Little Flowers

comments: 149













Ah, February. In Portland, it's sort of a non-month, in my opinion. Not really winter — at least, I stop pining for snow about now. Not spring, though the daffodils show up at the grocery store. Gray as gray ever gets, and brown on the ground, to boot. It's cold, often windy, frequently drizzling. Dark in the morning, dark in the afternoon. I have absolutely no motivation to leave the house in February. I surrender. My little flowers are all indoors. I watch HGTV like crazy. Andy said, from the kitchen, "The brothers are so funny!" Me [very excitedly]: "The Property Brothers??? I know!" Him: "No, the brothers from Oceans Twelve." Har.

Guess what? We're COOKING SOMETHING this week. Actual food that comes out of an actual pot on the actual stove. WOW. Lasagnas for Valentine's Day. Our longstanding tradition.

Lasagnas Rozale
Our version of these, from Martha Stewart
Serves 2

For the sauce:
8 oz. mushrooms, chopped
2 t. olive oil
2 t. butter
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
3 oz. lean ground beef
3 oz. ground pork
3 oz. Italian sausage
Salt and pepper
1/2 c. red wine
12 oz. chopped tomatoes (boxed or canned)
2 c. chicken stock
1/4 t. nutmeg

For the bechamel sauce:
2 T. butter
2 T. flour
1 c. plus 3 tablespoons milk
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. nutmeg

Other ingredients:
6 lasagna noodles
10 oz. frozen spinach, thawed and drained
3/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan

To make the sauce:
1. In large skillet, heat olive oil and butter over medium-low heat. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are soft and have let off their liquid, about 5 minutes. Add carrot, celery, onion, and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent, 3 to 4 more minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in separate skillet, break up and brown all meats over high heat, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Add 1/2 t. salt and 1/8 t. pepper. Drain off fat and add meats to skillet containing vegetables; mix everything together. Add wine and cook until liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, stock, and nutmeg. Lower heat to medium low and slowly simmer, stirring occasionally, about 35 minutes. Much of the liquid will evaporate but sauce will remain very moist. It can be made 2 days in advance and stored in refrigerator. You will have extra sauce after lasagnas are assembled to use over pasta, etc., for lunch the next day, too.

To make the bechamel:
1. In a saucepan, melt 2 T. butter over medium-low heat. Add flour and cook, stirring frequently, 5 to 6 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring milk and salt to a boil. Slowly whisk the milk into the flour mixture until completely incorporated and smooth. Add the nutmeg and reduce heat to low; simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

To assemble the lasagna:
1. Boil lasagna noodles in large pot of salted water until about a minute before you normally like them to come out. Drain and rinse with cold water, then cut (shorten) to fit two 12-ounce individual ovenproof casserole dishes.
2. Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat; add spinach and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until wilted and tender. Remove from heat and drain in a colander. Set aside.
3. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Spread 5 T. meat sauce into each of the casserole dishes. Cover with 1 lasagna noodle and spread 5 T. meat sauce evenly over. Spread 2 T. bechamel over the meat sauce and evenly distribute 2 T. chopped spinach over the bechamel. Sprinkle with Parmesan and cover with 1 lasagna noodle. Repeat layering process. Spread 1 heaping tablespoon of Parmesan and dot with butter.
4. Bake until tops of lasagnas are golden and juices are bubbling, about 20 to 25 minutes. If the tops are not yet brown, increase heat to broil and place lasagnas under broiler until tops are speckled brown. Let stand 10 minutes; serve with red wine, simple salad, crusty bread, fancy deserts, and lots of love. Xoxoxoxoxoxoxo


Susie Sears Taylor says: February 13, 2013 at 09:42 AM

Look at her long hair!! She matches the rose on gray paper above her on the wall. Great pictures.

She has the best lips everrrr! Love that little one! :)

Just catching up after a very long time away from my blog reader. Thrilled to see your latest addition to the family. What a blessing for you all. My eldest was 18 last week and my girls have been the best thing that ever happened to me. Much love to you all. x

Amelia under the wallpaper samples is in the running for one of my favorite pictures of her!

