Pinterest Projects

Perhaps I would be trying more recipes if I stopped playing around on Pinterest so much. Sigh.

Here are my favorite Pinterest projects so far:

The market is open for business. Expect the highest prices in town but the best service.

The Mitchell Art Gallery. Baby Cupcake's art production has rapidly increased with her start of preschool. She asks for her projects to be added to the clothes pins in the "art gallery."

Play tents for the girls. Even the "easy" projects on Pinterest take me FOREVER. Watching Mitch drill the frame with the girls' help was priceless.

Made a "Montessori closet" for Baby Cupcake...just means I made the closet rod low enough for her to reach. She LOVES it.

Categories: Fairly Random | 5 Comments

Ice cream cake

Baby Cupcake turned 3!

Proud of putting on her own sprinkles. And super proud of her BFF Hops.

I was planning to do a family party for Baby Cupcake’s 3rd birthday. But in the weeks and days leading up to her big day, she kept saying things like, “I’m so excited for my birthday party.”  “It’s just going to be so much fun.” “I will pass out invitations to my friends!” Totally an effective strategy. I held out as long as I could before realizing I needed to get going on more than a family party.

One of her favorite things is playing at a gymnastics place, and we got totally lucky that they still had a spot open 6 days before the party. Oh man.  So I made invitations, and we drove around town delivering them to her friends. This ended up being really cute because she had SO MUCH FUN doing it, but that was certainly not the intention. We were so behind!

A lot of words for a crowd that doesn't read yet

I used Pinterest to find the recipe for this ice cream cake (Oh, how did I just start Pinterest?! You were so right, every single person, when you told me I would LOVE it).  Totally an awesome tutorial…but a major oversight with the amount of sugar omitted from the recipe (I used 1 1/2 cups of sugar since I’m high altitude and another commenter noted that she used 1 3/4 cups sugar). Anyway, it was a lot of fun except for the arm workout I got from trying to slice the frozen sucker.  I left it out for 20 minutes before slicing, but next time I’ll give it more like 30 or 40 minutes.

Waiting patiently for cake. Minutes later she was in tears when Mitch tried to make her blow out the candles.

The girl can jump.

Baby sis in the foam pit.

Happy Birthday, sweet girl!

Categories: Baby Cupcake, Cake | 3 Comments

Broccoli, Tomato, Bacon, and Feta Salad

This is more than just a salad–it’s Broccoli, Tomato, Bacon, and Feta Salad. And maybe that makes it not a salad.

It's more about the bacon and feta than the broccoli.

I took this “salad” to a 4th of July cookout as a side dish, and we also ate it as the main dish for lunch the next day. It’s my new favorite make-ahead dish for a par-tay.
Broccoli, Tomato, Bacon, and Feta Salad
1 large head broccoli, chopped into small pieces
1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
5 green onions, sliced
1 package bacon, cooked and crumbled
feta cheese (I used the whole tub)
1/3 cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper
In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, dijon mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper; set aside.  In another bowl, combine broccoli, tomatoes, green onions, bacon, and feta; toss with dressing. Serve immediately or refrigerate for later.
Categories: Salads, Side Dish | 4 Comments

Ice Cream Sandwiches

Nothing says Happy 4th of July like an ice cream sandwich. Mitch says I could drive these around in the truck, blast some music, and sell them around the neighborhood. We’ll see about that–depends on how desperate the girls and I get for entertainment this summer. Actually an ice cream truck came by our house last week, and the girls were quite interested…and Mitch and I pretended like we didn’t know what it was. So making these ice cream sandwiches for the girls made me feel like a better mother after ice-cream-neglecting them.

Happy Birthday, USA!

I am a fan of the Pioneer Woman’s recipe for ice cream sandwiches.  The recipe makes flat cookies which is ideal. But I left out the instant coffee–no, thanks, to seeing my 2 year old that caffeinated.  And I also left out the millet and flax–didn’t want to risk it this time but I am super curious to know how that would turn out.

