Thursday, February 28, 2013

Easy Japanese Curry

I've made this curry a few times before and I like that you can either make it vegetarian or add your meat of choice.  It's healthy, easy, and a good go-to recipe when you don't know what to make for dinner!


1 lb meat (I like using chicken breast or tofu)
4 medium potatoes, diced
3 carrots, halved and sliced

1 cup celery, sliced on a diagonal
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups chicken broth
5 Tbsp vegetable oil, divided
1/4 cup flour
4 Tbsp curry powder
1 tsp chili powder (optional)
2 tsp salt (or to taste)


In a large pot, heat 2 Tbsp of vegetable oil. Saute onion and garlic until softened, then add the meat (if using tofu, add with chicken broth).
Add the carrots and potatoes, stir a few times, and then add the chicken broth.
Bring to a boil, and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
While the meat and veggies are cooking, make a roux out of the remaining 3 Tbsp oil and the flour.  Heat oil in a medium skillet until shimmering. Over low-medium heat, add flour and stir, cooking until the flour is blended and takes on a pale golden hue.
Add curry powder and chili powder, using the back of the spatula to blend it into the roux. The mixture will be powdery and dry.
Take 1/2 cup of the hot liquid from the meat pot and slowly add it to the curry-roux mixture, stirring constantly to form a smooth paste.
By spoonfuls, add the curry paste back to the beef mixture, stirring to dissolve.
Add salt to taste.
Simmer the curry for 20-30 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and the beef and vegetables are tender.
Serve curry over brown rice in shallow bowls. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Toddler Shoe Shopping

Now that Leah is walking it's been a good excuse for me to do even more shoe shopping :)  It was hard for me to find shoes that would stay on her feet, be comfortable for her, while being cute at the same time.  Here are some of my fave purchases:  

Tsukihoshi - These little gold shoes are lightweight, supportive and the insole has an anti-bacterial lining!

Converse - Who doesn't own a pair of chucks?  These were a must buy for Leah, and they stay put!

Stride Rite - I originally bought these maryjanes for Leah to wear at her 1 year birthday party, but they've been great everyday shoes as well!  They even stayed on during our "mock" easter egg hunt in our backyard today...

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Playdate + Dateday

It's warm and sunny out in February?  There's no better way to enjoy this weather than a playdate at the park with friends and a dateday with my hubby in the city.  

My friend took these pictures, didn't she do a fantastic job?  I need to take some photography lessons from her...

And here are some pictures from my date lunch with the hubs.  We tried out a new pizzeria in our old Russian Hill neighborhood called Gioia.  We shared a refreshing chicory salad with avocado, radish, blood orange and pistachios (I'm going to attempt to recreate this at home).    

Next we had the salsiccia pizza with house made sicilian sausage, pecorino and pickled peppers.  Yum!

We were so full we took a walk around the block then got some vanilla, nutella and walnut froyo at Loving Cup :)

I hope this weather is here to stay!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Easter, already?

In case you didn't know, Easter is on March 31st this year.  Seems much earlier this year.  That just means I need to get started on my DIY decorations and Easter baskets!  Here are some images I pinned today...

1.  Felt Carrots - Fill these with jelly beans and they'd be a cute addition to any Easter basket!

2.  Chick Cake Pops - I've been dying to use the cake pop maker I received during the Holidays and I think my first batch will have to be these adorable little chicks!

3.  Yarn Egg Wreath - I just took my Valentine's Day wreath off my door so I need to get started on this one ASAP.

In addition to Easter baskets and decorations, I'll have to find time to take Leah to see the Easter bunny.  Here she is from last tiny!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Cupcakes, cupcakes, cupcakes!

