Tieton Cider Works at City Fruit

Another week, another article for City Fruit’s 6th Annual Cider Taste is on November 10, 2016, written by Yours Truly. Tieton Cider Works at City Fruit’S 2016 Cider Tasting
Check it out!

All event proceeds will benefit the 2016 harvest, which brings fresh, local fruit to over 50 meal programs and food banks across the city.


Pro-Tip Tuesday: Pouring without Spilling

Are you a klutz like me, always spilling liquids when you pour them from one container to another?

Try this trick I learned from my father, the chemist!
I like to imagine him pouring oodles of liquids from beaker to beaker in his multiple decades of work.

Hint: having a utensil helps.

In summary, if you have an unreliable container you know will spill, knowing this trick can really help. I favor a chopstick for best results, and most recently found this useful when pouring home made chicken stock into ice cube trays to save for later.

P.S. Thanks to K_____ for the spontaneous cinematography.


Snowdrift Cider at City Fruit’s Annual Cider Tasting

Hey folks, you may recall an earlier springtime post on a Fruit Cycle tour, it was arranged by City Fruit, a nonprofit in Seattle which works to promote and protect urban fruit trees, and share the extra fruit with those in need.
City Fruit’s 6th Annual Cider Taste is on November 10, 2016. In the ramp-up to that, I wrote up a little ditty on Snowdrift Cider Co. for them. Read all about it, and get tickets to the tasting on the City Fruit Blog.
Check it out!

All event proceeds will benefit the 2016 harvest, which brings fresh, local fruit to over 50 meal programs and food banks across the city.


Food Literacy Month – a look back

Well folks, apparently September was food literacy month.
I went to the Downtown Seattle Public Library for a Food Literacy/Food Justice Panel, got to hear from some folks representing organizations in Seattle doing really good things for our community. Here are a few thoughts.

1.What is food literacy?

Noun: Understanding the impact of your food choices on your health, the environment, and our economy.

The Food Literacy Center in Sacramento (connected to Jamie Oliver somehow)

Do you feel food literate? Do you understand the impact of your food choices on your health, the environment, and our economy? Want to be more well-read in this genre of book learnin’?

If so, here’s a toolkit, you can use it as a teacher, as a parent, or in general: Food Literacy Month Toolkit.

I found this a golden opportunity to finally use this gif.

I found this a golden opportunity to finally use this gif.

2. Start ’em young!

There’s an interesting publisher around town called Readers to Eaters. If you have trouble eating vegetables, or know small humans who do, some of the books from here, such as Sylvia’s Spinach may help change your perspective. My fellow pun-lovers may be fans of the title, A Moose Boosh. Philip Lee did some sweet introductions of the keynote speaker, which leads me to..

3. 2016 Food & Wine Best New Chef Edouardo Jordan challenged us to consider:

What are you doing for food justice?

With a traditional European-oriented culinary background and a prestigious resume with such restaurants as The French Laundry, and local favorite Sitka & Spruce, Chef Jordan’s Salare Restaurant in Ravenna celebrates an array of cooking traditions, and I look forward to seeing more of that. He mentioned he is working on a second restaurant, possibly called June Baby featuring soul food.

Philip Lee of Readers to Eaters introducing the program.

Philip Lee of Readers to Eaters introducing the program.

4. The ultimate conclusion reached: food reaches everyone. Here’s a sampling of the panelists’ comments.

  • The moderator, Philip Lee of Readers to Eaters described how for folks who immigrate, the first thing they lose is language, second is clothes, third is religion, and the last is food. Food is the remainer that ties people to their heritage the longest.
  • FareStart’s Michael Friedman described the transformation of their students, many of whom have experienced homelessness, going from receiving food at shelters to having the opportunity to give back and serve at shelters. At FareStart, food is a tool to give students the professional skills to help themselves.
  • Chef Tarik Abdullah of Hillman City Collaboratory, and many a popular pop up restaurant honoring North African and Mediterranean traditions, described kids at his cooking classes learning about food from beginning to end, about their own family’s food traditions, finding healthy and culturally relevant options to cook and to refine. Tarik is most recently in the news for The Seattle Times article on great cooking classes.
  • Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program Director, Brett Ramsey spoke of empowering students to reclaim the right to manage food and land. The program envisions a diverse and inclusive conservation community. In the vein of conservation, he posed the question, “what if food were a relative?”
  • Mei Yook Woo of Danny Woo Garden and the Foodways Project spoke on her personal journey of a complicated relationship with food wrapped up with identity as a person of color. She expressed a love for food work because it creates story, stressing that if you have the power to create alternative stories through food, do it!
  • WA State Farmers Market Association, Brian Estes, board member, described how WSFMA facilitates more fresh produce in the hands of lower income through supplemental nutrition assistance at farmers markets.

