Sunday, October 19, 2014

Recipe || Roasted Red Pepper Pasta

Happy Sunday!  I whipped up this pasta recipe last night and it is a definite keeper!  My hubby can be picky about pasta, meaning if there is no meat it is not considered dinner.  I couldn't be more different and would pass up meat for veggies or pasta any day.  We come to a happy medium most nights ;)  I do think the words "this is a keeper" came out of his mouth, so you know it's a good one.  It also couldn't be easier.  I love recipes that are quick, easy, and tasty.


Ingredients:
3-4 large red bell peppers (1 one jar of roasted red peppers - not marinated)
1/2 large red onion, or 1 small red onion 
1 clove of garlic
1 cup of chicken stock
1/2 cup of white wine
1/4 cup of half & half or cream 
Fresh Parsley
Your favorite pasta (I used fettucine)

  • Turn on a large pot of water to a boil.  
  • Slice peppers in half and broil until skin is charred.  Put peppers into a paper bag to steam, then remove skin. (You can skip this step altogether if you use jarred roasted peppers) 
  • Dice up the onion and garlic then saute with a small amount of olive oil until translucent.  
  • Add in the roasted peppers and let cook a few more minutes, until onions and peppers are very soft.  (Like my cooking terms...very soft?! You know what I mean)  
  • Add in the 1 cup of chicken stock (or 1 cup of boiling water with a chicken bouillon cube dissolved) and wine then let reduce slightly. 
  • Drop pasta into boiling water, cook for appropriate time.  
  • If you prefer a smoother sauce, use a hand blender or food processor to puree the sauce. 
  • Once pureed, add in the half and half and simmer to warm through.  
  • Toss the drained pasta with the sauce and add fresh parsley and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese


Fresh parsley is one of the star ingredients so don't skip this! I decided to keep some texture in the sauce so I chose not to puree until smooth, just slightly blended.  It was so easy and so good.  Definitely a nice change to tomato sauce and Olivia loved it as well!  This will be added to the quick dinners list.  What are some of your favorite quick dinners?  Do you have a yummy pasta dish to share?  I'd love to hear! 


Friday, October 17, 2014

Recipe || Maple Brown Sugar Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

I like pretty cupcakes and I cannot lie...those other mommas can't deny when a big, pretty cupcake... Ok, ok I'm done (where's my laughing emjoi?) Anyway, it's true.  I love cupcakes and I love pretty cupcakes even more.



These were the easiest cupcakes ever because they start out with a boxed recipe.  Normally, I prefer a more bakery style cupcake, so I doctored these up to make them more homemade tasting.


Here is the recipe for bakery style Maple Brown Sugar cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1 Box of Pillsbury Maple Brown Sugar cake mix
 -Add 1 more egg than called for
 -Use melted butter instead of oil
 -Use milk instead of water
 -Add 2 tablespoons of vanilla

Mix it all together and fill cupcake liners 3/4 full.  Reduce oven heat to 325 degrees and bake for suggested time on box.

Preheating the oven to a higher temperature then reducing while cooking causes the cupcakes to rise more.

Now, to make the frosting... Again, I used a container of cream cheese frosting to start and added in about 1/3 block of cream cheese.  I whipped the frosting and cream cheese together to create a fluffier texture and slightly less sweet, more intense cream cheese favor.  If I had more time, I would have used this recipe.  To decorate these, I simply frosted them and then rimmed them with fun fall sprinkles.

I'm definitely going to play around with a homemade recipe for cupcakes similar to this.  Do you have a favorite cupcake recipe?  I'd love for you to share!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

We Painted || Baby Safe Finger Paint

I've been seeing recipes for baby safe finger paints popping up all over Pinterest and I decided to make my own for a day of painting with the munchkin.  Ok, maybe 4 minutes of painting with a toddler...even so, it was fun!  Here's how to make the paint:

1 cup of greek yogurt (I chose to use greek so it's not too runny)
Food coloring
Canvas or large piece of paper



That's it.  Seriously, so easy!  I chose to make pink and purple, but you could easily make tons of other colors, mixing and matching to your little one's bedroom or playroom if you're planning on hanging their masterpiece ;)  You can basically eyeball the 1 cup, using more or less depending on what size canvas you're using.  I highly recommend keeping baby wipes or paper towels close by.  It is definitely a messy project, but oh so yummy for yogurt loving babies.

We painted with her cousin, Brynn, and both babies were excited to start.  First time painter fail:  Painting on the grass.  Why did I think this was a good idea? Next time, I would definitely put down a sheet or paint inside.  Rookie move.  Although, props to myself for putting Olivia in one of my old t-shirts to protect her clothes.  Would recommend:)



She was very proud of hers.  Brynnie was hesitant at first, then sampled some and got into it ;)  *Look past the painting clothes* 





Once the painting was done and interest was lost, both babies continued to sample the paint...


I'd say it was a tasty little project ;)  Once they are finished painting, I went over the thicker areas with my finger, removing excess paint, to make sure it dries evenly.  


