Parmigiano Reggiano and Tomato Biscuits

Thursday, October 19, 2017

This post in in collaboration with Thank you so much for supporting the brands that help make this blog possible.  

As a college student, I worked in the theater costume shop, and over the course of my years working there, I worked on several operas.  As a kid and teenager, I had some exposure to opera, but it was pretty limited and due to immaturity, I thought opera with pretty ridiculous sounding.  I much preferred Broadway style singing (I still do prefer it).  

Then, I remember sitting in on a Don Giovanni dress rehearsal helping take costume notes my first semester working in the costume shop, and the director told one actor that he needed to project more while singing or they would need to give him a microphone.  The actor was adamant that he could project louder, and didn't need a mic, and near tears when the director suggested this.  

I hadn't ever realized that opera singers need to be able to project to a theater of 1200 people without a microphone.  There my appreciation began, and since then I have seen a number of operas, and actually really like the genre now.  A few nights ago, I was editing some photos while watching "No Reservations" on Netflix, and Nick, one of the main characters, listens to a lot of opera.  I realized how much I had missed it, and turned it on again last week.  It was a lovely experience.  

A few of my favorites include some famous songs like Nassun Dorma, the Queen of the Night Aria from The Magic Flute, and the Commendatore's song from Don Giovanni (Adam's favorite part is at 5:30ish of this song.  His voice goes INSANELY low).  If you want to watch another movie with lots of gorgeous opera songs in it, I really like A Room with a View (warning: there is some male nudity in it, so I always skip that scene).  The theme song is so beautiful and makes me want to move to a villa in Italy.  

I have found that getting older has given me the opportunity to appreciate a few of the finer things in life.  Like creating delicious foods with amazing Italian cheese like Parmigiano Reggiano (I guess I just like Italian things...).

These biscuits are perfectly cheesy with a delicious bit of sun-dried tomato coming through.  They are light, fluffy, flavorful and absolutely gorgeous for a beautiful fall night.  

You should make them tonight while listening to some Italian Opera.  It might be the best thing you do all week!  Just make sure you get real Parmigiano Reggiano (I have found it at most cheese sections in many grocery stores).  Be on the look out for the pin dots on the rind, you and you will know you have the best there is!  


Raiding My Sister's Closet: Transitioning to Fall

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Last weekend, my mom, my sisters and I spent the weekend doing fun things around SLC, and it was just the best!  Earlier this year, I had seen super cheap plane tickets for Amsterdam, and jokingly sent them on to my sisters, asking them who wanted to come (this was before I found out I was pregnant with twins).  None of us could actually do it, but it did plant a seed for a sisters weekend somewhere, sometime. I thought it might be off the table when I found out I was having twins, but my lovely mom and sisters accommodated me, and came to Utah to see me! They really are the best!  

We ate lots of delicious food, talked a ton, visited our alma mater (we all graduated from the same college), went to a fantastic play, and then they threw me a surprise baby shower.  If you saw Merrick's Insta story about it, I was thoroughly and completely shocked.  

It was basically a dream weekend made even better when Adam told me that he and Fox had the best time playing together.  

This trip happened to coincide with some very cold temperatures, and all the Fall sweaters and coats had to come out (actually, neither of my sisters had brought a warm enough coat, so there was some literal 'raiding my sister's closet,' for coats this past weekend.  I was grateful that my Texan closet could accommodate).

I was thrilled to pull out my favorite fall scarves and boots, and find that layering a sweater under my coat is a great way to adapt to potential weather changes.  It was nice and warm during the nippy day, but when we went to dinner, I could pull off the coat, and still stay cozy.  Then, I took off the sweater later in the evening at the baby shower when I got sort of hot, and was still wearing a perfectly acceptable outfit.  It was great.  Layering FTW!

