Tuesday, April 29, 2014

What I Wore - Errand Style

Target recently had their nursing tanks on a BOGO 1/2 off sale so I picked up a couple.  This was one of them.  I generally only wear my nursing tanks around the house, but I was running multiple errands with both boys in tow so I needed something with quick and easy nursing access.  I love how the henley detailing makes it look different from your standard nursing tanks.  I also really like that is has some shape to it, yet it skims over the pooch area which I'm still struggling with.

I'm only a few pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight so I was excited to pair it with these AG jeans that I haven't worn since I was about 6 months pregnant (of course they weren't buttoned or zipped then).  Add in a pair of converse to make running around comfortable and I was ready to go.

Nursing Tank - Target
AG Premiere Skinny Straight Jeans - old

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Quinoa & Chia Seed Carrot Muffins

As I've mentioned before I'm always trying to find make-ahead breakfasts for Jake that will fill him up and give him energy for the day.  He is a big fan of muffins and when I went to grab one from the freezer the other day I realized it was our last one!  I knew I needed to replenish our stock ASAP.  After the success with my quinoa pancakes I have been wanting to try making muffins with quinoa so this seemed like the perfect time.

These muffins are chock-full of healthy ingredients.  The quinoa and Greek yogurt give them protein.  Both quinoa and chia seeds are great sources of Omega-3.  Add in the carrots and whole-wheat flour and you have a breakfast treat you can feel good about feeding your kids (or yourself).  The raisins, brown sugar, fig butter, and pumpkin pie spice keep them tasting great without being overly sweet.

If you have some cooked quinoa already made, these come together really quickly and you don't even need a mixer.

Start out by melting a stick of butter and then setting it aside to cool off.  In a large bowl combine the cooked quinoa with whole wheat flour, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, chia seeds, baking soda, and salt.

In a smaller bowl mix together the melted butter, some Greek yogurt, 2 eggs, vanilla, and some fig butter.  You can leave out the fig butter if you don't have any, but it has a sweet, honey-like flavor that perfectly complements the other flavors in the muffin.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until just combined.  Finely chop some carrots, I used my food processor.  Fold the carrots and a cup of raisins into the batter.

Then use an ice cream scoop to fill paper lined muffin tins.  Bake at 350 for 23-25 minutes.

These Quinoa & Chia Seed Carrot Muffins are a hearty and delicious way to start your day.  Bake up a batch and freeze some for the perfect breakfast on the run.  Enjoy!

Quinoa & Chia Seed Carrot Muffins
Makes 16 muffins
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tbls. chia seeds
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 cup fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tbls. fig butter (optional)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups finely chopped carrots
  • 1 cup raisins
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl combine quinoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, chia seeds, pumpkin pie spice, and salt.
  3. In a small bowl mix together butter, yogurt, vanilla, fig butter, and eggs.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
  5. Gently fold in the carrots and the raisins.
  6. Use an ice cream scoop to fill the muffin tins.
  7. Bake 23-25 minutes. 
I'm linking up with Mix It Up Monday, Inspiration Monday, Busy Monday, Create Link Inspire, Two Cup Tuesday, Whimsy Wednesdays, Wake Up Wednesdays, Made By Me, Moonlight & Mason Jars, Pin It Thursday, Tips & Tricks, Showcase Your Talent Thursday, Pin Junkie, Thrifty Thursday, Link Party Palooza, Strut Your Stuff Saturday, Best of the Weekend, Show Stopper Saturday, and Weekend Potluck.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

What I Wore - Chambray & Leggings

I haven't had a haircut since before Lucas was born and my hair was driving me crazy but I couldn't get a weekend appointment for a month and a half.  Luckily my dear friend offered to watch him so that I could get it cut a full month earlier, yay!  It's hard to see in these pictures but I cut off almost 6 inches.  It is so much lighter now and easier to keep out of grasping baby hands.  I was excited to get out for a reason other than an errand or a playdate so I wanted to look cute, but as usual, I needed to be comfortable.

