27 February 11 • MAV

I really needed a day off. I know you know what I mean.

I had been saying it for a while but as this past week spiraled to a chaotic close I knew I could no longer wait. I really needed a day off.

My day off started as most days off do with an early rising time and one quick email check. Finding  a few notes I could leave for another day (or I could force myself to leave for another day) I closed the laptop and said out loud, ‘see you tomorrow.’

Then it began … a quick shower, a few hard boiled eggs, coffees to go from Arabica, a bottle of water and time to hit the road.

You see, for me to truly have a day off I need to get the hell out. I need to get away from my home where I live and work. I need to get away from any opportunity to cross the threshold into my studio. A usual Saturday starts off with the best intention but then I find myself saying ‘I’ll just check my email really quickly before _________.’ Yeah, right. And a few hours later my supposed day off is anything but. I know you know what I mean. So, on this day off I quite wisely got out of town and far far away from any of the usual distractions.

Two hours on the road and we arrived at my favorite spot. The only place I ever want to go on a true day off (short of a few little cafes I’ve spent time in Paris or London).

We sat. We treasured the moment where we realized there was no one there and yet in a few short months the summer crowd would swell in this room. For then, however, it was just us and our day off.

We ordered. An odd but fitting combination of hot tea and beer. A mess of fresh hot beautiful food. We took our time to eat and talk and sit on the same side of the booth. The pace was deliberate and slow and we lingered as one should on a day off. I know you know what I mean.

Then after a walk about town it was back in the car for a slow ride home. We made a few stops, new and old, and sat in the fast-moving car with our own thoughts. We were not aware of time or any sense of where we should be or why. We were just driving with the showy trees passing by. It was the best feeling and for me the driving always encompasses just what I need on a day off. The tease of absolute nothingness or at the very least nothing of importance. It feels so good to be moving but with no real purpose.

Then, as if the day off couldn’t get any better, we quickly found ourselves back at home and still with a bit of light outside I got back into bed for a nap before my evening was to begin. It was quiet and I smiled as I laid my head on the pillow.

There is still nothing quite as good as a real day off. I know you know what I mean.

27 February 11 • SCB

Do you feel it? That February sluggish slow-down? We all need a little fresh air, I think.

This week, I wanted to share some of the things I’ve been doing to battle my own late-winter fatigue. I’m all for joining the gym, going on a road trip or picking up a bright bouquet, but this is all stuff that you can do at home on any budget.

1. Shop your closet.

I revisited MAV’s CLEAR-OUT post and gave my closet a thorough and relentless purging. I took an evening to make sure what remained was mended and pressed Downton Abbey made for good company while I was ironing). The rest of the week, I challenged myself to combine and layer clothing pieces in ways I never had before. I felt like I had a new wardrobe.

2. Browse some cookbooks.

I sat down with a stack of cookbooks—some old favorites, some borrowed from the library, a new one gifted by a friend—and just spent some time turning the pages. No agenda. No menu planning. Just browsing.

I didn’t end up trying any new recipes this week, but what I did do was take inspiration from what I saw and applied it to some of our family favorites. I roasted the fish in the oven rather than cooking it on the stovetop. I added a panko topping to baked pasta. Just little stuff that helped things feel fresh.

3. Rearrange a little

After spending so much time indoors, I become a little tired of my surroundings. I get a pretty big hankering to move furniture and change things up (heck, I even start looking at real estate listings). Knowing a full-scale redo (or move) is not in the cards, sometimes it helps to rearrange just a tiny corner. I created this small display on my neglected bedside table.

The cat came along later in the day and knocked it all apart, but it’s okay. Sometimes it’s just in the doing.

20 February 11 • MAV

It’s safe to say I love the internet. I really do.

When I first started blogging in 2005 I sort of didn’t even understand what it was all about and yet a dear college friend suggested a joint blog and I was game to give it a try. Now, 6 years later (nearly to the date), here I am. One of the strongest relationships in my life is with this thing in space: the internet. And I still love it.

I have, however, learned that the internet can’t always fill me up. It’s not always the place I need to turn to find quality. Sure, I can find quantity (oh boy can I), but when I want to sink deep into something for relaxation or inspiration or intimate moments of quiet I still pick up a printed piece. I think I always will.

That’s why I am always so pleased to share 3191 Quarterly with all of you. It’s my hope that you visit 3191 Miles Apart for little moments and pick up  3191Q for something more. Maybe you write in your Q or dog-ear the pages. Maybe you have it in a stack of books and magazines in your living room. Maybe you share your well-worn copy with a friend. Whatever it is I’m honored to be a part of your life in this more intimate and special way.

