Fall Breakfast Yogurt

I’m always on the hunt for new breakfast ideas that are healthy and filling. Since we had tons of apples from our apple picking adventure I thought about how good apples would be with Greek yogurt, right? Here’s what I threw together and have been eating now for a week – it’s the perfect combination of fall flavors. Try it, let me know what you think!

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Greek yogurt
Diced apples
Pistachios for crunch
Sprinkle of cinnamon
Drizzle of honey

Enjoy!

Cooking with a Toddler

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We are constantly cooking in our house and from a very early age we knew it was rubbing off on our Z. We put her tiny kitchen (we got the wood DUKTIG Play Kitchen one from Ikea, I highly recommend it) in our kitchen so we could all cook together at the same time. Well, I had been noticing the past year or so she wants to get in there and REALLY cook in the REAL kitchen. So, over time, I’ve pulled together some ideas of how your toddler can actually help you cook. It’s great when I start to cook and Z walks up and says “I help?” and I can actually respond with a list of things she can do to really help – after washing her hands first, of course!

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Placing items onto a baking sheet or in a bowl after they’re chopped/cut. Especially in the fall/winter, we’re always baking and roasting. As I chop/cut, it’s the perfect task for your toddler to place your cut item onto the baking sheet or into a bowl.

Tossing pre-measured ingredients into the bowl or mixer. I measure the flour, she can pour it in! I measure the nutmeg, she tosses it in the bowl. This one can get messy but they feel really proud when they make in the bowl.

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Tossing in spices/herbs that don’t require measuring. We put dried parsley in a bunch of recipes and never measure it. So, Z’s job is to toss in the dried parsley, I tell her when to stop…and most of the time she does, but what’s an extra shake of dried parsley? Grinding pepper falls into this category too.

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Using benign kitchen appliances. Do I let her use the knife to chop veggies? No. Do I let her use the rolling pin to give the dough an extra roll or 10? Yes. And she always feels awesome about it! But honestly, the lettuce spinner is her fave benign kitchen appliance – she could spin lettuce for HOURS!

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Hanging out with a snack. Sometimes “I help” really means, let’s hang out. And she gets to have a snack of whatever I’m making while I make it, not a bad gig!

How do you let your little one help in the kitchen?

Apple Galette

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To continue on our post-apple picking baking adventures we made an Apple Galette over the weekend. And what is a galette, you ask? According to Wikipedia, the term galette is used to describe French round or freeform crust cakes. In layman’s terms a galette is a pie with no top baked flat instead of in a pie pan. So anyways, I read through a lot of recipes and I liked the sound of this one from Epicurious the best. We always seem to gravitate towards recipes with the least amount of ingredients.

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First, peel and core about 6 apples and cut into small wedges. Mix with 2 Tbs sugar, 1 tsp lemon peel, and a dash of cinnamon.

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Roll out your pie crust (we totally used a Pillsbury pre-maid crust) and spread a thin layer of apricot jam around the dough, leaving an inch and a half free.

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Then, arrange your apples to cover the jam overlapping the apples a little. Fold the border of dough on top of the apples.

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Brush with a little milk (or eggwash) and sprinkle with a dash of sugar, about 1 Tbs. Bake at 425 for 20 mins. Reduce the oven to 375 and cook for another 20-30 until the crust is brown.

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Cool, serve, enjoy!

Couple Things

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Always “helping” with tummy time.

We ordered pizza for dinner for the first time in FOREVER and it was GOOOOD!

We went apple picking! ps. apple chips

The reality of life with an infant – kneeling in the middle of the orchard, taking off your Ergo, and feeding your baby. #timingfail

Dancing in her handmade pompom shirt.

New glasses!

Have a great weekend all!

Apple Chips

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Apple chips. Baked Apple Slices. Whatever you call them – they. are. delicious!

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If you’re like us, then you’ll go apple picking at least once this fall and find yourself with a large amount of apples. I love to eat them as is but we were searching for a way to use our freshly picked apples above and beyond the standard pie and crisp. We love our mandolin so we thought we’d try making our own apple chips and boy did they come out great. It’s a bit of work to mandolin all your apples and then bake for 2 hours in batches, but the results are just so yummy I think it’s totally worth it.