Love, love, love how she's plumping up! So sweet!

I love that sleeping picture. Reminds me of the times just sitting watching my babies sleep. Beautiful.

agreed! grey as grey.... hopes for snow are let down.... and right smack dab in the middle is a day of hearts! a little pick me up in a month that needs one!

Oh, my, did your photos ever bring a smile to my face this morning. Amelia grows more dear every day, doesn't she? It's easy to see that Clover Meadow is very fond of her little human. Thank you for sharing. I know what you mean about February's Pacific NW weather. I still feel like pulling the covers over my head until mid-April.

I just love you guys and your beautiful little family!

That photo of her with the little smile after Andy has kissed her just melts my heart. Such a sweetie!

Your description of February in Portland sounds a bit like winter here in the Netherlands. Like you I am longing for spring!
Your little girl is very sweet.

hmm. that weather sounds familiar, you sure you're not actually in England?!

Aw, lovely little girl. Looking at your pics, I'm reminded at how quickly they change, become alert, start showing their personality. Every day brings a change, and every one more amazing than the previous.

She is beautiful.

Brenda Miehling says: February 13, 2013 at 10:05 AM

Is she a daddy's girl? I see a content little girl surround by love and beauty. So nice to visit your site and get these images of happiness.

Hmmm, I bow as always to the supreme cuteness of Amelia, but uh, Andy in a Dead shirt is a close 2nd. ;)

Enjoy the making & eating of your lasagna.

Of all of the blogs I read and all of the baby pictures I see daily, Amelia is by far the cutest. You guys are such an awesome family. I'm so happy for you.

Well, as long as you're stuck at home... let it be home with that adorable child, funny husband, dear puppers, love and lasagna, and all of your creative endeavors. It looks and sounds splendid. Stay snug, and do keep blogging... you are our ray of sunshine!

I just love your life -- that for sharing it with all of us!!

oh, alicia, that third photo is adorable. the moving foot. happy four-month to amelia tomorrow. (it'll be our twentieth year tomorrow.) here in the midwest, the sun is shining and the last bit of snow is still on the ground. more snow on its way. it's difficult to be cozy in the house with sunshine. i understand your nesting instinct. as always, lovely post.

Your description of February makes me think you might like to add this book to your bedtime reading routine...

Baby Amelia is absolutely stunning. She is so beautiful and appears to be the happiest baby. Love her little smile and the hair! Too cute, really.

LOVE THE SLEEPING SHOT!!!! Love the one of her under the wallpapers. Any ideas yet which one to pick? :)

I so hear you about the gray and the rain. I'm up north from you,in Seattle, I think I've told you and I'm just gritting my teeth trying to get through this month.

Guess what. I HAD CREAM OF WHEAT, for the first time in 30 yrs, no joke! Totally inspired by you. BEST THING EVER. My husband and I were freaking out how magically good it was!


Amelia is such a roly-poly now. She looks happy, beautiful and healthy. I share your love of little flowers - both in the ground and in print and fabric. Enjoy your lasagne.

So enjoyed the pictures. The ones of Andy with Amelia make a person nearly melt, ya know? Daddy love is so endearing....Property Brothers were taping a new show on our street last week, and I got to see (dreamy) Drew being interviewed/taped in the front yard of one of the homes as I was walking my dog. Very exciting stuff.

Great Scot!!!!! I had no idea the wallpaper prints were so large. There was nothing to give them scale before. I imagined them as dainty sprigs and little dots. As a result, Amelia looks like a tiny elfin baby to me now; Like a little Thumbelina. Kinda cool.
February will melt into March in no time and the birds will fill up your back yard with song, and potato salad and iced tea will appear on the second shelf in your refrigerator. Just think of the grayness of February as a soft warm shawl. Maybe? No? Oh well.

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at