Sunday, May 19
I recently made a quick coleslaw to go with some pulled pork sandwiches we had for dinner one night. When I pulled out the poppy seeds for the slaw, I was struck by just how pretty they were. I had to take a photo, for no other reason than to share the simple beauty of these poppy seeds.
I have a couple repeat items from last week’s menu. I didn’t end up doing much cooking due to my travel and the kids’ activities. I am hoping to actually go to the store this week and get some cooking done!
- Tuscan Tomato Soup
- Vegetarian Chickpea burgers
- BBQ-type food
- Chicken Caesar Wraps
- Take out
- Stuffed Peppers
As always, thank you for posting your menus. I read through them every week when planning my own and it’s always such a big help! On that note, please share your menu for this week!
Thursday, May 16
Apparently I have a problem. I don’t update my spices regularly enough!
Today I have another example of my problem! Cayenne pepper. For months I’ve been thinking that we were out of cayenne pepper. Every time I’d go to use it I’d look around the cupboard, only to realize AGAIN that we were out. Well, I finally remembered to buy some last week. The next day I went to use it and, much to my surprise, I found TWO bottles of cayenne pepper in the cupboard! Only one of them didn’t look so much like cayenne pepper anymore.
I find it funny that I actually picked the cayenne pepper up countless times looking for cayenne pepper but not even bothering to read the label because it looked nothing like cayenne pepper! I mean, it’s BROWN.
So, I have a question for you today. Do you update your spices regularly? Do you have a good system for doing so? Or are you like me and forget about your spices until you actually need them and find they are totally useless?!?!
If you happen to do a good job of keeping your spices up to date, please share tips, resources with info that you like, or anything you’ve got about keeping the spice cupboard fresh!
Sunday, May 12
Happy Mother’s Day! So far I have been treated with three kinds of French pastry, a ballet performance (including a unique scene where Sleeping Beauty sets down a poison apple she happens to have and heads to a smoothie shop), and as much love as my kids could possibly shower me with.
Nate took the kids for a drive, so I am going to pump out this menu as fast as I can and then get back to doing absolutely nothing. At least for 30 minutes or so.
- I am traveling to the Carmel/Monterey area to visit Dole’s farm fields. I’m sure they’ll feed us some delicious food!
- Nate is taking the kids out for dinner.
- Dole trip continued
- Nate’s taking the kids out again.
- I’m home! We’ll see if I can get something on the table, but it might also be an eat out night.
- Tuscan Tomato Soup
- Vegetarian Chickpea Burgers
- Fresh fruit and other BBQ type foods
- Frittata, filling ingredients TBD
- Fresh fruit
You know the drill…show us what you got! Share your menus for the week!
And no matter what form the mothers in your life come in or who it is you happen to nurture and love in your life, I hope you all have a beautiful day.
Friday, May 10
First off, as a fan of The Vampire Diaries (don’t judge), I am delighted that I get to use the word “epic” on my blog today. We’ll consider it an homage to Stefan and Damon.
Today’s giveaway is truly EPIC! And we are not using this word flippantly like the vampires do. It really, really is!
I’ve joined forces with some of my most FAVORITE blogging friends in the whole wide world to give away a Canon Rebel T4i SLR camera (with two lenses!) and an Epiphanie camera bag (the Charlotte in metallic chevron). First off, I’m totally jealous because this camera is better than mine. It’s got a big ole swivel touch screen and does amazing things with photo and video. And the bag…the BAG. Seriously, does it get any cuter than that? And you know how I love Epiphanie bags. They are the best!
Wanna get this sweet package to kick off your summer right? Here are the details!
- To enter to win the Canon SLR Camera + Epiphanie Bag you MUST enter using the rafflecopter entry form below. No other entries will be counted.
- The giveaway runs May 10th through May 24th.
- One winner will be chosen at random and notified by email once the big give is over. The winner will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen.
- You can get extra entries galore – just check out the entry form. And you can feel good following all of these people on the interwebs…they ROCK.
- Giveaway is open worldwide!
Here are the amazing blogs that I’ve teamed up with. Seriously, every last one of these women is amazing and talented.
