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::buy this:: cake cake cake


We don’t have to talk about how behind I am on blogging right? Things will be different. I have *reliable* childcare for the first time in months. Childcare that will be here beyond my work hours, which means I can concentrate on other “work”, rather than worrying he is going to wake up if I get started on anything. Anyway, enough with the excuses.

I’ve been meaning to post these two cakes for a while. The first is from May. MAY. 2011! Little B was baptized and seeing as hour I had just started back to work and had a 2 month old baby, I was in no condition to bake a cake. Good excuse to call my favorite bake shop in the area right? Remember those delightful cupcakes we had? Stefanie Kitchner, the owner of Ciao Bella Cakes, might be turning into his official baker 🙂 She is amazing. I’m not at all creative when it comes to cake ideas, so I let her take the reigns.

Perfect for a baptism. Chocolate chip cake with truffle filling between layers? I had quite a few guests who “don’t like cake”. They ate more than one serving. AND her fondant is edible. She rolls it perfectly thin. Ahhhhhh I love this cake so much. So then comes November. I had a milestone birthday this year, so PTB put together a little thing for me. He knew exactly who to go to for the cake. He is the opposite of me. I had no ideas, and he had too many ideas in his head. Stefanie came to the rescue.

Some of you may be asking, “what the….?”. It’s been a crazy year for me. What I didn’t mention in my excuses for not posting is that I accidentally started a little Etsy shop. Which turned into Ben’s adorable face showing up on the front page of their site twice in about a month’s time. Which turned into quite a business. So around this time my life was pretty consumed with making dinosaur hats as the weather started to get cold.

Greatest cake on earth. And it was the same yummy chocolate chip/truffle combo. LOVE IT.

Here is our official Instagram “family photo”.

Thanks to Stefanie and Ciao Bella Cakes once again for these amazing memories. And congratulations on your recent win for Best Dessert 2012 for Philadelphia Magazine’s Philly Cooks!!!!!!! I am so excited for you! Thank you Kamila Harris Photography for the baptism cake photo and Joy Moody Photography for the birthday photos!




::promo:: Weleda products 30% off at Whole Foods Market


I had a baby! He is finally here and he is AWESOME. I was in the hospital from Wednesday to Saturday at the beginning of the month and missed one of my favorite things. The Whole Foods One Day deal (every Friday). The particular Friday I was indispose with a newborn the special was pound cake for $1.99. YUM!

My favorite Whole Foods Market in the Philadelphia region (yup, I’ve shopped at all of them…) is the Callowhill store. It’s tiny, but they have everything I want, a great produce department, the BEST meat counter in the region, and ALL the products I want in the grocery department. They also have an amazing marketing team who interact with their customers on Facebook and Twitter. The team was sweet enough to send me a pound cake at the hospital AND a Weleda Baby Care Kit!

With my cloth diapering, homemade baby food, and organic cotton clothing/bedding, some of our family and friends think I’m a little bit of a hippie… I like to think I am raising my baby closer to the way I was raised. I am so happy that Whole Foods sent over the Weleda Baby products! They smell amazing and I got to try a brand that I had not even heard of previously! The baby product are all natural and free of any synthetic fragrances, colors, and preservatives. Best of all Bean loves them.

Whole Foods is all about baby this month. I love that this happen to fall on the month that our baby joined us. They have posted a Whole Baby guide and they are offering 30% off all Weleda produts all month! Not just for babies, Weleda offers a full line of natural sin care products as well. Be sure to take advantage of this great sale to try out some amazing products!

::buy this:: Numi Rooibos


There are rules for while you are pregnant. Not too many apply to me. I don’t smoke or do any drugs (giving up Motrin for the occasional headache was lame, I don’t do Tylenol), I don’t eat lunch meat or raw fish. But I am a caffeine junky, and I enjoy a drink every now and then. Funnily enough, these are the “rules” that most people tend to not worry about. They give you a number for caffeine; 150mg. Alcohol still has the jury out. There is no clear amount that causes problems. And I can’t count the number of times that I was told “one drink won’t hurt, my ::insert random family member or friend:: drank ::insert random interval of time:: during their pregnancy and their baby was fine”. Same goes for caffeine.

Seriously though, it is 9 months of my life. A bit more if you add in the fact that I was giving up caffeine slowly in anticipation of “Bean”. I have survived those 9 months. I would say my total caffeine consumption through has probably totaled 150mg from the random sips of Cherry Coke and the mass consumption of chocolate. Ok…maybe the chocolate put me over…

While it isn’t necessarily the caffeine that gets me going in the morning, a cozy cup of something helps. Just when I was getting my taste for coffee back, my Breville Keurig broke. Horrible timing! Between moving and a mistake with the first replacement, it took a couple months before I had my coffee back. (Please note! I am not complaining, they replaced my nearly 3 year old machine! It was worth the wait.) In that time, I switched over to Rooibos tea. I had been enjoying the Tazo Vanilla Rooibos over the Summer as a cold treat and found a single tea bag of the Numi Ruby Chai in a cabinet. I am so glad I had it hiding in there!

Most herbal teas are a no-go while pregnant. Not enough research as to what damage they can do, etc. Rooibos is actually a legume, not a leaf (fun fact for the day…and who doesn’t like saying legume?). The Numi Ruby Chai has a perfect depth. More of a coffee flavor than tea, not quite as spicy as a black tea chai, but still wonderfully flavorful. Completely, and naturally*, caffeine free. The other bonus is it is a Fair Trade product.

