Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Movie Monday...




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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Draw me glasses...

Scarlett and I had a little creative painting session last Thursday morning and I just about died when she looked at me and said...
"Draw me some glasses"

And then I really did die when I realized how cute she looked with bright blue rings around her eyes and a giant smile on her face.  

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tea for two...(or four)

This was a perfect afternoon...the sun was warm, the tea was hot and Scarlett was happily demanding that Edith join her on the twirly slide.

I want to go back.

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Monday, March 12, 2012

Movie Monday...


When they are not fighting, they are friends. 

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Friday, March 9, 2012

Food filled Fridays...

Breakfast -
Ham and egg bites

Lay sliced ham in buttered muffin cups.  Fill with goodies (cheese, peppers, spinach, etc.).  Pour egg over top.  Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.  Run knife around edge of cup and pop out egg bite. Serve hot or cold.

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Snack

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Cucumber and tzatziki - bought the tzatziki from sprouts, but would love to make this from scratch if anyone has a good recipe to recommend.

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Edamame and cottage cheese -
Mixed edamame with a splash of soy, toasted sesame oil and ginger.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

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Snack idea sent to me by my dear friend Joana...thank you for this tasty treat.
Salted coconut flakes -
What you need -
1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
1 tbs coconut oil
1 tsp sea salt

How to make:
Heat oil in microwavable bowl or over the stove top.  Mix coconut flakes to cover in melted oil.  Sprinkle sea salt and mix.  Line a baking tray with foil and bake at 350 for 4-5 minutes until golden brown.  Should be crunchy bites of sweet and salty goodness. 

Dinner -

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Whole wheat pasta (1 lb), asparagus, mushrooms, sweet peppers (5 small peppers), onions (1), garlic (3 cloves, sliced) and spicy sausage tossed with 2 tbs of butter and a handful of parmesean.

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Salmon, quinoa, and avocado salad

What you need for avocado salad:
3 avocados
handful of cherry tomatoes sliced or whole (about one cup)
1 14oz can of palm hearts sliced into thin circles

Dressing:
1 1/2 tbs lime juice
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp brown sugar
2 tbs apple cider vinegar
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs walnut oil

Gently toss avocados, tomatoes and palm hearts.  In a separate bowl mix lime juice, oregano, salt, pepper, brown sugar and vinegar.  Slowly whisk in oil.  Pour dressing over avocado mix.  Toss and enjoy!


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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Tree in the hole, and the hole in the ground....

and the green grass grew all around, all around...

I was so proud of Scarlett for climbing this tree all by herself that I had to take 100 cell phone pictures of her standing in the exact same spot.

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My girlfriend and I took our girls to the arboretum the other day and have since cursed ourselves for ever spending money on any other outing.

I have also declared that every Monday from here until she leaves me to fend for myself in Orange County solitude, will be considered Arboretum Mondays.  We will drink tea, have picnics, teach our girls about the beauty of nature, and chat peacefully in the sunshine about the ease of motherhood.

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These Mondays are of course in my dreams.  Reality would look more like this...
"Hey girls, look at this really great spot to picnic"
Lay out blanket and food...
Edith and Scarlett simultaneously scream "mine" and then proceed to steal from each other, run in opposite directions and meet together only to smash food into each others hair.
Katie and I roll our eyes, take a bite of delicious juicy orange and a sip of tea, before realizing that one of our girls has slipped and fallen into the water and the other one is illegally picking flowers.  
Yes, this is the ease of motherhood at its finest.

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Conversations...

Motherhood is worth it..

Scarlett: Who's that? (after hanging up the phone)
Me: Daddy. He was telling me that you are going to go to Nani's house tomorrow night
Scarlett: Why?
Me: because mommy and daddy are going out
Scarlett (enter sad voice and frown): Ohhh, but I wanted to hang out with you and play in my bedroom


Also, if you are any way connected to Scarlett , don't ever tell her that you are going to get her something without fully intending to actually buy her that thing.  She will forever remember what you told her she was going to get and when she was going to get it.

