Monday, May 6, 2013

Strawberry Buttermilk Cake

We are still going strong with the strawberries over here so I thought I'd share this simple cake recipe with you.  It is a moist single layer cake without icing and it makes a great light summer dessert or a nice sweet breakfast pastry.

 Please excuse the camera phone picture!

I found this recipe on the blog Marzipan and the only thing I changed was to substitute chopped strawberries for the raspberries.  (PS, I've made this with raspberries too and it was just as amazing!)

Click on over for the full recipe and pictures that do this cake a lot more justice.  Enjoy!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Playful Friday

Here's how we've been playing this week!
(Every Friday I'm sharing a quick look at how my boys and I played together over the course of the week....because they really do want Mommy to play sometimes too.)

Monday - Alphabet Rice Box (I dumped the pieces of an alphabet puzzle into our sensory box with rice...the boys had a blast digging them all out to put the puzzle together!)

Tuesday - Bubble Bath Fun!

Sure we take baths all the time but this time we played together with our Cars (toys from the movie) instead of me relaxing with a book during the splash down.

Wednesday - Fingerpaint

Alex making his masterpiece by using an empty water bottle as a stamp

Thursday - Grilling in the new Playhouse

We decided to buy the boys' their large birthday gift a few (ahem 6) months early so they could enjoy it all summer!

I love that it is big enough for them to play together.  Aaron's cooking corn on the stove while Alex grills me a burger. :)

Friday - Playing with cars

Another daily occurrence around here, but one I don't usually join in on. (but need to more often!)  Today we raced cars down the ramp together as I got in touch with my more masculine side ;)

Happy Friday and have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Raw Strawberry Chia Seed Jam

Strawberries are in season and we have been really enjoying them!  I wanted to make some more jam for the boys (they love their PB&J) and decided that this time I was going to try using chia seeds instead of my usual recipe.

Never had chia seeds?  Yeah I do mean those little things that grow lots of grass on you favorite Chia Pet.  They are edible and they are very good for you!

Here is an excerpt from Eating Bird Food, the blog where I found this particular jam recipe.

"As a quick recap, they’re a good source of:
  • Omega 3 fatty acids – Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids are essential fatty acids, meaning that you need to get from food sources because your body cannot produce them itself. Omega 3′s reduce inflammation and may help lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. They’re also said to help with weight reduction related to their regulation of blood sugar levels and insulin.
  • Plant-based protein – We all know protein is an essential macronutrient needed for many functions in the body, including muscle building.
  • Antioxidants – Anti-oxidants help rid our body of free radicals, which have been linked to cancer and heart disease.
  • Fiber – Helps with weight loss by keeping you feeling full, prevents constipation and enhances regularity.
  • Magnesium and Potassium – Two minerals needed for good health."

Mr Pear's has been "into" chia seeds for a few months now.  He typically puts a tablespoon or two in a glass of lemonade, I like them in hot green tea.  Either way they have no flavor but lots of great health benefits.  And one other kind of strange characteristic....they turn very gelatinous in liquid.  Perfect for making jam!

Most jams you have to cook, but not this one.  In this raw recipe the chia seeds make the mashed strawberries magically turn into jelly!  And since strawberries have little seeds about the same size of chia seeds, the chias are mostly unnoticable.  My twins definitely haven't complained!

I love that this recipe not only preserves all the nutrients in the raw strawberries but also adds the health benefits of the chias AND it is super super fast to make!  You can have homemade jelly prepared in 10 minutes!  (Though you should let it set up for about an hour after that.)  And it tastes good.  Win!

Click over to the Eating Bird Food blog for the recipe and Enjoy!

PS, doubling the recipe (2 cups of strawberries) makes about a 12oz jar of jam/jelly.....oh and I used the immersion blender but left it fairly chunky....  :)

Friday, April 26, 2013

Playful Friday

The thing we do most around this house is Play! I've gotten away from organized play school but we are having such a great time just learning and playing in so many different ways each day.  Every Friday I'm going to post what we've been up to during the past week.

