Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween



Friday, October 29, 2010

On Our Playlist :: Sunny Day

It's a rainy day in our neighborhood, but our house is full of SUNSHINE!!!!




Elizabeth Mitchell's new CD...Sunny Day!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

All Smiles

Emily is all smiles and goo-goo  gaa-gaa these days. I am loving it! It helps offset the sleep deprivation :-)

video

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

In Season :: Pumpkins

My gorgeous girl!



Webb Ranch October 2010

Monday, October 25, 2010

In Season :: Pomegranates




When my mama was a little girl growing up in Southern California, my grandmother used to put her in the bathtub to eat pomegranates. I wish we had a big tub so we could do the same because Gracie has the MOST fun getting the arils out of the skin. We are going to have to get another tree for the garden because our other one was eaten by a deer (?) but I am so grateful that we have these delicious fruits growing in our area. They are our family favorite! Oh, and they are on sale at WF right now. 

Friday, October 22, 2010

Sisterly Love


Wild Cows

Cow wearing Gracie's slippers.


Grace: Mom, how many hands does a wild cow have?

Brook: Cows have four hooves, not hands.

Grace: Well, Cow has disposable thumbs but it is NOT okay if he types on my computer.

I think the correct word is opposable :-)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Banana Bread Porridge

One of our favorite books is about a little Tomten and a Fox. The Tomten protects the farm from the fox by sharing his porridge. Gracie's first question was "what is porridge?" Good quetion. Google to the rescue. Wiki actually. It is any grain that is cooked into a hot cereal. Often oats and we (mama and dada atleast) prefer them steel-cut instead of steamed and rolled. They get a bit old though. The same everyday. Butter. Honey. Cinnamon. And this week what I REALLY wanted for breakfast was banana bread hot out of the oven and smothered with butter. Why did I not think to combine the two earlier?What a revelation!!!


Banana Bread Oats:
serves 2
Soak 1/2 cup steel cut oats overnight in 1 1/2 cups of water
in the morning  cook on medium for 10-15 minutes
add butter
honey
cinnamon
chopped pecans
sliced bananas

Recipe Website

I found this website with LOTS of recipes that appeal to me these days.

Like 20 meals in 20 minutes!

Fast Slow Cooking!

Easy Cheesy Casseroles!

Quick Pantry Suppers!

Plus you can search for a recipe by ingredient so when you have a surplus of Butternut squash from the market, you can get ideas.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Homemade Christmas

I am starting to think of Christmas gifts (gasp) because I would like to make as many of our gifts as possible this year. I am limiting the number of gifts to the girls and family so that what we give is more meaningful and deliberate. I would love to use this advice and only have three or four gifts for the girls. It seems appropriate as Gracie is only three and an exuberant amount of gifts is exhausting and mind-numbing and I don't like spending all Christmas day opening presents.

It would be great if I could get together with some friends to make some crafts and socialize a bit. Two things I am craving right now.

So let me know if it is something YOU would be interested in as well. I have some gift ideas in mind already. What are you making for loved ones this holiday season?

The Good and The Bad

Three Year Old + Construction Paper + Scissors = A Good Idea






Three Year Old + Freeze Dried Blueberries + White Furniture = Bad Idea



Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Song Sacrifice

Mama: "I want to listen to some good music tonight."

Grace: "Well, I want to listen to stories. So you can listen to Pooh Corner before we listen to Winnie the Pooh."

Thanks honey. One song. Twenty stories. Seems fair. :-)

Ahhhhhh........

We mastered the Ergo infant insert today!


I L.O.V.E. my Ergo. It is hands-down the most important baby item in our family. We have logged hours, days, years, miles and miles in ours with Grace and here is Emily's first time.
What a relief for my shoulders! I also love my ring slings and wraps but this carrier is the best.

This is one of my favorite pictures of Grace and I in the Ergo.

Daddy's Birthday Hike 05.20.09



Simple Supper :: Bengal Chicken with Roasted Veggies

"Mama, I want to get brussels sprouts at the farmers market but fill the whole bag to the very, very top."

What three year old says that?


Bengal Masala Chicken:
One package of organic chicken thighs
dust with Bengal Masala Rub with Love (garam masala, cumin, brown sugar)

Halve Brussels
Chop sweet potatos
toss with olive oil S+P
dust half of the potatoes with African Peri Peri Run with Love (red pepper and citrus)

Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes

Christmas 2008
Thanks for the Rub with Love, Auntie Beth!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Babywearing 101


We are a babywearing family. My mom and dad wore me in a corduroy snugli or a backpack when I was a baby. They didn't even own a stroller. I love wearing my babies close to my heart and whole heartedly believe in the many benefits of this ancient art. 

The concept caught on early with Gracie. 
She can and will turn anything into a carrier. Yes, even my bra!



