Friday, March 28, 2014

Craving chocolate cookies

My sister in law sent me this recipe a while ago and it has been sitting in my digital recipe box (Evernote, if you haven't tried it, you should). I've been eating really healthy, exercising daily (!) and haven't baked in a long time. My cookie sheets were calling me. Except I was out of butter and brown sugar, so my go to cookie recipe wasn't going to cut it.

I searched through my recipes to find something that did not include butter or brown sugar and these lovely Chocolate Puddle cookies popped up. Turns out I was still short 2 egg whites for this recipe, but by this point I was going to make these cookies or bust. A quick Google search gave me some valuable information about egg white substitutes, and after a huge mess involving flax seed and our coffee grinder, I was ready to bake! The puddle cookies tasted great, but I think the consistency was a bit off due to my emergency egg white swap. If you stick with the plan below, you should be golden. 6 simple ingredients, no mixer needed. Enjoy!

Chocolate Puddle Cookies from

3 cups walnut halves, toasted & cooled
4 cups confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup plus 3 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1 tablespoon real vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 320F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Once the walnuts have cooled, coarsley chop and set aside.
3. Sift together the sugar, cocoa, and sea salt (note: I did not sift, tasted fine). Stir in the walnuts, then add the egg whites and vanilla. Stir until well combined.
4. Spoon heaping tablespoons of batter onto the cookie sheets allowing plenty of room between the cookies. They will expand. No more than 6 cookies per sheet should do the trick. Bake until they puff up and the tops look glossy and a bit crackled. This should take 12-15 minutes.
5. Slide the cookies onto a cooling rack while still on the parchment paper - they will be sticky and gooey until they cool completely. Store in an airtight container for a couple days - if you can avoid eating them all at once!

Makes 18 large cookies

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Siblings #tbt

Charlie and Izzy have been at each other lately. Constantly battling over who has the blue cup or the most peanut butter on their bread. They fuss over which bedtime story gets read first and who sits next to me at breakfast. I'm first, it's mine, mine, give it to me, my turn, he touched my ear, that's my sock, don't sing with me, she went first last time...

It is driving me insane. I don't know how long this phase will last, so to cheer myself up I'm reflecting on better days and hoping for their speedy return.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Peas in a pod

I was having technical difficulties with the blog this week, and haven't been able to post. It really bummed me out as I've come to depend on this space to reflect on, take stock of, and appreciate my days. Not checking in here makes me feel a little behind on what's happening in my own life. And there is a lot happening.

I think I recently, and foolishly, complained about having to keep our house spotless and clean while we've been showing it all summer. I don't miss the showings, but I miss the clean. These two are like mini tornadoes destroying everything in their path.

Moving update: we are moving to our temporary digs a week from tomorrow. I'm excited for our will think we're crazy. Maybe we are.

They have been like two peas in a pod lately, getting along famously. They both think the other is hilarious and can make each other laugh like fools. I am never in on the joke. I love to watch them play together, Charlie teaching and Izzy learning.She gets knocked down a lot - he is the bull and she is the china doll in the closet. But he is patient with her and likes to show her how to do things. Above, he is conveniently showing her how to work the straw on her drink. I'm not sure she got it back, but she didn't seem to mind.

They are as different as light and dark, curly and straight, all boy and all girl. But she likes to wear hats, just like he did at her age.

And they are both clowns - him wearing his new goggles in the car, to the restaurant. They amaze me every day with their funny ways, their thoughts and their words, what they notice and what they feel. Some days it is more than I can take in and I want to push pause. But there is no pause, no slow motion. Only full speed ahead.

We haven't seen many parks this summer in the heat. We had one visit to the park a week ago when a cloudy afternoon cancelled Charlie's swim class.

 He is so physical. There is nothing he can't climb. I think he can't reach the top, but he proves me wrong every time.

There is no doubt he is fearless. Whether going up or going down, he charges forward. They might have that in common, it's a little too soon to tell. For now, she tries to follow him everywhere.

Wishing I'd had on shorts and flip flops for the park.I try not to complain about this weather because it won't help and I would sound like a broken record. But come on already. I've had it. Bring on Fall.

He likes to help her, taking her hand up steps - he usually manages to slow her down and make her fall. But she doesn't seem to mind.

Who are these kids? They can't be mine. They are too big, too grown up. I can't dial back time, though sometimes I wish I could. I can enjoy and be grateful for every single day. I do and I am.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Izzy & Mommy: in Izzy 's own words

Iz brought this home from school today. 

This last one is my favorite. Now I know she listens. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

What a difference a year can make. #tbt

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Modern on Meadow Remodel Tour - Week 14

It may have been snowing outside when we made our house tour yesterday, but it was warm inside - finally! The insulation is going up and the house currently looks like a snow cave.

