Wednesday, July 29, 2009

More Words

Some more Gisèle-isms, (and pictures of her cute shoes:)

Straw-babies - Strawberries
Boo-babies - Blueberries
Wassle/waddle - Waffle
DIP! - anything from syrup to guacamole to sour cream
ABB - H.E.B. (the grocery store - her favorite place)
Lello - her favorite color, yellow

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Goat Cheese Salad

Yes, I love goat cheese. LOVE it. This is quite possibly my favorite salad ever - and it's easy! When making this as a dinner for 2 people (Jamie and I both love it), I use most of 1 bag of salad mix, about 2/3 a can of chopped or sliced new potatoes, and 1 small log (or a bit more than half of a big log) of goat cheese.

Goat Cheese Salad

salad mix (I like either baby spinach, or field greens)
cooked new potatoes, either chopped or sliced (canned is fine)
goat cheese (I like plain, but herbed would probably be good, also)
1 egg
bread crumbs (about 1/2 a cup)
olive oil
dijon mustard
balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper

-First, preheat the broiler.
-Cut thick rounds of goat cheese from the log, and flatten each round between 2 sheets of waxed paper. I like 4 rounds per person/salad.
-Crack the egg into a bowl, and mix the bread crumbs with salt & pepper in another bowl.
-Dip each goat cheese disc in the egg, and then coat in bread crumbs.
-Put the breaded discs on a foil-lined cookie sheet, and drizzle with olive oil.
-Broil the discs until the tops are golden brown, about 5 minutes - watch closely to make sure they don't burn.
-While they're broiling, arrange the salad mix on plates, and top with the potatoes.
-Make a simple vinaigrette with the dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper, & olive oil.
-When the discs are ready, top each salad with 4, and then drizzle the dressing on top.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Weekend Mornings

There's something special about weekend mornings. Lately, Jamie has been waking me up, and then going to get Gisèle from her room. I listen to them on the monitor, singing, chanting "No more monkeys jumping on the bed!", talking about her blanket or bed, changing her diaper... and then Jamie brings her back to our room.

I lay there in bed, and they appear in the doorway, where Gisèle grins and says "hi, Mama!" Jamie plops her down on the bed between us, and she'll crawl over the mound of pillows and blankets to give me a big, wet kiss on the lips. She'll then brush her hair out of her eyes with one quick swipe of her hand, and lounge back against Jamie while sucking her thumb. We'll stay in bed, just the three of us, for 5-10 minutes. We'll ask her if she slept well ("Yeah!") and whether or not she'd like waffles for breakfast ("and DIP!?"), and she'll go through a few choruses of "No More Monkeys Jumping on the Bed!" Anytime she has something she particularly wants to tell me, she'll lean in REALLY close to my face to emphasize her point.

After a while, she's ready to go play, and she'll tell us that - "Play? Color?" We'll remind her about the waffles ("DIP!"), and then it'll be time to get out of bed and start the day.

I love weekend mornings. :)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Gisèle has unique way of counting. She knows how to count 1-10, and does very well if you count along with her. If you ask her to count by herself (or if she breaks into counting without prompting, which happens often), this is what you get:

1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 10, 8, 9, 10, 8, 9, 10, 8, 9, 10, 8, 9, 10... until something else catches her interest.

I wonder what 5 and 7 have done to deserve banishment in her mind?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Cherry Brown Butter Bars

These are from a great website, Smitten Kitchen. The cherries are yummy in them - my first time baking with cherries, and I'm pleasantly surprised. :) The recipe calls for using parchment paper to line the baking pan, but you could probably just use some baking spray.

**This recipe will be a lot easier to make if you have a cherry pitter. I found one at Bed, Bath, & Beyond that pits 4 cherries at once and was $15.

Cherry Brown Butter Bars

7 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/3 c sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 c plus 1 Tbsp flour
pinch of salt

1/2 c sugar
2 eggs
pinch of salt
1/4 c flour
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c unsalted butter, diced
12 oz fresh cherries, pitted

Make crust:
-Preheat oven to 375. Line an 8x8 inch square baking pan with parchment paper.
-Using a rubber spatula or fork, mix melted butter, sugar, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Add the flour and salt and stir to combine.
-Use your fingers to press the dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake until golden, about 18 minutes. Transfer pan to a cooling rack. (Keep the oven on at 375.)

