Popping back in, like popcorn

With the encouragement of friends and family, I’m reviving this site. There is plenty going on in the world right now, but a couple of things are strikingly clear to me.

Everyone needs to eat.  Everyone needs connection and support. Lauren+ChristaMarch2020

I got the exciting opportunity to be on a podcast with an old friend, just to talk about food and the environment and connections.  I was so honored! We had so much fun chatting again, like we had done years ago and listening, really listening to each other. The funny thing was that she remembers one of the first times she met me and I made popcorn as a snack for our little group of twenty-somethings to scarf down.  Not just any popcorn, but something of a cross between kettlecorn and caramel corn.  And I do not remember this – at all!!

But food and memories connect, and connect us to each other, and that’s what matters to me.   I promised her the popcorn recipe and to help share the podcast conversation around. It’s short and sweet, I hope you’ll listen to it.


kettlecorn and caramel corn mashup.

And then, I was mortified that I didn’t really have a website to connect these dots… well, I had what I like to call, “a sleeping baby” website. You think you can get so much done while the baby sleeps, but do you get it done? Not really.  It’s also the sleeping baby website because even though it’s sleeping, it’s doing a lot of growing.  I’ve been doing a lot and growing a lot, professionally and personally, and I hope to share that with you here.

For now, I hope you’ll dig up a recipe that makes you think of an old friend, call them up and have a good chat.

Caramel Popcorn Recipe Card

I’m back. Put an egg on it.

I’m just going to be honest. Starting a blog while going to graduate school and raising two little kids might have been a little bit over-ambitious. In the past, I’ve done that bite-off-more-than-you-can-chew thing and not choked. Doing all that and then being hit with a year of The Hardest Shit Life Throws at You… well, something had to give and it was definitely my internet self and this blog. Instead, I was facing head-on multiple challenges, things you have to show up for with everything you’ve got.

Things started to spiral downwards when my husband unexpectedly lost his job, out of the blue, in a really messy way.

Then last spring, my mother-in-law was diagnosed with cancer, and before we could even catch our breath, it felt like, she was gone. It went from stomach pains and indigestion to rampant cancer diagnosis to her passing in her sleep in 48 days.


Only six weeks later, our youngest son who had just turned four, contracted an e.coli infection and was hospitalized for Hemolytic Uresis Syndrome (HUS) and subsequent kidney failure. I wrote about it here, to keep friends and family up to date, but also to help me process and keep track of what was going on. If you feel like learning a whole lot about the kidneys, reading about extraordinary children’s medical care at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego and the importance of support from near and far, feel free to take that journey with me… it’s 12 days worth of anxiety and ferocious love for a child spilled in words.

sept17leosurf      sunsetseptw:leo


And then, oh yes, there’s more, exactly one week after he was released from the hospital, in recovery and expected to fully recover, we watched our island of Puerto Rico get hit by Hurricane Maria. And unless you’ve been living under a rock for a year, you know that it wiped out electricity and communications for our family there in a very serious way.   We didn’t hear from them for two weeks. Talk about carrying around some stress.

When we did, we were fortunate to find out that they were ok, traumatized to be sure from the battering of 36 hours of hurricane-force winds. But that they were making it work, with the warmth and resilience of islanders, helping neighbors and being more patient than anyone should have to be for basic needs.

Those weeks are a blur to me, while we tried to ship care packages to Puerto Rico and nurture our son’s recovery at home until he was cleared to go back to daycare, and go to grad school and take care of each other. I don’t remember much of what we ate, just that there were friends caring for us by delivering meals unexpectedly or keeping our well child in their homes.


So that’s real life, that’s one  V E R Y   B A D   Y E A R that we made it through, thank goodness. And in doing so, I want to post here a survival mode recipe, not even a recipe, just a suggestion.   This is the start of getting back into this writing and blogging thing. And it’s messy and it’s not well-photographed, but it’s what happens when you have to stand up and stand strong in the face of storms in your life.

ricegreansprep  ricegreenseggonit

When there is nothing planned for dinner and only an assortment of leftovers in the refrigerator, what can make it feel like a meal? Put an egg on it. (The same way there was a year or two when everything “cool” had a bird on it now is the time to “put an egg on it”.) This solution has pulled me out of nose-diving energy levels, allowed me to turn lackluster greens and bland grains into a couch for the yolk of a fried egg, ready to drape itself on them like a slinking cat. It brings back memories of backpacking in Central America on dollars a day, where bread is cheap but flavorless and avocados are abundant; tomatoes are hit or miss; what is one way to guarantee a satisfying meal? Turn that list into a sandwich and put an egg on it! You and your traveling friends will feel like geniuses. When staring into a pantry of canned goods, holding a wilting bundle of cilantro, looking for lunch inspiration, grab a can of beans, some broth, some sofrito and make a fine black bean soup. But perk it up! Poach an egg in it! When you eat it, you’ll plunge the spoon through streaks of gold yolk to turn beany water with herbs into something sublime in the mouth. Simple yet variable, affordable yet indulgent, humble yet delicious; when in doubt, I will put an egg on it.



See you back here again soon. It’s only going to get better from here…


Not long ago in my recent personal history, I was a new mom, overwhelmed with emotions towards this little creature I had to care for and trying to juggle all the things I used to love to do with what I now had to do.  Maybe you’re in this same spot and that’s how you landed here.

I’m creating a space for new moms and dads to find resources, really good ones, about feeding your whole family.  From breastfeeding to toddler treats to celebratory meals for the whole family.  And by celebratory, I mean, you made it through the week and didn’t cry in public, unknowingly wear baby poop in public or leak breastmilk in front of strangers!

Lots has changed since those early days, my career path veered dramatically, I cut myself a lot of slack (and you should too!) and I’m combining all those things I love and thought I’d never have time for, into one blog to share with you.

Years of cooking in wild and challenging places (on a boat, on an island, in the woods) and time at a computer screen writing publicity press releases for books are combining to help me write this blog.  In that recent history with a new baby and then another one, I had a lot of trouble breastfeeding and I wanted to help other moms avoid all that.  I became a certified lactation educator and I now spend time in the local hospital with brand new moms and babies, on the hotline answering breastfeeding  questions and pointing them towards the support they need. I want to be able to do that online too, so you can come here any time of day or night (wee hours breastfeeding, right?) and get encouragement, support, ideas and inspiration.

I’m currently taking classes towards my Masters in Nutrition, so I can put the science behind the yum of helpful recipes.  You’ll see recipes here that feed your whole family, are easy to prepare and nutrient dense.  As the site evolves, I hope to include more science-based references and nutrition profiles for each recipe.

My two young sons are my inspiration, ages 2 and 5, and they knock me off my feet on a regular basis, in a good way, mostly!  My husband is my other inspiration, not only his appetite but his optimism and support and entrepreneurial spirit have led me here.

You’ll see I’m passionate about healthy recipes for the whole family, holistic health care, realistic mom-time and ensuring breastfeeding success in whatever form that may take for each individual pair.    I believe in creating a community for this tender stage of life, empowering women and the men who support them, and celebrating the joy in every day.  I hope you’ll come back often and find the support you need here!

stay tuned….


Seven months pregnant with my second! Delighting in finding matching forms in nature. Morro Bay, CA

Seven months pregnant with my second!
Delighting in finding matching forms in nature. Morro Bay, CA

Plotting my blogging debut….

The naming of the thing seems the hardest. Something catchy, encompassing the converging interests, that I can say with a straight face and build into something professional.

Tapas and Tatas, Microbrewed Milk, From Lemons to Latches, Brioche and Broccoli.  Little Bean, Big Belly.