5. You may start seeing more posts beyond recipe trials here, given the call to action and to share alternative stories through food. Many of these things rang true to me, and frankly, I may have avoided sharing more personal details from my own perspective for risk of getting hurt. However, I’ve been inspired by the perspectives and great work represented by the groups on this panel to try sharing a little more, so we can all learn from each other. Besides, Penelope Trunk says sharing real things is what makes a good blog.



Comment below.

Panelists getting ready.

Panelists getting ready.


Oke Poke

Editor’s note: for the purposes of this post, all words that end with the suffix “oke” should be pronounced or more likely internally read as “okay”.

Guest blog brought to you by marriage.

Left coast living will bring you to Hawaii if you are of the means or the miles to get there. East coast has quick access to Europe and I guess the Caribbean and Newfoundland, but we get the tiny volcanic islands. Upon recommendation of my cubicle-mate, I decided to try and enjoy some Poke during a recent visit to Kauai. A few foursquare searches later, I settled on Pono Market. No joke (please see editor’s note), the poke was delicious, and we ended up going back again prior to departing the island. The final meal was garnished with a bit of sadness due to the knowledge that I would not be able to reproduce this dance of flavors again upon returning to the Pac.



In sharing/gloating about my Kauai Poke experience (outside of this blog post) to my aforementioned cubicle-mate, he corrected me and convinced me that with proper determination, grit and Rock Clock aided training I could reproduce approximate this dish. He imparted his recipe passed down from his family or alternatively googled and modified, which is noted below.


– 1 lb ahi/salmon
– 1/2 cup Aloha Soy Sauce
– 1 tablespoon sesame oil
– ½ cup (or as appropriate) dried flake chili peppers
– 1 tablespoon lemon juice (better for salmon)

Suggested Ingredients for Better Pictures and/or Flavor

– Toasted Sesame Seeds
– Seaweed
– Green Onions

Why Aloha Soy Sauce?
It tastes less salty and bitter when compared to other soy sauces.

Do I need to buy expensive sashimi grade tuna?
I didn’t for this exercise but it would help. In either case, you should avoid pieces that have that white membrane because it will make the tuna chewy. I went frozen.


1. Assemble ingredients and take picture. This will provide time to allow for your tuna to defrost. If you bought fresh tuna, keep tuna in fridge during this step.


2. Assemble the marinade by combining the soy sauce, lemon juice, sesame oil and red pepper flakes. I would recommend scaling down the red pepper flakes, since it’s easier to dial up, but more difficult to dial down after the fact.

3. Place fresh tuna in flat container and pour marinade over tuna.


4. Place flat container in fridge and wait 12-24 hours.

5. Remove from container and strain in Chicago Blackhawks goalie-like sieve.

Enjoy over rice or in a taco as shown below. Inspired by the Minnesota State Fair? throw it on a skewer.


Yield: Serves 2 people

Novelty Rating: 4 of 5. Was surprised at how easy the preparation was. I had a psychological barrier when it came to preparing fish, so I was very happy with the effort to taste ratio.

Likelihood of Repeat: 100% [I still have frozen tuna in my freezer]

Lesson(s) Learned: Do not start with a half a cup of red pepper flakes. I scaled down to 2 tablespoons.


Bank Your DIY Holiday Gift Game with..
Beeswax Coconut Candles

One of these days I will finally sort through my reflections from hiking Sahale Arm and seeing a Glacier up close, or adventures in the Catskill Mountains of New York, but in the mean time, this:

The days are getting shorter, the weather’s getting crisper early in the morning. School supply ads reign supreme on live television between sports games. Before you know it, it’ll be Fall, and then Winter, and you might find yourself scrambling to put together a gift for that office party exchange, or family get-together where everyone draws a number from a hat. Well..