For the Winter Q we have some really fun little bits for you …

I share recipes for various herbal bath soaks.

And a few cheerful flowery photographs from my film camera.

A report from my 24 Hours in Austin, Texas.

And my delicious Pear Gingerbread recipe.

And more!

There’s lots in the Winter Q to keep you cozy in these last weeks of the season and at the same time inspire you to start thinking about Spring.

We hope you enjoy this issue and thank you for your continued support!

20 February 11 • SCB

As I’ve mentioned, I think we can be a little hasty to leave winter behind, which is why I am so excited that the Winter issue of 3191 Quarterly is here. Let’s celebrate it a little longer.

How about a hot toddy? I share my recipe in the Winter Q. There’s split pea soup too, with three variations on the recipe to suit your tastes. That stuff’s pure comfort to me.

I join my mom in her studio to dye scarves with a folded shibori technique and show you how. Brighten up the last of the gray winter days and stay warm too.

There’s much more in there that I’m excited to share with everyone. Please, take a look. And, as always, thank you to all our wonderful subscribers worldwide. I hope you enjoy your new issue!

15 February 11 • MAV

Hard to believe two years have gone by and here I am again preparing Love Day treats.

It’s an easy idea, really.

Make something you love. (My version of Molly’s carrot cake.)

Prepare it simply. (Hand-drawn parchment paper with twine.)

Deliver it to those you love. (Family, friends, your sweetheart.)

And save some for yourself. (It’s always important to be good to yourself.)

The process is sort of exactly what I am doing here at 3191 Miles Apart each week.

Happy Two Year Anniversary to our online space. I love preparing weekly treats for you all!

15 February 11 • SCB

It’s been two years since our first post at 3191 Miles Apart. As with all of our projects, MAV and I did not discuss beforehand what we would be posting, but I was only a touch surprised that we both featured chocolate and hearts. It was close to Valentine’s Day after all, and we always seem to have a little serendipitous bent to our pairings.

I am so happy to come to this space every week. It’s the little push I need to notice something worth sharing in my days. It’s my connection to my creative partner, MAV, who pushes me and inspires me and reminds me to try something new. It’s my path to support and encouragement and interest from all who visit here.

Two years ago, I paired beets with chocolate and powdered sugar hearts. This week, I wanted to share a savory beet-heart recipe. It’s a simple preparation, with a fun little twist for when you want to show some love.

Roasted Beet Heart Salad with Walnuts and Goat Cheese

A few medium-sized beets
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Salad greens (I used butter lettuce and radicchio)
Walnut halves
Goat cheese
Your favorite vinaigrette

Slice beets (no need to peel) about 1/8th of an inch thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut out heart shape from each slice (about three slices per serving should suffice). Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover roasting pan (I used a cast iron skillet) with olive oil and turn each beet heart in the oil to coat. Season generously with salt and pepper. Roast, turning halfway, for 20-30 minutes or until soft and slightly shrunken.

Toast walnuts in toaster oven or dry skillet for five minutes or until slightly browned.

Plate salad greens and top with walnuts, dollops of goat cheese and beet hearts. Dress with vinaigrette.

Say, ‘I love you.’

6 February 11 • MAV

It has been quite a winter here in Maine. The other night I was wandering home during a blizzard and realized the snow drift outside my front door was as tall as me!

Being that I’m a winter girl, I’ve written about this sort of thing in the past, I thought I’d share a few ways that I kick the winter blues. Nothing monumental … just little every day things that make me so happy during the snowed in moments of this long season.

: : :

+ (Image up top.) Drink lots of hot tea. I love the stuff! And a dear reader knitted me some cozies for my mason jars (thank you, Lorna!) so now even the tea seems more snug. Tea is an automatic pick-me-up for this girl.

+ Add more blankets to my home. I layer up blankets not only on my bed but near my couch and other sitting areas so they are easy to reach and even when I am not using them they remind me of warmth. Here we can see that Charlie agrees with my tactic!

+ Use my hot water bottle every night. Seriously, I love my hot water bottle. I fill it up about an hour before I am going to get in bed and lay it on my pillow. This way it’s already warmed the spot where I will lay my head. Brilliant!

