Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts + Bacon

If you've never caramelized brussels sprouts, do it and you'll never go back. These leafy green bite-sized veggies are on all the trendy menus right now and always a stellar side item. Pancetta and bacon are the perfect match to sprouts and that's just what I did here with this recipe. I started by cooking a few pieces of thick cut bacon, sauteing chopped shallots in the bacon grease and cooking the brussels sprouts low and slow until they were nice and golden- all in my cast iron skillet! We love, love, LOVED these sprouts and I think you will, too. 

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts + Bacon

6 slices thick cut bacon, cooked until crisp and chopped 
1 large shallot, chopped
1 lb. brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved

In a cast iron skillet or large saute pan, line bacon up to cook and turn burner on medium. Cook the bacon until it is nice and crispy, flipping halfway through. Set on a plate with a paper town to let the grease drip and set aside to cool. Do not remove the bacon grease from the pan. Once the bacon is cooled, give the sliced a rough chop. 

Depending on how much bacon grease you have, remove a little (I ended up dumping about a tablespoon because I had a ton). On medium- high, saute the shallots until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add brussels sprouts and turn burner down to medium. Cook sprouts until they are nicely caramelized and golden, about 20 minutes. When they are done, season with salt and pepper and toss with chopped bacon.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Kate: 6 Months Old!

Sweet little peanut is 6 months old! We cannot believe that it's been half a year with tiny princess already. She is just the sweetest baby girl and we are loving every minute with her. She continues to be the happiest baby! At her 6 month appointment she weighed in at 13 lb. 5 oz. and 24 3/4 inches long. We also got the okay to start solids so we will be doing that this month! 

We are still in size 1 diapers and mostly 0-3 month clothes and some 3-6 month. Sleep is finally getting on a more regular schedule and mommy and daddy are very happy about that! She goes down between 8-8:30pm and usually sleeps until 7am or so. This was not without hard work but she is sleeping well and doing great! 

Spring has sprung here finally and Kate loves to be outside! She looks around and takes it all in. She has really started to notice Wrigley this month and is interacting with him more. He runs around the backyard like a crazy animal and she just watches him go, laughing and making the funniest baby noises! 

I feel like 6 months is about the time that their little personalities start to develop and it is so much fun to watch. Kate does this cute little thing with her tongue and her bottom lip. I laugh when she does it and she realizes that she is getting a reaction out of me and keeps doing it! She loves to make us laugh- just like her brother. She's blowing lots of bubbles and making new sounds every day. She gives us the biggest smiles and we never have to work for them. 

Kate is LOVING being on her stomach right now. She is so comfortable with her little legs kicking in back and a toy in front of her. She isn't sitting up yet and is still a little small for the Bumbo seat as she squirms right out! She's getting stronger everyday and I'm sure will be sitting on her own in no time. 

Since she was a few weeks old, Kate has been joining Will at his weekly music class and she absolutely LOVES it. She's so entertained and just kicks and smiles and has the best time. She can totally hang with the big kids.

This little girl is the snuggliest little nugget and I don't hate it one bit. She would nap in my arms at all nap times if I let her. She loves her legs lightly scratched and her face rubbed and her hair lightly combed after her bath. Such a pampered little thing! She's definitely a mommy's girl right now, too. 

During her sixth month, we also celebrated my birthday, Kate's first Easter and her little friend Nora was born! I cannot wait to see these sweet girls grow up together. 

We also went to the strawberry patch with Allison and Hazel! So much fun.

Watching Will and Kate together seriously makes my heart burst. They interact in the most special way and he can make her smile and laugh like no one else. It's crazy that I questioned if I could love a second baby as much as I love Will...I know every mom says that when they prepare for their second but it's so true. I have learned that love doesn't divide. It multiplies. 

Each month just keeps getting better and I love my days with my little pair of lovies. 

Happy 6 months, Princess Kate!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Friday Faves

I hope that everyone had the best week! We have a relaxing Spring weekend ahead and I can't wait. Here are some favorites from around the web lately...

These Whole Grain Peanut Butter and Honey Banana Muffins are a new favorite. We went through two batches this week and I'm about to make another. They are the perfect snack or a quick breakfast to grab on the go. Bonus- Will LOVES them. 

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I'm really into quinoa salads lately. I don't even add a ton of quinoa- only about a half cup and load the rest up with veggies and bright citrus vinaigrettes. This week's was Greek inspired with tomatoes, cucumbers, kalamata olives, cannellini beans and kale. Ina's Quinoa Tabbouleh with Feta is one of my all time favorites.

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I'm addicted to baby bows and have found so many cute sites to order from and add to Kate's collection. I recently found Zozu Baby and ordered their swiss dot Zoe bow. This lavender one might have to arrive in my mailbox next!

Clean Mama's 15 minute bathroom cleaning routine. This has been a game changer.
How to ripen an Avocado in 15 Minutes. Say what!? This is a trick worth trying.

Have a great weekend! And grab a Spiked Seltzer for your next Happy Hour while you're at it. You won't regret it.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Banana Berry Baked Oatmeal

Hello! I’m still here and we are still cruising and loving life. It’s been a crazy few months but I am really hoping that now is a good time to get back into the blog groove. I'm officially declaring this the week to bring my blog back to life. I’ve missed my little space so much! Since Kate was born, it’s been a whirlwind in the best possible way! She’s been the best and happiest (and smiliest!) little addition to our family.

In an effort to mix up the breakfast menu lately, I searched for a baked oatmeal recipe as I knew it would be something that the little mister would enjoy. I found a few recipes and ended up tweaking them and the result was SO GOOD. Breakfast prep always makes me feel organized in the kitchen because I always know that we will have something easy to grab, especially when we are trying to get out of the house by a certain time. Mornings with two little ones can be crazy but we finally have more a routine now that Kate is getting a little bit older and much less high maintenance than those blurry newborn days.

I used bananas and berries in our oatmeal, but any fresh or frozen fruit would be great! I’m going to make our next batch with peaches and blueberries.

Baked Banana Berry Oatmeal
Recipe adapted from Epicurious

2 cups organic old fashioned oats
¼ cup maple syrup
1 tsp. Baking powder
½ tsp. Sea salt
1.5 tsp. Cinnamon
2 cups almond milk
1 large egg
3 TBSP. unsalted butter
2 tsp. Vanilla bean paste (or pure vanilla extract)
2 ripe bananas, cut into ½ inch pieces
1 cup frozen blackberries
1 cup frozen blueberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prep a square 8 inch baking dish using a stick of butter to lightly coat the bottom and the sides. Coconut oil also works well!

In a bowl, mix together the oats, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. In another bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, milk, egg, half of the butter and vanilla.

In the prepared baking dish, arrange sliced bananas in a single layer. Sprinkle ⅔ of the berries on the top of the bananas. Cover the fruit with the oat mixture. Slowly drizzle the milk mixture over the oats. Give the dish a few little shakes to even it out. Put the remaining berries on top.

Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the top is nice and golden and the oat mixture has set. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. Drizzle the remaining butter on top. Slice and serve!