Naptime Lifestyle: Everyday Favorites for Everyday Life

Vegetable Garden Plans | The Naptime Chef

Garden Idea File #2: Vegetable Garden Plans

I had all sorts of posts planned to write over the weekend but my time vanished into thin air. Between snow days and…more snow days I am playing the role of the pied piper, entertaining the children all day long. Needless to say, during my down time I find myself dreaming of spring and have started to sketch out my garden plans on paper. In April Uncle Will is going to come visit and help me get started. We both inherited the gardening gene from our parents and love nothing more than to get our hands in the dirt to cultivate flowers and food.

Raspberry Chocolates | The Naptime Chef

Valentine’s Gift Idea: Flowers & Chocolate

I thought I’d pop in with a few Valentine’s gift ideas this week and next. I don’t go crazy with Valentine’s Day like I do with Christmas, but I do enjoy the sentiment of a sweet romantic gesture and a small extra-thoughtful gift. One of my favorite Valentine’s gift ideas is simple: flowers and chocolate. Each year I challenge my husband to find me some unique chocolate treat. He does is research and has brought me little boxes from La Maison du Chocolat, Chocopologie, and See’s in the past. This year I plan to reciprocate with a little chocolate of my own.

The Naptime Chef Refrigerators

Kitchen Idea File #4: Refrigerators

Over the holidays I really put our fridge/freezer to the test. It is one size smaller than our old one and has the side-by-side door design which is known for the small amount of freezer space. I do a LOT of freezing and had to pile food in to the point where I couldn’t see the light anymore. I made a lot of our Christmas food ahead of time since it was the best way to prepare for a crowd. When we renovate the kitchen I want to upgrade to a new, bigger refrigerator. I’ve been loving the new French door designs and think it would be totally perfect for us. Let’s take a look:

Banana Bread

New Year’s Resolutions + Lots of Good Stuff

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a great holiday season. I wasn’t around here much because I unplugged a little bit. I spent most of the two weeks focusing on finishing up the manuscript for the next book and I finally handed it in (!!!!) It was just the first draft. But that draft took me nearly a year to write and I am so excited that the ball is really rolling. That said, my New Year’s resolution is to get back on my game here with social media! Between the book, the baby, and the move I haven’t been as present as I like to me and this year that will change. Let’s get started:

Christmas Favorite Things

Christmas Favorite Things

As we round out the week before Christmas I thought I’d share a few of my favorite things from around the web. I’ll be back next week with a few of my favorite last-minute holiday food ideas. Until then, here are so great reads (and eats!) that are making my mouth water!

Hape Helicopter

Gift Guide #4: For Your Favorite Little Guy Who is Figuring Out How to Walk

Buying stuff for my little guy can be tough. He clearly doesn’t need anything and certainly doesn’t understand Christmas yet. However, Santa has not forgotten him and I’m sure there will be a few fun things under the tree!

pinhole press memory game

Gift Guide #3: For the Little Girl You Want to Inspire As Much As She Inspires You

This is my third gift guide of the season. As you can guess it is inspired by my young daughter. It is so much fun to shop for kids, I think. I am always on the hunt for toys and gear that will inspire and motivate her young mind.

Alexis bonbons

Gift Guide 2013 #2: For the Amazing Mama Who Does it All

This is the gift guide that mamas should forward to all the men in your lives. There a are a lot of kitchen and garden related gifts in here, but there are also a lot of fun items I just think are really great. Happy shopping!

Cedar Grilling Planks via Food52

Gift Guide #1: For the Guy Who Loves Your Cooking But Still Takes You Out to Dinner

This December I’m publishing four gift guides I’ve been working on all fall. I have so much fun collecting ideas all year long. There are a lot of kitchen and garden related gifts in here (naturally), but also some other items I think are great. I hope these inspire you while you shop for your loved ones this season!

Get Organized for the Holidays

Get Organized for the Holidays with Me + iVillage

I recently returned from the Pillsbury Bake-Off in Las Vegas (more on that soon!) rarin’ to go for the holidays. Being away from home for a few days gave me time to gather my thoughts for the upcoming season. It was just what I needed to get myself in the mood for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Earlier this fall I started working with a great team at iVillage on their Get Organized for the Holidays Community Challenge. I know it is not easy to do, especially when you are working, dealing with kids, and the like. The to-do lists and requests can easily become overwhelming! To help take some of the stress out of the holidays, and make them a little more fun, our team has been working hard to assemble awesome tips to get you organized this year.

Wolfgang Puck Oven

Kitchen Appliance Love: The Wolfgang Puck Oven

Right after we moved my friends at T-Fal sent me a new Wolfgang Puck Oven for our new kitchen. I was so excited to try it out because I needed a countertop oven to help me with recipe testing. Plus, I like using countertop ovens to reheat food. The interesting thing about this oven is that not only can you bake small trays of cookies and reheat chicken, you can also use it as a pressure oven. I did not have a lot of experience with a pressure oven when I go it, but I do now and it is great!

Kitchen Idea File Ovens

Kitchen Idea File #3: Ovens

With the holidays coming up I am starting to think about feeding a crowd in our new house. I like to try to make our festive meals from scratch and it is always a bit of a juggling act with only one oven. When I think about my dream kitchen renovation one of the things I want to build in is a double wall oven. I’ve never had a double oven and it seems like it would make cooking for a crowd a million times easier. How great would it be to be able to roast a turkey in one oven while baking all the side dishes in the other?! Two ovens would also make recipe testing easier. I could make dinner while still working on a new cake recipe. Here is what I am thinking: