Friday, May 31, 2013

Say Hello to Jessica, Our Last Guest Blogger!

I am so excited to introduce to you our last guest blogger of the month, Jessica, from Jessica Silvius Photography. Jessica and I have bonded over the years through our shared love of food and photography. She, being an amazing photographer and I being a fan of her amazing pictures. I am going to admit to you all now (not that you hadn't noticed already) that most of the photos on HNE are from my...cell phone...GASP! I know! I know! It's quite the injustice to the recipes I share with you, because I don't think it gives you a great idea of what the food should look like in the end. I am confident in the things I do well and I know where I tend to struggle, so I feel no shame in admitting that I've often wished that I could provide my readers with better photos of the recipes I leave here for you. That being said, I am pleased to announce that Jessica will not only be joining us today, as a guest blogger, but she is also joining the Her Name is Ed team indefinitely as our new food stylist and photographer! You are all in for a real treat because Jessica is amazing at what she does. I am so excited to see how this new chapter at HNE will go! I am such a big fan of Jessica's work (I actually just had my very own photo shoot with her last week!) and I know she is going to be such a wonderful addition to the team! So without further ado, please join me in welcoming Jessica to HNE! 

When Eva asked me to guest blog I was super excited, and then panic struck... how do I attempt to explain this humungous topic while still managing to make sense and not write a novel?! So, I decided to approach the basics. Let me give you tools and food for thought to think of when approaching your own food photography - little tips and tricks that help to create effective images. 

A quick blurb on gear: The camera is not going to create the image - you are. That said, don’t go and blow all of your hard earned cash on the latest and greatest professional grade DSLR just for a few food pictures. Learn whatever camera you’ve got. iPhone? That’s fine! I will address the iPhone camera and its uses in 
  • Food photography needs to look appetizing! Food is the product and your image needs to sell it. The goal is to evoke the viewer to action - whether it be going to your restaurant, making your recipe, ordering your edible treats, or simply “pinning” them for future reference - you want your viewer to crave what you are sharing with 
  • Let’s keep it simple. Collections of multiple subjects are hard for anyone to compose well, so it’s best to keep your images clean and simple. Focus on your intended 
  • Lighting. Lighting is your best friend and your worst enemy. Beautiful lighting will make a beautiful image, where bad lighting with harsh shadows or blown-out highlights can ruin an image. Lighting is found both naturally and created 
First Let’s set up. Keeping it simple, I have my kitchen table next to the window letting in the sun. My plate is white with a simple detail around the edge. I am featuring cherry cheesecake with an awesome, thick graham cracker crust. I shot from the kitchen chair pictured. Half the time I was standing on it. Always feel free to move around your subject, it creates more interesting images.

For this first shot [ standing on the chair ] I composed my image looking straight down at the cheesecake. Perfectly centered images are generally uninteresting, so photographers rely on the Rule of Thirds. This “rule” requires you to imagine a tic-tac-toe grid in your frame of view and then you place your subject’s focus on one of the points.

Now to add some more creative techniques. Shooting with shallow depth of field essentially focuses on the image closest to you and then blurs out the background. A lower f-stop designates this technique on your camera. If you are able to set your f-stop, set it down to 5.6 or lower. If you your camera doesn’t have adjustable settings, no problem. At the end I’ll show you how to achieve a shallow depth of field with your iPhone. 

This image combined shooting at a shallow depth of field and adding artificial lighting to my natural window light. I flipped on my overhead kitchen light and placed an external flash unit in my kitchen to the left. [ No flash unit? Try a lamp or a flashlight ] This filled the image with more light and allows us to see the bite of cheesecake perfectly. Also, creatively by adding the fork and displaying a bite, we are still able to see our subject, but in the way it is intended to be used. We are showing the viewer how wonderful it is to eat. =)

Now let’s get a little more creative. Don’t forget that photography is truly an art form, use it to express the mood and feel you want your subject to evoke. In this case I was thinking about late morning breakfast, you know the time when you figure dessert is perfectly acceptable for breakfast because it has fruit in it? 

