Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Cloth Diapers - a good move

By the time I was pregnant with my third child, I could anticipate how overwhelmed I was going to feel once I had three to care for, especially at first. I felt drawn to make my own baby food for her when she grew a little older, but I decided not to stress out about trying cloth diapers. I hadn't used them for either of my other two and I figured, why introduce something so difficult into our lives now.

A year went by and my youngest ate up all the baby food I could make. Somehow, at the end of that year, I was feeling less overwhelmed and more entranced by the idea of using cloth diapers. Was it too late? Anna was already one. But realistically, she would be in diapers for another year or more, so perhaps it was still a good move.

The cost-effectiveness was still there. Even though I had lost the money spent on disposables so far, it would still cost more to diaper her with them for the remainder of her diapering days than it would to use cloth. And I love the idea of cloth - reusable, not-disposable, not going in a landfill, and something to pass on to another once we're done with them.

My sister Lacie had already been using cloth for her little girl and I gladly picked her brain. She introduced me to bumGenius and bumGenius Flip diapers, both of which I have been very happy with, as has my daughter. I have been surprised by how simple it was to switch over, and how satisfied I feel now that we do. It does mean a bit more work, but that work is minimal and pretty easy to incorporate into our days.

All in all, let me recommend cloth diapering to any of you out there that aren't sure. For me, the pros outweigh the cons and I feel glad to be diapering my daughter in cloth, even if it's just for the end of these diapering days.

Friday, October 14, 2011

A lovely moment

Though it can be difficult to slow down, I'm always glad when we do. We spent a refreshing weekend on the Oregon coast and I'm loving the random pics and treasured memories that we've brought home.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Chocolate Pie topped with Meringue

This recipe for chocolatey-goodness was adapted from myrecipes.com ("Old-Fashioned Chocolate Pie"). My first and second attempts at it were delicious, though I was not completely satisfied with the meringue (and new endeavor for me which still needs some perfecting).

Chocolate Pie topped with Meringue

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

1 prebaked pie crust
2 egg whites
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup + 3/8 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons white flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 egg yolks
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Make and bake your piecrust, and set aside to cool. Seperate the 2 egg yolks from the egg whites and set each aside for 30 minutes.

To make the meringue: once you've started making the meringue, don't stop beating until it is finished. Beat the egg whites and the cream of tartar at high speed until foamy, using an electric mixer. Gradually add 3/8 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks for and the sugar is dissolved (you can check this by rubbing a bit of meringue between your fingers - still gritty? Keep beating...) Set the meringue aside.

To make the chocolate filling: whisk the remaining 1 cup sugar, cocoa, flour and salt in a small bowl. In seperate bowl, whisk egg yolks and milk. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add the sugar mixture gradually to melted butter, whisking until blended. Add milk mixture gradually and cook, whisking constantly until thick and bubbly.

Remove from heat, add chocolate chips and vanilla, and stir until melted. Add pecans if you're including them, stir. Pour into piecrust.

Spread meringue over hot filling right away (the meringue will start to cook from the heat of the filling, which is good.) Try to spoon it on in large dollops, connecting them gently with a spoon. Make sure to seal the edge of the meringue to the piecrust to help keep it from shrinking later.

Bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes or till golden. Cool completely.

Meringues do weep, which is the problem I've had with this one. It has not been much, though, and it certainly did not effect the taste. I tried cooling my second pie on the counter instead of in the fridge, but it still beaded up a bit on top.

This pie can be stored happily in the refrigerator, but be warned - meringues are certainly best on the day they are first made.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Frozen Blueberry Muffins

A wholesome and delicious recipe - one of my kids' favorites.

Frozen Blueberry Muffins
adapted from Taste of Home magazine

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups white flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar + 2 teaspoon sugar for topping muffins
4 eggs
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups frozen or fresh blueberries

1. Cream the butter and 2 cups sugar in a large bowl. Add eggs, milk and vanilla and mix well. In a seperate bowl, combine flours, baking powder and salt. Stir in dry mixture into wet mixture. Fold in blueberries.
2. Fill paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Sprinkle remaining 2 tsp sugar over muffins.
3. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes or till muffins test done with a toothpick. Cool in pan before removing.

Yields about 30-40 muffins, depending on how full your cups are.

Doesn't this sound good with strawberry chunks instead of blueberries? Have fun experimenting!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Natural Facial Scrub

I have been using this recipe as an excellent facial scrub in the shower. Combine a small amount with water and your favorite facial cleanser; rub over your face for an exfoliant that will leave your skin feeling wondrously smooth.

