Monday, November 30, 2009

NaBloPoMo: Day 30

Woo! Nothing like completing something you set out to do (even if the task itself doesn't really matter).

Speaking of task completion, I've still got a recipe I need to review. For Thanksgiving I made a potato and squash casserole. I roasted the butternut squash, which turned out quite lovely. The casserole was... well, okay. Other people really liked it. I think I'm just not really much of a casserole kind of person.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

NaBloPoMo: Day 29

I rarely make desserts, mainly because R and I will then be required to eat them. I know that sounds silly, but when I'm near the end of my half of a cake I'm either tired of eating it or eating stale cake. The cake I made this week, however, will not last long enough to become stale. I would be perfectly happy eating the whole thing. It is a sticky spiked double-apple cake with a brown sugar-brandy sauce and is delicious with or without the sauce. I find myself cutting off bites as I pass through the kitchen. Actually, I think I might go have another nibble right now. I'm sure I need to do something in there.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

NaBloPoMo: Day 28

Woke up this morning and thought the air conditioning had been turned on, only to realize that the sound I was hearing was rain on the roof. We celebrated the cozy, lazy morning with pumpkin pie oatmeal. Not too bad.

Hilariously, our conversations earlier in the week had bemoaned the lack of fall like weather. They went something like this:

"Very warm today."
"Blue sky."
"A cloud would be nice."
"Even just one puffy cloud. The blue is depressing."
"Yeah. Rain, damn you!"

Friday, November 27, 2009

NaBloPoMo: Day 27

Contrary to what the author of the recipe said, I think pear and chocolate scones might actually be better the next day. They're not worse and are certainly still edible. A bit more moist, which I found pleasant.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

NaBloPoMo: Day 26

Happy Thanksgiving! Celebrate the San Diego way - with a cranberry margarita.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Today's impressive feat by the baby? Vomiting into my open purse. I was just lifting her out of her car seat when this barely digested milk streamed into my purse. It was pretty tidy - barely a drop on the upholstery.

NaBloPoMo: Day 25

Seem to be hitting a slump here right at the end of the month. Must... power... through...

I've been looking at recipes to make during the family Christmas vacation. Desserts are catching my eye the most, which is odd, considering that I rarely cook them. Perhaps I'm just recognizing that, with the whole family there to help us, R and I won't be stuck eating the same cake for weeks. Hopefully everyone doesn't fill up on dinner.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

NaBloPoMo: Day 24

Ah, nothing like a fussy baby to make one almost forget to post again.

Monday, November 23, 2009


So, yeah. Definitely got distracted there. R and I have been slowly making our way through his family's photo albums, which has been fascinating. Also, I have apparently given birth to my sister-in-law's twin.

NaBloPoMo: Day 23

Post! Post post post!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

NaBloPoMo: Day 22

We've finally determined that yes, the baby has been smiling the last couple of days. It's not just gas anymore. She's just been giving little smiles, rather than the huge baby grins we've been looking for. I suppose it isn't that surprising, since R and I are also small smilers.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

NaBloPoMo: Day 21

Experienced total brain failure while making dinner today. I blame the baby. I made meatloaf and Swiss chard and sweet potato gratin (which turned out delicious, by the way. I used spinach instead of chard) and, of course, the baby was fussy as I was getting everything ready and putting things in the oven.

Fast forward one hour. I take out the gratin but the meatloaf, which I put in later, needs a little more time. The gratin is supposed to cool for ten minutes, so I leave it out and cook the meatloaf for another ten minutes. When I return, the gratin is still bubbling and venting steam like a tiny caldera. I go get R, but when I'm getting ready to serve up dinner, the gratin is still steaming. That was when R notices that the burner on which I set the gratin is still on. Since I didn't cook anything on the stove while dinner was in the over, that means that the burner was left on, open and unattended, for over an hour. Luckily nothing bad happened, but yeesh. I need to pay more attention to my surroundings, crying baby or no.

Friday, November 20, 2009

NaBloPoMo: Day 20

It seems rather odd, but I have an uncanny attraction to the blogs of Mormon women. Not intentionally, mind you, but more often than not I find myself browsing through a new and interesting blog only to discover references to Mormondom. I guess that, at this time in my life, we have a lot in common - kids, cooking, gardening, crafts. The fact that it made my day that we'll be able to afford a house around here with a standard mortgage this summer, rather than the FHA one we had been considering, is somewhat embarrassing.

