Photo 42/52: No naps

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We headed downtown after lunch to cruise Newbury Street and the Boston Public Garden yesterday, and it turned out to be a pretty nice (albeit cold) afternoon in the city. It was mostly just one of those get-out-of-the-house kind of trips, without much of a plan besides stopping by Georgetown Cupcake for some Halloween-themed desserts (my fall bucket list includes important things like that). We dared to venture out before nap time, though, and when we do that, it’s always a gamble. These two photos perfectly represent our kids’ very different reactions to an afternoon sans naps.

Beany: I can almost always count on Beany to pose for the camera, but yesterday she was just not having it. (Until she got her cupcake, that is. Then she was all about it.) Jared snapped this photo of her early in our day, and it absolutely cracks me up. The indignation on that little face! After visiting the ducks in the Public Garden, she spotted these bushes (topiaries? trees?) and got very serious. “I want to see the egg trees!” she said again and again. When we finally got there, we asked if she wanted to have her picture taken with one. This was her response. When we got home that night and showed her some of the pictures from the day, she stopped at this one and started giggling. “Oh, that’s just me when I was grumpy!”

Bear: Some days, I’m convinced this boy is magic. We snuggled him into his little bear suit around 2:30 yesterday afternoon and strapped him into the stroller. Through train rides, chilly walks, busy cupcake shops and noisy streets, that little guy sat there as happy as can be. He was awake for most of the day, too, except for a teeny snooze on our hustle back to the train. We got home a little after 6, and he was all smiles still. I know not all days can/will be like this with him, but right now, he’s up for any adventure.

Hope your weekend was a good one, too! Happy Monday!

XO,
Katrina

This post is part of The 52 Project: One photo of Beany and Bear every week of the year.

Dinner in a pinch, made to impress! Puff pastry with ham & Gruyère

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This time of year is so, so hectic (though we probably always feel like our lives are crazy busy, right?). When I think of an easy fall dinner, I often base its viability on a simple pre-trick-or-treating test. Basically, is it something that could be easily made and quickly served to a family (friends included!) before heading out for a wonderfully chilly evening of trick-or-treating and other Halloween fun? To pass this test, the dish must be: 1. Easy. 2. Reasonably quick and require little prep work. 3. Have some sort of protein/substance to it to combat the gallons of candy that will inevitably follow. Look no further, friends! This puff pastry with ham and Gruyère is the stuff that Halloween nights were made of.

Ham and Gruyere Puff Pastry 2

Yes, puff pastry is something you could theoretically make yourself, but even Ina Garten says she buys it at the store, so until some super ambitious day in the future, I’m following suit. Trader Joe’s has a version out now for the holidays with zero soy (huzzah!), so we’re stocking up. Because, guys, the real truth of the matter is you never know when you’ll need to wrap something in pastry dough.

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The recipe for this is hardly much of a recipe at all. Roll out some puff pastry, slather on some mustard, arrange some ham and cheese on top, and then top it off with the other piece of pastry dough. Add an eggs wash, and you’re done. Even without much effort, puff pastry has an amazing way of elevating something super basic to something that feels a little fancier. Truth be told, I think this dish especially fits my vision of a Halloween dinner because it feels like a more grown-up version of the crescent roll-wrapped mummy dogs that frequent Halloween spreads. You remember those, right? They’re a festive spin on pigs in a blanket, no doubt. But something about ham and Gruyère in a puff pastry seems a bit more elegant than a hot dog in pop-and-bake dough, even though they are most definitely related. Cousins, at least. (And not to knock the mummy dogs. Add a mustard face, and those things are delish.) I’d happily serve this to company, even on a non-Halloween night.
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Ham and Gruyere Puff Pastry

Puff Pastry with Ham and Gruyère
From Ina Garten

• 1 package (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, defrosted
• 2 tablespoons mustard (Dijon, horseradish, whatever you fancy)
• ¼ pound black forest ham, sliced
• ½ pound Gruyère cheese, sliced
• 1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F, and place a piece of parchment paper on a sheet pan.

Lay 1 sheet of puff pastry on a floured board or countertop, and carefully roll it out to about 10 by 12 inches. Place it on a sheet pan and brush it with the mustard, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge. Layer the ham on top of that, leaving the same border, followed by the cheese. Brush the border with the egg wash.

Roll the second sheet of puff pastry out on the floured board or countertop to the same 10 by 12 inches. Place the second sheet on top of the filled pastry, and line up the edges as best you can. Cut the edges straight with a small knife if you need to, and then press together lightly. You can use the tines of a fork to help seal the edges in place. Brush the top with egg wash, and cut a few slits in the top so steam can escape.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until pastry is puffed and golden brown. Allow it to cool for a few minutes. Serve hot or warm.

[Note: I actually halved this recipe, and it worked out really well. Instead of using two sheets of puff pastry, I just used one, rolled out to 10 by 12 inches and then cut in half (making one sheet the top layer and one sheet the bottom). Use half the amount of filling, and bake for about 20 minutes. Results should be the same!]

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I think there are some pretty great spins you could probably take with this. Green apples and Brie maybe? Or leftover Thanksgiving turkey, Gruyère and cranberry sauce? What do you think?

XO,
Katrina

Photo 41/52: All my favorites

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Three of the best people on the planet in one place. Those kids are lucky pups.

XO,
Katrina

This post is part of The 52 Project: One photo of Beany and Bear every week of the year.

Photo 40/52: The ice-cream walkabout

Kiddos

A walk down the path for ice cream on a pretty day makes for some happy fall photos. I do love snow, but fall might be my favorite time of year for taking pictures. And the promise of ice cream makes any journey a good one — especially with a toddler in tow.

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XO,
Katrina

This post is part of The 52 Project: One photo of Beany and Bear every week of the year.

GQ baby

GQ Baby

This little guy had his first bout with the sickies over the weekend. He’s totally better now, but it’s so sad seeing little ones on the outs. Even through the not-feeling-so-great moments though, he stayed so sweet and calm. I really don’t know how we got so lucky to get such a sweet-natured little guy.

I know I say this all the time, but this is my new favorite photo of him. I think he looks like a tiny GQ baby. That face and the hair swirl? It’s almost too much to handle.

XO,
Katrina

Photo 39/52: May they always be buddies

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It’s getting harder and harder to take pictures of Bear without Beany jumping in these days. “Me, too! I want to smile with my baby brother!” Aside from his weekly photos (like the ones I did for Beany during her first year), I can’t say that I mind. I love how much she wants to be with him, and she’s so insistent on being “a good helper for Mommy.” I must say though, some of these photos of them together are giving me major flashbacks to pictures of my older brother and me as little kids. I can’t even count how many photos there are of me smiling like it’s the best day of my life, leaning as closely as I can to my brother, who looks way less than enthused. Ah, what can I say? Some of us are photo happy; some are not. That Beany’s got the gene.

Happy Friday, pals! I hope it’s a good one!

XO,
Katrina

This post is part of The 52 Project: One photo of Beany and Bear every week of the year.

‘Ella is my best friend. But Ella is a dog.’

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A few days ago, Beany came to me with a very solemn face and very serious news to share.

“Mommy, I have to tell you something,” she said.

“What is it?” I asked her.

“Ella is my best friend. But Ella is a dog.”

I came across this photo while editing the two from yesterday, and it was such a fitting complement to her sweet pronouncement. Puppies can be best friends, too, baby girl. And I’m so glad Ella has you.

XO,
Katrina

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