  

  


  




Simple Supper :: Chile Relleno Casserole

My dad made this casselrole for me when I was a little girl. The original recipe used low fat versions and egg beaters but I like to make it full fat, especially these days when I am burning an extra 600+ calories.

I timed myself the other day to see how fast and how easy this meal can be. Nine minutes! All was prepped before naps so that at night when both girls need me, I can just turn on the oven and stove and have things ready with very little hands-on time. The girls both had a cold so they needed my hands more than dinner :-(

Preheat oven to 350
oil baking dish
Mix together
4 eggs
1 cup milk
1/3 cup flour
4 cans green chiles
4 cups (12 oz bag mexican blend) cheese
pour into dish and top with salsa or 8 oz tomato sauce and more cheese
bake 45 minutes

Sunday, October 17, 2010

All Tied Up

Ryan: Did you tie that knot?

Grace: I can't tie knots.

Ryan: Why not?

Grace: Because I'm old and southern. 

Friday, October 15, 2010

Chuggle Train

First Smiles!!!

video

Please excuse the puddle on the floor. My heart melted a bit today!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Yucky Stuff

My pumpkin last year...


This year...

Mama: "Do you want to go trick or treating?"

Gracie: "I do but I am just nervous that they will give me candy and all that yucky stuff. But maybe they can give me a banana."

Gotcha!

Gracie has a new home--a very little home made out of cardboard that her Grammie and Grandpa Coffee got her while they were visiting. The other day she was eating her lunch in it with her "kiddos" and having quite an adorable conversation with them. So I peeked in and took a photo of her....


with underwear on her head!





Slow Beans

In a 1.5 quart slow cooker add
1 and a 1/3 cup pinto beans
3 cups water
cook for 3 hours
add 1 tsp salt and cook for another hour
unplug or put on warm setting

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

First Cold

We all have a cold around here and Em and I did not sleep so we may not visit this space for a few days to catch our breath and feel better. Hope you are all healthy!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

School Time

"All the five year olds are going to school. Stillwater is the teacher."




Monday, October 11, 2010

Simple Supper :: Tomato Garlic Soup



My favorite restaurant growing up was the Restaurant On The Corner, known to locals as ROTC). I LOVED their tomato soup and salad with sprouts. That is probably why a good bowl of soup and a crisp salad is hands down, still my favorite meal. So for Christmas 1999, my mom gave me my favorite cookbook, Moosewood's Daily Specials with the following inspirational inscription inside:

Brook, May you always find joy and caring in the meals you cook and share.
It is a blessing to honor those you love with a fine meal. Love, Mom

Everyday in Ithaca, New York, the restaurant offers a daily special of a soup and salad. While Ryan and I were living in Connecticut we were seriously considering driving to Ithaca just for the lunch special. Then we saw that it would be a very long drive. Too long for a day trip and we never made it there for a vacation. So now that we are on the west coast, I cook out of the cookbook very often to get a feel of the restaurant. Delicious recipes and literally, every recipe I have tried is spot on perfection. 

Today we made their tomato soup for the first time. Why, oh why did it take me 11 years to make this recipe? They have been perfecting it for over thirty five years! And again, it is perfect.

Classic Tomato Garlic Soup
adapted from Moosewood's Daily Special Cookbook

Saute:
1 Tsp evoo
4 cloves garlic until slightly browned
add
1 Tsp paprika

**chef's tip** measure your spice caps so you know how much they hold and can skip the measuring spoons. mine held a little under a tablespoon so I will just fill the lid next time.


2 cans of tomatoes in tomato juice (I used TJ's organic diced)
1 cup water or vegetable broth
1/4 cup applesauce (the recipe calls for sherry but we are out)

cook for 10-15 minutes and then blend until smooth with an immersion blender

For herbed croutons:
preheat oven to 350 degrees
dice four slices of bread
toast in oven for 15 minutes
 combine in a small saucepan
1 Tsp evoo
1 Tsp butter
pinch of thyme
pinch of marjoram
toss croutons in butter mix and let cool
serve soup with croutons and parmesan cheese on top

Alterations:
Sopa de Tortilla: omit paprika and sherry, use cumin, coriander, onion, bell pepper and tortillas
Tuscan: Add pesto and garbanzos and top with feta

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Ten Things

10.10.10

Ten things that I am thankful for today:

1. Ryan :: After 13 years, I love him more than ever. I really like him as a person too. Plus did you see that picture of him making a cappuccino while wearing Emily? H.O.T.

2. Home :: Our little cottage in the redwoods is such a peaceful sanctuary but in silicon valley. I am so fortunate to live where I do. Near the city, near the beach, near so many amazing people and places that we will never tire of it.

