Wednesday, August 31, 2011


 I am off to the beach...thanks for checking in and look for all new posts when I return back from vacation in two weeks!



Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Bathtub Art

My little one loves tub time and I found this link for homemade bathtub crayons on Pinterest (of course!).  I think it would be fun to make these soaps and use fun ice cube molds like stars, flowers, etc.  Please click here for the full recipe!

 If you try this let me know how it turns out and what masterpieces your Little Picasso makes!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Loud Crow Books

I have been looking at e-books for kids and came across Loud Crow's wonderful books.  They have made e-book applications out of three Sandra Boynton books (and you know I am a fan of her books!) and two Beatrix Potter books and the Night Before Christmas. 






I have purchased all three Boynton books and the one of the Potter books and they are so much fun to read.  My little one enjoys seeing the books come to life (to the point that she is disappointed when the real books don't have the same features!) 


I think the books are reasonably priced too, especially for what you get!  They are available from itunes, android market and nook color.

 Have you found any good e-books for kids that you enjoy? 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Saturday Thoughts

Have a wonderful weekend! 

Friday, August 26, 2011

What's for dinner?

Here is what we are having for dinner next week...

Sunday - Surprise - Dad is going to cook!

Monday - Pizza on the grill

Tuesday - Cherry Tomato, Bocconcini, and Zucchini Pie

Wednesday - Sushi

Thursday - VACATION!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Weekend Cocktails

This is the last post of the summer long weekend cocktails.  I hope you have tried some and found some new drinks to add into your collection. 

I thought this drink from Martha Stewart would be fun to have while we enjoy the last of the summer fruit.

Peach and Blackberry Muddle - from Martha Stewart

  • 4 thin slices peach
  • Via
  • 6 blackberries
  • 2 large sprigs mint
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • Ice
  • Seltzer
  1. In a double old-fashioned glass, combine 2 peach slices, 3 blackberries, mint, honey, and lemon juice.
  2. Mash gently with the back of a spoon until fruit releases juices. A
  3. dd bourbon, remaining peach slices, and remaining blackberries.
  4. Fill glass with ice and top with seltzer.

Parmesan-Scallion Pastry Pinwheels - from Real Simple

  1. Heat oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  2. Unfold the pastry and brush with the egg. Sprinkle with the scallions, ¼ cup of the Parmesan, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ⅛ teaspoon pepper. Roll tightly into a log. Freeze until firm but still sliceable, about 20 minutes.
  3. Slice the log into ¼-inch-thick rounds and place on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan and bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Beach Ready

In a week we are heading to the beach for a long needed vacation.  I have already started working on gathering things to take with us.  I am pretty excited to see family that I haven't seen in a while (that means you Sara!) 

I found some lovely pics of beach houses to satisfy me until we get to the beach next week! 



Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Paint with those fingers!

My little one and I went to our first Mommy and Me art class this summer.  She was a little young for the class, but by the end of the four weeks, she was starting to really show interest in playing and mixing paint!

On Pinterest I found a link to making your own, washable finger paint!  Click here for the recipe.


And I also found this image - what a great idea!  I am not a Starbucks drinker, but I am definitely going to track down some cups to help contain the mess!  I am going to have to pass this tip on to our art teacher!


Monday, August 22, 2011

School Already?

I can't believe some schools are already beginning this week.  Where did the summer go? 

I loved going school supply shopping.  My grandmother always took me to get what I needed.  She always splurged on the big pack of crayons for me (which my mother didn't think I needed!). 

Even though I no longer need those supplies, I found these fun office supplies from See Jane Work that would brighten any desk.




Friday, August 19, 2011

What's for dinner?

Here is what we are having for dinner next week...

Sunday - Crispy Eggplant Fritters with Smoked Mozzarella

Monday - Swiss Chard, Snap Peas, and Beef Stir-Fry

Tuesday  - Dinner Out

Wednesday - Chickpeas with Chard and Pan-Roasted Tomatoes

Thursday - Crab Cakes with Buttermilk-Basil Dressing and Marinated Tomatoes and Corn - See Below for Recipe  (I know we just had this earlier this month, but we have a guest for dinner and this is a great meal for entertaining.)

