Monthly Archives: March 2015

Finding Our Place

shel collection

Our winter was short this year, shorter than any I remember. Here we are, not even April, but I am feeling like our time to move indoors is coming all too soon.  We have already turned on the air conditioning several times. We sleep with minimal clothing on, a sheet bunched up at our feet, kids on both sides, and the fan blowing full blast.

We are trying to get as much outdoor time in before summer really arrives and we can no longer get out. We have been collecting new games and building a small library of learning resources. This year has been a fun one and an exhausting one. I have less time than ever but have been working on finding more joy in our days. It is so easy to succumb to the exhaustion and check the clock multiple times a day, waiting for dad’s call that the day is over.

With some conscious effort on my part we have been passing our days with regular outings, art projects, games, and lots of stories. Choosing joy, over the exhaustion or irritation that come so naturally, has been a very liberating feeling–one that I hope to hold on to for the rest of my days.

One thing no one tells you about being a parent is the constant feeling of unsureness. We all want the best for our kids, but there is no right way to do it. Like most parents of young children, we have spent the last (almost) four years questioning if we are really doing what is best. I can tell you right now, I have never felt so strongly that yes, we are definitely doing the right thing.

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birdhouse barn

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Egg Bhurji and The Perfect Egg

egg bhurji the perfect egg

When I went into labor with June, Lucy stayed under the care of my aunt during the days (then went to grandma and grandpa’s to stay the night). Not knowing that Lucy absolutely hates eggs, my aunt Kate fixed a lunch of egg salad sandwiches. Upon trying a bite and having no clue what it was, Lucy, with a look of disgust, commented, “what kind of cheese is this?”. She then proceeded to eat the bread all the way around the egg salad.

So, she isn’t an egg eater, but Russ and I are. I hope to get chickens down the road when we have a little bit of outdoor space to house them. Just thinking of home raised chicken eggs on a regular basis makes me giddy!

I got this book because of my love for the mighty egg. We eat them most mornings of the week, but admittedly I have very few egg recipes in my repertoire. We make omelets, fried eggs, scrambled in burritos, eggs on toast, and the list ends there.

I am so excited to have this book in my collection. The pictures are absolutely beautiful and the recipes are all mouth watering. The first recipe I decided to try was an obvious choice for this spice lover, egg bhurji. While the list of ingredients may be a bit daunting, if you have everything prepared in advance it comes together very quickly. I decided to make it for a quick lunch with a side of naan bread. It was perfect, and is going to be made many times in the future.

The recipes covered include breakfast, snacks, lunch, dinner, and dessert. There are many traditional recipes and a great selection of recipes from around the world. I am looking forward to diving deeper into this book and trying the havarti-dill popovers, corn and green onions fritters with a bacon-honey drizzle, spaetzle with Swedish meatballs, and the grapefruit-poppy seed pound cake, just to name a few.

Egg Bhurji

  • 2 tablespoons ghee or unsalted butter
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 Roma tomato, seeded and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 serrano chile, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1/ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Pinch of smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
  • 7 eggs, lightly beaten
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Melt the ghee in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute for about 5 minutes, until translucent. Add the tomato, garlic, chile, and ginger and saute for 1 minute longer. Stir in the tomato paste, coriander, garam masala, turmeric, paprika, and 1 1/2 tablespoons of the cilantro, and then lower the heat to medium. Gradually add the eggs while stirring to mix with the seasoning; and then cook, stirring gently, until the eggs are cooked hard.

Divide the eggs among four plates, season lightly with salt and pepper, and top with the remaining cilantro. Serve immediately.

 

the perfect egg cookbook review

egg bhurji recipe

egg bhurji recipe the perfect egg

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Pie and Daffodiddles

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Today we celebrated dad’s birthday in the mountains eating pie and buying daffodils. We strolled through town, bought some yarn, drank iced coffee, and had barbeque for lunch. When we made the plans to make the hour + drive up the hill, we had no idea that this weekend was Daffodil Days. We wandered into the town hall and saw hundreds of cut stems. What a beautiful surprise to see so many gorgeous and exotic (I had never seen many of the varieties!) dafodiddles as Lucy calls them.

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A Unicorn Dress for Summer

balsamine citronille dress sewing pattern

Winter hasn’t officially come to an end and we in southern California are experiencing temperatures in the low 90s. I’m not ready for the heat and am sad to say that we pulled our standing fan out of storage and it will likely be on until mid November. It all seems too soon. Though I must admit, warm weather brings about margarita season and I had my first in nearly two years (oh, how badly I wanted one last summer when I was pregnant and we were in the depths of inferno!).

