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Monthly Archives: August 2012

Comfort Food

I’m still on a Pintrest recipe testing kick. Who knows, maybe I’ll follow through with my New Year resolution of trying a new recipe every week by accomplishing 52 experiments before 2013.

Chicken and Dumplings (the soup kind)

The first time I tried “chicken and dumplings” was on a date at a restaurant. He was going on about the importance of trying new food, but I was not feeling adventurous. Looking at the menu, chicken and dumplings seemed the safest bet while still qualifying as “new” (to me). A plate arrived with fluffy biscuits on top of a thick soup with sweet carrots and tender chicken. It was heavenly. To his credit I also enjoyed the braised beef cheek on his plate. The date did not work out, but I was pleased with finding a new food to expand my picky palate. I want to note this was many years ago and I’ve since tried things more exotic than Southern comfort food. Since my addiction to Pintrest lets me look at the recipes before I read the ingredients, I discovered chicken and dumplings with biscuits on top is only one of two ways to make it! I’m not sure which is the “real” version, I imagine it depends on what your Grandma made and where you were raised. The recipe I made this week was the soup version of chicken and dumplings, with dough cooked in the broth. It was hearty and delicious and everything I want in an it’s-almost-fall soup. I don’t think I’m going to make regular chicken noodle soup again.

I adapted my recipe from Tiffany’s at Eat At Home Cooks. She’s from Kentucky so it must be legit. I feel like this is probably the right time to confess that I subscribe to Southern Living and totally fantasize about living next door to Paula Dean. I might be a Southern Belle in another life.

  • 3 cups cooked chicken (shred a rotisserie chicken from Costco, best $5 you’ll spend)
  • 8 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups flour, plus extra for rolling the dough
  • 2 Tbs. butter (I didn’t have butter so I used butter flavored Crisco, worked just fine)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • about a cup of milk, maybe a bit less
  • salt to taste (give it a few good shakes)
  • black pepper to taste (same as the salt)
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 white onion, finely diced (I like the onion for flavor here, I didn’t want to bite into big pieces when the soup was done)
  • 1-2 carrots depending on size, peeled and sliced thin
  • The next time I make this I’ll try adding spinach, chopped celery or peas might also make good add-in’s

In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.  Cut the butter (or Crisco) into the dry ingredients with a fork or pastry blender.  Stir in the milk until the dough forms a ball, it should be pretty easy to handle.

Heavily flour a work surface. Roll the dough out thin with a heavily floured rolling pin.  Use a pizza cutter or knife (Leia got a kick out of using the pizza cutter to slice the dough) to cut the dumplings in squares about 2″ x 2″. Don’t throw out the ugly pieces, soup doesn’t discriminate.

Bring the broth to a boil. Add the dumplings in a few at a time, stirring while you add them so they don’t stick. Don’t dust the flour off, it is what thickens the broth. Add your vegetables and cook for about 20 minutes. Toss the chicken with your seasonings and add to the pot. Let it simmer for another 5 minutes and you’re done! If the soup isn’t as thick as you’d like, use 1 Tbs. of constarch. Always mix in some cooking liquid with your cornstach to dissolve it before adding to the pot.

Crock Pot Macaroni and Cheese

I love mac n cheese. I like the chemical laden stuff from the blue box (crunchy confession: I usually buy Annie’s, but I won’t turn down Kraft if it’s on my plate). I even like Velveeta shells and cheese (the horror!). I rarely make it from scratch because it’s just too easy from a box. Even from the box, I try not to make it more than once a month. Leia won’t eat the stuff. What toddler doesn’t eat mac n cheese?! Mine. So I end up eating the whole pot and feeling sick later.

This recipe is from Liz over at A Whisk and A Prayer. Originally from “Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Recipes for Two”

  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 12 oz can evaporated milk
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted, cooled to room temp
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 cups shredded cheese (I used a 50/50 mix of mild cheddar and fontina)
  • 1/2 pound elbow macaroni or mini penne tubes, par cooked and drained (this means cook them for about five minutes until tender but not completely cooked)
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • A few dashes of worcestershire
  • A spoonful of good mustard
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Spray the inside of your crock pot with cooking spray or grease it with olive oil. Combine milk, evaporated milk, eggs, butter, and salt in slow-cooker and whisk until until smooth.

