Tuesday Tattles #18

Tuesday Tattles

It’s time for my next Tuesday Tattles Library Edition. A couple of weeks ago I shared our favorite bed time and nap time reads.

Because it would be too overwhelming to put all of our favorites in one post, I’ve been struggling with how to break up the “day time” books. I’ve thought about educational versus just for fun. But, really, just about every book falls in that first category.

I then thought about categorizing the books between infant and toddler, but I don’t really believe that books aren’t for every age and stage at the under 4 mark.

13939534_10103960364290081_3975369332799635853_nMy book list keeps growing, too! As soon as I hit “publish” on the bed time books post, Firecracker decided to add even more books to our night time routine. He’s really putting my poor vision to the test by reading not as popular books by the nightlight’s glow.

Treat’s favorite activity is pulling books off of the bookshelf in their room, and now that he’s walking like a champ he’ll bring me a book or two. I’m not sure if he really wants me to read them because as soon as I crack open the cover and start reading he toddles away!

Okay, enough dawdling. Here’s what I’m picking to share with you today and there’ll be more to come soon.

10 of the Best Books for Babies | Sew You Think You Can Cook | http://sewyouthinkyoucancook.com


The Very Hungry Caterpillar
 by Eric Carle

tvhcI begin our library catalog with a classic. The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a great book for teaching days of the week and counting. I actually can’t read this book without, in my head, reciting Joey Tribbiani’s days of the week monologue “Wednesday – when? what day? Thursday – the third day!” Ironically, this book became a favorite teething toy of Firecracker’s…

The Very Lonely Firefly by Eric Carle

I continue with another board book by Eric Carle. The Very Lonely Firefly is a cute book that works for bed time due to its repetitive writing. It’s a hit with my kids because the last page lights up. Firecracker learned the words “owl” and “eyes” from this book.

Favorite Books for Babies | Sew You Think You Can CookDr. Seuss’s A B C

This alphabet book is the one I grew up on! My mom had (still does) this book memorized, and I do too. It’s definitely one of my all time favorites to read to my kids.

First 100 Words by Roger Priddy

If you want to be constantly impressed and amazed with how much your toddler knows, get him this book. My aunt gave us this book for Christmas and it’s gone with us on every vacation. As kids get older you can transition to quizzing them on vocabulary, asking them to point out different words/pictures. Eventually, they’ll be “reading” it to themselves.

Put Me In the Zoo by Robert Lopshire

My mother-in-law grew up on this book and introduced it to us. It’s a cute book that teaches colors, but also has an underlying theme of rejection, wanting to belong, and finding the perfect place to be yourself. We have the mini board book, which I know leaves out some of the fun, I’d be curious to find the full story and read more about Spot.

The Babies on the Bus by Karen Katz

This book version of the classic song has been in instant favorite with both of my boys. Firecracker still loves to read it and when I start reading it to Treat he comes running saying he wants to see, too. I never sang along with the book because I don’t need the song stuck in my head! The one exception is when Firecracker wants to read it before bed; I then turn it into a ballad and rock him back and forth as I sing.

Where Is Baby’s Belly Button? by Karen Katz

Another fun Karen Katz book, this one has flaps to lift to find baby’s eyes, mouth, and belly button. It’s a cute way to teach basic body parts as well as a little game of peek-a-boo. Surprisingly, it’s one of the few books that the boys haven’t completely demolished. Once Treat learns how to lift the flaps and play along with the book, I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before it gets torn. Are any one else’s kids completely aggressive towards their library!?

Peek-A-Zoo! and Peek-A Who? by Nina Laden

Books for Babies | Sew You Think You Can CookPeek-A-Zoo was given to Firecracker for his first birthday and he loved it immediately. It was a book I could hand in him the car and he’d enjoy flipping through it. Because it was such a hit, before our last flight I bought the original for Treat. I’d venture to say it’s his favorite book! He actually laughs out loud at each turn of the page.

The Little Engine That Could

I’ll round out this book list at ten titles. This abridged version of the classic tale of never giving up was Firecracker’s favorite book when he was 16 months old. As his train related book collection has grown it’s been set aside. Not that it stops him from enjoying it on occasion. He even has the first four pages memorized. When he’s playing pretend with his trains I’ll hear him reciting “puff puff chug chug ding dong ding dong the little train rumbled over the tracks. happy train.”

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Apple Oat Crisp

When we were on our family vacation earlier this month, my husband decided he wanted to go apple picking. We crossed the WI-IL border and picked some apples in Harvard, IL at The Royal Oak Farm Orchard.

We had a great time picking a peck and a half of the three varieties that were available at the time of our visit: Jonamac, Macintosh, and Gala.

