an almost two year old. his favorite books, as of late.

How can it be? In a month, our youngest little will be the big T-W-O. I’m looking so forward to celebrating with him but at the same time I’m finding myself feeling pretty nostalgic about the day he was born and those first few months after. Such beautiful, sweet times for all of us. Before my cheeks become damp, back to some of the sweet and simple times we are sharing now. As of late, some of those special times involve books. Currently, the below are some of his favorites. He’s really into pictures and objects so even though he may not be comprehending all of the words the illustrations still keep him thinking and interested.

1 – Windows by Julie Denos

2 – Before and After by Jean Jullien

3 – Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn by Kenard Pak

4 – Opposites with Frank Lloyd Wright

5 – Almost Everything by Joelle Jolivet

6 – Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see? by Bill Martin Jr. & Eric Carle

7 – Pantone mini board books

8 – Oh No, George! by Chris Haughton

9 – One Thousand Things by Anna Kovecses

It’s rainy and dreary here today (and little man is currently napping). So perfect! I’m looking forward to making breakfast for dinner and these biscuits – https://www.momontimeout.com/perfect-biscuits-every-time-recipe/#wprm-recipe-container-19131. I only use about half of the sugar when making them (unless I’m making them as part of a dessert). They really are so so good! These are pretty great (and easy) also!

Browsing online for cozy kids pjs lately has been my weakness. Hoping to land some of my finds here in the next day or two.

xoxo

waffle omelets. plus orange honey butter and two favorite netflix documentaries.

We eat our fair share of eggs in this house and most of the time we prefer them scrambled (because of ease), unless we are making sandwiches. I needed something quick for dinner the other night and was leaning towards doing something “breakfasty” but was looking for something more than just starches and scrambled eggs sounded a little “blah”. I then remembered the booklet that came with my daughter’s waffle maker suggested an omelet waffle. Definitely easy enough. And such a great way to put to use some of the leftover veggies and cheese in the fridge.

The only items you really need are a waffle maker and eggs. I used this four inch waffle maker. One egg is needed per waffle. For our dinner waffles, I mixed in a variety of chopped peppers, cooked turkey sausage, and cheese. And for lunch the other day, with the egg, I mixed in chopped peppers, leftover baked chopped cauliflower, mushrooms, and cheese. On top, I garnished with sour cream (or Greek yogurt) and a little green onion (would’ve preferred chives but I didn’t have any).

If you are making more than just one waffle, mix/ whisk your eggs with all of your ingredients. One four inch waffle is equal to approximately one full ice cream scoop. If you are using a larger waffle maker, I would say approximately 3 eggs or 3 scoops of your mixture would be sufficient enough.

When I made these for lunch, I also had some leftover bread from dinner the night before topped with a dab of orange honey butter. It was the best sweet and citrus “ending”. It’s also very simple to make. You need just 1 to 2 tablespoons of fresh orange juice and honey and a little orange zest along with a stick of butter to make more than several servings worth.

And the prettiest little book to compliment the lunch and keep the littlest busy while I eat. 😉

And totally random – but just watched and adore this Netflix documentary. It reminded me of this one. So in love with how both have captured and document people and the “everyday”.

eggs. dipped and dyed.

2019 edition. Natural dyes.

This year, for the first time, I gave naturally dying eggs a try. I read through several tutorials and posts about the “how-tos” and compiled bits from each before beginning. Below are some of “my bits”.

What I used:

  • blueberries, red cabbage, turmeric, avocado pits, onion skins & beets. i also used spinach without much luck. *need to try chlorophyll and black beans soon (on fabric)
  • white vinegar
  • baking soda (in the red cabbage dye)
  • boiling water

The blueberries, red cabbage and turmeric worked best for me. My thoughts are some of the dyes may have worked differently or better if I would have let the foods simmer longer and/ or if I would have added more foods into the water. I’d tell you a more specific recipe, but I really didn’t use one. 🙂

Thoughts:

  • At first I was sure my experimenting had failed, a few eggs didn’t take any of the color at all while others took on shades different than what I expected. However, when I saw the end result and all of the eggs together “perfectly imperfect” came to mind. Each egg was unique – no two were the same color. The muted tones and unusual hues were unexpected but beautiful.

  • Patience. Have some. Don’t expect to dip, dye, and have all of your eggs beautifully displayed together in one afternoon. I got impatient (or I just needed the pots I was using) at about 24 hours and just went with the colors I had at that point. However, some were done after just a few hours.
  • I really enjoyed and appreciated the whole process. It took some effort, but I am already looking forward to using natural dyes again.

