Friday, December 19, 2014

Flavors of the Week

This was the last full week of school before the kids' two week winter break.  I got a lot done during my kid-free hours and while I enjoy the peace and quiet, I'm looking forward to hanging out with these two crazy kids.  Aside from cooking and baking, I'm ready for Christmas!  And now, let's dive into what I've been loving this week:

no heel booties, cute, brown booties

1.  I finally found a pair of ankle boots that suit me (I refuse to call them "booties".  Gag.).  I searched high and low to find a pair that weren't too boyish and that didn't have a three inch heel. This pair from Lucky Brand (Bartalino in Dark Earth) are just right and might be the most comfortable pair of shoes I own!

dslr cute purse, purse for camera

2.  This Jo Totes bag is simply the best bag I've carried since I started carrying a purse.  If you've never heard of Jo Totes, they make stylish, functional bags that work as your purse and camera bag in one.  Their official name is Johansen Camera Bags, but I only know them as Jo Totes.  I wish I had known about them years ago because this (along with a ton of their other options) would've worked great as a diaper bag.  They had a 20% off black Friday sale and I snagged the Allison in butterscotch and crossed my fingers that it would arrive before my NYC trip the following Friday morning.  It arrived Thursday, so I was able to use it!  I highly recommend JoTotes.  I'll do a full review on this Allison bag another time. (And yes, that is a third scarf from Gap.  I couldn't resist it when they were selling them at 40% off again.  They are just so soft and big--sometimes I wear one almost like a cape to keep me warm in our house.  Gap has these cozy scarfs in tons of colors--they'd make a great gift.  Especially if you need something for a "Yankee Gift Exchange"!)




3.  MasterChef Jr. and Odd Squad are both big hits around our house.  Master Chef Jr. had its season two finale on Tuesday and we were on the edge of our seats!  I couldn't believe how "into it" my kids got watching kids cook restaurant worthy (and sometimes very exotic) dishes.  It even sparked a little cooking inspiration in them.  (Hey, grilled cheese and spaghetti are meals, too!)  We watched it every week as a family--which made it all the more fun.  And Kate and I stumbled across Odd Squad while setting up the schedule for Wild Kratts on PBS.  I started taping it and now the kids are hooked!  I love non-cartoon, smart shows for the kids, so these two were worth noting on my favorites list.  


peachy pink HD blush, MUFE, natural cream blush

4.  I've talked about my love for Make Up For Ever's HD cream blush, but I broke out of my daily routine and bought a new shade!  (Stop the presses.)  I've been wearing the Make Up For Ever HD cream blush in "pink sand", but I decided to branch out.  This new shade is called "peachy pink" which is exactly how I'd describe it.  It looks super bright on the back of your hand (like fluorescent peach), but once you dab and blend it into the cheek area, it just melts into the most amazing natural color.  I'm loving it!  It's my flavor of this week, anyway ;)

Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Gingerbread House (BLOGMAS Day 18)

Today's prompt for #BLOGMAS14 is "gingerbread house".  Normally, we don't build a gingerbread house around these parts.  Usually the store-bought kits come with a peanut/tree nut warning (my son is allergic) and while I realize they are fairly easy to do the homemade way, I'm lazy. The only year I made them homemade, we hosted a little party--it was really fun.  But like I said, I'm lazy. And usually baking sugar cookies gets the kids off the topic :)  Pillsbury sugar cookies from the refrigerated section at the store, that is.  I'm not insane!

But I spotted a little kit in Target a few weeks ago and low and behold there was no nut warning!  And it had decent looking candy.  And it was like $10!  This past weekend we gave it our best shot.

I'm afraid I'm turning into my dad with my camera.  The more I learn, the more I want to practice.

store bought, blogmas14

Luckily, my kids haven't started to get annoyed with me.  I'm sure it's only a matter of time :)

store bought, blogmas14

And look, I can use a camera remote and a tri-pod!  I'm trying to get more pics with me and Joe in them.  It'll be great for us and the kids to look back and see what we looked like when they were littles.  I love seeing pictures of my parents when they were my age.  It's something we would never know without the photographic evidence.

store bought, blogmas14

I have to say it's been fun having this gingerbread house set out on the kitchen table.  It's festive! And the kids love to "sneak" candy when they think I won't notice.  When will they discover that mothers always know?  Here's Townes about to "sample" (for the tenth time) one of the candies:

store bought, blogmas14

And for laughs, this pic was taken right after I discovered that we would have to let the frosting "set" overnight (or at least for a few hours) before we would be able to decorate it.  Look at Townes' face:

store bought, blogmas14

BITTER.


