there were two things i was certain of when i got engaged
the guy i was going to marry
and that there would be mason jars at my wedding
lots of them
everything else seemed to fall into place
around all the mason jars of course
...and then came baby...

Monday, November 28, 2011

hungry monday: super simple sausage

i genuinely enjoy cooking. i like chopping onions, measuring flour and using a wooden spoon. i try my best to cook sunday through thursday and occasionally on a friday or saturday if we're having company. if not, i reserve those nights for ordering in, warming up a frozen pizza or venturing out to the big city...or our little downtown.

here is a super simple sausage dinner that i make about once a week, with slight alterations (substitute different veggies, serve over pasta instead of rice or make a red sauce vs. white wine)

1. slice up sausage and a sweet yellow onion and saute in olive oil over med-high (goal is to brown sausage)
2. add a splash of chicken broth (i use this), cook for a minute or two
3. add a 1/4 cup of white wine (i use whatever i have in the fridge, but usually a pinot grigio), turn up the heat to let the wine cook off and thicken the sauce
4. lower heat, add cherry tomatoes (i slice in half) and sugar snap peas, cook for about 5 minutes - this is where you can get crazy & add whatever you have in the veggie drawer

i usually toss this all over some brown rice that i've cooked in the same chicken broth used in the sausage mixture.

i prefer the applegate organics sweet italian sausage. they're made with chicken and turkey, they're organic and they're skinless. check, check and check.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

turkey + pinot noir = a match made in thanksgiving heaven: 3 pairings

a quick post today as i've got pies to bake and diapers to change, but wanted to share three of my favorite pinot noirs. pinot noir is one of my favorite wine varietals and also happens to be a fantastic pairing with the main star of thanksgiving: turkey! pinot noir is a delicious, smooth, light red option for all you non-white-wine-drinkers. i know for a fact that you can purchase all of these at trader joe's, but i'm sure most local wine shops carry the above as well. another great region that pumps out delish pinot noir is willamette valley in oregon, so if you can't find the above, check out what the pacific northwest has to offer.

oh & if you MUST go white, la crema produces an unreal chardonnay. i'm not a chard lady at all, but love me some la crema chardonnay.

happy thanksgiving! mangia : )

Monday, November 21, 2011

hungry monday: vegan burgers for meat-eaters

some yummy carrots +

a little sweet potato +

protein rich quinoa

these are just a few of the delicious ingredients in the vegan burgers i happened upon at whole foods last weekend. i'm not a vegan. i'm not even a vegetarian, but i was looking for a healthy bite and stumbled upon these. i dabbled in the pescatarian lifestyle years ago when i lived in california and can't say i've really missed it much. i like meatballs with real meat and i love chicken wings, spicy. when i wasn't eating meat, i ate A LOT of tofu and tempeh and i gotta tell ya, it got old. if i had found this type of vegan alternative, which is actually made of vegetables and not a ton of substitute meat, i might have been able to go a week or so longer without meat.

i sauteed the patties in a bit of olive oil to get them nice & crispy, threw one in a whole wheat wrap, topped it with some avocado & called it a day. a delicious day. let me know what you think!

check out where you can find some in your hood here.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

musical daydream: today's jam

the little man fell asleep in the backseat yesterday as we were driving home from a coffee date with the hubs. it was a rainy day and so nice & quiet with him snoozing that i decided to cruise around town and listen to some tunes.

my phone shuffled along and landed on a song that always gets me daydreaming about summer. hat tip to my sister-in-law for turning me on to taken by trees, among others, a few years ago. "my boys" always conjures up the same image in my head and it's the perfect one for a dreary day. i envision myself riding my red beach cruiser down a path to the beach in my hometown. then i go on to dream about jumping in the sound, having a bbq & sipping a hoegaarden. ah the simple times. enjoy!

Monday, November 14, 2011

hungry monday: grilled cheese please

it was a sunny day in seattle, about 3 years ago, when i had my first bite of a beecher's grilled cheese. i was visiting my hubs while he was there for work and i fell in love with everything about the city AND this particular grilled cheese. granted it was one of those super-lovey-weather-couldn't-have-been-more-perfect weekends, but i never quite got the emerald city out of my mind or that cheesy goodness.

fast forward to present day in new york city on another super-lovey-weather-couldn't-have-been-more-perfect days with a baby in tow and a beecher's grilled cheese in hand. we were strolling around our old neighborhood and were delighted to find that beecher's had made a second home in the city so nice, they named it twice.

if you're lactose intolerant or just despise the taste of cheese, well then, i guess this won't interest you. but if you're like me, and eat chunks of parmigiano like it's popcorn, then you most likely appreciate a good grilled cheese. you certainly don't need to rely on a restaurant to indulge. it's got to be one of the easiest and tastiest concoctions to make at home. personally, i love a good manchego with a little fig spread, but at the end of the day, i'd be happy with a slice of cheddar.

check out these mouthwatering at-home grilled cheese concoctions.

