Sunday, June 23, 2013

time flies...when you're almost one


Friends of mine who had their babies around the same time as I did, are now starting to prepare for their little one's first birthday. Panic! Is it true?! Is Landon really 8 1/2 months old already? I can't believe he is crawling and starting to talk to himself as he plays. To any new mom out there, enjoy every second of the experience because it's over before you know it! I promise you will find yourself looking back at photos, glad you took them because now all you have are the memories to cherish.

As many know with their first child, so much of motherhood is trial and error. I constantly am returning toys and narrowing down foods to his favorites.You begin to figure out that all the teething toys need to be ready to go in the freezer and that two spoons are important to have at each feeding. Two reasons being, in case one goes flying in the air or because once the spoon has touched the mouth it's really unsanitary to put back in the same jar. It begins to get busier and all chores must be done at nap time. I thought it would be fun to share some of the milestones that my son has recently met and at the same time compile a list of some of my baby must haves at this point. Preparing for ten, eleven and twelve months, I know that the majority of the blogs I read are kid related. I'm also closely researching the eating, sleeping and diapering accessories that most new moms say they can't live without. I have found these resources so helpful at times. With that being said, here is my take on it.

At 8 1/2 months my handsome young man is...

sitting up without two pillows on either side of his back(although there is the occasional thump when he throws his body backwards and I swoop in to the rescue!)

doing some sort of army crawl:)

rolling over left and right, especially in crib.

babbling a bit(no momma or dada yet).

starting to empty and fill with a bucket of toys.

holding on to a sippy cup and sometimes tipping it up for a drink without assistance.

jumping and squealing with delight.

pulling up to a standing position and slamming hands down to make music.

eating three meals a day of fruits and veggies(our doctor has us starting protein at 9 months).

teething up a storm which leads to drooling and fussing.

taking a few steps when an adult holds his hand.

splashing around in our small portable pool and reaching for the faucet during bath time.

loving anything shiny.

holding small books and giggling when tickled.

reaching for the dog and trying to pull his hair.

and...

continuing to love his stroller rides!

P.S

He also LOVES this finger puppet book and is completely intrigued by bubbles.

AJ

Saturday, March 9, 2013

creamy potato leek soup



I find that this time of year is tough to discover new recipes that embody and celebrate the season's fresh produce, due to the fact that we are inbetween. In a way it's warming up too much for soup, but it's still early to find most spring vegetables at the market. This week, I decided to combine both ideas and make a creamy/hearty winter soup filled with potatoes and spring leeks. I made the decision based on the predicted snow storm that was supposed to hit and shake up the DC area. As many snowfalls this year, we ended up with a wet slushy mess that soon turned into rain. After 24 hours of precipitation, the 50 degree weather dried up any white remains and I knew before it started that this was potentially my last chance to get in any rich comfort food that I would miss over the summer. 

I've always been a fan of baked potato soup. It actually reminds me of my engagement in New Hampshire when we prepared the dish for family after skiing all day at Attitash Mountain. Nothing is better than heavy cream, potatoes and bacon topped with cheddar cheese and chives. For this soup, leeks are used instead of regular yellow or spanish onions. I learned that leeks are a member of the onion family, but have a sweeter and more subtle flavor. I really enjoyed them in this soup and I actually used them again in Ina Garten's Spring Green Risotto last night. Everything I read and watch on the food network reminds the cook to always wash leeks thoroughly, due to the build up of sand and dirt in between the leaves. The best part about this soup is you do not have to use a blender or food processor! 

The recipe originally comes from a website called Friends and Farms that I discovered earlier in the week. My father in law told me about this after receiving an email at work, which described the concept of using food baskets to deliver fresh farm products to your home. The idea is to bring the farm "closer to you" and if you go to the site, they also update recipes using meat, poultry, vegetables etc. that are in season. I originally was going to use Barefoot Contessa's recipe, but I decided that I didn't want to make the extra trip to a specialty store for creme fraiche. I'm so glad I tried the Friends and Farms soup, because it satisfied my tastebuds to the fullest and I now am content to move on to more spring food choices. 

If it's not going to snow, we might as well bring on the warm weather! I'm so ready to play in the sun with my sweet boy:) 


Creamy Potato Leek Soup
via Friends and Farms


8 potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 cups chicken broth
1 pound bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
3 leeks, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup heavy cream
Sal t and Pepper to taste


Directions
  1. In a large saucepan or stockpot, bring potatoes and chicken broth to a boil.
  2. Cook until potatoes are tender.
  3. Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, reserving 3 tablespoons of grease and set aside
  4. Sauté the leeks and garlic in the frying pan with the reserved bacon grease 8 to 10 minutes.
  5. When the potatoes are tender, stir in the fried leeks and garlic, heavy cream and bacon. Stir to blend and remove from heat. Serve hot.

