April and May, in photos

I am so constantly amazed that you can take such lovely images with an iPhone!  I’ve got a beautiful bunch of peonies gracing my yard right now and it never ceases to make my day when I catch a glimpse of them.  I’ve been running around like a crazy person for the past few weeks – celebrating several Baby Showers, training for my first Half Marathon (four weeks away!), fundraising for the New York Marathon (yay Fred’s Team!), and getting into some serious yoga.

Here’s a little summary in photos of my past few weeks:

Baby Showers…

Planting herbs…

Running…

Fundraising for Fred’s Team…

Yoga!  I’m learning to handstand, among other things.

 

 

Book Themed Baby Shower: Spinach & Pancetta Quiche/Green Eggs and Ham

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green eggs and ham

This was a divine quiche.  Divine, I tell you.  I took a pretty standard Quiche Lorraine recipe and tweaked it just a bit to suit my “green eggs and ham” idea, and it was definitely one of the stars of the baby shower.  There was but one tiny slice left, and the expectant Mama requested the leftovers, so I didn’t get to bring a crumb of it home with me.  Sigh.  But not to worry, I’m planning a repeat of it this very weekend. 

 

Spinach and Pancetta Quiche

Adapted from SmittenKitchen

Crust: (see note)*

1 1/4 cups flour
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
Salt
6 tablespoons butter, diced
1 egg

Filling:

2 cups spinach (I used a whole bag of Publix baby spinach)
3/4 cup diced shallot (2-4 depending on the size)
3 eggs
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sour cream
Pinch nutmeg
Pinch pepper
1 1/2 cups diced pancetta (about ½ pound, or a little more.)
3/4 cup grated cheese**

Heat a large sauté pan over med heat. Cook pancetta until just barely starting to brown and some of the fat has rendered, then add the onions and cook over low heat until the pancetta is nicely browned and shallots are caramelized, occasionally stirring, about 20-30 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch and one-fourth teaspoon salt. Cut the butter in with a pastry blender, fork or fingers until it is in very tiny bits. Add one egg and mix it until a dough forms. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a 12-inch circle. Place the dough in a 9-inch pie plate and press to remove any air bubbles. Crimp the edges, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

While the quiche shell chills, mix the heavy cream and sour cream in a medium bowl. Whisk in the remaining three eggs. Add a pinch each nutmeg, salt and pepper and combine to form a batter. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Remove the quiche shell from the refrigerator and spread the pancetta and shallot mixture evenly over the base. Spread spinach over this,then sprinkle evenly with cheese. Pour in the batter and place the quiche in the oven.  Bake until puffed and golden, about 30-40 minutes.  Remove from the oven and cool slightly on a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

* If you have a favorite pie crust recipe, then feel free to use it.  Or a frozen one would be just as good and save some time. 

**I used a mixture of cheddar and another mild hard cheese (BellaVitano Espresso from Publix) that I had laying around, but you can use gruyere, swiss, or anything else you like and it would be just as good. So I’ll leave it up to you. 

 

Book Themed Baby Shower

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I’ve been dying to tell you all about this, because, quite frankly, it was awesome.  This is the third shower I’ve hosted with this group of ladies, and we are a great team.  We’ve sorted out our particular talents so that each of us is doing something we’re good at, and also that we enjoy…it really makes for one heck of a shower when you have such amazing co-hosts. The book theme was really fun and easy to work with, and we were able to coordinate all the food, games, and decor with no trouble at all.  My co-host with the Cricut (such an amazing device!  I want one!) made the banner above, as well as the tissue paper Hungry Hungry Caterpillar, and the clothesline for the  gifts was her idea as well.  Another friend (the adorable young man below belongs to her) came up with some children’s book trivia games for us (I didn’t win.  I was actually sad about that, but then, I don’t read a lot of children’s books these days…), and our fourth co-host made us some lovely invitations, of which I have no photo…but they were made to coordinate with our banner (above) and you can rest assured, they were adorable.  Your truly was responsible for the food, and I can’t even tell you how much fun I had with it.  Everything I made was meant to go with one of the books and here’s the list:

Green Eggs and Ham – Spinach and Pancetta Quiche

Goodnight Moon – Homemade Moonpies

Give a Mouse a Cookie – assorted cookies, including Homemade Oreos, Espresso Chocolate Chip Shortbreads, Sugar, and Chocolate Chip (not made by me, but I will be telling you about them, because they have a secret ingredient that is Killer)

The Tale of Peter Rabbit – Carrot Cupcakes

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs – Baked Chicken Meatballs

The Very Hungry Caterpillar – fruit Kebabs

We also had Lemon-Berry Punch, which was a Martha Stewart recipe and came out quite well.  I’ve already share the meatball recipe with you, and I will be sharing the rest of them over the next week.  The carrot cupcake recipe came from (where else?) SmittenKitchen, and I’ll just direct you over to her site for the recipe.  As usual with Deb’s recipes, they turned out wonderfully – moist, tender, and tasty.  I did pipe wee carrots on top of them, and I was quite proud of how they looked, since I usually have no great gift for decorating.  Please do email, or comment, if you have any questions about any of our decor or the theme, etc.  We had so much fun being creative with it, but it took a few skype brainstorming sessions and quite a bit of time on Pinterest for us to put all of our ideas to solid plans and then to reality.  For now, enjoy some photos of the happy Mama-to-be, and be sure to check back in a day or two for the recipes!

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