Thursday, October 14, 2010

a little girl in a white dress & an explosion of colors.

it all started with an airplane ride. roughly two and a half hours heading north...

and our little spiderman is excited about his trip!

what is it about going home that makes you long for your mother, a big bowl of italian soup (extra parmesan please), and a big quilt to snuggle beneath.

we recently returned home from mi. it was a shorter trip this year and we tried to soak up as much cold, cider, spiced donuts, and family as we could. it was amazing as it always is and the fall season never disappoints.

it's always more beautiful than i remember and it again cements my belief that we should always try to make it back to mi for a little autumn lovin' every year.


we visited a few different apple orchards and pumpkin patches. is there anything better than a real pumpkin patch. so what if i about broke my ankle and poked my eye out while walking around a pumpkin patch at night tripping over the vines...but we had vines. real vines. it was so fabulous and beautiful!

we hung with our families. we smooshed around the dinner table, enjoyed our morning coffee, and just enjoyed being together.

okay, it was a little hot for my fall-time agenda. indian summer. i had to forgo layering long sleeved t-shirts, and piling on fluffy, colorful was too hot! however, i dressed peyton and beckham in as many fall-ish clothes as possible and i only ever removed my warm, fuzzy boots to replace them with my warm and fuzzy slippers!

it was divine. it was perfect. it was michigan in the fall.

i have so much to share, but i will do this post in a series. i just took to many if that's possible!

peyton is our self-proclaimed michigan girl and she was the first one to jump out of the truck and start exploring her rusty-colored surroundings.


sito and gido decorated and we had some nervous kids for a minute...



each day, 'peanut butter' ran outside in their jammies and tried to catch leaves that were falling after a little gust of wind. they used a box to collect to their colored and waxy treasures...


it was so damn funny to watch!

one night we were all hanging around playing cards with jeff's parents and some really funny and lovely friends but the kids were BORED and wouldn't let us ignore them a moment longer, so we visited the old house up on the corner that has been selling pumpkins for forty years.
(this was one LONG card game that had me bowing out early, making salami sandwiches rolled into the freshest syrian bread, but we laughed about 90% of the time...and donna, you so topped my story and i LOVED it!!!)

it was way late, super cold, and the place didn't sell hot mulled apple cider but it was invigorating and exciting to be running around hundreds of pumpkins in all shapes and sizes.

does peyton look a bit scary here?


and our babies kept scaring the hell out of themselves by entering the 'witches chambers' where she was whipping up some delish eyeball soup...and they just kept running. we stayed too long, but we returned with pink noses and it was so much fun!

the lighting wasn't great, but i have to share anyway.



funny story. maybe.

i visited costco the other day. i was making lasagna and for some reason i bought an extra huge container of ricotta cheese an di didn't need it. you would of thought the kitchen police were in my kitchen and i would have been put in jail if i threw that extra container of ricotta away. i couldn't do it. everytime i opened my refridgerter, that white and red plastic contain kept staring at...
make me into something good. please. use me. i flippin' hate ricotta cheese now, but here is one of the four recipes i made using ricotta.

Peanut Butter Pie
(sorrento's recipe found on back of container)

I used:
one graham cracker crust, 8"
6 oz, hershey's special select chocolate chips, melted (use what you prefer)
for the filling:
3 tbls butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cups of smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup plus 2 tbls. sugar
1/2 cup ricotta cheese (recipe calls for 3/4, i used less)
1 cup of heavy whipping cream whipped with 1tbls. sugar and 1/2tsp. vanilla

With spatula, smooth 2/3 of chocolate over bottom of crust and up the sides about 1/2."
save the rest of the chocolate for the top.

put crust in freezer.

Mix butter,peanut butter, and sugar for 2 minutes until smooth. Add ricotta and mix for 1 minute. In separate bowls, whip cream with sugar and vanilla until it holds a soft peak. Gently fold cream into PB mixture. Spoon filling into prepared crust and refrigerate for 1-2 hours. With fork, drizzle remaining chocolate over top and serve.