Yay, I got permission to share the cupcake recipes served at Leah's 1st Birthday Party on my blog!  Here are the no longer top secret family recipes my wonderful mom and aunt helped me bake for Leah's special day:   

Mochi Cupcakes
soft, chewy, slightly sweet bites of heaven 

4 eggs
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 stick of butter melted
1lb (1 bag) glutinous rice flour, sifted
1 can coconut milk plus enough milk to total 3 cups
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Combine dry ingredients first, make a well, then add wet ingredients and mix
Spray mini muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray
Pour batter almost to the top of each cup
Bake for 45 minutes
When cool, dust with powdered sugar

Black Bottom Cupcakes
decadent, moist chocolate cake topped with cream cheese and chocolate chip filling

Ingredients - Mixture #1
1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup oil
1 cup water
1 Tbsp vinegar

Ingredients - Mixture #2
8 oz cream cheese
1 beaten egg
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
6 oz chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Combine all ingredients for mixture #1 by hand
In another bowl mix ingredients up to salt with an electric beater or stand mixer
Stir in chocolate chips
Fill mini cupcake tins 1/2 full with mixture #1, top with 1 tsp of mixture #2
Bake 20 min then refrigerate until ready to serve

Red Velvet Cupcakes
Follow box mix :)

Okay, don't give me a hard time...but I did hand make the pinwheel cupcake toppers using double sided card stock (from Michaels), brads, and paper straws (from Etsy).

 I also used a giant cupcake pan and one whole box mix to make Leah's giant cupcake.

And here are the 3 generations of bakers!  The two most special ladies in my life :)

My Diaper Bag Essentials

Hi everyone!  I'm guest blogging about my diaper bag essentials on Meet the Sullivans today!  Colleen is my dear mommy friend who inspired me to start Little Miss Mommy, so make sure to stop by and check out the "Diaper Bag Essentials" series she is hosting!  Here is what I had to share today...  

1- MJ Diaper Bag:  This bag was well worth the investment as I've used it every single day since Leah was born (cost per wear, right?)  I love that it has 5 pockets inside and 4 pockets outside to help keep me organized on the go.

2- Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes:  Leah loves this toy as much today as she did on our ride home from the hospital.  It used to calm her down when she was fussy, and now it just keeps her occupied when we run errands.

3- Boo:  When we can't take our little Pomeranian, Zoe, with us this Boo stuffed animal is the perfect, non-barking, replacement. 

4- B. Fun Keys:  When I saw little Owen playing with these keys, I bought them immediately on Amazon for Leah.  Now we can't leave home without them!

5- Gold Bond Ultimate Hand Sanitizer Moisturizer:  My hands are constantly dry from all the hand washing (and dish washing) so I was excited when I found this non-greasy but super moisturizing hand sanitizing lotion.

6- Klean Kanteen Water Bottle:  Keeps me hydrated when we're out and about.

7- Zo-li straw sippy:  And Leah needs to stay hydrated, too!

8- Horizon Organic single serve milk cartons:  I love that these are small (8 oz) and they only require refrigeration once they've been opened.  So they can stay in my diaper bag until Leah wants some milk.

9- ju-ju-be tokidoki diaper bag:  This cute little bag was given to me as a gift and it is a staple in my diaper bag.  I keep my diapering essentials inside, but it can also be used as a snack bag.

10- Munchkin snack catcher:  A less-messy way for Leah to feed herself on the go.  It's usually filled with Cheerios or Puffs.

11- Happy times snack packs:  I stash a couple of these individual packs in my diaper bag, just in case a little someone gets hungry.

12- Pink Sun Hat:  Now that it's warming up I've swapped Leah's little bunny beanie for this bright pink sun hat.  Gotta protect that little face from those UV rays!

13- Neutrogena baby SPF 60+ stick:  This tiny stick is easy to apply and doesn't leave too much white residue.

14- Yes to Baby Face and Nose Wipes:  These all natural wipes are a gentle way to cleanse Leah's face while also protecting and moisturizing.

And that's it!  I hope you've enjoyed taking a peak in my diaper bag!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Feeling Lacey!

I had a chance to pop into Anthropologie today and I was loving all the lace!  I picked up the teal cami and the fuchsia tank on the left (they were on sale, yay!)

