{Sundays with the Babe} Quilt Love and Good News.

This past week my Mom's friend and mine, Annie, was in town from La Jolla.  She brought with her this beautiful quilt and also Lucinda Quinn's book, Mad Hungry, as well as a donut cake pan which will be fun to bring out for special occasions!  Annie and my Mom have been friends for years and years and with that Annie has known me quite some time as well.  I can't wait to see Anderson playing on this quilt or being wrapped up in it when he's a bit older watching a movie.

In other (good) news, it just so happened that my Mom's friend who is a decorator stopped by with a painter while my Mom was working away at helping Benjamin strip the crib.  You can see where this is going- the crib is now in the hands of a painter who will spray paint it.  Hooray!  We're out of town several weekends this next month and Anderson isn't slowing down his arrival so it's a definite blessing to know the crib will be done sooner.

With this news I may just have the nursery semi put together in the coming week and a half!  Once everything is in there it'll be fun to work on the details- like hanging pictures and putting little books in the shelves and putting away clothes in the drawers...

With the weeks coming closer to "full term" I'm getting really excited to meet Anderson.  All his little kicks and nudges inside have me more and more excited to hold him in my arms and watch him grow.  I don't want him to grow up too fast though- I know we'll be exhausted but I also know we'll cherish all the moments holding him close. 

{Fridays in Wine Country} Oysters, a Really Good Winery, and Growing Veg

A few days into our stay we asked the concierge about good day trips.  We wanted to get out a bit and Benjamin wanted to drive the mini as much as possible.  Thanks to someone we met at William Hill, we learned of a road with lots of twists and turns that would be fun to drive on in route to our destination.  Fun for Benjamin, not so fun for me.

We made it up around and through the mountains and headed straight for Hog Island Oysters.  You may have seen their name if you're in the area, especially northern California where you can find their oysters at many a location.  We wanted to go straight to the farm in Marshall and were glad to go during the week when reserving a picnic table is easy.  During weekends it can be hard to get a table so make sure you call and reserve one before you go!

Once there we took our seats and cracked open a bottle of wine we have recently purchased at Conn Creek.  Little did we know they would have local wine and cheese there as well!  Benjamin enjoyed getting us some oysters and eating them with some hot sauce of course.

We all know I'm partial to the West and this trip gave me yet another reason.  Apparently Pacific oysters aren't as briny.  The ones we had that day were sweet and delicious.  I really don't like a briny oyster, and apparently those can be found more on the Atlantic.  Just saying...

On the way home we stopped off at a park that had a trail.  Let's note we didn't have an iphone at this point but were told the ocean was really close.  False.  We walked for a bit then turned home and drove through Pt. Reyes where of course I'm still hitting myself that we didn't get out and go eat all the Cowgirl Creamy cheese possible.

On another afternoon we also headed north and went to Cuvaison Winery, an excellent little spot with fabulous wine.  If money grew on trees this would be a winery I'd drink from lots.  I'd always have their wine on hand.  I'm not a port lover but they had one that was incredible, as well as other reds which we absolutely loved.  If you're up near Calistoga stop in there, or head to their tasting room in Napa.

Back towards the hub we headed into Robert Sinskey where they pair each wine with a small plate.  It's a larger winery but still fun to stop in to and taste their goods.  Upon leaving I wandered through their garden and thought, "of course, of course you have vegetables just growing for your kitchen right in front of your winery..."

Blackberry Shortbread Squares

I went blackberry and peach picking yesterday and came home with a bounty of each.  The fruit was so fresh and the berries so delicious I knew if I was going to make something with them I had to do it right away, before I ate them all...

Flipping through my cookbooks I came across this picture, checked the ingredients, and thanks to having them all on hand went ahead and made these.  They're rather light and could be enjoyed with a cup of tea (iced) and may have been part of my breakfast this morning.

Of course when they were first out of the oven they were enjoyed with vanilla ice cream.  Are you sensing a theme here?

