Thursday, April 28, 2011


...if you are new here (welcome!)
each week-ish I post about making tiny changes towards a healthier lifestyle--from eating to exercise. You can read them all here...

This past weekend we set out to run. Charly and I. 
We have a new favorite trail where she can roam freely off her leash, and together we head 
the mountain. 
Spring has not yet sprung way up there, but snow is slowly melting across our path as we go.
It's wet and muddy and terribly sloppy.
We like that.
The climb is steep. 
Every step I take is felt. 
Every breath labored. 
Every chance I get, I wonder why I'm doing it. 

But then I listen. 

Charly's tags are ding-a-linging. 
Birds are whistling right next to me--calling out for spring to come. 
A waterfall right below us. 
I listen more. 
There is the squish of mud beneath my feet--followed with a splatter as it finds is place up the back of my leg. 
I am a mess.

My breath. It's heavy. But it's working. 
I notice the rhythm to it. 
I use in inhales and exhales to propel me up, up, up the mountain. 
I don't focus on the top--but look down at each step I'm taking. 

I listen to my body as it struggles it's way up the hill,
my thoughts (mostly negative) are loud and I try not to let them over power.
....but then I listen, a quiet celebration after we make it to the top.
....and we always make it to the top.
photo 3photo 1photo 2photo 4

Since I have been trail running I have left my music at home. 
Something I NEVER dreamt possible. 
But I soon found that is was too loud and distracting--I need to hear my thoughts--my brain tick tocking and my body telling me what to do. It's the only way I can make it up. 

The same thing can be applied to our day-to-day lives--whether we are running or not. 

Way back when, before Google, Wikipedia, Oprah and Dr. Oz, how did people know what their bodies needed? What to feed them, how to heal them, how to make them stronger? 

They listened to their bodies.

There weren't so many distractions. 
There weren't so many options. 
They just listened. 

I found when I am more in tune with my body and my thoughts, I crave more of what's good for me.
I crave what my body needs. 

I feel when my body needs to run--or when it just needs to stretch. 
When I am tired--I try to find time to take a nap--even if it's just a short one. (how to nap here:)
After a run I crave salt and fat. Avocado on toast with salt and pepper always hits the spot. 
Days I do yoga I crave water for hours. 
Sometimes when my brain is noisy, my kids are noisy, my house is noisy--we have quiet time.
Everyone in their rooms to read. 

My challenge to you this week is to listen. 
Turn down the distractions (whether it be the literal volume in your life, or maybe an over crowded schedule), and figure out what it is that your body needs. 
A walk. A nap. Meditation (does anyone else think super crazy pot-smoking hipppie when they hear the word meditation?? I that's why I just call it quiet time:)
A salad. I can't tell you how often after I bake cookies or eat something sweet my body just begs for a giant green salad.

So take some time to listen--make time for yourself so you can listen.
I'd love to know what you hear.

and just in case you start to think I take myself too seriously when I write these cheesy's the most recent photo of Charly and me...
photo 5

happy listening.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

let's talk about pizza

If you are trying to fill your life with healthy things, then I'm betting that "pizza" is maybe a dirty word....right? It's a greasy, cheesy, fat laden mess.

But it doesn't have to be. 
In the summer, we eat pizza about once a week--and load it up with whatever veggies we pulled from our own back yard or brought home from the farmer's market, so each time we make it, it's a little bit different. 
arugula pizza copy

(recipe adapted from Martha Stewart)

*this will make 4 pizzas--I freeze the dough so I can pull it out in a hurry

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 cups warm water (105 degrees to 115 degrees)
3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1-1 1/2 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
2 teaspoons salt
Extra-virgin olive oil, for bowl


Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large bowl and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour and the salt, stirring until smooth. Stir in an additional bread flour; continue adding flour (up to 1/2 cup), 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring until dough comes away from bowl but is still sticky.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, and knead with lightly floured hands. Start by slapping the dough onto the counter, pulling it toward you with one hand and pushing it away from you with the other. Fold the dough back over itself (use a bench scraper or a wide knife to help scrape dough from surface). Repeat until it's easier to handle, about 10 times. Finish kneading normally until dough is smooth, elastic, and soft, but a little tacky, about 10 minutes.
Shape dough into a ball and transfer to a lightly oiled bowl; turn to coat. Cover with plastic, and let rise in a warm place until it doubles in volume. Press it with your finger to see if it's done; an indent should remain.

Meanwhile, scrape dough out of the bowl onto floured surface, and cut it into 4 pieces. Shape into balls. Dust with flour, and cover with plastic. Let rest, 20 to 30 minutes, allowing dough to relax and almost double.
Holding top edge of 1 dough ball in both hands, let bottom edge touch work surface (refrigerate remaining balls as you work). Carefully move hands around edge to form a circle, as if turning a wheel. Hold dough on back of your hand, letting its weight stretch it into a 12-inch round. Transfer dough to a lightly floured pizza peel (or an inverted baking sheet). Press out edges using your fingers. Jerk peel; if dough sticks, lift, and dust more flour underneath.

