Aunt Denise goes to Miami!

On June 10, 2014, one of the most amazing things happened: my brother, Shawn and sister-in-law, Amanda welcomed a beautiful baby boy into this awesome, crazy world! I am so happy and beyond excited to be an aunt! Now presenting:


Carter Emmett Chiaverini Crouch

Even though I couldn’t get down to Miami right away, I immediately bought a plane ticket and headed down the third week of July. He was already a month and 5 days when I first met him. This was my welcoming committee and I immediately fell in love <3


It was around lunch time when we arrived, so we headed straight to Blue Collar in the Little Haiti neighborhood of Miami. A&S sold me by telling me that Blue Collar had been on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives (aka Triple D – aka one of the best shows ever)!

Blue Collar has a huge chalkboard with daily meat specials (they update it every day and post it on their Facebook page) and an insane list of veggies:


I went with the veggie burger which was a homemade crispy patty (corn, broccoli, peppers, onion, and some other delicious things) with a spicy tarter sauce on a delicious bun (I think they either make it or get it from a local bakery). So good.


I do want to say that there will be a lot of Carter pictures in this post, but I am not apologizing because he’s cute and I’m an aunt.


From the way I ate during the week, you’d probably have no idea there was a newborn in the house. As usual, A&S outdid themselves.  They are such good cooks! Remember when z and I visited in 2010 (you can read about it here, here, and here)? And when we spent Christmas down there (here, here, and here)? Their house is the place for a happy palate!

This is a layered eggplant dish that I don’t want to call eggplant parm. Because this dish was not smothered in unnecessary cheese and was not breaded beyond recognition.


This was made with care and finesse and was ridiculous. Way to go Shawn!


Wednesday morning gluten-free banana pancakes!


Cuddles with mama!


For lunch on Wednesday Amanda made homemade chips. Yes.


I could eat this every day.



That night, Amanda went out and Shawn requested…TOFU! I was happy to oblige. Now that I eat seafood, I eat a lot less tofu, but this was fun!

Brown rice, sautéed peppers, and marinated, baked tofu.


Funny, side story: I sleep with a stuffed walrus. It’s weird but I use it as a pillow and need it to sleep. Louis knows not to take my walrus but when he does, he gets really scolded. In Costa Rica, Samba stole my walrus and everyone tried hard to put it back before I found out. So…it travels with me to Miami and…gets stolen by Edgar! All the dogs love it!


I love my puppy nephew.




For lunch on Thursday we had sushi (and wasabi-bombs)!


For dinner on Thursday night, A&S made an all-homemade Mediterranean feast: falafel (from dried chickpeas), tzatziki, roasted cauliflower, hummus, and Greek salad (tomato, cucumber, kalamata olives, red onion, feta, and red wine vinegar). I think I need a food processor…


Hi sleepy!


After breakfast and cuddles, I headed to the beach. This was the only day I went to the beach because apparently newborns shouldn’t go tanning…


Windy, sunny selfie. I only stayed for an hour because July in Miami feels like sitting on the sun.


Friday night dinner: parchment tilapia (with shallot, tomato, and olives), oven dried candy tomatoes, roasted broccoli, and wild rice. I can’t pick a favorite meal from the week, but I did come home and buy shallots, feta cheese, kalamata olives, and then I made this fish… I’m a shallot convert. I have bought them each time I’ve been shopping since I came home.


Unfortunately Saturday came quickly which meant I had to fly home. Not before a photo shoot with my nephews…


The whole family (minus Edgar) accompanied me to the airport again and I sat in the backseat to soak up the rest of my time with my little guy!


The second I left, I missed him already (and have every day since I got home). I am so proud of A&S for being great parents and I’m so thankful Carter is here! I love being an aunt and can’t wait to see my buddy again!

Love to my little Miami family! You guys are perfect!


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