Citrus-Brandy Cocktail

Citrus-Brandy Cocktail - Sarah J. Hauser

Happy Friday, Friends! 

I feel like I’ve been living in a cave until the last few days. We’ve been potty training the twins, which has been going mostly well…not counting the flooded bathroom due to an unnamed toddler stuffing it with toilet paper, the baby who threw up on Day 2, and the time spent cleaning pee off a friend’s floor (including the carpet) last night. But other than that, it’s going great! (You can’t see the facepalm happening right now.)

In all seriousness, though, we've turned a corner despite a few missteps, and I am thankful for that. We had twins before having our third baby, so we’ve never had only one kid in diapers until now. I think that’s reason to celebrate!

I mixed this Citrus-Brandy Cocktail up a few weeks ago as I experimented with drink ideas. The first time I made it, I used blood oranges since they were in season, but you can use any kind of orange (just note the color will be different than these images). I also threw a few sprigs of tarragon in the cocktail shaker. I love the combination of fruit and herbs, but you can leave that out or try other options like thyme or rosemary.

It’s a drink that’s refreshing, rich, and slightly sweet with a bit of tart – and the perfect way to kick off the weekend.

So cheers to the Friday, cheers to potty training, and cheers to whatever milestones you have to celebrate, from the big ones like anniversaries and birthdays, to the small ones you never realized would feel so monumental.

Citrus-Brandy Cocktail - Sarah J. Hauser
Citrus-Brandy Cocktail - Sarah J. Hauser

Citrus-Brandy Cocktail
Yields 1 drink

1½ ounces brandy
¾ ounce Cointreau
1 ounce freshly squeezed orange juice*
½ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
Fresh herbs, such as tarragon (optional)

Add the brandy, Cointreau, orange juice, and lemon juice to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Add a few sprigs of torn herbs, such as tarragon, to the shaker if desired.

Shake vigorously for 15 seconds, and then strain into a cold cocktail glass. Serve and enjoy!

*Note: I used blood oranges for the drinks in these images to get the pink color, but you can use Cara Cara, or another favorite kind of orange!

Mixed Berry + Cocoa Smoothie [and growing into motherhood]

I watch my son, Josiah, hold onto the old, scratched up coffee table, gripping the edge with his tiny fingers while he shuffles over to the couch. At 10 months, he’s still wobbly, but every day I notice his legs grow sturdier and his confidence stronger.

He also falls. Often. Sometimes his face gets red with frustration when he can’t keep up with his older siblings, and tears well up when he stumbles. But he’s just learning, and stubbornness propels him onward.

I hear the slap of his hands on the hardwood floor as he makes his way to the front stairs. He’s beginning to climb steps now—a milestone I’d prefer to delay. I follow closely behind, because even though he’s gotten quite adept at going up, he hasn’t exactly mastered coming down—or at least coming down safely.

He sets his hands on the first stair and waits for me. The corners of his mouth turn up and his blue eyes squint in excitement. I tentatively “chase” him to the top. He enjoys the game and doesn’t realize I’m actually spotting him. Mama’s not about to let him take another tumble, although it seems to him like that possibility is all part of the fun of it. The threat of falling doesn’t deter him from climbing.

Somewhere along the way, I lost that fearlessness. I started to assume I should be able to walk without ever crawling, to bolt up the stairs without a misstep. In the past, I traveled across the world without the prospect of getting lost holding me back. I applied for jobs without being crippled by the idea of rejection. I jumped into new ventures headfirst simply because I found joy in possibility. But now in the daily work of mothering, I easily forget it’s not only okay to fall, but it's normal, expected, and part of the learning process.

Keep reading and get the recipe at Coffee + Crumbs!

Full post and recipe instructions can be found at Coffee + Crumbs!

Lemon-Basil Whole Wheat Coffee Cake [and finding solace in the village]

Lemon-Basil Whole Wheat Coffee Cake - Sarah J. Hauser

I sit alone in bed, pillows propped behind me and books, dishes, and pumping supplies piled on the nightstand to my left. My youngest isn’t yet a month old. I hear the doorbell ring, but I don’t move. I know it’s my sister. My husband walks upstairs to check on me and let me know she’s there, and I mumble something about getting out of bed eventually. Then again, maybe I won’t. She won’t be offended. I know she gets it, and she’ll end up making us dinner or cleaning the kitchen or folding laundry without me having to ask.

I hear a soft knock on the bedroom door as she peeks her head in. I try to hold it together and say I’m fine, and I’ll come down to visit. But that’s an empty promise. She sits on the edge of the bed and my eyes begin to water. I mutter something about how there’s nothing actually wrong. I really am okay.

“It’s nothing, but it’s everything, isn’t it?” she says.

