Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
Mcintosh apples are my favorites. Their crispy sweet tart flavor is simply the best in my book for cooking and eating. I will dice one up and toss with cinnamon and sugar, then bake in the oven for 15 minutes at about 350. This beautiful image is courtesy of New York Apple Association© New York Apple Association
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Now, I'm leading a lifestyle were I need clothing that is cute, but that also doesn't cost an arm and a leg, in case something happens to it. ("Something" being baby food, cat vomit, and other unpleasant sundries from the domestic life). Specifically, while I am scrambling after the naughty munchkin at the park or out and about, I don't want to worry about snagging a nice sweater or getting muck on a very delicate shirt. But, I also want to look cute and presentable. Just because I hang out with a toddler does not mean that I want to wear mom jeans and frump it up.
For chilly mornings at the park, I'm hoping this sweater works out! For leggings and boots and a comfy day of running errands, this tunic looks promising.
BTW, how awesome was Glee last night? After I got Miss K distracted with some toys, I watched it again today.
Also, per my to do list post yesterday, I wanted to link to this awesome holiday to do list template. Isn't that neat?
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
I'm now starting to get into a rhythm for planning. Friday afternoon during K's nap is when I sit down with my recipe binder of all the recipes I've clipped from magazines, my laptop with Epicurious and my little meal planning notepad. I also have a cup of tea and cookies. I've decided that meal planning is the way that I'm going to try those recipes that I've always hung onto, but never made. When I sit down to go through the binder, I can scan exactly how long something will take, and can note whether I need to purchase anything different at the store.
I use the weekends to try stuff that is more time consuming, or that really requires my undivided attention. K and her dad have a lot of football to watch together, so they are pretty busy these days :). K and I go to the grocery store about once per week for a big stock up, and then we will walk to the farmers' market or to the grocery store a few other times to pick up the little incidentals and fresh produce as needed. So far, it's working! I am not really wasting food anymore, and I feel like we are benefiting from working some new recipes into the old standbys. How do you menu plan? Also, what is your pantry staple supper for the night when everything goes wrong, but you feel too cheap to spring for takeout?
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
1. A great to do list template that makes printing your list and keeping it tidy a breeze located here
2. This blog provides lots of great ideas for household organizing. I love how she suggests some habits to develop to keep clutter in line. If only I could adopt them!
3. This blog makes getting organized seem so chic. I love their vision, and I also love that they provide an 8 week plan for better organization. The visuals remind me of my beloved and no longer in print Domino and Blueprint!
4. I heart this store and their adorable notepads. I've been sticking with meal planning much more consistently since I picked up a little notepad that lists my meals for the week and the ingredients I need. I feel like I could be even more organized with more adorable notebooks.
In non-organized fashion...for those that miss Gourmet Magazine, what do you think of the new Gourmet?
Friday, October 1, 2010
So, I hope you all have a beautiful Monday morning. I'm back to the daily routine and it's good to be back. Because, as much as I needed a little break from daily life toddler wrangling, I missed her. Oh, I should have said that earlier...it was a child free holiday - second honeymoon I guess :)
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
6:00 to 7:00 Generally around 6:20, Miss K starts rattling the bars of her crib and saying "Up." That means it's go time. I retrieve her, change her, and we go outside to get the paper. For some reason, she loves heading outside for the paper first thing. (My husband travels a ton for work, and he was out of town today. When he is in town, we bring her back into bed with us when she wakes up and we all watch Good Morning America and the local morning news together. When it's just me, I just head upstairs and get my coffee started).
7:00 ish - Breakfast. Oatmeal, milk and applesauce in the highchair. Throw in a banana or little bits of prune (I know - she has funny taste). I clean her up and have her play in the dining room and kitchen while I eat breakfast and read the paper. I also always need a very strong cup of coffee, because I really like to wake up at 7:00 - not 6:20. Today, I woke up at 6:07. That is a little early.
8:00 - 9:00 K goes and hangs out in her crib to watch a little Curious George or other PBS kids show, while I run around like a madwoman cleaning up the kitchen, dealing with feeding the cats, and getting myself sort of presentable for our morning activity. By presentable, I mean I put in my contacts, wash my face, brush my teeth, and put on sunscreen or tinted moisturizer depending on the activity. I firmly believe that if you put on workout clothing, you will work out, so my uniform is lululemon pants or shorts, a tank and a hoody. If we aren't going out for exercise in the morning, I will wear jeans and a top or a dress. I can squeeze the quickest of quick showers in if I have to, but my hair is not blown out. Apologies, but she won't stay in the crib for longer than 30 minutes!
