Thursday, October 8, 2015

Gone Hikin'

Sorry for the absence! It's funny, when people hear I'm staying home with Emmett, they think I'm getting to take more time to blog. Now that he is almost 10 months old (whoa!), free time in front of the computer is rare indeed.

What I HAVE been spending a lot of time doing is hiking. I've always wished I had more time to be outside, with with a desk job and a long commute, I didn't get to spend nearly as much time outside as I would have liked. Luckily, Emmett seems to love the outdoors as much as I do, so we spend a good 1-3 hours outside everyday on the move, usually a long walk just the two of us in the morning, and then a family walk with Luke and Benji in the evening after dinner. I'm so thankful for the chance to enjoy nature with him, feel healthy and have that time when I know we both will be calm and happy.
Checking out the ducks and turtles in Town Lake on a hike
I was so excited to discover Hike It Baby, a free meetup group that gets families outside. Hike It Baby is kind of a misnomer though, as there are older kids and many of the hikes are more just walks. But still, it's been a great way to socialize and encourage me to drive outside the neighborhood to enjoy the outdoors! We participated in the September Hike It Baby 30 challenge that encourages families to hike 30 miles in 30 days. Emmett did 75 MILES in September, primarily with me (a few solo hikes with Luke while I was at Body Jam), and also many included Luke and Benji. It was cool tracking our walks and hikes to see just how far we're going (and how much faster I walk pushing the stroller versus our meandering walks with Benji).

Scenes from our latest adventure to Enchanted Rock. Fun!

My friend is vegetarian, so I packed us some sandwiches with pumpkin hummus, cilantro sunflower seed pesto and veggies! Baby approved :)

Speaking of the outdoors, we DID get a new grill this summer and have lots of dinners cooked outside. It means less mess to clean up, less time chopping AND I didn't heat up the kitchen this summer. But, I was a little lazy, so it also meant less bloggable meals. Sorry!

Emmett is pretty much down to just one long nap a day, so I'm able to do my dinner prep (and sometimes cook the whole thing) during that time and then cook it while he's playing with wooden spoons and his baby mirror in the kitchen when Luke is on his way home. My main goal these days is making something all three of us can enjoy so I'm not making Emmett something separate, and that either doesn't require tons of dishes or has dishes that can be cleaned as I go. We love to have a quick 5 minute cleanup after dinner so we can start our family walk!

Now that Emmett has two teeth, he's enjoying solid foods more than ever before! He's still nursing, so solids are just for fun, but it's amazing what that kid can eat. He enjoys carbs (grains, bread, pancakes, pizza dough), meat (steak, chicken, salmon), Cheerios, peas, blueberries, peaches, all kinds of squash, beans, lentils, Greek yogurt, cheese, almond butter and more. I've been trying to expose him to a wide variety of spices and flavors so hopefully prevent a picky palate, but I'm sure he'll become a picky eater at some point no matter what.

Simple late summer salad of mixed greens, quinoa, millet, buckwheat and brown rice, roasted butternut squash, feta and salmon!

Food blogger baby date! Bess and Amity joined Emmett for a good time at the Toybrary

Easy summer breakfast - Greek yogurt topped with a banana nut muffin and fresh berries

I got to try these at a media event and take them home - OBSESSED! Loved on the grill and crumbled over a salad

Family hike to celebrate Hike It Baby Austin's first anniversary

Fun with bubbles at Gymboree

E eats mostly whole foods, but lots the occasional treat like queso! Enjoyed at TacoDeli with Aunt Lauren, Uncle Brian and Cousin Ben!

Some lick smacking after trying mint ice cream on a visit to Grandma's house

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Austin bakes for Nepal and recent happenings

Greetings and happy Friday! And, happy cusp of a long weekend. I may not be working these days, but Luke is of course, so a long weekend is still something to celebrate :) I'm looking forward to the wedding of a dear friend this weekend, AND a visit from my sister, brother-in-law and nephew (who are kind enough to be babysitting Emmett so Luke and I can attend the wedding - how nice is that?!).

But most importantly, they BEST way to kick off Memorial Day weekend is to attend one of the locations of the Austin Bakes for Nepal bake sale Saturday from 10:00 - 2:00! Here's a list:
I'll be delivering some Salted Dark Chocolate Chip and Toasted Pecan Cookies AND some Blueberry Scones with Lemon Glaze to the Whole Foods Market Gateway location sale and will be perusing the treats there as well with the husb and baby!
Follow the action at #AustinBakes! Not an Austin resident or busy during the sale?  You can donate online here!

Emmett is 5 months old now and SO MUCH FUN! He really enjoys playing these days - both with us and with his toys. He's great at sitting up (with assistance) and "kick kick kicking" (we learned that in swim class). We've still been pounding the pavement doing multiple walks a day before we get triple digits. We even busted out the stroller rain canopy so a few sprinkles don't keep us inside. And, we even did our first visit to Walnut Creek with Benji (without Luke!) with our friend Marisa and her dog Rufus - so much fun.

fun with bubbles!
Helping daddy cook!
 And, my first Mother's Day was delightful! I had so much fun hanging out with my guys. We spent the afternoon at the Domain brunching at the Steeping Room and checking out the new farmer's market at The Domain! We capped the day off with Emmett's first art project (future Picasso) and a family walk.

