As I mentioned a couple of weeks back, I am trying to reform some kind of routine which is something I've definitely struggled with before! I need to figure out a way that I can actually get some things accomplished. Don’t get me wrong... I could and often do spend all day staring at/cuddling with the baby. But in an effort to get some things like homework, grocery shopping, projects and exercise accomplished, I have put together a tentative schedule.
and Gigiso that day is a day to have fun with the girls, do a cooking project,get hot cocoa downtown, go to the park, relax and get in the swing of things for the week. It’s nice to have a mellow day without a schedule. However, the rest of the week I’ve got to be a bit more strategic if I want to get anything accomplished. Below I've devised a bit of a guideline for keeping things on track during the week... obviously it's not possible to stick to this perfectly but it will give me a general schedule that will help me get things moving. Even if I only get a couple of things done, it's better than nothing!
-Get up/Feed G #1
-Shower/Get ready to exercise
-Dishes/Laundry/Mail out (Getting this going is a good kickstart for the day)
-Check my menus for dinner ingredients (Saves me from last minute cooking frustration and gives me time to go to the store during the day)
-Feed G #2
-Feed G #3
-Pick up Poppy/Run errands/Work on a project (depending on which day of the week it is)
-Feed G #4
-Make dinner/go to class
-Put G to bed
-Eat, do stretches and relax with Kyle!
I love making ravioli. It's fun and really easy and very rewarding because you end up with lots of ravioli in the freezer. My favorite is my Butternut Squash and Roasted Garlic Ravioli that I make every fall/winter. Here's two of my recipes!
small square wonton wrappers (I usually buy 4 packages to I don’t run out mid-assembly)
1 tsp water
8 cups butternut squash, cubed
2T olive oil
8 cloves of garlic, whole and unpeeled
6 fresh sage leaves
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon tarragon
1/2 teaspoon parsley
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
sprinkle of nutmeg
sprinkle of paprika
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup cottage cheese
Ravioli edge cutter
small pastry brush (1-2 inches)
Makes about 45 ravioli
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
In a large bowl toss the squash with the olive oil, the whole cloves of garlic (not peeled) and all of the seasonings (black pepper, salt, thyme, tarragon, parsley, cinnamon, nutmeg, paprika, brown sugar, onion and garlic powder) until the squash and garlic is totally coated. Transfer to a baking sheet and roast for about one hour or until the garlic is tender and the squash is nice and caramelized and easily pierced with a knife. Allow it to cool.
Meanwhile, clear and clean a work surface. Combine the two eggs and the water in a small bowl and set aside with the pastry brush, the edge cutter and the wonton wrappers.
When the squash is cooled, peel all of the garlic cloves. Put the garlic and squash in a food processor and blend it. Then toss in the egg, the fresh sage leaves and the cottage cheese and blend again. When it's well combined, transfer it to a bowl and head to your work area.
Assembling the ravioli:
Lay out 6 wonton wrappers on a cutting board. Paint a small amount of the egg mixture on the wonton wrappers (if they get too wet they will crack when you freeze them!). Using a spoon, put about one tablespoon of the mixture onto the center of 3 of the wrappers and top with the other 3 wrappers. Be sure to seal them well and gently squeeze out any air bubbles. Then trim the edges with the edge cutter. Place the finished ravioli on a cookie sheet. Continue to do this until you've used up all your wonton wrappers or run out of mix! Keep a few out fresh (5-6 is usually a good serving size per person) and pop the rest in the freezer. Once they're frozen you should gently pop them off the cookie sheer and put them in a plastic ziploc bag. I always loose a few when I am removing them from the cookie sheet because they tend to stick a bit. Next time I am going to use parchment paper to line them! I would definitely recommend doing this if you have some on hand.
To cook the ravioli, bring water to a simmer in a large shallow pan (like a nonstick pan) and gently place the ravioli into the shallow water and allow to heat through, usually about 3 minutes when fresh and 6-7 when frozen. Meanwhile, heat a small pan over medium heat and toss in a couple tablespoons of butter with a fresh sage leaf or two. Allow the butter to melt and begin to bubble and froth. Stir it constantly with a spoon and watch it until it begins to turn a light golden brown color and remove it from the heat. Carefully remove the ravioli, one by one, from the water with a slotted spoon and allow them to drain before placing them on a plate. Drizzle with a bit of the browned butter and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. Yum!
Spinach and Mushroom Ravioli
small square wonton wrappers (this recipe uses 2 packages)
1 tsp water
fresh sage leaves (optional)
15 crimini mushrooms, chopped
10 oz. chopped frozen spinach, thawed and throughly drained
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
3/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
freshly ground black pepper
Makes about 30 ravioli.
Set up a clean work station. Combine the two eggs and the water in a small bowl and set aside with the pastry brush, the edge cutter and the wonton wrappers.