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Slice your apples with the 1/8″ size on your mandolin and place on a parchment paper or Silpat lined cookie sheet.

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Remove any actual seeds but you don’t need to remove the core.

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Sprinkle with a little cinnamon sugar mixture (for 6 apples we used 2 Tbs sugar and 1 Tsp cinnamon).

Then bake at 225 degrees for 2 hours or more until they get crunchy. A few notes:
– You’ll want to use an “eating” apple for these like a Honey Crisp rather than a “baking” apple like Macintosh.
– We fit 3 cut apples on 2 baking sheets.
– 2 baking sheets don’t fit side by side in my oven so each sheet was on a different rack. To make sure the apple chips baked evenly, we rotated the baking sheets halfway through baking at 1 hour.
– You can use your own judgement on how much cinnamon sugar to add, or don’t use any at all!
– We used one baking sheet with a silpat and one with parchment paper and I would say the apples baked on parchment paper came out slightly better.

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Enjoy!

Tomato Sauce from Scratch

Every year around this time we find ourselves with an overabundance of tomatoes. We grow our own AND we belong to a CSA where we get pounds of tomatoes each week. We eat them in every way imaginable but this year we decided to take the plunge and make something with them we’ve been thinking about making for years….tomato sauce. And you know what? It wasn’t as hard as we thought! Sure, it was hours of work for not much yield (in quantity) but the sauce was quite yummy and seemingly extra sweet due to the fresh tomatoes. We made our sauce with about a dozen saladette tomatoes (plum tomatoes), 4 or 5 regular tomatoes, and a handful of cherry tomatoes because I had some leftover from last week. We went through the process of prepping the tomatoes (see below) and then used our trusty marinara recipe that we always use for our sauce.

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Start by coring the tomato and then cutting and X on the bottom (so it doesn’t burst in the next step).

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Drop a few of your tomatoes into boiling water and let boil for 60 to 90 seconds.

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Take the tomatoes out and put right into a bowl of ice water. Once the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, peel them. The skins will come right off. We then blended about 3/4 of the tomatoes and chopped the rest so there would be some tecture and chunkiness to our sauce. Then we used these tomatoes as we do the canned tomatoes from this recipe.

 

To answer the questions I know you’ll ask:

Did I notice a difference between using canned tomatoes vs. fresh? Definitely. The sauce was sweeter for one thing and a lot more liquid-y so we left it to cook down longer on the stove. You could also taste a freshness to the sauce, if that makes sense.

Was it all worth the extra effort? Ummm, maybe not. We really appreciate the invention of canning after this experience, ha! The sauce was great but it was a lot of work to prep the tomatoes and after using a small amount of sauce to make a healthy eggplant parm we were left with enough for just one other use.

Do you have tons of tomatoes this time of year? Let me know if you make your own tomato sauce from scratch!

Couple Things…

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She did it, my little Z started school. On Monday, there was a little open house to meet the teachers, check out where your cubby is, and see your classroom. I should have known the first day drop-off would be rough as she was saying “I no go school” all Monday morning long, uh oh. But we went, she had fun with the toys and I chatted with her teachers. Then the next day was the first day. She woke up in a mood and once her first day of school outfit was on she refused to let me take pictures, erupting in tears. I let her take over saying we’d go wherever she wanted to take pictures and she opted for our front yard. Then we got to school and the little arm wrapped around my leg and her little voice kept saying “you go school too, mommy. You stay.” Eek. When I told her I was dropping her off it was tears, crying, screaming. One of her teachers came and showed her the play kitchen with play hot dogs and play spaghetti (nothing better!) to take the edge off and then baby M and I made a run for it.

Pick up was a reunion as if we hadn’t seen each other in years and I don’t think she’s ever hugged me so tight with a smile so big.  And 2 days later she went back for her second day with nothing but smiles. Phew!

In other news….

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We squeezed in 1 last beach day with friends.

Our sweet M was baptized, these are flowers from his Godmother.

