October 30, 2012


Posted by Laura

During a recent trip to IKEA, we found this duvet cover that caught both Caleb and mine's attention. As you can see from my home tour, we're not big on pattern. In fact, the only real things in our home that are patterned are our living room rug and our shower curtain. Call it a spontaneous purchase or maybe an IKEA influence, either way we ended up purchasing this SUPER patterned duvet cover and we're not regretting it!

Unfortunately, I don't really have any before pictures. The only one I have on my computadora is from my headboard tutorial.


Thanks to the iPhone 5's panoramic, I was able to widen the shot a bit. Here's the new pattern that's in my life!

click on photo to enlarge

In addition to the new duvet, I made some other [long overdue] changes to the room, including new curtains (before we had stark white ones), a branch above the bed (which I scooped up at the ocean), and a group of photos (mostly wedding photos).

We moved the wedding photos out of our office since we're transforming it into a nursery (more on that soon). Our photos were taken by my brother Ian Christmann, who is a very talented photographer, and actually the photo of the mountains was also taken by him (it's from our home town in Colorado). What can I say, I like his work!

The leaves are in full bloom here in New England. This beautiful tree sits in our backyard. Luckily we have it as a view from our bedroom window.

I can say with confidence that someone else likes to new duvet. Every morning, Caleb puts Tillie in bed with me after they go on their morning outing to the park. When I wake up, she jumps off and and we go about our morning. Since we've gotten this new duvet, she has over stayed her welcome in the bed :)

October 27, 2012

Cutting Back a Little

Posted by PEC

Well Ladies and Gents....its almost that time. The time when our buns in the oven will emerge and totally change our lives. We'll go from relatively-sane, functioning human beings to drool-covered, bleary-eyed parents that forget what it was like to sleep through the night. Here's a quick snapshot of our progress over the last 30 somethin' weeks:

When we first announced our pregnancies

Progress. This was right around our birthdays.

At Kristin's sister's wedding

Last week at Laura's Baby Shower:
Jennifer's son Silas is 5 1/2 months old now.
Lauren's daughter Lucy is 1 1/2 months old now.
Kristin at 37 weeks pregnant.
Laura at 30 weeks pregnant.

In honor our our quickly approaching due dates (Kristin's "Baby Who" is November 5th, Laura's "Baby Dobby" is December 28th), we've decided to reign in our lives and pare things down a bit. Fear not, PEC will live on and go the distance (Cake anyone?). We're just taking it down a notch for the next few months.

What this will look like is weekly posts from each of us (as opposed to every other day) that will still cover our three loves: planting, eating and creating....most likely with a dash of baby-love thrown in there once in a while.  After all, we can't tackle our biggest "create" projects yet and not share the results!

We love you all and stay tuned! :)

October 24, 2012

Banana Breakfast Dumplings

Posted by Kristin

Banana Breakfast Dumplings from Joy the Baker. 

YUM! These little guys are so good that I had to open up with that word. From Joy the Baker, these Banana Breakfast Dumplings are tasty and healthy and are just as good reheated the second, third, or fourth day (if you even have leftovers to last that long). I tweaked mine a bit to work with the ingredients I had on hand, like using whole wheat flour instead of gluten free flour. The dumplings are sort of like thick pancakes but take a bit longer to cook and the batter has a thicker consistency. However you would describe them, they're good with the Vanilla Bean Maple Butter Joy lists or just regular maple syrup. I even brought some to work this week and forgot some syrup and they were still good all plain-jane. Now let's get cooking!

Original Recipe from Joy the Baker:

Gluten-free Banana Breakfast Dumplings with Vanilla Bean Maple Butter

makes about 16 dumplings

1 1/4 cup Cup4Cup Gluten-free Flour (I used whole wheat flour)

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 large egg

1 tablespoons melted unsalted butter

1 teaspoon pure Beanilla Mexican vanilla extract (I used just regular vanilla extract)

1 cup buttermilk (in a pinch, put three tablespoons of lemon juice in a 1-cup measuring cup. Fill the rest with milk. Let it curdle for a minute. Now you have buttermilk!)

