Friday Reflections – May 12

I’m so thankful for Friday this week! My parents fly in today and I am so excited to see them. It’s been a busy week (aren’t they all?) and I’m looking forward to spending some time catching up with them over some tea and banana bread.  I am so thankful for my mother-in-law (your card is on the way!) as well as all the women who have joined me on my motherhood journey. It’s a wild ride and takes a village more than I ever imagined. I hope you all get to spend some time with your mom and all the other mom figures in your life.

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I’m not much for crafting but I do love putting together birthday parties. These simple goody bags were a nice counter point to the energy that 10 year old boys bring to a party. They left sweaty, happy and with more frosting on their faces than when they came.

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Kai learned to ride a bike and is so very excited about it. They spent a week in gym class riding, learning hand signals and getting familiar with the rules of the road. He came home so excited and decided to make his bike sound like a motorcycle. He taped a card to the base of his bike so that the front wheel makes the card flap back and forth. Lets stick with bikes though ok? My mother’s heart isn’t ready for motorcycles yet.

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We had the good fortune to get out of school early on one of the most beautiful days of the year. Evidence of this adventure endures by the amount of sand (nature’s glitter!) I am still stepping in but the shear joy of chasing waves with friends makes it worth it.

Enjoy your weekend!

Friday Reflections – May 5

I wanted to pop in and show you what I’ve been up to the last couple weeks.

Baking, baking and baking!

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JP looked at his cake last weekend and said “oh wow it’s perfect” and then proceeded to dump sprinkles all over it. Ha! Yes, I would say that now it definitely is perfect.

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The cheesecake for my husband’s birthday was a little battered by the time this picture was taken, but boy was it good. When making it, I totally forgot to set the timer when cooling it in the water bath so it sat longer than it should’ve but it still turned out nice, dense and creamy. I added a sour cream topping this year and will do it again next time.

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It never fails that rice krispy treats are requested for the class treat on their birthdays. I always say yes because that means I get to eat all the little scraps left on the spoon.

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This last dessert is a new one we’ve added to the repertoire.  JP requested pavlova for his dessert on the day of his birthday (see how we overdo it!) and I was excited to make it again. It is a surprisingly easy treat that melts in your mouth like cotton candy (but without the blue lips). I made individual ones this time instead of one large one and liked it better that way. I like mine topped with whipped cream and strawberries but JP gobbled his up unadorned.

That’s it! Happy Friday and I hope your week has been filled with a little something sweet, just like mine.

Toasted Poppy Seed and Lemon Scone with Rhubarb Compote

April has turned to May and with Mother’s Day just around the corner, it is an obvious time to reflect on motherhood. My oldest turned 10 years old last week and I’m suddenly surprised that I’ve been doing this for that long already. I am just so proud of him and excited about this coming year. I remember those early years of mothering and how hard they felt. Everything was new and uncertain but also fiercely emotional. It’s not as new anymore and it’s easier to trust my parenting instincts as the years go by. I’m so thankful for all the moms that I’ve had in my life to help light the way. Friends who listened and talked me through sleep deprivation, picky eating (I talked a lot about this one), and new schools.

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I firmly believe that raising humans is the hardest, yet most important work of all.  Over the years, I’ve learned (or am learning, ahem) that parenting is not about creating a certain outcome but is more about finding out who these little humans are and helping them along the way. They are not my mirror and so they do not necessarily reflect me. Yet, I am responsible as well to ensure that they get all that they need so that they can grow up and continue the cycle. So lets celebrate motherhood and our own mothers for the blood, sweat, and tears that were poured into us and that we in return are pouring into our own children.

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This Mother’s Day is extra special because my mom is going to be traveling across the country to visit and will be here to celebrate with us. As I was thinking about what I wanted to make for her, as well as for my own family, I landed on lemon poppy seed scones. Scones that are flaky yet can hold up to a bit of compote or jam. Scones that announce that spring is here. Scones that can be eaten slowly over a cup of coffee. These ones fit the bill. The tangy lemon combined with the nutty crunch of poppy seeds keeps me coming back for more. I find many lemon poppy seed recipes to be a tad fussy (syrups and glazes) and so I love the simplicity of this recipe. I especially like the sparkling sugar that gives a nice sweet contrast. I used lemon extract that was given to me by Ballard Extracts, and I have to say, that I really like how the extract worked to let the poppy seeds share in the lime light.

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Rhubarb grew in our back yard growing up and I remember eating it raw right after pulling up a stalk. Rhubarb has a delightful sour taste that reminds me of grapefruit and has a texture similar to celery. It breaks down quickly when cooked and the pretty jeweled tone is a beautiful complement to the sparkling scone. I couldn’t stop dipping my scone in the compote so I finally just cut the scone in half and layered half with butter and compote. I would suggest doing the same!

 

Toasted Poppy Seed and Lemon Scone

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s Dreamy Cranberry Scones.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder (I prefer aluminum free)
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter. Remove from refrigerator and cut into cubes right before incorporating into mixture.
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds, toasted
  • 2 teaspoons lemon extract
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream, plus more for brushing the scones
  • 2 tablespoons sparkling sugar

Preheat the oven to 400° degree Fahrenheit and cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a dry non-stick skillet, toast the poppy seeds on medium for a few minutes until they smell nutty. Remove to a small bowl and allow to cool. This is important because you don’t want warm poppy seeds to melt the chilled butter.

