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I love making frittatas for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They are easier than a quiche because you don’t have to make a crust and I just love that you can throw anything in and they turn out so yummy. This is the best one I’ve made yet! The potatoes create a crispy, french fry-like layer on the bottom of the dish. This recipe creates quite a large frittata (serves about 16) but it makes great leftover and can even be served at room temperature for lunch or dinner with a little salad. I can’t wait to whip this us again (no egg pun intended). You could also make this vegetarian by omitting the bacon. Happy baking… and eating!

Potato Frittata with Parmesan and BaconPIN

POTATO FRITTATA WITH BACON AND PARMESAN

Ingredients:
15 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
6 slices of bacon
handful fresh parsley, minced
6-7 new potatoes, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
butter

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Thoroughly butter a large casserole dish. Heat a medium non-stick pan over medium high heat, and cook the bacon until crispy, set aside on a paper towel to cool and drain. Once it’s cooled, chop it up into bits. Heat a large non-stick pan over medium high heat, add about 1/4 cup of olive oil. Add the potatoes and saute them until they start to turn golden brown. Season them with a pinch of salt. Transfer the potatoes to the buttered casserole dish, creating a layer of golden potatoes on the bottom of dish. Allow them to cool while you combine the beaten eggs, milk, garlic, salt, and pepper, bacon, and sour cream in a large bowl. Once the potatoes are mostly cooled, pour the egg mixture over them. Sprinkle the top of the eggs mixture with the parmesan and parsley. Use a fork to gently combine the parsley and parmesan with the egg mixture. Don’t mix it in too much, just enough that it’s not sitting on top of the dish. Then, put the dish in the oven on the middle rack and bake until the sides are golden brown and the center is set, about 45-60 minutes. You can check to see if it’s done by jiggling the dish a bit. If the eggs in the middle are still runny let it cook for another 10 minutes until the eggs set up. Remove from the oven and allow it to rest for about 10 minutes before serving it.

PRINTABLE RECIPE.
POTATO FRITTATA 
with Bacon and Parmesan

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  • Nellie Pom Poms - Love your blog in general and this recipe is my kind of thing. Delicious. Can’t wait to try it.

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I’m still on a bit of a Thai kick. I’m, as you know by now, obsessed with Hot Toddy’s. I’ve experimented in the past with trying to add Thai flavors to my Toddy but now I’ve taken it to a whole new level. I was aiming for all the flavors (sweet, sour, spicy) to blend together with the whiskey. In the first batch I added in 1/8 teaspoon of Thai Red Chili paste. I loved the result but Kyle found it a little too earthy, so adding that is totally optional. If you are making the Thai Coconut soup you’ll have most of these ingredients on hand. You should definitely make this cocktail… is it Friday yet?

thai hot toddy recipePIN

THAI HOT TODDY

Ingredients.
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
1/8 teaspoon Thai Red Chili Paste (optional)
1 tsp brown sugar
2″ slice lemongrass stalk
thin slice Thai red chili, seeds and veins removed
thin slice of lime
thin slice of fresh ginger
whiskey to taste

Directions.
Put water on to boil. Put the ginger and lemongrass in the cup and cover with boiling water. Allow to steep for a few minutes. Add lemon juice, Thai red chili, Chili Paste, brown sugar, and the slice of lime. Add bourbon and boiling water. Stir to combine.

PRINTABLE RECIPE.
THAI HOT TODDY

 

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positivity in parenting essayPINThere has been a blog post being passed around the Internet talking about motherhood. I’m not going to even link to this article because, frankly, I found it to be cynical, sarcastic, and negative.  While I understand the need to vent, I am fed up with the negative. The negativity began when we first shared with people that we were expecting…

“Enjoy these last months of sleep.”
“Breastfeeding is soooo hard.”
“You two are going to bicker all the time. Babies bring out the worst in your marriage.”
“Say goodbye to your sex life.”
“I didn’t shower for like, four months after our baby was born.”

Everyone warned us that doomsday was quickly approaching. All Kyle and I wanted was for one person with young kids, just one, to say to us, “Parenting is so fun! It’s amazing. It’s the best choice we ever made!”, without prefacing it by telling us how hard it was and how much this or that sucks. But, it was all doom and gloom and poopy diapers on the horizon, apparently.

We made a choice to ignore every negative statement that came our way, or to turn it into something positive. If people told us we were going to bicker all the time, then we devised a plan on how not to do that. If people said we would no longer have sex, then we decided we would schedule it if we had to.

The negativity continued after Gigi was born…
“Oh wow, she slept through the night? That won’t last.” …and when it did… “You’re second baby won’t be like that!” Really?!

In the past year have we slept less? Are my boobs “never going to be the same”? Has our household hygiene been less stellar? Did we bicker sometimes? Have we eaten dinners of cold pasta while balancing a crying baby? Do some days just plain suck? Has it been stressful, challenging, exhausting? Of course! Everyone who decides to become a parent already knows that it will have it’s challenges. Why not, for a change, share with those around you who are expecting or who are new parents how wonderful it is! Tell them about how parenting is fun, funny, amazing, perfect, magical, ridiculous, life changing, the best! Because it is.

I often feel that people discount my “Pollyanna” outlook on motherhood because I’m “not cynical yet” and I have an “easy” baby. This is always said with smile that says, “come back and talk to us when you are as bitter about motherhood as we are.” I am very grateful for my life, my husband, and my baby. Sure, I’ll admit that Gigi is the perfect baby for us. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t whine, cry, wake up in the middle of the night, bite, pinch, or do any of the things that every other baby does. There’s a lot of work that goes on behind closed doors and it’s frustrating to have that work written off as luck. Perfection is in the eye of the beholder.

Everyone assumes that because I am so happy to be a mom, rarely complain, find joy in the little things, and find humor in the hard stuff, that I have had a really easy baby and an easy transition into motherhood.  But it wasn’t that easy. After Gigi was born, I plummeted into a state of extreme anxiety. I felt extremely nervous and unbelievably angry. I was hit with intense panic attacks, I heard voices in my head that were threatening and terrifying, I was afraid of myself, fearful of everything, I cried a lot, and my body tense with anger. After a few weeks I finally managed to say to Kyle, “I think I’m going crazy. I think I need help.” Asking for help was incredibly hard. As a mother, I didn’t want to need help. Luckily, I had worked with an amazing counselor in my late teens, and was able to call her for the help and support I desperately needed. I worked with her a few times a week over the phone for my first two months as a new mom. Just talking helped. Exercise helped. Fairly quickly I was able to regain my footing, and proceed with joy and intention into my role as a Gigi’s Mom.

About a month ago I was watching an old interview with Brooke Shields on Oprah (because that’s how cool I am), and she was talking in-depth about her experience with postpartum depression. As I watched, something clicked. I completely connected with some of the things she was saying. Not all of it, but a lot of it. The bizarre thing was that, I had read this when I was going through my own experience with postpartum anxiety, or depression, or whatever you want to call it. At the time, I read it and thought, how terrible… it would really suck to feel like that. It wasn’t until just a month ago that I recognized myself in it. I thought that having postpartum depression meant that you didn’t care for your baby, didn’t feel love for them, and weren’t ever happy. I was happy a lot of the time, euphoric even. I loved Gigi beyond anything I ever imagined, so I didn’t recognize what I was experiencing. I’m so glad that there’s help when you need it in the form of wonderful lactation consultants, other parents, husbands, sisters, your own parents, friends, and counselors.

The point is, it hasn’t been all easy, or perfect for me. I choose to be appreciative, positive, to seize the day, and to live in the moment as much as I can. I love being reminded by sweet older ladies to enjoy it because, “It goes by so quickly”. It reminds me to live each day with gratitude, even the hard ones. I love being a parent. I love having someone who needs me and relies on me. I have never had the desire to work so hard for anything in my life. Having a child has made me want to be the best possible person I can be. It has grounded me. It has elated me. It has expanded my heart and my mind. I cherish it. Becoming a parent was the best choice I ever made. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Sometimes I wish the days were twice as long, and that I could do this whole last year over again because I have loved it so much and learned so much. I’m not just saying that to make a point, I really do. I kiss my baby hundreds of times each day, and I go to bed each night and reflect on how lucky I am because, even though it’s hard work, it’s the best investment of my energy, time, and love that I can make.

If you know someone who’s expecting, tell them all the wonderful things you can. Offer your love and support to friends with newborns. Help the new mom at the grocery store load up her groceries so she can get her twins out of the rain, even if that means you and your baby get a little wet. Send a care package to a new dad you know. Every one of us is doing a great job, doing their very best. Be supportive, positive, and encouraging.

I am genuinely excited for the people I know who are expecting… especially my sister and Rob. They are in for such an amazing journey full of joy, snuggling, laughter, and fun. They will probably have some sleepless nights, but babies look beautiful in the moonlight.

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Kettle Corn is dangerously easy to make.  It’s become one of my favorite movie snacks.  With the Golden Globes coming up this Sunday, we’ve been watching a lot of movies.  As a SAG Member, I get to vote for the SAG Awards.  Each year the different studios send out movies for us to screen.  So far this week we’ve watched Midnight in Paris, Moneyball, and My Week with Marilyn.  Still on the viewing list: The Artist, The Descendants, Beginners, The Iron Lady and quite a few more.  That’s a lot of movie watching to be done and a lot of Kettle Corn to be made.  I love adding a little fresh thyme to my kettle corn.  It’s a subtle but distinct addition.

KETTLE CORN WITH THYMEPIN

Ingredients:
1/4 cup butter
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 granulated sugar
1/2 cup corn kernels
6 sprigs (4 whole, two stripped and quickly minced)
kosher salt

A Couple Notes:
Cooking Kettle Corn is all about finding the right temperature and getting it out of the pot and into a bowl the second it’s done popping.  I experimented with a couple of different ways that leave you with slightly different results…

1. If you leave the heat on medium the entire time: you will have a a lighter “toast” on the corn because it starts popping a lot faster (in about 3 minutes) and therefore spends less time on the burner.
2. If you melt the butter on medium, then reduce the heat to medium low once you put the lid on: you will have a slightly more caramelized/toastier version.

