This morning, as a June rainstorm poured down outside, Meredith and I started a project that took us down memory lane.
We sorted through 200 pounds of family photos that Dad has taken over the past 30 years.
Oh yes we did.
We came across some good memories, along with some awkward and embarrassing ones, and some photos that captured our attention so entirely that our hearts paused to linger.
The treasure trove of photos contain pictures of several generations of Forneys, from old black and whites….
to siblings we call aunts and uncles….
to siblings we grew up with….
and much much more.
The pictures also document the fashion trends we subjected ourselves too (wayfarers, side ponytails, shoulder pads — you name it, we probably wore it).
We also salvaged a huge archive of negatives and we plan to have the prints and negatives digitized, so that all the Forneys can have access to these beautiful photos and memories.
For now, enjoy these select few!
Wishing a very Happy Mother’s Day our mom, and all the other moms out there!
Mom, all the kids have made donation to Magee Women’s Research Institute & Foundation in honor of you! We couldn’t think of a better way to honor you on a day that celebrates mothers and women than by giving back to the place where four out of five of us were born: a place that focuses on advancing the field of health and medicine for women and their babies everywhere.
This year the donation went to Womancare International, which organizes educational programs and technical assistance for women across the globe and right in Pittsburgh, including an outreach program for Somali refugee women in Pittsburgh called Healthy Girls’ Circle. It was you who taught us to be generous, charitable, to value our roots, and to contribute to the global community. So we honor you in this way every Mother’s Day! We hope that future generations of women in our family benefit from the advances in health and medicine that Magee is working on today. And we hope to instill in these future generations the same values you’ve instilled in us.
We love you mom!
I was writing a comment on Sarah’s Cookie Cutter post when I realized that my response was going to be in depth and might be better in a post.
I too have no cookie cutters but, on a recent trip to Sperryville, VA, I was reminded of Heidi Swanson’s idea to rummage at flea markets or antique shops for things like cookie cutters. At an antique shop we happened upon in Virginia, there were lots of dishes, silverware, and other kitchen knick-knacks like those copper pots above. (There was also a 2 qt. cast iron dutch oven for just $15! If I didn’t already have a 3 and 5 qt dutch oven, that sucker would have been mine!) I hunted for some cookie cutters but came up empty. Anyway, some of the best metal cookie cutters are probably found at places like these – not to mention that they could be a steal.
In place of cookie cutters, things like a pastry wheel or pizza cutter are quick easy substitutes. You may not get the fanciest shapes but it gets the job done.
As for homemade crackers, I love this idea and have a number of recipes logged to try. Here are just a few:
Whole Wheat Goldfish Crackers by Smitten Kitchen (she uses a drill bit for the eyes and mouth – too funny!)
Graham Crackers by Smitten Kitchen
Oatmeals Crackers by 101Cookbooks
Whole Grain Animal Crackers by The Cilantropist
If anyone makes any of these, or comes up with innovative cookie cutter replacements, fill us in here!
As spring draws ever nearer, I am making the most of the end-of-winter seasonal vegetables before they are gone!
Tonight I put together a pilaf using some red winter kale that resulted in a warm hearty dinner on a rainy San Francisco evening.
- 1/4 white onion, chopped
- 1 tsp. garlic, chopped
- 1 cup dry quinoa (I used Pereg Italian style Quinoa, which contains dried Italian vegetables)
- 1 large bunch of kale, chopped
- 1 cup sliced sun-dried tomatoes (mushrooms instead of, or in addition to, would be great too!)
- 1 lb. scallops
- 1 1/2-2 cups chicken or vegetable soup broth
- 1 handful pine nuts or walnuts
Saute the onions and garlic in a lightly oiled pan.
Add in quinoa with about 1 cup of chicken broth.
Cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes. The quinoa will absorb the chicken broth.
Next, add in the kale and sun-dried tomatoes with another 1/2 to 1 cups of chicken broth.
Cook the kale and veggies on medium heat approximately 4-5 minutes.
Then, add in the scallops and the pine nuts.