*i would use more chocolate than the recipe calls for. maybe another 3 oz, melted, poured over top.

i had never made a peanut butter pie before, but it was really good. peyton and beckham LOVED it!!!
never buy canned whipped cream again because homemade is sooo much better and really quick and most importantly...the kids think it is super cool to watch the cream turn into whipped cream!






i've been cooking like julia child on no-doz tablets. (ha, kidding. seriously though didn't you ever take those caffeine pills back in the days while chasing it with a pot of coffee in order to stay up all night so you could write your final term paper? no?

me either.

so, another recipe that i am sharing is one of my all-time faves.

my grandma polleti, who recently moved back to michigan from italy, used to make these frittatas. as a child i would watch her make these little 'pies' and when done, cut them into thick and perfectly triangled slices. she would ALWAYS bake them in foil pie dishes...the ones that are probably discontinued because the edges are so sharp. was signature grandma polleti.


she made hers with spinach and it always amazed me at how beautifully she could make her spinach 'freeze' within the pie. when you cut into it you could see ribbons of the spinach dancing in the egg mixture.

well, after several begging-for-the-recipe sessions with grandma herself, all she says is,
"what honey? what you you talking about? SPINACH? yeah spinach and egg and that's it."

I GAVE UP, so here is my version. i came up with it after several cravings of my old favorite!


Kinda Sorta Grandma's Frittata
my version...much quicker

5 eggs

1 tablespoon of each: olive oil and butter. (it's an italian thing i think)

a bag of fresh spinach (although, i am pretty sure gram uses frozen)
OR a bunch of asparagus, with ends trimmed off. i use the tips/grassy part of the asparagus as that is my favorite part, but you can use the stems but be sure to trim the hard bottom.

1/4 c chopped onion

a ripe deep red tomato, diced. (from mom's garden...or the supermarket i guess:)

basil, chopped. a few leaves.

fontina cheese, a chuck that you can grate over the pan at the end of cooking.

kosher salt and pepper.

optional: sometimes i through in some diced up proscuitto for more salt when i am needing more salt in my life. but i crisp it up first in a dry, hot pan but you don't have to.

in a pan big enough to hold 5 eggs and over medium heat add oil and butter, then add your onion and asparagus and cook for a few minutes until the asparagus is tender. add chopped tomato and let cook for another minute or so.

meanwhile, whisk together your eggs, add a splash of milk or cream, salt, pepper.
pour over the veggies. let it cook for a few minutes and then grate the fontina over the top. i don't measure, i just grate until it looks good.

fontina is salty and creamy and one of my all-time favorite my gram used muenster cheese.

then, where some may thow this in the oven at this point, i take out my spatula and challenge myself to a flip-over tournament! flip it over and if it breaks...who cares. your in pj's and about to enjoy the most delish breakfast ever.

slice it up and enjoy!

this is SUPER easy and you probably have some variation of all these ingredients in your fridge. i'm addicted and my jeans are screaming at me.

oj over ice. it's dessert.

i had a few photo shoots while i was in michigan and can i just say that i needed to be inspired and i was. so much more to come, but here is a sneak peek of sweet little brother and sister...kate and tyler!



tina, you are a beautiful mama! xo
After all there is something about a wedding gown, prettier than in any other gown in the world.
~Douglas William Jerrold
she's been asking me for well over a year,
"mommy, please let me wear your wedding dress."

we look at the wedding photograph that is hanging on the wall above my desk and she asks why she wasn't invited to the 'party.'

"you look like a princess, mommy!" and we stare at the photo. i, in memory of our wedding day, and she, i imagine, dreaming of the day that she will get to wear a big white dress and look like a princess.

she has asked to wear my gown almost every weekend for a year, but i wasn't ready to open that box. maybe it was the memories it was sure to unleash or fear that it would be ruined. we were married 11 years ago and my gown was shoved into a cardboard box and never opened again...

until a couple of nights ago~

the joy on her face brought tears to my eyes. she transformed herself into an elegant little person.

the smile never faded.

she was a different person.

when the neighbors stopped to stare at our impromptu shoot, she wasn't shy. she was glowing with excitement.


