Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Baby Sun Hats and Headbands

With the higher temps, it's time to put away baby sweaters and beanies ... and bring out the cotton yarn! To protect our baby's sweet cheeks from the sun, I'm experimenting with a mish mash of different patterns to make her the perfect sun hat. From there I thought, crocheted floral headbands would make a fun summer accessory too! Here's a sneak peak of a work in progress... more to come!

Will be adding a band and flower! Future post with finished product to come!

Wait a minute...I have an idea!!! What if the headband goes AROUND the hat??? It's a 2 in 1! When she's wearing the hat, she wears both and when she takes the hat off, she wears the headband!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Grilled Hake with Mango Salsa

In the desert, we don't get much of a spring. Summer just jumps out of nowhere and you're hit with 90 degree weather. I suppose "true" summer is triple digits. When it gets hot, we minimize stove-use to keep the house cooler. Taking advantage of the grill means there are usually less dishes to wash so you can spend more time relaxing and less time cleaning! Last night, this delicious grilled hake was served with (a rendition of) mango salsa, grilled asparagus, and whole wheat linguine topped with steamed kale, spinach, and garlic. To avoid using the stove at all you could serve a side salad of raw kale and spinach with other veggies instead of the linguine with steamed veggies. Any combo you do, make it colorful, flavorful, and fun! 

This saltwater fish is related to cod. It's low in fat and comes whole, as a fillet, or as a steak. In this dish, I used fillets and prepared them on the grill!

  • 2 hake fillets
  • 1 lemon, 6 slices not counting the ends (or however many you need to go the length of the fillets)
  • dry or fresh dill
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
Pat dry hake. Note: To avoid getting raw fish juices everywhere, I placed a paper towel on the edge of the aluminum foil the fish was to be wrapped in and placed the fish there to pat dry. Next, arrange lemon slices in two rows on aluminum foil. Place fish on top of lemon slices. Season with salt and pepper. Add dill on top. Drizzle with olive oil. Carefully wrap it up. Grill on medium for 10 minutes (about 10 minutes per inch thickness). Hake will be tender and flake easily when done.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Fig and Walnut Oatmeal Cookies

Craving oatmeal cookies. Looking in the fridge, I see dried figs and walnuts begging to be eaten. Sure they could go in a kale salad dressed with a balsamic vinegar reduction (drool)... but this afternoon, they're going into oatmeal cookies! Nutty. Chewy. Subtle sweet crunch from the fig seeds. What a fun cookie!

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Yield: 3 dozen
Bake Time: 10 minutes per batch

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 stick butter, room temperature
1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla 
1/2 cup unsulfured and unsweetened dried figs, chopped
1 cup walnuts, chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and oats in a bowl.
  3. In electric mixer, add butter and cream in brown and white sugars for about 1 minute.
  4. Beat in egg. Mix vanilla. Mix in flour mixture. Stir in figs and walnuts.
  5. In walnut-sized mounds, place about a dozen cookies per parchment-lined sheet tray (about two inches apart, they will spread out a smidgen ..or you can be daring and fit 16 cookies on a sheet about one inch apart and hope they don't meld together into one large cookie). If you prefer flatter cookies, push down gently on the mounds and reduce baking time by a minute or two.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove and let cool on pan for 5 minutes (or however long it takes you to prepare the next tray to go into the oven) before transferring cookies to wire rack to completely cool. I like to go back and forth between two parchment-lined baking sheets to reuse the same sheets of parchment paper. Clean-up during down time so you don't have to do it all at the end.
  7. Store in airtight container once cooled. You probably won't need to worry about storage because they won't be hanging around for long!
Note: When I need brown sugar, I'm often faced with a brown sugar brick because I don't use brown sugar often enough to go through a bag before it gets rock hard (and perhaps living in the desert where the moisture is sucked out of everything doesn't help). I've heard of putting in a slice of bread or apple slices to make it soft for the next day but that takes time and I don't often plan a day ahead for what I'm going to bake the next day. So, here's the quick, immediate use method. Place brown sugar brick in a microwave-safe bowl. Fill another microwave-safe bowl with some water. Place both bowls in the microwave and nuke for 30 seconds at at time until brown sugar is soft. Make sure you keep checking so it doesn't overheat and melt!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Kristjian's Newborn Photo Shoot - 04/06/2013

Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting a family and their newest addition - welcome to the world Kristjian! This adorable 3 week old is born into a beautiful loving family with brothers and sisters to teach him how to swim, and color, and giggle the day away!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Early Reflections

I can hardly believe our baby girl is already 2 months old! It is such a joy watching her grow and learn new things everyday. Through the fussy evenings and inopportune diaper blow-outs (although, when do they ever happen at a good time?), we continue to love little Miss Evelyn more and more each day. Her sweet sweet cheeks with those chubby arms and legs make our hearts melt. She recently discovered her hands, arms, and legs can grab, flail, and kick! She focuses on the voices of Mommy and Daddy and smiles when playing. So much fun! As new parents, we've been on a fast learning curve as well. It's amazing how much you can do with one hand when you have to - I may end up ambidextrous in another couple of months (not really). It's also mind boggling how refreshed one can feel after sleeping 4 hours (when compared to 1 hour intervals!). I hope we never forget the little moments. The little moment of appreciation for having a healthy baby. The little moment when our baby girl looks up at us in a break of crying and relaxes the instant we soothe her (or when she has been crying with her eyes closed and stops crying once she opens her eyes and realizes we are holding her!). The little moment of feeling like everything comes together as we watch our baby girl sleep so peacefully through our tired eyes. 

What are some moments you cherish with your child? 

What do you remember from those early months and hope to never forget?