What a mess! They were just finishing up on the first floor when we toured the house and were beginning clean up. I think we saw the mess at its worst.

This is spray insulation and I'd never seen it put in before. It looks like someone took shaving cream to every inch of the place.

The insulation is sprayed into every nook and cranny, and then shaved off flat so the dry wall can go right on top.

What a difference the insulation makes - the house was toasty warm on a cold day. Such a nice change from all our previous tours. It feels like we are turning a corner with the remodel and it is very exciting. I know my last tour post was really a downer, but the past 4-6 weeks have been very frustrating and I had to tell it like it is. This week was much more fun to write about.

The pocket doors for the kids' jack & jill bathroom were installed over the last week. And so was their bathtub...

I can't wait for Charlie to see his new bathtub. We will take the kids by the house this weekend, I want them to see what the house looks like with all the insulation. They will be so surprised!

Besides the addition of heat to the house, our meeting yesterday was exciting because Kali was there. Kali is the interior designer that works with Hufft and she helped us select materials for cabinets, counters, and tile. From the beginning, Ryan and I put together a ton of pictures of interior images we liked and compiled them on Houzz - I highly recommend this sight if you are planning a remodel (like Pinterest for home design). Kali looked at all our images on Houzz and then came up with a few choices for us for cabinets, tile, etc. There was no going to a giant showroom with thousands of tile samples, not knowing where to start. We chose from about 3 samples each for tile, counter tops and cabinets - it was so easy. We loved what she put together for us. 

Clockwise from upper left: porcelain tile flooring for use in powder room, master bath, pantry, mudroom and kids' bathroom, and walnut cabinets which will be used in the kitchen, baths and the media console in the living room; walnut cabinets again with gray caesarstone counter tops for kitchen and baths; this picture doesn't show this tile very well but it is a white tile with some raised geometric detail that will line the master shower; green penny tiles for the kids' bathroom.

I had never thought of using the same color palette throughout the entire house but once Kali suggested it, I really loved the idea. The materials will form a common thread throughout the space, a neutral backdrop that will be clean and simple. The walls will be white (some color in the kids rooms & the mudroom), the floor will be a light oak. In spite of the fact that we are designing a modern house, I did not want it to appear cold or stark. It is a family home, with two rambunctious little ones. So it was important that the materials and colors feel warm and soft - and I think these selections are just that. I cannot wait to see them installed. It will be a while, but just seeing them in the space for the first time felt like major progress!

And speaking of the master bath...

just thinking about the fact that I will someday be able to sit and relax in this tub makes all of this worthwhile!

And we now have a front door...things are definitely looking up on this first day of Spring!

Find previous tours here.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Helen's Fairy Party

It all started with the cake...Izzy requested a Tinkerbell cake. I couldn't find just the right Tinkerbell to sit on the cake, so I decided garden fairies would be the next best thing. Garden fairies, flowers, Spring colors. It all seemed so happy and cheerful to my Winter-weary brain, that I think I got more excited about this party theme than the birthday girl.

All our young guests were given fairy wands and wings when they came through the door (I decorated the plain $1 wands I found at Michael/s with some flowers and butterflies, and the wings were a dollar each at Target - steal!)

As I've written about before, my preference for craft projects are those made of paper that come in a handy kit. These pom-poms fit the bill.

I think they will find a permanent home in Izzy's bedroom..

More paper crafts recycled from her first birthday party - they survived two moves so I had to use them.

I hadn't looked at this photo banner since I made it for her first birthday. I think it might just become a tradition to hang it up every year. I love an excuse to look at baby pictures.

Cousin Max, the happiest baby I know, made the rounds at the party. He and Granny Ruth had a great spot to watch all the action.

 Kids and teens both liked the fairy wands and wings.

This amazing cake was made by my co-worker Janelle, the one that makes all the kids' cakes. She is so very talented - and they taste as good as they look. She even sprinkled pixie dust on the cake!

Charlie and Izzy are so lucky to celebrate with their cousins. I hope they will always remember these times.

These two fairies had a great time opening gifts together.

The boys may not have loved the fairy theme, but they found plenty to entertain each other.

For those that didn't want wings, there were leprechaun (Peter Pan?) hats. Now you have you don't!

You get what you deserve Charlie...

It was a big group and our first birthday party in the new house. It was a little too cold to spill outdoors, but the house seemed to give with the numbers.

Baby Max, just might have reached his max...

The fairy jars were a fun and surprisingly easy weekend project with the kids.

Little guests left with a paper pinwheel, a fairy jar, and a treat bag.

Ryan's Aunt Sherry made this beautiful pot of flowers for us - a true fairy garden.

I hope these fairies will eventually make their way outside. I would love to have one of these in our yard.

A house full of family, laughs, pixie dust and love. Happy Birthday sweet Helen. I'm so happy you are three!