Saturday, February 27, 2010

Roberta Roller Rabbit: Beach Bags

Photo courtesy of Snappy Turtle

I adore the Roberta Roller Rabbit line of products by Roberta Freymann. The bright colored patterns come in table linens, quilts, pillows, tunics and more. While here in Hawaii I came across some of the greatest beach bags by the designer. I can't find photos of the ones available in the hotel's shop, but I found some other shapes that are almost as cute (shown above). It's so hard to resist a great beach bag. Can you ever have too many?

Roberta Freymann also offers a ready-to-wear collection under her own name

Aloha from the Tsunami Zone


I'm on vacation in Hawaii, hence the lack of blog posts. My friend Jennie calls traveling with kids, "moving the drill" rather than "vacation" since traveling with a toddler and an infant is more work than being at home. I'm not complaining though because Hawaii offers sun, the ocean breeze and large glasses of white sangria at lunchtime. I can't get that at home.
We're staying in a condo a few miles up from the ocean so we're couch bound for the day because of the tsunami warnings. At last a few minutes on the Internet.

Stay tuned for lots of blog posts. I've discovered some fun items and interesting articles I'm excited to share. Off to gather my info...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Healthy Oatmeal Nut Cookies with a Splash of Chocolate

I love these Healthy Oatmeal Nut Cookies because they take two seconds to make and they're really good. I think they're so good with coffee in the morning. My daughter gobbles them up too, making sure to get every last crumb.
We went through a batch in 24 hours (we're not total pigs... we shared a few) so I made a second batch last night. I used walnuts this time and then experimented by adding some chocolate chips. They were so good! Not quite as healthy with the chocolate chips but still healthier than most cookies. I'm loving the addition and will add chocolate chips from here on out.
The cookies are all the more enjoyable because my daughter and I make them together. She's only two and a half though so not the biggest help when it comes to baking. To make her feel like she's making cookies, I give her little bowls, measuring spoons, measuring cups, and a whisk. I give her a small amount of oats, nuts, and raisins and let her pretend she's making her own batch. She rolls out a few with the real dough (into flat cookies) and gets so excited to eat the ones she made. I don't know which one of us enjoys it more, not to mention it's a great way to burn a half hour with a toddler.

Mirrored-Top Tray Table

I saw this Country Living Antique White Finish Wood Tray Side Table in this month's House Beautiful and couldn't believe it's from Kmart. I love the mirrored top and think this would be cute in a little bathroom or to set up a bar for a party. Would also love to see it painted with a red or black lacquer finish. On sale for $69.99.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Farmers Market Goods & Weekly Meal Plan (Updated)

Here's this week's meal plan for mi casa. Sometimes I adjust it based on what we have leftover (chicken) or what's freshest at the store that day (Mutual Fish).

Would love to have you share your meal plan if you're in the habit of making them. I need some inspiration to mix it up a bit.

Roast chicken
Parsnip Puree
Sauteed Kale
Healthy Oatmeal Nut Cookies (great with coffee for breakfast)

Chicken Enchiladas (using leftover chicken)
Prepare chicken stock (using chicken carcass)
Healthy Oatmeal Nut Cookies (with chocolate chips)

Prawns with Black Bean Sauce
White rice
Roasted Broccoli (minus the parmesan)
Healthy Oatmeal Nut Cookies (with chocolate chips)

The Best Ever Chicken Broth Soup
Salad w/ Grapefruit & Blue Cheese
Roasted Broccoli (minus the parmesan)

Zaw - pizza and salad

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Dinner for the New Mom: Ribollita

Baby Oliver arrived so I wanted to bring my friend Lynne a hearty, healthy dinner. I took a prenatal yoga class years ago where I learned that there's nothing better to eat postpartum than soup because you're replenishing your body with nutrients to help heal. "They say" this also helps with life-long health. It can't hurt so I ate a ton of soup when my babes were born. So what better for the healing and breastfeeding mama than a huge pot of Ribollita, packed with veggies. I used Giada and Ina's recipes as inspiration and came up with this version. There's carrots, celery, onion, garlic, cabbage, kale, tomatoes, and beans. A fantastic soup for the Baby Mama.


