Month: January 2014

My Cookbook

Thought it would be fun to share some new recipes I’ve really enjoyed lately:

Cheesy Taco Soup

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(picture from here)

What’s better in the winter than a bowl of soup?  Most likely you already have the ingredients for this one in your pantry. I love that it begins with a roux and ends with cheese…so creamy.  I decided to puree my tomatoes and a few of the beans because I don’t love chunky tomatoes in anything.  The results was a soup so velvety, it stuck to my spoon…….yum.

Southwestern Chopped Salad with Cilantro Dressing

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(image from here)

Perhaps it was a longing for summer that had me eying this recipe last week.  I hoped that we would receive a salad mixture in our Food Truck bin, but alas, no such luck.  We were also stuck with a package of okra that N eyed like a ten foot snake.  I had most of the other ingredients (you probably do too), though, so  I began to stir fry them.  First starting with the tomatoes, then the bell pepper, and when those were soft, the chicken, okra, corn, and beans.  The avocado and green onions were added as a finishing touch on our plates.

I had already mixed up the dressing, and with a final huzzah, layered it on top.  Oh my, so, so good.

And finally, I don’t have a picture for this one, but I don’t think a picture would do it justice.  Most mornings, I eat an egg (prepared any number of different ways) and some sort of carbohydrate.  I’ve been trying to stay away from grains and especially avoid wheat but I was craving something hot and mushy.  Instead of oatmeal, I pan fried a sliced banana in coconut oil.  I let it heat until the bananas started to soften and fall apart, then added a spoonful of peanut butter and a handful of chocolate chips (those are my usual oatmeal toppings, but the possibilities are endless).  I continued to stir until it all came together in a hot, mushy, caramelized mess.  You’ve got to try this, trust me.

Happy Cooking,

What are you….

Eating:  Perhaps it’s the winter blahs, perhaps it’sBea’s growth spurt but I have been extra hungry lately.  These days my weapon of choice is

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pistachios and pears…..

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with a healthy slice of chocolate pie for good measure

Watching: We have been watching so much Netflix lately.  At night we watch documentaries and I shared already (on Facebook) my top 10 favorites, but I thought I’d share them on here too:

1. Undefeated
2.The Queen of Versailles
3. Blackfish
4. Nursery University
5. The Business of Being Born/Pregnant in America (prob only interesting if you are pregnant and or wanting a natural birth)
6. The Lottery
7. The Hollywood Complex
8. Holy Rollers

9. Becoming Chaz

10. It’s a Girl

(all of these docs received a 5 star rating from me based on their ability to make me think, how much they piqued my interest and/or how long they stayed with me)

Also…balancing all of this seriousness with a little, mindless 19 Kids & Counting….which makes me really want to move to a farm and have a really big family.

ReadingRules of Civility by Amor Towles.  Very good so far, in a Gatsby-ish way.  Balancing all of the mush with a little Nourishing Traditions.  (which makes me REALLY want to move to a farm and have a big family)

Working on: my sewing has slowed, although I still have an A-line project to finish.  Currently, I am wrapping up our 2013 family scrapbook and updating Bea’s baby book.

Balancing all of this sitting by adding in some new workout sessions to keep things entertaining.

Looking forward to: SPRING, SUMMER, HEAT!  I don’t handle this cold too well…and apparently neither does the rental house.  Dreaming up a family vacation for this summer.

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……balancing this of course, by not wishing time away,

8 months

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What?!?!  This little sweet thing is already EIGHT MONTHS OLD?!?  I cannot believe it!

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This month has probably sneaked up on me because there have been so many milestones happening around here:

Teeth (two on bottom, SIX more showing through)

Crawling.  Here is the evolution in just one month:

And now, pulling herself up onto a step!! Her core is so strong, she can completely hold herself upright without putting her weight onto me and she also can “walk” if we hold her hands.  My new favorite though, is if we call her name, she will come crawling to us and crawl right up into our lap (okay, so a little dog-like, but who’s watching….:))

Lots more sitting

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Lots more eating (yay!)

And lots of sleeping (biggest yay!!)

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Bea is starting to notice all the little details in her world. She picks at fuzz in the carpet, will spend minutes trying to pick up a sticker discovered on the floor, and fascinates herself by turning the same toy over and around without getting bored.  She continues to grow more fun each day as she enjoys playing, not only by herself but also with MG.

MG is living up to her nickname, “The Baby Whisperer” as she often knows Bea’s needs before I do…

“Mommy,

Bea’ playing with something dangerous…no, no, Bea!  <<moves all of her toys onto high furniture, out of reach>>

I think she wants this {completely age inappropriate} toy…can we get it for her birthday?

I think she wants me to hold her.”

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She can hear Bea crying from a mile away, “Bea’s cwying, Mommy!!  We need to go get her!!!!!!!”

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(this picture just about sums up their relationship right now :))

and also can interpret her babblings.  “Bea said I can play with her dolly.”

In a way, MG has caused me to see Bea in a whole new respect.  She appreciates things about her that I just akin to babies, but because she likes them, I do too.  She is also Bea’s little cheerleader and together we spend a lot of time admiring her.  “Look, MG, she’s crawling!” “Yay!!  Look, Mommy, she’s still crawling!”.  This child will never want for attention, that is sure.

Finally, a picture for comparison:8mos copy

(though two blue-eyed blondes, two very different looking girls at 8 months)

Oh Bea, we are eight months in and look how much you have grown.  Each day brings a new discovery: you in your world and me about you. I’m not sure there has been a baby ever more loved and admired than you.  Between your dad, sister, and I, you’ll never want for anything.  Love (with all of our hearts),

Because I want to remember…

…these are fleeting.