Friday - Skirt Steak with Corn Cakes

Saturday - BLTs with Eggplant Fries

Crab Cakes with Buttermilk-Basil Dressing and Marinated Tomatoes and Corn
From Tyler Florence for House Beautiful, July/August 2011
Serves 4-6

For the Crab Cakes

1 1/2 lbs. jumbo lumb crabmeat
1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs (made from 4 or 5 slices of white bread with the crusts removed and  
         processed in the food processor)
2 Tbsp mayonnaise, plus more if needed
1 large egg white
1/2 lemon, juiced
Sea Salt and freshly cracked black pepper

For the Dressing

1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
A few drops of fresh lemon juice
Sea salt to taste

For the Marinated Tomatoes and Corn

2 ears of fresh corn
2 vine-ripened tomatoes, cut into wedges
2 cups grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 Tbsp Old Bay seasoning
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 fat Tbsp of tiny fresh basil leaves
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste


1.  Mix crabmeat, bread crumbs, mayonnaise, egg white, and lemon juice until just blended.  Season with salt and pepper.  Shape into six large cakes.  Put them on a plate, cover loosely, and place them in the refrigerator to chill.

2.  To make the dressing, combine all ingredients in a blender and puree on high until smooth; salt to taste.  The flavor should remind you of classic ranch dressing.  This sauce should be served at room temperature, so pull it out of the refrigerator 15 minutes before you plate up. 

3.  Roast the unshucked corn in a 350-degree oven for 30 minutes, until the husks are brown and parchment-like.  The corn will steam in its own jacket, creating an unbelievable, naturally sweet flavor.  Once the ears are cool enough to handle, peel the husks back.  Using a sharp knife, slice the kernels from the cob into a mixing bowl.

4.  Cut up the tomatoes, but don't make them too small and delicate.  Toss the tomatoes and corn with the Old Bay, lemon juice, olive oil, basil, sea salt, and pepper, and let it marinate in the fridge to chill.  (This can be done up to an hour in advance - if it sits longer than that, the salt will pull too much water out of the tomatoes.)

5.  Take the crab cakes out of the refrigerator.  Heat 3 Tbsp olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.  Add the crab cakes and cook for about four minutes on each side until they are nice and crisp.  To assemble, spoon some dressing on each plate and place a crab cake in the center.  Sprinkle tomato and corn mixture over the top and serve immediately. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Summer Sipping

The summer is almost over, and I only have a week left in the season long series I have been doing.  I hope you have been enjoying them, some drinks I have liked, others...I will pass on.  I have always wanted to try Campari, so this weekend we'll be having...

Negroni Punch - from Bon Appetit

  • Place fruit in large punch bowl. Sprinkle with sugar to taste, if desired; stir and let stand 10 minutes for sugar to dissolve and juices to form. Add all remaining ingredients except ice cubes. Divide punch among 8 tall ice-filled glasses and serve.
Eggplant Hummus - from Bon Appetit

  • 1 large eggplant (about 1 1/4 pounds)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup drained canned garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons (generous) tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley 


1.  Preheat oven to 350°F.

2.  Cut eggplant in half lengthwise, then score flesh in crisscross pattern at 1-inch intervals, 1/2 inch deep. Rub cut sides with 1 1/2 tablespoons oil; sprinkle with salt.

3.  Place eggplant on rimmed baking sheet, cut side down; bake until tender, about 1 1/2 hours.

4.  Cool slightly, then scoop flesh into processor (discard skins).

5.  Add garbanzo beans, remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil, lemon juice, tahini, and garlic; puree until mixture is almost smooth.

6.  Transfer to bowl; stir in parsley. Season hummus to taste with salt and pepper

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Free Podcasts for Kids

Later on this month we are going on a long road trip and I am beginning to prepare for it now.  Our little one is not a fan of the long drive, so we bought an ipad this summer so we could show her tv shows, movies, etc and hope that the time passes quickly.  We only let her watch tv when I put on her sunscreen (a great way to get kids to sit still!) so I am pretty sure she'll be happy watching all the way to Great Grandma's!

