Raisin Report: No.18

Rasin Report - edition 18
I’m craving something thirst quenching these days. Water with mint leaves is totally tasty without a doubt, but I’d be lying if I said I don’t miss having that glass of white wine, or an occasional margarita on the weekends.

With summer fast approaching it’s going to be even HARDER watching everyone enjoy a little somethin’ somethin’. Just because I’m pregnant that doesn’t mean I can’t have a fun concoction of my own to drink! So, I’ve been cruising the wonderful world of pinterest and found a few mocktails that I may just have to try sooner than later.

I’m not a barista by any means, but I’ll have to get a little crafier than popping open a bottle of wine for obvious reasons. If it means pretty glass wear, and plenty of garnishes, I’m totally down with that. Time to start making lots of ice for some of these fancy drinks. Stay hydrated my friends.

POMEGRANATE PARTY PUNCH / MINTO MOJITO / BLACKBERRY LEMON MOCKTAIL / GINGER LEMONADE /GRAPEFRUIT ROSEMARY MOCKTAIL LIME MARGARITA / ROSEMARY INFUSED CUCUMBER LEMONADE

Good New Thursday: 15

Intro good news1

Guess who’s halfway through her second pregnancy!?  This gal, sporting swollen feet and a big ol’ belly full of kicks.  I honestly can’t believe we’re halfway there.  On Saturday we go for another ultrasound to get a better view of baby, an no we’re not finding out the gender.  We didn’t with Raisin, and won’t with this little Currant either.  I’m excited and nervous, and will for sure let my emotions get the best of me a cry at the sight of it all.  I always do whenever I get to hear a little heart beat, and in this case see little feet and hands – that is providing baby cooperates!  I hope I get one of those freindly technicians who actually will talk to me instead of letting me worry in silence – that part is so the worst.  I’ve only had good experiences up till now, so here’s keeping fingers crossed that the trend continues.

Aside from all of that, we had 2 successful soccer games, and I had a great time last Friday with my gal pal at The Merchant.  A crazy, bonkers awesome new mexican fusion restaurant where her hubby is the executive chef.  All the details in this place make you want to stay there all night long.  Not sure what this Friday holds, but here’s hoping one of those tasty virgin margaritas infused with cilantro and picante peppers is involved!  Happy Thursday everyone.

Simple Sunny Days

intro day

The suns finally out in full force, the days are longer, and the heat has totally arrived.  Can we get a high five for that, PLEASE!?  It’s been beyond amazing and aside from hitting up a few outdoor venues like the farmers market (check out that MASSIVE bag of kettle corn), we’re camped out in our backyard as much as humanly possible.  The set up is pretty simple: one bluetooth speaker, hit up songza, and have fun.  Chris usually has some sort of BBQ plan, and we find new games to come up with Raisin.  It’s sorta the best part of being outdoors.  We can do so much more with the space and play with things like tennis rackets, soccer balls, golf and baseball.  Raisin is one happy little dude!

intro day2

Chris set up our eaves troughs so that Raisin could take all these golf balls and roll them through. Then this little game expanded to the water table and a few buckets.  It became this ultimate maze with new additions step by step.  Something inexpensive, on hand and a total winner in a toddlers eye. Truthfully…we loved it just as much!

intro day1

Although it was totally gorgeous out, this didn’t stop a massive head cold from welcoming itself.  I had zero voice on Sunday afternoon, but by Monday evening I could squeak out what needed to be said and done.  That said, when you have a cold being a mama doesn’t stop.  Raisin kept asking me if my throat was going to get fixed soon and while reading him a few stories during bedtime he kept looking at me like the voices of all the characters were totally off!  The throat and head cold issue aside, we’ll continue to enjoy simple sunny days and soak them all in one by one!

Pistachio Pavlova with Cream + Mixed Berry & Rhubarb Sauce

Pavlova INTRO

Seriously you guys, I can find a million and one reasons to spend as much time as possible outside. This weekend was beyond ridiculous mainly because it’s the one we’d all been waiting for! You know the kind where it’s hot enough that you sweat by barely doing anything at all. The kind where all indoor obligations are literally left in the dust (mopping,vacuuming, and bathrooms I’m lookin at you). The kind where you wish you owned a pool. And especially the kind where everyone is out enjoying the city, completely forgetting that 5 days ago snow was on the ground. One of the many reasons why Winnipeggers are so resilient!

