What Evie is eating these days + the move is coming…finally!

Swinging is the best....for 17 seconds.

Swinging is the best….for 17 seconds.

Hey everyone!

I know I have been MIA lately. We’ve had a busy month, and as a result, not a lot has been happening in the kitchen :( The good news is, we are finally moving this Saturday! :) I just mapped the mileage between our current house and the new house, and it is a whopping 1.0 miles away. As the crow flies, it’s about .3 miles away, so not a big change. We just love our neighborhood so much, not to mention the thought of switching neighborhoods sent Ryan in a panic about where he would take his dry cleaning. We will remain loyal customers of our current dry cleaners, so all is well in the world again.

Evie in front of our almost "old" house.

Evie in front of our almost “old” house.

Faux-tantrum. Caught in the act!

Faux-tantrum. Caught in the act!

In any case, we also had our house in the market, and with the lovely Evie in the household, getting our house in “showing” shape was a challenge. Either she was pulling books off of her shelf or chewing on charging cords while I was putting her books back on her shelf. Thankfully, that is behind us now and I can make a huge mess and leave it for days just because!

A common view during my day. Evie pulling on my skirt wanting something.

A common view during my day. Evie pulling on my skirt wanting something.

Those eyes!

Those eyes!


Between packing up and purging items that didn’t make the cut as worthy of the new house, we have really been enjoying the cooler fall weather and the signs of autumn. Evie has particularly fallen in love with acorns and collects them by the handful everywhere she goes. Playgrounds are also much more fun now that Evie can walk and explore on her own vs. sitting in a pile of mulch and tasting every piece. Although, she still eats mulch. We’re working on that.



Biker Babe

Biker Babe


So, back to some of Evie’s favorite foods! Her pallette has really evolved, especially since the arrival of her newest 5 teeth since her first birthday in July when she had a measly 1.

Earth’s Best Baked Mini Meatballs

Dr. Praeger’s 

  1. Lightly Breaded Fishes
  2. Spinach Littles
  3. Broccoli Littles

Annie’s Mac n Cheese

Trader Joe’s Kefir

Scrambled Egg with shredded zucchini and cheddar cheese

Carrot Raisin Nut Loaf (I love this too!)

Chicken Salad

As for what Evie *doesn’t* like: vegetables. She gets most veggies in the form of a squeeze pouch, and every now and then, I manage to hide some in a fork-full of something else, but she is figuring me out! Any other tips, let me know. She had chicken salad and a granola bar for dinner tonight…

The anti-bow solution: hair sprout.

The anti-bow solution: hair sprout.



Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Make some Zoe’s White Beans while you ponder this


Hey everyone! So I DO, I really really DO have a recipe for you today. I know. Shocking. And it is one of our household go-to faves at the moment after I discovered that Evie will devour these without stopping, and for my own diaper-changing sanity, I need to ration her or else reap the benefits for days. That’s right- you read correctly. Zoe’s White Beans.

But before I share that with you (or just scroll down to the bottom and skip all of this jibber jabber), I wanted to ask you something. Do you ever ask for and then accept help? I don’t mean you’re having a heart attack/dying help. I mean, your life is crazy, and with an extra set of hands, it would be less crazy help. I’m talking the guy at the grocery store who offers to take your groceries to your car for you, the person who offers to hold the baby while you get your wallet out and pay for lunch, the person who offers to wheel the stroller down the jetway ahead of boarding for you so you don’t have to awkwardly fumble with it while everyone stares and wonders how you ever earned a college degree?

I discussed this with the hub over the weekend after a little moment at our favorite bakery. We arrived at our usual time (the minute it opens) and scanned the outdoor tables for some stroller and dog friendly seating options in the shade. There they were, three sweet ladies having their morning coffee at the long table in the shade. I got “the look” from the hub, who knew what I was thinking, but didn’t want me to do it. I did it. I asked if we could sit at the other end of their table. They eagerly agreed, shifted down for us, and made space for Evie to enjoy her blueberry muffin in the shade. But I could tell hub was uncomfortable because he is the most humble person on earth and is horrified if anyone should dare go out of their way for him. He never wants to inconvenience anyone for his own sake, and I love that. But truth be told, I don’t think I could survive a single day as a mom if I applied that tactic, and that is a hard lesson to learn. So lately, I have been reminding myself that not only can and should I accept offers from friendly strangers to help. But believe it or not, I should even ask for it every now and then. I would happily assist someone who asked me, and I even delight in the opportunity to help another person. I hope other people do too, and if you don’t, stay away from me. I am going to ask you to do something ;)

Aunty PJ who always holds Evie for me while I get myself organized at our favorite lunch spot, Metro Fresh.