Do you have lots of leftover expired coconut oil?

No no, I mean LOTS.

Do you have a weakness for collecting empty containers your spouse/housemate/talking cat keeps suggesting you recycle, but perhaps they are the classy-looking “biscuit” tins you brought back from London last November, and they make you nostalgic for your travels to the the land of tea time, so you keep saying you’ll make candles with them?

Primary inspiration from internet research:
I did some other research on soy wax, and paraffin wax and decided beeswax was my preferred option, as I try to avoid ingesting processed soy for myself and paraffin is a petroleum byproduct, so it strikes me as a little odd to be breathing either in. See citations at bottom of post for more. Mad props to my co-conspirator Jillian who balanced out my OCD-craziness with wingin’ it like a boss, plus ensuring I didn’t burn my house down in the process somehow.
Amass your supplies, pioneer!

Amass your supplies, pioneer!


– 1 lb beeswax pellets
– 1 lb coconut oil (use a postage or kitchen scale to measure same amounts)
– 100 pack medium 8 inch wicks (check the diameter of your tins to match wick thickness)

Tools (the more disposable, the better the cleanup):
– optional: chopsticks
improperly sized recyclable aluminum tray, or other container to melt wax atop double boiler in
– a makeshift double boiler setup that will fit the tin. You can use a large tin can, washed for reuse. A big tomatoes can can be good. If you use a tin can, careful handling when hot. If you want, you can also buy a metal cup with handle for candle-making, but why?
– pens, pencils, or other utensils (same amount as the number of tins you have to fill)
– oven mitts
– tin foil
– optional: various essential oils for scents (I used lemongrass for one, vanilla extract for another)

Makes: 2 medium candles in biscuit tins

Pre-prep your candle tins thus: with wicks wrapped around pencils or pens (see below).

Pre-prep your candle tins thus: with wicks wrapped around pencils or pens.Steps:
1. Put together a make-shift double boiler, get the water to boilin’.
Spare your counters! Line with tin foil (Jillian is a genius!)
2. Place your beeswax in the disposable tray atop double boiler, with a 1/2 to 1 cup water in the top boiler to help transfer heat.
3. Melt down beeswax (careful! it could just evaporate if you don’t act quick after melting). I did this intermediate step pictured, so you didn’t have to:

Melting beeswax with bits of coconut oil mixed in, take 1.

Do NOT do this option: melting beeswax with bits of coconut oil mixed in, take 1.

Melting beeswax with bits of coconut oil mixed in, take 2 (with a tin can).

DO do this option: melting beeswax with bits of coconut oil mixed in, take 2 (with a tin can).

4. Wrap top of wick around a pencil or other utensil if you didn’t already.
5. When wax is almost melted, secure bottom of wick to bottom of candle receptacle by dipping quickly in wax, then using a stick to push the metal stay on the bottom until solid, set the pencil over the top of receptacle.
6. Pour a half inch of wax into bottom of receptacle, let it cool some to help the wick stay down.
If you want less of a mess, you can get a chopstick (or similar tool) to help guide the wax as you pour it. This is a good time to stir in some essential oil scents if you want some. To cool faster, put in fridge.

Candle topped off with more wax.

Candle topped off with more wax.

View of a candle, just poured partway.

View of a candle, just poured partway.

7. Pour the rest in, let candle cool for a day. If you are impatient, you can put it in the fridge. Marvel at how you are now making hobby of what people used to do out of necessity.

Candles snug in the fridge, cooling down after a halfway pour to anchor the wicks.

Cozy l’il biscuit tins, chillin’ in der fridge.

Friendly Reminder: Do not pour waxy water down your drain! For any wax that’s snuck into your hot water, remove the solids as they cool (like fat off of chicken stock), then pour the mixture into a container lined with paper towel to get the rest. This will both spare your drainage system, and also save you on wax that you can reuse. How economical.

Novelty Rating: 5 of 5, novelty makes my house smell GOOD, in this case. 🙂
Likelihood of Repeat: 50% depending on what my friend Jillian wants to do, and if I manage to hang on to more tins before impulsively throwing them out in some fit of Konmari method practice.
Lesson(s) Learned:
(1)Small container of wax mixture in double boiler = more frequent rounds of measure-melt-pour, but bonus: faster learning through more iterations. 1 lb beeswax is not really that much, it turns out.

