Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


This weeks Tuesdays With Dorie recipe was chosen by Carla of Chocolate Moosey and was the Chocolate Crunched-Caramel tart. Thanks for choosing this one Carla! This is my second week with the TWD group and I'm loving it. So is my husband :P

I felt like this recipe was very simple really - tart crust, caramel with peanuts and then chocolate on top - simple. But it required so many trips to the grocery store! and whats with NO one carrying bittersweet chocolate anymore? and is there really such a thing as a 9" tart pan? I think not! I ended up making individual tartlettes (which I thought came out better anyhow) and splurging on nice ghiradelli 60% dark chocolate (which I also thought was better) so all in all - mega YUM. The crust was delicious even though I didn't have a food processor to make it in - I did it in the kitchenaid and with a pastry cutter thing and by hand and with a big mess to show afterwards! and 5 cute little tart pans with a beautiful flaky, crumbly crust.

The ganache was fantastic and thinner than I usually think of a ganache but delicious (which I thank ghiradelli for). I thought that since it was topped with ganache it would be served cold and need to be refridgerated but no, Dorie was very specific about only a 30 minute chill time and then being served and stored at room temp. She was very right (as usual) it was delicious at room temp with the ganache soft but not too soft. The caramel was outstanding too, and very easy to make. I didn't think I'd like putting honey roasted peanuts in it but I didn't have any of the other nuts she mentioned for variations (toasted hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts or just salted peanuts) so I went with these and it came out fantastic! All in all this was a winner. Simple and oh so elegant.

You can tell we liked it

and for all you pacman (or woman) lovers

Monday, September 28, 2009

Monday Meal Plan

Phew, It's been crazy around here! as usual. It's mostly the fact that the littlest one is keeping us on our toes with naps and nighttime sleep. I blame teething! I blame teething for everything.
We're honestly looking forward to a totally boring week.

Monday - roasted red peppers, sausage, rice, pineapple jerky skillet thing (great name huh?). Steamed broccoli
Tuesday - leftover rice and beans with veggies
Wednesday - chicken casserole (corn, peas, carrots)
Thursday - end of the summer pasta (spinach, basil, mozzarella, balsamic)
Friday - homemade pizza (spinach, artichoke, portabella mushrooms)
Saturday - grill out! woohoo!

and since we're including Q in mealtime more and more I thought I'd add this today. More for my benefit since it's just what I've got on hand and really - he's not eating any solids yet, we're just trying to offer when we're all together at the table so he gets into the ritual of it.

Monday - sweet potato and broccoli
Tuesday - sweet potato and applesauce
Wednesday - peas and sweet potato
Thursday - peaches and avocado
Friday - peaches and avocado

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Enemy Called Pants

The littlest one has been unbelievably cute lately. The kind of cute where I would do anything in the world to get a smile out of him or make him laugh or just get him to look at me really, he melts my heart. Do all parents love their kids this much? I hope so because it is an amazing privilege to love this little dude.

I've also been trying to reconnect with my routines and my craftiness. I've spent much of the past week just trying to get dinner on the table every night, the baby in his crib for a nap, and keep B and I healthy and rested. In other words - I've been busy being a mom.

I finally tried my hand at making a pair of pants for Q and they came out really well. I used a few different tutorials online as a guide for them but ultimately I just cut the pattern out based on a pair of pants I already have and then added a few inches everywhere to increase the size so they fit more like a 12-18 months size. I was very pleased with how they came out and very impressed that I made something that feels so accomplished - pants! I had been on a big washcloth kick before these and I was worried that everyone in my family was going to get washcloths for christmas. Albeit they are very nice washcloths - super soft flannel on one side in an adorable print and then a complimenting color of terry on the other - who wouldn't like that?

For the next pair I'd like to create a higher rise and a better fit for cloth diapers. I'm going to use
these great guidelines for making alterations to my next pair. I chose to go with a woven fabric for the first pair so I wouldn't have to think about the stretchiness of a knit while sewing, but I think I'm ready to make a pair of knit pants next. I think the knit will fit and feel better than this first pair and I have a box of old tshirts that I'd love to turn into baby pants. All in all though, I was very pleased with myself!

What should I make next?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Sorry for the weird color changes, I'm feeling like I want a new look around here - haven't found it yet. still working on it....

Beginning Sewing Projects

I've been working on a few beginners sewing projects and some have been winner and some have been big fat losers.

I made some of those cute burpcloths I mentioned a while back and they came out pretty sucky - I'm not good at sewing curves so far. Or at cutting things straight or symmetrical. That was my very first project though and that's okay with me. I've ended up putting them to good use in my house despite their imperfect seams - they live in a basket next to the high chair and are used for the all necessary wipedown of the boys face and hands after dinner.

