Tuesday, June 28, 2011


This is from the back of the old cookbook. Handy tips for those seashore cottage owners among us.


I found this on the bookshelf here at the farm... Thinking I may have to experiment later. Stay tuned!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Dinner on the farm

I am busy soaking up Vermont. Actually, I'm not busy at all! We are on vacation, sitting on the porch of a little farm house at the top of a hill. There are trails and hills and trees. Pigs, sheep and cows. Fireflies and stars. A high of 80 and a low of 57...

The kids are running all over the place (staying away from the electric fences -- don't worry Mom!), and enjoying an enormous amount of freedom. Not missing their movies or tv. I am enjoying saying yes to most of the things they want to do!

It has been 3 years since we lived here. Returning, having mostly adjusted to living in a busy metropolitan area, I realize now why that first year away was so hard for me. I love it here. I love watching the kids out in uncrowded nature. It may not be in the cards for us to set down roots in this beautiful, rural state, but -By Golly- I'm gonna do my best to find a good excuse to visit each year.

There is something about this simple existence that inspires simple, healthy, no-frills food, too. Tonight, Josh cooked up beet greens and sweet potatoes with caramelized onion and pan-fried salmon. Minimal prep and presentation: salt, butter; maybe a little orange in the sweet potatoes? It was delicious. Josh used to cook all the time. Besides being free to do absolutely nothing, having him available to cook for us may be my favorite part of vacation!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Thai Iced Tea

Drinking from a Mason jar not required.
 My friend, Shannon introduced me to making this on my own. (Thanks, Shannon!) Up until then, it was reserved for trips out to lunch... only, living in rural Vermont with children afforded us few opportunities for going out to eat Thai food.  There was that one place in Hanover...

Anyway, the first step is to order your Thai tea.  If you ever venture into experimenting with Thai food, Import Foods.com is a good place to look for some of those hard-to-find ingredients.

Stir it up.
 Some recipes call for sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk instead of sugar and cream; I'm sure you could make something yummy with agave nectar, or something lighter with just milk.  You can definitely play with the sweetness and strength to taste.  Here's what I do:

4 Tbsp tea per quart of water
1/2 c. granulated sugar per quart
half & half

Boil your quart (or two, if you're doubling -- you should probably double it!) of water, along with the tea mix. Boil on medium-high for 5 minutes.  You want some strong tea that'll stand up to melting ice!

Filter through a mesh strainer to catch the big stuff.  Filter again through a cheesecloth or a Thai tea filter.  You can just pick one of those up when you're ordering your tea.  Add the sugar, and stir to dissolve.  Let it cool for a while on the counter, then stick it in the fridge.

Serve it over ice, top with half & half.  Enjoy!



Check out this designer's knitted garden.  How cool is that?  Using the links at the top of her page, you can see her other "sculptures."  Pretty rad.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Frog Legs

I-cord with 3 stitches.
 I'm sure my knitting friends know how to do an I-cord... but I'll tell you anyway.  On a double-pointed needle, knit across 2, 3 or 4 stitches, instead of turning the work, just slide it down to the other end of the dpn (double-pointed needle).  Bring the yarn around back -- tightly, and knit across.  Repeat.  This forms a tube.


A yarn-end woven in for each toe!
 It was simple and really quite brilliant, the way the frog's toes were created.  Just knittting in front and back of a stitch to add one, then picking up another needle and starting a 2-stitch I-cord for a toe, leaving the other stitches hanging out on the first dpn until you're ready to make toes out of them, too.
Embroidered face and legs attached.
Knitting the legs and toes made me think of a Pencil Plant.  I'd like to design a knitted version; you could shape it with pipe cleaners inside the I-cord tubes...

You couldn't neglect a knitted house plant...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Cafe Agave

Easy treat.  Makes two 6 oz. servings, or one respectable Cup of Joe.  This is just the thing when you're craving a special coffee, but it's not within your budget or your schedule to go out.  I made this on Monday; it was raining, the baby was sleeping, Ingrid was in school and Malcolm was entertaining himself.  Perfect time to sip and knit.

I prefer a good, full-city roast, Latin American coffee in general, but especially for this.  I suppose you could use anything, except maybe a French roast.  

Grind 6 heaping Tbsp coffee beans VERY COURSE.  In my grinder, 3 quick pulses did it.  You should still have a few half bean pieces in there.  Bring 2 cups water and 1/8 c. agave nectar to a low boil, add ground coffee, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon and 1/2 tsp. vanilla.  Reduce heat to medium low, and rapid simmer for 4-5 minutes.