To create that feel and mood I placed my flash unit behind the cheesecake and stayed next to the window with the overhead light on. The flash created a fill light reminiscent of the bright sunlight coming through windows in the morning. Every image has a story, use creative techniques to create yours.

Finally some iPhone pictures. Instagram has revolutionized the “food pic”. I encourage you to not have just “another” Instagram food shot though! Yes, I use filters, I crop and I edit, but if you compose a well thought out image right off the bat, your food pictures will have much more impact. 

For this first iPhone photo, I tried using just the window light, but it was a bit dark for the iPhone, so I just flipped back on the kitchen light. Composed off center, overhead perception, no edits needed.

For this second iPhone photo I wanted to show you the great depth of field capability iPhone has. The last photo had a wide depth of field - everything was in focus. That is how most iPhone photos start out. So for this one I simply grabbed a bite and touched the iPhone screen where I wanted the focus, on the bite on the fork. This blurred out the rest of the image and puts the viewers focus on the tasty bite. I cropped this to fit the Instagram square, but you can avoid cropping images to squares by using apps like Squaready and Afterlight. 

I hope this has proven to be helpful, and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to post in the comments below!

About me: I met Eva a few years ago though my significant other, Evan. They had been friends for years and years. Eva and her husband Mike, have proven to be amazing friends to Evan and I. We’ve had lots of fun together over the years including some pretty memorable dinner parties. I have a minor in photography from Northern Arizona University and a BSBA in marketing. I love it. I love to combine my business side with my creative side and sprinkle my love of food, wine, people and the outdoors in between. I moved back to the Central Coast of California this week from Arizona! I am so excited to be back and enjoy summer in SLO county. ☼♡

You can visit my website here: which includes links to my blogPinterest boards, Instagram and Facebookpage. In addition to food photography, I have fallen head over hills for portrait photography. If you would like to schedule a shoot, do not hesitate to shoot me a message! 
xo, Jessica

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Welcoming Sumi, our 3rd guest blogger & A delicious goat cheese salad recipe!

When I was searching for guest bloggers, I initially assumed I would only solicit people I knew who were also bloggers. But then I thought...why?

Certainly there are people out there with hidden writing talents and knowledge to share. Then I thought of Sumi and how she has been keeping me on track for the last month. Urging me to work and out and sharing all her exercise tips with me, and I thought she would be the perfect person to write about keeping a healthy routine when you're always on the go. Some weeks Sumi has to work 4 12hr shifts in a row- and every 3 months those shifts are graves, so if she can find the time to work out and prepare healthy meals, so can we! Unfortunately, Sumi doesn't have a blog/site for you to visit YET, but who knows...we might encourage her to give it a try!

Here's Sumi!

Hi All, my name is Sumi. I’m 27 and from Southern California born and raised. I met Eva through my boyfriend, Steve, who happens to be very good friends with Eva’s husband. Eva and I, though we haven’t had much time to hang out with each other yet, hit it off almost instantly and have chatted each other up tons of times by now. I have absolutely loved the fact that she’s a chef. I have enjoyed seeing the meals she has come up with or prepared because I am not even remotely creative or skilled when it comes to cooking. I’m also very flattered that she is letting me be a guest blogger! So here are some real life diet and exercise tips I've used for staying healthy.

Sumi's Diet and Exercise Tips:

*Make realistic weight loss/health goals and stick to them!

*Stop making excuses, you're health should be a top priority.
*Plan a "splurge" day during the week.
*Vary the intensity of your work outs, if you know today is your splurge day, plan a longer/harder workout.
*Last month Eva told you about accountability partners, get one! Nothing keeps you on track better than knowing you'll have to check in with a peer at the end of the week. Also, the encouragement is sometimes all the positive reinforcement you need till that you start shedding pounds.
*You don't need to be a gourmet Chef to make healthy meals. Your meals should look something like this: 50% veggies, 25% lean protein and 25% complex carbohydrates. I am not very good at following recipes so I sometimes get inspiration from recipes I stumble upon on Pintrest!

