Holiday Brunch and Breakfast Egg Casserole

November 5, 2011

Breakfast casseroleWith the holidays and their houseguests nearly upon us, this easy and delicious egg-based casserole is a terrific idea for breakfast or brunch, especially if you're trying to feed family and guests. Inspired by a dish served for breakfast at the Gunn House hotel in the Gold Country town of Sonora, this casserole can be scaled up or down to feed as many people as you need to (this recipe serves about 8).

The best thing about it is that you can vary the ingredients depending on what you have on hand or what sounds good to you. (At the Gunn House they added artichoke hearts and cream cheese as an impromptu variation.)

Make sure you prepare the casserole the day before and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight, as per the directions. While you can make it and cook it immediately, it really turns out much better if it sits overnight. The great thing about this is all you need to do is pop it in the oven in the morning! This dish is great as part of a holiday brunch buffet. It's rich and filling, so a little bit goes a long way.

Win Free Tickets to the Next Speak to Me Event with Stephanie Coontz

November 2, 2011

Stephanie CoontzSpeak to Me, Marin's premiere series of intelligent, inspiring speaking events for women, presents "For Better and For Worse: The Ongoing Revolution in Love, Marriage and Family Life," a discussion with Stephanie Coontz on Tuesday, November 8, 2011, from 6:30–9:30 pm.

Stephanie Coontz is a nationally recognized historian and expert in love, intimacy and parenting; a professor at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington; and Director of Research and Public Education for the Council on Contemporary Families.

Women's roles, male-female relationships, and family dynamics have changed more in the past 50 years than the previous 5,000, but often in ways that run completely counter to conventional wisdom. After a provocative gallop through the history of love, sex, marriage and parenting, Stephanie Coontz will discuss the sometimes surprising trade-offs resulting from the contemporary revolution in intimate relations. She warns against romanticizing the stability of marriages in the past and suggests that many of the rules we have been taught about how to organize our family lives and interpersonal relationships are out of touch with new realities.

Financial Coaching for Couples

November 2, 2011

Marin Mommies presents another great guest article by Marin mom and financial planner Katy Song, CFP®.

Money touches almost every decision a couple makes. Whether you ask “What’s for dinner?”, or “Which movie do you want to rent?” money is involved. And within every couple’s relationship, there is a relationship with money. Since people see money through different lenses there can be conflict in this money relationship.

Opposite money types tend to attract each other, but after a few years and adding children to the equation, those endearing differences tend to wear thin. It is ironic that the differences that drew couples together are now the reason for tension and disagreement. The reality is that 70% of all divorces are due to some sort of money conflict. So, how does a couple get on the same page and create a strong money relationship together?

The answer: It takes hard work! But the hard work pays off with a lifetime of commitment and partnership, along with greater intimacy and trust. If you have a strong money relationship, you have a strong relationship.

The 2011 Marin Mommies Pumpkin Patch Poll!

October 31, 2011

Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin PatchThe 2011 Marin Mommies Pumpkin Patch Poll has closed. The winner, for the second year in a row, is the Petaluma Pumpkin Patch and Amazing Corn Maze. Congratulations! The Peter Pumpkin Patch at Spring Hill Farm is second, and Adobe Pumpkin Farm brings up third. Thanks to everyone who submitted their vote.

Every family has their favorite place to pick their Halloween pumpkins. What's yours? Tell the world by voting for your favorite pumpkin patch below in Marin Mommies' third annual Pumpkin Patch Poll. You don't need to be a registered user to vote, so make your choice known!

2010's winner was the Petaluma Pumpkin Patch and Amazing Corn Maze, with Peter Pumpkin Patch in second place and Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin Patch in third.

If you don't see your favorite Marin or southern Sonoma County pumpkin patch listed here, let us know about it or make it a "write-in" vote by leaving a comment.