This little summer dress is called Balsamine, from Citronille. The beautiful unicorn fabric is by Heather Ross. This was one of the fastest projects I have sewed up in a while, other than the straps, which gave me a bit of trouble at first. I hadn’t given much thought to how I would turn the skinny spaghetti straps inside out once they were sewed up, and trying to do it by hand and poking through with a knitting needle was an infuriating process. I found this tutorial for sewing skinny straps, re-cut the pieces and was done in record time. Brilliant! I see myself sewing up quite a few of these dresses this year, they are so perfect for our endless summers, loose and airy, easy to move in, and as I already mentioned, fast to sew.

Now I need to get to work on some vintage patterns in my stash, I promise this is not just a Citronille pattern review blog!

balsamine citronille dress sewing pattern

balsamine dress citronille sewing pattern

balsamine dress citronille sewing pattern

 

Bread Revolution – A Book Review

bread revolution by peter reinhart cookbook review

I started baking my own bread about a year before Lucy was born. Back then it was strictly white bread, which I rarely do anymore because I have become more health conscious over the years and try to work more whole grains into my family’s diet. While it may not be as nutritious as loaves made entirely of whole wheat, white bread is probably the perfect start for someone wanting to start baking their own bread at home. White bread is easy and delicious. I have tried many, many whole wheat recipes over the years, some entirely whole wheat flour and some with a combination of flours. While most have been good (and a few which were destined to become a giant bag of bread crumbs in my freezer), I still haven’t found ‘the recipe’. You know, the one you make so many times that you can no longer read the directions because it is stained and warped from use–but it doesn’t matter because it is burned into your brain.

I requested this book knowing it might be a book that sits on the shelf for a year or two before I can fully dive into it. I have baked from Peter Reinhart’s recipes before, and while they do make delicious loaves of bread, it is always a process. The majority of the recipes in this book are quite elaborately layed out, and while I am sure they become easier with practice, this mama just doesn’t have the time or the brain power currently to start a loaf of bread the evening before I want to bake it or religiously follow along with two pages worth of instructions.

I was very pleased to find out that there were a handful of recipes that I could look at and understand immediately, these sprouted wheat pancakes being one of them. This was my first time using sprouted wheat flour and I was very pleased with the results. The sprouted wheat flour seemed so dense compared to what I am used to working with, but the pancakes turned out light and fluffy. I am pretty sure this is going to become my new go to pancake recipe.

I look forward to getting deeper into this book as the girls grow older, there is a wealth of knowledge on bread baking and I pretty sure with a little practice and a lot of patience this book might just have that perfect loaf recipe I am after.

Here is my simplified interpretation of the recipe.

Sprouted Wheat Pancakes

  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sprouted wheat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  1. In a medium bowl stir together flour, salt, baking soda, and sugar. In a small bowl combine buttermilk, egg, and melted butter. Pour wet mix into dry, stirring just until thoroughly hydrated, but do not over mix.
  2. Preheat a skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add butter and a ladel-full of batter. Cook until you start to see “bubble” or holes appear and flip (about two minutes). Cook for another minute or two.

 

bread revolution by peter reinhart cookbook review

bread revolution by peter reinhart cookbook review

bread revolution by peter reinhart cookbook review

bread revolution by peter reinhart cookbook review

bread revolution by peter reinhart cookbook review

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Finding Time, Making Time

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As every mama knows, we give up a lot the moment we become a mother. We spend our pregnancies preparing for baby, knowing that a change is coming, but completely incapable of understanding how all encompassing caring for a baby and then later raising a young child really is.

Like many mothers before me, I started to slip. My interests certainly hadn’t changed, but my life had. Learning to be a mother and stay true to my former self seemed out of the question. I was on autopilot for the first year of Lucy’s life. I did the things that needed to be done and we got through each day, usually with a smile and always with bags under my eyes. Between scheduling playdates and trying to connect with other mamas, establishing some early homeschooling routines, running a part time etsy shop, and trying to keep up with the day to day necessities of running a household and having a family, it  was near to impossible to find the creative time I needed to fulfill my own needs.

The second time around has been entirely different. I no longer watch the clock for the milestones, nor for dad’s return home from work. We do less in our days with more intention. We have slowed down and let things go. Toys get left out at night, dishes pile up in the sink, and we eat popcorn for lunch. I am relearning the importance of taking deep breaths. Our house is always messy and the laundry never seems to end, but we make time to knead a loaf of bread, paint a picture, or make a batch of honey ice cream. There are daily adventures in nature, which I didn’t know I needed so desperately for my sanity and my soul. I no longer feel bad for passing off a crying baby to dad in order to ground myself with ten minutes in front of the sewing machine.

There will be time to clean bathrooms and put away laundry when they are grown. Right now my focus is on the care of my family and myself.  Our time together is precious, and in order to fully enjoy it, taking time to myself has become necessary for all of us.

And wouldn’t you know, every minute I spend doing things to satisfy myself end up being for one or the other of these two amazing little girls.

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