baked egg baguettes

 

I have long contended that being pregnant over Thanksgiving and Christmas is just mean. You go to the doctor's office for your appointment -- having enjoyed all manner of mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie and Christmas cookies and hot chocolate -- and then the nurse asks you to step on the scale. 

Rude. 

At my doctor's office, there's a magical button on the scale that you can push if you want to see what your weight is. Otherwise, the nurse has a readout that you never have to see . . . if in fact you ate an entire batch of snickerdoodles the week before and just don't want to know because the truth is too painful. 

 

And it is almost always too painful. 

I don't suppose loving bread has anything to do with my fear of the dreaded doctor's office scale. Or my doctor's kind yet ominous threat: "Let's not be eating entire pans of brownies for the rest of this pregnancy, ok? We're just not going to do that." 

Killjoy. 


So for the rest of you who can eat bread and bacon and cheese with reckless abandon, eat an egg baguette for me, would you? Please? 

Or even two if you're feeling charitable? One for the baby, you know.


Beat the eggs, add the cream, stir in the gruyere, slice the baguettes, sprinkle on the bacon, bake them, and then -- better yet -- YOU gain the weight from eating eight of them instead of me. 

Do we have ourselves a deal? I'll just be over here . . . standing on a scale . . . slightly horrified.


Or maybe I'll go ahead and eat one anyway. Not for me, of course. Baby's the one who's hungry.

Yeah.

Baby.




Baked Egg Boats (recipe from Spoon Fork Bacon)

4 demi sourdough baguettes
5 eggs
1/3 cup heavy cream
4 ounces pancetta, finely chopped and fried until crisp
3 ounces gruyere cheese, grated
2 green onions, thinly sliced
salt and pepper to taste


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Cut a deep “V” through the tops of each baguette until about a 1/2 inch to the bottom. Partially unstuff the baguettes. Set aside.
3. Place the eggs and cream into a mixing bowl and lightly beat together. Whisk in the remaining ingredients and lightly season with salt and pepper.
4. Divide and pour the mixture into each baguette boat and place onto a baking sheet.
5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown, puffed and set in the center. Season with salt and pepper.
6. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes, cut and serve.




it's always been moo (or why you should give your valentine the gift of raclette aka melted cheese)

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day. You COULD be like every other person out there and buy a giant heart-shaped balloon. Or a $4 card that will get thrown away. Or chocolate that will just make you feel gross after eating 36 pieces of it. 

Or you COULD enjoy a night of raclette with your special someone . . . or a group of single friends . . . or just yourself. 

Raclette isn't picky. Raclette loves everyone. 

 

Raclette is essentially a Swiss cheese that's known for melting beautifully. In the Alps -- and even in some nicer restaurants in places like New York and Chicago -- entire wheels of cheese are melted and then scraped onto mounds of potatoes and meat, pickles and veggies. 

Let's take a moment to imagine all that melty dairy goodness on your plate.

Ahhhh. 

If, though, your budget doesn't allow you to hop a flight overseas,  you can enjoy raclette at home on Valentine's Day, Christmas Day (as pictured above . . . and below), Tuesday, Saturday, ok, everyday. 

Because my farmer loves meat and vegetables, I gave him a raclette grill for Christmas. (Thank you, Jeff Bezos and Amazon.) It's an eight-person tabletop grill with trays for melting cheese underneath. He's smitten. 

Sometimes with me, but mostly just with raclette. 


Raclette is a perfect dinner party meal, but it's also a lovely meal for two. Because each person is concocting his own series of little meals on the grill, it lends itself to a we're-not-rushing, pour-another-glass-of-wine, enjoy-the-dinner-conversation feel.

It works well for the hostess too, who can prep everything in advance and then set it on the table for guests to dish up as they choose. So far, I've served marinated chicken, shrimp, and beef. I also boil small potatoes and cut them up so that they cook a little faster on the grill. Mushrooms, corn, zucchini, peppers, onions -- you name the veggie and it works for raclette. 

Traditional raclette also usually includes some charcuterie like proscuitto or ham, as well as cornichons. Add some herbs to the mix, set out some olive oil for the grill, and slice up some good melting cheese (Swiss and gruyere work well if you don't have raclette in your area). Cook up your meat and veggies, lay them on some proscuitto, pour your melted cheese over the top, and roll it up like a taco. Or cook some veggies, cover in melted cheese, and scoop up with a cornichon.

