Cafe Brigitte

A place for stay at home moms to talk over coffee

Wordless Wednesday July 9, 2009

Filed under: Homeschooling — Cafe Brigitte @ 2:18 am
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The Not-So-Great Gatsby in Training

The Not-So-Great Gatsby in Training


I’m no Martha Stewart July 6, 2009

Filed under: Home Management — Cafe Brigitte @ 12:41 am
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There I have admitted it. Of course, to those who know me, there was never any illusion that I was. 😉

Martha Stewart is a remarkable woman. She has built an amazing empire creating a lifestyle that many of us would love to recreate but don’t have the time or money to do so.

On occasion, I will pick up Martha’s magazine Martha Stewart Living. Usually I buy the magazine because I see a recipe or a decorating idea that I like (once in a blue moon I will actually make the recipe). The July issue caught my eye with the section on lobster. We had a house in Rhode Island and loved getting lobsters from the fishing boats at Point Judith. That section was making me feel a bit nostalgic, so I bought the magazine.

After making my way through the over-the-top lobster bake ideas (see the S’mores To-Go Box on page 40), I came upon an article about French chef Tony Esnault. His recipes look inviting and accessible for us non-Martha types. What I found really intriguing about Esnault, was the following quote: “Sometimes I plan a whole meal around dessert.”

That quote ties in with something a local chef told me recently. He said that he went back to culinary school to become a pastry chef because he saw how people reacted when they ate a fabulous dessert. The reaction to a really good meal was no where near the reaction people had when enjoying dessert.

So, when you cook for a special occasion, do you plan the dessert first and the rest of the meal after, or vice versa? How do you react to a great main course as compared to a great dessert?

Now I feel like I need to have a party, and see how I plan the food and then watch for my guests reactions to the various courses.

Hungry yet?


It’s hard to believe it has been 8 years already July 1, 2009

Filed under: Parenting,Twins/Multiples — Cafe Brigitte @ 2:11 am
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Eight years ago today (June 30th) my husband was watching Animal House on the TV in the labor and delivery room with my ob. while I let the pitocin do its thing. It was a rather scary night, since my twins were due September 26th, twelve weeks later, but we seemed to be handling it pretty well.

Nothing about that pregnancy went according to plan. But, I won’t bore you with the details here.

At 1:49 and 1:59 am on July 1st, 2001, my twin girls were born. That was 8 years ago. I can’t believe how the time has flown. My babies aren’t babies anymore. Heck, they are barely little girls anymore. The good news is while they are getting older, I’m not. 😀

Here they are on July 1st, 2001

And, here they are 8 years later:


Knitted or Crocheted Dishcloths June 29, 2009

Filed under: Crafts,Home Management,Usborne Books,Work at Home — Cafe Brigitte @ 5:26 pm

I had an Usborne  Books booth at a Ladies Day Out event at the new Cancer Center in Abingdon,Va. last fall.  The Tupperware lady was selling some homemade dishcloths at her booth that I thought were very nice.  She was charging $3 a piece for them and sold all of them before I had a chance to buy any.

I enjoy knitting and crocheting, but I am not very good at it and I tend to lose interest in a project before it is done.  So, after missing out on buying the dishcloths at that event, I thought making my own would be the perfect (fast and seemingly easy) project for me.  I found many sites online that offered patterns that I could follow, but they were mostly crochet patterns.  After some experimentation, I found that the easiest thing to do was crochet a square (about 4 inches) in single crochet, then crochet a boarder around it.  They are nice and tight and are great for light scrubbing.

I have made scrubbies simply knitting cotton yarn with strips of tulle.  They are durable and won’t scratch non-stick surfaces. Crocheting them did not work as well for me, for some reason.

Here is the problem.  I like to make matched sets of scrubbies and dishcloths, and since I have signed up to contribute a supply of homemade crafts for a fundraiser and the only craft I know is this one, I need an easy knitted dishcloth pattern to match my scrubbies.  Well, after looking for a long time, I think I have found the one I need at the Groovy Mom Blog.

I will let you know how it works for me and publish pictures of a completed dishcloth as soon as I get it done.


