Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Cape Cod Chopped Salad

My friend Laura invited me up for lunch one day last week and served up a variation of this Barefoot Contessa Cape Cod Chopped Salad with a quiche.  It was so delicious that my mom and I made a version we ate for a few days while they were in town for Easter weekend.  Ina nailed this one!  I plan to have this dressing on hand all summer.  

Here is how we made our version:

  • Mixed baby arugula and spring mix (as opposed to all arugula)
  • 1 large honeycrisp apple, chopped (she calls for Granny Smith)
  • 1/2 c. toasted pecans, coarsely chopped (recipe calls for walnuts)
  • 1/2 c. dried cranberries
  • We omitted the bacon and blue cheese.  I may add in protein like bacon or grilled chicken next time if eating as an entree and not a side.

We followed the dressing recipe exactly as Ina describes:
  • 3 tablespoons good apple cider vinegar 
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest 
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice 
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard 
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup 
  • Kosher salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
  • 2/3 cup good olive oil 

In a large bowl, toss together the arugula, apple, nuts, cranberries. 

For the dressing, whisk together the vinegar, orange zest, orange juice, mustard, maple syrup, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and the pepper in a bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. 

Toss the salad with just enough dressing to moisten. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and toss well. Serve immediately. 



Monday, April 21, 2014

DIY birth announcements

In order to save some cash monies (babies are expensive!) and truly make my vision come to life I decided to design my own birth announcements in PowerPoint.  Of course I used my favorite modern calligraphy font, Bombshell Pro, on both the announcements and the envelopes.  On the announcements I also used Copperplate Light font (pre-loaded on my Mac) and added some blue circles for some design interest on the front and back.  I made the little paw print by Olivia's name out of overlapping ovals.  

I bought the cardstock and envelopes from Paper Source and printed them all on my personal printer.  I printed the wallet-sized photos on the front and back from SmugMug.  They have the best quality prints!

Charles' darling bow swaddle was a gift from my mother-in-law and can be found locally at Charlotte's or online on The Beaufort Bonnet Company's website (here).  His is the Buckhead Blue Chambray.  I had it monogrammed with his initials and date of birth here in Raleigh.

Pretty simple and I think it's one of my favorite projects to date!

I can't get enough of this little boy who is 4 weeks old today.  We are so in love with our happy baby!


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!

So thankful we were able to spend Charles' first Easter with all 4 grandparents.  We love you!

More non-baby posts coming soon...


Monday, March 31, 2014

Welcome to the world Charles Benton Otto!

Charles Benton Otto graced us with his presence last Monday, March 24 at 2:30 a.m.  He weighed in at 7 pounds, 13 ounces and was about 20 inches long.  The little guy made his debut 9 days late, but we have already forgiven him!  

He has way lighter hair than we expected and one of the first things everyone notices are his really long fingers -- perhaps we have a little athlete on our hands?  It's safe to say we are already wrapped around his (long) little fingers.

No birth story yet, but here is a photo overload.

Josh has been so incredible -- it's true you totally melt seeing your husband hold your baby.  I didn't know I could possibly love him more, but this last week my heart is about to burst!

One of my best friends, Rachel, came over right when we arrived home from the hospital and I'm so impressed with the professional-like photos she captured.  I'll treasure these forever!

Charles came home in the same outfit Josh left the hospital in 33 1/2 years ago.  Love the giraffe that ties in so nicely with his nursery.

Olivia is extremely fascinated by him and so far has been a great big sister.  If he cries, she desperately tries to alert us. He actually has been pretty mellow and a good sleeper during his first week.

She even tried bringing him one of her toys to pacify him.

I cannot believe he is already a week old!

We are beyond thankful to God for blessing us with this beautiful baby boy.

Thanks so much to all our family and friends who have done so much for us.


Monday, March 17, 2014


Hello!  I'm officially now into week 41 and still pregnant.  I've been a pretty happy-go-lucky pregnant lady, but my patience is running out.  I've tried a lot of the old wives tales and nothing has worked.  I have literally walked miles and miles every single day, eaten pineapple to the point it burned my tastebuds off, tried spicy Mexican, spicy Thai, spicy Chinese (all only induced serious heartburn), consumed many glasses of raspberry tea, eggplant parmesan, wheeled mulch all over our yard 9 months pregnant, had my membranes stripped twice, you name it!  I think I'm drawing the line at Castor Oil, that freaks me out a bit.  If you have any new ideas, feel free to send them my way. 

The dreary weather on a Monday only increased my funk, I said a prayer for patience and decided to make myself some chocolate chip pancakes for dinner and serve it up on my fine china.  This may have been my first craving -- better late than never.  Considering Josh doesn't like breakfast at breakfast time, this was dinner for 1 (well 1.5!).  Sorry, babe.  

I am trying to be very, very thankful that the ultrasound today showed a healthy baby boy.  He will be here soon and I know he will be worth the wait.


Thursday, March 6, 2014

One more baby post

After seeing these highchairs featured at many first birthdays and across Pinterest and blog land, I decided to take the highchair I'd registered for off my registry and start hunting for an old wooden Jenny Lind.  I ended up finding one locally on Craig's List for about $50.  I've gotten safe paint (in BM Hydrangea Blue) and a food safe sealer and plan to work on it during maternity leave (not that the little guy will need it for a while).  Has anyone tackled this project?  Any advice?  I plan to use this as my everyday highchair, not just for birthdays.  I want to find a new strap because that part of it being old really grosses me out.  

I'll report back once I complete it!

Last Thursday evening, we were blessed with another fun baby shower.  My mother-in-law, Jean, graciously open her lovely home and invited family and some of her friends and neighbors over to celebrate Baby Otto.  It was a wonderful evening -- this baby is spoiled already!
(I wish I'd taken more pictures, but here are a few)

The delicious cake from Edible Art matched the invitation (from Charlotte's)

Jean and some of her friends

Thanks to all the ladies who came that night!  I feel very blessed.

I promise not every post will be about babies, but maybe writing about it again tonight (after being a slack blogger!) will get him to come on out.  The spicy food, pineapple, walking, etc. don't seem to be working...