November 24, 2014

#CKTeats Weekly Meal Planning

Here’s what we are eating this week, what about you?

lemon orzo chicken soup (seriously soul healing)

spaghetti and meatballs

grilled tuna nicoise salad (the kids will most likely eat everything except the tuna; think potatoes, hard boiled eggs, green beans, etc.)

self explanatory

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! xoxo

Perfect Eggs

November 19, 2014

CKT: perfect eggs

I noticed about a year ago, that most of us struggle with hard boiled eggs (including yours truly). You’d’ think it be so easy, but how many times have you seen the green circle and tasted a chalky yolk (you know what I’m talking about). And so many different methods–turning off the water, 6 minutes, 20 minutes…how to choose?

I discovered the most foolproof technique and have been boiling our eggs this way for some time now. The yolks are always golden yellow and have a just the right consistency. They are also amazingly easy to peel. And since eggs are a great snack and egg salad is a favorite sandwich in our house, we use this method about once or twice a week.

CKT Hard Boiled Eggs

Bring a pot of water to a hard boil. Once boiling, use a spoon to gently drop the eggs into the pot. Set the timer for 9 minutes (8 if you like a softer center). Once the timer goes off, drain the water and replace with cool water from the sink and a bunch of ice. Let sit for at least 5-10 minutes. Peel and serve (lightly salted of course). If not using right away, place eggs in the fridge for up to 5 days.


November 17, 2014


After two weeks off, weekly meal planning is back! Here’s what we are eating this week:

chili-rubbed salmon with roasted broccoli and avocado slices

pasta with sautéed baby kale, oven roasted tomatoes and bread crumbs

ham & cheese melts with an apple salad

kielbasa/veg stir fry

I’m Thankful for Chocolate & Good Friends

November 3, 2014

CKT Chocolate Cake

This year, my dear friend, Deanna and I thought it would be fun to collaborate on a Thanksgiving craft/dessert. She got to work on a recipe card design (hello party favor!) while I was busy baking apples and chocolate cakes–testing things out.

CKT Chocolate Cake

Since I’m not in charge of the turkey or stuffing (we still go to our parent’s house), I usually offer to make dessert. And when you are only bringing one thing to the big meal (and wine of course), you want it to really be special–and stand out, big time.

CKT DIY Recipe Card

Deanna and I headed to the Paper Source for inspiration and all of our crafting goods. We came home with beautiful paper (for presentation), durable craft paper (for the recipe cards), and a fun stamp to work with our holiday theme.

In the end, the chocolate cake beat out the baked apples (naturally). And let me tell you this cake is perfection…somewhere between a brownie and a molten lava cake, but more delicate (did I mention it’s easy?). The cake itself is not terribly pretty, but with a little help from some fall foliage, pretty paper, fresh cut thyme, and a little powdered sugar–this little cake looks pretty darn amazing!

CKT DIY Recipe Card

(1. PS 8.5×11 Cover Weight Paper in ‘Paper Bag,’ pack of 10 sheets
2. Color Box Stamp Pad in Orange 3. PS Arrow Stamp)

We wanted to make sure you could share your special Thanksgiving recipe with your friends and family too, making this printable recipe card:

click here for your recipe card PDF

Aren’t these cards adorable? I’m going to use them year-round. Download the PDF and personalize with your own name or recipe (or maybe just this chocolate cake recipe). And if you are feeling extra crafty, we recommend gathering a few extra leaves and stamping them with fun sayings for the tablescape (thanks for the tip, Em!).

What are you making for Thanksgiving (food or crafts)? We’d love to hear!

CKT Chocolate Cake
adapted from Orangette
serves 8

7oz semi-sweet high quality chocolate chips
7oz salted high quality butter – cubed + more to prepare the pan
1 cup + 3 TBS sugar
5 eggs
1 TBS flour

Preheat oven to 375 F. Prepare an 8-inch cake pan with butter (sides and bottom). Then cut a circle of parchment paper to line the bottom of the pan and butter that as well.

Place the cubed butter and the chocolate in a microwaveable bowl or a double boiler. Heat until just melted and smooth. If using the microwave, heat in 30 second intervals whisking after each time until melted. If using the double boiler, whisk continuously until melted. Be careful to not burn the mixture.

Add the sugar to the mixture and whisk. Then add the eggs one at a time and whisk. Finally add the flour. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake pan. Place in the preheated oven and cook for 25-30+ minutes (mine usually takes 30 minutes). You want the cake to be set and the center to have just a slight jiggle, if any. Allow to cool for 10 minutes and then place a plate on top of the cake and flip the cake out onto the plate. Then get your serving plate, place on top and flip the cake on to that. The cake is very delicate.

Just before serving, dust with powdered sugar and serve with ice cream. (The cake is good at room temp for 3 days, and 5 days in the fridge). Best if made one day in advance. Always serve at room temp.

*photos & styling by Deanna Matyskiel!


October 27, 2014

CKT: Pumpkin Patch Here’s our meal plan for the week:


grilled chicken with potatoes and avocado mayo


minestrone soup with crusty bread


roasted chicken (from the store) and a spinach salad


sausage and pepper sandwiches and sautéed kale


out at our friend’s house for Halloween!