- Christine of Boston Mamas
- Allison of Petit Elefant
- Kami of NoBiggie
- Marie of Make and Takes
- Audrey of Mom Generations
- Kristen of Rage Against the Minivan
- Rachael of Todays Mama
- Meagan of The Happiest Home
- Heather & Whitney of Rookie Moms
- Pinterest You Are Drunk
- Eat Blog Run
Now go forth and enter the giveaway. GOOD LUCK!
Wednesday, May 8
One of the delicious dishes we were treated to at our latest book club was an asparagus and spring onion tart, as made my dear friend Barbara.
LOVED THIS TART. The “shortcrust” was delicious, the top had a pleasant chewiness thanks to a melted Parmesan cheese, and all the flavors blended really nicely together. Of course we all begged for the recipe. Barbara had found the recipe in the latest issue of Vegetarian Times, which she happily shared. She’s not one to keep secrets when it comes to good food!
You all may be wondering (as I am) what the difference between a quiche and a tart is. If anyone has a good answer, please feel free to share! Tarts may be savory or sweet, while quiche are savory, but beyond that their “official” definitions are almost identical. So, I say just call it whatever you want!
Asparagus and Spring Onion Tart
From Vegetarian Times, May 2013 issue
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 6 Tbs. cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes (I just use salted butter)
- 2 large eggs, divided
- 1/2 pound trimmed asparagus spears
- 1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. olive oil
- 2 cups spring or green onions
- 4 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk or heavy cream
- 1 ounce (1/4 cup) grated fresh parmesan cheese (I might use a bit more myself)
Mix flour and salt in large bowl. Rub in butter with fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. (Jane note: I use my pastry blender.) Beat 1 egg and 2 Tbs water in a small bowl. Stir egg mixture into flour mixture just until dough comes together, adding 1 Tbs. more water if needed. Flatten dough into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour (up to 1 day).
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll out dough to 12-inch circle on floured surface. Press dough into 9-inch springform pan or fluted tart pan with removable bottom. (Jane note: Barbara baked and served her tart in a pretty fluted dish without a removable bottom. It worked very well.) Trim edges, prick bottom all over with a fork. Line tart shell with parchment paper and fill with dried beans. Bake 25 minutes or until barely golden. Remove beans and paper. Beat remaining egg and brush on bottom of crust. Bake 5 minutes more.
Cook asparagus in large pot of boiling salted water 3 minutes. Drain and cut into 1 1/4-inch lengths. Heat oil in skillet over medium-low heat. Add onions, cook 8-10 minutes until softened. Remove from heat. Whisk together eggs and milk in bowl. Stir in onions and asparagus.
Pour filling into shortcrust and place pan on a baking sheet. (Jane note: line baking sheet with foil for easy clean-up.) Sprinkle tart with parmesan cheese. Bake in the 350 degree oven for 50-60 minutes, or until tart is set in the middle and top is browned well. Cover edges of crust with foil if they start to brown too much before the tart is done. Pop out of pan and serve.
Tuesday, May 7
I have something fun to share with you today and I’m super excited about it! First, let me set the stage.
This blog was born because Nate brought home an old, free iMac to put in the kitchen. I’ll never forget saying, “What will I do with a computer in the kitchen?” Makes me laugh looking back. Anyway, in addition to creating a free Blogger blog to list out the things I cooked for my brother’s reference (yes, that is why I started the blog), I also set up iTunes so I could listen to music while I cooked. It was revelatory. Having music playing made my time in the kitchen so much more enjoyable and I loved it!
I tried to write about the music I was listening to, but it was hard to keep up and, frankly, didn’t seem to fit on the blog, even though the music was a big part of my cooking life. Then I had a couple babies and kind of forgot new music even existed. Lately, though, I’ve gotten more into it again. Between the kitchen and the car, the kids and I are listening to a lot of music. New music, old music, all kinds of music. I’ve even started “Music Education” with the girls to make sure they don’t end up on American Idol one day saying something like, “I’ve never heard of the Beatles. Are they famous?”
I’m constantly wanting to share this music with you but haven’t really found a good way to do so. Until now!
Enter Kitchen Tunage.