~*Have you looked into how they decaffeinate some teas and coffee? Yeah, it’s gross. More on that later because I also have eliminated chemically decaffeinated coffees.

I am sure once the temperature drops again I’ll be enjoying this tea more regularly again. It is a great option for a late night cup of warmth. For now, I am not going to complain about the awesome warmth we have been having outside. Buy Numi Rooibos on Amazon and help support Not Just Take Out 🙂

::buy this:: Ciao Bella Cakes

This past week was craziness. Packing, cleaning, anticipating…all while trying to live our normal lives too. Monday we had our anatomy scan. This is the doctors appointment where they do an ultrasound to make sure little Bean is growing properly and doing well. If you want, they’ll also tell you when you will be having a little girl bean or boy bean. I knew I wanted to know. I NEEDED to know. PTB could have gone either  way. We didn’t have a preference, so it would be exciting either way. There wasn’t any room for disappointment.

Inspired by the internet, we decided the way to tell our families was to have a party. Since we are moving soon, it was a good excuse to have one last hurrah at our apartment before moving to the suburbs and “settling down”. I wanted to bake the color into a cupcake so it would be a secret from our guests until they bit in. Then PTB decided that’s how he wanted to find out too. I knew I couldn’t keep it from him for an entire week. And then, did I really want to try and clean up the mess of food colored cake batter before he came home one night?

This is when I needed to find a professional. I called quite a few bakeries in the area and only one seemed to really understand what I wanted. I’m not an icing fiend. I wanted batter piped into the cupcake, not icing after the fact. Stefanie Kitchner, the founder of Ciao Bella Cakes, not only understood, she seemed excited about it! This was exactly who I needed to be working with. So on Monday afternoon we went to the doctor. They put the answer in an envelope and I delivered it to Stefanie first thing Tuesday morning. I had to get it out of my hands!

Finally Saturday morning arrived. We went to pick up the cupcakes. Four dozen of them. We decided to open the little box and put them on a cupcake stand so that we could have some out while we explained to our guests what the plan was. I let Stefanie do her thing in terms of decorating, just letting her know I wasn’t crazy about a ton of icing. When i opened the first box I was a little panicked. All I saw were pink foils! We quickly realized there were also blue and gold, but mostly in the other box. Phew. The icing looked perfect, and the random sprinkles just made us smile.

Since we weren’t finding out yet, I can’t tell you about the cakes yet… So I will start with the icing. Oh my, that icing was amazing. When I had told Stefanie that I wasn’t crazy about icing her response was for white icing she usually does “vanilla buttercream. It’s super yummy! Not too sweet. Nice and light and fluffy. And lots of butter!”. I really could not describe this icing better. I got so many compliments throughout the day about the icing.

There were plenty of compliments on the cupcakes as well. And after eating at least 4 of them so far (thank goodness we ended up with extras), I can definitely stand my the moist perfection of the cake. YUM! Oh, and the big reveal that you’ve been waiting for? It’s a…..


I mean BOY! We are officially halfway through to our little boy bean.

Stefanie was amazing to work with. Incredibly easy going and she is very creative when it comes to wedding cakes, etc. She makes everything from scratch using high quality ingredients. No mixes, bases, or fake stuff. My kind of baker 🙂

If you are in the Philadelphia area and need a custom baked good large or small, I highly recommend Ciao Bella Cakes. Be sure to check out Stefanie’s website and be a fan of the bakery on Facebook! She can be reached at 267•229•0829

::buy this:: Jalfrezi Simmer Sauce

The first few months of pregnancy I was lucky enough to not get too sick. And really my cravings weren’t out of control. I like to think I was just really good at listening to my body. For the first few weeks I lived on pizza and curry take out. It was an expensive month. In my first few attempts to go to the grocery store, I wondered the prepared foods aisle and came across a curry simmer sauce I had not noticed before.

We have been crazy about the Chicken Korma from our favorite Indian place Tiffin. Eventually I will try to make some myself, but theirs is just so good. And driving to go get it makes it so easy. In the meantime, while my laziness is getting the best of me and the takeout bills are getting too high, I have been experimenting with anything Korma I can find in the grocery store. Let me just tell you right now, nothing has come close to Tiffin’s.

The Seeds of Change Korma sauce is a great starter curry. If you want to introduce someone to curry and their fears of it being too spicy or smelly or just gross in general… this may be the way to go. It is a sweet curry and very coconut-y. Not at all what I was looking for in my curry. For me it wasn’t the one. PTB still enjoyed it, but since we both have to eat, that may be a no-buy for us in the future.

Despite the unsucessful night with the Korma simmer sauce, I was willing to give Seeds of Change another chance. They had a Jalfrezi simmer sauce calling my name. With no promises to be sweet or mild this “Medium-Hot” sauce lived up to its description. Was it as good as making a jalfrezi dish from scratch… that could be arguable. It has been a while since I made jalfrezi. Was it beyond easy and so worth it? Yes.

When I poured the sauce into the pan, I was expecting a smooth liquidy sauce to come out. I was thinking, maybe next time I will pick up some peppers to throw in. Unnecessary. Peppers and Onions were in the sauce. It was incredible. My only recommendation would be to skip the sautéing the chicken first. Just let it cook in the sauce so it absorbs all the flavors.It oonly makes preparing this dish easier.

Now I need to find a store that carries their Madras and Tikka Masala simmer sauces and I will be set. Or I could just buy it on Amazon and have it shipped to me. Oh Amazon Prime, I adore you.