Strain, and let sit for a minute or so, to let the sweetened coffee continue dripping through.

Pour slowly over 1/8 c. half & half.  Top with whipped cream (which I keep on hand during the summer for topping berries) and a dusting of cinnamon.

This would adapt well to make camp coffee, too!  Ooh... wish I was waking up outside, in the chilly, damp and foggy mountains.  This would get you up and ready to hike for sure!

Tomorrow, I'll share my favorite iced caffeinated treat to make at home.

Gluten-free Corn Dogs!

I wonder if they serve these at the Texas State Fair? If not, they should.  I keep an eye on gluten-free recipes and am just beginning to try my hand at adapting some of our favorites, mostly on account of Malcolm's skin issues, but I think we could all benefit from less wheat.  This article is a good introduction to gluten sensitivities.  They can run the gamut from irritation to complete intolerance, known as celiac disease.

Thanks to a suggestion from my brother and a little reading on the subject, we cut common allergens and irritants from Mal's diet, and were rewarded with near-immediate skin success!  He'd had rough, red, angry, angry knees, and patches on his feet and arms that would sometimes crack and bleed.  They made him cry.  We treated with EVERY CREAM you can imagine, two, three times a day.  Steroidal creams like cortisones would help, but longtime use of those things can actually thin one's skin, not to mention offer a few other undesirable effects.  Sometimes it would subside, treating with just the heavy-duty Origins cream (expensive!) and neosporin, but as soon as I forgot a treatment, it would come roaring back.  SO... now we simply limit a few of those common allergens, especially dairy and wheat, and we all reap the benefits.  A little note: Dr. Sears lists fish as a a possible culprit, but we do NOT limit that.  We eat fatty fish at least once a week, as the Omega-3 fatty acids are, I believe, actually good for dry skin.

Anyway, who doesn't love a corn dog?  I'm definitely going to give these guys a try.  Malcolm (along with most 3 year old boys, I'm sure) loves anything served up on a sword...

Monday, June 20, 2011

Sourdough French Toast Casserole w/ veggie sausage and blueberries

Just try to resist.

I saw this recipe over on the The Homesick Texan's blog, and I had to try it.  Unlike several other French toast casserole recipes I'd seen, it works without heavy cream or even half & half; it doesn't have to be made the night before, and it cooks up in cast iron.  I adapted it a little by using dense, homemade sourdough in place of French bread, reducing the milk by 1/4 c. and adding an egg. Also, veggie sausage in place of the real thing, with a pinch of anise for added flavor, and brown sugar instead of white.  It was awesome.  And I ate Way Too Much of it.

I love cooking in my cast iron.
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 3/4 c. milk
5 eggs
1/4 c. brown sugar
zest of one small orange
juice of one small orange
1 generous tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
pinch anise seeds
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
4-5 c. (loose) cubed sourdough
pint fresh blueberries, rinsed
12 oz. veggie sausage sausage
powdered sugar and maple syrup for serving

Brown/cook your veggie sausage in a tsp or so of butter. Toss in the anise seeds, as you do.  Set aside. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large cast iron skillet, melt butter on low heat and help it to coat bottom and sides of pan.

Beat together the milk and eggs. Add sugar, orange zest, orange juice, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Whisk. Layer the bottom of the skillet with half of the bread. Top with the blueberries and veggie sausage. Add the rest of the bread on top, then pour your milk & egg mixture over it all.  Let sit out of the fridge for at least 20 minutes -- time for the bread to absorb some of the mix.  Bake covered with foil for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake 15 minutes longer, but watch the top for excessive browning.  Let it rest 15 minutes before dusting with powdered sugar and serving with maple syrup.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Second String Sommelier

Screw it.  I'm going to start talking about wine.  It's embarrassing, or it seems like it would be -- I wouldn't know because I don't actually talk about wine in front of anyone but Josh (until now) -- embarrassing to misuse the insider vocabulary, or to get the taste completely wrong.  But then, think about that: get the taste wrong?  That's ridiculous.  I like wine.  I taste what I taste.  I'm going to describe what I taste.  Weekly.  We open (at least) a bottle each week, and lately I've been experimenting, reaching for something new, trying to learn and ask questions when I do.  Plus, after reading this review of the wine I chose this evening, well, I can't possibly sound that ridiculous:

"Inky ruby. Spicy black cherry, tobacco, minerals, licorice and menthol on the nose, all lifted by a floral topnote. Taut, focused and quite primary; today this is all zesty dark fruits and seems quite unformed. Impressively nervy and dry, with chewy extract and emerging notes of graphite, herbs and Indian spices. This very fresh, slowly evolving wine finishes with sneaky tannins and firm mineral-driven persistence." -90 points- Josh Raynolds- International Wine Cellar

WTF?  "Inky?"  "Emerging notes of graphite?"  Does he chew on writing utensils? I cannot associate a taste with those descriptors.

