Monthly Archives: January 2011

dinner tonight.

tonight i made bucatini with bacon and leeks for dinner. it was quick, easy, and delicious so i thought i would share the recipe here. i cooked this intuitively as i went, so all measurements are approximate.


1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
6 strips of bacon (you want to use 3 strips per person), sliced
1 large leek, halved lengthwise and sliced
1/4 cup of heavy cream
8 ounces of dried bucatini** (about half of a package)
a handful of kosher salt
black pepper
grated or shaved parmesan

1. melt the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. in the meantime, boil some water and the kosher salt in a large pot to cook the pasta.
2. add the bacon to the skillet and cook until crisp, about 10 minutes.
3. once the bacon is crisp, start cooking your pasta.
4. add the leeks to the skillet and cook until very soft, about 7 minutes.
5. stir the heavy cream and some black pepper to taste into the bacon and leek mixture.
6. once your pasta is nicely al dente, drain it, reserving about 1/4 cup of the cooking water. add the pasta to the skillet and toss to combine. add some of the pasta water to help thicken the sauce if need be. top with the parmesan and serve immediately.

**if you can’t find or don’t have bucatini, you can substitute any kind of pasta you like.

i served this dish with a side of roasted radicchio tossed with a balsamic reduction.

sylvie had leftover curried peas for dinner. i don’t think she’s quite ready for bacon yet!

stay tuned for a lot of new things happening on the blog. i registered a new domain on typepad and am currently working on the design of a new blog. not too worry, i plan to export all of my old posts to my new internet home! i’m so excited to expand my blogging beyond being a mommy. thank you so much to everyone who commented on my last post. your kind words and sage advice made my weekend that much brighter.

also, i now have a twitter account! sarawithoutan_h. you can follow me by clicking the link in the sidebar! happy monday!

bloggity blog.

here’s the deal. i am slowly moving away from strictly mommy blogging. you may or may not have noticed a few more recipes than usual lurking around in my posts. there’s been a little bit of fashion skulking about as well. my blogging goal for don’t worry baby’s second year is to move into more of a lifestyle blogging mode. i LOVE to cook, draw, design, and dress up. these things are part of my day-to-day and i would like to start sharing them with you. sylvie will still make plenty of appearances, as she is the biggest part of everyday, but i’m tired of omitting these other interests just because they don’t fall under the mom blog umbrella.

so my question to you is this: will you continue to read if the balance between baby and my other interests shifts slightly? what, besides sweet sylvie, would you like to read about?

one of my personal goals for this year is to up the ante with this blog. I want to take more time with what i write and with editing my photos. i want to stop using my iphone as my primary camera. i have a great DSLR sitting around that i barely use. that’s just not right! my other personal goal is to really branch out in my freelance work. last year i opened my first ever etsy shop and it has been a fantastic learning experience. i have been blessed with great customers and a fair amount of traffic and sales, but i’m looking to do more. the custom initials i’ve offered have been fun to work on, but there’s so much more i would like to add. with the move to houston, we are looking into renting a house with a garage for studio space. this will make things like screen printing, sewing, and painting possible for me to do from home. i’m beyond excited for this change! i love all of these creative outlets, but have not had the space to pursue them in our small apartment.

this big change in my business has brought the matter of branding to my attention. my shop has one name and my blog has another. to me, that’s just not smart. i will not only be changing my URL and/or shop name, but i am also looking into moving to typepad or blogspot as a blogging platform. they both offer so much more than wordpress in the area of customization and creative control. if any of you have experience with either of these platforms, please let me know your thoughts! you can comment on this post or email me at

so that’s what is going on in my little world. i always welcome any feedback, advice or (constructive) criticism about this blog and my shop.

here are some blogs that have been a source of inspiration lately:

jeremy & kathleen

design lovefest

bleubird vintage

design sponge

spots & stripes.

the focus on food.

one of my favorite parts of stay-at-home mommyhood is being able to put a lot of focus on what i feed my family. i have the luxury of time. time to be able to make a small daily trip to the grocery store. time to make things like bread and biscuits from scratch. time to meal plan. time to cook. time to make all of sylvie’s food from scratch. it has been a great source of pleasure for me since sweet baboo started solids.

we have recently shifted things around in our budget to allow more funds to buy the best quality food we can. i am happy and proud to say we eat mostly local and organic on our very tight income. food is our top priority as a family. travis and i are of the mindset that we would rather spend our money on food (or good wine and beer) more than anything else. i love clothes and fashion as much as the next person, but if i have $50 in my pocket you won’t see me buying pants. you’ll see me buying locally raised, hormone-free, grass-fed beef to make the world’s most awesome pot roast. the reason for splurging on these items is simple: IT JUST TASTES BETTER.

