Pack your Bags!

April 10, 2014

CKT - Pack Your Bags

Is there anything more fun than going on vacation? We love to travel, but don’t get to do it nearly as often as we’d like. Summer is approaching, so we will be in Michigan and Wisconsin with our families–which is always THE BEST. But we usually try and take a spring trip with just us. Unfortunately, we could not pull it together this year. So I am vacation-dreaming today and here is my current list of places I’d like to go.

CKT -  Pack your Bags

Have you been? And what vacation spots are you dreaming about?

Green Smoothies

March 28, 2014

CKT Green Smoothie

I love a good smoothie. A smoothie-start to the morning is always a good indicator for the day. I feel like I have reached some sort of success by drinking kale before 8am.

Do you remember the blender fight from Father of the Bride? The one where she’s ready to call off the wedding because Bryan, her fiancé, buys her a blender? One of my favorite lines is, “Why would I overreact, no one in my family overreacts!” God, I love that movie and I don’t know about you, but I can totally relate to the quote.

Everyone in our family enjoys these super green, super healthy morning shakes. What’s your favorite smoothie?

CKT Green Smoothie

serves 2-4, makes 2 3/4 cups

2/3 cup chopped kale (I use the organic Tuscan Kale from Trader Joe’s)

1 small banana (or 3/4 of a larger banana)

1 small gala apple (or 1/2 of a larger apple) – peeled and chopped

1/2 an avocado – chopped

1/2 – 3/4 cup ice

1/2 cup cold water

1 cup orange juice (I use the Trader Joe’s brand, Florida (not from concentrate) OJ)

Place in blender and combine until smooth. **Play around with the ingredients to find the right consistency for you.

How many toys is too many?

March 21, 2014

CKT: How Many Toys Is Too Many?

I have always been a less-is-more kind of gal. And as I get older, I’m discovering more and more of an urge to be a minimalist. Don’t get me wrong, I love stuff, but I do have my breaking point.

Over the last three-and-a-half years we have accumulated A LOT of toys. There are some that are obvious giveaways after time, but then there are so many that have special meaning, and are really fun.  We have no official playroom at our house and our basement is unfinished, so there is no catch-all place for the toys or real rec room. Any place that there are toys is also doing double duty as another livable spot. Boy, can the toys pile up! All the extra stuff was starting to stress me out (this happens easily in my case).

I still remember my grandma, who grew up in Ireland, telling me that she never had any toys when she was little. I must have been about 10 when she told me this.  I think my response was something along the lines of: “Excuse me…What?! How?!” “Grandma …WHAT DID YOU DO??” Her response was that they played with the goats.

We don’t live on a farm, Irish countryside-style, we own no goats, but our kids can certainly get by with less toys, right (thrive, even)!?

About a month ago, I did stage 1 of a toy cleanse. It was nothing dramatic, but I took all the excess toys down to the basement and put them on an old Target box-shelf.  Nora did not even notice the missing toys until she came down to the basement with me one day and was like, um, what’s all this?  On the fly, I said, “oh yeah, this a toy store for you (occasionally I have a clever thought).” She thought it was so cool.

So now, when the toys pile up around the house we take a bunch down to the toy store.  She can bring up things that she is interested in, and put back stuff that she wants a break from. It’s an easy concept but the less there is to play with, the more fun she has. She has been more engaged with the few toys that are out than she  ever was with the piles that were there before. She has even come up with some pretty creative games, like self-sufficient limbo, balancing a broom between two chairs (party time).

CKT: How Many Toys Is Too Many?

The toys that she does play with for hours on end are: the kitchen, cars, the road rug, and old school “little people.” That and singing and dancing to Frozen, of course.

Would you ever do a toy cleanse?

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies

March 13, 2014

CKT Dairy Free Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies

I made these cookies for my family, let them try a bite, allowed them time to tell me they were delicious, then…mentioned that they were dairy-free. That’s right a cookie with NO BUTTER. Blasphemy, right?!

These cookies, though, really hit the mark. They are rich, nutty, and salty on top of all the obvious notes of chocolate, peanut butter, and a hint of coconut. It has a texture that is more dense than a regular cookie and it is a little more gooey. But, this bad boy is grain-free to boot. So dig in, friends, dig in.

CKT Dairy-Free Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies

makes 15 cookies

1 TBS Flaxseed

2 TBS water

1 cup peanut butter (Skippy Natural has the best consistency for these cookies)

1/2 cup raw turbinado sugar (you can find this at Trader Joe’s)

2 TBS honey

1/2 tsp baking soda

2/3 cup semi sweet chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli)

1/3 cup walnuts – chopped

1/3 cup sweetened coconut

kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350 F.  In a large bowl combine the water and flaxseed. Then add all the other ingredients and mix until combined.  Use a spoon to portion out 15 cookies on a parchment or foil-lined cookie sheet. Flatten each cookie out a bit. Season each one with just a touch of salt. Cook for 13-15 minutes or until the cookie looks baked and slightly golden.

