Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Breakfast Break

It's been awhile since I've made a yummy "big breakfast" (silly weight watchers) but Brent's birthday was a good excuse.

Mmmmm....just seeing that makes me want to make breakfast for dinner. I pulled out an old recipe that I had saved but never made...I think it was from Cooking Light...Baked Coconut French Toast with Tropical Fruit. Loved it. Hope you do too.

Baked Coconut French Toast with Tropical Fruit
Compote Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups fresh pineapple, chopped
1 cup peeled mango, chopped
1 cup peeled papaya, chopped
1 cup peeled kiwi, chopped
3 Tbsp. sugar
3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
French Toast Ingredients:
16 slices French baguette, sliced diagonally
1 1/4 cup light coconut milk
1 1/4 cup egg substitute (or 5 large eggs, as I used)
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1/2 cup flaked coconut, sweet (I used the large raw chips which are unsweeted)
1. To prepare fruit compote, combine all ingredients in a bowl. Cover and chill for 8 hours or overnight.
2. Arrange bread in a single layer in a 13x9" baking dish coated with Pam. Combine all other ingredients (except shredded coconut), stir, and pour over bread evenly. Turn bread over to coat. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
3. Preheat over to 350 degrees. Remove bread from fridge. Turn bread over and sprinkle with coconut. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.
4. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes until coconut is golden. French toast will puff up beautifully but will fall after taken out of the oven.
5. Serve warm with the fruit.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Signs of Spring

A precious little robin's nest in our front's in a holly bush, a little to close to cat's reach for me...but in perfect view for the camera! The mommy was not very happy with me and chirped away to let me know it! We're looking forward to seeing these little ones hatch and fly!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Birthday Blessings

Join me in wishing this special guy a very happy birthday! (His laugh blew out half of the candles right before I snapped the picture!)

Brent turned 33 today and celebrated by getting off work a bit early, playing 9 holes of golf, opening a generous pile of presents from family, and enjoying a delicious "French dinner", with some fabulous Italian cheese delivered from New York. (My parents gave him a "French dinner" gift of cheeses, wine, and a bread pan for making our own baguettes...since we're out in the middle of no man's land with no great options for bread. A gift that we will both enjoy!) Seriously, some of the best cheese we've had since being in France years ago!

Then we all enjoyed his birthday dessert choice of Dulce de Leche Ice Cream Torte! It was yummy! (I think I've mentioned before that he's not a traditional birthday-cake-kinda-guy!) Tomorrow night, Brent and I are going out to dinner at a fun little place downtown...looking forward to it immensely!

A few years ago, a friend gave me a great suggestion of using a notebook in lieu of individual birthday cards for the children to give to Brent. Thus, our "Birthday Blessings" book was created when Hadleigh was two. I just picked up a navy blue spiral notebook full of blank pages, wrapped a festive ribbon around it to resemble a package, and added some metal "Happy Birthday" words from Making Memories to the bottom. (I think I found everything at Hobby Lobby.)

In it, the kiddos color pictures, write short notes, and hopefully, one day, letters to Brent. This eliminates the storage solution for all those many cards (which I am too sentimental to part with. If you've ever written me a card, chances are I have it somewhere stashed away!) It is also a really fun way to see how much the munchkins have grown, how their scribbly lines turn to doodles, their doodles to their handwriting changes year after year. And I know that one day, it will contain precious letters of love written from a child's heart to their very special Daddy. One day, it will be a written testimony of the blessing that this father has been to his children and the blessing these children have been to their Daddy.

This was the entry for this year! Hadleigh wrote all her messages herself (though I spelled for her)...while I helped Nathanael a little with his name--except for his "H's", he's really good at the "H"! (And of course, I wrote Madeleine's name...though at the rate she's learning and growing, she'll probably write her own name next year!) I love how Nathanael turned the box for Madeleine's birthday message into a house or a cake...not quite sure which!

Hope your weekend is full of celebration as well!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

a gorgeous day

deserves a gorgeous dessert, right?