9:00 to 12:00 - I love to walk for exercise, so most days we head out for about an hour or so walking. Today, we went for our walk, then came home and cleaned up to head over to the park to play for a while. Since there is no more morning nap, I'm pretty free in the mornings to go out and do some fun stuff or some errands. (There is a morning snack in here at some point - generally when we are out in the stroller for our walk - Miss K does appreciate some tasty baked goods with a sippy cup of milk).
12:00 - 1:00 This is when lunch is served. For K - not me! She is starting to get interested in utensils other than her hands, so I always provide them. So far, not a whole lot of success. She enjoys a grilled cheese sandwich, or some black beans or peanut butter crackers for lunch. More milk too! She plays while I clean up the kitchen. Or, she plays while I scarf some lunch and ignore how messy the kitchen is!
1:00 -2:00 At some point in here, Miss K goes down for her nap. I zip her into her little sleep sack and pop her into the crib. I sit in her room until she falls asleep. I know I need to stop, but I haven't figured out how to break the habit yet. Once she is down for her nap, I take my shower, and work on whatever needs to be done - returning phone calls, laundry, tidying up, bill paying, letters, etc. Today, for example, I sat around and read Twilight Eclipse in my unmade bed, surrounded by unfolded clean laundry. It felt like playing hooky and I loved it :)
3:00 - 4:00 Sometime in here, Miss K wakes up. Time for another small snack and milk. She has started not to eat quite as much as she used to, so this doesn't take long.
3:00 to 6:00 Time to head out again for something - either another walk or errands. Today, we went to the grocery store. She loves riding around in the cart, and is in a really good mood after her nap. This is the one good thing about being down to one nap. It means that I have time in the late afternoon to do one more errand or trip outside. When we were on two naps, she was sleeping from around 3:00 to 5:00, so there wasn't a lot of time to get stuff done after that second nap. We also love going for another walk to the park to allow her to run around.
6:00 Back home and time for dinner. If my husband is not travelling, I've spent part of nap time doing dinner prep - setting the table and preparing the meal. If he isn't, I eat a salad and poached eggs, like tonight, or something else really easy. Sometimes, it's really boring, like a bowl of cereal. Miss K eats dinner - tonight it was pasta with pesto...sadly, she did not like my homemade pesto and bowtie pasta. Another cup of milk.
6:30-7:45 More playtime. If we are on our own, like today, more PBS kids because I'm tired. Although, honestly, she seem to ignore the show and just play.
7:45 - 8:00 Time for a quick bath and bedtime. Miss K is pretty tired at the end of her day, so we do not have a very complex routine. I brush her teeth, zip her in a sleep sack, and let her turn off the light in her room. I miss her, but I know I'll see her again, bright and early.
8:00 - 10:00 Ok. She is safely asleep, so I can clean up the kitchen, run the dishwasher and then sweep around the living room picking up toys. Or, I can sit in the living room looking at all the toys strewn about and decide I won't deal with them until tomorrow. It all depends on the day :). Some days, I use this time to work on recipes or do meal prep. Other days, we sit and watch TV. I watched an episode of "Four Weddings" as I did this post. Then, it's downstairs to bed.
The days are long, but the years seem short. Especially now that she gives hugs and kisses.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
The English nerd in me saw lots of similarities to my beloved Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. I felt a little silly checking out all the titles at the library, but then the librarian said it's the most popular series of books and that everyone has already read them.
Alright then. I'm on a mission to get caught up with the rest of America. The only problem is that I'm a terrible frady cat with a way too vivid imagination. Am I ever going to sleep again? I guess it's too late - I've read the first few chapters and I'm hooked!
What are you reading?
Monday, September 13, 2010
So, I think I'm going to use this fall to try to take in more of the little moments and to focus less energy on where we are going. Lord knows, we are headed into the future quickly enough, so now is the time to sit back and enjoy the present.
