Wednesday, August 27, 2014

What We're Eating Wednesday: Peach & Blueberry Crumbles

Happy hump day! I love a good summer cobbler, but I don't always have the time to make some elaborate woven pastry concoction. Today I'm sharing an easy dessert recipe that's sure to be a hit if you're a cobbler lover. Plus, you can make these adorable individual desserts ahead of time, keep them in the fridge and just bake about an hour or so before you're ready to have dessert.


Individual Peach & Blueberry Crumbles (serves 6) 
adapted from this recipe

For the fruit:
2 lbs. firm, ripe peaches, peeled and sliced into wedges
2 tsp. grated lemon zest
2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. fresh blueberries

For the crumble:
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. old fashioned oats (I like the texture they add)
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1/4 c. light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 lb. (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter, diced

For the fruit, combine the first 5 ingredients. Gently mix in the blueberries, being careful not to crush them. Allow fruit to sit for five minutes, then spoon the mixture into 6 ramekins.

For the crumble, combine all dry ingredients and mix well. Using your (clean) hands, work the butter into the dry ingredients until you have a crumbly mixture. When pressed with your fingertips it will stick together, but will fall apart when not pressed. Top the fruit with the crumble mixture and place ramekins on a sheet pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes until fruit is bubbly and crumble is golden. Top with a good vanilla ice cream.

Monday, August 25, 2014

I've Been Tagged!

Hey there! Last week I was tagged by my friend and uber-talented scrapbooker Elizabeth Gardner as one of her favorite scrapbookers. Not only am I really honored to be on her short-list, but I'm also excited to introduce myself to some new readers who may have come over from her blog. If you're new here, let me tell you a bit about myself and how I create.

What are my favorite things to create with at the moment? 

1. I recently joined the Scraptastic Club design team, and am amazed at their monthly kits and stamp sets. You really get SO much for your money, plus their exclusives are designed by Kaitlin Sheaffer. I also love my Elle's Studio exclusive tag kits. They're perfect for layouts, cards or Project Life!
2. I'm a sucker for date stamps, and I just picked up this adorable one from Heidi Swapp at Michaels this week. I love that the month looks handwritten.
3. I'm also diggin' anything gold and girly.

How long does it take me to create a project?

Now that I have a toddler running around, I only get to create during nap time and in the evening. Unfortunately I don't think this has helped me to speed up my process, which usually takes about 1-2 hours per layout. This includes photo printing all the way to photographing my completed layout. 

How does my creative process work?

At the moment, I'm usually creating with a kit or a specific manufacturer's product line because of my design team positions. That helps me keep the process a bit more simple and limits the supplies that I use. I always start with a photo and match the colors or emotional feeling in my photo to the products or kit that corresponds with the photo. After that, it's usually about moving paper and embellishments around the page until I'm satisfied. Sometimes if I'm really happy, I tape my paper down in place by lifting up corners, just so it stays exactly the way I want it. 

How do I become inspired and stay inspired?

My main inspiration comes from products. Some of my most favorite layouts have came about after I opened a new product and had a lightbulb go off in my head. Like most others, I'm also inspired by what I see on Pinterest. Not only scrapbooking pins, but also home & fashion photos. My inspiration ebbs and flows, and I work with that natural process by creating a lot when I'm inspired, but taking a seat when I'm not. I don't force the process.

What is my signature style?

If you take a look at my gallery, you can definitely see a few constants in my work. First, I use a lot of pattern and I like to layer it. Choosing different patterns to mix and match is one of my favorite parts of this process. Second, I use a lot of color, but I usually like a cleaner white background. Third, I must have a lot of embellishment, especially small bits and pieces on my layout. My layouts are usually a bit girly, so I'm pretty lucky to have a lovely little girl to scrapbook.

What am I working on right now? 

Yesterday I created a 'just for fun' layout called Passport Outtakes using my latest Studio Calico kits that I love. 

I also have a really exciting announcement coming on Friday. Make sure you check back to see the news!

Today, I'm tagging my friend Kristin, who I really admire and who is doing amazing things in this industry. She's all about strong women and celebrating them. I also look forward to her #Thursday3 on Instagram every week. Please check her out and tune in to her blog for her post next Monday. 