I made Brownie Tiramisu the other day...and it totally exceeded my expectations. They were fun to make, assemble, and eat. But they are next time, I think I'm going to make them in shot glasses because that would be the perfect amount...though you might want two! (But 8 oz. of Brownie Tiramisu is definitely a bit much for most people--and generally, I am not "most people" when it comes to dessert...but I barely finished half of mine!)

Brownie Tiramisu

1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/3 cup coffee liqueur
1/3 cup brewed coffee
2--4 oz. semisweet chocolate bars, divided (you'll only use half of one of them)
3/4 cup butter
2 1/4 cup sugar, divided
3 large eggs
1 cup flour
8 oz. mascarpone cheese
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup whipping cream

1. Preheat over to 350 degrees. Arrange pecans in a single layer and bake 5-7 minutes until toasted.
2. Stir together coffee liqueur and coffee. Set aside.
3. Coarsely chop one chocolate bar. Microwave chopped chocolate and butter in a microwave at Medium power (50%) for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes until smooth, stirring at 30 second intervals. Whisk in 2 cups sugar and eggs until blended. Stir in flour, just until blended. Spoon batter into greased 11x7 inch pan.
4. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Remove from oven and cool in pan 10 minutes. Pierce brownie multiple times using the tines of a fork. Pour coffee mixture over brownies. Let cool one hour until cool.
5. Whisk together 1/4 cup sugar, mascarpone, and vanilla. Beat whipping cream at medium speed in a separate bowl until peaks form. Fold into mascarpone mixture.
6. Crumble half of the brownies and divide among 6 8oz. glasses. Spoon half of mascarpone over brownies. Repeat layers. Chop remaining 2 oz. chocolate into thin shreds and sprinkle over mascarpone. Top with pecans.

And I do realize that I'm WAY behind on archiving recent recipes in the's on my list of To-Do's!

Friday, April 17, 2009


You're not tired of Easter pics yet, hopefully. Here are just a few of my favorites:
  • this beautiful centerpiece arrived from my parents just in time for Easter. (I love love love it and have had my eye on it for years!)
  • dyeing Easter eggs...the traditional way
  • and my favorite silk-tie dye method!

  • enjoying the results of our indoor egg hunt (rainy, rainy Easter Sunday.)

(I think this one might be my very favorite!)

(showing Daddy all their eggs)
(love this one too!)
  • one day I will have a beautiful outdoor Easter picture of my precious ones...until then, I'll try to be content with indoor ones.
(They do clean up well though, don't they?)
  • enjoying a long weekend with Katy and Alex

We miss you guys already so come back soon!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

things I love from today absolutely gorgeous spring morning

...comparing 2 Samuel and Psalms during Bible study this morning

...seeing these on my dining table (they remind me of you Steph, everytime I look at them! thinking of you guys especially today!)

...eating lunch with my three little ones around the kitchen table and realizing what a blessing that is...what a blessing they are!

...overhearing bits of phone conversation between Hadleigh and her Mimi and Hadleigh and Aunt Katy

...taking a catnap on the floor while the older two play in their room and my baby goes back in forth between them and me, occasionally resting her head against me and saying "Maa-mee" in that precious baby voice

...hearing my baby girl say "nigh-nigh" before naptime

...reading stories to Hadleigh and Nathanael on a quilt in the backyard as the wind started to whip around us...but it was so perfect outside otherwise

...Hadleigh's concern about if it was going to rain while we were reading stories outside

...this little girl's glee when she saw the UPS man approach with four big boxes from a special Easter bunny far away! (the picture's not from today, but I love that laugh!)

...seeing how much this little girl LOVES to be outside. i suppose i was destined to have three children who are outdoor kinda people :)

...laughing at the little "wake up jig" Nathanael dances when he wakes up in the morning and after naptime...or playtime, as it seems to be lately!

...looking forward to a long weekend with Katy and Alex

...a perfectly brewed cuppa Earl Grey

...friends that just make my heart happy

Friday, April 03, 2009

Last weekend...

I was here:

Enjoying Kiawah Island...the beach, the river, and Charleston with my four best friends. It was fabulous.

More pictures and stories of the trip to come...

Just wanted to say hello...I'm still catching up on being gone. Does that take everyone a week like it does me?


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