+ Eat lots of brightly colored food. Citrus is, of course, the best winter choice. It just makes me feel so happy to break into an orange and smell the goodness. Come March I stop eating citrus entirely so I really enjoy it while it lasts.

+ Get a summer hair cut. This past week I went into my stylist and said, ‘chop it off!’ She cut off 8 inches and I feel like a new person. Yes. I know it’s not summer and I should probably not have my summer cut this early but hell, I’ve got to do something to keep the winter blues away!

Stay happy and warm, friends!

6 February 11 • SCB

This week I thought I’d share some of my favorite new equipment discoveries in the kitchen. Nothing fancy here. Just everyday basics that have been seeing a lot of use.

Cast iron cookware: I am gradually replacing all my cookware with cast iron and enameled cast iron. Properly seasoned, my cast iron performs better than non-stick cookware without the questionable coatings, and I can move it from stovetop to oven seamlessly. I have found all my cast iron ware secondhand, but, even new, it’s a true bargain and will last forever.

Manual coffee grinder: I received a Camano coffee mill as a holiday gift, and I love it. It’s quiet and grinds beautifully and evenly. There’s something about the kinetic action of turning the crank that I have started to look forward to each morning.

Wide mouth stainless steel funnel: Another recent acquisition. I haven’t even canned with it yet, but I love it. I use it to transfer leftover soups to glass jars for storage, transfer bulk dried goods like rice and beans to canisters with no spills and even to ladle hot chocolate from a big pot into mugs for a crowd of kids.

Apple corer and slicer: This is not a new to me kitchen tool, but somehow ours was left in a box in the basement after our recent kitchen remodel and only unearthed again recently. With kids that eat apples nearly every day, all year round, this is a real time saver. Have a slice!

1 February 11 • MAV

Busy working on our new issue.
See you in this space this weekend.

1 February 11 • SCB

Busy working on our new issue.
See you in this space this weekend.

23 January 11 • MAV

Really excited to bring to you a recommendation I have been researching for some time now. Often in my life I work on projects for the 3191 Miles Apart audience sort of on the side. This is one of them. I love having a little bag of tricks for you all. Keeps life fun! So I’ll get straight to it … looking forward to hearing from you on this one.

**

By now it’s a well known fact: there are just not as many good magazines out there anymore. Back in the day I could easily find myself with subscriptions to some nine or ten magazines and buying another two or three off the shelf monthly. Magazines were as much a part of my life as water or coffee. These days, however, I barely find one each month I want to invest in.

You see, I look at magazines as just that: an investment. I buy one, live with it for a while and then when I do one of my usual clearouts I tear off the pages I want to keep and file them in various folders such as inspiration, recipes, decor, etc. I have some random pages or articles which are likely many years old and I still pull them out and look at them quite often. My magazine pages are as important to me as any piece of art in my home or any book.

So well over a year ago I started purchasing Whole Living. It was under another name at the time (Body + Soul) and I was attracted to the content right away. I was, of course, skeptical because I was starting to see a trend in magazines (especially coming out of big publishers) that I just didn’t respect—tons of advertising, low quality of writing, more focus on what you should buy rather than what you might like to know or learn about. I had my suspicions that Body + Soul was going to be much the same but I dug in, figured at least a full year was a good assessment time-frame, and decided to dedicate to it. Truly, I missed my magazines!

Well I’ve been surprised over the last year to find that I have been consistently pleased with Whole Living. I really like this magazine. It’s down to earth and I always find the reading enjoyable and informative without being overwhelming with regards to what you should and shouldn’t be doing, cooking or buying. I usually rip out a few recipes, a couple pages of beautiful imagery or even a concoction for a new natural face scrub or an example of a little workout routine. I like that the focus of this magazine is healthy and happy living but they are giving you reasonable ways to get involved in those movements and concepts. They seem dedicated to making the content solid and at the same time attractive.

It takes a lot for me to recommend something (my standards are high, sometimes too high) so if you’re like me and you’ve been missing good magazines I really think you might check out Whole Living. Give it a try and I’ll be curious to hear what you think (email: hello(at)iammav.com)!

23 January 11 • SCB

This week I wanted to share some behind the scenes photos from the Winter issue of 3191Q. I have been hard at work this past month perfecting recipes, exploring, snapping photos and making messes as we put it all together.

Part of the magic of 3191Q is that we are able share how we experience each season in real time. I find that winter is a season that we often wish we could rush through, and I have enjoyed taking the time to celebrate and savor what this season has to offer. This past month, I have sought out warmth, embraced the darkness, created my own color and appreciated winter’s simple beauty.

