Category Archives: 2014

meet me in muskoka + a mushroom, cheddar, and leek pie, lake style

mushroom tart

If you follow me on Instagram you may have already seen various points of the mileage I mentioned yesterday; to be quite honest, I was actually surprised at how little pictures I actually took during our travels, and that goes for most of our adventures as of late.

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{captain + first mate}

I’ve been really bad about carting my DSLR on vacations with me lately (partly due to the fact that I desperately need a new telephoto lens – which obviously doesn’t come on the cheap – and I’ve been sticking my head in the sand and pretending my old one works just fine….it doesn’t), and it’s too easy to fall into the habit of snippity snapping away with ye old iPhone.

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I yammered on enough yesterday about how wonderful island living is up in Muskoka, but it would be remiss of me not to mention this mushroom pie – even though I’ve got but one photograph as evidence of it’s brief existence.

{but wait! there’s more…}

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the whole shebang: 6300 miles and a whole (lazy) lemon tart, iphone edition

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My past 28 days have looked something like this:

Santa Barbara, CA –> Baltimore, MD –> Wilton, CT –> Lake Joseph, Ontario (Canada) –> New York City, NY –> Baltimore, MD –> Santa Barbara, CA.

We’ve just arrived back home (we being the husband, the pug, and myself, and home being to the farm) after a whirlwind East-Coast-meets-Canada Summer tour that was packed sardine-tin style with cross country flights and long long drives: a marvelous wedding weekend in a picturesque New England town, two weeks spent on an island in the middle of a giant lake in Canada, and a full week back in The City – my old love – New York, New York.

(An aside: Given that these three locales and disparate occasions demanded quite different attire, you can surely ascertain exactly how nonplussed the look on James’ face was when he saw me attempting to heave two full-sized and at-limit suitcases onto the belt in addition to the tote bags/handbags/saddlebags that I looped over his shoulders like my own personal travel burro. Efficient packer, I am not.)

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Having – quite surprisingly – not traversed outside of the Pacific time zone since our arrival on the farm last Winter, we had a veritable laundry list of friends to see, places to visit, and cakes to bake (that’s a normal thing, right?), and in what seems like a relatively long stretch of time (nearly a month), we somehow managed to cram smoosh and shove nearly every single person/activity/baked good in without incident.

The trip was kicked off with our dear friends’ wedding, and we danced under the stars on a horse farm while munching on mini tacos and Polly Pocket sized margaritas housed in tiny Patron bottles. After a weekend full of feting, the car was loaded and aimed North towards the border, and we scanned the crackly FM stations while cruising through upstate New York searching for just the right songs to befit the lush rolling hillsides and endless decorously unkempt farms. A full days drive warranted cooling our jets for an evening at a darling bed and breakfast in Ithaca, and in the most touristy fashion possible we unabashedly chowed down on Buffalo wings at the restaurant that lays claim to starting that whole vinegar-spiked-hot-wing craze.

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We drove into Canada and left the US behind for two glorious weeks; this was the fourth year I have accompanied James and his parents for a mid-Summer break at their lake house, and it has quickly become a yearly tradition that we eagerly look forward to as the days grow longer and July 4th approaches. The cabin is on an island – the kind where there are no cars and oh, you better choose your company wisely, as there is absolutely nowhere to hide once you arrive by boat. And, as such, there is nothing really pressing on the agenda save long and lazy afternoons filled with sunshine and novels and time spent in the kitchen tinkering with new recipes and keeping the fridge full for those who’ve worked up an appetite swimming laps around the island.

{but wait! there’s more…}

you eat & relish, now meet celia west!

CW logo 684x215 jan 2014

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It’s been awhile since I’ve alluded to another project I was working on….in fact, a quick search of my archives confirms it was way back in October. Of last year. And here we are, a healthy five months later, and I am finally – FINALLY! – ready to share it with you!

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(In my defense James and I have had a lot going on in these past five months, both personally and professionally, and as you well know by now we’re living in an entirely new town (hello, Santa Barbara! goodbye SF!) doing something that five months ago I would have thought was totally off the wall ((wearing overalls and farming avocados….or something like that)).  But I digress.)

