Monday, April 27, 2015

Thank You Notes, Handmade by Toddler (& Mom)

First of all, many congrats to Jaisa who dropped some big news ever-so-casually in last week's post!  I'm basically over the moon and can't stop texting her about it at all hours of the day and night.  I'm just hoping she will share the Instagram picture that she and Charlie used to announce it to their friends... so darling.

Speaking of darling, let's get back to my two year old son.  Smooth transition?  No?  Moving on...

After his second birthday party, Will had a whole lot of thank you notes to get in the mail.  Like last year, I wanted to have him involved in the making of the cards and, like last year, I had a lot of finger paint laying around.  We kicked it up a notch this year, though...

It helps that Will is actually VERY into finger painting now.  I'm not that into it myself and always make excuses for why we shouldn't (it's a huge mess!  it's more hassle than it's worth!  the paints say non-toxic but they're probably loaded with all sorts of sneaky carcinogens!) but a few minutes in it's always apparent that Will is having a blast and it's totally worth it.  Also he isn't eating it, so it could be worse for him, I'm sure.

I let him go nuts on a huge sheet of white paper (Ikea paper roll FTW) and when it had dried the next day, used a heart-shaped stamper cutter ("I can't believe we own that thing.  Its ONLY function is to cut out heart shapes?!" -Jesse) to get some hearts we could use on thank you cards.

Gluesticked onto blank cards, the hearts were the perfect combination of THANK YOU/I LOVE YOU/I'M SORRY THESE WENT OUT A WEEK LATER THAN I HAD PLANNED.  Everyone got handwritten notes and a bit of Will art.

Easy peasy and totally kid friendly.  These could also work as a set of stationery for the grandmothers in your life... Mother's Day is coming!

I want Will to be a thank you note writer when he grows up, so starting early is key.  Thanks again to Will's awesome friends and family... check your mailboxes!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Tart Cherry Lemon Bars

DESSERT.  My new favorite thing.  Crazy, I know, I know.  But ever since I got pregnant (SURPRISE) I'm obsessed with sweets.  It's bizarre really.  I am also obsessed with sour things - key lime pie for example.  Can't get enough of it.  Right around Easter I was craving (literally, this time) lemon bars.  I went a little rogue and added tart cherry juice concentrate to the recipe and it came out awesome.  I nearly ate the whole pan.  Oopsies. 

The crust is flakey and buttery and just balances so perfect with the tart, yet sweet filling.  I was a little scared of what would happen to the color when it baked, but it came out this pretty peach color.  Yay. 

I used this recipe for the lemon bars and then I added the tart cherry juice concentrate.  I began by making the filling, which is just flour, eggs, lemon juice, and sugar.  I made sure to strain the lemon juice so I didn't miss any seeds.  It can happen. 

These eggs were so fresh.  Nice and bright.  PS - look at my cool nail polish.  Obsessed.

The next step is where I demonstrate my inability to follow directions creativity.  My massage therapist recently told me about tart cherry juice.  It's the worlds most potent antioxidant and is a natural pain reliever.  Something that comes in handy when you have crazy pregnancy headaches.  The concentrate works awesome in smoothies, over yogurt, or even squirted into a dessert impulsively.  It's VERY tart - almost a combination of cherries and lemons.  I added two tablespoons.  Yummmyyyy.

The crust is super easy.  You just mix butter, flour, and a few pinches of sea salt (since I use unsalted butter) and then par bake it for 15-20 minutes in a 350 degree oven until it turns slightly golden brown.


Pour the filling on top, pray to the dessert gods that you measured everything right, and then pop it back in the oven for another 20 minutes until the filling sets.

Lemon bars come out sort of weird looking on top after they bake - the color comes out a little uneven so adding a dusting of powdered sugar is the way to go.  Make sure they cool completely, however, or else the powdered sugar will melt the second it hits the bars.

I am so sad these are gone.  I am dying to make more and now that I think of it, I have all of the ingredients.  I know what I'm having for lunch...:)

Here's the recipe, adapted from

1 Cup of Butter, Softened
1/2 Cup of White Sugar
2 Cups of Flour

4 Eggs
1-1/2 Cups of White Sugar
1/4 Cup of Flour
2 Lemons, Juiced
2 Tbs of Tart Cherry Juice Concentrate

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Blend all of the crust ingredients - it's easiest if you use your hands.  Press into the bottom of an ungreased 9x13 pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until firm and golden. In another bowl, mix all of the filling ingredients together and pour over par baked crust.  Bake for an additional 20 minutes.  Let them cool completely.  Dust with powdered sugar before serving and enjoy!

Stay hungry!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Mexican Corn Salad

GUYS.  We're back.  It's been awhile. I know, I know.  Sorry about that.  Hopefully you missed us as much as we missed you.  We have lots of cool homey and hungry posts to catch up on...including this one.  If you love corn (or even remotely like it) this recipe is for you and my veggie loving friend Caitlin.  I cheated and used canned sweet corn (whatever, it's fine) and it came out super awesome and took me a total of 10 minutes to throw together. BOOM.  Back at it. 

We were invited to an Easter lunch on Sunday and after cooking all of my usual Easter staples on Saturday, I wanted to make something a little different to bring.  Enter: cool, crunchy, creamy, spicy, and refreshing Mexican Corn Salad.  Perfect as a spring or summer side dish, if I don't say so myself. 

It's super easy to make. Diced red onions, green onions, jalapenos, canned sweet corn (or fresh if you are impressive and have time like that), feta, and finished with a light, bright creamy lime dressing. It's more authentic to use cotija cheese, but I thought feta was a little lighter and a little tangier.  I'm also obsessed with feta right now.  So there's that.

After tossing all of the ingredients together, let it chill in the fridge for about two hours.  The flavors all come together and create this spicy and sweet awesomeness.  Damn.  I wish we had leftovers.

Here's the recipe!

5 Cans Whole Kernel Sweet Corn (15 oz Cans), drained well 
1/2 to 1 Jalapeno, seeds removed and diced 
1/4 Cup of Red Onion, diced 
1/4 Cup of Green Onions, diced 
1/3 Cup of Crumbled Feta 
1/2 Cup of Mayonnaise 
1/2 Cup of Sour Cream 
Juice from 1 Lime 
1/4 Tsp Kosher Salt*

Mix together the mayonnaise, sour cream, and lime juice and then incorporate to the rest of the ingredients.  Let chill in the fridge for two hours before serving.  The dressing sets at the bottom, so toss again before serving and serve cold.

*I went really easy on the salt since it was going to be served with salty Easter ham.  Season to your tastes.

Stay hungry!