1 ripe banana, mashed (you can easily freeze over ripe bananas to bake with later. Just defrost them in the microwave for 2 minutes before using)

oil or butter for frying the dumplings

Vanilla Bean Maple Butter

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold

1 Tahitian vanilla bean, seeds scraped

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. In a large measuring cup, beat together buttermilk, egg, melted butter, and vanilla extract. Pour the wet ingredients all at once into the dry ingredients and stir together until just incorporated and no flour patches remain. Fold in mashed banana. Allow to rest for 5 minutes while the skillet heats up.

Place a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add a generous teaspoon of oil or butter and allow to heat.

Pour 2 Tablespoons of batter onto the griddle. I used a small cookie scoop. Cook on the first side until the underside is golden brown. Carefully clip dumpling and cook until golden brown and dumpling is mostly cooked through. Try not to flatten the top of the dumpling but leave it tall and doughy. Let cooked dumplings rest on a heat proof plate in a 200 degree F oven until ready to serve. Serve warm with Vanilla Bean Maple Butter.

To make the Vanilla Bean Maple Butter, heat maple syrup in a small sauce pan. In a small bowl, smash together butter and vanilla bean. This will help the butter soften slightly, and help work and stubborn clumps out of the vanilla bean seeds. Slowly whisk bits of vanilla butter into the warm maple syrup. Keep the temperature low; the maple syrup should never boil. Whisk to emulsify then set aside while dumplings fry. Serve warm.

Once again, YUM!

October 22, 2012

Spotlight: The New General Store

Posted by Laura

I stumbled across an online store called The New General Store while perusing one of my favorite blogs, Going Home to Roost.
"The New General Store was started in 2009 by designer Tricia Foley and Roy Hardin, they celebrate Long Island style with their signature collections, and their own designs and the best of the market place: white sponges, rosemary olive oils, wood garden tools, black tub trugs, great canvas market bags, steel firewood holders, classic wooden swings, blackberry jam and mint tea"
I just love everything about this store, and wish it was a place I could visit in person. For now, I'll just look at the pictures and imagine my house being filled with these items.



Earthenware Colander

Flour Sack Towels

Vessel Collection

Canvas Bag
They also keep a sweet blog, found here.

October 19, 2012

DIY Baby Toys

Posted by Kristin

Now that I'm almost at 38 weeks of baking a human (yay for Monday change-over days), I'm thinking more and more about what life will be like once Baby Who is here (and how I'll probably still call him Baby Who even though he'll have a legit name). I've also been thinking about how my passion for DIY is probably going to transition into baby and kid stuff pretty quickly. So to start off, I pinned some simple ideas on DIY baby toys that I may actually complete someday. Someday- as in when my kid isn't screaming, or needing to be changed or fed or held. A mom-to-be can dream right?

12 DIY Baby Toys

diy baby chew toys
DIY Baby Chew Toys 

baby toy
Shaker Bottle

How to Make a Grasping Ring or Bell
Grasping Ring or Bell

The best part about most of these toys is that they're easy to make and are pretty inexpensive-two things I always appreciate. And just because I'm slowly realizing that I"m indeed having a boy, I've started to remind myself of this quite often:

I better start preparing now...
So true....via

October 17, 2012

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Posted by Laura

Sneeze. Sniffle. Cough. I've come down with a horrible cold that has knocked me off my feet. The worst part is that I can't take anything to relieve the symptoms or shorten the life of it. The only thing I can do is ride it out the old fashioned way - rest, vitamins, kale smoothies and healthy soup. I put together this butternut squash soup with some ingredients I already had, since going to grocery store isn't exactly comfortable when going to the mailbox zaps all of your "going outside the house" energy.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Servings: 6
Prep and Cook Time: 3 Hours

