mark and i try to have a real, honest to goodness date night once a week. whether it's just drinks someplace special, a picnic as the sun sets, or a fancy dinner at a great restaurant, we have found it's just really nice to step outside our home life and experience something different as a couple.
he wears his fancy jeans and shoes, and i'll throw on a dress or silk shirt and apply more than just mascara. it feels good to really put some effort into how we look for each other!
this week we headed to a new place in rockland called 3 Crow. i was fortunate enough to do some of their photography, which was just a dream because the place couldn't be more beautiful. and to top it off, our friends tara and josh started it all up! and guess what? tara is one of the state's top pastry chefs.
i wasn't planning on even sharing on here that i took some photos for them, because i already did here, but our dinner last night was just unbelievable. it was so good that i really wanted to tell everyone i bumped into today that i had the most fabulous dining experience of my life at 3 Crow.
because you see, there is a gluten-free option for just about everything. i had gluten-free fancy fried onions, mark had a gluten-free baguette, we shared a shaved brussel sprout and bacon salad, ordered more fried onions, then had the quail main dish wrapped in bacon and served over grits with a side of spring radishes. and then...oh then...we had our choice of anything we wanted from the dessert menu, because guess what? it was ALL gluten-free. all of it. we ordered the coconut cream puffs covered in chocolate and butterscotch pudding.
sometimes you just have to NOT be paleo. and this was so amazing.
i think for people who are not gluten-free, maybe you will not completely appreciate my enthusiasm and, quite possibly...shock, about my experience last night at dinner. you see, having celiac's basically means that anytime i eat outside of my own home i am risking a reaction. and my reactions are not pleasant. and it's more often than not that it happens when we go out.
last night i didn't have to worry. i simply enjoyed my dining experience with amazing food that was the best i've ever had. and my belly had never felt better!
so thank you, tara and josh, for creating a fabulous restaurant with amazing food and a beautiful environment!
and to all you mainer's...get out to 3 Crow! you won't be disappointed!
thanks for all of your sweet comments on the barnaby bright giveaway! i'm so glad i could introduce you to two wonderful musicians! random.org chose #26 and #40!
Its a win all around because I have been introduced to lovely new music!
Wow! My new favorite! You find the best music.
so sophia and shari...please send me an e-mail at erinlittlephoto(@)gmail(.)com and we'll get you all set up! congrats!
boy, i've been absent. from everything. have you noticed? it's been a whirlwind of a week and weekend. so much stuff going on. but despite everything, we did manage to enjoy a little bit of relaxation.
we made some raised beds for the side yard. super easy and super quick. i can't wait to fill them and get planting. i've so missed gardening. i have plans for expanding the perennial beds, adding lots of fruit trees and berries, a stone patio with pergola and grape vines. the little one is remembering all the gardening we used to do and is just as excited!
we ended the weekend with our sunday roasted chicken and i made a 1-2-3-4 cake for them. now we start vacation week!
we are also gearing up to fly to California on thursday to shoot a wedding, but we'll be gone for about five days, so we're scrambling to tie up loose ends and get everything ready. so much to do!
how was your weekend? are you gardening yet?
what a busy weekend!
this is what our saturday looked like... (sunday to follow!)
he leaves me love notes. and i always put a note in his lunch. everyday.
gherkin enjoys the sun. these poor cats are now indoor cats and they are struggling...
baked apple pancake. i bake so much for them and i adore it so. recipe here.
and espresso for us.
creative play in the morning.
she loved it. she really requested "pie" upon waking. so this is what i gave her. she approved.
and he can't be more grateful for my baking. he's always so excited when something comes out of the oven!
what did your saturday look like? xoxo
many of you have asked about my diet. yes, i am still gluten-free. i have celiac's and haven't had gluten in about 8 years now. (although i got sick from contamination while traveling and it took a week to recover. ouch!) but i have found that my body just can't tolerate grains of any kind, gluten-free or not. so on the paleo diet i went, and i've never felt better. i've been eating like this for about four months now, and i'm definitely sticking to it.
i bake a lot for mark and the little one. a lot. i love to bake. but i don't go out of my way to try to find paleo baking recipes because i find i don't even crave anything like that anymore. meal time has become a breeze; i simply modify whatever i'm making for them for my plate. i eat a lot of greens.
we have been roasting a chicken a week, then making stock with the carcass and eventually a big pot of soup that is good for at least a couple of meals. with the slow shift in weather, i wanted to change up my roast chicken recipe a bit. i typically make a rosemary-garlic paste and marinate the chicken for a few hours, then stuff it full of whole cloves of garlic and onions. but last night i wanted something different to celebrate spring and the gorgeous light that streams through the kitchen during prep time.
here's my recipe below: (i never measure, so these are guesses. just change it for your tastes!)
i hightly recommend getting some harissa. we use it a lot. and the chili paste is absolutely fantastic with brussel sprouts!
Spiced Harissa Chicken Marinade
Put salt on cutting board and mince your garlic over it. In a small bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well. Pour over chicken and put back in the fridge to marinate for a couple of hours. Roast as you normally would. (We like to stuff the chicken with garlic and onions and add potatoes around the pan.)
Sauteed Chili Broccoli
Cut the stalks off the broccoli. Cut the broccoli florets in half. I like to leave a 1.5 inch stem on the florets. Slice the onion to create thin, 2 inch strips. Chop the garlic. Heat up 2 tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan. Add the onion and garlic and chili paste. Saute until soft. Add the broccoli and red pepper flakes. Cover for 5-6 minutes until broccoli is soft. Add salt and pepper to taste.
That was our dinner, and it was very good. We decided this recipe was definitely a keeper, and I somehow retained it in my memory to share with you! Happy cooking!
