Archive for February, 2010


March might be right around the corner, but it still looks a bit like January around here. I snapped this shot with my phone on the path through our neighborhood today. At least the walkway is clear!

Ava and Olivia Fix

Doug took these photos of the girls in their Christmas dresses–which were handmade by my mom–last December. I can’t believe I never posted them! Olivia was quite a little stinker that day, but Ava was all smiles.

This is one of my favorite photos of Ava. I still can’t put on a dress without spinning like this, and I’m almost 32.

I do love these two photos of Olivia. In the first one, she’s examining a lady bug. The second is perhaps the most beautiful photo we have of her.

Thanks, Mom and Doug!

Glee-ful girls

Ava and Olivia sing along to Bryan’s favorite song (on his favorite show, Glee). It’s probably obvious they’ve seen this episode more than once. Finally, that camera phone pays off!

Beef and Red Wine Shepherd’s Pie

This recipe (seen here lacking the traditional potato topping), is for Bison and Red Wine Shepherd’s Pie from Bon Appetit. Bison, as I discovered, is crazy expensive when you don’t purchase it from the local rancher at the farmer’s market. So, I substituted a chuck roast, and I was pretty happy with the result. I am sure it lacked a certain gaminess, but all in all, this was a great recipe, and one that froze well, too. The parsnips and turnips are perfect additions.

I made this once with the potato topping, then froze a couple of batches without. I thought it would work as a stew, or alternatively, I could spoon it over smashed potatoes for those who don’t prefer to reserve their starch intake for dessert…

On a related note, I have been struggling with Ava over dinnertime lately. The kid has suddenly become so picky, she will go hungry rather than eat what’s put in front of her. I’ve involved her in meal planning and preparation, and that helps a bit, but I’m finding that she will eschew dishes she’s loved for years—and there’s no convincing her otherwise.

I think, though, that this is a marketing problem.

I cut sesame crusted tilapia into “fish sticks,” and guess what? Total hit. Meatloaf (one of Bryan’s favorites) is individually portioned and labeled “Grandma’s Meatloaf Minis.” It, too, becomes popular.

Black Pepper and Mustard Braised Short Ribs are a huge favorite, but only when referred to as “Rebecca’s Rockin’ Ribs.”

Why didn’t I think of this sooner?!

Hazel & Eliza

We had the good fortunate of seeing my new nieces, Hazel and Eliza, last weekend. Ava and Olivia met them for the first time, and like most everyone else, they immediately fell in love. Ava’s only complaint was that for “playmates,” they sure seemed to sleep a lot. She just doesn’t understand the complete joy of holding a sleeping baby…or two.


Ava: Dad, can we PLEASE get a puppy?

Dad: No.

Ava: Pretty please with sugar and spices AND HAM on top?

Kissing cousins

Laura posted some sweet photos of Ava & Olivia hanging out with Hazel & Eliza last weekend in Nebraska. You can check them out over on The House on Hudson. I have some photos of the babies coming soon to this page, too–check back this weekend!

Please, no paparazzi.

Pork stew with hard cider

The February issue of Bon Appetit had an entire section on “meat and potatoes”  —  hard to pass up given the recent weather. I made two of the hearty recipes when the Smiths visited last month, starting with Pork Stew with Hard Cider, Pearl Onions and Potatoes. I used a Boston Butt roast, which is one of my favorite cuts for roasting and braising, and lots of little pearl onions.

I have yet to find Calvados here, but I thought apple flavored bourbon would be a good stand in for apple brandy. (It was also a good stand in for a glass of wine come cocktail hour…)

Parsnips and onions simmering with fresh sage:

And really, how can you not love a recipe that has bacon AND beer (well, hard cider)?

Add the browned pork, along with the apples…

Toss in a few potatoes and you’re done!

Ava Fix