{Recipe thanks to and adapted from Martha Stewart's Dinner at Home}

{Ingredients You'll Need}

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 2/3 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioner's sugar, plus more for dusting
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 pints or about 4 cups blackberries
1.  Preheat oven to 350.  Butter and flour a 9x13 inch pan.  Place the almonds in a skillet and just toast them for 2-3 minutes over medium heat.  Remove the almonds from the heat then chop them up.

2. Mix together the almonds, flour, salt, and cinnamon.

3. In an electric mixer beat the butter and 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon confectioners sugar for 3 minutes.  Mix in the vanilla extract then add in the flour mixture in 2 batches until crumbly dough forms.

4.  Press all but 1 cup of the dough into the bottom of the pan and then scatter berries on top.  Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar then crumble remaining 1 cup of dough on top.

5.  Bake for 45 minutes.  Let cool then serve, dusting with additional confectioners' sugar.

Blueberry Crumble Pie

Here's a great and easy pie and crumble in one.  Use some pre-made pie dough (or make your own), add the berries and sprinkle with the crumbly top.

The best of both worlds where your love of pie and crumbly toppings meet.  Of course this needs to be served warm and with vanilla ice cream.

I'd store this into a no-fuss recipe category and also one that is good for guests, as I found out Monday night. Everyone loved it and I loved how simple it was.

{Recipe thanks to and adapted from Bon Appetit}

{Ingredients You'll Need}

  • 1 thawed pre-made pie crust
  • 2/3 cups plus 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 5 cups (1 pound 10 ounces) fresh blueberries
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1.  You're going to start off by making the crust.  If you have it made you still need to par-bake it and use pie weights if you have them!  Place the thawed pie dough into a 9" pie dish and then pop it into the freezer for up to 30 minutes so it will be firm.  Preheat your oven to 375.

2.  When the pie dough is cold and in place put a layer of parchment on top and weigh it down with your pie weights.  Place on the middle rack of your oven and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove the parchment and weights and bake for about 5-10 minutes longer.  Check at 5 minutes.  If the crust is golden, so are you.  Remove the pie crust and allow it to cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes.

3.  While the pie crust is cooling make your filling.  Whisk 2/3 cup sugar, cornstarch, and lemon zest in a large bowl.  Add blueberries and lemon juice, toss, and allow to sit for 20-30 minutes, tossing ocassionally if you'd like.

4.  Whisk the flour, remaining white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl.  Add the melted butter and mix with a fork to blend until crumbly.

5.  At this point your crust should have cooled some.  Pour the berries into the crust and then sprinkle with the topping.  Bake pie until bubbly, about 1 hour 15 minutes.  Check the pie after 30 minutes and if it's browning too much add foil on top so that the crust won't get too brown.  Check again after 45 minutes and you should be ready to enjoy!

Goat Cheese and Swiss Chard Pasta

Dare I add the word Casserole onto the end of this recipe and some of you may turn away.  Dare I tell you I used corning ware and you may wonder what that is....

Here's another recipe sent to me by the same friend that shared the creamy zuke pasta with me.  She has kids but still enjoys cooking and so I take her recipe recommendations very seriously.  She's never sent or shared something with me I didn't like.  In fact, many a night in Santa Barbara I was happy to partake of a meal with them when I happened to still be hanging out around dinner time.

This recipe wouldn't scream kid friendly but I did share it with an almost 3 year old and she wanted more.  Probably the creamy goat cheese and the kidney beans.  The flavors are strong but not too overpowering and of course you could tone it up or down where you'd like.  

Benjamin added some red pepper flakes to his which was a great addition and good suggestion I'd add to the sauce for next time if you want some heat in there.

Do you love the corning ware I used thanks to my Mom?  This stuff if classic, as is the word casserole.

{Recipe thanks to a friend and adapted from the Kitchn}

{Ingredients You'll Need}
  • 1 large head Swiss chard
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 28 ounce can well-drained plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 pound whole wheat pasta of your choice
  • 3/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons olive tapenade
  • 3 tablespoons capers
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1. Rinse the Swiss chard, drain well, and chop it into pieces.