Thank you so much for stopping by and I'd love it if you'd leave a comment (I read and respond to every one!), check out my gallery and follow me on Instagram!

Friday, August 22, 2014

It's Friday: I'm In Love

ONE. Lizzy is currently in love with these books about a muddy little puppy. We currently have Muddypaws and Muddypaws and the Birthday Party. The illustrations are lovely watercolor paintings.

TWO. I was so stoked when I received a new Minted catalog featuring limited edition artwork from U.S. based artists. I ordered this Hexagon Cluster piece from Yao Cheng, which will be predominately featured in Lizzy's new playroom.

THREE. The brush script stamp set designed by Kaitlin Sheaffer for Scraptastic is awesome to stamp with (the letters fit together so that you don't have to stamp each letter separately!) and a must have for a stamper or papercrafter.

FOUR. During the week when I'm running errands or just walking the dog, I am loving my Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream to even out my skin tone and give me extra protection from the sun. If I want to look a bit more polished, I pull out my Benefit Big Easy Liquid To Powder Foundation. This stuff goes on like butta, and makes my skin feel lovely. Plus the coverage is fantastic. Highly recommend.

FIVE. Although we're still close to 100 degrees here in Houston, I received my Boden catalog this week which has me dreaming of cooler weather and fall colors. I'm not much of a sparkle girl with my clothing, but a feminine gold sparkle collar paired with a black and white stripe? Count me in. This sparkle collar breton will definitely be in my wardrobe when the cooler weather hits.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Lizzy's 19 month update

I had plans of this post being an 18 month update, but after counting the months on my fingers yesterday, I realized that I had completely skipped over her 18th month! Where did that time go!? Oh right, it was spent following her everywhere, kissing boo-boos, preparing interesting and healthy toddler meals, looking for planes in the sky, watching a sign language video for the 153,465 time, and loving her more every single minute.

At 19 months (15-1/2 months adjusted) Lizzy:

Is eating solid finger foods after having a successful swallow study at the end of June. Her favorite foods at the moment are meatballs (beef, chicken, turkey, any!), cheese ravioli, avocado (this has been a constant) green peas and grapes.

Is obsessed with: 1) Her Baby Einstein sign language video. She's been watching this since she was about 9 months old and we love it because it taught her how to sign for things like milk, eat, and mommy. She asks us to turn it on at least 3 times a day. 2) Planes. We know she has great hearing, because she can always hear a plane overhead, no matter how high it may be. 3) Books. How awesome, right? She is constantly carrying a book over to me. She might only sit down for 2 pages, but hey, she's interested!

Is listening to the Raffi station on Pandora or iTunes Radio.

Is playing in her new playroom, which we've been renovating from our previous formal dining room. We are all loving the new space.

Plays with toys a lot more, thanks to her occupational therapy sessions that we have here at home twice a week. We're teaching her early how to make a perfect cup of tea.

Is saying a lot of words, like 'momma', 'dada', 'head', 'hot', and 'hat', in addition to her signs. The other morning we were hanging out in my bed when she handed me my iPhone and said, "Ama, help!" I was completely blown away. Her speech therapy sessions, which we also have here at the house twice a week, are helping her to learn different sounds. This week, she was rewarded with bubbles when she made a successful 'b' sound.

Has been hospitalized twice and in the pediatric urgent care once this summer. She's been extremely susceptible to summer colds, which have caused her breathing difficulty. We've decided to cancel our trip home to Kentucky this fall and will start keeping her away from people at the beginning of October. Until then, we've been trying out toddler time at the library and spending time with friends for social time.

Weighs 23 pounds and is 32 inches tall. She is in the 95% percentile for height for her adjusted age. I've had comments from strangers saying that she looks like a three year old.

Runs around everywhere! She started being interested in walking and took her first steps on her own in Paris this summer. Once we were home from our European adventure, she decided that it was time to walk and she's been on the move since. Most photos of her now have some sort of blur happening!