For example - 
Suzy (Scarlett's aunt): Scarlett look at these awesome shoes (Yo gabba gabba shoes on the computer)
Scarlett: Whoa.  I like that. 
Suzy: Which ones are your favorite?
Scarlett:  I will have these (muno), Audey will have these (foofa), Michael with have these (brobee)
Suzy: Okay, maybe for your birthday.  Do you want these Muno shoes for your birthday?
Scarlett: yes

A week or two later -
Scarlett and I are driving peacefully in the car - no shoes, suzy's, birthday's, or gabba anywhere in sight

Scarlett - I am going to wear gabba shoes for my birthday
Me: oh really, and where are you going to get these shoes?
Scarlett - Suzy

Point and case. You will never be off the hook. This girl has the memory of an elephant.

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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Good mornings don't always turn into good afternoons...

On Thursday, Scarlett and I were not getting along.  Everything I said turned her into a raging ball of fit throwing toddler, inducing thrashing arms and deep breath stealing sobs.  It was so tiring.  Each demand she made was more unavailable to her than the last.  "hold you", "pacie", "this book", "no shoes outside", "inside", "hold you", "gym class", "hold you". We rarely have days like this.
 Most of the time Scarlett is an image of perfection in my eyes.  I see past the "throw your head back in stubbornness" here and there, and the rolling of the eyes, accompanied by a deep sigh and audible "humph".   These unflattering toddler moments are easily overlooked when most of the day she is smiling, laughing, starting a dance party, carrying her baby around the house in my scarf turned sling, asking to help make dinner or excited about a trip to the grocery store.  But on Thursday, the 15 minutes of morning peace and extreme cuteness that took place in the bathroom...

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couldn't override the frustrating, overwhelming sense of "WHY ARE YOU BEING LIKE THIS...I give up mother hood" that flooded over me until the moment I was finally able to say "thank God she is asleep". 

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Monday, March 5, 2012

Movie Monday...

I have been wondering ever since moving Scarlett into her big girl bed how she was managing to escape night after night.   My genious sister sent me an email last week with this little beauty attached...


My husband and sister had the idea to put her in the crib at my moms and ask her how she has been escaping...apparently she struck a deal with Chris.  If she showed him her inner most crib escape secrets he had to act like a fool and show her his donkey kicks.  Deal.

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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Lemon custard and blueberry compote...

PhotobucketI know that this is not within the Lenten season dietary pyramid...but it was just SO GOOD that I can not help but share it.

This was our dessert dish for the most recent Los Padres dinner feast.

Lemon custard with blueberry compote, candied lemon peel and poppy seed sugar cookie...


What you need -

Custard -
1 large egg
2 egg yolk
2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon
Ice cream maker

Candied lemon peel (extra...you don't have to include this) -

1 lemon (washed well)
2 1/2 cups sugar

Compote -
2 cups blueberries
1/4 cup sugar
2 strips of lemon zest (as wide as you can get)
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp cornstarch

Lemon poppy seed sugar cookie -
2 3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 baking powder
1 cup unsalted butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 tbs poppy seeds
2 tsp grated lemon peel
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp lemon extract

How to make -

Custard -
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine milk, sugar and salt and stir until sugar has dissolved.  Continue to cook, stirring occasionally until mixture is hot to the touch.

Whisk together the eggs and egg yolk, continue whisking and slowly add 1/4 cup of the milk mixture.  Slowly pour the egg mixture into the saucepan, whisking constantly. 

Continue to cook the custard on medium heat (stirring constantly) until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.  Strain custard into a large bowl and let cool for 5 minutes. 

When custard is cool, mix in chilled heavy cream.  Cover mixture and refrigerate until completely chilled.  At least 4 hours or overnight.

Add lemon juice and zest to cooled custard and churn in an ice cream maker.  (If using candied lemon peels, add these to custard in last 5 minutes of churning)

Candied lemon peel (optional, but recommended) - 
Use peeler to remove peel from lemon in vertical strips. Try to use strip only the yellow part of the peel. 

In a small saucepan, combine peels with 2 cups of cold water.  Bring to a boil and drain water. Repeat 2 more times.  Remove peels from pan and set aside.

Measure 2 cups of sugar into the pan and add 1 cup of water, mixing until sugar dissolves.  Add the peels and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Reduce heat and simmer until lemon peels are tender and translucent  (15-20 minutes).  Drain peels and let cool.

Add 1/2 cup sugar and cooled lemon peels to a bowl and mix until peels are covered.  Separate peels with fingers, shaking off access sugar.  Put in container until ready to serve.  Will last up to two weeks in covered container.  (This can also be done with grapefruit, oranges, etc)

Blueberry compote -
Cook blueberries, sugar and zest in heavy skillet over medium heat. Crush blueberries with potato masher until all juice is released and sugar has dissolved.