Favorite Cleansing Grains
from: Natural Beauty at Home, by Janice Cox

Mix together the following and store in an air-tight container at room temperature until ready to use:

2 tablespoons oatmeal (I used 5-minute oats, aka quick oats, which are oats broken into smaller pieces)
2 tablespoons cornmeal
2 tablespoons wheat germ

Natural and Effective!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Yellow Split Pea Soup

I found this recipe on one of my favorite websites: Allrecipes.com. I love this site because it allows me to read reviews (sometimes hundreds of them on the same recipe!) and get a feel for whether it is something my family will enjoy or not. Also, many reviewers leave their own suggestions on how to make it just a little bit better. This Split Pea Soup recipe is perfect for a chilly spring day, or a rainy one like we so often have here in the Pacific Northwest. Try it, and maybe even change it up a little to suit your family's taste.
Yellow Split Pea Soup
by Downsey
Prep Time:
20 Min
Cook Time:
1 Hr 15 Min
Ready In:
1 Hr 35 Min


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Spanish onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (I used about 3 teaspoons of minced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mace (I left this out)
  • 2 1/2 cups dried yellow split peas (green works great too!)
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 8 frankfurters, sliced (or polish sasuage)
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in onion, carrot, celery, and garlic; cook to soften, but not brown, about 7 minutes.
  2. Mix in the mace and split peas. Stir in the stock; cover, and simmer for 1 hour, or until the peas are soft.
  3. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in frankfurters, and heat through.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Imagining Ourselves Strong

This is from The Women's Book of Courage, by Sue Patton Thoele:

We all face situations in which we feel powerless and afraid. I once had a client who was terrified of an upcoming child custody hearing. She felt intimidated by the legal system, her lawyer, and especially her ex-husband. I asked her what it would take for her to feel safe and strong in the court room.

"Nothing short of riding in on a brahman bull!" she answered jokingly. It was a great idea, straight out of her inner wisdom.

I had her work with the image. She had fun creating a scenario of herself galloping into the court on a huge, snorting bull that threatened to gore anyone who tried to frighten her. Her day in court was a success because each time she felt the least bit scared she visualized herself astride the bull. With the help of her amusing but effective mental imagery she felt strong and capable. As a result, she was treated as if sher were powerful, someone not to be dismissed or manipulated.

As the story illustrates, we are all as strong as we imagine ourselves to be. When we act as if we are strong, we move towards becoming the powerful women we desire to be. Having the courage to see ourselves as strong, capable, and wise, able to do what we need and want helps make it so. But we need not do it alone. We can move creatively through our fears by accepting support and guidance from an unseen helper, whether that is a higher power or a brahman bull.

I am strong and capable.

I can do whatever I set my mind to.

I am filled with strength and confidence.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Spring Sale: 20% off entire shop!

Sophie Marie is having a huge spring sale: 20% off our entire shop! Spring is just around the corner, so it's a great time to make sure your baby is protected from March winds and April showers with an Infant Car Seat Cover.

Some of our recent feedback...

This is the most gorgeous car seat cover!
It's beautifully made and I get nothing but compliments on it every time I take the baby out!

Fantastic Quality!

Super-fast shipping to Canada. Beautiful product, I get compliments everywhere I go!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Two Quick Recipes

Here are a couple of quick recipes we tried this week; we play "Guess the Secret Ingredient" as we eat, and my girls love trying to figure it out!

Refried Beans and Squash: mix in 1/2 to 1 cup of pureed squash with 1 can of refried beans to use on tacos or as dip for nachos or vegetables.

Scrambled Eggs and Cauliflower: add 1/2 to 1 cup of pureed cauliflower to your scrambled eggs as you prepare them.

I have a new appreciation for pureed vegetables, and as I often have them on hand (as baby food for my youngest), I like tossing them in to new recipes. If you're wondering about incorporating them into your cooking, check out these books:

1, 2, 3, Cook for Me: by Karin Knight, R.N., and Jeannie Lumley
This book is a great resource if you want to make baby food but it seems too daunting a task!

Deceptively Delicious: by Jessica Seinfeld
Great recipes and ideas for using pureed fruits and veggies in your family's meals.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Zuppa Toscana

Time for another recipe! This is another favorite in my house, so I always make a double batch. I found this recipe online at a site for Italian recipes; they claim that the original came from someone who used to work at Olive Garden. It certainly tastes like the soup from the restaurant, and it is delicious with a side of salad and some french bread. I have adapted the recipe to fit our tastes.