This is another outfit that I wore during my pregnancy and am enjoying it now just as much.  These are my favorite Paige ponte pull-on pants recently seen here.  I love the way that ponte is a more structured fabric so it gives a smoother shape than regular cotton leggings.

I've realized that I've had sort of a mom-iform lately.  Skinny bottoms, layered tops, and a scarf.  I love being able to adapt to the changing weather and this dressing formula seems to work for me.  Do you have a standard formula you go back to again and again?

I'm linking up with Pleated Poppy, Get Your Pretty On, Three-fer Thursday, Mix & Match Fashion, and Style Elixer.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Red Wine Braised Short Ribs

When I saw that bone-in short ribs were on sale in this week's grocery ads I knew that they would make the perfect meal for the cold weather we've been having.  Any meal that I can make during nap time and then reheat at dinner time makes my life a million times easier so braised meats are perfect.

I'm not going to lie, the prep work on this meal is a little time consuming but it is well worth it.  The short ribs are fall off the bone tender and oh so flavorful.  The braising liquid is perfect for serving over polenta or just sopping up with crusty bread.  No matter how you serve it, this is comfort food at its finest.  Warm, hearty, saucy, and delicious!

Get out a large dutch oven.  I used my Le Creuset but any heavy duty stovetop to oven pan with a lid will do.  Heat up some olive oil in your pan and season the shortribs with salt and pepper.  Sear your short ribs on each side, then remove and set them aside.  This will take about 8-10 minutes total.

Chop up an onion, 2 carrots, and 2 celery stalks.  Add them to the pan, season with salt and pepper, and saute until soft.  Then mince some garlic, add it to the veggies and saute another minute or so.

Get some red wine, pour it in, and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown goodness from the bottom of the pan.  Return the short ribs to the pan and simmer until the wine is reduced by half, about 5 minutes.

Pour in some beef stock, a can of crushed tomatoes, and a few sprigs of fresh rosemary.  Simmer for about 10 minutes, then cover the pan and put it in a 350 degree oven for 2 1/2 hours.

Let it sit for about half an hour.  The fat will rise to the top and be easy to skim off.  Alternately you can refrigerate it overnight, which, if possible, makes it taste even better.  Just remove the solidified fat from the top and then reheat.

Serve these over something that will soak up the sauce.  I recommend creamy polenta.  Yum, yum!

Red Wine Braised Short Ribs
  • 2 1/2 lbs. bone-in short ribs
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 tbls. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups red wine
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary 
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  3. Season short ribs with salt and pepper and sear all sides, about 8-10 minutes total.  Remove from pan and set aside.
  4. Add chopped onion, celery, and carrot and saute 4-5 minutes.  Add in minced garlic and saute another minute.
  5. Pour in wine and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Return short ribs to the pan and simmer until reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
  6. Add in rosemary, beef broth, and crushed tomatoes.  Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes.
  7. Cover and put in oven for 2 1/2 hours.
  8. Remove from oven and let rest for 30 minutes.  Skim fat off the top and serve short ribs with the braising liquid on top.

I'm linking up with Two Cup Tuesday, Inspiration Monday, Mix It Up Monday, Busy Monday, Mad Skills, Create Link Inspire, Tasty Tuesdays, Whimsy Wednesday, Wake Up Wednesday, Moonlight & Mason Jars, Pin Junkie, Create It Thursday, Best of the Weekend, Weekend Potluck, Strut Your Stuff Saturday, Show Stopper Saturday, and Link Party Palooza.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

What I Wore - Layers

I've been coveting a J. Crew puffer vest for a long time but just couldn't bring myself to spend that much on an item I'm not sure I can pull off.  I always love the way they look on the beautiful bloggers I follow, but I've never had one myself.  When I was pregnant I found this one at Gap Factory for $19 so I decided to just go for it even though I couldn't really try it on.