Cut up and butter some French bread for toasting on the grill, make a large salad, open a bottle of a dry red wine, and your Valentine will swear off giant teddy bears and red roses forever. 

How can Hallmark compete with you and cheese? Because when it comes to raclette, you'll have him saying, "I'm udderly head over hooves for you" before he puts his second round of veggies on the grill! 

Cheesy, I know. 

(Should I stop now? 

Ok, I'll stop now. 

But seriously, raclette for Valentine's Day! Flowers are so overrated.) 




do what makes you happy?

Image result for do what makes you happy 

Roughly once per month, one of my sisters texts me a photo of a sign from Hobby Lobby or TJ Maxx or Home Goods with the words "Do what makes you happy!" or "Do more of what makes you happy." or "Don't do much. Just do what makes you happy." Then we all get into a 5-minute angry texting rant about why these signs are the worst.

Do what makes you happy? 

Sweet goodness, I hope not.

What makes me "happy" is eating potato oles and Crunch Wrap Supremes until I'm violently ill. Or going to Michaels and buying scrapbooking paper for a project I'm never going to finish  . . . ok, I'm actually never even going to start it. Or wasting time on Pinterest saving baked donut recipes I'll probably never make while simultaneously avoiding folding clothes my kids actually will wear.

I think you see where this is going.

What so often makes us "happy" are those things that are usually the worst for us. We don't need even our home decor to encourage our worst faults, do we?

So what about alcoholics? Drink more.

Or the liars? Fib more.

Or the lazy schmucks? Do even less.

Or the rude and insensitive? Anger more people.

Or the serial whiners? Complain more.

Or the greedy? Want more!

If those things make you "happy," then it's your lucky day: The world is right there in the Hobby Lobby aisle with pom poms and a cheerleading outfit hooraying you on for the low low cost of $14.99 with 50% off if you show the coupon on your app.

But our hearts all know -- not so secretly -- that's no bueno.

Joanna Gaines, if you're out there, could you please instead design a sign that says:

 Do more of what makes you happy!*

*That which is good and right and true. 

What if, instead of doing what makes us "happy," we do what is best?

What if, instead of focusing on ourselves, we focused on what makes our husband or children or parents or next door neighbor or content?

What if, instead of going for brunch on Sunday, we went to church instead where Christ meets us with true gladness and joy?

What if, instead of indulging our pet sins of laziness and gluttony and lust and greed, we strive for thinking less of ourselves and more of others?

What if what made us truly happy was to live in and by God's Word in the Ten Commandments?

What if we wasted less time and on our phones and spent more time tending to the needs of the people right around us?

What if we opted to worry less about the Hobby Lobby sign and instead got to the business of being content with what we have -- right here, right now?

I think we'd find, slowly and surely, that the things that are actually what are right and true are those things that will bring us lasting joy -- the kind that Crunch Wraps and new cars and laying on the couch when we should be working will never afford.

Do more of what makes you happy?

Only if that means reading a book with my toddler when she asks nicely, or snuggling my ten-month-old when his front tooth is popping through and hurts like all get out, or when my husband needs an hour and a good glass of wine to talk through something on his mind, or when a friend is having a particularly rough week and needs a meal and a break from cooking dinner for a night.

Otherwise, sorry, Hobby Lobby. How about . . . NOT?

 





speaking a new language

 

Do any of you moms ever stop for a moment and wonder -- should anyone listen in on a conversation between you and your children -- if other people would think you were absolutely nuts?

Or speaking a foreign language?

Maybe, like, an Elven one.

In our house, "heifers" are referred to by the 2-year-old as "cow peppers."

"Headbands" are "hedgehogs."

"Flashlights" are "cheeseburgers," because you turn the flashlight on, shine it in your eyes, blink as though you are being blinded because you ARE, and then say, "Cheeeeeeeeeeseburger!"

OF COURSE. 

"Little People" figures are "many peoples."

Disney princess dominoes are "playing with friends."

"Donuts" are "bacon."

Do you see my dilemma? It's like learning a brand new language, except there are no vocab flashcards and the grammar rules change by the moment.

No one ever told me being an English major mom to a 2-year-old could be this linguistically sticky.

Whew.

I think I need a bacon.

Reading Aloud with Your Kids: It's Worth It

 

Hi. 

