January 12, 2018 by Sarah
Baby Lucia is here! Labor began the night of Christmas Eve and baby arrived Christmas morning. She is definitely the best Christmas gift we’ve ever had. Labor and delivery were smooth and we lucked out with having the same nurse as I delivered with for Caleb, who I had such a great experience with. Lucia weighed in at 7lb. 2oz and 19.5in. long. These days I hold her a lot and stare at her a lot. It’s still surreal to me that she grew in my body, I have no idea how she fit in there!
For the last two weeks, we’ve been learning what it means to be a family of six. There’s a lot to balance, a lot of big and little needs, and some moments are extremely hard and other moments are so sweet that I want to capture them in my mind forever.
We have had so much help from family and friends, and we have been so grateful. There’s been an ongoing stack of Tupperware and dishes to return to people who have brought food, and it reminds me how well taken care of we are.
We are taking it SLOW these upcoming weeks. I’m especially trying to enjoy Lucia being so tiny, I know this phase goes by so fast.
Category baby | Tags:
November 17, 2017 by Sarah
The holidays have a much different feel for us over here. Our baby is due on Christmas Eve, so amidst all the normal bustle and excitement of this fun and full time of the year, we’re living all that, and then having a new baby at the end of it. Quite a finale don’t you think?
On top of this, we also start our celebratory season a little earlier than normal every year. For us it starts with a birthday in September and then two in October! Pat, whose birthday comes at the end of October, makes this little birthday stretch the easiest for me. This is the third year where we’ve done the same exact thing to celebrate. One of his birthday traditions is a Toblerone cheesecake. A long while back it was a special item on a Cheesecake Factory menu and Pat tried it and loved it. Then they stopped having it! So, I took over. A few years ago I posted this recipe that I used. I’ve since been wanting more of a dense, classic cheesecake experience, so I tweaked it this time around and was happy with the result.
I’m guessing there are others out there thinking and planning for what to bring for holiday meals. I think this cheesecake would be a nice compliment to a pumpkin pie, or just something special for a Christmas or New Years Party. If you have a spare few minutes, which I obviously didn’t, shave a little Toblerone on top to add a little something extra.
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons butter, melted
3 (24oz) blocks cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
300 grams Toblerone chocolate, melted
1 tsp vanilla
Heat oven to 325 degrees.
Crush graham crackers in a food processor or in a ziplock bag by hand. In a small bowl, mix together with the melted butter. Pour into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan and press it into the base and just a little up the sides.
Break up Toblerone chocolate and melt in a double boiler. Remove bowl of melted chocolate and let cool while you do the next step.
Beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl on medium-low until blended. Add the melted chocolate and mix well. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing on low speed after each. Pour over the crust in the pan.
Bake the cheesecake for 45-55min or until the center is almost set. Let cool before removing the rim from the pan. Shave some chocolate and top. Whipped cream is a great side to this cake!
Category in the kitchen | Tags:
November 3, 2017 by Sarah
It’s muffin weather over here! Meaning that the 80/90 degree temps we’ve had over here finally turned into what feels like fall weather. I can stop avoiding the oven and use it to my heart’s desire, and I am so glad.
This afternoon I pulled up a chair to our counter and Eliza and I baked one of my favorite muffin recipes. We also pureed pumpkin that I roasted from the jack-o-lanterns that our kids carved, so pumpkin muffins are in our near and distant future.
One of my favorite things about muffins are how easy they make school morning breakfasts. The mornings have been so dark the last few weeks especially, and it’s been so hard getting the kids awake and out the door, muffins can be started on a plate but then so easily brought in a little bowl to-go. That’s how we’ve had to do it most days lately. Ideally we have hardboiled eggs and fruit on the side, but if not, I’m very content with just a muffin and a hot cup of tea.
I thought I’d share a few links to my favorite banana muffins and a few other fall muffins and breads that I have bookmarked. I should also add that we regularly add chopped walnuts (toasted if you have the extra few minutes), raisins, and chocolate chips to the batter. Chocolate makes everything better.
