Wednesday, October 1, 2014

october 2014 desktop calendar...

Happy October friends! Wishing you all the happiest of autumn months, filled with all things pumpkin and apple spiced!

Dates to remember:

October 13th- Columbus Day
October 31st- Halloween

Monday, September 29, 2014

baby update // 18 weeks...

I'm a week late getting this blog post up to you, oooops! So I'm actually officially 19 weeks right now. Hehe. Anyway, let's pretend we're still back in the 18 week world ;) So Baby Main is the size of a bell pepper!!! A BELL PEPPER! From rump to head, measuring about 5.6 inches. Wow. Did you know that when he or she was first developing, he/she was the size of a poppyseed!? It just blows my mind thinking that something so small is now...a bell pepper in my tummy!

It's so comforting knowing the Lord is continuing to mold and make that baby perfectly. Things are happening just as they should. We just can't wait to see what exactly all that will look like! 




Greek yogurt mixed with chopped peaches, greek yogurt mixed with peanut butter (and coconut sugar- YUM), and greek yogurt mixed with a banana and almond milk (in a smoothie form). I learned pretty quickly that I wasn't getting enough protein and calcium, which is especially important in the 2nd trimester! 


More water than I know what to do with! Plus a lot more almond milk (for the calcium) and some delicious decaf coffee in the morn. MmMmm, I look forward to that one!


Still reading and enjoying the "Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy". Since it's divided up into months and weeks, I read a little every so often. I like to wait until I'm a specific week and then read all about what to expect! Also, starting to really research and read up on baby items (for our registry).


Still can't wait to know whether Baby Main is a little boy or girl! It's just a matter of days now!!! Also, every day I sort of sit there for a while and see if I can feel him or her. Nothing yet!


My husband and I have been praying a lot for the health of the baby, the health of me (especially during labor, delivery and postpartum), that the Lord would prepare us and our hearts for whatever little one we are to have, and (yikes) for my lovely baby hormonal acne to lessen. It's gotten pretttttty bad. 


I'm gunna go ahead and say better? Maybe it's more because I'm getting more and more adjusted to my new norm. I know what to do before bed, how to set up my million pillows, and am ok with the amount of times I get up during the night. Plus, there's always daytime naps ;)


I was so blessed by my mother in law and uncle with maternity clothes for my 30th birthday. I know, right?? So far, I've hit up Old Navy and H&M and purchased just a couple of things. Two more maternity skinny jeans, a few maternity dresses (in stripes! So cute!!), one non-maternity dress- it fits really nicely and still has room to grow, and some basic v-neck t-shirts a size up from what I am now at H&M ($5.95 each)! Next is nursing bras! Agggggg.


Still feeling really good! I know a little more about what I can and cannot do- and I'm sure not to push myself over that limit. Working out had to be scaled WAY down, so I mostly do yoga, some pilates, and 2.5-3 mile walks at night (including up and down hills) with the hubbie for some cardio. We average about 4-5 days a week, which helps me to feel like a real person and not a roly-poly. I will say though- I'm just now starting to feel super uncomfy if I bend down or kneel down and have my tummy push against my knees. Whoopsie! 


This trimester! Now that I'm well into it, things really have gotten a bit back to normal- kind of. ;) I'm adjusting more and more to my new normal at least.

Dress // Old Navy. Belt // Thrifted.

Friday, September 26, 2014

pear upside down cake + our last cooks in the kitchen challenge...

Hi friend!

Ok wow. It's here. It's actually totally here. Welcome to the last link up of Elah Tree and my Cooks in the Kitchen Challenge! Yep, you read right- after today's link-up, we are totally done! Cue all the tears. 

Cooks in the Kitchen is an opportunity to meet new bloggers, readers, friends; and COOK. We provide you with your main ingredient to cook with, then you have the rest of that month to scour through your recipes and find the perfect one. Then, at the end of the month, we will have a link up on both of our blogs where you can submit your recipe and blog post of your cooking creation and see how others tackled the same main ingredient. Super fun.