Heat a bit of olive oil in a large pan and sauté the mushrooms until they are golden brown, transfer to a large bowl. Sauté the shallot and garlic in the same pan just for 1-2 minutes, until they are fragrant, transfer to the bowl with the mushrooms. Add the spinach, parmesan and ricotta and mix until well combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper before mixing the egg in.
From there the assembly and cooking directions are the same as above! You could skip the fresh sage for the brown butter in this one if you don't have any on hand.
Poppy loves to help make these but she can be a bit heavy handed with the egg wash which causes the ravioli to crack when frozen. So you've gotta keep an eye on the kiddo's "painting" if you are having them help. For this recipe I actually let her choose (with some persuasion) the ingredients so that she would enjoy eating them. She insisted she wanted only cheese but when we picked everything out she got excited and ate five and has the rest stashed in the freezer for easy, healthy dinners for all of us.
Butternut Squash and Roasted Garlic Ravioli
Today is my 28th birthday. I am sitting in bed with Kyle and Gigi is headed for her first nap of the day. I'm sipping a cup of coffee and reflecting on the last year. So much has changed! When I started this blog we hadn't decided to start a family or buy a house and now, here we are with the perfect house for us and the most marvelous baby in the world! I truly can't believe it's been one year since I started this blog with the intention of being more positive and pursuing more of my passions.
Screenshot of first blog post.
When I sat down and wrote my first blog post, I put forth the following goal...
Stay in the present moment and pursue passion every day.
I have certainly accomplished this! I have, of course, had ups and downs as the year went by. Having this blog as an outlet inspired me to stay creative, active and positive. It was the thing that got me up off the couch on more than one occasion. I feel so much more in control of my creativity and much more motivated to explore, photograph, write, express and reflect.
I also expressed the following hope...
I believe that through the process of creating a passionate life, I will find that happiness within myself. I hope that my journey will inspire others to the pursuit of passion in their own lives.
Now, 365 days later, I can honestly say that doing this blog has changed my life. I am beyond happy! I feel so completely fulfilled and joyful! I have found so much joy in creating my posts and sharing them with all of you. As for inspiring you... I don't know! I know some of you have enjoyed my pregnancy and baby posts, tried my recipes, watch some of my film recommendations, traveled with me, started your own style makeovers and laughed with me. Each day I sit down and work on my blog and put it out there into the internet void and I am always thrilled to get your comments and questions and feedback. It really brightens up my day and keeps me writing and posting. If you have found it in any way inspiring or motivating then that is wonderful!
Thank you all so much for all of your wonderful interaction with me via this blog. It means a lot to me.
Happy new blogging year. I'm off to order breakfast in bed!
I had such a nice weekend with my family and friends. It was really fun to have my first birthday as a Mama. Here's a look at our weekend!
I LOVE waking up to such a happy baby!
Headed out for a quick shopping trip with my friend Danelle. Found these cut jammies for Gigi!
Happened across this bridal magazine with Danelle on the cover! She had no idea they selected her photo to use as the cover shot.
Dressed and ready for a full day on the town in Portland.
Lunch at Olympic Provisions. Delicious!
I love Gigi's little "tuft" of hair.
A quick stop at Barista for a pick-me-up for Kyle.
We met up with my twin brother for a little joint birthday dinner.
We got home just in time for Gigi's last meal of the day. Kyle gave her a bottle for a change. In this picture I think she's glaring at me. She's not a huge fan of the bottle yet.
Opened a couple of birthday cards and had myself a hot toddy.
Kyle made me breakfast! French toast and bacon from Olympic Provisions! Yum.
Bath time for G. I LOVE it and so does she!
Bath intermission because someone pooped in the Tummy Tub!
Bath part two.
Kyle bought me these for my birthday! I've wanted them for years! Thanks honey!
Dinner with family and friends!
Thanks everyone for the nice birthday wishes. I had a wonderful weekend.
So, I actually think Valentine's Day is pretty silly and very Hallmark-y. But I'll use any excuse for extra cuddle time and a good bottle of wine. Poppy and I had all day together and we decided to make silly Valentine art and brownies! We used the Test Kitchen Classic Brownie recipe and popped them in the oven. While they baked we made our cards.
First Poppy painted her thumb...
and used it to make a circle stamps.
she transformed them into her "famous" circle people.
Then I helped her to write her messages of LOVE!
By the time we were done crafting, our brownies were out of the oven and cooled. We cut out heart shapes from a piece of paper and laid them over our brownies before dusting them with powdered sugar!
After Pops headed home to devour her brownies with her folks, Kyle played with G while I whipped up my Baked BBQ Chicken (recipe coming soon) and Test Kitchen Macaroni and Cheese which, for the record, actually isn't as bad for you as I thought it was going to be!
We opened a nice bottle of wine...
To end the evening we all curled up on the couch to watch Casablanca!
Hope you all had a wonderful Valentine's Day!
Lately, I've been asked quite a bit if I've seen any good films lately. I tapped into my Netflix archive of movies I watched in 2010 and I thought I would share my favorites with you. They're not all made last year, but they're all films I've watched in the last year... make sense? I've put little notes next to 'em...
