The calendar and back to school posts indicate it’s ending. But, the weather and my taste buds say otherwise. Approaching 8 months pregnant, I am at a crossroads of wanting summer to end. Purgatory, I call it: not quite ready for a newborn (who is?) nor wanting to be pregnant (ever again). Sort of ready for pumpkins and soups but not ready to say goodbye to tomatoes.
Parenthood: the days are long but the years go fast. Amen.
Lots of salsa & caprese salad in my household.
Two years ago I couldn’t stand the idea of cucumbers and now I can’t get enough.
Maybe that means there’s hope for me and mayonnaise. Ha, that’s funny.
This summer has been fairly light on the cooking side, but it has felt full. Lots of trips to the Lake and water play on any day the weather permits. My dearest friend got married and my boys are booming with personality (hugs and thank-you’s for days with a little hitting and broken TVs to note). Daily reminders to appreciate each day. Grilling a couple times a week.
You know, the joys of summer.
I suppose there’s no formal goodbye, summer will merely fade into fall with blurred lines. I will be holding my little newborn and forget ever being pregnant or not ready.
You know, the joys of life.
A couple of trips to the Lake, water tables, flip-flops, fresh fruit, summer salads….yes, it feels like summer. Excluding all the rain we’ve had here. And, the fact that I’m having a beverage-free summer (que tiny violin). Every time I see the word rose, I automatically think rosé, so we know where my head is at, regardless.
The summer fruit, though, we can focus on that. Summer never lets me down when it comes to the fresh stuff. Today I’m sharing my frequent lunch staple. Strawberries and/or blueberries paired with feta (cannot get enough of this cheese) and walnuts (daily requirement).
Let’s talk about lunch. My current self, the working mom, feels quite guilty that I can sit down for lunch. Alone. No child needing something, no mess to clean, nothing. The other day, I went to Home Depot over my lunch. I’m checking out, with no kids I will note, feeling quite relaxed & successful in my productivity. As many others have similarly stated, the clerk was impressed that I work a full-time job while having 3 young kids with 1 on the way.
It is more impressive to be a working mom, apparently….my previous SAHM is fuming and I’m just laughing at the irony every time someone alludes to this. Guys, please, please, give props to the mom who goes to Home Depot with her kids (believe me, my husband and I did this together a few weeks ago and we vowed to never do it again. Which, we will.). I deal with adults during the day, human beings you can reason with in a controlled environment. It’s outside the 8-5 where I learn patience, the art of negotiation, meaningful schedule coordination and true leadership skills.
I feel like I’m a better mom because of this balance.
On that note of balance, this salad feels like a great way to accomplish that for lunch. Healthy greens, crunchy nuts, sweet fruit and the tangy salty feta. Top it with a light vinaigrette and you’re all set. Amounts are to taste, grilled chicken would be delicious on top, too.
Spinach or mixed green lettuce
Blueberries and/or sliced strawberries
Walnuts (toasted, if you have time!)
Crumbled Feta cheese
Red wine vinaigrette, balsamic vinaigrette or other light dressing
- Toss ingredients together and enjoy summer!
It’s time for me to get around to my May post and updates! But we’re nearing the middle of June. And, technically, this was supposed to be an April post (around Easter), so there you go.
I’ve had many signs that my life is not something I’m allowed to plan.
Said Baby Daggett #4, arriving this fall. Baby BOY Daggett, that is. 3 boys within 2 years of age, people, tell me what my life will be like.
Probably like this:
House = dirty & loud
Pantry = mostly empty
Laundry room = smelly & busy
But, my heart will be full…these boys sure are big lovers. Hugs and kisses everywhere.
We finally got some haircuts last weekend, and suddenly my little toddlers look like little boys. Then, they ate chalk & dirt and threw the bowl of oatmeal on their heads and I was instantly reminded that they are still toddlers.
This busy life of mine has several tiny hungry mouths to feed. Like most moms, I’m trying to find healthy, satisfying meals for these mouths. As eggs are my own go-to morning menu item, it also is for the boys. It looks like that will remain the case for many years to come, and so I finally-finally found my hard-boiled egg recipe. Finally! After many, many different methods…from cold start to hot start, boil vs simmer, turn off the heat to timers to bringing to room temperature. I’ve finally found the one that just works consistently…steaming the eggs.
