playtime in the sink

I love being a mom. It has been such an amazing feeling to experience and I regret none of it. There are so many moments where all the stars align and we are all getting a long and everyone is behaving and happy. And then there are those moments when I am pulling out my hair, trying not well up with tears, and wondering how I'm going to make it through the rest of the day. Luckily, these moments are fewer and farther between. But, they do happen. And in those moments I am always scrambling to think of something fun for River to do to redirect him from whatever might be setting off his two year old emotions.

I try to think of one planned activity a day that we can do at home to take up a little time. Sometimes River isn't super interested in whatever I've planned and sometimes he is. This was one of the days where he was and I was stoked. After breakfast I did the dishes (so it was already destined to be a good day) and I walked passed the empty sink and thought to myself, "Hmmm, this might work..." I've made morning baths for River before so he could splash around and play and he enjoyed them but I had to go check on him every couple of minutes to make sure he was playing safely. So it didn't really create any time for me to accomplish things around the house. I decided to throw him in the sink because it was right in the middle of the kitchen and I could work at the table while he played. I brought in some of his favorite bath toys and left some of my pumping bottles in there and he loved filling them up with water and dumping them out again and again and again. I turned the sink on really low, let it fill up and we'd empty it every few minutes and start it over again.

These sweet, quiet moments are so special and I love finding activities that are calming and fun--for both of us.

oven-baked potatoes hasselbacken

I love potatoes. But, not just because I grew up in Idaho. (And, by the way, I don't think I've ever even seen a potato field.) When I was little mashed potatoes were my favorite thing. I remember my uncle making the best mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving every year. And for my birthday meal I always requested them. I also obviously love french fries, tater tots, and baked potatoes. There really isn't any question why I would love potatoes--they're so versatile. So many different uses and ways to prepare them--potato pancakes, hash browns, stews, the list goes on and on. I'm going to start sounding like this...

That's probably why I was so intrigued by this recipe I came across in the February issue of Food and Wine. Enter Potatoes Hasselbacken. Not only was this article on Scandinavian cooking super interesting and full of beautiful photos, but the recipes were really simple and looked delicious. Taco pie anyone? Yes, please. (made it. delicious.) I had never seen potatoes prepared this way and I loved the way they looked. They were super tasty and perfect with a little dollop of crème fraîche on top.

You're gonna need...

1 1/2 pounds small white potatoes, such as Yukon Golds, peeled
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons plain dry breadcrumbs

Oven-Baked Potatoes Hasselbacken

Preheat the oven to 425°. Using a sharp paring knife, slice each potato crosswise at 1/4-inch intervals, cutting straight down but not all the way through the potato. Transfer the potatoes to a large cast-iron skillet.

Add the butter to the skillet and set over moderate heat; as the butter melts, spoon it over the potatoes. Season the potatoes with salt and transfer to the oven. Roast for about 40 minutes, basting occasionally, until golden and tender. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the potatoes and roast for 10 minutes longer, until golden and crisp. Serve hot.

I added some crème fraîche on top with some chives from garden. Also, I didn't add the breadcrumbs because I forgot and didn't want to wait any longer to eat them...


upside down pear olive oil cake

A couple days ago my neighbor gave me a bag of pears. She said that they were ready to eat right now and she already had too many. Well, lucky me. I was thinking of what I could do with them -- besides just slicing them and eating them by themselves. I recently came across some recipes for pear grilled cheese, or pear pizza. They sounded good, but a little too heavy for these hot summer days.

Lately, I've noticed a lot of delicious olive oil cakes on the dessert menus at some of our favorite local restaurants. They're always delicious and I've been wanting to make one at home for awhile. So, I thought I'd kill two birds with one stone. I found this recipe here and added and took away a few ingredients. It turned out pretty delicious and was simple to make. So light, but rich, and the perfect amount of sweetness. Even Colby thought it was good. So good, in fact, that when I asked for a bite of his later (which he paired with some peach and goat cheese ice cream he made earlier this week...amazing) he almost said no. Almost.

Upside Down Pear Olive Oil Cake

You're gonna need...

2 pears, I used Bosc, cored and sliced
2 cups of flour
1 3/4 cups of brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoons of baking soda
1 1/3 cups of olive oil
1 cup of milk
1/2 cup of heavy cream
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon of almond extract
1 tablespoon of lemon zest
2 tablespoon of lemon juice

Preheat your oven to 350.

Line a 10 inch spring form pan with parchment paper and then spray with non-stick spray. I cut out a large circle of parchment paper (about the size of the bottom of the pan) and used that. Evenly layer the sliced pears on the bottom of the pan.

Whisk together all of the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. In another bowl, whisk together all of the wet ingredients. Add the dry ingredients and whisk until combined.

Pour the batter into the pan over the pears. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Stick a toothpick or knife into the center and make sure it comes out clean.

Let the cake cool in the pan and then separate the cake from the side of the pan by inserting a knife and running it along the edge. Open the spring form pan and invert the cake onto a cooling rack or cake stand. Remove the bottom of the spring form pan and then peel the paper of the layer of pears.

Serve plain, with ice cream, or freshly whipped cream.

Recipe adapted from here.


New phases...

I am having a hard time believing that I have neglected this space for such a long time. It's been almost a year and so much has changed. Last fall we found out we were expecting another baby and began thinking about all of the exciting, stressful, and new things experiences that would come with. And since we were busy chasing River around in the midst of all of that, time seemed to go especially fast.

We spent the winter teaching River how to ski--as much as you can teach an eighteen month old how to ski. He did really well and it became a really fun bonding activity for Colby and River to share. They would leave me home to nap, or throw up (morning sickness...) and spend the day in the snow. I welcomed the quiet house and loved getting texts full of photos and videos of their adventures.

Spring came and, before we knew it, it was May and soon we would meet our new little one. A few weeks before the birth Colby, River, and I went up to Neff's Canyon to take some photos of the bump and River. It was a really great afternoon and our last few photos of just the three of us.


When I was pregnant I felt so exhausted and my mind was so preoccupied with the amazing new life growing inside that I found it hard to make room for much else. I felt the same while I was pregnant with River. But now that we made it through the birth and are a few weeks in, I already feel that desire to flex my creative muscles--and this is the perfect space for that.

We had a friend of ours take photos of the birth and will share that soon. That was one of the best decisions we made involving this pregnancy. I am so completely thrilled to have those moments captured. Even though we didn't photograph River's birth, I still remember everything so vividly and I don't doubt the same thing would happen with this birth. But now looking through those photos I can feel it all the more vividly. They are beautiful, and I would certainly recommend doing it.

We are so in love with this new baby and are so excited to share more about life with two...

"I sometimes wake in the early morning and listen to the soft breathing of my children and I think to myself, this is one thing I'll never regret and I carry that quiet with me all day long."

Brian Andreas


listen to this - burnt toast

Have you heard this podcast from food52? It's an interesting podcast on food culture and other cooking related topics. I listened to this one today and I really enjoyed it. The hosts, Amanda Hesser and Merril Stubbs together with Phyllis Grant from dash and bella (love this blog), discuss how to go about exposing children to new foods and flavors and how to fight the dinner time battle that so many parents face.

We are starting to get to the point where we can feed River whatever we are eating for the most part. It's really exciting and I love sharing foods with him, but I feel myself picking and choosing meals that I think River is "supposed" to like. Easy, bland foods--kid foods. I really want to stay away from that way of thinking, though. I love cooking and want to make sure that I express that same love of food and cooking to him.

This was a very inspiring podcast and it makes me so excited for the years ahead when River can join me in the kitchen.

Listen here are watch below!