In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and cooled poppy seeds. Using fingers, rub butter into flour mixture until the flour looks like sand and stays together when squeezed. Work quickly so as not to warm up the butter too much. I like to stick the bowl in the refrigerator for 10 minutes or so to firm up the butter before moving on to the next step.

Mix lemon extract into heavy cream and pour into flour. Use a wooden spoon and mix. You will have a shaggy dough. Dump out on a clean counter top and knead 2 or 3 times to bring the dough together. Flatten dough into a 8 in circle. Use a bench scraper to even out the edges. The circle should be about 1/2 inch thick. Transfer to the baking sheet.

Cut into 8 triangles. Brush with heavy cream and sprinkle sparkling sugar on top to your hearts desire.

Bake for 15 minutes, rotating once for even baking. The scones are done once a toothpick comes out clean and the scones are golden brown.

Cool on a wire rack. Scones are best eaten the same day, but you can freshen them up in the oven for a few minutes the following day or keep scones refrigerated over night and bake off the next mirning. You will need a few extra minutes for baking if refrigerating over night.

Rhubarb Compote

Adapted from Food52.com. I love this compote and along with slathering it on a scone, it is also lovely swirled into yogurt. You won’t want to skip it! Feel free to adjust the amount of sugar to your tastes. I found 1/3 cup to be right for me but you can start out with a 1/4 cup and adjust from there.

  • 1/2 lb rhubarb stalk, chopped
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Melt butter in a small saucepan on medium low. Add rhubarb, sugar, salt and vanilla. Stir to combine and continue to stir to keep sugar from burning. The rhubarb and sugar will create a syrup on the bottom and bring to a simmer. Simmer and stir for 10 minutes. The rhubarb will soften and you will begin to smell the happy scent of the sour and sweet rhubarb. Take the compote off the burner once the rhubarb has softened and the compote is mostly smooth, with only a few chunks remaining. Cool and refrigerate. Serve on the side.

Friday Reflections – April 21

Happy Friday! It was my husband’s birthday last weekend as well as Spring Break. To celebrate, we headed down to Portland for the weekend. We hadn’t been to the Portland Art Museum and decided to check it out. I love how art connects the past and the present. I have had such interesting conversations with the boys in museums. It makes topics that are sometimes hard to discuss easier when you have to face the topic full on through art.

For the last couple months I have been going to physical therapy for my back, hips, neck – all of it! I wish my past self would’ve paid more attention to the importance of strengthening one’s core. Before PT I literally didn’t even know where my core was but boy do I now. I’m finally moving past PT and am going to start pilates. Finger’s crossed it will be enough to push me over the hump.

Easter baskets with Pokemon, chocolate and legos. Don’t you love that sweatband? He wears it 24/7 in the house and I’m hoping he’ll start wearing it out because it’s so darn cute.

Easter morning, rainbows and a spectacular bowl of ramen round out this week’s favorite moments.

Rhubarb also makes me so happy to see. I used to eat rhubarb raw when I was a child. Can you believe that? So incredibly sour. It’s much better stewed with some sugar and spooned into yogurt or oatmeal. Believe me.

Now onto the weekend. Ease into it with laughter, friendship and hopefully some sunshine.

Cheers!

Rachel

 

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The Portland Art Museum had this beautiful collection of silver from King George II. Why don’t gravy boats still have lids? It makes so much sense.
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This looks like I hit a buy 3 get 1 free sale but alas it is just my stash of physical therapy tools. I’m hoping this is the last of it (and that I look as amazing working the mini ball as the model does!)
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We made it home from Portland in the afternoon, so the Easter bunny was a little late. All smiles though from the kiddos.
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Spring at its best.
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I’ve had my share of ramen by this point but this is by far my favorite place. Thankfully I get Mike’s soy sauce egg because one is just not enough.
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Ruby red rhubarb always brings a smile to my face.

Friday Reflections – April 14

It’s Spring Break this week and we are living. it. up. By this, I mean that I am slowly getting out of bed and the boys are having much more screen time than normal. I did take the boys swimming the other day and that experience has solidified my resolve to keep these boys in swimming lessons. Goodness.

On Tuesday, we dodged the rain and walked to the cutest gelato shop in town! We hadn’t been there before but the hazelnut gelato will definitely have me coming back.

I have been working on some lemon recipes and, after a few more tweaks, I will have one to share. Below is a lemon poppyseed scone recipe I made. I love the rhubarb compote, it is the perfect complement to the scone. 

For some reason, I feel like my kids are usually wearing matching clothes. Please know that I don’t plan this. They pick them out themselves! Before climbing on the play structure, we had practiced some biking. He is soooo close!

The cherry blossom season is a magical time in Seattle. I love how the petals cover the ground. Soon the magnolia trees will bloom and my heart will truly believe that Spring is here to stay.

I hope you all enjoy the rest of your week and that it is filled with ice cream and spring time.

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An afternoon hazelnut gelato affogato with the cutest little twirly fork.
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Lemon Poppyseed Scone with Rhubarb Compote
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Blue, Green and Grey
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Cherry blossom snow