Monday, November 25, 2013

4 months

Sophia // 4 months old
Now that we've left the "fourth trimester" phase, Sophia is a completely different baby. She's super alert, so so close to sitting up on her own, smiling, "talking" like crazy, and the biggest change of all...she's awake almost all the time! Gone are the early days when she slept almost as many hours as she was awake. Also gone is any semblance of free time for Mommy. There have been days when that reality is challenging, especially when there's so much I wish I could do, but when I face the cold hard facts, and practice acceptance, I can handle it. I just keep telling myself it's useless to fight it. I need to sit back and enjoy every moment with this baby while she's still a baby. Everything else will have to can wait.
But will you look at this baby? I can hardly complain! She's an angel, and so soft and cuddly and mushy and...oh my god, I can't take it. She easily receives about a thousand kisses a day, and that's just from me! Whenever I look at her, I just stare, and wonder how I got so lucky.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween

halloween 2013 // the parsley thief
Hope all your little ghosts and ghouls had a candy-filled and fun Halloween!! Personally, I'm thrilled that we actually had one for the first time in two years...after having the holiday cancelled in 2011 due to a snowstorm, and in 2012 due to Hurricane Sandy. I'm not sure if it was the unseasonably warmish weather we had this year, or the sheer excitement of finally having an uninterrupted Halloween, but we were flooded with trick-o-treaters this year. I almost ran out of candy!
This Halloween, my younger son was an order of french fries and my little pumpkin was a strawberry. My oldest, who's now in middle school, wasn't as excited about getting dressed up this year, since he didn't have the usual parade at school. So, at the last minute, he threw on a scary old lady mask we had hanging around in the attic, and an old robe and slippers of mine. It did the trick! Happy Halloween!
Halloween - 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012

Monday, October 28, 2013

3 months

Sophia 12 weeks
How is it possible that three months have passed already?? I'm definitely in the thick of the 'days are long, the weeks are short' phase of things. Every day Sophia is changing. She's so alert now, and coos constantly {how I'd love to know what she's saying}. She also makes the funniest faces! When we did the photo shoot for this post {which was impromptu, and not the best lighting, hence the grainy photos}, I captured so many, so quickly, that scrolling through them was like watching her in action. That's why I decided to make this little gif, rather than post only one photo. Next month, I'm fairly certain she'll either be sitting up, or have cut her first tooth...both of which are on the horizon soon!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie

skillet chocolate chip cookie // the parsley thief
I'm a fan of Martha Stewart Living magazine any month of the year, but the October issue is always a favorite of mine. I love Halloween, and she always has the most creative craft ideas and recipes for the occasion. This year's Halloween issue is no different, and even better, it comes with a free Everyday Food insert tucked inside!
Were any of you as sad as I was when they cancelled Everyday Food subscriptions? I have a stack of back issues about a mile high in my kitchen, and still consider it one of the most practical, family-friendly recipe resources around. Both the magazine and the insert are full of great Fall recipes, but the one that I had to make first was this Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie.
October 2013 Martha Stewart Living
Why? For one, just because it's been about three months now since I was pregnant, my cravings for anything involving chocolate have yet to pack up and leave {especially when they involve a still warm from the oven chocolate chip cookie!}, and two, I could whip this up with one bowl and one spoon, while carrying a infant on my chest, and in between two trips to hockey practices. That's how easy this recipe is.
Brown Sugar & Egg

Saturday, October 12, 2013


Sophia 10 weeks old
The many faces of Sophia
You could say I'm a bit baby crazy at the moment. I'm in love with the many faces Sophia makes...the bugged eye spooked look, the perplexed furrow, the nonplussed gaze, and finally, the smile. The kind of smile that makes me feel like everything I do for her is appreciated...and so worth every sleepless night. The smile that melts my heart and makes me so happy it hurts.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Plum Torte

