February 28, 2010

Just What The Doctor Ordered

The past few months we've been plagued with reoccurring colds (thank you The Little Gym), back injuries and sleep apnea concerns; not to mention the not so welcome transition to the terrible two's (about 6 months too early!).

So I couldn't be happier to spend an evening with my best girlfriends to celebrate T's birthday and forget about it all for a few hours. Good friends, food, cocktails and conversation help make life a little sweeter.

February 16, 2010

Valentine Play Date

Ozzie and I hosted a Valentine play date for one of our mom/baby Meet Up groups. When the organizers of our group asked for volunteers I knew I wanted to host a Valentine play date so that I had an excuse to decorate the house even more than usual. I love Valentines day!

Three moms brought their kiddos over and all of the kids played together well. Ozzie loved the company and was wayyyy excited. He screamed so loud he made one little boy cry. Oh and he tried to force feed another little boy his sippy cup and kazoo but other than that, it was a good time all around.

Our play date was in the morning so I went with light snacks. Whole wheat banana bread (recipe coming soon), raisins, apple slices and apple juice.

Since I don't throw adult dinner parties anymore, I broke out my vintage goblets for water glasses. Just because it was a baby play date doesn't mean moms can't drink out of something pretty; and why collect vintage goblets if you don't use them every chance you get?! I really love that none of them match.

Definitely stuck with the Valentines theme for the table top. Who says you can't use doilies for little boys parties? Okay you really shouldn't use doilies for little boys parties, UNLESS it's Valentine's Day.

Here is a picture of Ozzie inspecting my work.

And then he got distracted by a drawer full of awesome stuff!

It was a special treat to eat lunch here instead of in his high chair. 

And juice was a super special treat.

About half way through lunch Ozzie decided that he wanted to eat in his high chair. I think he knew it was in closer proximity to the juice boxes. Don't worry he didn't get ALL the juice.

I sent each family home with heart shaped brownies (recipe coming soon) in the famous Twig and Thistle Valentine brownie bags; though I printed on white bags.

Ozzie and I really enjoy our mom/baby groups and hope to have more play dates in the future. Out of respect for the other families (I don't know if they want to be on the blogosphere) I only took pictures of my decorations and Ozzie.

Valentines Day

Our Valentine's Day was filled with hearts, hearts and more hearts. First we started with heart shaped pancakes for breakfast.

Someone got tired of waiting for Mommy to take a picture of his pancakes.

Then we exchanged our heart themed cards. Ozzie helped make Oscar's card by painting a heart with his finger.

And I heart my homemade card from my boys!

Hope your day was filled with hearts and love too!

February 15, 2010

Owl Valentine Cards

This year Ozzie helped me make valentine cards for his buddies, otherwise known as my friend's children and his cousins.

I decided to go with an owl theme since those woodland creatures are all the rage right now. I found this owl template from Anna Horner's blog. Even though it is for owl ornaments, it was the perfect size for cards too.

I added button eyes, card stock hearts and backs with a Valentine greeting from Ozzie with yarn.

So Mommy did most of the work but Ozzie's coloring really made the cards in my humble opinion.

Yes I know that I need to figure out the lighting when I take pictures of our crafts but I've never claimed to be a photographer.

Ozzie had a blast coloring his Valentine cards, here are some pictures of my little cupid.

This is when things started to get a little crazy. Crayons flew every where and the coloring stopped!

February 9, 2010

Homemade Chicken Stock

All the food bloggers that I follow are constantly encouraging their readers to make their own stock. It is healthier, tastes better and definitely has less sodium.

This has always been on my list of things to do and I since I had all of the veggies on hand, I decided to attempt my first stock with an organic chicken carcass from the previous nights dinner. Have I told you how much I love roasting chickens during the winter?

Below is a recipe I adapted from many different sites using the vegetables that I had available.

Homemade Organic Chicken Stock
1 left over chicken carcass
2 chicken half breasts, bone-in.
1 large yellow onion
1 garlic bunch
3 celery stalks
2 carrots
1 t whole black pepper corns
1-2 t kosher salt

Cut onion in half but do not remove outer skin
Cut ends of garlic but do not remove outer skin
Cut celery in half, lenthwise
Peel and cut carrots in half, lengthwise
Add all ingredients to stock pot and cover with water by one or two inches. Bring to a boil over meduim-high heat, then simmer for a few hours.
Make sure to remove the chicken breasts when they are done. They do not need to boil for a few hours. Add bones back to stock.
Once its done, strain through fine mesh strainer, twice.
Cool stock in the sink with cold water and ice before moving to fridge.
Leave overnight, then skim off fat before using or putting into containers to freeze.

I shredded the chicken breasts to make Chicken Pesto Lettuce Wraps, my new favorite dinner!

February 8, 2010

Crispy Garbanzo Beans

I tried this recipe for Crispy Garbanzo Beans from my new favorite blog, Sustainable Eats. We had friends over and everyone loved these as a healthy snack. Even the kids gobbled them up!

Check out the recipe and the blog, both are great!

*photo courtesy Sustainable Eats

February 7, 2010

Turkey Chipotle Chili

It's not Super Bowl Sunday with out homemade chili. I made this recipe that I found years ago in Self magazine. It is one of our winter favorites and you can't even tell it's low cal! Sometimes I serve it over brown rice but it is just as good all by itself. Today I served it with my homemade multi-grain bread.

