Sunday, November 29, 2015

Belly Book- November

Black Sweater with Ankle Boots

This A Pea in the Pod sweater has become a staple in my pregnancy wardrobe. It is simple, but has a dressy flair with the sheer back. I have worn it numerous times, most recently with black Paige pregnancy jeans to Thanksgiving. The jeans I am wearing here are my beloved Gap maternity jeans. I love Gap's demi-panel. I learned from my 1st pregnancy that I can't stand full panels. They make my belly itch. I found these jeans in the third trimester of my 1st pregnancy and have never stopped wearing them.  

These boots are from Banana Republic. I recently was complemented on them by a woman who thought they might be Christian Louboutin. She was surprised to find that they were indeed Banana Republic. During my first pregnancy I shied away from heals fearing that I would fall from loss of balance. This time around, I cherish the times that I can dress up. They are comfy enough for me to still be wearing into my third trimester. Of course I haven't tried to wear them for a full day of working with my beloved 1st graders, but I will be wearing them a lot this season to date nights and holiday events. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Grey Dress with a Fur Vest

I walked into Pete's Coffee one morning on my way to work and saw this adorable pregnant woman in a grey dress. I just had to have it, so I started up a conversation. I am always surprised how easy it is to talk with another pregnant woman. You just have this connection like yup we are going through the same thing. I came to find that the dress was from Target! I rushed to Target after work and purchased it. It is incredibly comfortable, which is a must for my pregnancy fashion. It can be dressed up for work  or worn casual for running errands on the weekend. The sides are ruched which makes it great for all stages of pregnancy.  It really is a must have. 

I paired the dress with my taupe Velvet faux fur vest. I just love the trim and lining of this vest. It has a dark brown leather trim, lining the zipper, that adds a bit of flair. The inside lining is a black and grey floral silk floral pattern. When the vest is worn open it gives an extra touch of detail that is effortless. Velvet is one of my favorite brands for this exact reason. 
To bottom the outfit off, I added the perfect low brown leather boot. This pair was purchased in Rome, Italy on my honeymoon. They are simple and comfortable and match everything. That is what I tell myself to justify the price. For this outfit they really are perfect. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


I was at Janie and Jack yesterday choosing pictures from my sons photoshoot when I saw this piece. I had to have it! It is my first official clothes purchase for the new baby. The fabric is so soft. I can't wait to cuddle up with her. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Crockpot Adventures- Braised Pork Chops with Arugula Peach Salad

I started with four pork chops from Trader Joes, two packs of two pork chips. I had never cooked pork before, so I really had no idea what to look for in a pork chop. I still don't know, but found that these tasted wonderful after sitting all day in the crockpot, which is all that matters really. I put generous amounts of salt and pepper on both sides of the pork chops and placed them in my heavily oiled, large Le Creuset grill pan to sear on either side. 

When done, I placed them on a plate and put them off to the side. Then, I added finely cubed pancetta from a packet, 1/2 a yellow onion, and a lot of garlic. I absolutely think garlic makes every meal better. You can never ever have enough garlic. I did not pour off any of the fat. I also think fat makes everything taste better, especially meat. the pancetta, onion, and garlic mixture saute until it turns brown. 

When browned, pour in about 4 ounces of beer or dry white wine. Transfer this to the crockpot. Pour in 1/2 cup of chicken stock and mix. The recipe call for 1/2 cup, but I think that crock pot recipes should be flexible allowing for different lengths of cook time and different types of crock pots. I own the Cuisinart Multicooker. I find that it cooks really fast and well, so I place a bit more liquid in the crockpot to cover the time that the crockpot is just on warmer if I know I won't be home in time. 

Place pork chops inside the liquid. Set the crockpot of low and cook for about 7 hours. 

I did all of the prep at night, placed the crockpot in the refrigerator ready to go for the morning. I took the crockpot out at around 6:30am. It cooked until 1:30, and then was on warm until around 5. The pork chops were still moist and delicious. 

For the arugula salad with peaches, I grilled the peaches on my Le Creuset grill, tossed a simple dressing of olive oil, white wine vinegar, and honey, and laid the peaches on top the arugula. If you have honey mustard or stone ground mustard, you can add that to the dressing. I have always thought of the dressing as the way the French dress their salad because I learned how to make it from my French landlord while studying abroad in Paris. 

This recipe was pulled from the William Sonoma The New SLow Cooker cookbook. 
It was delicious. My 2 year old son ate almost one whole pork chop to himself, and my husband said it was the best meal I had ever made, which doesn't say a lot since I am just starting this cooking thing, but it made me very proud!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Crockpot Adventure- Marinara Sauce

I started off my adventure with something easy. I have always wanted to learn to make my own pasta sauce. It seemed like such a waste buying it at the store when homemade is so good.

I started by placing one chopped yellow onion, 2 minced garlic cloves plus some because garlic makes everything better, a couple of pinches of dried oregano and basil, and olive oil in a saute pan on medium-high heat until the onion were soft and almost translucent. I added some sea salt with dried garlic, red pepper flakes, and rosemary to the pan while cooking. I add this mix to almost everything because it is so delicious. It was given to me at my bridal shower in a basket of specialty cooking items. It has a place in all my dinner recipes. I guess I would say it is my secret ingredient.

I had left over mushrooms and cherry tomatoes that were going to go bad, so I decided just to throw them into the mix as well. The saute pan was large enough to push the mixture to the side allowing the mushrooms to sweat before combining it all together. This is not necessary though. If you don't like mushrooms just don't add them.

When the contents of the pan are ready to be transferred to the crock pot, I add some dry white wine to the pan first. Not only does dry white wine add flavor, but it gets all of the stuck onions and garlic up off the bottom of the pan.