I can't believe it's over! I mean, it literally seems like maybe a month or so ago that Samantha and I were first talking about this dream, planning, and getting it all together. We discussed doing it through the summer and when I thought about "ending in September" that seemed like eons away! And here we are. September  The end of summer. The end of this little chapter. It's craziness.

This month's ingredient was a fun one- PEARS. How did you guys do with the fruit? Did you have an awesome time dreaming up delicious recipes? Or was it a sort of challenge? I love pears and love to bake with them like no other. Last year I made this pear with almond cream pie for my sister's birthday and swooned for days. There's something really comforting about baking with pears and apples in the fall. 

This time, I decided to take an old classic and vamp it up a bit. We all know and love Pineapple Upside Down Cake...but what would it taste like with the less tart (but equally delicious) Bartlett Pear? This month's challenge was the perfect time to find out!

But first. Guys. Did you read Samantha's recipe? It's a Grilled Pear Panini with raspberries AND BACON! Say what????? Be still my sweet and salty loving heart. This one's getting pinned for sure! 

If you're heading to a dinner party (like I was) or shoot, just want to have something nice at home for the fam- this Pear Upside Down Cake has got you covered. Caramelized pears and browned butter top a lightly sweet yellow cake? Yeah...I'll take a slice.

Makes 1, 9" cake
For printable recipe, click here

For the pear topping:
  • 3 slightly ripe Bartlett Pears
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons good quality whiskey (I used Jameson)

For the cake:
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup vanilla sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract

For the pear topping:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F and using the butter wrapper (or oil spray), grease the sides of a 9" cake pan. Set aside. 

2. Peel pears and slice 1/4" thick, avoiding and discarding the core and stem. Add pears to a non-reactive bowl and toss with the 2 tablespoons whiskey. Set aside to marinate. 

3. In a small saucepan, add the 4 tablespoons unsalted butter and over medium heat, gently brown. This should only take a few minutes, so stay with it. It can quickly go from nutty and browned to bitter and burnt. Pour browned butter into the bottom of your prepared cake pan. 

I used a 9" cast iron skillet for this, only because it was aesthetically pleasing to me on this particular day :) Both work just fine, but note that if you choose to use a cast iron skillet, you'll have to bake your cake for about 10-15 minutes longer than the time in these instructions.

4. Next, sprinkle the brown sugar over the butter and gently spread out so it covers the entire surface. Finally, arrange the marinated pear slices over the brown sugar in a nice, even layer. Reserve the pear whiskey liquid for your cake batter.

For the cake:
1. In a bowl, mix together the all purpose flour, baking powder and sea salt. Set aside.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the butter and vanilla sugar and beat on medium high using a paddle attachment, until light and fluffy. Stop mixer and scrape down sides and bottom. Add the egg and beat until incorporated. Stop mixer and scrape down again. Mix once more.

3. While that is fluffing and mixing, in another bowl or measuring cup, mix together the room temperature milk, reserved pear whiskey liquid and vanilla extract.

4. With your mixer on medium low, alternate the flour mix with the milk mix into the butter and sugar, pouring in half of each at a time. Start with the flour mix. Stop and scrape down sides before adding the next half. Once everything is mixed in, beat batter for about 10 seconds on medium high to really incorporate. 

5. Carefully pour batter into your prepared cake pan over the pears and gently spread out into one nice even layer. Pat pan on counter a few times to settle the batter into the nooks and crannies. Place pan on a tinfoil lined baking sheet and place in the center of your preheated oven.

6. Bake cake for about 35-40 minutes (adding 10-15 minutes more for cast iron), turning 1/2 way through to ensure even cooking. Cake is done when it is amber brown around the edges, liquid is bubbling on the sides, center is golden in color and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle (careful not to go all the way down). 

