Monday, January 30, 2012

menu of the week

This weekend didn't go as planned - I ended up sick Friday through Sunday (and missed the wedding on Saturday - sad face), and my main sources of sustenance were lime jello and slices of toasted bread from Olga's Cup + Saucer. Therefore the menu plans for this week are low key, but hearty. This cook is still feeling a bit weak, but I need to regain my strength as there is a toddler to wrangle on a daily basis.

vegetable barley risotto - I've made this once before per Matt's request. He spotted it on the back of a bag of Bob's Red Mill barley, and while it does involve a heck of a lot of stirring, it's pretty easy and yields a large amount. It's also great for lunch the next day.

white bean and mushroom stew - My mother-in-law got me a subscription to Whole Living for Christmas and this recipe was in my first issue. I made it within a week of seeing it and couldn't stop exclaiming over how good it was. Just ask Matt, who was rolling his eyes at me after the fifth or sixth time hearing me say, "No, really, this is sooo good!" The rosemary makes it.

frugalista burritos from 100 Recipes Every Woman Should Know - This is a new recipe for me but looks to be pretty easy and low commitment. I borrowed 100 Recipes Every Woman Should Know from the library last week and there weren't too many recipes that I wanted to try, but this simple dish was one of them.

pizza with homemade crust - A craving for pizza hit me as soon as my stomach felt like it could hold its contents this weekend so I knew I had to add it to this week's menu. Matt makes the dough and we add whatever toppings we have on hand - often sauteed peppers and onions, broccoli, or my personal favorite: pineapple.

smoky buffalo-style chili - I'm not really into spicy foods but this chili has just the right amount of heat so that I don't have to chug a glass of milk after each bite. In the past I've made it with turkey, but I already have ground beef from Rhodemont Farm. The blue cheese is such a genius addition and I must say the chips don't hurt either.

Since I missed John and Rachel's wedding on Saturday (insert sigh of disappointment here) I feel like I need to make something chocolate-y due to my missed encounter with wedding cake. I'm thinking this might be a good substitute, yes?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Hello Weekend

(image via Mignon Kitchen Co.)

This weekend is going to be a good one, I already know it, because we have a wedding to attend and I love weddings! Our friends John and Rachel are getting married and we'll be at the Roger Williams Park casino to celebrate with them. I've been planning my outfit in my mind for weeks now because it seems like it's been a while since I've had an excuse to get dressed up. Matt and I also have plans to start an exciting new project that we hope to work on throughout the winter and debut in the spring. There's so much going on in my brain right now I have to go try to sort it out. While I do that, check out my favorite things this week...

- love this bright Valentine's Day dinner party
- these tips and tricks from the newly opened Mignon Kitchen Co. are brilliant
- perusing this list of up & coming blogs
- give your bookshelf a makeover
- a way to get your glasses on the cheap
- why didn't I think of this?!
- I listed washi tape gift tags in the tiny hummingbird shop this week... order a set for your gift-giving needs!
- this is a great post on babywearing
- the colors & confetti at this birthday party are sweet
- technically, this DIY gold striped wall is from last week but I just found it. And I want it!
pink hair, glitter mouse ears, and a cheetah cardigan is my dream look

Happy weekend!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

show your colors

(image via design seeds)

You may have noticed some changes around the tiny hummingbird lately... I cleaned up my sidebar, added some shiny new social medial icons, and changed the name of my etsy store to match my blog. Now Matt is helping me design a new banner and some graphics to help categorize different topics. I'm using this color palette from design seeds to tie all the new elements together. The yellow, mossy green is my favorite color of all time, and turquoise comes in a close second. I also love the purple-y brown and shade of navy so dark it's almost black. And adding pink never hurts. I'm so excited for the tiny hummingbird's makeover.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

DIY washi tape gift tags

This simple DIY project came together in under thirty minutes. 

You only need two things for this project - washi tape and key tags. I got my tape at the post-holiday sale at Anthropologie (they're all from mt) and I got my key tags at Office Max.

Instructions aren't really necessary but I'll explain anyway. Here's what you do. First, rip off a piece of tape about an inch long. 

Stick the piece of tape to a key tag. 

Repeat with more tape and more key tags. And that's it! You're done. Now repeat, repeat, repeat.

Find a simple package that needs a little dressing up, add a ribbon, and tie on a tag. Now your present looks ready for the party. 