We cracked this guy open while the kids brushed their teeth, and let it sit until they were in bed, then poured it up for a little Saturday night toast.  2008 Luna Beberide Finca la Cuesta...  LUSH. That's the word that first rushed to mind, taking a big nosey whiff inside the glass.  Lingering on the smell, I'd call out dark cherry and herbs... oregano, even.  If I'm feeling brave.  Oak.  On the taste, it's dry, with more than a little blueberry and spice.  "Indian spices," I'm not sure... maybe. A little peppery, for sure.  But smooth and enjoyable, too, without too much bite on the back of the tongue.

There you go.  My first wine review.  Oh, the grape was a new one for me, too.  I've been focused on Spanish wines lately (garnacha, tempranillo, and monastrell), but have yet to see this one: Mencia.  This wine is a single vineyard mencia, sourced from 60 year old vines.  It has officially earned the Dish Seal of Approval.  $20 range, and worth it on a Saturday night spent at home.  I would pair it with spicy mole chicken.  On the hors d'oeuvre side... almonds, a rich goat cheese with cracked pepper, dried cherries and seedy crackers.  Go for it!

Friday, June 17, 2011


Frog head. Nothing tricky, here. Just a ball and two quick, little eyes, whipstitched on. (Can you tell one eye got an extra row knitted in? That's what happens when you knit while a 3 year old climbs all over you.) Still need to embroider on eyeballs and mouth with the contrast color.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Caramelized Onions & Kale with Sharp Cheddar Grits

Topped with bacon.

3/4 c. Quaker Grits (not instant)
1 c. grated SHARP cheddar cheese
1 bunch kale, stems removed; leaves rolled, then chopped
1 med. yellow onion, chopped
1 tsp. brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. butter
red pepper flakes
4 slices bacon

4 side servings, or 2 kid + 2 adult mains.

Cook bacon.  When cool, chop and set aside for topping.  Cook an extra piece or two if you've got a 6 year old bacon thief on the prowl...

Bring 3 1/2 c. water to a rolling boil, add grits and 1 Tbsp. butter.  Reduce heat to low and simmer 15-20 minutes.  

Meanwhile, heat olive oil over medium heat, add onions and brown sugar.  Cook onions until translucent, then add garlic.  Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook until lightly browned (8-10) minutes.  Add chopped kale and 1 Tbsp. butter, stir. Continue to cook for at least 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until kale is tender.  Salt and pepper to taste, and add a pinch of red pepper flakes, if desired.  Add more oil (or butter --you know you want to!) if necessary.

When grits are cooked to a creamy, but not liquid-y state, remove from heat and add sharp cheddar.  Taste (don't burn your tongue!), and add at least 1/2 tsp salt and pepper.  Pepper liberally!

Serve the onions and kale over grits, topped with bacon.  Save leftover grits for breakfast.  If you don't eat them for dessert.  YUM.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

um, YUM!

Check out this recipe on Homesick Texan for French Toast Casserole with blueberries and sausage.  It gets bonus points for cooking up in a cast iron skillet.

I will have to try this on Sunday with veggie sausage and sourdough bread.  (Can you tell I'm trying to clean out the fridge before vacation?)

Thai Shrimpy Noodles

Mmmm.  This simple noodle dish was our tasty dinner two nights ago.  I wrote this post earlier today and am just now getting around to publishing.  I have to say, though, tonight's dinner was even better.  Outstanding, even.  Maybe I just think so because I'm from the (further) South and grits hit the spot like nothing else... Either way, it was stand-over-the-stove-eating-the-leftovers-you're-supposed-to-be-putting-away Good.  So, keep watch for my Sharp Cheddar Grits w/ Caramelized Onions and Kale. You won't be sorry.

Meanwhile: Thai Shrimpy Noodles!

