Sunday, July 31, 2011

Month of Meals- August

We returned home from Hawaii today and I realized it was already the 31st! Just in time for me to figure out what we are going to have for dinner the next month. I must admit I kind of failed at cooking what I had planned the last week or so of July. We were leaving for vacation and I wanted to clear out the pantry and fridge. Let's just say it was very successful, with beer and condiments left to eat and baby rice cereal in the pantry. See????

And it looks like some leftovers...that are now 2 weeks old!

I pulled out my August cooking light and began tearing out pages of what looked good. I also printed this super cute dinner calendar from Emily at Jones Design Company. I subscribed to the monthly printables in which she gives you some super cute calendars, note cards, etc... to print each month. My meal plan will now look pretty on the fridge! Check out what she has here.

CookingLight was able to provide about 80% new meals but I still had some days I was trying to figure out what to make. I asked Drew if he felt like anything special to which he asked if I could make some old favorites (meatloaf, tacos, lasagna). I guess with all these new meals it is nice to have an old classic every now and then. Here are some of the recipes from CookingLight. You can search the recipes here.

Linguine with Quick Lemon Ricotta
Cumin Spiced Chickpeas with Carrots and Couscous
Shredded Chicken Tacos
Herbed White Bean Salad with Shrimp
Avocado Corn Chowder with Chicken
Cuban Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
Summer Veggie Pizza
Rice Noodle Salad
Ginger Asparagas Stir Fry

And some old classics:
Pork Chops with Apple Sauce
Roasted Chicken
BBQ Chicken with grilled veggies
Lemon Chicken
Pasta Salad
Turkey Meatloaf
Lettuce Wraps
Taco Bar

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Traveling with a baby

I never quite understood how much stuff it takes to travel with a baby, that is until now. We are going on vacation with Drew's family for a little over a week and I've spent the past three days getting Morgan's stuff together. I've read things online on what to bring/what to leave, purchased some new "portable" items, and think after checking 5 bags between the three of us are ready to go! Here are a few things I purchased/borrowed for the trip. I'll have some reviews when we return.
Kidco portable tent {borrowed}. I thought she would sleep in this. Did a test run and let's say we'll keep this for the beach.
Pack-n-play {because the tent was not going to be a sleeping option}
Regalo portable high chair {purchased on Amazon}. I think this will come in handy when we eat at restaurants and we don't have to use a dirty high chair.

Chicco umbrella stroller {borrowed from my mom}. As much as I love my Uppababy, I am excited to take something that is a bit lighter.
Gate check bag {purchased on Amazon for $12}. Not only am I going to put the car seat but am also including the tent bag as well as some blow up floaties for the pool.

And for mom....the Help. Hoping to finish it on the plane. And for the trip I have Cutting For Stone which comes highly recommended by my mom.

I'm hoping all this makes for a restful, relaxing trip!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Baby Shower

Saturday was the baby shower for Drew's Cousin, Heather. It was such a success and everyone had a great time. She got some great gifts and I was jealous of all the books she got. That baby is going to have one library of books when he is born. I loved putting together all the little details, form the bunting that hung across the windows to the cupcake toppers it was all really fun to put together. Here are some details of the party.

Yummy Cupcakes

Food Table

Guest of Honor

Table Spread

I read online that baking cupcakes at 400 for 5 minutes and then reducing the temperature to 350 for 15 minutes makes them turn out better, so I tried it and they were the best cupcakes I've made. I will definitely be doing that trick again.

My kitchen table "before" the party.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Photo Collages

I've been having fun photographing Morgan lately. She will now look and smile at the camera which is makes it a lot easier to take pictures of her. I have been using Googles free photo software, Picasa since I can remember. I always loved making collages of my pictures but they are even more fun now that they are of my little one. Here are a few that I've done the past couple of weeks.
One Day to Six Months

Six month photos with my bear from when I was little

Relaxing in the pool at grandmas!
A little messy, but she sure does love her carrots.

Having fun with her big rubber ducky.