Don't want to do it yourself? Washi tape gift tags are now available in the tiny hummingbird shop!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

classic banana bread

 Baking banana bread is probably one of my favorite things to do in the kitchen for at least three reasons - it makes the whole house smell delicious, it's incredibly easy, and it gives new life to old bananas. This recipe is an adaptation of the one my mom always used when I was growing up, so it was the first one I ever made. While I've tried lots of variations over the years, I always come back to this old stand-by because it's so simple. Try it and let me know what you think.

Banana Bread
4 very ripe mashed bananas
2 beaten eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1 2/3 cup flour
1/4 cup applesauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
Mix all ingredients together. Pour batter into a greased loaf pan and bake at 325° for 50 - 60 minutes. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Slice and serve.

Really the only change from the original recipe is substituting applesauce for shortening or oil. And this time I added a cup of 60% Ghirardelli chocolate chips because I just can't resist them. Okay, I confess - I add chocolate chips pretty much every time I bake banana bread. I'm bringing this loaf to our moms' group this morning as a not-quite-breakfast snack. What baked goods do you try to pass off as breakfast?

{the not-so-secret ingredient}

Monday, January 23, 2012

menu of the week

Now that we finally have snow on the ground I can't wait to cook dinners that are warm and comforting, like beef stroganoff on Wednesday night. It's one of my most favorite foods ever. I'm trying a couple new dishes, too.

Korean style vegetable stir fry - Whenever I ask Matt what he wants for dinner his answer is "vegetables," which isn't very helpful. So instead of just making vegetables I'm going to make a stir fry, but I'm not using instant noodles like the recipe says. I think they mean ramen, but we have lots of soba noodles and I think they'll make a good substitute.

mushroom, onion, and swiss panini - I can already hear the complaints about the mushrooms, but I plan on prepping a few other fillings so Matt doesn't have to be subjected to fungus in his sandwich. Any suggestions for things that go with swiss cheese besides mushrooms?

beef stroganoff - While this dish may take a while (figure about three hours including prep), it's so worth it! Plus it makes your house smell amazing while the beef simmers on the stove.

apple, cheddar, and squash soup - I found this through my friend Alex's pin and it was the best butternut squash soup I've ever hard. Although it would be hard not to please me when it comes to anything with butternut squash in it. I'm a bit obsessed.

broiled salmon with polenta and roasted broccoli - My favorite way to prepare salmon is sprinkling it with salt and fresh ground black pepper and then broiling it. It only takes about seven minutes for two one pound filets. Sometimes I slather barbecue sauce on top, but this week I plan on keeping it simple. The polenta will be sliced and baked (I have one of Trader Joe's pre-cooked organic rolls) with extra virgin olive oil and some salt, and the broccoli will get the same treatment.

As always, I'll try to have some sort of salad each night of the week, and dessert (until they're gone) will be the whole wheat chocolate chunk cookies that Matt made over the weekend. Don't be fooled - they may be made with whole wheat flour but there are two sticks of butter and two cups of sugar hiding in there.

P.S. This is unrelated, but I heard a rumor about Domino over the weekend... could it be true?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Hello Weekend

After weekends in a row of holiday festivities and birthday parties, I'm relieved to say we don't have much going on this weekend, especially with the snow that finally fell over Rhode Island. We're hoping to do a few things around the house, like hang some frames that have been waiting since the summer, sift through clothes to create keep & donate piles, and inventory the contents of our chest freezer in the basement. I know, fun times. Really, though - I love the feeling of satisfaction I get after accomplishing simple tasks like those, especially when they've been hanging over my head. Know what I mean?

- just pinned these confetti shooters for future parties
- wish I could type on this chromatic typewriter. beautiful. via Making it Lovely
- a neon striped sweater for all you pregnant ladies out there, via My Life {as a Sugar Lander}
- can't wait for my new raspberry colored moccasins to arrive at my door!
- I know I said I'm cutting back on baking but I just have to make these cookies
- I want to throw a San Francisco themed birthday party
- another fun use for paper lanterns

Hope you weekend is a good one!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Happy Birthday, Sophie!