Make filling:
-Cook the butter in a heavy small saucepan (a lighter-colored one will make it easier to see when the butter is ready) over medium heat until the butter is a deep nutty brown. Stir it often to be sure it doesn't burn. When it's the right color (it will smell a bit like butterscotch), pour immediately into a glass measuring cup to cool slightly.
-Whisk the sugar, eggs, and salt in a medium bowl to blend. Add the flour and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Gradually whisk in the browned butter until well-blended.
-Arrange the pitted cherries onto the cooled crust. Carefully pour the filling mixture evenly over the fruit.
-Bake until puffed and golden, and a toothpick in the middle comes out clean, about 40 minutes.
-Cool completely in the pan.
-These can be stored at room temperature for a day; after that, refrigerate them.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday Thoughts

I LOVE being pregnant. Even with all of the uncomfortable-ness that goes along with it. There's something about being part of a miracle that awes me every time I think about it. I love having a little buddy along with me all day. Baby Boy is big enough now that I can press on his foot/knee/hand/butt and have him press back. Gisèle gets to feel him move more often now, and he's even cooperating enough for Jamie to feel him quite a bit. We bought a little romper the other day and I can already picture his chubby little legs (I just know he'll have chubby legs) sticking out of it as he learns to pull up to standing in the spring/summer. I love being a mom!

My birthday is coming up, but I keep forgetting about it since I have so much else on my mind. The biggest thing occupying my brain is the dilemma of what to do with Gisèle when I go to the hospital to deliver Baby Boy. I can't seem to come up with a solution that makes me happy. Luckily, I should have at least 2, if not 3 more months before I have to have a plan in place. The other thing I can't stop thinking about is Baby Boy's name. I'm starting to feel like we'll never be able to come up with something we both like, and - this could just be pregnancy hormones - it makes me tear up when I think about the fact that he still doesn't have a name.

Fridays are fun work days. Almost all of the pastors are out of the office, so it's a lot quieter. The ladies of the staff have breakfast together every Friday, taking turns to bring something. (It was my week this week - quiche and Blueberry Crumb Bars.) We have a fun breakfast, taking time to catch up with each other, before getting to work. Even with the time out for breakfast, Friday is probably the most productive day of the week here.

When the Friday workday ends, it's time for the weekend! Jamie and I always have a lot to do, since we don't seem to have time for anything during the week, but we try to plan at least 1 thing each day that is just focused on Gisèle, whether it's a morning at the park before grocery shopping, or an afternoon at home doing nothing but playing with her. I feel like my real life happens on the weekend, since that's when I get to spend time with my family. about 4 more hours until real life begins. :)

Now It's time to grab something for lunch and get back to work. I'll put up the Cherry Brown Butter Bars recipe soon - finally uploaded the pictures.

I'll close with one of my favorite early pictures of Gisèle:

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A snapshot of my life

Chick Fil-A gave me 2 orders of fries, and when I pointed it out, they told me to keep them! yay! 30 seconds later, I get out to my car, drop the bag, and half the fries spill into the parking lot. (sigh) As Jamie said, "Classic, dear, classic."

Monday, July 13, 2009

Baby Brother

Gisèle has understood for a while now that there is a baby (Baby Brother) in Mama's tummy. I explained that he was growing in Mama's tummy, but had to stay there until he was big enough to come out. One day a couple weeks ago he started kicking, and I asked her if she wanted to feel him move. She nodded, a little confused, and Jamie and I showed her how to put her hand flat on my belly. As soon as he kicked her hand, she jumped backwards with a stunned expression on her face. It took a few minutes before she asked to feel him again.

She has felt Baby Brother move a few times now, and each time she's COMPLETELY shocked. He somehow knows when it's her hand on my belly - he'll always kick directly at it, even though he tends to avoid everyone else's but mine. Now that she really understands that there's a baby there, she likes to go around insisting that "Baby Brudder OUT." And then she'll smile and make the "small" motion with her hands and agree with me that he's too little right now. It's going to be fun watching them interact as he grows!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Lost in Translation (Answers)

Here are the answers!