Add the shredded cheese (not the Parmesan) and macaroni, black pepper, onion powder, worcestershire and mustard. Stir gently with a spatula to coat evenly. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top. Cover and cook on HIGH for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, reduce the temperature to LOW and cook for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, until custard is set in the center and the pasta is tender. The macaroni and cheese may sit in the cooker on the KEEP WARM setting for 30 minutes before serving. I took her advice and added sauteed bread crumbs to the top before serving.

The verdict? Eh. It had good taste, but the cheese curdled on me despite using the evaporated milk. I’m not sure if this had anything to do with the spices I added or the cheeses I used. I know cheddar tends to separate, while fontina melts smoothly. I know making a bechamel the helps stabilize the consistency, so maybe I need to test recipes of that variety. I will say that Leia took more than two bites, which is a mac n cheese record. I ate a full bowl, because the flavor was good despite a disappointing consistency. My Mom said she loved it, and even enjoyed a bowl heated up the next day. But she’s my Mom, of course she’s going to love everything I make (thanks Mom).

Pumpkin Spice Cake

That is the unofficial name I’m giving to the hybrid of two Pintrest recipes. The first recipe came from an article on Hungry Girl with substitutions to make for eggs and oil in cake mixes. Spice cake with pumpkin puree was on the list. Devils food with greek yogurt was another one I want to try. The other recipe was this drool worthy Cinnamon Roll Pumpkin Vanilla Sheet Cake from Picky Palate.

Everyone needs to make this cake, unless you’re diabetic, then I apologize for taunting you. It was moist and combined all my favorite fall flavors! My house smelled delicious. Plus it’s only 8 ingredients, doesn’t get easier.

  • 1 box Spice cake mix (Duncan Hines)
  • 1 15oz can of pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs. pumpkin pie spice (use cinnamon if you don’t have PPS…then go buy or make some PPS)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbs. milk
  • 1/4 cup real maple syrup (it’s expensive, I know)

Line a 9×13 pan with parchment (or spray with nonstick). Mix together the can of pumpkin with the cake mix using an electric mixer. Ta-da, you just made a cake! The batter is very thick so you have to spread it in the pan with a spatula. Leia licked both beaters totally clean – no eggs, no guilt.

Melt the butter and stir in brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice. Drop spoonfuls on the cake and swirl gently, you don’t want to mix it in completely.

Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes. Let it cool in the pan for a few hours or until it’s no longer warm to the touch. Mix together the powdered sugar, maple syrup and milk. You can omit the milk if you like a thicker consistency. This glaze is pretty sweet, and if that’s not your thing I would suggest just brushing some maple syrup on top of the cake while it’s still warm. The maple flavor really goes well with the pumpkin and spices.


Homemade Ice Cream

Despite my obsession with testing less-than-healthy recipes I see on Pintrest, I’ve been doing well on the “healthy eating and staying active” front. But when I saw how easy it was to make ice cream from Kevin & Amanda’s blog, I completely justified the calorie splurge. I had sweetened condensed milk in my pantry, so I was halfway there. I knew I’d add nutella after the jar stared back at me from the shelf. Besides, adding it to a recipe now means I won’t be consuming it by the spoonful later. I can’t say enough wonderful things about that little jar, mmm love. Also in the pantry was a box of snickerdoodle cookies I bought for Leia that she wasn’t thrilled with. I’m not sure how someone genetically linked to me snubs a cookie. So I crushed up some cookies to mix them in. Snickerdoodle Nutella Ice Cream. Oh yes.

After a quick trip to the store (I was going anyway), I picked up heavy whipping cream and got to work.

Kevin & Amanda’s pictures are really pretty, guaranteed to inspire. My photo is purely functional, taken with an iPhone in crappy kitchen lighting.

Mix 2 cups heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Mix together your toppings (half jar of nutella, 1 cup crushed cookies, splash of vanilla) with 1 can of condensed milk in a separate bowl. Fold in the whipped cream. Put it in a container with a lid and into the freezer overnight.

