De Ma Cuisine



October 2016



Oberg and the Search for Obergness – Part 5

Written by , Posted in Dog, Pets, Thoughts, Travel

superiorpanortI could learn a lot from my dog. All he needs in life is food, water, and to be with us. If he has those three things, he’s good.


Brando does travel right. He’s always super excited to get wherever we’re going. He doesn’t know the itinerary, but he’s pumped. He can’t wait to have his seatbelt unhooked so he can jump out of the car. He will run around, smelling everything possible. He just wants to experience it all. He’s the best at taking it all in. His main source for information is smell, but we will also catch him staring off into the distance, watching a new animal, eyeing the strangers.rbcar

When we decided to take this trip, there wasn’t any discussion about whether or not Brando, our 8 year old puppy, would come with us. He’s a part of the family. When figuring out what we’d bring on the trip, we paired down quite a bit because we knew he would take up three quarters of the back seat. He’s the best little companion. We couldn’t leave him behind.

He knows the word “car”. He gets really excited about it. He can’t wait to jump in. He’s content to sit and look out the window, but mostly he gets comfy and snoozes while we drive. If we’re eating something delicious he might open his eyes to see if there’s a taste for him. There usually is.

Along the way he’s been loved on by so many. Some, he could have done without (sorry, Harrison, he was only tolerating your holding his tail hostage). Others he couldn’t get enough of (he whined anytime he was indoors and my dad would walk by). He’s a good little friend.

A few things that we brought to make his travel more enjoyable:

A comfortable bed – The backseat of the car is comfy, but we wanted him to have a semblance of his own space. We wanted him to have something familiar in the midst of all the new places. We bought a new bed for the trip, so we weren’t taking his smelly old bed along to stink up the car. The bed is a bit small for a dog his size, but it fits perfectly in the backseat, and he curls up nicely on it.

Plenty of food – Brando doesn’t eat a lot when he’s in a new situation. We brought along part of a big bag of food. For the first two weeks he ate very little. We were with so many people (and many kiddos) and he was just nervous all the time. Once we settled at my parents’ place for a couple weeks he relaxed and ate like normal.

Personal Care Items – Our dog sheds a lot. All year long. It’s never ending. I can’t count the number of times we’ve apologized to people we stayed with because we knew how much fur Brando would be leaving behind. We brought along a fine tooth brush, to help a bit. And then the rest of his toiletries – poop bags (don’t count on rest areas to have them), flea meds (because we don’t want to bring any critters into anyone’s home, or into our car), and treats and toys (for when he’s finally relaxed enough to enjoy himself).


In L.A. Brando is an indoor dog. We have a small yard that we spend time in, but nowhere he can really run, explore, and play. After spending time in the Ontario countryside, and then the northern woods of Minnesota, he may be ruined forever… Tim and I might be too.



October 2016



Oberg and the Search for Obergness – Part 4 – Roasted Garlic Three Squash Soup

Written by , Posted in Dairy-Free, Dinner, Gluten Free, Lunch, Main Dishes, Roasting, Soups, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

souprtSomething my family does really well is food. We like to eat it, talk about it, think about it… We live to eat, we don’t eat to live. Usually as we’re finishing up one meal discussion about the next meal begins.

As is the custom in many places, many of our events take place around food. Christmas morning means brunch. Birthday dinners mean a special meal to celebrate the birthday person. Watching a movie in the evening means popcorn and snacks.

While we were in town an aunt and uncle from Mom’s side were also visiting. So we got together with some of the extended family for a meal. Many in our family have dietary restrictions. So we just said we’d do it potluck style and people could contribute with something they can eat. All the diets were accounted for. We range from gluten-free to vegan. But, one thing that all of our restrictions can tolerate is veggies. So I made soup.

The summer veggies were on their way out. The lighter, less nutrient dense summer squash being replaced with the heartier winter varieties. I used both. I roasted them, along with some onions, and a whole head of garlic. It was simple – olive oil and a hot oven for all of them. An hour later I plomped the roasted veggies into a soup pot with some water and let them simmer for a while. Simple and delicious.

Let’s talk about the roasted garlic again for a second. I used a whole head. I wouldn’t have done that had it been raw (unless I wanted to be the only one to enjoy the soup ;)). Roasting garlic mellows out the sharp, strong flavor. It’s one of my favorite things. It’s perfect if you need something to spread on toast, to mix in to hummus, and to add to soup.

I like to add a bit of acid to most recipes. I add it near the end, or just after it’s come off the heat. It adds a bit of brightness and finishes off a dish really nicely. Lemon or lime juice works well, so does white vinegar.

The soup was a success. My family loved it (unless they were just being polite). Squash soup is one of my favorite ways to usher in fall and soup season.

Happy Eating!

