I still have to sort through and organize the bedroom closet, figure out where and how to store my yarn stash, and attack the task of unpacking photo albums and frames that have been in storage for two years.
Instead, I've been playing in my new kitchen.
All of my kitchen tools and dishware and stemware are in one place. Sigh. I've bought fresh parmesan and grated it in the processor. I've roasted heads of garlic in my le Creuset baking dish. I've toasted the move with our extra special crystal highball glasses.
Last night I had the urge to make BBQ bacon sliders. I think the fact that it's football season again inspired me. And the fact that I have this beautiful kitchen playground.
Little grilled burgers generously seasoned with salt and pepper, topped with caramelized onions, a bit of cheddar, crispy bacon, and a dollop of BBQ sauce. I toasted the whole wheat buns in the oven so they look a little manhandled, but boy, this was a fun dinner. G was wowed.
We just moved to Naples, FL from San Francisco, CA. Culture shock, to say the least.
I thought I'd put some words to this move and explain our decision. This blog does have the word diary in its title after all.
My G introduced his idea to move to FL Thanksgiving of 2014. He had a list of good reasons because he is my G. Logical, well-thought, strategic.
I wasn't ready to listen though because first I was heartbroken about leaving SF. I was heartbroken through Christmas and sunny, beautiful January and February. My heartbreak let up a bit by March because it was my birthday month. But I wasn't able to actually discuss this idea with G until April. And I wasn't able to discuss it with my dear ones until June. I just didn't want to say it out loud because it really would be a plan. It would be real.
SF and I were like peas and carrots. Organic, farm raised peas and carrots. I had always wanted to try being a city girl and I took to it right away. I loved living in a high rise with a 24-hour concierge desk. I loved not having a car and walking everywhere. I loved being by the bay. I loved the weather...hardly reaching 70 most of the time. Jeans, a blouse, a cardigan and good walking shoes being my daily wardrobe. I loved volunteering at the farm market on Saturdays at the world famous Ferry Building. I loved having Napa and Sonoma practically in my backyard. I loved discovering that SF was a coffee city and I was highly caffeinated throughout my stay. Needless to say, I loved the food scene in SF. Three words: to die for.
I loved walking into a yarn store my first month in the city and ultimately finding some lifelong friends. Clementine, Rachel, and Emily, you rule and I love you.
The headline news was that I finally found some help and guidance for my anxiety and depression issues that weren't diagnosed until I was in my late 30's. My time in SF was all about me learning how to cope, learning how to forgive, learning how to mourn, learning how to breathe. Learning how to be myself again, but a newer, and hopefully better, version.
So back to G's proposed plan for moving to FL. I'm going to use bullet points because that's what he would do.
My mom's health took a nose dive the summer of 2014. The poor thing has had a few surgeries and procedures, major fixes, minor setbacks, you name it. Through it all, she has been a champ. She and my stepdad have been wintering in FL for years now. Spending time together here in FL will be much easier than being all the way on the West Coast. G has family here in FL and his parents have all started to spend time down here on the Gulf Coast as well.
Our SF lease was up this month. The leasing company wanted to raise our rent 23%. That's when G's plan went into high gear. He had had enough. We lived in an 875 sq. ft. one bedroom apartment. We had no cars. And SF still priced us out.
Living in SF was a dream come true. But we have more dreams. Moving here to FL allows us to save money and travel again. Our tenth anniversary is around the corner and France might be a doable option with more money in the bank and flights across the pond instead of across the US and then the pond.
Finally, G found out he is not a city guy. The food scene, the coffee scene, the wine scene, yes. The noise, the pollution, the crowds, the public transportation...not his bag. Whenever G came to visit family in FL, he loved it here. He loved the pace, the vacation vibe, the beach and water nearby. The quiet. He loved the simplicity of being here.
So here we are. In Florida. With room for guests, a screened-in lanai, and air conditioning.
G has taken to this like I took to SF. Now it's my turn to try and get used to this new reality.
Clearance racks and big red sale signs in windows have always beckoned me. Nowadays, I find myself eagerly searching for those signs at food and kitchen stores.
My most recent find:
I couldn't pass up this crazy salt!
Two thoughts immediately came to mind.
1. Foodie friend Cheryl's reaction, the salt experimenter and queen of coffee.
2. Homemade chocolate ice cream with this salt sprinkled on top or incorporated into a caramel.
When I test it out, you'll be the first to know.
Had to share this!
Last week, my foodie friend, Cheryl, came to visit from Nashville. She is gluten intolerant and I just bought a bag of almond flour for my pantry.
To be honest, I wanted the almond flour to start making my own macaron cookies. You know, these things:
Homemade macarons have been in my sights for a long time. Sigh...excuse me I while swoon.
Back to the business at hand. Gluten-free cake recipe and gluten-free friend visiting. Worlds collide!
Literally five ingredients. Six, if you want to dust the finished cake with powdered sugar.
For this recipe, you just have to be a bit gentle with the ingredients. You fold some egg whites together with the almond flour and then again into egg yolks. This is a great cake to dress up, either with the dusting of powdered sugar or Dorie's super smart suggestion. She slices it in half horizontally and fills it with jam.
Cheryl gave the cake a big gluten-free thumbs up. It was a great weekend cake for us as we took a small roadtrip to wine country. Even G, who is not used to gluten-free baked items, loved it. Although he has requested that the next one I make include the jam. Some honey. Some chocolate sauce...