Archive for the ‘In The Kitchen’ Category

Natalie’s 4th Birthday Party

Posted Monday, March 14th, 2011 by Mollie

This post is going to be heavy on the pictures, because they really do speak for themselves. We celebrated Natalie’s real birthday on March 1, but couldn’t schedule her party with friends until March 11. This is very confusing for a 4 year old! She very anxiously awaited the day of her party.

Andy took the kids to run errands in the morning so I could finish the cake…

6 layers of chocolate cake, with toasted marshmallow in between, and chocolate malt frosting on the outside.  I always have a stash of recipes I want to make on special occasions, and this is the one Natalie chose.

Natalie has been blessed with so many sweet friends (who also have awesome mommies… bonus!).

I think it took Ben a full 24 hours to come down from his sugar/party high! He was pretty wound up!

After the party, with the Curtis kids… these 4 spend a LOT of time together and always play so nicely!

I think you can tell by Natalie’s face that her party was a success!






Posted Sunday, February 21st, 2010 by Mollie

Mondays are my new favorite day!   I get one of these delivered to my doorstep:

We signed up for a service called Farmer Fresh To You, which delivers a box of locally grown, organic produce to us each week.  It tastes amazing!  Hannah was asking to see how much comes in a box, so here it is all spread out .  This is the 2nd smallest size: 7 kinds of veggies, 3 kinds of fruits, plus a clove of garlic, a lemon, and an herb.  We don’t order specific things, but they do e-mail us ahead of time telling us what we are getting so that we can substitute if there’s one we don’t like.  This amount is almost enough to get us through a week– I did use a bunch of bananas and some bell peppers in addition to all this.  But it will be perfect when our garden is producing again.

Yes, we are so lucky to live in a place where delicious strawberries are growing in February!  They were big juicy ones too.

It’s fun to try new things.  Turns out the whole family loves baby bok choy! Who would have guessed?  Check out this funky Romanesco cauliflower we got this week.  I made a yummy casserole with it.

Sunshine By The Slice

Posted Sunday, January 24th, 2010 by Mollie

I’m sure everyone knows by now that we got an entire week of rain last week.  It’s not often that SoCal gets a storm like that, and we personally enjoyed it very much.  The kids and I did end up feeling a little cabin fever by the end of the week.  Going out in the rain is fun the first couple times but after a while it becomes annoying when you get soaked just trying to load the kids into the car!  One day we had some particularly loud thunder, it was actually shaking our house.  Natalie got a real kick out of that.

This recipe for Lemon-Vanilla Tart with Candied Lemon Slices was found in my Better Homes & Gardens magazine  and promised to be “Sunshine by the Slice”.  It was a nice treat in the middle of a very gray week.  So good and tangy and simple, I highly recommend it.  Though if I do it again I might try it with a different pastry, I like a thicker and sweeter crust.

Coloring is Natalie’s favorite rainy day activity.  We went through an unbelievable amount of paper last week.  She especially loves these princess coloring pages.  She’s starting to get the concept of staying in the lines, but truly her favorite thing is watching ME color and directing me what to color next!   Fortunately for her I think coloring is relaxing and I had extra time on my hands last week, so we had nice times together.

We have three rules about crayons:

1. No snapping crayons in half.

2. No tearing the paper off crayons.

3. No dropping crayons on the floor or Ben will eat them.

We make Natalie repeat them to us and it’s always so funny to hear her say them.  She tends to forget numbers 1 and 2 (she seems to have an uncontrollable urge to do those things), but is VERY concerned about #3.  “Ben will eat them ALL GONE!” she says.  Yes, he really will.

Mornings at Home

Posted Sunday, January 10th, 2010 by Mollie

Our mornings go by pretty quickly.  One errand or activity, plus Ben’s nap, and suddenly it’s time for lunch.  The mornings when we just stay home are always a nice break.

I drag Ben’s high chair into the middle of the kitchen so he can watch me cook and clean while he eats snacks or plays with toys.

Natalie hangs out at the table painting, coloring, or doing playdough.  Or eating snacks.  Did I mention how much my kids like to snack?

Not from the same day I but I wanted to show it anyway… they had so much fun discovering this new playhouse.  They are playing together, or at least alongside each other, a lot these days!

My kitchen creation of the day was these red velvet cupcakes with cinnamon cream cheese frosting, from scratch of course, which I did thanks to a recipe from the site.  The frosting was rich but so yummy!   I disapprove of store bought frosting (inherited that one from mom).  The special occasion was having my girlfriends over for dinner.  I made Fancy Macaroni (with 4 types of fancy cheeses) and it was a hit!  Notice the empty plates.

Must. Stop. Baking.

Posted Friday, December 4th, 2009 by Mollie

I forgot how much the cooler weather makes me want to stay indoors and BAKE!  In November I made no fewer than 4 batches of Ginger Chewies (the best ginger cookies ever, normally I am not a fan), 2 batches of Peanut Butter Bacon cookies (don’t knock it till you’ve tried it, they’re amazing), a giant pan of brownies, a pot full of pumpkin butter, and two Cranberry-Pecan Tarts… not to mention countless rolls and loaves of bread  from the bread machine. What should I try next??  All I can say is thank goodness for marathon training, which allows me to eat moderate portions of all this goodness and not gain weight.

Natalie and I had so much fun cutting up her pumpkin and turning it into pumpkin butter!  We used this recipe.  But honestly the best part of cooking pumpkins from scratch is roasted pumpkin seeds.  They are so easy and delicious!  Nata is such a great helper in the kitchen.


Every year I try a new dessert for our family holiday parties.  Past desserts have included a 6-layer spice cake with homemade coffee toffee, maple pumpkin cheesecake and last year’s 2-layer pumpkin chocolate cheesecake.  The Cranberry Pecan Tart I made this Thanksgiving was definitely another winner.  My uncle said that pecan pie is his favorite, and this was the best he’d ever tasted… I’m pretty sure there is no higher compliment!


It’s really pretty, too.


As I type, there is yet another tart baking for Andy to take to a party tomorrow, as well as some Maple Pecan Muffins which will be breakfast as I drive to Las Vegas tomorrow morning with my marathon buddies for our big run!  I should probably take a break from the butter and sugar until Christmas, but I doubt that will actually happen.