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A Roasted Tomato Love Affair

Saturday, September 28, 2013

I bought a couple of cartons of cherry tomatoes at the grocery store. Mainly because they were on sale, but also because they were pretty. Reds, and yellows, and orange... oh my! Fall on my plate.

Problem is, I wasn't sure what to do with them. I love them fresh, but not enough to pop them like candy. After all, the season has changed. It's fall now. If it's not covered in melty cheese, or spread over a rustic sourdough, or baked and carb-y and hot and cozy, I'm not eating it. (I'm only kind of joking).

In a desperate attempt to save-the-tomatoes before they went bad, I ended up slow roasting them whole for like two hours, and stirring them in with some brown rice pasta and fresh parmesan.

So good. I was pretty happy with my efforts.

So, I did the same thing a couple weeks ago -- bought two cartons of cherry tomatoes with the intention of making fresh fall-y sauce, or something super delicious to serve over pasta. Yeah, never did it. They were still sitting on my counter, so I got out my laptop for the perfect roasting recipe. The last time I roasted the tomatoes, they were really good -- but they didn't quite caramelize like I thought they would. I knew there had to be something I could do better this time.

They were still sitting on my counter, so in order to avoid them going bad, I did a quick search for some easy recipes that called for, like, two pounds of cherry tomatoes. (I overbuy, clearly).

Found this one, and I was inspired. I didn't have garlic, so I subbed rosemary and some extra salt + pepper. Mixed with quinoa, this time, and some fresh shredded parm.


Perfection. Cutting them in half allowed them to cook MORE, and caramelize like I wanted. I love all things rosemary, so the added flavor of the herbs was amazing. I added the tomatoes, a splash more of EVOO and some fresh cracked pepper to quinoa, and my favorite lunch was born.

Now, when I go to the store and there are fresh cherry tomatoes, I don't hesitate. I've been exploring some more recipes to try with roasted tomatoes (any tomatoes, not just cherry!), and have collected them here for you.

You're welcome.

Happy roasting!

- Roasted Tomato Caprese Panzanella (by my favorite food blogger!)

QUICK RECIPE FOR ROASTING if you don't want to click the link, above:
1. Preheat over to 225º, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
2. Halve the cherry tomatoes and place them on parchment paper, skin-side down
3. Drizzle EVOO
4. Sprinkle with a little bit of sea salt and fresh, cracked pepper
3. Add fresh or dried rosemary, or any other herb you love

I'm Not The Only One

Friday, September 27, 2013

My son went from sleeping a solid 7 or 8 hours at a time, to waking every few hours to nurse. AKA, teething. Most of the time, I don't mind at all. I stumble into his room, cuddle up with him in our recliner and nurse for a few minutes, and he passes back out within 5 minutes or so. I stumble back into bed, and get a beautiful couple of hours of sleep before it happens again.

I'm grateful for social media. Last night was a special case; Porter woke up several times, and then was up and ready to party at 6:30am. Which is the worst, since I have to be up at 7. I mean, can you not just sleep 30 more minutes so I can, too? I promise, you're not missing anything. Anyway, social media. I'm grateful for it. In those wee hours of the morning, I peruse Facebook and Instagram, and the best comfort in the world is seeing posts at 4am from my friends and their little ones. Up for the day, tearing things out of cabinets; sleepy smiles and crazy hair... and cute kiddos, too ;)

I had this revelation as I laid Porter back down for his morning nap. As a mom, sometimes I feel guilty for wishing this time away. I know he will sleep through the night sooner than later. Someday, I will have to drag him out of bed. Drag him to church. I'll look back on those precious days when my little one was up at the crack of dawn, laughing to himself and wanting to play with his mama, and I'll miss it, of course. Sobering reality check.

And then, there's the mamas that never get to experience this phase of life with their babies. I'm following a few blogs right now of moms with very sick babies, and it literally rips my heart in two. 

God, do I thank you enough for perfect health? Because I truly am so grateful. It's the thing in my life I am most grateful for. I don't take it for granted, ever; I am in awe of Your hand on our lives, always.

Our Fabulous Fall: Lasagna Soup

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

I read the words "lasagna soup" the other day, and haven't been able to get it out of my mind since.

I knew I had to make it. Something about transforming classic favorites into comforting alternatives (with maybe even a slightly healthy twist?) is irresistible to me. Like, I can't stop thinking about it, and I come home with armloads of groceries to "whip it up" at 8pm.