(2) Next time: use giant can (tomatoes?) or buy smaller tin pan
(3) You can remelt down leakage in pan to make more candles.
(4) WARNING: Ironically, this activity may lead to more excessive tin-container-saving, including crappy ones for melting wax in.
(5) Candle-making is more fun with two people, and then you can have one pouring the wax and the other guiding it.

Other Inspiration/Citations:

Your homework is now to go try this smoke bomb cocktail, take a video, and report back, please.

One More Way to Keep Your Home Cool in the Summer:
Quinoa, Cucumber, Tomato Salad

Double-feature bonus posts this week! My offering to you, Dear Reader, for being a faithful audience. Enjoy!

A few years ago, I found myself buying one of those cup-salads from Whole Foods a lot in the summer. I liked it so much I figured I should start making it, so I can (a)get it without cilantro and (b)stop feeling like such a yuppie for buying a salad I could clearly reverse-engineer to make myself. Now when I’m up for more than throwing together some greens with nuts (read: up for more chopping), I’ll use this mix as the base recipe and improvise from there. I was actually pretty surprised when I couldn’t find a blog entry for this. Perhaps because it’s so straightforward, it didn’t feel like a recipe. This week’s weather in Seattle is sneaking up to the mid-80s, which counts as hot, so here’s a good option for those hot late Summer days when you don’t want to add another degree to your house by turning on cooking appliances. Air conditioning is a luxury, yo.

Quinoa, Cucumber and Tomato Salad (+Avocado)
Jumping-off point: Spicy Quinoa, Cucumber and Tomato Salad by Martha Rose Shulman (NYTimes)

– 1 cup quinoa
– 2 cups water
– salt to taste
– 2 cups skinned & diced cucumber (if you don’t skin it, it will be bitter)
– 2 cups finely diced tomatoes (used: garden tomatoes! freshly picked!)
– 1/4 c sunflower seeds for nuttiness (today I used toasted pepitas)

Optional things I threw in this time:
– 2 thinly-sliced radishes
– 1/4 c leftover chickpeas
– 1/8 c red onion, finely minced
– 2 bulbs scallion, diced
– other protein: this time I did 1 lb. chicken, diced, with arbitrary dashes of soy sauce, 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp garlic, and oil for sautéing.

Optional but not included this time:
– highly recommended: 1 avocado, sliced, for garnish (sadly, the bag of avocados I got this week went rotten within a day so I had to skip this delicious part).
– 1 to 2 jalapeño or serrano peppers (to taste), seeded if desired and finely chopped (I skipped this)
– 1/2 c chopped basil or mint (it was almost 8pm when I finished making dinner, I skipped this this time)

Ingredients: cucumbers, red onion, garden-fresh tomatoes. Not shown: quinoa, scallions, radishes pep it's, vinegar and olive oil.

Ingredients: cucumbers, red onion, garden-fresh tomatoes. Not shown: quinoa, scallions, pepitas, vinegar and olive oil.

For Dressing:
– 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (if you are out, you can use lemon juice, but it’s definitely different)
– 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
– 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Foreground: dressing. Background: drowning onions.

Foreground: dressing. Background: drowning onions.


1. Place the quinoa in a bowl, and cover with cold water. Let sit for five minutes. Drain through a strainer, and rinse until the water runs clear. Bring the 2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add salt (1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon) and the quinoa. Bring back to a boil, and reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer 15 minutes or until the quinoa is tender and translucent; each grain should have a little thread. Drain off the water in the pan through a strainer, and return the quinoa to the pan. Cover the pan with a clean dishtowel, replace the lid and allow to sit for 5 minutes. If making for the freezer, uncover and allow to cool, then place in plastic bags, removing as much air as possible before sealing.

2. Meanwhile, place the finely diced cucumber in a colander, and sprinkle with salt. Toss and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Rinse the cucumber with cold water, and drain on paper towels.

Diving dicing dicing.

Dicing dicing dicing.

