Cookbook Crush: Date Night In

This episode of Cookbook Crush is especially special, as not only have I purchased this cookbook after my usual pre-reading via the local library, but I made three recipes from it within my first week of purchase.  Cha-Ching!  As such, it is definitely crush-worthy, and worth a look!

Date Night In is the brainchild of Seattle chef/baker Ashley Rodriguez, author of the popular food blog, Not Without Salt.  This cookbook reads as a smattering of heartfelt anecdotes, describing how amidst their hectic lives, both working full-time, and raising three kids, she and her husband Gabe felt the need to reconnect weekly in order to sustain their relationship.  However, not being able to afford pricy date nights out every week, they were forced to improvise. Hence, "date night in" was born.  They began having date nights every Thursday - meaning dinner for just the two of them - no kids allowed, enjoyed after their children were tucked away in bed.  

The cookbook is organized in a series of complete meals portioned for two people, in addition to timelines for prep in the days ahead, handy lists of ingredients needed to complete the meal, and notations relaying the significance of the recipes chosen.  Now often, I skip the little blurbs in cookbooks, after all I'm here for the recipes, right?  But no, not with this one.  Ashley's cookbook reads like a love letter to both her craft and her family, and it's emotion is palpable and inspiring.  

So far, I've made maple-coriander carrots, apple radicchio slaw, and strawberry shortcake trifle, with about a dozen other recipes bookmarked for future endeavors.  All were superb and I find myself actually excited to read and reread this cookbook again and again, it's truly that good!

Happy cooking!


Quote of the Week

"What a comfort it is, this way of love!  You may stumble on it, you may fail to correspond with grace given, but love knows how to make the best of everything."
 St. Thérèse of Lisieux


Friday Fun

+ Hanna Andersson's beautiful new bedding line

+ how cute is this goose print onesie?

+ a new take on the classic egg-in-a-hole, affectionately called "eggs-in-jail"

+ reusable grocery tote for the impulse buyer

+ really want to tackle this cake, if only to say I made it from scratch

+ 100% natural tampons, makes you wonder how natural the others are...

+ my favorite new instagram feed (she has the best hair)

Have a great weekend!

Baby Bump #2

So...I have some news to share!  We are expecting our 2nd child in mid-October.  I realize that's not too far off and I'm a little behind in getting this news up on the blog, but I'm attributing my delays in posting to traveling and chasing my darling toddler around.  

We are waiting to find out whether the baby is a boy or girl - different than we did the first time around.  As such, deciding on a name is slightly more challenging, and we have yet to officially select names, but we do have a short list for both boy and girl names that we agree upon - most days.

We are very excited and happy to give our daughter a little brother or sister!


Bread Making 101

Now that I'm feeling increasingly confident with my pie making skills, I want to add another basic to my baking skill set - bread making.  Have you seen all the sugar and processed ingredients in bread these days?! Seriously, look at the ingredient label on your bread!  It's crazy how many ingredients are in there that shouldn't be - should soy really be in bread?  Half of them I can hardly pronounce! 

I want to be able to know what's truly in the food I'm feeding my family.  Bread seems daunting but so did pie crust, and really it's flour, water, salt, yeast, and a little time, right?  At least, that's what I'm hoping.  To jumpstart my journey into bread making, I added a few staples from the experts to my queue at the library, The Bread Baker's Apprentice, Flour Salt Water Yeast, and The New Artisan Bread.  

So...who's with me?  Anyone else make bread at home?


Quote of the Week

"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom."
-- Marcel Proust 


The Pie Project #7 - Peach Blueberry Pie

This morning, we went blueberry picking at a local patch with some friends and our little ones.  Pretty sure my daughter ate her weight in berries, but she had just as much fun running around the patch, dodging my husband as he tried to capture a few candid photos.  We ended up giving up after a meager 45 minutes, given how hot the 10:00 AM sun was, this Seattle heat wave is no joke!  However, I did end up with enough blueberries for a sweet after dinner dessert.  

Granted, 94 degree days are not meant for oven usage, but I was determined, so during nap time, I made a peach blueberry, and what a sweaty effort it was.   

Past Pies * one * two * three * four * five * six 


Friday Fun

+ delicious plates for a fresh summer dinner

+ how cool is this skylodge in Peru

+ pretzel and hot dog wrapping paper

+ speaking of pretzels and hot dogs, these are pretty cute

+ isn't this polka dot cake the cutest?

+ eyeing these BLT lettuce wraps

Quote of the Week

"'Dear old world,' she murmured, 'you are very lovely and I'm glad to be alive in you.'"
~ L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Dinner Last Night: Broccolini Pizza

Finally I'm back from three consecutive weekends of travel.  First Michigan to visit my husband's family, then Alaska for a wedding, and then LA for my close girlfriend and sorority sister's wedding.  Phew!  It was fun to celebrate our friends but am I glad to be home!

Back to our meal planning - we ate this pizza for dinner Sunday night.  I subbed in broccolini for broccoli rabe since we were given a huge bunch from my parents. During the summer months we usually cook homemade pizza on the grill (using this grill pan), giving it that deliciously uber crispy bottom crust!

In case you're in need for some meal inspiration, check out the rest of the blog from where this recipe originated, Marin Mama Cooks, she's got some delish, easy weeknight recipes!