Saturday, March 30, 2013

The One With the Girls and the Cherry Blossoms

I love it when Portland starts to bloom. I'm obsessed with the pink and white cherry blossom trees all over this city. The obsession began back in college. Whenever we came back from Spring Break we returned to a campus in full bloom, the quad covered in the "snow" of cherry blossom petals. It looks just as romantic and wonderful as it sounds and so I make a point of going back to my alma mater every spring to see it. (Admittedly, it's like a few blocks away... but still... it's a treat to see how pretty it is.)

So naturally I had to take the kiddos there to take some pictures.
The girls weren't actually very in to having their pictures taken. They much preferred to run around in the fields and play in the petals.
Pretty girls. Pretty pink trees. Pretty wonderful world. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The One With Henry Campbell Waters

O hello.
We have a new little snuggle bug in our family.
Henry Campbell Waters was born March 20, 2013 at 5:46 pm, weighing 7 pounds, 12 ounces and measuring 21.5 inches long.

He's the sweetest little boy and absolute perfection as far as babies go. He's eating and sleeping like a pro... letting us sleep through the night and enjoy plenty of company all day. He's really wonderful.

I didn't know how I'd feel about having a boy. I've been enjoying living in a very pink world with my two sweet girls. But this handsome guy won me over in no time. I'm helplessly in love with him.
And his big sisters are big fans, too.

They are always trying to hold him and help with him and informing me quite often of his needs. If he gets a little fussy Ellie asks him, "Do you need your mama?" Usually that is just about the only thing he needs.

Also, look how cute:
I love them all so much. And I'm very, very grateful.

Friday, March 22, 2013

The One With the Double Chocolate Silk Pie

For Olivia's birthday brunch, pie seemed more appropriate than cake. Although I also made her a cake for the sake of cuteness and blowing out the candles. But this pie is so good I couldn't resist making it. It's adapted from a Mrs. Fields recipe, so you know it's good. And by adapted, I mean I opted to bake the crust, which seems like a pretty good idea.

This is a great pie to make up to a few days ahead of time so you have less to do at the time of the event.

Double Chocolate Silk Pie

  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate wafer crumbs
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Crush chocolate wafers to crumbs (I like to use Famous Chocolate Wafer cookies, found in the cookie aisle of most grocery stores). In a small bowl, pour the butter over the crumbs and use a fork to mix until all the crumbs are moist. Press firmly into a glass pie plate, beginning in the center and working in a circular pattern towards the edges. Bake for 10 minutes and then set aside to cool.

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1 2/3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Chocolate bar for chocolate shavings
  • Whipped cream for garnish
Place your chocolate chips in a medium bowl and set aside.

In a double boiler, scald the cream (heat until bubbles just begin to form around the outside edges and a thin film has covered the top). Stir in the sugar and salt. In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks. Pour about a 1/4 cup of the hot cream into the yolks to warm them. Transfer the warmed yolks to the double boiler with the remaining cream and cook over simmering water, whisking constantly, until the custard just begins to thicken and coats the back of the spoon, about 5-8 minutes. (I like to err on the side of cooking the custard just a bit longer and making it thicker, rather than run the risk of it not setting up.) Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate. Add the vanilla and stir until chocolate melts and the custard is smooth.

Pour the custard filling into the pie crust. Cool to room temperature. Once cooled, place plastic wrap on top of the pie and gently press into the filling to keep it from developing a crusty film. Place pie in refrigerator and chill overnight to set. Or, if you are in a rush, you can freeze the pie for 2 1/2 - 3 hours, removing about 30 minutes before you are ready to serve.

Use a vegetable peeler to shave off chocolate scrolls from a chocolate bar at room temperature. Sprinkle over pie just before serving and garnish with whipped cream.

This pie is seriously so good.  And it keeps well, too. So go ahead and make a double batch so you have some on hand for guests. And don't be intimidated by all that double-boiler and custard stuff. It is really pretty straightforward and much easier than it sounds. And it sounds very impressive when all your friends ooh and aah over your delicious pie. Because it's just that. Delicious.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The One With the Egg Quiche Cups

I love to make things in individual servings for parties. It eliminates some of the hassle of serving and also tends to make things easier to eat even if guests aren't sitting at a table. I've seen the idea of baking individual omelettes or quiches in cupcake tins and I thought I'd give it a try. It was so easy and really, really delicious. I've been making them since just for breakfast because you can do all the prep on just one day and then re-heat them throughout the week. If you haven't tried them, you really should.

Individual Egg Quiche Cups
Makes 15 servings
  • 6 eggs + 3 cups egg whites
  • 1 pound bacon, cooked and diced small
  • 1/2 red or yellow pepper, diced small
  • 1 tomato, diced small
  • 1 yellow onion, diced small
  • Pepper and garlic seasoning
  • Minced chives
  • Cheddar cheese, shredded
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare cupcake tins by spraying with Olive Oil Pam. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs and whites. Feel free to add milk or water if desired. Pour into cupcake tins, filling each cup about 2/3 of the way. Sprinkle the bacon bits, pepppers, tomatoes and onions into each of the cups. Sprinkle the pepper and garlic seasonings and chives on top and bake for 20-30 minutes, until a fork inserted into the middle comes out clean, showing the eggs have cooked all the way through.

Just before serving, sprinkle the shredded cheese on top and return to oven for about five minutes, until cheese is melted and quiches are reheated. 

Additional serving options: dice up avocados or other relishes to be added by guests. And of course, ketchup is always a good idea for the ketchup lovers out there.

