October 31, 2012

in which the bryants join the circus

The Ringmaster
The Bearded Lady
The Clown
and
The Strong Man

Will was adorable. He's been practicing his "Trick or treat! Happy Halloween!" phrase several times a day so he had it down to a fine art of cuteness. He was also very polite, only taking one piece of candy and saying thanks. He had a splendid time and then came home and proceeded to count his candy (he mostly chose suckers), ate three pieces before bedtime and then promptly fell asleep as I read him And Then Comes Halloween. Fritz happily wore his costume until he wasn't happy anymore so he went to bed after thoroughly stroking my beard a few times during his bedtime feeding.

P.S. David is taking 3/4 of Will's Halloween candy to work tomorrow (fingers crossed he doesn't notice in the morning). I left Will a few pieces of chocolate, a couple of suckers, an eye patch, a pencil and a few bags of Annie's Cheddar Bunnies. I love when people give stuff that's non-candy. I need to do that next year.

October 30, 2012

halloween play date

We had a little Halloween play date yesterday and it was so fun to get into a festive mood (which has been kinda hard with this unseasonably warm weather here - boo!) I took some pictures of William in his Strong Man costume (you'll see the rest of our costumes later this week - so excited!) and I died laughing when I loaded them onto my computer. These are family gems, you guys! I can't stop laughing.
Fritz was an adorable baby clown. I can't get enough of this baby. He is snuggly and sweet and seriously delicious. Oooo-eeee, I love him!
I made some skeleton bodies out of yogurt pretzels and big marshmallows with chocolate chips for eyes (mini-chips would've been better if I had them), "dentures" out of apple slices, peanut butter and mini marshmallows. Thanks a mil Pinterest.
I also made a Halloween Mix (next time I'll add some Bugles to it!) and my friends brought pumpkin bars and ghost pops. P.S. This "Monster Munch" looks amazing.

Then we played "Don't Eat Frank" (cute printable here) which was a great hit with the kids and a witch hat ring toss (which lasted, oh, 3 minutes - not the right age group) and I made the kids some goody bags with dollar store Halloween toys.
It was a super easy get together and really fun. I feel so blessed that I am able to stay at home and do things like have play dates with my friends and our kids. And I'm super grateful to have such great friends with cute kids too.

October 29, 2012

pumpkin chocolate chip bread

So even though I'm not eating sweets right now, I just had to make some pumpkin bread this fall. Surprisingly just mixing it up, smelling it baking, wrapping it in pretty baker's twine and taking it to my neighbors was just as satisfying as if I had eaten it myself. No, seriously. And I never thought I'd say something like that, but more on that later . . .

Now, I have a good pumpkin bread recipe but when I saw this one that only has 1 cup of sugar in it, instead of 3 cups of sugar I decided to give it a shot (with a few small adaptations). Even though I can't vouch for it personally, I was told it was delicious! So, here's to less sugar!
adapted from this recipe here
1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup vegetable oil (I've used olive oil before and it was still good)
1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup + 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
powdered sugar, for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 3 small loaf pans with cooking spray (my loaf pans are the mini-loaf ones that are about 7x4 - they make the best loaves for gifts!)

In a medium bowl, whisk together pumpkin, eggs, sour cream, oil and vanilla until smooth.

In a large bowl sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the wet pumpkin mixture. Whisk together gently until smooth (but don't over-whisk or it will be dense). Fold in 1 cup of chocolate chips.

Divide batter between the 3 loaf pans and sprinkle the tops with the remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips. Bake for 40 - 45 minutes until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in pan for 20 minutes before letting cool completely on a wire rack. Dust top with powdered sugar. Let cool completely before wrapping!

October 25, 2012

sassy spanish senorita

This mood board might be my favorite so far - another fun teen room! I love the moodiness of the slate blue walls paired with the playful elements (like the bean bag chair for friends) and vibrant art and pillows.