3. If using the onion, place in a bowl and cover with cold water. Let sit for five minutes, then drain, rinse with cold water and drain on paper towels.

4. Combine the tomatoes, chiles, cilantro, vinegar, lime juice and olive oil in a bowl. Add the cucumber and onion, season to taste with salt, and add the quinoa and cilantro. Toss together, and taste and adjust seasonings.

5. Optional: This time, I also prepped and cooked some other protein, cancelling out all those appliance-heat savings, but getting more protein in our diet by marinating chicken in soy sauce and sesame oil and sauteeing it up with some garlic.

Optional sautéed protein: in this case, chicken with arbitrary dashes of soy sauce, sesame oil and 1 tsp garlic. Gluten-free option: tamari sauce. Vegan: tofu. Don't forget! Safe eating temperature for chicken is 165F! No one wants Salmonella for dinner.

Optional sautéed protein: in this case, chicken with arbitrary dashes of soy sauce, sesame oil and 1 tsp garlic. Gluten-free option: tamari sauce. Vegan: tofu. Don’t forget! Safe eating temperature for chicken is 165F! No one wants Salmonella for dinner.

6. Lightly toast your seeds. Serve garnished with sliced avocado, optional protein, seeds, and mint/basil sprigs.

Yield: Serves 3-6

Advance preparation: The quinoa freezes well, and the assembled salad will keep for a day in the refrigerator. The leftovers will be good for a couple of days.

Quinoa, cucumber, tomato salad with chicken: I didn't even miss the avocado!

Quinoa, cucumber, tomato salad with chicken: I didn’t even miss the avocado!

Novelty Rating: 2 of 5. This was novel when I started trying it, but now I’ve been making it a couple years. It’s only novel in that I am surprised every time, how much I like it, despite it’s being called that dreaded word, ‘salad’.
Likelihood of Repeat: 95%
Lesson(s) Learned: It’s still tasty without avocado. Those indigo rose tomatoes I grew outside on my patio have extra antioxidants, but not so much extra sweetness like the sungolds. Still, they taste good as visual candy. I was excited to eat this for lunch the next day.

Indigo Rose tomatoes (developed by Oregon State) started ripening to violet-red just in time! Started using them for this recipe, and the next morning some critters had already started chomping on them!

These Indigo Rose tomatoes (developed by Oregon State for extra anti-oxidants) from my deck started ripening to violet-red just in time! Started using them for this recipe, and the next morning some critters had already started chomping on them!


Kelp Noodle Japchae – Low Carb Noodle-mania!

Okay folks, I admit, I’ve been a little distracted by the glorious Pacific Northwest summer, traipsing about in the mountains. Between that, work, and other personal projects, feeding the Internet Blog Machine has gotten a little backlogged. So without further ado, here’s one more..


Quite some time ago, I went to school in the other Washington -the District of Columbia. While there, I was exposed to the experience of an even more humid climate than my native Midwest summer. Wandering the concrete jungle blocks from my job at a nonprofit and nerd-exciting statistics classes, I was exposed to my first taste of Korean food ever. It was ironically a vegan Korean shop, and my favorite dish was tofu japchae. In retrospect it was an easy gateway crossover from my beloved childhood Cantonese restaurant dish of beef chow fun (see fellow pun lovers’ recipe at Woks of Life, and really, anything noodle. That first taste opened me up to a whole other cuisine full of spicier, more vegetable-filled and bbq-beef-laden meals like dolsot bibimbap and tofu soup!

Fast forward to years later on a warm Seattle summer day, living with some one who eats low carb, and here is my experiment in turning Japchae paleo friendly.

Japchae Ingredients

Japchae Ingredients


5 oz kelp noodles, like these ones off Amazon
1/2 onion (medium), sliced
1 oz carrot (large carrot), julienned (or in my case, an annoyingly tedious pile of baby carrots, julienned)
½ oz shiitake mushroom (I got fresh ones but you could also use dried ones and rehydrate them beforehand. See Crazy Korean Cooking‘s recipe that inspired this post, for rehydration tips)
3 oz thin-sliced beef (i had shabu shabu meat on hand, sliced it while partially frozen)
2 oz spinach  (did not have on hand, skipped it, although it has been in every japchae I have ever eaten before)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 tbs vegetable oil
¼ tsp salt to taste
pinch black pepper

Optional: sesame seeds

For seasoning:
2½ tbs soy sauce (for gluten-free use tamari sauce)
2½ tbs sugar
1 tbs sesame oil
1 tsp sesame seeds
½ tsp minced garlic
a pinch black pepper


    1. Slice mushrooms and beef into thin strips.
To get really thin slices, cut meat while it is slightly frozen.

To get really thin slices, cut meat while it is slightly frozen.