I made two 'boy' ones and two 'girl' ones

I also made some cloth baby wipes. These actually came out very nice, terry on one side and a cotton flannel on the other. Unfortunately I learned a valuable lesson about seam allowances with these and had some unraveling to deal with in the wash. I ended up taking them apart and re-sewing them with a bigger seam allowance and they're just fine now. Cute too.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

No better time than the present

to start working on my list (even though I technically started last Thursday). I looked at the Tuesday's With Dorie list and saw that this Tuesday's recipe was cottage cheese pufflets. Like most sane people I despise cottage cheese so I immediately thought 'I'll just join next week' but then I remembered that the point of this is to make things you wouldn't normally make and push yourself. Also, I had a package of cottage cheese in the fridge somehow, I have no idea how that got there. So I decided to make those damn pufflets and this is my very first TWD post!

This weeks recipe was chosen by Jacque at Daisy Lane Cakes and you can see her blog for the full recipe. Of course you can also pick up your copy of Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home To Yours. You do own a copy don't you? You can also check out all the other amazing participating bakers on the Tuesday's With Dorie blogroll.

Dorie wrote that the recipe was originally meant to be beaten by a wooden spoon but she called for the recipe to be made in a food processor. Since I don't have a food processor I decided to do it in my trusty Kitchenaid, I figured it would be enough if a wooden spoon was enough. Check out my helpers (my mother-in-law and my son)

The mix was supposed to look like whipped cream cheese and although mine was close, it took a good 5-7 minutes and still all the curds of my small curd cottage cheese weren't completely gone but oh well. Here's the mix wrapped up tight and ready for it's stay in my fridge overnight

My first batch wasn't as thin as it should have been and I had to increase the cooking time by about 5 minutes (and even then they were still a little undercooked). I did the first batch in circle shapes like little pies with apricot preserves filling from Trader Joe's.

The second batch I did in triangles like the recipe called for, with Lingonberry preserves from Ikea. I preferred the apricot which I think was a little sweeter, but everyone else liked the Lingonberry more. I took them to a dinner party at my brother-in-law and sister-in-law's house knowing they were Lingonberry fans and they liked them a lot.

I have to say that I really expected not to like these pufflets but I actually liked them a good bit. I love cookies and I love shortbread and these were sort of shortbread like. They were also not too sweet, which I really like, the cookies only had 2tbsp of sugar in them so pretty much all the sweetness came from the jam filling which was really yummy.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Monday Meal Plan

Phew, what a weekend. I just went and took stock of the fridge and threw a lot of things out :( don't tell my husband, he hates it when we do that. There was produce stuck in the back from a while ago that was forgotten and very wilted and damp and brown, ick ick. Anyhow, here's our week

Monday - Soulemama's broccoli soup + my own homemade bread
Tuesday - chicken with apricot balsamic reduction over spinach salad (sounds fancy huh? SO not)
Wednesday - veggie tofu stirfy + moroccan-y couscous
Thursday - B cooks spicy chicken and rice
Friday - homemade pizza (portabella and other yumminess)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A thought about CIO

My point is this: I very much don't believe in the cry it out (CIO) method of sleep training, but I do believe that crying can be a form of self soothing and only mama knows when the crying has crossed the line from one to the other.

When I think CIO as a form of
sleep training I think Ferber, I think abondonment, I think a baby crying until he throws up and finally falling asleep because no matter the amount of crying - mom won't comfort him. When I think crying as self soothing I think of my tired baby fussing and whining in bed/crib (the same thing he does in my arms/baby carrier when he's tired) while he winds himself down and out.

I think moms know their babies cries well enough to know the difference between a fussy baby and a cry of fear and abandonment.
In my house we call it the "momma cry" and I hear it starting right now.... gotta run and stick a boob in his mouth :)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

101 in 1001

This is big. I really want to do this. This list was also really hard to make. The harder it was the more meaningful some of the things on the list became, and some silly ones made the cut too.

My mission: Complete 101 preset tasks in 1001 days (~2.75 years)
Inspired by: Day Zero