The winter issue of 3191 Quarterly will ship to subscribers mid-February and will be available in our shop for individual purchase on February 18th. Subscribe now, and we’ll ship all three completed issues of the Quarterly to you when Winter is released.

We hope you’ll learn not to rush winter quite so much…

14 January 11 • MAV

And finally…

I am done with my year in review.

Ready to say goodbye to 2010…

And hello to a new year.

**

I remember the metamorphosis of the new year itself lovingly…

Almost in slow motion we moved from dramatic light…

To dark moodiness…

And bubbling festivity…

To calm, newness…

Complete unknown.

**

Happy New Year to one and all.

Here we go!

14 January 11 • SCB

We’re busy decorating for a party around here.

 

It’s a belated birthday for my daughter who had the misfortune of having pneumonia on the originally scheduled day, back in December.

We’re usually competing with holiday decorations at her party, so it was fun to put together something really bright and flowery.

I only used what I had—tissue paper left from packing orders, a vintage sheet,  and MAV’s naturally died paper lanterns. I did get her some straws and napkins in her favorite color purple and a bargain bouquet to split up among bowls and glasses.

Bring on the pizza, crafts and squealing 5th graders!

7 January 11 • MAV

Here we are … a new year. We’ve been through the busy festive season full of parties, sweets, drinks and family gatherings and we’ve come out the other side to … a new year. Yep. Here we are.

Am I the only one who is just a wee bit intimidated???

I’ve been thinking a lot this week about the best ways to approach this new year. What should my attitude be? What should I change or keep the same? How can I keep from feeling so overwhelmed by the sheer damn newness of it all?

Well, I think it’s time for one of my lists! (You know how I love lists.)

MAV’s
Welcome The New Year With Ease & Calm
List

+ Listen to classical music a few hours a day.
It just makes you feel harmonious. And smart! I like to listen from about 9–11A when I’m just getting into the day and things have not gone wild yet. My public radio station happens to play classical during this time but if yours doesn’t try listening online.

+ Bring nature inside.
There is something about ushering in a new year with nature. It’s somehow very intimate and grounding. I remember last year I had these three large rocks. I had picked them up on a Christmas Eve beach walk. After all the bright holiday decorations came down there were the rocks sitting on my mantle. They were a reminder to me that even though the house was stripped of its sparkle I was still grounded by those memorable merry times. The feeling of warmth and remembrance stayed with me throughout the beginning of the year.

+ Put new photographs on your fridge.
By now you probably have a long list of resolutions or projects you want to accomplish this year. Well I say start small. Update those photographs! These days everything is digital so I know it takes a bit of effort to go through your images and get them printed blah blah. Just do it. You’ll feel the satisfaction of having done something major when really it was not that big of a deal at all.

+ Drink an extra 3 glasses of water a day (in addition to the 8 I know you’re already drinking).
I can’t tell you how strongly I feel about staying hydrated. I swear it makes such a difference in bringing balance to your world (not to mention your complexion, hair and digestive system). Try keeping a carafe of water out on your kitchen counter and near your desk. If you have the water right at hand it will be easier to drink. Add lemon or orange slices if you need some enticement to drink up.

+ Rearrange your artwork; buy new or make your own.
Now is the time to look around at what you have up and shift some things around. Add a few more pieces on a sparse wall or clean an entire wall off and start over. We live in a time where incredible artists are selling their work online. Seek them out. Buy art! Or if you don’t have a small art budget right now, make some. Get out your pens and pencils and draw or print some of your photographs in various sizes and frame them cheaply. Or use tape. It’s inspiring to be inspired!

+ Do a ‘year in review’.
I’m doing one in my Flickr account right now. It’s so good to take the pressure off the looming future by looking slowly and commemoratively at the past. Of course it’s always nice to move on, especially if you’ve had a hard year or month, but it’s also important to learn from the bits and pieces of the past.

+ Take walks.
This is crucial. I have talked about the power of walks before. Creating your own internal pace using your steps and your breath really helps settle the mind and prepare for the next big thing coming up in the day. 20 minutes is an easy commitment of time. Feel your feet hitting the ground, explore your own movement, listen to the thoughts in your head, be easy. Just try it!

I trust you each have your own lists of how to welcome in the new year; thanks for sharing in mine. I hope you enjoy these early days of 2011. We can only dream of all that lays ahead …

7 January 11 • SCB

Happy New Year!

