The title of this post is a bit misleading, I admit. Because truthfully, the bulk of what I’ve been into lately involves not very exciting things like nursing nonstop (so sitting in a chair, then?), thinking of things to eat that can be prepared and shoved into my face with one hand (which evidently doesn’t leave much time for the baking or taking pictures of food), and trying to find time to pee alone. But what I really wanted to do was pop in today, say hello! and we’re still all alive! and sometimes even bathed!, and share a few things that have made my days a little brighter while careening through the Newborn Tunnel of (Sometimes) Hell.
I’ve managed to get back on track with exercise, which has been key in maintaining my sanity. In an unexplained bout of inspiration (and a longing to get back into my regular clothes), two weeks ago I decided to take up running again after nearly a year. To be kind to my post-pregnancy joints and bones, I’ve decided to take it allll the way back to 2003 when I first started running, and ease back into a running routine with the Couch to 5k program. Of course now, instead of obsessively glancing at a watch to track intervals while listening to the very first Maroon 5 album on a CD walkman, there are fancy things like this Couch to 5k app that does all the thinking for you, and features voice cues that gently interrupt your iPhone’s playlist to tell you when to run and when to walk. Awesome. I love technology when it’s idiot-proof.
I ordered this book recently and have bookmarked the bananas out of it. I’ve got mad kitchen plans, believe you me.
I’ve been making this recipe for dinner probably once a week since the baby was born. Add some broccoli and instant brown rice (cooked with chicken or veg stock instead of water), and BOOM. Ultimate easy-yet-satisfying meal. So simple, cheap, kind of old school, kid-friendly, and unreal delicious. And good for two night’s worth of dinners–hallelujah!
We also got a few awesome meals out of this fantastic take on Spanikopita from one of my favorite people, The Wednesday Chef. No better way to get your greens, people. Just add wine.
In the “I’ve made them 100 times, but never blogged about them” category, here are some of the world’s best cookies. In fact, I have a Ziploc full of these frozen cookie dough balls in my freezer right now. It’s how I’ve been keeping my family in freshly baked cookies all these weeks like some kind of deranged June Cleaver.
I haven’t bought any new clothes just yet, but when I do, I’m using this resource. The concept gives me a major case of “Why didn’t I think of that?!”. I’m getting all into it within the next couple months, which is to say when I get a bit more weight off of my maternal midsection.
Okay, so, I lied on that last point. I have purchased these flip flops in Light Gold, which add a little bit of something special to my Dreary Mom Outfits.
To further celebrate the fact that I’m no longer retaining water and my feet have stopped looking like Shrek’s, I got a glorious pedicure with this nail color, which is always my Happy Color. It makes me feel more together even when I’m in pajamas. I have decided that it’s my Forever Toenail Polish. I’ll be working it into my will.
Unlike my strategy with my first child, I’ve had this new kid on the move and out in the world since day 4. It’s saved my sanity. But it’s a bonus when the days involve more than marathon trips to Target. Like lunch at the perfect restaurant with an amazing friend, and making it a double with a dessert pitstop at one of San Francisco’s best bakeries. Now that’s a good day, even if you’ve got a sweaty baby strapped to your chest.
Add to that an actual, in-person meeting (at a new-ish, and completely perfect SF bakery) with a heretofore strictly online friend, during which you find out that she’s as fabulous as you’d hoped, and every bit as lovely as her website. Again with aforementioned baby strapped to chest, but a magical meeting nonetheless. Big ups for real people in an unreal world.
It’s a chilly, dreary, rainy day here in San Francisco (the California way of ushering in winter).
I’m getting more pregnant by the minute (now firmly in my third trimester, and by the looks of yesterday’s ultrasound, all is good with Sir Baby, thank you).
I have also been hit with some ungodly cold-ish virus that I know I caught from Little C, who was sick earlier this week (so dirty, little kids, I tell ya).
I’ve just dropped my precious offspring off at school for the last time this year, and am now back in bed, surrounded by pillows and tissues and hot water, which seems to be the only freaking thing with which they let sick pregnant people medicate other than the occasional Tylenol, which is a liar and a complete joke when what I really need is, like, 12 DayQuil capsules and a nebulizer full of Xanax to quell my holiday to-do list anxiety.
