Gin and Juiceboxes » A domestic cocktail

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Taking a Break.

I’ve been taking a break from this space anyway but for the next few weeks, I’ll be traveling to see family with the girls.  I have nine hours of travel tomorrow with a three year old and a two year old (who happens to be cutting all four molars right now).  I’m leaving hot and sticky Southern California for a hotter and stickier Charlotte.

Have a wonderful couple of weeks. (That picture was taken three years ago today. Gracie and her pretzel. Hard to believe this much time has passed).

Anatomy of a Sunday Morning

Our family traditions revolve around our kitchen. We spend a lot of time in there, especially on weekends, and so it seemed very special to have someone photograph our Sunday morning. Misha was terrific with the kids and the entire morning felt totally natural (except for maybe the showers and makeup. Usually we’re still in our pajamas). We usually make a big breakfast once a week and this menu (pancakes from scratch, blueberry maple syrup, bacon, fresh squeezed OJ, coffee and fruit is pretty typical). And although we’re totally full afterward, our next conversation usually involves what we should cook for lunch or dinner.

Thoughts on a Sunday Morning Breakfast

  • Seriously, don’t shower and get dressed to cook breakfast.
  • I don’t care how healthy you eat during the week, Sundays are made for pancakes and bacon. Lots of bacon.
  • Beverages are as important as the food.
  • Grinding coffee beans is an awesome job for a toddler OR a preschooler.
  • Orange juice should be freshly squeezed.
  • Gin is totally appropriate in a Bloody Mary.
  • That gin must be Tanqueray.
  • Bisquick will do the job but making your own mix is easy to do. And it’s totally worth it. So just do it, okay?
  • Bacon should be eaten quickly lest it be stolen from your plate.
  • Everyone should participate in the cooking process.
  • Plan on eating late.
  • There will always be one hater (NO blueberries for Grace) but since the whole point of the breakfast is to enjoy your time with your family, recipes that can be simply adapted should be.
  • Dishes should be saved for later.




Thank you again to Misha for capturing our morning. Seriously, she must be awesome, because Gracie offered to share her bacon with her. And if you know Gracie, you know she loooooves bacon. If you’re looking for a photographer in the Orange County/LA area, check out Misha’s site and get in touch with her.

I will share the recipes soon :)


September 6, 2013 - 1:48 pm

jessicasliman - Thank you!!!

September 6, 2013 - 1:47 pm

jessicasliman - Thank you!!!

September 5, 2013 - 8:55 am

Tori Johnson - Such an amazing shoot!! I love the idea!!
Tori Johnson recently posted…JW Marriott Lantana SpaMy Profile

September 5, 2013 - 8:48 am

Sara Phillips - I ADORE this photo shoot!
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September 3, 2013 - 3:48 pm

jessicasliman - Even my husband was happy with the session and commented that it was so much more natural than going somewhere to pose. Rushing out of the house, etc.

The girls love working the coffee grinder and the blender. Actually they’re pretty happy doing anything in the kitchen….as long as it doesn’t involve cleaning up :)

September 3, 2013 - 2:32 pm

Erin - What a great idea to have a photographer for a time that is ordinary to all, but special to your family. I should look into something similar for movie night!

Thank you for sharing the beautiful pictures.

I might have to go buy a coffee grinder…

Orange Cookies with Sweet Glaze

Ohhhh, Sundays. It’s a day we always agree on around here. Homemade pancakes (more about those soon), a trip to the farmer’s market, maybe a dip in the pool. Sundays are easy. And if it were football season? I’d say very nearly perfect.

But Donovan just upped the ante on Sundays. When we came home from the market with another 10 pound bag of oranges (omg – the insanely available fresh produce in California!), Donovan decided to bake cookies. Let me repeat that: Donovan decided to back cookies. Donovan baking is unheard of. Donovan’s not a baker. He’s a “pinch of this” kind of guy. He takes approximation to the extreme.  In fact, I don’t think he ever, ever follows recipes. He might look at one for inspiration but after that, it’s all improvising. He looks, he smells, he tastes and this makes him a wonderful, confident cook.

We all know baking is a different story.

But yesterday, in an attempt to make these cookies, one of his favorite from childhood, he fought his instincts. He measured sugar and weighed the butter and  even did most of the dishes.  These orange cookies are creamy and moist and filled with bright orange flavor. They’re a perfect dessert. A perfect bribe to get your kids to eat their dinner. They might even be a perfect breakfast (not that anyone around here knows THAT).

