Author Archives: ebchr

Lean in, lean out

Once upon a time, about three years ago.. a dear friend named Bonnie introduced Lauren and I. Bonnie is one of those fabulous people who everyone adores.. she also knows a lot of people and has this amazing super power in connecting people.

Lauren was(is) a photographer and fashionista and I was a fashionista wanna-be and creative person! I was pregnant with my son at the time and Lauren did a pregnancy photoshoot for me and helped put together outfits. She had (has) this amazing collection of clothes, shoes, accessories.. all specially curated and found at thrift and consignment shops. (Lauren’s super power is finding diamonds in the thrift shopping rough).

Anyway, we became friends (because Lauren is also fabulous!) and I suggested she start a fashion blog. I tried to convince her the world needed to see her unique and timeless style and be inspired. She said she would think about it if I would do the blog too.. and so it started and evolved and we created Dit-Elle a fashion, food, lifestyle mommy blog.. in attempts to inspire other busy moms. We’re both introverts so it felt a little awkward at first just putting ourselves out there in this blog and on social channels, but it took off.

Lauren did most of the fashion posts and I did most of the food posts. I love food photography and wanted to build a collection of my favorite, true and tried recipes. I was also gluten free and dealing with stomach pains.. and wanted an arsenal of recipes I could refer back to anytime, a go-to cookbook. When I made a new dish (and if it was good!), I’d immediately put it on a fancy plate, place it by my kitchen window, and with one kid on my hip, the other playing on the floor, snap a bunch of photos, hoping to get at least one good one! And then I blogged those food photos twice a week when the kids were asleep.. sometimes I would do posts on wellness, health, gluten free or paleo living, food allergies and other tips and tricks. On occasion Lauren would talk me into doing a fashion post. We rarely saw each other, but we alternated fashion and food posts to create a rich collection of inspiration for our readers and for ourselves!

This past fall.. it seems like life caught up to me and I had to stop blogging. I work full-time outside of the home in a very demanding job and industry. Then I have that other full-time job of raising two kids which I think is actually the more demanding job (and kudos to all those moms who do that full-time because it truly is a full-time, 24×7 job!). For me, juggling the office job and home job provided a kind of balance. I love (most of the time) going to an office and working on demanding projects with intense people.. success was always defined and I felt like I was growing and doing great things. Raising two small kids was very hard. Everyone says “enjoy it, because those toddler years are so fleeting, they go by so fast..” but for me, every day was slow and tough and difficult. And people don’t talk about that. And when midnight rolled around, and the house was finally quiet, and I was still amped up from getting the kids to bed (feeding and bedtime in the zoo!) and then perhaps some “fire drill” project that had come my way from work.. I would blog. And it would bring me some peace and quiet and space for my creative energy.

Anyway, there you go.. which brings me to now. My kids are  demanding attention from me in a different way.. Ava is in kindergarten and Anders is a little 3 year old terror (a super cute one, but still trying to tear the house down at every opportunity). I rarely cook and am thankful for food services like Munchery (read my post about “Not Doing It All” here). When I’m home with them, I want to give my kids undivided attention. I want to take care of my body (hot yoga, walking the dog, sleep..). And on that topic, after years of a huge sleep deficit I am now enjoying finally sleeping through the night on a regular basis (wahooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!).

Sometimes you have to lean in to what inspires you and gives you energy. And sometimes you have to lean out. Right now I have to lean out. And take a break from blogging.

My philosophy has always been this: every parent is different, every kid is different, every family situation is different.. you simply have to find what works for you at that moment in time! And hopefully have some fun, and laugh at yourself a bit along the way! 🙂 I will not be blogging much this year but if I do make something interesting, it will find its way here! 🙂

Happy happy 2017! Wishing you a wonderful year ahead! 🙂

christoffersen-xmas-2016-family

One of our family goals is to spend more time outdoors and less time in front of screens (because we do a lot of that for work!). Here the huz, Ava and Anders and I on a fall hike on Crystal Mountain! 🙂

Blood Orange, Almond and Ricotta Cake

I was introduced to Tartine a few weeks ago when visiting San Francisco. I thought we had stumbled upon a small local bakery café.. not realizing it was THE Tartine.. world famous for their amazingness. Delicious looking tarts, croissants, quiches and more on were on display and I was not optimistic there were GF options.. but of course there were! 🙂 And behind the glass the server pointed out some beautiful tiny orange almond ricotta cakes.

The cake was delicious and my daughter (6 yrs) ate a whole piece of ham and cheese quiche. Tartine was just as amazing as the 6k+ reviews on Yelp rave about. And of course I couldn’t not try to make the cake! 🙂

 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  •  1 tablespoon water
  •  3 large eggs, separated
  •  2/3 cup (135 grams) granulated sugar
  •  2 blood oranges, or another orange of your choice
  •  1/2 cup (4 ounces or 115 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  •  2/3 cup (165 grams) ricotta
  •  1/3 cup (45 grams) cornmeal
  •  1 cup (135 grams) firm-packed almond flour or meal
  •  1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  •  1/4 cup apple, quince or apricot jam (optional, for glossy finish)

Directions

Heat oven to 300 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper.

Stir brown sugar and water together so they form a thick slurry. Pour into prepared cake pan and spread thin. Set aside.

Whip egg whites in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until they hold thick peaks. Set aside.