We like our pizza grilled:
Place dough onto oiled pizza pan. Place on grill preheated to medium high heat.
Grill until crust is almost done on one side.
Flip the crust, and add your favorite toppings to the side that's done. Place back on grill (lid down) until cheese is melted, edges are golden, and we like the bottom a bit blackened.

in the summer I always use fresh tomatoes--just crushed up a bit and spread around on the crust. For now I just used a good can of whole tomatoes, and spread them around.

-mozzarella cheese
-carmelized onions
-roasted red peppers
-a few pieces of prosciutto, torn up
-a few crumbles of herbed goat cheese
.....after the pizza is cooked, we added arugula to the top (don't knock it till you try it....), and a splash of balsamic.


see some of our other pizza favs here
what do you like on your pizza?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

advertise with the little red house!

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dear small shop owners, crafty ladies (and gents), fellow bloggers, artists, makers-of-awesome things, designers, photographers, writers, entrepreneurs....whatever you may be, The Little Red House (that's me!) would love to help promote you!

It's mind boggling to me that people (you) show up here each day to read my silly thoughts (thank you), but hey--they are here-- and I would love to share your talents with all of them!

Check out the ads to the left (sorry google reader people, you'll have to come over here for real), and imagine how pretty yours would look there. 

Email me sheenajibson at gmail 
for (super duper low) rates, sponsorship info, readership stats, or any questions you may have for me.
talk soon!

Monday, April 25, 2011

easter weekend

It was hard to see the weekend go....especially sending the boy back to school. blah. who needs school? Isn't August through April enough?

This weekend we ate more (still stuffed), played harder (the girl scraped her face off falling off a skateboard....she'd dainty like that), and stayed up later than normal (stuck in a heated game of Sorry....we are party animals!)

The Menu:
Breakfast: we had Martha's orange pull apart rolls (made with whole wheat pastry flour).
In between: Cadbury Eggs.
Dinner: Roast Chicken with dill, oregano, lemon and garlic.
The absolute best potatoes I have ever eaten in my life (recipe here). Gruyere cheese is my favorite.
Deviled Eggs (of course.)
Mouth watering artichokes from The Cookbook....guess you'll just have to pick up a copy when it's done to get the recipe! (see cookbook updates here)

here are just a few photos....haha mostly of food but that's how I roll.
jolueaster copybaskets1 copybaskets copytable1platebubbles copycake2 copycake1 copy

Oh....and I made angel food cake. Have you done that? I was absolutely terrified that it wouldn't work out....but it did!! yum. I knew I could count on Alton Brown to lead me through step by step.....although I would recommend not starting such a thing at 10 o'clock at really could have been a disaster.

Angel Food Cake
recipe from Alton Brown 

1 3/4 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cake flour, sifted
12 egg whites (the closer to room temperature the better)
1/3 cup warm water
1 teaspoon orange extract, or extract of your choice
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a food processor spin sugar about 2 minutes until it is superfine. Sift half of the sugar with the salt the cake flour, setting the remaining sugar aside.

In a large bowl, use a balloon whisk to thoroughly combine egg whites, water, orange extract, and cream of tartar. After 2 minutes, switch to a hand mixer. Slowly sift the reserved sugar, beating continuously at medium speed. Once you have achieved medium peaks, sift enough of the flour mixture in to dust the top of the foam. Using a spatula fold in gently. Continue until all of the flour mixture is incorporated.

Carefully spoon mixture into an ungreased tube pan. Bake for 35 minutes before checking for doneness with a wooden skewer. (When inserted halfway between the inner and outer wall, the skewer should come out dry).

Cool upside down on cooling rack for at least an hour before removing from pan.

We topped ours with homemade whipped cream and strawberries. 


Thursday, April 21, 2011

the 10 minute tie + a few simple easter projects

I am not at all a fan of how commercialized holidays are.....from the aisles of the store to blogland itself--it's a little out of control, don't you think? We keep it very simple around simple that I just realized today that it is only a few days until Easter, and maybe I should find something Easter-y for my kids to wear to church Easter Sunday.

Enter the 10-minute tie.

My boy loves to wear ties--he feels so big, and when I can whip them up in a few minutes--he can wear them all he wants.

There are lots of really cute tie tutorials and patterns floating around the www right now, which is awesome if you sew, cut straight, and are good at following patterns.....but I terrible at all of those things.

So this one is easy because you start out with an old tie--like one of your husband's old ties that he hasn't worn in years, yet still has hanging in his closet for some reason. We've also found some great vintage ties at the thrift store with some really fun patterns for little boys--it's fun to see what you can find.