When my mom and I went apple picking last year, Firecracker was about 15 months old. He had just as much fun this year, but with a little (okay, a lot) of extra confidence on his feet for running around.

Firecracker has always struggled with eating raw apples, yet he loves the flavor of them. Unless an apple slice is covered in Nutella, he’ll simply gnaw away at the fruit and never swallow it. There’s always a pile of apple bits on the coffee table.

Treat, on the other hand, has never struggled with apples and they’re one of his absolute favorite foods. He happily ate close to an entire apple while we were picking. And with only two bottom teeth! I was surprised, though I guess I should’ve have been, that he managed to hold on to the apple the entire time!

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With our fall bounty in tow we headed to the kitchen. I put some apple in my Choco-flower Bundt Cake and into some meatballs we enjoyed on game day (recipe to come later this week). Our big apple feature dish, though, was a crisp.

My mom and I combined a few different recipes and methodologies to develop the resulting addicting dessert (/breakfast).

There aren’t a lot of pie recipes here on Sew You Think You Can Cook because I really don’t care for warm fruits. As I’m in the minority there I had no problem lending some apples to the cause of a crisp.

Um. Yeah. This crisp is one of my new all time favorites! I could have eaten the entire dish on my own. But, I had to share. A dollop of whipped cream, sprinkle of cinnamon, and drizzle of honey made this dessert a home run. Naturally, we bought some honey from the orchard and it’s beautiful apple-y floral quality was a perfect complement to the crisp.

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Of course, you could serve it with ice cream. I’m contemplating making a honey ice cream to serve alongside this Apple Oat Crisp for Thanksgiving this year.

Apple Oat Crisp

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 apples, peeled, cored, sliced
  • 2 tbsp apple cider
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 C + 1 tbsp flour, divided use
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, divided use
  • 1 C oats
  • 1 C brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 stick butter, melted

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Toss apples with cider, sugar, 1 tbsp flour, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. Place in a small casserole dish.
  3. In a bowl, whisk together 1 C flour, 1 tsp cinnamon, the oats, brown sugar, and baking powder. Mix in the melted butter until combined and crumbly. Top the apples.
  4. Bake 30 – 35 minutes until golden, bubbly, and the apples are tender.

Apple Oat Crisp | Sew You Think You Can Cook | http://sewyouthinkyoucancook.com

#SundaySupper: Recipes for World Vegetarian Day

One weekend after church we decided to go for a relaxing walk to get brunch. After enjoying a new (to us) restaurant we explored the area some more.

We typically find ourselves in that part of town for dinner and all of the shops are closed so it was fun to pop into some cute kids boutiques and my new favorite kitchen store!

The store was having a cookbook sale and I became immersed in their table of beautiful books.

I was drawn to The Vibrant Table by Anya Kassoff. It’s a cookbook of vegetarian, vegan, and raw recipes. Not a cuisine I dabble in too often, but when the food photography displays such vibrant dishes I couldn’t put it down!

I’m excited to explore the world of vegetarian and vegan cooking more to add some diversity to our menu and cater to friends of ours.

Speaking of, when our friends welcomed their third child into the family I brought them this beautiful salad. I doubled the recipe for them and brought it over with the dressing kept in a mason jar for when they were ready to enjoy it. I was also sure to leave them with a copy of the recipe.

Naturally, I had to reserve a serving’s worth to photograph it! And then, I had to eat it! This salad is so bright and fresh, and satisfying with all of the protein packed legumes. As I’m not a huge fan of cucumber, I reserved my chunks for Treat to have for lunch the following day – they disappeared!

I will not hesitate to make this salad again.

October 1st is World Vegetarian Day and the month of October is Vegetarian Awareness Month, so the Sunday Supper crew, being led by Susan of The Wimpy Vegetarian, has many different ways to help get more veggies into your diet. Be sure to scroll past my recipe to see them all!

Strawberry Soba Noodle Salad

Ingredients for salad:

  • 1 pkg (9 oz) soba noodles
  • handful snow peas, trimmed
  • handful sugar snap peas, trimmed
  • 1 C frozen peas
  • 1 C frozen shelled edamame
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced into matchsticks
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into matchsticks
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • 12 strawberries, sliced
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

Ingredients for dressing:

  • 1″ fresh ginger, grated
  • 3 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp tamari
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tbsp agave

Steps:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook all of the peas for 2 minutes and then blanch in ice water. Drain and set aside.
  2. Cook noodles according to package instructions. Rinse under cold water.
  3. In a large bowl combine noodles, peas, strawberries, carrots, bell peppers, cucumber, cilantro, and sesame seeds.
  4. Make dressing: whisk together the ingredients. Pour over salad, tossing to coat. Serve.

