Saturday, January 31, 2009
I'm a big fan of Corolle baby dolls, as is my daughter. The Babipouce Grenadine was her first baby doll and she loved it. It's the perfect first doll because there are no pieces (eyeballs, buttons, etc) that could come off and become a choking hazard. They are machine washable which is great too.
My daughter received this Bebe Charmeur doll for Christmas and loves it. The outfit comes off so she likes to pretend to change the doll's diaper. She also enjoys sneaking a suck on the baby's binky which always makes me laugh.
These award winning dolls are sold online via the Corolle website as well as many other sites. They are also carried at my favorite neighborhood toy stores in Seattle (Izilla Toys & Urban Kids Play). Check your local mom & pop shop to see if they carry them. Great gift idea for little ones.
My sister-in-law and I both bought these Fisher-Price Doodle Pros for the girls this Christmas. We have girls who are nine weeks apart so we end up buying two of everything when shopping for Christmas gifts. We bought different sizes which worked out great. We have a big one for the playroom and a travel size for the diaper bag. The big one has some magnets that provide extra entertainment and the small one is a God-send at restaurant.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
"Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it."
- Mahatma Gandhi
The other day I had to run some errands and ended up making purchases at five different stores (nothing exciting sadly). Each time the cashier had my purchase ready I asked to skip the bag because I brought an empty bag with me from home. I've been doing this for some time now (or shoving purchases in crevices of my stroller) as one small gesture to help save the planet. It's such an easy way to help cut back on waste. I know most people nowadays use the reusable shopping bags at the grocery store (if you don't you should start!) but I never ever see people at clothing stores, book stores or drug stores passing on a shopping bag. I wonder why that is. A bag is a bag. Waste is waste.
Throw some old paper shopping bags in your trunk so they're there when you need them. Or you can bring along a canvas bag like the ones from L.L.Bean (love the monogrammed ones) or these cute Be Smart Be Green bags for your next shopping outings or round of errands.
Monday, January 26, 2009
My husband is half Chinese so I've been wanting to host a Chinese New Year party for years. I took a Chinese cooking class a few years ago and thought it would be so fun to throw a huge dinner party with tons of authentic food and decorations. Ah, sounds like fun, but it also sounds like hours upon hours of work and I just didn't have it in me after the whirlwind we called the holidays this year. So, instead of a big party at home we opted for a 10-course Chinese dinner for 10 at a fabulous restaurant in Seattle's International District (Sea Garden for all you Seattleites). We all sat at one huge round table with a lazy susan in the middle. The food was fantastic and everyone ate and drank to their hearts content.
We did this style dinner once before to celebrate my sister's marriage (read more about it and the menu here). It is such a fantastic way to celebrate with friends or family. We will most definitely do it again.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
You can generally find tomatillos year-round but they are best in summer and early autumn.
I like to add shredded chicken to the recipe so it's more of a meal. I always prepare shredded chicken the way Ina details in her recipe for Mexican Chicken Soup. It's so easy and the meat stays moist.
Posole with Garnishes
Martha Stewart’s Healthy Quick Cook
1 T olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced (about 1 ½ cups)
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ t cumin
1 t kosher salt
1 16 ounce can golden hominy, drained
1 small jalapeno pepper, chopped
1 pound tomatillos, diced (about 3 cups)
2 bunches Swiss chard, coarsely chopped
4 cups chicken stock
2 bay leaves
8 radishes, very thinly sliced
2 jalapeno peppers, very thinly sliced
1 small avocado, cubed
8 scallions, very thinly sliced
2 T sour cream
2 limes, quarters
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5-8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a few more minutes.
2. Add the cumin and salt. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
3. Add the hominy, jalapeno and tomatillos and cook, stirring, for one minute.
4. Add the Swiss chard, stock and bay leaves. Bring to a boil.
5. Reduce heat, cover and cook, stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes (until chard is wilted and the leaves are tender).
6. Remove bay leaves and ladle into 4 bowls. Serve garnishes buffet style.
My friend Lynne also cooks a great posole-inspired stew, called Green Chili with Pork, from Gourmet magazine. I haven't gotten around to making it yet but I remember really enjoying it.
About Posole/Pozole (from wikipedia)
Pozole (from Spanish pozole, from Nahuati potzolli; variant spellings: posole, pozolé, pozolli) is a traditional pre-Columbian soup or stew from Mexico and New Mexico. It is made from hominy, with pork (or other meat), chile, garbanzo beans and other seasonings and garnish, such as cabbage, lettuce, oregano, radish, cilantro, avocado, lime juice, etc. There are a number of variations on pozole, including blanco (white or clear), verde (green), rojo (red), de frijol (with beans), and elopozole (sweet corn, squash, and meat).