Friday, September 10, 2010
Thursday, September 9, 2010
That said, I bought raspberries at the store last week and didn't want to toss them. It's also about 60 and cloudy here, so I didn't really feel like eating them plain. A friend had emailed it to me months ago, and it sat in my recipe file. I stared at it, thought about it, but somehow always ended up making something else. Not anymore. Courtesy of a package of raspberries that I did not want to go to waste, I present to you a very delicious cake:
It is from confessions of a tart - a beautiful blog that I just discovered and am very much enjoying! http://http://confessionsoftart.blogspot.com/2009/03/raspberry-madness-coffee-cake.html
I made a couple changes to the recipe - I added nutmeg to the streusel topping - because I like it. I also added all the raspberries that I had - I think it was closer to 3 cups. Because I added a lot more fruit, the dough became a lot wetter and I had to extend the baking time by about 15 minutes. Because of all the extra fruit, I ended up with beautiful pink cake studded with tons of raspberries and a very crisp streusel on top. Just how I like it. The problem is that it's sitting in my kitchen calling to me as I sit and type this. I think this would be delicious with blackberries or another tart fruit?
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Now that I have a toddler, I'm looking for comfy clothing that allows me to chase her around outside and inside, but that isn't just lululemon pants and hoodies. Don't get me wrong, if you run into me out and about doing errands, that is what I'm wearing most of the time, but I want a look for fall that is a little more together.
I have finally embraced the leggings and tunic trend, so here are some of my favorites:
Jcrew tunic - for a warm day at the park and farmer's market
A slightly more stylish tee for kicking back with jeans and boots during the day, and maybe cute enough for dinner with friends later.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
I have been way too lazy about updating lately. It's not that there is much exciting to report around here - it's just that when you get out of the habit, it is hard to get back in the groove. But, I miss having an activity that is just for me. So much stuff lately is for baby K, the family, the cats, friends - you know. I was flipping through the blog and realized how fun and inexpensive all of my little cooking projects were, and how very happy they made me.
It's cool here today. The fog has not burned off, and it definitely feels like fall is around the corner. It's a good time to savor the last strawberries of the season and to start gearing up for apples and pears. I generally am not a huge berry person. I'm happy to eat them, but I don't often get thrilled about them the way I do about chocolate or peaches and plums. This strawberry shortcake recipe should change that. It's the best. It is weird and a little scary the first time you make it - but it works. I made it for two dinner parties this summer, and both times, everyone had seconds. The secret - balsamic vinegar. It makes the strawberries somehow more strawberry. It was great with local fruit, and I think it would even help jazz up sad and tired grocery store fruit as well. Please, give it a try. The shortcakes are amazing as well. I'm thinking of serving them with sauteed plums in the fall, and later with pears, or as some sort of topping for pear crisp?
2 c. flour
5 TBS sugar, divided
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c. chilled unsalted butter (diced) I cut up the butter first and pop it into the freezer until the last possible second.
1 c. chilled heavy whipping cream
1 large egg, beaten (for the glaze)
2 lb strawberries, sliced and washed well
6 TBS sugar - divided. Pay attention to how sweet your berries are!
3 TBS balsamic vinegar. You may want to start with one TBS and work up to three - I tell you it's worth it
1 large pinch freshly ground black pepper. The secret ingredient!!!
Preheat oven to 425. Grease baking sheet or line with parchment. Mix flour, 4 TBS sugar, baking powder and salt in food processor - pulsing till blended. Add butter, using pulses until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Add cream and pulse again until clumps form. Dump onto floured work surface and smush into a ball. Pat out to an 8"x4" rectangle and cut into 8 squares. Place shortcakes on prepared sheet and chill in fridge 15 minutes. Then, brush shortcakes with egg glaze and sprinkle with remaining TBS sugar - I really like using sugar in the raw for the sprinkles. Bake about 15 minutes. Cool on cooling rack.
Berries - mix the berries, sugar, vinegar and pepper in bowl and let sit. I let them sit about 3-4 hours. The recipe says 30 minutes, but I found the longer you wait, the more juice they make and the better they taste.
Serve with vanilla whipped cream and enjoy. Courtesy of Bon Appetit magazine - here is the link to their recipe http://http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Strawberry-Shortcakes-with-Balsamic-and-Black-Pepper-Syrup-359412
What are you all cooking? And, do any of you have a slow cooker? Do you use it? Do you like it? Would you recommend a brand? I am teetering on the fence, and would like some more info and guidance.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
It really got me thinking about what makes me happy and how I can do more of those things and to just generally have more joy. August is a month for savoring summer and gearing up for a darker season, so I'm going to try and share a little of the things that make me happy this month.