*This recipe is adapted from The Vibrant Table*

strawberry-soba-noodle-salad-for-sundaysupper-from-sew-you-think-you-can-cook

Appetizers

Desserts

Entrees

Sides

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out ourPinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Beef and Chorizo Chili

Now that football season is well underway and the weather, in some parts of the country anyway, is cooling down, chili season is in full swing!

The recipe I’m sharing with you today is one I created for a Chili Cook Off in the summer. I actually took the time to think about what I wanted to do. I even did a dry run before the event at my husband’s office! We invited a friend over to help be another set of taste buds, too.

My beef and chorizo chili was a huge hit! There weren’t even leftovers. It was determined that I didn’t need to make any changes. (And we definitely didn’t need the back up plan of “order a pizza.”)

Unfortunately round one of my chili was better than the round that went into the competition. Though, my husband takes full blame for not setting the slow cooker on high to warm the chili through before people would be digging into it. I didn’t bring home a victory like my last chili cook-off experience, but even still, there weren’t any leftovers.

I will definitely make this chili again, and happily serve it to guests. Some mini cornbread muffins are a perfect accompaniment to the subtle smokey chili.

Let me know what you think of my original creation!

An Original Recipe

Beef and Chorizo Chili

Ingredients:

  • 3 links chorizo sausage, casings removed
  • 1 lb top round roast, cubed
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, diced
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 Santa Fe pepper, deseeded and diced
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cans (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 C beef stock
  • 2 cans (4 oz) diced green chiles
  • 1 tsp chipotle in adobo sauce
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • scallions, chopped for serving
  • shredded cheese, for serving

Steps:

  1.  Brown chorizo in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, breaking up as it cooks. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate.
  2. Season the beef with S+P. Sear on all sides in the chorizo fat. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside on the plate with the chorizo.
  3. If needed, add a couple of teaspoons of oil to the Dutch oven. Saute the onion, peppers, and garlic until tender. Season with salt.
  4. Add the beans, tomatoes, broth, green chiles, chili powder, cumin, oregano, 1 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp black pepper.
  5. Return the chorizo and beef to the chili and bring to a gentle boil. Simmer uncovered 50-60 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Garnish with scallions and shredded cheese. Serve with cornbread.

beef-and-chorizo-chili-sew-you-think-you-can-cook

CIC: Black Beans & Mayonnaise

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Today’s Crazy Ingredient Challenge is to combine black beans and mayonnaise. To be honest, I voted for both of these ingredients, but that didn’t mean I had an idea.

And then I forgot about it. Taking two vacations back-to-back will do that to you.

When I always have black beans in my pantry and mayonnaise in my fridge it would have been a little inexcusable to skip this event.

Surprisingly, I was able to come up with an idea and make my dish on Sunday! I had game day food on my mind, and even though it was just the boys and me, I still made a perfect dip for watching football from the couch. I took inspiration from a warm spinach dip and added some black beans and southwest spices.

Firecracker was napping (gasp!) while I got the dip in the oven and he woke up just in time to take it out. Turned out the be the perfect distraction mechanism for his post-nap fussiness. He said it looked good and said he wanted to eat it. Of course, I had to take a picture first! Literally, one. I told him it was still hot and he informed me that it was cool now. So, out of the ramekin and into a different bowl to spend a few minutes in the fridge. I think he ate 2 bites; the smart kid really just wanted the chips within his reach. I loved the dip, and will definitely make it again for company. I’m looking forward to my afternoon salty snack this week, now!

This recipe will serve 2-3 people.

Black Bean and Spinach Dip

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 1/2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 3/4 C shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • 2 C packed baby spinach
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/8 tsp cumin

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredient until incorporated.
  3. Divide dip between two 16 oz ramekins. Bake 30-35 minutes, until dip is bubbly and the top is slightly golden.
  4. Serve warm with tortilla chips.

Black Bean and Spinach Dip for Crazy Ingredient Challenge from Sew You Think You Can Cook | http://sewyouthinkyoucancook.com

To see the other bloggers who participated in this month’s Crazy Ingredient Challenge click on the link below.

SRC: Lime Crusted Salmon with Sweet Potatoes and Peas

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It’s Secret Recipe Club Reveal Day! In the Secret Recipe Club, each participating blogger is assigned a blog from another participating blogger and secretly searches their site for something to recreate. The accompanying blog post then goes live on reveal day! So while I was immersed in my assigned blog, someone else was picking through mine! I’m so excited to be part of this group, to see what on my blog peaks other’s interests and to stumble upon new blogs and new recipes.

This month I was assigned Where Is My Spoon? written by Adina. Adina has an incredibly magnificent entrance into the culinary world, at least in my opinion! When she moved to Germany with her husband she didn’t cook because she “couldn’t even boil an egg.” In all honesty though, boiling an egg isn’t necessarily the easiest thing to do if you’re easily distracted… She learned to cook by reading through a cookbook in a new language! I mean, how impressive is that?!

