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Baby Joy!

Hi,

Four weeks ago baby Adam joined our family!

It was the first day of Spring, the sun was shining and the skies were blue. After a few hours in labor he arrived 15 minutes before sundown. It was the perfect ending to a beautiful day. I never in a million years could have imagine how our lives would change. We are all settling in and trying to find a new rhythm for our daily life.

I’m taking a short maternity leave from the blog until early June to focus on my family and to recharge my creative juices.  Hopefully by then I’ll get more than 2 hours of sleep at night…

See you soon!

Shani

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EAT

Rainbow Salad

There is nothing better than a good, delicious, healthy salad for lunch. I especially love to combine fruit and nuts with my regular base for added texture and flavors. I am also a firm believer of eating your colors – mix as much color vegetables as you can at each meal!

Ingredients

1/2 head of radicchio, chopped

1 head of red lettuce, chopped

4 big leaves lacinato kale, stems and center ribs discarded and leaves coarsely chopped

6-8 large strawberries, halved

6-8 cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup mint, chopped

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

1/3 cup olive oil

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place the raddichio, kale, strawberries, tomatoes, mint, feta and almonds in a large bowl. Add the dressing and toss until coated.

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Photos by Kate Bolt

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EAT

Soup for the Soul

Growing up my mom will always make soup during the Winter months. Coming home from school to a comforting bowl of hot soup was just perfect. I’m carrying on this tradition with my own family. This soup is one of the favorites in my house, between the girls and J the pot will be empty and gone in two days.

Split pea and Kale soup

3 Tbsp olive oil

1 medium size onion, chopped

2 medium size carrots, diced

2 red peppers, diced

4-6 big leaves lacinato kale, stems and center ribs discarded and leaves coarsely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup parsley, chopped

1 pound bag of dried split pea

1 qt chicken stock

1 1/2 cup of frozen petit green peas

2.5 qt water

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, peppers and sautĂ© for about 10 minutes with the cover on. Add the kale, garlic and parsley, stir well and cook for 5 minutes. Rinse the split pea in cold water and add to the pot. Add the chicken stock, water, salt, and pepper and stir well. Bring the soup to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, partly covered, for 30 – 40 minutes until the vegetables are tender and the split pea is starting to disintegrated. Add the frozen green peas, and cook for another 20 minutes.

Soup is best if made one day ahead. Cool completely, uncovered, then chill, covered. Thin with water if necessary.

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Photos by Kate Bolt

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Clothing ETC.

February

February is the shortest longest month of the year. Snow storm after snow storm here and the sun nowhere to be seen. The best way to cheer up, in my opinion, is to think about all the lovely things you will do when the warmer days arrive: go for an outdoor run, buy fresh flowers and wear bright cloths.

Here are 5 things that made me happy this past week.

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  1. New Balance Classics 
  2. J Crew Tortoise Wildflower Cuff
  3. Chocolate-Hazelnut Snowballs
  4. Painted Wooden Vases
  5. Suede Zip Pouch
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EAT

5 Minute Snack

In Israel as a girl, strawberries were a Winter treat. It was simply impossible to get them year round. So, we would make the most of it during the Winter and eat them in every shape and form.

My favorite version is to mix them with sour cream and a bit of sugar. The sour cream creates a light coat over the strawberries without taking over. The texture is creamy and thus more enticing then plain yogurt. Five minute of work and you have a fabulous snack or dessert.

All you need:

Strawberries, blueberries, a few scoops of sour cream and sugar.

Depending on their size cut the Strawberries in half and toss with Blueberries. Sprinkle with one or two teaspoons Sugar and mix in two tablespoons of sour cream. Mix well until the sour cream coats all fruit. For an added bonus: sprinkle a little bit of candied Pecans.

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Photos by Kate Bolt

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Clothing ETC.

New year

I know everybody is busy getting back to regular life after the holiday season and there’s newness and possibility in the air. New resolutions, plans set in motion and a great feeling of creativity. For me, this week was nothing of that sort. I spent the last three days in emergency rooms with my Ella, who had dislocated her elbow Sunday night and ended up being fractured as well. I was in full “mommy mode” running around trying to get the best care for my little girl. She now has a cast and a sling for 10 days. This experience put all my creative juices on the back burner.

I just know that this week will take a turn for the better as I prepare to celebrate my 32nd birthday this weekend. I invited my closest friends to join us for dinner prepared by a local favorite chef. The theme of the dinner is French and the menu consists of onion soup, chicken provencal and almond pear cake with chocolate ganache. That will restart my creative brain and will just make me happy.