First off, let’s define healthy. Healthy, for any person, is not based upon a strict set of parameters. This means, just because your best friend is 5’1’’ and 110 pounds, it doesn’t mean you, at 5’6’’, should weigh at 110 pounds as well. You need to figure out what is healthy for your height and body type. According to a Weight Watcher’s support website that calculates the ideal weight for women, a 5’6’’ woman with even a small frame should not weigh less than 120 pounds. 

Click here to find you "ideal" weight. Remember that this is only a tool to aid you in over-all health. You should always consult a physician when it comes to your individual weight loss goals. 

You also need to consider things like cholesterol, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and overall what you need to make you feel great from the inside out. The healthier you are on the inside, the healthier you will be on the outside. So let’s discuss how to feed yourself foods that make you feel great on the inside and out!

So, I love food. A lot. I also don’t believe in starving or punishing yourself for the sake of health, beauty, fitness, etc. However, being more aware of what you’re putting into yourself really puts things into perspective. So first off, I will sometimes calorie count. Just so I know how many calories I’m putting into my body. Doing this for a week or two really puts things into perspective and causes you to start thinking about how you can change your diet. For example, are you craving chocolate? How about you grab some strawberries instead? One piece of dark chocolate is around 27 calories as opposed to one small strawberry, which is 2 calories.

All of this info I got from which has a lot of nifty calorie counting tools for you. So at 2 calories a piece, you can a ton more strawberries than you can chocolate while satisfying your urge for something sweet. So supplementing one potential unhealthy food choice for a healthy one can do wonders for you. Plus, simply cutting down on portion size a bit can greatly improve your health, inside and out. If you’re feeling too sluggish and heavy from eating too much, you’re not very likely to be active. So eat well, eat just a tiny bit less (no starving yourself), and try to be more active!

Now onto an easy salad that I eat frequently. As a general rule, I try to eat something green every day. Most days, a salad works, but a simple green salad can get very boring. A little lettuce and some dressing does not cut it for me. I also like things to be on a light sweet side. So I figured out how to make a light summer salad that is super easy. I get all of my ingredients from Fresh and Easy, which really is super fresh and easy. Anyway, I always go for the herb salad mix because I like the way the herbs taste. It makes the salad interesting and fresh. I also like to add in some walnuts (instead of croutons) and goat cheese because I’m obsessed with cheese and goat cheese has less fat and more protein that cow's milk cheeses. Plus, goat cheese is plain delicious! Nice and creamy, and won’t overpower the rest of the flavors in your salad. Anyway, I also mentioned I like something sweet. So I add dried cranberries and top it off with a tasty, yet zesty raspberry vinaigrette dressing. This is a super simple salad that is not only tasty, but filling and healthy. 

Add grilled lean steak or chicken for added protein, you can eat this as a main meal.

Add fresh fruit like apples, grapes, raspberries, orange segments or strawberries.
Replace the goat cheese for low fat blue cheese, careful with your serving sizes! 
Try herbed goat cheese.
Replace the walnuts with slivered almonds.

I usually throw together salads based upon on what I feel tastes better rather than following a recipe, that being said, here's a super easy raspberry vinaigrette recipe that anyone can make. This recipe yeilds around 2 1/2 cups and keeps in the fridge...well I couldn't really say. We mow through this stuff pretty fast!

Here's the recipe for the raspberry vinaigrette, Enjoy!

1 cup fresh or thawed frozen raspberries
1/2 cup apple cider or red wine vinegar
3/4 cup mild flavored olive oil
1 tbsp Dijon mustard (optional, but it makes a nice smooth emulsion)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in your blender until smooth. The contents should reach a nice pale pink color. Taste and correct seasonings, strain to remove seeds and serve with salad greens or use as a marinade for chicken, pork and steak.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

993 all time blog views! And a free cookie give-away!

I literally BLINKED and we were on the brink of crossing the 1000 views mark. Holy Moly you guys (and gals).

I cannot tell you enough how humbled I am, this is amazing! To show my gratitude I will be offering a FREE box of my all time favorite cookies from The Brown Butter Cookie Company in Cayucos,CA to the next 7 people who start following Her Name Is Ed. Let's get those blog views over 1000!