Also, check out my giant bump!  30 weeks in a twin pregnancy is no joke! 

dress: target// leggings: h&m// scarf: can't remember... Loft?// boots: DSW(similar)// sunglasses: permanently borrowed from Adam (similar)// watch: Mido (gift from Adam)// bag: Kate Spade

Check out how Merrick and Janssen are Transitioning to Fall


Thoughts about Minimalism with Twins

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

I have been thinking a lot about how our life is going to change once these twins are born.  I have a feeling a lot of it is going to need an overhaul, and things are going to be quite different.  One of the things I am hopeful about, is that we will still be be able to maintain minimalism in our home.

Right now, minimalism is hard for me, because we are living on top of someone else's stuff (my in-laws furniture, appliances, books and regular household stuff), so I can't keep things quite as simple as I would like, but one area that I can completely control is the baby department in our home.

With Fox, we did some modifications to make our closet work for him, and tried to buy as little as possible up front.  This worked out really well, and I felt like we didn't end up with a bunch of baby stuff that only got used for a few months.

This time around, we will probably do the same.  If I get totally desperate for some baby item, I can always pick it up at the Target down the street or have it shipped via Amazon, so I like getting stuff once you need them, rather than trying to anticipate every need that we might have.

A few things I do need to buy/I have bought include:

- another car seat (or possibly two new ones, depending on how big our babies are when they are born).
- a full-sized crib (a nice neighbor actually gave us one that we will use for them both at first).
- several crib sheets (My friends from Texas own Copper Pearl, and generously sent me this one and this one, which look darling in the crib!).
- diapers.  Running out of these in snowy December doesn't sound like any fun, so I will probably buy 2 packs of newborn, and a few packs of size 1.
- a breast pump cord.  Our first day in France two years ago, I decided to pump, completely forgot that I needed a power adaptor, not just a plug adaptor, and frazzled the cord (thankfully the pump still works).  I borrowed one from a friend who wasn't pregnant last time, so I finally bought one, because I am going to try to breast feed for as long as makes sense.

A few things I want to buy:

- prints from WildShip.  I like having a cute space for my babies, and while I don't go all out, I am sorely tempted to get three of these prints to hang above their crib.

- a glider.  I kept wishing I had a glider after we had Fox, but they are typically expensive, and I don't think I can fit me and two babies in one, so I might hold off on this one.

- a full bath set from Tubby Todd.  I am not a fan of bubble bath, but I am dying to try their lotion, shampoo and other baby bath products.  I have some of their all-over ointment, and it is working miracles right now with Fox's dry skin, so I am almost ready to take the plunge and order some more.

Things I am waiting on:

- A swing or bouncers.  I hate the idea of how much space they take up (although we currently have room for them), and they are typically kind of expensive.  So for now, we are going to wait.  We didn't use them for Fox, but he didn't have a 2 1/2 year old older brother that will potentially love on him excessively, and need to be off the floor.

- More clothes.  I actually have a lot of newborn clothes.  I think these are people's favorites to buy, because they are so tiny, so I have quite a collection, but we will see how far they will actually go once they are clothing two babies.  Also, I might end up needing some preemie stuff, if they are really little.  Again, time will tell.  I really wish I could spend lots of our money on darling matching baby pajamas and stuff, but my frugality just won't let me.  Thankfully, we should be just fine without my spending urges.

Any suggestions for a minimalist parent of twins?  Things I should consider getting, or things that I can do without?

Life savers during my twin pregnancy

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Twin pregnancy is no joke.  Between intense nausea first trimester (with a side of vomit), crazy heartburn, feeling like my ribs are getting forced out (which they probably are), as well as just being uncomfortable most of the time, being pregnant this time around has been somewhat crabby.  Because I am trying to get through this pregnancy gracefully and with as little complaining as possible, I wanted to share a few things that have made my pregnancy happier.

Bissell Vacuum and Steam Mop - You guys!  This isn't sponsored, but holy cow, this vacuum has changed my life!  WE have a fairly large kitchen, entry and down the hall that are tile and hardwood, and we spend a lot of time eating and walking around on these floors.  I can't imaging sweeping and mopping these all the time to keep them clean.  This amazing appliance vacuums and mops. At the SAME TIME!  Seriously revolutionary.  I don't think our floors would ever get mopped otherwise.  This appliance belongs to my MIL, but you can bet I will be buying one when we move to our own house!

