Friday, March 29, 2013

Foodie Friday - Cheddar Dill Scones

To say we love these would be an understatement. A few years ago the family I worked for asked me to whip these up to accompany some soup they were having for dinner. It was my first time making them and I haven’t stopped since. These are so good.


They’ve become my go-to recipe when asked to bring bread to an event, like our bible study luncheon and they often accompany soup or chili at our house. Often I’ll adapt them depending on what we have in our fridge and to accommodate my husband’s taste they often become cheese scones as he’s not as fond of the dill. If making them into cheese scones I like to either use pepper jack or an aged cheddar to allow the cheese to shine.


Other adaptations I almost always make because I don’t usually have extra large eggs and heavy cream on hand: large eggs and milk (recipe illustrates that).

Ina Garten’s Cheddar Dill Scones

adapted from here

2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided 
1 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoons salt 
1/4  pound cold unsalted butter + 2T, diced
2 large eggs, beaten lightly
1/2 cup cold heavy cream (or milk)
1/4 pound extra-sharp yellow Cheddar, small-diced (or cheese of choice)           1/2 cup minced fresh dill
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water or milk, for egg wash (optional)

-Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
-Combine 4 cups of flour, the baking powder, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is in pea-sized pieces. Mix the eggs and heavy cream and quickly add them to the flour-and-butter mixture. Combine until just blended. Toss together the Cheddar, dill, and 1 tablespoon of flour and add them to the dough. Mix until they are almost incorporated.                        

-Dump the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead it for 1 minute, until the Cheddar and dill are well distributed. Roll the dough 3/4-inch thick. Cut into 4-inch squares and then in half diagonally to make triangles. Brush the tops with egg wash. Bake on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for 20 to 25 minutes, until the outside is crusty and the inside is fully baked.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Write them on your heart

“You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, as long as the heavens are above the earth.”

Deuteronomy 11: 18-21 (ESV)

Right before Christmastime my husband and I began “re-decorating” our house. A new couch and chair, a new rug, and art on the wall. But as we kept redecorating the premise of creating a home that breathes Jesus into our souls was on my mind. Especially when raising our daughter.

At one of our monthly MOMS meetings (like MOPS), the speaker was talking about beauty and our home. One area she touched on was the entryway. Our house is a split level with a slightly different configuration of stairs…our stairs do not meet you head on when you enter like many splits, but we have our main door, garage access, and a hall closet all competing for square footage. So in our case there was very little that we could do to make our entryway inviting. That was until the verse above came on my heart.

And then I knew what we needed to do. Armed with a can of chalkboard paint, I talked my husband who is anti-chalkboard paint, to paint the wall in our entryway black. So we could do exactly what the verse above is calling us to. Putting in our minds the Word of God. Our church uses a system called “fighter verses” to memorize scripture. There’s even an app that is definitely worth the $3. So on our wall we write the fighter verse and as we go in and out our doors and up and down our stairs, we say it, usually aloud. And wouldn’t you know, more often than not that verse at the end of the week is in our heads and written on our hearts.


While this isn’t important to all of you I’m sure, the premise is still the same if there are other key things you want to be memorizing or inspired by. Not only do we love this new spot in our house but it adds some character to our 1960’s home. The black works perfectly with our color scheme and it adds an inviting touch to our entryway.

Have you used chalkboard paint in your home? Where?

Monday, March 25, 2013

On Feeding the Babe…part 2

We’re in a whole new world over here.

Our daughter can really house some food. Seriously. It cracks us up nearly every dinnertime, especially if it’s something she likes. Like guacamole. On family taco night she ate so much taco meat covered in guacamole that Alex and I were in shock.

We’ve transitioned almost entirely to Baby Led Weaning (BLW) and have, for the most part, put away our spoons and purees. This has been SO liberating. We were never really doing purees entirely, but now that she can shovel it in, we’ve put them on the back shelf, at least we thought we did.

Our first round of feeding baby can be found here: Elizabeth & Food.

That was until we went on vacation. In preparing for our second trip to Florida, I picked up a few food pouches thinking they would be great for the airport, etc. I decided to let her try one before we left and halfway through she pulled it out of my hand with a look on her face, “mama I got this.” And got it she did. She can not only eat out of the pouch but hold it as well. Even more liberating.