January is a favorite time of the year for me. I do love the fresh start and the sense of possibility the changeover brings with it. Little by little, the days are getting longer, and I really notice and appreciate the change.

Still, it is often dark and dreary, and I find myself confined indoors much more than I’d like. As much as I love my root veggies and hardy greens, the food supply can start to feel a little heavy too. Which is why I like to treat myself to some favorites from warmer climes in January. All citrus tastes like sunshine to me; I’ve mentioned my love of grapefruit before—I eat it near-daily in the winter. Avocados are another treat, and they’re full of the good fats and minerals my body seems to be craving.

In late November, my mom served me a salad of spinach, avocado and grapefruit, dressed simply with olive oil and salt and pepper. I have been thinking about it and craving it ever since. So, when I was paging through Canal House Cooking, Volume No. 4 (a much appreciated holiday gift from MAV!) and saw a recipe for a salad of arugula, grapefruit and avocado, I knew it would be my lunch that day. Much like the salad my mom had fixed, but with a flavor kick of peppery arugula and a squeeze of lemon, it was a little sunshine on a gray winter day.

Avocado, Arugula, and Grapefruit Salad
Adapted slightly from Canal House Cooking, Volume No. 4

Below is the recipe as I made it which is halved from what appears in the book. This was a decadent lunch for one (an entire avocado to myself!), but would easily serve 2-3 as a side or first course. The original recipe also called for sliced radishes—a delicious addition which I did not have on hand.

1 grapefruit (I like Ruby Red)
juice of 1/2 lemon
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
2 handfuls small arugula leaves
1 ripe Hass avocado, halved, pitted and thickly sliced

Peel and segment the grapefruit and place in a small bowl (work over the bowl so all juice falls into the bowl). Add the lemon and olive oil to the grapefruit and season with salt and pepper.

Place arugula on plate (or divide between several salad plates). Top with avocado and grapefruit segments and drizzle vinaigrette created in the bowl over the salad.

25 December 10 • MAV

A few of my New Year’s Resolutions…

* Give More Love.
Have to make this one every year. I need to keep reminding myself that life is short and there is love all around me. There is no reason not to be more loving whenever possible. There’s no excuse.

* Be Easy.
I notice that I tend to turn it up when I am stressed out! What I mean is that I can become rigid and work like a machine to accomplish my tasks. It’s tense for my body and for those who are around me. It’s not good. And you know, I accomplish the same list of tasks in the same amount of time even while I unclench my face and fists, loosen my mental outlook and open my viewpoint on the day. It just feels better.

* Write Down My Stories.
This year more than ever I have started to see my memories slipping away. I don’t like it one bit. It’s time to start writing. If not a journal at the very least a book of MAV stories. I have some good ones! And more than that those around me have good ones and I love listening and taking notice. It’s our history and who is going to tell it if we don’t?

* Visit Portland, Oregon.
No explanation needed. This is an absolute must. (I giggled when I saw a similar resolution on Stephanie’s list.)

* Perfect Steak-Frites.
Every year I try for something new. Last year it was doughnuts (not sure I perfected that one but I sure did have fun along the way). This year I really want to challenge myself to make more cozy dinners at home. Let’s face it, my kitchen sees a whole lots of baked goods (and I’m getting better at them) but a grown up needs to be able to make herself a nice plate of steak and fries. I’m working on that grown up thing.

Wishing you goodness and love as 2010 comes to a close. We’re excited to be in this space with you in 2011. See you on January 7th. Cheers!

25 December 10 • SCB

A few of my New Year’s resolutions:

1. Be grateful of and attentive to my health. Our family has not been well the last few weeks (we’re getting better, but it’s been rough!), and it has really made me aware of how much I take my health and physical well-being for granted.

2. Visit Maine. This was the first year in many that I did not travel those 3191 miles to hug MAV and soak up all that Maine has to offer. I won’t let another year go by.

3. Read 52 books in 52 weeks. I have a few different friends that have done this, and I thought I’d give it a go. Maybe I’ll share what I’ve been reading here periodically (cookbooks count, right?).

Wishing everyone a happy holiday season and a blessed and peaceful new year!

19 December 10 • MAV

A little hibernation this week as we prepare to sign off for the year on Friday.
See you in this space on Christmas Eve. Merry merry!

19 December 10 • SCB

A little hibernation this week as we prepare to sign off for the year on Friday.
See you in this space on Christmas Eve. Merry merry!