Aunty PJ who always holds Evie for me while I get myself organized at our favorite lunch spot, Metro Fresh.

Ok, ok. Relax. Here is the famous beans recipe, borrowed from this site :)


Zoe’s White Beans:

1 can cannellini white beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 onion, chopped (I used a regular yellow onion, but you can use red as well)

2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 cup chicken broth

1-2 springs fresh rosemary, chopped

1 Tbsp butter

1 Tbsp olive oil

First, heat the butter in a small pot and then add the onions and garlic. Simmer for a few minutes before adding the beans and rosemary. Let those cook for about 30 seconds, then add chicken broth. Allow it to simmer on low heat for about 10-15 minutes until most liquid has boiled off. You should have a little syrupy goodness. Cook lower for longer to thicken the syrup. Serve with a little olive oil drizzled on top. (I don’t add salt because the chicken broth is already salty enough, but do so if you’re a salt lover!)

And for the Evie stalkers, Evie lately :)  xoxo

Evie's impression of herself not taking a nap.

Evie’s impression of herself not taking a nap.


photo 4

Finally bought Evie a lunchbox and backpack so I can retire the plastic kroger bag and sticky notes with her name on them.

Splash pad with Dad.

Splash pad with Dad.


Evie's first painting!

Evie’s first painting!


Evie sporting her SPF body suit.

Evie sporting her SPF body suit.




Leave a Comment

Filed under Dinner

Evie turned 1! A month ago…but still


Hey all! A little late posting this, but life has been busy lately, plus I needed to allow ample time for all three of Evie’s birthday parties to take place before posting about them. If you know me well, you know I love birthdays, and I love celebrating them- as many times as possible for the same birthday :)

Party number 1: her actual birthday. Cupcakes, balloons and a few friends out to lunch.



Party number 2: her friends


Her expression in this photo is priceless. “I’m hot, this hat is dumb, and I don’t know how I feel about cupcakes yet.”


Party number 3: family

photo 1

photo 3


Finally, we also got to take a little beach “vacation”, which apparently really means, “change of scenery” these days. Evie did not care much for the ocean or sand, but she pretended to so we could take a few photos ;) Hopefully next trip will be a bit more successful!







Evie’s news these days for those who care to hear about the life and times of a 1 year-old. She can walk! That means all I do all day is follow her and take things out of her hand as they on their way to her mouth. She has 2 teeth, but I’ve spotted a few others on their way in and the pediatrician assures me that they do exist and they will come. She says “mama”, “dada”, “Gaga” (my mom), “Byeeee”, “Heeeyyyy”, “ball”, “Moo”, “Woah, woah” (dog barking). She loves climbing, dancing, any animal, dead leaves, lint, cords, my cell phone, and exploring in general. We don’t go anywhere without her very own set of baby car keys, and she drinks whole milk now and only out of a straw cup (that was a major battle). Our typical days consist of music class, gymboree, playground visits, walks, swimming and splash pad while we can, impromptu visits to Pet Supermarket to watch the birds and hamsters, and every now and then throwing a tantrum, usually about something that I don’t understand. It involves putting her head on the ground and then rolling around and slamming her feet down, or the back bend of death, her favorite when I attempt to confine her in a car seat or my arms on an airplane. That was lovely. And stay tuned. Very soon, I will post one of Evie’s favorite foods and the recipe. It has become one of our favorites too. I DO still cook these days, but not much, unless you think Annie’s mac n cheese or frozen waffles is exciting… ;)


Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

July: Some good, some bad. First: the bad.

I didn’t feel right posting some recipes (not that I have any) before sharing the events of July with all of you, especially since so many of you are good friends and family.