"Chair-air-bees" - CHERRIES

"Yell!" - GISELE

"Wipe" - WHITE

"Bode" - BIRD

"Flutter" - FLOWER

"Pokey Ducks" - POLKA DOTS

"Mann-et" - BLANKET

"Buy" - BAG

Yes, she's adorable. :)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Lost in Translation

Gisèle is quite a talker, and has a huge vocabulary. Some of her words, though, are probably only understandable to her Mama and Daddy. Can you guess what these words are?






"Pokey Ducks"



Answers coming in the next post!

Monday, July 6, 2009

THE Cake

This is INCREDIBLY rich, and SO good. It will put you in a chocolate coma. It even puts ME in a chocolate coma. Have a small piece with a big glass of milk. It's a bit of work, and makes a large cake, so have company over when you make it!

Dark Chocolate Cake:

8 oz unsweetened chocolate
3/4 c olive oil
2 c sugar
4 eggs
1 c powdered sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c cocoa powder
1 c flour
1 c buttermilk
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda

-Preheat oven to 375, and (heavily) grease 2 9-inch cake pans.
-In a microwave, melt the chocolate with the olive oil. Once melted, pour into mixer bowl and beat until smooth. Add sugars and eggs and beat until well-creamed. Add remaining ingredients, and beat just until they're all incorporated.
-Pour into cake pans and bake 26-28 minutes, just until center of cake springs back to touch.
-Cool completely in pans before inverting onto a cooling rack. Make the filling.

Dark Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse Filling:

1 c whipping cream
1/4 c sugar
1 c 60% bittersweet cacao chips
8 oz mascarpone cheese

-In a large bowl, whip the cream until fluffy. Add sugar and mascarpone and whip until smooth.
-In a small bowl, melt the chocolate chips in the microwave. Cool to the touch, then add to the whipping cream mixture and beat until light and fluffy. Spoon carefully on top of the bottom layer of the cake (there's A LOT of filling) and then top with the second layer of cake.
-Refrigerate until ready to frost.

Dark Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:

1 pint heavy cream
11 1/2 oz 60% bittersweet cacao chips
1/2 c butter, softened
4-5 cups powdered sugar

-In a medium saucepan, melt the chocolate chips into the heavy cream until a thick, smooth ganache forms, stirring constantly.
-Refrigerate ganache until chilled.
-When chilled, remove ganache from fridge and beat in the butter and powdered sugar until the frosting is a spreadable consistency. Frost, and chill cake until 15 minutes before serving.
-Store cake in fridge.

*this makes A LOT of frosting - I only used about 1/2 on my cake.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Good day

We had such a good day today with Gisèle! We started by going out to breakfast, which we never seem to get the opportunity to do. Before we left, we told Gisèle that she could eat pancakes at the restaurant, and the entire trip there was spent with her saying "Mama, Daddy, paa-cake!" So we ordered a plate of silver-dollar pancakes for her. And she ate the ENTIRE thing. Long after we had finished, she was happily dipping her pancakes into the syrup and gobbling them up.

She charms everyone she meets. At the restaurant, she made sure to wave and say "hi!" to everyone who passed by, grinning at them like they were the person she most wanted to see in the entire world. She did the same at the grocery store later. Getting a piece of fresh pineapple is her special treat at the store, and she loves to point it out to everybody she sees. She'll hold out her chunk of pineapple and say "apple!!" to each person we pass - multiple times if they don't immediately acknowledge her. Luckily, she's cute enough that no one seems to mind.

Our other outing today was to Target, where we picked up some shoes for her. Water shoes (for Splash Day Fridays at school), flip-flops (since she's outgrown her current ones), and some pink Converse sneakers (just 'cause they were cute.) She loves shoes, and while I pushed the cart through the shoe section, we both happily sing-songed "shoes, shoes, shoes!"

We finished the day at home, where she put her babydoll down for "night-night" several times, read lots of books, colored, and was tickled by her daddy. We also got the chance to Skype with Nana, Papa, Meme, Pepe, and Aunt Michelle and Uncle Tim. She was tired by that point, but spent the 15 minutes after our video call repeating everyone's name aloud, and letting Mama and Daddy know that she had talked to them on the "puter."

All in all, a very good day. We've been blessed with such a happy girl!

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