First off, nectarines and plums :) This cake made me so happy that I wanted to share it - it's from Gourmet Magazine's August 2009 edition. (Sniff, I miss you!) It's in the following post - I'm still as tech unsavvy as ever.
Monday, July 12, 2010
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Roasted Asparagus (adapted from the Gourmet Cookbook)
Olive oil (about 2-3 TBS)
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment and wash asparagus. Chop off bottom (woody part) of asparagus) and place asparagus spears in pan. Drizzle generously with olive oil. Salt and pepper. Roast in oven for 10-15 minutes until cooked through - don't let them burn.
Delicious! Spring is coming!
Monday, March 1, 2010
If you were taking a very short trip sans bambino, where would you go - luxe resort with all sorts of amenities that isn't quite as scenic, or impossibly romantic, lush and gorgeous resort that is a little more bare bones (i.e no TV in the rooms)? I am trying to decide btw the Ritz St. Thomas and Caneel Bay on St. John for a quick little Caribbean getaway.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
When you have a baby, your world becomes a little smaller for a few years. Not in a bad way, because small things like smiles and steps and coos are very precious. But, you aren't exactly footloose and fancy free to set out on adventures. We took a wonderful trip to Italy a few years ago, and I've been working on getting my photos onto DVD. Here are some. Just looking at them makes me nostalgic, but also excited for when we are ready as a family for some fun adventures.
I've been thinking more and more about how precious experiences are as gifts. I remember the trips I've taken so vividly, and I think they are so important.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Thumbs up. I can't tell you how awesome this is. I'm thinking about valentine's day stuff for tomorrow's post, but right now, the miracle of the baby gate is too awesome not to share :)
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
In other news, I've started applying for the munchkin's passport. I figure we will want to take her places at some point, and it takes so darn long for the thing to be ready. Speaking of which, where would you recommend taking babies for a vacation? Any ideas?
It was pouring again today. So, we headed to the mall, went to a Junior League meeting and tried to stay dry. It's clearing tomorrow - I hope!
Monday, February 8, 2010
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Monday, February 1, 2010
We had friends over for a big meal of spaghetti, salad and brownies on Saturday - it was great to catch up and enjoy some quality time. With this gloomy economy, and how much fun it is, I'm going to start having people over for dinner more often. This big Juliska platter caught my eye! Can't you just imagine it filled with pot roast or spaghetti and meatballs?
Friday, January 29, 2010
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Plum jam. SO good. And, it's made by monks!
This loft home office done by Kenneth Brown. Isn't it beautiful? I just need to figure out how to get something like that in our loft.
This is a fantastic book about feeding babies. As we venture into the world of solids, I find it very useful.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
1 cup sugar
6 TBS butter (3/4 stick) (I think you could use shortening too, but I wouldn't use oil)
1/4 cup molasses
1 tsp vinegar. It sounds weird, but it works
1 3/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 heaping tsp powdered ginger
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves (I bet you could add some nutmeg too if you're so inclined)
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Combine butter and sugar. Add the egg, molasses and vinegar. Mix dry ingredients separately, then add to wet. Mix to combine.
3. You can refrigerate the dough at this point, if you like. Grease two cookie sheets (or you can just use parchment paper - I'm a new convert to parchment - it's SO easy!) and make into walnut sized cookies.
4. Bake at 350 until the cookies have cracked tops (usually right around 10-12 minutes). They will still look soft. You can let them cook longer if you prefer a very crispy cookie. Cool slightly on a cooling rack, then dust with powdered sugar. Or, you could dip the cookies into regular sugar before baking.
As you can see, this is post 200 and I wanted to share something delicious. We go through these pretty quickly, so no photos :)
Monday, January 25, 2010
We've been waylaid by colds, teething, holidays, fun outdoors and all sorts of things, but I wanted to get back to the blog!
Here's what I'm working on this week:
Uncluttering my home office - I just love the blog "Unclutterer.com"
Figuring out how to digitally store all the old photo negatives - scanning them to CD perhaps?
Putting the childproof latches on our cabinets - someone is starting to figure out how to open them!
In terms of cooking, check out this fantastic cookbook - Chocolate and Zucchini - I was absolutely blown away by the chocolate caramel tarte!