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I’ve started a jewelry line called Celia West, and I am delighted to (finally!) be able to share it with you. I’ve just launched my website at www.celiawest.com, and you can follow us on Instagram or like us on Facebook (and I’ll note doing both of these things would make me a very happy lady).  If you like jewelry, follow along! Otherwise, fear not – I’m still here cooking and baking and tinkering and making a general rumpus in the kitchen.

Thank you so much for your support, and for continuing to support me here on my little-ole-blog soapbox.  Your encouragement, kind words, and continual enthusiasm truly do mean the world to me!

a signoff

twentyfourteen – i think you’re great.

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“If a girl looks swell when she meets you, who gives a damn if she’s late? Nobody.”  –Holden Caulfield

I’m late to the party here, which is unsurprising, seeing as I’ve been late (*cough*….never showed up) for most of late Fall and Winter’s major milestones. That Thanksgiving recipe roundup I mentally planned out? MIA. Any egg-nog-y or ginger-spiced recipes to jazz up your holiday table? Totally left you hanging. Some festive New Years pop*fizz*clink action?

You’re pickin’ up what I’m layin’ down.

But, I’ve got some excuses (don’t I always?!), and in the spirit of my New Year’s resolutions of only looking onward, moving upward, and thinking positively, I’m here now.  However, ‘here,’ for me anyway, has changed quite dramatically over the past few weeks.  If you’ve been around here for any time at all, you’ll know that my little family (one husband, one pug, and two black kitties because, yes, we are insane) has been happily settling into a relatively new life in San Francisco, and championing all of the lovely friends, spaces, and places that have made their way into our heads and hearts over the past 10 months.  Not a bad thing exists about San Francisco, in my mind; it fit(s) us like that cliche well-worn glove, and the tough things that normally come with a cross country move (awkward transitions) just did not exist.  But it’s funny how things – big things – can turn on a little slice of time the size of the proverbial dime, and as it seems to be the norm for us these past three years, we’re doing it again.  We’re moving.  We’re not moving because San Francisco is failing us in any way – because really, it’s been the most magnificent hostess.  We’re moving because in the whirlwind that was our December, an incredible opportunity to move to, live on, and manage a magnificent avocado ranch in Montecito, California has arisen, and after much enthusiastic conversation (and, quite honestly, very little debate), we’re graciously and thankfully taking the tall challenge head on and with gusto.  Another move!  To a small town of ten-thousand that sits nestled up right against it’s bigger sister, Santa Barbara, and to a place that I’ve fallen fast in love with, and already believe is one of the most beautiful in the country.  And this move will be the last one for a very, very, long time; this is, to date, the biggest decision we have ever made, personally and professionally, and the timing, for us, is ever so right.  We’re feeling very lucky and elated for a new adventure, while at the same time a bittersweet sadness to bid our Bay Area friends goodbye.  Grateful for the support from our incredibly kind and generous families, friends, and new opportunities doesn’t even begin to encompass our rosy outlook for this new year.  

2014, I’m so happy you’re here.  And I already think you’re a smashing success.  Brace yourself for some avocado recipes…..

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{sunrise at miramar beach}

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{home for a few weeks: our little beachside rental}

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{sunny central coastline}

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{avocado hillsides}

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{celebratory oystahs}

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{prepping christmas beef wellington}

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{beach supper: snapper with backyard lemons and grilled green onion}

 

 

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{santa barbara farmers markets: 7 days a week, year round!}

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{sea air makes me sleepy}

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{a new years cheers – with local brews}

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{january tomatoes that taste, literally, like august}

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{celfie}

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{kale salads everywhere in january}

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{such a fitting gift from my sister in law}

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{montecito sunshine}

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{“yous meanz we ken come to da beach every dayz?!”}

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{two, in blue}

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{like a boss.}

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{a man and his pug, soaking up the sunset}

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{the purple hour – my favorite}

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{lunch date! heirloom tomato bloody mary, kale caesar}

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{our wild saturday nights: fried calamari and sriracha aioli at home}

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{just when it starts to set}