Thursday, August 28, 2008


Another entry in the "baked goods are bliss" category: my recipe for Blondies.

Best Blondies Ever

Adapted from Mark Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything” and the Blondies episode on “Throwdown with Bobby Flay”

1 stick unsalted butter, plus a little to grease pan
1 c brown sugar
1 egg
1 t vanilla
pinch salt
1 c flour
Add-ins: use as many or as few as you like:
½ c each butterscotch and/or chocolate chips
½ c coconut
½ c toasted pecans

Preheat oven to 350. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan. Melt butter over low heat. Transfer to a bowl and use an electric mixer to beat in the sugar until very smooth, then beat in the egg and vanilla, stirring down the sides of the bowl periodically.
Add the salt, then gently stir in the flour. When batter is uniform, add the “add-ins and stir in by hand till combined. Pour into prepared pan and bake 20 -25 minutes or until just barely set in the middle. (If in doubt, it’s better to underbake than overbake). Cool on a rack before cutting. Store, covered and at room temperature, no more than a day.

Bathing Beauties

My mom showed me two photos she had found of Kate and I when we were the same ages as Gabe and Claire, and we were noticing the similarities between the kids and us girls. This got me to thinking about whether Claire looks like Gabe did at this age, so I dug through our photo achive and found two to compare. What do you think? Are they twins or just siblings? I'd love to hear what anyone else thinks...

Claire Likes To Play

Claire is now big enough to hang out in the exersaucer. While she has the body strength for it, she lacks the attention span (unless Gabe is playing with it too.) It's crazy to see her enjoying herself upright and makes her look like a mini kid instead of a baby. I can't believe she'll be 4 months already this weekend! We are getting excited to introduce her to the world of solid foods soon too - which will be very sweet, for both her and me.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Color Fun

In honor of school starting.... I found a fun color quiz honoring the best part of going back to school, a new box of Crayola 64 crayons with the sharpener in the back. In the quiz, you pick crayons out of a box and choose the "real" name. So much fun - it brought me back to the days of road trips in Grandpa's motorhome and art class once a week. I even remembered what used to be one of my favorites,"Tickle Me Pink".
Check it out:

PS -- I got only 9 mistakes - can you beat that Kate?!?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

What's For Dinner

When Gabe actually lets me watch the TV instead of watching Diego or Cheech, I love to watch shows on the Food Network or pull them from magazines and then experiment with the recipes in my home "test kitchen". I'm going to try to feature some of my favorite recipes I've found/created/tweaked in blogs called "What's For Dinner". So here goes:

Monday night's dinner: BBQ-Spiced Chicken (ala Rachael Ray) with Black Bean-Mango Salad (invented by me)

BBQ Chicken Rub
1 T Grill Seasoning
2 T chili powder
½ T cumin
1 T. coriander (ok to omit if needed)
3 T brown sugar

Combine above in a Ziploc bag. Add 4-6 chicken breasts and drizzle with EVOO. Close bag and massage chicken to coat well. Marinate in refrigerator at least an hour, up to 24. Fantastic when grilled!

Black Bean and Mango Salad
2-3 c rice, cooked and COOLED
1 can black beans
1 mango, peeled and diced
1 red pepper, diced
¼ red onion, finely diced (about 1/3 c)
3-4 T cilantro (about ½ handful)
juice of ½ lime
1 t chili powder
1 t cumin
½ t seasoning salt
pinch of ginger
2-3 dashes of tobasco, if spiciness is desired

Combine all – great as a side dish or even wrapped in a tortilla, burrito-style.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Cutest Story

Gabe did the cutest thing today. We were trying to convince Gabe that it was naptime, and Jesse tried to entice him by taking his cup to his bed and lying down in it. Gabe called his bluff though, and instead gave him a kiss and said "Night-night Dads", just like we do for him at bedtime. ('Dads' is what Gabe calls Jesse - because he randomly puts an S on certain words.) To top it off, he then asked "Fan Dads?" and "Cheech Dads?" and turned on his fan, his music, and shut the door to his room. Talk about monkey-see, monkey-do!