Recipe #3, adapted from www.tuscanrecipes.com/recipes/olive-garden-zuppa-toscana.html

Zuppa Toscana
makes 6-8 servings

1 lb ground Italian sausage
1 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 large sweet onion, diced
1 pkg bacon
1 heaping Tbsp minced garlic (we like a lot of garlic)
10 cups water
5 cubes chicken bouillon, or 5 tsps chicken "Better than Bouillon"
1 1/4 cup whipping cream
3 large Russet potatoes, or 6 red potatoes, scrubbed and sliced (you can leave the peel on)
1 to 1 1/2 cups red cabbage, chopped
1/4 bunch kale (about 3-4 leaves)

1. Begin cooking the bacon in a large skillet, as much as you can fit. As one batch finishes, lay each piece on a paper towel, let it cool, and then crumble into bacon pieces.
2. Saute the sausage and the red pepper in a large pot. Once it is cooked, drain the grease and set the sausage and red pepper aside for later.
3. Once the bacon has all been cooked and crumble, combine it with the onion and garlic in the same pot you used to cook the sausage. Saute it for about 10 minutes, or until onions are tender.
4. Add water and chicken bouillon into pot and bring to a boil.
5. Add potatoes and red cabbage to pot; cook for about 30 minutes.
6. Once potatoes are soft, add cream to pot; cook for about 5 minutes.
7. Add sausage and kale; heat thoroughly and serve!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Congratulations, Lacie and Marcus!

Big news for Lacie and her husband, Marcus: they delivered their second baby on February 2nd: Liam Anthony! He was expected to be the fifth granddaughter for my parents, who had no sons or grandsons...lo and behold, he surprised the lot of us! Welcome, little man!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

New Listings!

Check these out and more at our shop, www.sophiemarie.etsy.com
Don't you just love the spring?
Shelter your baby from the rain with this sweet cover!

Check out these adorable polka dots!

And strap covers to match!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

To Be Organized...

This year I'm trying to organize a large pile of papers as I complete our taxes. What an overwhelming task! I found this site helpful: www.lifeorganizers.com/Office-Home-Office/The-Organized-Files/Records-Retention.html; it talks about what papers to keep and for how long.

Good luck to everyone battling the paper monster!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Waffles with Fruit or Veggies

I am always looking for new ways to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into my family's diet, which led me to experiment with one of our favorite breakfasts: waffles. My mom shared the recipe that she uses with me; it comes from her well-used copy of the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook and it is so tasty. We've substituted a number of different vegetables and fruits for the oil in this recipe, all with great success!

Recipe #2, adapted from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook:



2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups white flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
3 1/2 cups milk
1 cup pureed squash, sweet potato, zucchini, cauliflower, applesauce, pearsauce, banana, etc.


1. Preheat your waffle iron.
2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together your flours, baking powder and salt.
3. Using a balloon whisk, add in the eggs, milk and pureed fruit or vegetable.
4. Spray a non-stick cooking spray onto the waffle iron if yours needs it (I use an old Belgian waffle iron, which always does).
5. When batter is well combined, pour a little less than 1 cup onto your waffle iron, or according to the manual.
6. Check waffle after a couple of minutes; leave it cooking until it's done to your taste. Repeat steps 4-6 until waffle batter is gone.

This morning I tried a combination of applesauce and zucchini in our waffles. My kids think these are delicious, which opens the door for me to talk about the yummy zucchini in their waffles and how good that is for their bodies!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Hamburger Minestrone Soup

Let's start this out right, with a delicious recipe! This is one of my favorites, an old-standby that I whip out when I need something hearty and satisfying on a winter's eve. My mom got this recipe from a family friend when I was a girl, and I've been happy to rediscover it's goodness now that I'm cooking for 6! It's true, my house is full; dinner is now served for my three young girls, husband, sister-in-law and myself. Hurrah - this soup makes enough for us all, and a doubled recipe means we can eat the leftovers for a couple of days! I hope you enjoy.

Recipe #1, adapted from a family friend:

Hamburger Minestrone Soup


1 pound hamburger (ground turkey also works well)
1 cup diced onion
1 cup cubed potatoes
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup diced celery
1 cup shredded cabbage
1/2 tablespoon dried thyme (or 1 and 1/2 tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped)
1/2 tablespoon dried basil (or 1 and 1/2 tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped)
4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup broken spaghetti (break it into pieces about 1/4 the length of the dried spaghetti noodle)
1 and 1/2 quarts water


1. Saute the hamburger/turkey burger and the onions in the bottom of a big stockpot till burger is completely cooked.
2. Add remaining ingredients (don't forget the salt and pepper or the noodles like I often do!). Bring to a boil.
3. Reduce heat and keep at a low boil for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

I like the great flavor that the thyme and basil give to this soup, so if anything, I add a little extra rather than skimp on the herbs. The original recipe says to simmer for 1 hour, but I find that length of time rather unnecessary; I keep it at a low boil until the noodles are done and the vegetables are soft enough for our taste.

Note: the original recipe also calls for a #2-size can of canned tomatoes. If you feel that it's not minestrone without the tomatoes, by all means, include them! I love the taste of this soup without the tomatoes, so I'm happy to save them for another meal.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Welcome to Nourishing Family, our blog devoted to our adventures in creativity, family life, cooking, cleaning and conscientious living. We're glad you're here; more coming soon!