I've been eyeing it in my closet for a while but haven't figured out what to pair it with since I always need to be able to nurse.  The other day Lucas and I had a play date (walk the babies in their strollers while the moms talk so we don't go stir crazy) and it was really cold out.  Okay it was in the 50s, but for Southern California that is really cold.  We were going to the mall so I wanted to be able to easily adjust my temperature so I decided it was finally time to give my puffer vest a try.

I had envisioned wearing it with a long sleeved t-shirt but I needed to be able to nurse so I decided on this thin flannel shirt.  This outfit was definitely not my norm and I'm still not totally sure if it worked.  What do you think?  Does this go together or should I try something else?  What's your favorite way to style a puffer?

Puffer Vest - GAP factory - old
Fitted Boyfriend Shirt - GAP - old
Jeans - Old Navy 
Boots - UGG - Nordstrom 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Macaroon Nests

Easter and Passover overlap this year and since we celebrate both, these macaroon nests are the perfect dessert to combine the two.  My stepmom makes THE BEST macaroons and they are so easy.  These are not the dry macaroons you get in the can.  They are gooey, sticky, sweet, and delicious.  I'm not usually a huge coconut fan but these are out of this world.  I've even frozen them before and they are still yummy!

These macaroons couldn't be easier and transforming them into nests is simply a matter of pressing down the center to make a little well, spooning in some melted chocolate, and sticking a few candy eggs on top.

To make the macaroons you will need a bag of coconut, a can of sweetened condensed milk, and some vanilla.

Dump them all into a big bowl and stir it all together.

Drop the mixture by spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet.  You can make your macaroons as big or as small as you want your cookies to be.  Jake made them pretty big so we got 18 macaroons.  I lined my cookie sheets with parchment paper and then sprayed it with cooking spray to minimize dishes.  Use the back of the spoon to make a little well in the top of each macaroon.

Bake the macaroons at 350 for 10 to 20 minutes.  I know that is a huge range of time but the beauty of these macaroons is that you can make them how you like them.  If you want the coconut a little darker, cook them longer.  If you like it lighter, cook them less.  Like I said, ours were pretty big so these were baked for 15 minutes.

Once they are cool melt a little bit of chocolate.  I just chopped up some dark chocolate and microwaved it in 30 second intervals, stirring after each one until it was melted. 

Use a spoon to put a little melted chocolate into the well of each macaroon.

Then stick a few candy eggs on top.  I used Cadbury dark mini eggs.  When the chocolate sets up, they will stay in place.

That is all there is to it.  Just 5 ingredients and you have the perfect Easter and Passover dessert!

Macaroon Nests
  • 16 oz. bag coconut
  • 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 oz. dark chocolate
  • mini candy eggs
  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.
  2. Combine coconut, condensed milk, and vanilla.
  3. Drop by spoonfuls onto cookie sheets.  Use back of spoon to press a small dent into the top of each macaroon.
  4. Bake 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the size and desired color of your macaroons.
  5. Let cool.
  6. Chop dark chocolate and place in a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave 30 seconds, stir, then microwave another 30 seconds.  There will still be a few chunks at this point.  Stir until the chocolate is smooth.
  7. Use a spoon to fill the well in each macaroon with chocolate.
  8. Place candy eggs into chocolate.  Let chocolate cool to set up.
I'm linking up with Create It Thursday, Pin It Thursday, Thrify Thursday, Showcase Your Talent Thursday, Pin Junkie, Strut Your Stuff Saturday, Best of the Weekend, Weekend Potluck, Link Party Palooza, Show Stopper Saturday, Inspiration Monday, Mix It Up Monday, Busy Monday, Monday Funday, Mad Skills, Create Link Inspire, Two Cup Tuesday, Made By Me, Whimsy Wednesday, Wonderfully Creative Wednesday, Wednesday Whatsits, and Wake Up Wednesdays

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

What I Wore - Mixing Neutrals Then and Now

The photo on the left is me less than 3 weeks before Lucas arrived.  The one on the right is me about 3 1/2 months post-partum.  The only difference between these two outfits is my leggings.  When I was pregnant I was wearing Old Navy maternity leggings.  Now I'm back in my beloved Paige ponte pull-on pants.  I loved this outfit when I was pregnant because it was so comfortable and I love it now for the same reason.

