Monday, July 26, 2010

If mama ain't happy...

I've never been a fan of wasting money, and I really try to gear my shopping towards healthy, feasible meal options, which means that I buy a lot of fresh produce. Even more so with this new cookbook I'm trying out. What I should do is get all the chopping/washing/pureeing out of the way as soon as I walk in the door from grocery shopping. But I'm not supermom, so sometimes it gets done later that day, and sometimes I leave it until a couple of hours before we need to leave for a cottage weekend because it has to get done otherwise the biz will go bad by the time we get home on Sunday night darn it. This was my scene on Friday afternoon, which also included doing laundry, printing off directions, and running around the house fetching all the various items we'd need for ourselves and the babe for our weekend away. Baby D is increasingly busy these days, and it just seemed like she was getting into everything, and I was so frustrated that when she tried to play with my laptop, I yelled at her. And by yelled, I mean screamed. It was a bad time. I stuck her in her swing for awhile, and told her we needed a little break from each other.

So while I don't like wasting money and food, it turns out that I like yelling at my child considerably less. Which is to say, not at all. Hubby got home and, while helping me clean up the kitchen, humbly suggested that on days like this when D is getting on my nerves and I have a bunch of things to do, it may not be the best idea to cook up all the produce in the fridge and bake a zucchini cake as well (which I forgot to bring to the cottage anyway). Sometimes it's not such a big deal if the cauliflower goes bad.

(D, magnanimous baby that she is, promptly forgave me.)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Deceptively delicious!

On a day trip to the States last week, I happened upon a copy of Jessica Seinfeld's Deceptively Delicious cookbook in Kohl's for a scant 5$. I knew a bit about it and a couple of friends of mine have used it. Basically, it's a collection of recipes that sneak pureed fruits and veggies into picky eaters' meals. I had also talked with Registered Dietitian Sister about it, and I agreed with her point that kids should be directly given vegetables and fruit in order to consciously make good nutritional choices later in life. At the same time, I think it would be wise to supplement snacks and side dishes with fruit and veggie purees baked into things. Hubby even leafed through the cookbook with me and pointed out several recipes he'd like to try out.

So I bought the book on Wednesday, went grocery shopping on Friday, and started making purees on Saturday. Each recipe calls for at least half a cup of a certain puree, so I figured I'd get ahead of the game. I steamed cauliflower and roasted squash, and froze each in 1/2 cup amounts. Leftovers went to baby D's meals, so I now have several reserve jars of baby food. I appreciate that she has an entire section that explains the prep and cooking times for various produce, as I usually have to look that up.

Today I tested out my first recipe: mozzarella sticks. It's a fairly simple; sift together bread crumbs with a little flaxseed meal, mix together grated cheese, cauliflower puree and cornstarch, and roll the latter in the former. Then you freeze them for a bit before pan-frying them. Think about how delicious cauliflower is with cheese, and you'll get an idea of how good these sticks are. There are 8 sticks in a batch, and I ate them all for lunch, with a bowl of soup.

Other recipes I can't wait to try out:
-mac & cheese with butternut squash
-mashed potatoes or twice-baked potatoes with cauliflower
-pita pizzas with spinach (hidden under the tomato sauce)
-quesadillas with squash (admittedly not that different from my sweet potato-black bean ones, but less time-intensive)
-creamy potato soup with cauliflower and squash
-sloppy joes with sweet potato and butternut squash
-doughnuts with pumpkin and sweet potato
-frozen yogurt pops with various frozen fruits
-chocolate chip cookies with chick peas (I know, weird, right? But I want to know what they taste like)
-lemon raspberry cupcakes with squash and beets
-blueberry cheesecake cupcakes

And we're having mozzarella sticks with chili on nachos for dinner tonight.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Ramblings of an indulgent mother.

Although Baby D and I spend quite a bit of time together, I frequently find myself amazed and utterly besotted by her. Here are some of the things I found most endearing about her today.

1. The way she munches on cherries: we've just started giving her pieces of pitted cherries, since these are in season and quite delicious. Baby D is now sporting a tooth (cut on her 9 monthday), so she likes to put it to good use. She finds it rather challenging to keep the cherry piece in her mouth, and she ends up puckering her lips while she chomps away. I need to film this.

2. Her funny new noises: these include brrm-brrm (which she mixes in with crying and which, unfortunately for her, I find humorous), and low growling. We have a fierce kid on our hands.

3. Her efforts to intimidate: she wrinkles her nose and sniffs at us menacingly. Usually when provoked. By us doing the same thing to her.