A favorite summer recipe June 26, 2009

Filed under: Recipe,Time Management — Cafe Brigitte @ 1:30 am
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During the summer, I try to prepare meals that don’t require heating up the kitchen for long hours. And, while I do enjoy cooking, because my days are busy (whose aren’t?!), I look for recipes that don’t require a lot of prep time or unusual ingredients.  The following recipe fits both requirements.  My husband and I ate a lot of canned salmon (it’s cheap) during our grad school days and it has remained a staple in my pantry.  So, this recipe is budget friendly, too.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!


25 Minute Meal

1 can (14.75 oz.) or 2 cans (7.5 oz. each) traditional pack Alaska salmon OR 2 cans or pouches (6 to 7.1 oz. each) skinless, boneless salmon, drained and chunked
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons fat-free or low-fat mayonnaise, divided
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 egg white
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon Cajun, Creole or blackened seasoning mix or seasoned salt
2 teaspoons margarine or butter
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
Lemon wedges

In a medium bowl, combine salmon, 1/4 cup mayonnaise, bread crumbs, green onions, egg white, lemon juice and seasoning. Mix well; shape into four 1/2-inch thick patties. Melt margarine in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Add salmon croquettes; cook 3 to 4 minutes per side or until golden brown. Meanwhile, combine remaining 2 tablespoons mayonnaise and mustard. Serve sauce and lemon wedges with croquettes.

Baked Version: Place patties on spray-coated baking sheet. Bake at 425° for 15 minutes, turning after 8 minutes.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutrients per serving: 214 calories, 9g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 37% of calories from fat, 63mg cholesterol, 23g protein, 11g carbohydrate, .4g fiber, 978mg sodium, 244mg calcium and 1.8g omega-3 fatty acids.

Alaskan Salmon Croquettes

Alaskan Salmon Croquettes

This recipe comes from The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute at


Observations of the Craft Lady June 24, 2009

Filed under: Crafts,Parenting — Cafe Brigitte @ 8:34 pm

This week I am in charge of crafts for Vacation Bible School (how that happened is a whole other post). I did not get much time to prep, since some one else was in charge of buying all the supplies, so every night I have stayed up late getting the next day’s project prepared. I have spent hours cutting out pieces of felt to exacting measurements, with smooth edges, etc. I have also done each craft myself, so that the kids would have a model to follow. The directions were followed exactly – the designer of the crafts would be proud to show my work. 😀 In other words, I have been a bit of a perfectionist where these crafts are concerned.

In doing these crafts with the kids, I have learned a big lesson. I need to throw my thoughts of a perfect work out the window. The kids, ranging in age from 4 to 12, have taken the basic frame work of each project and done their own thing. Instead of a nice hill scene with trees, the sun, and clouds, a child decide to paint eels on his backpack. Instead of a foot print on a forest path for a banner, another child drew a jungle.

After the first day, I realized that I needed to throw out my notions of the perfect project and embrace the way the kids executed the craft. If they were happy with their results, then I needed to be happy with them too. Perhaps I will now enjoy being “crafty” with my girls at home.

The other observation I made was that the younger the kids, the more creative they wanted to be with their projects. The 6, 7, and 8 year olds really wanted to paint their own designs or cut their own, even if they modeled what I had done with other media. The 10, 11, and 12 year olds were content to use the precut pieces (even though I had intended for the younger kids to use the precut and the older to cut their own). The 9 year olds fell on either side.

That observation brings me to the question, do we, as adults, put too much pressure on kids to conform, so that when they reach the preteen years they become less creative and free thinking (and, to be frank, a bit lazy) or is that just a natural part of maturing?


Welcome to Cafe Brigitte

Filed under: Uncategorized — Cafe Brigitte @ 7:49 pm

Welcome to Cafe Brigitte, where stay at home moms can kick back with a cup of coffee (or glass of wine) and talk about what is going on in their lives. I hope you will find fun and useful information here, as well as enjoy the company of a fellow, “regular” mom. I am looking forward to sharing with you what works for me as a mom and what doesn’t, what is going on in my life, and what is on my mind.