Stuff I had to get from the store:
  • 1lb extra-lean ground turkey (for the above mentioned slightly healthy twist. It would also be amazing with ground beef, spicy turkey or chicken sausage, or if you're going for the real deal: fresh, spicy Italian sausage)
  • 1 can of tomato paste
  • 2 cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2 cartons of organic chicken broth
  • Shredded mozzarella
  • 8oz ricotta
  • Eating Right Whole Grain lasagna noodles
  • A small, sweet onion
Stuff I needed, but had at home:
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Minced garlic
  • Oregano
  • Shredded parmesan
  • Bay leaves
  • salt/pepper
  • EVOO
Stuff I didn't have, but excluded because I forgot it at the store:
  • Basil
Start by heating the EVOO in a big pot; add in ground turkey and brown sightly. Add in diced onion, sauté until onion softens and looks translucent. Add oregano, red pepper flakes, garlic. Add in two tablespoons of tomato paste, continue cooking until the paste turns a rusty brown color. I don't know why this part of the recipe grossed me out, but it did... not my words, I'm just relaying what the recipe I followed said.

Add in two cans of diced tomatoes and 6 cups of broth. Throw in 2 bay leaves. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer for 30 minutes.

While the soup is simmering, prepare pasta. Recipe called to add the dry pasta to the soup to cook it altogether, but I didn't want mushy noodles and a thick soup... that would be, like... normal lasagna. So I prepared the pasta separately.

Did you guys know what a HUGE pain in the rear sheets of lasagna are? I didn't want to break them up because I wanted the pieces to be even (my only sign of OCD) and I didn't want to use a replacement pasta like the recipe calls for (uh, it wouldn't be lasagna soup if I didn't use lasagna noodles, duh). Anyway, while noodles are cooking and soup is simmering, combine 8oz ricotta with 1/2 cup of parm, and season with a little salt and pepper in a separate bowl. (Warning: do the dishes as you go, because there is a crap-ton of them).

When noodles are al dente, drain and let cool... cut them into (symmetrical) bite-sized pieces.

To eat: spoon some of the cheesy mixture into the bottom of your bowl (like two tablespoons or two cups or whatever), add some noodles (like five or fifty), and add a couple scoops of the soup. The hot soup melts the cheese instantly, and it's literally gooey-perfect when it's time to eat. Top with a little shredded mozzarella and dip some fresh, fluffy French bread. DIVINE!

[If you're not a cook and you need the actual recipe because my my super-breezy-explanation-from-memory freaks you out, fine. You're boring. I used this one, and you can too]. 

Do you have a fun twist on a classic favorite? What else can I make into a soup? Leave your thoughts/ideas below!

Adventures In Baby-Proofing

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Yesterday, I followed Porter around the house baby-proofing. I followed him around for a good hour -- he realized he was no longer confined to the TV area and was booking around the house like a locomotive.

You guys, this was genius. Sometimes you never know what needs to be adjusted until your baby is all over it and/or shoving it into his mouth, right? This was a great plan. Or, so I thought. I didn't take into account that he is fast. While I was busy "fixing" something, he was off into another mess.

Just a few of his shenanigans:
  • He ate dog food. A stray piece from the bowl I had removed from within his reach. HE ATE DOG FOOD. I fished it out of his mouth as fast as I could, but not fast enough. Eww.
  • He got stuck behind the recliner. I didn't realize that I couldn't follow him everywhere. He wasn't a happy camper for a good 90 seconds and I tried to free him frantically.
  • He got ahold of his bottle of teething tablets, which were on the bottom shelf of his changing table, and now it's his favorite rattle. He won't give it up.
  • He got on my laptop as I plugged some outlets and sent an email that I wasn't meaning to send yet. Thank God for the "undo send" option.
  • He found my magazine stash, and proceeded to rip all the pages he could get his hands on. Within the four seconds it took me to make it to him, he had demolished like ten magazines. HOW IS THIS EVEN POSSIBLE.

Friday's Letters


Dear Apple. I am sending that greeting with a period because it's supposed to sound snarky. You are the worst and I hate you. I am so mad that my husband got up at 6am and waited in line for 2 hours to be told that "Oh! By the way... we only have the new gray iPhone 5s in stock. Apple delayed the new gold iPhone shipments until October, did you not hear the midnight announcement?" You are a big jerk. You totally did it on purpose because you can, and I hate that you have so much power. You can kick rocks.

