I know how much joy the beach brings my family, but never did I anticipate just how happy two snow days could make them. Even me, a hot weather gal, was elated for this yea’rs first snow. Perhaps it was because it happened at a perfect time, just before Christmas (so festive!) and not at the tail end of winter when we have already been so cold for so long, cooped up inside dreaming of sunny days. But really-back to the happiness factor. Never have I seen my kids, especially Grace (which is saying a lot because she is typically always happy) SO HAPPY. For two days there was no school, no plans, no where to go, and loads of snow. Grace stayed outside for hours until her ankles were numb and red. Elation- she was outside laughing and screaming and concocting all sorts of things she wanted to do in the snow, a bucket list of sorts. Snow angels, snow balls, snow castles – for her, it was the Frozen world brought to life. It was the perfect mix of joy and contentment. Charlotte loved it too, until she tumbled one too many times and then was happy to come inside to warm cocoa and cuddles and watch from our bay window. These kids might make a cold weather convert out of me after all. Here are a few snapshots from our first snow of the year that I couldn’t resist sharing. Enjoy!
Charlotte, Carly and Olaf the snowman sharing the carrot nose.
I didn’t realize how large and majestic looking the evergreens are in our yard until they were drenched in snow.
Larger than life snowman, built mostly by the man of the house much to the girls joy.
Please notice how wet she is. I couldn’t believe how long she stayed outside!
A hot classic winter lunch on a very cold day.
Lou bean joined me in staying inside where it was warm and dry:)
Cinnamon salt dough ornaments. I was armed with activities for us in the event of cabin fever.
Post-snow hot cocoa
Always with a book, always in a dress.
Happy winter everyone!
P.S. Diamonds in the Rough in this month’s Raleigh Magazine by yours truly.
We enjoyed this incredibly easy meal last week and I just had to share the recipe. Such a simple, tasty and healthy dinner! I was so happy to see some remaining end-of-season Asian pears at the farmers market since there isn’t a whole lot of fruit in season right now. If you’ve never tried them, it’s like eating an apple and pear at once. Asian pears are crispy, slightly sweet with almost a honey taste to them. Additionally, I’ve really been challenging myself lately to do less with more in terms of cooking. I figure this is a great way for Grace to develop an appreciation for the real taste of a vegetable, fruit or grain without them being lost in various sauces, seasonings etc. Plus it’s less effort on my part when there is less ingredients involved. So far so good! I did all the prepping while Grace was napping (took less than 30 minutes) and just popped it in the oven to warm up when we were ready for dinner. Hope you all had a great weekend and happy Super Bowl Sunday! Enjoy!
Simple Sweet Potatoes with Asian Pear & Goat Cheese:
Serves 2 adults and 1 toddler or older baby twice
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 3 sweet potatoes, scrubbed with peeling left on
- 1 shallot, diced
- 1 Asian pear, chopped
- Handful of fresh parsley, chopped (divided use)
- 1.5-2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3-4 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese
- Wrap sweet potatoes in paper towels and microwave until soft in 5 minute increments. Alternatively, you could bake them in the oven or boil them. I used the microwave this time to make sure I didn’t over cook them and they still held their shape.
- Meanwhile, heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a medium sized skillet and saute the diced shallot and Asian pear until soft, fragrant and slightly brown.
- Turn the heat down and add half the handful of fresh parsley.
- Once the sweet potatoes are soft, cut a slice down the middle and insert about 1/2 tablespoons of butter in each sweet potato and allow to melt.
- Spoon the cooked shallots, pear and parsley into each sweet potato, using the back of the spoon to give you room for the filling.
- Top each with goat cheese and garnish with the remaining fresh parsley.
- Keep warm in oven until ready to serve.
- Great along side some good quality roasted cranberry, apple and turkey sausage as pictured above.
- The pear blended with sweet potato would make a great baby puree 🙂
Gosh it’s cold out! Fortunately the sun is shining today and as I am typing I can hear some birds chirping and see the snow and ice melting off the roof of the house. We just had our first real snow in Raleigh, which made for some cozy quiet relaxing days. Luckily it’s over, because Grace and I are getting a little stir crazy. Snow makes for a gorgeous view and is fun to play in (for all of 20 minutes in my opinion), but I’d rather be inside (watching the snow) sipping some hot coffee and curled up with a good book or movie. We enjoyed a nice long family walk in the white and worked up quite the appetite. Wanting something warm and hearty, we have been enjoying this superb classic split pea soup the past few nights. I’m typically not a huge fan of leftovers, but man is this good. Chris and Grace can’t seem to get enough. I like to add a few small buttery potatoes for extra richness. This is an easy, healthy one-pot meal and great for families with an older baby or toddler. Split Pea soup has a smooth creamy consistency and is loaded with nutrition.
Classic Split Pea Soup
- Extra virgin olive oil & butter as needed
- 5-7 carrots, chopped
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 large clove of garlic, minced
- 4 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 4-6 small golden potatoes, chopped
- 1 lb dry split peas
- 1 lb pork side pieces (or any form of ham or seasoning meat. There are two superb meat vendors at our farmers market who always seem to know exactly what I need for various dishes. The assorted pork side pieces gave us a great amount of meat as well as fat for flavor.)
- 2 dry or fresh bay leaves
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 quart good quality organic vegetable stock
- Salt & pepper to taste
- In a large soup pot or dutch oven, on medium high heat, melt a few tablespoons of olive oil and butter and lightly saute the first 4 ingredients until slightly soft and some browning has occurred, about 10-15 minutes.
- Add the peas, pork pieces and spices and give everything a good stir.
- Pour in the stock and enough water to cover everything. Season with salt and pepper and simmer on low for 1.5-2 hours. Add more water as needed. If you want the peas to stay whole simmer for less time. While this isn’t the most attractive soup, we all love it with the peas blended together.
- Optional step: remove some of the ham pieces, chop finely and fry until crisp and add as a crunchy topping.