a definite fav …

A charcuterie plate. So simple yet so good. We ate many meals like this while traveling last summer and have since adopted it as a norm for us here at home. Homemade dutch oven bread, meats, variety of cheeses, apples and pears, and perhaps tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers.

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pasta, pasta, pasta

Now … my favorite, Italian. It started with a whole roasted organic chicken. There’s something so nice about the smell of roasting chicken … the olive oil and balsamic, garlic and a variety of herbs. Truly makes three meals for our family. So, roasted chicken, homemade pasta, uncured bacon and beans, served with pesto and freshly grated parmesan. Add grilled asparagus and garlic bread … it’s a good night!

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eggs anytime …

There’s nothing like eggs! Any kind really. But my new favorite is the poached egg. A more recent cooking method for me … it was a quick learning curve. It did take a few tries to get the timing right but turns out that its super easy. A four minute poached egg, with sautéed spinach, basil, mozzarella and avocado. A few pieces of grilled asparagus and fresh fruit on the side and voila … a lovely, healthy breakfast.  Or add some grilled potatoes and  uncured bacon,  and call it dinner!

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Bring on the soup!

I believe in balance.  And with cooking so many rich meals, as awesome as it is, I feel like we need that balance. I found this vegetable soup recipe on Pinterest, embellished it a bit and thought we’d give it a try. Nothing but fresh vegetables, broth and spices, including cinnamon and ginger. It had a great flavor and a definite kick. With a warm homemade dutch oven bread … a great meal for a cold evening.

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turntable pizza night …

It’s Saturday night. Everyone is home. A perfect night to try something new. So, we subscribe to Turntable Kitchen, a super cool monthly box pairing recipes, key ingredients  paired with vinyl. The evening was spent trying a wild new pizza, listening to music and playing our favorite board game with the kiddos.

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First, it was a homemade pizza dough, a Bobbly Flay recipe.  Really just a handful of ingredients mixed together, with a bit of rising time. Then the fun part, topping the pizza  … Grape and prosciutto. I have to say I had my doubts,  as I couldn’t quite decide if that sounded good or not.

I was wrong. It was awesome! Put together with a simple salad and homemade ranch dressing (another Turntable recipe) it made for an amazing dinner …

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A starting place …

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So … a little bit about me. I’m Traci. Been married to a really cool guy for a long time and have two amazing kiddos. I’m a photographer and have a loft-like studio overlooking downtown. I’m a home body, yet love travel. And I love to cook, from planning our meals to my near daily stop at the local market for the ingredients for that evening’s meal. Then, and best of all, to spend time in the kitchen, a glass of red wine, Christmas lights on (yes, year round), and music playing. My kids are usually doing homework or practicing their own music and asking “How long til dinner?”

One more story, then onto the reason for this blog.

So, last summer my family had the opportunity to travel Europe, explore, immerse ourselves in the cultures and of course, eat. I love France. I have for many years (my first trip was when I was 13), and this past summer I fell in love all over again. And then since Christmas I’ve been reading a series of books by author Peter Mayle, “A Year in Provence.” ( I highly recommend) Since then I have repeatedly told my family that we need to move there. Small town, markets, farms, cafes, food, a place where everyone knows everyone. But then just a few weeks ago while on a morning run with my husband he said something to me. As we ran the trail near our house, the sun was just starting to peek through the fog, the creek was running and the leaves were blowing. He said, “You already live in Provence.”

Now, obviously the Pacific Northwest is not Provence, France, but the lifestyle can be the same. A simple matter of prospective he told me.  I thought about that. And I agree … we live in a small community, nestled  in the mountains, surrounded by local vineyards, farms and lavender fields. Many of my days are spent in our village (downtown), photographing. And it is a place of markets, cafes and everyone knowing everyone.  My backyard is my farm … a summertime garden, dogs and six laying hens. In a way, this is my Provence.

Now for the reason for my blog … I simply feel that food should create an entire experience, a time to slow down and enjoy family, conversation and of course, the meal itself. Whether it be breakfast, lunch or dinner. Simple or elaborate. I am a busy mom and photographer. I am not a chef, I read recipes, I embellish, I get creative. I am not a vegan. I am not gluten free or dairy free. I believe in whole foods. I believe in balance and enjoying all things. I want to cook. I want to photograph. And so, I share  …

“Why not make  daily pleasure out of a daily necessity?” ~ Peter Mayle, Toujours Provence

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