Well, on vacation, Elizabeth experienced her first cold, high temps and all. And her eating of solids went out the window. Purees and milk were all she wanted. And since we’ve been back she’s been a bit more finicky with her solids. Some things she wants, like guacamole, and others she doesn’t, like her former favorite fruit of bananas. So instead of investing in loads of pouches, I decided to put our frozen cubes of purees to use. In a Little Green Pouch.

These are amazing. I just pop a few frozen cubes of food into the microwave to thaw or leave them out, mix them together, and pour them in. Obviously not as simple as just plucking them off the shelf, but at least I can semi control what is going in them and hopefully they will prove to be a money saver.

And now back to making frozen baby food cubes…

Easiest, cheapest, and most straightforward way to make your own baby food especially if you want the food to be organic?


Frozen fruits and veggies retain all of their nutrients, are less expensive than their fresh counterparts, and are frozen at peak ripeness. I buy bags of frozen peas, green beans, squash, carrots, spinach, kale, blueberries, strawberries, etc. Trader Joe’s has an excellent frozen organic fruits/veggies for really cheap! When I want to make a batch of cubes, I place the desired amount of food into a dish, cook it (microwave/steam/stovetop), and pop it in the blender. Then pour into containers and freeze if needed. I know there is debate over refreezing a thawed item but I’m not that concerned. More info is here which explains that most veggies and fruit are flash frozen and never cooked before freezing. We’ve never had an issue, I’ve tasted all of it and it tastes perfectly normal, great even.

Elizabeth’s favorite combo: Pears, Spinach, and Kale

So now we are using both. Purees for pouches and BLW for most meals.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Elizabeth - 9 Months Old

Out as long as she was in. (relatively speaking)

6 Days before her birth-day


9 Months old


Where did the time go? I’m certain that our baby is gone and has been replaced by a big girl. It was inevitable I know, but if you have a new little baby take every possible moment to snuggle them up. The old saying that time flies is so accurate!

I must clarify though that although her newborn-ness has faded, this new stage she’s entering is SO.MUCH.FUN! Our 9-month old daughter had me doubled over in laughter the other day when I snapped the photo above. She was playing with the magazines and tipped into the basket with her entire body. I chuckled. Then she peeked her head above the basket and chuckled along with me. I seriously melted inside.

Elizabeth is such a happy girl, who of course, has her moments. That’s normal. While she can play on her own, she’d rather play with others or alongside Alex and I. Each day I find I have a little girl trying to climb up my legs as I’m making meals or trying to tidy up. She loves being out amongst people and is very generous with her smiles. If she’s not nearby, you can be sure she has found some type of paper and is shredding it into tiny pieces that she tries to eat.

NEW SKILLS: Pulling up and standing. Standing on her own for a few seconds at a time. Cruising furniture. Being fearless. Crawling at fast speeds. Squatting down from standing. Eating pouches on her own. Waving. Saying “uh-oh.”

TEETH: At 9 months old Elizabeth has 6 teeth and as we speak number 7 cut through and number 8 is cutting through. 8 teeth. Crazy.

FAVORITES: Guacamole and any kind of meat. Drinking out of her straw sippy. Dropping things off of her high chair and watching where they go. Peek-a-boo. The wire whisk in the kitchen. Her gray blankie. Bath time. Nursery at church.

DISLIKES: Getting dressed. Diaper changes. Being alone for long amounts of time. Straight up avocados.

Sleep seems to be our hardest obstacle around our house (though not terrible by any means) and with some prompting from our pediatrician we’re trying to sleep train at night again. We know she can do it because she was sleeping through for almost an entire month. And then came some more teeth and a vacation and a cold. So we’re trying to get back to it and just last night on our 1st night of training, she slept from 7-6:15 with one little hiccup around 2:30 that only lasted 10 minutes. Apparently that eating that seemed “necessary” around 2:30 wasn’t so “necessary”! As far as naps, she just transitioned herself to two naps a day; one around 9:15 and the other around 1:15, each for an hour and a half. This is glorious to say the least so we’re making progress.