The next day I snuck a few a lot of spoonfuls because I couldn’t wait until after dinner when I made a bowl for Leia and I to share. The texture was great, just like store bought ice cream. There were a few downfalls, but none of them were deal breakers. It was a little too sweet from condensed milk and nutella together, the richness of the heavy cream left a buttery aftertaste on my tongue, and it melted a little faster than store bought ice cream.

Then I tested the recipe using only 1 cup of light whipping cream and 1 cup of half and half vs. two cups heavy whipping cream. I chopped up some strawberries and let them sit covered in the fridge with a squeeze of lemon and a spoonful of sugar for a few hours, then added it to the mix. The texture was a little icy in comparison, but still a lot like store bought ice cream. It was just the right level of sweetness, and not overly rich. It still melted a little too fast.

Taking a picture on my patio, the only place I get decent natural light.

The cookie is my solution to using up the rest of the nutella (to avoid eating it with a spoon later). It’s a ridiculously simple recipe I saw on Pintrest. The verdict? Eh, they were alright. Maybe because I knew there were only 3 ingredients (1 cup nutella, 1 cup flour, 1 egg) I felt like it was lacking something. The nutella flavor didn’t really come through, it was just a crispy/chewy chocolate confection. The fresh strawberries were a nice addition.

I kept a very small container with two servings for myself and gave the rest to my mom. Next up on my recipe testing is comfort food like mac n cheese and chicken & dumplings, yum!

Pintrest Experiments

Pintrest is my favorite website. It easily trumps Facebook. Pandora and GoodReads come in as close runner ups. But if I’m voting based on the website that I happily donate hours of my precious free time to…Pintrest wins.

I feel slightly less guilty for all that wasted time when I actually try the things I pin. Check out this blog, Pintrest Fail, it’s freakin’ hilarious!

So here’s what I’ve been up to:

Delighted Momma’s Apple Cider Vinegar Elixer

Image from Delighted Momma

I’ve been reading about all these wonderful benefits apple cider vinegar has when consumed or applied topically. The most alluring promises were regulating blood sugar and promoting digestions. Who doesn’t love the idea of feeling cleansed and healthy? So I made a trip to Whole Foods for the raw unfiltered organic apple cider and mixed up a batch of the drink you see above (ACV, apple juice, cinnamon, water, stevia). It was disgusting. I could barely finish it without gagging. I know vinegar is an acquired taste. I enjoy balsamic vinegar a lot, especially with lots of olive oil and a loaf of crusty bread. So I asked for suggestions via Facebook and was directed to take it like a shot or add it to my salad dressing and steamed veggies. The next day I filled up a shot glass and took it down with a wedge of lemon as a chaser – tooth enamel be damned. It was so much easier! No crappy aftertaste. Later that night I used the ACV as a toner, just applied it with a cotton ball about 20 minutes before I went to bed. It smelled bad for about 5 minutes, then I didn’t notice. It might just be seeing things I want to see, but my skin definitely looked a little more radiant in the morning.

Bruce Paltrow’s World-Famous Pancakes as seen on Self

Image from Self

These were delicious! I made them almost exact as the recipe stated, just adding the zest of a lemon and some blueberries. I’m a big fan of buttermilk in baked goods, and especially pancakes. The best part of this recipe was putting everything together the night before so there’s hardly any work in the morning. Oh, and check out this genius tip from Real Simple: Clean an old ketchup bottle and use it as a pancake batter dispenser. The only thing I would do differently is add some ground flax or fiber powder so I feel a little less guilt when I devour a stack as big as that picture. I also learned that the blueberries are best if they’re roughly chopped and added to batter before pouring onto the griddle.


Making cookies together

I love being in the kitchen with Leia. As long as I can remember (which isn’t hard to do, she’s only two), Leia has enjoyed helping me – at least joining me – while I’m buzzing around making meals, doing dishes, putting away groceries, etc.

Lately I’ve encouraged her to get more involved when I make food. I’ll put her on the counter and have her measure flour or sugar into a cup, mix ingredients with a spoon or whisk, etc. We get messy and mash bananas with our hands, laugh if things spill. I let her try cracking an egg open, that was fun. I make sure to explain what things are sharp, and when not to touch. Before you call CPS, I realize she can’t totally grasp those cautions and have to keep everything in her area safe. We’re not juggling knives. She did try to lick the carrots off the grater, I guess that could have turned out bad.