I've been meaning to share these photos from my friend Amanda and Jared's second daughter Sophie's first birthday party for a while, but I uploaded them to blogger and then forgot about them. Today seemed like a good day because this morning they're finding out the gender of the baby Amanda is due with in June. So exciting! Sophie turned one on November 9th so clearly I'm a little behind, but I still wanted to share all the fun details of her birthday party...

tissue paper pom poms

ribbon & paper bunting

a cake smash photo shoot

mason jars & striped straws with flags
cupcakes complete with toppers

a sand castle cake

salt water taffy favors


Amanda chose an off-season pool party theme because Sophie loves the water. Lots of the kids wore their swimsuits and all the details were tied to the theme or colors of the invitations Amanda sent out. Check out the work of Loralee Lewis to see the invitations and lots more. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

travel: Burlington or Bust

This sudden onset of true January weather is making me long for a vacation somewhere sunny and warm. Over the summer we visited Burlington, Vermont and stayed at a house on Lake Champlain. While I realize Vermont is neither sunny nor warm now, it certainly was in August.

If you visit some time in the near future it will probably look more like the above photo. Here's a short list of things we did while we were in the area. Keep in mind, we are always on the lookout for freebies so many of the activities are quite touristy...

- visit Church Street and shop and eat to your heart's content
- grab a bite to eat at Three Tomatoes Trattoria. I loved the chicken and cheddar hot-pressed panini and the spinach salad.
- tour the Lake Champlain Chocolates factory... so many yummy samples! Some things I bought to enjoy later - a sea salt caramel, a wild honey & fig truffle, and a chocolate peanut butter cup. Find Lake Champlain Chocolates at your local Whole Foods
- shop for groceries at City Market. We shopped here almost daily and found loads of local fruit, vegetables, yogurt, cheese, and milk.
- drive to Shelburne Farms where you can milk a cow, collect eggs, spin wool, hold a chicken, and observe cheesemaking. We ate lunch there, too - most of the little food truck's offerings are from the farm!
- sample ice cream at the Ben & Jerry's factory tour
- gorge yourself on countless cubes of cheddar cheese before the tour at Cabot Cheese

Now for some gratuitous photos of Ezra...
Look, here we are proving that a mother doesn't need to have a daughter to dress her child in outfits that match hers. And this wasn't even on purpose! I wish he still fit into those pants.

Monday, January 16, 2012

menu of the week

Each Sunday I spend about a half hour planning our meals for the week to simplify grocery shopping and hectic afternoons. I decided to start sharing my weekly menus here because I figure that I'm always looking for new recipes, so maybe you are, too.

pan seared flat iron steak from Rhodemont Farm with roasted potatoes and broccoli - I haven't made beef at home in a while so this is going to feel like a treat for us. The potatoes and broccoli are a great combination - I love to roast them simply with extra virgin olive oil and salt & pepper at a high temperature so they get all those crispy brown bits that I can scrape off the pan and eat as an appetizer.

frittata with spinach, potatoes, and leeks - This is a new recipe from Cooking Light's way to cook vegetarian that my friend Kayla let me borrow. I'm planning on adding mushrooms because in my opinion mushrooms make almost anything better. Unfortunately for Matt, he doesn't agree with me but he can just pick them out.

lasagna soup - My cousin Stephanie recommended this recipe to me a few months ago and it was so yummy and perfect for a cold winter night. The cheesy topping makes it.

black bean and sweet potato tacos - We can't get enough of these sweet tacos and have been having them probably every two weeks. Matt likes his with a dollop of sour cream and I like to add chopped avocado.

pork jowls with beans - This is going to be an experimental dinner as I've never cooked with pork jowls before, either cured or fresh, so we'll see how it goes. Hopefully I'm successful! The folks at theKitchn were super helpful, but if you have any tips, please share!

Every week I only plan for five dinners assuming that one night we'll have leftovers or go out to eat, and I try to make a green salad every night. Our breakfasts are pretty standard - oatmeal with nuts & fruit, eggs, the occasional German pancake - and lunches are usually leftovers or, if there aren't any, grilled cheese or peanut butter & jam. Sometimes I plan for snacks or dessert, but one of my resolutions involves less sweets so I'm trying to bake less, as sad as that is. Read more about how I plan meals here and here.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Hello Weekend

