in my kitchen: toasted walnuts

I know, I know, I'm posting about nuts again, but I just couldn't resist. ;)  Almonds are usually the staple nut  around my house and lately I've felt the need to change it up.  These toasted walnuts are delicious on basically everything from oatmeal or pancakes to on top of salads, soup, green beans, or pasta.  I also think they'd be amazing in a batch of chocolate chip cookies!  I toasted up a big batch and they disappeared ridiculously fast.  I like that they make an ordinary meal feel extra special, and somehow that little bit of time spent in the oven makes the average walnut so much tastier.

Perfectly Toasted Walnuts
(recipe here)

Preheat oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Toast a handful or two for 10 minutes, checking and stirring throughout to prevent burning.  When they are browned and smell extra nutty they are done.  Easy, delicious, and husband approved!


what goes up...

Check out what this munchkin decided to do!  He's safely been making his way up the stairs for several weeks now and we'd barely even practiced going down because his little legs still seemed too short.  So I was pretty surprised when all of a sudden he clutched the side and gave me the, "I've got this ma" look.  And he does!  On his belly, on his butt, holding the rail, preferably without socks, and with his gaurdian angel standing close by. ;)

It's funny how our wooden staircase became a hot topic when we first found out we were pregnant.  It seemed so dangerous for small children.  We contemplated carpeting it and have been diligent with our baby gate.  But, at almost 15 months in, we are starting to feel less like the terrified first-time parents and a bit more confident in navigating the ups and the downs.  Sometimes, even with a little giggle at the end!


in my kitchen: one pot kale & quinoa pilaf

Over the weekend I made this quick recipe for lunch.  You really only need two super nutrititous ingredients on hand - quinoa and kale - and you can substitute the rest depending on your tastes and availability.  For instance, I added regular lemon instead of meyer lemon, used toasted sunflower seeds instead of pinenuts, and avocado instead of the goat cheese.  I also think a handful of chickpeas, salmon, or a poached egg would be the perfect on top.  I love having go-to recipes for weekend lunches so I don't fall for the "lets eat out" game that my husband tries to play nearly every meal. ;)

Also happening in my kitchen this week will be...
tomato sauce using the last of my canned summer tomatoes
homemade croutons
and my first-ever batch of vanilla extract

Have a great week and I hope you are cooking something yummy!

(recipe & photo from Food52, which is definitely worth taking a peek at for menu ideas)


this week...

Here's what went down at our house this week. 

Nick and I celebrated 10 years together with a real date - it was wonderful and made us realize how much more we need to do things, just the two of us. 

I smothered Edwin in kisses and tried to get him to sit still for photos...pretty much impossible at this age. 

I started restarted a knitting project that I am really excited about. 

And we somehow ended up with our 3rd snow day of the school year, which means, I got an extra day off.  What a fantastic week!

(photos via instagram - follow me!)


rosewater & apricot oil facial mist

In the spirit of all things roses, this week, I thought I'd share one of my favorite homemade beauty products, a rosewater facial mist.  It's an all natural toner and moisturizer that has a lovely rose perfume scent.  I love spritzing it on my face first thing in the morning or right before going to bed.  I recently experimented with adding a bit of apricot oil to each bottle for an added moisturizing boost, which is especially great during this very dry season.  Apricot is a delicate oil that is wonderful for softening the skin, smoothing dry hair, or using for a baby massage!  The rosewater oil is wonderful to add to uncented lotions or other home apothacery projects.

To make the facial mist, add 25-30 drops of rosewater oil to 2 cups of distilled water.  Then add 2T of apricot oil, stir, and pour into non-plastic bottles.  The amount of rosewater oil can be adjusted depending on how strong you like your scent - I like mine extra rosy!

If you are interested in making 'real' rosewater, there is a beautiful video and recipe over on Roost.  I think it would be so fun to try sometime and the perfect gift for a lovely lady in your life, or just for you! 
(a big thanks to my friend Lindsey for her photo help)



This weekend I'm looking forward to soaking up some inspiration at a local art crawl, experimenting with buckwheat pancake recipes...maybe even making them heart shaped. ;) Having a real date night!  Power cleaning. And unplugging on Sunday to spend time with my guys, both at the same time, which sort of never happens these days.  Have a wonderful and restful weekend!

(photo source)


homemade almond milk

I don't know what took me so long to try making my own almond milk.  It's been on my list for quite some time and I finally got around to ordering this nut milk bag.  Now I'm obsessed!  It is so delicious and as easy as soaking almonds, blending them with water, and straining them through the bag.  Even better is what remains, almond meal.  I spread it on a lined cookie sheet and toasted it in my oven over very low heat until it was completely dry and ran it through my processor until it resembled a fine sand...ta daa...almond meal in addition to almond milk!  Needless to say I was pretty excited at my ability to turn one of my favorite foods into two new foods.  I did add a pinch of cinnamon and salt to my batch of milk, and next time may get more adventurous with maple syrup or honey for sweetness.  I'll likely save the almond meal until I find some yummy treat that is well deserving of my precious almond particles.  Any recipe suggestions?  I'm new to this gluten free thing.
Almond Milk
I used this recipe from Lovely Morning and it turned out great!

- Soak 1 cup of almonds (blanched or regular is fine) overnight in a bowl of filtered water
- Strain and rinse soaked almonds
- Blend with the 4 cups of filtered water on high for 5 minutes
- Place the nutmilk bag in a large bowl and empty the blender into the bag
- Strain the milk through the bag and squeeze out all liquid into the bowl
- Pour the milk back into the blender and add any sweetener or spices of your choice (maple syrup, honey, agave, dates, cinnamon, vanilla, sea salt, cardamom, etc...)
- Blend again for a minute and pour into bottle or jar for storing (something with a lid so you can shake it)

 Almond Meal 
I didn't follow any official recipe, but this seemed to work just fine.

- Turn the nut milk bag inside out over a lined cookie sheet and scrape out the almond meal
- Break up the wet clumps of almond meal and spread out on the pan
- Turn oven to a low temp (250 degrees or so) and dry the almond meal for 20-30 min, checking often and breaking up more clumps and checking for wetness
- I took mine out when it was completely dry and starting to toast
- Pulse a few times in a food processor (or baby bullet!) and store in a closed container, probably in the freezer to ensure freshness

This week I've used my almond milk in smoothies and pancakes and I love knowing that it does not contain extra additives or fillers.  The homemade variety also seems to have a lot more flavor than the store bought kind.  Before I got this nut milk bag I would occaisionally soak and blend my almonds to make them softer, smaller, and more digestible for the baby and would use them in our morning oatmeal.  It worked great but I'm excited to have actual almond milk on hand a bit more and someday teach the little guy how to make his own!


in my studio

This week a beautiful new mama friend of mine came to visit and I practiced a mini photo shoot with her and her precious bundle, Ava.  It seems like so long ago that my baby was that tiny and it brought back so many wonderful memories of those first few weeks.

I was so happy with how these photos of her turned out that I thought I would share them here.  I don't always have a 100% success rate when it comes to snapping photos, especially of people, but I think I'm starting to improve and learn a thing or two with my camera.  I've loved the extra opportunities I've had to practice taking photos this year.  With so many new babies and moms in my life I've realized how much I truly love taking pictures and also, how much I have to learn about photography.  I'd love to continue practicing this hobby, so let me know if you are interested or in need of an amateur photographer.  I think all of my nieces and nephews are about due for another photo shoot very soon!
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