Monday, January 31, 2011

Simple Supper :: Split Pea Soup

One of my favorite soups when I was a little girl (and also when I was pregnant with my little girls!) was split pea soup. We'll find out tonight if it is also Gracie's favorite. It is such a simple slow cooker recipe.

Split Pea Soup

2 Tsp olive oil
8 small carrots - diced
1 onion - diced
8-12 oz cured ham - chopped - I found Niman Ranch Smoked Ham at TJ's!!!
4 cups split peas
12 cups water

cook on high until peas are soft
cook on low until dinner time

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Morning On The Farm

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

On Our Bookshelf :: The Slow Race

A mama recommended this lovely book to us this weekend at the Ohana Family Gathering. Hopefully, it will be on our bookshelf soon!
What a simple, ingenious idea. You use the wood pieces  to recreate the story as it unfolds, shaping it into a butterfly, boy, bicycle, etc.

Monday, January 24, 2011


Gracie (aka Fern) is so in love with Charlotte's Web and Wilbur these days. So much so, that Emily is sometimes her "brother Avery" because Fern has a brother, not a sister. She made a bottle for him (out of tape, a yogurt container and a pacifier) so she could give him milk three times a day. She is going to be an amazing mama someday! Actually, she already is. 

Friday, January 21, 2011


G: Mama, how can we make mud for Wilbur?
B: We should make a brown silky!
G: Why?
B: Then we could pretend that the silky is mud.
G: I have a better solution. Let's make a big hole in our ceiling and put dirt all over the floor. Then when it rains, it will mix with the dirt and make MUD!

Yes, that would be a much better solution. Why didn't I think of that?

A Pizza Party

We had dear friends over last night for a pizza party so I thought I would share just exactly how we make pizza here in The Coffee Cottage. A few friends have asked for more recipes and how-to's.

So here goes...

First prep toppings.

I like taking a look at Delancy for inspiration and seasonal ideas. i.l.o.v.e.m.o.l.l.y. and have enjoyed reading her book, her blog and watching her dream restaurant become a reality.

Tonight we are having four pizzas (actually 2 topped half and half)

1. Gracie and Nyla's favs : mozzerela, artichoke hearts and black olives

2. The Crimini: shaved crimini mushrooms (use a cheese grater or mandoline), mozz, olive oil and thyme

3. The Margarita: mozz, sliced grape tomatoes and chopped fresh basil

and a new AMAZING pizza. I could have this again

4. The Romana: anchovies, garlic, sliced grape tomatoes, kalamata olives, oregano, grana
and this chili oil. Add more oil after cooking.

***Thanks Auntie Beth for the Sotto Voce Oils!!!***

Put pizza stone into the oven and Preheat the oven to 425.
Take pizza dough (I like TJ's whole wheat dough) out of fridge to rise (on flour) for twenty minutes wile oven and stone heat up.

Flatten dough into 12" circle and then carefully pick up and throw up into air to spread out without breaking dough. This takes practice but is incredibly fun and once you get the hang of it, it is like riding a bike...a skill you always have and a good skill to have in my opinion.

I like a thin crispy crust so I make a large pizza. Take HOT stone out of oven , sprinkle with course cornmeal, put dough onto crust and quickly top and get back into the oven as quickly as possible. Cook 15-20 minutes.

Being quick also takes a lot of practice. I like to be able to do this in a couple of minutes to get the best pizza possible. We have pizza almost every Friday night so we are efficient around here now but I had lots of torn crust, under cooked, overcooked pizza,  etc. for a long time.

I encourage you to try this at home. You may just never want to eat at a pizzeria again. After having the Romana last night, I probably won't. It is really that AMAZING!

Scout, Sky Blue Eyes and A Starry Night

Thanks Dave, Diane, Kayla and Ryan for the adorable "scout" hat!

Gracie learned about Van Gogh's Starry Night this week in art class 
and then created her own beautiful interpretation. 

Le Petit Princess

We don't really have enough room for this lovely rocket in our cottage but we know a few friends who do. Many of whom LOVE outer space as much as my little princess. They have this "Color Me Rocket" at the Playstore right now. Made in USA!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Perfect Pair

Two of my favorite things...quinoa and chocolate! Could this pass as health food?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Something you never want to hear....

"Mama, why do you have poop all over you?"

We ALL got a bit messy today :-)

But Emily and I were the only ones that needed a COMPLETE change of clothes. Three and three quarters into this "mama job" and this is thankfully the first time I have been covered like this. Knock on wood. 

Thumb's Up

Isn't this the cutest?!!? I would love for Emily to be a "thumbsucker" so she could pacify herself with her own flesh and blood. It would make car rides much easier. Plus, it is just so adorable!!!

Four Months...