^^We had so much fun at the pumpkin patch this year, can you tell?^^

Crazy about Books

October 23, 2014

CKT Favorite Books

I’m a crazy book lady. Not so much for me (still trying to find the time), but for my kids–well at least one of my kids. When Nora was born, I read an insane amount of books to her.  We could not have enough books in the house to read. It was our top activity. Full disclosure…my mom is a children’s literacy specialist, so I guess it runs in the family.

HOWEVER…George came along and we would read, but when he started to move, and make decisions (?), he would always push the book shut. What?! This is supposed to be a magical moment, little man. I tried moving the book around or holding it far away, but somehow he managed to close it on up. And in his mind, why would you read books when you can eat them?

I soon realized that book-reading was not our thing, or at least at this stage. So his bedtime routine is pretty short–on a good night, I do a little singing.  I assume he will grow out of this??

Here is our favorite book list, for those of you who are looking for a little literary inspiration (you know, if your kids are into that sort of thing).

Tips from my mom–the expert:

Don’t skip the big words

Well-written picture books are highly recommended even when kids start reading on their own, the vocabulary is unmatched and the pictures help them develop memory skills

Rhyming books help children develop phonemic awareness–a critical skill for emergent readers

Don’t just read short board books to babies…they are absorbing more than you think

Engage your child in conversation about the story and pictures


Goodnight Moon–the world’s best bedtime story

Each Peach Pear Plum–the first book I learned to read (I mean memorize)

Guess How Much I love You–to the moon and back…naturally

Dr. Seuss’s ABC–great vocabulary and alliteration

Eloise–a girl who lives at the Plaza in NYC…how could you resist

Corduroy–everyone needs a home

Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What do you See?–repetition, repetition

Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb–I find myself singing this one to the kids in the car

Blueberries for Sal–don’t get lost on blueberry hill

Make Way for Ducklings–little ducks + boston = adorable

The Napping House–I wish this was my house

New Favorites

Pete The Cat: I Love My White Shoes–one of life’s greatest lessons summed up

Little Pea–turns out peas like spinach for dessert

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom–catchy

The Day the Crayons Quit–just wait till you get to the page with the naked crayon

Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale–relatable parenting

Diary of a Worm–macaroni necklaces for worms look a little different

Seven Hungry Babiesit’s daddy’s turn to fly

Elephant & Piggie series–if you could hear my voices for these two

E-Mergency!–what happens without the letter “e”

Charlie the Ranch Dog–I love a lazy dog

The Museum–we like art, so we like this book (also check out Ish, and Sky Color)

All the World–one of the most poignant children’s poems

Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site–this one makes me sleepy too

Press Here–the best interactive book (also check out, Mix it Up)

Bridget’s Beret–what’s artists block?

Bed Hogs–I love pigs

Poke-A-Dot Old McDonald’s Farm–baby crack (I like pushing the buttons too)

and to file under WTF?

Good Dog, Carl –have you seen this one? a dog left to take care of a baby for the day…involving a push down the laundry shoot, swimming in the fish aquarium, and hair drying (my apologies if this is one of your favorites)


October 20, 2014


I was thinking it would be fun to post my planned family meals for the week on here. I can’t promise it will happen every week; but I do think it’ll be a good way to connect and share dinner ideas (I would love to hear yours!). Here’s this week’s plan:


baked eggplant casserole


white bean chicken chili


homemade pizza & salad


steak & avocado salad



CKT is on Instagram!

October 8, 2014


After posting for my mom and a few friends on Instagram for the past couple of years, I decided to make my account public! You’ll find pics of mostly family and food–like you couldn’t have guessed. Check us out, spread the word!  @carolinepshields (click here)

^^That time when they held hands in the car on the way to the grocery store.^^

What happened to playpens?

October 1, 2014

CKT: What happened to playpens?

I was having a funny conversation with my parents the other day about raising kids. We were talking about how my friend’s grandma had two sets of twins 14 months apart. Can you imagine? Hearing that makes me immediately feel like a real weenie when I sometimes struggle with two (ok, a lot of the time). And then there are Brian’s parents who both come from families of nine. NINE! I would like a snapshot into that life (but just a snapshot). And these women were not running out to Starbucks on a bad day, or taking their kids to Chipotle when they didn’t feel like cooking.

My parents responded with…”playpens, they had playpens for goodness sake!”

I thought about setting up a playpen (a.k.a. pack n’ play) for George when he started to crawl and pull himself up on the furniture.  That point when I realized I could no longer make dinner on my own, not sanely at least. And then I considered one of those play yards. But then after mentioning this to a few friends who retorted to something along the lines of… “you are not…” I thought “Yes! Have  you seen our house at dinner?!”

In the end, I never set up the pack n’ play or purchased a yard, but still contain him at times (with chair blockades).  And I’m all about some crib-time if he’s awake while I shower.

While I can only offer anecdotal notes on this situation, THIS ARTICLE has some real meat. What’s your take?

p.s. that’s my brother Charlie in the playpen.