What is coming out of your kitchen these days?
we made a homemade berry galette over the weekend. three different kinds of local berries and a very tastey crust! and, of course, there was homemade whipped cream.
it's hard baking in this wee little kitchen of ours. it's something we have not done much of, and boy do i miss it. this galette was just the thing i needed to make as the days get shorter and the nights cooler.
what have you been making lately?
We've been enjoying some simple meals around here lately. I always start the day with two fried eggs. Always. It is a rare occurance if I eat something else, and even then, I feel as if it throws my whole day off. Two fried eggs are like waking up on the right side of the bed for me. Plus, our chicken's eggs are amazingly delicious, and slightly addictive. Throughout the day I have numerous cups of PG tips (more than I care to admit here), and am usually snacking on chocolate here and there.
Lunch has been leftover soups, baked eggs, simple spinach salads with turkey and a pesto mayo dressing.
Dinners are always different. I love that. Last night we had a cutting board filled with crackers, chianti cured salame, manchego, olives, and quince paste. Oh, and a glass of French wine. Yum. Other nights it's Mexican with friends featuring local meat, homemade guacamole, and plenty of hot sauce. Then the next night could be a frittata with chard, prosciutto, and sheep's feta. And the little one loves homemade mac and cheese, which I make using goat cheddar and mozzarella, with lots of butter and salt.
Tonight I'm thinking of making this herbed flatbread. Grain free too. We still have jars of pesto I made last fall in the freezer. It's fun to use those every week and think of our once green garden.
What's been on your menu lately?
we enjoyed a simple meal over the weekend. this skillet rosemary chicken was amazing. easy to cook and so yummy to eat! what recipes are you loving this winter?
and the room is almost done! it's so exciting. i love the white. i am on the hunt for some really bold artwork now, and i'm considering having my friend draw something directly on the wall. blank slates are fun! up next is pickling the floor, then i'm moving on to the living room. can't wait to enjoy many dinners in this room when it's done!
It was a hot one. A really hot one. And yesterday was hot too.
I swam in the ocean three times yesterday (mind you, we live in Maine and ocean water is freezing) and today we packed up dinner and headed to the lake for a picnic and a dip.
We spent the day in our bathing suits, going between the shade in the backyard with glasses of iced tea and inside where the air seemed just a little bit cooler. The little one plucked away on her ukulele, serenading me during my snack time clean up. We picked fresh herbs from the garden to make a frittata for lunch, served over our greens and some homemade dressing. We ate outside on the picnic table under the shade of the umbrella.
Tonight we retreated to the lake, with my bag packed full of bucheron, salmon, and peas from the garden. The little one almost learned to swim, we played water tag, and watched the clouds roll in.
We returned home for an ice cream cone and the excitement of a thunderstorm. I rushed to get the laundry in, the chickens settled, and the yard toys picked up from a day of play. The little one fell asleep in an exhausted, hot heap on the bed with the lightning flickering around her.
It was a good day. Tomorrow another adventure will be underway! How was your Wednesday?
Oh, and if any of you are wondering how to get the shape of the giant beach bag, just go to my tutorial page here and follow the corner directions for the "everything bag". Easy peasy!
she twirled in her new mama made skirt! (This one was her favorite, with pockets big enough for all the crystals she's been finding everywhere!)
we made a delicious lunch.
we found a real horse saddle at the thrift shop. It, of course, came home with us and entertained a certain someone for the rest of the day. Now we need to make a horse! No problem...
I made sun tea. I can't wait for my morning iced tea tomorrow!
we found a bird's egg on the sidewalk on our walk. We both spotted it at the same time and squealed with delight!
we enjoyed the blooming clematis on the porch.
I checked on the garden, did a little weeding, wondered just how late the spring peas were going to be.
I did the third load of dishes under my summer window. I love how it shifts so organically with the seasons.
We are enjoying some relaxed days lately. I am loving just being home, gardening, sitting in the sun with my girl and a good book. It's oh so needed right now. Pretty soon I'll be in full swing with the wedding season, so I'm soaking all this relaxing in while I can!
What did you do this Wednesday?
First off, thank you thank you thank you for the super sweet comments about the little one's concert. I read to her every single one. She blushed, was a bit speechless, and then said, "Wow. Thank you!" It's so neat to think that she does have fans all over the world! What a lucky girl! And yes, we are very very proud. She is an amazing little being!
One day. Three meals. Snacks inbetween (watermelon, carrots, apples, bananas, lettuce from the garden...yum).
Today the sun was shining, the heat was wonderful, and we had some cooling off to do! The sprinkler came out, the mini pool was filled up, there was iced tea and popsicles, and we tried our best to find some relief from the heat!
What did you do today?!
I sat on the backporch this afternoon writing letters.
Sometimes giving yourself permission to slow down is a lovely thing.
I sat for hours, writing.
I allowed myself some extra rest this morning and then followed it with a 6 mile run.
First 6 miler since early last winter.
The roads are clearing, the snow is melting, the moon's craziness is slowly waning, and I'm feeling a need for some cleansing, just as Mother Earth is cleansing all around us.
The greens are on the stove, the rice is almost finished, and we are moments away from sitting down to reflect upon our day and enjoy a simple feast.
Happy Weekend to you! And Happy Spring too!
This whole winter I've been just throwing together pots of soup multiple times a week. I love it because no pot of soup is like another. Usually I use up whatever is in the fridge. This particular batch was quite tasty and my friends affectionately named it "sauna in a bowl" soup because it's rather spicy and made us all flushed. It was enjoyed by everyone and I decided to jot this one down to make it a keeper...
Sauna In A Bowl
It was delicious! I hope you all enjoy it too! I also thought adding some brown rice would have been tasty, but I was in an all veggie mood that night.
The little one has had a bronchial thing going on for weeks now. She gets it every year and that cough just won't go away. And with Sasa and I just starting to eat again, I decided to forgo our typically meatless diet, and make some nourishing soup for us all. I was inspired by the idea of chicken and leeks, and other things the little one will eat, so this soup just came together this afternoon.
