Baked Kale and Ricotta Dip

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I was flipping through the most recent issue of Martha Stewart Living late last week and came across a quick one-page recipe for an alternative to spinach artichoke dip. Since it’s fall and football season and we’re always looking for snacks to enjoy while we watch games on Sunday afternoon, I immediately tore out the page to save. The recipe called for just 2 main ingredients – ricotta cheese and a leafy green. Since we had a bunch of kale in the fridge from our CSA that week we decided to make it for Sunday’s game-watching. I was totally surprised at not only how easy this was to put together but also how delicious it turned out. *Warning, I didn’t chop the kale quite enough and some bites were tricky to eat. I suggest chopping the kale (or whatever green you choose) smaller than you think is appropriate.

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I sauteed the kale first to cook it down and then chopped even more.

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Mix with ricotta cheese (the ratio is 1C ricotta to 1C chopped green) and season with salt and pepper. I then sprinkled with a little grated Parmesan cheese.

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Bake for about 12 minutes at 425 until the edges start to brown. Serve with toasted bread and ENJOY!

How to Throw Your Toddler a Character Themed Birthday Without Too Many Characters

Z is about to turn 3! And with that we’re throwing her first friends-only birthday party. We’ve been talking about it daily for MONTHS – MONTHS people! To say the very least, she is so very excited and wants to be involved in every aspect of planning. As I always say, the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree… Anyway, the past 2 years I’ve gotten away with coming up with the theme for her birthday party but not this year. From the start of birthday party discussions (that started in July) she knew she wanted a Minnie Bow-tique birthday party (in case you’re not familiar, on the show Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Minnie Mouse owns a shop called Minnie’s Bow-tique where she sells hair bows). So! I dove right in to plan a Minnie Bow-tique party without everything being covered in Minnie Mouse’s face (no offense Minnie). Here are a couple details (more to come post-party):

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Simple invites this year. I used Photoshop and typed the lyrics to the Minnie Bow-tique theme song and drew a simple Minnie Mouse shape. Once printed I used foam sheets and cut out bows to make the front a little 3D. I did a hand stamped back to the invite and wrote in the details of the party.

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One must on Z’s birthday party list has been party hats.

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For these, I just ordered black polka dot hats from amazon. I cut out circles from black construction paper and taped them on the sides of each hat to create Minnie ears.

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Then I used the same foam sheets to make bows. No free-hand drawing here, I traced a downloaded “official” Minnie Bow-tique bow to get the cartoon-y shape just right.

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Voila – party hats that aren’t too character-y but still look like the Minnie Bow-tique theme. More to come next week!

What Z Said, Part III

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I haven’t done one of these in a while but she’s getting more hilarious by the minute so I thought I’d put together a list of my fave things Z is saying right now and share with you!

The very first thing she says to me most mornings when she gets up… “Mummy, what we doing and what I wearing?” She is definitely my daughter.

If you even have one pinky toe in her way she will say to you “‘Scuse me! Commin’ through!” At least she’s polite…

Ever the drama queen, if she feels stuck somewhere (and most of the time it’s faux-stuck) she’ll scream “Mommy! Get me out-ta here!!!!”

Every time we pass a Dunkin Donuts she will tell me “My Daddy take me there. I get a donut and he get a coffee.” Usually he gets a donut too but I guess she doesn’t even notice that.

If she wants to be carried she simply raises her arms and says “uppies” which is so sweet and babyish and I hope she never stops asking for uppies.

 

In case you missed them: The original What Z Said and What Z Said, Part II

 

Couple Things…

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Monkey has a new seat.

We went to a haunted maze with friends but her favorite part was trying on the hats at the little store…

Making herself at home while we lunch at Starbucks.

New fall snack: brie on Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Cranberry Crisps.

Z and I made an old school fall craft during one of M’s naps this week – iron leaves between 2 pieces of wax paper and hang in a window.

Tummy time champ!

Ps. TA-DAAA – the blog has a new look, do you like?!! Have a great weekend everyone! If you live local, the Head of the Charles is this weekend, always fun!

Handmade Card Class – Sign Up Now!

My Handmade Card Class is next Tuesday evening – SIGN UP TODAY!

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In May, one of Jess’s handmade cards appeared in Martha Stewart Living magazine, so we are not fooling around when we say that she is a local gem. Come join her for an evening of handmade fun. In time for the holidays, learn to create cards that express your creativity by using rubber stamps, embossing powder, paper punches and more. Once you learn how simple and pleasurable it is to make your own cards, you’ll never again settle for store-bought. We will make at least two cards each. A $10 materials fee is payable to instructor at class.

For a full listing of all the classes I’m teaching this fall see this post.

Pappa Al Pomodoro – Bread Soup

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I was watching an episode of Barefoot Contessa over the weekend where everything she made had bread as the main ingredient. One recipe was this soup (Pappa Al Pomodoro) and I thought, soup with bread IN it? That sounds pretty awesome, so we made it for dinner on Sunday. We also have tons of tomatoes and carrots to use from our CSA to use up so I’m on the hunt for tomato carrot recipes. I thought the soup was delish and pretty different, so I thought I’d share with you.

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You cook the carrots, onions, fennel and garlic then add the bread before you add any liquid.

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We peeled our fresh tomatos instead of using canned (as we did here).

