Friday, September 5, 2014

Hatch Pesto + Blistered Tomatoes & Roasted Corn

Greetings!  We've been having A Day.  {I guess when this posts, it will be "we were having A Day." Well, let's at least hope past tense is applicable.}  Someone cute-yet-cranky thinks good sleep {nighttime or naptime} is for the birds for the moment.  Fluke?  I vote YES.  

Don't hand-wring too hard for us though... 

... we've got classed-up vino-in-a-box and toddler thumbprint art and all sorts of other good tricks up our sleeve!  

Even the ever-present heat can't hold us down.  It may be hotter than two amorous rats gettin' busy in a wool sock, but at least my new Authentic Weather app makes it amusing!  

I recommend you download that post haste.

As if the temperatures weren't keeping us glisten-y enough, I have another Hatch Chile Tongue Tingler for y'all!

{Woof, that sounds vaguely dirty}

{Eh, I'm leaving it} 

I threw this together one night last week, 65% sure we'd be dialing Campisi's for takeout when my little experiment inevitably failed in fantastic fashion.  Surprisingly, this pesto turned out incredibly delicious... E says it's one the best things I've ever made.

Toot, toot, toot goes my own horn.  

Hatch Pesto Pasta + Blistered Tomatoes & Roasted Corn

- 1 lb whole wheat pasta*
- 3-5 roasted Hatch chiles, de-stemmed and partially de-seeded {as always, poblanos or anaheims will do just fine if you don't have Hatches available... if you really like a good kick, toss a jalapeno in there, too}
- 2 T heavy cream or half & half
- 1/2 c. finely grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
- 1/4 - 1/2 c. EVOO {depending on how runny you like your pesto} + 1 T
- 2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved {I used both red and yellow Sunbursts}
- 2 c. roasted corn kernels {I buy mine pre-roasted and frozen at Trader Joe's}
- dash of garlic salt
- 1/4 c. pasta water, reserved

*I discovered pasta made with Hatches at Central Market's annual Hatch Fest.  Naturally, this is the pasta I used for this dish, and it was, in a word, incredible.  Whole wheat pasta will have the same consistency without the subtle bite.  If you ever happen upon Hatch pasta, snap it up!  But the pesto-tomato-corn combo is the superstar here. 

Boil pasta according to package directions to al dente in a pot of heavily salted water.  Reserve 1/4 cup of pasta water before draining. 

Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse chiles, cream, and Parmesan together.  Slowly add EVOO until pesto reaches the desired consistency {not super runny}.

In a skillet, heat 1 T. EVOO on Medium-High and add tomatoes.  Saute until skins are charred / just beginning to break down.  You could also do this in the oven under a broiler, if you'd prefer.  Toss corn in with tomatoes.  Sprinkle with garlic salt. 

Place pasta back in the pot, along with tomatoes and corn.  Pour pesto over pasta and toss to coat, slowly adding reserved pasta water until pesto is evenly distributed {I didn't use the entire 1/4 cup}. 

Serve immediately with a dusting of grated Parmesan. 

Makes 6-8 servings. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Labor De Rigueur

We had a superb little Labor Day Weekend, thanks so much for asking!  We began our three day sabbatical with a trip down 35, stopping once at illustrious Exit 353 for a late brunch on-the-go...

...and arriving in Waco just in time for naps all around!  Waking refreshed, E and L made the first of several trips to the Baylor Bear Habitat and the new stadium for an afternoon activity while B and I cooled our heels at Mama J's. 

This was actually Sunday, but you get the drift.

Then we all ate a bunch of brisket and binged on college football.  For the first time in forever {try reading that without humming Frozen, BETCHA CAN'T}, I am still not quite mentally prepared for another football season.  E claims to be over last year's Fiesta Bowl, but All The Pouting is still fresh in my mind.  And now David Ash is out for the Longhorns' season... Ugggg.  Suppose it's best if I jump on board with a positive attitude. 

ANYHOODLE.  Come Sunday, we dressed the chillins' in their finest green and gold and - between E, L, and myself - ate a pound of bacon for breakfast.  I wish I could say the bacon consumption is a part of some pigskin season opener tradition, but, the truth is, Mama J just makes really, really exceptional bacon.  E and L went back to the bear habitat and hit up the bookstore {because we don't have enough Baylor gear} {sarcasm}

During naptime, E and I snuck away to join the tailgating bonanza at the brand, spankin-new McLane Stadium.  Bear fans are Capital V Very Excited about McLane... and, I will say, as far as stadiums go, it's lovely{?}.  I was super impressed in general {although, I was not allowed to bring my pump in and was told I wouldn't be allowed to re-enter if I left to pump in the car... not to go all Lactivist on their Baptist asses, but... a letter is in the works}.  

