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Sunday, June 16, 2019

Spring/Summer Capsule Wardrobe For Boys


Ahhh... Kids. If only they didn't grow so fast! To help not spend exorbitant amount of money on kids clothes, to try and declutter, and lessen our consumption of fast fashion, I have been leaning more and more towards the concept of capsule wardrobes. In The Fall, I shared my Back To School Capsule Wardrobe, so now I wanted to share my Spring/Summer one.



Basic Pieces:
- 5 T-shirts (stripes are great, one overall pattern is okay. We also have a couple superhero shirts... thanks grandma, lol.)
- 2 tank tops
- 1 polo
- 1 short-sleeved dress shirt
- 1 long-sleeved shirt
- 1 long-sleeved dress shirt
- 1 pair of pants (whatever still fits from Fall)
- 3-4 pairs of shorts
- Swim trunks (We have an extra pair for "water day" at school.)

Here are some combinations:








Not pictured:
- 3 soft cotton shorts
- 1 pair of Crocs (they can be used as sandals and water shoes)
- 1 pair of rain boots
- 1 pair of tennis shoes
- 1 raincoat (or some other kind of transitional jacket. We got a raincoat, because we walk to school pretty regularly, but if you drive mostly, a leather jacket is also fun.)
- 3-4 pairs of pajamas
- underwear and socks
- sunglasses
- baseball hat

Here is the raincoat.

Tips:
- If your kid likes to slide on his knees like mine, and his sweatpants have holes in them, cut the legs off right above the knee - ta-da!! Easy shorts! I also did this for his pajama pants, and paired them with a complimenting colored plain T-shirt he already had.
- For both of my kids, I have a drawer in their closet that is their "transition" drawer. One half has clothes for them to grow into (things I've bought ahead of time when they were on sale) which I have labelled according to size. The other half are clothes that are from the previous season. So, when Spring/Summer is about to begin, I get out Aidan's clothes from last Spring/Summer to see what still fits him. Whatever doesn't fit gets donated, and of course we keep what fits. This way I'm only buying new things he needs. This year for example, I managed to only buy one pair of new shorts and a couple shirts.
- My son loves superheroes, so of course we have some "outlying" graphic tees. I try really hard to not get too hung up on them, and those are what he wears to school or camp, especially on "fun" days.





Places We Like To Shop:
H&M - Mainly, we get basics here, such as underwear, pajamas, soft cotton shorts and shirts. They have a "Conscious" line, which we try to buy when we can. The quality can be lacking, but if you stain-stick, and don't tumble dry the T-shirts, you can get quite a lot of wear. Also, you won't feel so bad about cutting them.

Petit Bateau - This store can be a little pricey, but they have very good sales. We usually shop here when their clothes are on sale, and even buy ahead for the next season. They have an overall nautical theme, which really fits our style.

Zara Kids - I love their aesthetic and style. Again, they have a "Join Life" line, which is more eco friendly, sustainable and fair-trade. We try our best to buy those things.

Okaidi - Aidan is tall and slim, and it can be hard to find him pants that fit well.  I really like this brand's pants, especially since they all have an inner adjustable band. Score!


Have you given capsule wardrobes a try? It can be difficult with kids. Have you found any tips or tricks that work for your family? Join the conversation!

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies



Mmmm... I think we have a new addition to the Christmas cookie repertoire! Dan special requested these, and since they're one of my favorites too - I was happy to oblige!

Ingredients:
- 1 cup unsalted butter (softened)
- 1 cup brown sugar 
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbs corn starch
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cup white chocolate chips (or, in my case, a chopped up bar of white chocolate into "morsels")
- 1 1/2 cup macadamia nuts - some chopped, some left whole

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 325 F/165 C.

2. Cream together (manually, or in a standing mixer) butter and sugars very well.

3. Add vanilla, eggs and salt, and mix well.

4. Add corn starch, baking soda, baking powder and flour. Mix until well combined.

5. Stir in nuts and chocolate.

6. Line a baking sheet with baking paper.

7. Drop 2 tbs of dough (I used an ice cream scoop to get them all the same size) at a time, approx. 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.

8. Bake for 10-11 minutes.

9. Allow to cool in pan for a few minutes, then transfer to cooling rack. Store in an airtight container, or you can even freeze them!

Makes about 44-48.

These are delicious! I've shared them with neighbors and friends, and I can tell you - they're a hit! 
Please let me know if you decide to try these, I'd love to know how they turn out.

Here are some mouth watering pictures of these sweet things:








While I was taking pictures, I accidentally left some cookies within baby's reach - and when I turned around, she gave me the most satisfied look! Of course... I didn't let her eat it, but she loved sucking on it for a couple seconds, lol!




Thursday, June 6, 2019

Parmesan Sea Salt Herb Shortbread Crackers

Yesterday, we set up our annual try-to-keep-it-alive herb garden and I wanted to make something that celebrated all their delicious-ness!

At the same time, it just so happened that on my pinterest board this recipe popped up! It was a terrific guide as far as measurements go, and the idea, but I only had half of the parmesan, so I halved it, and added some sea salt to them before I baked them. I'm glad I did, as it was a nice nod to Slovene salt, and added a little more flavor. They're darling, I love how they look! Not to mention that they're light and tasty!


What you'll need:
- food processor
- baking paper
- rolling pin
- small (2 inch diameter) round cookie cutter
- silicone mat

Ingredients:
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tbs flour 
- 1/4 cup room temperature (very soft, I left min out overnight) butter
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- 1 tbs finely minced fresh rosemary and/or thyme (I did both)
- 1/4 tsp sea salt 
- couple pinches of cracked pepper
- fresh herbs for garnishing
- sea salt flower or regular sea salt for garnishing

- 1/4 tsp water on hand, if you need to make the dough a little wetter. I should've trusted my gut and put it in, I think it would've made it a little easier.


Directions:

1. In the bowl of the food processor, pour flour, butter, parmesan, minced herbs, salt, and pepper. 

2. Pulse the food processor 30 times, until crumbly in texture, and just starting to come together. Here is where you would add the water, if needed.


3. Pour out onto silicone mat, and kneed together into a patty. I found it to be very crumbly, and this step was a little difficult - getting it all to stay together.


4. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

5. Preheat oven to 350 F/ 177 C. Line a baking sheet with baking paper.

6. Roll out dough between two sheets of baking paper until it is 1/4-1/8 inch thick. At this point, place the fresh herbs on the dough. Put the baking paper back over the dough and roll over it with the rolling pin, thus "laminating" it into the dough. 





7. Cut out the crackers with the cookie cutter. Place on baking sheet. 


8. Re-shape leftover dough, and roll out again, repeating the steps regarding the herbs.

9. Once they were on the baking sheet, I sprinkled sea salt flower (finishing salt) on them, and gently went over them with the rolling pin so that the salt would bake into the cracker.


10. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Allow to fully cool on baking sheet, and serve! 

Makes about 2 dozen.


Perfection!







Please let me know if you give these a try! You won't regret it!

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Homemade Burger Bun Recipe


We love living in Slovenia! However, one of the things that we haven't been able to find are good store-bought burger buns.  Dan really enjoys grilling, and of course burgers are a classic - so he asked me if I thought I'd be able to come up with a bun recipe. I basically used my Texas Roadhouse Copycat Rolls recipe, and they were perfect. 

So, here you have it! Just in time for your Memorial Day cookout!


Here's what you'll need:
- standing mixer with a dough hook attachment
- whisk
- rolling pin
- large biscuit cutter or circle cookie cutter
- plastic wrap, or bees wrap

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast (FYI, the ones in Slovenia have the same amount)
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 cup whole milk, scalded and cooled to lukewarm (Do this first.)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and divided into 2 and 3 tbs
  • 1 large egg (beaten)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/2 cups (437.5 grams) all-purpose flour

Directions:


1. In the bowl of a standing mixer, whisk together (by hand) yeast, water, milk, sugar, 2 tbs of the melted butter, egg, and salt until well combined. Attach bowl and dough hook to mixer.

2. Gradually add the flour and knead on medium-low speed until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.  You may need to stop the mixer and help the flour off the sides and bottom a couple times.  

3. Turn off the mixer, and let the dough rise for 3-5 minutes.

4. Knead on medium-low speed for another 5 minutes, until dough is shiny and soft. 

5. Transfer dough to a large greased bowl, then flip it upside down, so butter/oil gets on both sides. (I used butter.)  

6. Cover bowl with plastic wrap or bees wrap (making sure it is sealed), and allow to sit and rise for about 45 minutes to an hour, until dough has doubled in size.



7. Punch down dough (I always wanted to do that!), and roll out onto a lightly floured work space or silicone mat.




8. Using a floured rolling pin, roll out, until you have about an inch thick rectangle(ish).


9. Using the biscuit cutter, cut out your buns. Depending on the shape you rolled it out to, you should be able to get 6-8 buns. You might be able to re-knead any leftover pieces of dough, but they won't turn out as nice and smooth on top. I used the leftover to make ugly-cute dinner rolls.



10. Line baking sheets with baking paper.  Place buns on sheets, about 3-4 inches apart, and cover with plastic wrap.  Allow to rise again for 45 minutes to an hour.

11. Preheat oven to 350F or 180C (325F or 170C for convection oven).

12. Take plastic wrap off buns, and place in oven.  Bake for 18 minutes (or 13 in convection oven).

13.  Take them out of the oven, and brush them with leftover melted butter.



Makes about 6-8 rolls.

Ta-da!! These rolls were soft, but didn't fall apart while being eaten. I would make them right before serving the burgers, or make them that day and keep them in an airtight container so they don't dry out. Wrap them in tin foil and heat them up in the oven slightly just before using.



Serve with your favorite sides (we opted for bacon mac and cheese and watermelon) and prepare to wow your family and friends. My boys new BIG fans!!