Saturday, December 15, 2012

Breakfast Sans Paul

Whilst Paul was away in Paris, the girls had to make due with "mama-cook".

"Dad's the best cooker", says my oldest monkey. 

I can make anything, I assure her. So she requests an Oven Dutch Baby for breakfast. Well, just to prove my baking prowess, I also made pumpkin muffins a la Moosewood the next morning (which turned out a little rubbery) and a pear gingerbread cake from the same Moosewood cookbook that we ate after dinner - warm out of the oven. Now that was scrumptious!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Singing Your Own Song

Tonight after picking up the girls from school, my eldest was super excited about her choir practice and was singing her warm up for me. It went something like this:

Do, a deer, a female deer
Re, drop of bowling sun
Meat, a name, I call myself
Fa, a long long way to run
So, a needle na na thread
La, a note to follow So,
Te, a drink with cambon bread

Reminds me of my childhood when my sister, brother and I had to pray aloud every night.

Our father, who wart in heaven.

I had no idea what that meant, but I knew the words by heart!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Homemade Bread and Butter

Mom and dad spent a couple of weeks with us and, on their last day visiting, mom left a surprise in the kitchen.

It has been another crazy day in the life of the Olivier clan. How wonderful to come home from work to the scent of freshly baked bread. Mom had been busy. Helping us with laundry, organizing our drawers and baking bread!

Although rushing to get to our aunt's for dinner, the girls each had a slice of bread with butter. It was still warm enough that the butter seeped into the bread. Delectable.

Dad! Mom! Come back!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Dining Chez Olivier (the premier)

French is a funny language. I, of course, think all things French are fanciful, flavorful, flamboyant and filled with fervor. Some friends, who don't understand a lick of francais, accuse the French of swallowing entire syllables when they speak.

We dined at the First or "premier" Olivier - as in, dad-in-law, and man was it like being on a cooking show. He is so charming, you feel like you are speaking to a French brand.
Then there is his stylized food. He puts it together with such ease, you'd think the cameras were hidden behind the paintings of Van Gogh and Macke on his walls.

Oh, and did I mention the decor? I felt like I was still in Paris, with the whole clan, speaking Freeench. Weee weee. We enjoyed a "light" meal of Lamb, Scalloped potatoes and bell pepper salad. It was spectacular. (The wine was fabulous, too. I forgot to take a picture...but, I think it had "Olivier" in the name!)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Olde Pink House

When you have daughters, pink is like an explosion all over your house. It's in your hair, on your arms, in your clothes, on the bottom of your feet. It's in the form of hair clips, play-doh, stickers, accessories, E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G.
And, if that wasn't enough, it's also the one and only restaurant we ate at for dinner in Georgia whilst on vacation. There are two reasons. One, dad-in-law cooks so well, there is never a need to eat out because the dining experience would pale in comparison. Two, with children, why put yourself through misery. Oh, and the unmentioned third reason? That was one of the only "kid friendly" restaurants listed on Yelp.

All in all, good experience. House was built in 1771, (for more info., click here), located in the heart of Savannah near a beautiful park, and the staff were sooooo gracious. We really enjoyed it. I'm reminded by my spouse reading over my shoulder as I type (ahem) that the Declaration of Independence was first read aloud from these steps, when it belonged to someone named Habersham. It was also a bank, at one point.
Savannah beckons historians, or shallow tourists like me. After dinner we strolled along the old town district. Why does everyone here have a ghost story? They even have a "ghost" tour bus. Charming and warm enough for the beach (even in March), if you haven't been to Savannah, it's worth the trip! Whether you want to get in touch with your intellectual side, or shallow side!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Bury Your Head, or Put a Pail On?

We had a fabulous time on the east coast for some warmer than usual weather for this time of year. Translation: Sunshine on the beach!

Sometimes we are reminded of the simple things in life when we are with family, away from home and work, and capable of focusing on every waking minute in a semi-calm state (as calm as it can get with two children). It's fabulous.

And sometimes, we see life and all its wisdom in one photo. For our 1-year old, she chooses to put a pail on. For me, if it were as easy, I think I would bury my head in the sand and run away from rainy weather (or perhaps financial woes and change and fear of failure and...)
Still, it's adorable. So much so, I forget all these other things, anyway!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Pancakes, Part 2

As a follow up to my entry about pancakes, I wanted to share just how yummy they were.
In this picture, Drew is holding up his plate of blueberry pancakes in syrup. Here are the girls after pancakes - happy little clams.

We had a great impromptu dinner. I think Janet is right - we'll have more of the same again, soon!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Yummy Challah!