Because one blog apparently isn’t enough, I’ve started another! Kitchen Tunage is my Tumblr blog that shares my kitchen playlist. It’s nothing fancy. I’m not a music critic and I don’t claim to be. It’s just my playlist, what we are to listening to now. There’s a lot of good music out there and I can’t help but want to share it with you!
The playlist will have old favorites, new discoveries, random stuff we’re listening to and the lists of bands that the girls are being educated on. I’ll update it almost daily. It’s gonna be fun! Head over, take a listen, and spread the word…my little Tumblr needs friends!
Sunday, May 5
THIS is what my house smells like right now.
Now accepting bets on how fast our family of five can eat both loaves. Odds aren’t great as it’s pretty much guaranteed to be less than 24 hours. You probably could have made more money on the Kentucky Derby.
Another week, another menu!
- Omelettes with tomato, cheese, avocado and salsa
- Waffles (Anna is freaking out this morning because I won’t make waffles, so I promised we’d have them for dinner this week)
- Scrambled eggs and/or fruit
- Leftover pulled pork sandwiches from last week (it’s Mom’s night at Anna’s school at 6:30, so I need simple dinner prep!)
- Loaded baked potatoes (idea from Jess’s menu last week, good idea!)
- Take out!
- Mother’s Day…gonna let Nate figure it out!
Before I beg for your menus, let me just take a moment to thank you for your beautiful comments on Friday’s post, Be Enough. Such beautiful sentiments, kind words and deep thoughts, and not in a Jack Handey kind of way. I’m feeling all kinds of love floating around this here blog this weekend!
Back to business. PLEASE share your menu for the week! Whether it’s fancy or not or if you’ve shared before or not, we want to see what you have planned!
Friday, May 3
It’s been a rough week. There is a good reason I’m telling you this. I am not seeking sympathy and I am not trying to draw attention to myself. I just want to keep it real. And here’s why. Well, actually, before I get to the why, I need to give you a quick synopsis of some of the talks from Big Traveling Potluck last weekend. Stay with me through what will seem like a random string of thoughts. It will all come together in the end.
Melissa Lanz (who is completely wonderful) spoke about having a personal mission statement. She shared the story of her life journey so far and it was sweet and inspiring. Watching her husband watch her speak might have been one of the more tender things I’ve witnessed in some time. Anyway, during her talk she mentioned a friend who has the personal mission statement “Be Better” and how that friend is constantly striving to, well, be better each and every day.
Matt Armendariz (who is also completely wonderful) spoke about creativity and shared his story of how he got to where he is today and how he keeps the creative juices flowing. I loved getting insight into his thoughts and his day-to-day life. There was one comment he made that made me pause. Someone asked if he ever turns things away and he essentially said, “No, I’m a freelancer, I can’t afford to say no to projects.”
One of my best blogging buddies Helen Jane spoke about overcoming creative blocks. One of her core messages was that you don’t have to do it all. It’s easy to feel like you have to do it all, but you don’t. It’s not realistic. Focus on what you’re good at and find success that way. And, by the way, success isn’t always about the millions of followers, millions of dollars, millions of any of that.
Ree (a person I am so blessed to know) shared the top 10 things she’s learned about food blogging. Buried in all the funny, witty, thoughtful things she shared was a moment of vulnerablity. A moment where she told us that in 2011 it was all too much, that she was a shell of a person, that she was forced to change the way she was doing things and stop doing so much. Ree is the epitome of the mom who “does it all.” Hearing here admit that she actually can’t do it all was the most inspiring thing she could have said and it was one of the more powerful moments of the weekend.
My dear friend Jeannine (she works for ONE and she is the BEST) and I were talking one night about one of the big problems with blogs, and Pinterest for that matter. When you read blogs, you see all the good in the blogger’s life but rarely (if ever) the bad. You don’t see the grumpy days, you don’t see the ‘Happy Birthday’ bunting that did NOT come out perfectly, you don’t see the cake that failed to rise. You see all the beautiful parts of people’s lives. Which isn’t to say that the beauty isn’t real. It is. But the beauty is all the more beautiful because we also have the ugly in our lives. When you look at blogs (or Pinterest or Facebook status updates or whatever!) that only show the happy-go-lucky side of life, there is danger of feeling bad about yourself and thinking you are not enough.