Making sugar cookies, using her new cookie cutters. She had a blast rolling the dough. Unfortunately, the recipe wasn’t great so I’m not sharing it.

Okay, I guess the recipe wasn’t that bad. No, I didn’t let her eat the whole plate full of cookies. Not because I’m overly concerned with her sugar intake, because I’m a junkie and wanted them for myself. After we I polished those off I realized our next experiment should be some kind of “healthy cookie” – mostly so I’m not tempted to eat them but also so I feel better about what I’m feeding the kiddo.

I tweaked the Carrot Cake Breakfast Cookie recipe from Oh She Glows and they’re a hit! I’ve made them a few times now, with different substitutions, it’s a pretty flexible recipe.

  • 1/2 cup ground flax
  • 1/2 whole wheat flour (you can use white, or 1/4 cup each)
  • 1 cup regular rolled oats (I used more oats and less flour compared to the original, no particular reason)
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1 cup lightly packed finely shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted so it’s in liquid form
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup (honey also works, I tried both)
  • 1/4 cup applesauce (no applesauce? I substituted one medium extra ripe banana with no problems)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Taste test. Since the dough is egg free, it’s totally safe.

In a large bowl, mix together your dry ingredients: flax, flour, oats, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg. In a medium bowl mix together the melted coconut oil, syrup, carrots, applesauce, vanilla, and raisins. Combine wet ingredients into dry, don’t overmix. The dough is very sticky, but I was able to use a standard cookie scoop. Bake for about 12-14 minutes at 350 degrees. Note: I must have made smaller cookies than the original recipe, I got 24 out of the batch, hence the shorter cooking time.

They turn out very moist, dense and cake like. My preference in dessert cookies is thin, chewy and a little crispy on the edges. Figures a healthy cookie would be the polar opposite. I could go on about the baking physics that makes a cookie thin and chewy vs. thick and cakey but I’ll assume everyone reading this knows Alton Brown.

The flavor is good (definitely don’t skip the nutmeg). They’re just sweet enough for Leia to believe me when she says “mommy, a cookie?” and I say “sure sweetheart!” but definitely not dessert-like sweet. They’re packed with all kinds of healthy goodness. I gave her two small cookies and a yogurt for breakfast without an ounce of guilt.

Is summer over yet? I’m too hot.

I love summer. Every year I get crazy excited about camping, bar-b-ques, 4th of July, sandy beaches, bright blue lakes, hiking in the mountains, long days, warm nights, swimming pools, fresh produce, ice cold beer, fruity cocktails. Everything about this season is magical and wonderful to me. This year I fantasized about spending a week camping with other families in lake houses – long days on a boat, sipping mojitos and sangria, smores by the campfire, lots of laughter, kids running around. A fantasy resulting from spending too much time on pintrest and despite good intentions, never materialized. Maybe next year? Who’s with me?

From my “summer” Pintrest board, camping on the water.

Not to say it hasn’t been a wonderful summer so far. We do spend a lot of days at the beach. We’ve splashed around a lot in pools. We’ve indulged in lots of summery food – bar-b-que, watermelon, peaches, salads, and ice cream. We had a great time celebrating 4th of July. I’m a little wistful we won’t enjoy the camping vacation above, but maybe there’s still time to plan a weekend trip to the local mountains. There’s still plenty of summer left.

Playing in the pool with her friend Cyler at his birthday party.

4th of July

So in the middle of enjoying my love affair with all things summer, it actually gets hot. Warm and breezy gives way to hot and sometimes (like this week) humid. I’m reminded the blazing summer sun is only enjoyable under the shade of a palm tree with an ice cold drink. It’s not fun when I’m sweating carrying groceries inside, or mingling through the crowds at Seaworld or the Zoo. I hate being stuck inside during the day, if only I had a big grassy backyard with shady trees!

I’m not sure when I became a fragile flower that wilts when it hits 80 degrees. I grew up without air conditioning – didn’t have it at home and never used it in my car, always had the windows open in the summer. I enjoyed the heat. I loved laying out in the sun, feeling it bake my skin while I half-napped or read a trashy magazine. Okay, maybe that last change has less to do with heat intolerance and more with not having the option to sun bathe undisturbed for many more years.

I do love a warm summer night, after the sun goes down and there’s usually a breeze. But this hot daytime sun? Forget it, I feel smothered. I refuse to go to parks that don’t have an abundance of trees. I avoid the beach or the pool mid-day like the plague. If we’re heading outdoors, we go before 11 am or after 4 pm to avoid the heat (and the crowds). When I get in the car I can’t imagine not having the AC set to 70. I even turned on the AC at home all this week to bring us down to 76. Then I feel guilty because using AC feels like an indulgence, wasteful of several resources. I also realize I’m complaining about sweltering heat and it’s high 80’s, maybe low 90’s. I know lots of people have it worse.

Ugh, I’m hot.

There’s still a lot of summer to enjoy – late afternoons at the beach, bar-b-ques by the pool, maybe even that camping trip. I just wish it was a warm and breezy (low humidity) mid-70’s.

Leia is two

Posted on

The picture on her birthday e-vite.

That amazing little girl turned two on July 31st. I’m geeky and get a kick out of us both being born on the 31st (one month and obviously many years apart). This year we celebrated at our pool, friends and family came to swim and eat really colorful cupcakes. It was a beautiful day, an affirmation of how much love and support is always around us. I would post pictures of the party, but since I was running around in a bathing suit I didn’t have my iphone handy. And yes, it’s a shame I consider my iphone my camera. So until I harass my friends ask around, two pre-party photos will have to do.

Helping me make cupcakes the day before her party.

My mom spent the night and worked really hard all day to make sure her party was perfect. She’s the best.

Celebrating on her actual birthday at Grammy’s house. Uncle Randy bought her a bike.

Whoever said the days are long and the years are short really nailed it. Most cliches about time going too fast really hits home these days. It’s such a blessing to watch this little person I nurture grow into herself. Everyday I love her more, everyday she gives my life more meaning.

Leia here are some things you might like to know when you’re curious about your childhood. I know they’re things I’ll enjoying reminiscing on when I stumble upon this years from now.

Being silly.

You surprise me everyday with new words, lots of them. I really have to watch what I say now because you repeat it right back the first time I say it. This week’s favorite phrase: “Not yours, mine.” I can’t help but giggle, I love your verbal assertion of self. You know a lot of colors and shapes (today you said your cracker was an oval). When asked how old you are, you excitedly say “two” but usually hold up anywhere from 1 to 4 fingers.

Swings at Balboa Park.

At the park with her friend Joanna.

When we’re in a crowd or around new people, you prefer to stay close and quietly survey the scene. When you feel comfortable you’re silly and full of laughs, you’re kind and gentle. At the park, you’re happiest on the swing or climbing through the ladders and tunnels with a friend or me close by. I guess you take after both parents, preferring a cozy group of familiar faces to a loud and busy crowd. Your comfort zone has increased exponentially in the last several months. I remember being shocked the first time you were just fine turning to me and waving bye, holding someone else’s hand to go exploring. Now those moments happen more often, knowing you can always come back to me when you need a home base. In public I’ve never had to worry about you running off, you’re great about holding my hand if I need to keep you close. I realize I’ve got it incredibly easy, thank you.

This is what naptime looks like. Leia has just fallen asleep. Daphne is almost always glued to my hip. Now is when I tiptoe quietly from the room to go catch up on Facebook or read a book.

After the cats climb into bed, I usually get one small corner, maybe some blanket if I’m lucky. Leia twists and turns all over the place when she sleeps. Sometimes she sits up in her sleep and flops back down with her head at the foot of the bed.

All that tossing and turning makes for awesome morning hair.

You’re still an early riser! Most days we are up and running between 6 and 7. I make breakfast while you watch cartoons, then I take a shower while you play in the bedroom. After we get dressed it’s off to whatever adventure we’ve got planned for the day. You like to nap for a few hours in the afternoon. Sometimes we go out again after naptime to run errands or go to the park. Other times we stay in and play at home until dinner. At night we usually read a few books and clean up around the house before it’s time for a bath. You love the tub, pretending to be a fish and make tsunamis, but you despise water on your face. This makes washing your hair tricky. You scream like the world is ending for about 5 seconds until I can wipe your face dry with a washcloth. One time I leaned into the tub and poured water on my face to show you it was ok. You thought it was funny, I just ended up wet. When you get out of the tub I always say “burrito time!” and wrap you tightly in a towel. Then I hold you next to me and we sing and make funny faces in the mirror. After pajamas are on you run into the bedroom and tell kitties “night night” before climbing into bed. I nurse you to sleep, and it’s one of the best parts of my day. I get to relax, reminded to live in the present while I watch you drift off to sleep.

