Saturday, March 30, 2013

Chocolate-Peanut Butter-Pretzely 'Easter Eggs'

I was spreading peanut butter on some crackers for my little sweets, remembering 
that peanut butter crackers are the second best thing to peanut butter pretzels 
(in the peanut butter department).  Well thank the lawdy for some little elves living 
in a tree, as they were wise enough make straight up pretzel crackers...not pretzel thins.  
These are pretzel on one side and butter cracker on the other.  Amazing!  Of course 
I then remembered that chocolate makes almost anything better, 
so I give you my 'gas station style' Easter egg treat!

What you need:
pretzel crackers
peanut butter
semi-sweet chocolate chips

On a nonstick surface (parchment paper or Silpat)
place crackers, pretzel side down, and spread with
peanut butter.

Pop the chocolate chips in the microwave for 25 seconds at a time,
this is after 2 spins in the microwave (stirring after 25)
This is after the third spin in the microwave (3-25 second spins)
This is after the fourth spin in the microwave (4-25 second spins)

For every peanut butter cracker, you need a cracker mate.  Spread
the melted chocolate on the cracker side of each mate.

Sandwich the chocolate cracker with the peanut butter cracker.

Same chocolate melting steps, but 3-25 second spins in the microwave,
as I melted less chocolate.  Transfer melted chocolate to a bottle.  I have
a few squirt bottles, one from the grocery store (pictured), and a couple
from a baking/restaurant supply can even find them at a 99 cent 
shop. I only let the chocolate fall to the bottom of the bottle, for this pic.  
otherwise, I work  to keep it at the top, filling bottle on it's is easier 
than knocking the bottle on the counter until all the chocolate is back at the top...
which you want before 'decorating the eggs', to avoid air bubbles.

No rhyme or reason to the 'decorating'...just make sure the chocolate
is at the top of the bottle to avoid air bubbles.

After each 'egg' had a bit of decoration, I popped the tray in the 
refrigerator.  An hour later the chocolate was set.

Reason #24 that you need to raid the kitchen aisle at TJ Maxx...
a ceramic egg tray! 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Textiles Galore

Our home in Oklahoma was oriented less than a mile from a fabric store. How easy and
fun it was to go and search for amazing textiles. I have yet to locate a fabric store around
our new home,  in Colorado (let's be real, I haven't searched too hard with the littles and all),
so thankfully last summer I discovered my one true textile love, on the dot com.

Here's my lastest order:

This indoor/outdoor fabric will be used to make a cozy
little cushion for our new mudroom bench
 (I will certainly blog that space, once the cushion is in place)

Isn't this ridiculously gorgeous?  This vintagey looking damask
(it's the color that gives it the vintage feel, in my opionion)
needs to be a throw blanket, with a cozy backing, STAT!

A throw blanket, for a friend who is having a little boy,
later this spring.  Backed with cozy cuddle fleece, it
will be perfect for snuggling up!

Did I ever report back that the chevron fabric (from a summer blog post)
 backed with cuddle fleece turned out as the most fantastic (and fab looking)
burp cloths ever...friend's new baby will certainly need one or two.

Getting excited, already!!!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Lunch on the Quick

I, like many, feel rushed most days of the week. I find that if I have some 
good things on hand in the refrigerator, I won't end up eating a bag of Corn Nuts 
(there is no judgement, Corn Nuts are legit) and calling it lunch. 

I always try to have prepared quinoa in the refrigerator.  It is so tasty, 
full of protein and the little ones love it, which is a total bonus!

Put 3/4 cup prepared quinoa in a bowl, cold
(or a Mason jar, if you are on the run)

Top the quinoa with 1/2 cup cottage cheese.

Top the quinoa and cottage cheese with a small handful of 
raw almonds.  

Dig in!

Some delish add-ins that I highly recommend:
  • sauteed kale, seasoned with sea salt and cracked pepper
  • roasted red peppers (I buy them in jars, I do not roast my own...but you could) 
  • roasted squash (if I have leftovers, from the night before)...zucchini and butternut are faves!
  • roasted root vegetables
Like I mentioned, if you are on the run, layer in a Mason jar and hit the road!  You'll feel good about what you are eating, and really good about not having a container that will end up in the trash.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Cutie Containers, on the Cheap!

Trips to Target just aren't what they used to be.  B.C. (that would be Before Children) I would go up and down every single aisle (Zac would usually call to check in, making sure I hadn't been mugged...that's how long I would be gone), even though I only needed milk and bananas (and probably a skirt, because let's be real, you can't go to Target without swinging by the's like in the handbook).  Well, now that I have a 3 year old and 6 month old I take a deep breath and try to run through the store, in hopes that no one cries, has to use the bathroom, yada yada.  The other day though, I sneaked out with just my tiny guy and he was such a little honey, he let me relive the old days as we serpentined through every aisle.  It was a token of heaven, especially when I came across a wonderful little end cap in the kitchen section that was loaded with these adorbsy little lidded containers! 

Now, I am not embarrased to admit that I am a total sucker for a lidded container...especially ones that are on sale (this week, so hurry...not because the original price of $1.99/each was outrageous, but they are so dang cute I imagine them flying off the shelves as I type)

I am kind of obsessed with the vintage feel of
 the basket weave pattern. 