Plum Torte // The Parsley Thief
My mother-in-law has been making this fruit torte for longer than I can remember. It's pretty much guaranteed that anytime we go over there for a meal, this will be one of the dessert offerings. She makes it with whatever seasonal fruit she has available. In the summer, she uses peaches, or plums, in the winter, she'll use apples. One of the reasons she makes this dessert so frequently is because it's always a hit with everyone...even my kids. Which is frankly quite shocking to me as they are not big peach, or plum lovers, especially when cooked. But this cake? They love it!
Italian Prune Plums
After seeing how much my family loved this torte, I finally asked her for the recipe. It's one of those classic, age old recipes that's probably been around almost as long as I have. It was originally published in the Elegant But Easy Cookbook by Marian Burros and Lois Levine, and after that it made it's way to the pages of the New York Times, where it became one of their most frequently requested recipes of all time. It was so popular that they printed it nearly every year from 1983 to 1995.
After some investigation, I learned that the original recipe was made using Italian prune plums. A few days after this discovery, what was staring right at me while browsing my local farmer's market? Italian prune plums! What are the chances? Kismet, I think.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Some Things I Just Love...

Birchbox has been cycling around the Internet long enough now that I'm fairly certain most of you have already heard of this service. But if not, do you partake? Because if the answer is no, you should really consider giving it a try. Well, that is, if you're anything like me and have an obsession with beauty products.
May 2013 Birchbox Contents
The way the service works is, for $10 a month, you get a cute little box filled with an array of the latest and greatest beauty product samples, shipped right to your door {the price includes everything, even shipping}. When you open up an account, you have to wait for an invite. Once you're invited and all set up, you can fill out a questionnaire in your account section, with information about what sort of products you like and use most. For instance, if you're not a perfume wearing kind of person, you can opt not to receive perfume samples. Or, if you have thick, fizzy hair, you won't receive volumizing hair products, but instead you'll get moisturizing and frizz-busting stuff.
I can't tell you how many amazing products I've been turned on to since I've started getting my monthly Birchbox. Every time I see a package from them in my mailbox, I get all excited. It's like Christmas every month. The items they pick are so well curated that there's really never been a product I didn't love. Below is the breakdown on some of the products I received in a recent box.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Na'ama's Fattoush

Na'ama's Fattoush
It's not often that you'll hear me saying that I crave salad, but the Levantine salad, Fattoush, is something I'm always in the mood for. There's something about the lemony, minty dressing that I can't get enough of. Loaded with chopped vegetables and toasted {or stale} flatbread, it's very much like another favorite salad of mine, Panzanella, also known as, Italian bread salad. In both cases, the crispy bread is softened by the dressing, adding substance to an otherwise light dish. It can really be a meal in itself.
My love for this salad was in overdrive during my recent pregnancy, but I wasn't making it myself. Instead, I was buying it at one of my favorite Middle Eastern spots, and while their version is delicious, now that I've started getting a grip on my life, it's time I got busy in the kitchen making my own.
A fantastically gorgeous cookbook that's been calling my name helped get me back in my blogging boots. Jerusalem, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, is one of the more spectacular cookbooks I own. The photography is unreal, and each page has something even more delicious looking than the one before. However, this recipe for Fattoush was the one that needed to be made first.
Buttermilk & Bread
Years ago, I made another version of Fattoush here. While also very delicious, it's quite different from this one. I've never had Fattoush with a creamy, "buttermilk-like" dressing such as this one...which was a large part of why I wanted to try it. You can opt to buy store-bought buttermilk to save time, but I followed the recipe and made my own by combining plain Greek yogurt with milk. It takes several hours for the bubbling action to take place, but if you plan ahead, you can make it the day before, and leave it in the fridge overnight.
Instead of using stale pita bread, this recipe calls for Turkish flatbread...but you could certainly substitute pita, or even naan, if you so desire. I love the Middle Eastern flatbreads from Trader Joe's, so that's what I used. I cut the flatbread into triangles and toasted them briefly to crisp them up, but leaving them out overnight to stale would have worked too. Before I added the flatbread to the salad, I broke the triangles into bite-sized pieces.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