On this initial attempt at the recipe, I added in the scallops first, but realize this probably was a mistake. Scallops cook very quickly, in about 5 minutes! Add the scallops only after you have cooked the veggies for about five minutes. Once you have added your scallops to the quinoa-kale pilaf, cook approximately another 5-6 minutes, on medium heat.
Remove from heat and add salt and pepper and herbs to taste.
Torre also suggested that next time, we marinate the scallops in a little lemon and lime for about 1o minutes before cooking. That will bring an extra fresh flavor to the dish!
As the parenthetical portion of this post’s title suggests, there was a mini-sibling reunion this weekend on the West Coast! Michael and Becky came to San Francisco, for Becky’s interview at the Wright Institute (our fingers are crossed for Becky!). Meredith and Andy were the tireless drivers and joined for a fun weekend too.
On Saturday, while Michael and Becky explored the Berkeley area, Meredith and Andy joined us for a Mexican lunch in the Mission. Meredith ordered in Spanish! We learned that the only thing that beats a burrito is a super-burrito. We also watched a guy whose job title appeared to be “Official Onion Chopper,” and we decided that the sole requirement for the job had to be the inability to cry.
After we had wandered the alley, we picked up Torre and began to make our way home. On our way, we stumbled across a small gathering of food trucks, musicians, and people, sponsored by San Francisco’s Off the Grid food truck project. Of course, we had to stop.
I captured Meredith’s proud moment of her first food-truck ordering experience! Mmmm.After an afternoon of relaxing, playing games, and visiting, the six of us headed out for a special evening with two local celebrities: Uncle Pete and Aunt Meredith!
We enjoyed a casual Italian dinner in the neighborhood, replete with wine, appetizers, lots of bread and plenty of sharing stories! (Note to self: bring a better camera to these family gatherings.)
It was just delightful to have a family of 8 together for dinner. And it’s a special occasion when that many Forneys are assembled at one table!
Sunday started with a great home-cooked family brunch (Torre and Andy were the masters of the kitchen!) followed by a restful day of visiting, with a quick trip to the local Jewish deli as the major outing.
We were so glad to host the younger siblings and had a great time. Come back soon, please! 🙂
This weekend, Meredith and I, along with Andy and Torre, took a short trip up to Tahoe for a fun fall adventure. The adventure included horseback riding along the mountainside! Horseback riding is something all of us had wanted to do before & was a first time for both me & Meredith.
Luckily we had perfect weather and found a horseback riding place open for its last weekend of the season. Each of our horses had a lot of character, though they were all very well-behaved. Meredith rode on “Annie,” a sweet and friendly gal, Torre got “Hazel,” an old and rather tentative horse (but the most beautiful), and Andy got “Ace,” who brought up the rear but wanted to be in the front. My horse was named 3 (yes, the number), who wanted to be right behind the leader! We rode up and down hills, through creeks and mud puddles, in a totally picturesque forest for about an hour. It was incredibly beautiful and peaceful. Though we were all a little saddle-sore the next day, we all agreed it was worth it!
Fall is probably my favorite season and I’m excited to be welcoming in Fall this week (September 23rd). Thought I’d share some recent Fall-inspired pictures with you!
Today I couldn’t resist buying some mums at the store as a way of saying, “Howdy, Autumn!”
And earlier this week, Torre captured a very haunting but classic seasonal moment atop Nob Hill.
The past two weekends, Meredith and I have had some very cultural excursions.
Two weekends ago, we ventured out to the San Francisco de Young Museum to see an exhibit of artwork on loan from Paris’ Musee d’Orsay. It was lovely! And, although we both agreed we missed all of the free museums in Washington DC, the exhibit was great. The exhibit was called, “The Birth of Impressionism” and it featured 100 pieces of art from some of our favorite impressionist artists, Monet and Manet, Renoir, and Degas.
We saw so many wonderful paintings, and it was just incredible to see them all in their original form – seeing the size of the paintings and the texture of the paint really was surreal. We loved seeing all of the familiar favorites, like the Van Gogh dancer girls and Monet’s gorgeous landscape paintings.