Dear Husband, thank you for excitedly getting up at 6am to get me the new iPhone even though Apple is the worst and we hate them.

Dear Porter, you're 9 months old today! I can hardly believe you're going to be one year old in 90 days. I can't handle this. Time, you suck just as much as Apple does.

Dear Washington, thank you for remembering who you are. I was afraid that you forgot that you are not supposed to stifling hot after Labor Day. I'm over the muggy, warm weather... and it finally feels like you are, too.

Dear Brooklyn Nine-Nine, you pleasantly surprised me. You've been added to my DVR lineup.

Four TV Shows That Must Be In Your Fall Lineup

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

FALL is here/coming (technically, blah blah blah) and that means the return of my favorite TV shows.

It might be pathetic to do a post about this, but I don't even care. I am so excited for these returns (one of which is waiting for me on my DVR, and I have to wait until hubby and I are both home and available to watch... which probably won't be until late tonight. Ermegherd.)


I am probably the most excited for this one. I love this show. LOVE. I am strangely obsessed with TV shows about politics in general, but I could care less about it in real life. Ok, I realize that makes me sound totally un-American, but I'm just far from what one may call "a political junkie".

Unless you're talking about the most gorgeous woman in the world as a high-powered crisis manager for the White House, because then I'm all about that ish.

This photo of Olivia Pope, above, still gives me the chills. One of the only times in the world I've ever gasped out loud, in genuine shock at a TV show, was during this episode. All my fellow Gladiators will agree.


This show is brilliant, you guys. It's so fulfilling... it's good, clean, former fugitive-working-for-the-FBI fun. Paul and I started watching on Netflix when I was pregnant, and totally got hooked. It's been on "summer break" for a freaking long time, though. Ridiculous. October 17th can't come soon enough.

PS: Just in case you're living under a rock, Matt Bomer is gay, which broke my heart a little bit. It's ok, my husband knows I have a huge crush on him and doesn't mind. It's how he feels about Kate Hudson. Or Janet Jackson (circa 1994) or Shania Twain (I don't know, but yeah). He probably especially doesn't care because Matt Bomer would be more interested in him than in me. But whatever. He's a pretty person to look at, regardless.)

Also, yes, that's Tiffani Amber Thiessen... maybe she just goes by Tiffani Theissen now? Either way... she plays Detective Peter Burke's wife Elle, and she's awesome.


...yep, just like everyone else and their grandmother. Although, I'm not sure why I still watch, considering I spend more time yelping in fear and covering my eyes/playing Candy Crush so I don't have to see the gore.

This show, though. It's addicting. When Porter was a baby and he got hungry and started snarling, we announced that he was going "Walker Status".


There is nothing I don't love about this show. Nothing. The end.

If you don't have these shows on your watch list, you're not going it right. I know for a fact you can start White Collar or Scandal on Netflix, so get to vegging! Let me know what you think. :)

Confessions of a Work-At-Home Mom

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Sometimes I feel like working from home is the hardest thing in the world.

I'll pause here, so all the working moms can angrily exit my blog and remove me from their Google Reader.

Oh good, you're still here? Let me explain.

When my husband gets home, and I'm still wearing yoga pants and have not yet gotten into the shower, I feel so lazy. Granted, he never makes me feel this way, and it's absolutely something I put upon myself... but still. If I feel it about myself, it must be accurate, right?

I mean, I haven't even thought about dinner, the house is a disaster, and I look like I just woke up. I wonder if I'm ever going to be the supermom that manages to make it all happen and still look like I just stepped out of everyone's Pinterest board.

I mean... I work from home. Shouldn't I have ample time to cook and clean and decorate and run errands and meet my friends for coffee? But the truth is, there are times that I'm torn between being a great employee, and being a great mom. If I keep responding to this email and ignoring my child's incessant jabbering, is he going to remember that I'm more interested in what is on the computer than I am in what he's chattering about?

I have to pause here and take a few deep breaths. 

What did I accomplish today?

Target Run & Saturday Fun

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Paul was busy doing some home improvements and Porter was sleeping in, so I flew out the door by myself to make a Target run for a baby shower I was headed to later in the afternoon.