Bar stools - This is a lame one, but cooking is kind of hard because I am supposed to sit down as much as possible, so the set of bar stools in this house gets used an insane amount.  I chop veggies, make dressings, make granola, and even cook over the stove while sitting on these.  Seriously a lifesaver.  I never thought of myself as a stool person, but I really like using these.

Slippers - Right after we got married, we visited my in-laws for Christmas.  I was still adjusting to marriage and being part of a new family, and I honestly had a hard time that Christmas, but one of the things I remember the most was being freezing the entire time we were here (we slept in the basement, which is always a few degrees colder than upstairs).  The next time we came, I had been given a set of slippers, and it made a world of difference.  My feet have been pretty freezing a lot of the time we have been here, especially heading into fall, so these make me really happy and comfortable.

Almond Oil - I have mentioned this before, but as my belly gets bigger, I use almond oil to help with the itching, and hopefully reduce stretch marks.  It worked really well last time, and I didn't get any, but the chances I will escape stretch marks this time are slim, so I am not holding my breath.  It certainly does help with the itching, though.

Reclining couches - I typically don't like comfortable furniture that much because it is super ugly (it usually makes my back hurt too, from slouching), but my in-laws have some comfortable couches (they are not really ugly, but their main draw is not the look), that recline.  I have NEVER thought about getting a reclining couch, but using their's makes me really happy.

And as a random request, I am looking for a "made in the USA" or ethically made, attractive bathrobe for post baby delivery.  Anyone have one they love?


Sweet Potato, Bacon, Parmigiano Reggiano Pasta

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

This post is in partnership with Parmigiano Reggiano.

I have been looking forward to Fall this year!  For one thing, the summer was really hot, but also because we now live in a place that actually has a fall.

In Texas, the leaves turn brown and fall off the trees in November, and it goes from super hot to coldish in just a few days.  It is a little underwhelming, honestly.  So the idea of having a legitimate Fall is a big deal.

It has been really cold and rainy this past weekend (the mountains actually got a ton of snow), so I pulled out my coziest recipes.

One that I love but haven't shared here is this terrific sweet potato, bacon and parmesan pasta.  It is delicious, easy and perfect for a cozy night in the fall.  

A few key items make this recipe a real standout.  First, you should always use a good bacon.  I find high quality bacon makes a big difference.  You don't need as much, and it just tastes so much better.  And use real Parmesan.  The way you can tell that it is legit is if it has the lovely pin dots on the rind (see photos below).

This is the most amazing and flavorful parmesan that comes straight from Italy.  You can find it at most cheese counters in most grocery stores (I found mine at my local Winco, but I have found it at almost every grocery store I have looked and you can also buy it here on Amazon).  

Without further ado, here is the deliciousness that came out of my kitchen the other day! 

Sweet Potato, Bacon Parmigiano Reggiano Pasta:
adapted from Family Meals

2 medium sweet potatoes, washed and cut into 1/2" cubes
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 Tbs olive oil
3 Tbs butter, divided 
salt and pepper
1/2 lb pasta
4 slices of thick bacon, cut into small pieces
1/4 tsp ground sage
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup Parmesan, thinly shaved

Preheat your oven to 400°F.  Prepare a cookie sheet with a layer of tinfoil or a silicone mat.  Spread the onion and sweet potatoes in an even layer across the sheet.  Toss with olive oil. Cut 1 Tbs of the butter into small pieces and scatter the bits of butter across the sweet potato pieces.  Season with salt and pepper, then cook for about 40 minutes, tossing them with a spatula occasionally to  keep them from browning too much.

Boil a large pot of salted water, and add the pasta.  Cook until it is al dente.  Drain, but reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking water.

While the pasta is cooking, heat a frying pan over medium heat, and cook your bacon pieces until just before they begin to crisp.  Pour out all but a tablespoon of the fat, and add the sage and sweet potato and cook.  Stir until heated through.  Add the pine nuts, and pasta, 2 Tbs of butter, and the pasta water.  Add salt and pepper if needed, and sprinkle liberally with parmesan.  Enjoy! 

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