Blackberry Cobbler

Another homerun for Cooking Light in the dessert arena. Love this Blackberry Cobbler! It tastes just like summer with a nice scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream. Especially if that ice cream happens to come from Oberweis. Oh Yum.

Blackberry Cobbler Recipe

Oh, and word to the wise, don’t grind your almonds while your baby is napping. It’s really, really loud. Ahem. You might just end up with a little kitchen helper.


Garden Update

I’ve already mentioned that we’ve started partaking of the fresh goodness of home-grown lettuce, but I thought you might like to see how our garden is growing. The weather this year has been a perfect combination of heat and rain, so I’m hoping our peppers and tomatoes will thrive despite my inexperience.

So far things are growing like crazy, but  no fruit yet. I mean, look at the size of those tomato plants! There are some flowers on both the peppers and tomato plants, so we are hoping for some actual fruit soon!


Chipotle Shrimp Tacos

I have a confession to make.

I never follow recipes. Ever. Which is probably why I’m not the best baker. But that, really, is beside the point. I just can’t help but add my own twist to everything I make in the kitchen.

I like to say that recipes provide me with inspiration, then I do the rest. For instance, this month’s Cooking Light magazine had a lovely recipe for Chipotle Shrimp Salad. I’m sure that meal would have been just fine and dandy, but we already had several salads on our menu throughout the week so I wanted to do something a little different.

Like tacos.

To me, chipotle and tacos go hand-in-hand. They were just made for each other. I know the smokey spice works in many arenas, but I just prefer it where it belongs with a Mexican dish. Just my So-Cal preference. In case you think like me, why not try this spicy shrimp taco dish for dinner? It was excellent!

Chipotle Shrimp Tacos
makes enough shrimp for 6 tacos

  • 24 uncooked shrimp with tails removed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cooking spray
  • 3 TBS mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 teas chipotle spice
  • 1 TBS fresh squeezed lime
  • 2 TBS freshly chopped cilantro

Coat grill pan with cooking spray and heat pan to medium-high heat. Sprinkle shrimp with salt and pepper. Cook shrimp in grill pan 2 minutes each side, or until cooked. Remove shrimp from heat.

Combine mayonnaise, onion, chipotle pepper, lime, and cilantro in a bowl. Add shrimp, toss to coat.

Add shrimp to whole wheat flour tortillas, top with toppings of choice (lettuce, tomato, and queso fresco). Enjoy!!

Oh, and if you find that the chipotle leaves a little heat on your pallet, it is always nice to finish off with some fresh watermelon. Or so a little birdie tells me.


Clutch Tutorial

To start off, you will need the following items for this project:

2 Coordinating Fabrics (+ interfacing if you aren’t using sturdy fabric)
Snap Closure
Snap Applicator
Rotary Cutter
Cutting Board
Sewing Machine

Step 1: Cutting out the fabric

Cut out 3 pieces of your outer fabric – 2 pieces 12″ x 6″ and 1 piece 10″ x 5″
Cut out 3 pieces of your lining fabric – 2 pieces 12″ x 6″ and 1 piece 10″ x 5″
(If you are using lightweight fabric, cut out your interfacing this same size and iron-on)
On the 2 pieces that are 10″ x 5″ (outer + lining), round two corners. Do this by free-hand cutting a curve starting 1.5″ up from the corner and ending 1.5″ into the other side. This is what you should end up with:

Step 2: Make the exterior

Pin the exterior pieces (12″ x 6″) right sides together and sew three sides using 1/4″ seams.

If you would like a flat bottom to your clutch, pinch the bottom corner so that the bottom seam and the side seam line up. Pin flat.
Sew straight across, 1″ in from the furthest point.

Snip off the excess material. Repeat with other corner.
Turn inside out. It should like something like this:
Step 3: Make the interior.
Repeat Step 2, leaving 3″ unsewn in the bottom seam.
Step 4: Make the top flap
Pin the two pieces with rounded corners right sides together and sew 3 sides using 1/4″ seam.

Turn inside out and pin flat. You can iron this if you need to make it lay flat (I didn’t because I used a material that would have melted!).

Change your stitch length to 3 1/2 and top stitch around 3 sides. I like the look of double top stitching, so you can do that if you’d like. If you are going to embellish your clutch flap, this would be the time to do it!

Step 5: Finish Clutch and Add Closure
Fit the exterior piece (right side out) into the lining piece (inside out). Fit the top flap in between the lining and the exterior with the top facing the exterior and the bottom facing the lining.

Make sure the flap is centered and pin in place.

Sew around the top of the clutch.

Turn the clutch right side out by pulling the contents through the hole in your lining.

Stuff the lining down into the purse, pin in place, and top stitch around the top of the purse. Again, you can double top stitch if you like.

Attach the snap closure to the main body and to the flap, measuring to make sure they meet up properly. Use manufacturers instructions to install closure.

Voila! You have a cute clutch! Get dressed up and have a fun night on the town!


Miscellaneous Monday

We’ve had a couple of beautiful (with a few very stormy exceptions) days around here.

Brian and I got to go out on a date on Friday night, which was just lovely. We wet to the Cellar Bistro in Wheaton. Oh goodness do they have delicious food. And they try to use all local vendors in their food preparation which is awesome. Yum-O! It worked out to be a good night to get away because our power was out for 7 hours due to a crazy thunder/wind/rain storm that passed through our neighborhood. We were lucky though, many of our friends are still without power two days later!