But! Despite all this doom and gloom and wahhhh, my life is so harrrrd…, yesterday was glorious. Glorious, I say! We were a fine-tuned baking operation, me and Little C, cranking out cookies, brownies, and an extra special holiday confection to add to the tins of goodies we assembled for her teachers. These Candy Cane Nougat Bites are sweet, minty, melt-in-your-mouth pillows of heaven and I encourage you to try making them as your One Last Thing to do before Christmas, which I’m sure you don’t have enough of already, right?
111 East Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611
Space is limited for the tasting; call to RSVP
I have to say, the past few months have really blown my hair back. Between new books and new babies and what not, there’s been some great surprises that have come along and smacked me upside the head. One of them was finding out that Anthropologie, otherwise known as the Mecca of Every Material Good A Lady Could Possibly Want and/or The Curators of Cool, had agreed to carry Pure Vanilla. Apparently they haven’t seen photos of me from the 90s. At any rate, I am positively thrilled to be a part of their utterly inspiring cookbook selection for the season.
And in a twist of the awesome getting awesomer, I am headed out to Chicago for a few days of family time and book-related events, and one of the events is at the Anthropologie store downtown on Chicago Avenue–just a stone’s throw from where I once worked as a touring makeup artist for Bobbi Brown, wondering what the heck I was going to end up doing with my life. This is a fabulous, life-affirming, Oprah-level moment, friends. I really hope you’ll come join me if you’re in the area.
I’ll be doing a brief talk and vanilla tasting (little cookies!!) for the first hour–I’ve gotten word that space is tight for the tasting, so if you’re interested, please call to RSVP. Afterwards, we’ll do a book signing where we can meet and chat and compliment each other’s skin and hair, and you can see how hugely pregnant I am already (bonus!).
Hope to see you there!
Oh my dear, darling readers. How have you been?! I hope you’ve all been having a wonderful summer doing very exciting things, while I’ve spent most of it being rather boring, and seemingly in hiding from an interwebs perspective (except for Twitter; I can’t seem to quit The Twitter). I wish I had a whole lovely list of things that I’ve been doing to share with you and an adorable Instagrammy collage to accompany it, but alas, I don’t. We’ve really just been lazy around here, people. Lazy, and not too interesting, and yes, there’s been some time spent in the kitchen, but not to produce anything of note. I mean, delicious things, thankfully, but mostly what have become go-to classics around here, like a certain banana bread, oatmeal cookies, and ice cream I’ve told you about before.
And isn’t that so nice sometimes, just to fall back on the things that work? To slow down for a while, stop the wheels from turning, turning, turning, and try to flip that dang switch off, the one that always makes us feel like we’ve got to be doing something new and different at all times in order for our days to count for something? (Who invented that, anyway, this constant need to be in motion? It’s kind of overrated. Trust me, I’ve been on the couch a lot over the past month and let me tell you, doing nothing has its benefits.)
I don’t know if I’m just getting older or wiser or WHAT, but I’m having a heck of a time thinking of what I might like for Christmas. Maybe you’re kind of feeling the same way? Well, regardless of whether you’ve lost touch with your materialistic side as well (for SHAME!), or if you’re trying to buy something useful and fabulous for the bakers in your life, here’s a few suggestions from the Piece of Cake kitchen to help inspire your shopping and make the baking experience a whole lot more fabulous.
I hope everyone had an awesome, awesome holiday. Ours was full of craziness, food, cookies, wine and more presents than I can count. Seriously, Little C scored such a haul, I think girlfriend will be producing toys I’ve never seen from every corner of the house for the next six months.
Anyway, let’s get to it. The big winner of the awesome $100 CSN Stores gift card giveaway is sweet Ginny, who said:
“Peanut Butter Hershey Kiss cookies to make my family happy! ”
Way to represent for the fam, Ginny. Contact me at shauna (at) thepieceofcakeblog (dot) com to claim your prize!
Happy holidays, everyone. I’ll see you all around here again right soon.
sites i love
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons License.