As many of you know, Evie lost her paternal grandmother , Maureen, on July 15th. She had been diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2012 and after a long fight, she finally joined our Father in heaven. We were able to celebrate her life on July 21st, surrounded by family and friends who came from near and far to support the family and show their appreciation for Maureen and her role in their lives. It was really beautiful to look around and see the many lives that she had touched. To be honest though, she would have been embarrassed that so many people had interrupted their lives to attend her funeral because humility was one of her most apparent virtues, one that Ryan has inherited 100%.

Evie's Baptism Weekend

Evie’s Baptism Weekend

Only a few days earlier, doctors had informed the family that Maureen likely only had a few weeks left. We had already booked tickets to VA to see her earlier that week, but the news made the trip that much more urgent. What weighed most heavily on me was the realization that it would likely be Evie’s last chance to see her grandmother, and I couldn’t even explain that to her. I couldn’t tell her to be on her best behavior or to give Grandma an extra big hug. I couldn’t tell her anything, which I guess in a way is a blessing, mostly because it is a reminder of the innocence of a child, and how envious I was of that. Not having to face the tough moments in life and just living blissfully in ignorance because you’re 1 and you don’t know any better.

Evie's First Christmas

Evie’s First Christmas

Maureen did her best to rally during our visit. She was moving about, paying bills, visiting with friends who stopped by to see her, and even joined us at the table for dinner, although she was no longer interested in eating at that point.  I did do my best to tell her what I think I would want to hear if I was in her shoes. That we would take care of Dennis, her husband/Ryan’s father, and Darius, her grandson whom she and Dennis brought into their home to care for years ago. He is now 7. She didn’t say anything when I told her that. She looked me in the eyes and nodded, but I understood that I had just addressed a major fear of hers and hopefully, put that fear to rest as much as I could.

H02A9417-2 H02A9445 IMG_3498

I do wish I had told her something else, though. I don’t remember the context of the conversation, but she mentioned to me that she was scared of what lied ahead for her. I wanted to tell her that an incredible place was waiting for her. A place where she would be the happiest she had ever been, and the most peaceful she had ever been. She would be able to drink wine again, to see her parents, to see her friends, and most importantly to meet our Lord. But I didn’t say that. I don’t know why, but in a way, I wondered if it would help. What did I know? I was another human who had never done this before, so while I could express my faith as much as possible, when you are face to face with death, I can only imagine that you may have doubts and wonder “Wait…am I really going to heaven? Should I have done something differently?” Luckily, Maureen was a devout Catholic, and there is no doubt in my mind about where she is right now. And that is exactly what the priest spoke about during her funeral, which I was so thankful for. Those were the words that I needed to hear that day.


And so I lived a moment I will never forget. Saying goodbye to Maureen the Sunday before she died as Evie and I headed back to the airport to return home. I busied myself a few minutes beforehand making sure the suitcases were packed, that I had enough snacks for Evie in my carry-on, located my ID, all the while cursing time for flying by. But there was no stopping it, nothing I could do, and we had to say goodbye. So I gave her an extra long hug, and as much as I tried not to cry in order to be strong for her, I couldn’t help it. I cried for Evie also, that she would not get to know this amazing woman, although I was thankful that they had met. That Maureen got to meet her granddaughter. But I knew that would be the last time I saw her, and I tried to take in as much as possible- her waving to us from the front porch as we pulled away.

And it was the last time.

She died two days later. But I got to tell her on behalf of Evie and myself, “We love you, too.”










Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Honey Bourbon Glazed Carrots + Evie is 11 months!


Hi everyone!

I can hardly believe my own title- my baby is 11 months old. That’s one month less than a YEAR. That means that one year ago, I was hot and pregnant, decorating a nursery, doing baby laundry for a baby I had not met yet, and longing for a glass of wine. I think about the following saying over and over again, especially now that I have heard it more than once: the days are long and the years are short- how true that is!



As you can see from the pictures, Evie is a pretty happy kid. In a few pictures, I am playing “peek-a-boo” with her, in others, I am dangling a toy. But there are a few where she is just randomly cracking herself up which apparently, results in her sticking her tongue out: takes after me, I guess. (I’m famous for laughing at my own dumb jokes, but not sticking my tongue out. She gets that from her dad!)


First Father's Day!

First Father’s Day!

Someone asked me the other day what my “routine” is. As I reflect on the past year, I don’t really have much of a routine. It has evolved along with Evie and her development. Six months ago, she was napping multiple times a day, required 6 feedings, and didn’t really enjoy sitting around the table at lunch. Now, she is much more pleasant to take into public, out to restaurants, on walks, and she enjoys the pool, the dog park, the zoo, and playing with her buddies. I can cook again, and Evie entertains herself with tupperware, and pulling up on the fridge, her high chair, etc. Her meals also take 45 minutes, so I tend to do some cooking while she eats her finger foods. It has been so nice!

Playing "Peek a boo!"

Playing “Peek a boo!”


So on to the recipe. I have made these carrots a few times now, and they are so easy and delicious. You buy pretty carrots with the carrot tops still attached, don’t peel the carrots to add to the “rustic” look, and drown them in a honey bourbon butter sauce with shallots. I think it’s still healthy, but I’m not totally sure. It’s delicious, easy, and looks beautiful in my opinion. I hope you try it! Thanks for indulging me as I gab about the babe. ;)


Honey Bourbon Glazed Carrots (recipe adapted from Southern Living)

  • 2 pounds baby carrots with tops
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp  bourbon (I used Jack Daniels)
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste

First, cut the tops off the carrots, leaving about an inch of the greenery. Meanwhile, heat the oven and a roasting pan to 500F. Melt the olive oil and 1 Tbsp butter in the roasting pan, toss in the carrots with salt and pepper and roast for about 10 minutes. Then, melt remaining butter, and saute the shallot. Add honey, bourbon and water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until liquid is reduced. Drizzle over the roasted carrots before serving and sprinkle with fresh time and additional salt and pepper.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Almond Pillow Cookies + College For A Weekend

photo 1-2

There’s nothing like going to your 10 year (TEN!) college reunion to make you feel old. I expected college to feel as if it was so long ago, but it doesn’t. It feels like yesterday, and that’s disturbing to me. Time really is going by faster and faster. I LOVED catching up with so many friends that I don’t get to run into around town or at weddings. What a wonderful reminder of the incredible community we were surrounded by, and also, how impactful those four years truly were in shaping who I am and the values I want to be reminded of.

Priceless photobomb in the background.

Priceless photobomb in the background.

Being back made me re-appreciate how fortunate I was to gain my college education with such incredible people. I love the lack of competition (at least from my perspective). There was no one trying to one up the others with job promotions, marriages, number of children produced in the shortest period of time, etc. I don’t feel defined at all by my major, job choice, geographic location, college GPA, number of degrees earned, etc. I just feel like me, and it is awesome. It is so liberating. Everyone should feel that way always.

Katie loves reunions!

Katie loves reunions!

And thankfully, social media has also made it much less awkward to run into old friends, giving me a hint of what has gone on in people’s lives over the past 5 years since our last reunion so I don’t look at them quizzically and ask “Soooooo…how ARE you?? Heh..heh..?”

To my point: we don't judge people in sequence pants. We dance with them.

To my point: we don’t judge people in sequence pants. We dance with them.

I returned home, completely exhausted after staying up way past my 9:30pm bedtime two nights in a row, yet energized. I also decided that I will be sending out letters shortly, requiring everyone in our class to relocate back to Charlottesville where we will all live in harmony once again. I think we should have reunions every year. I would absolutely go.

A successful night must end with Gus Burgers and Grillswith.

A successful night must end with Gus Burgers and Grillswith.

So before I left, I did have a chance to try and replicate some cookies that can otherwise be found at Fresh Market. (Yes, you don’t actually have to make this recipe yourself if you live near a Fresh Market- best news ever, right?)

They are chewy, soft, pillowy, almondy-extract cookies, and they are heavenly. I tend to be a chocolate lover, but I make a special exception for these, as should you.

Almond Pillow Cookies: Thanks to The Noshery for figuring this out!


