Archive for August 2011

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eat, make | 2 comments

Aidan is my husband. He is a sucker for a good chocolate chip cookie, and he likes them 6 at a time. I always act like I don’t want any, but 9 out of 10 times, I take at least one bite from his cookie (typically more). So, 6 cookies, with one bite out from me is, The Aidan Special.

He is also a purist. He doesn’t like substitutes or shortcuts. He likes things as they should be, classic and delicious. These cookies might not be good for your body, but they’re great for your soul.  And Michael Pollan’s food rule #39 is “Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself.”

I started with a classic plain old chocolate chip cookie recipe and I’ve been tweaking it and making changes to it to make it my own. I also freeze the cookie dough which is the secret to making it unreal.

Ingredients

2 1/4 cups or 255 grams of flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs (room temperature)
1 cup or 2 sticks of butter (room temperature)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup or 113 grams brown sugar
1/2 cup or 57 grams sugar (I use vanilla sugar. Here’s how to make it.)
1 block of scharffen berger 62% semisweet chocolate bar cut into chunks

 


Directions

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Sift together the flour, salt and baking soda in a medium sized bowl. Set this aside.

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix the softened butter with the sugars until it is combined then add the vanilla and mix again. Add the eggs one at a time. Mix this until its just barely combined. Be careful not to overmix when you’re baking cookies, especially once the egg is in there. It will change the texture of the cookie, which is sad.

Slowly add the dry ingredients. I do this in three shifts. I add a third, give it a few rotations with the mixer, stop, scrape, add the next third and repeat. I’m really careful not to mix even one rotation too many here because it can thin out the batter.

I then take my chopped up chocolate chunks and stir it in. It’s actually more like folding it in with a silicon spatula.

Chill the batter for 30 minutes.

Form 1″ chocolate cookie dough balls and freeze them in a ziplock bag or bake for 11 minutes. Let them cool for 15 minutes. You can pull them right out of the freezer, 6 at a time like we do and bake for 11 minutes at 350 degrees and they really do get better with age. Frozen for 2 days is perfect!

 

Enjoy!

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posted by

eat, make | 3 comments

We make our own baby food for Gabriel. It’s cheaper than buying jarred, I get to control what he eats, he gets to try more foods with diverse flavors, and also it’s just sorta fun! It is also a lot easier than you’d think!

Everyone always talks about the book Super Baby Food, and I’m no exception. It is a really fantastic resource for baby and toddler friendly recipes and is incredibly informative about food. It is a little hardcore (she encourages you to make your own yogurt, which sounds awesome, but also a little gross given that yogurt is basically spoiled milk), but a really great place to start.

Anyway, I like to use him as an excuse to go to the farmer’s market every week. I have to get him the freshest organic produce, right? And while I’m there, I might as well pick up some honey and cheese too! When I get home, I try to get to work as soon as I can.

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Chop and clean vegetables (in the image above, I used sweet potato and green beans).

3. Lay out on a baking pan and lightly drizzle with olive oil.

4. Bake for 15-20 minutes depending on the vegetable. I like to bake the vegetables rather than steam or boil them because it preserves more of the nutrients also you can cook it in larger quantities. Different vegetables cook faster than others, so check often.

5. Remove from the oven once they’re soft and leave them out to cool.

6. Once they’ve cooled, place them in a blender and blend until you’ve got a smooth puree. We’ve got a vitamix and I’m pretty sure we will never look back.  You might have to add small quantities of water at this stage to help it blend. You can also add homemade vegetable stock if you’ve got it (store bought has too much salt for little baby kidneys).

7.  Spoon the mixture into ice cube trays. You don’t need fancy baby freezing containers. Just plain old ice cube trays work just fine. Make sure they’re BPA free and can be sealed and protected from freezer flavors. We have this one and it works perfectly!

8. Freeze the cubes and once they’re frozen, pop them out and transfer to freezer lock zip locks, label and store!

At the end of every day, I put aside a few cubes in the fridge to defrost overnight for Gabriel to eat. He is now eating about 3-4 cubes per meal, roughly equivalent to 3-4 tablespoons.

All I end up having to do is pull out the cubes and add the smallest amount of hot water just to mash it up and then I serve it, but you can always use a microwave too!

 

 

 

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do, wear | No comments

Wearing your baby has lots of different benefits. Your baby gets to snuggle up close to you and feel safe, you get a little added exercise, it’s safe, economical, and just plain fun!

I used a New Native sling when Gabriel was a newborn, but now I use the Ergo, which I love.