Perfect size for fresh berries on the go, and the
lid snaps super secure, so I just popped this
container in my bag today!  

 or homemade, frozen baby food.  I just
take the prepared portions out of the freezer 
the night before, and breakfast for the park is set to go!

or a snack for mama!

These containers remind me of some small melamine bowls that West Elm rolled out a
 few years ago.  They also remind me of the dishes I am always drawn to when walking 
through Anthropologie. But, at a price I feel dang good about.  Thank you, Target!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Greek Yo Yo Pops

There are mornings that I just cannot get my little love bug to eat breakfast...
so I came up with an idea that made her giddy with excitement...
especially because she got to help make them.

Bring on the YO YO POPS!

 Mash up 1 ripe banana.

 Banana mash awaiting Greek yogurt.  

Measure out 1 cup of Greek yogurt
(or if you have a 6 oz. single serve sitting around,
that works this finished product yielded
a bit more than the 4-popper tray could support, 
but see below...we made it work)

We worked together to cut up 4 large strawberries

1 mashed banana, 1 cup Greek yogurt, 4 chopped strawberries

Add 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, and 1/4 tsp vanilla paste.

It needed a touch more sweet, so we added 1 tablespoon 
of strawberry preserves.

Like I said, this yielded a bit more than our 
4-popper could support...

but, we made it work...we spooned the remainder
in a plastic cup, popped a stick in the middle
and covered with aluminum foil.

This turned out to be the favorite 
yo yo pop of the batch!

Pop them in the freezer, and plan on enjoying them starting 
the next day.  I run the tray under hot water, to pop them out.

I always have these on hand, in the freezer, because they are
a great filler if you can't get your kids excited about a bowl of oatmeal!


Saturday, March 9, 2013

Baby Food: Roasted Sweet Potato & Quinoa Puree

The adventures of baby food begin...

Peel and cube a large sweet potato into ~1/2 inch chunks.  Toss
with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and slow roast in a 350 degree heated
oven for 40-45 minutes.

Roasted sweet potato (a large sweet potato yielded 1 1/2 cups
roasted sweet potato) and 1 cup of prepared quinoa (cooked
according to package directions).

Two of my favorites, how bad can this be?  

 Pop in a food processor or blender.  I ended up adding 1 1/2 cups
of water, for the perfect puree.  Add the water in 1/2 cup increments
for the perfect consistency for your baby.

Roasted sweet potato & quinoa puree.

I bought 2 sets of lidded BPA-free trays (4 trays total) with my first, 
and just pulled them out of storage, as I begin baby food making 
for my newest (and final) little.

 One large sweet potato, 1 cup of prepared quinoa and 1 1/2 cups
of water yielded 21 serving portions.  I pop the trays in the freezer, and
one day later pop the portions out of the containers (running the bottoms 
of the covered trays under hot water, if they need a bit of loosening), 
and store in a freezer bag or covered container in the freezer 
(making certain to label and date).

I plan ahead for the next day, and pull out the portions I will need, 
to allow them to thaw in the refrigerator. 

 Benny says, 'get in my belly'...

Benny approved!  He was also eating a bit of pureed oatmeal with 
cinnamon and bananas that I portioned out and froze the other night,
so that explains the crazy mess of a bib!  

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Layered Salad: Squash, Quinoa, Candied Nuts, Feta & Balsamic Reduction. Oh My!

I picked up a butternut squash at the market, because I planned on spending sometime in the 
kitchen today, making baby food.  Well, that plan fell by the wayside, as it was ridiculously
 lovely outside, and I opted instead to spend that time playing outside with my little Logan.

The butternut squash was just screaming to be gobbled up today, 
so I  raided the  pantry and found some other goodies that I thought would be
 ridiculous, with the squash, on a bed of greens.

Clean out the butternut squash, remove the skin, and cut up in 1/2
 inch chunks.  Toss the chunks with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, sea 
salt and pepper on a baking sheet and bake for 35-45 minutes in a 
400 degree oven. 

In a pan heat 1 cup of balsamic vinegar to boil and reduce to simmer,
until the vinegar thickens into a syrup that coats a spoon.  It will
continue to thicken up a bit, after simmering. 

 In a dry saute pan, over medium heat, combined 1/2 cup chopped raw 
pecans, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, pinch of cayenne pepper.  
Watch like a hawk, the nuts and sugar can burn in an instant.  
Use a spoon to coat the nuts in the lightly spiced sugar.

Pile spinach and other baby greens on a platter.

Top the greens with quinoa. I had prepared quinoa in the refrigerator, 
from the night before. I cooked it according to directions and tossed 
with a bit of sea salt and olive oil.

Top with chunks of feta or goat cheese.

 Top with the sweet and spicy pecans.

Top with the roasted butternut squash.  Pour any olive oil from the 
pan on the salad as well.  I like to think of it as a deconstructed vinaigrette,
as the oil and vinegar marry together on the greens and goodies!


 Drizzle with the syrupy balsamic vinegar.


Here's me thinking this will be delicious, the greens wilt a bit.