2 Months

Sophia 8 weeks
I've been dying to update you on how big {and precious} my sweet Sophia has gotten! I can't believe it's already been two months since she was born. It seems like only yesterday that I was waddling around all puffy and swollen...and very pregnant. During the first few weeks of post-partum life, there were times when I wished I was still pregnant {hard to believe, considering how much I cursed the July heat those last few weeks}. But adjusting to life with a newborn again, after nine years, was quite a challenge initially. She lost a whole pound her first two weeks in the world...and for anyone who's had a child and remembers this part, by two weeks old they're supposed to be at their birth weight again, not a pound less!
You see, I'm nursing her, just like I did my two boys, and the process didn't go as smoothly as I had hoped. My milk was slow to come in, and she ended up needing to be supplemented with formula. I was encouraged to pump after her feedings to build up my supply, which meant I had about a half hour of non-feeding related activities every 3-4 hours, or so. I was existing purely as a milk factory. I was drained physically, recovering from her birth, and to add fuel to the fire, my emotions were in a hormonal upheaval. On top of all that, I had my two boys, who were about to begin a new year of school, and who needed me to function as their mother as well.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


Sophia Marie
...our sweet as pie baby girl! Sophia Marie was born nearly two weeks ago, on July 25th at hour and two minutes before her due date. She's perfect in every way, with blue eyes and a generous mop of dark brown hair! I was shocked she wasn't a redhead because after having two crimson haired boys before her, I figured it was destined, but I'm fine with a brunette too! I'm happy my husband has at least one child that takes after him in the hair color department, and truthfully, I could care less what color her hair is...I'm just over the moon that she's here and healthy!
These past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of emotions. Everything from sheer infatuation and adoration to being completely overwhelmed by it all. It's been nine years since I held my last baby in my arms, so this has been like starting all over again. The most surreal part of it so far has been watching our household grow to a family of five. Getting in the car feels different {and certainly fuller with a carseat!}, laying in our king sized bed on a Sunday morning is cozier, and going grocery shopping is more chaotic than ever..but best of all has been seeing my two sons welcome their baby sister. They are smitten beyond words and couldn't be more helpful. I know the novelty will probably wear slightly with time, but for now, I'll take it!
I've been working on this post, a little here, a little there, for days now, but I'm at Sophia's command at the moment, and having any extra "hands free" time has been a luxury I'm rarely afforded. There's so much more I want to talk about and share with you...and hopefully, over the coming weeks I'll be able to. Since I was last here, I've had two amazing baby showers - thrown and attended by my many amazing friends and family members. The starting over part doesn't just apply to the emotional and physical parts of this process, but also to the material aspects as well. I got rid of every single last bit of baby gear I had from my previous two babies years ago and have had to start from square one with that too. I'll be sharing all of my favorite baby finds with you soon!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Bozo Pic of the Week...

Happy 9th Birthday!
My husband and older son were away at a hockey tournament on Mother's Day weekend this year. They got home in the early afternoon, so we were able to do some Mother's Day activities later in the day, but in the early hours...more specifically, the breakfast hours, I was home alone with my little guy. We hadn't discussed what we'd do that morning ahead of time, but I was aware that he was very anxious to give me the homemade gifts he had made for me.
I expected to be woken up with some clumsily wrapped presents, but never expected he would wake me with a gorgeous "breakfast in bed" platter he created himself. Orange juice, coffee with half and half {just the way I like it}, a sliced apple, and a toasted corn muffin with butter and raspberry jam. He explained that he couldn't make me anything "hard to make" but he did the best he knew how to do. I was blown away, and of course immediately started crying. I told him it was the sweetest thing anyone could do for me!
Breakfast in Bed
Today is his 9th birthday and I knew that I wanted to make him a equally thoughtful breakfast in he got his favorites...a 1/2 pound of bacon and pancakes. Being a second child {and soon to be middle child} he relishes attention more than my older son ever did. He loved every second of being a king for a day on his birthday, and I was happy to spoil him silly. I can't believe my baby is nine...and even though he told me that soon he wasn't going to be my baby anymore, I told him that because he was my baby for nine years, he always would be.
In celebration of his ninth year, I've collected some of my favorite moments on this blog featuring Bozo #2 - My Pumpkin | Hair Part One and Two | Soccer | Mangos | Early Scribbles | Preschool Grad | 4th Birthday | First Yankee Game | Roses | Chalk Art | 5th Birthday

Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day
These photos were taken at last year's Memorial Day parade as my son marched with his little league team. Today was another great day - gorgeous weather, New England charm galore while we watched another great parade, and a BBQ with friends. The commencement of Summer. But more than anything a day to remember those who have given the ultimate sacrifice. Thank you to all who've served our country...past and present.
Hope you all had a wonderful weekend. Happy Memorial Day!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Maple Brown Sugar Oatmeal

Maple Brown Sugar Oatmeal
This recipe takes boring old oatmeal to a whole new level. Officially called porridge - it's creamy, salty/sweet goodness...and your kids will love you for making a batch.
If you're like me, you grew up eating maple brown sugar oatmeal out of a packet. It wasn't until I had kids of my own that I started making rolled oats the old-fashioned way. As my kids got older, there were times I kicked myself for getting them hooked on the good-for-you stuff, because now they wouldn't touch a bowl of instant oats with a ten foot pole {it's a texture thing, not a taste thing}.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day
I love that Mother's Day takes place during the most beautiful time of year...spring! Not a coincidence I'm sure, because spring is the time of rebirth. New life is blooming everywhere you look.
I hope it's a beautiful day for all of you Mamas out there...and that you're getting spoiled silly as a reward for all the amazing things you do every day of the year!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Desktop Wallpaper // May 2013

Baby Girl @ 28 wks
Once again, it's been ages since I've updated the blog. I can assure you that {sadly} there's been very little cooking going on in my household. Most weeks have been a complete blur, one rolling into the next, and I find myself frequently wondering where all the time goes.
Some of the happenings since I last posted have been: a 52-page elementary school yearbook which I've spent the better part of the past 7 months creating, the end of winter sports season and the beginning of spring sports {travel hockey, AAA baseball, travel lacrosse, and more hockey - 4 sports teams to coordinate and shuffle to equals one exhausted mama}...and the beginning of my third trimester of pregnancy!
Being pregnant this time around has been a whirlwind. So far it's been going by faster than the other two pregnancies and it's hard to believe I only have a couple months to go! Unfortunately, with all the craziness in my life I haven't done a thing to get prepared for the birth. I have so much to do! But now that a few of the big projects in my life are done I plan on dedicating my remaining pregnant time to getting ready.
May 2013 Desktop Wallpaper
I remember many years ago, when I was attending my first semester of college at a local school and living with my grandmother, she had a daily schedule of tidying one room of the house each day. With her being up there in age at the time, she wasn't able to tackle big projects anymore. She explained that doing things in piecemeal was her way of getting the whole house clean by the end of the week without wearing herself out. Nowadays, I find myself smiling, thinking of her and her routine, and how that's me these days! I waddle at a slow pace and things are happening in a gradual process. For someone who's usually an "everything has to be done yesterday" kind of person, it's taking some getting used to, but mother nature is forcing me to slow down whether I like it or not.
While on the subject of time management...the past couple months I've been making myself desktop calendar wallpapers. They come in very handy when I need to quickly reference what day it is...and let me tell you, there are plenty of days when I have no idea! I thought I'd share it with you guys {even though it's a week into May already!} as a gift to all of you mothers, or mother lovers out there. Just click on the link below that most closely matches your computer's screen size...I even made some for your iPhone. Enjoy!
1280 x 1024 | 1600 x 1200 | 1680 x 1050 | 1920 x 1080 | 1920 x 1200 | iPhone 4S | iPhone 5

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter

Happy Easter
My brother-in-law had to work today, so we hosted an Easter dinner on Saturday this year, and for the first time in longer than I can remember, we don't have to be anywhere, or host anything today. What a treat! I'm thinking this is the way it should always be, because starting a school/work week the day after a holiday can be a challenge. In my mind, all holidays should have at least one "recovery" day afterwards.
The baskets from the Easter Bunny have been ripped apart and the board game playing has begun, so I'm off to enjoy a lazy day with the family. I hope that whatever you have going on today, you have an enjoyable Spring day doing something you love. Happy Easter!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Farro & Quinoa Salad with Pomegranate and Fennel

