Seeking Calm

DSC_0298

This morning I escaped, slipping out the door in search of calm. When worry steals my breath, I often find it hidden in the trees, on the wings of birds, or waiting patiently for me along rocky shores. Where do you go when you need life to pour air back into your lungs? When you need a gentle reminder that the world is as big or as small as you allow it to be?

DSC_0441

Morning light doesn’t always lend itself to capturing surroundings on film, but I took my camera and these images to remember the day’s journey. What I lost in perfect photographic lighting, I gained in solitude and song. The birds were singing praises to the sunlight, calling to each other as they searched for breakfast and each other. I heard a great blue heron’s wings beat against the water as it took flight, a robin’s tiny feet rustling through leaves in search of worms, the whistling upward trill of a glossy brewer’s blackbird. And as I listened to the smooth sound of rocks slipping against each other under the weight of my feet, I was reminded that this is not just their place, it is my place too, so long as I tread lightly and lovingly. Continue reading

A New Direction

DSC_0248Good morning, all!

I’m over the moon to share that I’ve launched my new cooking and food photography site, fletcher + fork where my images and original recipes for healthy meals and worthy indulgences will land each week. If you’ve already visited, thank you so much. If not, it would mean so much if you stopped by to check it out and signed up to follow! I’ve transferred a handful of the most popular recipes from the aesthete and the dilettante, and launched fletcher + fork with a recipe for my coconut cake pictured on the masthead of this blog.

I’ll be back here from time to time, sharing my travels and musings on life. Thank you for your support throughout the last four years!

xo,

Wendy

Celebrating Four Years + Peeking Around the Bend

DSC_0180

Four years ago, I created this space to share what inspired me. My first post was the account of a wildly fortuitous vintage shopping experience with my sister, and since that day I’ve covered everything from style and culture to love and loss through my words and my photography. The blog’s name, much to my dismay, elicited confused and quizzical responses, but my intention had been simple. I endeavored to say, in a succinct and self-deprecating way, that while I have great love and appreciation for this world’s beauty – from pristine waters and mountains to lovingly crafted plates of food – I am in no way an authority or expert, just a wanderlust-filled dabbler wanting to share it all with you.

My time here has been equal parts joy and catharsis. It has also bestowed upon me an unexpected gift: the act of putting pen to paper here (so to speak) has allowed me to discover what I am profoundly passionate about and given me the confidence to trade breadth for depth. Continue reading

The Meaning of Namaste and a Scrumptious Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Quinoa Muffin Recipe

DSC_0753My daughter Hannah and I were recently treated to a restorative day of yoga and relaxation. A good friend and fellow dance mom hosted our ballerina daughters and their non-stop mothers to a private lesson in her home. The low winter sun shone through the windows of her beautiful living room, warming us on our mats as we focused on being present and the gift of time with our girls.

 

An imperative goal this year is finding balance – mentally, physically, emotionally. And for that hour, I felt all three come together in such a restful way. I now see quite a bit of yoga coming to my life in 2016! Though I’ve attended many  classes, no one had ever explained that namaste can be translated as “the light in me honors the light in you.” Isn’t that lovely? Something to remember.

Now for the recipe. I offered to bring a healthy snack to the retreat, and wanted to create something both mothers and daughters would love. These muffins were a huge hit! They are protein packed and honey kissed – a perfect post workout snack or breakfast on the run.

DSC_0761

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Quinoa Muffins

makes 20

Spelt is a highly nutritious, easily digestible whole grain that is high in both fiber and iron. Though it is not gluten-free, many with gluten intolerances do well with spelt. If you cannot find it, substitute whole wheat or all-purpose flour.

  • 2 cups spelt flour
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon powdered peanut butter (found in most grocery aisles next to regular peanut butter)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons canola  oil
  • 1 cup cooked and cooled to room temperature quinoa
  • 1 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with 12 paper baking liners and another tin with 8 liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, powdered peanut butter, baking powder, and kosher salt.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla.
  4. In a small saucepan, warm honey, natural peanut butter, brown sugar, butter, and canola oil over medium-low heat. Whisk until butter has melted and brown sugar has dissolved. Set aside to cool.
  5. When honey mixture has cooled, pour it into bowl with egg mixture and whisk to combine. Pour over flour mixture and stir just until blended, being careful not to over mix.
  6. Stir in cooked quinoa and chocolate chips. Fill each muffin cup two-thirds of the way full and bake in center of oven until a wood toothpick comes out clean when inserted in center of a muffin, 14-17 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes before enjoying. Store cooled muffins in an airtight container at room temperature.

Thank you, Suzanne and Courtney, for such a special and relaxing day!

 

California Wine Country

IMG_0227

Oh Napa Valley, how I fell for you! Your sexy, curving roads thrilled. Your warm October breezes, heady with eucalyptus, rosemary, and grapes intoxicated. Your wine sated and delighted. And your food. Oh, your food! Each ingredient shining but not overpowering, casually lending just-yanked-from-the-garden character. And your insouciant beauty, from vista to vineyard lunch, aroused both inspiration and envy. Don’t tell Chicago, but I’m dying to see you again. Continue reading

Roasted Buttercup Squash and Soba Noodle Salad with Creamy Miso Ginger Dressing

DSC_0223

This hearty autumn salad was inspired by last week’s trip to Napa Valley. On our first day, we drove to Sonoma County and spent a lazy afternoon wandering around Healdsburg. SHED, the foodie paradise market and café, was by far our favorite spot. My friend Domonique, a San Fransisco native, mentioned that it’s probably the most instagrammed place in wine country and after seeing it for myself I understand why. SHED exemplifies Northern California culture – hyper fresh, local, sustainable, organic, simple and thoughtful. The eat-local/organic/farm-to-table movement now prevalent everywhere began in this little corner of the world, and spending time there had a profound impact on me. Continue reading