I'm Adriane. I'm 33 years old. And I still give my mom grief about the fact that she fell asleep reading the Little House on the Prairie books to us every.single.day. 

Not that I can blame her. We'd sit in the sun in our dining room after lunch, and before Mom would get a page into the next chapter, she was nodding off and I was sitting there staring at her, wondering if I should wake her up or hope she'd jolt herself awake. 

Of course, now that I'm a mom, I get it. Post-lunch naps are the best -- if you can get them. 

But this isn't a post about sleepy moms and sunshine. It's a What We're Reading This Week: Micro Version (aka the kids' version). 

 

We have a lot of children's books, which I love, because we are a house of readers. The bookshelf in the kids' room is jammed full, so until we have more space, I packed up all the Halloween and Thanksgiving and Christmas books, not to be brought out until next fall when they will seem exciting and new. 

I've also started our own little version of a library cart. Hey. I have worked in three libraries in my life: during high school, during college, and during grad school. Let's just be happy I don't have books organized by the Dewey Decimal System, mmmkay?

Every week or ten days, I swap out books from the bookshelf with books on the Ikea cart and then return it to its place in the living room where  we can grab a handful of books to read if little brother is napping or we're winding down before bed or any time in between. Books with tearable pages are on the top shelf for big sis, books that can be slobbered on and manhandled are on the bottom shelf for little brother.


My current favorites are the BabyLit series.  (English major alert.) We've got board books from Pride and Prejudice to Anne of Green Gables. You cannot start them too young, people! This week it's Huck Finn, next week we are reading in iambic pentameter in preparation for Shakespeare!

Ok, maybe a bit much for a two-year-old. I'll give her another . . . week. 

Georgia's current favorites (this week anyway) include:
  • the Llama Llama books (thanks to the kickstart from Megan and to Ludacris for getting that book stuck in my head for the rest of eternity and to my husband who now tries to rap the song every time he reads the book)
  • The Mitten
  • The Gingerbread Baby (clearly we still have a few winter books out)
  • Go, Dog, Go!
  • The Itsy Bitsy Duckling, The Itsy Bitsy Bunny . . . I think you can see where this is headed . . . 
  • and a random Search and Find book where big sis points out trash cans, seesaws, globes, donuts, potties, and bananas.

I'm a firm believer in reading out loud to kids, no matter what age they are, every single day. When my farmer doesn't come home for lunch, I read Little House on the Prairie (currently) to the kids while they're eating. When brother lays down for a nap, sis and I take at least ten minutes to read books on the couch, just the two of us. Before bed, Chris reads a book to both kids while they sit on his lap . . . and while big sis tries with great disappointment to get her little brother to hold her hand.

Reading outloud is also good for calming temper tantrums. (NOT THAT MY TWO-YEAR-OLD EVER HAS THOSE NO SIR.) If I sit down in the middle of the floor with a book and start reading quietly in the midst of a wail, she will almost always stop mid-cry to come sit by me and listen along.

It's also helpful in expanding vocabularies -- for little people and big people alike. Sister recently learned what a panther is from one of our books, and her new favorite game is to growl at her dad while he either hops in the air like he's terrified or growls back. 

And it's also worth noting that our pediatrician even promotes reading. She gives each of the kids an age-appropriate book each time they go to the doctor AND gives me information each time on why it's so important to read to them. It's a really lovely and kind encouragement to a mom!

 

If you don't currently do much reading to your kiddos at home, you can check out the Read Aloud Revival website. She offers book lists for each age group, month, etc. that you can print off and take to the library. It's a helpful resource that keeps you from having to read through each book before you check it out to make sure it isn't quirky or . . . just plain weird. You know which books I mean.

Whether your bookshelf is overflowing and the librarian knows you by name or she's never met you at all and your one book has never been cracked, it's always a good time to incorporate more reading into your day. The laundry can wait. It'll still be there tomorrow. Trust me. Mine never goes away.

So, let's hear what your current favorites are this week -- whether you're two or 60. Tell me, tell!

PS Also, if you too now have Ludacris and Mama Llama stuck in your head, I'm sorry. (Heyyyyy!) 









Mrs. Seifferlein's Baked Oatmeal {Deliciousness}




A couple of months ago, my kind husband told me that Sunday brunch is his favorite meal of the week. Naturally, I took his compliment as a reason to full-on panic.

