'Muff'in Dome

Category Archives: Food

A Special Breakfast

For quite some time, Evelyn has had an interest in making food. Her mama has done a great job including her when time and complexity of the meals allow. If she ends up being able to cook half as good as Laurel, my prospects of keeping off the weight I just lost is slim to none (sorry, bad pun).

As you can see, Evelyn has baked muffins:

And pizza:

However, now, it’s my turn! I often make breakfast for everyone on the weekends when I’m home from work. Recently, Evelyn has asked to participate. Now we’ve done it together enough that she knows the routine. In fact, she’s ready for her own cooking show. Well, that gave me an idea!


A Slew of Random Thoughts to End the Week

Quick post to end a long week.

{I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.}

1. We finally have RAIN here. Its been coming off and on all week and we’re due for more into the weekend. I know this doesn’t seem like a big deal to most but this drought here in California has us so parched. We appreciate every drop that falls.

skipping in the gutter

2. I’m planning and scheming for Christmas, full-steam ahead. Partly, this was inspired by the fact I like to craft some gifts for Christmas and it takes time to make them, but I’m also eager to get all my shopping done before Advent starts. It always seems to sneak up on me. We’ve purchased big gift for the girls, and I’m eager to see their faces Christmas morning. {That is one downside to shopping so early — I have to wait soooo long to gift them! And I’m more excited about the gift-giving than receiving.}

crockpot apple butter

3. My eldest is all-in with learning to use scissors. Although, her idea of using scissors is cutting up paper into the tiniest, little scraps so that it looks like a confetti party has happened in my kitchen. I’m trying to go with the flow, but it has me wigging out some days when I’m trying to get dinner on the table in the midst of a confetti mountain.

playing in the leaves

4. This autumn season has been full of squash recipes. This one and one from Ottolenghi’s Plenty More {it involves sriracha and pesto so it is automatically my husband’s favorite} have been on repeat. {You guys, if you want more inspiration in the vegetable cooking department, either this one or his first–Plenty–are absolute necessities on your cookbook shelf.}

stuffed honeynut squash

5. Poor Lulu has had a cold for about a week now that is persisting on staying in her head. I so wish I could pull out the Sudafed for her. We’ve been attempting treatments with the humidifier during rest time and nighttime, and Vick’s on her chest too. We had one evening of croup cough and it was excruciating to hear her suffering so. I hope it lifts soon.

sleeping Lulu

6. Halloween is on the horizon. Evelyn is planning on dressing in Elsa costume that I made her last year. We were thinking Lucie would wear what she calls her “ladybug dress” {it’s red with black polka dots}, but now she’s expressing interest in wearing her Anna costume again too. We’ll just go with flow. In the interest of keeping too much candy out of our house, I purchased Goldfish snacks to hand out to our trick-or-treaters. For two reasons: they were a HUGE hit last year with the neighborhood and if we’re stuck with extras, I’d rather be able to give whatever it is to the girls as a snack, not have to throw it in the trash.

fall dinner

7. Evelyn’s birthday is coming up in about two weeks. Her birthday party is next weekend. She chose a Paddington Bear theme, but it has been nearly impossible to find Paddington things in the United States. There is no way I’m paying $20 in shipping from the UK to have paper plates and cups for the party. I found some cute Paddington fabric so I’ll be making some bunting with it. I’ve ordered a couple Paddingtons on ebay to use. If anyone has any other ideas, besides just using blue, red, and yellow colored things to decorate, I’m all ears. We will be doing a luncheon tea.


Have a great weekend!

Victoria, BC ~ Great Eats!

Canadian flag flying

The second half of our trip to the Northeast found us in Victoria, British Columbia. Despite it being the middle of February, we had much sun and gorgeous weather for walking around town.

This post will cover our food stops {for there were many!} and in another post I’ll talk about other highlights of the trip.

