Now that our house renovations are (mostly) over, I have been taking full advantage of hosting in our new home. Over the weekend I hosted a casual girls night in with some of my dearest childhood friends. We sipped and snacked and laughed as we reminisced.
When hosting, I don’t like to make a big fuss because it tends to stress me out and give me an aversion to hosting again! I’ve found that the key is to keep things simple and to not let the idea of the perfect night get in the way of having a relaxed get together. Those always end up making the perfect nights afterall.
Do you celebrate by staying in? I hope you do! And I hope it’s with good drinks and good friends! Cheers!
The drink: Lime and rose spritzers
The food: Charcuterie and cheese board with a fig and honey plate
The dessert: Lavender and lemon shortbread cookies
Happy first day of summer! Around here summertime means peach pie! This pie is my go to for summer events. I have made it for work parties, BBQ’s, baby showers, even a friend’s wedding. This particular peach pie I made while wearing Julian, the day he got his first tooth! Now it feels even more special to me. It is hands down my favorite pie. It even trumps pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving Day in my book.
The hand cut leaf crust may look complex, but it really is a breeze. You need a little extra time, but the reward is a beautiful, showstopping pie. The world needs more warm peach pie, so let me know how yours turns out, I’d love to see them!
Place a baking sheet in the oven at 425F to preheat
Boil a large pot of water and drop the peaches one at a time into the water for approx 20 seconds. Remove the peaches and submerge into cold water bath. When cooled, peel the skins of the peaches. (Alternatively, you can use frozen peaches. Just defrost before preparing filling.)
Slice the peaches and toss with lemon juice, sugar, cornstarch and spices.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out your dough and transfer is to a greased pie pan. Trim edges. Refrigerate.
Roll out the remaining dough on a lightly floured surface. Cut out leaf shapes and aim to have the leaves be similar in size and shape, approx 3 inches long. Mark veins with a knife.
Remove the pie shell from the refrigerator and brush with egg glaze. Add the peach filling and dot with butter.
Assemble the top layer by starting from the outside and working your way towards the center of the pie, layering rows of leaves until filling is covered. Brush with glaze.
Bake for 10 minutes at 425F then reduce temperature to 350F and bake for 35-40 minutes. Until crust is golden and filling is bubbling.
Watching my husband become a father has taken my breath away. There has never been a more magical day in my life than the day we both became parents. Jeff, thank you for being everything I am not. Thank you for raising our son with heart and humor. Happy first Father’s Day my Captain.
And Happy Father’s Day to all of the fathers out there. You especially Dude Pa.
Are you a crust kind of person, or a filling kind of person? Me, I’m a crust gal. Pie crust should be flaky, moist and buttery. I’m wanting pie just thinking of it. I am looking forward to posting many pie recipes on the blog, but for now, let’s get started with the basics! It took me years to perfect my favorite pie crust recipe. And my friends, I want to share it with you! I always have a few of these pre-made disks in my freezer ready to go at a moment’s notice. Because you never know when a day will call for pie; and life’s too short for store bought crust!
The secret (somewhat off-putting) ingredient to the best crust is lard! When butter and lard are used in conjunction in the same recipe it results in perfect flaky crust. What happens is the butter and lard melt at different temperatures while baking in the oven. This creates various, dispersed air pockets within the crust. The result is an extra flaky, yummy crust.
This recipe is super simple to make in a hurry, but does need to rest in the fridge for at least an hour (or up to 3 days) before being baked. It can also be made ahead of time and stored in the freezer (for up to 3 months) in disk shape. Enjoy the recipe and be sure to let me know how your crust turns out!
Let’s get baking!
2 ½ cups unbleached flour
1 ½ tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
½ cup chilled unsalted butter (cut into ½ inch cubes)
½ cup chilled lard (cut into ½ inch cubes)
5 Tbsp ice water (or more if needed)
Blend flour, sugar, and salt in processor. Add butter and lard, pulsing in between additions. Mixture will resemble pebbles. Add water until dough begins to clump together. Add more water one tablespoon at a time if needed. Divide dough in half and flatten each into a disk. Wrap the disks in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour. If freezing, wrap disks in plastic then cover with aluminum foil or place disks in a ziploc bag then freeze. When ready to roll out the dough allow the disks to soften at room temp for approx 30-45 minutes. Bake according to the pie recipe you are using. Enjoy!
Our Julian Koki is 7 months old! He brings such joy and love to our family. It may be cliche, but I truly cannot imagine life without him. Here are some of the things I want to always remember about our sweet baby Jules at this age.
Biggest Milestones: Julian loves sitting on his own! Before when he sat up I would have to sit right behind him, in case he tipped backwards. Lately, he has been sitting independently and loves being able to see more of what’s going on. He is beginning to support himself more on his knees than his belly, a sign that crawling is in our near future!
Talking: Julian is continuing to “talk” louder and more than ever. He imitates Jeff and I both when we talk, and it’s the cutest! His favorite word string of consonants is da-da! I’ll never forget our flight home from Hawaii, he didn’t cry once, but there were a few times that he was babbling loud enough for the whole plane to hear.
Eating: Little man is now eating solids! His first food was an avocado grown on the property where we stayed in Hawaii. From there, he has eaten it all! It’s hard to nail down a favorite food because he really will eat everything. He has even loved some non-traditional foods for a baby, including marlin, venison and acai. I make his baby food myself and put them into this amazing pouches for when we’re on the go.
Sleeping: Baby Jules continues to be an incredible sleeper. He naps twice daily, and goes down every night around 6:30-7pm. He gets a good 12 hours of sleep a night and when he wakes in the morning you can hear him talking to his lovey. It’s the sweetest thing.
Favorite activity: Nearly every day Julian and I go on a 3 mile walk to the lake behind our house. It certainly is more challenging now that we have adopted our puppy, Jet! Julian loves checking out the beautiful sights and the sounds of the birds. A true Pacific Northwest baby, he even loves going in the rain. Me, not so much.
Favorite book: Julian’s Nana recently bought him an ABC popup book that he is in love with. It takes you on a safari through the alphabet, and includes lots of animals I’ve never heard of. Xenops anyone?
One thing I never want to forget: Baby Jules is a heavy feeder! I have been making his baby foods at home and often putting them into reusable pouches. When he sees a pouch he stops what he’s doing and squeals with excitement. When I give him the packet he holds it himself and can drink it up in about 30 seconds. I have mixed feelings about how independently he can feed himself! But it is pretty darn cute to watch him slurp those veggies up!
When I was working as a nurse in Seattle my shifts were 12 hours with a round trip commute time of 3 hours. On the days that I worked I was home long enough to sleep, then I would get up and do it all over the next day. So, even though I longed for a dog, my work schedule never allowed for it. Until now! (Stay at home mom schedule for the win!)
Call me crazy for adopting a puppy while juggling a newborn (and a house remodel), but I just couldn’t help myself! I have been waiting to own a dog for years. And I’m crazy. I figured I’m already cleaning up body fluids daily, what better time then now?! So when my friend alerted me to the new rescues at Kitsap Humane Society, I knew our dog was there.
Jet is a black labrador retriever mix. He is sweet as can be, super laid back and all cuddles! Julian finds him hilarious and fascinating. They are fast friends.
I would love any advice you all have for puppy/house training. Comment and let me know!
I am a solo parent the vast majority of the time. Not a single parent, but a solo parent. My husband is a merchant mariner, working on a ship for a month at a time. His time at home is often less than two weeks. And then the cycle repeats itself. While he is gone there is no nanny, we’ve never hired a babysitter, and we don’t have a housecleaner. It’s just me. When my husband is away there is no one to hand the baby off to when I need a shower, to eat, or just a moment. I do every diaper change, every load of laundry, every 3am soothing session. And as you could have guessed, it can be very challenging. But it is worth it; it’s beyond worth it.
I am here to tell you that I am really proud of myself. And I don’t think moms say that enough. Because, while it may not be my situation exactly, I know so many moms that do so much, with never enough help. I know moms who work full time and bring their kids to work, work from home with a baby, are single mothers with two jobs, are mothers of two with a husband in med school, are a twin mom! I could keep going but you get the idea.
How do I function as a solo parent? I just do. Very early on it became second nature for me. There was no other alternative. Yet, It has made me love motherhood that much more, because it has given me great confidence in this new role. Confidence that I can do it on my own. I’ll never forget that first time my husband went back out to sea; Julian was just two weeks old. I cried thinking “how am I possibly going to do this alone? How will I even get to the grocery store?!” Indeed, necessity is the mother of all invention. I’m happy to say that I am able to function and yes, even grocery shop. Moms, I hope you all take pride in your work and yourselves. I am proud to be part of such an extraordinary tribe of mothers.
Aloha again! I have received a lot of questions about where I got my swimsuits that I wore on our Maui vacation. So I thought I would post the links here. As a new, and nursing mom, I was super nervous about being in a swimsuit again! But these were all such flattering finds, I felt just as comfortable in a swimsuit as I did before having a baby. I hope you enjoy!