Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Peach Galette

If you're like me, you have a couple recipes that you've made many, many times. The peach galette is that recipe. Peaches are in season now, but I have substituted apples, pears, blueberries and a combination of those fruits.

It's simple enough to make for a weeknight dinner, but pretty enough to serve to guests.

1 store-bought pie crust (or homemade if you're feeling ambitious)
2 large, firm peaches
3 T sugar
1 T flour
1/8 t cinnamon
1/2 t vanilla extract (optional)
1 t melted butter
1 T coarse sugar (optional)

Preheat the oven to 425. Slice peaches 1/4" thick and add to mixing bowl with 1/2 t vanilla extract. In a separate bowl combine sugar, flour and cinnamon. Pour sugar mixture over peaches and stir to coat. Roll out pie crust and put peaches in the center, leaving a 1-2" edge. Fold edges over filling. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake on a parchment-lined cookie sheet for approximately 20 minutes until lightly brown.

The perfect treat with scoop of ice cream. Have a lovely weekend!

Best Salad Dressing

We have a problem. We are addicted to a certain poppy seed dressing. Someone (you know who you are) introduced us to it two years ago and it's been a staple ever since. 

Finally, I thought I may have found a suitable replacement when I came across a recipe for a creamy balsamic dressing but like most homemade salad dressings (and our poppy seed favorite), the recipe was loaded with fat (albeit "good" fat) and calories. I have been experimenting with the proportions and am happy with the result: a rich, creamy and light salad dressing.

Combine the following ingredients in a small bowl:

2 small or 1 large garlic clove grated
2 t grated (or finely minced) onion
1 T honey
2 T lemon juice
4 T low fat mayonnaise
2 t dijon mustard
3/4 t salt
1/8 t pepper

Add 1/4 c balsamic vinegar and mix well. Slowly add 1/3 c olive oil, whisking to combine. Enjoy as a dip for vegetables or on mixed greens.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memorial Day weekend

We had the most amazing weekend. It was relaxing (we slept in, well as much as you can when you have a child) and that extra day off gave us enough time to do everything we wanted.

We started the weekend at the park. The swings make this little girl so happy.

We joined Cosco Saturday morning. We had to laugh at ourselves because we were way too excited. It's so easy to go crazy, but we stuck to the basics. Emmerson thought the trip was so much fun - at least a dozen people told me that I have the happiest baby. Apparently it's only clothes shopping she doesn't like.

There was a break in the rain, so after naps (for me and Emmerson) we went to Cedarburg. Most of the shops were closed by the time we got there, but we walked around the town and went into Amy's Chocolate Shop (yes, please mama, any treat will do), stopped in for a drink at the August Webb House (amazing bloody mary martini - this coming from someone who doesn't like bloody mary's) and had pizza at Tomaso's.

Sunday we went to a family BBQ and Monday we took Emmerson swimming at her great grandma's pool.
Thank you, family, for a great weekend. I love you.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Have a happy weekend.

Here are a few things to transition into the long weekend:

A simple, homemade body scrub of coconut oil and sugar. I tried it this week and it's amazing.

We planted the last of our garden yesterday (not much to look at yet) and we used this resource. Are you planting a garden this year?
I have been making a conscious effort to enjoy the little things. There's laundry, cleaning and errands, but I'm making time for play and really loving every minute with Emmerson. It's great watching her "feed" our "Finley Boy" or seeing the surprise when mommy lets her eat ice cream before dinner. I hope you're able to enjoy those moments with your family this weekend. Happy Friday!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Tomato Gratin

This is hands down one of my favorite summer recipes. I'm just getting ready to plant tomatoes in our new garden (which I can only hope will encourage my toddler to eat more vegetables) and I'm already dreaming of the fresh, sun ripe tomatoes.

2-3 large tomatoes
2 T fresh chopped basil
1 c bread crumbs
1 grated garlic clove
1/3 c grated parmesan cheese
2 T olive oil

Preheat oven to 450. Slice tomatoes 1/2" thick and arrange in a lightly oiled baking dish (any 8" or 9" dish works). Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Add chopped basil.

If you have bread you are trying to get rid of, you can make bread crumbs, and it's worth the extra effort (I use this bread crumb recipe all the time) but store-bought panko bread crumbs work just fine too.

Pulse bread in food processor. Heat olive oil in pan, add garlic clove, cooking for one minute. Add bread crumbs (fresh or store-bought). Cook for 3-4 minutes (less for store-bought) and remove from heat. Stir in parmesan cheese.

Top tomatoes with the bread crumb mixture. Cover loosely with foil and bake for 25-30 minutes until cooked through. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Monday, May 21, 2012

A Cup Of Jo: Best chocolate chunk cookies?

I had a craving for chocolate chip cookies this weekend, so I thought I'd finally try out the recipe from one of my favorite blogs, A CUP OF JO.

I was drawn to this recipe because they are gluten-free, I had all the ingredient on hand (ridiculous, I know - you should see our pantry), and well, I will make anything that has the word "best" in front of it.

This recipe makes chewy chocolate chip cookies, but asks if you are chewy or crispy cookie person. I have to laugh because I don't know a crispy cookie person. It's as if I'm only drawn to chewy cookie lovers because I don't think I have one friend that prefers a crispy cookie. So where are these supposed crispy cookie people?

I followed the recipe exactly. I would rate this one 7 out of 10. Maybe I overcooked them? Maybe my taste buds are off because I haven't tasted a full fat cookie in a while? The cookies were chewy, but the texture was grainy.

Don't get me wrong, I will eat them, but they probably won't make my "best" list. I'm excited to try this recipe next. Have you tried it?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Summer hair

Maybe it's because my hair is finally long enough after cutting it short post-baby or maybe it's the warm weather, but I'm excited to try this pretty summer hair.