All you need to do to win, is hit "Join This Site", it's that little blue button just to the right of this post, then you'll need to leave a comment on your favorite post so far! The first 7 people to do this will receive a box of amazingly delicious cookies from The Brown Butter Cookie Company. I will post up the winners next Thursday when I post the newest blog from guest blogger Sumi Kato.

Hmm, giving away free cookies on the same day our guest blogger will talk to us about diet and fitness? Oh dear..well, everything in moderation, right?

Mike and I fell in love with these salted brown butter morsels a few years ago, right around the time we moved to the Central Coast. Back then they only had their original flavor, mocha, chocolate chip, peanut butter and lemon sugar cookie. Since then they have added  espresso, bourbon, chocolate mint, key lime coconut (which were in Mikes stocking last Christmas!) citrus brown butter,  and many many more. Be careful though, if you do win, because these things are capital "A" Addictive! Now, I have tried and tried and tried to make these at home and in time I will likely share some of those recipes with you, but they have never come out like BBCC. I don't know what I am doing wrong and no matter how much I beg ask they will not tell me their secrets. They are delightfully crisp, a subtle crunch really, and they are the perfect balance of sweet and savory. That little sprinkling of sea salt over the top takes them, well...over the top. There is that warm nuttiness from the brown butter that is unlike any other flavor and I think that is the real secret, how they brown the butter. (Did I mention they SHIP?)

I cannot wait to see where you all leave your comments, I am curious to see which post has been your favorite! Alright ladies and gent's let the games begin!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Welcome Jenn, From Life Behind The Uniform

**Jenn and I have been partner in crime for about 5 years, in that time she has been a dear friend, sister & former roommate to both Mike and I. Her nickname around here is Sunshine, because she always seems to be in a wonderful cheerful mood and it's seriously contagious. She moved away about a year ago and bought her first home with her husband Gabriel in Colorado. Read about her journey as a military spouse on her blog Life Behind The Uniform.
While we miss her immensely, I love reading her blog and I love hearing where she's eaten lately. As a military wife she has been able to travel all around the US enjoying some of the best foods in the Country. One thing I've figured out about Jenn over the years is that whenever she says something like "Oh my gosh I just ate at the most amazing place," she is not kidding! So, Take out a pen and paper or bookmark this page for reference! You WILL want to check some of these places out after tonight, I promise!**

Hello friends!
I am so excited to be a guest blogger for one of my very best friends, Eva! Initially, I thought I would just blog about food in the different places I've traveled to, and I will, but first, I wanted to give a little background and insight into living a military life.

A tearful goodbye, one of many we will share throughout the years. Funny how the "goodbye" photos
 look so much like the "hello" ones. 
Here's a little bit about me: I am a military wife currently stationed in Colorado Springs, Colorado. My husband and I are originally from the Central Coast of California, and have been together since our years in high school. We got married two years ago with the beautiful Pacific Ocean as our backdrop... holy moly, I miss the ocean! Over three years ago now, my husband decided to serve his country and join the Army. It's been quite an incredible experience thus far, and I know Uncle Sam has many more wonderful things in store for us. Don't get me wrong, the military is great, but can be completely frustrating. My husband is married to the military, and I am his wife, but we are so blessed with the opportunities we've been able to experience together. We meet friends that we would never have known, we see places that we never would have gotten to see, and we have a head-start in life that many people our age will not get. But most of all, we are starting off our life together with complete love and appreciation for our time with one another.

Ever since hubbs joined the Army, I travel a lot. Admittedly, because my husband has been on down time, meaning his required amount of time back in the states before he can redeploy, most of our traveling is going back home to visit family; however, prior to my husband deploying, I was quite the frequent flyer who depended entirely on Skype and countdowns. I counted down the days until I would get to fly out to South Carolina to watch him graduate BCT (basic combat training) at Fort Jackson. From there, I counted down the days until he graduated AIT (advanced individual training) in San Antonio, Texas for his job as a combat medic. Countdowns kept me sane and helped me to realize that "see ya laters" were just that. Every time we had to say goodbye to one another, we would be sad, of course, but he would leave and we could count down to our next hello.