I flew out the door.

By myself.

Those are two phrases that I definitely don't say often. Ok, maybe ever, anymore. 

Leaving the house takes planning and preparation, two things I'm not awesome at as it is. And by myself is just highly unlikely, which I'm ok with. My husband is my best friend, so I honestly enjoy doing stuff with him. And I missed Porter's chubby little cheeks (two sets) in the front of my shopping cart, yelling at me for a drink of my Starbucks while I ignore him and kiss his little nose.

Of course, I detoured through the clothing section, and ended up with two new purchases that were calling to me (Yep. Bought the same sweater in grey and orange). Do these not scream fall? And also, youshouldbuynewwedgebootiestoobecauseiwouldlookawesomewithfauxleatherleggings?

I came home with Starbucks for my hub and our friend, who were busy sheet-rocking the downstairs bathroom. Porter went down for a nap as soon as I got home, so I got ready for the baby shower, put together the shower gift (I even had the time and motivation to write some fun advice in my friend's card... WHAT? Normally I forget to even buy a card), cleaned up living room, lit some winter-y candles for the guys (I know they secretly appreciate wintery candles while football is on TV, no matter how much they roll their eyes), and left on time.

New winter candle and some valuable advice for my expecting mom-friend!
I know this seems uneventful, and even boring, but new moms can totally appreciate this: those days when everything just goes according to plans -- no blowouts, no nap strikes, no blueberries ground into the white carpet -- are worthy of a post.

A day like yesterday deserves it's own post, for sure. If I show the day the honor it deserves, maybe it won't be so shy to come around again. 

Like, tomorrow.

It's Monday. Please be gentle.

What is relaxation?

Friday, September 13, 2013

What does relaxation look like to you?

Image Source: We Heart It

...if I'm being honest.

Everyone's all "oh, green juice!" and "Raw, raw, raw!" and I'm all over here like... can I get a bubble bath in the dark with some McDonald's?

Oh, fine. If I'm being totally honest, I can't recall the last time I had McDonald's. But my inner child begs me to stop every time I drive by... then I remember the "coppery" taste of the hamburger meat, and I shudder and keep my mouth closed.

Anyway, that wasn't the point of this post.

Now that I'm a mother, I find myself embracing every spare moment I can find "to myself". A trip to the bathroom is a vacation... I can't believe I'm saying that. I used to laugh at moms who said, that and now I'm totally that a mom.

An evening bubble bath, nowadays? Forget it. Heavenly!

So. What does relaxation look like to you?

Writer's Block

I don't think a case of writer's block is supposed to go on for, like, a year.

I've had a really hard time getting things out on paper. Maybe it comes with the territory of being a new mom: I'm totally unmotivated to do anything other than survive the day with a work inbox at zero, and a baby that is clean, dry and happy. Maybe I have too many blogs: I thought organizing my life into separate URLS would make it easier for me to put the right thing in the right place... but I think the organization in itself is just freaking me out.

Maybe I could collect my thoughts better if I made it my mission to try something new every day... so I would have some fresh new material to cover. Although, ugh, the thought of finding something new every single day to blog about makes me want to delete everything and go into hiding. So, no.

I can think of so many things I want to write about, but my brain is so tired.

I used to be able to not get my thoughts down fast enough.

I used to wake up, excited to run to my laptop and start writing.

How do I get that back?

Does it ever come back? Or am I past my blogging prime? ;) Haha

I'll leave you with some photos from We Heart It that made me smile.

Help! (You can do this from your phone)

Monday, September 9, 2013

My really great friend Rebekah is doing a contest right now to for a dream opportunity of traveling the world for a year, volunteering and blogging about her experiences. I can't think of anyone that deserves this more than her, but we need some help getting the word out. This is a pretty large-scale contest, and our girl is in need of some blogging-community support.

The contest is through Jauntaroo, and is called Best Job Around The World. Bekah's entry is here:

She has a huge heart for people. She's a servant... she never hesitates to dive in and help. She actually spends a lot of time volunteering to bring awareness to human trafficking, both on a local and global level. She is already one of the most well-rounded, cultured women I know. An opportunity like this is made for her... she was created to serve around the world, and it would make me so happy to get our community involved for such a great cause.

I hope you can help us to get some "likes" for her! We need to get her into the top 50 by September 15th. Anyone who reads this, your "like" would be so appreciated! Her video is awesome, and it's only a minute long... no sign up necessary, no additional windows. Just click the link, and then click LIKE.