2 butternut squashes
4 cups chicken stock
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Pierce squashes with a knife and place them on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for approximately 1 hour or until squishy.
2. Remove squash from oven and cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out and discard the seeds. Let sit while you prepare the soup base (step 3).
3. In a soup pot, sauté onions and garlic in 3 Tablespoons of olive oil until onions are clear. Add chicken broth.
4. Scoop out squash from the skin and add to broth mixture. Mash with a potato masher.
5. Simmer soup on low for approximately 1 hour.
6. Puree the soup. You can do this using an emersion blender or by running the soup through a blender or food processor. Note: I strained out the chunky parts and only puree'ed those.

Top with sour cream if desired. Enjoy!

October 15, 2012

Gluten Free Pumpkin Pancakes

Quick Announcement: We never received an email with a mailing address from the winner of our Hello Mango Bib Giveaway, which means we've pulled the next name out of the hat. The winner is...Katrina! Katrina, please email us with your mailing address at planteatcreate[at]gmail.com by the end of the week. Congratulations!

Posted by Kristin

Well folks, its official. Fall is here. I've busted out down vests and closed toed shoes (which really meant buying new ones since my feet are still swollen- boo) and even turned up the heat once or twice. This weekend greeted us with a slight frost on the grass and the need to curl up with a hot cup of coffee.

See how the field in the distance looks all white? Not snow (yet) but some good old frostiness.

Along with all those things, my love of winter squashes, mainly pumpkin and butternut squash, has come out in full force. So I was pretty psyched when I received a sweet email from my friend Ana at Natural Renewal with a delicious recipe for Gluten Free Pumpkin Pancakes. I'll let Ana take the lead from here:

Gluten Free Pumpkin Pancakes

Made at Home!

Last week a health/nutrition conscious friend inspired me to try making banana pancakes in a similar style to these...but since its fall its everything pumpkin! These turned out to be one of the best of the season so far! They are easy, gluten free, high fiber keeping you full all morning, and so tasty!

For macro counters: 20 grams protein, 5 fat, and 10 carbs per serving

For Practical Nutrition Members: 1 protein, 1 fat, 1 fruit per serving

(Batch makes 2 servings)

Ingredients: 2 eggs, 4 egg whites from egg (not package), 1/2 cup fresh baked or canned organic pumpkin, 1/2 banana, 2 tsp. cinnamon... 2 tbsp. Coconut oil for cooking pancakes

Blend all the ingredients on low until well combined (you might have to re-blend them half way through the cooking process). Let the coconut oil heat up in the pan and pour your desired size pancake into the pan. Allow the pancake to bubble and then carefully flip.

Cook until brown and no liquid is present. Remove from the pan and add more oil for next cake.

Serve with sliced banana, coconut flakes, or anything else you are inspired to do! Must be eaten while enjoying a beautiful fall morning. Cup of green tea: optional but highly recommended!

Thanks Ana. This looks like the perfect fall breakfast!

October 12, 2012

I Don't Want to Be a Science Experiment

Posted by Laura

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) have peeked my interest for awhile. Here is a short video, made by Nutiva - a company that has devoted itself to nourishment of people and the planet, explaining what GMOs are and where the USA sits politically with them. I encourage you to take 2 minutes and 8 seconds to watch this video.

If you want to avoid GMOs in your diet, wikiHow has compiled an article explaining which foods to avoid. You can read the article below by clicking here or on the article below.

Click on photo to go to article.

The only phrase that comes to mind right now is "knowledge is power". If you feel overwhelmed by topics like this, it's okay and totally normal. It's best to take in the knowledge, know what you're eating, and ease in to making small changes here and there. Before you know it, your whole outlook will change and you'll naturally veer towards certain foods, and away from others.