Away We Go
I laughed A LOT while watching this movie. It's a really unique, off kilter romantic comedy. It's the only movie I've ever watched with this line: "I'll still love you, even if I can't find your vagina."
Stranger Than Fiction
This movie was fun to watch. It's very unique, quirky and entertaining.
Alice in Wonderland
The world that Tim Burton (and the actors) create in this retelling is incredibly vibrant and fun.
A very unique romantic comedy. Anything with Meryl is worth watching in my opinion!
Love this movie! It's so fantastically off beat. It's heartbreaking, hilarious and one of my favorite movies, period!
It Happened One Night
This classic was fun, sexy and so enjoyable!
The Young Victoria
Emily Blunt's performance in this film was fantastic. It's a proper romance and a wonderful drama.
This remake of a Theo Van Gogh's film was shot in about 10 days. They shot with 3 cameras so the actors had total freedom because the shooting style allowed them to move without any restriction. It has the fast paced, edgy feeling of a good play. It makes you a bit uncomfortable in the way only a good indie film can. Plus, I think the actors work in this movie is really compelling.
The African Queen
Loved this classic film. The chemistry between Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart is only one reason to watch it!
Coco Before Chanel
Romantic and fascinating.
The September Issue
This documentary is awesome!
Mad Men Series
Incredibly informative and eye opening.
Sigh.... I can't say enough about this movie. I don't know how I went 27 years without seeing it!
Julie and Julia
Fun and focused on food. Right up my alley. Meryl Streep is absolutely wonderful as Julia Child.
I LOVE a good dark comedy. This movie adds a bit of quirky violence and a midget. Where else can you find lines like, "Ken, I grew up in Dublin. I love Dublin. If I grew up on a farm, and was retarded, Bruges might impress me but I didn't, so it doesn't." This is such a great movie!
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows (Part 1)
Dork out to your heart's content. I thought they did a great job with this movie.
This series is totally over the top and absolutely hilarious. Mom, you'd hate it! (Which might be part of the reason I enjoy it so much. ;-)
Michael Clayton was simply a great, intriguing thriller with a stellar cast.
Lars and the Real Girl
One of the oddest romances I've ever seen. It took me about halfway through the film to get 100% on board but then I was in love! Great movie.
Suspensful and full of mind blowing performances. Gotta love films that are made from plays.
Marley and Me
Cute and fun. I think I'm the only person on the planet who didn't cry.
The Edge of Love
The direction of this film was really interesting. It is not a typical romantic drama. The location (Whales) adds a rich and fantastic backdrop to this complicated love story which is based on the true story of Dylan Thomas (a famous Welsh poet... and philanderer).
Sex and the City: The Movie
148 minutes. 300 costume changes. Silly and fun. (I LOVE my Sex and the City but the sequel sucked).
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Such a unique film! Romantic and fascinating and lovely to watch. Make LOTS of popcorn. I could watch Cate B. all day long. She's such an intruiging actress.
Valentino: The Last Emporer
This is a really interesting documentary about Valentino. His world is completely ridiculous and glam. His long time partner Giancarlo Giametti is the only thing that keeps this documentary anywhere close to grounded.
This romantic thriller is completely enthralling. I loved Kate Winslet's performance.
I laughed a lot while watching this silly movie. Steve Carrel has that effect on me.
Vicky Christina Barcelona
I fell in love with this movie and have watched it a few times since my first encounter. The acting is great and the story is fun and indulgent and thought provoking.
Some Like It Hot
This is such a wonderful comedy. I could watch it again and again.
Annie Leibovitz: Life Through a Lens
A really interesting documentary if you're into photography or pop culture.
A beautifully told, uplifting tragedy. Wonderful movie.
The Sketches of Frank Ghery
Very cool documentary about architect Frank Ghery and his incredible life's work.
I loved the biography of Georgaina and found the film to be beautifully shot and throught provoking. It's a good intro into the Duchess's life. I highly recommend the book!
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
Silly and incredibly fun.
The Man Who Wasn't There
This is a brilliantly shot film. Each shot is frame-able.
It's been a crazy, busy, stressful week! I was denied insurance coverage due to pre-existing conditions which sent us into a bit of a financial freak-out/rushing to try to find other coverage. Everything looks like it will work out but we're going to be paying a ton of money for the three of us to health coverage... 25% of our income to be exact! Ugh. Let's all move to Paris! Then, Gigi had a couple of rough evenings with a bit of a tummy ache and today I had to take her to get not one, not two, but three horrible shots! Needless to say, I am looking forward to a quite and cozy weekend! My Mom is coming to visit us and I've got a fridge full of healthy food AND the Academy Awards are on on Sunday! I'll have photos and a full weekend report next week. In the meantime, here's a list of little things that make me happy...
Things That Make Me Happy
2. Snuggling... anytime or all the time.
3. Falling asleep to the sound of rain.
4. Flannel pajamas.
7. Cashmere socks.
9. Thank you cards.