We decided to take advantage of a gorgeous 90 degree day on Saturday and went down to Lake Michigan for a swim. Oak St beach is located right in the heart of downtown Chicago, so it is a really fun place to visit. Our little man couldn’t get enough of the sun, sand, and water. Oh, and of course he loves to eat the beach toys too. It was a great way to start our celebrati0n of Father’s Day.

Anyway, it’s been a delightful and relaxing weekend. I even got some sewing done during nap-time, so I will have that cutie-batootie little pink dress to show you soon. I also picked up another fantastically inspirational sewing book: Weekend Sewing.

Oh my. I am ready to drop out of life for a few days and just sew to my little heart’s content. This book is enough to convert me to making my own clothes. We’ll see if they are as successful as they are adorable!

What was your weekend like? Did you do anything special for the Dads in your life?



The sun came out yesterday. Oh, it was just gorgeous! We’ve had a bit of a dreary June, so today really felt like the first day of summer.

We tried out the kiddy-pool for the first time. I think it’s safe to say we have a pool junkie on our hands.

He was such a good sport even though the water was a little chilly.

And there is another tooth emerging, so of course there is much finger chewing going on. For those of you who are counting this is tooth number 7. Yikes!

I’m pretty sure he knows how cute he is. And how adorable his swim diapers are. And how much this picture makes me want to tickle that belly and squeeze those thighs. Chunk-a-monk!

We also ate our first home-grown salad. What fun to be able to walk out into the garden, pick some fresh lettuce, wash it off, and plop it on your plate. Doesn’t get any fresher or taste any better than that!

Oh, and what else is that on my plate, you ask? Some freshly grilled tri-tip steak and some baked parsley red potatoes. Of course we enjoyed our summertime meal in true summer fashion–on the back patio.

I think someone really likes being outside! I hope you are enjoying summertime as much as we are!


The Glorious Mundane

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the “mundaneness” (is that a word?) of motherhood. While my life was certainly routine before becoming a mom, it was nothing compared to my days with a baby on my hip.

You know the drill: wake up to baby crying, nurse baby, change baby’s diaper and get him dressed, play, kiss boo-boos, say “no” repeatedly, comfort before nap-time melt down, nurse to sleep, baby naps, more diapers, and repeat until bedtime.

Yes, the days can be very, very tiring. But there is something glorious in all that is commonplace.

How so? Well, for one thing these repetitious actions are reinforcing the love bond that started they day I met my little man. Everyday that I make my life all about serving my son, I fall more in love with him. True love is born from sacrifice. And he grows in love for me because he knows that I will be there to answer his every need.

And secondly, nothing is mundane to God. In every diaper change there is purpose, because it is by his will that I am a mom. This is where he has called me and by faithfully serving Parker, I am actually serving God.

So, everyday that is full of all that is mundane is actually a worship service to God. What a glorious truth!


My Little Charmer

Where ever we go, Parker tends to win the hearts of the people he meets. What can I say? He is a little charmer! Here he is all adorable enjoying our dinner at Portillo’s. Sorry for the iPhone quality, it was too cute not to share!


A Little Pink

For those of you who are mothers of boys, you can probably relate to needing some pink in your life every now and again. I’m not an overly girly-girl, but I still get tickled *ahem* pink by the idea of polka dots, flowers, and feminine colors. I can’t wait to have a little girl one day so I can direct some feminine creativity in her direction.

Well. On second thought. Maybe I can wait a little bit. Maybe until the child I do have is sleeping better. Ha!

Anyway, until that glorious (and exhausting) day when a little girl enters our lives, I’m going to invest my pink-a-tivity (Get it? Pink + creativity = pinkativity? Yikes, I really am tired.) towards my little niece, Zoe. I’ve written about her before, so you all know how adorable she is. Well, she has recently reached a milestone worth celebrating, so I am planning on making her a little present to commemorate!

Here is the plan: Heather Ross’s Menodicino Kelp Forest in Plum + Mady By Rae’s Baby Sunsuit Tutorial. I get giddy just thinking about all that glorious pink. What? Oh, you aren’t familiar with that fabric? Well, here is a sneak peak:

What do you think? Any tips for this non-clothing seamstress? Any pink in your life lately?



Remember my overgrown parsley plant? Well, I decided to take Elizabeth’s advice and use up some of that yummy parsley on some fresh Tabbouleh. I think Tabbouleh is one of the most perfect and versatile foods for summer. It is served cold, so it is great to take out on a picnic, for a last minute dinner or lunch, or just out of the fridge for a snack. Perfecto!

My mama has a great Tabbouleh recipe, so I thought I’d share it with you:

Cook 1 cup bulgur wheat in 1 cup water.
Bring to a boil, cover, then turn down to simmer to cook on low for 5 minutes. After the bulgur is cooked, add 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/3 cup lemon juice, and 1 teas. salt.
Put in the refrigerator until chilled.
Mix 1 cup chopped green onions, 1 cup chopped parsley, and 3 to 4 chopped Roma tomatoes to the bulgur mixture.
Serve in whole wheat pita wedges.

(If you’d like to make the meal a bit heartier, cook up some chicken and add it to the mix. I marinated some chicken breast in olive oil, lemon, garlic, salt, pepper, and parsely–these flavors complemented the Tabbouleh nicely!)

Oh, and as a sidenote, bulgur wheat is really good for you! It is more nutritious than white rice and has tons of fiber. If you are looking for a rice substitute, why not give bulgur a chance? Plus, it cooks so fast!