Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Counting Down!

Any day is a possibility! We have everything pretty set for Baby Girl to arrive now. I mean, doesn't everyone need their pantry items labeled before a baby's arrival??? Truthfully, I just love labels but it's also to make finding things easier for visiting guests ... should they feel inclined to bake! Oh, and you gotta love the rainbow of cloth diapers waiting to be rotated through every couple of hours. I'm convinced she's going to have the cutest bum!

Navy Blue Pink Floral Beanie (6-12 months)

Crocheting baby beanies is a relaxing thing to do during kick counts before bed time :o)

Available on Etsy!

Baby Blue Green Floral Beanie (6-12 months)

Available on Etsy!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Pink & Cream Floral Navy Trim Beanie (0-3 months)

Trying out different color combinations with accent trims creates endless possibilities!

Available on Etsy!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Gray Pink Floral Beanie (0-6 months)

Oh, I'm in love with scalloped baby beanies and floral accessories. I think I need to make a bigger one for myself....! Maybe some matching Mommy & Me floral beanies??

Available on Etsy!

Gray Green Floral Beanie (0-6 months)

Baby Girl's hiccups continue about three times daily and her being upside down now seems to bring her feet in contact with my ribs more often. Crocheting takes my mind off the Braxton-Hicks contractions that are increasing in strength and frequency. Everyday we are getting closer to meeting our sweet Baby Girl!

Available on Etsy!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Gray Strawberry Mint Floral Beanie (12-18 months)

Super cute any day of the week! Maybe even for a 1 year photo shoot??? 

And then I had to add a cream shell trim.... I just HAD to!

Available on Etsy!

Pink Floral Beanie (0-3 months)

With Baby Girl due to arrive any day in the next couple of weeks, I'm trying to finish up some projects (who am I kidding, I'm probably finishing AND starting some projects). Baby beanies are just too cute to resist....

Check it out on Etsy!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Kale and Mushroom Puffed Pancake

The batter for this puffed pancake can be used for a sweet or savory dish. Serve it up for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner! Very easy, your everyday ingredients, and minimal prep. 
2 tablespoons butter
3 extra-large eggs
1/2 cup soy milk
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups sliced mushrooms
2 leaves of kale, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

  1. Place butter in a 10-inch ovenproof skillet. Place in a 400°F oven until butter melts. For batter, in a medium bowl use a wire whisk to beat eggs until combined. Add flour, milk, and salt beat until mixture is smooth. Immediately pour batter into the hot skillet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until puffed and browned. 
  2. Meanwhile, wash and prepare vegetables. Sauté vegetables in skillet with olive oil. Add balsamic vinegar. Continue to sauté vegetables until they've reached desired tenderness. 
  3. When pancake is beautifully puffy, slide it out onto a cutting board, pour in vegetables, add cheese if desired (goat cheese with dried cranberries and sliced almonds are a delicious addition), roll up, and cut to serve.

Recipe adapted from "Puffed Oven Pancake" recipe from Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book 75th Anniversary Edition.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Rotisserie Chicken Noodle Soup

Rotisserie chicken, how many ways can I tell you I love you. One fond memory goes back to graduate school. My roommates and I would drive home from the grocery store, salivating at the aroma of rotisserie chicken wafting from the trunk. As soon as we arrived back at our apartment, without even putting away all the groceries, we'd pull out the chicken and dig in. Uncivilized? Starving graduate students? Call us what you will, we savored every bit of that chicken. Tonight, my husband and I enjoyed the chicken in soup form.

rotisserie chicken+broth from boiling the bones of a rotisserie chicken
+Japanese udon noodles+carrots+scallions

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Foodie Baby

Same weekend, three years ago, we met up in Phoenix, Arizona from all over the country to celebrate sisterhood and my upcoming marriage. Two and a half years ago, we met up in Woodbury, Minnesota and danced the night away at my wedding. This past weekend, we once again joined together but in Tucson, Arizona. We joined together with macaroons from San Francisco, cake pops from Houston, and a jet-lagged D.C. traveler who returned less than a week ago from a month in India. This time we celebrated the joy (and adventure) of motherhood! Baby Girl has reached a milestone of full-term at 37 weeks - we are all anxiously awaiting her arrival. It definitely takes a village to raise a child. We are blessed to have so much support and warm open arms to welcome our Baby Girl into this world!

Macarons and Poms

Mint and Raspberry Ice Cubes

Carousel of Orange Chocolate Cupcakes with Raspberry Cream Cheese Frosting. Dried Calimyrna Organic (Unsweetened and Unsulfured) Figs. Ingredients for Cucumber Dill Avocado Sandwiches on Marbled Rye.

French Vanilla Cake Pops

(Photographs by Husband)

Parents-To-Be and Sisters

Below is the menu prepared by my lovely sisters. Thank you!!!!