When I received my assignment in my email I forced myself to decide on a savory dish. I felt like I was drowning in a wonderful world of sugar and needed to grab a life vest. I was beginning to regret my decision when I found Carrot Cupcakes with Blueberry Frosting and White Chocolate Apricot Cheesecake. If I hadn’t done Nectarine Caprese Salad last month for SRC I would have definitely gone with her Strawberry, Nectarine, and Quinoa Salad.

Ultimately, I decided to pick a dish that was fresh and light, Lime Crusted Salmon. Adina served it with sweet potatoes and peas. I decided to go with it! I hadn’t had peas in a long time and it reminded me of how much I enjoy the sweet veggie. Turns out I learned that my husband and 10 month old like them, too! Growing up, my favorite way to eat them were atop mashed potatoes. Turns out they complement sweet potatoes, too. A big thank you for introducing me to a new weeknight favorite!

Lime Crusted Salmon

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 lb salmon filet
  • 1 1/2 tbsp butter, softened
  • 2 tbsp panko
  • 1 lime, zested and sliced into wedges

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking dish.
  2. Combine butter, panko, lime zest, and S+P. Spread over fish.
  3. Place salmon in the baking dish and surround with lime wedges. Bake 12-15 minutes, or until the fish is flaked easily with a fork.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 tbsp butter

Steps:

  1. Place potatoes in a medium pot. Cover with water and season generously with salt. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are fork tender. Drain.
  2. Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes with the butter. Season to taste with S+P.

Peas with Mint

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 10 oz bag frozen peas
  • 1/2 tbsp butter
  • chopped mint, to taste

Steps:

  1. Cook peas according to package directions, or as desired.
  2. Toss with butter, mint, and S+P to taste.

*These recipes are modified from Adina at http://www.whereismyspoon.co/salmon-with-lime-crust/*

Easy Weeknight Salmon Dinner for #SecretRecipeClub from Sew You Think You Can Cook | http://sewyouthinkyoucancook.com

To see the other bloggers who participated in The Secret Recipe Club this month click here:

#SundaySupper: Recipes with Coffee

Over Labor Day weekend we traveled to Northern California, Santa Cruz to be exact, to celebrate my cousin’s wedding.

The wedding was one we will never forget. They got married standing underneath exquisite Redwoods with the sun peaking through the massive trees.

To reach the ceremony site, we hopped aboard a narrow gauge train and traveled uphill for about 25 minutes. Following the beautiful exchange of vows we climbed back on the train to return to the reception location. The entire experience was simply breathtaking.

To say my train obsessed toddler was in heaven is an understatement!

felton-wedding

We spent the long weekend in Santa Cruz with my parents and uncle at a vacation rental home on the water. We enjoyed exploring the area and discovering the differences between that beach city and the one we’re living in now.

Chocolate Chip Mocha Smoothie for #SundaySupper from Sew You Think You Can Cook (1)Because we staying in a “hotel house,” as we described it to my toddler, I had the luxury of being able to cook! I made Chicken Chorizo Meatballs (a variation of this recipe) for the rehearsal party at my aunt’s “hotel house,” a beautiful cheese platter for dinner one night, and coffee smoothies to accompany some local pastries for breakfast one morning!

I was counting on making my recipe for this week’s Sunday Supper over the wedding weekend so I packed my chocolate chips and chocolate sauce. Doesn’t everyone travel with chocolate chips in tow?!

Thankfully the vacation home had a blender! I hadn’t considered that I may not have one before hitting the grocery store to pick up yogurt and whipped cream.

This smoothie was met with mixed reviews. My dad was not a fan, but sweet coffee drinks are not his thing. My uncle and I enjoyed our glasses, though. That being said, I have some suggestions for changes I’d make next time:

  • The tang from Greek yogurt was a little too much to pair with the coffee, so I’d switch to regular yogurt (or you know, ice cream but then we can’t call it breakfast can we?)
  • To balance out the sweetness level, I’d add a touch of vanilla extract

Chocolate Chip Mocha Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 C ice
  • 3/4 C vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 C cooled coffee
  • 1/4 C chocolate chips
  • 1/4 C chocolate syrup

Steps:

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Garnish, if desired, with whipped cream and extra chocolate syrup.

*This recipe is adapted from Jacqui at http://www.dishingdelish.com/chocolate-chip-mocha-breakfast-smoothie/*

Chocolate Chip Mocha Smoothie for #SundaySupper from Sew You Think You Can Cook (2)

Beverages

Breakfast

Main

Sides

Dessert

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out ourPinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.