Then come the deployments. This life isn't for everyone; not everyone is expected to wish an entire year of their life would just speed by. It's crazy to think that. Right? Sometimes, in those moments, I wished my life had a fast-forward button; just skip the boring junk and get to the juicy part! No such luck though. Those are the true moments when I realized HOW FREAKING SLOW A YEAR GOES BY. Then come the reunions, and each first glance I see him after weeks or months of no communication... nothing compares. It sounds silly saying "each first glance," but every military spouse knows exactly what I mean. It's like seeing them for the first time and falling in love all over again. And when it's finally your moment, and you can finally hug them, kiss them, hold them, and touch them. That's what we wait for. To know that they're real, they're standing there, and they're safe. With you. That's why I wait, and there is truly no greater feeling.

Thanks to hubbs being sent various places, I've had the opportunity to go places I never could have pictured, and the food has been a main drawing point in wanting to go back and visit again (aside from nostalgia, of course)! When I went back to South Carolina, I tried my first Waffle House.

Now, laugh all you want, but the experience has stuck with me. The mannerisms and true "southern charm" of the kitchen and waitstaff have been completely unmatched. I haven't experienced anything like it since! Most of our time was spent on post, so we ate at the PX (Post Exchange) where mostly fast food like Subway, Burger King, Pizza Hut, etc. is served. I wish we could have gone out and experienced more of the culture and cuisine of Columbia, but we had less than 48 hours to fit it all in! We will definitely go back someday to see Myrtle Beach and eat at Luigi's Trattoria.

In Texas, we spent most of the time at the River Walk in San Antonio. Because hubb's training post, Fort Sam Houston, was about a ten minute drive from downtown, we found that exploring downtown was the most fun. The River Walk, for those who may not have ever heard of it, is a beautiful stretch of the city where the river runs parallel to many stores, restaurants, and hotels. It's a wonderful spot to explore and the food we had at Barriba Cantina was a definite favorite.

Being from California, I love Mexican food, and this place didn't disappoint. After we were done with our food, we walked up a few flights of stairs, crossed the street, and got to see the historic part of town.

We got to see the Alamo, HemisFair Park, the Emily Morgan Hotel, and so many other historical landmarks. We spent some time briefly in Austin where I had my first experience with Cheesecake Factory. Is it terrible that I just started drooling? I'll just admit right now that their Red Velvet Cheesecake is probably the greatest dessert I've ever had. Granted, I do love cheesecake and I'm addicted to all things red velvet, so I may have been a bit biased. Because we were being tourists in San Antonio, we didn't get time to fully experience the local favorites, so we already have an upcoming trip planned to experience another aspect of the city. That's the great thing about having a ton of friends in the military, when they PCS (permanent change of station), meaning when they are relocated to another post, we have more places to travel to and friends to greet us when we get there!

From Texas, hubbs was stationed at Fort Carson. I would make trips out as often as possible since he was allowed to have freedoms he couldn't have while in BCT and AIT. My first time out here was for Thanksgiving 2010. Hubbs picked me up from Denver International Airport around 21:00 and had to find a place that was open for a Thanksgiving feast. The only place we could find? A Denny's near my hotel, but we made the best of it and had some pumpkin pie with our pancakes. Since we've bought a house here, we decided to take in the full experience of the city of Colorado Springs. My favorite places so far are:
Arharn Thai, a delicious and authentic Thai restaurant. The cuisine here is so yummy, and you can't beat the price! Their Thai Tea and Pad See Yew are completely addicting.

Nosh, an upscale and artistic dining adventure that emphasizes social connections and innovative food options. Located in downtown Colorado Springs, Nosh is the perfect place for a night out on the town.
Melting Pot, an ingenious fondue restaurant that provides all of their customers a fantastic time. The food here is 100% ridiculous, and the total experience is classy, innovative, and fun. Plus, who doesn't love fondue??