Chicken Tarragon Tea Sandwiches

Orange Chocolate Cupcake with Raspberry Cream Cheese Frosting

(we used a different cream cheese frosting recipe (1 stick butter to 2 pkg cream cheese, 2 cups powdered sugar and adding in 1/2 cup raspberry preserves )  

French Vanilla Cake Pops
Janice's Adventures in Cake Pops Blog

Cucumber/Avocado Dill Sandwich

Marble Rye Bread
Mashed up Avocado
Sliced Cucumber
Goat Cheese/Cream Cheese with dried dill and garlic powder

Spinach Dip
Served in sour dough bread bowl with veggies (jicama, grape tomatoes, baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, mini peppers, sugar snap peas, cucumbers)

Kielbasa Puffs
Puff Pastry
Kielbasa Sausage

Cheese/Grape Platter
Sharp Cheddar
Goat Cheese (rolled in dried cranberries and almonds)
Calimyrna Figs
Green Grapes
Red Grapes

Pink Lemonade Punch
Cran Raspberry Concentrate (1 part) 
Pink Lemonade Concentrate (2 part)
Ginger Ale
Raspberry Sherbet

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Clam Chowder

It's in the 40's with nightly lows in the 20's and finally feels like winter (well, at least for a few days). You know what that means... soup weather! I've been thinking about clam chowder for awhile now. After a day of cleaning the house between baby hiccups and Braxton Hicks contractions, a hot bowl of clam chowder sounds like the perfect way to end the day.

Fresh thyme from the garden!
Total Time: a leisurely 45 minutes including prep
two 6.5oz cans chopped clams
1 can unsalted canned sweet corn
3 medium russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
3 cups soy milk (use whatever you have)
3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  1. Drain canned clams, reserving juice. If juice doesn't equal 1 cup, add water. 
  2. Add clam juice, potatoes, onion, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, salt, and pepper into large saucepan. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, about 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Mash potatoes slightly against the side of the pan. 
  3. Stir together milk and flour; add to potato mixture. Cook and stir until slightly thickened and bubbly. Stir in clams and corn. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Cook for a few minutes or until heated through. Serve hot as is or with sourdough!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Getting Closer!

The count down is on! With approximately one month left to go, Baby Girl's dresser is organized, the crib is set up (who are we kidding, the crib has been set up for months...but mostly because it arrived earlier than anticipated), the car seat has gone through a test drive, and the number of doctor's appointments has substantially increased. We're all looking forward to meeting you Baby Girl!

This thing called "pregnancy brain" must be real stuff...below are recent offenders:

  1. I "lost" a set of keys only to find them in a different pocket in my purse 8 hours later (later I realized they were "missing" for almost a week???).
  2. I "lost" my flash drive only to find it in my lunchbox the next day.

1st and 2nd trimester "oops" include (but aren't limited to):

  1. Shaking down a bag of instant oatmeal not knowing there was an open slit until there was oatmeal all over the kitchen counter and floor.
  2. Going to the grocery store because I was craving apples. Came home with 2 lb of apples but then realized I should have done the rest of my grocery shopping.
  3. Backing out of a parking lot with my sun shield still up.
  4. Going home a "different" way from the grocery store and getting lost a mile from home.
What crazy things have you done when pregnant (or attributed "pregnancy brain" to)?

Chocolate-Swirl Gingerbread

A week is up! In my Not Your Everyday Cucumber Sandwich post, I mentioned trying out at least one new recipe every week. Yesterday I made a lasagna but it was more of a re-make of a previously blogged lasagna recipe. So what'll it be today? I found a beautiful recipe for exotic fruit gelées but need to pick up some ... exotic fruit. Or how about a chocolate-swirl gingerbread? OoOoooO I do have all the ingredients for that.... A friend of mine just posted this cozy quiche with an unconventional tart recipe that I'm itching to try.... After an hour of perusing cookbooks with my toasted peanut butter and Nutella topped English muffins, I decided to go with the chocolate-swirl gingerbread. The recipe is from Great Food Fast: From the Kitchens of Martha Stewart Living (slight adaptations in parentheses).