Here it is!
Nourshing Soup for Winter Days ::
Oh, and here's what we've been doing today...lots of resting!
After our violin lesson this morning (oh, she is getting good!) we returned home to do some baking. I had some heavy whipping cream left over from the soup yesterday and wanted to make butter again. We did it long ago and had such fun. It's such an easy and fun project for little ones.
Simply pour heavy cream into a mason jar, add a little salt, put on the lid, and take turns shaking it. In about 15 minutes you'll have the tastiest butter!
Our recipe today was skillet cornbread. I love this simple and easy recipe from the Waldorf Kindergarten Snack Book. And it is so delicious.
While that was baking, we ate a light lunch. We had the cornbread, homemade butter, and local honey for dessert.
It was so yummy. Tomorrow is apple crisp day! What's happening in your kitchen?!
The little one and I have been doing lots of picking, cooking, and eating. Remember Bri and her gorgeous family? Well, she let us come back up for some blueberry and blackberry picking. And boy...we got loads. I spent the better part of yesterday (and Sasa the night before) picking through the berries to freeze for the winter. The little one and I love this book. We read it almost daily in the summer time. When we were picking blueberries she said, "Mama...you're going to take these home and can them for next winter!" Yes indeed. Perhaps not can all of them, but freeze them for sure!
We've made blueberry muffins, jam, a tart, and "smoothie popsicles" out of them already. (We discovered that adding Greek yogurt to our homemade popsicles is deeeelicious!) The little one is such a good helper with all this too.
We've also been enjoying loads of tomatoes and cucumbers, so a simple salad of the two mixed with olive oil and feta is a great lunch.
And the jam...oh my. This is just some of it. We are going to be all set with jam through the winter. A lot of you have asked what recipe I use. It's just the "low sugar" recipe on the back of the Pamona's Pectin. I typically use 1/2 cup honey per batch.
We have been enjoying so many picnics and dinners on our back porch. The little one has been so interested in setting the table all by herself. See those folded napkins? She did that! We found a vintage children's cook book at a used bookstore and it illustrates everything, right down to setting the table. She adores it. So sweet. And Sasa and his Pop worked so hard on this porch... it's just beautiful. We have been enjoying it every second!
And up for today...zucchini bread, homemade hummus, millet sqaures, and quinoa salad. Yum!
We've been spending an insane amount of time in the kitchen this summer. Blueberry cakes, muffins, pancakes, and jam, raspberry jam, blackberry jam, banana bread, roasted kale, rainbow chard frittatas, ice cream, summer soups, cucumber salads, zucchini pasta, pesto, pesto, pesto, and more pesto. And the list goes on...
I love how the little one is getting so used to cooking and baking. I think she'll be able to throw a muffin recipe together on her own in no time! And I absolutely love how excited she is now to pick things from the garden and bring them in to cook and eat. I love that she knows where her food comes from and that she played a part in helping it grow.
Nothing beats homegrown food and all the yumminess that is coming out of our kitchen! What have you been cooking lately?
Oh man. I just had the most terrific fabulous amazing post typed up for you all, went to hit "publish" then typepad kicked me out of my account and erased it! Ugh!
So, I'm feeling rather frustrated and now am crunching to get this done.
I know you all want my pesto recipe, so here it is. But first...you MUST promise to listen to this song. It will get you moving and it's Sasa's pick for the week. He loves it. Oh, and check out these beautiful canvases. Yipee!
Okay, now that you are groovin' you may view my ultra secret spectacular special pesto recipe ::
Erin's Ultra Secret Spectacular Special Pesto Recipe ::
We've been doing a lot of this lately. I love how Sasa comes home for lunch everyday and we all get to eat three meals together daily. The pack porch is seeing many picnics. Today I made a salad with mesclun mix from our friends farm and garlic scapes from another friend's garden. Thanks friends for keeping us well fed!
Tonight I made up a salad using greens from our very own garden! They were so delicious. The little one has been picking peas like crazy and eating them before I get a chance to taste one! The lettuce was another hit tonight. Here's my yummy salad recipe ::
Bluebirdbaby's Summer Salad ::
Mix the dressing and toss the veggies with it. Serve of a bed of lettuce. YUM!
And I'll leave you with the gorgeous skies, complete with rainbow, we saw earlier this week!
Gosh, I miss you guys. I miss this space here. I know I haven't been away that long, but life has been so very, very busy. Which is good, because it means I have lots of work. But my creativity in other areas is a bit lacking, especially in this space here. Not so much the posts, but more the thought that goes into it is what I miss. And, of course, I miss hearing your lovely thoughts!
I wanted to post about something the little one and I find so grounding amidst a busy stretch in our lives, and that would be the kitchen. We bake, we eat, we clean, we play...it is something that consistently brings us all together, and inevitably ends in something yummy. It's no wonder that baking day is on the first day the little one arrives back home. We have a moment to settle in, then it's straight to the kitchen!
I guess it's the process :: gathering wholesome ingredients, measuring, pouring, stirring, mixing, taste-testing, and then watching as whatever we are making slides into the oven. We are so very focused on the act of baking in the moment together that it creates this immediate bond where we feel the love we have for each other without ever mentioning a word. There are always many kisses from the little one while I help her pour and stir, and I typically feel her tiny body leaning into mine for a pat on the back. She's a good helper and I look forward to our baking days all week.
Today we started with morning surprise muffins. My mother and I used to make these for special treats. We sweeten ours with honey and use homemade jam, or jam made without sugar. The jam is placed in the middle, so when you bite into it you are surprised by the sweetness inside! They are delicious.
Then there was clean up (she helped wash the dishes), sweeping, putting the ingredients back in their places, and setting the timer. I love how involved she is in the whole process, from beginning to end.
Dinner included roasted asparagus (yum!) because the little one spotted it in the co-op and wanted to bring a bunch home. It was so, so good.