so here i am, a foodie mama trying to raise a foodie spawn. so far she’s a great eater. of all the foods and flavors she’s tried the only thing that didn’t sit well with her was smoked spanish paprika. i pray to juan mari arzak that she’ll learn to love it one day. her list of likes includes sweet potato, asian pear, garlic, sweet curry, cinnamon, vanilla, peas, green beans, carrots, potatoes, turnips, leeks, celeriac, herbes de provence, and schmaltz (that’s rendered chicken fat to all you gentiles out there). i’m proud of this list, but i know better than to get cocky. i know that most babies will eat like goats, but that most toddlers will pick like birds. right now my best plan to combat this picky toddler phenomenon is EXPOSURE. i plan to use this golden time of eat-anythingness to expose sylvie to as many flavors and foods as possible.

tonight travis and i had one of our very favorite meals–roast chicken, roasted potatoes and carrots with butter and herbes de provence, and garlicky sauteed green beans. sylvie ate all of the aforementioned vegetables pureed with schmaltz and warm water. she loved it. i loved watching her love it.

while i cooked, sylvie teethed on a cold green bean and hung out in bed with her daddy.

i love letting her explore food in this way. we’re not doing baby-led weaning per se, but i do let her gum on some whole foods as well as practice spoon feeding herself. we seem to have found our happy medium, and meal times with sylvie at the table are a complete joy. i am so thankful to have this time with my young daughter as i watch her learn and explore her food and her world.


sylvie has been teething for quite some time now. however, we’re still waiting for her first tooth to show itself. in the meantime, we’re handling it with the help of various teethers, hyland’s teething gel, and the occasional bedtime dose of infant tylenol.

our current arsenal:

1. razbaby raz-berry teether
2. bpa free, water filled plastic teether (i don’t remember the brand of this one)
3. baby banana bendable training toothbrush
4. the ever popular sophie the giraffe
5. hand carved wooden teether (a gift from my dear friend, emily)
6. infantino vibrating grape teether

today we added a new item to our lineup–homemade teething biscuits.

the stegosauruses (i totally had to look up the plural of that word) are sweet curry and the manatees are cinnamon vanilla flavored. they were so incredibly easy to make.


1/2 cup organic whole wheat flour
1/2 organic brown rice cereal
1 and 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
a dash of whatever flavoring (if any) you wish to use
ice water

1. preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
2 in a medium bowl mix together flour, rice cereal, and flavoring.
3. slowly stir in the canola oil.
4. add the ice water 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough forms into a ball (it took about 6-7 tablespoons for me).
5. dust your work surface with flour and knead the dough a few times to toughen it up.
6. flour your rolling pin and roll out the dough until it’s 1/2 inch thick.
7. cut into shapes and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.
8. bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.

this recipe makes approximately 6 biscuits. leave them out overnight to harden. they will keep in an airtight container for 2 weeks. i just made them tonight, so we’ll have to wait until tomorrow to test one. i tasted the dough and it wasn’t too bad. i’m also going to try freezing half of a banana for her to gum on. i hope these teeth start to break through soon! on the other hand, i’m going to miss her gummy smile. watching her grow is so bittersweet sometimes.


today is cold. the kind of cold that makes one want to hibernate. we’re talking negative lows and single-digit highs. i had planned to venture out to the store this afternoon to collect some ingredients for dinner. the frigid winter air quickly dashed those plans. we had very little food in our cupboard, but i managed to come up with something pretty delicious. i called it cheater’s chili.

i started with a jar of newman’s own marinara, 2 cans of black beans (rinsed well), some white quinoa, and a cabinet full of freshly organized spices.

i simmered the sauce and beans together for a few minutes while the quinoa cooked on a neighboring burner. to turn italian marinara into a chili base, i threw in a dash of anything usually at home in a chili. this included ancho chili powder, mexican oregano, cumin, dried cilantro, pre-made fajita seasoning, hot sauce, red wine vinegar (to cut the sweetness of the sauce), and a small pinch of cinnamon. the results were surprisingly delicious, especially topped with sour cream. i think this last ditch effort to avoid the cold air may just become a warming winter staple.

sylvie had a leftover puree of pot roast vegetables (carrots, turnips, and potatoes.) this combination is her clear favorite so far. curried peas are a close second.

as you can see, my sweet girl eats her meals in the buff. i’m a big fan of letting her get messy during meals, but was not digging the sudden increase in laundry. this way she gets to explore her food and build the coordination skills to feed herself, and we simply plop her in a bath afterward. messy meals make for the cutest pictures.


