Sprouts Galore

The sprouts are progressing nicely.  One source that I read recommended taking the sprouts out the jar and rinsing them in a bowl to get the seed casings off.  I did that this time, but it was a total waste of time.  The casings didn’t really separate and it was a big mess.  I don’t really mind them anyway.

I think the jar they were in was a little too small.  So, I separated a chunk of the more done sprouts into one jar, and left some of the less mature sprouts in the old jar to continue their progress.  

Did you know that sprouts are one of the healthiest foods one can eat?

Food Update

A few weeks ago I wrote about creating my own Mexican spice comboIMG_3787Today I used it for the first time on steak fajitas and I am happy to report that it was great!  I added salt to the mix, and some fresh lime juice while I cooked it.  Also, to use the last bit of flavor left in the pan with all the great carmelization, I rubbed the tortilla across the bottom of the pan so it would pick up that flavor.  FABOO!  Here’s a pic of the spice mix — note that I am re-purposing an old pickle jar (which makes me happy).

And just because I think it’s pretty, I’m adding a pic of what the sprouts look like today (in a repurposed jam jar).  Oh, and these jars are pretty old.  Now we but our jam and pickles from the same vendor at the farmer’s market who takes them back, cleans them, and reuses them (but with new lids).

IMG_3788 And lastly, that fruit basket hanging out on the coffee table?  It’s all been consumed.  Woo hoo!  now for the fridge fruit…

Pre-Work Nesting?

I go back to work June 4th.    I am feeling similar “nesting” feelings that I did towards the end of my pregnancy. 

As I wrap up various loose ends — some important, some trivial — I feel like I am mentally preparing myself for yet another big life change.

So, on the important front, I enrolled Max in daycare.  On the trivial front, I felt the need to use up old seeds I had to grow my own sprouts.  I used to do this quite often but have fallen out of the habbit.  It is about the only veggie growing I can do, and at 5 days from seed to sprout, it’s about the closest thing to instant gratification in the gardening world. 

IMG_3783I think some of these sprouts will end up in a turkey/avocado/sprout pita early next week and I almost can’t wait.

Childproofing Marriage

I just got done watching  a very special Jon & Kate Plus 8 showcasing what appears to be the end of their marriage.  Depressing doesn’t begin to cover it.  I’ve also recently seen some good friends get divorced. 

All of this makes me think about how we take marriage for granted and how important it is to do something every day to make sure I honor the most important relationship in my life. 

For all the controversial “protect marriage” anti-gay rhetoric, we really do very little in this country to build strong straight marriages.  My marriage has nothing to do with whether a gay couple down the street gets recognized by the state.  It will succeed or fail strictly by our actions alone. (* sorry for the aside, California Supreme Court’s decision on Prop 8 is due tomorrow and I guess it’s on my mind)

For instance, I go back to work in less than two weeks.  It makes me appreciate everything J. does after work to give me a break.   From 5pm till bedtime, I have the luxury of vegging out and cooking (which I enjoy, so it’s not a chore) while he takes care of Max, cleans the kitchen and does the laundry.  I hope I can live up to his example and give him as good a back up when I get home from work.

Another thing that just occurred to me is that since Max was born, I have taken roughly 2000 pictures.  Tons of Max.  Tons of J. with Max.  Some of me with Max.  Grandparents with Max.  The cat has made quite a few photo appearances.   But I don’t think I have a single picture of just J. and I.  That ain’t right.  I think it’s that if neither one of us is holding Max, the chance that there’s another adult around with extra hands to take our picture (and that I remember to ask them to do that) is pretty low.  So, for now we’ll have to settle for an old pic.  But next date night will have a picture.

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Cuz If I Can’t See It I Can’t Eat It

IMG_3777Today at the Farmer’s market, we couldn’t stop ooohing and aaahing about the wonderful new produce that is showing up.  We picked up quite a bit of fruit and I was worried that I’d forget about them in various corners of the fridge and they would go to waste.  So, I decided to turn the fruits that can handle it into table decor.  Sure enough, this afternoon when I got peckish, I reached for an apple because it was close by and looked good.  Normally I would grab a piece of bread with some homemade mayo.  Clearly this approach is more figure friendly.  Here’s hoping it pays off.

Meanwhile, Max had his first Mango today and he was a big fan.

Our tentative meal plan for the week includes:

  • Lamb sliders with cucumber, tomato, onion salad (which we had tonight – YUM)
  • Half avocados with homemade salsa and shrimp, served alongside broccoli/cauliflour quiche
  • Pork chops with fingerlings potatoes and a huge squash
  • Pasta with sausage and leeks in a cream sauce
  • Veggie Stir Fry

There are some open slots for nights when Jeff will be working late and I may have leftovers.

You Talkin’ to Me?

IMG_3750A fun new development is that Max babbles to himself for hours on end.  Ok, maybe not hours, but long enough to be captured on video tape. 

It makes me glad that we started to “Cry it Out” earlier than he could master screaming “Mommy” or “Daddy” because that just might break me. 

Here he is sitting in the high chair handed down to us from our good friend.  Since he’s outgrown the swing, I use it as one more station for him to play at in relative safety.

