Of little boy clothes and cooler weather

1301. Unpacking and putting everything back to rights.

1302. Cedar’s first haircut.

1303. Sleep.

1304. An accomplished morning in spite of needing more sleep.

1305. Filling our fridge again.

1306. A supper of yummy bread, good cheese and fresh fruit.

1307. Finding good deals on winter clothes for Cedar.

1308. Little boy zip-off trousers…so he can be just like Daddy.

1309. Anticipating cooler weather so we can get out of our summer clothes.

1310. A cute striped maternity shirt to add to the collection for next time.

1311. Dinner at my in-law’s house.

1312. Encouraging words from a mama of many.

1313. Going to my brother-in-law’s band’s first concert.

1314. Being awakened in the morning by a kiss.

1315. Dozing between my babies in bed, nursing one and then the other, while listening to the rain outside the open windows.

1316. Cedar falling asleep in our bed after his morning nursing.

1317. How Cedar is starting to string words together.

1318. Avocados.

1319. Going the local Tomato Festival.

1320. Tomato taste-testing.

1321. Walking and exploring together, with Genoa in the Ergo and Cedar in the backpack.

1322. Finding an unexpected park.

1323. Cedar going down the slide all by himself.

1324. His chubby little face peeking through portholes in the tunnels.

1325. Eating outside on our patio.

1326. Drinking Blue Lady tea while reading to my littles.

1327. Cedar putting his arm around Genoa while they were sitting next to each other.

1328. Genoa’s chubbiness in her BabyLegs.

1329. The best pizza I’ve ever made.

1330. The evening being cool enough to actually use the oven for supper.

1331. A morning cool enough for long skirts, sweaters, oatmeal and hot tea.

1332. Looking forward to having some new friends over for supper.

1333. Gretchen’s super-helpful “Understanding the New Facebook” post.

1334. Looking at different friends’ pictures of England and remembering our trip there exactly two years ago.

1335. The beginning of autumn.



From my cookbook shelf – Part Three

Read Part One and Part Two here.

Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant: Ethnic and Regional Recipes from the Cooks at the Legendary Restaurant – by Moosewood Collective: I first discovered Moosewood cookbooks years ago when I stumbled across my grandpa’s copy of their first one (which I want to get someday).  The Moosewood restaurant was started back in the 70s and it is known for its amazing vegetarian cooking.  In my teens, I went through a period where I was considering becoming a vegetarian, and while my views on food have definitely changed since then (I love good meat!), I still really appreciate a good vegetarian cookbook and the Moosewood ones are certainly that.  Sundays at Moosewood is over 700 pages of meatless recipes from around the world.  Each chapter is devoted to the food of a particular country or region, with some that you don’t ordinarily find in general ethnic cookbooks…like Armenia, Finland and two regions of Africa (south of the Sahara and North Africa/the Northeast African Highlands).  If you love to try different ethnic foods, I highly recommend this one!

The Dancing Gourmet: Recipes to Keep You on Your Toes! – by Linda Hymes: A cookbook written by a ballerina, my parents got me this one as a birthday gift many years ago.  Sprinkled with photos of both ballet dancers and food, this cookbook contains a lot of very sophisticated recipes.  My food is usually, shall we say, more rustic, but all the same, it’s a fun book to page through for inspiration.  I made her recipe for pizza margherita sauce for several years and it’s still the base for any red sauce that I make.

The Easy Way to Artisan Breads & Pastries – by Avner Laskin: I’ve always enjoyed baking bread, and my husband absolutely loves almost any kind of bread, so I was excited when I received this cookbook at one of my bridal showers.  Basic bread can get kind of boring after awhile and I wanted to be able to make those crusty and chewy French and Italian loaves that you can buy, but I wasn’t really sure how to exactly go about it.  I’ve made a couple of the recipes in here and in general was pretty impressed with the results…it’s exciting when you pull bread you made out of the oven and it looks (and tastes!) like stuff you would get at a nice bakery.  However, my only reservation is that, in the few recipes I’ve tried, I’ve already found one major recipe typo (calling for one cup of yeast…and I pretty sure they meant something a lot less than that!).   Thankfully, it was a pretty blatant typo so I didn’t follow it, and it could be the only one in the book, but it does make me wonder about the editing and how it has affected the other recipes.  However, that aside, I definitely still want to keep trying some of the recipes in this book…especially now that it’s finally cooling off enough to bake!

The Irish Pub Cookbook – by Margaret M. Johnson – Knowing my love of pretty much anything having to do with Ireland or the Irish, Aaron found this cookbook at a local used bookstore and bought it for me.  And I’ll admit, I haven’t actually made anything from it, though I’ve several times just paged through it to look at the photos of Ireland and read about all the different pubs.  Pubs are fascinating places (and to all the American readers, they are very different from “bars” in the States) and Aaron and I really enjoyed the few that we went to during our trip to the UK several years ago.  Though honestly, the pubs that the author pulled these recipes from must be a lot fancier than the ones we visited since we never saw food like that!   The recipes do look very yummy and maybe I will try making some one day…if I can tear myself away from reading about one of my favourite places on earth!