In searching for items to download I came across free Sesame Street podcasts that are videos!  There are over 91 episodes that are approximately 6 minutes each, so we won't run out of entertainment.  Click here to check the podcasts out in itunes.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Driveway as a Canvas

Does your driveway lack some color?  Bored with sidewalk chalk?  Then you need to unleash your child with some homemade paint to make their mark out there! 


Homemade Sidewalk Paint

1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 box baking soda
A squeeze of washable paint
1 - 2 Tbsp water

Stir all dry items together then add the paint and water until it is a little soupy.  As it mixed it will thicken up. 

A couple of notes:
  • You can use an old cupcake pan as your palate.
  • If you want to see it bubble, fill up a spray bottle of white vinegar and give it a squirt
  • Have fun!  And take pictures of your little one's work!

Monday, August 15, 2011


I have totally converted into a smoothie nut!  This weekend I discovered this great app from Whole Living for smoothies!  I have been drinking them for breakfast, lunch, and snacks all weekend long!  There are two versions of the application, one for the iphone and another for the ipad and the cost is between $0.99 and $1.99 depending on which one you buy.  I purchased the ipad version and there were 36 recipes along with two more add-ons with recipes that you can buy for just $0.99 each (and you get 12 more smoothie recipes in each). 


The smoothies have been terrific, and easy to make.  I like that the recipes breakdown the health benefits and nutritional information, and the app even classifies the smoothie based on it's type, for example the peach strawberry that I made this morning was considered a weigh-loss smoothie, however the strawberry watermelon I had yesterday was a detox.  There are are also allergy-free, meal-in-a-glass and the essential smoothies. 



Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Secret of Life...

I found this quote on Pinterest and thought it was absolutely amazing!  I try very hard to be in the moment with my family  but with technology always looming it can sometimes be tough.  This is such a great reminder of what is important in our lives.  Let's all try to remember to live this with the people we care about and love.


Friday, August 12, 2011

What is for dinner?

So dinners this week are not the usual, however I after having a couple teeth removed this morning I am in the need for summer soup...

Sunday - Cucumber-Buttermilk Soup

Monday - Cold Potato-Leek Soup

Tuesday - Chilled Spicy Tomato Soup

Wednesday - Chilled Cucumber - Avocado Soup (we have lots of cucumbers from our garden!)

Thursday - Eggplant Fritters with Spiced Yoghurt

Friday - Chicken Breasts with Tomato-Herb Pan Sauce

Saturday - Green Shawarma Salmon

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Weekend Sips

This weekend we'll be having mocktails thanks to pain meds after my surgery. 

Watermelon Limeade - from Martha Stewart
Makes 2 quarts

  • 8 cups chopped seedless watermelon (about 6 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 4 limes)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, plus 2 tablespoons more, if needed
  • 1/2 cup vodka, (optional)
  • Mint leaves
1.      Working in batches, puree in blender watermelon with lime juice and sugar until smooth. Add more sugar, if needed.
2.      Transfer puree to a pitcher; add vodka, if desired. Cover; chill until ready to serve.
3.      Stir; pour into tumblers, over ice. Garnish with mint.

If I am feeling up for it I will whip up these nuts for Dad...otherwise he'll have to munch on whatever is available in the house!

Spiced Ginger Cashews - from Martha Stewart

  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 3/4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/4 ounce to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 large egg white
  • 2 1/2 cups roasted cashews
  • Sugar
  • 1/4-inch-thick slices peeled fresh ginger
1.      Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Stir together sugar, coarse salt, ground ginger, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl.
2.      Whisk egg white in a medium bowl until frothy. Stir roasted cashews into egg white; toss to coat.
3.      Sprinkle sugar-and-spice mixture over nuts, and stir to coat. Arrange nuts in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake, stirring halfway through, until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let cool, or serve warm.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Salmon Debate

Recently I had a conversation with a friend regarding wild vs. farmed salmon.  She had heard that farmed was better to eat since it contained less mercury.  I have been buying wild for some time now, so I was curious who was right. 