AJ

Thursday, February 7, 2013

shrimp scampi


I really should do the Julie and Julia thing and try to tackle all of Barefoot Contessa's cookbooks because I love watching her show so much and her dishes go over so well. Or maybe this is too ambitious of me and already over done? I do know that my husband loved this entree last night and it wasn't too complex. I pretty much cooked according to the recipe but served the shrimp over thin spaghetti instead of linguine. I also cooked the pasta last and warmed up the sauce a little bit right before serving. I paired this with an arugula salad, Craisins and shaved parmesan cheese. 

It was easy to whip this up after making chicken piccata earlier this week because I had most ingredients on hand except for the shrimp. I would say that is the only expensive part of the meal. Looking forward to trying this again this summer when we make a trip back to the beach. It would be a refreshing meal to offer any company!

Shrimp Scampi
slightly adapted from Ina Garten 

Ingredients

Vegetable oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt plus 1 1/2 teaspoons
3/4 pound angel hair pasta or thin spaghetti
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
1 pound large shrimp (about 16 shrimp), peeled and deveined
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/2 lemon, zest grated
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
1/4 lemon, thinly sliced in half-rounds
1/8 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes

Directions

In a large (12-inch), heavy-bottomed pan, melt the butter and olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic. Saute for 1 minute. Be careful, the garlic burns easily! Add the shrimp, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, and the pepper and saute until the shrimp have just turned pink, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from the heat, add the parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, lemon slices, and red pepper flakes. Toss to combine.

Drizzle some oil in a large pot of boiling salted water, add 1 tablespoon of salt and the angel hair and cook according to package directions. When the pasta is done, drain the cooked angel hair and then put it back in the pot. Immediately add the shrimp and sauce, toss well, and serve.

AJ

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

0-3 Months

Some of my favorites for my little one...



Baby Einstein Toys
Besides the fact that my husband and I can't wait to see if our baby has rhythm or has the love for music that we do, Landon does seem to enjoy all musical toys we put in front of him. I find there isn't much for 0-3 months, but a lot of the 6 mo+ musical Baby Einstein pianos and plush instrumental sea creatures entertain our guy when we help him out a little.


Tag Blankets/Loveys
When the baby has dirty clothes or is coming out of a bath, he loves the feel of soft fabrics against his skin, especially his face and belly. He really has come to notice and understand how to hold the small blankies and how they can help him self soothe. I let him snuggle with his tag blanket while he naps during the day because I can watch him closely from the baby monitor.


Jumperoo
Landon is still a little young for this crazy contraption, but I nudge a blanket on all sides of him and with the strong head control he has, he is able to look at the toys, listen to the music, and bob around for about 10 minutes before he's had enough. It's a great baby entertainer because it does just that! Similar to the activity mat, the Jumperoo allows me to pour a cup of coffee and listen to him giggle from the kitchen.


I first picked one of these up at Pottery Barn Kids when I was shopping pre baby. I purchased the Skwinkle and we now have the Winkle and several of the soft, crunchy interactive books above. Aren't the names of these toys so fun?! I look forward to buying the Skwish and any of these items can be found on Amazon. My son loves the Winkle in particular because of how many loops there are which he can easily grip onto with one finger. I put this on his lap when he is sitting in his rocker and he now grabs it with both hands and goes straight for the mouth. The books are fun to prop up as well when he has tummy time. A few weeks ago he also got the hang of the O Balls. They are supposed to be perfect for little fingers as well. We have two footballs:) 


I haven't met a new mom yet that hasn't raved about their activity mat. I honestly thought in the beginning that I would purchase a mat and mobile that were calming to the baby eye and had neutral tones with nature influences. If I was to do it again I would get one with bright colors and possibly the play gym that has the piano to attach. Someone told me their baby loves to kick the keys and goes crazy over the sounds they can make. The best part of any version is that you can attach new toys to the fabric hooks and watch the baby bat away. I think L first started to reach and really grab onto things around 3 months. 

*Note: I also recently brought my exercise ball up from the basement that I was supposed to use to help with labor. I bounce Landon on this or rock him back and forth and he is instantly soothed when crying. I sometimes prop up in front of the TV...shhhhh 

Thanks for reading!

AJ

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

life lately




Enjoying every little part of being a first time mommy. I can't believe my baby is going to be four months next week! Where has the time gone?!

xoxo,

AJ

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

xmas wish list

xmas wish list

xmas wish list by ashjacobs 

A fun backpack to carry your camera in or jam pack with baby supplies...