Playing in the morning (the picture second from the left on the bottom is the first picture I took. She just realized I had the camera and was about to start taking pictures).
Posted by Picasa

DIY Project

I've been busy putting together a baby shower for my husbands' cousin so I haven't been crafting lately. The shower is this weekend and I'm super excited to see how everything turns out. I decided to do a "Children's Book" theme and have tried to carry this through in small details. I'll post some pictures on Monday of the shower. Anyways, now that I'm about done with that I've been on the hunt for what project I want to undertake. Low and behold, I found it today! You can see the full post here from Under the Sycamore. Essentially you turn an old picture into a more modern piece of art using the basic "paint by number" idea. Here is a picture of the one that Ashley Ann did.

I think I'm going to the Goodwill on Sunday to try and find myself a pice of old art.

And here is a few pictures of the baby shower invitation I put together.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Chocolate Fleur de Sel Cookies

First, I would not consider myself a baker. I do not measure therefore baking is not my speciality. I typically add a little of this and a little of that when it comes to cooking that is okay. My problem is that I like the results of baking a lot more than cooking. I have a sweet tooth and I have a special love for cookie dough. Anyways, yesterday I was motivated to make some chocolate fleur de sel cookies. A friend had made some for me and I just had to try them for myself. And....they turned out to be a success! This is a cookie that will satisfy one of those salty/sweet cravings and is not for the faint of heart.

I used a recipe from Pierre Herme, a famous French pastry chef. Check out what he has to offer here. I went to one of his shops in Paris and the stuff he makes looks too pretty to eat. You can buy them online for $24.


1 1/3 c all-purpose flour

1/3 c unsweetened cocoa powder

1 t baking soda

11 T (5.5 oz) unsalted butter, softened to room temp

½ c packed light brown sugar

¼ c granulated sugar

1 ¼ t fleur de sel (fine white sea salt)

½ t pure vanilla extract

5 oz dark chocolate, very finely chopped


Sift flour, cocoa powder and baking soda, whisk to combine. In the bowl of an electric mixer on medium, beat the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt and vanilla, periodically scraping the bowl. DO NOT over mix, you don’t want to incorporate too much air. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl. On low speed add the flour mixture and mix just until it disappears. Mix in the finely chopped chocolate, do not over mix.

Turn the dough out onto the table (you may need to lightly dust the table with flour.) Gather into a ball, slice in two and roll each half into a log – you can determine the diameter of your cookies – I like 1.5” diameter. Wrap each log snuggly in plastic wrap and chill until firm, about two hours. Can be chilled overnight or frozen (warm to a firm chill in order to cut)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees f. Line two sheets with parchment or silpat (I have also tried just spray oil and it works fine). Using a sharp knife, cut the dough log crosswise into a ¼” slice and transfer slices to the baking sheet. (Sometimes you may need to reshape your slices if they crumble a bit – this is the indication that your dough is too cold or that the chocolate is not fine enough. But simply press the dough back together.)

Bake oven, preferably one sheet at a time (unless you have convention oven) for about 12 minutes. Do check them if have cut them very thin. The cookies will puff slightly and the surface may crack. Let cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes then loosen from tray to fully cool. Store airtight or freeze.

I will definitely be making these again!

Saturday, July 9, 2011


This is my first Summer not working in a really really long time and it sure is amazing, but one thing I totally forgot is that I live in a place where Tourists love to vacation! And with that comes traffic, bad drivers, people and more traffic. But I am thankful that I live in such a great place with great weather and fun things to do!
Swimming at the Shady Canyon Pool with Morgan

Sawdust Festival in Laguna Beach

Taking the Ferry Over to Balboa Island

Eating Balboa Bars

4th of July

Independence Day is one of my favorite holidays and always makes me feel like Summer has finally arrived. We had a great 4th spending the day at Crescent Beach in Laguna followed by some great food and fireworks. I also attempted to make a few of the treats in the post below. This was my second attempt at cake pops and might be my last. They turned out OK only after trying three different types of chocolate to coat them with. FYI- The cheaper the better. The one that worked the best was some off-name brand from Target for about $1.50. Here are some pics.

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