Yesterday I gave him some uncooked peach… it was like baby crack!  He cried every time I had to get up to get more.  He probably took down 3/4 of a small peach.  IMG_3763 Here’s a pic during that feeding … he even looks high.

Today we tried carrots.  He handled them ok, but no where near peaches (which all food will now be judged against).

Savings Is FUNdamental – No Room for Pride

The way I view the process of saving money is that not all expenditures are created equal.  Some things are worth it to me to spend more money on, and some things are not.  So, I save in one category so that I can spend (guilt free) in another.  I tend to not feel guilty about food purchases which  I will cook at home.   I’d happily spend the money on a good cut of meat, versus buy a ho-hum meal at a chain restaurant.

The parenting center that I belong to is a non-profit.  So, I didn’t feel guilty about participating in their fundraiser drive of selling coupon books.  But I’ve been burned by these before… you get it, use one coupon, then forget about it. Next time you find it, all the coupons are expired.  But this time, I viewed it as $25 money I was giving to charity, and anything I recoup on top of that from the coupons was a bonus.  However, this time there was a bigger bonus.  All the businesses in this book are local and green.  So, this has the advantage of informing me on what’s available in my area, giving me ideas of creative things to do, and offering discounts on businesses I already support.  (Though, it is embarrassing to use a coupon when the clerk announces to everyone else that you are using a coupon and he doesn’t know the code…)

I used the first coupon ($5 off $25 purchase) at my local grocery, which was easy to do.  The second coupon was for $10 off $30 and I used it at the local store where we buy our detergents, soaps and shampoos.  Well, I discovered late last night that when I packed up my item in my cloth bag, I left the bar of soap on the counter by accident.  Now I have to go back to the store, hope they remember me and the soap I left behind. Embarrassing.  Here’s hoping that local shopping and building community has the benefit of the vendors remembering you and cutting you a break.  And yes, I’m fighting for this because it represents half the savings I had yesterday, so it’s time to swallow some pride.

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  I was hoping to use one of these coupons on organic formula, but the grocery store was out. They usually sell this formula for $32.99.   This is roughly $10 more than non-organic formula from costco, but I justified the purchase under the “nothing’s too good for my baby” category.   Unfortunately, most mainstream stores don’t carry this organic brand.  I drove 25 minutes to babies r us, because they also sell the formula for $29.99.  I was planning on stocking up.  Well, babies r us was out, too.  Now this really pissed me off.  No wonder we are in a recession if these stores can’t figure out that there are yuppies like me who will pay a premium to have this food for our babies and we can’t afford to have the supply run out.  It’s not like this stuff expires quickly…they can keep it on the shelf for a year.

Well, the local stores just lost a customer.  I found out that I can order it online at amazon.com for $25.49 when I set up a recurring order and the shipping is free, to boot.  I had avoided shopping online for babyfood because deliveries in my building are a bit of  a pain in the ass and I didn’t want to risk running out of food.  But again, time to swallow my pride.

Update:  Even though the sales person who helped me yesterday wasn’t there today to verify my claim, the store still allowed me to pick  up a bar of soap.  Sweet!  I feel really good about asking.

Growing out of the Comfort Zone

It seems tht just when I get comfortable with all the equipment that comes with babyhood, Max outgrows this stage and needs to move on to the next.  He’s 1.5 inches away from outgrowing his car seat/stroller.  He’s probably getting too big for the swing. 

Today I need to start researching the massive new car seat and the next level up of stroller.  Eh. I’m not looking forward to having to muscle through this new clunky equipment.

He’s moving nicely through solid food.   Sweet potatoes were not a big hit, but he loved bananas and a banana avocado combo.  After we move through avocado I will try carrots with him. 

My solution to the leftover issue is to freeze portions into ice cube trays.  When possible, I avoid re-heating in the microwave because it kills any of the remaining nutrients in the food.

Some of the sources on baby food that I am looking at say that you should cook fruit before giving it to babies.  That seems like overkill.  My parents didn’t do that with me (but let’s not open that can of worms…).  Is anyone else out there cooking the fruit?

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First Weekend Away

This weekend J. and I went to a wedding on the central coast and left Max with my folks.  Max ate better with them.  He slept better with them.  He played nicely for two days and laughed up a storm.  However, when he saw us again last night he was mad as hell and cried his head off.  That was tough.  In combination with that, he cut his first tooth, so he was in quite a bit of pain.  We found that a little whiskey on the gums really helped.

Then we capped off the experience by being trapped in traffic for 3 hours on what should have been a 45 minute drive.  I’m pretty tired today.

Savings is FUNdamental – Spicey Edition

I have a confession to make.  The hypocrisy of it all didn’t quite occur to me, but for all my railings against convenience cooking products…for years I’ve been using taco and fajita seasoning packets.  They were easy.  They were mindless, they gave my dishes the right combo of mexican flavors.

But no more!  I looked at the ingredients, and they aren’t recognizable.  I’ve also been shelling $2-$3 on each packet, and I make mexican food once a week.  Meanwhile, I have a cupboard full of spices that are going stale or unused, taking up valuable space.  I found this substitute online.  I happen to have every single one of these ingredients, which means I have no excuse.

It’s not a huge savings, but it’s something and I’ll get satisfaction from using up stuff that I already have.

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