Wednesday, April 15, 2015

6 Months

Dear Baby Z,

In April you entered your sixth month of life. I can hardly believe how fast you are growing. Some days I wish I could push pause to savor your babyhood more deeply. The other mamas told me this would happen, and they were absolutely right!

This first half year of parenthood has been quite the journey. To say it is hard work is an understatement. Life is now filled with a million to-dos and not nearly enough sleep, but you've certainly been worth the trade-off. Just seeing you smile and the way you light up when Daddy comes home melts my heart. And the teamwork you force your father and I to do just to survive, has strengthened our marriage in unimaginable ways.

In these past few months you have become our best little friend. You make an excellent workout partner, and holding you while I exercise is helping to tone me up. You are also a wonderful confidant, and more than once I've caught your father bouncing ideas off of you. Of course you do not talk back yet, but I think that's a part of what makes you such an awesome little buddy right now.

We are both enjoying watching you grow, learn to sit up, giggle, play with your toys, and eat solid foods. It has been as one friend put it, "a time your kid will never remember, but you will never forget."

We love you with parts of hearts we did not even know existed, and I am awestruck by how blessed we are to have you.

Love Always,
Mom & Dad

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Sale Alert: Timonium Totswap

Hi locals. This weekend the local children's consignment pop-up shop Totswap will be holding a sale at the state fair grounds in Timonium. It's a great place to find affordable kids clothes and toys. You can learn more HERE.

Friday, April 3, 2015

What I Learned in March

1) How to make croutons, tortillas,  vegetable stock, and a bunch of other stuff. I have been cooking up a storm lately. With learning to cook comes lots of hits and misses. Thankfully, I've had several hits as of late, so I'll have several good recipes to share with you soon. A few basic items I learned to make that are easy and delicious are croutons (found HERE), tortillas (found HERE), and vegetable stock (found HERE). I will try my hardest to make all of these at home from now, instead of buying them pre-made as they turned out so much better than the off the shelf stuff.

2) How to clean my yoga mat. The other day I noticed my yoga mat was hurtin' for a cleaning. I tried wiping it down with a rag and some all-purpose cleaner but that did not do the trick. So I decided to put it in the washing machine (alone) on the delicate cycle. It worked wonders.

3) Fancy kitchen equipment is not for me. As I cook more and more, I'm beginning to feel it's time to invest in more kitchen equipment. I recently purchased a fancy mandoline in the hopes of making restaurant grade french fries and such. When I brought it home and started using it, I realized it was way more hassle than it was worth. For now I'll be sticking to a knife and cutting board. Are there any kitchen tools you cannot live without? Please share in the comments section.

4) Slow cookers are splendid! I bought a slow cooker off Ebay a few weeks ago for not too much money. I am enjoying the heck out of that thing. Why didn't I purchase one of these earlier?!? For a busy parent who is trying to eat healthier this thing is amazing. I've been making all types of yummy soups and stocks in it. I can't get enough.

5) I really enjoy Bells of Ireland. I picked up a Bells of Ireland bouquet from the grocery store a few weeks ago. It was my first time having any in the house, and I really enjoyed looking at them. The pop of green they added really lifted my spirits.

What's something you learned this month? To learn from others visit CHATTING AT THE SKY.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

In the Kitchen: Veggie Burger Recipe

Today I'm excited to post the recipe to the best meal I've ever created. No lie folks, this burger was delicious! So good, I liked it better than a beef burger. I couldn't believe it. The hubs gave it two thumbs up too, and he's a hard one to please. So, without further ado here's how you make it:

  • Heat a 50/50 mixture of cooked quinoa and black beans on medium heat in skillet. You can grease skillet with cooking oil or veggie broth. Broth is more healthy, but oil tastes better :-) I like to use avocado oil.
  • Season mixture with paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste.
  • Add mixture to toasted brioche buns. 
  • Top "burger" with spring mix, tomato, red onion, and chipotle mayo.
Chipotle mayo (this component is critical to the deliciousness of the burger):
  • Finely dice canned chipotle peppers with adobe sauce and add to mayo to taste. These are pretty spicy, so you don't need much to add kick.
Enjoy! I absolutely know you will.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Window Shopping.....

Lately, I've been making an effort to practice gratitude, i.e. being thankful for what I have. I've been amazed at the difference it's making in my life. I've spent a lot less time shopping, feeling discontent, and comparing myself to others.

I really noticed improvement a few weeks ago when the hubs and I went to a fancy open house. The home we visited was large and beautiful--easily magazine worthy. The old me would have hounded and pestered the hubs all weekend about how we need a new bigger house, and how we need to make more money. The new content  me was able to admire the beautiful home we visited, then joyfully go back to our little humble abode. I'm proud of the changes I'm making, they are leading to true peace of mind, which I'm finding to be priceless. What about you? Can you window shop without envy? Are you content with what you have?


If you are not content today, there is nothing you can buy tomorrow to change that.” ~Joshua Becker 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

In the Kitchen: BBQ and Deviled Eggs with Caviar Recipe

Those of you who follow this blog regularly know I've been trying to clean up my diet. A lot of the dietary changes I've been making include eating more plant-based foods. I still eat animal products occasionally though, and when I do, I try to stick to anti-inflammatory animal products rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

Today I'm going to share with you an anti-inflammatory meal I concocted that was very good. It was inspired by some food I had at a Baltimore vegetarian restaurant called LAND OF KUSH. I'd planned to blog about my experience there, but the food was so good I ate it before I could take a picture :-( Ah well, maybe next time. The meal was also inspired by some wonderful deviled eggs prepared for a potluck by one of my neighbors.