By the way, I've had some interest from readers about doing custom room mood boards. I am now offering my "design services" if anyone is interested. I've priced it really reasonably because I'm not a bona fide interior designer but it does take a chunk of time to make these. Luckily, I really enjoy doing it so if you're interested send me an e-mail and check out my other room boards and information on pricing here. :)
1. Bark Border Euro Sham
2. Kellen Iron Headboard
3. Industrial Task Lamp
4. Blue Storage Boxes
5. Spain Travel Poster
6. Atmosphere Print
7. Chevron Ivory Rug
8. Red Bean Bag Chair
9. Borghese Mirrored Side Chest
10. Woven African Storage Basket
11. Weathered Oak Finish Chair
12. Campaign Desk
13. David Hicks Pillow
14. Colorful Dragon Pillow

October 24, 2012

p.s. cake.

William is a pretty decent eater. I mean, the kid loves hot dogs with ketchup and mustard a lot but he also eats other things (when he's actually hungry). I know some toddlers who refuse to eat anything other than chicken nuggets so I think that's a win. But if I catch him after a too-late nap and try to prepare a snack for him without the proper preparation or presentation . . . well, I might as well have just committed a crime worthy of the gallows.

That said, you can imagine how hilarious this was to me when I read the Honest Approved Toddler Recipes list. Haha! So great. Oh, motherhood.
Dear mommy & daddy,

I recently read somewhere (I think the Bible) that you can't blame ignorant people for being ignorant if you refuse to help them stop being so ignorant. With that thought in mind, I've decided to write down a few recipes to make mealtimes easier for all of us.

Both of you seem to be confused concerning what a "meal" is. Meals aren't supposed to be punishment, they are supposed to be delicious. Do you understand? Please let me know if I'm going too fast or blowing your mind open.

Dinnertime is hard for all of us and I know why: you have terrible recipes. I've compiled several of my favorites below. Please print them out and put them on a fridge using a magnet. When it's time for cooking, follow it and don't get creative.Honest Toddler Approved Recipes

1. Toast with Butter

Hold on to your seat! This is a yummy one!!

Step 1: Find an unbroken piece of perfect bread with no rips.

Step 2: Put in toaster. Don't get distracted by a Facebook fight you have no business participating in.

Step 3: When toast pops out, INSPECT IT. Is it a uniform golden brown color? Is it still intact? If not, return to Step 1.

Step 4. Butter toast liberally.

Step 5: Ask toddler how he or she would like toast prepared or cut. Don't make assumptions. You don't know anything about anything.

Step 6: Serve toast.

Step 7: Has toddler changed their mind about toast? Does toddler want cut up toast to be whole again? Repair toast with your mind. If you're not powerful enough, return to Step 1 AS MANY TIMES AS IT TAKES DON'T BE LAZY

2. Pasta with Butter

Mmmmmm! This is will be a hit every time!

Step 1: Make pasta on the stove using a pot and steam or smoke.

Step 2: Put pasta in a toddler-approved small bowl.

Step 3: Put in lots of butter. Don't be shy or cheap.

Step 4: Mix it up properly.

Step 5: Blow until it's the right temperature. We will be very angry if it's too hot. VERY ANGRY.

Step 6: Do we have juice?

Step 7: Resist the urge to add spices or parmesan cheese which is not actual cheese but very small flakes of dry cheese and disgusting. If there is something wrong in your head and you try to add a puree of garbanzo beans or nutritional yeast you are not ready to be a parent.

Step 8: Serve pasta.

Step 9: Accept graciously that your toddler may no longer be hungry or may want toast (*see recipe above).

3. Crackers and Cheese
Step 1: Find an appropriate box of crackers. Ritz and Saltines are both OK. Crackers with visible seeds are NOT.

Step 2: Select 7-8 unbroken crackers. Place them on a plate.

Step 3: Select a normal, non-artisan cheese like mild cheddar. Cut squares that are all the same shape. Don't let cracker crumbs stick to the cheese. Please take some pride in your work.

Step 4: Serve with juice in front of shows.

4. Cereal

Step 1: Find a good cereal. Good cereals have pieces that are all the same (ie. not granola). If you are a wonderful parent, you own a cereal like Corn Pops.

Step 2: Put cereal in a toddler-approved bowl. Ask the toddler before pouring if the bowl is OK.

Step 3: Ask the toddler if he or she would like milk.

Step 4: Pour milk.

Step 5: Serve cereal.