Category musings | Tags:
October 20, 2017 by Sarah
one. The fires in Napa have been very much on my mind these last few weeks. From where we are, 2 hours away, we smelled lots of smoke last week and my kids had to play indoors due to the air quality. We have family who needed to evacuate and close friends whose wedding was cancelled and replanned locally in less than 3 days. For anyone interested in donating towards Napa disaster relief, here’s one place I found where you can give.
two. It finally feels like fall around here, after a visit to the pumpkin patch! The one we visited had such a beautiful array of pumpkins, so many different colors and shapes and sizes.
four. I’m on week 3 of getting a CSA box and I’ve been loving it. I thought that I’d have to supplement with more vegetables from the grocery store, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find that I have more than I can use in a week. One of the cool things already has been cooking with new-to-me vegetables! I’ve now cooked with escarole and collard greens, and both were great.
five. Has anyone else out there been browsing Target’s upcoming Hearth & Hand with Magnolia line? When I first heard of it, I was sure I would be wanting to buy the entire line. After looking through every single item (!), I was surprised to find my “want list” pretty small, which is probably a good thing. A few of the things on a list? This pitcher, this tree skirt, and this doormat.
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October 6, 2017 by Sarah
I’m 29 weeks pregnant! We are looking forward to welcoming our fourth, a baby girl, due Christmas Eve. I had it in my head to write all about the first trimester, many weeks ago, to remember and capture it. But then all of a sudden, the third trimester started and this baby inside of me has grew to now be about 3 pounds and there’s tons of movement in there at all times of the day and night.
Pregnancy this time around has felt in many ways very familiar but pretty different in others. The first trimester nausea was a few degrees worse and lasted a week or two longer. Like other times, I had tons of food aversions, couldn’t stand to be in the kitchen, felt this low to mid level blah throughout the entire day, and just had to spend a lot of effort thinking of what I COULD eat. I don’t even know what I did eat or what our family ate these few months! I think I had a lot of bread and cheese and we did a lot of take-out. Somehow we got through it and week 14 hit and the morning sickness magically lifted, and I was so glad.
A funny thing this time has been feeling caught off guard by my seeing myself in the mirror. It’s changed now, but for a lot of the middle of the pregnancy when I was starting to show, I would see a reflection of myself and then suddenly remember that I was pregnant. With 3 kids 5 and under, I’m in so many different places all the time, that I’ve just felt a little more distanced from this pregnancy. Being pretty big now and having baby girl kicking and squirming inside of me now days though, keeps me reminded pretty well that I’m carrying with me a new little life.
Very soon, we will be needing to set up a bassinet, change around our van seating orientation, organize tiny clothes, and order nursing bras. We are excited for our Christmas gift on the way!
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September 15, 2017 by Sarah
I remember the first time a friend brought over homemade brownies. My mind was blown, you can make your own brownies? Without the mix? Growing up, my mom cooked so much from scratch. So much so that I thought that from scratch meant that you actually milled your own flour or made your own tofu. But there were definitely easy pantry items that she always had on hand. That orange box of Japanese curry cubes, canned beans, and a Costco sized brownie mix.
Since that homemade brownie moment, I’ve been exploring other homemade pantry items, The Homemade Pantry cookbook is a fun resource for this if you’re interested.
One of the things I’ve been since experimenting with? Vanilla beans. Just this week I added them to my youngest daughter’s cupcakes and frosting for her birthday, and twice in the last month I’ve made homemade vanilla extract. Yes, you can make your own vanilla extract, and it’s very easy.
The process involves just 2 ingredients, bourbon (or vodka, rum, or brandy) and vanilla beans. You split the vanilla beans in half, place them in a bottle, add the bourbon, give it a shake, store it in a cool dark place, every so often give it a few more shakes, and in a month or two, it’s ready to use. I picked up the bottle for just a few dollars at Cost Plus World Market.
You can follow the recipe I used here.
Category in the kitchen | Tags: