Fennel and Mushroom Salad

It is good to have family.

As my husband and I start our new life with children (TWINS!) we are struck with how little time we have….to do the simple things like bathe ourselves, listen to music, and….cook a great meal.

Enter my mother.  The woman I received a passion for great food experiences from.  She called a few days after we got the twins home and said “Can I come cook you dinner?”  ANSWER:  “YES!”  She went on to tell me about the gorgeous fresh vegetables she came across in the Beaverton Farmers Market and that she has some great recipes whe wants to ut together.  This one was a sam dunk!  Musrooms, fennel, tangy lemon juice and gorgeous Parmesan shavings over the top!  Here is the recipe that comes from Joy of Cooking and a photo of the exact salad I ate with my entree….enjoy!!!


Whisk together in a small bowl:

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely minced
½ to 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon (optional)
Salt and ground black pepper to taste.

Stir together in a medium bowl until the salt is dissolved:

¼ cup fresh lemon juice
Salt to taste

Add and toss to combine:

8 ounces mushrooms, cleaned and thinly sliced
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced

Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss to coat evenly.

Sprinkle with:

½ cup Parmesan cheese shavings

Yield: 6 – 8 servings

Can be made several hours ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Add Parmesan before serving.

From: Joy of Cooking

Simple Kitchen Breakfast Quesadillas

It's been a wild ride. I've been missing home cooked meals, but not nearly as much as my husband has. Since we are gone until late in the evening these days, breakfast is the only meal that I'm able to play with.

I love hearty breakfasts!! A local restaurant was serving breakfast quesadillas but just missed the mark on flavor. It was also not warmed all the way through, but my husband loved it anyways!!! I figured this would be an easy “win” and I was correct.

Simple Kitchen Breakfast Quesadillas


4 flour tortillas

6 eggs

1 tsp water

2 cooked potatoes (leftover are fine)

1 cup shredded cheese

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

3 tbsp chopped (minced) onion

Salt and pepper as preferred


Chop potatoes into small cubes and cook in frying pan with 1 tbsp olive oil. I like to pepper the potatoes at this point. Cook them on medium until they crisp up.

Whisk eggs with water until nice and frothy, add onions. Then pour over potatoes. Consistently turn and break the mixture up as cooking. Set aside.

In large flat frying pan warm 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Place a tortilla in pan. Sprinkle cheese on half, top with egg mixture then sprinkle with more cheese. Turn other half of tortilla over toppings to create a half moon. Cook until lightly browned then flip and cook other side. Do this for all 4 tortillas and keep warm in oven on low.

Slice with pizza cutter and serve with sour cream and salsa!


Falling in love, again…

Life sure is strange. 

 We re-invent ourselves many times throughout our lives.  We are children, young adults, then members of the work force.  As we make these transitions, we become different people.  Shy turns outgoing in college dorms.  Crazy and wild becomes focussed and intense in the corporate arena.  The least likely people turn into powerhouses in the business world.  Life is like a calendar, and our personalities and prioroties shift as sure as the seasons change.

The introduction of facebook is my touchstone for this theory.  As I read my highschool friends posts I see that we are all such different people.  Parents, career people, spouses, divorced, remarried, crazy, and then back again.   I find these people absolutley intriguing.  I havent been around them in years and years, and as I enter parenthood, some of them are like me….and waited to have kids…some are parents of adults.  We are all in different seasons of lives.  I fall in love with these people again.  The people who were my world for 6 years of junior high and high school….we spent years and years apart…and now their children matter to me.  I care, so much.

My children are in the hospital.  They are in the NICU unit growing so that they can come home and be raised by my husband and I.  We spend our days holding them and feeding them and assisting in their growth.  These magical children are mine!  Watching the extra special world of twins open up in front of me and knowing that we created them and get to escort them through their lives into adulthood is not overwhelming, it is humbling.  They are special, more special than anything I have ever been a part of. I have fallen in love with them, the new type of love – parent-child love and everything people said is true.  You will never feel this love until you have a child.  Your heart lives outside of your body.  You live for their smile.  You ache to hold them.  It is an intense love that has created a new style of  crying…a wail.  I hyperventilate when Iget worried about them.  I would do anything for them.  Anything.  I have fallen in love.

As I fall in love with my new children, a new love has presented itself.  4 years of fertility treatments and a very difficlult twin pregnancy had left my husband and I exhausted and shells of ourselves.  As I sit in the twins room with him…I look over and see him holding one of our children.  Kissing thier downey soft heads, feeding them ba-bas, and giggling with them about “loaded diapers”.    Ordering special clothes so that they are “cool” babies, and tickling their cheeks encouraging them to “eat more so you can come home and meet your kitty”…..I am reminded of why we are here.  What brought us together.  It was this.  This moment, this life together and this love that can never be replicated. 

 I have fallen in love again.

The Story: The Maki Twins

Most of you know that getting pregnant was basically the one thing I couldn’t do.  Call me a hyper-achiever, that is fine, but I can control career and relationships (somewhat), but there is no fooling mother nature.  We finally got pregnant at approximately Thanksgiving, and found out at Christmas we got 2 little turkeys!

It had been a blessed pregnancy.  I was cute.  I will admit it.  When you try for 4 years, you enjoy your pregnancy as much as you can, but it was not easy on me and I hid most of the troubles.  The twins, they were just very big.  I am short waisted and 5 foot 5 on a very good day.  Somehow the kids were just too big for my body.  Many people commented that I sure wasn’t gaining a lot of weight but that my belly was big.  Well, with a short waist, it was very early that my son planted himself right on my stomach making it very difficult to eat. But – I was cute, I was happy, and I had a GLORIOUS time dressing my bump and preparing the nursery and getting ready for my leave, which coincides with summer!!  What could go wrong??

Then around 30ish weeks, I just started to slow down.  31 weeks I started to get edema and was working from home nearly full time.  I just couldn’t walk and was not sleeping much.  I developed a few other mild and average complications as well.

I went in for a check up 9am on June 19th for a check up etc.  I had gained 20 pounds from one week to the next!  I went home and by 1pm they called me and asked me to check into the hospital for a 24 hour observation.  There were some tests that had my OB GYN concerned – no problem, I was checked in by 4pm.

By 6pm I was in misery.  I was put on Magnesium for elevated blood pressure, I was shaking uncontrollably and they started a series of steroids that would ensure the kids lungs would mature.  Several Drs came through and explained things in many different ways “Extreme Pre eclampsia” “fine balance between mothers health and babies health”  “trying to hold on for the steroids to take effect”  “concerned about permanent damage to mothers kidneys”  it was so confusing and I was meanwhile on hydration IV that put another 13 pounds on me in 24 hours.  My mother and husband were troopers.  I cried nonstop.  Confused and having a hard time with shaking so much.  By June 20th at 9pm – they made the call – remove the twins!!  An emergency C-section was ordered.  They weighed me before they took me in – over 200 pounds.  (I am not a big girl….these are frightening numbers)

My angels arrived at 9:37pm and 9:39pm June 20th. 2013 under a lucky moon.  They were healthy, weighted in at 4.5 (Montana Katheryn) and 5.4 (Jordan James) and they were perfect.

I was alert and was able to see each as they arrived but after they put me back together I cannot remember much of the next couple days.  I ended up staying in the hospital for high blood pressure for 6 days.  It was for the best, I was near my kids!

So, my kids are preemies!  They were born exactly at 33 weeks.  Today, on the 4th of July they are 2 weeks old, and should still be inside of me!  But they are breast feeding, bottle feeding and starting to be alert and responsive.  They are both above their birth weights and gaining.

Montana is delicate and long and the quieter of the two.  JJ is larger and more talkative and looks exactly like his father.  We are delighted with them.  They are perfect in every way, and I have always said that I knew my babies were special from the start.  My babies.  That is how I refer to them.  Mine.  I have a scary instinct with these two and the amount of uncontrollable crying that I have when I leave them or find out I don’t get to see them is incredible.  Close to hyperventilation.  I would do anything for them…they have a wonderful life waiting of them at home, and Daddy and I cannot wait to start our lives all in one house.

Many are asking when they will come home, the average age for preemies to go home is 36 weeks, but really it depends on them each reaching a few milestones. Regulating their temperature, breathing on their own, breast feeding, bottle feeding and weight gain, then the car seat test. Often one twin comes home before the other. So, could be in a week, could be in 2. They are past several milestones already and are focussing on eating now, but they progress every day so it keeps us satisfied. The thing about NICU is  “2 steps forward, 1 step back” and you have to keep that in mind, and just go with the flow.  Some days you can, some days you cannot.

Both Daddy and Mommy are doing well. Our lives have changed and we are figuring out our redefined roles and fighting exhaustion and trying to not take out out on each other….we have to be better people now. There is no alternative. We are raising miracles.

I leave you with this: I wouldn’t change any of this. This is our journey, and I thank God for giving me my husband and my family to support me through all of this. I don’t know where I would be without them.

Here is my before and 7 days after pictures, because they are fun to look at…..Love to you ALL!!!