2.  Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the package directions.  Drain when al dente as it will have time to cook more in the oven.

3.  Preheat your oven to 375 then heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté a few minutes then stir in the garlic, add the tomatoes, and then add the Swiss chard. Cook for about 8 minutes or until the chard has just wilted.  Don't overcook the charge.  Just when it wilts you're good.
4. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the goat cheese, kidney beans, olive tapenade, capers and half the amount of parmesan. Fold in the cooked pasta and season well with salt and pepper.
5. Pour the pasta mixture into a casserole dish and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan. Bake until heated all the way through, about 15 to 18 minutes.

Although you have to turn your oven on for this one, it won't be in there long so it's still doable during the heat of summer!

{Sundays with the Babe} The Shrinking Bear

Once again when I look back at the week I think about all that we've done.  These weekly posts are good for me for the hormonal third trimester moments I have all too often right now and the anxiety that comes with wanting the nursery to be done and things to be set for a baby that'll be here in 2 months.  To some people it sounds like any day when I tell them when I'm due.  "Oh!  Soon!!!"  

Anderson "attended" his first wedding and either loved it or thought, "Mom, where the heck did you just take me?!?!"  He was kicking the whole night and only time will tell what he thought about it as we learn his personality in the coming months.

He also got a bear from his daddy.  For the past few weeks Benjamin has mentioned a bear and asked when he should get him his bear.  While in Chagrin for the wedding we popped into a store and got this bear.  We hope he likes him.  We plan to copy a friend of mine's great idea and do posts called, "The Shrinking Bear."  It'll be fun to measure his growth and watch the bear get smaller as he gets bigger!

We also got a vintage towel rack and some cute hangers so I can showcase the adorable clothes Benjamin wore when he was little in the nursery.  Can't wait to see it all come together, but until then I'm trying to not be anxious!

In other news, the dresser is done and in place and soon the crib project will begin.  When the dresser was set in place I may have cried.  What can I say, I cry at just about anything these days.  We watched Cinderella Man this weekend and I cried.  Then I saw the dresser and cried. Earlier in the week I cried when my friend walked down the aisle.  I'm pretty sure I'll be crying when Anderson is born too- pretty sure Benjamin will as well....

{GIVEAWAY} and the Winner Is...

{Congratulations, Annemarie!}

You are the lucky winner of this fabulous apron chosen by random.org!  Annemarie entered by saying...

"Ummmm, hello....it's got polka dots....it's so mine! :) I have always loved Teresa's aprons and am so happy for her shop! I'd love to wear it, tell all my friends about it, and keep her super busy!!"

Sad you didn't win?  Take heart- The Ruffled Bird Shop is open and other aprons or drapes or tablecloths could be yours!  

{Fridays in Wine Country} to Thomas

We couldn't go to Napa and Sonoma and not eat as much of Thomas Keller's food as possible- for our budget.  Keller is one of the best, if not the best chefs, around and I knew I for sure wanted to eat at Ad Hoc over our honeymoon.  I'd heard amazing things and so we added Bouchon to the list and of course had to stop into Bouchon Bakery one morning too.  The French Laundry was a bit out of our price range and shall remain the case until maybe our 50th anniversay...maybe.

I had eaten at Bouchon Bakery in NYC and Vegas but not the real deal in Yountville, which is by the way super idyllic and worth walking around even if you don't eat at one of the many amazing restaurants there.  It was hard to resist all the amazing pastries but we settled on some lattes and croissants and enjoyed them outside while we watched the line grow and many others head in to get their fix.

Ad Hoc for dinner is something I'd make a must.  In fact, I could probably eat there twice next time we go.  You pay a fixed rate and don't know the menu that evening.  Everything is served family style.  We were so lucky to get the best heirloom tomato salad of our lives and roast beef.  There were other things but I'm forgetting them.  I think some incredible potato concoction and then a dessert that we had to scarf down despite our full bellies.  We enjoyed the meal with a bottle of M5, one of my absolute favorite wines from Santa Barbara.  I think it's safe to say Benjamin and I were very much in love one wine tasting afternoon when we went to Curtis and were happy to see Doug Margerum of Margerum wine pouring M5 and many of his other great wines outside the winery.  If you see it on a wine list, order it.