Red Fish, Blue Fish menu

Friends of ours who had spent their honeymoon in town told us about this little hidden gem called Red Fish, Blue Fish…that was well enough hidden that we missed it our first time walking past! It is located on a dock below street level with a bank of seats that look out over the harbor. Maybe THE best fish and chips I’ve ever had — definitely top of the list!

fish and chips / Red Fish, Blue Fish

eating at Red Fish, Blue Fish

Victoria, BC harbor

Many little water taxis going to-and-fro!

water taxi, Victoria, BC

Murchie’s was another glorious find. We stopped by at least once a day for a sip of tea and treat. Evey and I also chose pretty cups in their gift shop to bring home as souvenirs.

eating at Murchie's

Breakfast was a hit with Stephen.

breakfast at Murchie's

And it’s never too early for tiramisu!

breakfast at Murchie's

Trying to take photos with her toy car…like mother, like daughter.

tea at Murchie's

Stephen saw an advertisement for this when we were waiting for the ferry in Seattle and insisted we search out Bartholomew’s where these bad boys are served.

drink at Bartholomew's

We were due for tea in the afternoon so we enjoyed the ploughman’s platter to stock up on extra protein before the carb overload.

ploughman's lunch at Bartholomew's

eating at Bartholomew's

Tea time at the Empress Hotel. It was such a delightful treat. Despite the hotel being under construction and the usual dining place unavailable, we enjoyed our time sitting in the rotunda sipping their legacy blend and savoring our tea time treats.

tea at the Empress

A refreshing start.

tea at the Empress

TEA rex joined us for the occasion.

tea at the Empress

The Princess Tea for the girls.

tea at the Empress

tea at the Empress

The full afternoon tea complete with a bit of bubbly.

tea at the Empress

And a special order of cheeses, bread, and honey from the chef’s garden.

tea at the Empress

tea at the Empress

tea at the Empress

tea at the Empress

Be sure to blow on your tea before you take a sip to cool it off!

tea at the Empress

The chocolate everything was her favorite. 🙂

tea at the Empress

Our final morning in the city found us at Jam Cafe. A local hotspot–not in the touristy part of town–this place was packed before it opened. {Notice the line around the block still there as we were leaving.}

Jam Cafe, Victoria, BC

It was worth the hour wait for these pulled pork pancakes.

pulled pork pancakes at Jam Cafe, Victoria, BC

Hoping to go back some day for a re-run of all these fantastic places, as well as stopping by some we had to pass up this trip!

Seattle : Delancey

We are closing in on 10 years since my blogging days began. When I first began writing, it was about food. I love to share recipes I developed in my kitchen, but more importantly to share my thoughts on gathering around the table and the influence of food in our every day lives.

Before I began putting words on a screen, there were a handful of others who lit the fire in me to share. Their own words crafted with the greatest care, their images taking me back to good times spent with my loved ones at meals, their recipes inspiring me to drop whatever I was doing the time and get myself to the kitchen. One such writer is Molly Wizenberg. She writes {still, although infrequently} at Orangette. {Lo and behold, I just discovered that she has finally upgraded to a .net address on her website. You know you’ve encountered a good writer when she can hold out with a .blogspot for so long.}

pizza at Delancey

Molly is also the author of two books — A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table and Delancey: A Man, A Woman, A Restaurant, A Marriage. The first regales with many stories of her childhood, some of the best related to her father whom she adored. It has a lovely collection of recipes to boot. The second tells the story of her and her husband’s first restaurant, Delancey, and how they navigated it’s birth through the first years of their marriage together.

I mentioned this book in an earlier post I wrote back in October. At the time, we were already preparing for our trip to Seattle in early Spring. I had read of Delancey at Molly’s blog, but hadn’t yet gone through the full story of how it came to be. It was great preparation for a visit to the restaurant, which we made a few days into our trip.

Delancey, Seattle

In a quiet corner of Ballard, tucked in a mostly residential area, it gave off the vibe of your local, neighborhood pizzeria at the start. This is not a place you come unless you know about it. We arrived within a half hour of opening, but all the tables had already been claimed. Immediately adjacent is a little bar the couple also started called Essex. We headed there to wait it out.