1. send a secret to
Post Secret
2. write a fan letter
3. become a CPST
4. join a book club
5. give blood
6. go to a baseball game with my grandpa
7. fill one journal
8. write a poem
9. complete our wedding album
10. read Time Magazines Top Ten Books of all Time
11. Get a PenPal
12. Do CPR/First Aid Certification
13. read the Lord Of The Rings Trilogy
14. pan for gems at the State Fair
15. complete a 1500 piece jigsaw puzzle
16. Join a CSA
17. dye my hair (3/10/10)
18. take an art class (sculptural needle felting April 2010)
19. sew a quilt (5/22/2010)
20. knit a sweater
21. lose 30 pounds (in progress)
22. Pay for a strangers meal in a restaurant
23. go to a broadway show
24. see Casablanca (done 11/11/09)
25. finish reading Harry Potter
26. fast for Ramadan
27. learn how to can (July 2010)
28. go to the movies. alone. (done 1/31/10)
29. get my root canal finished
30. read Bill Bryson's 'A Short History of nearly everything'
31. organize all my loose recipes
32. buy and hang 'y las dos fridas'
33. have a yard sale
34. go skinny-dipping
35. go ice skating
36. attend a meditation retreat
37. join the YMCA (Feb 2010)
38. sell something I made
39. Post something on
(Rug! 9/21/09)
40. sleep under the stars
41. sleep 8 hours straight (ha!)
42. *private goal*
43. get a wii
44. hike a section of the AT
45. get new glasses (December 09)
46. scan old family photos (January 2010 for Grandpa's memorial)
47. log 100 miles in 100 days with my strollerometer
48. call Christina
49. attend a birth besides my own (Lorelei 4/8/2010)
50. grow sunflowers (planted 5/12/2010)
51. go tubing
52. get a bike
53. organize my photo boxes
54. for every book I bring into my home, let one go
(In:5 Out:13)
55. host a giveaway on my blog (2/3/2010)
56. get a nice set of flannel bedding
57. dress up for halloween
(Completed 10/31/09)
58. hem all my pants to the correct length (can you believe I've never done this?)
59. write at least one (snail mail) letter a month
60. get a professional family portrait taken
61. attend a midnight mass

With/For Q
62. Start a college fund for Q (3/8/2010)
63. Take Q to an art museum
64. Take Q on a city bus (Completed 1/22/09)
65. Write Q's birth story
66. start some sort of baby book/scrapbook for Q (started 6/13/2010)
67. Get Q a birth certificate
(Completed 12/3/09)
68. take Q to church where we were married
69. Paint 'on the day you were born' canvas (I'll have to explain this one later)
70. Take a baby sign language class
(Completed December 2009)
71. introduce Q to my great aunts
(Completed November 15th 2009)
72. EC exclusively for a full week
73. introduce Q to Rami and Reem
74. take a swim class with Q
75. take a mom and baby music class

With/For B
76. Pay off all consumer debt
(in progress)
77. have another child
78. bring B a picnic lunch at work
79. take an overnight with husband, without child
80. create a will
81. get a safety deposit box (3/8/2010)

82. Go to FRFF
83. Visit Rock Point School (July 2010)
84. Take my family to New Mexico
85. Go to NYC
86. Take Q overseas
87. Go swimming in the ocean
88. Take Q camping (5/15/2010)

89. serve food at a homeless shelter
90. participate in a
march of dimes walk (Scheduled for April 24, 2010)
91. take part in buy nothing day
92. attend a political rally
93. Use all of B's community service time doing service as a family

94. make
Tom Kha Gai soup
95. make homemade marshmallows (3/11/10)
96. make my own puff pastry
97. get an enameled cast iron dutch oven
98. make pesto with a mortar and pestle
99. learn to make an awesome sangria
100. take a wilton cake decorating class
101. Join Tuesday's With Dorie
(Joined 9/22/09)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Personal Best...

I spent $16.93 at the grocery store this morning and that's everything we need for the week! Granted, I had all our proteins in the fridge or freezer already (and some leftover snacks). The closeout produce section was rockin' this morning and had everything I needed marked $1.25 each, got that and some lunch stuff for B, a few things I had coupons for and that was it! That's amazing. Now, if HT starts triples this week I'll be going back to stock up on a few things but I'm very pleased with myself. A lot of this produce needs to get used today so I'm gonna be chopping and cooking and freezing quite a bit, nothing wrong with that though.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Meal Plan Monday

Don't think I forgot or anything, things are just so damn crazy around here these past couple weeks (months, ever since Q was born...) This week was supposed to be very calm and boring but is turning out to be another crazy one and it's only Monday! Anyhow, here's the meals

Monday - leftovers from the cookout
Tuesday - roasted red peppers, balsamic, pine-nutty spinach salad
Wednesday - tofu stirfry (seems to be quite the staple of the middle of the week)
Thursday - turkey meatballs, couscous, steamed veggies
Friday - maybe to K+M's, maybe Sat. night. Whichever night we're at home I'm cooking persian beef
Saturday - maybe to K+M's, maybe Fri. night. Whichever night we're at home I'm cooking persian beef

So which night are you coming for dinner?

SO much fun

I have decided to partake in this $5 etsy scavenger hunt

so each month I have to find something on etsy for $5 and buy it and send it to someone else who is taking part in this and I'll also get something from someone anonymous. When I first heard about it I thought it was neat, but not for me really. But then I browsed etsy and checked out what was available for $5 and thought about how fun it would be for some of these things to show up on someones door step and how fun it would be for me to get something random in the mail each month so I signed myself up!