I used to wait until you were napping to do the laundry or dishes, now I do them when you’re awake. I encourage you to help – it’s fun to watch you put my bras on your head or socks on the cats. I like to think I’m earning “good Mom” points by making you a part of the housework at an early age. My favorite is when you help me cook. You sit on the counter and you scoop things into measuring cups or pour them into a bowl. Today I let you crack an egg, you were pretty good, you smashed the whole thing yourself! It reminds me of helping my Grandma in the kitchen.

One of three times I’ve styled her hair in the last six months.

Your hair is getting so long! You like to pick out your own clips from the bathroom drawer. A few times I’ve put it in pigtails. I wish I could tell you I styled your hair for playdates or parties or even just for fun. It’s just not something I ever think about. Your hair gets brushed and the front is twisted up in a clip so it’s out of your eyes. Mama is low maintenance.

No photo of Leia playing with iPhone
because the iPhone is my camera.

I let you play with my (otterbox covered) iPhone enough that it gives me a little mom guilt. You unlock it on your own, or if it’s Grammy’s phone you had it to her and say “code” until she unlocks it. Then find your favorite games, lately it’s the one where you line up shapes to make pictures or flip over cards to match different objects. You scroll through the pictures and play videos – your favorite is when you were riding the carousel at Balboa Park with cousin Sarah.

We go to the Zoo and Seaworld a lot, probably once a week to each place. At Seaworld your favorite thing is the Sesame Street rides – Elmo’s flying fish and Abby’s spinning sea star. Maybe you’ll be a roller coaster lover like your mom. Then we usually go check out the sharks and the turtles. You love the sharks, especially pointing out their sharp teeth. At the Zoo we always stop to see the flamingos, the monkeys and the elephants. At home you ask for an “elle ride” and I crawl around with you on my back making elephants sounds.

Riding the bus at the zoo on her birthday.

Birthday lunch.

At home we color with chalk and paint on the patio, fill up the bird feeder with seed, water our plants. You like to pretend we’re going shopping and I pull a makeshift shopping cart around the patio before you insist we ride the “elle” (elevators and elephants share a name for now). Once inside the patio-closet-turned-elevator, you shut the door and pretend to press buttons on the wall until I say “ding” you open the door and we walk around the patio again…at least 27 times. You love your play kitchen, and use the hot pad to take food out of the oven, smart girl. We roll out playdoh and cut out cookies that you serve on your tea set. We pretend to go camping in the living room with your new tent, it has fire that lights up and makes crackling sounds. Then we use fishing poles to catch magnetic fish and grill them for dinner before making smores.

Having a picnic on the patio

Tea party with playdoh cookies.

We read a lot, there’s stacks of books throughout the house. Favorites include: any of the Llama Llama books, How Do I Love You, Horns to Toes, the Dr. Seuss Dictionary and most recently Princess Millie’s Magic Wand. We watch movies more often than cartoons now. You’re only interested in the movie for 20 minutes at a time, but it’s something different. You love the Cars movies and one about Garfield and his British doppelganger.

Me: “Time for lunch, do you want peanut butter and jelly or turkey and cheese?” Leia: “Ice Cream” Me: “Ice cream is a treat, we need to eat healthy food for lunch.” Leia: “No, Ice Cream.” Me: “You need to eat real food.” Leia: *sad face*. So I make myself peanut butter and jelly. You eat some of  my sandwich and “ice cream” in the form of a frozen gogurt. I feel slightly less guilty about the sugar content because it has no artificial colors or flavors. I figure it balances out because you eat artichokes and asparagus like a champ.

There’s so much more I know I’m forgetting, but the praise for eating green veggies seems like a good place to stop. Leia Olivia you are my heart and soul and joy and everything. Thank you for being such an amazing little person, I can’t wait to see what the next year brings.