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#Blogmas14

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Our Paleo-ish Christmas Dinner Inspiration

Next week will be our very first Christmas dinner just the four of us.  And I'm going to make it as Paleo as I can.  This might sound like a hassle, but I think this will actually be easier than making some of the old stand-bys we grew up on.  And bonus: I won't have any of the stomach woes to deal with on Christmas day. 

Joe and I recently decided we needed to get our eating habits back on track.  Well, one of us is a little more off track than the other.  But if I had business lunch meetings three and four times a week, I'd be more than a little off track, too.  So while we're not going to be super-strict for Christmas Eve dinner, I'm going to do my best to make it as clean as possible.

Our plan is to cook a formal Christmas dinner for Christmas Eve (dress up, candles, sparkling drinks in fancy glasses, decadent desserts) and then the kids will open presents from each of their grandparents.  Then we'll get in our jammies and watch some Christmas movies before getting the kids off to bed so Santa can make his appearance.

paleo christmas recipes
(via Epicurious)
For sure we will have a honey baked ham, mashed potatoes, roasted cauliflower (the recipe above is to die for) and my daughter has requested white rice.  This was sounding kind of pathetic, so I headed over to Pinterest and A Girl Worth Saving for her roundup of Christmas dinner recipes for some inspiration.

Joe's only two requests were for the ham and mashed potatoes.  It kind of doesn't feel right to omit the green been casserole, but I might be the only one eating it.  This one looks amazing, but I'm not putting in the effort for only a couple of bites from me (homemade cream of mushroom soup?):

paleo christmas recipes
(via A Girl Worth Saving)
Now this might work as a replacement:  Carmelized Cauliflower and Kale casserole.  We both like kale and cauliflower.  Yum.

paleo christmas recipes
(via The Iron You)
For the past two years, I've taken prosciutto wrapped asparagus to the Christmas Eve dinners at my parents' house and it was a big hit.  It's easy to prep ahead and cook right before you sit down to eat.

paleo christmas recipes
(via A Family Feast)
We also love roasted brussel sprouts.  I might even make them with bacon like this:

paleo christmas recipes
(via A Family Feast)
It's safe to say we like green food.  Which reminds me.  Three of us love the chopped kale salad that Kate calls "the superfood salad".  And it is so darn good!  I can't find a recipe that matches ours, so I'll do a post on it when I make it next.

As for treats, I plan on making my mom's "forgotten cookies" and The Coconut Scout cookies from the book, "Primal Cravings" (I love this book.).  I couldn't find anyone else's post on these cookies so I could snag a pic, so I'll do a post on them when we make them in the next week.  They are just like the Samoa girl scout cookie, but so much better because there is no junk!  I rarely make them because I eat the entire batch.  Much like I used to do when I'd make Nestle's Toll House chocolate chip cookies.  Only without my belly nearly exploding from the bloating.

I'd also like to try a Paleo pumpkin pie.  This one from Mark's Daily Apple looks pretty darn close to the original:

paleo christmas recipes
(via Mark's Daily Apple)

And, I might make my mom's yummy chocolate mousse recipe.  She didn't know she'd had a Paleo recipe all those years LOL  It's basically eggs and dark chocolate.  It's similar to this one.  Maybe I'll just do a large desserts post since I have no pictures to entice you with :)

Oh, and Joe has requested a dutch apple pie--I used to make him pie from his grandmother's recipe, but it's probably been ten years since I've made one.  The kids and I don't like apple pie, but it'll be a nice treat/splurge for Joe!

As for the kids, they'll both eat ham and rice and Kate will eat the kale salad.  I'll heat up some canned green beans for Townes.  And that'll probably do it.  I'm still holding out hope that this year will be the year they start to branch out more.  Probably wishful thinking. :)



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