Step 6: After toddler has eaten 1-2 bites, throw away cereal without sighing or having a bad attitude.

Step 7: Pour 1 cup or dry cereal into a ziploc bag.

Step 8: Give to toddler to eat around the house and in front of shows.

Congratulations! Now you know how to cook for that special toddler in your home. Remember, the kitchen is not your personal science laboratory wherein family members are forced to consume your failed results. That's pretty selfish, no?

If you get confused about cooking, ask grandma. She has many good recipes including but not limited to chicken nuggets.

I love you. xoxo HT

PS. Cake.

Originally posted on The Honest Toddler (sorry but I can't find the original link).

October 23, 2012

living in a teenage dream room

Somebody stop me! I am having way too much fun with these room boards! I got really interested in decorating when I was a teenager - which I think is pretty common for a lot of teen girls. It's when you're really starting to have your own identity. Not quite a woman but no longer a child (sounds like a Madonna song). I remember having one of my Personal Progress goals for my church be to learn about design and sewing. My mom and I spent hours finding the perfect fabric to make a duvet cover and I dreamed of all the things that I wanted in my new room. From there, my love for design began and while I'm the first to admit that I'm not all that good at it, it's still really fun to dream (and to make these room boards). So, here's for my 15 year old self. P.S. Not a fan of the song (unless Keenan is lip-syncing it - cause duh) I referenced but it was just too perfect.

1. Lulie Wallace Art
2. Pink Framework Clothes Rack (to keep the room tidy!)
3. Bestest Friends Print
4. Gold Leaf Wood Letter
5. Berry Border Frame Shams
6. Peacock Scallop Pillow
7. Smile Pillow
8. Brera Mattone Fuschia Throw
9. Live Colorfully Pillow
10. Satara Elegant Stone Rug
11. Gold Moroccan Pouf
12. Essie Nail Polish (pink, blue, orange, purple) + Hair Brush
13. Magical Thinking Triangle Curtain Panel
14. Vintage Pink Campaign Desk
15. Melrose Orange Lamp (a cheaper DIY option)
16. "Things" Container Bin
17. Mrs. Godfrey Chair
18. Schumacher Imperial Trellis Lumbar Pillow
19. Wyatt Bed

October 22, 2012

sunday suppers

A few months ago a few of my best friends and I started doing Sunday potluck dinners (though we've been kind of lax for the last few months). None of us have family in San Diego and these friends have become my sisters here. It is so nice to look forward to these Sundays so I don't feel too bad missing out on my own family dinners. Plus my friends are just really awesome and fun and William had a blast having friends over to play with.
This Sunday was my turn to have it at our house. We usually try to do a theme of sorts and we hadn't done Italian yet. We have a very small house so we usually entertain outside on our patio but it was cold and rainy. Luckily a family in our ward is renovating their house and gave us their old oak dining table with 8 chairs. We put the kids at the table in our eat-in kitchen and moved out some of the furniture to set up the big table in the living room. My mother-in-law recently bought me this tablecloth from Italy when they were there this summer so I put it on the table along with some orange tulips, pumpkins and candles and felt thoroughly like my mother - which is a good thing! My mom always makes dinners at her house feel like a special occasion.
I made my lasagna bolognese (and my friend, Ashley, also made a pan of lasagna) and then we had salad, garlic bread and poor man's eclair for dessert. Another successful, fun Sunday supper!

October 19, 2012

spicy lime shrimp + green beans with cilantro lime rice

At this time of year I'm craving pumpkin bread, warm stews and chicken and dumplings (best recipe for that here) that so many of us are, but those things are hardly easy on the waistline and I have a deadline (20 more pounds to lose by Christmas!) so I whipped this up for dinner last night and it was warm and satisfying. I ate it without the rice, sprinkled with some cilantro, and it was delicious! It seriously took 15 minutes from start to finish. A quick and healthy dinner that's not too spicy but full of flavor.
adapted from here
1 pound peeled and deveined large shrimp*
1 1/2 pounds green beans*
1/2 cup sliced bell peppers (I used a combination of red, orange and yellow)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
2 limes, juiced
1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 cup long-grain white rice
salt and pepper, to taste

Cook rice (I used my rice cooker but do whatever you normally do/what the package recommends).