The hubs and Leah came along and had fun too!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Sephora Mommy Must-Haves

Some of you know, but in my former life, I worked at the Sephora corporate offices in merchandising.  Back then I had the luxury of trying new products and being in the know of the hippest brands and latest innovations.  Although I no longer have my fabulous discount, and mommyhood has left me with a lot less time for makeup and skincare, there are still some items that I remain loyal to because they are time savers that keep me feeling refreshed and presentable (even when I've only had 4 hours of sleep with applesauce smeared in my hair).  Here are some of my faves:

1 - Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette:  I have the original, larger version that I absolutely love, but was so excited that they came out with a mini so I could fit it in my makeup bag for travel or on the go touch ups.  All the shades are matte which is perfect for everyday (and perfect for a less-shimmery mommy).

2 - Clarisonic:  I'll blame it on the hormones, but I completely broke out before and after pregnancy.  I tried several different products, but the only thing that helped clear up my skin was the Clarisonic brush.  I use it every night with my cleanser.

3 - Philosophy Vitamin C Powder:  I kept hearing about vitamin C being the most powerful anti-oxidant that protects your skin from free-radical damage.  I gave it a try and now I'm a believer.  It's evened out my skin tone and I love that it's preventative.  The best part is it's in powder form, so you can mix it with your favorite moisturizer or SPF.  

4 - Josie Maran SPF 40:  Speaking of SPF, this is my fave!  I love the way it feels on my skin, it's lightweight and not sticky at all.  It also contains argon oil, which is a natural ingredient that reverses sun damage and fights signs of aging.  

5 - Alterna Dry Shampoo:  For some reason my hair is more oily post-baby, I'll blame that on the hormones too!  I've tried several dry shampoos, even the ones in a spray can, and this is by far my favorite.  It absorbs any trace of oil, and doesn't have a strong smell or leave a chalky residue like some of the other brands.  Added bonus - it's anti-aging?  I always thought your hair was composed of dead cells, but hey, I'll take it!

6 - Urban Decay Primer Potion:  This is the only way my eyeshadow and eyeliner will stay on all day without creasing.  And all day I mean from 8am-8pm.

7 - Fresh Sugar Rose Balm:  I love this moisturizing lip balm with SPF 15 and just a hint of color.  I keep one on my vanity, one in my diaper bag, and one in the car.  

8 - Ole Henriksen Eye Cream:  To combat my sleep deprived eyes I use this eye cream every night and I'd like to say I look a little more energized in the morning.

That's all for now!  What are your favorite mommy must-have beauty products?

Friday, February 15, 2013

Heart-Felt Fortunes

I hope everyone had a lovely Valentine's Day!  I wanted to share some treats I made for both V-day and Chinese New Year.  

I found this idea on the Martha Stewart website via Pinterest.  It was super easy and my only modifications were: (1) using hot glue instead of craft glue and (2) using a felt strip instead of ribbon.  I filled the Valentine fortunes with kisses and the Chinese New Year fortunes with gold $1 coins.  My little Valentine sure enjoyed them!


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Special Delivery! xoxo

I just received my Valentine's Day cards in the mail!  I love how they turned out!

One for the hubby...

 One for the baby...

One for the daddy...

I ordered them on treat and ended up getting a 6 card plan.  $2.49 for each personalized card?  What a deal!

Is everyone ready for Vday?  Check out my DIY heart wreath for last minute decor.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Le Tote - Part II

Here are the pictures I promised to share from my last Le Tote!  I apologize for the terrible self portraits.  I need to figure out a better way of taking pictures of myself besides the reverse camera function on my phone. 

For a night out with the girls, I wore the Le Tote blouse and necklace with dark denim skinnies, a leather bomber jacket and brown suede ankle boots.

I wore the Le Tote dress to a birthday party brunch at the St. Regis.  I paired the dress with a cream cardigan, pearls and nude patent peep toe pumps

I'm so excited that you can now purchase items from Le Tote!  I love the concept of being able to "test drive" clothes before you make a purchase.  How awesome is that?  Now I have to figure out what I want to keep from this last tote...  

Monday, February 11, 2013

Upcycled Mommy to Baby clothes!