Bouchon was our fine dining experience of the trip.  The bread and butter alone at the beginning of the meal will have you swooning.  Benjamin ordered duck which was appropriate and served in a copper dish that costs well over $200.  Oh, Thomas.  The restaurant itself is pretty packed in despite the intimate lighting.  Next time I'd come with a less full stomach and would probably even share something.  Delicious of course, but the California casual atmosphere of Ad Hoc is just more us.

With all of the amazing food we had to swing through the CIA where I got incredibly excited to be walking on the grounds.  We peeked into a class and their gift shop had me smiling real big.  To me it was what walking into an amazing car dealership is for Benjamin.  I was happy to look at all the cook's tools and walk away with a little souvenir dish with the emblem on it to rest my tea bag on.

All the amazing food we had definitely makes cooking at home less exciting.  Thankfully Benjamin got me Ad Hoc at Home and we can make our way through the recipes in there over the years.  

Creamy Leek, Mushroom and Zucchini Pasta

Yesterday was one of those days where I really didn't want to make dinner.  The news said it felt like 114 and then the national news said, "and one of the worst places for the heat wave is Washington DC."  Lovely.

Not so long ago my parents would call telling me of the heat and humidity and I'd be happily going to the beach thinking, "we all make choices in life.."  Oh naivete.  We fall in love with an Air Force man and go where the jobs take us.

I know I said a few days ago that I wasn't eating cream sauces these days, but this one is different.  It's basically vegetables and wine then sour cream added in at the last moment.  It's super simple and won't have you sweating in the kitchen thanks to minimal cooking time and no oven required.

This recipe was sent to me by a friend who loves food like I do.  When she said it was a good one, I knew I had to make it.  It's inspired by her vegetable box and I just tweaked the recipe she sent a bit.

{Creamy Leek, Mushroom, and Zucchini Pasta}

{Ingredients you'll Need}

  • 1 lb whole wheat penne, cooked
  • 2 medium leeks, sliced
  • 1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced.
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 10 ounces sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 1 generous cup of sour cream
  • ¼ cup of dry white wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon of salt.
1.  Boil water for pasta and once it's ready for the pasta start the sauce.  The pasta should take about 11 minutes or so which is how long the sauce will take!

2.  Discard the green part of leeks and slice thinly. Also slice the zukes and get those ready.  Heat olive oil in a skillet then add the leeks, mushrooms, and zucchini.  Season with a little salt and pepper and saute for 5 minutes.

3. Add the dry white wine and simmer for another 5 minutes.  Stir in the cream, thyme, and salt.  Bring to a boil and simmer until slightly thickened just a minute or two.

4.  Spoon sauce over prepared pasta and enjoy with the rest of the wine!

{GIVEAWAY} Apron by The Ruffled Bird!

I'm incredibly excited about this week's giveaway for many reasons.  Because her Etsy shop is new, because she's super talented, and because she's my mother-in-law.  Teresa is incredibly gifted and for months we've been talking about her having an Etsy store.  When she came to visit the other week we got down to it and put one together for her.

roman shade she made for my kitchen

Aprons, tablecloths, drapes, roman shades, children's clothing and more, she does it all.  She made several aprons for me and for my bridesmaids which you can see in the shop.  Have a special request?  She can most likely do it, and exceed your expectations in the process.

Today, because of her amazing generosity she's giving away this fun pink and green apron.  I love the dots and the burst of color.  The loop for your kitchen towel is essential and means you won't have to rub your dirty hands on the fresh apron!