And after dinner we made macaroons dipped in chocolate. Oh yes, it was a very yummy day indeed. I think I may have to end this now so I can go grab another...
I hope you are all enjoying your week! Until next time...
Every so often the little one and I bake an extra special treat. But with two of us not eating processed grains, and all three not really eating sugar, we have a hard time making two dozen cookies and leaving them on the counter to spoil. So we do a special cookie delivery!
This morning the little one and I set out to make the best chocolate chip cookies ever, and boy...did we succeed! I used honey instead of cane sugar, but did opt to use brown sugar as called for. It always tastes better that way.
The little one had a blast measuring, mixing, and stirring. And, of course, the best part is taste testing. There was plenty of that too. When gluten-free batter tastes good, you know the finished product is going to be amazing.
So the cookies were finally finished, cooled, and packed up in her delivery basket to head into town. She wanted a ride in the sling on the way down, and with our big umbrella we headed out in the pouring rain to deliver the best chocolate chip cookies ever. Everyone was very excited. Just what was needed on a rainy day!
And here's another glimpse of a corner of our kitchen. I can't reveal the whole thing yet (even though you all are incessant with your pleads!) because it's not quite finished. Trust me, you want to wait until it's done. Which hopefully will be by Saturday. So there. For now, check out my pyrex collection. I have yet to organize it, but it's fun seeing it out.
And lastly, I had to snap this picture of the little one's lunch. It's her favorite. And I think it looks so darn pretty. Those strawberries were such a treat! Sasa said they were better than candy, and I certainly agree!
What are you up to this week? We're hoping for sun tomorrow...!
A glimpse of our lives returning to normal...
Without a kitchen for a number of months, our rhythm was completely thrown off. We are settling into our typical home life again, and boy, it feels good! I will have complete kitchen pictures to follow soon, but it's not quite done. Cabinets, shelves, hardware, lights, etc. have yet to be finished and when they are, I will reveal the entire kitchen. Yay! And it's seriously so amazing. The way it makes me feel when I'm in there, how it inspires me to cook and bake all day long. I could spend my entire life in this one room. It's the first room I've ever had in my life that is exactly how I would design it. It's perfectly us.
Until it's complete, please enjoy some glimpses of our kitchen and how we're enjoying it oh so much...
homemade blueberry muffins for breakfast
fresh flowers we collected from our yard and our walk around the hood
my lunch :: a raw sandwich with raw seed bread....YUM!
making our own homemade orange juice for our creamsicles
creamsicles in the making...oh yum (we used homemade OJ and vanilla yogurt with a little extra vanilla extract)
dancing in the kitchen with her new boots (just like mama's!)
homemade fries for dinner with a big, delicious, local green saladSo that was our day. It was almost all spent in the kitchen, minus our trips out into town. It was lovely. I can't wait to do it again tomorrow!
Okay, okay...I'll explain this raw kick. Seriously...best thing I've ever done for myself. I posted the requested recipe for the zucchini pasta on Sasa's blog, so go take a look!
Here's a little info about my raw venture that I wrote on Sasa's blog ::
Since having the stomach bug a few weeks ago, all I've been craving is
raw food. I've never, ever understood those "raw diets" and thought
they were too extreme. But I've been essentially eating 95% raw for the
last few weeks. It has dramatically changed my health. My energy level
has skyrocketed, I sleep better, feel more awake, my skin is clearer,
and I am headache and migraine free. Wow. I'm hooked.
It's seriously amazing. I don't like to push things on people, so please don't think that is the purpose of this post. I'm just singing this raw food thing's praises. I am just feeling so good!
And um, Sasa has been a little lacking in his blog posts because of this ::
Which will be the LAST picture until the kitchen is complete. I want to keep you all in suspense!...
Today we set to work making our spring nature table. We had to move it from its original location because Kiwi took over the ledge (who can blame her?!). So we nestled it right on top of the boxes in the play corner. We cut some forsythia branches and brought them inside to watch them bloom. Then we made some wee felted eggs and a little paper basket for them to go in. A bigger basket for the little one will follow later this week! I'm sure more spring treasures will be added in weeks to come, but we were limited on this chilly, rainy, and snowy day with nature's treasures.
We spent the morning doing our baking. Up until now, we've been baking something different on each baking day. I wanted to simplify the whole process even more and create more of a familiar rhythm too. I decided baking a loaf of bread each baking day would be a familiar routine, with tasty results! Sasa had a great recipe for bread that we tried last week, but we've been on the hunt for something a little squishier. So I turned to Carol Fenster and found a great French bread recipe. I mixed up a big container of gluten-free flour mix, and the little one and I set to work this morning. The verdict? Soft and squishy and amazingly good. Almost both loaves are gone already!
And a day wouldn't be complete without a concert from the little one. The above is her playing at a "restaurant." She has c.d.'s for sale as well. (See the white thing on top of her case? A handmade c.d. cover!) Oh, and even though she's playing "old time fiddle music" that's still a violin she's holding. "Not a fiddle, mama!" Oh okay, sweet one. Whatever you say.
Oh, food...how I love you. I love your bright colors, the way you smell and taste, and the way you make my tummy happy. I think you are beautiful. And the people who make it? They are beautiful too. And the people who eat it? Definitely on my beauty list! Thank you for being so beautiful. And thank you for being so good!
Above are just some of the things we've been eating lately. I eat about three mangoes a day (the little one is right up there too!), Sasa is on a seaweed/medicinal mushroom kick, and the little one is loving smoked salmon. There's lots of potlucks, dinner parties, and picnics going on which results in a lot of extra yummy food. My tummy is happy. Really happy.
What is on your plate lately?!
I'm so thankful for friends. I'm thankful for being surrounded by like-minded people. People who live their lives with passion, creativity, and fun. Sasa and I (and the little one) have never had such a busy social life, full of people we love and nurturing friendships. We had the pleasure of dining with friends over the weekend. It was a night full of good music, creative conversation by creative people, and such delicious food!