Stir together lemon juice and cornstarch, then add to blueberry mixture.  Boil, stirring for 1 minute.  Mixture should thicken.

Transfer to a bowl, discard lemon zest and let chill in refrigerator until ready to serve. 

Lemon poppy seed cookies -
Mix flour, salt and baking powder. 
Using mixer, beat butter in bowl until light.  Gradually beat in sugar.  Beat in egg, then poppy seeds, lemon zest and extracts. 
Mix in dry ingredients in 3 additions. 
Gather dough into a ball, divide in half, flatten each half into a disk.  Wrap in plastic and chill for 2 hours. 
Preheat over to 325.  Butter baking sheet.  Roll out dough on floured surface to 1/8 inch thickness.  Dough is very dry and will stick to rolling pin. Use extra flour if needed. Cut cookies into desired shape. 
Bake until edge begin to brown, about 18 minutes. 

Enjoy!


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Friday, March 2, 2012

Instagraming my way through February...


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The little gym/keyboard/hand/the little gym/tent city/curtains/reading to babies/sunshine/hot chocolate on a snowy day in chicago/lots of chicago, friends, food, snow and God baby/valentine/phone/cleaning/reading in bed/feeding the ducks/phone/wine/food/crossword/favorite/work/bare feet/morning baby/makeup/movie night/family games/nap time

follow me @abecher
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Food Filled Friday...


This weeks food...

Egg Breakfast - made in advance for breakfast on the go

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What you need -
Eggs ( I used 9 eggs for 12 small muffins)
Salt and pepper
Extras- veggies and cheese of choice (the more veggies the less the fat content)


How to make - ( I made two kinds 1)cheddar, red pepper and green onion 2) ham, broccoli, and parmesan cheese)

*Recommended to use silicon muffin cups...I used metal because it was all we had and the muffins got super stuck to the paper cups.  Make sure you spray the silicon/paper cups with non stick spray before adding ingredients.  If using paper make sure you use two, the egg mixture soaks through if only using one. I learned this the hard way.

Pre-heat oven to 375
Cut veggies and meat into small pieces and layer on bottom of cup.  Top with cheese.  Cup should be about 2/3 full.  Mix together egg, salt and pepper (or any other seasonings of choice)  into a pourable container .  Pour egg into muffin cups until cup is about 3/4 full. Give a quick mix with a fork.
Put muffins in oven for 25-30 minutes until puffy.
Eat hot out of the oven or let cool completely and put in fridge for a breakfast on the go (will last up to one week in fridge).  If reheating, microwave for 30 second and enjoy!


Snack -

At around 11 o'clock I find myself antsy for something small to fill my tummy.

Hard boiled egg with a sprinkle of salt, string cheese and 3 slices of turkey 
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Fennel Salad - Fennel, olive oil, salt, pepper, fresh lemon juice
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Cucumber salad - cucumber with salt, pepper and olive oil topped with low fat plain yogurt (I whipped the yogurt a little so it was a creamier), feta cheese and oregano
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Lunch -
aka Salad, salad and more salad

Tuna salad on spinach, with grape tomatoes, string cheese and light vinaigrette dressing
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Tuna salad, 1/2 avocado sprinkled with salt and pepper 
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Dinner -

Slow cooked beef roast with onions and roasted red peppers - recipe here
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Desert -

For those with a sweet tooth but can't actually eat anything sweet,  meet the phase one Coconut Almond Macaroon  -
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What you need -
generous 2/3 cup slivered almonds
1 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup Splenda or agave nectar
generous pinch of salt
1/4 cup low fat yogurt
2 egg whites (I used extra-large eggs)
2 tsp. vanilla


Preheat oven to 325F/170C.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Use a small food processor to chop almonds, just until they are ground but still a little chunky.  Put the ground almonds, shredded coconut, Splenda (or nectar), and salt into a medium-sized bowl and mix together. Add two egg whites, yogurt and vanilla to dry mixture and mix until well combined. 

Scoop out dough one tablespoon at a time and form into a round ball, then place on the baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Use a fork (or hands) to press each ball down into a cookie slightly less than 1/2 inch thick. 

Bake cookies until they are nicely brown on the edges, about 25 minutes. Longer if you want a crisper cookie. 

Enjoy!


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