Friday, November 11, 2011

kids to the rescue: how to meet new pals

babies are to moms what puppies are to bachelors. they're a conversation starter with a stranger; a stranger you'd like to get to know. for moms it's to swap stories about breastfeeding, teething and sleep schedules, whereas the bachelor is just hoping to swap spit.

i've moved around a bit in the past 10 years and have to tell you, it has been MUCH easier to meet people with a baby in tow than without. i've found that most new moms are prone to have the same "what the heck am i doing" look on their faces and are open to saying hello to a fellow mamacita. hey, after being home all day talking to your baby, trying to figure out whether they're hungry, tired or just plain cranky, it's no wonder! us moms crave adult interaction.

i've signed up for a bunch of different baby & me classes. i'm sure there is some benefit for the baby, but frankly at this young an age, it's for moi. we've tried yoga, gym, and music so far, and are considering swim for the winter. my main hesitation with swim class is that i too will have to go in the pool, which means i'll have to put on a bathing suit. you do the math. in the most recent gym class, my little guy slept through the first half while i swapped pediatrician information with the mom next to me. so you see, it's a win-win situation. your baby works on their developmental skills while you work on your social skills.

so if you're a new mom looking for new mom friends, get out with your kid & start talking to people. take a class, talk to the madre next to you at the grocery store or the sale section at janie & jack. you're bound to find at least one mama out there to exchange stories with and call a friend.

oh, and if you don't have a kid, get a job. i've met a few amazing people at past jobs that have since evolved into very dear friends. and if your colleagues are the pits, or you don't have any, go searching online. there's tons of groups to join in or around your neighborhood: kickball, book club, cooking class, bingo, knitting etc. happy hunting!

Monday, November 7, 2011

hungry monday: homemade pizza date night



date nights are a necessity for new parents. although, just because they're a necessity does NOT mean they're easy to come by. when we can't find a sitter, the hubs and i try to at the least carve some time out for ourselves at home (without the little guy grabbing all our attention).*

last friday, after we got the nugget to sleep, we hit the kitchen to make our own pizzas. as we're both half irish & half italian, the pizza-making naturally turned it into a competition. the friendly rivalry, paired with some delicious red wine, made for a really great evening. to be honest, even before the baby, leaving the house on a friday night after a long week felt like a chore. i highly recommend a little pizza bake-off to spice up an evening at home with your better half, good friends, and even your kids.

here's what we did to make our yummy pies, but the great thing about making a pizza is that you can be creative! we cheated and bought pre-made dough, but next time i might be adventurous & try this delicious recipe or this cornmeal crust recipe. also, we cooked our pies on baking sheets, but a pizza stone is supposed to work wonders.

step 1. set out dough to rise (for our pre-made dough we gave it 20 minutes)
step 2. preheat oven to 425 degrees
step 3. roll out dough
step 4. drizzle dough with extra virgin olive oil
step 5. ladle tomato sauce on dough (i went with pureed tomatoes this time, but chunky would be delish too!)
step 6. sprinkle shredded mozzarella generously
step 7. layer additional toppings (i went with red onions & pepperoni)
step 8. sip some wine
step 9: bake for 20-30 minutes (i like my crust crispy so i kept it in the whole 30 minutes, but start checking at 20 mins)
step 10: eat, compare & drink more wine

enjoy! any other fun stay-at-home date night suggestions??

*that's nearly impossible as he is so effin cute

Friday, November 4, 2011

hello friday, i've missed you...

{via french by design}

just because i don't have a job outside the home doesn't mean i don't look forward to fridays! in fact, sometimes i think i look forward to them more now that i'm a stay at home mamacita.

something about this week just. felt. looooooooooong.

one evening in particular resembled something like a scene in a movie.

fade in:

evening. tired mom hectically hands off baby to dad, runs out door & slumps into the driver seat. absolutely exhausted she starts up the car and pulls out of the driveway listening to the AM station her husband left on with a sports reporter rattling off stats. she's on her way to a physical therapist appointment (her wild wednesday out) and takes a deep breath.


seeking through the stations she stumbles upon the pick-me-up she needs desperately. it's the drum beat that she recognizes first and then axl's voice. it's the beginning of the song. she starts singing along.

take me down to the paradise city where the grass is green and the girls are pretty...

mom sits up straighter, starts shaking her head back and forth and a smile stretches across her face.

end scene.

i have to admit, i'm not a huge 90's rock fan, but something about that song that night just did it for me. so thank you mr. rose. thank you very much.

oh won't you please take me home...yeah yeah.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

shower the people you love with love: rustic designs as gifts and decor

{via sugarboo designs}

i spotted these rustic signs in a little shop in town the other day and immediately thought, "i want one." then i took a look at the price tag and thought, "that's ridiculous, i could make that." but the reality is such that the free time i do get goes to eating, sleeping, writing this blog and sometimes indulging in a glass of wine and/or a hot date with my hubs. that being said, if someone (say my hubs) was trying to think of a good holiday gift, this just might be it.

these would also be AMAZING wedding gifts for your soon-to-be spouse. imagine opening up the "love you x forever" painting on the morning of your wedding?! love it.

and if you're feeling super duper crafty, this could be a really fun project for you and your little nugget to make together. my little one is still too small to do much more than drool, laugh & sleep, but when he's older and the winter weather keeps us trapped inside, i think this project could keep us sane.

happy arts & crafting!