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What’s Maisie Wearing? A Little Blue Sundress from India!

Today she’s in a little cotton sundress from India with her thai silver baby anklets, Art of Cure raw Baltic Amber teething necklace, and a cute white hair bow.

getting a drink of water from my mother

cutie

little chipmunk cheeks

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Maisie’s Newest Silver Baby Bracelets from Claire Lush Designs!

New Silver Cuff Bracelets from Claire Lush Designs!

New Silver Cuff Bracelets from Claire Lush Designs!

 

Got more baby jewelry swag in the mail today from Claire Lush Designs!

In today’s package, she received a V-shaped silver cuff and a heavier silver patterned cuff, plus two thin silver cuffs for a friend’s daughter.

They look ADORABLE on Maisie.  I had to move the Puravida bracelets over to the other hand, which is no mean feat when you have a squirming 10 month old.

A happy Maisie with Papa (my dad)

A happy Maisie with Papa (my dad)

My parents were here visiting, so photos were snapped with the kid only in her diaper and jewelry. She’s going through a “MAMAMAMAMAMAMA” phase and doesn’t want anyone but me usually, so it’s a good thing when people visit and she goes to them- gives me a slight break, which I sorely need.  She refused to nap for 2 days and finally went down for one this afternoon.

She only seems to have 2 speeds lately:  “Pick ME UP!” or “DANCE TIME!”

Here is a video of her dancing with my parents in the background:

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Dinner Tonight: Summer Pasta with Zucchini, Fresh Ricotta, and Wild Arugula- plus a Zuppa Toscana with Turkey Sausage and Turkey Bacon

the finished products

the finished products

Starting these recipes was a NIGHTMARE. Maisie is going through a horrible separation anxiety stage– I waited until she went down for her usual afternoon nap before starting to cook.  She is usually asleep for 1-3 hours after lunch, so I figured I had ample time to get dinner started.  SO wrong.  Not 10 minutes after I’d snuck away, I hear a piercing shriek from her pack n’ play… ah, the joys of motherhood!

ANYWAY, the same friend who sent the fresh ricotta idea, also sent this delicious looking recipe for a summer pasta.

Right now the basil growing in my garden is kinda skimpy.  I have a couple of varieties, which I started late in the season: sweet basil, cinnamon basil, and (I think) a Thai basil.

As fortune would have it, I DO have an abundance of wild arugula growing out of control in every nook and cranny of my yard- and I LOVE it for pestos and salads. This is the same arugula that I mentioned in an earlier post.  My mom smuggled it from Italy in her underwear (the seeds, not the plants). I am sure she probably violated a ton of laws, but now she has dementia, so they probably won’t throw her in the slammer.

I really love this variation of this plant more than the standard ones you find at the market. It has a sharper, cleaner ‘zing’ than the (legal) garden varieties you find commonly in the US. It also NEVER dies and never needs replanting. It’s as prolific as a dandelion, except easier to remove from the lawn and sidewalk.

More about this renegade version of arugula (also called ‘wall rocket’) here.

From this article on Wall Rocket:

“Unlike cultivated rocket, wall rocket is a perennial. The flavour is different, too: it has the spicy notes that salad rocket hints at, but they punch through with a powerful heat. By August, the leaves are so peppery they are best cooked for 30 seconds in boiling water, or a few chopped and added to a salad. I like the leaves torn on to a pizza just out of the oven as an alternative to chillies. The young leaves I like in warm salads with strong flavours – chorizo, parmesan or goat’s cheese; it also goes well with oily fish.”

this wild arugula was smuggled to America (by seed) about 14 yrs ago in my mother's underwear. It came from somewhere near Florence, Italy- where my cousin lives.

the renegade wild arugula was smuggled to America (by seed) about 14 yrs ago in my Filipino mother’s underwear. It came from somewhere near Florence, Italy- where my cousin lives.

At the local farmer’s market, while raiding my favorite Swiss baker’s stall for fresh quiches and Cannelés Bordelais, I was lucky enough to score some fresh zucchini (2 for a buck) from the next stand over. I had no idea then what I was going to do with zucchini, but it seemed like a good idea at the time to buy it. I am now so glad that I did.

gratuitous food porn shot of Cannelés Bordelais from Marianne at the Chalet Suisse Bakery here in SW Michigan.  They are one of maybe FIVE PLACES in the entire Midwest to even bake these morsels of sweet perfection- Eat your hearts out!

gratuitous food porn shot of Cannelés Bordelais from Marianne at the Chalet Suisse Bakery here in SW Michigan. They are one of maybe FIVE PLACES in the entire Midwest to even bake these morsels of sweet perfection-
Eat your hearts out!

When my son tasted the following recipe, he said: “Wow, this is like pesto and alfredo mixed together!”- it was!  I was very pleased with how this turned out.  The freshly made ricotta (I made a new batch this afternoon) really makes this dish. So creamy and garlicky and rich.

when I say I 'squish' the garlic, I mean I use the mortar and pestle- Filipino style

when I say I ‘squish’ the garlic, I mean I use the mortar and pestle- Filipino style

Summer Pasta with Zucchini, Fresh Ricotta, and Wild Arugula

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 2 zucchini, cut into 1/4 inch slices (a mandoline works great for this)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, squished and chopped
  • 2 cups of wild arugula
  • 1 box of Ziti pasta
  • 8 ounces ricotta, about 1 cup (see earlier post for recipe)
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 ounces grated Parmesan, pecorino or a mixture, about 1 cup, plus more for serving
  1. Put a pot of water on to boil. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the onions in 3 tablespoons olive oil until softened, 5 to 8 minutes. Reduce heat as necessary to keep onions from browning. Add zucchini, season generously with salt and pepper, and continue cooking, stirring occasionally until rather soft, about 10 minutes. Turn off heat.