Meredith and I were both reminded of another favorite, Renoir’s “The Swing.” The original of this painting is life-sized! It was so big, colorful, and complex. We were so impressed. We could not stop staring at it and taking in all of the little details.
I also found a new favorite! It’s called the Floor Scrapers by an artist named Gustave Caillebotte. I love the dark colors and the feel of the painting. It’s so romantically Parisian (notice the wine bottle) but is simultaneously gritty, depicting the hard work of the working class. It was actually rejected by “the Salon” because it showed the working class, believe it or not!
After a full morning of art Meredith and I felt very cultured.
But, we were ready for a little variety and, this past Saturday, accompanied Torre & Andy to a Strikeforce event at the HP Pavilion in San Jose and saw some crazy live fights! Each of the fighters walks out to a huge display of music and FIREBALLS and FIREWORKS! It was insane. One fight was between two women, including one of the most badass fighters out there, Cris Cyborg.
She is a crazy punching machine and the way she recklessly throws punches all over the place is jaw-dropping. Her opponent impressively lasted into the second round before getting knocked out.
We also saw Cung Le, who is 38, knock out a young guy with a spinning back kick. It was like right out of a Bruce Lee movie. Speaking of movies, Forest Whitacre was there! He’s a big fan of Cung Le & we spotted him signing some autographs for people who were there. After Cung Le won, he said he had given up chocolate and pizza for 7 weeks and that there was a bag of chocolate chip cookies waiting for him. I was jealous.
There was a LOT of build-up for the main event that featured one of the greatest fighters of all time, Fedor “The Last Emperor” Emelienenko. He’s a huge, beefy, Russian dude who lives in a very small house in a small town in Russia, who fights for the glory of his mother country and to take care of his family. He is pretty unique and was definitely the crowd favorite. Unfortunately, he made a critical tactical mistake and suffered the second loss of his career that night in just over a minute. It was a little disappointing but Meredith and I still very much enjoyed the whole experience (Torre and Andy on the other hand were pretty depressed and didn’t want to talk about it!).
So, there you have it, two weekends, two sisters, and two very diverse cultural experiences!
These are definitely one of Mom’s favorites! I prefer them pecan-free, but you can always mix up this optional ingredient to add your own unique twist.
Pecan Fudge Brownies
- 1-1/2 cups (about 5-1/4 ounces) roasted or raw pecan pieces
- 10 ounces good-quality semisweet chocolate, divided
- 3 ounces good-quality unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
- 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into thin slices
- 1/2 cup sifted unsweetened Hershey’s cocoa powder
- 2-1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- Pinch salt
- 6 large eggs, beaten to combine, preferably at room temperature
- 3/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Chop 8 ounces of the semisweet chocolate into small chunks (no larger than about 1/4 inch on each side) and place chunks into a medium bowl and combine with pecans.
Finely chop remaining 2 ounces of semisweet chocolate; place into heavy-bottomed, nonaluminum 3 quart pot along with finely chopped unsweetened chocolate. Place butter slices into the pot with chopped chocolates. Set pot over very low heat and stir almost constantly until almost melted. Remove from heat; stir until completely melted and smooth. Add cocoa powder; whisk in briskly until most lumps are dissolved. Scrape pot sides and bottom with rubber spatula. Cool mixture 15 minutes.
When chocolate mixture has cooled 15 minutes, add granulated sugar, vanilla, and salt; stir thoroughly to mix well (mixture will have the texture of wet sand). Add beaten eggs in 3 additions, carefully beating in each addition until combined (when eggs have all been added, batter texture should be smooth). Add flour; stir in just until almost incorporated. Add chocolate chunks and pecans and stir in until evenly distributed.
Turn into 9 x 13 baking pan & spread evenly. Bake in preheated oven 26 to 31 minutes, turning pan back-to-front once about halfway through baking time.
Remove brownies to cooling rack. Cool completely before covering or cutting.