I'm thankful for yummy and nourishing food. Sasa made a chicken pot pie after I told him it was my favorite thing to eat as a kid. I never thought a homemade pie could beat the comforting taste of Mrs. Budd's chicken pies that I grew up loving, but I should have known...Sasa always makes things better than I remember them ever being. It was a keeper recipe for sure and he's going to share it all with you soon!
I'm so very thankful for the little one, her joy in life, her amazing energy, and her love of anything and everything that involves being social! She was a cat all night. She scared my friend's cat away with her enthusiastic greeting, but that didn't matter...she just became the cat instead. She even dedicated a few Rolling Stones' songs as "tail chasing songs." She is a delight, and she sure does love life! Such a pleasure to witness!
What are you thankful for today? I always love reading what you share!
First off, I had the pleasure of chatting with Eileen of Little Acorn Learning last month. You may have noticed their button in my left hand sidebar I added recently. Little Acorn Learning offers monthly guides, full of information about seasonal crafts, poems, songs, activities, recipes, and gentle educational information for kids of all ages. I had the pleasure of reviewing the January guide and found it so helpful. It helped rhythmically guide the little one and I through our days with activities and songs. I highly recommend this program to parents of all ages! So please check out their website and blog for more information. We found it to be a wonderful help and I think you will too! Thanks Eileen!
Today was a lovely day full of crafting and lots of food. We started the day with a Valentine's craft. We plan on sharing the heart love with our family and friends. We started embroidering these hearts and sewed them up, filled with some flax seeds and lavender and topped off with a festive ribbon for hanging. Fun, cute, and thank goodness I have a big wool felt stash! (A "must-have"item on hand for crafts, if you ask me.)
Later we made banana bread. It's one of our favorite treats. We substituted agave nectar for sugar and added a wee bit more banana and it turned out perfectly! The little one loves to help bake and she is getting so good at it. We're working on leveling measuring cups and spoons before pouring them into the big bowl. She is getting good at picking out the correct ingredients too. But her favorite thing is greasing the bread pan. She does an amazing job, I might add!
We've also been enjoying a lot of these lately. Satsumas come into this house and are quickly devoured before the day is through. And the sunny orange color never fails to cheer me up on these winter days. Amount consumed today :: nine. I think that's our current record (for just the little one and I), but I have a feeling we'll beat it soon.
And lastly, a birthday present for a sweet friend. She is building her first home and I thought some new napkins for her new kitchen would be a great gift. Happy Birthday Kat! We love you!!
I swear, there's never a dull moment around here. Between renovating, sunshine, snow (yes, we got more today after the 50 degree day yesterday...), semi-home schooling, tasty experiments in the kitchen, visiting friends, and making our rounds about town, we pretty much have our days packed full. Here's just a glimpse at one little bit of our day...
:: Letting the house breathe. It can get so stuffy in winter, and airing it out on a nice warm day works like magic. Doors are opened, fresh air flows freely from outside to in, and everything comes alive again. ::
:: Two little bakers. I had another little one under foot today. It was fun and so sweet to see how two little ones moved about their day together. We made another honey cake (adding blueberries this time) and I realized when I copied the recipe down for Sasa, I wrote "sugar" instead of honey. Um, yea...that would totally defeat the whole honey cake idea! ::
:: Dress-up! Two little ones, twelve tutus, two pairs of tap shoes, and crazy tights. What a sight! ::
:: First coat. It's up. It's blue. It doesn't look anything like this picture. But it's awesome. The perfect shade. Just like in my dreams. So much brighter and more alive than this photo shows. This is just the first step in a long line of major demolition to follow. Yay and eeks at the same time! ::
:: All my ducks in a row. We added some new things from a recent thrift, although the ducks belonged to my grandmother. The little one loves them! ::
:: And last, tacos! The little one was a "cat" last night, so we had to convince her that tacos were really cat food. She was totally into the idea of having her own taco and really enjoyed it. Maybe our once a year taco night should be monthly now...::
So, what are your days like? Are they as jam packed full of fun and craziness as ours?!
After work today, Sasa's mom (we call her Poppy) and I headed to one of our favorite little antique shops for some fun. We're a great thrifting pair and she doesn't roll her eyes when I squeal at the sight of Pyrex or anything turquoise. She likes her Fiesta Ware and I like my Pyrex, so it all works out. I found some great deals (the above) including the table cloth that I've been wanting for over a year. Not only are all these thing functional, but they count as accessories for our new kitchen remodel. Woohoo!
And I posted the much asked for "almond butter thumbprint" cookie recipe over on Sasa's blog. I obviously changed it to be gluten-free, but you can use any flour. And get ready for a great pizza recipe later tonight!
Until next time...
We had a little concert today. I was on keys, the little one on Ukulele, and Sasa sported an accordion (then we all switched!). We got dressed up, put on a show, and were pretty beat by the last number. The little one kept saying, "Look guys...we're rocket stars!!" And man, she's got the rocket star moves down PAT! She even taught Sasa and I an original move. Oh yea, we were looking mighty fine. Too bad we didn't charge for tickets...
And the rest of the day? Well, the below is only a little snippet. We've been enjoying our time together so much. Today was a lot of fun, and involved a lot of play, some baking and delivering of cookies (oh, almond butter thumbprint cookies, I love you!), piano playing, singing, some sledding, three walks, and a delicious dinner!
Take a look ::
:: morning play ::
:: learning new songs ::
:: playsilk animals (a rabbit and snail...literally resulted in hours of play) ::
:: dessert (millet pudding with agave nectar, fresh raspberries, and our cookies!) ::
Hope you all had a wonderful day too! See you tomorrow.