I totally stepped outside my culinary comfort zone, here:

Raw, peeled shrimp.

Peeled the little, slimy legs and shells right off those slippery suckers.  I can't condone eating anything you wouldn't be willing to handle and prepare yourself, and since I'm finally coming around on shrimp (something I didn't grow up eating much of, unless it was fried and from a restaurant), it was high time I quelled my queasiness re: the Cockroach of the Sea.

Quell, I did:
Sauteed shrimp, carrots, onion and fennel.

This is another that's not a hard and fast recipe.  When I print this blog out in a few years, to make our family cookbook, it will probably be called, This is not a Cookbook.  Use what you've got in your fridge and what's in season (tomatoes!) to tweak it to your liking.  Fennel makes another appearance here.  I know fennel is not ginger, but I wanted fresh ginger and we didn't have any.  We had fennel.  It provides a nice, unexpected bit of fresh tasting "bite," like ginger would.  This was great as lunch the next day.

Add capellini pasta and tomatoes.

Here's the (not a) Recipe:

Shrimp Saute
1lb. fresh, uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 c. fennel, sliced thin
1/2 c. - 1c. diced onion
1 c. shredded carrot
whatever other vegetables you like
1-2 Tbsp. vegetable or grape seed oil
8oz. capellini/Angel hair pasta
chopped cilantro
fresh tomatoes

Get your pasta cooking.  Start the saute in a wok with the fennel -- saute on high for 1-2 minutes, just until it starts to brown. Add diced shrimp and cook for one minute.  Add more oil if it sticks to your pan.  Add other vegetables and saute for one last minute.  Don't overcook the shrimp!  Toss it all together with Josh's peanut sauce and garnish with chopped cilantro and fresh tomatoes.

Josh's Peanut Sauce
3 Tbsp. smooth peanut butter
4 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. water
1 tsp. fish sauce
1 tsp. rice wine vinegar
2 tsp. agave nectar (or honey)
chopped spring garlic greens (or green onions)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Flowerpot Cupcakes with Monarchs

A little random, Tuesday baking inspiration...

Pretty sweet, right?  I made these for a cake auction at Mal's preschool, which took place just before Easter.  I followed Martha Stewart's Flowerpot Cakes recipe.  Topped with mini cupcakes, decorated as flowers.

Chocolate cake in the pots; yellow cake flowers.
And finished with candy-melt monarchs, from Hello, Cupcake!: Irresistibly Playful Creations Anyone Can Make.  You draw your butterfly (or your husband does), then trace it over waxed paper, with melted Wilton's Candy Melts, in a ziplock baggie with the corner cut then reinforced with tape.  It dries and hardens fast, so you've got to work quickly!  I also used the baggie technique to ice the mini-cupcake flowers, with swirled together lemon and vanilla frosting.  You can't really see it in these pics, but the swirl came through onto the petals.

Toothpicks secure the minis; chocolate chips prop up the butterfly wings.
With these projects, I usually do the baking and designing, then charge Joshua with the actual decorating.  I tend to run out of patience and work too quickly, or put these things off until very late at night, when I cease to function, but somehow, he does not.

Finished product, garnished with Cadbury Eggs and a furry friend.
Extras made tasty snacks for home.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Taco night

I am well on my way to not throwing away any vegetables this week.  And, though I haven't stuck exclusively to my new Trader Joe's cookbook, I am definitely keeping it simple, and enjoying healthy, more relaxed dinnertimes.

Easy-peasy, as my daughter would say.
I am a big fan of flatbread: I love when a flavorful, satisfying meal can just be rolled up and eaten sans utensils.  Easy to prep, easy to accommodate different kids' differing tastes, and hard to screw up, tacos are perfect for using up odds & ends in the fridge, too.  Here is Saturday night's "recipe:"

Saute white onion, thinly sliced fennel bulb, halved cherry tomatoes and Morning Star Farms veggie chicken fajita strips with 1/8-1/4 tsp each: oregano, black pepper, cumin and just a little chipotle chile powder.  Then, serve it up with shredded zucchini mixed with a Tbsp or so chopped cilantro (add in cabbage, carrots, beets, whatever wants in on the fun), and wrap it all up in a warm, oven-grilled corn tortilla.  You know, just toss them in the warm skillet with a touch of oil, for less than a minute on each side.

The grown-up setting.

