Network this weekend!! 

On Saturday at 11am eastern I will be making peanut butter cake on one of my favorite shows, The Kitchen!!!!

👆🏼👆🏼Feeling very at home in the presence of Jeff Mauro and his great Chicago accent.

And on Sunday at 9pm eastern I will be a guest judge on Food Network Star!

Bobby and Giada were soo nice!!!! 

And on Sunday at 11am eastern on Girl Meets Farm, we will be celebrating Eggsister's baby shower!!! There will be donuts!! And ~walking tacos~! 

everything i ate in santa ynez

between my new bojack horseman obsession, a lifelong love of marzipan, and this desire to compare everything to summer camp, i am almost positive that the santa ynez valley was made for me. it's this cute area in the mountains in california, just past ojai, that consists of five itsy bitsy towns, all adorable in their own way. there are vineyards and roadside bakeries in farmhouses and, in one of the five towns, a teleportation device that brings you straight to a small danish fantasyland, complete with windmills aebleskivers. and by teleportation device i just mean that it was built that way, to be cute and danish and disneyland-inspired. on my way back from the la jolla summerfest, i stopped through santa ynez for a couple of days with lily and alana and we had the gosh darn loveliest time! here is just about everything we ate and drank:

fluffy hot pancakes, breakfast quesadillas, and a 2:1 ratio of coffee to hot chocolate in the mountains after a sunrise horseback ride, past coyotes and deer! my horse was called goose. he did not get along with lily's horse, blackjack. but i don't blame blackjack because goose kept farting in his face. 

just enough marzipan at olsen's bakery. which is to say that every single thing we got there had marzipan and i was in heaven from my spot standing on top of a chair photographing everything. that's one great thing about traveling lily and alana: standing on chairs to get an overhead marzipan shot in public feels less weird.

my very first shrub! at mad + vin at the landsby hotel. we had one of those long nice sunday meals where you have nowhere to be until the late night bonfire out back. it included lily's first fondue and a round of shrub cocktails. (shrubs are my new favorite, and i came straight home and bought two bottles of vinegar about it.) and the landsby hotel is right in the middle of solvang, it's great. being there is like being in an ikea if ikea had just received four promotions and a collection of quirky llama paintings.  

big plump gnudi and a table of other tasty things in the tiny tiny town of los alamos at a restaurant called pico, which occupies the old town general store. the entire town was one block, i wanted to put it in my pocket and take it on home. instead i put the leftover gnudi in a box and took that on home.

wine. ok i am trying so hard to understand wine. it's become a dire situation, because this is 10x harder for me than high school calculus. we visited beckmen and sunstone and i loved learning about the harvesting process, seeing what it takes to make biodynamic wine, and hearing about how many different types of grapes can be grown in the valley--all things that appeal to the agricultural side of things--but when it comes to tasting wine, it's like fashion, i am like whaaaaaa halllllllllp i'm mellllttttttinggggggg. 

aebleskivers! at solvang restaurant. girl, if the next time i see you i have gained 500 pounds it's because i've finally given in and bought an aebleskiver pan. 

peanut butter pie, baby corndogs, boursin on the porch, and a poolside cookie at alisal ranchalisal is like being at camp, but fancy camp! it's this big old ranch with chickens, horsies (including my friend goose), pigs, and a very old goat named goatie. and you get to dress up for dinner and there is no cell phone reception! it inspired me to start choosing my vacation spots based on where i can get no cell service because out of all the ways to relax, that is an increasingly important one. i loved alisal, it made me feel like a kid. alana said it reminded her of dirty dancing and that sparked a conversation about the borscht belt, which is one of my most favorite conversation topics. so yes, i'll definitely be back there one day.

biscuits out of a dutch oven made over hot coals by our friend in the cowboy hat! this was also at alisal but it was so cool that it deserved its separate list item. lily and alana and i woke up really early one morning to go take pictures of the fog and the horsies and suddenly the world smelled like freshly made biscuits and butter because suddenly 20 feet away, there was a man making biscuits. it was magic.  

a stunning tasting menu at a beautiful b & b in a town that consisted of a b & b, a church, and a schoolhouse. that's it! it reminded me of the town near me that consists of a grain leg, a church, and a strip club. but this was better for obvious reasons, not the least of which was the roasted corn soup that made me want to make a hot tub of roasted corn soup.

solvang's famous hot pretzels that come with a little cup of cheese. it was like eating o.g. auntie annie's and we got em fresh out of the oven. it was the perfect road trip snack for our drive back to l.a.


-yeh!

thank you so much to visit santa ynez valley for inviting us to explore this gem of a place!! all accommodations were provided by visit santa ynez valley, alisal, and the landsby. and all opinions are my own and i would 100% recommend a visit to this area!