Turkey Chipotle Chili
2 t olive or canola oil
1 small onion, diced
1 green pepper, chopped
1 lb. ground turkey breasts
1 t canned chipotle peppers in adobe sauce, minced (or more if you like the heat)
1 can tomato sauce (15 oz.)
1 can dark red kidney beans, undrained (15 oz.)
1/2 t chili powder
1 t kosher salt
Shredded cheddar cheese
Sour cream

Saute onion and pepper in oil over medium heat, about 5 minutes
Add ground turkey and cook, stirring, about 5 minutes
Add chipotle pepper, tomato sauce, beans, chili powder and salt. Stir well.
Increase heat, stirring until mixture comes to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.
Ladle into bowls, top with cheddar cheese and sour cream.

Nutritional analysis:
322 calories
6 g fat
2 g saturated fat
29 g carbohydrates
38g protein

This year we rooted for the New Orleans Saints! So happy they won!

Chicken Pesto Lettuce Wraps

I was telling my girly friends about my recent lettuce wraps kick and my friend Jocelyn told me about a yummy new wrap her sister made her for lunch. Of course, I had to make it immediately and yes it was YUMMY!

Chicken Pesto Lettuce Wraps

2 bone-in chicken breasts, shredded. I shredded the breasts that I used to make my chicken stock.
1 to 2 T store bought pesto (really this is to taste)
1 t olive oil
1/2 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup pine nuts
Lettuce leaves

Shred or cube chicken breasts- set aside.
Mix pesto, olive oil, garlic in medium bowl.
Add shredded chicken and pine nuts, mix.
Serve on lettuce leaves and garnish with cilantro

Quick, easy and delicous- Thanks Joc!

February 2, 2010

Coconut Water

It is all the rage right now- coconut water; and this is literally how they are selling it at Whole Foods. A raw coconut with a straw- ha! Of course I had to try it and I gotta say I don't like the flavor. I want my coconut to taste well, coconutty. This doesn't but it does have numerous health benefits. For those of you who care, here is why coconut water is all the rage.

9 Benefits of Coconut Water- Associated Content

1. Coconut water when administered orally stops all kinds of adverse drug reactions.

2. In many cases, it is used in the treatment of damages caused by inappropriate administration of anti-microbial agents.

3. Coconut water is germ free (pyrogen free: a substance that causes fever, especially a substance introduced into somebody's bloodstream) and as such naturally balanced with electrolytic substances like sodium, potassium, magnesium etc. this property makes it a good substitute for saline-glucose: a solution of common salt sodium chloride and distilled water, especially one having the same concentration as body fluids.

4. The oral intake of coconut water helps in breaking down and eliminating all forms of kidney and bladder stones, one health benefit that is low cost effective, and can save thousand of dollars that would have been put out for medical bills.

5. Coconut water have been found very useful as a natural oral re-hydration therapy (ORT) , because of its isotonic properties (balanced concentration of salts and minerals: specially formulated to supply the body's chemical needs in situations in which minerals and fluids are used up by the body, e.g. during vigorous exercise-Encarta), and electrolytic properties.

6. It is on record that coconut water if taken during feverish conditions reduces fever, ii is also known to calm nervous and emotional imbalances.

7. Taking coconut water regularly aids in flushing the liver, since it contains lauric acid (a crystalline fatty acid. Source: coconut, laurel oils) which gives it anti-microbial properties and makes it suitable for treatment of some liver ailments like hepatitis.

8. It is known by many experts that coconut water contains the following supplements needed to sustain life:
- glucose: which acts as sugar for energy in the body when taken
- vitamin Bs: for replenishment of worn out cells and tissues
- vitamin C: to shield the body form ailments like scurvy

9. Most importantly, coconut water acts as a detoxifying agent; and potentially the strongest antidote against any form of poison infusion in the body. One health benefit that have in the past saved many poison victims by neutralizing the effect of the poison in the blood. If administered for about 40 days, it flushes out the poison completely from the victim's blood stream.

Source- Associated Content. Read the full article here.

February 1, 2010

Are You Kidding Me?

If I ever have another baby, will you please throw me this baby shower? A perfect medley of nature, birds, nests, branches and JUST.PURE.LOVLINESS. Everything my heart desires!

After I am done drooling I am going to figure out a way to turn this into a child's birthday party or an Easter party just to give myself the opportunity to recreate it!


*pictures courtesy Hostess blog

One Pretty Thing

Oh friends it is a great day for me. Why you ask? Well one of my favorite blogs One Pretty Thing linked up my branch art to today's Daily DIY post. Yay!!!

I just love this blog and have made many a crafty things from her links so to be included is just too much for this amateur crafter. Thank you Rachel!

Oh Boy Oh Boy Oh Boy!

Since attending The Little Gym, Ozzie has learned to run and jump and climb on everything. While I appreciate the improved gross motor skills and the energy burning activity once a week, I sometimes wonder if teaching him these new skills were really such a great idea. Especially since he has now figured out how to climb on to the kitchen chairs. Which, of course, are counter height and not child proof.

It is really fun when you put a cup of yogurt on top of the kitchen table to keep him from spilling it and he climbs up and spills it anyway.

He really doesn't find my threats well... threatening.

He found some edamame while up here and decided to have a light snack.

And here he is on a completely different day doing his now favorite activity.

Look Mommy lemons!

And kiwi...

He is completely ignoring me here.

The table, the chairs, the hardwood floors, the ceramic fruit bowl- how many accidents waiting to happen can you count here?