And now, just like that, Donovan is a baker. And our Sundays just got a little bit closer to perfect. (I can assume this is a new tradition, right?)


Orange Cookies with Sweet Glaze
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 


  • For the Cookies:
  • 2½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1 egg
  • For the Sweet Orange Glaze:
  • 1½ cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • Fresh orange juice

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the the sugar and orange zest, rubbing them together with your fingers until the zest is completely incorporated into the sugar.
  4. Using a mixer on medium speed, cream together the butter and the orange zest-infused sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  5. Add the egg and orange and mix until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
  6. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined.
  7. Scoop out the dough (about 2 Tbsp each) and roll them into balls, placing them 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets.
  8. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until very lightly browned around the edges, but still pale in the middle. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes on the cookie sheet, and then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  9. To make the sweet orange glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar, orange zest, and enough orange juice to achieve the desired consistency (less juice for a thicker glaze, more for a thinner one). Spread glaze over top of the cooled cookies, and allow to set at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

I’m going to work on getting Donovan’s grandmother’s recipe but this very delicious version is from The Brown-Eyed Baker.

August 29, 2013 - 2:57 pm

jessicasliman - Easy recipe! Just the free version…it’s super simple.

August 28, 2013 - 9:22 pm

Kristi @ Babies Don't Keep - Hey! Was wondering what printer friendly recipe plugin you used here. So clean and easy! Thanks=)

August 19, 2013 - 10:14 pm

jessicasliman - Thank you! Be brave….you can do it :)

August 19, 2013 - 10:05 pm

Colleen Pence - Those cookies look divine! I love orange in desserts. Maybe I’ll be brave and try to make some. I’m already drooling. ;)
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The things we lose up our noses.

Oh, the toys. Then Grace and Neva are doing puzzles. Then they’re done with the puzzles. And then there’s the box of cereal dumped on the floor and the toothpaste all over the mirror (not even the one in the bathroom) and the torn up magazines littering my family room floor. And let’s not start on the kitchen. I have a clean dishwasher waiting to be unloaded. A sink and counter full of breakfast dishes. Bowls and cooling racks from cookies I baked this morning. Crumbs on the floor (and all over the bottom of my feet). Cleaning up doesn’t make me happy. Cleaning up constantly makes me feel insane.

I know I would be happier, we’d all be happier, if I could just slow down a bit. And see the mess differently. As part of the beauty of being in a house with little kids. As joy and fun and exploration. And let the mess be. Let the mess be.

But I am hard on myself about the mess. And about the fact that I can’t get Grace and Neva to clean up after themselves. Then I’m hard on myself about the lack of patience I exhibit with the girls. And this sends me down a slippery slope. One where I’m hard on myself because I failed to work out or eat a proper lunch or have the kids go screen free for a day. Sometimes I think the pressure I put on myself to be a perfect mom perpetuates this cycle of negativity.

>>>organic and home cooked meals, unprocessed snacks, a clean and clutter free home, screen free days, perfectly styled bookshelves, getting my pre-child body back, don’t eat ice cream!, grow your own tomatoes, organize your life, yada, yada, yada>>>

If perfection is the goal, the journey toward it sure isn’t all that much fun or interesting. It’s actually quite a bit maddening.  Am I right?

A great post on how being authentic is to be imperfect. Motivation for us all.

Hope you have a wonderful, stress free weekend of just letting things be. xoxo.

P.S. This started out as a story about Grace shoving a pearl up her nose. It changed. But if you have any advice on what to do with a lost pearl in a nose, I’d be happy to hear it ;)


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September 2, 2013 - 3:46 pm

jessicasliman - Oh, and that’s such a funny image….the bead flying out of your nose!

September 2, 2013 - 3:46 pm

jessicasliman - We did find it! I’m pretty sure it was never stuck up her nose to begin with because I found it vacuuming out the couch a week later. Who knows though?

August 29, 2013 - 3:40 pm

Erin - I keep up with your blog, but never comment. Ugh, I’m one of those. This post (along with several others) ring so true for me. I try to remind myself to “not let perfect be the enemy of the good”, but I definitely am hard on myself when I find myself giving my daughter more M&Ms (artificial colors!) or handing her the iPad so she will just shhhhh for a minute.

As for the pearl up the nose, I stuck a bead up my nose when I was little, and my dad held down the other nostril while I blew my nose as hard as I could–it shot out. You’ve probably gotten it out by now though… right??