I nod. It’s nothing major, no “real” reason to complain or be sad or not be able to get out of bed. But it’s also everything. It’s the sleeplessness, c-section incision, whining toddlers, hormones, grief over my late mom, anxiety, burden of parenting, and even the news headlines that seem a heavier weight to carry than normal. I turn her words over in my mind. Nothing, but everything. Yes.  

I don’t have to justify my tears or explain away my emotions. I stay in bed, but the tightness in my heart releases, and I finally exhale.  

Keep reading and get the recipe at Coffee + Crumbs!

Lemon-Basil Whole Wheat Coffee Cake - Sarah J. Hauser
Lemon-Basil Whole Wheat Coffee Cake - Sarah J. Hauser
Lemon-Basil Whole Wheat Coffee Cake - Sarah J. Hauser
Lemon-Basil Whole Wheat Coffee Cake - Sarah J. Hauser

Full post and recipe instructions can be found at Coffee + Crumbs!

Mushroom + Leek Frittata [Whole30 compliant!]

Mushroom + Leek Frittata - Sarah J. Hauser

It took us nearly two months to create space amidst our own schedules and that of our combined 12 kids. But three friends and I eventually found (and then adamantly safeguarded) a few hours on a Saturday morning to get together for brunch. We see each other regularly and text almost daily, but a brunch date meant we could set aside our phones and our deadlines, our errands and parenting responsibilities, and focus on rest, nourishment, and connection.

Over cups of coffee and stacks of pancakes, we talked about motherhood, marriage, hard days, and celebrations. I brought tears to the table. They passed me napkins to wipe my mascara-stained face and nodded their heads in understanding.

Sometimes I forget I wasn’t created for independence. I forget that mothering well doesn’t mean mothering alone, and I’m grateful for the reminders that I’m a better woman, wife, friend, writer, and mama when I let others share the burden of those roles with me.

As our server refilled mugs of coffee and brought boxes for leftovers, I felt the weight lighten, not because circumstances changed or because I even had a clear plan to implement. The weight itself remained. But as I brought my story to that table, three other people listened. Three other people laughed, cried, and encouraged. Three other people silently agreed to carry that weight with me.

Mushroom + Leek Frittata - Sarah J. Hauser
Mushroom + Leek Frittata - Sarah J. Hauser

Maybe you’ve just received an unexpected diagnosis, or perhaps you’re celebrating a brand new baby. Maybe you're overwhelmed with joy right now, or maybe your eyes are red and your heart is worn from the weariness that comes with motherhood. No matter where you're at today, we invite you to the table.

At the table, we can find nourishment for our bodies and souls. We can celebrate and mourn. We can learn and teach and encourage and challenge.

We can hold each other up, because the weight is not meant for us to bear alone.

Mushroom + Leek Frittata - Sarah J. Hauser

In that spirit, Coffee + Crumbs is "hosting" a Mother's Day brunch on Saturday, May 12th. We love encouraging mamas in the online space, but what we really love is seeing mamas support each other in person. In just a couple weeks, women from all over the world will be gathering around their tables for rest, nourishment, and connection.

Will you consider being a host? We've got menu ideas, conversation cards, and all kinds of other goodies we're sending to hosts for free! Click here to learn more and sign up!

Mushroom + Leek Frittata
Yields about 6-8 servings

2 medium leeks
8-10 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
3-4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
8 large eggs, at room temperature
¼ cup full-fat coconut milk, at room temperature*
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for serving
1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 

Cut the roots off the leeks. Slice them lengthwise, then rinse under cool water to remove dirt and sand that can build up in between the layers. Chop the white and light green sections of the leeks, and discard the darkest green 2 inches or so (or reserve it for stock or other recipes. The darkest green parts can be bitter, so we’ll leave them out of this dish.)

In a 9- to 10-inch cast-iron or other ovenproof skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped leeks and ½ teaspoon of salt, and sauté for 5-6 minutes, until the leeks get soft and slightly browned. Add the mushrooms, along with another tablespoon or two of olive oil if needed. Cook for 5-7 more minutes, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are soft and fragrant. Turn off the heat. 

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, coconut milk, ½ teaspoon of salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. 

Pour the egg mixture over the leeks and mushrooms, and give everything a stir. Transfer to the oven and cook 8-10 minutes, just until the eggs are set. (I like to remove the frittata from the oven just shy of them being fully cooked, because they’ll continue to cook slightly even when they come out of the oven.)

Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Slice and serve with chopped fresh parsley and additional black pepper to taste.

*I use coconut milk in this recipe to keep it dairy-free. Full-fat coconut milk helps keep the dish creamy as opposed to using other alternatives like almond or soy milk. My husband and other friends have not been able to taste the coconut milk in the final dish at all, but you can sub in regular milk or cream if you prefer.