Seattle is pretty strict about keeping your babies out of bars, so, since the littles were with us, we sat in a small, cordoned off area in order to abide by the letter of the law.

at the kids' bar, Essex

baby in a bar, Essex

Steve and I enjoyed a couple of handcrafted cocktails from their seasonal, rotating menu. We hungrily munched on a bowl of green olives, which even the girls adored {although Lucie lost it all munching too fast down the back of Steve’s sweater}.

handcrafted cocktail Essex

Essex bar

Essex, Seattle

The host from next-door came to retrieve us when a table was ready about an hour later. We savored a well-composed seasonal and locally-sourced salad to quell our rumbling tummies while our pizza was tossed and cooked in the adjacent room.

Delancey menu

my little photographer at Delancey

I took Evey over to watch as the pizza man deftly maneuvered pizzas in and out through a small slit in the wall that housed the wood-fired pizza oven. She was mesmerized.

pizza bar, Delancey

pizza oven, Delancey

We took note of our nearby table mates: a dad, a mom and their preadolescent son that had come by scooter to dinner and were chatting about a variety of things, sharing their interests with one another; a couple, in their twenties, sat opposite talking philosophy and literature.  It was notable to us the intellectual, stimulating conversation we were hearing, rather than the usual banter of the latest celebrity gossip or crude jokes.

I dare to say the atmosphere played a role in the clientele it attracted. Everything about the place was simple, yet sophisticated. Molly and her husband do a superb job of striking the best balance of indulging in the best one could offer while not going overboard with the accoutrements. To us, they exemplified the Seattle vibe and food scene we’ve heard so often about.

I hope we have another chance to return to these two gems, and maybe even their newest creation–Dino’s Tomato Pie–which opened in the Capitol Hill area a few weeks after we left. These two have got a good thing going. Don’t miss them if you ever find yourself in Seattle.

Seattle : Part One

It’s been almost a month since we returned, but our trip to Seattle still lives strong in our memories. This is actually one of the shorter plane rides we’ve taken with the girls, and after you’ve conquered the cross-country trek, an hour and a half seems feeding candy to a baby. {Which is always a good idea to have stashed with you for bribery purposes.}


This one would rather travel stealth-style than in a seat, but we didn’t think TSA would approve.

tuckered out from travel

An early and full morning of travel, this one couldn’t keep her eyes open once we landed at the hotel. She hasn’t slept in my arms in ages and I found it quite endearing to have her cuddle up for a shut eye once again.

We stayed at the Cedarbrook Lodge, as recommended by a some others who had travelled through the area. For an airport hotel, it was absolute oasis. Located in a residential area, surrounded by wetlands, it was like stepping into the woods from a busy city sidewalk. The rooms, amenities, beds, included breakfast {smoked salmon, anyone?}, shared living rooms {chocolate available day and night!} truly made it feel like a home away from home. In fact, I kept becoming nostalgic as I walked the halls as it reminded me of my dorm in college {in a good way} and returning late at night after a deep conversation with friends.

Cedarbrook room

Lucie was particularly in love with the floor-to-ceiling windows so she could look out and pretend she was outside even when she wasn’t.

lured by the outdoors

Our first evening in town found us in the Ballard area where we searched out a French restaurant we had a read about called Bastille. It was just so good, we ate dinner there twice in five days. Of note: the Happy Hour drink specials, the kids’ mac and cheese, Croque Monsieur, and lamb burger {Steve said it was the best he’s had yet and that is HIGH praises, let me tell you!}. We loved sitting on their little patio, keeping our wiggles away from the rest of the patrons without a second thought of disturbance. Good for everyone.