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Cheers 2015!

I hope you had a great time last night surrounded by your beloved ones. 2014 was an amazing year here at Peonies and Caramel. I learned so much from working on each and every post and I loved seeing your likes and reading your comments.

2015 is going to be an exciting year for me as I’m preparing for the arrival of our new baby boy in March while continuing to work hard on the blog to bring you new and original content. Thank you for being a part of this amazing journey.

Have a fabulous year!

Shani

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Photo by Kate Bolt

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EAT

Shakshuka

I must write a post about one of my favorite dishes. It is my signature dish for brunch or for a light dinner. This is another traditional dish and I grew up with my dad’s version where he used a lot of diced peppers. My version is more Greek in its style using kalamata olives and feta. Shakshuka is a super easy dish that can serve as the star of any gathering. All it needs is a good white bread to accompany it. For best flavors serve it with Tahini on the side.

2 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp kalamata olives, pitted and halved
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large can of rustic cut tomatoes
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 large eggs
2 tbsp feta cheese, crumbled

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and add kalamata olives and garlic. Stir and cook for about 5 minutes to allow the olives to soften (this will remove some most of their bitter flavor). Add the tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper, bring to a gentle simmer, cover and cook further for about 10 minutes.

Make 4 little dips in the sauce. Gently break the eggs and carefully pure each into its own dip taking care not to break the yolks. Sprinkle the feta over the eggs. Cover the pan and simmer gently for 15 minutes, until the eggs are set. Remove from the heat, and leave for a couple of minutes. Spoon into individual plates and serve with tahini.

Note: This recipe I only used 4 eggs since it was only made for two. This base is good to use with up to 10 eggs.

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Photos by Kate Bolt

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Clothing ETC.

Grayish

Gray is definitely one of my favorite colors. No matter the occasion or the season Gray is always in. Now that I’m expecting baby no.3  I’m desperate to incorporate my favorite cloths with my growing bump.

This is a perfect example: some of my favorite pieces pair well with new items suitable for a bump. As always, I incorporate the main stream with the high end, and Zara is my go-to store to do it. The vest and the sweater dress are in stores now and are perfect for Fall/Winter.

These photos were taken just a few weeks ago, now it’s all about snow, snow and some more snow.

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Photos by Kate Bolt

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Stuffed Peppers

This is one of those recipes that every family has. My late grandfather used to make it using only green peppers since he liked the bitterness in them. I only use the red ones since I love the sweetness in them. Some will precook the rice to shorten the cooking time and some will use only dry rice and let the peppers cook longer. Every family has a story of her own. This is mine.

Note: The peppers are cooked in a tomato sauce. Mine changes each time, according to what I have at my pantry. The sauce should be easy and simple to accompany the peppers. 

Sauce, peppers and seasonings
7 red bell peppers (Try picking the big ones that can hold the stuffing)
1 large can of crushed tomatoes
1 large can of rustic cut tomatoes
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
sugar in the raw, salt and freshly ground black pepper
Stuffing
1 cup basmati rice
1 pound sirloin ground beef
2 tbsp chopped dill
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp baking soda
Salt and freshly ground peppers

Start with the stuffing. Cook the rice according to direction on the package. Limit cooking time to 15 minutes until the water is absorbed but the rice is not fully cooked. Set aside.

Place the ground beef in a large mixing bowl and add the baking soda. Using a little bit of ice cold water, mix the baking soda with the beef (this is a family trick that will make the beef airy). Add the dill, dijon mustard and season with salt and freshly ground black peppers. Pour over the rice. Mix everything together well (you may need to use your hands).

Using a small knife gently remove the top cap of the pepper while keeping it intact. Use the knife to remove any seeds left inside and random white pieces. Without forcing the peppers, stuff each one with an equal amount of the mixture. Close each pepper with its top.

In a large pot (which you have a tight-fitting lid for) pour the tomatoes and season with 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar, salt and freshly ground peppers. Depending on how acidic the tomatoes are you may need to season with a little bit of sugar to balance the flavors. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat. Carefully arrange the peppers. The tomato sauce should almost cover them. Add hot water if necessary to reach that level. Bring to a boil again and then lower the heat, cover the pot and cook for about an hour. The stuffing should be fully cooked and the peppers tender but still keeping their shape.

Use tongs to remove peppers from the pot. Spoon sauce in a moat around them or slice open peppers and douse with sauce on top. Enjoy!

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Photos by Kate Bolt

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