I keep wondering what my high school self would think of my life now. Ten years ago, I was going to attend UC Berkley and then go to medical school. I wanted to be a pediatrician, but didn't really want kids of my own. I figured I'd probably wind up not getting married, as the males of the species didn't seem to want anything to do with me, plus I'd probably be too busy anyway. Saving other people's lives would make mine worthwhile.

... If you couldn't tell, I was pretty depressed ten years ago. I do wonder what might have been if I continued on the path to medical school, but considering how much happier I am now, I guess my younger self would approve of the decisions I've made. Now I just have to pump myself up enough to feel like I can show my face at the next high school reunion.

Assuming they ever have one I can attend. Christmas Eve Eve reunion my ass.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

NaBloPoMo: Day 19

Being two adults with reasonable incomes who aren't constantly tossing money away dining in restaurants or drinking in bars (or spending it on house maintenance yet), R and I don't have a problem buying ourselves goodies. This means that, when birthdays roll around, getting gifts for each other is both somewhat challenging and not very urgent.

For a while now we've been planning on getting me a wok for Christmas or my birthday, but so far I haven't actually purchased one. So, as a gift, I signed up for a trial membership with a local CSA. They're setting up a new drop point close to our house, so starting in December I'll get to wander down every other week and pick up a box of locally grown fruits and veggies.

It's going to wind up costing us about the same, but the produce will be quite fresh, with the promise of tomatoes picked when actually ripe. You don't get to pick what you receive, which is R's only complaint and will be the reason should we choose not to continue our membership, but I'm not bothered. It will be something of a weekly culinary challenge and I look forward to learning how to cook a few new vegetables. Looking at the harvest schedule, I've got chard, turnips, and winter squash in my future (along with a variety of fruits and veggies I have experience with). Anyone know any good recipes?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

NaBloPoMo: Day 18

The secret to happiness, when awoken at unreasonable o'clock (anytime before 6 am in my book), is french toast. I've tried it the last several days and it has held true. My family always had bear claws when they prodded us out of bed in the dark hours of the morning for skiing, and there were bagels and fanaticism at the butt-crack of dawn for regattas with my rowing team, but clearly they all have it wrong. French toast, slathered with jam, is the answer.

French toast also satisfies the urge to not let food go to waste, as we have a pretty good supply of old bread in the fridge at the moment. I've got all the breadcrumbs I need, plus now that the rat is gone I can't just give her the stale bread, so I feel compelled to eat it myself (I'm pretty sure the Great Depression broke something in my family's collective brain). Earlier this week I made french toast out of two orphaned hot dog buns. They actually turned out quite well, and were delicious slathered with homemade cranberry jelly.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

NaBloPoMo: Day 17

Well, the staff at the doctor's office is now enamored with the baby. I suppose I should have known, as she is generally on her best behavior when around other people. I can't complain.

With the holidays approaching, I'm finding myself picking out recipes for the special occasions. I feel a little silly, but I imagine everyone around me probably doesn't mind. I've got breakfast (a much more important meal these days) lined up for each day of a friend's visit next week, though I'm still working on the other meals.

Monday, November 16, 2009

NaBloPoMo: Day 16

I made the mistake of not scheduling my 6 weeks postpartum doctor's appointment far enough in advance (seeing as there are a horde of pregnant ladies where I live, I probably should have done it immediately upon giving birth), which meant I had to take whatever appointment they could clear for me. So, instead of having R there to watch the baby, she gets to come to the appointment with me. I'm not sure how well babies and pelvic exams mix, but I guess that's what medical assistants are (shanghaied) for.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

NaBloPoMo: Day 15

Geez, almost forgot to post. Not the best sign, as we're only half way through NaBloPoMo.

That said, I still can't believe it is already mid-November. Six weeks. The wee one has started wearing some of the smaller 3-6 month sized garments and has outgrown some of her newborn clothes. I've rocked my computer chair squeaky again.

We're currently waiting on that first social smile. We've seen grins while she's sleeping or cycling randomly through expressions. but nothing meaningful yet. A friend of mine gave birth a couple of days after me and her daughter just smiled. I'm a bit jealous.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

NaBloPoMo: Day 14

Well, my pet rat finally died today. It had been, what, three and a half month since she first had her stroke? For a creature with a lifespan of two to three years, that's pretty good survival time.

Her initial ailment hit us pretty hard, but then she recovered a bit and we got to slowly get used to the idea that she'd be dieing in the near future. She looked older and was never quite as steady as she once was. A few weeks back, she started going downhill again. Last week we were debating whether or not to put her in the freezer. We ended up deciding that since she still ambled over and enthusiastically wrestled with the peanuts we gave her, her quality of life wasn't too awful. Still, we're glad it's over. It was a bit painful to watch her flail around the last few days.