I also had a heart-to-heart with Deb from Smith Bites (another choice human being). We talked about how wonderful the conference had been, how great all the talks were. And then Deb brought up Melissa’s friend’s mission statement. She essentially said, “I’m not feeling it. ‘Be Better’ assumes you are not good enough. But you are. I think the mission statement that resonates more is ‘Be Enough.’ ” We talked about how we completely understand why Matt says yes to all the projects that come his way, but that it really is okay to say NO. And we talked about how you don’t have to to be good at everything. And that is OKAY. And you know that beautiful lifestyle blog that you read every week where the mom is always stylish and the kids look like J. Crew models while they are planting organic basil in the backyard that is later perfectly chopped for the salad that the kids actually eat for dinner? Yeah, even that blogger’s life does not look like that everyday. And that’s OKAY!
So, you would think after all this inspiration I would have had a great week, right? Monday morning we got some crummy news. We were supposed to move to a house on a horse ranch in June. We were just going to be renting it, but it was close to work, in the same amazing school district we’re already in, there were horses all around, lots of light and lots of space, and 360 views from the top of a mesa. I was going to rename my blog “Pioneer Woman Junior” and it was going to be AWESOME. There was a lot of work to do on the house, but we were excited and ready for the adventure. And then it was unexpectedly pulled out from under us. And that just about did me in. The stress and uncertainty were just too much. By Tuesday I was feeling better, more optimistic. Then I went to Disneyland on Wednesday with my beautiful daughters and forgot all my troubles. Then…Thursday. The reality hit harder than it had all week. Even The Vampire Diaries couldn’t bring me out of my funk. (Yes, I just admitted I watch The Vampire Diaries. We’re keeping it real today, folks.)
Last night I realized that my public persona this week was all roses and Mickey Mouse ears. The sadness and the frustration and the downright crappy feelings were nowhere to be seen. Not on Facebook, not on Instagram, not on my blog. Which isn’t to say that the happiness wasn’t real. It WAS. And the happiness and moments of fun and gratitude for my amazing life and the people in it kept me going. But, you know, I also had a day this week where I felt like I was in a thick fog and could barely get anything done. I don’t want to be one of the bloggers who only portrays the pretty things. I want to us to connect, to realize we’re all in the same boat, a beautiful boat that sometimes gets rocked.
This is why I’m telling you it’s been a rough week. Because I want to keep it real. This week my “enough” changed from day to day. One day I was Supermom with more energy than Richard Simmons. The next day I felt nearly useless as a mom, certainly neither fun nor patient. But that day I at least made dinner. And that was enough, enough to get me through.
Be Enough. It’s okay. Sometimes enough is amazing. Sometimes enough is just enough. But it’s always enough.
Thursday, May 2
Yesterday my girls and I went to Disneyland (thanks to the Babble team for a fabulous day!). The day was perfect. Today I am basking in the glow that is the light of my daughters, so I figured it was a good day to share two quick stories about them.
A couple of weeks ago I was playing with Owen in his room when Anna came walking in with a recipe card. She had found a Halloween food and craft book somewhere, had spent some time combing through the recipes and settled on one to share with me. She handed me the card and said, “Mom, this recipe is perfect for your blog. It’s easy to make but really cute!” Anna hasn’t even read my blog but she seems to have my messaging down pat! I still can’t get over the fact she was looking for content for my blog. So ridiculously cute. I will in fact give this recipe a try at some point and let you know what we think!
Last Friday when I went to Big Traveling Potluck, Nate had to make dinner for the kids. Cate suggested they make english muffin pizzas, which was perfect for the occasion. She was excited all week about dinner that night and couldn’t wait to teach everyone how to make the pizzas. She even wrote up directions.
2 quick notes. First, I love the after thought “Oh, get plates” at the top of the page. Second, why is she having us split the english muffins with a fork? She’s been hanging out with her dad too much.
I love these girls.
Also, it appears that I am raising future food bloggers. Look out, world!
Time to announce the green lunchbox giveaway winners! (Sorry I didn’t post them yesterday, I was too busy riding the teacups at Disneyland!)
Lisa D, who said: Would love to try these green products!
welcome to our wonderland, who said: Love your blog
Maybe it was the use of smiley emoticons that got them the good luck!