Prep: 15 minutes     Total Time: 45 minutes

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups (unbleached) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten (I used an extra-large egg because I didn't have a large egg)
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and slightly cooled (I used semi-sweet because I didn't have bittersweet)
  1. Preheat the oven to 325F. Butter an 8-inch square pan (I like to use the butter wrapper). In a bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, ginger, baking powder, salt, pepper, and cloves.
  2. Melt the butter in 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan over medium heat (I used a glass bowl in the microwave), and stir the mixture into the dry ingredients until smooth. Stir in the molasses and lightly beaten egg (I re-used the glass bowl the butter was melted in, to beat the egg).
  3. Pour half the batter into the prepared pan. With a spoon, drizzle half the chocolate over the batter. Pour the remaining batter on top, and drizzle the remaining chocolate over the batter in a decorative pattern.
  4. Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Not Your Everyday Cucumber Sandwich

I would love to make a 2013 resolution be "cook my way through a cookbook" but it just won't be feasible. Too much pressure. Maybe trying out at least one new recipe every week is much more promising. It doesn't have to be completely new recipe with ingredients I've never heard of but it has to be something different (and not just "a little different" because I'm missing an ingredient at home and decide to use something else similar). Although, now that I think about it, I probably already do this. However, I'd like to be more intentional about it. Every week will include the goal of trying out at least one new recipe. This morning's adventure was a Lemon Custard Cake recipe from Food Everyday: Great Food Fast. This evening's trial was cucumber sandwiches from Party Basics by Cornelia Schinharl, Sebastian Dickhaut, and Kelsey Lane. My husband and I made a few minor alterations....

Servings: 4 sandwiches (we ended up eating all of them because it didn't seem like they'd hold up to bringing for lunch the next day)

  • 1/2 cucumber (we used a whole one...we really like cucumbers)
  • 1 avocado (we used two because the one we bought seemed too small)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, salt (not sure how much lemon juice was used, squeezed half a juicy large lemon)
  • 4 leaves of head lettuce (maybe more like 8)
  • 2/3 cup of cream cheese at room temperature (we used 4 wedges of Laughing Cow® light creamy Swiss)
  • 1 tablespoon horseradish from a jar (we forgot to buy this so omitted it)
  • 8 slices of sandwich bread
  • 1 handful radish sprouts, alfalfa sprouts or cress (we used alfalfa sprouts)*
  • curry powder (initially wary of this but glad we tried it because it's awesome)
  1. Peel cucumber and slice diagonally into 1/4" slices. Cut avocados in half, remove pits, peel, and mash with fork with lemon juice and season with salt.
  2. Rinse lettuce, dry. Combine cream cheese with horseradish (if you bought these items) and spread on all bread slices (we plopped on the Laughing Cow® and spread). Top half of the bread slices with cucumbers and spread the avocado cream on the other half.
  3. Sprinkle sprouts over the cucumbers and season with salt and curry powder. Top with lettuce leaves, then the other bread slice with the avocado side down. 

*Note: Pregnant women should avoid raw sprouts due to the high risk of contamination from Salmonella or E. coli. If you really can't resist, nuke them in the microwave until steaming hot to decrease the risk. For more information, check out USDA Food Safety for Pregnant Women.

Lemon Custard Cakes

My husband and I spent the last hours of 2012 perusing newly acquired cookbooks from a local used bookstore. Oh the tasty dishes to come in 2013! One we couldn't wait to make are these lemon custard cakes out of the Food Everyday: Great Food Fast cookbook with recipes from Martha Stewart Living. Recently we spent a weekend up with my in-laws and had the pleasure of picking the sweetest, juiciest lemons you'll ever get your hands on. The smell of freshly picked lemons make me smile.

Servings: 6          Prep: 20 minutes      Total Time: 45 minutes
  • unsalted butter, at room temperature for greasing custard cups (I actually forgot this step)
  • 3 large eggs, separated (didn't have large so used extra large)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (I used unbleached and probably added a little more than 2 tablespoons to compensate for the extra liquid from the extra large eggs)
  • 2-3 teaspoons grated lemon zest (I used zest from 1 large lemon)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (I used the zested large lemon)
  • 1 cup milk (I used soy milk because we don't usually have cow's milk in the fridge)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Set a kettle of water to boil. Butter six 6-ounce custard cups, and place them in a roasting pan or baking dish lined with a kitchen towel. What I did: I used a large Pyrex and boiled water in the microwave right before putting the custards in the oven. I also forgot to butter the cups but I used ramekins, not custard cups and they seemed to come out just fine. No roasting pan, lined a baking dish with a kitchen towel (never tried that trick before but it's supposed to help the water circulate under the cups for even cooking!). 
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and granulated sugar until the mixture is light; whisk in the flour. Gradually whisk in the lemon zest and juice, then whisk in the milk. 
  3. With an electric mixture, beat the egg whites and salt until soft peaks form. Add to the lemon mixture; gently fold in with a whisk (the batter will be thin). 
  4. Divide the batter among the prepared cups. Place the pan in the oven, and fill with boiling water to reach halfway up the sides of the cups. Bake until the puddings are puffed and lightly browned, 20 to 25 minutes (mine needed 25-28 minutes). Serve warm or at room temperature, dusted with confectioners' sugar if desired (we skipped the pretty sugar, let them cool about 5 minutes before digging in). The cakes should be creamy and custardy beneath their golden, cakey tops.