Farro & Quinoa Salad with Pomegranate and Fennel
My pregnancy food cravings this time around have run the gamut -- everything from the stereotypical pickles and ice cream {not at the same time} to sweets and chocolate milk. But I've also been craving healthy foods too. In particular, green vegetables {spinach, broccoli, or edamame} and anything tart and tangy {barely sweetened kefir, granny smith apples, and pomegranate seeds} have been topping the list.
It's a challenge some days to eat as healthy as I would like because there isn't always time to cook. But that's what makes salads such as this one a great option. It can be made ahead of time and at the ready whenever the urge strikes - and it makes a great packed lunch too. I had been on the lookout for some wholesome and substantial salad options when I found this recipe within the pages of a recent Williams Sonoma catalog {believe it or not, it's actually a great place to find recipes!} and knew I would love the combination of fennel and pomegranate.
Whisk Chop Serve
However, as much as I try to love quinoa, I'm not the biggest fan of it on it's own. I like grains with more texture and chew, and because of that I find quinoa to be a bit wimpy on it's own {unless you're eating it as a breakfast cereal}. But paired with a grain like farro, it's a different story.
If you're not familiar with farro, it's the Italian name for the grain, emmer wheat - which is quite similar to the more commonly used wheat berry, or kamut. All are varieties of hard wheat with different names because of the region they're grown in, or the type of wheat plant they're harvested from. But I find them interchangeable in most applications, so if you have a hard time locating farro, feel free to substitute wheat berries.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Baby Makes Five...

It's a Baby!
As promised, I'm finally updating you all on what's been keeping me from this blog...and it's a BABY! This news may come as a surprise to some of you, especially those of you who know me well and are aware that I have two boys {one of whom is 11 years old and the other who's almost 8}, and that to the best of my knowledge my baby making days were over.
And as far as I knew, they were. But that wasn't always the case -- after my second son was born I thought for sure I'd have a third child. I came from a large family and always pictured myself with a house full of kids someday. But as the years passed by and no baby came, I settled into my routine as a mom of two and accepted that a small family might be what was meant for me. We live in a small home, not nearly big enough just big enough for us and once both of my kids reached school age I realized what all the fuss was about when more experienced parents told me that children were expensive! I figured with two kids we could do more for them and more as a family that we could with a bigger brood. Plus, I was finally getting a taste of freedom after years of chasing toddlers around the house!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes
Before I begin talking about these amazing cupcakes, I need to first apologize for my ridiculously long absence from blogging. I'm not going to go into the circumstances behind my absence now {all good, I swear!}, but I will in the very near future. I only had the time to get one post completed this weekend and I wanted it to be a recipe. Something special for you, to let you know that your visits here are appreciated and loved...even if I don't show up for two months.
It's a good feeling to be appreciated and to know you're loved, and I felt just that this past week when I brought these cupcakes into my birthday boy's 5th grade classroom. I always know a recipe passes the test when it's unanimously well-received by a bunch of kids -- because after all, when it comes to food who's more critical than children?
Mixing Ingredients
When my son, who turned 11 years old last week, specifically requested "Red Velvet Cupcakes" when I offered to bring a treat into his classroom, I was quite surprised. For one, neither of my boys are big "cake" kids {weirdos, I know} and secondly, I don't remember my son ever having a red velvet cupcake before. But he must have gotten it in his head from somewhere, because he was very clear about it. Even requesting the cream cheese frosting that traditionally tops them.
After some digging, I decided to try this recipe from The Hummingbird Bakery, along with the most delicious cream cheese frosting I've ever had from the Brown Eyed Baker. Both were a complete success and the finished cupcakes were met with comments like, "Have you ever thought about going on the Cupcake Wars?" and, "This is the best frosting I've ever had in my life"...along with, " You're hair is so pretty." Yes, I really won them over.
Cupcake Batter