So here's how you recreate the meal:

Vegan BBQ:

  • Marinade pieces of seitan in BBQ sauce overnight. I use this SEITAN (in traditional) and this VERY DELICIOUS BBQ SAUCE.
  • Once seitan is marinated, add 1/2 cup each of green peppers and onions to a skillet and saute with veggie broth on medium heat until tender.
  • Next add seitan and desired amount of BBQ sauce to skillet and season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Cook on medium until seitan is heated to desired temperature (note: seitain is precooked, so you only need to heat for warmth)
  • I like adding the BBQ to a lightly toasted brioche bun for a sandwich.

Deviled eggs:

  • Boil omega-3 enriched eggs
  • Cut cooked eggs in half and remove yolks
  • Smash yolk with fork and mix 1 tsp of mayo with every yolk. I use Trader Joe's low-fat mayo because it's vegan (though not advertised as such), low calorie, and tastes good.
  • Add a small amount of fresh squeezed lemon juice, dill weed, and freshly chopped chives to taste to yolk filling.
  • Add yolk filling to eggs whites and top with a scoop of bowfin roe caviar. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Around Town: Clark Burger

One of the things I like most about Baltimore is it's amazing food scene. Some of the chefs in this city are ridiculously talented, and in order to partake in their wonderful fare, often times you don't have to spend much money. Case in point, the newly opened CLARK BURGER. For those of you familiar with northern Baltimore, Clark Burger is located right next door to Senator Theatre.

The hubs and I stopped by the other day for a bite to eat, and we both were incredibly impressed. The hubs called it one of the best burgers he's ever eaten....and don't worry vegetarians they offer veggie burgers too! Another serious plus is that in addition to awesome burgers, they also have wonderful fries. I find many good burger places lack tasty fries. However at Clark Burger the fries are clearly not an after thought, they even come with a large variety of creative dipping sauces.

Be sure to check them out if you can!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day!

Hello everyone! I just wanted to wish you all a very very happy Valentine's Day. I'll be spending the day with family, and hugging and kissing the two loves of my life. In the spirit of heart day, I'll leave you with a few very wise words about love.

 "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."
~ Corinthians 13:4-7

Monday, February 9, 2015

Around Town: 6 Orkney Ct, Baltimore, MD 21212

One activity I really enjoy doing when I get some free time is visiting open houses. There's just something about viewing how others live, and witnessing  Baltimore's fantastic architecture that I find very fascinating. Recently, I stumbled upon a gem of a home not too far from where I live. It's currently inhabited by an elderly woman who's lived there for 40 years, and has maintained the property meticulously. 

There are beautiful distinctive light fixtures throughout the home, including this gorgeous chandelier. The picture honestly does it no justice.

Look at the fabulous vintage stove! It's in perfect working condition. The homeowner uses it every day.

You can snuggle up and read a book in front of the original working fireplace.

The bathroom is covered in wallpaper that might not suite everyone, but has tons of character none the less.  

I was a big fan of the bathroom's light fixtures.

To learn more about the property click HERE. It has 3 bedrooms, 1.5 baths and listed for a complete steal at $210, 000. I have a feeling it will go for above asking, given it's great condition and wonderful location near BELVEDERE SQUARE

Sunday, February 1, 2015

What I learned In January

Hi folks. I know it's been forever and a day since I last posted, but I haven't forgotten about you.... I promise. Today I wanted to share with you what I learned in January (or thereabouts).

1) How to get out baby poop stains. It's inevitable every new parent has been there....the moment you meet your match...the stinky icky green baby poop stain. Word on the street is big ones can't be gotten rid of, but I have found the secret. A soak overnight in the sink with a scoop of Oxiclean does the job. Before soaking rub some of the oxi and water over the stain. This also works on that gross breast milk smell that gets into baby stuff.

2) How to keep linens fresh. After washing my linens I keep them in a clean laundry bag and throw in a few bars of  smell good soap. I like to use lavender scented soap by Yardley, because it smells great and is super cheap.

3) My husband is romantic in his own special way. If I had to grade the hubs in the traditional romance department, I'd have to give him at best a D. I mean, he even forgot to get down on one knee when he proposed to me (or more accurately when he stated with ring in hand, "we should get married"). His lack of movie worthy romance doesn't mean he doesn't love me though, and he always finds a way to show it in the most unsuspecting ways. Like at Christmas, when instead of giving me a gift...because he knows I already have too much stuff and don't want anymore... he gave me a good deed. He did something really nice for a stranger in my honor. I teared up a little when he told me about it.

4) Someone actually reads this little blog. Recently, I became aware someone nominated this blog for the Baltimore Sun's annual best new blog award. I am honestly very flattered. I'm glad someone finds this thing useful. Thanks, to whoever you are!

What did you learn this month? To learn from others visit CHATTING AT THE SKY.

(PHOTO: home in Baltimore's Lake Walker neighborhood)