The Broadmoor, a classic and ritzy hotel that is famous for its great golf, food, and hotel accommodations. For experience, I can tell you that their restaurant, Summit, is top-notch. Although expensive, the food, drinks, and all around atmosphere are without equal. If I could afford to eat here every day, I just might.

The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs
While my hubbs was in Afghanistan, he tried all the Afghan cuisine one would ever hope to have in their lifetime. He's told me stories and shown me photos of freshly killed goats (a main meat source there) hanging in doorways, covered in bugs, waiting for people to buy it for dinner. To maintain relations, he would eat with the Afghani citizens where a normal meal was a goat skewer. Most of the time, the chunks of goat meat were over-cooked, over-salted, and were separated on the skewer with large chunks of goat fat. To water it down, he was given Chai tea. Just to show how terrible the food was, my hubbs hates Chai, but he would gulp it down if given the chance there.
I'll write about his ventures another time, but to contrast what he ate while on deployment was necessary for my next location....

As a post-deployment reward to ourselves, we saved up money for a spectacular second honeymoon in Maui, Hawaii. My favorite food in the islands is the fresh, juicy, ridiculously delicious pineapple. In fact, I want one right now... Unfortunately, where I am, it's snowing IN MAY and there isn't an ocean in sight. Boo. Anyway, Hubbs absolutely loves seafood, having grown up with an uncle who owns three remarkable seafood restaurants called Dockside, Dockside Too, and the newly opened Dockside 3, in Morro Bay, California, he is always partial to trying seafood in other places. In Lahaina, where we stayed for our ten days on the island, we frequented various local food joints. I wish we lived closer because I crave those places all the time! Our favorite place, by far, was the Hula Grill, a beach-front restaurant where the sandy floor meets the sea. We were able to take off our flip flops, dig our toes in the sand, hear live music, and smell the ocean all while enjoying fresh Mai Tais, local beers, Macadamia Nut slaw, butterfly coconut shrimp, and Mahi Mahi sandwiches.

Are YOU drooling yet?? Another great place was Ohana Tacos. Being a small, hole-in-the-wall spot was an advantage for this place. With a small menu, the owner and his family are able to run this place very efficiently and food comes out quickly. I tried my first Alambres, a dish with carne asada, chorizo, onions, bell pepper, and cheese with the usual sides of rice and beans. Talk about a life changer. While in Maui, we attended the Sheraton Kaanapali Sunset Luau at Black Rock and feasted on the normal Luau favorites: Kalua Pork, Lomi Lomi Salmon, Grilled Steak, Sauteed Mahi Mahi with Macadamia Nuts & Capers, Steamed Sweet Potatoes, and delicious coffee with our desserts. Of course we both tried Poi and hated it. I try it every time I go to a luau hoping that somehow it will get better... it never does. Finally, we went on a dinner cruise aboard the Quicksilver where we enjoyed an open bar, prime rib, macadamia nut crusted Mahi Mahi, endless fresh fruit, and chocolate cake. Ah, the island life.

Since we're still young, I know there are so many other places for us to see and explore. On my list of places I've never been but hope to go are Australia, Italy, Greece, Switzerland, Dominican Republic, Germany, France, New York, Florida, Costa Rica, England, and Egypt. If you would like to contribute to our vacation fund, I'll repay you in photos and great stories (Kidding... mostly)! Until next time, friends!



Sunday, May 12, 2013

TTC Update

Hey All,

Here's a very quick update on the TTC front.

In April, after doing some research and consulting with our doctor, Mike and I decided to try our first round of ovulation induction.

I started a course of clomid on May 1st. The side effects were shorter much milder than I'd anticipated (read too many horror stories online!) and I was able to continue my daily responsibilities while on the medication.

So, if you're not familiar with the sort of "schedule" during ovulation induction there is a lot of charting, testing and scheduling involved. If you do not get a menstrual cycle you start off with a prescription for Provera which should give you your period. Somehow, out of no where and after 6 months of no cycle I got one right before we were to start the Clomid. Fate? I sure hope so! While the side effects were certainly not as bad as I figured they'd be, I was very uncomfortable during the entire treatment. I experienced hot flashes, dry mouth, epic and I mean EPIC mood swings, and a little cramping. For me, the hot flashes were the worst of it, for was the weeping and the whining. Poor guy.