Monday, March 18, 2013

The One With Olivia's Parisian Bistro Brunch Birthday Party

Could I think of a longer title? Probably.

We didn't have a lot of time to prepare for Olivia's birthday party this year, what with being out of town and doing lots of house projects to get ready for the new baby's imminent arrival. So a few days before my mom came in to town to help with said projects, we decided we'd throw a little birthday brunch for our breakfast-loving two-year-old. And what better theme than Parisian bistro? It was really easy and so adorable. This is pretty much the perfect party idea for so many occassions - birthdays, showers, welcome home parties, weddings. It's my new favorite. It was almost as cute as the birthday girl herself (but not quite). We even played the Carla Bruni station on Pandora to help set the French cafe mood.

It was perfect. I'll be sharing recipes in the next few weeks, but here's a little rundown of the menu:
I didn't have my normal paparazzi following her around to take pictures, so these were the only ones I got, but I do think the birthday girl was quite pleased to be the center of attention for the event. She sang Happy Birthday to herself along with everyone else and loved her gold-flecked cake.

Additional sources: Eiffel Tower Centerpiece, Botanicals Garland by Rifle Paper Co

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The One With the Things I Love About Olivia (2 Years)

Olivia is two years old now. Two. Years. Old. It's crazy. In some ways, she is so much more advanced than Ellie was at her age because she is learning so much from her big sister. And yet she is still just so tiny and cuddly it's hard to believe she is really getting so big.

She is just the best. She has such a strong and steady spirit, while still being sweet and snuggly. She has just grown by leaps and bounds over the past few months. And here are some of my favorite things about Olivia lately.

1. She is my good little eater. And she takes eating quite seriously. Her favorite food is Yumm Bowls, which she requests nearly daily. When she finally gets her Yumm Bowls, which is fairly often when we're in town, she doesn't talk or do anything else for about twenty minutes while she very meticulously devours her meal. She is methodical about her eating process and her little look of concentration is priceless.

2. When we asked her what she wanted for her birthday, all she would say was, "Cake and presents." She didn't really even seem to care what the presents were, just that there were some and they were for her.

3. She is always saying the funniest things. The other day in the car I heard her say to her doll, "You're cute! Can I brush your hair?" She already knows that flattery is a good way to get what you want.

4. She is always asking me, "Can I hold you?" She really means that she wants me to hold her, but it's pretty hilarious when we're walking down the stairs and she asks if she can hold me. Or when someone else is holding her and she asks, "Can I hold my mom?"

5. The other day I was running my fingers through her hair while we were cuddling and when I stopped she asked, "Can you pet my head?"

6. She looks ridiculously cute in pigtails. It's not even fair to the rest of the world. It's just the cutest thing you've ever seen in your whole life.

7. When we travel we often end up all sleeping in the same room, the girls in their playpens and me on a couch or Steve and I in the hotel bed, but either way it means an early wake up when the girls see us and want to get going right away. The other day Olivia asked, "Is it wake up time? I'm all done go sleep."

8. And the bouncing. This kid kills me with her bouncing. She is always hopping on her tippy toes everywhere she goes. Around the house. At the zoo. Through the grocery store. Just everywhere. It's ridiculously cute.

9. She can sing so many Disney songs is crazy. As in she actually knows almost all the words to "Tale as Old as Time." If you haven't heard her sing, "Barely even friends then somebody bends un-ex-pect-ed-ly", you are really missing out. And she is always incorporating all the dramatic vocalizations, which is pretty funny in her sweet little voice. "Ever as before. Ever just as sure as the sun will rise. Oh. Oh. OOOOOHHHH!"

10. And she is still singing Christmas songs. And it's March. But she's been mixing them up a little. Her rendition of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" goes a little something like, "We wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year. Good tidings to your and your friends and may all your dreams come true." (There may be a little input from Cinde-lelli in there somewhere).

11. She is such a daddy's girl. She just loves her dad so much. Except on weekends, Steve leaves for work before they get up in the mornings and usually when I go to get her the first thing she says is, "I want my daddy." So do I, baby girl, so do I.

12. She lights up a room whenever she goes in it. I get stopped all the time in the grocery store or wherever because the sweetness is so uncontainable. And she is so outgoing that she has no problem introducing herself to everyone who comes up to her (or that she approaches). They may not really be able to understand her, but she is certainly happy to tell anyone and everyone that she is Olivia and she is two and this is her book or her car or doll or whatever.

12. And she seriously loves Beauty and the Beast. Just now she came up to me and said, "Come on, Mom, we're going watch Beauty and the Beast. Come on, pretty Mom." (Again with the flattery...) And now that I've written it down, maybe I'll just have to go watch some Beauty and the Beast with them.

Livvy bug,

You are my little sunshine. My cuddle bug. You make my day every time you run and hug me. You have such a sweet and caring spirit. You are kind and thoughtful and very polite. You love your sister and your daddy so much.

There are so many things about your personality right now that I hope never go away. I hope you never lose that little bounce in your step. I hope you never lose the interest you have in exploring your world. I hope you never stop delighting in being loved.

In some ways, I would love to hold on to you at this stage forever and never let you grow up. I would very much like to bottle up your sweet voice and adorable singing and never let you get too big to crawl up on my lap and suck your fingers.

But the joy you bring to everyone around you makes me so excited to see you grow up and spread your rays of sunshine. I'm eager to see you learn and be and do whatever it is you set your mind to. It has been a fun two years baby girl, and I'm looking forward to many more.

Love, Mamma
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...