Today’s recipe came to me by way of my mom, who in many ways is much trendier than I am. She came to our house a few months ago raving about this new way of making rice that was apparently all over the internet. Yes, this recipe was apparently all over my mom’s facebook for weeks, maybe months before I had ever heard of it. There’s a part of me that feels like a little bit of a failure as a food blogger… but then again, I just had a baby, so I’m gonna let this one slide. 

Anyway, after she made this rice for us, we could definitely see why everyone was so crazy about it. It is easy. It is tasty. It is healthy. It’s the kind of trendy food that I could see hanging around for a really long time, because why would you ever stop making this stuff?

The dish basically involves cooking a pot of rice with a whole tomato in it. Everything else that you add is pretty much up to you, but as you can imagine, the possibilities are practically endless. I think the original version is made in a rice cooker, but you can basically cook it in any way that you normally cook your rice–just add a whole tomato to the pot. I used my pressure cooker because it does a great job with rice in general, and because I can fit more into it than I can in my rice cooker. 

My mom’s version had beef and mushrooms in it, for a complete one-pot meal that we devoured in a flash. I’m constantly looking for ways to incorporate more veggies into our meals, so my version of whole-tomato rice is has a good helping of kale in it–basically a whole market bunch of it, which turned out to be around 5 or 6 cups after it was chopped up. It looked like a lot in the pot, but by the time it was done cooking, it had wilted down into little bits which mixed nicely with the rice and gave it a lot more flavor.

Any time I can add a vegetable to one of our staples and make it taste even better, I make a mental bookmark to revisit it again and again. I’ll be making this one for years to come. 

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Coconut, mango, kiwi. Is there anything more to say? 

Okay, okay. If you really need more than that, here it is: Creamy. Custard. Graham cracker crust. 

So basically, this coconut custard pie is made up of everything I love. The coconut custard is rich and sweet without being cloying, and is the perfect complement to the fresh fruit on top. Oh, and one more thing: it’s super easy to make. 

The first time I made this pie, the crust got too soggy from the moisture of the custard. One great way to fix this is by baking the crust a part of the way, letting it cool, brushing on some egg white, and then baking it just a bit longer to set the egg. This resulted in a much tastier crust that didn’t collapse under the moisture of the filling. 

…and that’s about it. Make this for a special occasion or just an average Tuesday. Share it with someone you love, and enjoy. 

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Over the past few months, I’ve learned that a typical day with a baby might go something like this: 6:00 AM – wake up. 8:30 AM – put baby down for a nap. 10:30 AM – play time. 12:00 PM – nap number two. 3:00 PM – tummy time, read a book. 5:00 PM – bath. 6:00 PM – bedtime for baby. Presumably, mom gets time to be productive during the naps–whether it’s cleaning, cooking, working, or napping by herself. (Yes, naps are considered productive! I think all the moms out there will back me up on this.)

The thing is, the “typical” days are maybe more just typical in my brain than in practice. Our little one has shown me how much babies change all the time, and with all that constant change, there’s no telling how your day’s going to go until you’re right in the middle of it.

I’m just trying to enjoy it all as much as I can. It’s already a little heart breaking how lightning-fast this kid is growing. What happened to our tiny little newborn? Don’t get me wrong, I’m loving all the smiles and coos and giggles, but a part of me already wishes I could go back and relive it all again.

One consequence of the unpredictability of these early parenthood days is that cooking dinner regularly is a much more complicated task than is used to be. There are definitely days when we just end up ordering pizza, but whenever possible, I’m trying to put a real meal on the table for mommy and daddy. Nothing fancy here; if I can make something tasty and nutritious, I’m more than satisfied. That’s why one-pot meals like these miso one-pot noodles are big in my rotation these days. Lean chicken, lots of veggies, and whole-wheat noodles are delicious and healthy, and it’s something I can make even while watching a baby…well, at least on most days. 

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Pineapple Yogurt Cake

Believe it or not, there was a time that I didn’t like cake. I distinctly remember the moment I realized it: I was in sixth grade, at a friend’s birthday party, and she offered me a piece of her birthday cake. 

“No, thanks. I don’t like chocolate cake,” I said, without even thinking. And as soon as I said it, I realized it was true–about chocolate cake, especially, but also about the broader category of cakes.

Luckily, my friend wasn’t offended, though she was pretty shocked. What kid doesn’t like cake? Maybe it’s because my family always had pie to celebrate birthdays. Or maybe the reason we always had pie was that none of us really liked cake. 

Anyway, these days, it’s hard for me to remember why I didn’t like cake. I mean, I already had a sweet tooth (though my preference in those days was for cookies). I’d have to conclude that it was because I never really had any good cakes until later in life. 

Clearly, I never had anything like Chocolate and Zucchini’s yogurt cake when I was little. I’ve been making this recipe for quite a while now. I love how this cake always tastes so wholesome and fresh, like you’ve accomplished something really great despite the recipe being so simple and unfussy. It’s easily adaptable to whatever ingredients you have on hand, and consistently turns out great results.

This pineapple yogurt cake is my little adaptation of that recipe. I used some butter left over from my holiday baking and threw in some frozen pineapple leftover from the many smoothies I was making while it was still hot in October. It was the perfect thing to make for my parents while they were visiting over the holidays, and made for some yummy leftovers, too. 

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I love paper crafting. Scrapbooks, greeting cards, party decorations… I love it all. But sometimes it’s a little tough for me to feel like I’m making a final product that’s really fun and original when I’m limited by my scissors, straight-line cutters, and craft punches. Store-bought die cuts can add a lot to a project, but sometimes they don’t have exactly what you need. I’ve attempted to make my own die cuts and cut-outs by hand in the past, but since my hand-eye coordination is seriously limited, the results were just… eh. 

I’ve talked about getting a Silhouette cutter before, but never felt justified spending that much just to be able to make my own die cuts. Luckily, the guy I’m married to knows me pretty darn well, and he made the splurge on my behalf this year for Christmas. This thing is amazing–it performs beautifully on even the tiniest cuts and the most intricate of patterns. I’m in love… with my husband, that is! But I’m also seriously digging on the Silhouette.

I’m sharing the love with you all, too. This pregnancy announcement card is (the much nicer looking version of) the card I made my husband last year when I told him we were pregnant. At the time, I didn’t have my Silhouette, so it took a few hours and a sore hand to get results that weren’t half as neat as this. 

There are two pieces to the card: one template for the actual card itself, which has a cut out on the front, and a template for the die cut shapes to go on the inside. The files are attached below in a few different formats so you can use whatever works best with your cutter. And just FYI, when you’re looking for an envelope: the card size is A7 (5″ x 7″). 

(And congrats to all those who use this card to announce a pregnancy!)

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