pavlova1

Everyone in the neighbourhood was mowing their lawns at the exact same time Sunday morning. It was such a refreshing sound, next to that of cracking open an ice cold fresh bottle of water (or beer for you non-pregnant folks)! Everyone was out in full force doing yard work grinning ear to ear. I was out tackling the weeds in the garden when our next door neighbours popped over with their little gal. Raisin adores having her over, and so do we! So, it was the perfect reason to stop everything and enjoy a visit.

pavlova2

FYI, our neighbours on either side of us (and across the street) are beyond amazing – score for us! I feel like we have a pretty sweet deal. To our right is Ms. J. She’s always looking out for us and does sweet gestures like putting our garbage and recycling bins away after the trucks have been by. She grabs our mail when we’re away, and is always up for a good chat. Not to mention she always remembers Raisins’ birthday, and so generously gives him something for special occasions.

pavlova3

To our left is a couple around our age with a sweet little gal a year younger than Raisin. Whenever we see them it’s always great to catch up, and of course having the kiddies entertained. Aside from being fun and easy to get along with, this pavlova wouldn’t have been possible without some very tasty rhubarb straight from their garden! Let’s pause for a moment and give a shout out to awesome neighbours! It makes it even easier to live where we do.

pavlova4.1

I’ve mentioned before I’m a little obsessed with red fruit, they totally scream summer! I can eat a bowl of strawberries in record time, totally not ashamed about that by the way. But when they’re topped on this pavlova…seriously, step aside. I had no idea what I was in store for with this strawberry, raspberry and rhubarb sauce spooned overtop of whipped cream and this fluffy meringue pavlova. INSANE – just insane flavours hitting your tastebuds all at once.

pavlova4.2

What do I love about this pavlova? Well pretty much everything! The meringue has this subtle outer crunch and a chewy interior. And then when you get a bite of a salty pistachio infused with the sweetness mixed it – DAMN. So good. Let’s not forget the whipped cream on top of this goodness, of course topped WITH a sauce of berries and rhubarb that has mash of sweet and tart nodes. Best.trio.ever.

pavlova5.1

Can I be honest with you guys and admit this is the first time I’ve ever made Pavlova, or used rhubarb in baking? GASP! Yes, shocking I know. But I’ve stuck to berries, or peaches and everything else pretty much. AND WHY!? Why haven’t I ever made meringue before? Really, I have no idea, but it’s about to be an ongoing thing around here. Same goes for using rhubarb in desserts.

pavlova5.2

Here’s hoping next weekend brings all the neighbours outside for fun, AND for visits. If it wasn’t for them the weeding would have continued, the rhubarb inside this pavlova wouldn’t exist, and our backyard would have been a little more bare. Cheers to awesome neighbours, and to summer desserts like this pavlova.

Link up your recipe of the week
Casa Costello
Linking up with: Melt in Your Mouth Monday, Tessa The Domestic Diva, Handy Man, Crafty Woman
Recipe adapted from: Sprouted Kitchen

Ingredients for the Pavlova

4 egg whites, room temperature
1/4 Tsp salt
1 Cup granulated sugar
1/2 Tsp white vinegar
3/4 Cup pistachios
1 Tbsp. cream of tartar

Ingredients for the Whipped Cream

1/4 Cup heavy whipping cream, chilled
1/4 Box light cream cheese, softened (room temperature)
2 Tablespoons honey
Zest of 1 medium lemon
2 Tsp fresh lemon juice

Ingredients for the Rhubarb, Strawberry + Raspberry Sauce

1 Cup chopped rhubarb, one-inch pieces
1/4 Cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 Cup hulled and quartered strawberries
1 Cup fresh raspberries
1 Tsp pure vanilla extract
Toasted pistachios for garnish

Directions for the Pavlova

1 – Preheat the oven to 350′ and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2 – In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and salt on high until foamy, about two minutes. Beat in the vinegar, then beat in the sugar one tablespoon at a time and continue beating until the whites are glossy and stiff peaks form, about 8 minutes.

3 – In a small bowl, toss the pistachios in the cornstarch and then gently fold them into the egg white mixture. Use a large spoon and dollop the meringue into the center of the pachment and spread it into a 10-inch round with a slight indentation in the center. Turn the oven down to 225′ and bake for 1 1/2 hours until crisp. It should be crisp but still chewy on the inside. Turn off the oven and allow it to cool completely in the oven.