Bastille's Seattle

Lucie at dinner

coloring at the table

Evey at dinner

at Bastille in Ballard

Sunday morning found us at St. James Cathedral for Mass. It was packed wall-to-wall and we could see why once we heard the astonishing choir sing.

altar at St James cathedral

cupola of St James cathedral, Seattle

icon of Transfiguration at St. James

St Joseph at St James cathedral, Seattle

St James cathedral facade, Seattle

We even took a few moments to step through the Holy Doors — our first in this Jubilee Year!

Holy Doors at St James cathedral, Seattle

St James Cathedral holy doors

And, of course, no trip to Seattle would be complete without a stop at Pike’s Place Market. Most especially for this foodie who could not get enough in such a short span of time. It was the one day that it was truly raining and we pulled out the plastic tarp for the stroller I bought particularly for such an occasion. It was funny to me how many people stopped us to admire the cover, particularly because I would think Seattleites would be the first to own such things seeing as they receive inches upon inches of rain throughout the year. But, alas, perhaps word has not gotten to them just yet of these marvelous contraptions. {Aaaand I don’t have a photo. I’m sorry.}

Pike's Place Market, Seattle

Pikes Place Market

flowers at Pikes Place Market

I’m not a huge donut lover {unlike the rest of my family}, but good things come in small packages just like these tasty morsels. I could have eaten the entire half dozen myself.

tiny donut

yum donut

We stopped at the original Starbucks, but photographic evidence is lacking. {It was rather hard to snap photos while juggling to grumpy littles who were hangry and in need of a nap in the wind and rain.}

Farmers' Market - Pike's Place, Seattle

More to come soon…..


Gathering My Thoughts ~ Brought to You By the Letter ‘T’

{I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.}


Outside my window: The air conditioning is on today and, as usual, California is notorious for joining the autumn game late. It is nearly 90 degrees today. Not feeling like autumn one bit.


Listening To: Evey is working on her letter for the week at the white board – ‘T’. It is quiet as Lucie is still resting, so I’m just listening to her organize the markers as she works.

Clothing Myself In: A simple skirt and shirt combo that I threw on before we went shopping this morning.


Talking With My Children About These Books: We are on the letter ‘T’ this week in our curriculum. There will be lots of discussion about our favorite mode of transportation this week — TRAINS! Our list includes: Steam Train, Dream Train by Sherry Dusky Rinker, Train by Elisha Cooper, How to Train a Train by Jason Carter Eaton, Hey Mr Choo Choo, Where Are You Going?  by Susan Wickberg {one of our all-time favorites}, Tea Rex by Molly Schaar Idle, The Bee Tree by Patricia Polacco, and One Tiny Turtle by Nicola Davies. 

We mixed it up with a few non-train books for some variety, although I doubt the girls would mind if it was ALL ABOUT trains. 😉 One of these days, I need to write a post about our favorite train picture books. I’m pretty sure we have come close to reading them all.


In My Own Reading: I finished Emily Freeman’s Simply Tuesday last week and I’m planning to join the (in)courage group in reading through it again starting at the beginning of October. Such a great read, one that needs to be pondered several times over. Is anyone else interested in reading along? I would love to discuss with a smaller group too. Perhaps we could make a Facebook page to facilitate.

I also just finished Witness to Love which I wrote a lengthy review of last week. This ministry is wonderful and sorely needed.

I’ll be starting Brene Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection later this week as it finally came in from the library.


Thinking and Thinking: About Christmas gifting. I have a dozen or more projects that I would like to accomplish for gifting so I’m getting my ducks in a row to get things started. So much to do, so little time. 😉 It really is coming up on us quickly!


Pondering: Still drinking in all the words of our Holy Father, Pope Francis, from his visit last week. I’m hoping to write a post of a few of my favorite quotes, but in the meantime, here is one:

“And if at times our efforts and works seem to fail and produce no fruit, we need to remember that we are followers of Jesus, and His life, humanly speaking, ended in failure, in the failure of the cross.”

~ from Vespers at St. Patrick’s Cathedral


Carefully Cultivating Rhythm: We are trying to get the girls on a better sleeping schedule. Bedtime has been a little too flexible as of late and it is making them extra tired and cranky. Better nighttime rest, also means better naps–something all of us appreciate.


Creating By Hand: Still finishing up my series of three sweaters using the In Threes Baby Cardigan pattern. I’m about halfway through my last one–a red one for Evelyn. I can finally share the newborn one I made for my sister-in-law that I gifted her this weekend at her shower. There is something so sweet and precious about tiny knits, particularly ones in pink for baby girls.

Also, made a little blanket with starburst stitching on the edge. I have a few more blankets for little babes in the queue this week.


Learning Lessons In: Patience. Mine has been a little thin the past few weeks, so I’m learning what I need to say ‘no’ to in order to reduce the anxiety which decreases it.

Encouraging Learning In: Also, patience? 😉 These little gals want it…and they want it NOW!


Crafting in the Kitchen: Moving into a rhythm of Fall foods–apples, squash, pumpkins, etc. Later this week, we’ll having one of my favorites–stuffed acorn squash–which I will share the recipe for soon.

To Be Fit and Happy: My brother, Raphael, is on the same crew team that I was in high school. This past weekend, his team hosted a pancake row, where they invite family members for a little breakfast and a chance to jump in one of the boats and try their hand at rowing for a mile or so. He invited me to come along and I jumped at the chance! I hadn’t been on the water since high school, and I do love it so. I wish there was a Masters team nearby that I could join. Perhaps some day. 🙂

rowingLoving the Moments: We’ve witnessed some great moments of childlike faith from Evey the past few weeks and it is so inspiring, both from a parenting aspect and in my own walk of faith. Just yesterday, we were going to see the Supermoon eclipse but there was some cloud cover which was going to make it very difficult to see the moon. We told Evey that she should ask Jesus to move the clouds so we could see it better. She let out a sweet prayer and, sure enough, the clouds moved just at the moment of total eclipse. On the way home, she kept peeking out the window of the car, hoping to catch another glimpse of the moon but all the city lights were making it rather difficult. She says from the back seat, “Jesus, could you please move the lights so we could see the moon?” 😀

supermoon eclipse

Living the Liturgy: Two great saints celebrated this week — St. Therese of Lisieux on October 1st and St. Francis on October 4th. I picked up a few roses at the store for the Little Flower’s feast. I’m sure we’ll have a little treat the evening of after our dinner. St. Francis loved animals and nature, so perhaps we’ll go for a little hike on Sunday.


Planning for the Week Ahead: Two of my friends had babies this month and we are on dinner duty this week for their families. One we have yet to meet so are looking forward to seeing her. Our week of the letter ‘T’ involves a trip to the train museum tomorrow after riding the train down to Sacramento. So much fun with choo-choos this week! Also, about to start a ‘t’ea party with my sweet girls….

Pumpkin Spice Pancakes ~ {Eat Seasonal}


We had a teaser of autumn last week so Evey and I instructed Steve to bring home cans of pumpkin so we could make pumpkin pancakes for dinner. We loved it so much we repeated the process a few days later.

If you are a #psl {code for: pumpkin spice latte} fan, you’re gonna love these too. Probably won’t get as bad of a sugar and caffeine high as well. They are rather hearty and last you until lunch if you eat them for breakfast. We eat them for just about every meal…and times in between.

Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

2 c. buttermilk
2 eggs
3 T butter, melted
1 c. pumpkin
2 t. vanilla
1 c. whole wheat flour
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/3 c. sugar
1 T. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. ginger
1/8 t. cloves

Mix buttermilk, eggs, butter, pumpkin and vanilla together with a wire whisk until combined. 

In a separate bowl, mix together flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Add into wet mixture, stirring well with the wire whisk. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat with a bit of butter. Place 1/2 c. of batter into spots on pan and cook on both sides.

Enjoy with warm maple syrup.