1/4 cup good olive oil, plus extra for serving
3 or 4oz good quality pancetta, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
3 carrots, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
3 T garlic (about 6 cloves)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 t Herbs de Provence

1 (28-ounce) can Italian plum tomatoes in puree
2 cups coarsely chopped Savoy cabbage
2 cups coarsely chopped Lacinato kale
1 1/2 cans cannellini beans
8 cups chicken stock
1 (3-inch) piece Parmesan rind
1 bay leaf .

3-4 cups sourdough bread (or other rustic bread), 1-2 days old, crusts removed and cubed
Freshly grated Parmesan, for serving

Heat a small amount of oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and sauté until it’s crisp. Remove and set aside. Reduce heat to medium, add more olive oil and sauté the onions until translucent, about 7 minutes. Add carrots and celery and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for a few minutes. Add chili flakes, Herbs de Provence, pepper and a pinch of salt. Add the tomatoes with their puree, breaking them apart with your hand. Add the cabbage and kale. Cook for a few minutes, then add the beans, chicken stock, cooked pancetta, Parmesan rind and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes (or longer if possible). Check seasoning during this time and add more salt and pepper if needed. Remove the parmesan rind and bay leaf. Add the bread to the soup and simmer for 10 more minutes. Ladle into large bowls and top with freshly grated parmesan. You can drizzle with olive oil if you like.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Potato & Kale Soup

My friend Tara told me about this great soup. It's easy, quick, healthy and delicious.

Potato & Kale Soup

1.5-2lbs Yukon Gold potatoes (approximately 6-8)
1 bunch kale, chopped
1 yellow onion, diced
1-2 t dried basil
8 cups chicken stock
salt & pepper
Grated cheese for the top - gouda, parmesan, cheddar (Dubliner cheddar was great)

Peel half the potatoes. Rinse and scrub the other half. Cube potatoes into small bite size pieces. Saute onion in olive oil until soft. Add potatoes, kale, basil and stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15-30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Using an immersion blender or a regular blender, blend roughly half the soup so it becomes a creamy consistency but you still have some chunks of potato. Top with grated cheese and serve.

Parsnip Puree: Easy & Delicious

. .
Last night I made Sunday Supper's Parsnip Puree and served it with roasted chicken and sauteed kale. A perfect dinner in my opinion. I'm crazy for the parsnip puree and prefer it over mashed potatoes as a side with chicken. Not to mention it was the easiest recipe on earth.

Health Benefits of Parsnips - from

"Parsnips provide an excellent source of vitamin C, fiber, folic acid, pantothenic acid, copper, and manganese. They also offer a very good source of niacin, thiamine, magnesium, and potassium. They are a good source of riboflavin, folic acid, and vitamins B6 and E."

Farmers Market Goods & Weekly Meal Plan (Revised)

The plan for the week...


For dinner:
Black Bean Green Enchiladas

For dessert:
Strawberry milkshakes

Potato & Kale Soup (recipe coming soon)
Salad w/ Grapefruit & Blue Cheese

Roast chicken
Parsnip Puree
Sauteed Kale

Ribollita (recipe coming soon)

The Best Ever Chicken Broth Soup
Sauteed Kale

Roasted Shrimp & Broccoli with Quinoa

Dinner out with the hubby

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Best Bread Ever

My friend Tara made me a BLT on Old Mill Bread Co.'s Oat Bran bread and I was forever changed. It's the only bread I buy now for sandwiches or toast. I eat it every morning with the best butter that I buy at the farmers market (from Golden Glen Creamery) and homemade strawberry freezer jam. It gets me out of bed in the morning, even after long nights with the baby. I also love this bread for simple grilled cheese and of course, the California BLTs. If you can find it at your grocery store, you must try!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Gift of the Year Award