October 10, 2012

Sleep Space: A Soft and Cozy Bedroom

Posted by Kristin

When I first shared our new digs back in June, things were fairly set up and in place but not necessarily "styled" to my liking. Over the last few months we've made some serious progress in getting things a bit more in place. I gave myself a self-imposed deadline of September 1st to have any major things set up or projects complete since I knew baby-planning would kick into high gear this fall. I've never really operated that way before and it actually worked really well. We kept a running list on the fridge of projects to complete and each weekend, Mike and I would plan out what we wanted to do.

One of the most rewarding rooms to "complete" was our bedroom. I use that term loosely because there's still a few more tweaks I'd like to make. Who am I kidding anyways- with me, a room is never done! My goal was to make the room functional for sleeping while also creating a little reading nook. I always like to have one place in the house away from the tv where I can settle in with a good book or take a cat nap. Let's just say mission accomplished. I think I've averaged about 2 naps per week in this room, although that may have more to do with this whole fetus-growing-inside-of-me thing.


I originally shared our bedroom in the apartment tour video. Here are some screenshots from the video to refresh your memory.

A dresser I planned to paint white.

Another dresser I planned to paint white or replace.

A doorway in need of some style on either side.

Nightstands also needing some white paint (are you sensing a theme here?)
and a space above the bed begging for some art.


By far, this is my favorite bedroom we've had. A lot of white paint paired with a new reading nook and some better jewelry storage has led to a space I love hanging out in.

The big picture window is one of my favorite parts of this room.

Presto chango! Wooden night stands became white.

A little primping station.

Some chicken wire and green paint turned a plain-jane frame into a jewelry organizer.

And yes, that is a baby monitor on my side of the bed. Weird, I tell ya!

A cozy nook perfect for reading and napping. One usually heads to another for me.

We still have Mike's old dresser for now but its personalized with some
meaningful items on top, like his Sam Adams beer tasting kit.
 He won it for coming in second at a Western Mass home-brewers contest. Woot, woot!

I can always find a spot for black and white photos.

My dresser went from army green to a nice white and I love it. 

More jewelry- man I've got a lot!

I added some new hardware on the bottom three drawers; it matches the night stand hardware.

A simple curtain provides enough privacy at night.
Its been 5 months so far and no complaints from either of us.

There are still a few things I'd like to do including:
  • hang some matching art on either side of the white clock above the bed
  • replace Mike's wooden dresser since its on its last legs
  • possibly repaint the jewelry organizer blue- the green feels a bit bright for the space
But those are down the road changes that may not happen for a while once a baby enters the picture. At that point I'll probably just be thrilled if the bed is made. A girl can dream though right?

October 8, 2012

Banana Oatmeal Raisin Cookies - No Flour, No Sugar

The winner of our Hello Mango Bib Giveaway is Tessarh and her sloppy joes! Tessarh, please email us with your mailing address at planteatcreate[at]gmail.com by the end of the week. Congratulations! 

Posted by Laura

I stumbled across these cookies on Pinterest the other day and immediately wrote down the ingredients for my next grocery trip. What stood out to me was the fact that these cookies are made without [white] sugar or [white] flour. Also, there is not dairy so these cookies are vegan (which would work for our once-a-week veganism). They come from a foodie blog called Watching What I Eat, and in her post the author describes these cookies as a "healthy, simple and fun". Win!

Banana Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Banana Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Makes 12 cookies. Prep and cook time: 45 minutes

1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
2 ripe bananas, mashed with fork
1 3/4 cups oats (instant or old fashioned)
1/3 cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp wheat germ (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350°
2. Mix applesauce, cinnamon, and vanilla
3. In a separate bowl mix oats, raisins, walnuts, and wheat germ
4. Comine applesauce mixture, oats mixture, and mashed bananas into one large bowl. Let mixture stand for 10 minutes.
5. Spoon onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Flatten dough with the back of the spoon.
6. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Cool and store in a covered container.

Thank you, Pinterest!