7. Remove cake from oven and allow to cool 5-10 minutes before trying to flip. Once cool enough to handle, place plate or cake platter over top and very carefully, flip entire thing over. Gently remove pan- everything should have nicely landed on that plate. Let cool slightly before serving, or serve later that day!

For my dinner party, I wanted to serve the cake IN the cast iron skillet. So after I flipped the cake over onto a plate, I gently slid it back into the pan- bottom side up. Presentation wise, this was pretty neat. 

Cake is best eaten day it is made, BUT it can be made completely a day ahead and served the next day. Just allow to cool completely, wrap gently in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator. Allow to come to room temperature before serving.

Cake slightly adapted from this recipe.

Make sure to follow along :  Instagram Facebook Twitter Pinterest Bloglovin Google+

How did your pear cooking adventures come together? I can't wait to see what you have for us! Because today is our final link up we wanted to do something special! Samantha and I are giving away a copy of Martha Stewart's Cooking School to one of you lovelies! Wahoo! There are lots of ways to enter; if you have linked up with us for the entire link-up you can use those as entries too!

1. Link-Up your Cooks in the Kitchen post below. Please link to the post and not your home page.

2. Be encouraging. Comment on the post before you and tell them how awesome they are!

3. Hashtag your creations #cooksinthekitchen2014


Entries will be run via rafflecopter below. The giveaway will close in 7 days, at that time one winner will be chosen at random. The winner will be announced within seven days of the closing day and will receive an email. They have 24 hours to respond or forfeit the prize. Entries will be verified and reviewed at the discretion of Elah Tree and Sweet Lavender Bake Shoppe. Any falsified entries will be disqualified. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Prize was graciously bought and donated by Sweet Lavender Bake Shoppe and Elah Tree. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

We'll miss you friends! Hope you had a serious blast!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

etsy loves // baby things...

No surprise that my brain is thinking all things "baby" right now. I can't help it. With our little one still continuing to grow and grow inside my belly, I find myself daydreaming of holding him or her in their little space and what that space will indeed look like. 

Although we don't know the sex of the baby yet, we do know one thing- regardless of the outcome, we want there to be more neutral pieces rather than all boy or all girl things. Sure, if it's a girl you'll see some dresses and pinks here and there...but we both love all the earthy organic tones and kind of want to keep him or her in those colors and themes. 

Here are some of the things I've come across recently and just adore!

Monday, September 22, 2014

gluten free cheddar dill chicken cobbler...

I wish I could say that fall is in full swing here, with the trees changing colors, cool crispness in the air and pumpkin spiced everything all around. We've got the pumpkin spiced things...and that's about it. Our summer months really hit us around August-October, so unfortunately we Mains are right in the midst of two lovely heat waves. So here we are walking around in tank tops and shorts, sweating to death in blazing desert heat with pumpkins all over and apple cinnamon/pumpkin spice smelling things in all the stores. It's quite the juxtaposition!

We just ended our first wave (which was a bruiser!). So glad about that one. We ended up having to hibernate in our room (all of us- kitties included), door shut, with the little window AC blasting for hours on end. Our room was amazing. Goodness gracious though, if you had to leave the room to go potty (which I did numerous times)- it literally felt like you had stepped into a low roaring oven. Nothing like having an oven for your living room. But alas after a week, we finally hit a little cool pocket! 3 or 4 days of temps in the 70's versus the 90's/100's. Score to the max. We actually slept under our sheet last night and WITHOUT the fan or AC on! It felt SOOOOO good!

That being said, I'm taking full advantage of this break in the heat with a fall inspired dish- chicken cobbler. IT WILL BE FALL, DARNIT! It's kind of like a pot pie, but with a savory cheesy dill cobbler topping rather than the normal pie crust we're all used to. Then because I can't leave well enough alone, I made it gluten free and butter free. Because, why not? Feel free to use butter if that's more your thing.