Archive for October 2011

an apple muffin


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Happy Halloween everyone!

When I was a kid, I wanted store bought costumes. I thought they were the coolest, and it wasn’t until I got older that I realized that home made costumes are SEW much cooler.

This year I’m making all of our costumes. Gabriel will be a starfish, I will be an octopus, Aidan will be a shark, and our dog Chloe, well, she’s always looked like a sea otter so she will just be herself. I’m almost finished with all of our costumes, but I do have a few finishing touches to add. While I’m working on them, I made myself (and some friends that came over) a yummy little treat, perfect for fall.

Applesauce muffins! I adapted Martha’s recipe here, but instead I made my own applesauce, did not add the cream cheese frosting and changed a few things here and there. But I insist that you add a pat of butter to them right before you eat them, while they’re still warm. Makes them so yummy!

For applesauce I use different varieties of apples to make it so much yummier. Four apples makes about 1 1/2 to 2 cups of applesauce.

Ingredients for applesauce

4 apples
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tbsp butter

Directions for applesauce

Chop your apples into cubes. Set aside.

Brown the butter in a heavy pan over medium heat. Once the butter is a nice brown color (don’t leave it too long or it will burn), add all your apples and stir to coat them all really well with the butter. Add the vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg to the pot and continue to stir until everything is well coated. The apple chunks will continue to soften as you cook them. Stir occasionally until your apples are nice and soft. Take the pot off the fire and let it cool.

When it has cooled, place the apples in a food processor or a blender and blend until it becomes the consistency of a nice thick applesauce.

Ingredients for applesauce muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups applesauce

Directions for applesauce muffins

Preheat oven to 400 degrees (a higher temperature for a shorter time will give you the domed muffin top). Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin and a 6-cup tin with paper liners.
Sift flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cloves together into a medium bowl. Set aside.
Put the stick of butter, the granulated sugar, and 1/2 cup brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Mix in eggs, one at a time. On low speed, mix in applesauce and then flour mixture.
Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each about three-quarters full. Bake until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, 16 to 18 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

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1. Good clean fun. No toys, no video games; just two brothers and a laundry basket.

2. Visiting Strawberry Fields in Central Park. It was lovely seeing all the people gathered around John Lennon’s memorial, remembering one of the greatest musicians of all time.

3. “Take a walk with me, you will.” How precious is this. Here, Matt and our little Yoda (Lucas) were on their way to the Merrick Street Festival.

4. My new magazine racks in the kitchen. Hopefully this will help me remember to look through my magazines!

5. Nico’s new Hero Hideaway, a present from Andrea. This photo doesn’t do justice to how awesome this is. The fort is secured using rope and suction cups (so genius), allowing us the possibility of endless fort configurations. It all came in a Hero Hideaway bag, which also included monogrammed pillow cases, a lantern and glow sticks. We’ll have to do a special blog entry on this. It’s just too cool. Did I mention it was all HANDMADE? By Andrea! (Except for the lantern and glow sticks.) Yah. Oh and check out Nico’s way cool batman mask. Also from Andrea.

Bonus photo: By no means is laundry a favorite part of my week, ever. But I just wanted to share this photo of Nico and Lucas’s sneakers in the dryer. I thought it was pretty cool. After stomping around the muddy pumpkin patch last week, I had no choice but to put these shoes in the wash. Now it’s like the boys each have a new pair of sneakers! (Tip: Air drying sneakers can take a while and make them moldy, so I find it best to dry them in a dryer using low heat and a drying rack.)

I’m looking forward to our Halloween weekend! We have a couple costume parties to attend, and of course, there’s trick-or-treating on Monday! How are you and your family celebrating Halloween? Any Halloween traditions you’d like to share?

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hopscotch kids nail polish. water-based nail polish. a bonus, they also make nail polish for mommies! check out scotch nail polish. luna organics face paints. made with natural organic ingredients!

keeki nail polish. natural and organic nail polishes for kids!

lyra non toxic face paint pencils. I love that they are actual pencils!

and if you really want to be granola and hardcore and kind of awesome, here are some recipes for homemade cosmetics!

We’re getting really excited over here for Gabriel’s first Halloween!

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Image via

That’s my sister on the left. Red grapes. How cute is she? Don’t tell her I told you so. She works for American Apparel and sometimes they are tasked with coming up with new Halloween costumes. This was one from last year. So cute, so simple, so inexpensive, so fast!

I love it! I’m sure you can tell exactly what they did, but basically, all you need is a pair of tights and a body suit, or a dress of the same color, and some balloons in a grape-y color! Blow up the balloons and staple them all over the dress! DONE! You can have a whole family of grapes!

What are you all dressing up as for Halloween? I’m still working on our costumes, but as soon as they’re done, I will definitely post!

Happy Thursday!

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Are you in a pinch for halloween costumes for yourself? Maybe you’ve got the entire costume, but you don’t want to paint your kid’s face with some funky face paint. Why not print out a printable mask?