Roasted Garlic Three Squash Soup

Roasted Garlic Three Squash Soup


  • 2 large pattypan squash, halved, seeds scraped out
  • 1 large summer squash (zucchini or any other type), halved, seeds scraped out
  • 1 large spaghetti squash, halved, seeds scraped out
  • 3-4 onions, peeled and halved
  • 1 head garlic, top sliced off
  • oil
  • 10-12 C water or vegetable stock
  • 1 t mustard powder (or 1 T grainy mustard or dijon)
  • sprinkle cayenne
  • 2 C (approx.) coconut milk
  • 1 t honey
  • to taste salt
  • 2 1/2 t lemon juice


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Drizzle the squash and onions with oil and place cut side down on a baking sheet. Drizzle the garlic with oil and wrap in tin foil. Roast summer squash for about 30 minutes (or until tender and flesh pierces easily with a fork) and onions, garlic, and spaghetti squash for about 60 minutes (or until tender and flesh pierces easily with a fork).
  2. Let garlic cool a bit before handling. Scrape squash out of skin. Add veggies through cayenne to a soup pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 1 hour or so. Add coconut milk through salt. Heat for a few minutes. Blend until very smooth (using a hand blender, or in a blender with the plug in the lid removed and the hole covered with a clean towel). Add lemon juice. Taste for seasoning.



October 2016



Oberg and the Search for Obergness – Part 3

Written by , Posted in Thoughts, Travel

fallcolorsrtWe left my parents’ place last Tuesday morning. We drove the long way up and around Lake Superior to get to Minnesota. It was probably the prettiest drive we’ve had so far. The leaves as we drove through Ontario and then Michigan were amazing. I love this time of year.

It was a bit weird to cross back into the states again. We realized, on this trip more than others, that Canada really is a foreign country. There are different laws, units of measure, and customs. Words are pronounced differently. They don’t use pennies, but do have loonies and toonies ($1 and $2 coins). And the health care system, I’ll just leave it at I miss the Canadian system terribly. I’ve been asked many times what the differences are between the two countries I’ve lived in. I usually say that they’re not so different really. But, this time, I saw things through a different lens.


I haven’t lived there for fifteen years. I’ve spent most of my grownup years in the US. I’ve voted in 3 presidential elections and for only one prime minister. Many customs come back naturally. I can still fit in in Canada, but it’s a bit more of a stretch these days. I feel like a foreigner. rstreetbostonrt

I know people change as they grow up and move away from home. They discover more about themselves and who they are at their core. As I’ve gotten older I’ve become more comfortable in my skin, with my quirks and imperfections, and with my values, that have become more set in stone. A lot of this happened after I moved away from home. I’m sure that’s common. We grow up, are nurtured by our parents or caregivers, then set free in the world to figure out where we fit. I wonder where Canada fits in with me. Will I always feel a bit like an outsider? Maybe… But, the Canadian part of me will always be there, even if I don’t say “eh” anymore. It was a wonderful place to grow up, boasts one of the most beautiful countrysides, and as it is home to so many that are dear to my heart, will always be one of my favorite places to visit.



September 2016



Oberg and the Search for Obergness – Part 2

Written by , Posted in Thoughts, Travel

flowersWe’re three and a half weeks in. We’ve seen, hung out with, or stayed with 81 people. Some just for a few minutes, others for weeks. I got 100% introvert on the Myers Briggs personality quiz. I love to spend time with people. But, it drains me. It’s taken a week and a half to recover from the first two weeks.


I’m also a homebody. Our life is small, but special. I cherish close friendships and our values are family and community centered. I love routine, order, and organization. Living out of a suitcase, waking up in not my bed, and being around people 24/7 is out of my comfort zone. But, in spite of all this, I’m loving our adventure. In fact, I might like adventure in general a bit more than I thought I did.


When Tim quit his job last year, it really rocked my world. I hated the idea of being without a good, steady income. I didn’t think life could be done well without it. That may have just been the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. Because here we are a year and a half later and we’re back to full time freelance (a.k.a. unemployed). And I’m not freaking out. We’re staying with strangers and people we haven’t seen in years (and family, of course). It hasn’t phased me. We don’t know what’s next… And I kinda life it. My world has been turned a bit upside down. Things feel fresh and new.

As I write that, I’m looking at my backpack from grade 7 or 8. It has silly faces, flowers, and peace signs all over it in puffy paint (and thankfully no declarations of love!). I’m at my parents’ house, in the province I grew up in, surrounded by things of my childhood. It’s interesting how the new can mix so well with the old.


Part of the purpose of this trip is to figure out the where. Where do we want to be… Or at least begin to get some ideas. As we’ve traveled through or talked about places we’ve lived I’ve realized that I hesitate more when we’re talking about a place from the past (not like time travel, sorry Babe). It struck me the other day that this stems from feeling like I’d be moving backwards rather than forward if we went back to one of those places. I can’t put my finger on why. The desire for new adventure perhaps? Or maybe it’s just the painful memories that lurk. Sometimes the moments of pain seem to overshadow the years of good.