Here are some of the things I have found for $5 so far.

egg keychain
sink strainer
pet rocks
lightswitch cover
chocolate chip cookies

come on, you'd like to get any of those in the mail right?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Peachy Keen

In our foray into solids thus far we have found that the little one loves peaches. I decided to stock up this past week at the farmer's market and put them in the freezer. I ended up doing peaches 3 ways and I thought I'd share. After I had peeled and pitted them I went ahead and sliced up half of them and put them in gallon bags and put them in the freezer to use for smoothies. Then I took the other half and did a quick mash with a fork so they weren't really mushy but the chunks were pretty small little triangles for Q to gnaw on. I went ahead and put them into little snack size bags with about 1/4 cup of peach chunks in each. This will hopefully be about two servings worth for him. The idea is that I'll be able to pull one bag out of the freezer and pop it in the fridge, when it comes time to eat I can put half right onto his tray and let him go to town. I also took a half of a peach or so and put it in our food processor. We haven't given Q any purees yet and I sort of wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I have to say that it was a lot of fun giving him puree and spoon feeding him - we both enjoyed it actually.
It was probably more about the fun of the spoon than the food on it, but he did consume quite a bit more food in puree form since it didn't gag him as easily. If I was really concerned with him needing more nutrition than breastmilk right now I might do more spoon feeding but as it is I think we'll be keeping it a good mix of all forms of feeding (spoon, puree, chunks, finger foods, off mom's finger, etc)

He wasn't always so sure about whole spoon thing though

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Amazing and Annoying

My son that is. He's becoming such a curious kid these past few weeks and there is no end of distractions and excitement in his world. As you can imagine this interferes with things like sleep, nursing, and general calmness and contentment. But what we gave up in those things we've gained in having a kid who is fascinated by books, by our faces, by our hands, by his toes, but the dog, by clouds, by his toys and by anything else you can think of. Every cast of light and breeze is something new to be explored and understood, even my shirt can provide a lot of contemplation and playing to explore how it folds, bunches, can be chewed on, pulled, etc.

I love to see his world expand by such leaps and bounds, I want him to explore everything and ask questions and make sense of things and experience everything. The problem is that I also want some rest, I want to be able to sit down at my computer for a minute and not have him scream because he just stuck his finger in his eye or gagged himself and threw up or because he pushed the ball in the corner and can't get it or he pushed himself in the corner and can't get out.

It's fun to take him out doing errands during this phase because he's fascinated by everywhere we go - the lights, the sounds, the people.... We went to the vet this past week and wow was that exciting. While being out in public is exciting he also must reach out and try to touch everything. His version of touch also includes putting it in his mouth, so everywhere we go and everything we do has just gotten exponentially more difficult. He's amazing, this time period is a little annoying though.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Meal Plan... Monday

a day late (obviously) and another crazy week around here.

Monday - holiday
Tuesday - bbq, cornbread, collards
Wednesday - peppers, chicken sausage, caraway rolls
Thursday - dinner with family
Friday - party at Derek and Leslie's

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Guess What I Made?

I actually have been sewing, I promise I'll update about that soon. But in the meantime I made a little no-sew fun project.
Can you guess what it is?
Are you getting closer?
right! It's a game of memory

I remember playing this with my grandma when I was a little girl and I wanted to make a simple set for the kids in my life.

I just used some fusible web and a combo of regular and stiffened felt found at any craft store. I traced some simple shapes and ironed them on - they seem to be quite sturdy actually. I originally wanted to sew them down to reinforce them but my brilliant husband reminded me that if I did that then you would be able to see what the shapes were from the other side - duh! Mommy brain at it's finest ladies and germs

Friday, September 4, 2009

Go Bananas

In my latest attempts at frugality as a stay-at-home-mom I've been stopping by the grocery store most mornings after taking my husband to work. It's right next to the house and super convenient so we stop most mornings and check out their close-out sections. The produce is what interests me, you see - they put all the stuff that's ripe and needing to be eaten that day on that close-out shelf and mark it 'priced to sell' - and it's a ton of stuff. I usually take it home and cook with it that day, or I just pop it in the freezer. This morning I got pounds upon pounds of bananas. What to do with all these bananas? Well the obvious - baby food. Yes, but I spent some time googling (and ran across an old schoolmates blog) and found some other things I think we'll be trying with the bananas

one ingredient ice cream

chocolate and nut covered frozen bananas

Now what should I do with my 12 cans of tomatoes that cost me a total of $2 and my 10 bell peppers... freeze them? the bell peppers that is.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Join us for dinner won't you?

We're having spinach, pasta, and a chunky veggie red sauce that we like to make
The cool weather makes me want to light a candle on our dinner table.

The littlest one is having avocado for the first time.

edited to add:
I'm not sure how much he actually ate

Wednesday, September 2, 2009