Directions for the Cream

1 – Using a stand or hand mixer with the whisk attachment. In the bowl of the mixer or in a large bowl, beat the heavy whipping cream until soft peaks form. Scoop whipped cream into a medium bowl and set aside.

2 – In another the bowl, add the cream cheese, 3 tablespoons honey, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Whip until smooth with stand or hand mixer until smooth and a little fluffy, about 2 minutes. Fold cream cheese mixture into whipping cream, gently stirring and folding just until blended.  Store in refrigerator until ready to assemble.

Directions for the Strawberry, Raspberry + Rhubarb Sauce

1 – In a small saucepan, simmer the rhubarb, strawberries, raspberries, lemon juice, sugar over moderate heat until the rhubarb breaks down a bit, about 6-8 minutes. Mash the rhubarb a bit with the back of a wooden spoon. Turn off the heat and stir in the  vanilla. Let it cool completely.

Pavlova Assembly 

1 – Place pavlova on serving platter of choice.

2 – Gently dollop cream into center of pavlova.

3 – Spoon over the cooled strawberry, raspberry and rhubarb sauce over top.  Use as much as you’d like – I prefer to have sauce flowing over the sides.

4 – Garnish with some fresh strawberries and toasted pistachos.

pavlova6
Summah lovin.

Raisin Report: No.17

Rasin Report - edition 17

With baby no.2 joining the family this October I’ve been thinking about A LOT of things. Managing a little toddler is one thing, but managing a little toddler AND baby at the SAME time is a whole new world we’re about to face. Raisin will clearly want to continue doing all the things he’s used to, and so he should! I don’t want to have his little world turned upside down and come to a halt because his little brother or sister has arrived.

When we were in Disneyland this past February I remember seeing this mom and dad with 4 children in front of us. They ranged from aged 3-6 with one infant in tow. She was wearing her little one while walking and without skipping a beat, kept walking and started breast feeding on the go. My jaw dropped because I was in AWE. I remember my breastfeeding days where I would pretty much stop whatever I was doing, sit down and let little Raisin feed. This mama was with 3 toddlers and an infant and just kept on moving. Soak up that scene for a moment…aside from the thought that they were at Disneyland with 4 kids and had a full day ahead to tackle. Hellllo superwoman/dad.

All that said, I’m sure I’ll be doing plenty of baby wearing. We have a Bjorn and used it pretty often with Raisin, but I found it literally broke my back. I didn’t really explore other options mainly because I didn’t know all that much about baby wearing. I feel like either I was living under a rock or these contraptions exploded in the last 3 years. I’ve heard of the Ergo and Solly, but I’m up for thoughts, suggestions and any advice. Some look uber comfy and I’m looking for something easy to wrap and that’s easy on my back – time to research!

SWAN – DOUBLE LAYER CHAMBRAY / SOLLY BABY WRAP / HOSTLINGS / BOBA WRAP /HAPPY BABY WRAP SPARROW WRAP / ERGO BABY CARRIER

Good News Thursday: 14

Intro good news1

Spoiler alert – it’s time for good news! I’m preeeetty sure you saw that coming. This week has done nothing too crazy except flown by, but I think we have the May long weekend to thank for that. Wednesday was such a whirl wind with Raisin having soccer pretty much right after dinner. It was such a beauty of a day in comparison to the last few games that we couldn’t wait to get there. The fields are placed right next to a huge play structure so we always go early to get some buffer time there. It was so fabulous being outside and not being layered up and watching my phone for the time to dwindle down to get indoors – yes horrible I know. There’s something about kids where the cold doesn’t phase them – water or weather! I wish I could feel that way, but I’m ALWAYS cold unless it’s above 21 I’m usually in a little jacket.

This weekend we have a few plans, but they’re yet to be solidified. We kinda like to fly by the seat of our pants when we don’t have concrete obligations or set dates. BUT today during my break I’m going to go look at a maternity shop to see if I like anything. Fingers crossed! Enjoy the rest of the week everybody – and someone please have a glass of white wine, or a gin caesar, or a bulldog for me…PLEASE.

Mama and Raisin

mama raisin intro

Look at that face! Pure joy. If you saw mine – it had the same look too. Joy just from watching him have the best time…and the best part, we were together. It was our full date day just the two of us, and I couldn’t have asked for a better one at that.