We are so proud of our little miracle. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

What We're Eating Wednesday: Creamy Dijon Chicken

I don't know about you, but I am ready for cooler weather to be here. Not because I'm melting in this Texas heat, but because I'm craving comfort food- the kind that you can only really make when there is a chill in the air. The recipe I'm sharing with you today is comforting, but still light enough to pass for a summer dish when paired with roasted asparagus. Dinner is on the table in 15 minutes. Plus, it only uses 1/4 c. of wine, and since you've already opened a bottle, you have my permission to finish it off with this tasty dish.

Creamy Dijon Chicken
serves 2 
adapted from this recipe (we like sauce y'all)

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 c. dry white wine (I typically use Sauvignon Blanc)
1/2 c. heavy cream
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. dried tarragon (or other herb. I've also used thyme, and it was a success.)

Season chicken breasts with salt & pepper. Heat oil over medium/high heat. Sauté chicken breasts until cooked through 10-12 minutes. Place in a warm oven covered with foil to keep warm.

Pour wine into the hot skillet and scrape up any of that flavorful brown bit goodness stuck to the bottom of the pan. Whisk in cream, mustard and herbs. Cook until thickened, 2 minutes.

Pour any accumulated juices from the chicken into the Dijon sauce (do not skip this step!) Before serving, drizzle Dijon sauce onto chicken.


Monday, August 18, 2014

MBA Grad

May was a big month for us. Simon [finally!] graduated from Tulane with his MBA. After a few years of studying, taking a semester off to transfer from the New Orleans campus to the Houston campus, and another after Lizzy was born, he walked in the commencement ceremony at the Superdome in New Orleans. We couldn't have been more proud of him.

We were so happy to spend a few days back in NOLA, and introduce our old city to Lizzy. It was great to have a full day before graduation to be together and explore the old and new.

We road-tripped. It was our first with Lizzy, and it ended up being about 8 hours instead of the 6 it used to take us driving back and forth to Houston. 

We brunched and introduced Lizzy to our Lakeshore friend and neighbor.

 We walked around Audubon park.

We shopped at our favorite NOLA boutique, Little Miss Muffin. (And I totally bought that green dress!)

We celebrated (NOLA style) on campus. 

Then came graduation day. Not only were his girls there to cheer him on, my brother flew down to NOLA to meet us for the event. It was such a special day. 

Afterward, we celebrated (avec bebe) by having a few drinks and a pulled pork sandwich at one of my favorite NOLA institutions, Boucherie.

I used my Elle's Studio August kit to put together a layout from the commencement ceremony, but I have so many more memories to document from this trip! 

Elle's Studio Supplies: August exclusive kit, July exclusive kitEveryday Moments collection pack, Love Your More collection pack, Shine transparent tags, Life Is Good exclusive stamp ('thinking'), Shine Fun In The Sun stamp ('the best'), Noteworthy exclusive stamp ('happy day'), washi tape stamp,  dark grey letter stickersOther supplies: Freckled Fawn (white stars), American Crafts (teal Thickers, star punch, embroidery set), Heidi Swapp (teal arrows and stars), Webster's Pages (camera paperclip)Happy Monday!       

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

What We're Eating Wednesday: Kale & Chard Salad

If you're like me, you're tired of the typical tomato & cucumber on baby greens salad. I really wanted to branch out and try something different, so I started researching kale salads. Once I tried this, I was hooked. No more baby greens for me. You could bring this salad to a summer pot-luck or serve it alongside a piece of grilled chicken for a light dinner. You, and anyone else who has the pleasure of eating it, will not be disappointed.

Kale & Chard Salad with Lemon Vinagrette
serves 4
(adapted from this recipe)

1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
4 c. washed & torn kale leaves
2 c. washed and torn green chard
2 Tbsp. pine nuts (or some other kind of small seed), toasted
2 sliced green onions, white and green parts
A handful of parmesan, shaved or shredded

Whisk together the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Add the leaves, green onions and parmesan. Toss well. Allow to sit for at least 10 minutes (but I've found that it's fine if you make it a couple of hours in advance!) Top with toasted pine nuts.

Enjoy! If you make the recipe, please take a photo and tag #WWEW on Instagram!