First Bedtime Story

Tonight I had what I think will be one of my favorite memories for a long time to come.  J. and I read Max a bed time story.  We had wanted to do it earlier, but it seemed too soon and I didn’t think we could find a chunk of time where Max would allow us to read without fussing or crying.  The trick was to have one of us feed him while the other read to him.  By the time he was done with his bottle, he was settled down and happy enough to keep listening.

The book was Tales of Beedle the Bard (a spin off of Harry Potter).  Max watched J. intently as he read, and smiled his wide toothless smile repeatedly.  It was so peaceful — no struggling  or the tug of war of trying to put him down only to have him wake and cry in 5 minutes.  It was just family time and everyone of us was complete and content.  It really made me understand that advice of “enjoy your children.”

Thanks Max and J. for such a great moment!

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Herblings

Here’s the progress on the aerogarden

Lethargic Posting

So, as I go through my day, sometimes I have flashes of inspiration on topics to write about on the blog.  Then, by the time things simmer down and I get to the computer I can’t remember any of them.  My mind is not as sharp as it used to be.  My body feels wrecked at the end of the night.  I guess bouncing a 13 lb child is tough on my out of shape body (including my back).  I’m also tired of my shlumpy wardrobe but refuse to admit this is my new body shape, and thus, refuse to buy any new clothes.

I’ve also not posted my meals, because, sadly, they haven’t been very local, so I haven’t been as proud of them.  It was raining cats and dogs on our farmer’s market days the last two weeks, so we’ve been making do.  Last night I made fried chicken.  Tonight I made 3-meatball minestroni — lamb, italian sausage and beef mixture.

I hope this is just transition stuff and that I can get to a more energetic place.  Maybe it will coincide with Max sleeping through the night and my not having insomnia during the previous times when he is sleeping.

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You Just Have to Jiggle It

Sometimes it feels like nothing is built to last anymore.  It’s like every other thing in my house is old has to be jiggled just right for it to work.  For instance:

  • the fridge door doesn’t like to close unless you press really hard (results in a waste of energy)
  • the toilet doesn’t flush right unless you flush it once, wait till the water starts coming back, and if it make a certain noise, you have to jiggle the handle to make the water stop (results in waste of water)
  • our dvd player just stopped working and with the exception of the last couple of months with the baby & netflix, it’s not like we used it all that much — sadly, not jigglable
  • our laptop is on its third AC cord because the power supply is screwy

Once upon a time, you’d buy an appliance and use it for the next 30 years.  Now, in order to perpetuate a consumerist culture, stuff is built to last just long enough to outlive the warranty so that you feel compelled to buy a new unit. 

If I was at all handy I’d figure out how to fix some of these mechanical things.  I’m guessing the toilet issue just requires a longer chain which costs pennies — but I bet if I got in there and tried to tinker with it, I’d just break something else.

Convenience Cooking Snob?

Being home all day with the baby, I’ve watched a lot of the Food Network.  A LOT.  There’s two shows in particular that bug the crap out of me and I need to flush this out in a little ‘on-line therapy venting.’  These shows are the Semi-Homemade Show and Quick Fix Meals.

Here’s my beef: these shows peddle items that are highly processed, more expensive and less nutritious in the name of convenience — but in fact, these items are no more convenient than doing it the old fashion (less processed) way.  Here are some of the examples that had me yelling profanities at the TV.

1.  Quick Fix Meals: The theme was how cooking can be quicker than take out (noble point).  How does she highlight this???  She buys a bag of shredded carrots, and a bottle of salad dressing and brags about how putting together this 2-ingredient salad is quicker than ordering take out. UM, HELLO?  She just got takeout from the grocery store rather than the restaurant!  I bet you anything that those carrots had no flavor whatsoever and had to be sprayed with chemicals to keep their color so they wouldn’t get that ashy look.  (For the record, any time you get bagged baby carrots, those aren’t baby carrots — they are stale whole carrots that have been shaved down to remove signs of how old these carrots really are — that’s why they have no flavor.  Likely same goes for shredded carrots).  It’s not that hard to grate carrots or throw them in the food processor for 5 seconds.  Boom. shredded carrots.

The bottled dressing is also obviously processed.    It’s also not that hard to make dressing.   Use an old (clean) glass jar.  Pour in a little vinegar, a little dijon mustard, and little olive oil, salt, pepper and then seal the jar and shake like crazy for 5 seconds.  Boom, you have salad dressing with ingredients you can pronounce!   Now, I’m not saying anyone should never use bottled dressing — but these have no place in a cooking show.

And the host was all holier than thou about this not being take out.  At least in a restaurant they might use fresh ingredients.

2. Minced garlic in a jar.  Are you kidding me?  This stuff loses all its potency after you open the jar the first time — and many years ago when I used this product, it would develop mold after not too much time in the fridge.   Fresh garlic, on the other hand, lasts quite a long time, and takes 10 seconds to chop.  OK, maybe people are intimidated about peeling garlic — but in the same amount of time they use to hawk a product, these “cooks” could show how easily you crush a clove of garlic and remove the peel.

