Happy Valentine’s Day

We are sending you Valentine’s wishes and hope you have a wonderful day filled with lots of love.

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Steel-cut oats with granola crunch

On Sunday’s I typically make a large put of steel-cut oats and homemade granola so that our family can eat it for breakfast throughout the week. I originally followed Alton Brown’s recipe, but decided to make some changes. The oats turn out unbelievably creamy and re-heat wonderfully.photo-126

Steel Cut Oatmeal

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 cups steel cut oats
  • 6 cups hot water
  • 1 1/2- 2 cups milk
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • agave to taste

Melt butter in pot over medium heat. Add oats and toast for a couple minutes. Pour in the hot water and bring to a  slow boil. Then reduce heat until you have a nice low simmer. Simmer, uncovered, for 25 minutes. Check periodically to make sure your heat is not too hot or oats will stick to the bottom of your pan.

After 25 minutes stir in the milk, cinnamon, and agave. Cook for 10 more minutes. Remove from heat.

At this point taste and decide if its to your liking. You may want more sweetness or cinnamon. Of course you could also use brown sugar or honey instead of agave to sweeten yours. I love to eat mine with granola…love that crunch on top!

I received this granola recipe from a friend I work with and fell in love. Beware…it’s addicting.

Sue’s Homemade Granola

  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup sweetened coconut
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix nuts, oats, and coconut in a large bowl. In a small saucepan combine butter, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt over low heat, stirring until the butter and sugar melt. Pour the butter mixture over the oat/nut mixture and fold in with a wooden spoon until well combined.

Pour granola onto the baking sheet and spread into an even layer. Pat down gently so you will have chunks when finished baking. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until golden brown.

* You can change many things about this recipe to your liking- different nuts, add dried fruit, unsweetened coconut, etc.

Posted in Eat

Snow day…I mean week

Being a teacher certainly has its perks…snow days being one of them! I was home with the girls for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of this week. And I would of been home the rest of the week but darn it they made teachers return to work while the students stayed home. Unfortunately the temperature around here has been well below freezing which meant we only played outside for a short bit. Lola enjoyed sledding…but making snow angels and running around like a crazy girl in the snow seemed to be her favorite. Olive was not quite sure what was going on, but she sure was cute in her bear suit.

Unfortunately Alan was sick most of the week, but it did mean he got to work from the house. Lola made sure to give him many check-ups each day with her doctor kit.

So now the snow is starting to melt, Alan is all better, and we are headed back to work tomorrow, on a normal schedule. Looking forward to some more flurries in the forecast this week 🙂

29 and holding..

I am extremely behind on blogging but am really going to try and get back to it! About a week and a half ago I celebrated my 29th birthday. It was a wonderfully simple day filled with lots of hugs from my students and dinner with my favorite people in the world, my family. My mom made a delicious chocolate cake topped with vanilla buttercream and chocolate ganache, and also a tray full of confetti cake cupcakes (always loved them growing up)…yum! Lola was eager to help eat it all. It was a great day and I cannot believe 30 is approaching so quickly…time is seriously flying by.

A very Merry Christmas

Screen Shot 2013-12-29 at 4.39.42 PMI hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. I cannot believe how quickly it has passed by this year. I am still playing my Christmas music and enjoying the decorations…for a couple more days at least.

Olive is still too young to know what is going on. However, this was the first year Lola really understood everything and watching her was the best thing in the world. It truly makes you feel like a kid again, and also puts alot into perspective of what my parents did for us on Christmas. She was so excited when she woke up to find Santa had left her gifts, eaten her cookies, and the reindeer had eaten all the carrots. Her sweet little face lit up with excitement. Olive played nearby with one of her new teethers!

Such a wonderful time of year.

Santa Claus 2013

We finally made it to see Santa Claus. For weeks now Lola has been insisting that Santa is NOT coming to our house because she is a bit scared of him. She has slowly been warming up as we talk about him more. We took her to Legendary Santa, which is who I saw every Christmas growing up…and well, I cannot bare to take my children anywhere else. After all, he is the “real” Santa Claus.