Lola made Challah and it was almost as big as our monkey! This bread is wonderful. Especially right after it's cooled down "just enough" to still melt the butter as you're spreading it on a warm slice.

We are still enjoying the loaf. And I think my belly is turning into a loaf of soft bread. Not pretty.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Picking up my eldest from school today, we had to take an unusual route home and swing by our friend's house to pick up my youngest. As a favor, she watched our little toddler today. Sarah has two boys and naturally only "boy stuff".
Before dropping by, my 4-year old princess wanted to run home quickly and grab "girl toys".
What are girl toys, I asked? Oh, you know. Girl dress-up. Dolls. Girl's stuff.
Hmm, I said. Can't we be gender neutral? "Huh, mama?". Well, I guess not yet. Thank you Disney for pink and for princess STUFF.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Does your child growl?

I have two growlers. And I'm not talking about those big jugs of beer that you get for a screaming deal at local brewers. Although I think we have a about five of those sitting empty on the back porch. Both girls started out growling before talking. Today, one talks so much we cannot get a word in edge-wise, and the other just growls. She has a total of five or six words, but prefers growling as a form of communicating. Especially when she is being naughty. I think our dog has been a big influence in their language development.
Our dog has more influence than she believes!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pancakes for Supper

At some point in our lives, we come to accept that we must either embrace the chaos we live in, or we live a tortured life.

Well for me, I suppose, it's not always either/or - and it depends on the day! But mostly, with two extremely healthy kids, a big scary dog and two annoyingly needy cats, life couldn't get any better. Oh, and my super human husband who cooks AMAZING food every day!

Today after doing a swap-er-oo between work and kids, my Super Human Husband (SHH) mentioned pancakes for dinner. I was a little surprised because it's not something he ever says to me. I grew up having breakfast for dinner as a treat and especially when we didn't feel like cooking. But my hubby always has a plan. One night it's Pan Mee noodles, or it's homemade chinese shu mai and won ton soup, or maybe it's Korean bbq ribs or Filipino Adobo or Lasagne or..

Some of the amazing ideas come from the likes of Cooks Illustrated or existing cook books such as Moosewood. All in all, we love our resident chef.

So why pancakes? Well, he explained that today is Mardi Gras. Really? Already? Geesh time flies. So it's time to clear out the fridge of eggs and milk before lent. Although, we'll probably still have eggs and milk during lent...

So for dinner we are eating French Pancakes. Can you drink wine with breakfast when it's dinnertime?
Favorite $9 bottle

French Pancakes (From A Taste of Oregon)
1 1/2 cups flour   
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 Tablespoons powdered sugar
4 eggs
1 1/3 cups milk
2/3 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
Sour cream, butter, jam brown sugar, and fresh fruit
Powdered sugar

Sift together first four dry ingredients. Beat eggs Add milk, water and vanilla to eggs and beat together. Make well in dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients. Mix lightly, ignoring lumps. Pour onto hot griddle (batter is thin). Put sour cream, butter, jam, brown sugar and fresh fruit in bowls as toppings. Roll up pancakes and sprinkle powdered sugar.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Who needs Kleenex?

Who needs kleenex to wipe their nose? Certainly not my 1 year old. Any old thing will do. My sleeve, my pant leg, my pillow... And the list goes on.
Both kids have shared a nasty cold and now we big kids have it, too. All in time for Valentines Day. "Have a little runny nose on that bite of mochi, mom". I said sarcastically, as she was sharing it with our green-nosed monkey. Nope, she wouldn't listen to me. She ate it. And now she is suffering from a cold, too!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Italy or Bust

This year, we've been considering how to make a trip to Tuscany fit within our budget and schedule. Although I've been talking about it now for over 6 months, I'm only now just beginning to "concretize" our plans. We want to plan something for Fall. Here's what I've figured out so far:
  • Dates are filling fast in September. 
  • Villa rentals are spacious - found one that fits up to 12 AND for a 1 week commitment, it amounts to $3,000.
  • One villa I'm angling for has a swimming pool!
  • Airbnb or VRBO might have other good options.
  • Other venues in Italy or otherwise?
  • Weather in Fall? Need to dig in to see if it's nice. Otherwise I'll base a final decision on SUNSHINE.
Here's a link. What say you?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Kids Say the Darndest Things