(fine art by Tom Gastel)
One change I instituted this week at the tiny hummingbird was not forcing myself to post every day if I didn't feel I had something I wanted to share. More changes to come, including a site redesign and hopefully some regular columns. I'll be working on things over the next few weeks and a bit over the weekend if I can squeeze some time in between our friend Pasha's birthday party tonight, Amanda's daughter Amelie's 3rd birthday party tomorrow morning, and dinner with friends in New Haven tomorrow night. I'm making individual root vegetable gratins with ComtĂ© and tallegio. While I make myself nervous tweaking the HTML of my blog, check out these links...
- I want to sew a whole colony of penguins
- there's a sale on pretty calendars over at simplesong
- excited for more frequent issues of Styled. from a subtle revelry
- a look inside Coco Chanel's apartment
- say hello to homemade nilla wafers
- love this new use for tissue paper!
- next time we fly I'm definitely packing a plane picnic
this statue is my favorite
- theKitchn answered my question yesterday!
Happy, happy Friday to you! xo.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

out to eat | Providence Restaurant Week

(image via XO Cafe)
For those of you who don't know, next week is restaurant week in Providence. Not sure what that means? It's a great opportunity to eat at that restaurant you've been dying to go to or to revisit an old favorite, and for a fraction of the usual price. You can enjoy a three course lunch for $14.95 or a three course dinner for $29.95. Check out the restaurant list & menus here. I'm trying to convince Matt to take me on a date one night. Here are my top picks -
Chez Pascal for butternut squash bisque, a haddock filet with brown butter vinaigrette, and warm bread pudding.
Bravo Brasserie for the bravo salad and a grilled salmon filet.
XO Cafe for chicken liver pate, farmers market risotto, and apple and pear polenta crisp.
Where would you go?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

just add color

It's been a while since I changed our bedding over to the winter stuff, but it was looking cold and cheerless to me. 
See how stark it all looks? Everything was blue or white with the exception of the books on my nightstand! We were definitely in need of some sprucing up. 
Colorful home accessories to the rescue! 
A sewn paper garland ($7 at anthropologie's post-holiday sale!), a quilt my mom made for us, a couple hayward pillows and one tempo pillow later and I think things are looking much better.
Sweet dreams are definitely in store tonight.

Monday, January 9, 2012

le macaron

Finally I can say that I have conquered the macaron, and I did it before the end of 2011 like I hoped I would. I must confess that I was quite intimidated by macarons but after making them I don't know what all the fuss is about. The process involves quite a lot of steps but overall it isn't difficult at all. I used Martha's recipe and made the chocolate variation with chocolate ganache filling. Of course I'm still only a novice macaron baker but here are my tips if you want to try a batch yourself - 
- Do your homework. I suggest reading this post by Brave Tart, and then read her post on macaron myths and then the one on the ten commandments. Consider yourself prepared. Well, at least I did after I read them. 
- Do yourself a favor and buy almond flour (I bought mine at Stop & Shop in the natural foods section) instead of crushing almonds in a food processor. You'll save a step and some time. 
- Don't have a pastry bag? I didn't either. However, I did have this handy tool that I bought at Target. I had to refill it once but it worked out just great.
- Find a little circle shaped object (I used the lid from a bottle of olive oil) that you can use to trace circles onto the parchment paper with a pencil so you can at least attempt to make the shells all the same size. I flipped the parchment over so the batter wasn't actually touching the pencil circles.
- Most important tip - enjoy them! Even if the tops don't match the bottoms and they're lopsided and the ganache oozes out. Not like any of that happened to mine. Wink.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

the drawing board

With a whole twelve months ahead of me I've been making plans and dreaming big. I want to be more intentional about blogging so I'm going to take the rest of the week off (and possibly some of next week, too) to collect my thoughts and continue brainstorming. Today I'll be warming my toes by the fire and drinking mug after mug of hot raspberry tea. While I fill up my notebook with my own ideas, do you have any to share with me?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

the new year

(illustration by Paper and Canvas)

Along with some resolutions, I have a list of things I'm looking forward to this year.

-eat sweets no more than once per week 
(but I will make exceptions for chocolate mousse and other uncommonly good chocolate desserts)
- commit more scripture to memory. (I'm starting with Psalm 119:105.)
- floss daily (don't laugh, I'm serious)

things I'm looking forward to
- finding new sources of local food in Rhode Island
- starting more family traditions with Ezra
- making some changes to the tiny hummingbird

Nothing too crazy, but I think it's enough to help me focus this year on things that will yield results. Health, spiritual growth, and dental hygiene. Quality food, family bonds, and you. What are your goals for the new year?
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