Oh, and the video is super cute -- and quick... like 60 seconds, people. And you can see a lot of our beloved SEATTLE. Our friend Zach made the video, and he's practically an Instagram celebrity. Ok, maybe not celebrity - I think he hates when we say that - but he is UBER talented. Like, a lot of talent. Check out his feed, too. The video he put together for Bekah is kind of amazing.

Leave a comment below if you were able to help us out! <3 GO TEAM BEKAH!

Friday's Letters

Friday, September 6, 2013


Dear Husband, I am reminded of why I love you every single day. Sometimes, for brand new reasons. Like today... you spent a good hour on an awesome quote for our chalkboard, which you wrote out in better handwriting then most women. Well done. I'm happy to be married to someone so creative.

Dear Record Player, there's nothing better than a rainy morning in the Northwest, a hot salted caramel mocha, and William Fitzsimmons. Thank you for providing a gloriously cozy soundtrack to end the week. It was pretty much the perfect Friday morning.

Dear Pumpkin Spice M&Ms, sadly, you are not delicious. I'm going to pretend I never tried you, and just enjoy the magic of holiday candy anyway.

Dear Scentsy, I just ordered the LIFE out of you. Christmas Cottage, Pumpkin Roll, Honey Pear Cider... get in my warmer.

Dear Nordstrom Rack, I love you and my new Steve Madden wallet. I can manage $25 and multiple pockets/zippers. Oh, and the deep purple that you are is quite nice, too.


And, related, Dear 3am Teething Feedings, I'm annoyed that - in my zombielike state - I don't hesitate to spend .99 to beat the most ridiculous Candy Crush levels... because I'm partially asleep, and because husband is comatose and can't scold me for doing so. I'm ready for teething to be over. So is my bank account in the wee morning hours.

Thursday Thoughts.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

- Super soft crew neck sweaters. I would love to link to the Harvard University one I'm wearing right now from Target, but it's not online. WHAT? Anyway. It's super comfortable and cozy and makes me crave a hot latte in my hands.

- Thunderstorms. Except not at 5am, when today's rolled into town. If my child is sleeping, and anything other than his God-given inner alarm clock wakes him up, this mama is going loco. So, now that I am happily on my couch and sipping coffee... thunder on.

- Pumpkin Pie syrup. I bought some last night, so I can make my own PSL, at home. In the comfort of my super soft crew neck sweater.

- Matthew Barnett of The Dream Center is going to be on Kathie Lee and Hoda, today! Love that guy, and love that Jesus is gettin' some facetime on the Today Show. He sorta deserves it.

- A bag of S'Mores Candy Corn are sitting on my counter. I'm scared to open them, because I cannot cannot cannot devour the whole bag before 10am.

- This article made me a bit nauseous. Probably because I contribute a fair amount of this ridiculous daily income to the Candy Crush Saga.

A New Labor Day.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

We had an amazing Labor Day Weekend. I'll admit -- it was touch and go for a minute. Paul was so bummed about missing out on Dave Matthews Band for, like, the first time ever... but he got over it quickly. And we certainly found ways that our Portland reminded us of our legendary camping trips at the Gorge.

1. Our hotel had no A/C. It was lucky that it had just gotten a stellar remodel, because no A/C during the end-of-summer heat is no bueno. Oh, and with an 8 month old. Shoot me now. I battled some major mood swings because I was just so hot. This totally reminded us of the stuffy hot tents whilst camping at the Gorge. So, it was nice. Kind of. Not really. But ya know.

2. We decided to go to the zoo in Portland on Saturday morning. Which, apparently, everyone else in Portland did too -- this totally reminded us of the ridiculous crowds at the DMB concert. There's nothing like throwing elbows to get back to your car... at the Gorge, and at the Portland City Zoo. It was so familiar. And violent. Me likey.

3. We had mimosas for breakfast on Sunday -- this is a camping staple. I almost ordered my breakfast mimosa at Jam in a red solo cup -- it felt a tad more authentic -- but I decided against it. It's the thought that counts, right?

This ice cream cone doesn't have anything to do with camping at DMB, but it's always acceptable to end a blog post with a freshly made waffle cone filled with pear and blue cheese ice cream from Salt & Straw.


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