A rejuvenating facial cream to lather on before bed on one of these busy holiday nights...

A SLR camera to capture baby's first milestones...

A candle that will fill the house with the perfect smell and then be used after as a make up brush holder...

A Stella and Dot simple pair of dangles to add sparkle to a brand new New Year's Eve outfit..

A cozy navajo sweater to curl up with the baby in and watch On Demand shows in style...

Another pair of Frye boots because you can never have too many and everyone needs a black knee-high version...

and...

A bag that can hold your entire life and baby's in and go with literally any outfit, at least that's my idea...

AJ

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

insta- thanks


I know Thanksgiving has passed and we are about to enter December, but I couldn't move on without sharing what I am thankful for this year. 

It's actually been a pretty BIG two years for us with the wedding and now the baby and as I write this I sit here and have an incredible feeling that my life is better than I could have ever imagined it. 

***I am lucky enough to take a break from work and stare into those blue eyes all day long
***I thank Landon's aunts and uncles for traveling this holiday to visit with him and give him an insane amount of kisses
***I feel good to know Landon has gotten through his first outing and now I know I can bring him into a restaurant without a crying episode 
***I thank all of the loved ones that left me with some pretty awesome baby gear. I have many carrying options like the Moby Wrap and I think the variety is helping L avoid boredom. 
***I am lucky to have a mom that has recently retired from school to help me whenever I need an extra hand. I have made it to the grocery store and mall and I actually went on a date! 
***I continue to feel blessed with the sweetest poodle on the planet, who still licks and cuddles even though he has become second in line. 
***I'm fortunate enough to still have the motivation to cook up creative meals and get inspired by the food network. Thank you breast-feeding for giving me time to research! 
***Saving the best for last, I am sooo thankful for little hands and toes, for new smiles and efforts to roll over and for cries indicating that my little one wants to be close to his mommy...sigh:)

***and...almost forgot I'm thankful for my incredible husband, which goes without saying. He holds us together, keeps us laughing, and really is an amazing father! 

AJ

Sunday, November 18, 2012

sticky buns



Seriously Ina? Yet another recipe I knew would be a hit with my other half. It's funny how you can scope out ingredients and know you can't go wrong with the combination. As Ina mentioned in her Back to Basics show, I have always thought to prepare cinnamon rolls or sticky buns, I would need to be thinking ahead and give myself at least a day to let the dough rise. These rolls can be made in an hour! As long as you have puff pastry in your freezer, you're good to go because the other ingredients are staples that are most likely already in your pantry. 

I'm always looking to make a good weekend tailgate or brunch for my husband and I to enjoy on his only time off. I loved the fact that the word "easy" was displayed in the title, but it didn't mean that you had to cut corners. I had forgotten to put the puff pastry in my refrigerator over night to thaw out, but remembered about 2 hours before when I was getting up for coffee this morning. After letting the dough defrost on the counter and then putting it in the fridge for some time, I was ready to start baking. 

I only cooked 12 buns and they were small enough that B and I both had 2-3 to eat along with eggs, bacon and mimosas:) We wrapped up the remainder for the week ahead and my husband was stoked to have a breakfast treat that he can warm up in some tin foil(let's see if he remembers to grab one in the am).

We decided we might try these for our first family Christmas morning with Landon and the in-laws. 

Easy Sticky Buns

Ingredients

  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped in very large pieces
  • 1 package (17.3-ounces/ 2-sheets) frozen puff pastry, defrosted

For the filling:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup raisins

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place a 12-cup standard muffin tin on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the 12 tablespoons butter and 1/3 cup brown sugar. Place 1 rounded tablespoon of the mixture in each of the 12 muffin cups. Distribute the pecans evenly among the 12 muffin cups on top of the butter and sugar mixture.
Lightly flour a wooden board or stone surface. Unfold 1 sheet of puff pastry with the folds going left to right. Brush the whole sheet with the melted butter. Leaving a 1-inch border on the puff pastry, sprinkle each sheet with 1/3 cup of the brown sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the cinnamon, and 1/2 cup of the raisins. Starting with the end nearest you, roll the pastry up snugly like a jelly roll around the filling, finishing the roll with the seam side down. Trim the ends of the roll about 1/2-inch and discard. Slice the roll in 6 equal pieces, each about 1 1/2 inches wide. Place each piece, spiral side up, in 6 of the muffin cups. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry to make 12 sticky buns.
Bake for 30 minutes, until the sticky buns are golden to dark brown on top and firm to the touch. Be careful - they're hot! Allow to cool for 5 minutes only, invert the buns onto the parchment paper (ease the filling and pecans out onto the buns with a spoon) and cool completely.

AJ