Ice Cream Sandwiches

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
vanilla ice cream, slightly softened

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine butter, brown sugar, and sugar; mix for several minutes until fluffy. Add the vanilla and eggs; mix well. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt; mix well. Add chocolate chips; mix well.

Drop Tablespoon-sized drops of dough onto a silpat. Bake for 11 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

After cookies are cool, top one cookie with a scoop of ice cream and layer another cookie on top. Flatten a bit so that ice cream spreads. Wrap each sandwich in parchment paper and place in a ziplock bag or tupperware in the freezer until very firm (at least 4 hours).

Source: adapted from The Pioneer Woman

Categories: Dessert | 2 Comments

Grand Canyon, baby, with babies

We ventured to the Grand Canyon with friends on Sunday. It was so much fun and such a disaster for our family.

In short, 1. the Grand Canyon is AMAZING. And 2. we ran out of food 30 minutes after leaving our house.

I still don’t know exactly how that happened since it took me half an hour to pack all their snacks. But that’s how I ended up rolling over international tourists with my stroller in search of ice cream before we even got started. Let’s just say our littlest camper was not a happy one. We were only walking around on the rim, but it seemed strange to keep walking around with Sweet Cheeks screaming. Eventually I turned back and got the truck, promising to pick Mitch up with Baby Cupcake at the end of the trail. Then on my drive to get him, I noticed a crazy man on the side of the road trying to hitch-hike with me.  And I was about to blow past him when I realized the crazy man was waving our stuffed bunny Hops around in the air. Even then, I was wondering how in the world I was going to get Hops away from crazy man when I noticed it was MY child in the backpack he was wearing. So I picked them up.  All was well when we drove through the Wendy’s drive thru at 3 PM. That was also Grand.

There's the Grand Canyon! I was so worried she was going to drop Hops in.

Smile anyway. This is the Grand Canyon, girls!

Temper tantrum on the sidewalk at the Grand Canyon. Yes, folks, those are blue leopard print pants with a ruffle.
Categories: Fairly Random | 3 Comments

Almond Cake

Our 7th anniversary was on Monday…so our anniversary came and went without me baking our almond cake. It was supposed to be our new anniversary tradition. Can it be a tradition if we’ve never done it? Hmmm. That’s a real tough one. So I made it a couple of days late, but this almond cake is a nice dessert. Often I go for dessert recipes that involve (large amounts of) chocolate, so it’s a fun change to have lemon and almond flavors. Happy Anniversary, Mitch!

Almonds, Sugar, Eggs, Orange Zest, Lemon Zest, Almond Extract, Powdered Sugar

Oh, cookbooks, I should get you out of the closet more often.

Almond Cake

1 3/4 cups ground almonds (grind the blanched almonds yourself or use almond meal)
6 eggs, yolks and whites separated
1 1/4 cups sugar
grated zest of 1 orange
grated zest of 1 lemon
4 drops almond extract
powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prep an 11-inch springform pan with a circle of parchment paper for easy removal (or butter and dust it with flour).

In a mixer bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar until very smooth. Add the zests and almond extract; beat. Add the ground almonds; beat until well incorporated. Set batter aside. Clean beaters and bowl.

In mixer bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Use mixer to fold egg whites and almond mixture together.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes (cake will feel firm). Cool completely and then remove from pan.

*High elevation consideration: Reduce sugar to 1 cup. Bake at 370 degrees for 36 minutes.

Source: Claudia Roden The Food of Spain

Categories: Dessert | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Spinach and Kale Bites

My favorite thing about these Spinach and Kale Bites is that Baby Cupcake yells, “Daddy, we’re having AMAZEBALLS for dinner!” when he walks in the door.

If you live close to a Trader Joe’s, buy the frozen Spinach and Kale Bites already made.  If going to Trader Joe’s requires you to pull off the miracle of driving an hour and a half each way, supermarket sweeping $400 of groceries with a child strapped to your chest while the 2 year in the cart pretends to chug La Finca malbec while smiling at everyone and saying, “This wine is so delicious”…well, consider making them.