Funny of the Day

March 11, 2014

My brothers and some of my friends do a thing called “funny of the day.” It started a couple of years ago when Robbie had us watch this. The unspoken rule is that when you find something funny, you have to email it to everyone.

How could you not love a funny clip to get you through the day? Last week at our house there was a lot of cabin fever, sick kids, and little sleep going on, so I looked to TV and music to get me through. I am a big believer in fake it, til you make it.

The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon has been my go-to. Have you been watching?  I started recording it and watching it while I feed George during Nora’s nap. He is so great; one of the reasons I think he is so likable is that never takes himself too seriously.  His banter with Steve Higgins, the announcer, is perfect, I love that they just crack each other up. And this lip-synch with Paul Rudd was one of my favorite moments so far. Ok, PSA over.

p.s. check out misheard lyrics


February 20, 2014

What time do you put your kids to bed? My cousin, Shannon, once told me, “there’s summer bedtime and then there’s winter bedtime.” This could not be more true.

In the summer, Brian and I are carefree parents…8 or 9 o’clock to put them down, usually whatever goes. But come winter, we get a little crazy about sleep…7:30 or 8 o’clock is as late as it gets. And if we don’t get them to bed on time in the winter, I blame myself for every tantrum the next day.  Apparently during the summer, I’m much easier on myself. Is this a universal thing, or do you keep the same bedtime for your kids no matter if there’s a lot to do vs. nothing to do?

In related news, have you heard Samuel L. Jackson read Go the F**k to Sleep? My mom sent me this one. I am not sure what is funnier, my mom’s humor or Samuel L.’s reading.

ps- Who are those young people in the photo?

Ashley’s Shower!

February 12, 2014

CKT - Shower Ideas

CKT: Shower Tips

CKT - Shower Ideas CKT - Shower Ideas CKT - Shower Ideas

Our family is about to get bigger! Not our little family (please!), but our family at large. Conor and Ashley are having a little boy and he will be making his debut this month! Katie, Pat, and I hosted a shower a couple of weeks back–it was such a wonderful day celebrating the parents-to-be! (We are ready for you little fella! Valentine’s Day might be nice.)

The question I get asked most is what to serve at showers. Here’s what I recommend (it’s all about: the soup, salad, and sandwich):

CKT Shower Tips

Current Obsessions

January 30, 2014

CKT Sausage, White Bean, and Kale Soup I’m reading Dinner: A Love Story, the book; and have been working my way through the recipes, but none as easy and delicious as the kale, white bean, and sausage stew. I think one of my last recipes on CKT was an adaptation from the DALS blog. But alas, when you find a good recipe, you want to share it, even if that shows that your are maybe, perhaps, a little consumed with one, singular, blog.

Other things I’m really into right now are hooded sweatshirts (never met one I didn’t like), Mindy Kaling (serious girl crush…do people still use that term?), and Team Mandy (we have babies the same age and as a result lead parallel lives).

But, back to the soup. It is so easy to throw together–you must have high quality ingredients though (as is such in life). The quality of the Italian sausage is of the utmost importance; I purchased mine at Standard Market. The beauty of this soup is that it is very forgiving. Use what you have around, as long as you have the white beans, kale, and sausage, you will be good to go. Have some crusty dinner bread on hand and you have one bona fide family-friendly meal that everyone might just become obsessed with.

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My (so-called) dairy free life

January 24, 2014

CKT goat cheese cheesecake

I have been dairy free for three weeks. George had signs of a dairy intolerance (not sleeping, crazy diapers, constant congestion, etc.), so since I am still nursing our doctor recommended I cut out all dairy as a first step (contrary to popular belief, this does not include eggs–hello mayonnaise!).  I had to go cold turkey and let me tell you it has been an adjustment. It’s not necessarily hard, more just something I could not get through my head. Everything usually gets salt, pepper, and parmesan in my world (right, Kathryn?). And I make cookies for a living. And, how do  you not not even nibble on the goat cheese cheesecake served at the shower you hosted? It’s a lot to remember. I am not particularly great at restraint…especially when it comes to food.

I also feel so unnecessarily shy having to tell waiters that I have a dairy allergy. Or having dinner at a neighbor’s house becomes a bit awkward when you call ahead with your food restrictions.

Thankfully my cousin, Monica, gave me some great dairy free ideas. Coconut milk ice cream anyone?! We are finally seeing improvements for George! A lifetime of dairy takes a full 14 days to produce a normal baby diaper. We are still working on the sleep. Baby steps.

Have you ever tried a cleanse, diet, or do you have a food allergy?

ps- remember this?