In search for my answer I found an article from 2005 on Martha Stewart's website that sums everything up very well (click here to view it) and suggests that we consume wild salmon from Alaska. 

CNN also had a post regarding the debate, so see it click here.


I also found this great organization - Blue Ocean Institute which provides a wonderful seafood guide that you can use to see which types of seafood are safe to eat.  All you need to do is select the fish from the drop down menu and see if it get a green, yellow, or red ranking (eat with ease, eat with caution, don't eat, respectively).  They even have an app called FishPhone that you can download so you can have the reference handy when you are at the grocery store. 

At the end of the day, you have to do what is best for your family.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Summer Activies for the Family

For the rest of the summer I plan to have at least one post a week dedicated to activities you can do with your kids.  I found this on Pinterest (of course!) and thought it was such a fun art idea!  I don't know about you, but it is certainly warm enough to do this at my home.  And lucky enough now we are in the "back to school" season, so most stores have crayons on sale this week.  All you need to do is line them up on a canvas, put them in the sun (just prop up the one end a little bit) and watch them melt!  What an inexpensive piece of art for a child's bedroom or playroom!

Let me know if you try this and how it turns out!


Monday, August 8, 2011


If you saw the menu posted for dinner last week you would have seen that I was making a cold tomato soup with cornbread croutons (this was a huge hit in our house!).  I made the cornbread from scratch using the recipe on the side of the cornmeal container, but I didn't have any milk other than whole in the fridge and I didn't want to add all of that fat to it, so I used some low-fat buttermilk that I had.  I don't know why I have never done this before, but I will tell you that I will only use buttermilk in cornbread going forward!  The bread turned out so moist and light, it was just delicious! 

You can make your own buttermilk using the following recipe:


Homemade Buttermilk

  • Milk (just under one cup, and you can use any kind you want, including skim)
  • 1 Tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice
1. Place a Tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup.
2. Add enough milk to bring the liquid up to the one-cup line.
3. Let stand for five minute. Then, use as much as your recipe calls for.

Here are some fun recipes I found using buttermilk, besides in pancakes, biscuits, scones, waffles, etc.

Buttermilk Bark




Buttermilk-Cumin Crackers from Martha Stewart

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Saturday Respite

After a couple of weeks of playdates, hosted dinner and dinners out, and fun times with friends I am looking forward to a little R&R this weekend.  The weather is supposed to be crummy, so it makes staying in all the better!


Friday, August 5, 2011

What's for dinner?

Sunday - Herbed Salmon with a side salad

Monday - Eggplant Pachadi

Tuesday - Fried Green Tomatoes

Wednesday - Grains and Fruit Summer Salad

Thursday - Dinner Out

Friday - Corn Vichyssoise - Sorry folks, we are having lots of soups the next week, I am having some dental surgery and won't be able to eat much.

Saturday - Chunky Gazpacho with Sauteed Shrimp

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Weekend Sips

We are headed out for dinner on Friday, so we'll be enjoying afternoon cocktails at home on Saturday. 

I am thinking of a Spanish meal, so a yummy tortilla espanola and a nice white sangria will be wonderful to enjoy.  I found these EASY recipe on Pinterest:

Tortilla Espanola - From Trissalicious

  • 125 ml olive oil
  • 4 large waxy potatoes, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon chopped flat leaf parsley (optional)
  1. Heat some of the olive in a 20 cm skillet. Add some of the potato slices so that you cover the skillet with a layer of the potatoes. Next, add some of the onions and season with salt. Alternate the potatoes and onions, adding olive oil as you go. So basically it is potatoes, then onions, the salt, then a drizzle of olive oil before you add on the next layers. Potatoes, onions, salt, olive oil etc. Cook this over medium heat, turning the mixture once in a while until the potatoes are tender but not browned. This took me around 15 minutes but cooking times can vary.
  2. When the potatoes are done, they should be tender enough to be pricked with a fork without any resistance, drain them in a colander, reserving the olive oil to use for cooking the rest of the omelette. If there is more oil than what you need, don’t throw it away – this can be used for cooking other things as well so save it for future use.
  3. Cool the potato mixture slightly, around 10 minutes and place this in a bowl with the beaten eggs. Allow the mixture to rest for around 10 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Clean the skillet and heat 2 tablespoons of the olive in the large skillet until very hot and add the potato mixture, rapidly spreading it out in the skillet. Lower the heat to medium and shake the pan often to prevent sticking. Use a thin spatula to run along the sides of the skillet so that some of the egg can run under and cook more evenly. This takes around 6 to 8 minutes.
  5. When the mixture begins to brown and just before you flip the tortilla, loosen it by sliding a thin spatula between the egg and the side of the skillet walls. Place a plate slightly larger than the skillet over the skillet. Remove the skillet from the heat and flip the omelet on to the plate so you can brown the other side.
  6. Add about 2 tablespoons more to the skillet, and then slide the flipped omelet back on to the skillet so that the cooked side is facing the top. Cook the omelet for another 5 minutes over medium heat.
  7. Flip the omelet 2 or 3 more times (this helps to give a good shape), cooking briefly on each side.
  8. Transfer to a plate, use some kitchen paper to drain the excess oil. Sprinkle with chopped flat leaf parsley (optional)



Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Updating a Classic Cookie

Tomorrow (Aug 4th) is national chocolate chip cookie day, so in honor of the "holiday" I have a few terrific ideas to changing up your basic chocolate chip cookie (scroll down for the recipes):

Add a peanut butter cup!


Or an Oreo!


Try cooking it in a waffle iron!  Give them about 90 seconds in the iron.


Eat it as a dip!



Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies - Adapted from With Style & Grace

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 package of Oreo Cookies, however I prefer using the small oreos so you have a smaller cookie OR 1 package of peanut butter cups
1.  Preheat oven 350 degrees F and line baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat; set aside.

2.  With your electric mixer, cream together the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until well combined.  Add in eggs, one at a time and then vanilla- mix until well combined.

3.  In a separate bowl mix your flour, salt and baking soda.  Slowly add your dry ingredient to the wet.

4.  Add chocolate chips and mix together. Careful not to over mix though. 

5.  Using your hands take one scoop of cookie dough and place on top of an Oreo Cookie.  Take another scoop of dough and place on bottom of Oreo Cookie.  Carefully roll into a ball with your hands until the Oreo Cookie is completely enclosed.

6.  Place the cookies on your prepared baking sheet and bake for 9-13 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before you transfer to the cooling rack.

Makes approximately two dozen (LARGE) cookies or 4 dozen small cookies (if you use the mini-oreos)

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip - From


  • 1/2 cup butter

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese

  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

  • 3/4 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips

  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

  • Directions

    1.  In a small saucepan, melt the butter with the brown sugar over medium heat. Stir continuously, until the brown sugar dissolves. (You can also do this in the microwave but watch it closely. The butter/sugar mixture will boil over fast. Stir every 30 seconds or so.)

    2.  Remove from heat, whisk in the vanilla and set aside to cool.

    3.  Beat the cream cheese and confectioner's sugar for 1 minute.

    4.  Slowly beat in the cooled butter mixture and beat again for another minute.

    5.  Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts, if using.

    6.  Pour into a serving bowl and refrigerate.

    7.  Garnish with additional chocolate chips or nuts, if you choose.   Serve with pretzels, sugar cookies, crackers, or fruit.

    Serves 32

    Tuesday, August 2, 2011

    Household Perfection Tip #9

    This is our last tip in the Household Perfection series from Domino Magazine.  This one is definitely for those lucky enough to have people helping out at home.

    Tip #9

    Have a drawer of petty cash on hand for last minute errands or replacements.  Whomever uses the cash needs to remember to leave receipts for all purchases.



    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...