I know you want it!  
{Here's How to Enter}

  1. Leave a comment on this blog post about why you should be so lucky to sport this in your kitchen
  2. Leave me your email so I'll be able to contact you if you win or email laurabeth @ lbsgoodspoon.com
{For Additional Entries}
  1. Go ahead and make The Ruffled Bird a Favorite of yours on Etsy
  2. Like the LB's Good Spoon Facebook Page
  3. Contact me if you do either of the above so you'll be entered 2 or 3 times!
The giveaway is available for US Residents only and is open from Wednesday 7.20 until Friday 7.22.  The winner will be announced on Saturday!

An Ode to Summer

I really don't want this season to end.  I love filling my belly up with watermelon and cherries and roasting beets. It's a good time to be pregnant for sure, heat aside, because you end up consuming super healthy things instead of cream sauces and heavy comfort food that I'll be eating lots of come October.

Are you enjoying summer?  Hope so.  Seems as though the weeks are flying by so we have to hang onto it with every ounce...

Salmon with Bok Choy and Mushrooms

Hello delicious dish I made in May and am just now telling you about.  It's true.  I have a folder called, "to blog" and this one was sitting in there until today.  We just got bok choy in our vegetable box so I thought you should go ahead and have this recipe on hand in case you're picking up bok choy or wondering what you'd do with it if you did.

According to Bon Appetit this is called Salmon "Bulgogi."  Technically it's a Korean dish where beef is used, but here salmon is used.  If you have Asian seasonings on hand this is a good recipe to make to use some of those up.  If you're like me you got some Asian seasonings when a friend moved and so I was happy to use the chili-garlic sauce I inherited.

I'd make this again for sure.  In fact, a week after I made it I was at a restaurant where a similar dish was on the menu.  I think the chef had been reading Bon Appetit too.  This fish and vegetables are super light resulting in a satisfying but not too heavy of a dish at all.

{Recipe thanks to Bon Appetit}

{Ingredients You'll Need}

  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and divided
  • 1/3 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Rice Wine or Sherry
  • 1 3/4 inch cube peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
  • 4 salmon fillets
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large bok choy, cut into strips
  • 4 ounces shitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps sliced
1. Preheat oven to 500.  Blend 1 garlic clove and next 7 ingredients in a food processor.  Arrange salmon on a dish and spoon the marinade over top.  Let stand for 5 minutes then bake on a rimmed baking sheet for about 8 minutes, until opaque.  

2.  With the remaining marinade, place it into a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil then set aside for the glaze.

3.  In a skillet heat oil then add the bok choy and mushrooms.  Press in 1 garlic clove and then stir fry everything until wilted, about 4 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.

4.  Divide vegetables and top with salmon.  Brush the fish with extra glaze and eat up.

{Sundays with the Babe} Showered with Love

Oh my. What a beautiful shower was had this past weekend for little Anderson.  He is one loved little boy and I am so thankful for the generous and lovely friends that were there and those who threw this party.

I keep thinking about the food, which I'm sure they'd be happy to hear.  The petit fours were incredible.  I'd chose one of those over a cupcake any day.  Also the cookie favors not only looked adorable but were super tasty as well.  Kara made my favorite brownies and MaryZ made awesome lemon bars.

All the little touches were so cute and he got some adorable outfits both new and old.  Benjamin's Mom brought a box of baby clothes that were his, including his coming home outfit.  Too precious.  I have now decided we'll be needing a cute hanger to showcase his clothes which are too cute to put away in drawers.

He also got lots of airplane themed things, one outfit which was purchased by a friend before we even knew if it was a boy or girl.  She said she knew, and with 4 kids under her belt I pretty much believed her.

One of the most comical parts of the shower was opening my Mom's gift.  She decided with Benjamin's Mom there is would be a good time to talk about who was going to be a better grandma.  The jokes were flying and Mamma T had wrapped all of Anderson's presents so adorably.  Then came my Mom's present- wrapped in black floral wrapping paper.  Too funny.  She says since the present was for me she didn't have to wrap it in baby paper.  The present was for me- a nice new blue robe and such that'll come in handy for the hospital!

Thank you so much to all who were there, all who planned it, and those praying for our baby Anderson!