Peter Pumpkin Patch (Spring Hill Farm), Petaluma
26% (46 votes)
Nicasio Valley Farms, Nicasio
12% (21 votes)
Godmothers' Saint Vincent's Pumpkin Patch, Marinwood
6% (10 votes)
Adobe Pumpkin Farm, Petaluma
13% (23 votes)
Peterson's Farm, Petaluma
7% (12 votes)
Tolay Fall Festival, Petaluma
3% (6 votes)
Petaluma Pumpkin Patch and Amazing Corn Maze, Petaluma
31% (54 votes)
McClelland's Dairy Pumpkin Patch, Petaluma
1% (2 votes)
Anderson Organic Vegetable Stand and Pumpkin Patch, Petaluma
1% (2 votes)
Total votes: 176

A Family that Eats Together: Chicken Thighs that are Worth Eating with Israeli Couscous and Green Chard

October 31, 2011

Chicken thighs worth eatingMarin Mommies presents this week's guest recipe from Nicole Cibellis, Marin mom and author of the blog A Family that Eats Together, where she shares meal plans and recipes that will please foodies and children alike. Nicole is also the creator of the new Little Froglet line of children's activewear.

Nicole's meal plan for this week features panini with turkey, bacon, caramelized onions, aged cheddar, and red pepper-garlic mayonnaise; carne asade tacos with salsa borracha; fast and easy chicken chow mein; paella made simple and fast; and these baked chicken thighs with accompanying side dishes.

Chef Daddy Cooks Up Some Pot Roast

October 26, 2011

Mmmmm. Pot roast.Fall is upon us, and with it come the delicious rib-sticking dishes that are perfect for cool autumn evenings. Pot roast is one of those meals that, when done right, has few equals in the world of hearty cool weather cuisine. Unfortunately, it has the reputation of being hard to make, and is often tough and flavorless.

I confess that many of my early attempts at pot roasts didn't turn out very well. But by utilizing a few key ingredients, classical cooking techniques, and patience, I managed to overcome the tragedy of blah pot roast, and you can, too. Ready? Then let's begin!

First, you'll need to gather up your ingredients:

Go Out on a Limb at the Bay Area Discovery Museum's New Exhibit

October 26, 2011

Out on a limb tree houseThis Saturday, Sausalito's Bay Area Discovery Museum opens Out on a Limb, adventures with nature and art, it's new special exhibit that promotes nature-play through a sculptural, interactive design that incorporates nostalgic settings, such as a tree house and a fort-building area. Out on a Limb will be at the Bay Area Discovery Museum from Saturday, October 29, 2011 through January 8, 2012, and is included with general museum admission.

The 1,200 square foot imaginative environment is designed to inspire children and their caregivers to learn to explore nature by using their senses. More than simply seeing the beauty of a tree, the exhibit encourages visitors to hear the sounds of the forest, use leaves to make beautiful art, and build big and little structures from bark and limbs. Out on a Limb, adventures with nature and art was originally created by Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose.

Get a Jump on Holiday Crafts at Studio4Art

October 25, 2011

Clay gingerbread house at Studio4ArtHandmade holiday crafts make great gifts, so make sure you check out Studio4Art's creative Saturday workshops in November and December. All Saturday workshops take place from 11 am to 12:30 pm.

  • Create an imaginative clay gingerbread house on November 5 and December 3 ($40). It will last a life time and is sure to become a family heirloom. Many families come to this workshop year after year and create their own villages! Begin your house with slab construction, then add clay molded to look like candy and end with a finished piece that is sure to dazzle.
  • On November 12 make cards with handmade papers, fabric, sewing machines, block printing, printmaking and stamps ($20). Your cards will be beautiful enough to be framed! Each student receives 6 cards to create.
  • Make your own clay Christmas tree ornaments on November 19 ($30). It's amazing what you can create with a pound of clay! Creating and glazing will be completed in this one-day workshop. Families are welcome to work together.  Extra clay is available at additional cost.

Win Tickets to Penguins + Pajamas: An Overnight Adventure at the California Academy of Sciences

October 25, 2011

Penguins + Pajamas at the California Academy of SciencesRemember when we wrote about how much fun we had at the last California Academy of Sciences Penguins + Pajamas sleepover? Well, their next sleepover event is scheduled for Saturday, November 12, and we're giving away tickets to a lucky Marin Mommies reader!

Experience your own "night at the museum" as you explore the exhibits after-hours, stargaze at the planetarium show, and enjoy a special live animal presentation. Before bedtime, settle in for story time with cookies and milk to learn about Pierre—the Academy’s famous wetsuit-wearing penguin.

When the lights go out, unroll your sleeping bag in African Hall, next to the swaying kelp of the California Coast tank, or even at the Swamp window, face-to-face with Claude, the albino alligator. In the morning, rise and shine, then head over to the Academy Café for breakfast.

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