So after a menstrual cycle you start a the Clomid on day 5. You take this until day 10 of your cycle and then check for ovulation during days 12-19. Obviously there is a lot of...ehem...intimate times during days 12-19. The point is to make a baby yes? Yes.

I was instructed to test myself for ovulation and days 12-15 all came back negative for an LH surge. It was discouraging, after all we went through during the week on Clomid, it looked like the meds weren't working.

Victory! In the form of two consecutive positive results for LH Surge. 

It was a VERY happy day on day 16 when our first test came back positive for an LH surge! Finally we get some good news! Sooo, now you can understand why I have had to be MIA this month. We are hoping for some even better news later this month so cross your fingers.

It was a long shot that the Clomid would work and yet here we are! So I am very hopeful and very excited about the future.

Thank You all for the continued support and well wishes!

5/16/2013 UPDATE: 
Had a doctors appointment yesterday to follow up after the first round of Clomid. The Dr. says everything is looking good and she was thrilled that we saw some LH Surges on the OPK. We are in the 2 week wait window now and we are a bundle of  nerves. My Dr. (Dr. P) gave us a bunch of lab paperwork just in case this round didn't work. She thinks we should get a better idea of what could be causing the Anovulation. At this point we don't really know what is going on, but now that we know I can ovulate, we need to check some other things. I am nervous because some of these tests do not, at all, sound like fun. Especially the one that checks for blockages in your Fallopian tubes...No. No thanks. Our test date (for pregnancy) is the 23rd. I appreciate ALL sorts of prayers and well wishes (the ladies on the TTC forums would say "baby dust"). 
I remain hopeful, look for an update soon,
thanks again to you all!!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Welcome Angela, from Sing Dance Play Learn, to H.N.E!

**Here she is ladies and gentlemen. Allow Angela to share with you, this great gluten free muffin recipe that is perfect for baking with the kiddos! This is a recipe I am particularly fond of because I have a real sensitivity to gluten but I looove baked goods, especially with cream cheese frosting! I'd never tried a frosting like this without at least a pound of powered sugar, but I was both surprised and delighted with the results. It has a rich tanginess that works exceptionally well with the slightly sweet, nutty flavors of the muffin. We enjoyed them with tea and fruit for breakfast, but I bet they would go just as well with a nice cup of coffee as well. Even Mike, with his super sweet tooth didn't miss any of the added processed sugar!** 

When Eva invited me to be a guest on Her Name is Ed I knew this recipe was what I wanted to share.
Eva and I met through a mutual friend some years ago. We have a background in child development and a love of food in common. While cooking and working with children are very different interests, they do compliment each other quite well.

Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting was one of my favorite treats growing up. My mom’s recipe was wholesome and delicious. Whole-wheat flour, honey, crunchy, sweet carrots… Today, it’s one of the few things I really miss since going gluten-free.

Needless to say, I was super excited when I stumbled across a gluten-free carrot cupcake recipe. I thought about the changes I would make and decided to turn my carrot cake craving into a baking activity with my daycare kids. 

With Easter on the way, the timing was perfect. The kids eventually dubbed the cupcakes “Easter Bunny Cupcakes,” but they are in no way limited to Easter time. I see this recipe as a great choice for holidays, birthdays or  tea time.

I love this particular recipe because it has simple, real ingredients and is free of processed sugar. It’s a treat that doesn’t send the kids bouncing off the walls and is more carb-friendly than traditional cupcakes. 

Preparing food can teach kids so much. Besides the concept of how food is made and where it comes from, they learn about measurement, math and literacy. Pouring and stirring develop motor skills. The process can be (almost) as exciting as the feasting afterwards.