1/2 cup sugar
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1 egg yolk
1 tsp almond extract
1 Tbsp milk
2 1/4 cups flour
1 8 oz can almond paste
1 Tbsp milk
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp almond extract

Pre-heat oven to 350 F. For the cookies, cream together sugar and butter. Add next three ingredients and mix well. Finally, add the flour a little bit at a time until all is incorporated. Set aside. Next, combine all filling ingredients in a bowl and mix until well blended.

To form the cookies:

The prep is a little hands-on, so I’ve provided you with play by play visuals. First, roll a ball of cookie dough (approx. 1.5 Tbsp dough) and another ball of filling, about half the size. Flatten the cookie dough into a disc and put the filling in the middle. Wrap the cookie dough around the filling and form a ball. Flatten the balls onto a cookie sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes (err on underdone rather than overdone!). Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar and devour immediately.
















And for all you Evie stalkers out there, some pool pics:




Leave a Comment

Filed under Dessert

Lentil Salad with a Dijon Vinaigrette + Baby Cold


Hi friends!

This week, Evie has been keeping me on my toes with a little baby cold. It breaks my heart to hear her little cough and  to see her constantly rubbing at her runny nose. Nothing I can do besides pamper her with her grape-scented nose wipes. And the best part is that her reflux is kicking in with her coughing fits which resulted in 3 outfit changes for both of us before 9am today. Motherhood: always a reminder that my needs are now second to the “associate’s” needs and never a dull moment. At least her cold does not phase her mood-wise. She had a blast messing around with Leo yesterday and continues her crawling olympics around the first floor, picking up every single piece of debris along the way and attempting to taste it. *stressful*




Luckily, I made myself some food for the week on Monday while Ryan was home and could spend some QT with Evie. One of the salads I made is this cold lentil salad that I have served as a side with some chicken or on top of some greens for lunch. An easy, one utensil, meal that is healthy, doesn’t involve taking out and putting back 15 ingredients from the fridge (like I do when sandwich-making!), and adding some variety to my otherwise sweet potato and avocado diet. Even Evie can have a few bites with her dinner! Always a plus.


Adapted from Ina Garten’s Recipe. Hope you like it!

Lentil Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette:

1/2 lb lentils

3/4 cup chopped carrots

1/2 cup cooked peas

1 leek, washed and chopped

1 clove garlic, diced


3 tsp dijon mustard

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil



Wash the lentils and boil for 15-20 minutes until they have reached their desired “doneness”. Meanwhile, saute carrot and leek for 8-10 minutes until soft. Add the garlic for the last 2-3 minutes. Combine Lentils, carrots, leeks, peas and garlic and dress with vinaigrette. Serve warm or chill and serve later. Enjoy!



Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

On Being a Mom

My mom with me, circa 1983.

My mom with me, circa 1983.



Hi everyone! I thought I would end my first official Mother’s day with a public reflection on life as a mom so far. Granted, I’m only about 10 months in, but what a 10 months it has been!

First, it is not lost on me that becoming a mother is truly a miracle. It is not a “right” as a female. It is one miraculous coincidence after another that enabled me to not only become pregnant, but to then bring a healthy baby into the world. I know that I am one of the lucky ones, and I am thankful for that every day.

Second, motherhood has been filled with high highs and low lows. Words cannot describe (mostly because anyone not related to said child probably doesn’t care) the feeling when your baby smiles for the first time, laughs for the first time, tastes a food she doesn’t like, starts to notice the dog, crawls…you get the picture. You get to re-experience the world through a child’s eyes, and I am reminded of yes, how cool all of these things are that I take for granted. But don’t think I have forgotten the nights of incessant crying, the days of painful baby constipation (you really do become an expert in poop), the fear that she might be sick, the moments she falls and hits her head on the wood floor- the emotional stress is unlike any job I have ever had or any stress I have ever experienced. The feeling of love for that little human is so great that you do it, but sometimes you also speed out of the driveway 2 minutes after the babysitter arrives before you waste another precious moment of adults only time!