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We also had some fresh basil growing in our garden still that we used in the recipe.

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At the end you whisk the soup to break up the bread cubes and add a little parmesean cheese.

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It’s really quite good, enjoy!

No Carve Jack O’Lantern

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If you’re like us, you wait until Halloween to carve your pumpkin into a Jack O’Lantern. Maybe it’s tradition but it’s also because the second you carve that pumpkin is starts to rot and doesn’t last too long (especially because it always seems to be rainy around Halloween too, right?). Well, this year – after a very persistent toddler kept telling me we needed to, we made our pumpkins into Jack O’Lanterns weeks before Halloween! I used this great vinyl adhesive paper in black to create the appearance of a Jack O’Lantern and they came out pretty cute. Or should I say SPOOKY!

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Not much of a tutorial here – just draw your shape on the back of the black vinyl, cut it out, and stick on your pumpkin! It’s so easy your toddler can make one with her safety scissors.

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Plus the vinyl is removable so you can peel it off right before Halloween to properly carve your pumpkin.

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Don’t you love how Z’s turned out?

Couple Things…

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We were a little early to the airport for our flight home from Scotland on Sunday afternoon so we tried on a million pairs of silly sunglasses.

We took home a cookie from the wedding for this girl – it had purple icing and a bow, she was the happiest!

Showing off the tartan tie we found in a shop in Stirling that my husband ended up wearing to the wedding (it just so happened to match the suit and shirt we brought, fun!)

In case you missed it on Instagram, we got baby M a cute/ridiculous onesie from Scotland as a souvenir.

 

Not many photos this week! We spent some time getting back into our weekly groove after our long weekend in Scotland. My husband kept claiming to have slight jet lag from the trip but I seemed to escape it. Or maybe it’s because I’m used to odd sleeping hours, or maybe it’s his new creative way of getting out of feeding M in the middle of the night – who knows. Anyway, I hope you have a great fall-y weekend – we’re picking pumpkins and going to an Oktoberfest!

The Most Beautiful Country in all the Land…

As I mentioned on Friday, we went to Scotland over the weekend! I know, not your normal destination for a long weekend but when 2 of your favorite people get married in Scotland and you have 2 small kids staying with their grandparents (1 very small kid), 4 days is all you really get. But they were an awesome 4 days so of course I wanted to share some photos here on the blog.

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The weekend started with a bang when after an overnight flight to Glasgow, Scotland and an afternoon of touring the city I ended up sleeping for 10 HOURS STRAIGHT! I haven’t slept through the night in months, maybe a year? Ya know, pregnancy followed by infancy does not bode well for sleeping…

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We started our first full day in Scotland with what else – a full Scottish breakfast!

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We decided to rent a car so that we’d have time to do some touristy things and see more of Scotland before the events of the wedding began. Friday we drove to tour Linlithgow Palace famed for being the castle where Mary Queen of Scots was born. It was amazing and HUGE! As with many castles in Scotland it was burned in a fire but the skeleton of the castle remains for us to see. In the first photo above I am standing in the Great Hall of the castle holding an umbrella because there isn’t a roof anymore. It was raining but just lightly and I always think a light rain is fitting for Scotland, no?

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Then we drove to Stirling where the wedding would be, checked in, saw friends, and went to the rehearsal dinner – yum! The haggis app was actually spectacular. The next morning we had some time to kill before the ladies and I had blow-out appointments so my husband and I got back in the car and drove to the Wallace Monument commemorating William Wallace. It was lovely from the outside with incredible views of Stirling! Once inside you climb a narrow and steep staircase to the top with rooms on each floor you to pass through with historical information. Unfortunately I had a little claustrophobia set in and didn’t make the climb past the first floor, but my husband said the views from the top were great.

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And then it was wedding time! We had a blast celebrating the couple in a traditional Scottish ceremony at the amazing Stirling Castle – I had to do a selfie with the view, although my fabulous blown-out/curly hair and beaded dress sort of took over the whole picture. Anyway, here are some highlights…

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Being greeted by a bagpiper.

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Drinking Scotch from a quaich during the ceremony.

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Cocktail hour with armor.

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The Great Hall where the reception was held where the food was delish, the drinks flowed, and we danced for 4 hours straight – I was actually sore the next day!

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After one last castle visit Sunday afternoon to Bothwell Castle, we boarded our flight and came home. It was a whirlwind but such a blast, I literally can’t stop thinking about how much fun we had. Congrats to A&E and thank you so much for having us!

Ps. I certainly missed my babies but they had the time of their lives with their grandparents – we all came home happy and refreshed from our own travels but glad to be home.

Decoupage Class – Sign Up Now!

My decoupage Class is next Tuesday evening – SIGN UP TODAY!

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Decoupage—from the French word découper, meaning to cut out— is a fun and easy way to decorate just about any object. The process entails pasting varied shapes of paper to an object and then covering them with several coats of lacquer. The result is depth and patterns that look as though they are actually painted on the decoupaged object. Together we will create a  picture frame (approximately 4×6-inches) using a selection of colored papers. Once you learn this fun and easy way to decorate just about any object, you won’t be able to stop. Get a head start on your handmade holiday gifts! A $12 materials fee is payable to instructor at class.

For a full listing of all the classes I’m teaching this fall see this post.