Thursday, December 13, 2012

quick tip: baking tortillas into hard taco shells

 to make hard taco chells weave the tortillas through the oven grates like so:
 bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes
 stuff your newly minted taco shell
 and enjoy!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

cooking: spicy 2 bean soup

we had some leftover beans from the papaya salsa i made the other day
so i decided i wanted to make a spicy bean soup
recipe spicy 2 bean soup
to start, slice 5 strips of bacon and cook in a large stock pot
recipe spicy 2 bean soup
 dice two shallots
recipe spicy 2 bean soup
 and a red pepper
recipe spicy 2 bean soup
 cook with the bacon
recipe spicy 2 bean soup
 add a can of whole tomatoes
recipe spicy 2 bean soup
 and smoosh everything with a potato masher
recipe spicy 2 bean soup
 season with salt, pepper, cilatnro and chili powder 
recipe spicy 2 bean soup
 add one can of kidney beans and two cans of black beans
puree with an immersion blender
recipe spicy 2 bean soup
recipe spicy 2 bean soup
hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

house tour: esme's nursery

welcome to esme's nursery!

when you first walk into the room you see a picture by kyler.
it is a family portrait he had drawn when i was pregnant with aspen.
kyler knew i was pregnant with a sibling and drew me pregnant with a baby between my legs.
it was so endearing and sweet, i knew i needed to include it into the nursery.
it makes me smile every time i enter the room!
i wanted to keep the newly painted blue walls but knew i needed to find a way to add some girlie touches.
{ but not too over the top! }
i started with a crib bumper that i loved and worked from there
it is red, white, pink and blue. it was perfect and fit the budget!
cute crib bedding is hard to find and the majority of the designs that i was drawn to were so expensive.
i ended up buying the changing pad cover from the same line and that was it.
i hate walking into a nursery that is all pre-designed.
i used ikea's expedit shelving to house all her clothing and diaper changing supplies,
used the top of the shelf as a changing station
and then added some more ikea shelves up top to display some of our favorite lovies, books and bowls which hold her headbands and bows.
 i added my own crafty touches like this felt bunting that i updated from my last post
we also keep her swing in her room.
this was originally aspen's but he is WAY too heavy to be using it now.
 i also found these dragon fly hooks that i positioned near her closet 
so we can display some of her clothing boutique style!
 since i had placed the bunting above her crib, i still wanted to add a personal touch.
i created this from card stock and attached it to a photograph mobile. 
i hung this above our big leather chair that i use for feedings.
esme' loves to sneak glances at her mobile as she eats!
the ottoman was actually a gift from a dear friend.
i couldn't imagine life without it!
since we spend a lot of time in her room while i am feeding esme'
i added a large bucket of toys for aspen to play with while i am preoccupied. 
it was originally a beverage bucket from a summer entertaining line hence the bottle cap opener.
he loves to grab a book and climb into the big chair with esme' and i so he can hear a story.
hope you enjoyed the tour!

leather chair: PIER ONE circa 2005
coral woven ottoman: TARGET- discontinued
book shelves: EXPEDIT- IKEA
wall shelves: EKBY TONY-  IKEA
toy bucket: (re-purposed beverage bucket from summer entertaining line ) TARGET- discontinued
small pink bowls on shelf: (re-purposed condiment bowls from summer entertaining line) TARGET- discontinued
blue elephant on book shelf: CIRCO- TARGET
picture mobile: AMAZON
dragon fly wall hooks: WORLD MARKET COST PLUS

Monday, December 10, 2012

my adventures with flat stanley part 2

to continue my adventures with flat stanley i took him to the pike place market
the back drop is the seattle great wheel overlooking the elliot bay
adventures flat stanley
 it was recently constructed and in less than a year
it is also the largest ferris wheel built on the west coast at 175 feet tall!

pike place market is one of the eldest continually operated public farmer's market in the united states
adventures flat stanley
the market was particularly festive and had many christmas decorations throughout the area
there was even a woman dressed like an elf playing the flute
{ there are many characters here which just add vibrancy to the whole experience! }

adventures flat stanley
the market is a dangerous place...
you should never go there when you are hungry.
or you will be crawling all over the food like stanley was!
adventures flat stanley
tons of individual vendors work at pike place market and offer things i have never even seen before... like purple asparagus!
adventures flat stanley

stanley was also impressed with all the varieties of apples
i had to explain to him that the apple is the designated fruit of washington
washington also supplies the united states with 42% of the apples grown in the US

adventures flat stanley

here stanley is hanging out at pike place fish co.
this stand was made famous for throwing the fish after people have ordered it

adventures flat stanley
they also have lobster tails that are bigger than stanley!
adventures flat stanley
like any tourist, stanley wanted a picture with rachel the pig
this bronze sculpture was constructed as a piggy bank and actually modeled after a real pig named rachel.
the intention was to help raise money for low income and elderly residents of downtown seattle.
adventures flat stanley

so far the money deposited into the piggy bank has totaled over $100,000.
it is a popular seattle landmark and great for photo ops!

adventures flat stanley
thr market is a great example of all the diversity we have in the area
adventures flat stanley
they have great alley type- hole in the wall kinda establishements like sister's european sandwiches!
adventures flat stanley
 stanley was really tired and decided to take a nap on this peruvian woven textile
adventures flat stanley
though the market boasts fresh produce and quality food items, it also houses many stands of individual artists and craftsmans
adventures flat stanley
 i tried to convince stanley into buying the hello kitty bow tie, but he wasn't having it!
adventures flat stanley
but he did buy me some flowers. what a gentleman!
adventures flat stanley
we ended our tour of the market with a milk break and then headed on home.
stay tuned for more adventures!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

cooking: papaya salsa

 recipe papaya salsa
here in the brooker house... we love salsa!
it is the easiest way to get both fruit and vegs into a meal and basically you chuck whatever you have on hand in a bowl and mix!
the key to a good salsa is variety.
 i didn't want to go the typical tomato salsa so i chose papaya!
recipe papaya salsa
to begin the PAPAYA SALSA:
recipe papaya salsa
de-seed and dice your papaya
recipe papaya salsa
add some purple onion
recipe papaya salsa
 rinse some black beans and add those
recipe papaya salsa
 some red bell pepper
recipe papaya salsa
 a squeeze of fresh lime
recipe papaya salsa
 and a healthy dose of grated ginger
recipe papaya salsa
 to season i used cilantro, salt and pepper
recipe papaya salsa
mix and viola!
recipe papaya salsa
add it to your favorite fajitas or use as an afternoon snack with some blue tortilla chips!
behind the scenes: 
while making the salsa, esme' was snug as a bug in her Ergobaby carrier
and aspen was playing with some kidney beans.
i had given him some beans as a snack and then the cover to the microplane to play with shortly after only to find him squishing the beans inside the cover.
our little curious boy!