Thursday, September 30, 2010

Little Mosie-Man-Man

I was blinded by love when I married Donell- and did not consider that in the future I might want a partner who could cook and bake;) is one of my motherly missions to raise children that appreciate cooking, baking, and good food- and enjoy spending time creating in the kitchen.  Start em' young is what I say!
So this morning, I thought I'd take advantage of some one-on-one time with the little guy (Z was at school for the first time while I'm home!) and we made muffins!  Z and I have been baking together for years- if Mosie is awake he's usually wandering or on my back- but today he got to stand on the chair at the counter- and he did a great job!  He mastered the functioning of the Kitchenaid mixer in no-time.

He was more than happy to do the dishes- another great life-skill!

Here he is patiently (temporarily) waiting for the muffins to be done baking.

Cruel , I know- but funny at the same time:)  I took this after I checked the muffins to see if they were done- needless to say- they were not:( 

Here they are- the finished product.  This recipe is actually my moms banana bread recipe altered- great versatile muffins! (you can add nuts, blueberries, chocolate chips, etc.)

Coco Banana Muffins

3 mashed bananas
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup yogurt or sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
2ish cups flour (I do 1 cup white, 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry, 1/2 cup wheat bran)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup coco powder
Oh- and I sometimes add a little cinnamon! (chocolate + cinnamon is divine)

I combine the bananas and sugar, then the rest of the wet ingredients, then add all of the dry ingredients and combine.  Then I scoop the batter into a greased muffin tin (12 regular muffins) and bake at 375 degrees for 17 min.

Oh- and here is my little guys latest trick.....

Yes- he's good in the kitchen and he's athletic!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Hospital Mural #2

Here's a few quick shots- just got home from a night of painting!  Feedback welcomed!  I still have about 10 hours to go on it.

What's for dinner?

I like to think, that some day- in the distant future I will be a well followed blogger.  When I am- I will have a weekly colum titled "What's for dinner?"  where I will post the details of my favorite dinner of the week- here is a trial run of the new addition to my blog-

What's for dinner?....Sunshine Squash Soup

It has been a rainy past couple fall days here in the old CT- and I have honestly been lovin' it!  There is nothing better on a cold, soggy day then sitting down with a nice warm bowl of soup for dinner!

Monday- we had a lot of fun splashing in puddles!

Here is Z giving a tutorial in proper puddle jumping

And then the demo...

He gives it a try

Then, we had a rough night- Z booty woke up at 2:30 am with a nasty stomach bug- it was a very long morning, and although we indulged in delicious soup at dinner last night- poor ZZ was restricted to this...

For the soup, I used 2 sunshine squash I had in my fridge from recent trips to the farm
(poor quality pic but you get the idea)- you could substitue any winter squash variety

I washed them off, poked holes in them, and placed them in  a rectangular baking dish with about an inch of water in the bottom and roasted then for 1 hr 20 min at 375 degrees.

To make the soup I sauteed 1 large diced onion, 3 cloves of  garlic crushed, cumin, black pepper, ginger (I didn't have fresh but would recommend it if you do) in oil oil until the onions were translucent.

While that was cookin' I microwaved 4 cups of water with 2 of my favorite bullion cubes (I find it breaks up the bullion a bit- and it's cheaper than boxed stock)  I buy the Rapunzel brand vegan vegetable bullion cubes with sea salt from my local WF's. Then I dumped the broth in with the onions/spices.

Then I scraped out the inside of the squash and added it to the pot (after removing the seeds)

Then, using my handy immersion blender- combined all the squash into the broth (you could use a regular blender for this process too)

I was left with this pretty, yellow, smooth soup- a little too thin for my taste- so I let it simmer for about a hour and a half to thicken it up a bit

Then- I added the coconut milk- it added a richness, and a depth to the flavor of the soup.  It didn't make it super-coconutty-(D didn't even know and he is NOT a fan of the coconut)
I also added a little brown sugar, and a dash of cayenne just to give it some heat

Paired with some toasted, cheesy naan- it was a delicious meal!

Sunshine squash soup

2 roasted sunshine squash (peeled and seeded)
4 cups veggie broth
1 large onion
11/2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 cloves garlic
11/2 Tbsp. cumin
1 tsp. dry ginger
black pepper
1 can coconut milk
2 Tbsp.brown sugar
dash cayenne pepper

  • Thursday, September 23, 2010

    "Brain Dump"

    As my favorite blogger Darby from Fly Through Our Window would say- its a "brain dump" posting type of day today. I haven't posted in a while and have a bunch of stuff to share- much of it somewhat mundane, and unrelated- but I will share it just the same!

    Part I
    On the home design front- I went to Brimfield a couple weeks back- and had a blast!!!  I will definitely be going in May for anyone who wants to join!  Much to my dismay- I did not find a set of retro yellow tables lamps as I had hoped.  So, we made an IKEA run recently and I found a cute, textured gourd lamp that will do the trick!  Here's what I did...

    Here is the little guy beforehand (I wish it was a little bit larger, and I have plans to change out the lamp shade to a larger natural linen, but the price could not be beat.)

    I picked up a $3 bottle of yellow spray paint from Home Depot....

    and went to town- not having a whole lot of experience with spray painting I was shocked at how fast (5 min. for both lamps) and how smoothly it went on.

    Here's the finished product in our newly painted bedroom, I will do a full post on the room after the artwork for above the bed is completed- but I am SUPER happy with how its coming out!

    Part II
    On the food front...I have been very stressed lately- with work and preschool , and baby sitter scheduling, and mural projects, and broken cars, etc.- so  I have been doing a whole lot of stress reducing baking and cooking this week;)

    Tis the season for apples- and we make a weekly trip to the orchard this time of year.
    I had a late night snack of this delicious apple crisp below- paired with some Trader Joe's tart frozen yogurt- INSANELY delicious- it's a must try combo!

    Mom's Apple Crisp

    4 cups apples sliced and put in an 8"x8" square baking dish
    3/4 cups brown sugar
    1/2 cup oatmeal
    1/2 cup flour
    1/2 tsp. salt
    3/4 tsp. cinnamon
    3/4 tsp. nutmeg
    1/3 cup butter
    I combine them all in a bowl- and mash them up with a pastry blender until they are a coarse, crumbly texture.  spread it evenly on the fruit and bake until crispy and brown, and more importantly the fruit is soft- 375 for about 30 min.

    Favorite dinner so far this week- breakfast
    Ciabatta cinnamon french toast (crispy, not soggy, with powdered sugar, and lots of real maple syrup). Scrambled cheesy eggs with sauteed Swiss chard, onions and green peppers. Roasted baby potatoes. Salad with mustard greens, bibb lettuce, herbed goat cheese, candied almonds, and lemon honey mustard vinaigrette- It was delicious!

    Part III
    On the kid-front- here is little Sassafras on her "wooden bike"- you know the one she refused to ride for more than 2 min. like, last week?  Well- good ole' Shuggie and Pop were over while I was at work on Sunday, and I don't know what they did- but she is a pro now, riding for over a mile at a time, and the whole way  saying "I just woooove my wooden bike, I am soooo good at riding on my wooden bike...."  Its pretty hilarious.  Doesn't she look like a mean motorcycle chick in this picture? Gotta love the rain boots too!

    Oh- and the necklace- is her "transitional object" (flashback to psych 100).  I can remember my mom sending a little lizard pin of hers to school with me when I was feeling extreme separation anxiety (which was most days up until high school- I had hardcore separation anxiety, and have always been a homebody)  So, although Z is loving school, I think that transition, coupled with my new crazy work schedule and me not being around for bedtimes a couple days a week has made her missing Mama more than she used to. 
    I called from work on Saturday at 9 am- I had been at work a few hours at that point, and had left the house when everyone was sleeping- D said she had been crying all morning.  I talked to her and she was soooo sad- and kept saying "Mom, I just want you to come home right now".
    So I suggested that D take her upstairs to my jewelry box to pick out one of my necklaces- when I got home from work she showed me her "Mommy necklace" and said that when she's sad she rubs it and says "Mommy loves me"- so cute.  So now, she wears it everyday.

    And last but certainly not least- my little-big man.  He is OBSESSED with baking.  He happens to have inherited my sweet-tooth,  perhaps all the cannoli and apple cider donuts when I was pregnant???? anyhow- as soon as he sees me turn on the oven he starts babbling excitedly,  pulls out the oven mitts, and plants himself in front of the stove- its really hilarious. A little pastry chef in the making perhaps?

    (please excuse the blurry picture- I will possibly be getting a new camera soon!)

    Part IV
    On the marriage-front.  We are off for the weekend for some much needed Me and D only time.  I really cannot wait!  This is technically for our 6th anniversary- which was back in May- we have never been away for the night together- ever since the kids were born. The plan- we will be going on a zip line tour in the Berkshires (pics and posting will follow), and spending the night in a ritzy hotel- and capping it all off with breakfast in bed!  Now, let's just hope that the angel babies behave for Auntie!

    Sunday, September 19, 2010

    We have a hatchling!!!!

    I must say- this is the most excitement we've had around here in a looong time!- probably since Moses' birth:)

    The day before butterfly #1 was born I took this picture of 4 beautiful green chrysali, and literally, when I woke up the next morning....

    the first one to spin looked like this....
    (this was also the one that I hot glued to the ceiling of the box)

    Having participated in the process a few times as a child, I knew that the transformation was going to happen soon- so we kept a close eye on the box all day.  While making dinner, I reminded Z to check on the butterfly- to my surprise she said "Mom its coming out!", I quick grabbed my camera and caught it as it came out of the chrysalis- it was really cool to witness!

    Notice its wings are still folded up slightly...

    My little angel-baby-scientists were so excited they nearly jumped into the box with the butterfly!

    I decided to hold it (maybe a little too soon, its wings were slightly damp- I would wait a few hours after hatching)

    I did let both children hold it- I would now put a minimum age of 2.5 years on that- Moses was quickly banished to his high chair for observation- note him in the background in the next 3 shots

    1. Contently observing
    2. Reaching
    3. Full-on tantrum

    Z did a great job- she would have held it all day if I had let her.

    then I brought it outside, and placed it on the hydrangea bush- and it flapped its wings a couple times, and flew away.

    We have since had 2 more "births"- it never gets old!  We can't wait to do this again next year!

    Tuesday, September 14, 2010

    First Day of School!

    I can hardly believe my little girl is in Pre-School already.

    I have mixed feelings about this life transition (more about my views on public education in its present state, etc.) and that has caused me some anxiety during this process, but I feel like we have picked a wonderful little school- which emphasizes on community and parental involvement- and I think its a great fit for our family.

    Zella had a wonderful day- the highlight of which was painting, the lowlight of which was asking to use dress up clothes and her teacher saying "no".  But in all- she had a very positive first experience!

    Picture #1- (not her "real smile")

    Picture #2- her reaction to me asking "are you excited to go to school?"...

    Picture #3- profile with backpack....the eyebrows are this way thanks to Rosemary Wells- creator of Max and Ruby- Max makes this lovely pouting face that Z so perfectly imitates more often then not....very Raven Simone circa Cosby show don't ya' think?

    Picture #4- a little brotherly love

    Picture #5- after our walk to school- this is the genuine Zella smile! sooo sweet.

    It was a good day!