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

We're back

After swimming at the pool, crab hunting, cracking a coconut, playing in the sand and drinking a lot of lemonade, it's hard to come back home.

I want to preface these pictures by saying one year ago, we took a plane ride that looked nothing like this. I took the advice of a friend and brought the car seat on the plane this time. On the way to Florida, while other children were screaming, Emmerson quietly watched a movie. On the way home, she slept and I read. AMAZING. What a difference a year makes...or a car seat?! Have you tried this before?

And a few more pictures...

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day

I hope you had a wonderful mother's day. We are still in Florida and spent the day at the pool. My husband and daughter surprised me with an engraved necklace.

This mother's day there was time for reflection (I like to keep things light and positive here, so bear with me for a minute). Before we left, my mom and I had a conversation about my road to motherhood. It wasn't easy. Just as quickly as my beautiful baby came into the world, I found myself back in the hospital fighting a war against septic/toxic shock.

The next week was a blur. Most days were spent surrounded by doctors in ICU. But I never once took my eyes off the "prize." I loved that little girl from the very moment I saw her and there was nothing in the world that could take me from her. My mom said she knew in that moment that I was strong - prepared from motherhood.

I haven't looked back. I can't imagine my life without her and my husband. I have been bless in so many ways, but none more significant than my daughter and my family. Happy mother's day to my mom and all moms. Your role is incredibly important and the world wouldn't be the same without you.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Sunny Florida, here we come.

Who says you can’t be spontaneous after kids? My husband called me last Friday afternoon and asked if we wanted to Florida the following day. To make a long story short, we decided Monday was too spontaneous for us, so Emmerson and I leave to meet him today.

It’s been a busy week of taking the dog to the vet for his required shots before boarding, cleaning (I can’t stand coming home to a messy house) and digging out all our summer clothes.

I picked up this adorable suit for Emmerson at Land’s End. I have crayons and the iPad packed, so let's hope it's an easy flight. Have a good weekend.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Low fat (vegetarian and gluten-free) spaghetti squash

I have prepared spaghetti squash a couple different ways, but this is a family favorite and a quick weeknight meal.

Preheat oven to 375. Take one medium spaghetti squash (or larger if you're feeding more) and prick it several times with a fork. Microwave it for 3-5 minutes. I have found that this softens it, so it's easier to halve. 

Allow the squash to cool 10-15 minutes. Cut in half, scoop out and discard seeds. In a glass baking dish, place squash halves and fill with about 1" of water. Bake squash for 30-45 minutes (the baking time will entirely depend on the size). The outside may brown a bit and the inside will be soft. 

Remove the pan from the oven and flip the squash over. With a fork, break up the strands and season with salt, pepper and garlic salt. Fill each squash with the spaghetti sauce of choice (with or without meat, jarred or homemade) and top with cheese. Bake an additional 15 minutes and broil for 1-2 minutes to lightly brown cheese if you prefer. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Craft: easy felt owl

More often than I care to admit, I buy things at the craft store intending to do a project, then shove the purchases in a drawer and find them months later, only to have lost the motivation. So I wasn't surprised when I was searching through the cabinets (to find our camera charger) and came across the ingredients for a felt owl I never started.

It took me an hour to complete both. My advice is don't trace the print-outs with a pen because the ink smears and makes a mess. It's easy enough to cut the feathers freehand. These owls will look great sitting on a bookshelf in the nursery.

I can't resist posting this here. It appears as though a small curly-haired child got a hold of my iPhone and took 18 pictures like this:

Monday, May 7, 2012

Oh hello again, Monday.

And today is a Monday, by every definition of the word. Despite the gloomy weekend weather, we spent both days working in our yard. I’ve never been much into weeding and planting, but with the beautiful lake as our backdrop, I couldn’t help but think yard work isn’t that bad here.

I also bought this dresser (sorry for the bad lighting in this picture) at the USM rummage sale. I have been pinning pictures on pinterest (follow me at trying to decide what to do with it. I’m thinking about leaving the top stained and using the existing hardware, so it will look similar to this picture. Any suggestions? Have you painted furniture before?

I will leave you with this quote that I have framed next to my bed. A different part speaks to me every time I read it and it’s just what I need on this Monday:

Promise yourself to be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mine. Look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true. Think only of the best, work only for the best, and expect only the best. Forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future. Give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others. Live in the faith that the whole world is on your side so long as you are true to the best that is in you.  ~ Christian D. Larson

Thursday, May 3, 2012

15 is a crowd

We received our wedding invitation to my husband’s cousin’s wedding in Charleston, South Carolina. Have you seen a sweeter invitation? I love the lace and the map of Charleston inside the envelope. You just know the wedding is going to be planned beautifully, down to every last detail.

I can’t believe it is only six weeks away (it sounds like I’m the bride). But really, June 15 and even better, warm summer weather, is quickly approaching.

My husband, Emmerson and I are staying in a house with my husband’s family – his parents, sisters, husbands and kids. 15 in all. It will certainly be a full house. We plan to have most meals there because it’s just easier with all those kids. Does anyone have meal ideas for a crowd? Think small kitchen, no outdoor grill and probably a few picky eaters.

Why is spaghetti the only thing coming to mind? Please post your ideas here.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

No babies here...

Do you ever have those days when you look at your baby and wonder when she got so big? I can't believe how grown-up she is sometimes.

Last weekend my family was over for dinner and I was telling a story that went like this:

Me: "Yesterday morning I was making breakfast and Emmerson said 'Mommy, look. Mommy, a doggie.' I went over to the window to see if the neighbor's dog got loose."
Emmerson interrupts me: "Mommy, it wasn't a doggie, it was a coyote."

Way to ruin the punch line, kid! But it was adorable.


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