Adventure in Our Own Backyard

We are the proud new owners of a cool jungle gym, thanks to Jesse's generous boss (whose kids had outgrown it) and my Dad's sweet truck (and tools, and enthusiastic help with both disassembly and assembly).

I'm amazed that we got it deconstructed at Dale's and reconstructed at our house so quickly -- Gabe was already playing on the slide part before dark yesterday,
and we got the swing side up in only a few hours today.

I tried to teach Gabe how to "pump" on the glider swing, but he figured out the rest all on his own.

Seeing how much Gabe is enjoying it makes Jesse and I jealous for an adult sized playset!

Friday, August 15, 2008

My Other Passion

Lest you think the only thing I do is care for our kids, let me let you in on my other favorite thing to do: bake. While I don't have the time lately for multi-day home decorating projects, or even an afternoon to throw pottery on the wheel gathering dust in the shop, I seem to always be able to sneak in an hour or so to bake a pie, cookies, brownies... I'm getting hungry just thinking about what I could make.

Anyway, I want to share some of my favorite goodies with you; here's a fabulous pie recipe that I made this week. (Thanks Becky for sharing it with me!)

Apple-Raspberry Pie
Step 1: Put crust into pan, or use a premade pie crust
Step 2: Combine 1 T lemon juice with 5 cups apples, peeled and sliced
Step 3: Add to apples 1 (10 oz) container frozen raspberries in syrup, drained (reserve 1/2 c liquid for sauce)
Step 4: Heat in a pan on stovetop the reserved 1/2 c raspberry syrup, 1/4 c sugar, 2 T corn starch, 1/2 t cinnamon. Stir until thick; pour over apples and raspberries and put into crust
Step 5: Make streusel topping from 3/4 c flour, 1/2 c brown sugar, 1/2 t cinnamon, 1/3 c butter (softened). Cut together till crumbly. Put on top of apple mixture.
Step 6: Put pie plate on a baking sheet and bake at 375 for 40-50 minutes until golden brown and bubbly.
Sooooo Good!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Jesse and I have a new fave pastime when the kids are both asleep. Several friends turned us on to the TV show "Flight of the Conchords" which we are viewing via our Netflix subscription. If you don't already know about it, seriously check it out - it's so hilarious. (I find the experience is enhanced if viewed with an alcoholic beverage in hand - my favorite is a margarita on the rocks.) :)

Smiles and Belly Laughs

Claire is such a smiley baby, which is so much fun. Yesterday Jesse was tickling her when he got home from work and she actually belly laughed for the first time! Figures that Jesse was the one to get her to do it... She's also decided that sucking her thumb is an acceptable substitute for sucking on mama -- hooray for that. She does it all backwards though -- with her palm open and her fingers on her face. As long as it gets her to fall asleep on her own (and she doesn't do it till Kindergarten), I'm all for it.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Claire's BFF

Claire got to have a playdate with her BFF, Reese Vivoda. It's really fun to think about our girls starting a friendship so early, when a good number of my childhood and teen years were spent in the joyful company of Reese's mom, Abby. Reese is even starting to catch up to Claire's size, even though she was half Claire's birthweight when she was only born a week later. Aren't they cute checking each other out?

At the Fair

Thursday night Nani and Baa met us at the Pierce County Fair. While I can't tell you what Gabe's favorite was - the rides, sitting on the tractors and mowers, or petting the animals in the barns and petting zoo - for the adults, it was all about the food. It's tough to beat Carol Ann's "Bite-sized Delights" - especially since we somehow missed the deep-fried cheese curds. I think it's safe to say a good time was had by all.

Weekend with the Rozas's

We had a blast when Kath and Carl came to visit us last weekend. Highlights included a trip to the beach, Gabe's first bowling excursion, frozen mojitos, and a silly family photo session complete with fake mustaches. Check out Carl's photo album for more: