This weekend started out with some baking and ended with lots of sewing at Gramma and Grandpa’s house. I’m trying to get Jeff’s quilt finished before Christmas, but this thing is so big!! In between, we lounged around, Jeff and Ellie made Saturday morning pancakes, and we visited the park a few times (sometimes with dogs and child and sometimes with just child in tow). A very nice, quiet weekend. How was yours?

autumn felt board


pancake morning

jeffs quilt




A Winter-Time Treat

I really wanted to make Rice pudding for Thanksgiving. Never got around to it (I did get my Sweet Potato Pie done though). Then I thought I’d make rice pudding for Christmas. Never happened. I thought for sure I would get it done in time to ring in the New Year. And yet, somehow, I couldn’t get it made. The other day, Ellie was playing in her own play kitchen. She had been playing independently for quite some time and I realized, now is my chance. I collected my ingredients and although we did not have real Vanilla bean’s, which this recipe called for, I substituted Vanilla extract instead and voila, we had rice pudding on a Tuesday. And what’s more special than that.

rice pudding


close up rice pudding


Maple Ginger Rice Pudding adapted from Joy The Baker

1 cup arborio rice

4 cups whole milk (I used non fat milk because it’s what I had on hand)

1/3 cup light brown sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract (or 1 vanilla bean split and seeds scraped)

3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

pinch of salt

maple syrup to taste

ginger snaps, crumbled

Place the rice, milk, sugar, vanilla, spices and salt into a medium saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally for 25 to 30 minutes or until rice is tender. Drizzle maple syrup over the cooked pudding and top with ginger snap cookie crumbles to serve. Serve warm or cool.

Make More Buy Less

tassajara bread bookAs is New Year’s tradition,  I made a list of resolutions for 2013. My resolutions this year were less about losing those extra pounds or cleaning the house more (two things that certainly should be on a list) but were more ways of living life resolutions; ways I could live a simpler life, a more homey life, a sustainable life. One resololution sticks out a little more than the rest for me- Make more and Buy Less.  

This  is kind of a broad resolution and means many things. It’s more a reminder to myself to try and make as much as I can. Instead of buying that bath mat I saw in Target, how about making one myself out of the old bath towels I was going to toss. Or instead of buying cookies at Trader Joes, how about making them. So this morning I started my resolution of making things when I got an inkling for some breakfast muffins. I pulled out a cookbook I plan on using a lot more regularly this year and found a recipe for some spiced muffin goodness. I love using this cookbook. It was my mom’s very loved copy. It’s fun to come across a recipe I know was loved because of the worn look of the pages or the oil and milk stains splattered on the pages. I like knowing that here I am with a baby of my own, feeding my family from the same recipes my own mother used to feed hers.

muffin recipe


cooking w babySo here’s to a New Year. I welcome 2013 with open arms (and usually a baby strapped to my chest). I know resolutions aside, it will be an interesting one with this continuing role of Mother I am now playing (and enjoying very much). I hope to be cooking more, baking more, and making so much more… join me here as I document the makings of this Mama and everything else that happens in 2013.  I sure hope you will.

Happy New Year!

Lovely Day

I turned 30 yesterday. I had a lovely garden party on Saturday with my closest friends and family and then yesterday I spent the day just doing what I do every Sunday (except it was Monday), tending to the patio garden- adding chives and marjoram and a few new summer flowers here and there. I got the groceries and did some laundry. Jeff, my husband spent the day cooking for me (I know, I am the luckiest gal around). He made a delicious dinner of green olive tapenade chicken and smashed potatoes and for dessert a finger licking chocolate pound cake with cream cheese icing. It was a fantastic way to welcome this new era of my life. I’m feeling very good about my thirties…. I have been wanting to get here for awhile now. Something about thirty screams, “I am finally an adult!” I know that maybe a little old to “finally become an adult” but I guess what I mean is that I finally feel able to make life decisions without first consulting with a parent or close relative. Maybe this also comes with the territory of being married (which I am still shy of two years) but, something in me feels different and more focused on “me” and what is the best for my body, my mind, my marriage, my home, my job, my life. In just this year alone, I have changed my habits so dramatically…. eating locally and seasonally, taking up growing vegetables on my balcony, walking every day, and much smaller things like letting beauty surround me as much as possible- adding flowers to the home, dabbling in handicrafts and quilting. I feel as if becoming thirty is just the beginning of opening my mind and heart up to many possibilities. It was truly a “lovely day.”