Last year it was the cardboard box that stole the show. This year it's the Daisy Girls Magnetic Dress-Up Set. In the six weeks since Christmas, this toy has provided more hours of entertainment for my daughter than all of her other toys combined (ok, slight exaggeration but I'm trying to make a point). She plays with it from the time she gets up to the time she goes to bed and it's with us three meals a day. When I first saw the unwrapped present I cringed at the sight of all those little magnetic pieces (130 clothing options) but now that it keeps her busy and her imagination running wild, I am so thankful for the toy. Available in smaller versions too. Great gift for two and three year old girls.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

New Recipes: Roasted Shrimp & Broccoli, Split Pea Soup

I made the Amateur Gourmet's Roasted Shrimp & Broccoli for dinner last night. It was quite good. The broccoli was especially flavorful. I served it with quinoa which I thought worked well. I will definitely make this again since it's quick, healthy and flavorful.

I also had some leftover Split Pea Soup that I made to have on hand for lunches. I tried a new recipe from my friend Heather's site and "borrowed" the ham hock from my finished chicken stock. After cooking the ham hock in the split pea soup, I used the meat for the chicken broth soup. That way both soups got to soak up the great flavor from it.

I was happy to stretch my whole chicken into three meals (roast chicken, some shredded chicken for mexican tortilla soup, and chicken stock), my ham hock into two meals (chicken stock and split pea soup) and my prawns into two meals (roasted shrimp and prawn stock). Buying food at the farmers market is expensive but if you plan your meals efficiently, you can stretch your food.

The Best Ever Chicken Broth Soup

.Photo courtesy of Mixed Greens

I saw this recipe for "The Best Broth Ever" and was intrigued. The addition of a ham hock could only be a good thing so I gave it a shot. I could not agree more that it really did make the best chicken broth ever. I took their recommendation and served it with cheese ravioli (PCC's five cheese ravioli), meat from the ham hock and parmesan. It was such a simple soup in the end (broth, noodle, meat, cheese) but so incredibly good. The broth stole the show.

The Best Ever Chicken Broth Soup

Prepare Stock

Chicken carcass (with a little meat if possible)
Ham hock
2-3 carrots
2-3 celery stalks
1 yellow onion, quartered
1 whole bulb of garlic, cut in half lengthwise
handful of parsley
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 t whole peppercorns
1 bay leaf

Throw everything in a pot and cover with water by an inch or two. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat and simmer for 10-12 hours. Remove the ham hock and cut out the little bit of meat you can get your hands on. Store meat in the fridge overnight. Strain stock through a fine mesh sieve two times. Discard the vegetables and bones. Allow to cool before storing in the fridge overnight.

Prepare Soup

Pull soup from fridge and skim off the fat. It may have a gelatin consistency. That is okay. Some say it is the sign of a very good stock. Pour stock into a large pot and bring to a boil. Add ham and raviolis. Reduce heat and simmer until raviolis are cooked. Serve with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Currently Listening To...


"Somewhere Over the Rainbow" by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole aka "IZ".

I love this song.

DIY: Art Kit

As with most kids these days, my daughter has way too many toys. So for Christmas, I decided to get creative with her gift. I didn't want to get your typical toy and I wanted to get something that we could do together (because what does a two year old really want more than your undivided attention?). And so I created the art kit.

I went to a store called Lakeshore Learning and picked up a ton of art supplies (listed below). Then I made a quick stop at Storables for containers. I found a large plastic storage case so we could store the kit in the coat closet for easy access. I bought individual plastic containers (yes, I feel guilty about all that plastic) to hold the various art supplies. On rainy afternoons I grab a few containers and some big sheets of paper and my daughter is in heaven.

My friend Sarah suggested that I buy a Mexican oilcloth and cut it to fit the top of the table. When it's time to paint, you tape it to the table and you no longer have to worry about all that paint splattering everywhere. It wipes right off, and if not, at least it's on the plastic tablecloth and not your tabletop. I found Mexican oilcloth sold by the yard at City Peoples.

Want to make your own? My kit included:

Window Crayons
Washable Finger Paint
Washable Shimmer Paint
Watercolor Paint Set
Large Finger Paint Paper (16" x 22")
Paint brushes
Safety Scissors
Wiggly Eyes
Mexican Oilcloth
Plastic tray to pour paint on
Lots of stickers
Glue Stick