He would call to tell me that he was making spaghetti…and that was enough for me to drop everything I was doing at college and drive home (it wasn’t that far…but that’s not the point).

As a little girl, I would push a chair over to watch him make his famous sauce over the stove. He told me all his secrets to making the best marinara. And he made it smooth…just the way I liked it.  With his last stirs he would shout, “let’s kick it up a notch” and throw in some spices.

I will share two of my dad’s secrets on making  an amazing sauce with you:

1. To make the best marinara, no matter chunky or smooth, DON’T measure.  Keep your measuring cups and spoons in the drawer and rely on your taste buds.

2. Break off two big pieces of french bread and cook with someone you love.

Let’s start with a basic sauce:

olive oil

garlic

Canned Whole Tomatoes (crushed, sauce, or diced will work too)

sugar

salt and pepper

Fresh Basil (optional)

 

Directions: Saute over medium heat 1 clove of garlic/ 28 oz can of tomatoes in a little olive oil for 30 seconds. Crush by hand the whole tomatoes in liquid and add to a large saucepan. Note: Kids love crushing tomatoes!   Bring to a boil and simmer for at least an hour.

Now the secret begins…it’s time to add some seasoning and sugar.  Tomatoes are acidic, but the amount of acid varies from one tomato to the next.  Sugar helps to cut the acidity of the tomatoes, but there is no set amount to add.  Simply start sprinkling in some sugar (roughly about  1 tablespoon/ 28 oz can), give it a stir and then taste.  The acid of the tomatoes will taste a little tangy on your tongue.  Keep adding sugar little by little till that “tangy” taste goes away.  If you add too much sugar just add another jar of tomatoes  :)

Now it’s time to season with salt. Use the same method of adding a little and then taste till it is so good you are licking the spoon.

Add some pepper and finish with some fresh basil.

It all takes a little practice, but once mastered you will never go back to jarred sauce. Guaranteed.

 

Add ins:

Onions: Saute some onions in olive oil till soft and transparent.  Add your garlic. Saute and continue with Basic Sauce steps (above).

Make it Ragu: add veal or turkey and saute mushrooms, celery, carrots, a little chopped rosemary, and onion in a pan. Continue with Basic Sauce Recipe.

Make it rich: Give it a splash of heavy cream and or red wine.

Be adventurous: add in a few chopped black olives and a quill of cinnamon with your Ragu.

Make it Smooth: If you have a little one that likes it smooth, but you want to add some veggies to the sauce…just put it all through the blender (except the meat).  They will never know!  I fool people all the time :)

ENJOY and have fun!

Always serve with lots of pasta and bread :)

 

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Today is one of those mornings where I am missing home, yet I am not quite sure where home is. And when I say home, I mean that safe place… that peaceful feeling… like where you curl up in your bed wrapped in a blanket and fall asleep to the breeze blowing in your window.

But right now, I hear sirens…city constructions workers and I am trying to make my brain understand SEO, marketing, and ya know all that business stuff.  I am being stretched continually, challenged…and right now I think my brain just needs a 20 minute nap.  Because its not time to give up…only time to say a prayer, take a short break, and “get back on my horse.”  This new city girl…will be back in a few.

 

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You didn’t cry…even when your tummy grumbled.

You laid there perfectly content taking in the new world.

You played with your fingers, stretched out your toes…until you fell asleep.

Sweet dreams baby girl.  An adventure awaits you that has been designed just for you…

…and you have a big sister that is going to show you the way.

 

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We are now an airplane ride away. I will most likely watch you take your first steps on video and hear your first words over Skype… but that’s not going to stop me from spoiling you.


And Niles, meet your pretty awesome Uncle!  I just know that you two are going to find lots of adventure…he is really good at that.

Your still small and have not yet discovered your wicked-fast frog catching skills and monkey-tree-climbing arms…but you do know how to do three things really well.

1. eat

2. poop

3. look incredibly handsome

oh, and make the cutest hiccup sounds

If you need a “cuteness” pick-me-up…here are some newborn baby  hiccups:

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When you book a portrait session, you receive tips to help your family look like they stepped right out of a magazine. We will talk about your family’s style and your favorite stores…Crewcuts, Anthropologie, Banana, … You will then receive wardrobe suggestions that fit your family’s style,the location, and the activities planned for your portrait session… All so that you can look your best on picture day.

Want to know what’s in this Spring?

This season you have seen bold stripes, pretty florals and a lot of color. So how do you make it work, how do you mix and match for an unforgettable look.

 

These outfits can be found at J. Crew + crewcuts, Anthropologie, Toms

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