"now you look like the princess, sweetheart!"

it was so emotional. it was an experience. we will do it again.

if you would like photos of your little sweetheart in your dress or other meaningful item, contact me. i have packages in the works and they will be available in january!

also, check out this blog! i received an email from charlotte who works for ThinkFun, the makers of Zingo! she came across my blog and liked the little story of beckham learning how to play the game by the rules. i was honored that she wanted to post an excerpt of my blog onto her super amazing resource blog on exploring new ways to use games to promote learning, teach thinking skills, and life lessons. anything that gets me thinking outside of the box works for me!
happy fall-ing in love with the season.
i made us some chili and lit a hundred candles tonight. what it's all about.

oh, and maybe one of these...
a honey crisp apple. run, not walk, to your nearest market and buy a dozen. it's like honey and sugar and fresh all rolled into one!


iColossus / Monster said...

Oh Heidi,

Those pictures of Peyton in your wedding dress TOTALLY made me tear up. Holy crap. How can you stand it?

Blink, blink. Wave hand over the eyes.

OK, back.

That fritatta thing looks SO incred. I don't even know what to say.

Great pics of your kids and also from your photo shoots!

Love you madly, girl. Do you even remember who I am anymore? It's been to GD long!


XOXO XO xo o

Patti said...

I am in the middle of posting My Big Fat Pumpkin Patch Post and it's 12:33 a.m. and my eyes are glazing I saved the post til later, stopped by Blogger Dashboard and there was your post just waiting for me!! Only...what time is it in Florida?? Wow. You are dedicated.

I wish we lived there or you lived here- I would love to have you do a photo shoot of my Lilybird. Those pictures from MI are gorgeous.

Can't wait to try those recipes!

Happy Friday:)

Rebecca said...

Well now all I can think about is getting the cream outta my fridge and having whipped cream and strawberries for breakfast! Haha! Love Peyton in your dress. Such a beauty!

Becky at lifeoutoffocus said...

OH EM GEE. The wedding gown pictures are to die for. This is something I definitely need to do with my girls...esp Hannah since she's 7 and old enough to actually sit and pose with it in. She'd love it. Thanks for the idea!

Daniele said...

awww, wish I could take pics of my little girl in my wedding dress but we had it "preserved" in one of those archival boxes right after the wedding, it is now in my 1 yr old's closet haha....I hope one of them will wear it someday!! :)

Maria said...

Welcome home, Heidi! So glad you had your fall moments in Michigan. Was that a complaint I heard about it being too hot? I am freezing here today in NJ. It's windy & in the
50's & still cloudy after another night of rain. Ugh!
Gorgeous pictures as usual.
Kate & Tyler~so beautiful.
Peyton & Beckham~adorable.
Enjoy the sun for me, ok?
I'll try to send some spitting rain your

Kris said...

Glad you got to enjoy some of those fine Michigan colors! I'm picturing the little ones running around catching leaves. I used to love doing that as a kid!! :) I think some of that is in order this weekend with my little guy. Gorgeous pictures of Peyton in your wedding dress. Just precious.

Jen Biasi said...

Gorgeous pix!!! Love love love the ones of those gorgeous babies. And SOOO jealous you got to see some honest-to-goodness Fall foliage..... Miss it so much. The closest I've gotten to autumn pix was taking shots of Lila and AJ in front of pumpkins at the grocery store. *sigh* Had to move a shopping cart out of the way first, along with a sign that said $6.99. Oh, and the camera slipped from my hands because I was sweating bullets because IT'S 90 DEGREES HERE in October.

Amie said...

Nothin' better than Michigan in the fall.

LOVE Beckham's flying hat!

P in your dress?? Gorgeous. She is a total princess!

Sallinger said...

Oh, so so so sweet, love those wedding dress pics!

Trisha (Kent) Davidson said...

love the pics of peyton in your wedding dress! just beautiful!!!!! love it!!! love the cool, girlfriend!!!!