3. Family :: My mom came out for three weeks when Em was born to help take care of Gracie, me and Ryan. She cooked, she cleaned, she played and played and played. I just wish she could have stayed longer. Ryan's parents came out too and Gracie had so much fun with them. She is already planning our next trips to AR and CO. I am also so thankful that I live near my Uncle Doug and Aunt Betty and our cousins S,S,D,D,K,R. We love them SO much!

4. Friends :: Ryan and I passed a great house in the city last weekend and dreamed about buying it. Then I said "I can't even think about moving away from my friends." To show you how amazing my girlfriends are...they are bringing us meals over the next month when Ryan goes back to work. So when Emily is non-stop nursing at 5 pm on, our family will have something to eat.

5. Gracie's Friends :: You can not imagine the deep love Grace has for her friends. Having kids is a great way to meet friends that have similar values and enthusiasm for life. We are so lucky to have extended our "family" here in the Bay area.

6. Sunshine :: The sun is shining into our house right now and making everything golden. The slanting sun this time of year seems to make everything more beautiful doesn't it? This weather is perfect!

7. Food :: On the weekends, we actually have to choose which farmers market we are going to go to because there are so many around here. Year round! And I still want to take pictures of the stalls of fresh fruits and vegetables, freshly baked bread, and artisan cheeses because they are so picture perfect not to mention delicious! It makes cooking so much fun.

8. Holidays :: I love this time of year for the anticipation and excitement that it brings. Planning a costume, thinking of the next delectable dish to bring to the family table, the magic of Santa. It is so much more fun now that we have little ones and we see the sparkle in there eyes.

9. My Job :: I could not have imagined how incredible it is to be a mom. Nor could I have imagined how lucky I am to get to be a full time mama. I get to explore, play, create, laugh, teach, learn and smile everyday with these little ones. It is hard work but it is so incredibly fun.

10. My Girls :: I still get choked up when I say "my girls." Even though Emily is only a couple of weeks old, I feel like I have always known her and that she has always been a part of this family. And my dear Gracie. She is my best friend and I am so lucky to get to be her mama. She is only three but she is the most amazing person I know.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

My Barista

Why do I love this man????


Because he can wear a baby AND make a mean cappuccino. xo

Gracie: "Is that cute or what?!?"

Friday, October 8, 2010

Three Weeks


Emily makes this ADORABLE little puckered lip face when she is concentrating on something. This time as I was trying to get a three week photo in low light she was concentrating on....filling her diaper. 

Sisterly Love

I am amazed and humbled by how pure and immense their love is for each other already. I can only imagine how it will grow over their lifetimes.


"Mama, is Emily always going to be with me? Even when I am old? And after you and dada die? I love her so much!"

I am so glad that these girls will always have each other...long after I am gone.

My Little Pumpkins

My mama used to call me pumpkin. Now I have two of my own.


Webb Ranch




Thursday, October 7, 2010

Mini Me

Everyone used to say that Ryan and Gracie look alike but get a load of this. Maybe if I was bald, people would think my girls looked like me!?!

Emily :: 2 weeks, 4 days

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Successful Sleep

She was asleep in the hammock....well, for five minutes anyway.


In the sling, it is another story. She will sleep for hours!!!


PPJ!




Tuesday, October 5, 2010

No-Bake (One-Handed) Cookies

Maybe it is a southern thing but I grew up with these cookies. As soon as I was old enough to cook on the stove, my girlfriends and I would make these delicious no-bake cookies. So when Gracie was down for a nap today and I had Emily nursing on my left arm (well, she was nursing and I was holding her with my left arm) I wondered if I could make these using only one hand. Guess what? You can! Perfect mommy afternoon treat. So I made a little mess but I can clean that up later when I have two hands again.

Do you have any recipes that are one-handed? It will come in handy over the next couple of months. Feel free to share in the comments section.


In a sauce pan combine:
2 cups sugar (maybe less next time, these were a bit sweet)
1 stick butter
4+ Tsps cocoa (I used Scharffen Berger)
1/2 cup milk

after it has boiled for one minute add:
3 cups oats
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup+ peanut butter

use a 2tsp melon baller (if attempting this with one hand) to scoop onto wax paper or a silpat
let cool until hardened ~45 minutes

store in the freezer, in a ziploc so you don't eat them all in one sitting
or sit down on the couch, nurse your baby and eat as many as you please

My Wicked Little Witch

"Mama, I want to be the Wicked Witch for Halloween and you can be Gretel and Dada can be Hansel and Emily could be a little oven."


Can you spot her in the oven? It is amazing the small spaces that she can fit into.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Two Weeks

Honey Bunny Love


video


She makes the cutest little bird sounds and Gracie thinks she can already talk. :-)
Mama, she just said "O" and "Emmie"