She grabbed her feet yesterday and put them right in her mouth :-)


We LOVED the westy. Absoutely LOVED it!
However, VW engines are not that reliable and it was a bit spooky driving it in the wind. We followed a neighbor when we spotted her Sienna with a high top, suspecting it had a camper and sure enough, they had converted it into a camper. It is just like the Westfalia on the inside but on a toyota. A TOYOTA! Ryan and I have always had toyotas. And now we may just be adding to the lineage again. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

SImple Supper :: Chicken Enchilada Casserole

We have a routine these days in the kitchen.
Sunday: Roast Chicken
Monday : Slow Cook Chicken all day and night
Tuesday: Enjoy Chicken again in the form of chicken soup with rice, chicken soup with kale and tortellini, or enchiladas like these.

Thanks Kari for the tip!

Chicken Enchilada Casserole:
Simply layer
enchilada sauce
corn tortillas
shredded chicken
enchilada sauce
corn tortillas
shredded chicken
enchilada sauce
in a baking dish and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes

you can also add yogurt/sour cream, black olives in the layers or add them after with avocado like we did tonight.

Serve with a side of black beans with cumin
Add Pacifico, lime and habanero salsa and you are in SB again

Monday, January 17, 2011

On Our Bookshelf :: Long Life Noodles

Here is a fun recipe from a fun book called The Story of Noodles.

Long Life Noodles:
1 pound cooked spaghetti (whole wheat, brown rice, buckwheat, angel hair, whatever is your favorite)

for the sauce:
4 green onions, white part only, chopped (I may use this as a garnish as Gracie does not like onions...yet)
4 small cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup smooth almond or peanut butter
1 cup coconut or soy milk
2 Tsps lemon juice
2 Tsps soy sauce to taste (or salt)

1/2 cup roasted nuts
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Friday, January 14, 2011

I Love Art

We started an art class yesterday and are absolutely in love. It is really unstructured and the (amazing) teacher lets the kids go wherever they want to with the medium. Yesterday the were using clay to make candleholders, for those winter days and nights without electricity around here or for around the family dinner table. Gracie's favorite was the garlic press which she used to "make a nest" around the candle. They also had story time and free art and play to do as they chose. It was a great peek into Gracie's school days in the future. The wonder in her eyes was enchanting!

Just a Little Work

Nothing like working on the Joule Class Laser System in the morning. 
So she wants to be an astronaut physicist, a humanitarian and a mama. Good choices. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Close Up


She talks all of the time. Her smiles are bigger than the sky.
She is rolling over and grasping for hair she wishes she had. 
She is growing up faster than this mama would prefer. 

She talks all of the time. Her smile is bigger than the universe.
She loves to skip and show me how much faster she can run everyday. 
She has grown up to be the most amazing person I have ever met. 

I love you so my precious little angels!

***Thank you everyone for being so supportive with Gracie's procedure yesterday. We are so fortunate to have such amazing people in my life! This picture was taken a couple of days ago but I am taking my camera to our art class and the playground today so I will be able to share her new smile with you soon. And yes, she did get another $20 bill under her pillow. She wants to buy another pig for the farm :-)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Recovery with a New Friend and Some Soup

Gracie had to have her front tooth extracted today. She was such a wonderful patient and didn't complain of any pain. She fell on her bad tooth again last night and chipped it again but was excited that the tooth fairy might bring enough money for her to get that adorable pig at Whole Foods that she has "always wanted." It is actually a warming pad full of lavender but it is a great kids toy. The aromatherapy seems to help her sleep! She loves Charlotte's Web so it's name is Wilbur (Wilburt) I had called this morning to make sure it was still there but asked the man at customer service to leave it on the shelf instead of behind the desk. We arrived a couple of hours later, Gracie with tooth fairy money ($20!!!) in hand and when she spotted him on the shelf there was a note attached that read: "This pig is NOT for sale UNLESS you lost a tooth. Thanks, Whole Foods Market Management." So sweet!
Need less to say, after the visit to the dentist's office we watched Charlotte's Web on the couch, made some tasty soup and cuddled with our new friend. Maybe she'll get another $20 tonight. Who knew the tooth fairy could come two nights in a row?!? Lucky kid!

Tooth Fairy Soup:
mirepoix (onion, carrots, celery)
8 cups chicken broth from the roasted chicken this weekend
1 bunch of purple kale
2 cans chickpeas
one package fresh cheese tortellini

Cook until soft enough for a toothless smile, which you will surely see a picture of soon.

I was worried about that smile leading up to this but it has returned and is too cute. She does this cute little thing where she sticks her tongue in the hole where her tooth used to be while she smiles. It just kills me!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Morning Love

You'll love this one honey

Gracie and I made shadow puppets last night with the guidance of one of our great Christmas presents (Thanks Auntie Beth!) Everyday is a Holiday - Year-Round Crafting with Kids. 

Punxsutawney Phil talking to the owl: "Okay Bob. Bye Bye."

It looks like she will love Cusack as much as we do!

Monday, January 10, 2011


THIS was the view from our camper last week. In my entire life, the two most beautiful sunsets I have seen were this one and another in SB when I was a teenager. I was driving with my dad and made him pull off the road so I could get a picture of it. I still treasure that photo and the fun memories of road trips with my dad. He surely is smiling down on us as I take hundreds of photos of sunsets like this one.