  • Experiment with both white and brown eggs.
  • Eggs will appear brighter in color when wet. The tones become more muted as they dry.

  • Use multiple dyes to get one color. For example, a few I let bathe in the blueberry for awhile and then transferred them to the cabbage.
  • I added baking soda to the cabbage to give it a more bluish hue vs. purple.
  • My oldest two, even though they didn’t act interested at first, were intrigued by the fact the foods can be used as dyes. My littlest, can now say the word “egg” with ease.
  • I also dyed a piece of fabric in the cabbage. After washing and drying, it turned out a really light blue. I am really looking forward to dying more fabric.

Happy Easter week! This is perhaps my most favorite week of the year – the weather, the beautiful colors (inside and out), cute baskets everywhere!, Palm Sunday, Holy Week, Easter Sunday, the attire, the sound of birdsong, the smell of fresh cut grass, flower planting, the celebration . . .

(eggs, dipped & dyed – 2016 edition)

birthday weekend. the food.

(Saturday Breakfast of Greek/ Mediterranean Omelet with gyro meat & Vanilla Lattes – from a local coffee shop)

My birthday was Sunday and the weekend was both beautifully festive yet wonderfully casual. We had dinner out Friday with friends, then I had breakfast with a friend on Saturday and lunch with a friend on Sunday. For my actual birthday, I just wanted a no fuss day to do some cooking and relaxing and such a sweet day it ended up being.

I tried my hand at a couple of new recipes.

For breakfast, I made Joanna Gaines’ Orange Scones. The scone itself is lighter and more cake-like (not as heavy and less dense) than other scones I’ve had. The combination of the maple and citrus flavors in the glaze is amazing and compliments the “lighter” texture of the scone perfectly.

And then for dinner I made Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers and for desert Secret Ingredient Chocolate Fudge Cake. This cake was definitely a special treat for all. Each bite was comparable to eating lightly sweetened pieces of fudge – so delightful! We celebrated extra by giving Mr. Tate his very first few bites of chocolate cake.

If only, the dirty dishes on your birthday would magically disappear. The only unenjoyable bits of the day.

Orange Scones Magnolia Table Cookbook – Joanna Gaines

Secret Ingredient Chocolate Fudge Cake – Perfect Plates in 5 Ingredients Cookbook – John Whaite

*I used dark chocolate cocoa for the icing. The original recipe calls for regular cocoa powder. I also added truffles (from Aldi).

Now, tis’ the time for a sugar detox. 🙂

Happy Monday!

recipes. a few of our favorites for the Lenten season.

Lent. The forty days of fasting, prayer and service leading up to Easter, beginning Ash Wednesday. When I was younger, I never really “got it”. I didn’t enjoy nor welcome the solemnity or extra giving of myself these several weeks before Easter were supposed to require. After all, shouldn’t our days always include service, prayer and giving of ourselves. Why were “these” so special? However, the more years I gain the more I understand. It’s kind of like that new start and those resolutions we make at the start of a new year. “Lent comes to reawaken and shake us from our lethargy.” – Pope Francis

Here are some foods we enjoy all year round but also nicely fit into the Lenten season.

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Recipes:

1 – Roasted Cauliflower Soup

This recipe is my “go to” and has it states there are many different variations. Feel free to leave out the cream, add greens or beans, etc. On this particular occasion I left off the hot sauce because I was sharing with the baby (my first photo).

In my second photo, I didn’t use the cream and instead of making it a purée I just used the pulse setting and chopped (and then added a little cheese).

2 – Honey Ginger Shrimp

I found this recipe of Ayesha Curry’s a week and a half ago and have already made it twice. The flavor is just so fantastic! Not to mention, the whole recipe from start to finish takes less than thirty minutes and requires few and simple ingredients.

3 – Wild Rice Soup

I love this soup! And even though it’s called Cozy Autumn Wild Rice Soup it’s perfect for a cool Spring day as well (especially those ones leading up to Easter requiring no meat). It’s packed full of veggies and really so delicious.

Plus, most of the ingredients are common and ones you might already have in your fridge or pantry.

Variation: Add baked and then shredded chicken. I did this a couple of times this past winter.