Now I just need to clean up the cage. I've got a dead rat sitting in my room.

Friday, November 13, 2009

NaBloPoMo: Day 13

I've always avoided eating the cranberry jelly at Thanksgiving. I love cranberries, but was never sure what to do with that gelatinous slice I felt obliged to put on my plate. I wasn't expecting to be interested when Marisa at Food in Jars, hip drug dealer to my growing canning addiction, posted a recipe for cranberry jelly, but I was. I think it was the picture of the jelly on french toast that did it. I just had to try it.

Well, I don't think the canned stuff has anything on this jelly. I licked the ladle clean after I was done filling the jam jars. This was also the easiest jam recipe I've ever made. Boil, strain, can if you want to - Voila! Jam!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

NaBloPoMo: Day 12

Today was the first day I hadn't managed to shower and get dressed by the time R came home for work. The baby was dressed, but I was still in my bathrobe. You always hear of this happening to new moms, though I imagine it probably happens more once additional kids come along, but I had managed to avoid it until now.

Still, I don't feel nearly as slovenly and unaccomplished as I feared I would, probably due to the fact that I did actually get some things done today. I spent the morning making and canning applesauce. I was just about to change and go exercise (the reason I hadn't yet showered), when I accidentally put a canning lid back in the box too loudly. The box was, of course, located next to the bouncy chair of a baby who had only just gotten to sleep, so I spent the next while comforting a very cranky baby. I suppose I could have exercised and showered once she went back to sleep, but by then I couldn't resist the lure of a nap, so we both slept. The end.

On the upside, when you shower at 5 pm you can change right into comfy PJ pants. Hey, it's dark out. I'm not going anywhere.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

NaBloPoMo: Day 11

There is definitely something to be said for seasonal foods. Only being able to eat something a few times a year just makes it special. Like Peeps - they have Peeps for holidays other than Easter, but if you eat them you'll wind up overdosing and the Easter Peeps loose their charm. The Fourth of July just isn't an occasion for sugar-coated marshmallow goodness. I only think of this because I was recently eating a mandarin orange while sipping a glass of eggnog and I suddenly felt the holiday spirit.

Pumpkin is also something I only indulge in seasonally. I had two cans of pumpkin, purchased for a pasta recipe that never got made, sitting in my pantry for at least a year. However, only now, when one doesn't even have to get pumpkin from a can, did I wind up finally using them. For dinner we had pumpkin soup with blue cheese and bacon, and if that sounds incredibly rich and indulgent to you, well, you'd be right. As R pointed out, this soup has all flavors: sweet, spicy, cheese and bacon. Tasty.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

NaBloPoMo: Day 10

Brought the little one in to R and my dad's offices today. She was quite the hit. However, here is a tip for future reference: if you're just meeting someone for the first time, saying that you're going to keep their baby and will adopt them if you ever give up the baby is kind of creepy.

Monday, November 09, 2009

NaBloPoMo: Day 9

Ah, funny story. So, there I am in the early stages of labor, and I make this giant vat of curry. A couple days later, still in the early stages of labor, I decided to try making curry bread. This is a recipe that involves letting dough rise for several hours, which probably isn't a good idea while in labor. It worked out fine for me, but be warned.

So... curry bread. It's pretty much a man's dream. (Don't all men dream of meat doughnuts?) Fried dough, warm curry filling - delicious. Don't let the picture on the recipe fool you, though. One is pretty much a meal. R and I were hungry that night, so we split a second one, but we were really full afterward. They're still good for several days (my in-laws wound up taking a few off our hands when we came home from the hospital, almost a week after they had been made, and were quite impressed), but I'd still halve the recipe next time.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

NaBloPoMo: Day 8

Well, I'm sorry to have to admit it, but I totally chickened out on a recipe this morning. My mom didn't raise picky eaters, but apparently this one was too much for me. I tried making eggs en cocotte this morning, which is basically a soft-boiled egg, only you crack the eggs into a little ramekin and bake them in a water bath with cheese and a little cream.

I'd never had a soft-boiled egg before, but I figured I'd give it a shot. Well, when the timer rang and I pulled out the baking dish, the jiggling egg whites freaked me out and I put it back in for another five minutes. It wound up tasty, but quite solid. No dipping toast in those eggs.