We've been experiencing some decidedly un-springlike weather lately (at least for Southern California) so it's been back to scarves and boots.  I love scarves for this kind of weather because they add warmth without bulk and are easy to take off if you start to get hot.  You can just tie it onto your purse and then you aren't lugging around a bulky jacket.

Scarf - Target - old
Top - Banana Republic Factory - old
Leggings - Paige - old
Boots - Cathy Jean - old 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

DIY Baseball Themed Room

I've been meaning to post Jake's baseball room for a while but haven't gotten around it.  Now that it's baseball season I knew it was the perfect time to share. A while back we changed Jake's bed from a toddler bed to a full sized bed.  Since we had to get new bedding anyway, I decided it was time to change the decor of his whole room.  Luckily this coincided with a visit from my mom and stepdad who is really handy.  I decided on a baseball theme because it is Jake's favorite sport and when I was pregnant with him we used to call him Koufax (after Sandy Koufax the great Jewish left-handed Dodger pitcher - Josh's personal dream for our kids).

I didn't want to spend a ton of money so that meant lots of DIY.  After searching pinterest for inspiration we ended up with a really great room.  The one thing I did splurge on was this sports themed quilt from Pottery Barn Kids.  I found it at their outlet (by phone, there isn't one near us).  Even with the cost of them shipping it to me, it was still cheaper than if I had bought it at the regular store on sale.  To offset the cost of the quilt, I just bought plain sheets at Target (a white set and a tan set) instead of the coordinating sheets from Pottery Barn.

There is very little wall space in his room that isn't used.  He has a mirrored closet that takes up one wall and his windows take up quite a bit of two others, but I still found room for several fun pieces of art.

I used a red paint pen from Michael's to draw baseball lacing on white letters (also from Michael's and bought with coupons) to spell out Jake's name.

On the other side of the window we have a framed photo of Sandy Koufax pitching.  I couldn't find a white frame in the right size so I just bought a black one and painted it white.  We've since moved it up and hung up the brother picture frame I posted about here underneath it.  I took the knobs off of his white dresser and used the red paint pen from his name letters to make them look like baseballs.

This was one of the cheapest transformations in the room since we already had this dresser in his room and we used the same paint pen for two projects.  It just goes to show you that don't need to spend a lot of money to make a big impact.  The dresser turned out really nicely and ties into the theme perfectly.

I saw this tutorial for making a baseball scoreboard as inspired by the Pottery Barn Kids catalog and knew I wanted to make one for Jake.  I didn't have my silhouette at the time so I bought letter stencils and tried the method she recommended.  It didn't work for me.  Luckily one side of the board is facing the wall so I just flipped it over and started over.  I traced the stencils and then painted the letters by hand on top of the green.  That worked for me.  This was a very time consuming project, but once I figured out the right method it wasn't that hard.  Home Depot cut the main board to be the correct size and then Josh cut the little number boards for me and drilled holes in them for the jute.  The score is Jake's date of birth.  It is my favorite part of the room because it is so personalized and turned out looking so awesome!

My stepdad has a shop at his house so he used one of his special saws (no clue on which) to saw two baseball bats in half.  Then he brought them with him to our house and he and Josh attached corkboard squares to a square piece of wood.  They then attached the halved bats along the edges and some old baseballs (courtesy of my nephew) in the corners.  Thank you Pottery Barn for the inspiration.

I got the idea for the baseball bat growth chart from an etsy shop but it's not available anymore.  My stepdad made one for Jake and used a baseball cut in half as the marker. 