While the rice is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic and bell peppers and saute for 1 - 2 minutes. Stir in green beans and saute for 3 minutes. Add shrimp, chili powder and season with salt and pepper (about 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper). Let saute, stirring often, for 5 minutes until shrimp is pink and opaque. Turn off heat and stir in 3/4 of the lime juice.

After the rice has cooked, fluff with a fork and add cilantro, the rest of the lime juice and salt and pepper (you can also add a bit of butter if you're so inclined). Serve shrimp and green beans over rice.

* This is one of those meals that I was able to make super fast because I had frozen shrimp and frozen petite green beans. I prefer fresh ingredients just as much as the next person, but sometimes it's really handy to have frozen stuff on hand. Tip: I did semi-defrost the shrimp before cooking.

October 17, 2012

big top circus nursery

Because I had so much fun doing the Modern Amsterdame nursery board, I decided to do another one. Obviously, I like circus stuff - which is funny since I've never been to the circus and I'm kind of scared of it. There's something about it that's utterly fascinating, terrifying and wondrous at the same time. Have you ever been? I just love all the colors and the "over-the-top"ness of it all!
1. Circus Play Tent
2. Cordy Roy Lion
3. Circus Marquee Alphabet Letter
4. "Il Grande Alfredo" by Daniele Melani
5. Balthazar the Magician (or in this case, the Ringmaster) by BlaBla Kids
6. Elephant Hook
7. Modern Art Circus Print
8. Ankara Dhurrie Rug
9. Yellow Dresser (paint a Craigslist/garage sale find or shop Etsy)
10. Babyletto Hudson Crib
11. Ferris Wheel Nightlight
12. Coral Circus Triangles Pillow
13. Giggle Basic Fitted Stripe Crib Sheet
14. Bananafish MiGi Little Circus Knit Blanket
15. Metal Accordian Side Table
16. Rockabye Bella Velvet Glider
17. Wall color: Farrow & Ball - Borrowed Light

P.S. Do you guys like it when I share these nursery boards? Cause I think they're really fun but if everyone's just rolling their eyes at this then I'll keep it to myself. :)

October 16, 2012

clarify those tresses

I only wash my hair a couple of times a week. When I started going longer between washes, it was kind of greasy but now it's just the right amount of grit. Someone told me about dry shampoo a couple of years ago and it's a lifesaver, especially after becoming a mom! I first started using Suave dry shampoo (and still do for a backup - it's so cheap!) but my favorite is Big Sexy Hair Volumizing Dry Shampoo. I love it for my lots of fine hair. It creates a really great texture and solves the greasiness factor. However, after a few weeks of using it I was noticing the buildup of product, even after washing my hair. It was gross and my hair was really weighed down. I started looking up reviews of clarifying shampoo but then found a DIY rinse that I could do myself and, let me tell you! It really works! My regular shampoo works so much better after I did this to my hair too. The best part? It's all natural and you probably have all you need already in your pantry! I'm slowly trying to eliminate using products with SLS in it so I was happy to try this and have it work! This is going to be part of my bi-monthly beauty care routine.

All you need is baking soda, apple cider vinegar (preferable unfiltered, like Bragg) and water.
1 Tablespoon of baking soda
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 cups warm water (divided)

Dissolve baking soda in 1 cup of warm water. Pour over your scalp (not the ends of your hair) in the shower and scrub well (no need to rinse).

Combine 1 cup of warm water with the apple cider vinegar. Pour over your hair and rinse with cold water. Baking soda is alkaline and it can make your hair frizz but the apple cider vinegar is acidic so it closes the cuticle. I also followed it with a conditioner because I felt like my hair needed it. Do what you will. :)