Transfer this liquid to a 5-7 quart slow cooker. Then, add 3 28-32 ounce cans of crushed tomatoes with juice and some fresh ground pepper. I bought the cans with added Italian herbs because I enjoy rich and flavorful pasta sauce. I did not find it overwhelming. I could have added even more. As the sauce is cooking, you can always taste and add anything that you feel would improve the taste. I think I might have even tossed in some red wine because it was around and open.

I love slow cookers because you are able to adjust the timing depending on when you will be home. For this, it takes about 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low. I cooked mine from 6 am to 4:30 on low, sending my husband home at lunch to check up on it, and it turned out wonderful.

The best part of making your own sauce is that all the extra leftover sauce can be frozen.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Apple Pie Perfection

I have never considered myself much of a cook, but after apple picking and making applesauce with my 1st grade class, I decided to dive right in to making all things apple. With a two year old, definitely going through his terrible twos, I gave myself a break and bought pie crust from Whole Foods. It made things a whole lot easier. The apples I used were straight off the tree at Swanton Pacific Ranch. I peeled and cut about 3 pounds of apples give or take. I used the green ones in the bag. I could not tell the variety because most of the apples were nothing I had
ever heard of before.

The pie crust need to thaw for an entire 3 hours. I took it out and allowed it to thaw while I was preparing the apple pie filling. 

I placed the 3 pounds of cut apple, 2/3 cup unsalted butter, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon,  and 1 cup sugar into my extra large frying pan. I might have added a bit more butter and sugar, but I think it can only make it taste that much better. I let the apples cook about 10 minutes until the juices were out and they seemed tender. Then, I took the apples out of the liquid and placed them into a glass tupperware container. I should have allowed them to drain more, but I do not have a colander. I kept the liquid on medium heat until it thickened up. Once it was thick, I poured the liquid over the apples and let it cool. 

Once the apple pie filling has cooled, it can be placed inside the pie crust. 

Lay the second pie crust across the top sealing the edges together. I just pressed the crusts together. Then I pressed the edges down with a fork and cut an X into the center for ventilation. What makes the crust spectacular is egg washing it and sprinkling sugar over the egg wash. 

Bake the pie for 45 minutes on 450. Make sure to watch. My pie only took 35 minutes. However, the ovens thermostat has been known to be off. 

Let the pie cool and serve with vanilla ice cream!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Apple Picking

Last weekend, Scott, Kendrick, and I went apple picking in Davenport at Swanton Pacific Ranch. It was a great way to spend time as a family while getting apples for Kendrick's lunch, which he is a fruit he is loving right now. The ranch had about six different types of apples, all organically grown and many that I had never heard of before. One kind was actually black and reminded me of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. I knew they existed, but had never seen one. Kendrick loved going down each row of trees while up on Scott's shoulders, picking apples high up on the branches. He walked a bit too, picking apples low to the ground.  The trees were of all heights, allowing the whole family to have fun plucking apples. There was a family there having a picnic, which not all farms allow. I almost wish we would have done that, but we stopped at Santa Cruz Falafel instead, which was delicious. There is no one at the farm to weigh your apples and take payment. It is purely trust based. They have a little house where you weigh your apples, and it is 2 dollars a pound. We ended up with 11 pounds of apples! Apple pie here we come!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Pizza Night

I wanted to start getting my son interested in cooking. He is two and loves to pick out his own dinner even if it consists of waffles. Scott and I had made pizza and had left over dough so I decided pizza would be easy and fun. He had such a good time and loved the final project!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Crockpot Adventures- The Beginning

Ever since having and son and getting married, in that order, I have been struggling to get meals prepared for the whole family in a timely manor, while still working a full time job, finding time to work out at the gym, and maintaining some sort of sanity. My husband suggested using our crockpot that we received as a wedding gift over a year ago. Along with the crockpot, we were gifted The New Slow Cooker cook book by Williams-Sonoma. I thought it was a genius idea. Why hadn't I thought of that: small amount of prep, cook all day, and vuala ready to plate and eat.

Since many moms are working moms these days, I thought I would channel my own Julie Powell from Julie and Julia and cook my way through my slow cooker book, hopefully helping moms out there realize that they can do it all! I don't want to be preparing a different meal for my toddler, so I am hoping that his palette will enjoy flavors beyond cheese, hotdogs, and fruit.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Country Club Baby Shower

Scott and I really enjoyed celebrating our friends Jenna and Dave at their baby shower. It was held at Los Altos Country Club over looking a lush, green golf course. The venue was beautiful. The food was delicious. The mom was glowing! 

I took the occasion as a time to get all dressed up. As a mom, I find myself climbing into comfy clothes the minute I get home. I took a chance I choose a black and white lacy dress with simple black heals. I like wearing form fitting clothes when I am pregnant because I don't have to worry about my stomach being tight and toned. The dress fit perfect, hugging my belly to show my 4 month bump off.  It was dressy, but also comfortable. Although, I still wanted to get out of it by the end of the night...heheh.
Since, Scott and I already have a baby boy, we went of the registry and bought items that we either knew they would need of enjoyed using with our son. Some family members had done the same for us. Filling a basket with items they used with their own children. It was the most memorable gift for Scott, and he wanted to do the same, so I created a basket filled with the items. Good thing Babies R'Us was having a sale. I even picked up some items for Baby K and the new little one. Gota love sales. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Date Night Dream

I saw this Valentino Red romper and fell in love. There is something incredibly romantic about it, especially when paired with dark red lips and clutch. Although completely out of my price range, a girl can dream can't she!

Date Night Dream

Valentino red sequin romper
$4,090 -

Christian Louboutin red sole pumps
$730 -

Kate Spade gold tone jewelry

Charlotte Tilbury red lip makeup

Nail care

Giclee wall art