4. Petit bisous: she now leans in to give her dad and I kisses, although she remains unaware of the social custom of keeping one's mouth closed and one's tongue to oneself.

5. Her memory: my parents have been away on vacation for the past month, and while D saw them on Skype once or twice, I wasn't sure how she'd react when they got back. On their way home, they came by our place, and we greeted them from the doorstep. Initially, D leaned against me, but as they got closer, she grinned widely and practically jumped into my mom's arms! My dad had (and still has) a rockin' holiday beard, so D wasn't too sure about him for a bit, but she warmed to him eventually. I'm hoping for a similar reaction when we visit Hubby's parents at Christmas, since she sees them on Skype more often and still smiles, laughs and plays pattycake with them.

Seriously. What's not to love?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Road trips and knitting

Our little family just returned (well, on Saturday night) from a last-minute whirlwind trip to Southern Ontario. Hubby had a job interview and I got the chance to reconnect with some old friends and introduce baby D. We also stayed with dear friends who are downsizing and moving to a new place (in the same city), and I was so happy to spend time with them! Their old house is very special to us, as we lived there for a month (between apartment rentals), attended weekly Bible studies there for two years, and have stayed as guests every time we visit in the years since. Of course, the family is much more special, and they'll make the new house equally so.

One of my favourite places to shop in Southern Ontario is a small chain of stores called Len's Mill. It is beyond shanty, and nearly everything there looks like it fell off the back of a truck. They sell almost every kind of household item, but their specialty (as far as I'm concerned) is their crafts department. They have all kinds of yarn, needles, and other notions (as well as fabric, but I'm going on a day trip to the States soon for that), and their prices are the cheapest around, even more so than Walmart. And really, I'd much rather support local industry over Walmart. So, even though this is the year of no yarn, I made an exception. I could not have foreseen, back in December, that my brother would be engaged and married to the love of his life within a year, and their upcoming wedding needs to be celebrated with an heirloom gift, which is now on the needles. I'm very excited to see it coming together, but it'll need the next four months' worth of my knitting attention... which is going to be a bit problematic. Here's why.

The Yarn Harlot often finds herself afflicted with "startitis", in which she wants to cast on huge numbers of projects, usually when she gets bored with her current one. I find this tends to happen to me when I've just finished a long project. Hubby says I should refer to myself as The Yarn Serial Monogamist when I comment on Yarn Harlot's blog. As I have just finished the Bergere de France top, I have all kinds of ideas for tiny, quick projects: a matching BDF top for baby D, a gift for a precious preemie born recently to friends of ours, a bolero for baby D to wear to her uncle's wedding. In order to get the heirloom gift done on time, I'll really have to limit myself to just one or two of those little projects, and I'm pretty sure the first two will win out. Particularly since I'm already halfway done the back of the BDF baby top, and I've found a pattern for a preemie kimono.

Cuteness overload: Baby D went swimming in a pool for the first time. She had previously been in a hot tub (with the temperature turned down) and to the beach. She was cautiously amused...

Monday, July 5, 2010

Wedding wear challenge, take 2

This time around, I opted for something I had worn to a wedding once before, but it was two years ago. Fashionista friend J here was a bridesmaid and looked lovely, as always!

The wedding was on the most perfect day of the year, weather-wise; it was warm and sunny with a bit of a breeze, which was ideal since the ceremony was outdoors at a beautiful pavilion tucked in behind Rideau Hall. Fortunately, the Queen's visit did not interfere, although navigating downtown traffic the day after Canada Day was rather beastly.

Between the ceremony and reception, we found a pub on Elgin Street offering half price appetizers, so we sat down and watched Ghana's disappointing loss to Uruguay. Best nachos I've had in awhile, though.

The reception was at a restaurant in the Dow's Lake pavilion, just minutes from where the bride's mom has lived for the past few years. Such an elegant place, right on the water where we caught a beautiful sunset! The food was amazing, the kissing games entirely suited to the couple (spelling bee/golf putting), the speeches touching and the slide show masterful- no technical glitches at all! The entire day was a gorgeous testament to the love that our dear friends Mark and Val have for each other.

My own hubby was a trooper: when we called to check in on baby D who was being looked after by my sister, she was crying and wouldn't stop, so he headed home to take care of her. He let me stay to have dessert, hear the speeches, and do a little dancing. Some wonderful friends who live near us gave me a lift home. And one more thing that made this day special (albeit really just for me): I finished knitting the back of the orange tank top! It's blocking as we speak, waiting to be sewn up.