4 – Southwestern Frittata (minus the meat)

(from Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain – Meals Made Simple Cookbook)

Ingredients:

1/2 pound ground beef (or negate for a meat free Lenten meal)

1/2 cup diced sweet potato, peeled

2 tablespoons diced red onion

2 1/2 teaspoons Taco Seasoning

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

2 cups baby spinach

1/2 cup diced zucchini

10 large eggs, beaten

(salsa, chopped cilantro or sliced avocado for serving)

Preheat oven to 350° F.

In an ovenproof 10 inch skillet over medium heat, sauté the beef, sweet potato, onion, taco seasoning and salt for 6 minutes, until the meat is mostly cooked through.

Add the spinach and zucchini and cook for 4 more minutes.

Pour the eggs into the pan and bake in the oven for 12 minutes, until the eggs have puffed up and are cooked through.

*I have also transferred all to a glass baking dish before adding in the eggs (like the above photo). Which perhaps makes it not as much “frittata-like” but a bit fluffier and just as tasty.

5 – Lime and Thyme Carrots with Salmon

(from John Whaite’s Perfect Plates in 5 Ingredients Cookbook)

*not pictured

Ingredients:

14 ounces baby carrots

4 banana shallots

Juice of 2 limes

4 sprigs of thyme

4 salmon fillets

(sea Salt and coarse black pepper)

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Place the carrots in a large roasting pan or baking dish. Peel the shallots and slice them in half lengthwise, and add them to the pan along with the lime juice, thyme, and 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Cover with foil and roast for 1 hour.

While the carrots are roasting, season the fillets with a pinch of salt and pepper. After the carrots have cooked for an hour, remove the foil and place the fillets into the roasting pan. Return to the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until the salmon is cooked through.

All of the meals in this cookbook are simple, yet feel really special!

6 – Breads or Pizza (veggie and cheese)

Breads topped with preserves or butters or paired with baked or grilled veggies is also another favorite.

I’m definitely still working on my bread making skills but these are a couple simple, less time consuming recipes that we like (that have turned out ok enough to eat 🙂 ).

Mark Bittman’s No-Knead Bread

Julia Child’s White Sandwich Bread

And we love this thin crust pizza dough recipe.

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“Fasting makes sense if it really chips away at our security and, as a consequence, benefits someone else, if it helps cultivate the style of the good Samaritan, who bent down to his brother in need and took care of him.” – Pope Francis

saturday morn. vanilla-pear muffins.

Happy Saturday! It’s a foggy and rainy one here. Perfect weekend morning weather! It’s also another weekend morn with exactly nowhere to be. That’s a couple in the last month which feels amazing! So with some time and pears on hand I thought I would give these a try. They did not disappoint – the taste nor the smell that’s still lingering throughout our home.

(I left the topping off of a few for the babe.)

(birthday present for isla’s friend. lovely hand lettering by her cute nine year old self.)

The dishes and laundry have been gathered. But first, I sit and enjoy the rest of my coffee while the littlest takes his first nap of the day. Delightful!

Have the BEST weekend! XO!

Recipe:Williams Sonoma Vanilla-Pear Muffins

“name” chocolates – personalized valentine’s day gifting (part 2).

My oldest two are now old enough that I feel like we can fulfill the necessary chocolate gifting that seems to be a Valentine’s Day requirement. I wanted to do something that felt special and personal. After all, isn’t that what the day is all about (and chocolate)!

I have hopes that the things handmade by me for them will be memories they can take with them. AND even on the days where I’m not at my best, they still know they are special to me partially because of these times and small gestures I did for them on my better days! In other words, may the good outweigh the bad in their beautiful minds. 🙂

For making the name chocolates, I have this silicone letter mold and I used dark and white chocolate ghirardelli melting wafers (the ones I used did not need tempering). Place the mold on a baking sheet (so that you can move it without the chocolate shifting in the mold). Melt the wafers over a double boiler and then with the help of a small spoon pour or drizzle the completely melted chocolate into the letters you prefer (or use a plastic squeeze bottle with a small tip/ opening for a cleaner approach). Next, use a toothpick to stir and even out the chocolate once it is in the molds. I then used my dough cutter to scrape over the letters to create a nice flat bottom. After you’ve evened out your letters, place the mold (still on the baking sheet) in the fridge or leave on the counter until completely cool or dry. When moving the mold, be sure to keep it as level as possible. Once completely dry, pop the letters out of the molds and put them in any sort of packaging you wish. I placed mine in a haphazardly sewn pocket that I made out of parchment paper (it just happened to be what I had on hand). The end! Enjoy!

Happy Heart Day!

P.S. – Speaking of chocolates. Check out all of this cuteness!