This was a fun, tactile activity for little one's. I'd love to know if you try it yourself!  Off to hang this little masterpiece ;) 


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Apple Picking Fun

Hello friends!  Hope you all enjoyed your weekend.  Ours was low key as we're all getting over colds.  Last week, I took Olivia apple picking with my mom, sister, and niece.  Our hubbys were working and we chose to go during the week to avoid the 12536 people thinking it would be a great weekend for apple picking.  As soon as we got out of the car, Olivia was squealing with excitement.  She is for sure a lover of fall activities!  Both babies have mastered saying the word "apple" and couldn't believe their little baby eyes when they saw hundreds of apples they could just eat right from the trees ;)


It was quite an art to walk through the orchard, almost to the point where it was a game of which baby was rolling down the hill again.  It was hilarious... in a "you're fine, let's go get more apples" kind of way ;)




This little girlfriend was double fisting the entire time and generously feeding everyone a bite of her beloved apples. 



After picking all of the apples we could, we went to their country store to grab some cider donuts and pose as little apple heads.  You're welcome for this little gem.  


Our aunt sent us pictures from when we were little, holding apples coincidentally.  Can you tell which ones are me from Olivia?  She's mine, clearly.  
I love being able to do all these fun fall things with her!  Be still our festive little hearts, for it's just the beginning of holiday fun! 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Pumpkin Picking

Good morning!  Can you believe we're already over a week into October?? My sister and I took the babies pumpkin picking and they loved it! I was almost more excited than Olivia.


Livvy was literally squealing with excitement around the field with her little pumpkin in hand.



They had a blast picking up all the mini pumpkins and running through the field!
Trying to pose them was an entirely different situation - no baby got time for that! ;)





While wandering around, Olivia found a basket to store her pumpkins.  Carried it like a boss the entire time.




We took the babies to the same place last year.  What a difference a year makes...where did our babies go?!

Did you get to take your little ones pumpkin picking?  We're headed to pick some apples next! 


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Our Weekend: Apples, Leaves and 30,000 People

I'm aware it's Tuesday already, but we've had such a busy few days I haven't gotten to catch up.  Do you have weekends like that?  They go by so quickly!



Every year on the first Sunday of October, our town has a huge fall festival called Applefest.  When I say huge, I mean 30,000+ people crammed onto the downtown streets filled with food, crafts, and handmade products.  There's zeppoles, apple cider, sausage and peppers, BBQ, perogies, maple cotton candy, soups, caramel apples, and pulled pork sandwiches...just to name a few.  The vendors range from homemade soaps and candles, wooden toys, fairy crowns, personalized slate signs, pillows, scarves, baby fur vests...literally anything you can think of, it's pretty much there.  It was a beautiful day for it and there were so many people crammed everywhere!



{My sister and niece, enjoying some Zeppoles}

After heading home, I took Olivia outside to play on the swings and enjoy the fall weather.  She loves swinging outside and loves finding rocks even more.  I swear some days she would be happy to collect rocks for 4 hours.



We ended our weekend with a nice family walk and of course I had to get the obligatory stroller-surrounded-by-leaves picture ;)  Another one of her favorite things to collect: leaves!



Hope you all enjoyed your weekend!  Up next: Maple Brown Sugar Cupcakes with Cream Cheese frosting.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Fall Styles for Your Littles

Welcome, October!  While I'm not quite ready to be freezing in a few weeks, I'm welcoming fall with open arms.  Fall candles, cozy sweaters, and crunchy leaves are a sure way to warm the soul. We live in a beautiful area and we have many, many apple orchards within a few miles of each other.  I can't wait to take Olivia apple and pumpkin picking!  She's recently discovered how to eat an apple like a big girl and works so hard at it - seriously cute and sticky.  Since it is the first day of October I was inspired to put together a mixed board of stylish fall inspired items. I threw a candle in there too because I'm currently obsessed with them and they are stylish for your home, right? ;)


1.  Bows for Logan: Etsy Shop: Super cute fall bows, or bowties if you're creative for your little man.  Perfect fall colors.

2.  Bath & Body Works:  Warm Caramel Cider and Pumpkin Pecan Waffle candles are on constant rotation lately.  Thanks to Megan from A Blessed Nest for the recommendation!

3.  Old Navy:  Suede ankle booties with a gold toe...need I say more.  Do they come in my size?!

4.  Old Navy:  Masked cat pajamas for Halloween...adorable and on sale!

5.  Baby Gap:  Owl one piece pajamas...perfect for girls or boys...I love owls and think every baby should own at least one owl themed outfit

6.  SaSea Decor: Etsy Shop:  Dying.  This little witch hat onesie is also available with a matching one for mommy.  So many other cute designs in her Etsy shop!

I'm loving all of the burgundys, oranges, and gold accents, too.  What are your favorite looks for your little ones?  Is there a must-have fall item in your littles closet?  I'd love to hear from you!