Sasa (the king of the kitchen) is celebrating a birthday tomorrow. Instead of bestowing him with more clothes, kitchen gadgets, and books right after Christmas, I decided it was high time he had a blog of his own. We've been talking about it for quite some time...especially after so many of you kept asking for his delicious (and all gluten-free!) recipes. So I spent the last few nights designing a simple little blog for him to share all of his culinary creations.
He truly is amazing and everything he makes is too good to be true! So please welcome Sasa into the blogging world and go say hello! You can find him at :: too good to be true
I've introduced him and got him started with his first posted recipe. So enjoy!
And happy birthday Sasa! I love you (and your food)!
:: Finally have a French press...thanks to Tara (you rock)! Morning coffee with my eggs is heavenly! ::
:: Learning numbers and how to dial. We've been working on phone numbers in case of an emergency and we made up a little song to remember them. I drew this gigantic phone so we could apply number learning to our everyday life. ::
:: Wool is wonderful. All dressed up for our nature walk. It was a cold and windy day today! ::
:: Lunch (cheese, carrots, apples, and rice cakes with almond butter), while planning for dinner. I adore this cookbook. It was a gift from Sasa. He has great taste! ::
:: I think Father Christmas is going to be very good to the little one and Sasa this year! ::
:: Dinner prep. Chicken breasts (we haven't had meat in months!) in white wine and tamari, with whole mushrooms and butter. Sides of brussel sprouts and rice. Yum! ::
:: Her felt people were walking to a field of buttercups (a yellow playsilk) and the animals were all following. Later they stumbled across a strawberry patch, a blueberry field, and the ocean! How fun! ::
I thought it would be fun to document our day in photos. The little one and I are in full holiday mode. There is gift wrapping, some shopping to finish up, decorations to be made, and of course...the everyday life kinda stuff. So our days are full!
Top the above day off with getting the little one to bed at a reasonable time, which allowed me to join some gals down the road for a knitting night full of wine and chocolate, and you have a recipe for a very good day.
Now Sasa and I are relaxing on the couch, with our latest book, and looking forward to ending the evening on a quiet note.
I hope your Wendesday ends on a peaceful note too! Are any of you doing some holiday crafting? I'd love to hear about it!!
My mother celebrated a birthday over a week ago, although we really didn't get a chance to celebrate. So we had her up for a birthday dinner, party, and sleepover. The little one just adores her Baba. The two of them are so similar and just watching them is amazing. So everyone was super excited when Baba arrived at the door and was greeted with a handmade birthday banner and a table full of goodies!
I made her an eye pillow filled with flax seeds and lavender. I added a bottle of lavender essential oil too. It can be heated up or frozen for a cold pack. These things are so handy and so easy to make! I got the eye pillow pattern from here. I downsized it a tad because it was huge. It was a hit with the little one. I'm just waiting for the request to make a purple one...
We enjoyed a yummy dinner made by the amazing Sasa. It was followed by the most delicious apple pie ever! (Should I mention I'm eating another piece as I type this? Yum. He is just so crazy awesome.) And Sasa finally wrote down that gluten-free pie crust recipe and wanted to share it with all of you!
So here it is. Enjoy!...
Sasa's Famous Gluten-free Pie Crust
Sift together ::
Blend in until it resembles cornmeal::
Mix liquid into dry with fingers until soft dough that can be formed into a ball. Chill 1 hour. Enjoy!
Happy Birthday Mom!! You deserve the best one ever. xoxo
Because this week has been incredibly crazy and busy and tiring and exhausting and just plain nuts, and because I don't want to completely neglect this space here, and because I really, really love this recipe, and because apples are all over the place right now, and because I love all my readers and want to share a treat with you, I've decided to post one of my all-time favorite breakfast recipes: the baked apple pancake.
This would be from my mama's recipe box. It's been a favorite of mine since I was little. I hope you enjoy it!!
You'll need ::
For the apples:
For the pancake:
It's been a while since I've done any holiday baking (with the gluten-free challenge and all...nothing ever tastes the same) but living with a baker definitely has its perks! Tonight we decided to bake some sugar cookies. The little one was a great help and insisted on putting most of the sprinkles on herself. The end result? Definitely very yummy! Next week: gingerbread cookies!
So much has been going on the last week that I haven't had a moment to sit down to post. First of all, I know a lot of you have asked how the little one is doing with preschool. Well, she's not too enthusiastic about it when I drop her off. The first day I got a call 3 hours later asking to come pick her up. Although I was at work, so she had to stick it out the whole day. The teachers tell me she's getting better and better, although why my normally social, outgoing, fearless little girl is the only one who puts on quite a show when mama leaves, is beyond me. She's going through a new phase (which started the week prior to preschool) where she is very clingy, needy, and whiny. So add that to being away from mama for 7 hours, two days a week, and you have a recipe for some hard moments. I'm sure with time it will get easier.
The food sensitivities have proved to be challenging. She's been exposed to gluten twice. We're still trying to figure out how to deal with that. Any suggestions?
I'm really enjoying my job at the natural food co-op. It's such a break for me and I adore the people working there. I also end up buying lots of yummy food and I'm pretty sure I've (unfortunately) now doubled our already high grocery bill. Oops. I have a weakness for their gluten-free turkey sandwiches that are (gulp) $7.
We supposedly had our first frost last night. The weather is so cool and crisp. It's definitely fall now. I cleared out the raised beds and picked all the basil, carrots, summer squash, and herbs. All that's left are the beets and onions. Apple picking is coming up and there will be applesauce and cider. Tomorrow I'm making a huge batch of pesto. Does anyone know if it's possible to can pesto? Those small canning jars are the perfect size for one meal and I love the thought of not dealing with frozen pesto.
I made this fall jacket for the little one last week. It's my own pattern. I lined it with soft flannel. I wanted to wait and get action shots, but it seems we are always in a rush when she has it on. I'll try again this week. It went together quite quickly, although I always have a hard time with the arms, especially when it is lined. The holes are too small to fit around the arm of the machine, so I don't get as neat of seam as I'd like. But thankfully the messy part is always the part you can't visibly see! I'm pleased with the end result though and the little one seems to enjoy it.