My little Lady Bird, the 4-year old, comes pattering into my room one morning at some ungodly hour to snuggle. She nestles in close to me and then says, I brought my bunny to snuggle wif' us. I named her Valentine, cuz she has a heart on. I tried not to laugh because she is at that stage where she is extremely sensitive to ANYONE laughing at her. So I asked her to repeat it. Why did you name her Valentine? Because, she says, she has a heart on her. Oh, I say. A heart on her. (On her tummy, to be precise).
Lady Bird with Cujo
This evening, she earned two smiley face stickers on her chart for sharing her leap frog game with her sister. After adding her stickers, she asked for her pencil to write her "support". I watched her as she began to scribble a couple of lines with her pencil on her chart within the small box just above the sticker. That's her support. I have no idea what she thinks it means, but I believe she says it because it sounds important!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Frenzied Baking, Part 2

There are a few things to note about Butter Mochi if you decide you want to make it.
1. I think the square 12x12 glass pan I used was too deep.  Really find a pan that fits the dimensions below!
2. I used the low-fat organic coconut and the crust was thin, brittle and fell off.
3. Lisa tells me you can try to mix brown sugar and white sugar.
Good luck!
Butter Mochi
1 lb Mochiko flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 cup Butter, melted
3 cups Milk
5 Eggs beaten
1 tsp. vanilla extract
shredded coconut flakes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a large bowl combine mochiko, sugar, and baking powder.  Add in remaining ingredients (except coconut flakes) to mochiko mixture; mix well. Pour into a 13 x 9 x 2 inch pan.  Sprinkle shredded coconut flakes on top. You can put as little or as much as you like. Bake for 1 hour, and cool. Serves 24.

Baking Frenzy or Frenzied Baking?

After laughter and tears, I finally put down the book "The Help" and immediately decided I haven't baked in a long time (since Christmas). That book tugged at every heart string in addition to making me hungry for good food. And we all know that Paul is the cook, so I don't even try!
I decided I needed to use the Mochiko flour to make Butter Mochi, a recipe given to me by a co-worker and friend, Lisa. I also committed to making a pumpkin pie that dad was hankering to eat. Finally, I thought I might just use up the rest of the butterscotch chips from the holidays and make Chocolate Chip, Butterscotch Chip, Oatmeal, Coconut cookies. I ended up with an extra pie crust, and so, two days later, mom made a merengue topped banana cream pie, and she also felt inspired to make lemon bars. We are NOT lacking for baked goodies around here!

Butter Mochi

Banana Cream Pie with Merengue

Monkey decides she likes it better under the vet clinic doorway (out of the snow and wind).

Burning off treats (on a snow day)!

Chocolate & butterscotch chip oatmeal coconut cookies

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Look what I can do!

Yesterday morning, my little one woke up fussy (she's been sick and cranky). The minute she set eyes on her big sister, she was more cheerful and even smiled. Looking at the baby, my eldest said, "look, mama. She can do my trick!" What trick, I wondered. I looked at her as she was showing me her "trick". I then asked what she meant. She did it again. I realized that the trick was to move her eyes back and forth without turning her head. I looked at her and then we all laughed out loud.
Look what I can do!
In the car after school, she showed me her other tricks, including a dancing tongue and dancing teeth. Although too hard to share what that looked like, I'm always amazed by what my child is learning and communicating to us, every day!


I just got the first Anthropologie catalog for 2012 and it said "Renewal" on the cover and featured a beautiful, young, vibrant woman surrounded by nature. Her hair is blowing in the wind, she's wearing tight fitting capri's and a grey knit sweater.
She embodies everything to me that doesn't need renewal. She's young - doesn't need new boosts of collagen to appear more youthful. She looks well rested, NOT sleep deprived and in need of caffeine in copious amounts. AND, judging from her figure, she doesn't have an addiction to chocolate.

Yet the entire setting is so believable, I suppose we'd all like to renew ourselves by shopping at Anthropologie if we can believe we'd feel as good as she looks.

Having just endured a third night in a row of little sleep to the point where 7:00 a.m. is a painful wake up time, I've done what every frazzled mom would do. Find ways to cope. I had to get Elle ready to walk to ballet, drive Lily to the pediatrician and Paul left early for a regatta so it was a solo-deal for me. I have had 5 shots of espresso and about five chocolate kisses + 1 kinder schokolade (from Torsten) and 1 Emergen-C to ensure I don't get sick. Perfect diet of champions, especially for those of us who need about 24 hours of solid sleep to rejuvenate.

In order to survive this year, I have not made any new years resolutions to add extra pressure. However, I hope my 1-year old has made hers – to sleep through the night for the next 11 3/4 months.
Rejuvenating - Sleep!

Then I'll finally look like new, talk like new, and might even try to be a yummie mummie for my 2013 resolution!