My mom gave me the idea of upcycling my clothes as I was cleaning out my closet one day.  Most of the clothes I was about to donate were still in great condition, so why not try to give it new life as something wearable and cute for my daughter?

My first project was converting one of my old shirts into a dress for Leah.  I didn't like the fit anymore, but the fabric was cute and soft enough for my daughter to wear.

I went to work with my scissors and pins.

I sewed up the seams and hemmed the bottom and sleeves to the appropriate length (after a fit session with my little model).

I had to cut a slit in the neckline and add snaps in order for the dress to fit over Leah's head.

And here is the final "upcycled" garment!  My little model had fun wearing it at the beach this weekend.

Stay tuned for more of my upcycling projects! 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Leah on the Blogs

Picture's from Leah's 1st Birthday were just posted on Sweet Poppy Studio's blog!
Our photographer, Carleigh, did an amazing job capturing all the special moments during Leah's party. Most of the decor and sweet treats were homemade...from the pinwheels and pennant flags, to the mochi cupcakes and pink grapefruit soaps.  I will post more details about these DIY projects and recipes later.  In the mean time, check out the pictures here. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Le Tote - Part I

I'm the gal that has a closet full of clothes, but never has anything to wear.  Problem solved with Le Tote (thanks to the hubby that bought me a membership)!  The easiest way to describe it is Netflix for your closet.  Based on your style profile, a stylist will personally curate a tote just for you that includes 3 garments and 2 accessories.  You can keep it as long as you want, or send it right back in a prepaid box.  Here are the details:

Take a look at the tote I just received!

I've only worn the earrings so far.  
I'll be back later this week with Part II and more pictures!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Cheater Brown Rice Risotto

I love risotto, but with a toddler running around, I don't have time to stand over the stove for 45 minutes and ladle broth into a saucepan.  I came up with this "cheater" risotto recipe and I used brown rice instead of arborio rice to make it healthier!  This risotto is even soft and tasty enough for my daughter to gum with her two little teeth.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium diced onion
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (add more or less depending on desired spiciness)
1 1/2 cups short grain brown rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
4 cups chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups of grape or cherry tomatoes, halved  
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup of Romano or Parmesan cheese

Heat saucepan with olive oil over medium heat.  Add onions, mushrooms, bay leaf and red pepper flakes to pan.  Cook for 5 minutes or until onions are translucent.  Add brown rice and saute for 1 minute.  Add wine and allow rice to absorb the liquid.  Add chicken stock, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.  Lower heat, cover pan and simmer for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Once all liquid is absorbed and rice is tender add tomatoes, peas and cheese.  Cook for another 5 minutes until vegetables are heated through and serve immediately.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

I have a mommy friend who once baked me 
the most delicious whole wheat bread using her bread machine.  She made it sound so easy, healthy and economical (she never buys bread for her family anymore!)  I was sold.  So when I got an Oster Expressbake breadmaker for Christmas I couldn't wait to try my first recipe - Honey Whole Wheat Bread. I followed the recipe exactly and 3.5 hours later I opened my bread machine to a loaf as hard as a brick.  I was sad, but determined to fix this recipe.  After researching online I discovered some tips for fluffier bread: add milk in place of some of the water, substitute all purpose flour for some of the whole wheat flour, and add a little more honey.  I tweaked the recipe several times and 5 loaves later I baked the most delicious, fluffy loaf of bread!  
Here is the recipe:

Honey Whole Wheat Bread
1 1/2 pound (12 slices)

3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons shortening
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/1/2 cups bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon dry milk
1 teaspoon bread machine or quick active dry yeast

Measure all wet ingredients and place in bread machine (water, milk, honey, shortening).  Then layer the dry ingredients on top (salt, flours, dry milk). Then make a tiny well in the dry ingredients and place the yeast inside, making sure it does not touch any of the wet ingredients.

Set your bread machine to the whole wheat setting for a 1.5lb loaf and select medium or light crust color.  Press start and in about 3.5 hours you'll have delicious fresh baked bread!