I already have the “I don’t ever want to miss out” gene pulsing through my body, so when it comes to working full time and missing days like these with our little man…well, when I do get to have them I feel like I’ve won the lottery. I don’t know if it’s the pregnancy hormones lately or what. But I just look at him and my eyes well up with tears of joy. That little face, that little voice, that giggle, or that cheeky little look back he gives me when he knows he’s being mischevious, it makes me want to soak up every second that I can. He had no idea just how excited I was to have this day ahead of us.

mama raisin 1

We started the morning with crafting and getting ready to gear up for a full fun day ahead. We gave the doggies their treats – told them to guard the house (and of course Raisins’ toys), and headed to destination 1: Shelmerdines. We threw coins in the fish pond, saw massive snails, a thousand garden gnomes, and beautiful flowers with names that I couldn’t even begin to try and pretend to know. We stopped to snack and fuel up at the cafe, and then headed out to destination 2: Costco…on a Friday of the long weekend. Yes you can say it, what in the world were you thinking!? Really it was painless, it was the cruising around for a parking spot that took the longest.

mama raisin 2

Afterwards we headed to destination 3: vovo’s (grandma). We had fun playing games, had a little bite to eat, and of course got a treat. After lunch and peanut-buttering himself we changed his shirt and went to our 4th destination: mini golfing outside. He whipped through that course like nobody’s business so we came back home (destination 5) and painted a bird house with our hands, and sort of used brushes! Paint surprisingly didn’t explode everywhere and we quickly cleaned up to take the dogs for a walk while Raisin cruised along on his bike.

mama raisin 3

Once we were back home, we spent our time in the backyard waiting for Chris to arrive from work. We played some t-ball, looked at the ants collecting itty bitty bits of crumbs, planted his flower he picked from Shelmerdines, and read a few books in the gazeebo. Because I didn’t want to waste a second cooking and being away from this little love of my life, we ordered in and enjoyed dinner all together.

With another little one on the way I sometimes wonder how I will manage. Can I give them both the same attention? Will they get enough from me in so many ways? Will they remember these days as much as I do? Or know how special they were to me/us? When I look at these photos I remember a simple day of joy and my heart exploding with pure love for this little man. I want to press pause if only for a little bit – please. Love you Raisin. And I love this little Current growing in my belly. Mama is here for you both, always.

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Fresh Raspberry and Cream Cheese Puff Pastry Tart

Raspberries INTRO1

These are a few of little things that make my day: facetiming Raisin as he’s on his way to school with dada, saying good-morning to strangers as I walk by them with a smile, the sun shinning through windows, cruising through Anthropolgie, and adding that little sprinkle of cinnamon sugar on my coffee with foam.

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But guess what guys? It happened. The icing on the cake of all things that make my entire month. I won’t keep you in suspense any longer…we had a long weekend! Can we stop for a moment and talk about how extremely amazing they are in general? An extra day to sleep in (sorta), an extra day for fun, an extra day to tackle that looming to do list, going to visit a friend or find something new to do, or just plain ol’ relax.

raspberries 2

Yup, long weekends…they are up top on one of my favourite things! And BONUS: I tacked on an extra day off because Raisins’ school was closed. So of course we had a FULL fun day together from start to finish. In all honesty though, I don’t dread the start of the work week, but the long weekend kinda gussies Monday up with a killer makeover.

raspberries 3

Because we live in the middle of the prairies, sometimes spring weather can be all up in your face like nobodies business. Although reality check, this is no shocker. So to give you an example of the series of events this weekend: Saturday swimming outside, Sunday bundled up by a fireplace, Monday wearing winter gear! Yup total 180, but that really doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things. We kept on with our schedule and to bring spring back in the house we made this fresh spring/summer dessert.

raspberries 4

I’m totally obsessed and in love with RED fruits. They’re so vibrant and tasty…cherry season I’m waiting for you. Raspberries aren’t totally in season yet, but when Raisin and I were walking through the produce aisle I totally zoned in and grabbed 2 packages. I knew we had to make something fun and fresh this weekend as our treat. FYI, get ready for an easy go to recipe for the summer season.

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Between the fluffy crust of the pastry, the soft whipped cream cheese infused with lemon and being topped with fresh raspberries, this dessert covers all the bases. This is the kinda dessert that will make you think of sipping sangria on a patio, picnicking in the park, or sleeping outside mid sunday afternoon – yep that good, I promise.