October 15, 2012

over the weekend

We had a pretty busy weekend. First, on Saturday morning we dropped off William at a friend's house and then headed to a tour of the project that David has been working on for the last few years (he was moved to another job site about a year ago). It's the San Diego Federal Courthouse downtown and it was really fun to see all the progress since he left and to see the fruits of his labor, if you will. I even got to wear a hard hat which was, as you can imagine, a dream.
I stood in a jail cell with the baby and it was kinda freaky walking through the hallways and seeing how impossible it is now to break out of those things. It made me think of a few scenes on our favorite new show but real jail cells are definitely not like the movies. And I also acted like a judge for a minute. Courtrooms are really cool and it made me think of another favorite show. P.S. I realize we watch a lot of TV.
Then we headed over to Oma's Pumpkin Patch with our friends, the Jones's and even though it was hot, we still had fun. Maybe someday we'll live somewhere where it isn't 85 degrees in October. Bleh. But the hay ride was still really fun!
we love these guys!
William had a great time walking through the hay maze, shooting some hoops and doing a bean bag toss.
He also liked this huge sand pit filled with dump trucks. He was in heaven. 
He and Ella had a great time swinging on the tire swing and then riding these inflatable horses on the field. It was pretty funny to watch.
Fritz just looked adorable in this swing. I love him so much I could explode. 
Of course, it was too hot for hot apple cider so instead we got William an ice cream cone.
He liked it and didn't miss the apple cider one bit.

October 12, 2012

london town

David and I are going to Denmark in May with my family for my parents' 50th anniversary. We are so excited! We've gone back and forth a million times about where we should go before we meet up with my parents and the rest of my siblings in Copenhagen. First we thought we'd go to Russia, then we toyed with going to Germany and Austria, then Sweden, then Switzerland. Finally we came to a conclusion: London. Especially after the Olympics this year, I got really excited to go! I even made a pros and cons list cause that's how I roll. Check it.
PROS
1. David has never been to Europe so I feel like spending a few days in London is a good starting point.
2. I have been to London twice but haven't done hardly anything there.
3. We speak English and since we'll be struggling through the rest of our trip with Danish everything, it would be easier to get around.

CONS
1. 1 British pound = $1.60 right now. Yikes! Who knows what it'll be like in May 2013 but I don't see it going down anytime soon.
2. There's a lot to see and do and we only have three days there. It's not London's fault but it's still a problem. :)

So, dear friends in the UK or friends who have been to London, can you please give me your two cents (or rather, two pence)?

- I'm planning on us going to the Tower of London, Hampton Court, Victoria and Albert Museum. Anything else that's a "must" for us tourists? I can't decide on the British Museum.
- What can we do at Portobello Road on a week day? I'm just sick that we won't be there on a Saturday for the antique flea market but I'd still like to go! Is it worth it?
- What shows are playing right now that are worth seeing?
- Westminster/St. Paul's: YES or NO (I've been to both but I can't remember enough to know if we should go back for David's sake)
- Because I have been to London a couple of times (and have seen a few things already) I'd love to go outside of the city. I've always dreamed of seeing the white cliffs of Dover and I would love to see the Cotswolds, the countryside of the Yorkshire Dales, maybe Devon and Cornwall but since we only have three days in London, I don't know how to swing that. Also, how much travel is required to get to those areas? Do we take a train? Rent a car?
- What area should we stay in? Any hotel recommendations or does anyone know of a great vacation rental?
- What are your favorite British foods and restaurants in central London? I want to try traditional English food (we mostly ate Indian food when we were in London the last time) but my only real point of reference for food is from Harry Potter. Ha!

If any of you have tips, I'd love to hear them! And if you know a bit about London and want to share your thoughts and advice in an e-mail then please do: elizabethabryant@gmail.com

October 11, 2012

homemade whole wheat bread

I grew up with homemade whole wheat bread in my house. Always. I remember the first time I realized that bread came in white form. My friend's mom bought white bread and she also bought Buddig deli meat. I thought I had died and gone to heaven when I had a sandwich at their house with white bread, mayo and Buddig beef. Haha! My mom's wheat bread is delicious and she has made it so many times she could probably make it blindfolded. When she was a teenager she would make several loaves every Saturday morning and her little brothers would go door to door in their neighborhood and sell the loaves. With the money she made from the bread she would go buy some fabric in the afternoon and make a dress or skirt for that night's dance. And yes, if you were wondering, my mom is PPIEW.
There's something amazingly comforting about the smell of fresh baked bread to me. Maybe it's because our house often smelled that way and our home was a wonderful place to be when I was a child. I'm so grateful for that. I want my children to grow up with those feelings too. Of course, homemade bread is healthier and cheaper and trust me, it's incredibly easy. No, it's not as easy as picking up a loaf at the grocery store but most* of it is garbage.