What you need:
old tie (we are using one of Robby's old ties is EIGHT years old!)
adorable boy who loves to wear ties

1. Tie the tie onto your boy to figure out how long you will want the finished product to be.
2. Cut across.
3. Fold the ends of the tie up in the back to form a point. You may have to do a little more trimming here--all ties are different--some are 100% fabric, and some have liners inside that you may have to reach in and trim a bit. Either way--super easy.
4. Sew the ends up, being carful no to take the needle through the front layer of the tie.
Does it look awesome in the back?? NO! I told you I am not a seamstress. But was it a cheap/free tie, and no one will ever see the back? oh yes.
5. Place tie on boy.
6. Feel really good about yourself.
tie1tie2tie3tie4tie5 copy
that's that.

We've been adding tulips and daffodils around the house, as well as fancy schmancy maple blossoms. What are maple blossoms you ask? Why, they are the branches cut of our maple tree while they are blossoming into leaves. I love them because not only do they add lots of color, a honey-ish smell, and general "springyness" to the room, they also continue to transform even after they are cut--so it's a good way to teach your kids about how leaves are born, if you are nerdy like me.
mapleblossoms2 copymapleblossom1 copy

and a few things we pulled out from last year....
Super easy Easter baskets we made (tutorial here)
her easter basket

And this pompom garland that I hung up again (tutorial from last year here)
diy pompom garland

And just to keep the real reason of Easter in mind.....

happy day!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

chocolate and coconut milk cake + my dorky debut

A few months ago I posted a recipe for chocolate cake made with coconut milk, and to my surprise was contacted by KSL Studio 5 (our local morning show) to make the cake on air.

Yesterday was the big day and I had so much fun! I loved seeing behind the scenes of a tv show--how everything works and how tv magic is made.
chocolate and coconut cake

Chocolate and Coconut Milk Cake

2 ounces semisweet chocolate
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup boiling water
6 TBS butter, melted
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup coconut milk
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
toasted coconut (for topping, optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Line bottom of 9" pan with round of parchment paper, butter paper, and sides of pan.

Finely chop chocolate and in a bowl combine with hot water and cocoa powder. Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.

In a bowl add flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another large bowl with an electric mixer beat butter and sugar until combined. Add eggs (adding one at a time) until thickened slightly and light colored (about 3 minutes). Slowly add coconut milk, and melted chocolate mixture, beating until combined well. Add flour mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined.

Pour batter into pan, and bake in middle of oven until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 25-30 minutes.

Cool cake completely before frosting.

Chocolate Coconut Buttercream
3/4 cup butter
2/3 cup cocoa powder
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2c-3/4 cup coconut milk,
1/2 tsp - 1tsp pure coconut extract

Beat butter, cocoa, powdered sugar, and coconut extract, and add coconut milk a little at a time until you reach a consistency you like.

Top with coconut flakes (I like unsweetened because the frosting is so sweet), and toast it for a few minutes at 450° if you like.

....and here is the segment from yesterday:
note: I am kind of a dork
note: I need a hair net
note: I had so many emails yesterday asking about my nail color--haha it's OPI "Hot & Spicy"

Video Courtesy of

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

strawberry leather

Strawberry Leather
(see apricot here)

this is the easiest "recipe" I could ever share. 
1. Purchase strawberries.
2. Feel sorry for yourself that you no longer live in California, minutes from a strawberry stand, where you are convinced sells the world's best strawberries.
(step 2 is optional)
3. Wash berries
4. Hull and half berries.
5. "measure". You don't need to measure at all--I just did this for he purpose of telling you how much I used (about 5 cups). But use however many you have. 
5 cups of strawberries = about a pan and a half of fruit leather.
6. Cook on low heat for about 15 minutes. Give them a few good mashes so the juices come out. 
Add a bit of honey (few TBS) if you're not using those amazing strawberry-stand berries.
7. Puree.
8. Pour and spread onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
9. Put in the oven at 150° for 6-8 hours, until leather peels away easily from parchment.
10. Using kitchen scissors, cut into rectangles, and roll them up. (you can even leave them on the parchment and roll them) 
11. Or just eat them right away.
strawberryleather1 copystrawberryleather2 copystrawberryleather4 copystrawberryleather5 copystrawberryleather6 copystrawberryleather7 copystrawberryleather8 copy


Monday, April 18, 2011

over the weekend..... were admired, smelled, cut, and dispersed around the house
....grass was rolled on, sat on, read on, mowed, cartwheeled on, and handstanded on.
....lettuce, beet, and radish sprouts did what they do best.....more sprouting legs carried me up 1800 feet. they are still crying. are Charly's (at least she has 4 to spread out the work)
....some Five Guys Burgers and Fries were devoured (see #4) was icecream
....there was a date with my favorite Lauren
....the sidewalk was walked on barefooted, drawn on, and hop-scotched on
....knees were skinned, bruised, and grass stained (all in good fun)
....cheeks were kissed with sun
....bed times were thrown out and sleepy heads slept in
tulips copyrasishsprouts copybroccolibeef copyheadstand copy......chalk

question of the day:
what does the Easter Bunny bring to your house?
last year he brought us tiny pots off jelly beans and seeds to plant.