Link up your recipe of the week

Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

Casa Costello

#CookBlogShare

Recipe adapted from: Kitchen Treaty

Ingredients 

1 10-inch x 10-inch frozen puff pastry sheet, thawed
½ cup heavy whipping cream, chilled
½ box light cream cheese, softened (room temperature)
3 tablespoons honey
Zest of 1 medium lemon
2 Tsp fresh lemon juice
1½ Cups fresh raspberries

Directions

1 – Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

2 – Sprinkle a little flour on your pastry surface and with a rolling pin, roll pastry sheet to approx 11-inches by 6-inches in size. Transfer pastry to baking sheet. With a butter knife, lightly score a 1/2-inch border around the edges, then fold the edge up and toward the center, pressing lightly, to create a neat border. Using a fork poke holes in center part of pastry to allow air to circulate during baking process.

3- Bake until golden brown, about 10-12 minutes, or the time indicated on the package of puff pastry. Remove from oven and let cool completely.

4 – Using a stand or hand mixer with the whisk attachment. In the bowl of the mixer or in a large bowl, beat the heavy whipping cream until soft peaks form. Scoop whipped cream into a medium bowl and set aside.

5 – In another the bowl, add the cream cheese, 3 tablespoons honey, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Whip until smooth with stand or hand mixer until smooth and a little fluffy, about 2 minutes.

6 – Fold cream cheese mixture into whipping cream, gently stirring and folding just until blended. Pile the filling into the center of the cooled puff pastry tart shell and, with a butter knife.  Spread the filling gently toward the edges.  Line the top with raspberries, bottoms up.

7 – Cut and serve, sprinkle icing sugar over top if desired.

raspberries 6

Delish.

Raisin Report: No.16

Rasin Report - edition 16
Well now that it’s out there in many ways, belly and news it’s time to start dressing up the growing bump in front of me! I took a look at the clothes I had about four years ago, and although I can re use a few things….let’s just say some of those pieces aren’t really my flavour anymore.

Right now I can still use a few shirts, dresses and tanks, but give those a few weeks and it’ll be another story. So right now I’m cruising sites to see what’s out and up my alley. I’ve been to maybe one maternity store here in the mall, but I pretty much ran out. Why do they make such weird looking maternity outfits?! I think my best bet may be online and hope I can find some items locally, or test my luck and order maternity clothing online. For some reason this seems riskier than when I order non maternity threads. For now I love some of these looks and I’ll keep my fingers crossed I can find something similar!

BEACH COVER UP / OLIVE RUCHED STRETCH DRESSS / BLACK TANK DRESS / WHITE AND NUDE MAXI DRESS / WHITE DRESS NAUTICAL DRESS WITH JEAN JACKET

Good News Thursday: 13

Intro good news1

Let me tell ya a little something about this week – Raisin had not 1 but 2 soccer games this week, a hands on mini school visit, a trip to Ikea equipped with an ice cream, a nap in the car (never happens), and a full day off with mama tomorrow. It’s been a week of fun for this little man (so far) and nothing makes me happier then seeing that smile shine on his little face.

Run down of the first soccer game – he was totally skeptical about the jersey. Knowing Raisin though, we were kind of expecting that. We knew he’d play as soon as he saw everyone, that wasn’t a concern. But this little guy, he is pickier than I am with clothes…I know it’s an age thing, but holy smokes it’s tough at times. A little coaxing with a jelly bean later and that jersey was on in no time, and off he went running full steam.

We discovered something though – he’s totally the little guy who screams of pure joy and excitement when he’s running after the ball. Totally love it – and it’s a bonus too because we always know where he is!

Today Raisin had a day off from school, but we were able to participate in a special hands on visual of all the things he does day to day in class. It lasted 30 minutes and he showed us a variety of the things he’s learned so far. It ranged from identifying flags, and shapes like prisms and cylinders, to using spindles to match numbers, images to match with letter sounds, and so much more like where the Sydney Opera House is, or Mt. Fugi. It was kind of mind blowing! It’s one thing for us to be proud of him, which of course we are SO MUCH, but to see him proud of himself when he’s showing his mama and dada the things he knows just makes my heart burst.

Best day is yet to come. We have a full day off with each-other tomorrow. This rarely happens of course because of work, and on the weekends we’re a trio. Don’t get me wrong I love our weekends together, but this little date between my little guy and I makes me so flipping excited. I can’t wait to spend an entire day just the two of us before the long weekend hits. Here’s wishing you all have a great start to your weekends too!

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