Wearing your baby has a long line of history in different cultures too! I found these images and thought they were so sweet, interesting and some are so creative!

My husband also loves wearing using the Ergo and when Gabriel was a newborn, he also used a New Native sling for him. Although, anytime he wears our baby, he warns me about the ladies that swoon. What is it about a man and a baby that women love so much? Check out this other blog all about daddies who also wear babies!

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a modern baby book

Aug
2011
28

posted by

get | 3 comments

I have a really beautiful baby book. My mom and older sister made sure to keep copious notes on everything about my life. There are locks of hair, handwritten notes, lists of gifts given to me, photographs, pictures I drew, report cards, and even my medical bracelet from the hospital! I always loved looking in it and reading all the things I did and said and these days I’m able to look in it and compare with my own baby’s development!

I wanted to make sure that Gabriel had a baby book of his own to look at one day. I searched high and low for a cute modern baby book. One that I could customize and add and remove pages as I pleased without compromising the integrity of the book.

I found the most perfect baby book for my needs. It is personal, handmade, beautiful and modern. Each page is like a small piece of artwork. And the best thing about it is that it is put together in a 3-ring album making it more customizable than most other baby books out there!Modern Baby Books is the company where you can find these little gems. They are made by a graphic designer named Kobie who was inspired by her seamstress grandmother. Her baby books come in two different sizes to choose from, four different page themes, several different additional items to add to your book and dozens of different album covers.

It is quite apparent that each book is put together with extra love. I love Gabriel’s baby book and I put a lot of love into each page that I write in it. It is quite honestly, a piece of art.

Here’s the best news: Kobie has offered to give $5 off any of her books to our readers when you “like” her facebook page here and put in the code aSproutingAcorn on her website Modern Baby Books. She doesn’t regularly do blog discounts, so this is special for us!

 

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a useful iPhone app

Aug
2011
25

posted by

get | 1 comment


If you’re like me, you’ve accumulated thousands of photos on your iphone. Nico was just 2 months old when I got my first iPhone, which means most of the photos documenting my life as a parent have been stuck in one little mobile device! Now there’s an easy way to get your favorite iphone photos printed and delivered to your home. This magical app is called Postal Pix. It’s free, easy to use, and a must-have for all iPhoners. There are several print sizes to choose from: squares (4×4 and 5×5) and 4×6, 5×7, 8×10, each priced at $.21 and up. I printed all of mine in 4×4 squares, and I love them; I think that any bigger might sacrifice image quality (but I could be wrong). Now if I can only figure out what to do with all these prints…

[I'm realizing I probably sound like a spokesperson for Postal Pix, but believe me, I am not getting paid for this! (Although I should be, lol!) I'm just a huge fan trying to spread the word.]

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kale chips

Aug
2011
24

posted by

eat, make | No comments

I love making kale chips. I think they’re a yummy and healthy snack that may not replace potato chips, but definitely satisfies a salty crispy craving of kids and adults alike.

Ingredients

1 bunch of kale
olive oil
half a lemon
salt and pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cut the stems off the kale by folding it over and slicing the center off. Make sure to thoroughly wash the leaves off and dry them in a salad spinner. Slice the leaves into chip sized pieces (about 1 inch).
Place the washed leaves in a large bowl, drizzle some olive oil over it (just enough to coat all the leaves). Squeeze some lemon juice into the bowl and mix it around.
Spread the kale in a single layer on a baking pan. Sprinkle salt and pepper over all the leaves making sure not to over salt it. I usually use about 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt per bunch, but you can add more if you like. Toss the leaves making sure to coat it with your mixture.

Bake for 10 minutes or until the edges brown slightly.

Then enjoy the yummy crunchy goodness!

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get, make | No comments

It’s like Michelle and I share one mind. I wanted to do a post on newborn baby gifts! It’s actually really fun to share this blog with her (for many reasons) but one of the unexpected things is that I get to see her posts and they are like little surprises!

This little gift is basically just a token for a new baby and mom. I wanted to share it with you because I was able to put together something small and thoughtful with very little actual bought items. Oh, the Thinks You Can Think by Dr. Seuss $4.99

Handmade card using paint sample cards (from Home Depot) cut into a rattle and glued on a piece of cardstock.

Organic Mother’s Milk tea by Traditional Medicinals $4.99*

A mixed cd for baby burned onto a CD. I made the CD case using paint sample cards again from Home Depot and taped it along the sides with decorative tape.

I wrapped everything up with tissue and used a wool yarn ribbon to tie everything together. I picked a sprig of lavender from our plant and tied it into the gift, hoping that perhaps the calming scent of lavender can get to little baby E and help him sleep better.