Friday, January 23, 2009
I bought a lot of Under the Nile organic cotton onesies and jammies. I was crazy for their classic pink and white stripe numbers.
In addition to offering great baby basics, they donate 10% of their profits to children in need. Love that. I wonder what non-profit organization they work with. It's always nice to put a "face" to donations.
Okay, sadly my links aren't working but I suggest you go through the online catalog because there are some BEAUTIES in there. Here's some of my faves (by name since the links aren't taking you to the right page) and I still need to track down the most insane wedges ever so we can all drool over them.
PALLADIO LINEN BAG & BEACH BAG
Thursday, January 22, 2009
If you don't own a panini grill you are missing out. I have the Breville Ikon Panini Press and love it. Buy your husband one for Valentine's Day and promise to make him good paninis for dinner! It would be a win-win! We made these two paninis but the possibilities are endless...
Happy Birthday Panini Party
Panini #1 - Colleen's Italian Grinder
Roasted red peppers
Panini #2 - Slight Variation on Giada's Croissant Panini
Essential Bakery Piccolo Como bread (variation is bread instead of croissant)
And we can't forget the main attraction, Reilly Malone, pictured here on his first day of life. He's as cute as they come!
(HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY LYNNIE! What a perfect birthday dinner! Yay!)
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
- great source of fiber and protein
- high in antioxidants
- helps to lower cholesterol
- protects against heart disease and cancer
- helps balance blood sugar levels (great food for diabetics)
- especially good for you served with brown rice
Monday, January 19, 2009
Thursday, January 15, 2009
One of my New Year's Resolutions is to exercise more regularly. I am definitely an all or nothing person which hurts me in the long run. I get myself on a good exercise program and I work-out consistently. Then I get off schedule for a few weeks in a row and I lose all momentum. Next thing you know I've gone months without exercising. It's pathetic. So my new goal is to just be steady. No more all or nothing.
To help motivate myself I made this snazzy little weekly calendar with all the fitness and yoga classes that I like. This way when I know I have a babysitter or my husband will be home I can check out what my options are. And there's all that blank space too, so if I have a free moment during one of those times, I could go on a walk, give jogging a try or do a video at home. No more excuses that if I don't have a solid routine I can't stay motivated. I can do this! And so can you!
My husband and I recently watched the documentary King Corn. It wasn't the best documentary we've ever seen, but it's worth watching.
The filmmakers, two friends from Boston, move to Iowa to grow an acre of corn. After harvest their goal is to follow corn into America's food system. What they discover is the sad truth about corn-fed beef, high fructose corn syrup and the state of America's health.
A lot of the information was stuff I've heard or read before in books like The Omnivore's Dilemma, but most of it was new and fascinating to my husband. It really got him thinking about what he eats (at least for a few minutes after the movie but we'll see if it sticks). He actually went straight to the fridge to check things out. The the only thing he found with high fructose corn syrup was the 7up he uses for cocktails when entertaining. (A proud moment for me considering I was the Coca-Cola & Junk Food Queen all through high school, college and several years after. It makes me cringe to think about all the crap I use to eat on a regular basis.)
There's some great information on the King Corn website as well - information about the film, the Farm Bill and what you can do, both for the state of our nation's health (writing your congressperson) and for your own personal health (changing the way you eat).
Michael Pollan, my author-crush, had a few guest appearances in the movie too. Love that man.
I've never been one to wear Tory Burch but think it's cute on other people. For those of you who are big fans, check out Baby Gap's tiniest tunic. It looks like it's straight off the runway from a Tory Burch baby collection. It has matching pants too that are pretty darn cute.
I skipped the outfit but got these little ballet espadrilles because Mommy has an addiction to espadrilles in any way, shape or form. Someone, please, save me from myself!
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Spicy pumpkin seeds (found in the bulk food section at Whole Foods)
Lemon tahini dressing (store-bought or homemade)
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
I always ask for their freshest, wild fish. Yesterday there were several options but I went with the Petrale Sole again so I could try a different preparation.
Last time I cooked Petrale Sole I prepared it piccata style with lemon juice, capers, and parsley. This time I decided to do a breaded variation with the same ingredients minus the capers. I preferred this version but my husband liked it better last time. You really can't go wrong with fresh fish, lemon juice, parsley and some seasoning.