It’s all about individual taste and the heat of your burner.  I like it a bit toastier, Kyle prefers it lighter.  But either way we end up eating all of it!  Just be sure to get it out of the pot the second the popping starts to space out or it will start to burn.

Directions:
Put your butter, oil and 4 sprigs of thyme in a large pot (I use a three quart saucepan with a tight fitting lid) melt the butter over medium heat stirring constantly to infuse the butter and oil with the flavor of the thyme.  When the butter has melted completely add the popcorn kernels and the sugar.  Stir well to combine.  Cover with a tight fitting lid, and either leave the heat on medium or reduce it to medium low (see the notes above).

Keep the pot tightly covered by using a towel and holding the lid in place.  It can take 4-7 minutes for the corn to start popping depending on your temperature.  Don’t be tempted to lift the lid.  That will just let out the steam and it will take longer and then it can burn.  Once it starts popping give the pot a good shake (keeping it on the burner… it’s more of a shimmy than a shake) every 10-15 seconds to make sure that all of the popcorn is getting coated evenly.  When the popping slows down and there are a few seconds between pops, remove your pot from the heat and immediately transfer your kettle corn into a large bowl.

Allow the Kettle Corn to cool for a minute or two.  Discard your thyme sprigs.  Season with a bit of salt and a bit of the minced thyme.  Toss, and season again.  Repeat (tasting between seasonings) until your kettle corn is salted to your liking.

You could, of course, make this without the thyme.

Enjoy!

PRINTABLE RECIPE.
KETTLE CORN WITH THYME

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I scoured the Internet for soap recipes, tips and tricks.  After lots of research, and combining of methods, here’s the best way I’ve discovered to make liquid hand soap from one bar of soap!

how to make liquid hand soapPIN For the soap:
1 bar of your favorite hand soap.  From my research I found that types that have a lot of lotion, like Dove, won’t work as well.  Finding something with pure ingredients like Mrs. Meyer’s will work best.

Glycerin.  The glycerin helps keep your hand moisturized and helps the soap thicken.  If you don’t see it at your local health food store or drug store, ask your pharmacist to order it for you.

1 gallon of water.  You will use 3/4 gallon of water to make the soap, plus the other 1/4 for thinning once the soap has thickened.

Optional:
1 Tablespoon honey
. The sugar in the honey will help the soap foam and it’s a humectant a.k.a it’ll make your skin soft.
1 cup hydrosol (floral water), or a 1/4 teaspoon pure essential oil.  Smells extra yummy.

For storage:
Jars, large Ziploc bags, or a 1 gallon jug.

A funnel and a spoon

Directions:
1. Grate your bar of soap with a cheese grater, or the grater attachment for your food processor.
2. Put 3/4 gallon of water and your soap in a large pot.  Turn the heat on to medium high.  Add 2 Tablespoons of glycerin.  (Optional: also add 1 Tablespoon of honey, 1 cup of hydrosol, or 1/4 teaspoon of essential oil.
3. Once your soap has dissolved, remove from heat. Let it cool overnight.
4. In the morning it should have set and thickened.
5. Break up the soap using a whisk before transferring it to a stand mixer, or in batches to a blender.
6. Slowly add the remaining 1/4 of your gallon of water until the soap reaches your desired thinness.
7. Let the soap settle, use a large spoon to scrape the foamy stuff off the top (discard the foam).
8.  Using a measuring cup, transfer your soap into jars.  Or, using a funnel, pour it into a soap pump.
9. You can store the remaining soap in a large Ziploc bag, big jars, or a 1 gallon container.

A few notes:
The soap consistency is a bit like egg whites.  It can be a little globby, therefore, it can be a bit tricky to transfer.  I highly recommend using a funnel.  You may find it helpful to use a spoon to push the soap through the funnel and into your container.

I have yet to find a recipe for this method that does not come out a little slimy.  Once in a dispenser the soap works great and smells lovely.

You can easily double this recipe.  The day I made this soap, I actually made 3 gallons.  It was really fun and easy.

I found that the white, scented bar worked better than the hard, lavender bar.  Not sure why, but consider that when soap shopping.  The white soap was definitely a little softer and easier to grate.  The white soap came out a little better too.  The food processor worked best on the slightly softer soap (basil) and not so great with the harder (in this case, lavender).

A stand mixer, or handheld mixer, will work best since a blender foams up the soap a lot.  It will take longer to settle if you use a blender.

how to make liquid hand soapPINhow to make liquid hand soapPINUse a measuring cup to fill your jars. You may end up wanting to skim the bubbles off the top again here too, especially if they are gifts. If it’s just for home use, transfer it to a Ziploc or jug.
While our soap settled we made simple gift tags out of watercolor paper.  Just cut out the desired shape and make a small “X” slit for your ribbon or twine.

how to make liquid hand soapPINUse a funnel, and a spoon if needed, to fill your dispenser.  I also found adding a tiny splash of water helped make it easier to fill…

how to make liquid hand soapPIN…or fill up your jars and attach little gift tags!

The best part, the total cost was about $45.  That includes 36 jars ($8/12), glycerin ($6), 3 bars of soap ($5/bar).

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