Caro's version of monkey bars

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Caroline has a funny hobby. Every night, once we put her in her crib, she decides it's playtime. Her "monkey bars" are made up of a string that we've hung above her crib to help hang her feeding tube when she has her late night feedings -- the string is tied to the crib on one end and to an IV pole on the other (the IV pole was used to help hang up bags full of her food when she used to be on a continuous feeding drip through the night, but she doesn't really need that anymore, so now the IV pole is really just there to be a part of her gym equipment : ).

Anyway, you can see how much fun she has...

It's hard to tell from the pictures, but when she's doing this, she's swinging around like crazy! She has also figured out that, if she pulls her legs in while wrapped around the string, the pole will bang against the crib and make a fun, loud sound. She does this several times in a row (and, as a consequence, the crib has several fun dents in it) .

The Cookie Monster

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Little has a history of not enjoying sweets. On her first birthday, despite our eager anticipation of her devouring the frosting we let her taste, she grimaced and got very upset as soon as it touched her tongue. When we've had her try ice cream, she shuts her mouth and has a look that says, "No, thank you!"

Just when we thought all hope was lost, I, on a whim, gave her some chocolate cookie dough (for some Choc & PB chip cookies I was making for work - not gf Bryce, don't worry). And this is the result...

"Hmm, not bad."

"I'll take it!"

"Mother, your services are no longer required. Please leave me alone w/the chocolate."


"Ok, mom, I need you again for clean up!"

"Must find more dough on this spoon!!"

The carnage.

"All done!"

A Standing Little Lady

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Last Sunday, we had a very heartwarming photo shoot. Our girl was still in her Sunday dress when B and I put her in her stander. We caught some great moments.

It's not very often that we view Caroline as a little girl because unfortunately she spends so little time standing up. However, with the stander, we all get new perspectives - we see her as our standing "little lady" and she gets to view the world in a whole new way.

Little likes posing just like her mom: ).

"Umm, I guess I'm standing now..."

Playing and smiling

"I'm a happy girl!"

Here, Caro is hysterically laughing because Bryce is making loud noises by banging two cardboard sticks together.

More huge smiles!

At one point, Caroline looked as though she was dancing to the beat - wonderful!

Celiac is espansive

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

If you have celiac or gluten-intolerance and you want some tips or if you'd like to learn more about celiac disease for the benefit of your own social awareness, read this article from the NYTimes.

Hope you're having a good day!

Dining and Viewing Party: Julie and Julia

Friday, August 14, 2009

Last Saturday, I hosted a small dinner party to celebrate the opening of Julie and Julia, and it was a big success! I cooked a classic French meal, using recipes from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, for 8 girls in my ward and me (and Bryce got to eat some too: ). Then, most of us went to go see Julie and Julia afterwards (really cute and funny movie).

The night's menu...

It's one of the first times I've made a multi-course meal with several technical elements for that many people - and all of the dishes turned out! It was such a fun night, and although it was a lot of work to put together (I started cooking at 7:30 am that day and Bryce was right there w/me helping the whole time), I must be a funny one because I just loved doing it.

(Disclaimer: My table and my entertaining budget are small, so I wasn't able to invite everyone I wanted to all at once. My sincerest apologies. I plan to have more soirees in the future.)


The table is waiting for its guests.

Bryce and I making final preparations. (PS - I got a special French country-looking apron at Anthropologie.)

In the bottom right of this picture, you can kind of tell how I did place cards: I printed the names on good, heavy paper, cut them into strips and weaved them onto the fork - very easy.

The all-important whisking-the-sauce shot

My friend Sonja took all of these pictures, and we had some fun with the poses: ).

And now for the moment you've been waiting for... the food!

The menu was as follows --

Hors D'oeuvres

Crudites and Petit Choux au Fromage (savory puff pastry with Holland gouda)

(The link above takes you to a Pate a Choux (pastry dough) recipe - it's not Julia's recipe, however it's very close and it has great pics illustrating the steps - Julia just adds a touch of nutmeg which makes them even better. I made Pate a Choux with cheese, or Petit Choux au Fromage. I used a wonderful Holland gouda, however you can use a Swiss, like Gruyere.)

My petit choux were almost as puffy as the above and melt-in-your-mouth, I've-been-wanting-to make-a-batch-every-night-since delicious!


Lots of beautifully browned organic and free-range chicken sautéed with herbs and drizzled with lemon, white wine sauce that was infused with chicken jus, butter.


The ratatouille worked well for the party because I made it in the morning, cooled it briefly, covered it and put it in the fridge, then reheated it right before the guests arrived - and it's even better reheated.
(I made the chicken, ratatouille, and souffle a few weeks ago as a test drive. Party tip -- always test drive recipes before making them day-of -- takes away lots of stress).


Oh yeah.

Hope this inspires you to pick out some new recipes, have a few friends over, and enjoy!

Bon appetit!


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Caroline has a bucket of toys.

Sometimes she's unsatisfied with playing with just one at a time.

She can make a real mess.

But she does not seem to mind.

It turns out, it's the bucket that's interesting after all, not the toys!

Luxurious and Easy Summer Soup

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Bryce and I had this soup last night and loved it! I served it with our favorite gf bread (I order in bulk from Amazon - MUCH better than any gf bread mix we've made and, of course, better than storebought gf bread) - made fresh in the breadmaker.

But, it's summer -- in Vegas -- am I crazy? No, it was a great summer meal - uses the fresh tomatoes available now- plus, we used fresh basil from our garden - plus, I didn't serve it piping hot - PLUS, it's meatless but substantial - so you're saving on the grocery bill. Plus, I got to use up the leftover cream from making the pavlova last week.

Cream of Fresh Tomato Soup - by Ina Garten


3 tablespoons good olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped red onions (2 onions)
2 carrots, unpeeled and chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
4 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes, coarsely chopped (5 large)
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 cup packed chopped fresh basil leaves, plus julienned basil leaves, for garnish
3 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup heavy cream


Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions and carrots and saute for about 10 minutes, until very tender. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, sugar, tomato paste, basil, chicken stock, salt, and pepper and stir well. Bring the soup to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 30 to 40 minutes, until the tomatoes are very tender.

Add the cream to the soup and process it through a food mill into a bowl, discarding only the dry pulp that's left. Reheat the soup over low heat just until hot and serve with julienned basil leaves and/or croutons.

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