The Best Gift for New Parents

I realized this morning on my way to work that the one thing new parents need more than anything else is…coffee.  A lot of it. Instead of sending sweets or flowers after a sweet babe is born, be the hero (slash jerky know-it-all) that provides new parent friends with the gift of the gloriousness that is caffeine. This trio of Stumptown Coffee blends or this duo of coffee + chocolate (yum) are both packaged beautifully. For Orange County locals, a quick trip to Kéan Coffee is worth a visit to grab some for you and some for them.  If you’ve got the dough (or just empathy for lack of sleep), you can really take it up a notch by throwing together a nice little gift basket with a pair of travel mugs or go all out with a Keurig system to make life even easier for them.

I miss the process of brewing a pot of coffee in the morning, but my mom bought us a mini Keurig (retails for around $99 – be savvy and use those Bed, Bath & Beyond or Macy’s coupons!) for Christmas and it’s been so convenient and easy to just add a cup of water, pop in a k-cup and be on my way to work. By the way, wouldn’t it be such a thoughtful gift to send to a mama as she begins back at work?  I think so too.

stumptown coffee photo by james ransom

 

How many cups of coffee do you drink a day?

 

[image via James Ransom for Provisions by Food 52]

Edible Art

While I fancy myself a creative, crafty person, I was just thinking to myself the other day that I’ve hardly had much time to tackle any personal projects lately. I’m doing the best I can to go to work, eat, go to bed early, and get myself out of bed every morning (after getting up at least twice with Declan at night) with at least enough energy to throw on a coat of mascara. Meanwhile this lady’s over here julienning her carrots and making hot air balloons out of pears.

mommy-and-me-dog-oatmeal

Seriously, can you imagine opening your lunch box to find a Batman-shaped sandwich?  You’d be the envy of the playground. What anticipation and excitement you’d feel every day (no pressure, mom)!

Check out How About Cookie’s full food art gallery and follow her on Instagram for photos so cute you just wanna eat ‘em up!

[images via How About Cookie]

 

P.S. You saw these photos of the mom who stages adorable scenes around her baby during naptime, right? Too much.

Coldbuster and Catching Up on The Bachelor

Friends, I hope you’ve managed to avoid the stomach flu and colds flying around out there. Sadly, our household seems to be a magnet for it all. I figured since Declan started day care in January that we’d be seeing some sort of kids-share-all-their-germs-and-bring-it-home cold, but whoa. That stomach bug came to us with a vengeance. First Declan got sick, then Mumbles, and then it wiped me out too. And just when I’d gotten good and healthy, I got a cold. It’s been a rough, rough few weeks for us.

Similar to chicken soup and saltines (my go-to comfort food as a kid) or toast with butter, which my dad always made for me, Mumbles and I have a new family coldbuster comfort food: pho. It’s not a big jump from plain ‘ol chicken soup — but I like that the veggies are more plentiful and fresh and you can choose what goes in it. Conveniently, we have a Pho Company just around the corner from us (I wish it was a darling little hole in the wall, but just as well, I guess, it’s a bright, clean, modern chain) so it’s super easy to call in an order and grab it on the way home or hop in the car and be back on the couch slurping away in no time.

Mumbles and I always order extra veggies and we both have a little ritual of using our fingernails to cut the jalapenos into little pieces to drop in our soup (though we have to be extra thorough in washing our hands afterwards so as not to get jalapeno juice in our eyes by accidental rubbing later on — ouch!). Lately, I’ve been ordering chicken and tofu but Mumbles prefers just chicken and I don’t like mushrooms so I steer clear of those.

chicken noodle soup vietnamese pho via pickled plum

Do you like pho? How do you order yours? I always eat mine with a fork and then a spoon but Mumbles is committed to the chopsticks and full face-in-the-bowl slurping down to the last drop. There’s another clean, bright, modern chain near my work that dubs themselves “the Chipotle of Pho” — you pick the ingredients that they throw in your bowl as you walk down the line.

What are your favorite comfort foods and coldbusters?

In Bachelor news…
I did manage to catch last week’s episode of The Bachelor but please forgive my silence in regards to recaps. Just for a minute though: who else was totally shocked that Nikki got to meet Camilla already??? WHAT?!?!? Do you think she’s the front runner now? I can’t get over how crazy that was. And, I have an inkling that Clare will be sticking around until the end too. What say you?

 

[photo via Pickled Plum]

Sweet Stuff: Hammered Rose Gold Tumbler

I know everyone is going crazy over Pumpkin Spice Lattes being back in Starbucks stores, but I just can’t get on board with that yet. It’s not October. I can, however, slurp down the deliciousness that is the Salted Caramel Mocha. Whoa, is that thing good. It’s a total overdose on sugar (how could it not be?) and I couldn’t recall from last year what my preferred pump number was (number of pumps of syrup they put in the drink…did you know a grande usually gets 4??) I’m not sure if that means the Salted Caramel Mocha gets double, but I asked them to half the number of pumps and the side of my cup still says 2pm 2ptn (read: 2 pumps mocha, 2 pumps toffee nut). I’ll have to ask for just one of each next time. And I probably shouldn’t have splurged on the whipped cream either. But, it made my day.

You know what else made my day? Seeing this hammered rose gold tumbler!

ss_hammered_tumbler_rose_gold_16oz_us_0
Isn’t she gorgeous!? I really regret not buying her when I saw her sitting pretty on the shelf.  Hopefully it’ll still be around for a while so I can snag one when I head back to Starbucks for my first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season.

Cheers, friends!

What a Crock

Mumbles, bless his heart, has been such a loving husband — making meals and snacks, cleaning the house, taking Baxter for walks…all so I can get as much rest as possible, eat well and stay calm, happy and relaxed while our son is growing inside me (p.s. still so weird to think that I’ve got a human in me!).   The other day, Mumbles devoted about 40 minutes of prep time in the kitchen to prepare a delicious meal of veggies and pork that were set to marinate overnight and cook the next day in the crock pot.  We had a quick cautionary joke between the two of us about the last time he tried to make a crock pot meal and in the hustle of getting out the door for work that morning, forgot to plug in the crock pot before he left.  Ahh!  Such a sad, sad realization when you come home expecting your house to be filled with delicious aromas only to find unsafe, uncooked pork and veggies that have been sitting out all day lukewarm. What a waste!

Well, I wish I could say the same thing didn’t happen to us again a few days ago, but I’d be lying.  He did plug it in this time but he thinks perhaps when reaching for something on the counter nearby that he knocked the plug loose. Either that or our crock pot is just too old (it was a hand-me-down from his mom in all its vintage navy, orange and yellow flowery awesomeness).

All that happened and the next day I saw Target Does It Again post this photo on Instagram of a delightful new Target collaboration with French Bull and I immediately knew I had to have the crock pot. Had to.  Seeing that it wasn’t available in stores near me, I ordered it right away.  I can’t wait to surprise Mumbles with it!

target crock pot french bull slow cooker

If you’re looking to spice up your kitchen with some appliance flair, the French Bull line at Target also includes a toaster, K-cup single cup brewing system, and a blender.  So fun!