As luck would have it, it started to rain the day I planned to make the cupcakes. What a perfect time for baking! I assembled the ingredients and everyone washed their hands before coming to the table. The kids took turns measuring the ingredients and stirring it all together. Then we popped them in the oven and went off to play.

The house soon smelled amazing and we were all getting hungry. We decided to make the frosting while the cupcakes cooled.

Next, I set out a butter knife, a bowl of frosting, a bowl of coconut, and a cupcake for each child. I decided to give each child her own assembly materials rather than use communal bowls as we did when we made bee-bim bop. The main reason I did this was to limit germ sharing – a lot of finger licking has to be expected when frosting is involved.

Spreading the frosting just right was hard work. Sprinkling the coconut on at the end was just plain fun. There was some experimentation to see how much coconut would stick on the cupcake.

Once the cupcakes were just right we all dug in. They were both tasty and beautiful.

Gluten Free Carrot Cupcakes (adapted from the Carrot Cake Cupcakes recipe on Elana’s Pantry.)

Makes about 10 cupcakes

Preheat the oven to 350°
1 ½ c blanched almond flour or meal
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp cinnamon
3 eggs
2 Tbls safflower oil
¼ c honey
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ c grated carrots
1. Combine almond four, salt, baking soda and cinnamon in a large bowl.
2. In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, oil, honey and vanilla.
3. Stir the carrots into the wet ingredients.
4. Combine the carrot mixture with the dry ingredients.
5. Scoop a heaping ¼ c. of batter into each cup of a lined muffin tin.
6. Pop in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes.

Mom’s Cream Cheese Frosting  

8 oz cream cheese
¼ c honey
 ½ tsp vanilla extract
shredded coconut to sprinkle on top

1. Mix the cream cheese, honey and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth.
2. Spread frosting on cooled cupcakes.
3. Sprinkle coconut on top.


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Our First Guest Blogger and A Mothers Day Muffin Recipe

MAY! Oh, boy...that was fast.

Really? I need to check the calendar, gimme a sec....

Yeah,'s May.

I have no idea how that happened. I am trying to remember the last time the months have crept up on me quite like they have this year. Maybe it's because we've had such an incredible whirlwind of a year so far. Between Europe, the restaurant, Mikes new assignment at work and fertility craziness, I think this is the first lull in activity we've had (and it's going to be short lived because we have some BIG news coming soon, NO, it's not a baby...yet).

So, for all these reasons I have decided to take a small break. A few weeks to get some stuff in order around here. "Here," meaning around our home and around this blog. I have so many ideas, new blog posts, recipes, crafts and so on, that I want to share with you all. I just need a minute or two to get it all worked out, you deserve my best, don't you know.

I will be leaving you in the very capable hands of four wonderful ladies who will share with you, their very individual passions and know how. Every Thursday this month you will meet one of them and the first up to bat is Angela.
Chris and Angela posing for the camera on our most recent camping trip in the Big Sur area. 

Angela owns a family day care center in Santa Cruz. I met her, and her husband Chris a few years ago through a mutual friend on a camping trip in Yosemite. It's apparent, pretty much immediately, when you meet Angela that she is one of the sweetest people you will ever know. She is incredibly patient (wrangling a dozen "grown ups" for our various camping trips over the years, she HAS to be patient), nurturing and maternal. I love being around her because I instantly feel calm and taken care of. It's an invaluable skill set for dealing with adults and even more so for dealing with children.

Heading out for Half Dome back in 2008, our first camping trip together was a blast! 

The fact that Angela can COOK with a center full of children in the way that she does is amazing. As a former nanny I can tell you, it is so hard not to want to control the children. Reminding yourself that cooking with kids, like most art related activities, is about the process and not the's not something that comes very naturally to me. However, cooking touches on so many different developmental areas for children, so it makes perfect sense that Angela would incorporate it into the daily activities of her center. And I am glad she did, because that makes her the perfect person to share this delicious gluten free muffin recipe with us, that you must can make with your kids. Perhaps the husbands and sons out there reading this will be inspired to bake some of these delicious muffins and treat the mothers in their lives to a wonderful breakfast in bed? Eh?

Here's Angela!!