Pan-Fried Petrale Sole with a Light Lemon-Wine Sauce
1lb Petrale Sole
1/4 cup whole wheat flour (or regular white flour)
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 egg, scrambled and mixed with 1 t water
3 T butter
4 T olive oil
2 T garlic, minced
2 T shallot, minced
1/2 cup white wine
juice of one lemon
2 T fresh flat leaf parsley
freshly ground pepper
Rinse fillets and pat to dry. Season with salt and pepper. Dip fillet in egg, then dredge through flour/breadcrumb mixture and pat to make stick. Heat 2 T butter and 2 T olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. When it starts to sizzle, add fillets and cook for 3-4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate. Add 2 T olive oil to hot pan, turn down heat a bit and add garlic and shallot. Saute for several minutes. Add wine to deglaze pan and scrape up burnt pieces from bottom of pan. Add lemon juice and parsley. Whisk in 1 T butter. Cook on medium heat for 5 minutes. Check sauce for seasoning and add salt or pepper if needed. Add fish, flip over once to coat in sauce, then simmer for a few minutes. Serve hot with a little more parsley sprinkled on top.
If you are like-minded, may I recommend the book, "The Blessing of a Skinned Knee" by Dr. Wendy Mogel. I loved the book and have given it to several friends who also enjoyed her thoughts and strategies about how to raise self-reliant children. You don't need to be Jewish or even relgious to gain some great new perspective from the book.
Every once in awhile I check out the website Park Avenue Peerage. The site posts photographs of all the young New York socialites at their various galas and benefits. For the most part I know nothing about these people, except maybe Tinsley who is totally over-exposed the past few years. I do like Byrdie Bell, Olivia Palermo and Margherita Missoni to name a few. I really just enjoy seeing what these young fashionistas are wearing and how they're wearing it. And oh how I covet their shoe collections. Can you even imagine?!
Monday, January 12, 2009
Check out this old New York Times "Well" blog post on "The 11 Best Foods You Aren't Eating". The author asks Dr. Bowden, author of “The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth,” to highlight some great foods that you probably aren't eating on a regular basis.
And looky there, cabbage is #2 on the list. I thought cabbage was one of those foods people aren't eating, hence "The Forgotten Veggie" post.
Perfect little nudge to go buy yourself a head of cabbage and get cookin'! Try that great Ina recipe I just wrote about or my husband's delicious sauteed cabbage recipe listed below.
- Swiss chard
- Pomegranate juice
- Dried plums
- Pumpkin seeds
- Frozen blueberries
- Canned pumpkin
Sauteed Cabbage, Michael-style
2 T vegetable or canola oil
1 head of cabbage, cut into large bite-size pieces
3 cloves of garlic, sliced
3/4 inch ginger, peeled and sliced
1 t chicken bouillon
1 packet won ton soup seasoning packet, mixed with 1 cup water
Using a wok or other large pan, turn heat to medium-high, then add oil. Add garlic and ginger, saute until light golden brown. Add cabbage and saute, stirring occasionally, for about 5-10 minutes. When it appears to be almost done, add chicken bouillon and won ton mixture. Stir to combine and let cook for a few more minutes. Serve hot.
1/3 cup frozen blueberries
2 cups fresh spinach, rinsed well
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley
1 heaping teaspoon flaxseed
Combine in blender. Makes three small or two medium juice smoothies. Perfect afternoon snack.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
- soothes ulcers
- improves circulation
It makes me want to take a painting class.... Maybe in another life.
I would love to see his book although it received terrible reviews thanks to the layout of the artwork. Sounds like the book binding runs through most of the paintings. You'd think at that price they would get it right.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Whitney doesn't mess around in the kitchen and whips up great food with such ease. It took about 20 minutes to get everything in the pot, three hours to simmer and we had ourselves a delicious lunch (plus tons of leftovers for tomorrow).
(Happy happy birthday my dear friend, cheers to the year ahead and thanks again for the awesome soup!)
Happy Birthday Lentil Soup with Chorizo
2 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 t cumin
1 bay leaf
fresh ground pepper
2 quarts chicken stock
1 cup water
3 links of chorizo, sliced (we used Garret County chorizo sausages that were pre-cooked)
1 1/2 cups lentils, rinsed
1 package frozen cut spinach
Saute onion, carrot, and celery in olive oil until tender (5-8 minutes). Add garlic and saute for another few minutes. Add salt, pepper, cumin and bay leaf. Add lentils, chicken stock and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and add frozen spinach cube. Cover and simmer for 2 hours (stirring occasionally to break up spinach), then add chorizo and simmer for 1 more hour. Check for seasoning, remove bay leaf and serve.