There are a couple places in particular that do that to me. In spite of many great experiences, there’s was lot of pain left behind. Driving through one place in particular I noticed that a lot of it came back to me. Not raw or even painful anymore. Just things that happened once that weren’t all that nice. And it holds me back. But, couldn’t new memories be made to overwrite the painful ones?

There’s definitely a place for the past as we learn, grow, and change. But, as we become who we are, there are some places that are best left behind, their work done, their doors best left closed… at least for now.



September 2016



Oberg and the Search for Obergness – Part 1

Written by , Posted in Thoughts, Travel

We packed the dog, some food, and a few other essentials into the car and headed out. Tim and I have never done a trip like this together. Our longest trip was three weeks in Paris. Now we’re two weeks and five days into an eight week trip.

It was not quite the departure I’d hoped for. We left later in the day than we’d planned. I forgot to look at our little house one last time as we were driving away. I was too busy Instagramming the departure instead. Dumb. We spent an hour and a half trying to get out of LA. The dog couldn’t get comfortable and sat awkwardly for the first two hours. At that point, about three hours in, I wondered if the trip was a really bad idea. But then the dog finally laid down, we got out of LA, and I was able to relax a bit. Tim reminded me that he’s thankful that our car is in pretty good shape, that we and the dog are healthy-ish, and that we have this time, he, dog, and I together.


We traveled to the Grand Canyon first. I’d never been. It’s one of the few things in life that is said to not disappoint. Truth. It’s pretty amazing. And was a good reminder to me that it’s not just about the destination, but the journey we take to get there. I’ve always been a “let’s just get there” person. Not the best attitude to have. There’s a lot to see along the way. We’re gonna try to be more intentional about enjoying it.


Youguys, we’re really learning a lot on this trip. As we travel through and spend time with people we’re figuring out or just remembering some of the things we want to make priorities. Our core values. What’s important in a living situation. We’re remembering to laugh a little more. To be ok when lunch is eaten in the car because we have a twelve and a half hour drive ahead of us, and it’s torn chunks of sourdough bread with sweaty cheese and warm carrots. We’re appreciating the space we’re finding ourselves in. There’s so much vast, empty space in the US and Canada. After six years in LA it’s refreshing. Part of the purpose of this journey is to do a bit of soul-searching. We want to be intentional about where we live and what we do. If that’s LA, fine. But we want to decide to be there. With all that has changed for us over the past two years, we thought it would be a good idea to take a step back while we make some decisions. They may take us elsewhere. They may lead us back to where we started. We don’t know yet.

We’re taking submissions, petitions, and bribes for where we should live and why. So far our trip has included a stay in Dewey and a stop at the Grand Canyon in Arizona (YOUGUYS they have no rails – I was nervous the entire time!). We drove through New Mexico and stayed for night in Ruidoso. We spent a few days in Texas in Lubbock, Comfort, and Bulverde. Friends in Abbeville, LA hosted us for the night, and we drove through New Orleans on our way to Georgia. We stopped in Atlanta, GA for not even 12 hours, but left feeling refreshed none-the-less. We drove straight from Atlanta to West Philadelphia (and I had the song from Fresh Prince in my head for two full days). That was our longest driving day to date. Then we made it to Massachusetts where we stopped for a few days and spent time in Cambridge, Boston (Red Sox!!), and Middleton. Now we’ve crossed the border and are in Ontario (Canada) for a bit.


We’ve stayed with the kindest, most generous people. We have been gone for nineteen days and have yet to camp or stay in a hotel. We have hardly had to dig into the food that we brought (with the exception of the eight bags of potato chips that I bought while starving at the grocery store prior to the trip). We’ve usually snacked in the car for lunch and dinner after having been fed delicious breakfasts before we take off in the morning. We’ve been pretty spoiled. And it’s not just the food. The company has been tremendous. We’ve reconnected with family and friends that we see much too infrequently. Every place we stop is so much more difficult to leave than I would have anticipated. If we’d just had these two and a half weeks, the trip would have been more than adequate. It would have been amazing.

It feels so very natural to be doing this. Before we left it seemed like an impossible idea. We had to find someone willing to sublet our house. Not an easy task. One that almost kept the trip a dream. We’ve been wanting to go to Fenway Park to see the Red Sox play for nine years. That finally became a reality. As we walked around the corner from the “T” and saw Fenway for the first time I had the same feeling of awe and excitement that I did when we were in Paris and I saw the Eiffel Tower. We’re a baseball loving family, so this was the perfect place to begin to celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary.

This trip is so many things to us. Celebration of ten years, quest for direction, and enjoying time together. And it’s been lovely. Just lovely.

fenwaysunsetI’ll be back again with more stories from our eight week adventure.