Complete Outdoor Living Cookbook – by Williams-Sonoma: Picked up for a couple dollars at a thrift store, but missing the cover, this is my only Williams-Sonoma cookbook…though I hope it gets some relatives someday!  Divided into food categories that are then divided into seasons, I love just paging through this book to look at the photos.  There’s a lot of delicious-sounding breakfast ideas in this one and quite a few out of the ordinary picnic dishes.  Other than maybe not requiring a whole lot of intensive prep, I’m not really sure how this cookbook is specifically for “outdoor living”, but that’s no matter because the recipes still look and sound scrumptious!

More to come…

Of aprons

My current apron

My good friend, Gretchen, hosted “Apron Week at the Little Pink House” on her blog last week and it was so much fun to read all of her apron posts and enjoy seeing all her cute aprons.  The last post of the week was one for a great giveaway and a linky for an apron blog carnival…and thankfully it was open all of this week so I was finally able to participate (my internet time in the last week and a half has been very limited!).   I’ve always loved aprons and the chance to ramble on about them sounds like fun!

My apron collection over the years hasn’t been very extensive, but they’ve all been well-loved. I’m always on the lookout for cute ones and there are many online that I drool over.  If I remember correctly, my first apron was one that my mom made me…I think it was a light blue-and-white plaid, trimmed with white and with blue ribbon ties.  I faintly remember that my favourite part was the pocket on the front…

When I was in my early teens, I decided that I would make myself an apron.  No pattern, no real idea of what I was doing, but I wanted an apron of my own (having long since grown out of my first one).  I traced the basic shape on some seafoam-coloured cotton twill that my mom had and cut it out.  I edged it with white piping (rather sloppily!) and used the piping to make over-the-shoulder straps.  It fastened at the waist with a metal button.  And I loved it!  It saw me through many years and in several different kitchens and was my faithful companion as I came into my own in cooking.  It is now living with one of my dear friends in New Zealand.

My current apron is the one pictured above.  Purchased off Etsy last year with some birthday money, when not in use, it hangs on some cupboard knobs over my refrigerator, adding even more colour to my yellow kitchen.  It’s reversible and I have one side for cooking (the one showing) and one side for cleaning.  I love the crazy vintage fabric on the cooking side and am often thankful for the double thickness of having a reversible apron since I’m constantly wiping my hands on my apron while cooking.  It is definitely a beloved member of my kitchen and I hope it finds some friends soon.

I could go on about how feminine and domestic I feel when wearing an apron, and how I wish they were as much a part of my wardrobe as they would have been a hundred years ago, but my babies will be waking up soon and I need to link this up to the carnival.  One of my favourite parts of Gret’s posts have been all the great apron quotes she collected and posted and so I’m going to steal one from her to close this…as usual, L.M. Montgomery says it best.

Diana…wore her afternoon pink print and a lawn apron fearfully and wonderfully ruffled and frilled; and very neat and pretty and rosy she was.
~Anne of Avonlea

Apron Week at the Little Pink House

Gifts in three generations

1266. Visiting places that I often went while growing up.

1267. Hiking with my little family and my parents.

1268. Cedar throwing rocks in the water with Grandpa.

1269. Eating whortleberries again.

1270. Genoa in her pink and brown crocheted hat.

1271. Cedar helping Grandpa make waffles.

1272. Clear mountain streams.

1273. Sunlight on rippling water.

1274. Wild raspberries.

1275. Unexpected green mossy hollows.

1276. My mom’s homemade granola bars.

1277. Three generations of girls pictures.

1278. Storm clouds over mountains.

1279. Walking in the rain with my love.

1280. Raindrop-sprinkled kisses.

1281. Homemade salsa.

1282. Lanes through trees.

1283. That the snake Cedar stepped on was just a harmless grass snake and not a rattler.

1284. Bacon on pizza.

1285. Meeting friends for an afternoon in the park…two days in a row (different sets of friends though).

1286. Going down a twisty slide with two little boys in my lap.

1287. Sweet fellowship.

1288. Revel bars.

1289. Seeing little kids that I babysat and taught ballet too all grown-up now.

1290. Cedar swinging with Grandpa.

1291. Grassfed grilled hamburgers.

1292. A late-night heart-to-heart with my mom.

1293. Pillows to help keep me upright when sitting up all night with my stuffy-nosed baby.

1294. Grace for nights (in the plural!) where you hardly get any sleep.

1295. Meeting my cousin and his girlfriend for supper on our drive home.

1296. That the skirt Genoa chose to poop on while traveling was already mustard-coloured.

1297. That Genoa’s fever never got above 101 degrees while we were traveling in the middle-of-nowhere Nevada.

1298. Hyland’s Colic Tablets.

1299. Aaron doing such an amazing job at driving so much of the trip.

1300. Being home in my little cottage in the mountains.


Gifts in a little boy and his baby sister

(This gift list is a little late since I spent Monday visiting and recovering from driving 16 hours through the night to see my parents…next week’s list might be a little late too!)

