Little chefs

Monday afternoon, I arrived at my sister-in-law’s house for the pièce de résistance: my nieces!

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I hadn’t seen these little bundles of perfection since January 2008 when I was last in San Fran:

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Twenty-one months make a huge difference in the lives of toddlers! In my professional opinion, however, the months have been kind to Ella (now four years and three months) and Dixon (now two years and seven months):


In my completely unbiased opinion, I would say the girls are actually well ahead of schedule 😀

While Ella, Dixie, and their friend Abby worked their party-planning magic in the outdoor playhouse, Camela (my sister-in-law) whipped up a gorgeous snack spread with carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, tortilla chips, salsa, and homemade guacamole:


We nibbled and gossiped about — you guessed it — boys! (Note: We did not gossip about men. We do not know any.)


As din-din time for the girls approached, Cam pulled out all the necessary supplies for the girls to make their own organic, cornmeal crust pizzas.

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I approved wholeheartedly of this move, as I have written many a paper in my line of study on the importance of cooking with toddlers 😛


Cam and I also knew that we’d be “taste-testing” the girls’ creations for QA purposes, so we made a point of ensuring adequate sauce distribution:


The works of art, pre-bake:


And post-bake:


Dixie gave the final approval to remove the pies from the oven when she noticed the cheese bubbling during her oven-window vigil. Cam and I had a few slices each with the girls …


… and then swiftly bathed them and let them jump on my bed and read to them and tucked them in so we could return downstairs for our own party!

Camela handed me a strong and delicious cocktail composed of a mysterious Swiss liquor and cran-blueberry juice:


I sipped my beverage while she heated up the Chinese feast we’d been planning for months:


I don’t even know what was in there, but it was GOOD. I haven’t had Chinese food in ages! We curled up on the couch to watch our OnDemand movie selection — Duplicity — and proceeded to not be able to keep our eyes open past 9:00. Cam retrieved some homemade chocolate chip cookies and butterscotch cookies from the kitchen along with ice-cold milk in the hopes that the sugar would perk us up.


We downed the cookies and milk in moments and then fell right back asleep, of course. But it was a satisfying sleep 😀

We were all up bright and early the next morning to get the girls off to their respective schools. We snacked on the leftover breakfast toasts that Ella and Dixie could not finish and then went for brunch at Comforts:

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I love the restaurant meal-sharing theme I’ve had going on lately. Cam and I ordered two meals to split. First up was this black bean chili with grilled polenta and plain yogurt:


Our other dish was the fresh artichoke crowns topped with herbed cream cheese, roasted heirloom tomatoes, and two poached eggs drizzled with pesto:


Yeah, no kidding. It was amazing! Why have I never thought to put poached eggs on top of artichokes before?? Genius.

Everything came with a side salad that we shared as well:


It was already time to collect the girls when we finished brunch, so we headed straight back to their schools to scoop them up and whisk them off to 3D Toy Story for their first movie theater experience EVER … and lots of popcorn. Ella and Dixie were both hesitant at first, but we all made it through. After the movie, my brother came over for his Tuesday night dinner and bedtime routine with the girls, and Cam prepared yet another feast (child-friendly this time) for all of us: poached haddock with mashed potatoes and cauliflower-broccoli-zucchini puree.


Note: Cam explained that, had it not been torrentially raining outside, she would have topped the mash with fresh garden chives for a more elegant look. I assured her that the dish was plenty elegant as it was.


While I went back for seconds and thirds, the girls diligently worked through their firsts:


After dinner, it was time for more bathing, stories, and tucking … and then Mark and I were off for the next leg of my continued West Coast bed-hopping adventure.

Who are the youngest members of your family? What is their food preparation experience?

5 thoughts on “Little chefs

  1. Erin says:

    Those kiddos are the cutest! What good eaters too. 🙂

    We have some young cousins and from what I gather, they are NOT good eaters. Makes me scared to have kiddies some day.

    LOVE your eats!


  2. verbalriot says:

    Those girls are just TOO CUTE! The youngest person in my family is Victoria. She’s only 6 months old, so she’s not making her own food yet 🙂


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