Yes, you heard me correctly, let’s steam our eggs.
Steaming eggs to a hard boil is great because it’s fast: just bring an inch of water to a boil and place eggs (direct from fridge) into the steamer basket. Cover & set the timer for 14-15 min & then rinse immediately in an ice bath until the eggs cool completely. Done. Easy for us non-planners.
It’s true, older eggs are better for hard boiling. Medium & same-size eggs produce the best results (think even cooking). Shocking the eggs in the cold water makes for easier peeling. Slicing the eggs in half & serving with a sprinkle of Kosher salt hits the spot. Just a few notes from the experienced hard-boiled egg cook and eater.
Read more about the science of the processes here.
6 eggs, or however many your pot will hold
- Fill pot with steamer basket and an inch of water. Bring to a boil. Add eggs, cover and set timer 14-15 min. It may take a time or 2 to get the timing right.
- Rinse eggs with cold water & place in ice bath for about 10 min or until completely cooled.
- Peel egg, slice in half and sprinkle with Kosher salt.
The Colors of the Wine Country.
That’s actually the name of a kids book I bought from a local winery, but it could easily describe the little weekend getaway I just had in Sonoma. You could also call it the Perfect Weather & Gorgeous Scenery of Vineyards as Far as the Eye Can See.
Based on my vacations last year to France you can see that I’m a sucker for the wine scene.
My parents generously gave the family a trip to Cali for a 4 day mini vacation & my in-laws graciously watched the kids. Winning.
Well, sort of, I was basically the designated driver, but that didn’t stop me from soaking up the scenery and delicious food. We stayed in a house near Glen Ellen, spending most of our time visiting Sonoma wineries. At least we’ve settled the debate on where I’m retiring.
Sonoma is definitely more “laid back” – less appointments required, a little more casual and down-to-earth. It’s truly wonderful…you can drive around and literally see vineyard after vineyard, popping in where you like and taste fabulous wines.
And we ate a lot, of course. Mustard’s Grill, Fremont Diner, the girl & the fig. By far, my favorite meal was at Olive & Vine in Glen Ellen. I will be forever trying to recreate their roasted chicken. Apparently, I’m going to start brining my chicken before I roast it. Yum, yum.
We hopped over to Napa for an afternoon, though, and had the most lovely day with more gorgeous views and a delicious spontaneous lunch.
We had a few discussions, you can call them, about the use of selfie sticks and the proper way to plan the days’ activities…for instance, some (i.e. me) were a little more excited about the morning spent in Jack London Park vs others who wore dresses, heels and wine clothes. 4 kids – we can’t all be alike, right?
No question, this vacation will most definitely go down in the books as a
good great one. Sonoma, I’ll be back!
Brrr. It’s cold.
And, that’s fine, it IS still February. But, once it’s March, well, then my expectations head in a different, warmer direction.
March means I’ll have my own house again. And unpacking til next march.
Since it’s pretty chilly out there, and I keep making soup, I thought I’d share a few of my keep-the-belly-warm soup ideas. Because sometimes we all need a little inspiration, right?
Endless opportunities to customize chilli. I love making it!
My go-to base in soup making. Great for dinner
or and lunch.
Homemade tomato soup. It is the Lenten season…
A classic that never fails.
I have a bunch of others, here. Of course, I’m always experimenting with new soups, too. Most soups taste better the next day so I try to make enough for leftovers.
And, I have a little helper to really make it fun & interesting.
It’s that time again…time to talk about our favorite things! It’s been awhile, so let’s discuss what we love! I love this conversation! And explanation points, apparently! !!!
There seems to be a theme with many of mine. Not too surprisingly, my French vacations have rubbed off on me considerably. Not a bad thing, I just didn’t realize this would be the case 4 months later. Oui.
First, ahem, the wine. 90% of what I’m buying is French wine. My main love is the grenache grape, so delicious. It’s actually a Spanish grape, and it’s found in the Chateauneauf-du-Pape region red wines. I love most Cotes du Rhone wines, but the CdP wines are my favorite (I blame the grenache). Get yourself some!
Cheese. You probably saw that one coming. My 3 current favorites: Toscano (I think this is exclusive to Trader Joe’s, coming in black pepper, cinnamon dusted and Merlot…all yummy!), Triple Cream (because single and double just isn’t enough) & Sartori MontAmore. So. Good.
Herbes de Provence. Yes, Provence is the most lovely place on earth. No, there’s nothing too spectacular about this dried spice blend (thyme, marjoram, rosemary, oregano, savory and sometimes lavender), except that I have found a way to put it on everything. Soups, eggs, veggies, meat. I’m not the only one who thinks so.
Coffee. I have 3 kids, no explanation needed.
Okay, so let’s talk about the non-French loves of my life….first, I am having lots and lots of english muffins for breakfast. Not to be confused with real muffins, lesson learned via my daughter. No, I’m referring to the “round breads.” If I’m not making an egg sandwich, then I’m topping them with peanut butter & honey, butter & brown sugar, peanut butter & jelly along with some chopped pecans, or nutella. Filling and delicious.
Hard Boiled Eggs. I’m working on perfecting my boiling method. I’ve made enough, Lord knows I should have figured this out by now. If I do, I’ll share. Great for a quick breakfast or snack, for us and the kids.
How about some non-food favorites?!
Music-related, I’ve been listening to a lot of Sam Smith and Ed Sheeran. Love, love.
Since I don’t know what going to the gym is like, I have been working out to T25 two or 3 times a week at home. It’s tough but it’s only 25 minutes. Good enough for me.
I’m reading the Bible and French Kids Eat Everything. The first, well, because I feel better when I do. The second: I refuse to believe I’ll have picky eaters. Things got a little out of hand when the twins were born (hard to imagine, right), so we move into our new home next month, which means new routine. I keep warning my daughter…wish me luck.
Speaking of my new home…words cannot express my excitement for my new
house kitchen. It’s going to be perfect.
50 shades of gray. I’ve always been obsessed with the color gray (rumor has it I have worn gray on gray once or twice). Finally, when it comes to decorating, I’ve been able to let my inner gray come to life. The silver shades are hot on my purchase list. I’m working on a purple/silver theme for my daughter’s room (with the request for some yellow).
So, that’s it for now. Have a great weekend!
Hiiii. From Kansas City. We are (almost) home & it feels so good. We are getting closer to normal & routine. The boring, nothing-exciting-to-talk-about-life.
Not that my life is talk-worthy, not to confuse you. It’s just been, well, chaotic.
It’s all relative, though, right? Relative, like I’m living with my in-laws, and the relative to what we’re comparing. In other words, life.
My boys have reached the absolutely adorable phase. My daughter turned 3 last month, but sometimes I wonder if she turned 10.
And, I’m looking for a job (!). One outside the home because, let’s be real, this stay-at-home-mom job is wayyy harder. Afternoon soap operas and mani-pedi’s, ha! It’s more tiring, too, and I’m still trying to figure out how that is so.
The *important* news is that I am getting my own house, my own kitchen, next month! I’ve been busy looking for inspiration for decorating this lovely thing I will call home & it’s been so incredibly exciting. I can’t wait to share some of this news because I’m literally shopping everywhere: Crate & Barrel to Wayfair to Ikea to local KC shops. And, our usual stops: Target & Costco. And, Amazon, of course.
Part of this new routine means I’m cooking more. I love making this tomato soup, so I wanted to share it (again). It’s just a staple. I’m on this Herbes de Provence kick, but I often use basil or Italian seasonings. Sometimes I add a little bit of V8 juice or crushed red pepper; I adjust the half-&-half to meet the consistency I want. The finishing oil is a new (& great) addition to serving the soup.
1 tbsp olive oil
1 med yellow onion, chopped
3 med carrots, chopped
3 celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 tsp Herbes de Provence (basil or Italian seasoning blend)
Salt & pepper, to taste
1 28oz can San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes
1 can fire-‐roasted tomatoes
2-3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp fresh, chopped parsley
1 – 2 cups half-&-half, to desired consistency
Optional: shredded Parmesan cheese, Garlic or Tuscan-flavored Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- In a dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, celery & carrot, cook until soft, about 10 min. Add garlic & seasonings; cook 1 min longer.
- Add tomatoes, broth & tomato paste. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat & simmer 30-40 min. Using an immersion blender, puree mixture until mostly smooth.
- Add half & half, additional seasonings, sugar & Parsley, as needed, & serve with Parmesan cheese &/or olive oil on top.