    sautéing the onions and zucchini

    sautéing the onions and zucchini

  2. Meanwhile, use a mortar and pestle to pound garlic, arugula and a little salt into a rough paste (or use a mini food processor). Stir in 3 tablespoons olive oil.
  3. Salt the pasta water well and put in the pasta, stirring. Boil per package instructions but make sure to keep pasta quite al dente. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of cooking water.
  4. Add cooked pasta to zucchini in skillet and turn heat to medium-high. Add 1/2 cup cooking water, then the ricotta, crushed red pepper and lemon zest, stirring to distribute. Check seasoning and adjust. Cook for 1 minute more. Mixture should look creamy. Add a little more pasta water if necessary. Add the arugula paste and half the grated cheese and quickly stir to incorporate. Spoon pasta into warm soup plates and sprinkle with additional cheese. Serve immediately.

    aa

    YUM

I’ve been wanting to make a Zuppa Toscana for the longest time.  I am almost embarrassed to admit that the first one I ever tried was from the chain Olive Garden, but I loved it.  It’s probably the only thing on their menu I actually liked. We have a ton of Tuscan kale growing in the garden right now, which is a major ingredient in this soup. I am a kale freak- I like it juiced, fried, in soups, in salads (especially the raw vegan massaged kale salads- yum), you name it.

Kale fresh from my garden

Kale fresh from my garden

I don’t eat pork, so I had to substitute turkey Italian sausage and turkey bacon for the regular versions.

Jess’ Zuppa Toscana

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 small onions, finely diced
  • 2 Sweet Italian turkey sausages, chopped
  • 4 slices of turkey bacon, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, squished and chopped
  • 2 cups of tuscan/black/dinosaur kale, sliced/chopped
  • 3 Idaho potatoes, roughly chopped.
  • 2 boxes chicken stock
  • 1 quart water
  • Pinch of saffron (I used Persian saffron)
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • salt and pepper, to taste

1. Add a little olive oil to a soup pot and use to fry the sausage and bacon, crumbling even further as you fry. Cook until well browned then drain any excess oil. Add garlic and onions and fry til soft.

2. Add the water, stock, pinch of saffron, and potatoes to the pot. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until the potatoes are tender (about 25 minutes). Add the kale. Cook for 10 minutes then stir-in the cream and season to taste.

3. Remove half of the soup to another large bowl. Puree half of the soup with an inversion blender. Return reserved soup to pot to combine.  Simmer for 5 minutes longer and then ladle into warmed soup bowls and serve.

Zuppa Toscana

Zuppa Toscana

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What’s Maisie Wearing? A Janie and Jack Tunic Dress, an Art of Cure Raw Amber Teething Necklace, and Silver Thai Baby Anklets

Summery and chic!  Loved this little dress!

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Baby Bling Must Haves!

  1. The Art of Cure Raw Amber Teething Necklaces:  AMAZING.  The kid wears it, they don’t chew on it- the raw amber melts into the skin and provides an analgesic, natural form of pain relief.  Also great for people with arthritis.  Maisie’s been wearing hers since she was 2 months old and is on her second one- they last about 6 months before they wear out.  No, she’s never strangled herself nor choked on it (knock wood).  http://shop.theartofcure.net/

  2. 14kt Gold Earrings:  I have a sensitivity to anything less than gold in my ears, so I made sure that Maisie only wears real gold (no plate, no gold filled) in hers.  Since having her ears pierced, she’s not had any problems with her ears getting infected.

    Maisie wearing a custom made headband, Art of Cure raw amber teething necklace, and 14kt gold and diamond earrings

    Maisie wearing a custom made headband, Art of Cure raw amber teething necklace, and 14kt gold and diamond earrings

  3. Claire Lush Designs Custom Silver Baby Cuff Bracelets:  Fits perfectly on tiny wrists and totally hand made- and reasonably priced!  My child’s been wearing bracelets since she was born and it is pretty standard in many countries to put bangles on babies from birth.  $35.00 for a custom bracelet with turquoise. https://www.etsy.com/shop/clairelushdesigns

    Closeup of her Claire Lush Designs silver and turquoise cuff

    Closeup of her Claire Lush Designs silver and turquoise custom cu

  4. Puravida Baby Friendship Bracelets:  The perfect boho ‘first bling’ for baby.  Maisie has about 5 or 6 of them on at any given time.  If you post a pic on Instagram, then email them with your account and address, you will get a voucher for a free bracelet.  Reasonably priced at $5-6 dollars each and proceeds go to providing jobs to folks in Costa Rica, where they are made. https://www.puravidabracelets.com/baby-bracelet-collection

    Maisie wearing silver and turquoise custom made cuff bracelets from Claire Lush Designs and Puravida Bracelets

    Maisie wearing silver and turquoise custom made cuff bracelets from Claire Lush Designs and Puravida Bracelets

  5. Saffron Bells Thai Style Baby Anklets:  I adore these!  In SE Asia, these baubles are given to almost all babies- it is supposed to bring good luck and protection.  They look adorable and are well made.  Maisie loves jingling her feet and making music with them- also helps mothers to know where their kid is and/or if they’re awake. http://www.saffronbells.com/

    Maisie in a Hanna Andersson bikini, Art of Cure teething necklace, and her Saffron Bells silver baby anklets

    Maisie in a Hanna Andersson bikini, Art of Cure teething necklace, and her Saffron Bells silver baby anklets

  6. Lots and Lots of Hair Bows and Stretchy Headbands:  Since Maisie is my first and only girl, my more experienced friends with daughters advised me to put these things in her hair from BIRTH, so that she would get used to them and not try to pull them off.  It works!!  Sometimes she still does remove them, but not often.  I prefer to buy mine from small shops on Etsy and eBay.