    1. Marinate beef & mushrooms: in a bowl, mix beef and mushrooms by hand with 2 teaspoons of the seasoning sauce and let it marinate at least for 15 minutes.
Marinade sauce.

Marinade sauce.

    1. Blanch in high heat water 1 minute or sauté spinach (optional), drain out the water. Season spinach with a pinch of salt and ⅛ teaspoon of minced garlic. Mix by hand.
    2. If you weren’t using kelp noodles, this is where you’d cook regular glass noodles, rinse them in cold water, and drain them. With kelp noodles, boiling in water is not necessary.
    3. Coat a frying pan with 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil, and preheat the pan on high heat for 1 minute. Sauté carrot and onion with a pinch of salt and pepper on high heat for 2-3 minutes or until the carrots are almost cooked. Add more oil if the vegetables start sticking to the pan. Set aside.
Sautéed veggies.

Sautéed veggies.

    1. Coat a frying pan with 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil, and preheat the pan on high heat for 1 minute. Sauté the marinated beef and shiitake mushrooms until the meat is fully cooked.
Gotta keep 'em se-par-ate-ed.

Gotta keep ’em se-par-ate-ed.

    1. Cut noodles: place fully-drained glass noodles in a big bowl and cut the noodles with scissors. You can just cut a few times randomly just so that noodles are easier to serve. Do not over-cut them.
Cut der noodles. Kitchen scissors work best.

Cut der noodles. Kitchen scissors work best.

    1. Pour the rest of seasoning sauce onto the noodles and mix well.
    2. Add all the sautéed vegetables and beef to the bowl. Mix thoroughly.
Shown here: before being fully mixed.

Shown here: before being fully mixed.

  1. Sauté the noodles mixture on medium heat for 3 minutes or until all the noodles are warm. Stir frequently so noodles don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Taste the noodles and salt to preference. Kelp noodles will soften as they warm and absorb liquids form the other ingredients, you can warm it on low heat if they are still really crunchy.

Optional: Sprinkle sesame seeds as a garnish. Enjoy!

Final product!

Final product!


Likelihood of Repeat: 80%

Novelty Rating:
5 of 5
I added some thin-sliced zucchini noodles, which added some more al dente factor while making it taste more like smooth noodles at the same time.

Kelp noodles plus a few stray zucchini noodles.

Kelp noodles plus a few stray zucchini noodles.

Lesson Learned:  It gradually dawned on me as I was making this that if tried this exact kelp noodle brand before to make some cold sesame noodles, to ill effect, making me dread the result of this experiment. When I was disappointed at the crunchiness of the noodles, I said nothing, and my focus group of one was a fan! The kelp noodles had softened as they sat with the warm ingredients between completion time and serving, sucking up some moisture from the other ingredients. Plus, the low carb factor was a strong selling factor.

A closer look at the kelp noodle brand I tried.

A closer look at the kelp noodle brand I tried: not so bad after all.

For comparison: homemade japchae with the standard sweet potato noodles. Yum.

For comparison: homemade japchae with the standard sweet potato noodles. Yum.


Tricking Yourself into Exercise:
Recipe for an Active Day

Apple trees in Meridian Park, approximately 100 years old. Netted by City Fruit to protect fruit from pests.

I really wanted you to know this:

Apples most likely originated in Kazakhstan from the Malus sieversii and brought over to America with European colonists then became a part of American culture with a little help from Mr. Appleseed himself, John Chapman. Around the turn of the 19th century, Johnny Appleseed bought some apple seeds from a Pennsylvania cider mill and headed to the Midwest to develop his orchards. At the time, the Homestead Act required settlers to plant 50 apple trees within the first year of holding their land and soon the apples, along with the settlers, began to establish their roots in America.
Layla Eplett, Scientific American: Food Matters

The portion above on Johnny Appleseed was just one of many exciting things I learned while on a bike tour one recent Saturday (and subsequently fact-checked for this post, because that’s how I am). Here follows a loose recipe for an active day.