These are all times when I sit down with the boys and actively play with them.  Often during the day the boys will play independently or together but they love playing with Mom so I try to make time to fully engage in at least one activity with them each day.

Feel free to comment on your favorite ways to play or link a blog post with ideas for us.  (BTW, these guys are 2.5 now!)  Time is flying.

Sunday - Play dough  (want to make it? Try this recipe)

 I'm pretty sure that was supposed to be a dog....I'm an amazing play doh artist ;)

Monday- Paper Plate Snakes

Chasing each other around the house yelling "SSSSSS" is a huge fav around here

Tuesday- Sprinkler Hopscotch

So much fun we almost flooded the backyard!

Wednesday- Baking Cookies

Avidly watching the mixer and waiting to taste the dough!

Thursday- Playing in the (play) Kitchen

I was served a cupcake and a fried egg for lunch, yum!

Friday- Building with blocks

And laughing when they get knocked down

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Salmon with Pea Pancakes

Do you like peas?  I don't.  Not really.  I mean, I'll eat them if they are on my plate because that is what grown-ups do, but I rarely make them at home.  They just aren't my favorite veggie.  Mr Pear's likes them though, so when I saw this recipe for Pea Pancakes in the Bon Appetit magazine I figured I'd give them a shot.

And I liked them!  In fact, I thought they were awesome.

These are savory pancakes, a bit on the salty side, they taste very much like the blinis typically served with caviar.  (I like caviar.  Seems weird though, to like fish eggs but not peas....oh well)

We pan fried some great salmon to serve with our pea pancakes and the combination of the two made for a great dinner that felt just a bit gourmet.  Not bad for a Monday night dinner made in about a half hour!

Here is a link to the picture below.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Chickpea and Roasted Eggplant Dip

We try not to snack too much around here (my husband, is a chipaholic) but we usually have some homemade hummus on hand for a healthy snack when we need one.  I'm a huge fan of hummus.  I still remember being in my early 20's sitting on our apartment balcony with my best friend chatting while she ate her daily bagel with hummus.  Way before hummus was so popular, my friend was such a trend-setter. ;) 

Even my picky little Aaron loves hummus.  You should hear him say hummus, so funny!  Something like humNUS?  lol.

We really love Baba Ghanoush as well. If you've never heard of it, it is just like hummus only made with roasted eggplant instead of chickpeas.  Yum.

Last week in our veggie basket (we are buying organic Bountiful Baskets now) we got a lone eggplant and it didn't take me long to decide to make some eggplant dip.  But one little eggplant wasn't going to be enough for me and my hungry boys so I decided to make make the eggplant dip go a little farther with the addition of chickpeas.  The result was delicious!  If you like hummus, give this one a try.  It is remarkably simple if you have a good blender and the dip comes out so nice and fluffy.  

Chickpea and Roasted Eggplant Dip, by 4 Pears
1 medium eggplant (about 1 lb)
1 can chickpeas, drained
1/2 cup tahini
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
5 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)

To begin, preheat the oven to 375 F and prick the eggplant a few times with a fork (like a baked potato) and then put it on a sheet tray in the oven.  Roast the eggplant in the oven about 15 minutes, turning it once.  When it is done, the eggplant should be slightly blackened and puckered looking.

Set the eggplant aside to cool and in the meantime put all of the other ingredients into your blender.  Once the eggplant is cool enough to handle, cut it in half lengthwise and then scoop out the flesh and put that into the blender too.  

Turn it on and let it go! If your blender has settings like ours, you want to use the puree setting.  If not just blend it for a minute or two or until everything is nice and smooth and fluffy.  Taste it and add salt if necessary. 

Serve with crackers or chips, veggies and olives.  Enjoy! 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Out of Office

I hope everyone out there had a lovely Easter! We had a great time and the kids were very spoiled by the Easter bunny and the "grand" Easter bunny. :)

Now we are getting ready to enjoy a visit from the boys' Godparents so I've decided to take a break this week.  I've got a really good post coming next week, though, so see you then!