My lovely sister, Alice, has shared some of the best recipes with me and her bread recipe is a winner. I would like to make my mom's bread but every time I ask her for the recipe she can't remember and she doesn't have it written down. It's OK though because Alice's recipe is pretty perfect and really easy too (if you don't have a Bosch then I don't know what to tell you but you can try it with a stand mixer and see how it works).
(makes four loaves)
5 cups warm water (microwave for 2 - 3 minutes to reach 110 degrees)
3 Tablespoons dry active yeast
2/3 cup canola oil
2/3 cup honey
12 cups white whole wheat flour
2 Tablespoons kosher salt

In a Bosch mixer (or a stand mixer) dissolve yeast in water. Add oil and honey and combine. Add 4 cups and flour and salt. Turn mixer to speed 1 (or low-medium speed). Continue mixing at that speed while adding the remaining flour one cup at a time (about 8 additional cups) until the dough cleans the sides of the bowl. Continue mixing at speed 1 (or low-medium speed) for 10 minutes (set the timer). Shape loaves (see note) and place in 4 medium greased bread pans. Let rise for 20 minutes in a warm place then turn on oven to 350 degrees while the loaves rise for another 10 minutes (while the oven preheats). Dough should be doubled by the end of 30 minutes. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool a couple of minutes before shaking loaves out of pan.

Notes: Obviously our small family doesn't go through four loaves of bread very quickly. Sometimes I give a loaf or two to neighbors but I usually just freeze them in Ziploc storage bags and pull one out as needed. To do this, make sure you don't bag the bread until it is completely cool. Also, do NOT pre-cut the bread. It makes it dry out. Even if you're not freezing the loaves, it's a good idea to not cut it until right before using the slices.

Also, If you've never shaped bread loaves before then take a look at this great video. It's pretty similar to the way I was taught to do it.

*If I do buy wheat bread, I usually go for Alpine Valley sprouted wheat (which I can buy at my local Costco) or Ezekiel bread. Unless, of course, I'm in Mesa and then I go to Whole Grain Natural Bread Co (and get a spelt cookie).

October 10, 2012

the BEST pizza

I'm going to brag here for a second. I make incredible pizza people! And here's the best part: it's CRAZY easy. Here's how you do it. The dough recipe is from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day and it's fantastic (the authors are kind of bread geniuses - get their really great book here).
1 1/2 Tablespoons dry-active yeast
1 1/2 Tablespoons kosher salt
3 cups warm water
6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

In a large (about 8 quarts - I use this one) bucket or bowl (preferably with a lid, but not airtight) put the yeast, salt, water and then flour (in that order) and stir with a large spoon just until the flour is incorporated and there are no dry lumps of flour (only takes about 15 seconds, seriously).  It will be very sticky.  DO NOT ADD MORE FLOUR!  Put the lid on loosely (or cover with plastic wrap).  Let it sit on the counter for 2 hours.  You can then either use it right away or refrigerate up to 2 weeks (it takes on sour dough properties after a day). If you use the dough after refrigerating, let sit at room temperature at least 20 minutes before using it (you can do this while your oven preheats).


Heat your oven to 500 (or as hot as your oven goes) degrees with a baking stone for at least 20 minutes. Cut off a chunk (about 1/4 of the dough, but I like thinner crust so I usually get 5 pizzas out of this recipe) and gently dip it in flour.  Do not incorporate the flour. Roll it into a large circle, as thin as you can get it. Remove hot pizza stone from oven and cover generously with whole wheat flour. Carefully lay dough on the hot stone and add sauce (see recipe below), cheese and toppings. Bake about 8-10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and crust is browned.  Remove from oven to a wire cooling rack for about 5 minutes and then slice.


Pizza Sauce:
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
6 ounces hot water
3 Tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 Tablespoons honey (I use a bit less)
3/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
pinch of kosher salt

Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl until smooth (don't blend). Let sit for 30 minutes to blend flavors before spreading on pizza dough. Makes enough for 2 large pizzas.