 

* This tea is really only for nursing moms, and it works really well. But this brand  of tea has some really yummy teas for mommies that aren’t nursing too!  Something like their chamomile or their nighty night teas are also fantastic for new moms and dads!

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posted by

make, play | 1 comment

When you think about it, owls and newborns have a lot in common: huge eyes, cute, nocturnal… That is why I thought it would be nice to make a plush owl for my friend, Maria, who is pregnant and is due next week (!!!) Well, it’s actually for her soon-to-arrive baby girl, who I am so excited to meet.  I know I am completely biased, but I think this owl is a cute welcome-to-the-world handmade gift and can be an adorable addition to any nursery.

For the body and the feet, I like to use fleece. It’s a super soft material with the perfect thickness, and it really modernizes the owl. For the facial features and belly trim I use felt, because it has the stiffness I need. I use regular cotton prints (generally for quilting) for the belly, but for this part you can use any material really.

Email me if you’d like a copy of the owl pattern I designed. I’d be happy to share it with you! michellenuccio17@gmail.com

1. Draw out your design. I sketched out a few smaller designs before committing to one that I drew out in actual size. Make several photo copies, and cut out all the pieces (add a 1/2″ seam allowance to the body and feet pieces). Trace patterns onto fabrics and cut out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Take the face panel and use pins to secure the facial features before sewing down. Start with the eyes and belly. After they are sewed down, work on the pupils and belly trim. Lastly, pin and sew down the beak.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Take 2 of your foot pieces and sew with right sides facing, making sure to leave the straight edge open. Turn inside out, and stuff with polyester fiberfill. Be sure to stuff all the way down to the tips of the toes. Sew the opening shut. Repeat to make second foot.

 

 

 

 

 

4. Pin feet to body as shown, and sew down.

 

 

 

 
5. Take the “back” panel and place on “face” panel, right sides facing. Sew around perimeter, leaving a 2 inch opening on one side. Turn inside out, stuff with polyester fiberfill, making sure to reach every crevice, including the ears, and sew opening shut. And, tada! you’ve made yourself one cute little owl.


 

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posted by

get | 1 comment

I have to admit, I’m a little bit of a sap. I love dramas, I married a singer/songwriter whose songs have often left me sobbing by myself in the car (especially this one), I’m a sucker for a good inspirational story and to be completely honest, crying makes me feel good (sometimes).

Like most new moms, I was a smidge emotional after having a baby. Who can blame you? It’s like a roller coaster ride and not to mention all the lack of sleep; It’s hardcore! To keep me awake while I nursed Gabriel, I kept books and magazines by my glider. Two books that I loved in particular were Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year by Anne Lamott and Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Loss and Love by Matthew Logelin.

Operating Instructions was actually given to me by a girlfriend when we brought Gabriel home from the hospital. It’s a HILARIOUS recounting of a single woman’s first year with her son. She talks about the adjustments to her life and does so in such a fresh way.  It really made me feel like I wasn’t alone in my experiences as a new mom.

 

 

 

Two Kisses for Maddy is a book I knew about because I’ve actually been reading the author’s blog for quite some time. The author is a single father whose wife passed away 27 hours after she gave birth to their daughter Madeline. Like Lamott, he recounts his first year with his baby and the challenges of that on top of mourning for his wife. This book left me in a heap of tears and love for my brand new family. I ran to Aidan and Gabriel several times while reading this, just to hug them.

 

It occurred to me after writing this post that these two books are very similar. Hmmm, I feel predictable. In any case, I loved them both.

P.S. I make no apologies for my shameless plug for my husband’s band. I’m his biggest fan.

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posted by

get, wear | No comments

Lately, I’ve been really into backpacks instead of purses. I guess with a little person with you, there is a lot more “stuff” you need to carry along.. diapers, wipes, extra clothes, bibs, spoons, toys, the list goes on… and it seems, the older he gets, the more stuff I need. I was using a larger purse to carry all my stuff, but then I found an old backpack and decided I’d give that a shot instead. It was a perfect diaper bag!

Apparently, there are a lot of cute ones out there now a days. Here are some that I found…

1. Farm Rucksack. Makr Carry Goods. $160.00

2. Cooperative Scout Backpack. Urban Outfitters. $39.00

3. Striped Fleece Backpack. Poketo. $58.00

4. Baggu Backpack. Baggu. $30.00

5. Ecote Canvas Rucksack. Urban Outfitters. $68.00

6. Asos Washed  Canvas Backpack. Asos. $60.34

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