This morning

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you were up too early.  Though, I didn’t much mind.  I knew it wouldn’t take much more than a content belly to send you back to sleep.  Plus, this is the only time that you and I have together….Away from the demands of a sister, an unkempt house, a buzzing phone.  Just us.

I watched you curl your fingers into the back of your head and scratch your hair….a new habit that has formed of late.  It reminds me that we have the same hair and that I always scratch that spot on my head too…where the hair is unusually wavy and a bit coarse.  I smile because I like finding things that tie us together.

I lift you up and bury my nose into your cheek.  It is the softest and most delicious thing in the whole world.  For a brief moment, our cheeks are pressed together.  Yours, cool and tender.  Mine, warm and aged.

Your hair brushes my chin and I inhale you.  That heavenly perfume of a freshly shampooed baby, mixed with a little yogurt and the flowery scent of Bea.  That is entirely you.

This is what the early morning is like, just the two of us, together.

 

Sunlight

I’d kill for a good window to sit in front of right now.  Our last house faced south and the majority of our time was spent basking in it, be it a bleak winter or hazy summer afternoon.  This house is lacking in both windows and a good vantage point and I am reminded of a few musts for our next house:

-fireplace (it is also FREEZING in here…a wood burning fireplace would add a few degrees for pennies more)

-basement.  We get inclement weather here and a basement offers peace of mind + storage (everyone says you can never have enough) + room to grow

-a big (ger) yard than our last house.  Which shouldn’t be too terribly hard to find.  This house has a great yard and backs up to a large field and play ground but we moved just as the seasons changed and haven’t been able to enjoy it.

My HOPES which would be less important criteria but still included in the search: a nice kitchen, 4+ bedrooms, raised ceilings, and nice master bathroom.  I also don’t mind (and perhaps welcome, a little DIY work, but don’t think we are up for a total fixer-upper.)

Those are the wishes of our next house, for which I am on the search.  I put the same question on Facebook to see what other people would add in.  Here are some of their responses:

-open floor plan

-no formal living room or dining room (waste of space, or you could turn those into other rooms you would use more, such as a play room, office, or craft room)

-no tight staircases, especially the ones that make a 180 degree turn, too hard to get furniture up them

-mudroom (even better with a door connecting to the outside)

-consider elevation for water issues (believe me, we will definitely do that after living in this rental!)

-location is key, especially for resale value

-look for a house with good flow and not any odd arrangements

-look for a house that has noise control (especially important if you have children), lots of storage

-lots of positive comments about ranches (especially people with children)

-three car garage

-as much solid floor as possible

-shade in the backyard in the afternoon, mature trees would be a huge bonus

-cul-de-sac (traffic concerns)

-electrical wiring on the roof for Christmas lights

-large entry way that accommodates lots of people coming in

-pantry (the larger the better) for food storage

-character (but not TOO much character :))

The Perfect Storm

I’ve decided that vacations should be three weeks long.

The first week should be spent in travel and augmented with rich food, swilling conversations and good company.IMG_5443 DSC_0051 IMG_5438

The second week should be spent detoxifying.  Running the laundry, re-stocking the pantry, re energizing.

The third week should be spent in respite.  Watching the icicles form on your eaves, admiring the golden brown locks on your baby’s head, realizing that you both really like baba ganoush & cornbread for lunch.

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This last week has been an unexpected bonus week.  The blizzard and incredibly low temperatures have kept us indoors as much as possible and away from our normal work, errands, and routine.  It has been wonderful.  photo22

The indoor track has provided an energy burning outlet (to keep us from scaling the walls) and the new space heaters have been running almost continuously.  I’m not ready for this dynamic to change really anytime soon.

My Favorite Things (2013 Edition)

Thought it would be fun to share some of my favorites from 2013:

Music: No surprise John Mayer wins this one with his 2013 release of Wildfire.  Close second?  Elizabeth Mitchell’s toddler songs.  Such is my life right now

Book: Wool.  I love a good Dystopian novel.  This one got me through many a late night nursing session last summer.  Haven’t touched a real book (or digital for that matter) since then.  Such is my life right now.

Experience: Aside from Bea being born (of course), definitely our family trip to Cincinnati.  Such a sweet time in our lives and full of feel-good memories.  Cincinnati will probably be an annual trip now, thanks in part to the Ikea there.  Such is my life right now.

Food:  I had really good intentions to re-read Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions this year.  (I’ve already forgotten how to make homemade kombucha and prepare liver {kidding})…but such is my life right now.   My favorite  would probably have to lie with all of the food that was made FOR me because that always tastes better anyway 🙂

Discovery:  The Food Truck.  We are starting to learn the way of the locals here and have discovered an underground current of free produce.  You just show up, collect your goods, and donate a few dollars or whatever you feel it’s worth (best part: money goes to support a local charity).  I’ve had so much fun creating meals/snacks/baby food out of what surprises come out of that bin.

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Close second?  The indoor track.  The fact that they let you bring strollers and trikes in has completely revolutionized my life.  (such is my life right now)

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Project: I had so much fun with my sewing machine this year.  From monogramming blankets and onesies for Bea, to MG’s quilt, to some Christmas outfits for the girls.  My craftsmanship could use a bit of improvement but the desire is definitely there….such is my life right now 🙂

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Time to make some new favorites in 2014!

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