Feta and Tomato Stuffed Chicken Breasts ~ {Eat Seasonal}


Our tomato plants have not had the best year. I don’t know if it is the drought, the soil they are in, or what but they have grown so slow and hardly produced a single tomato. The weather is already changing to autumn so we’ll be lucky to see the green ones turn red, as they like hot weather for maturing.

Despite our dearth of tomatoes, we’re still making seasonal recipes at home. I got my tomatoes from a can, but you can easily replace with fresh ones instead if you’re garden has been more cooperative this year. {And please tell me all about it so I can live vicariously through you!}


Feta and Tomato Stuffed Chicken Breasts

3 large chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 lbs.)
1 can of diced tomatoes, 14 oz. -or- 2 c. of fresh diced tomatoes
1/2 t. oregano
1/2 t. basil
1/8 t. garlic powder
3/4 c. crumbled feta

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Slice chicken breasts lengthwise so there is a horizontal slit down the middle of the breast. Place them in a baking dish.

Mix tomatoes with the seasonings. Spoon some into the slit you’ve made in each chicken breast. If you have more leftover, drizzle it on top, especially the juices. Crumble the feta inside and on top as well.

Cook for 45 minutes, until chicken is no longer pink inside.

Easily doubled!! {or tripled}

Stuffed Bell Peppers ~ {Eat Seasonal}


Our first crop of the season are these beautiful green bells. Last year when we grew them, they were small and misshapen but somehow the soil, fertilizer, water, and sunshine worked better in our favor this year.

For a long time I was using a recipe that incorporated cinnamon into the mix, much to the chagrin of my siblings and, somewhat, of my husband, I found out when I made these.

These stick with simple ingredients–nothing extravagant or pairing better with breakfast treats –and a bit of yummy cheese on top. Both of my girls gobbled these right up.

Stuffed Bell Peppers

6 bell peppers of any color
1 1/2 c. cooked rice
1 lb. ground beef
2 T. olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
can of diced tomatoes, 14 oz.
1 t. oregano
1/2 t. Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper
shredded Mexican cheese blend for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut the tops off of the bell peppers and remove seeds and membrane.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium high heat. Add onions. Cook for 5 minutes, until translucent. Add in garlic and cook together for about a minute.

In a large bowl, place cooked onions and garlic, rice, and ground beef. Mix together. Add in tomatoes, reserving about 1/2 cup to pour on top later. Season with oregano, Worcestershire, salt and pepper, mixing in well.

Fill peppers with meat mixture. Pour a little of the reserved tomatoes and sauce on top of each pepper. Sprinkle with a little shredded cheese.

Cook for 45 minutes.

Serve and sprinkle with more cheese!

Moments ~ {Vol. 11}


Dirt, dirt, and lots of dirt. Most mornings are spent outside digging. Pre-lunch time is spent bathing.


Digging with spoons because we’re fancy like that.


Evey’s becoming a scootering pro.


Never one to paint her body before, Lucie’s encouragement pushed Evey outside her comfort zone.

First finger painting for both girls.

Doesn’t mind getting messy one bit.


Who says paint is for paper?


Daddy-daughter dance to “Let it Go”.


Saturday morning Frozen viewing with Daddy.


Sunday morning snuggles with Daddy. Sweetest.

Evey’s cow. 🙂


He got more legs and accessories than he bargained for.


End-of-summer party at my parents’ complete with appropriate ambience lighting.




Our first sunflower of the season!


Enjoying a wonderful red from a friend’s family winery in Oregon alongside a delicious Sunday dinner.


#muffbrews continues. We’ve been on a porter and stout kick lately.


Beautiful flowers from a #bissisterhood friend. Makes my kitchen so pretty.


Snacktime post-splash pad fun. They enjoyed themselves. Really.


Grocery day treat. Bribery or reward? You decide. 


Free ice cream at the library? Yes, please. {Although, every time we go to the library now she wants to know where the ice cream van is.}




She knew right what to do with that cone.

Creative sticker sticking. {She likes to place them over her eyes too. Whatever floats your boat, Ev.}

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