I suppose I should have expected this. I used to microwave my scrambled eggs so that they would be completely dry.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

NaBloPoMo: Day 7

Listening to the baby cry, when there isn't anything wrong and you can't do anything to calm her down, is exhausting. Every evening, around dinner time, she just gets very irritable. Perhaps she's just jealous. She does seem to love everything about the kitchen. Don't worry, little one! You'll be eating food like us soon enough.

I'm pooped. It's a good thing she's so cute, even when she's screaming. Makes it all a lot easier to take.

Friday, November 06, 2009

NaBloPoMo: Day 6

I type this post with my left hand, as my right serves as a pillow for a sleeping baby. The little one is one month old today. As happens when you're busy, it seems like both yesterday and forever ago that she arrived.

Seeing her all the time, it is hard to see the changes that are taking place. She used to just sleep all the time, but she's slowly been spending more time awake. Instead of only crying for food or a diaper change, she now wants the occasional change of scenery. She's acquiring the chubbiness that distinguishes older babies from newborns. Her clothes seem to fit now, instead of hanging off her. I'm curious to see how long and heavy she is at her next doctor's appointment, though that is still a month off.

I'm glad I didn't go crazy buying baby clothes - just a few onesies so I didn't feel completely unprepared. I've yet to make it down to the bottom of any of the piles of clothes!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

NaBloPoMo: Day 5

After a month of being used as a rocking chair, my computer chair has developed a pronounced squeak. I guess it wasn't intended to be used that way. Clearly, this thing wasn't designed by a parent. Nothing like the glow of the computer monitor to keep one fully conscious while rocking and jiggling a fussy infant back to sleep.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

NaBloPoMo: Day 4

I don't know what it is lately, but I can't seem to miss with new recipes lately. Could just be luck, or maybe the reduced amount of time for cooking has made me more discriminating about the recipes I'm willing to try. In any case, I had another success last night with simplest cinnamon lamb stew (made with some beef stew meat recovered from our deep freezer). This one even gets the R seal of approval, so you know it has broader appeal than just my ow taste buds.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

NaBloPoMo: Day 3

Apparently I'm not the only one whose fancy turns to apple crisp at the sight of the fall's new crop of apples. Smitten Kitchen turned her fantasies into a breakfast apple granola crisp which, I'm not surprised to say, turned out delicious when I made it yesterday. Also not surprising was the fact that I ran into the same sort of baby-related cooking hitches as the recipe's author (always the extra-long feeding whenever we have any sort of deadline). Still, extremely well-done apples and slightly blackened granola didn't ruin the dish. I'm actually thinking of making it for breakfast sometime during the big family gathering at Christmas. All of the cousins together for the first time!

Monday, November 02, 2009

NaBloPoMo: Day 2

Although I wasn't hit hard by the nesting bug, towards the end of my pregnancy I did have a lingering urge to use up those items that have been lingering in the pantry for years. You know, those half bags of chopped nuts, ignored candy, impulse purchases, and boxes of Kraft mac and cheese that my sister gave me when R and I first moved in together, six years ago. So, when I saw Loobylu's recipe for her mother's boiled fruit cake, I instantly recognized an opportunity to use up the several packages of dried figs I had somehow acquired over the years.

I'm not exactly sure what I was expecting to happen when I cooked the resulting blob of fruity dough, but I think some rising was probably in order. Maybe the substitute for self-rising flour wasn't quite right. An hour or so later, the cake looked much as it did when I put it in the oven, only cooked.

Still, the resulting cake didn't go to waste. It was pretty tasty, and seemed like the sort of thing one might want to bring if setting off of a long journey. R made some references to dwarf bread, but the reason this cake would be good travel fare is because it is nutritiously dense (a little bit will fill you up), sturdy, and won't go bad at room temperature (which is saying a lot in San Diego, land of mold). I ate slices of it for breakfast for weeks with no noticeable decline in quality. Plus it finally got me to eat all those figs.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

NaBloPoMo: Day 1*

My mom visited recently (nothing like a baby to get people to visit), and I happened to mention that my father-in-law makes the world's best stuffing, and that I didn't even like stuffing previously. This rather annoyed my mom, who defended her own stuffing. To be honest, though, I can't even remember her ever making stuffing, which is why I felt it was safe to mention my general dislike of stuffing. What is it with that dish? People seem crazy for it.

* Seriously, I can't believe I'm doing this again. I haven't been able to make it the last few years and this time I've got a one month old. Perhaps I'm just trying to reestablish the habit of blogging. I've been rather slack of late. I keep composing posts in my head and then never actually posting them.