Our days are getting a bit more regular and we’re taking the time to seize the day. Staying home most days, getting into a good groove (mommy that is), and taking the time to enjoy our little girl while she’s still little. That’s hard for an on-the-go type person like me but I’m beginning to see the fruit of being at home, not only from Elizabeth, but also the contentedness in my heart as being more self-controlled in getting things done around the house has brought much freedom and joy.

9 months

Friday, March 22, 2013

Foodie Friday–Best of the week

It’s Friday again and time for another round up of great food. This week has been a little crazy trying to get bad into the swing of things post-vacation but despite that we’ve had some good meals. Having a baby that can eat almost everything we can has been a great motivator to vary our recipes. We want her to be exposed to new things while at the same time eating things we really enjoy as well! As for the things we made this week, I would make all of them again which doesn’t happen that often.

This week our menu included:

Taco Night with Mexican Rice

(homemade “box tacos” aka hard shells with spicy ground beef using this homemade taco seasoning)

Beef and Bean Burritos

(these were awesome, great way to use leftover taco meat and I’m sure they would freeze well…we didn’t use enchilada sauce or the red sauce in the meat, and instead topped with shredded romaine and tomatoes.)

Winter Minestrone & Cheddar Scones

(Soup was excellent and was great in providing finger foods for Elizabeth. Also cheddar scones are a favorite around here adapted from Ina’s Cheddar Dill Scones.)

Smothered Mediterranean Chicken with Pasta

(This was also really good. I just oven roasted some grape tomatoes in lieu of the tomatoes per the recipe. Quick, filling, and really yummy!)

Homemade Pizza

(using Trader Joe’s pizza dough Smile)


What great meals did you have this week?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

alter ego (of sorts)

Have you ever googled yourself?

A few years ago after I became a Brogle I thought it might be fun to see if anyone else came up in a Google search with my new name. Interestingly enough, there is an Andrea Brogle who is a photographer in the Chicago area.

You never know when this information will prove to be handy. Over the weekend I found out just how handy this kind of information is.

Saturday I happened to be at the mall and I was hoping to find a swimsuit for Elizabeth at Gymboree. This is the one…

Well they didn’t have her size in the store so they offered to order it for me and have it sent to our house free of shipping. Yes please! Then they asked for my Gymboree loyalty card thing. Well I didn’t have it with me so they had to look me up. Well it turns out the Andrea Brogle in Chicago also has a loyalty card at Gymboree. I’m glad I knew that or they would have deleted all of her information and subbed in mine. The ladies working there got a good kick out of it and we all had a good laugh but isn’t that kind of crazy?

By the way, she takes incredible photos…maybe I should call and book a session? :)

Have you ever been mistaken for another with your same name?


And before I forget, thanks for all the kind words and encouragement from my post on Postpartum. All the kind things really touched my heart:)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

thoughts on a Saturday

It’s a beautiful day today and after heading to the gym for some “wake-up-my-body” exercise, I’m ready to seize the day. Any day that the sun is shining bright and the temperatures are above 25 degrees is a good day! We’re hoping to get out and grab a new light fixture for our kitchen and tackle our post-vacation mess of a house.

But I before we do that, I thought I would share some of my thoughts so far today.

1. Elizabeth can squat down from a standing position. This is reason for praise. You see, in the middle of the night, when she stands up we don’t have to go and rescue her in fear that she’ll fall backwards and smack her head. Now she can figure it out all by herself! YES!


2. The running bug has hit me as it does every spring and I’m curious who out there wants to run a half marathon with me this early summer or late summer? I need a partner in crime since my dear husband loathes running and golfs instead. And for you runners, what is your favorite half you’ve run?

3. This year has been good to us and we’re finally making some progress on our house. To be completed in 2013…landscaping our yard and a new kitchen. First on the list, plant peony bushes…my favorite flower of all time! Seriously, can’t wait! More information to come.

4. I’m so excited for Elizabeth’s first birthday. I can’t wait to throw her party for family and a few friends. I’m thinking a strawberry picnic party that will include strawberry picking as a family a week or two beforehand. Seems fitting since we went right before she was born. Can’t believe it’s only a few months away!