Friday, January 9, 2009
My sister-in-law has been buying some of Stephanie's pieces for her own daughter and for mine. Lucky me! This year for Christmas she bought these capes, specially made for our girls. They could not be cuter. I can't resist a picture of my daughter in it...
Last year for Christmas she gave me some wide leg jeans and wide leg cords (jeans shown below). My daughter lives in the jeans (the cords don't fit yet) because they are so cute that they're all I ever want to put her in. My daughter is even smaller than the girl pictured below so the wide leg is exaggerated. They are so stinking cute!!!!
Stephanie made this little skirt with the faux apron on front and the embroidered "G" for my niece. She is so clever and so creative.
Now, get ready to cry your eyes out because no, she does not have an Etsy shop or an online boutique. I think she needs one asap, or even a store front. She is too talented to be making this just for family and friends. Although I'm not complaining since I get the goods via my sister-in-law. I'll keep you posted if things change or if she's open to taking orders!
Recipe for 1 glass:
1/2 cup orange juice
2 T frozen blueberries
1 huge handful of spinach, rinsed and stems removed
2 T parsley leaves, rinsed
Thursday, January 8, 2009
While home sick one day about a year ago, I watched the movie La Vie En Rose about the tragic life of legendary French "chanson" singer Edith Piaf. I'm a sucker for a great film biography that tugs at your heartstrings so I really enjoyed this movie.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
1 t cumin
2 t curry powder
1-2 t paprika
1 t kosher salt (plus more to taste)
1 T fresh cilantro, chopped
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
- I have paid for the machine a few times over. Think about how much money you spend every year on your daily Starbucks hit of caffeine.
- I don't have to leave the comfort of my own home to have a delicious coffee beverage. I have a coffee in my hands within 10 minutes of getting up - bedhead, pajamas, slippers and all.
- I buy fair trade and/or organic coffee and organic milk. Most coffee shops don't offer organic milk. (If you know of any in Seattle, please let me know!)
- I get to try great coffee like Stumptown, Caffe Ladro, Allegro and Peet's. I grind my own beans so my coffee grounds are oh so fresh.
- I can make whatever my little heart desires... nonfat latte, whole milk cappuccino, americano, espresso macchiato, soy, caffeine, half caf, decaf, you name it.
Now if I haven't convinced you to give up your Starbucks habit and buy your own machine, I don't know what else to say. They are expensive but if you're currently making a daily pit-stop for coffee, at say $3 per day, you will pay off your shining beauty in less than 4 months.
For Christmas I wanted to get my husband and I some over-sized coffee mugs for our morning cup of joe. Not an easy task. I checked out all the major stores... Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, Cost Plus and more. No luck. Finally I tracked down two different mugs and got us each our own pair. I got my husband some huge Chantal 16oz mugs from Mr. J in Bellevue. I got myself a pair of the Sculptors Mugs by Ceramiche Virginia from Anthropologie. They start my day off with a smile.
Monday, January 5, 2009
I'm a big fan of fresh pasta found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store and I especially love Bertagni's pumpkin raviolis (available at Whole Foods among other stores).
The raviolis take 3-4 minutes to boil. Drain the noodles and melt 3 T of butter in the warm pan with some chopped sage. Let the butter brown just a smidge and then toss the noodles back in and stir. Toss with freshly grated parmesan (or pre-grated to be faster) and try a taste of heaven. It's so good and so easy.
(I wish I had a photo to share but we ate them up too fast.)
- Broccoli rabe, aka rapini, is not related to broccoli (didn't know that). It is closely related to turnips (weird). It has thinner stalks and is leafier, with smaller bunches of buds. It has a stronger, more bitter flavor, and all of the plant, including its leaves, is edible.
- Broccolini is a natural hybrid vegetable, a cross between broccoli and Chinese kale. It looks like regular broccoli except that the stems are thinner, the stalks are delicate, and the flower buds are also smaller. The flavor is sweet with a subtle, peppery edge. The texture is slightly crunchy.
There's a cigar shop here in town who sells boxes when they're done so I got a third box there for $2. I also bought a few cigars to tie on top. I thought they turned out quite cute.