P.S. If you like DRY white wine, this is one for you to try. So dry, you'd think it's not-so-distant cousin is a gin and tonic. Very refreshing, though, and palate-cleansing.  (Do I sound like I know what I'm talking about? Disclaimer: I really don't.  But, I am beginning to learn that it is okay to say what you think of a wine. It's okay to share impressions with people who know loads more about wine than you do, even if you're afraid you'll use one of the terms wrong, and giggle when they describe "mouthfeel").

P.P.S. Use leftover meat, tortillas, onions and tomatoes with scrambled eggs for breakfast tacos on Sunday morning.

For the knitters

I woke up this morning and made a sweet discovery: one of my favorite designers has very generously shared a most adorable, free toy pattern:

Photo from Susan B. Anderson's blog.
The little, blue robin eggs even tuck up underneath the robin's tail. What a creative, interactive toy! Now, I need another knitting project like I need a hole in my head, but this is definitely in my queue.  I love it.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Sourdough Crust Pizza

White pizza with asparagus and red peppers.
Did you notice the Sourdough Files up at the top navigation bar? I will add some basic sourdough how-to soon, and that is also where I'll post links to the sourdough recipes I share.  I also want to try creating my very own whole wheat sourdough starter from scratch (most sourdough starter is born from an already existing starter).  So, keep watch for that... I'm sure you can hardly wait.  Meanwhile, feast your eyes on this:

Starter straight from the fridge.
Mmm, mmm.  A bi-product of the active yeast is alcohol, which separates and collects at the top of the starter while it rests in the refrigerator.  The pock marks are air bubbles.  It is alive, after all!  I just stir it all back in.  Some people drain it.  It all depends on what consistency of starter you prefer...

Stirred, measured, happy.
So, each time you feed a sourdough starter, you have to discard a cup.  This does not set well with the thrifty among us.  Thankfully, there are several ways to use the cup of "unfed" starter, like in pizza crust!

Mix in 1/2 c. warm water, then 2-3 c. flour.  I used unbleached, white, but whole-wheat would be good, too.  No exact measurements here because every starter is different, and you have to go by feel: as soon as it starts to come away from the sides of the bowl, turn it out onto the counter and knead by hand.  Add a little flour if you need to, but you want a pretty sticky dough.  

Oiling your hands with about a tsp. of olive oil works better than flouring them, since the dough needs to be sticky and not over-floured.  Then, let it rest for a couple of hours, or all day if you want to.  More of that "sour" sourdough flavor develops, the longer you let it sit out.

I cover mine loosely with oiled plastic wrap and put it in the microwave or un-heated oven.  You can leave the light on for a little extra warmth, which will help the yeast.

A few hours later; dough is risen and gluten is relaxed.
 Divide the dough in half at this point for a thin curst; this is what I did.  You can wrap in plastic wrap and freeze the half you don't use.  Oil your hands again and pat the dough out onto a pizza stone.  Use cornmeal or even rolled oats on the stone to prevent sticking.

White pizza. 
Oil & Herb Pizza "Sauce":
2-3 Tbsp. olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic, pressed (amount depends on your love of garlic)
2 tsp. chopped fresh basil
1/2 tsp. chopped fresh oregano

Mix together and spread with hands over your crust. 

Top with a light coating of shredded mozzarella.  I do love cheese, but with this kind of pizza, less is more.  I used thin stalked asparagus, which I first brushed with oil, sliced red bell pepper and yellow onion.  (I wish I'd had some black olives on hand.)  Then a grating of fresh parmesan and a sprinkling of pepper to top it off:

Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes.  If you used all of the dough for a thicker crust, it will need to bake for at least 5 minutes longer.


I am totally intrigued... A heat-gun/bread-maker coffee roaster, mounted on a dolly.  It even incorporates an old toilet seat. Wow.  Don't worry, I will (probably) not try this at home.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Portobello Patties

These were a hit with the whole family, and I've got say, I'm a little surprised, albeit delighted!  Surprised because we don't eat a ton of mushrooms around here, but you wouldn't have known by the way a certain 3 and 6 year old scarfed theirs down; and maybe because I, for one, don't always flip for the fungi.  Delighted because this healthy and delicious meal took only about 15 minutes, start to finish.

I used two large portobellos, and we cut each in half to serve the two big kids, Josh and me. Served it with guac and chips because guacamole is never unwelcome.  I cooked one of the Boca patties and topped with Havarti for the little one -- always a bonus when she can nosh on an easy variation of what the rest of us are having.
Rogue's Dead Guy Ale was the perfect companion.

Recipe adapted from Hello Portobello! in The Cooking With Trader Joe's Cookbook: Dinner's Done!

2 portobello caps, stems removed
kosher salt
havarti cheese
2 tsp. chopped fresh basil
lettuce, sliced into thin strips
cherry tomatoes, halved

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place gently cleaned and dried portobello caps gill-side up on lightly oiled baking sheet, sprinkle with kosher salt (about 1/4-1/2 teaspoon each).

Bake for 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, get those BOCA patties on the stovetop, per package directions.

During the last 2 minutes on the oven, add the patties, then the sliced havarti cheese to top the portobellos, continue to cook.

Drop those halved cherry tomatoes (as many as you like) into the hot skillet you just used to cook the patties, and sprinkle with pepper to taste.  Stir around and cook just until they get a bit charred on the cut edges.

Place a big handful of sliced lettuce onto each plate and top with a portobello patty.  Sprinkle with the chopped basil and spoon on some cherry tomatoes.  Voila!

Knit-a-long: Frog Body + show & tell

First, I have to show off my yarn bowl:

I love it.  My mom bought it for me at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival, last month.  It's from Greenbridge Pottery in Dayton, MD.  They have bunches of beautiful pieces, but this was the first time I'd heard of a yarn bowl.  My working ball of yarn stays securely inside, and feeds to me as I need it, instead of rolling across the floor, gathering dust bunnies.  AND I can put a lid on it when I walk away, instead of leaving my yarn at the mercy of the cat. Love it.

Here we are, now... knitting up the body of the frog side of this toy.  After a couple of knit rounds, there's a purl round, which will later serve as your turning edge, leaving a nice, neat hem.

Pretty simple so far. Just like a little baby hat:

Do remember to leave tails at the cast on (for whipstitching a hem), and a tail at the top, which will stitch on his little, froggy head.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Week's worth of potential

Now, not to waste it...

(Today was delivery day.  We use and LOVE Washington's Green Grocer. If you're in the D.C. area, you should definitely check them out.)

Look away, Joshua...

Just look away.  We all hate to find things like this in the fridge, right?  My husband... It pains him.  Of course, there are plenty of salvageable green onions there.  I'm not tossing those.  Just apologizing to them. Unfortunately, the spinach underneath is beyond revival.  

For better or worse, I can usually chalk this kind of loss up to a busy couple of weeks (including nightly swim team practice for my oldest daughter, right at dinner time), and good intentions gone awry.  I am glad to buy fresh food for my family, and I love to cook it, but dang if there just aren't enough hours in the day sometimes.  "Especially now that you're blogging."  Someone's thinking that, right?

Well, today is grocery shopping day, and when I hit the store later, I'll be armed with a menu for the next week or so.  Seems like common sense, yet it's one of those Super Mom strategies I rarely put into practice.  I also bought this new cookbook for support in keeping it simple.  One stop shopping!  One of my faults in the kitchen is over-lofty meal plans, imagining more time than actually exists, ending up stressed and at a loss for patience at meal time (when we could really use it the most 'round here).  I plan to use the recipes in this book as a jumping off point -- not gonna stress about following to a tee.  I'm super-excited about the minuscule 'prep' and 'cooking times' alongside most of these recipes, too.  Stay tuned!  I will share adapted recipes.

buzz buzz buzz

Most people aspire to finish a baby's nursery sometime before the Big Day.  Bea's (mostly) finished room was (sort of) a first birthday present.  

One of my favorite special touches is this set of framed bees, above her crib.  I bought several hand-inked, stamped gift tags from The Perfect Loop, at the Etsy shop for their paper.  (They also create beautiful jewelry.)  ...Less than $5...  I borrowed some 3D stickers from one of Ingrid's craft kits and stuck the little buzzers to scrap book paper I got from Michaels... about $2.  It doesn't come through in the pics, but the paper is embossed with little polka dots, which compliment the dots on her crib bumper, not pictured.  Stuck those puppies into a few 2.5'' square Ribba frames... $4 ea., and BAM:

All done, for under $25.  

There are some other sweet little touches *coughFINALLYcough* coming together in Bea's room, too: curtains for the French doors, dandelion wall decals and I'm almost ready to repaint and sew cushions for a cute little set of wicker chairs w/ table, that my folks found at a yard sale.  Sweet.  Maybe I'll finish the room before she outgrows the crib?