Next, bringing a child into the world is a physical feat, but not just for the months of pregnancy or the days in the hospital following delivery: for the next six months if you ask me and more. Hormones are evil, and they were everywhere. Throw lack of sleep, no time to exercise and loss of appetite on there due to stress and probably a touch of postpartum depression, and you have an interesting combination. I don’t think I had mentally prepared for how long it would take my body to recalibrate, and poor hub definitely missed that memo. He knows now ;)

All in all, it has been a wonderful 10 months. The amount of information I have learned about infants, motherhood, and womanhood is more than I have probably learned in the past 5 years combined. I have been made aware of how selfish my life was before, but how lovely it also is to have a constant purpose babbling to herself in the backseat of the car while you drive. I love the fact that motherhood has forced me to slow down, to take it in, and to just enjoy (even on the days that warrant an extra large glass of wine). And it is crazy to think that you never become an “expert”. As soon as you have mastered one phase, the babies are on to the next, and God forbid the second child is nothing like the first and everything you learned is out the window and you’re back to square one.

Finally, I wanted to tell you this story about my mama that in my opinion, perfectly captured what it means to be a mom. She called to tell me she had received the flowers I sent her on Friday (yes, Friday: it was cheaper to ship early delivery). I told her that a card was in the mail, and the following conversation ensued:

Mom: “Mich! You didn’t have to do all that”.

Me:  ”Are you kidding? After my experience so far as a mom, I should have sent you a plane ticket to Hawaii!”

Mom: “Well, the most important thing is that you are a good mom to Evie.”

And there she went again, just as selfless as ever. Love that.

Such a ham!

Such a ham!

What is happening in that little brain here?

What is happening in that little brain here?


This is what happens when you leave her alone with her dad for a few minutes.

This is what happens when you leave her alone with her dad for a few minutes.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

I lost my muse + Evie lately

Hey everyone,

Long time, no talk. I know. I have no excuse, really. Ryan has even had the month of April off, which means I should have had even MORE time to test out some delicious recipes and share them. But I didn’t. I don’t know what I did, to be honest. When I did get in the kitchen, there weren’t too many noteworthy recipes happening, so if you have some ideas for me, bring ‘em. I need to shake it up a bit over here. Damn you, Zifty, for delivering take-out to my door.

But be honest. You just wanted to see pics of Evie anyways since I think most of my readers are related to me and don’t speak English, so I’ll just get to it.

We have had a BUSY month.

First, I’ll take you back to our impromptu trip to NYC. The good: ate GREAT food and way too much of it, checked a Michelin Star restaurant or two off the list (Momofuku), and of course saw great friends. The bad: sharing hotel rooms with Evie is no longer an option unless I don’t plan on sleeping. And the best part was the journey home which involved me and Evie alone in a cab which then got a flat tire on the way to the airport. Fortunately, we made it there, caught our flight, and no later than one hour after walking in the door was I struck with the 24 hour stomach flu. Thank goodness Evie didn’t catch it!

photo 1

Next, Evie got baptized! YAY!! Fabulous family reunion in Atlanta with the BEST weather ever.

Not too happy with the priest after pouring cold water on her head.

Not too happy with the priest after pouring cold water on her head.

The proud Godparents!

The proud Godparents!

Coleman Grandparents

Coleman Grandparents

Murphy Grandparents

Murphy Grandparents

Family Photo

Family Photo

Wearing the baptismal gown that I used as a baby.

Wearing the baptismal gown that I used as a baby.

Then, we celebrated Easter in Atlanta and spent the week enjoying friends and fun outings.

photo 1


Playdate- all kids looked pleasant!

Playdate- all kids looked pleasant!

One of her new favorite things: standing in her crib and looking cute.

One of her new favorite things: standing in her crib and looking cute.

Us girls making Dad take photos of us.

Us girls making Dad take photos of us.

Less happy group photo of the kiddos, but hilarious.

Less happy group photo of the kiddos, but hilarious.

Finally, we took a trip. It was originally planned for AZ/UT, but after our overly eventful trip with Evie to NYC, I asked myself “Why are we taking a baby to AZ/UT?”, so we did an East Coast tour instead, stopping to see families, had a 2 night sans baby getaway in our beloved Charlottesville complete with friends, food and wine tasting, topped off by a few nights in the western NC mountains.