5. Celebrating God’s goodness to us and to so many we know who were infertile and are or will soon be holding babies in our hands. It’s been amazing to watch the Lord provide life in His timing to over 15 families we’ve known to be waiting. And twice He’s provided twins. Brings tears to my eyes. He saw, He heard, He answered.

And our pastor just addressed this topic here: Ask Pastor John.

Hope you have a very sunshiny day!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

on the other side


I wasn’t sure if I would ever post this.

But here I am.

I can still remember the month that the lights began to fade. I laughed a little less, worried a bit more, and most days dreaded the early morning wake up call. At the time I wasn’t quite sure what was going on. I just knew that I didn’t feel like myself.

I began grasping for excuses…I just had a baby, motherhood will take an adjustment to get used to, if only she would sleep…and from there the feelings of inadequacy and discontentment began to grow.

This was right around the time Elizabeth was 3 months old. End of September. Life became overwhelming. Every little decision when it came to Elizabeth seemed to send me into a spiral of fret, certain things had to be done just so or it seemed everything would all fall apart. And along with it, I began to feel down. I just couldn’t shake the doldrums that ushered in with autumn.

On the outside, most didn’t notice a difference. It even took Alex some time to come around. All I remember is going through the motions. I was asked a few times if everything was alright because I didn’t seem myself, but I just rolled it off as lack of sleep. I mean, that was the truth. Everyday was filled with the things that needed to be done. Just enough to get us through. Diapers changed, baby rocked and fed, snippets of sleep, dinner on the table. But in reality, while my arms and legs still managed to keep house and tend to Elizabeth, inside I was drowning. What I noticed the most was that I began doing without feeling. Life became lifeless.

I lost the joy. The awe of looking in the eyes of our daughter, feeling her soft baby skin, it was lost on me. Instead I began to resent her. Frustrated when she wouldn’t sleep, burying my head in the pillow when her sweet voice called out in the early morning light, and finding myself more invested in schedules and time rather than in the little life before me.

Here I was, now a mother, and I was floundering at the task at hand. And I had had 8 years of prior experience running a household with 3 little ones underfoot as a nanny. I knew how to do “mothering” without always engaging. But I never thought that mothering my own would feel so empty and so full of tears. Almost anything would set them off. And frustrated with myself, I began digging deep. Trying to figure out what was going on. Even time in the Word, singing worship, calling out in prayer became lifeless and dull.

One day I had enough. I posted post-its all around our house. And on them were printed the most elementary commands. “Feeling Weary…pray!, Tired…pray!, Need joy…pray!” I thought maybe I could muster up enough faith to rid my heart and mind of the cobwebs. Bring back joy.

And then one morning I found myself sitting before my husband saying “Honey, I think I am depressed.” At first he kind of laughed. And then he saw and knew. And he stated the most obvious of responses, “Honey, maybe you are.” And then I took some time to mull that over in my head. For over a month.

Right after that time, when Elizabeth was 7 months old, my cycle restarted. And I found this post by Joanna Goddard and read it. And then I decided it was time to see my OB.

Going in felt foolish…I was sure it was all in my head. Inside I felt defeated. Tests were run, forms filled out, surveys taken. The next day the verdict was in. Thyroid was fine, blood sugar normal. One thing was off, severely low.

My vitamin D level.

A vitamin D deficiency can mimic the symptoms of postpartum depression. The feelings I felt were very real. The darkness was real. And after one day on massive amounts of Vitamin D, the joy began to flood back in. Darkness slowly fading, cobwebs being swept away.

I had an aha moment: Of course…the times I felt my best were the few months after Elizabeth was born (summer) and our vacation to Florida (sunshine). An answer. To be honest, even if everything would have come back normal and postpartum depression was the source, I would have been relieved to have been honest. To have sought help. By the time she was 7 months all I wanted was to be back to myself.

And even though there was a reason for the darkness, I’m still realizing that it’s going to take awhile to find my rhythm. To find my way of mothering. But at least now, one thing is for certain, the months ahead, while hard and trying, will be filled with hope and joy.

Praying for you mothers out there, walking through the trenches, battling the cobwebs that cloud our hearts and minds, to find joy in the morning.