Given the fact it was hotter than the face of the sun, we spent a great deal of time drinking beer within the confines of our friends' air conditioned vehicle.  Not the most mingly tailgating event I've ever attended, but it got the job done.  Evan also high-fived RG3 as he whizzed by in a golf cart, which, as I wrote on IG, basically topped all experiences he's had thus far in his life.  

I thought I was old enough to safely ditch the dressy gameday attire; then Lauren had to go and look adorable.

Our seats are excellent, and by "excellent," I mean West-facing.  Luckily, much like the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders and Beyonce, my hair and makeup are impervious to 100 degree heat, and I felt fantastically sexy, even with visible swampy underboob sweat.  


E assures me our seats will be "awesome in winter."  Perfect!  Only 3 more months then!  All complaining aside, Baylor's new digs are pretty damn exciting, even for a tee-shirt-fan-by-marriage {law school doesn't count as a true allegiance, I don't think}, and we very much enjoyed ourselves at the inaugural game!  Many, many thanks to Mama J and Joan for wrangling our gremlins while we were yelling SIC EM!  

Back in Dallas, we capped off our long weekend with an early dinner at The Porch and subsequent grocery shopping at Central Market {balloons! samples! huzzah!}. 

Tuesday dawned early as we all talked up L's first day back at "school."  Ever the stinker, she rocked her milestone photos:

Nailed it. 

I admit to being slightly apprehensive about school this year... I knew she'd have fun, but using a "scary" {ie: new} potty and napping on a mat + moving from two days to three seemed like a lot to adapt to.  Of course she proved me wrong and had zero issues. Three Cheers for Peer Pressure!  Her teachers also said she was super engaged and vocal in class -- great news as she spoke very little last year even though she never stops talking at home. 

I was particularly conflicted about sending her an extra day this year, but everyone in her class goes 3 days {whereas kids rotated in and out on different days last year}, and I think that consistency will be really great for her.  I miss her mug when she's gone, but it's really nice to have an opportunity to love on B one-on-one...and I'm very much looking forward to beginning some contract work hours. 

The few hours of relative quiet aren't half bad either. And neither is reunion froyo {"froyoyo and a bottle of rum!"} {is word play on a boozy ditty inappropriate? I'm not sure I care if it is.}. 

MaƱana... HATCH PESTO PASTA! Get your jazzhands ready! 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

My First Book Series by Sophie Helenek


We're big on books in our family.  Reading is and has always been one of my favorite pastimes, and it's important to me that our kids grow up reading every day.  

When L was born and our days were still pretty empty, I'd read to her for hours -- picture books, board books, books without words, books with many words {Mindy Kaling is child-appropriate, right?}, it didn't really matter when she was teentsy-tiny -- she seemed to respond to my voice no matter what the subject matter.  Of course, as she grew older, we shelved the Kindle and worked our way through our massive collection of board books.  Now, at two and a half years, L is all about big girl books with real pages and fancy illustrations.  

B is such an agreeable little guy; he's carted around to Big Sister's activities daily and rarely gets anything to himself {even his own toys are pilfered on the regular for L's "babies"}.  We read to him constantly, but to say he's getting an early education in all things Ladybug GirlLlama Llama, and Curious George would be an understatement.  After realizing we'd only packed "L Books" on our Jackson Hole vacation this summer, I made a little vow to pull out the age-appropriate baby books for B at least once a day. 

That's why I was so jazzed when Sophie Helenek reached out to me regarding her new, award-winning series of board books tailored specifically to infants' brain development. Sparkly-new, un-gnawed-on books written just for B's age group?  Count me in, and thanks as well for appeasing my Second Child Guilt a tad!  

The My First Book Series includes Fruits, Sky Wonders, Shapes, and Musical Instruments.  Each book includes high contrast illustrations -- black and white on one page and bold color on the opposite. B instantly seemed fascinated with the pictures; he smiles and gurgles at them during tummy time, and he stares intently when we pull them out to read.  While reading one word per two pages isn't necessarily the most interesting task for an adult, it's easy to see B is totally engaged.  

The biggest surprise with the My First Book Series is how much L enjoys it.  She routinely brings us "Brady's books" to read to him and will stop whatever she's otherwise busy with to listen.  Since she can recognize and name all of the illustrated items {and their colors}, she loves that she can "read" them to her brother without help.  We are also using them to help her practice counting with her fingers {"how many pianos do you see?"} and for letter recognition {"what letter does your name start with?  can you find the L in flute?"}.  The press release I received with the series says you can even use dry erase markers on the books when your toddler is ready for handwriting practice -- pretty cool and something I will definitely keep in mind for the future! 

I think these books would be the perfect addition to your infant's library or a wonderful gift for a new mom!   Many, many thanks to Sophie Helenek and Nursery Books for reaching out to me and sending me the My First Book Series to review!  You've officially earned yourself four new fans!  

** I received these books for free in exchange for my honest review.  All the opinions published here are 100% my own.  The My First Book Series is available for purchase via Nursery Books and Amazon. Amazon links are affiliate; Nursery Books links are not.