Smooches from mommy :)

Friday, April 17, 2015


My twenties have come to an end! Honestly, I feel like I turned 30 like 3 years ago when we got married, bought our house and got sweet Benji. But now today is the day. I'm not one to sit around and reflect all the time, but I realize I have lots to be thankful for and so many great, positive experiences from the past decade. And this blog was such a big part of it for almost 7 YEARS now! Whoa!

While you may remember my 26th birthday and the Julia Child dinner party (all sass, right?!), my 30th birthday celebrations have been fun and relaxed - just what a new mom needs! We enjoyed kayaking on Town Lake with friends, then we hit up some food trucks and bars on Rainey Street. It was our first time hiring a babysitter which made me a little (ok a lot) nervous, but once we were out there we were stress-free, and everything went well! Of course, Emmett decided to wake up 3 times that night (NOT usual) just to make sure we didn't forget we were parents ;)

And last night Luke and I had a lovely dinner at Arro. I've only ever been for HH, but dinner was divine! The lobster bisque, filet au poivre and chocolate pot de creme (not to mention some pink bubbles on the house and red wine) all hit the spot :)
I'm excited to celebrate my 30th with my family this weekend. It's so exciting because I rarely get to see my family on my ACTUAL birthday. Yay! But before we kick off family time, I started the day with a few things I hope to set the tone for my 30th year. A green smoothie then a nice long walk with Emmett to the doughnut shop for a little treat :) 

Recent snacks - I try to get at least 2 of 4 things in (whole grain, veggies, fruit and protein):
  • Avocado toast with diced mango
  • Peanut Butter Chocolate Oat Balls
  • Banana with Justin's Maple Almond Butter
  • Green smoothies
  • Cheese and fruit
  • Deviled eggs (after Easter - yum!)

Our little Easter bunny!

Mango avocado toast - yum!

Other recent adventures? We went with some of our baby swim class friends to the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center for some fun in the sun and flowers with the babies. We all brought some picnic goodies and we spent several blissful hours there.

Thanks Faith Sams and her fantastic photo skills for capturing this!

And lots of dog walks! We love walking with one of Benji's besties, Charlie. Emmett has been digging outward-facing baby wearing.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Life (and food) with baby: part V

We've had a busy beginning of spring! Despite being sick a couple weeks ago and still feeling the lingering affects last week, we've been out and about and still cooking plenty. Don't worry, if you stick with the post I've got a recipe to share at the bottom!

While I was sick, Luke was a champ and mastered front-facing baby wearing walks so he could also walk Benji while I mouthbreathed on the couch. 

Freelance recipe testing is going really well too! I went there last week and brought some bruschetta and also some mayonnaise recipes I tested. Yum :)

Swim class is going strong! Luke took a long lunch this week so he could join us. 

This week, Emmett and I hit up the Whole Foods Market Domain location to meet the Easter bunny. He wasn't super smiley, but he also didn't cry! I'll chalk that up to a win :)
I've been dying to try St. Phillip, and I also hadn't seen my friend Lundy in ages. Last Friday I knocked out two birds with one stone. Delicious pizza (and pastries for the weekend!) and great conversation :) I did a pregnancy and postnatal bootcamp at the Lululemon at the Domain on Saturday morning, so I had just enough time to shove some of those tasty pastries in my mouth before a TOUGH workout. I'm still feeling it!

I'm finally pulling up the last of our winter garden - oh, how I've enjoyed those fresh greens for impromptu salads! And our carrots are always late to mature, but they've come in handy the last couple of weeks! I roasted some up along with some parsnips we grew to toss with some paprika, cumin, chipotle, balsamic vinegar and avocado oil to roast up for a salad. Don't forget the crumbled feta!

 I busted out the breadmaker that Luke's mom used when he was a kid the other week. There's nothing like the smell of fresh-baked bread...

 And other various eats lately. It's been a yummy couple of weeks!
Morning PB&J oatmeal
Eating outside!
Pizza night!
Vegetarian Quiche using goodies already in the fridge - grilled veggies, feta and pesto. Made the crust with half white flour, half whole wheat pastry flour!

Vegetarian Pesto Quiche
This is a great make-ahead dish - perfect for nap time! Just pop it back in the oven to warm it slightly before you serve.

1 cup and 1 tablespoon flour (I used half white and half whole wheat pastry flour)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cold
3 tablespoons cold water
1 1/2 cups grilled veggies (I used asparagus, zucchini and red bell peppers)
1/2 cup cheese (I used crumbled feta)
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cup milk (I used 2%, whole would be better!)
1/4 cup pesto
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375.

Mix flour, salt and sugar in a mixer. Cut butter and add to flour mixture and stir until there are pea-sized clumps. Add 3 tablespoons cold water, more if needed, until the dough starts to get a little sticky (but not too sticky). You want to be able to form a loose ball with your hands. Lay out dough on a floured surface and roll with a rolling pin. Transfer it to a pie pan.

Add the veggies to the crust and top with cheese. Whisk eggs, milk, pesto and salt and pepper in a bowl then pour over veggies. Bake 50-60 minutes until the quiche is set (not jiggly if you shake it a bit). Let cool before you bake.