Jake is a big reader (yay!!) so we wanted to make sure that he had a reading area in his room.  My mom had bought Jake a cool baseball glove chair a long time ago so it was perfect for this little reading corner.

This DIY baseball room is so great because every night my little man goes to sleep in a room that he loves that was made for him with love by his family!

I'm linking up with Whimsy Wednesday, Wake Up Wednesday, Wednesday Whatsits, Wonderfully Creative Wednesday, Made By Me, Create It Thursday, Moonlight & Mason Jars, Pin It Thursday, Showcase Your Talent Thursday, Thrifty Thursday, Pin Junkie, Best of the Weekend, Link Party Palooza, Show Stopper Saturday, Strut Your Stuff Saturday, Inspiration Monday, Mix It Up Monday, Craftastic Monday, Busy Monday, Monday Funday, Two Cup Tuesday, Create Link Inspire, and Mad Skills Party.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Chicken Sausage Wonderpot

I've been seeing these amazing recipes all over Pinterest for one pot pasta recipes where everything cooks together at once, including the pasta!  This is pretty much the greatest idea ever for me considering that pasta is my favorite food, I hate doing dishes, and with an infant I need meals that minimize my hands on cooking time.  So, I finally decided to give one a try.  Here is my spin on the "Wonderpot."

Start out by slicing up about a pound of sausage (I used 5 links).

You can use any sort of precooked sausage that you like.  I LOVE this one from Costco! 

Then take a pound of grape tomatoes and halve them.

Get a yellow onion.  Peel it, quarter it, and slice it.  I did all of that slicing while Lucas napped and threw it all in a big ziploc bag and stuck it back in the fridge.  Then when I was ready to make dinner I just poured it into my pan.

You will need a big pan, one wide enough for the spaghetti to lay flat and deep enough to hold all of the ingredients.  In addition to the sausage, onion, and tomatoes put in a pound of spaghetti, 4 1/2 cups of water, garlic, fresh julienned basil, salt & pepper, and dried Italian seasoning.

Cover the pan and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat (use tongs to mix it up once or twice).  Once the water is boiling uncover the pan and continue to cook for about 9 minutes, mixing it with your tongs every 3 minutes or so.  The water will be mostly absorbed by this point but not completely because it is your sauce.

In the last minute, stir in some fresh spinach so it can wilt.  Then stir in a bunch of shredded cheese.  I used Trader Joe's quattro formaggio but plain Parmesan would be really good too.  It will melt into the liquid giving you a deliciously cheesy sauce. 

Twenty minutes, one pan, dinner is served!

Chicken Sausage Wonderpot
  • 1 pound precooked chicken sausage, sliced into coins
  • 1 pound grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 medium yellow onion, quartered and sliced
  • 1 lb. spaghetti
  • 4 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly cracked pepper
  • pinch red pepper flakes (optional) 
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • handful fresh basil leaves, julienned
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1 cup shredded Quattro Formaggio
  1. Place all ingredients except spinach and cheese in a wide, deep pan.  Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  
  2. Once it is boiling, uncover and continue to cook 9 minutes, mixing every 3 minutes with tongs. 
  3. In the last minute stir in the spinach so it just wilts.
  4. Stir in the cheese so that it melts into the liquid.
  5. Serve with extra cheese and red pepper flakes if desired. 
I'm linking up with Two Cup Tuesday, Whimsy Wednesday, Wake Up Wednesday, Wednesday Whatsits, Moonlight & Mason Jars, Pin It Thursday, Create it Thursday, Get Him Fed Friday, Pin Junkie, Weekend Potluck, Best of the Weekend, Link Party Palooza, Show Stopper Saturday, Strut Your Stuff Saturday, Inspiration Monday, Mix It Up Monday, Craftastic Monday, Busy Monday, Monday Funday, Create Link Inspire, and Mad Skills Party.