– An interest(s) that can be done outside (here: biking, learning, trees)
– Sunscreen
– Any Related equipment (in this case, a bike)
– Access to the Internet


  1. See an event online. In this case: a bicycle tour called Fruit Cycle, of heritage trees (from City Fruit‘s website).
  2. Note date and start time on your calendar. On hand: Gasworks Park at 10 AM on a Saturday.
  3. Critical non-step: intentionally avoid asking distance to be traveled (or similar details).
  4. Invite spouse, tell friends you are going (so it’ll feel weird if you shirk it).
  5. RSVP (so you feel obligated to go).
  6. Get your stuff together the night before, don’t forget some bright clothes for traffic visibility.
  7. Put on sunscreen, go on tour, be distracted and fascinated by all the things you learn and see, not noticing you are also biking around north Seattle for more than 2 hours.
  8. Realize you forgot about also having to bike home.
  9. Stop for coffee, bike home.

Makes: 11 miles + 3 bonus mile bike ride

A few snaps from my exciting tree-bike adventures.

Refueling in Wallingford with an apple off a fallen branch.

My co-conspirator. Thanks, K!

This heritage tree is an elm in the Ravenna neighborhood. Coming from the Midwest, it was pretty amazing to see an elm at all.

Riding under a cool canopy of trees along a boulevard, also known as the University of Washington frat row. :>

Apple branch grafted on to a Hawthorne tree along the Burke Gilman Trail. The initial grafting was done last year, and the branch has since grown out from the hawthorne branch stump!

This Week’s Trial Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating: 5 of 5, very neat!
Likelihood of Repeat:20% This percentage is a lie. That’s part of the trick to it. Honestly, I already pulled this one on myself again the next day, trying out a volunteer stint, and when I went kayak-camping the first time in my life and failed to think about the task of the return trip after paddling 4 miles out to an island, aHA!
Lesson Learned: If you feel a mix of dread and anticipation for an activity, it is probably in your long-term interest not to ask details like how far you will be going, so you take less time getting worked up about it.

Apparently, that Homestead Act spurred a whole lot of apple tree planting in the United States back in the day. These days apples you buy in the store tend to be from grafted versions, to control the consistency of produce, not big old trees like in Meridian Park shown above. I remember reading about this in school, but it’s a very different thing to really see it. It is literally one apple branch shoved into the cut off branch of another tree to make a frankenstein of a tree (done at the right time of year, with a little sealant to keep things together). It’s a real thing! That blew my mind to see the Hawthorne tree on the Burke Gilman. At least, I think it was a hawthorne tree (apologies if I am wrong). Grafting is, like, tree magic..

I’d be interested to learn more on the ebb and flow of the American cider industry in relation to the Homestead Act and Prohibition, but even googling it at this point would delay shipping this post, and also going to bed, which I’ve been trying to do at a more decent hour lately. So that’ll just have to wait another day (or you can look it up and post in the comments for us all).

Bonus delight derived from fact-checking the Johnny Appleseed tidbit resulting in me rediscovering a habitual favored read from when I was a kid in my parents’ house, reborn as an online source. Yeah I know, Scientific American, total nerd-dom. I don’t care, the Food Matters section makes that part of my brain that goes ‘aha!’ light up. Look! They even have one on Potential Implications Brexit May Have on Food.


What is healthy to eat? Nutritionists vs American Public


Twenty years ago, I think we knew about 10 percent of what we need to know” about nutrition, said Dariush Mozaffarian, the dean of the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. “And now we know about 40 or 50 percent.”

Read more at the NYTimes’ The Upshot:

Is Sushi ‘Healthy’? What About Granola? Where Americans and Nutritionists Disagree

Interesting items included in summary:

  • Coconut oil
  • Granola bars
  • Quinoa
  • Shrimp
  • Butter
  • Apples

Just kidding on apples, everybody agrees apples are good for you (except my unique friends who are allergic to raw apples, of course).
Thanks for reading while I try out different formats and topic areas!