1221. Watching Cedar and Genoa interact and how much they love each other.

1222. Cedar giving Genoa a shoulder rub.

1223. Dinner with a new friend.

1224. Fajitas made with incredibly tender beef.

1225. Quiet.

1226. The yummy flavour that red wine gives to beef and mushroom dishes.

1227. Cedar getting so messy from the smoothie “like Daddy’s”…but watching his utter enjoyment of drinking it (and his EIO cup made it so easy for him to drink himself).

1228. Cedar making his water cup and his smoothie cup “cheers!” each other.

1229. Chicken curry with spinach and tomatoes.

1230. Having Aaron’s sister over for supper.

1231. Mommy chats.

1232. Cedar going in the potty two times in a row.

1233. Figuring out travel plans.

1234. The possibility of thunderstorms.

1235. A Mayan Mocha brought to me by my love from a local coffee shop.

1236. Getting to have long phone chats with two different friends in the same day.

1237. Sitting outside on the porch with my littles during and after a short rainstorm.

1238. How much Cedar enjoyed the rain.

1239. His delighted “wain?!”

1240. Cool rain-scented breezes blowing through our hot, stuffy house.

1241. How Genoa can comfortably wear newborn dresses and nine-month dresses and everything in between.

1242. Genoa in her striped seersucker strawberry dress.

1243. A lunch that used up lots of leftovers.

1244. Using up food before a trip.

1245. Cedar’s delight in pockets.

1246. Chubby baby thighs.

1247. How much Genoa curls her toes.

1248. How versatile and convenient white onesies are.

1249. Cedar and his beloved drill.

1250. A meal of steak, potatoes and green beans…putting a flavourful twist on a typical meal.

1251. Watching my love and other men work at a friend’s house-raising.

1252. Sharing life with friends.

1253. A dirty little boy turning into a clean one.

1254. A husband who is so gracious and patient with his stressed-out wife.

1255. Everything coming together to leave (ahead of schedule!) despite me thinking that it wouldn’t.

1256. A very yummy barbecue chicken pizza with cilantro pesto…not your typical gas station restaurant food!

1257. Genoa finally falling asleep after crying for several hours in her car seat.

1258. A stormy sunset over majestic mountains.

1259. How well both the kids did with the drive through the night.

1260. Driving in the wee hours of the morning while my husband and babies slept.

1261. My amazing husband driving for 15 of the 16 hours.

1262. Seeing my parents again.

1263. My dad meeting Genoa.

1264. How much Cedar loves “Dappa” (Grandpa).

1265. Amazing artichoke heart and sun-dried tomato chicken pasta.

From my cookbook shelf – Part Two

Read Part One here.

Cooking Outside the Box: Easy, Seasonal and Organic: The Abel and Cole Cookbook – by Keith Abel: This is another of my recent acquisitions and such a fun cookbook to read!  I first came across it in a Barnes & Noble several years ago (I go there and look through their cookbook section and then come home and add the ones I liked to my Amazon wishlist…they’re always so much cheaper online) and immediately liked how laid-back it was in regard to measuring.  Many things are measured by mugfuls, glugs and dashes, which is exactly how I cook!   The author is British and he is the one who made CSA-type boxes popular in England…and Abel and Cole is the name of their company.  According the author, this cookbook came about as a result of their customers asking for good ways to cook this or that vegetable, and the farmers sharing their favourite recipes.  So yes, it’s focused mainly on produce recipes though there are a good many meat recipes too.  This cookbook is divided by seasons (spring, fall, summer and winter), as obviously a big part of their company is using seasonal ingredients.  Do note though…in regard to the “fun to read” part, this cookbook is full of British humour and British slang, which I greatly enjoy!   However, if you’re not familiar with that humour and slang, some of it may be confusing.  Also, because it’s written by a British guy, there’s obviously quite a few British food and cooking terms in this book so you may want to brush up on some of those before reading it.

Super Natural Cooking – by Heidi Swanson: I’ve followed Heidi Swanson’s cooking blog, 101 Cookbooks, for a long time and have found many yummy recipes on there.  When her first cookbook came out several years ago, I was very excited and added it to my wishlist.  I ended up receiving a copy at one of my bridal showers and finally got around to reading through it after all the wedding excitement died down and I finally had my own kitchen.  One of my favourite parts of her cookbook are all the pictures…she a photographer for a reason.  I also love all the different grains she incorporates into her cooking since that’s something I want to do and am not always very good at.  Her section on building a natural foods pantry has lots of great information and is very accessible.

The Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook – by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins: This is an older cookbook (published the year before I was born!) that I discovered through my friend Heather when I lived with her and her family in New Zealand.  Heather cooks very similarly to the way that I do (I learned so much from her!) and the fact that this cookbook had a spot in her collection said a lot to me.  The French onion soup recipe in here is so good that Aaron remembered it from when he visited me in NZ and it is actually a big reason why I finally bought this cookbook after we were married.  I also really appreciate the different food and cooking tidbits scattered throughout the book, most are quite helpful and informative.

Jimmy Schmidt’s Cooking Class: Seasonal Recipes from a Chef’s Kitchen – by Jimmy Schmidt: This is another one that was a gift from Aaron’s foodie brother and I’ve found it quite helpful.  Like several of my other cookbooks, this one is divided into seasons.  In each season part, there are listed 20-30 different ingredients specific to that season, with several pages dedicated to each.  Along with a couple of recipes for each ingredient, there are tips on selection and preparation and how to get the most of out of that ingredient.  I’ve really liked how each little chapter focuses on just one ingredient because it gives you the base to expand on and get creative with that ingredient after you know what it goes best with and how best to prepare it.

Mediterranean: Over 300 Sun-drenched Recipes – by Lorenz Books: Early this past spring, Aaron told me that he would like to start eating more Mediterranean food.  Eager to find some good recipes along that line, I ordered this cookbook that had been recommended to me by my friend Heather from NZ.  It was a rather hard one to find as it’s British and supposedly out-of-print, but once again, Amazon came through.  When it arrived, I had Aaron page through all 512 pages and mark (with little sticky notes) all the dishes he would like me to make at some point.  Needless to say, there are lots of sticky notes!  For his birthday, I made him what we called our “Mediterranean Feast” and prepared five or six different dishes from this book…so it’s one of my few cookbooks that I’ve actually made something from its recipes!  The feast was a big success and Aaron loved everything that I made…so big points for this cookbook.  From an actual cooking standpoint, I found the recipes very easy to follow (all of the recipes are illustrated with several photographs) and pretty adaptable too.  As already mentioned, this is another British cookbook, so learning some British food and cooking terms would be helpful.

More to come…

Gifts in my amazing husband

1181. Shawn Groves’ song “All is Grace“.

1182. Learning to have grace for myself and for my littles.

1183. Chocolate ice cream topped with (decaf) coffee grounds.

1184. Playing Blackjack with my husband and a friend while I rock my baby.

1185. Bruschetta pasta.

1186. Giving away tomatoes.

1187. The spicy scent of just-picked basil.

1188. How one $3 pot of starts from Trader Joe’s can turn into SO. MUCH. BASIL.

1189. Washing machines…so I don’t have to wash my husband’s mud-coated work clothes by hand.

1190. An experiment in peach cheesecake bars that was very yummy, but needs some work on texture.

1191. My in-law’s peach tree fruiting very late, but with very good peaches.

1192. A new living room set-up…my favourite so far.

1193. Unpacking our Azure order.

1194. Learning to not be too disappointed that my natural “Nutella” was the only thing that didn’t come.

1195. Kettle Sweet Onion chips.

1196. Oatmeal with butter and maple syrup.

1197. Spending the afternoon at the lake with my little family.

1198. Playing in the sand with Cedar.

1199. Learning an ab exercise you can do while bouncing/walking your baby to sleep.

1200. How excited Cedar was to see Aaron across the parking lot at the Farmers’ Market.

1201. A spur-of-the-moment trip to go out to eat.

1202. A buy-one-get-one-free entree coupon at Macaroni Grill.

1203. Getting to try a mussel for the first time.

1204. Costco having my new contacts in stock.

1205. Going yard-sailing…and how gracious my husband was to drive me around to so many different places.

1206. Finding lots of “new” dresses for Genoa to wear and grow into.

1207. A Cedar-sized rocking chair.

1208. Little boy tools for Cedar to “work” with while Daddy is working in the shop.

1209. Grace for starting to wean.

1210. Going to a friends’ house for supper.

1211. Sharing and encouraging between friends.

1212. Chocolate toffee torte.

1213. How amazing Cedar did with being out late on hardly any naps.

1214. Cedar’s fascination with watching the moon (“boom”) on our way home…and how he figured out to look out the side window when he couldn’t see it anymore out the front.

1215. Aaron making lunch.

1216. Good talks with my love.

1217. Genoa in her “new” purple gingham sundress.

1218. My husband’s almond muffins.

1219. Discussing what do for exercise with Aaron and how giving he is of his time to help me.

1220. Cedar going down for a nap without crying, despite not getting to nurse before naps anymore.