Tomorrow will be more birthday celebrating and Sunday starts another work week for me. I hope you all enjoy your weekend!
Boy, what a morning! We had a little, laid-back party at her favorite hang out (the bookshop) after toddler time at the library. We just announced that there would be yummy cake and had quite a few toddlers that came to check it out.
So we officially have a two year old on our hands. The last year went by so quickly. She woke up to a table full of goodies, her birthday banner, and her Papa and I went in to her room this morning to sing "happy birthday" which she loved.
Her party at the bookshop was much fun! She got some great gifts, including a handmade wooden chair (thanks Lisa!) that I'll have to snap a picture of later today. The cake was amazing. Thanks to a fabulous co-worker at the co-op, we had a delicious gluten/dairy/sugar/egg-free cake. And quite possibly the best chocolate cake I've ever had.
And because there isn't enough to announce, there is a cute pair of pants in the shop today. I made the above pair for her on Sunday and completed a second pair for the shop. You can find them here!
And the winners...
The random number generator picked numbers 27, 26, 20, 11, 38, 13, and 22. So that's Mary-sue, Michelle, Pam, Torie, Kate, Tara, and Lee-Ann. The first three numbers will get the full-length c.d.'s and the last four will get the shorter selections. Please e-mail me with your addresses and I will mail them out to you!
For the Six One Way flickr group.
I've had a frustrating two weeks of reacting to gluten. The source is a mystery. I even cut out orange juice to see if it helped, but it didn't. (Has anyone heard of orange juice being contaminated with gluten? I thought I read that somewhere...) So every morning I wake up feeling more tired than I was the night before, and by the afternoon I feel as though I could pass out. My motivation has completely disappeared and is replaced by an achy body in desperate need of sleep and rest. Add to that an almost 18-month-old who has hit the "terrible twos" a tad early. Oy vey.
Our neighbors just returned from their yearly trip to Cambodia to do some amazing work with the foundation they started. I hope to interview them soon about their work for a future post. They truly are a very inspirational couple and we've been so lucky to have them as friends and neighbors. I decided to put aside my work in the green room for some baking while the little one was napping. I used my favorite gluten, sugar, soy, dairy, egg-free chocolate chip cookie recipe. It's amazing and always produces delicious results.
Can you read that recipe above? I hope so. I'm much too lazy to type it out. Basically you mix all the wet ingredients separately from the dry. Combine and stir well. DO NOT taste the batter. It is absolutely revolting and you will never believe the cookies will actually be edible. I use this mix which I think provides good results. I also use agave nectar or honey in place of sugar. Bake at 325 degrees F for 15 minutes or so.
They look like real chocolate chip cookies, don't they?! They taste a lot like the real ones too.
So when the little one awoke, we packed up the cookies and a card I made (using a photo of Fred's lovely woodpile) in her favorite basket, grabbed a cookie for the road and bundled up.
We took a lovely walk down the road to drop off the "welcome home" basket. The little one insisted on her bike and not the stroller or carrier. Thank goodness it has a handle for me to push it. We had a great visit with Fred and Kitty and heard some fabulous stories about their trip. And to top it off, they loved the cookies and didn't have a clue they were gluten-free until I told them.
Stay tuned tomorrow for the winner of the Bluebird Bag giveaway!
Pancakes and pianos? Yes, that's all I've got this Monday morning. It's that time when we're deep in mid-winter: the light is lacking, the photographs feel uninspired due to the lack of light, there isn't a whole lot of outdoor exploring, our daily routine is becoming a tad mundane, and well, it's cold and it's Maine in late January. But nevertheless, things have indeed been going on here. Perhaps I just feel they aren't "blog worthy." So if this post comes across as a bit of hodgepodge, let's just roll with it, okay?
You can bet that on at least one of the weekend mornings blueberry pancakes will make an appearance. The little one knows exactly what needs to be done to get these pancakes on the table and is always willing to help. She does the stirring, the blueberry eating, the batter testing, and always tries the first pancake. Since we are gluten/dairy/egg-free, we use this mix. It has cultured buttermilk in it, but the little one seems to tolerate it fine. It calls for eggs, so we use this egg replacer.
On Saturday we made a trip to our favorite local bookstore and found this fabulous wooden piano on sale. The little one has taken to climbing up on the real piano and stomping on the keyboard with her feet. So we thought this "Schroeder-sized" piano would keep her attention diverted. She adores it.
She either has to have that fancy black shoe on the top, or a book of music which she thumbs through until she finds just the right piece to "play." I really don't think I've ever mentioned her intense love of music. I would even go as far as saying it's in her soul. Anything that produces a beat will get her up and moving. She started conducting out of the blue when she was 10 months old. She'd never seen anyone do it before. Yesterday she successfully sang "Twinkle, twinkle" never missing a pitch. Of course, words were not included, just some cute humming. But boy, we were so proud. I wouldn't be surprised if she figured it out on this little piano before too long.
And I have to leave you with this gorgeous sunset from last night. Isn't it amazing?! The entire sky was a mass of pink and orange. So very beautiful.
I'm grateful for little moments of quiet play,
a package from a friend containing the most beautiful hat I've ever seen,
a cozy fire on a chilly night,
a gluten-free pumpkin pie,
and Stephen remembering dish soap (we've been out for two days!) so I could finally tackle all the dishes. Ah, there's nothing like baking in a clean kitchen.
And I'm most certainly grateful for all of you; for those of you who take the time out of your days to stop by and say hello. Here's wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving, from our family to yours.
As the weather gets colder and we end up spending more and more time inside, soup has been showing up for lunch more days than not. Our favorite? Butternut squash. The enthusiastic clapping as I light the burner is a sure sign this soup will be around for a while. This soup is so good that we actually don't want to waste precious time with spoons, so the bowl becomes a rather large cup. There's much slurping, lots of "mmmmm!"-ing, and of course, the traditional licking of the bowl at the end. Have a look for yourself...
And of course, there is more baking going on these days. Cookies and muffins being things the oven sees most. The above were some delicious banana-quinoa muffins topped with raw honey and Earth Balance. Ah, delicious.
There are times I feel like it's quite unfair for a family who loves food to live with so many dietary restrictions. I mean dairy I could deal with, but add gluten, wheat, soy, eggs, citrus and other things to the mess and finding a meal we all like and can eat is so very challenging. However, after finishing Gluten-Free Girl I don't feel so bad anymore. I did love the book in many ways and it certainly inspired me to be a little more adventurous in the kitchen. The biggest thing we struggle with is the time it takes to cook those nice meals (with a little one climbing up your leg) and the money it costs to purchase the food.
All those years of passing on bagels, cinnamon rolls, bread fresh from the oven, cookie dough from the bowl and Flatbread pizza (okay, I really never passed on that...) makes me want to turn back time and eat them all when I had the chance. Now, I can't. Now I go into the cafe and stare longingly at the people biting into their chewy bagels and wish I could be them, just for one bite.
I am very glad I read Shauna's book. I have been beyond tired for months. When I stopped nursing Elisabeth because of her mulptiple allergies (she is now on a medical formula), I slowly started slipping gluten back into my diet. But I became so tired. I would have to lie on the couch in the afternoons, my eye lids drooping and feeling every last ounce of energy drain from my body. I didn't know what was wrong. I knew it was so much more than the normal motherhood induced exhaustion.
But Shauna explains this phenomenon as if I had called her up and told her my sleepiness woes. She put it all into words and even found the culprit: gluten. So the book did inspire me to take those oats and barley products back out of my diet and I was a whole new mama in two days. I feel terrific. Beyond terrific. In fact, I have so much energy that many nights I am lying awake until 1 a.m.
But sometimes that gluten slips back in. The other night Stephen made chicken with Dijon mustard and honey. The mustard was made using grain vinegar, which neither of us registered as "gluten." I was up all night with a bad flare up of eczema. I woke up the next morning and checked everything I had eaten the night before. It's things like this that make me a little crazy. I don't want to have to scrutinize everything that goes in my mouth, but I have no choice.
The little one has it much worse off than I. I struggle to find foods she can eat. More often than not, even the foods marked "allergen free" will cause a reaction and we're dealing with blistering rashes and a babe screaming in pain. It's not fun. And the fact that I was the one who handed her the food makes me feel horrible. But I'm confident that as she grows older, we will find new and better foods. Foods that will make her tummy happy, help her grow big and strong, and foods that will make her close her eyes and say "yum!" as she takes that first bite.
Well really, we have no choice because this girl just loves to eat. But with people like Shauna getting the word out about Celiac's, I really have the hope that one day Elisabeth and I will be able to walk into a cafe and have that bagel. Thanks Shauna.
Before becoming a mother, I often did things that provided my life with a healthy dose of happiness: dinner with friends, a trip to Videoport in town for a movie, the ferry ride home, hiking, drinking Monte Antico with a side of Green and Blacks, and my favorite...performing in front of hundreds of people. But I never thought of these things as the moments in life that fill me with joy. I never really acknowledged that fact until I became a mother. Now there is no time for most of these. I certainly haven't performed in front of hundreds of people lately and Videoport is a long ways away now.
When you spend all day with a little person who can't communicate her needs very well, wakes up very early (yawn) and proceeds to drain every last ounce of energy from your body in the first two hours of the day, sometimes happiness seems a long way off. In the past I found it hard to think about anything positive when my life seemed so full of negatives. But now, the little things that would have gone unnoticed are getting attention and are filling that happiness hole left when this new motherhood adventure started.
A new sweater paired with my favorite orange shirt.
Watching the completely fearless little one climb on anything she can find.
A dreary October day that really makes you appreciate the amazing color of the trees.
A special order that just arrived at our local bookstore. I've already made it through a few chapters and feel like I could have written it myself.
An easy, but oh so tasty, supper. (Rice pasta, pesto, sheep's cheese and broccoli.)
Working on a gift for someone special.
May you find happiness in the little things today...
'Tis the season for tea and carbs. My jeans are getting slightly snug because I'm putting on those extra pounds in anticipation of the cold season ahead. Regardless of the fact that yesterday reached 77 degrees according to the Subaru thermometer while in town, and the little one is running around in short sleeves while the stink bugs reign the house, I have simply decided to deal and do what I do best come October: bake.
You see, I used to bake all the time: cookies, muffins, bread, cakes...everything. Going gluten-free has put a slight damper on my baking joys. Most of the time the end result is disappointing and, more often than not, inedible. Trying to find recipes without dairy or eggs or sugar is even more challenging. But it can be done. And almost everything tastes better with a little Earth Balance on it.
Elisabeth is always very curious when it comes to mama baking. Her favorite thing to do is watching the oven. I have to leave the light on during the entire baking process so she can keep peeking in.
There have been many disasters in the past. Many. It's hard not to get frustrated and just give up. I'm always trying more because I know I will find a keeper someday.
And then, just like that, the gluten-free gods will look down and shine a ray of light on the perfect recipe. One that has been sitting in front of my face for months. So now, my friends, I share this recipe with you:
Tapioca Honey Cookie
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 large egg (egg replacer does not work in this recipe)
3/4 cup tapioca flour
1-1/4 cup rice flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Whip coconut oil, honey and brown sugar together until fluffy. Add egg and mix until creamy and fluffy. Add remaining ingredients and mix for about 1-1/2 minutes. Place on baking tray the size of 1 tablespoon. Bake for 8-10 minutes.
These are really yummy with a cup of tea. Enjoy!