Bree said...

How sweet are those photos!!! Absolutely priceless....

Sarah said...

I just finished making tortellini soup because I couldn't quit thinking about italian soup after I read your post. I'm so impressed with your culinary flair!!

I had to look at your blog again to tell you:) I love the scenes and the way you talk about home, kids and family as well!!

trinity said...

I buy honeycrisp apples by the ton when they are in season here in Western North Carolina - BEST APPLE ever! Love the pics of your little one in your dress....such a sweet idea!

April said...

Another monsterous post!! I intended on reading it this morning with my coffee, but bundled up and headed out for an early-morning walk instead. I had some restless littles!

Great post. I love hearing family stories, so much fun. And your girl in your dress, that was beautiful! Oh, and homemade whipped cream, I am SO with you ... one of my favorite things ever!!

Happy weekend ...

katie said...

i totally agree with the honey crisp apple thing....soooo yummy!

Aysha said...

Your trip home to Michigan looked perfect! :)

Love the photo shoot you did with Peyton in your wedding dress. Such a great idea. Definitely one I will be using when my girls (nearly 3 and 7 months) get a wee bit older.

Thanks for sharing your recipes. They look and sound so yummy ...

Monique said...

your LOVE for your littles is simply beautiful. you soak up every inch of them, dance to every beat and savour all the magical moments. you are an AMAZING mama!! thanks for sharing!

love-love-love the pics of Peyton in your wedding dress. such a precious moment to share together :)

Rhonda said...

Wonderful pics of Peyton in your dress!!!!


P-nut said...

looks like you had a great time! i love fall and all the colours and crunchy leaves!!!

mmm fritattas are so yummy...

great pics! so love hearing about your little family and life :)

Anna Ruth said...

Peanut butter pie is my favorite! Peyton in your wedding dress is just beautiful.

Kelly Hutcheson said...

Commented two times, but it somehow timed out. Dam sam!

There needs to be some type of warning on posts like this before the average person reads it! Like a warning abuot the cuteness and beauty they're about to witness!

Okay, the wedding dress? What? What? What? They are to.die.for. I'd love to put Lily in mine, but I think it's yellow from being under my bed for so long and the zipper broke so she'd be a naked person sitting on a yellow blanket in our front yard. lol

And Becks in that hat with those big brown eyes? It's not right how handsome he is. Just not right. Your phone will be ringing off the hook in just a few years. They'll have to get by Lainey first. lol.

I wanna cook like you when I grow up.


Donna said...

Heidi, you're photos are so beautiful! Peyton in your dress....just blink and it will be the real thing. Time goes so fast and they grow up in a flash....
I am still laughing about that card game...and I so didn't mean to beat your story!! LOL Always great to see you in MI - even better in FLA!!

AJ said...

Found your blog while reading some of Enjoy your small things and came across a post about a road trip in was super cute. Your kids are super cute. Love your son's hat.

patsy said...

heidi--your pics are always just beautiful!! i love the ones with peyton in your dress...almost had me at tears picturing my girls in my dress!! and that peanut butter pie...i believe a trip to get the ingredients is in my near future! also do you use lightroom or photoshop? i know you have posted that you edit almost everything and i want to get into that with my pics...since i have been using only natural light (your wonderful advice!) the pics do look much more natural but some need a little lighting help. is either program easier...i am not familiar AT ALL!!

Unknown said...

oh what fun you've been having!!!
I love the michigan pics. My husband is from Hillsdale, MI. and we were supposed to go, but he is working hard at school right now so we couldn't. Happy Fall!!! Pics are gorgeous as always. xo

Terri said...

I was so upset that we couldn't meet up while you were here. Please let me know the next time! LOVE LOVE LOVE the pictures in your wedding dress, I can not wait to do that with all three of my girls!

Heidi said...


thank you for the sweet words. hands down: lightroom more user friendly, but with practice, photoshop is an amazing and powerful tool.

my vote for starting out: lightroom!

Heidi said...

you topped it...
bring it girl.

i'll get ya next time-LOL

we miss you.