Cooking with Hannah Hairston of Not My Circus

Hi all! I hope everyone is having a wonderful week! Kicking things off with a good friend and some good food, I’m excited to share an interview with Hannah Hairston of Not My Circus, as well as her delicious recipe for Shrimp Scampi Zoodles. Hannah and I have known each other for years – we went to college together and were sorority sisters – and so I’m thrilled to be featuring her on MBB. As charming as she is stylish, Hannah launched Not My Circus  two years ago, setting out to create a lifestyle journal that celebrates modern motherhood, personal style, and a healthy lifestyle. If you haven’t already visited her site, check it out today! It’s beautiful aesthetic of bright and airy images mixed with posts on fashion, kids, and decor make for a must-read. Today, Hannah shares her insights on juggling blogging with motherhood, as well as tips for cooking healthy weeknight meals. Enjoy!


  

You’ve been blogging for a couple years now, and are the mother to two gorgeous girls. What’s the hardest part about juggling blogging and motherhood?

Yes! I started blogging when I was pregnant with my first daughter, Liza.  After a few months of creating content,  I officially launched. I love being home with Liza and Annabelle, but it’s also nice having a creative outlet. The hardest part of staying home and running my blog is time management. I don’t want to give up time with my girls, so I work on the blog wen they’re napping or after they go to bed. I don’t really get much sleep, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

 

Do you like to make dinner during the week or does your husband like to do the cooking? 

I do most of the cooking, but Walker is a great cook too and really enjoys grilling.  We like to eat as a family, which is early with the girls, so it’s hard for him to get home early enough to cook during the week. He grills a lot on the weekends, and we always make extra on Sundays to have for dinner the next day or two.  This is a hue help for me!

 

I know how hard it can be to get dinner on the table with a baby and toddler to look after! How do you keep the girls entertained so you can cook?

The hardest part of cooking dinner for me is definitely the prep. I try to do a lot of the prep work while the girls are napping, and then I set it in the fridge until dinner time. I try to find recipes that aren’t super labor intensive.  I do a lot of roasted vegetables because it’s so easy to pop them in the oven and then focus on cooking the main dish.  I usually pull Annabelle’s activity chair in the kitchen with me or put her in the sling so I can have my hands free, and I will put a stack of blocks or a puzzle on the floor for Liza.  We almost always have music playing in our house, so sometimes Liza will play an instrument and dance in the kitchen while I cook. I also try to incorporate math into every day activities, so I will have her do things like count spice jars or look at a kitchen timer and tell me what number she sees first.

 

What is your favorite dish to prepare?

My favorite thing to make is this Shrimp Scampi Zoodle dish.  It’s so easy to make and is always a crowd pleaser.  We eat this about once a week, and we never get sick of it.  This is definitely something where I prep while the girls are sleeping, then I throw it together in ten minutes when it’s time for dinner.

 

Does Liza like to help cook?

Liza loves to help in the kitchen.  I try to find easy things for her to help with like stirring ingredients together, throwing something away or grabbing a spatula for me.  She especially loves baking cookies.

 

What advice do you have for working moms who are busy with careers and children, and still want to cook a healthy meal for their family?

Cook for multiple days at a time and buy vegetables that a versatile.  For example we will cook a lot of chicken breasts and have them for dinner one night, on salads the next day at lunch, and then make a veggie and chicken quesadilla with whatever is left the next night for dinner.  I always try to keep it really simple.  I buy spinach to put in our morning smoothies, make it as a side, and then throw together some green muffins at the end of the week.  I find using the vegetables I have on hand saves money and time.

 

Home Run Breakfast Recipe

We love breakfast in our family, and so I make a point to cook a really yummy dish every Saturday and Sunday morning. Since the boys wake up early, we typically all cuddle in our bed as the sun rises and then have breakfast around 8am, still clad in pjs of course. It’s a time when we can relax, map out our day and enjoy some QT just the four of us. About a year ago I wanted to mix up the usual syrup kissed pancakes or scrambled eggs with sautéed spinach options, and so I came up with this open-faced breakfast sandwich that my husband immediately loved. Anything with prosciutto has to be divine, am I right? We coined it the “Home Run” breakfast because it’s so delicious and encompasses the ideal combination of protein, fiber and healthy fats. Paired with a serving of beautiful raspberries, strawberries and bluberries, it’s the perfect way to start the day.

While we eat this first thing in the morning, this open-faced brunch sandwich recipe would still work beautifully for a later morning meal. I hope you’ll give it a try and enjoy it as much as we do!

 

Home Run Breakfast (4 servings) 

4 multigrain English muffins, sliced in half (*or slices of multigrain or seeded bread)

3 tablespoons of butter

8 eggs

8 thin slices of prosciutto

1 avocado, sliced

8 thin slices of cheddar cheese

 

Toast the English muffins (or bread) until golden brown. Lightly spread a little butter on each English muffin half, and top each piece with several slices of avocado; set aside. Next, over medium heat, cook the prosciutto in a skillet until its crispy (about 2 minutes per side). Once the prosciutto is done, lay the slices over the avocado/English muffin. Next, add a tablespoon of butter to the skillet, and once it has melted and coated the pan, crack the eggs one at a time. Depending upon how big your skillet is, you can cook 3-4 eggs at a time. Sprinkle each egg with salt and pepper and let them cook for about 2-4 minutes until the tops of the whites are set and firm but the yolk is still runny. Depending upon how well-done you like your sunny side-up eggs, you can flip them and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Next, using a spatula, gently remove the eggs from the pan and place one egg atop each prosciutto and avocado clad English muffin half. Place a slice of cheddar cheese atop each egg – the heat of the egg will met the cheese. Cook the remaining eggs, and eat immediately.

DIY Spring Flower Arrangement

We hosted my parents for a casual Mother’s Day dinner on Sunday night, and what a treat it was to all be together. Since I had created a few floral arrangements for brunch earlier that day – a combination of  fresh blue, green, and white hydrangeas mixed with cheerful yellow roses – I repurposed the flowers for dinner, and let the classic color palate inspire the table setting.

The flower arrangements were a breeze to make, as I used my own square glass vases (these are super inexpensive and you can find them at the flower department at the grocery store or at a flower shop), and simply trimmed the flowers and then grouped them together by color and divided them among four vases. A helpful hint for hydrangeas, choose ones that are super dense and then always cut off the leaves. They have the most gorgeous luscious green leaves, however they drink up so much water that it can sometimes prevent the actual blooms from getting the hydration they need. To still achieve a look of greenery, simply tuck the cut leaves under the flowers so they are spilling out over the edge of the vase.

Now for the table setting! I used these navy placemats, gold chargers (similar here), blue and white printed napkins (similar here), antique silver napkin rings I found in London, and votive candles from Roberta Roller Rabbit. I love the color combination of the rich blue, white and gold, and the chargers and votive candles were the perfect little touches to dress up the tablescape.