GUESS WHAT? my sweet baby girl said MAMA today! she started making M sounds for the first time this afternoon. after a few minutes of that, travis looked her and said MAMA. she said it back, clear as day, TWICE. amazing. my heart is completely full right now.

thank you, sylvie, for making my day LIFE.

what we’ve been up to.

sylvie had a pediatrician appointment this morning. she wore her favorite panda hat for the occasion.

(thanks aunt marsha!) we found out she weighs 14 pounds 11 ounces (that’s almost a pound and a half gained since christmas eve!) and it still holding tight at 25 inches long. developmentally she is doing fantastic. she can bear weight on her legs, sit unsupported for minutes at a time, and has become a pro at mimicking us. the only area in which she is falling behind is tummy time. ever since she learned how to roll from front to back she has avoided tummy time with all of her might. i think we may have figured out a solution.

this is either parenting at its worst or its finest. whatever. she did tummy time for a full 10 minutes without whining or trying to roll over. it’s a new record! i don’t blame her for her aversion to tummy time. why would she want to lay down when she can STAND?

this is blowing my mind right about now! she can STAND with very little support. when in the heck-fire did this happen?!

also, i have a confession to make. with all of the traveling we’ve done lately, we have gotten a little lax with cloth diapering. however, i am happy to report that we’ve started it again! this afternoon’s diaper even matches her outfit.

cloth diapers are great for the environment, friendlier to the tush, and blah blah blah. whatever. they’re stinkin’ CUTE. end of story.

you know what else is stinkin’ CUTE? sylvie does this thing where she puts one finger in her mouth and then looks at me or travis all sweet and dimply.

yeah. it slays me, too.

she is getting funnier and more fun every single day. this month is shaping up to be the best one yet!



the first night of sharing our food with sylvie was a success! as i said in the last post, we had pot roast for dinner tonight. i took some of the carrots, red potatoes, and turnips out of the cooking liquid and pureed them with some vegetable broth and water. she LOVED it. oh my goodness, i could barely get the spoon away from her! after she ate all of it, she lifted her bib to her mouth and licked the rest up. hilarious!

the first thing i learned from feeding sylvie solids is that she does NOT like bland food. when we started plain brown rice cereal she would barely finish a teaspoon of the stuff. so i tried a little experiment. i added a pinch of sweet curry powder to the mixture. she gobbled up almost 2 tablespoons of it right away. it was amazing to the see the difference a little flavor could make. from then on i was sold. the vegetables she had tonight were simmered for 3 hours in wine and broth with various herbs and spices. i’m hoping to work up to the point where i can just puree her food using the cooking liquid. i’m sticking with organic, sodium-free vegetable broth until she gets little older.

so far my sweet girl has been a great little eater. i hope it stays that way through toddlerhood and beyond!

first foods.

tonight sylvie had her first vegetable puree–peas with garlic and sweet curry. she has been eating brown rice cereal once a day for the past two weeks. we added sweet curry powder to the brown rice cereal about a week ago. she LOVED it. we decided it was time to give something green a try. of course, we documented the occasion.

once she got over the surprise of a new taste and texture she hungrily dove toward the spoon, mouth wide open. her positive reaction makes me so happy. we are attempting to raise an adventurous eater. i think the keys to this will be introducing bold flavors early and serving her what we eat. my plan from here on out is to feed her a pureed version of whatever we’re having for dinner. we know she has slight allergy issues with dairy, but other than that nothing is off limits. everyone’s having pot roast tomorrow!

if there are other moms (or dads) out there attempting the same, i highly recommend you read hungry monkey: a food-loving father’s quest to raise an adventurous eater by matthew amster-burton. i’m only 35 pages in and this book has already blown my mind in the best possible way. not only is the writing witty and insightful, it is also practical and includes dozen of recipes. i’m waiting on another book called my two-year-old eats octopus: developing children’s palates so they’ll love to eat everything by nancy tringali piho. i’ll revue it once it gets here. hurry up amazon!

they way i figure it babies grow up all over the world on the foods of their culture from the get go. babies in japan, zimbabwe, and argentina probably don’t eat strained sweet potato for six straight months. they happily eat what is available. i hope the same for my child.