3.  Today I actually saw the Semi Homemade airhead make gazpacho without any fresh veggies whatsoever.  It looked so nastos I couldn’t even handle it.  Yes, it may be easy to cut open a bag of frozen bell peppers — but is it good food?  No time to chop peppers but you have 6 hours to kill to painstakenly decorate your table?  You are no Martha Stewart, lady!

So, I’m trying to talk myself down from this to see if I’m over reacting.  Are these shows serving a purpose by slowly transitioning people who would normally be inclined not to cook to take baby steps into the kitchen?  If that’s true, is that an overall positive point that compensates for the poor ingredients?  I tend to think, not.  People seduced into cooking  by these shows likely find the end product not that impressive and therefore are just as likely to turn away from home cooking since they tried it and it wasn’t worth the effort.  They also likely don’t find it to be any cheaper because of the higher cost of processed foods.

Another argument might be that some of the processed foods are cheaper — i.e. frozen veggies can be cheaper than fresh veggies out of season.  I’m less certain on this point.  I’ve never actually researched identical dishes with frozen vs. fresh components and the resulting cost & flavor.  There are some dishes that will tollerate frozen foods just as well as fresh — spinach for instance.  But others, there’s no question that the fresh version is superior and probably not that much more expensive.

This gives me an idea: I would watch a show where the premise was about cooking meals that are on a food stamps budget.  Maybe then we’ll be able to answer the cost/taste frozen/fresh balance questions.

Sling a Ding Ding

Max has become a huge fan of the sling.  More specifically, the sling while bouncing on a yoga ball is his favorite.

It’s starting to be the only way he gets in a nap during the day.  The only down side is that it means I can’t nap (or do other stuff) while he naps — but it makes for cute pictures.

Enchilada Casserole and One Special Burrito

Last night I tried a new approach to enchiladas.  My previous attempts were a little disappointing because the enchiladas wouldn’t stay wrapped and generally there didn’t seem to be enough sauce.  This time, instead of bothering with the wrapping process, I treated the enchilada like a lasagna and layered in the toppings. 

Bottom layer: red enchilada sauce, tomatillo sauce that I made from scratch (recipe below), then two layers of torn up corn tortillas, followed by a layer of slow cooked shredded pork made with the same enchilada sauce, then a layer of jack cheese and cheddar cheese, repeat till top of casserole dish is reached.

The tomatillo sauce: I took 5 big tomatillos cut in half and added a poblano pepper — put it under the broiler to give it some color.  Combined this in a food processor with 2-3 cloves of garlic, handful of cilantro, half a red onion, a dried hot pepper, cumin, salt, pepper, juice from half a lime.  Then chilled it for a few hours to let the flavors marry.  Forgot to take a pic, but it looked pretty.

And, here’s our Max burrito, extra sauce.img_2619

Date Night Wrap Up & Time to Hit the Gym

J. and I had a great dinner out last night.  I started with the lobster bisque while J. had sardines tempura (amazing!).  Then I had ricotta gnocci with some sort of squash and yellow chard.  J. had the braised short ribs with celery root au gratin, brown butter broccoli raab, and roasted parsnips.  For dessert, I had the dark chocolate fondue, with homemade marshmellow, graham cracker, dried apricots and pound cake.  J. had phenomenal ginger banana creme brule.

Only downer was that on our way out the hostess “congratulated” me on my pregnancy belly and even touched my belly.  So, apparently, I still look pregnant.  Good thing I had a couple of drinks in me and was able to be a good sport about it and just say thank you!

Reclaiming the Day

It’s Valentine’s Day.   We spent the morning at a localy owned diner with friends of ours and their adorable 21 month old daughter. It was fun to see how life might be down the road for us. 

Tonight we’ll stay in and make a simple dinner at home.  Tomorrow my folks will be babysitting for us as we have our first date since Max was born.  I can’t believe it’s been almost 8 weeks.  We’ll have to institutionalize date night to make sure that it all won’t get away from us.   *When I was very pregnant, J. and I had a date.  The couple in the table next to us was out for the first time in 2 years even though they had school age kids.  We couldn’t help but hear their conversation/insults/fight.  So, an institutionalized date night will be an investment in not becoming that couple.

Easy Shrimp and Random Thoughts

Above is an easy go to meal.  Shrimp, butter, cracked pepper, good salt and worcestershire sauce under the broiler with plenty of fresh bread to dip into the buttery sauce.  It’s a great meal to make when you are tired because it takes 5 minutes.

So, I’m running on my 3rd day with very little sleep and no naps.  I’d like to crash now but have to kill some time till my next scheduled pumping.  Did I mention that I hate the pump?

Here’s one of the random thoughts that I’ve been thinking of in the midst of these layoffs and turbulent times.  What would you do if you couldn’t work at your current job and you had to do a job that was not dependent on foreign manufacturing/industry?  Mine would have something to do with food.  Maybe organic street food?

Tonight we gave Max formula during the 8:30pm feeding — let’s see if this knocks him out for a substantial time period, because I really need uninterupted sleep.  If  I pump at 10:30, aand go 5 hours, that means (quick math) I can sleep till 3:30am.  And if J. takes that shift, I can sleep even longer!   oh, living the dream.  Wait, no, need to pump at 3:30 no matter what J. does. Drat. Yawn.

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