To our surprise Lola was very willing to talk to Santa. She stood in front of him and said, “Hi Santa, Merry Christmas!” My heart melted. Then Santa grabbed her hand to hold…and she lost it! haha…she was not okay with that! Now you understand why I ended up having to take the picture with them. Lola was holding on to me for dear life after that. Now my little Olive…she made the saddest pout in the world when I put her in his lap, then just starred at all the googly people holding  cameras and stuffed animals trying to make the kids smile. So overall she did a great job! Santa then asked Lola (in a microphone so all could hear) what she wanted for Christmas. She replied with a quick voice, “Minnie, Mickey, Donald Duck!” haha I don’t know why but thats what came out. Very sweet.

Alan and I had so much fun with them and can’t wait for Christmas morning. Im not quite sure she gets that Santa is actually bringing her gifts. But she has been practicing singing Happy Birthday Jesus for weeks now…makes me smile 🙂

You can see the past two years here and here.

You’ve got a friend in me.

Our babysitter sent me these sweet pictures of Olive playing with her little friend Payton. Oh my goodness couldn’t you just kiss all over their cheeks. I just had to share!IMG_3806 IMG_3807-1

Hope yall are having a great Friday and getting excited for Christmas. I can’t wait to have some time to relax, play with the girls, and spend time with family.

Have a great weekend.

Sisters

 

Although it was nasty and freezing this weekend we still had a great time playing and snuggling indoors. Olive has become quite the talkative little girl- making lots of squeals and giggles and Lola is her favorite person. I love watching Lola entertain her. They are so funny together and so sweet.photo(10)photo(1)I know you wish you had Olive’s hair. haha. It has a complete mind of its own. Well…both of theirs do.

 

Kale and Apple Salad with Pancetta and Candied Pecans

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image via foodandwine.com

As I was searching for healthier side dishes to make this Thanksgiving I came across this amazing salad. It does take a little bit of time to prepare but is completely worth it (and you can do alot of it ahead of time). The flavor from the sauteed pancetta really makes the dressing unbelievable. And my grocery store had prepackaged diced pancetta at the deli…huge help! See the **notes below on some changes I made.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups pecans
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 ounces thickly sliced pancetta, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons caper brine (from a jar of capers)
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 large head radicchio, shredded
  • One 8-ounce bunch kale—stems discarded, leaves finely shredded
  • 3 tablespoons snipped chives
  • 1 tablespoon chopped tarragon
  • 2 ounces shaved pecorino

** Changes- I used one small head of radicchio and it was plenty, and used Parmesan cheese instead of pecorino.

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a bowl, cover the pecans with water. Transfer to a sieve and shake out the water. In another bowl, whisk the confectioners’ sugar, cayenne and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. Add the pecans and toss. Transfer to a sieve and shake off the excess coating. Arrange the pecans on a parchment paper–lined baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the sugar is lightly caramelized and the pecans are golden.
  2. In a skillet, heat the oil with the pancetta and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until the pancetta is browned, 6 minutes. Strain the pan drippings into a large bowl; whisk in the vinegar, caper brine and maple syrup and season the dressing with salt and black pepper. Add the apples, radicchio, kale, chives, tarragon and pecorino and toss. Mound the salad on plates, garnish with the pecans and pancetta and serve.

** I made the candied pecans well in advance. Also- I just chopped my kale and radicchio (no shredding). I prepared my apples ahead of time by chopping them and putting them in a container filled with cold water and a squeeze of lemon juice, then stick in in the fridge until you are ready.

So good, I’m making it again for dinner tomorrow night! Enjoy.

Posted in Eat

Last day of leave

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Today is my last day of maternity leave. I’ve been home since June so it seems like forever I’ve been away from the classroom. My sweet Olive is 3 months old now and will be going to the babysitter with Lola starting Monday. Today I am snuggling extra close and holding Olive during her nap instead of putting her down. And Lola has told me she is going to take care of her little sis so I can rest easy. Precious girls.