Place granulated sugar in a large mixing bowl. Finely zest both oranges over it.

Cut both oranges in half. Cut one of the halves into paper-thin slices and arrange slices over brown sugar base in cake pan. Juice other three halves (I had about 1/3 cup juice) and set juice aside.

Add butter to zest and granulated sugar in large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer (you can use same beaters you just did for egg whites) until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, one at a time, and beat to combine. Add juice and ricotta; mix until smooth. Sprinkle salt over batter, then add almond flour and cornmeal and mix until just combined. Gently fold in egg whites.

Scoop batter in large dollops over prepared cake pan base. Gently spread batter flat, trying not to disturb orange slices underneath. Bake in heated oven for 35 to 40 minutes [updated to warn that this took longer for many people, but remains accurate for my oven– better to check early than late], or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and then (my preference) for 5 more minutes. The final cake is so moist, almost damp, I found the extra baking time beneficial.

Cool cake in pan on rack for 5 minutes, and then run a knife around the side and invert onto a cake plate. If any orange slices don’t come out easily, just gently arrange them on the top of the cake. If desired, heat jam until loose and brush over cake top for a glossier finish. Let cool and cut into slices. This would be delicious served with an extra dollop of ricotta, creme fraiche or barely sweetened whipped cream. The cake keeps at room temperature, but we prefer it from the fridge.

Thank you Smitten Kitchen! Visit their page for beautiful pictures and more tips on making this cake: https://smittenkitchen.com/2016/01/blood-orange-almond-and-ricotta-cake/

 

dit-elle-Esther

Broccoli Salad with Bacon and Red Onions

This is a great raw broccoli salad recipe!

broccoli-bacon-red-onion-salad

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 lbs broccoli
  • 10 strips crisp bacon
  • 1 large red onion
  • 1/3 c raisins
  • 2 Tbsp vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 c toasted sunflower seeds

Directions

  • Cut broccoli and stems into bit sized pieces
  • Fry bacon until crisp and set aside. Crumble.
  • In large bowl, combine broccoli, onion, raisins and bacon
  • Add vinegar pepper and sunflower seeds and toss well to combine

The original recipe which I got from my Grandma, included a 1/4 cup sugar (most recipes from the 50’s era seem to have a lot of sugar :)). I omitted all sugar to make this a paleo salad, and it tasted great!

Enjoy! 🙂

dit-elle-Esther

Watermelon Granita Cocktail

We’ve been having some 90+ degree days here in Seattle and for us.. well, that’s pretty hot. We start melting. Especially since no one has air conditioning. Anyway, we put on fans, eat icy treats and pretend we can deal with the heat.

I plant myself in the shade while the kids splash and run around.. I like to think we look like we’re in the serene setting a Pottery Barn summer catalog.. you know the double fold showing a gorgeous patio with a large glassy pool and beautiful outdoor furniture with lush greenery in the background? But really it’s just the blue plastic kiddie pool and my chaise lounger on the yellow straw that is Seattle grass in summer.

Anyway, if you have some leftover Watermelon Granita, add some vodka or tequila, shake it up and call it a summer frozen refresher. The natural watermelon flavor says summer!

watermelon granita cocktail blog (1)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups frozen Watermelon Granita
  • 1 shot Triple Sec
  • 1 or 2 shots vodka or tequila
  • Mint for garnish

Directions

  • Shake everything up well and pour in two glasses
  • Garnish with mint
  • Serve immediately
  • Happy summer! 🙂

dit-elle-Esther

Watermelon Granita

This is quite the simple summer treat! Love watermelon? You’ll love watermelon granita!

watermelon granita blog (2)watermelon granita blog (1)

Ingredients

  • 3 cups roughly chopped watermelon
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 6-8 mint leaves and more for garnish
  • 1 Tbsp honey

Directions

  • Freeze a glass baking dish for an hour
  • In a blender, puree watermelon, lime juice, mint leaves and honey until smooth
  • Pour through a fine-mesh sieve and discard solids
  • Pour juice into chilled baking dish and freeze until slushy, ~45 minutes
  • Rake surface with a fork to break up ice crystals
  • Freeze 30 minutes
  • Repeat until frozen
  • Scoop into bowls, garnish with mint and serve

dit-elle-Esther

Balsamic Strawberries

I discovered strawberries with balsamic recently – wow – yum! Strawberry goodness with a pop from the vinegar and pepper. Try it!

balsamic strawberries blog

Ingredients

  • 2 cups strawberries, rinsed and sliced
  • 1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Sugar (optional, omit for paleo version)
  • Pepper to taste
  • Mint for garnish

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients and let marinade for at least an hour or up to four
  • Enjoy!

dit-elle-Esther

Zucchini Mini Pizzas

zucchini mini pizzas blog (2)zucchini mini pizzas blog (1)

Ingredients

  • Zucchini, sliced 1/2″ thick
  • Tomato or meat sauce
  • Cheese
  • Fresh or dried spices like basil, oregano, thyme
  • Any other favorite pizza toppings

Directions

  • Heat oven to 35o*
  • Set zucchini slices on parchment paper on a baking sheet
  • Top with sauce, spices and cheese
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted and toasty
  • Cool a bit and enjoy!

Inspired by http://www.howsweeteats.com/2016/07/mini-zucchini-pizzas-3-ways/

dit-elle-Esther