MUST. MAKE. EVERY. BRUNCH. BETTER. THAN. THE. WEEK. BEFORE.

Of course, what he actually meant was, "I love Sunday brunch because it's the one mid-day meal of the week where I'm not answering 42 phone calls and text messages and having to shovel food in to rush back to the dairy."

But in my people-pleasing panic, I kind of missed that part.

Sunday brunch challenge: accepted.

It took me a couple of weeks of making sweet rolls and frying bacon while giving the baby a bottle and appeasing the toddler with Goldfish before I finally said, "Ok, I give. We have two little kids. I can't make a gourmet brunch and get them fed before 2 in the afternoon."

And in his usual calm way, he said, "Ok."

He's good like that.

So now, instead of trying to make cheesy grits with scallions and spinach/mushroom/ricotta omelets, I'm aiming for two goals: (1) getting lunch on the table quickly so my children don't act like they're about to starve and (2) making it tasty so that it's special for my husband.

That usually works out to scrambled eggs in tortillas (with peppers and sausage and taco sauce and cheese for toppings) or coffee cake and fruit and granola parfaits or 11 pieces of Great Harvest bread delivered from Minnesota to Missouri thanks to my parents.

But this week, we hit the jackpot with my friend Erin's baked oatmeal.

Except she's not your friend. She's my friend. So she's still Mrs. Seifferlein to you.

This met criteria #1 -- I made it the night before and baked it while making the rest of brunch and getting the kids changed out of church clothes -- and #2 because Chris ate three servings.

#winning

Now that we can add another healthy and quick staple to our Sunday brunch, I'm looking for your help.  What are your go-to brunch meals? Bonus points if they make your taste buds happy and your kids don't have to stare longingly out the window wondering where their next meal is.



Baked Oatmeal


2 c. oats
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. raisins (I omitted these because I don’t like raisins. What did grapes ever do to you, people?!)
1 T. chopped walnuts (I also omit because if I wanted to eat tree bark, I'd go gnaw on my maple in the front yard.)
1 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. applesauce
2 T. melted butter
1 egg, beaten 

(I added a splash of vanilla and some cinnamon as well.)

Preheat oven to 375. Combine ingredients. Spray an 8 inch square pan with cooking spray. Pour into pan and bake for 20-25 minutes. Serve with milk -- because hello! -- and fruit.

When Imaginations (Fail to) Run Wild


POLL!

Who here loves Lord of the Rings? Or Redwall? The Chronicles of Narnia? 

I'll wait while you leave your vote in the comments below.


True confession?

I don't love any of those -- or any of fantasy-esque books -- at all. Maybe I can give you A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle. Maybe . . . on a good day.

My husband, on the other hand, has always loved that genre of books. He gets lost in them more easily than I get lost without Google Maps in a big city.

And that is very easily.

We tried to figure this out the other day -- why it is that I'm an English major who wrote and edited words for 10 years but who can't get behind books that aren't "believable."

Trees don't walk. Beavers don't talk.

And there's no such thing as an elven language. (Please don't send me hate mail, LOTR people.)

I'm contending that my husband loves that style of book because it follows the quest genre of literature -- the hero who's been displaced and has to contend against hardships and difficulties to find his way back home -- and that that style of writing could potentially resonate better with men because they are problem solvers and fixers who overcome challenges and enjoy it.

The farmer says, "No dice."

Maybe it's because I've been writing for too long and I know the tricks too well. Or perhaps it's because I'm just too tightly wound and can't loosen up enough to let my imagination work in a book of that style. I've been reading biographies and autobiographies and history books since I graduated from college . . . because they are (mostly) factual enough to be believable.

My husband has too, but he also loves to read books that conjure up ideas and images and his imagination, and I'm over in the corner saying, "But it's not real. That's just a literary device meant to draw you in! And how does that split infinitive not drive you nuts? And he just used the same verb three sentences in a row! Mix it up, man!"

#killjoy

So I'm looking for help. How does an adult learn willful suspension of disbelief? I want to like that style. I'm just, well, failing at it.

Do I need to try the audio version of one of these books? Stop being so analytical? Hope that my enjoyment of this genre develops as I read these books to my kids?

Please advise, rebuke, encourage. Whatever it takes. I'm listening!

(And reading . . . just not the classics apparently. So please send help.)

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