Proof how great it is to be a toddler – sitting on the coffee table, wearing the dress I bought for her to wear on Christmas (it came in the mail that day and she just had to try it on), reading a catalog of Halloween costumes over and over again…

Baby M doing tummy time with his new lovey (the white one) which is sitting with Z’s old lovey (the pink one) that she got at 6 mos old and was never interested in until 2 days ago when M received a lovey in the mail as a baptism gift. Typical.

Have a great weekend everyone!

7 Facts About Me

There’s a fun little game making its way around the blog world asking bloggers to post 7 facts about themselves. I was nominated by the lovely Carolina of Mama Instincts – have you read her blog where she writes about her motherhood journey and healthy lifestyle? If not, you should! She shares TONS of helpful information and photos of her sweet daughter. Anyway…here goes!

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1. I handmade our wedding invitations – all 102 of them. You know I’m a crafter but making my own wedding invitations was slightly over the top, no? Anyway, I loved how they came out so it was worth all time it took to stamp, emboss, tape, print, fold, and stuff. And if you got one in the mail, I certainly hope you saved it – ha!

2. I had an all black cat named Silky growing up that I lovvvvved. He was the sweetest most affectionate cat ever, no cat will ever be the same (sorry Maxine). He was an indoor cat that occasionally escaped and when he did, I would get so upset. He always came back though, even the time he was gone for like a month and he came back in the middle of the night, mewing at my sister’s 2nd floor bedroom window outside on the roof.

3. I have an addiction to iced tea lemonade, aka Arnold Palmers. Specifically the shaken iced tea lemonade from Starbucks. It’s so refreshing with a slight sweetness from the lemonade! Add a shot of vodka or even iced tea vodka and you have an awesome cocktail.

4. I’ve never seen Star Wars. Any of them. And I don’t plan on ever seeing them.

5. I can’t dive. I used to take swim lessons so I don’t know if I always missed the day when they taught you how to dive but I never learned how. I even had a pool growing up and would occasionally try but it always ended with a face slap of water as I fell in.

6. I am a horrible speller. I am constantly relying on automatic spell check to correct my spelling while typing something. And if I’m really unsure before I send a tweet or write a hand written note I’ll Google the word. Sometimes I’ll ask my husband, but his spelling isn’t much better than mine and then I’ll end up Googling the word anyway.

7. I’ve always been obsessed with taking photos. I was always the one with the camera at every event even when cameras had actual film in them and I have dozens of old photo albums in our basement FILLED with photos from every part of my life. Even now, I take so many photos that I can’t have much else on my iPhone because most of my memory is taken up by photos. It was inevitable that I would have a blog where I share tons of photos, right?

 

Phew, done – that was actually kind of fun! I nominate some other blogs that are my daily reads:

Mree from TwinLiving

Tine from Rules for the Modern Girl

Hilary and Jessica from Domestic Bliss Squared

 

Ps. My Z has recently started taking my phone to take pictures and the one above she took of me earlier this week as I was trying to get her dressed.

Off to Nursery School

We had the big first day of nursery school this week. I could tell my Z was slightly intimidated at the thought of going to “skewl” as we got closer and closer to the date of the first day. One comforting thing for her (and me) is that kids don’t need to be 100% potty trained yet at her school, but they gently push them into going on the potty. And let me tell you – we could use a little help in that department because our Z has had less than no interest lately in going on the potty. Enter Pull-ups. At the first Parents Meeting on the eve of the first day, I confirmed with Z’s teacher that it would be a good idea to send her in a Pull-Up to make trying on the potty even easier.

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So we picked up a package of Pull-Ups with her favorite Disney characters on them (she loves Doc McStuffins, who doesn’t?) and she wore it under her first day of school outfit.

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I even packed an extra in her tiny backpack, I mean – there was nothing else in there anyway.

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The next step we took to potty train her was to sign up for the Pull-Ups Big Kids Academy! It’s a great support system for parents in the potty training process no matter what stage you’re in (thinking about when to start, trying to potty train, or nearly potty trained). Plus there are fun activities and celebrations for your kids. Enroll now and wish us luck on the road to potty training our Z!

*Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Pull-Ups, I received compensation and goods for this post, however all above opinions and thoughts are my very own. Pull-ups are a potty training necessity, we all know that. Thanks for supporting Styled by Jess by clicking through the link(s) above – please and thank you!