Check out this etsy store with masks that range from cute and sweet to kinda scary! For $4.99, she sends you a PDF of the mask, you print it out (as many as you need) on cardstock, then cut and wear! How simple! How fun!

Are you getting excited for halloween? How are those costumes coming?


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a new little shop


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Aidan just found this store, Ink & Spindle and they just have the most incredible hand printed textiles. They’re sustainable, adorable, inspirational and maybe not so affordable, but really it’s a small price to pay for these beautiful works of art.

They have some onesies and even have fabric bundles for quilts which are so fun!

I’m totally in love with this store and Aidan who finds cool stuff like this for me to get excited about.


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1. A family dinner with my sister and Aidan’s brother. We just got this cookbook and we made Coq au Vin and Dauphinoise gratin from it and plan to make every recipe in there!

2. A trip to LACMA’s California Design show for my birthday. This is actually an installation where they moved all the contents of the Eames house into LACMA. Aidan and I went to the Eames house when we first started dating. This was an INCREDIBLE show.

3. A special new ep. Aidan’s newest ep was also released on my birthday. He worked on this while I was pregnant. It is the sweetest thing anyone has ever done for me. If you’d like to purchase it, and I think you should, you can buy it here.

4. A beautiful baby shower. We attended the baby shower of our friends which was held at a GORGEOUS house in Pasadena. To see more pictures, see my sister’s website here

5. A few new kitchen items. My amazing husband, he’s such a fan of our blog that he got me a few cute little kitchen items from Anthropologie so I could take cuter pictures for my posts.

This picture isn’t actually one of my faves for friday, it’s one of my faves for life. Spending my birthday with my two guys (and our dog Chloe) was more amazing and better than any gift I’ve ever received. The fact that all three of them adore each other makes me feel like the most successful person alive. It was the best birthday of my entire life and all we did was spend time together. 

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a fun time


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Kitchen timers are one of those things I never really thought twice about until I became a mother, and now I find myself using a timer several times a day. Whether it’s timing timeouts or racing to see how many toys the kiddies can put away in two minutes, timers now have an important role in my life as a parent, outside of the kitchen! (Find more ways to use a timer with your child here.) With all the stylish timers on the market, keeping track of time has never looked so fun. Here are some that we adore:

1. Stainless Steel Egg Timer by Norpro ($8)

2. Owl Kitchen Timer by Kikkerland ($20)

3. Twisting Sisters Kitchen Timer by Fred ($19)

4. Pie Kitchen Timer by Joseph Joseph ($14)

5. Michael Graves Kitchen Timer by Alessi ($38)

6. Retro Kitchen Timer by Kuchenprofi ($15)

7. Anna Time Kitchen Timer by Alessando Mendini ($73)

8. Measuring Tape timer by Kikkerland ($13)

9. Double Kitchen Timer by Kikkerland ($23)

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I made these cookies a while ago, for Gabriel’s half birthday, but I wanted to share the recipe because they were crazy good and I’ve been craving them recently.

This recipe is adapted from the Miette cookbook. They advise to freeze the dough for a more crumbly cookie, and yeah, they were right. So, so yummy.


1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter (softened)
1/2 vanilla sugar (plus more for dusting)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter


Preheat oven to 350 degrees (if you decide not to freeze them, but really, that would be a mistake).

Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Doing it twice, makes it nice. Set this aside.

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix the butter, the sugars and the vanilla until they’re totally incorporated and fluffy. Add the egg and keep mixing. Add the peanut butter and keep it mixing and mixing until you’ve got a pretty uniform mixture.

Add the dry ingredients and make sure not to over mix after you’ve added the flour.

Chill the batter (it makes it easier to make cookie balls) for 15 minutes. Shape your cookie balls and do one of the following:

option a. freeze them and enjoy them later by thawing them for 15 minutes then following option b.

option b. place them about 2 inches apart on a baking dish lined with parchment or a silpat mat add the traditional cross-hatch marks with a fork and sprinkle a little more sugar on each cookie. I actually took a small jar (a clean baby food jar to be precise) and added the sugar inside then stretched a piece of foil on top. Tied it with a rubber band around the lip and poked some holes in it to make a quick little “sugar shaker” for sprinkling the sugar. Bake for 10 minutes.

I loved these cookies, they were so good.

I don’t totally condone substitutions. I think it is more important to be aware that what you’re eating is NOT good for you and eat less rather than feel like it’s kinda good for you and eat more, but if you’re interested in it, there are ways to substitute butter with bananas…. I actually think it’s totally yummy to do that with peanut butter cookies especially. Learn more about it here.



PS. thank you Michelle for the birthday shout out yesterday. It was a fantastic day. I’ll share more on Friday!

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Image courtesy of

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to one of the most fabulous women around. Andrea, you make the world a more beautiful place.

(Learn how to make the birthday banner card here.)

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