October 9, 2012

on the fritz: 6 months

Frederick is 6 months old. He is getting so big! I just love him so much. He's such a sweet, happy baby. He's easy to please - all I have to do is smile at him and he's instantly in a good mood. He loves people and I think he's unusually interactive and social. Lots of people comment on the level of interest he has in other people. I'm positive he's an extrovert! He's finally sleeping better in the night (last night he slept for 10 whole hours - oh heaven!) and he takes a couple of two or three hour naps a day. I just love my sweet Freddie!
- this kid never stops moving. It's exhausting to hold him. He wants to go, go, go!
- constantly happy and social. If he's not in the line of vision of other people he squawks until someone comes to smile at him and then he's delighted. Kicking his baby feet in happiness is not uncommon.
- is crawling. Well, army crawling but he's pretty close to getting up on all fours and doing it.
- won't sit up. I think he probably can but he's much more interested in crawling so whenever I try to sit him up he folds in half and gets into crawling position.
- he's not fond of solid food quite yet. I started giving him some food when we were in Arizona a few weeks ago and he gobbled it up. Then when we came back to San Diego he doesn't like it anymore. I mean, he gags over apples and pears! Wha?
- loves his brother a lot! William is his favorite person to be around and they have a great time laughing and even wrestling. I have to remind William to be gentle but I have a feeling Fritz is going to be able to hold his own sooner than I think!
- weight: 16 pounds 14 ounces (37%) - I was kind of worried about this but my pediatrician pointed out that he's burning a lot of calories with how active he is. It's very true but he's still kinda skinny. I guess I don't make fat babies, just tall ones.
- height: 28 inches (97%) - no surprise there.
- head: 17 inches (45%)

October 8, 2012

vegetable frittata

Do you make breakfast for dinner too sometimes? We (mostly the mom around here) love breakfast for dinner - or any meal for that matter. It's a nice change and so easy! The thing is, I love pancakes, waffles, French toast and bacon. So, pretty much all the yummy "naughty" stuff and since I'm diligently working on healthier eating habits for my whole family, I have to change it up a bit. I can't really justify serving dessert with a side of healthy animal fat to my family for dinner, at least not as often as I used to. That said, we love eggs (especially William!) and this vegetable frittata is right up my alley. Easy, delicious, full of flavor and filled with healthy vegetables and protein. I serve it with some fresh salsa on top along with a green salad but this would be great for "real" breakfast too. It's really versatile and you can switch up the veggies with what you like!
(serves 4 - 6)
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large orange or red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 cup sliced mushrooms (I didn't have any but I suggest baby bella)
1 zucchini, diced
1 yellow squash, diced
2 cups loosely packed baby spinach, washed and chopped
8 eggs
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 Tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Beat eggs in a medium bowl along with Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a large ovenproof skillet (I have this one) heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onions, garlic and peppers and saute for 3 - 4 minutes until starting to soften. Add zucchini, squash and mushrooms and saute another 3 minutes. Stir in spinach and cook for another minute or two until it starts to wilt. Pour eggs evenly over the vegetables (I like to spread them out evenly across the pan before pouring in the eggs) and turn off burner.

Place pan in the preheated oven on the middle rack and let cook for 30 - 35 minutes until eggs are set. Remove from oven and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Let sit for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

October 4, 2012

halloween style

The Bryant house is all "costumed" up for Halloween. I got out all my stuff this year and except for a few things (like the ravens and my bloody candles), I declared that I needed some new things. I saw this really cute wreath on Pinterest and thought I'd make one (even if hers is way cute than mine). I bought a wreath at Michaels, black and white yarn, chartreuse fabric for a bow and some foam board (which I mod podged this skeleton head onto and cut out) and made this bad boy. I fancy him.
Then I found these adorable plates at Pottery Barn Kids when I went on a little shopping trip with my sister-in-law in Arizona. The illustrations are so cute - I just couldn't pass them up.
Black and white stripe washi tape makes it really easy to hang up random things around my house. Like this skeleton head (not pictured: a witch hat, cauldron, jack-o-lantern and spider) on my picture frames.
The end.