Saturday, May 28, 2011

Amelie's Favorite: Mama's Yummy Broccoli, Cheese and Rice Casserole

Sure to please kiddos. It is even better the next day for leftovers. This recipe could easily feed 4-6 as a main dish. If you know you’ll be in a hurry, make this dish the night before or morning of: follow all directions except baking and slip in the oven 30 minutes before dinner. 

Prep time: about 15 minutes
Cook time: about 1 hour

Mama’s Yummy Broccoli, Cheese and Rice Casserole
Cooking spray
1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cup uncooked rice
Salt to taste
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 1/2 cups small broccoli florets
2 cans (10 ¾ oz) condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 cup milk
3-4 cups finely shredded cheddar cheese, divided
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Grease a 7- x 11-inch baking dish with cooking spray; set aside.

Cook rice according to package directions. Set pot aside off of the heat for 5 minutes, then uncover, fluff with a fork and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add broccoli and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes. Add cooked rice, then stir in soup, milk, 2 cups of the cheese, salt and pepper.

Transfer rice mixture to prepared baking dish. Cook 15 minutes. Sprinkle remaining 1-2 cups of cheese evenly over the top. Bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 15 minutes.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

suburban escape: great trail in Broomfield for mama, baby & dog

Earlier this week, my neighbor told me about a paved walking path that is perfect for strollers with a fantastic view of the front range. This morning Amelie and I loaded up the van with the stroller and the dog to check it out. This trail is so much fun!

Breathtaking  views.

The pavement is wide enough for two mamas to walk side by side with strollers.

Plenty of cute little creatures along the way. Amelie enjoyed spotting the soaring birds and quick bunnies.
 It was hilly and the trail winds, so be prepared to get a real workout!

There are detours that are not paved that you can take as well (they are finished with gravel, so if you have a jogging stroller they are easily passable).

Our dog, Tekka, enjoyed scouting out a new trail.

You can access the trail through many of the side streets within the Country Estates and Outlook subdivisions. I took 136th to Columbine, followed it to the dead end and took a left on Himilaya Avenue, which ends at a cul-de-sac where you can access the trail. There are warnings that this is coyote country that contain information for handling encounters with coyotes when you enter the trail.

I really enjoyed this walk. It was a perfect escape from traffic and the usual hustle bustle, all just a few minutes away from my house. If you live in or near Broomfield, I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

kids-sized tie dyes added to the shop

Just in time for the warm weather - tie dye t-shirts for kids are now available in size medium in many styles and vibrant colors! Look for size small shirts to be added later in the week.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

mama love

Two weeks ago I just happened to pick up the novel The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd. I finished it just hours before Mother’s Day began. The book speaks volumes about women, about mothers and daughters, their roles, and the power of love within that relationship. While reading it, I have been thinking of my own mother, my own daughter, beyond that my own grandmothers and great-grandmother, the five generations of women that we make. I am so blessed to have each of them in my life. 

Just a year ago, I discovered the intensity that motherhood invites and quietly realized how much my mom has done for me. There have been many moments where I have stood there, exhausted, sweating, smelling like spit up, with this tiny little person who is staking her entire existence on my wit. I’d look around, feeling desperate and alone, thinking - someone must understand!! It was then that I would know for sure: my mom does, she did this for me. Thank you, mama, for everything.

My Mama and Me

My daughter, Amelie, and me, last year on Mother's Day

In The Secret Life of Bees, the main character has to realize that her mother is not perfect, and she has to let go of the idealized version of her mother that she had created. I am certain that this self-realization becomes very obvious, very quickly, for all new moms. I remember telling Amelie during those first few days that I was sorry, I had no idea what I was doing, so we’d have to learn together. It’s still true. Just when I think I’m really catching on, she changes. I have to remind myself to let go and see where she takes me.

If there are many moments of self-pity as I struggled through those first months as a new mom, there are countless more moments of joy, so strong that sometimes I have felt the urge to get up and dance!

Lots of love today and everyday to all the mamas out there!