Dada. Similar to Jimmy Fallon, Chris has decided that he wants Nico to call him Dada. As most of you that are parents know your life and world is turned upside down when you have a kid. I now call Chris Dada when he is in another part of the house and I need him. We both hope Nico will say Dada or momma first. Of course I think I carried the kid, and feed him every three hours, I should come first right? Alas, it probably will not work that way.
I have it good. I have the most amazing, smiley, giggling little boy who is happy all the time, squeals in the afternoon because he wants to go outside, and NEVER stops moving. He is just like his momma, my brain never stops, and I am always moving. This kid is going to be hard to keep up with for sure.
I have no idea how people adopt or raise children alone. It would be almost impossible to me. Chris keeps me sane, fed, encourages me to relax, and is so damn patient with me and Nico. He will be the perfect parent to oversee the potty training because he will sit on the side of the bathtub for as long as he has to (whereas I would eventually lose my mind waiting), he already cooks while holding Nico, and I see a budding chef in the making. As I go back to work, they will be spending some father/son time together this summer, and while I am wildly jealous I cannot be with them, I am so grateful and excited for this time they will have together.
I could not do it without you. Happy First Dada’s Day, Chris.
I am on a roll with pumpkin everything. Whether it is fall or I am just nesting I do not think I have tried so many different pumpkin recipes in a season. The leaves are falling (we have crazy amounts that continue to come down). The temperature has changed, and somehow I still cannot believe summer is over and we are heading into November! In any case, these little baked bundles of pumpkin with cinnamon + sugar are yummy, easy to make, and even easier to pop into your mouth!
Baked Pumpkin Spice Balls
Note: Use the topping at your own risk. We also made a batch that had chocolate chips in it.
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoons ground cloves
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup canned plain pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 cup low-fat milk
1/2 stick of unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
Preheat oven 350°F. Spray each cup in a 24-cup mini muffin tin with baking spray.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and spices (through cloves). In a separate, large bowl whisk together oil, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, pumpkin and milk until smooth. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Bake at 350°F for 10-12 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
While the muffins bake, melt butter in one bowl and combine granulated sugar and cinnamon in another bowl. Remove muffins from oven and cool for a few minutes. Dip each muffin in melted butter, then roll in cinnamon sugar to coat.
Apples and bananas have been fruits that my pregnant belly has been wanting. Over the summer in the earlier part of my pregnancy I wanted berries (specifically blackberries and raspberries). Now that we are easing into fall and berries are no longer local, I have wanted apples. Over the holiday weekend we decided to try this Apple Fries recipe. They were definitely delicious, but in my opinion have two flaws. They take too much time to make than they are worth AND they made the house smell for days. That does not mean it will happen to you, but currently our range does not actually ventilate outside and thus the smell permeated throughout our house. We had to open windows and light candles for a few days to get rid of the apple fry smell.
2 large Granny Smith Apples, peeled and sliced into wedges
¼ cup Cornstarch
Cinnamon Sugar Topping:
¼ cup sugar
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
½ cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Mix the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl and set aside.
Heat enough oil to cover the bottom of your pan on high heat.
Toss apple wedges in cornstarch, coating both sides.
Place just enough of the coated apple wedges into the hot oil to make a single layer and fry on each side for 2 to 3 minutes. They should be just golden brown. Repeat with the rest of the apple wedges.
Transfer the cooked apples onto a cookie sheet lined with paper towels and drain for a few minutes.
Toss in the cinnamon sugar mixture and serve.
Whip the heavy cream and vanilla to use as a dip. Yum!
Over the summer, there are specific food dishes that especially hit the spot. All the fresh fruit and berries you can imagine, yummy and cooling beverages, and any refreshing dishes that beat the heat. One of those in our house is Caprese Salad. There is something about mozzarella, basil, and tomatoes that just screams summer. So when I found this recipe from Love and Olive Oil for a Caprese Salad that includes blueberries, I thought – YUM! We made it on the Fourth of July. We were not intending to be patriotic, that was all luck.
I’ve changed it to our liking, but the gist is similar. I spooned a bit on crackers and Chris ate it straight from a bowl with a spoon.
In Portland, summer is often equated by sun. Yes, when the flip-flops come out and day after day is blue skies and no rain. Usually in Portland it is a given that you begin to have that AFTER the Fourth of July, and ends sometimes around Labor Day or after. Often I think why do I live here? I love sun. But. I also love Portland. This summer, however, it has been gorgeous out, between 80-90 degrees and sun, sun, sun.
When it is sunny out, everyone wants a refreshing drink. Right? We have been exploring new, refreshing recipes for the summer, especially ones that hit the spot. This one is tangy and sweet all in one glass.
1 1/4 cup lime juice, fresh squeezed
1 cup sweet coconut flakes, packed
2 1/2 cups hot water and 1 1/2 cups cool water
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped (or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract)
Preheat oven to 350 F. Toast the coconut on a baking sheet for about 6 minutes, mixing them up after 3 minutes. While the coconut is toasting, juice the limes in a blender. Put all of the used lime halves into a separate bowl along with the coconut and vanilla bean and then add the hot water. Let it soak together for about 10 minutes. Strain into the blender and add the cold water and agave nectar. Blend! Pour into a pitcher and chill in the fridge until ready to serve. When ready, add equal parts of the limeade and ice into the blender to make your slushie!
Enjoy drinking in the sun with your feet up this weekend!