Evie's friend, Ellery, who lives in Charlottesville, and whom she still has yet to meet!

Evie’s friend, Ellery, who lives in Charlottesville, and whom she still has yet to meet!

Having fun with dad! Oblivious of the gorgeous few of the Blue Ridge behind her.

Having fun with dad! Oblivious of the gorgeous view of the Blue Ridge behind her.


A little blurry, but too bad.

Blueberries + Beets face.

Blueberries + Beets face.

Happy hour, baby style.

Happy hour, baby style.

Why are we always pointing this camera at her?

Plotting how she will get her hands on the camera, and then eat it.

See ya soon! And don’t forget- give me some ideas, people!

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Noni’s meatballs and marinara sauce + Evie is 8 months old!




Hello everyone!

So, I really cannot explain it. I have no excuse. Why I have not taken more time to learn some real Italian cooking from Noni next door is beyond me. I think I know one reason: that time that I had a job. But NOW- nap time is the perfect time to learn a few secrets from our very own neighborhood Noni.

Noni lives next door with her daughter’s family (best.neighbors.ever). I have feasted on many a pasta dish and meatball next door, and every time, I say to myself “I need this recipe”. In fact, Noni even showed up at our door a few weeks ago with a baked ziti and meatballs dish intended for my parents while they were staying with Evie. Unfortunately for them, they had just left, and I don’t think Noni had even blinked an eye before I had snatched the pasta dish out of her hands and my mouth started watering. DE-lish.

I needed details.

So she came over today during Evie’s nap time, and together, we made some meatballs. She also gave me the secrets behind her amazing marinara sauce which I promptly prepared as soon as she walked out the door.






A few tips that either I knew and didn’t understand or didn’t know at all!

1) The reason you leave the eggs out to reach room temperature is so that the whites will completely separate from the shell. Otherwise, they stick and it’s tricky to get them out.

2) When forming the meatballs, continue to add water to your hands so they don’t stick.

3) Sprinkle salt on your baking sheet instead of adding more oil or cooking spray. Keeps the meatballs from sticking, seasons the meat, and eliminates excess fat.

4) Crushed tomatoes are not the same thing as diced tomatoes (probably should have known that, but never really stopped to think about it).

5) Gluten free? No problemo! Replace the bread crumbs in the recipe with an extra egg to bind the meat together.





1 lb lean ground beef (I used 85/15 dry aged ground beef)

1/2 cup bread crumbs (I used Panko)

1/2 cup roughly chopped parsley

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 egg

1/4 cup of water (she measured this out using the egg shells, which I thought was clever)

salt/pepper (roughly 2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper)

1 tsp garlic powder

Preheat your oven to 325F. Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl, and using your hands, mix well together. Make sure the ingredients are evenly distributed. I took about 1/4 cup of the mixture and made meatballs. You can make more or less, depending on how large you want them. I churned out 9 meatballs and baked them for 25 minutes until they were nicely browned on the outside. Flip them as soon as they come out of the oven.






Marinara Sauce:

1 32 oz can crushed tomatoes

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp basil

1 bay leaf

1 tsp sugar


olive oil


In a large saucepan, heat up the olive oil on high. Add the onion/garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, stir, and allow it to simmer until most liquid has cooked off. No more than 2 hours, says Noni! Serve with the meatballs and some delicious pasta!

Meanwhile, Evie is 8 months old. Here is what she’s been up to lately: crawling(!), going from laying down to sitting position, eating whole peas by herself, screeching at all dogs and small children that look like dogs, trying to eat my camera.

Swinging is her favorite.

Swinging is her favorite.


We got to see the Budweiser Clydesdales. Evie didn't care. She only saw dogs.

We got to see the Budweiser Clydesdales. Evie didn’t care. She only saw dogs.



Tickle attack.

Tickle attack.





What happens if I jump off the couch? (She didn't..)

What happens if I jump off the couch? (She didn’t..)


Contemplating her next swift move where she will once and for all, take my camera.

Contemplating her next swift move where she will once and for all, take my camera.





Leave a Comment

Filed under Dinner