Kale and spinach bites

I

The ingredients

Based on the ingredient list, I guesstimated a recipe, and it’s pretty good. This recipe is meant to work as an appetizer, but whenever I make them we just eat them all and call it dinner.

Kale and Spinach Bites

1 cup frozen chopped kale
1 cup frozen chopped spinach
4 eggs
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In the food processor, combine all ingredients. Pulse until spinach and kale are chopped finely and the mixture is well mixed. Form into golf-ball shaped balls and place on cookie sheet (lined with a silpat or parchment paper for easy clean up).

Bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes or so. Serve.

Categories: Appetizer | 1 Comment

Happy Easter

My favorite Easter tradition is still lemon curd and crepes. The lemon curd can be made a few days ahead.  And this year I made the crepes early.  I stored them stacked up with parchment paper sheets between each one; and then I put the whole thing in the microwave, including the parchment paper…no fire!

I love Easter.

Looking good, Baby Cupcake.

On the hunt

Happy Easter!

Categories: Breakfast | 2 Comments

Milk and cookie party

Happy first birthday, Sweet Cheeks! (I’m running just a couple weeks late in sharing this one…)

Mooing is one of Sweet Cheeks’ talents, so a cow tablecloth seemed like perfect inspiration for a party for her. And a cow tablecloth is random unless you have a milk and cookie party. So there you have it!

Milk and cookies for me??

Happy first birthday to Sweet Cheeks!

The week before Sweet Cheeks’ birthday, I asked Baby Cupcake what she wanted to give her sister for her big first birthday. Her idea was a backpack (she was well aware that Sweet Cheeks was always “borrowing” hers).

How do I look?

Watching her walk around with this thing was one of the highlights of the day

In fact, she now says “backpack” way more consistently than she says “mama.” Awesome.

The only trouble with a milk and cookie party, I discovered, is that it is not nearly messy enough for a first birthday. So we went with sweet potato puree and whipped cream that night. It had the desired effect.

Sweet! I'm 1!

Categories: Fairly Random | 2 Comments

Chicken Soup with Kale and Quinoa

This Chicken Soup with Kale and Quinoa could also be called THE HEALTHIEST SOUP OF ALL TIME. In fact, the last time I made it, I served it with an appetizer of french fries from the freezer. I did not feel bad about eating half the bag of fries by myself because I followed it with nothing but kale, quinoa, chicken, bell peppers, carrots…vegetable score!

The healthiest soup in the world

This recipe (from the Slender Kitchen) requires A LOT of chopping. But it is so worth it. So either set aside a good amount of time for chopping…or, like me, chop one vegetable at a time every 30 minutes and toss it in the slow cooker in between playing hide and seek, dancing to the Frozen soundtrack, and explaining why it is impossible for anyone over the age of 10 to play ring around the rosie for more than 2 minutes (and that’s why playing ring around the rosie around here always leads to Baby Cupcake getting out her doctor’s kit to figure out what’s wrong with me while Sweet Cheeks slams the shot into my arm). Anyway, still works. And once it’s in the slow cooker, this meal is super DONE-ZO.

Luckily, when Eric and Jamie visited us back in September, they brought us the Vidalia Chop Wizard (truly they did not need to bring us a gift because it was totally a gift that 1. they visited us and 2. they drove a billion miles with their girls so we didn’t have to move an inch with ours).

Perhaps the person who came up with the name for this had been drinking. Still awesome.

This thing is pretty amazing. You roughly chop something like an onion or a bell pepper and then slam the Vidalia Chop Wizard shut. The little tray collects everything. It’s totally a time saver, a bit of a workout, and stress relief all in one! Anyway, I love it for this recipe especially.

Chicken Soup with Kale and Quinoa

2 pounds chicken breasts
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 bunch lacinato kale, stalks removed, chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
2 bell peppers (red/green), chopped
1 serrano pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
6 garlic cloves, diced
8 cups chicken broth
3/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon thyme
salt and pepper

Add everything to the slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 hours. Use a wooden spoon or tongs to shred the chicken. Serve it up.

Source: adapted from the Slender Kitchen

Categories: Soup | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment