Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Daily things

I've been spending most of this week being pretty lazy. It's been nice.  (Only one obligation on my calendar [this week] for a change.)  I've been using some of my time to work on sewing and craft projects. Today I made an adorable little apron-ed dress for Charlotte. She thinks it's the bees knees.

I've been doing a bit of summer school with the girls this year because I want to keep them brushed up on what they learned last year. The review period at the beginning of the school year makes me want to rip my hair out so I'm trying to avoid that this year. I'm liking our summer routine thus far. Today I feel more like I have a grasp on summer rather than it running away from me.

Yesterday I made some more yogurt (that's a lie, I made yogurt the day before and strained it yesterday) and a lemon chess pie.

First, the pie. I'd never really had a chess pie before, but it sounded damned good so I decided I wanted one. I probably should have let it bake a little longer so it would set better, but from the description of "jiggliness" it looked right to me. I topped it off with a light lemony-cream cheese glaze.

Now, truth be told, it looks pretty delicious. Tasted delicious, too. But, it still pissed me off. Know why? Have you ever had lemon chess pie before? No? Don't waste your time. Go make lemon bars instead. Because it's easier and that's EXACTLY what it tastes like. In pie form, though, it's actually almost too much. It's really, really sweet.

The yogurt was, as usual, a complete success. Thick and creamy and wonderful.

This was right after I plopped it out of the draining cloth:

And this was after I stirred it (because the middle will naturally be a little more moist than the stuff that was directly against the cloth as it strained), smooth and creamy:

Then I separate out about a cup of yogurt to save for making the next batch. Yes, labeling it IS necessary or someone will eat that whole cupful for lunch.

And THIS lasts us about 3 days, tops. Because my yogurt pwns and my family eats it like it's going out of style. The last time I made it I had 10 little bowls in the fridge. The next evening we were down to 2. That's a lot of pro-biotic going on.

Last, but certainly not least, is my Charlotte in her new dress. It took me a couple hours to knock out, but that's small potatoes, and she is so happy with it. Right now she's walking around the house carrying her teddy in the apron. "Mama, look! I'm carrying my teddy with this instead of holding it with my hands!" She's such a trip.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Lazy days at home

These last couple of months have been super hectic between various appointments, dinners with friends, and events and activities we've been a part of. I'm trying my best to just hang out at home and do nothing aside from the necessary household tasks. I want the lazy days of summer and it already feels like it's flying by without me.

Last month my two big girls "bridged" to the next level in Girl Scouts. They were so proud of themselves. It's been a good year for all three girls, GS has really had a positive impact on them and I am glad of it. I was really, really reluctant to sign them up because I hate schedules. It's turned out to be a lot less of a hassle than I feared. They're all sad that this season is ending for the summer and looking forward to what they'll be doing next year. I'm glad we've got a break from at least one obligation each week, now, though.

My boy turned three last month. THREE. I still can't get over it. And in a couple months my baby is going to turn nine. That one blows my mind even more. It's hard to believe, when they are itty bitty, that they will ever get this big and independent. Now that I have a little glimpse of what's to come I quake in my boots at the thought of them all reaching and surpassing that stage. I'm going to miss them being little and innocent and curious about the world around them.

Lastly, a curious aside, some creep found my blog by searching for "nude girls' pooping the toilet." Whoever you are, pal, you are fucked up.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Can I sleep till it's over?

Last Sunday Charlotte wasn't feeling well. This past Sunday Genevieve came down with a fever in the afternoon. Yesterday everyone was great. Today Xander came down with a fever, too. While Genevieve just stayed quietly on the sofa and rested until she was up to moving around more and eating, Xander has been sleeping most of the day. When he isn't sleeping he's crying and wants me to hold him constantly. Very much abnormal for him. He loves his hugs, cuddles, snuggles, and holding onto, but not like this.

He woke up while I was preparing dinner and I had to bail so I could console him. Thankfully Matt was home and I handed the reigns over to him. With step by step instructions he made some damn fine quesadillas. Luckily I had already knocked out the salsa and guacamole. While Matt cooked I carried Xander back to his room, had Adrienne fetch me my kindle, and read him Penrod and Sam till he fell asleep.

To all the Kindle haters out there, stuff it. :P I love the feel of a book as much as anyone, but there are certain times where an e-reader is a complete Godsend. Today was definitely one of them. I have a feeling I'll be busting it out again later tonight. The boy has slept so much today he's sure to wake up in the middle of the night bouncing off the walls. I'll probably pull out the sofa bed and turn on a movie so I can sleep while he watches Diego or something if that happens.

Stay tuned, I plan to post another family oriented post later, hopefully full of news of good health and nothing icky.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Fat and Happy

We revisited ribs for Sunday dinner tonight. I followed this recipe from Smitten Kitchen: Sweet and Smokey Oven Spareribs with a few modifications. I had a good amount of dry rub leftover from the last time I made ribs so I used up the rest of that on this batch. The modifications I made to her recipe were to use 1/2 chili powder and 1/2 paprika (because I ran out of chili powder, but it was good so I plan to keep doing it that way) and to add 2 tsp ground mustard. I skipped the 2 tsp smoked Spanish paprika since I'd already added it in place of some of the chili powder, and I didn't use the cider vinegar the way she suggests. My slab of ribs was also only about 3.5-4lbs, the recipe calls for 5 lbs.

A few hours prior to grilling I cleaned and trimmed the ribs and soaked them in a mixture of cider vinegar, salt, white wine, and water. I just eyeballed it, but there was probably 1/3-1/2 cup of salt, at least 1 cup of vinegar, and half a bottle of wine. I put it all in my roasting pan (it's the only one I had that was long enough to submerge the whole slab of ribs) and then filled it with enough water to cover the ribs. Let that sit for a few hours until it was almost grilling time. I followed her directions for applying the dry rub and wrapping it in foil pretty closely, then instead of using the oven I placed it on my grill for about 45 minutes on the lowest heat I could get (gas grill, I'm a weenie when it comes to charcoal), and then removed the foil and cooked it for another 30 or so on a higher heat setting to crisp the outside a little bit, using some watered down bbq sauce and the juices from the foil packet to baste.

This time I tried a technique for smoking meat on a gas grill by wrapping soaked wood chips in foil and leaving vents so the smoke escapes and gets to the meat. I didn't notice a distinct smoky flavor even though I could smell it. I tried leaving the rib foil packet open more so the smoke got to it but I'm not sure it was really all that effective. Next time I may have to try skipping the foil and see how it turns out. Leaving the foil open also eliminated all the basting juices.

They still turned out delicious. I think it's just one of those things where I need to play around with the recipe until I find my favorite method. And I'm a rib noob so I've got a lot of tries to go yet

They'd been on the heat for awhile when I remembered to go out and take a picture. One of these days I might remember to photograph the whole process.

They were accompanied by asparagus with hollandaise, potato salad, and some amazing baked beans that my pal The Ranter gave me the recipe for. I remembered to take a picture a couple bites in.

Aside from my cooking adventures we've had a ridiculously busy couple of weeks, and the rest of the month doesn't appear to be slowing down. Genevieve spent most of today laying on the sofa not feeling well, so I really hope it stays contained to her. With everything going on I can't really afford to have a mini epidemic in my house right now. She's feeling better now, though, so that's a plus.

I'm planning to get another family oriented less foody post in later this week. Wish me luck.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Baking with my girl.

Tonight I made an old childhood favorite treat. I recruited Adrienne to help me. I'm kind of appalled at myself that I haven't made it before now and she's almost 9. In my defense, while we were making it I realized a good reason why I hadn't made it sooner. BUYING zucchini feels like sinning. The whole creation process was slightly marred knowing that the zucchini didn't come from our garden (that I don't have) or from some relative who planted 18 more zucchini plants than they should have.

They still tasted amazing, though. I couldn't wait until tomorrow to steal a piece. Every bit as delicious as I remembered. Now I just need to refrain from eating 98% of it myself.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Dinner plans...

A recurring theme at dinner these last few weeks has been "Where I want to live when I grow up..." Adrienne wants to be a scientist and live where her grandparents and cousins live, up north. She's been on this scientist kick for over a year now, I'll feed it as long as it lasts. It's cute to see her so interested, but also so grounded that she's got this little plan for herself that includes being in a place we consider home.

Charlotte has told me on multiple occasions that she wants to live in Hawaii. The draw? Coconut bras. For some reason she is completely smitten with the idea of wearing one. Which cracks me up because it's the furthest thing from her usual garb of princess dresses. Even when she's not in dress ups if she can find a dress or a skirt she will opt for that first. She likes to wear things that she thinks are pretty and she has very definite ideas about what that is.

Genevieve wants to live in Asia so she can take ninja lessons. (Maybe I should look into enrolling her in karate or something...) She specifically says China, but will occasionally say Japan if Adrienne interjects with a comment like "Ninjas mostly live in Japan!" And, speaking of dinner, I've come to realize more and more that this child in particular eats just like her father. Really fast, and if it's something saucy that she loves she wears a lot of it on her face. Case in point, ribs from Sunday's dinner:

She ate two ribs and completely cleaned her plate of every last baked bean and kernel of corn. The rib bones were practically sucked clean.

I spent all afternoon Sunday fiddling in the kitchen. I needed to make salsa and guacamole for our eating pleasure all week (chips and salsa + guac are a favorite snack 'round these parts), and I whipped up a potato salad, corn, and baked beans (Bush's, I'm slightly too lazy to remember to soak dried beans so I never buy them... I probably should, though). I had intended to take photos of what I made and blog about it (not wanting to turn this into a food blog but using that as fodder to get me writing more), but I forgot since Matt finished up the grilling when a neighbor came over for a minute. All I have are these pictures of Genevieve enjoying her meal. I didn't take pictures of the rest of the kids because they weren't hilariously messy like she was. The ribs did turn out pretty dang fabulous, if I do say so myself. It was my first attempt at making them and I pretty much rocked it. I'll be revisiting them so hopefully then I will remember to take photos.

Sidenote: We call Genevieve the Baked Bean Queen. The following day she made herself a plate of baked beans for lunch while the rest of us had sandwiches. When she was done and decided she was still hungry she just nuked the bowl of beans and ate them all.

 I did get pictures of my salsa and guacamole, though.

I know it looks silly to have an avocado pit in the bowl, but I swear it has a purpose. I saw on pinterest that if you put a pit in your bowl of guac it won't turn brown. Now, eventually it will, but it stays greener for days. And when I make a bowl of guacamole using 6+ it lasts more than 2 days. No one likes brown guacamole. That picture? It's from day 2. Just to the lower left of the pit I took a little scoop out, it was slightly brighter green, but not so much that you thought "Ewwww, brown guac." There are actually 2 bowls of salsa but I only got a shot of the one. The other one is sans black beans and corn. (Yes, I am aware that I opened the Scoops on the bottom.)

I have, thus far, totally neglected to mention my boy. Somewhat intentionally. I don't really have any funny food stories for him, and he doesn't really participate in the "Where I want to live" conversations because he's not even 3 yet and doesn't give a shit. Xander does, however, have this little ritual where he'll say (because I taught him to months ago) "Mom, you're awesome!" I love it. And I will tell him "Thank you, buddy! You're awesome, too!" Almost every time he will respond, "De nada!" Which I did NOT teach him. He's caught on that we think it's freaking hilarious so he's begun saying "de nada" whenever he remembers that it can also replace "you're welcome." He is so different from the girls (they are each beautiful and funny in their own darling way, but far calmer and less mischievous), but so funny and loveable. He can be a little monster and drive me crazy, but when he throws me that little smile I can't help but melt a little. He's such a booger. And he likes my salsa. (See? I did manage to tie it to food after all!)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Life is precious.

I don't know if I'm having delayed reactions or getting hormonal, but I read the facebook status of a friend who's grandfather passed away this morning and now I'm really fighting off crying. I'd go tell my husband and probably really actually break down, but he's napping and I'd rather now bawl my eyes out right now. So I'm dumping this here instead. It's cathartic. Sue me. Anyway, it just got me thinking about my Granny (great-grandmother-who passed away on the 17th). I haven't cried yet, mostly I just felt really sad for my grandfather because I know her death was really hard on him and happened only one day before the anniversary of the death of my grandma and aunt (his wife and daughter). I'm kind of feeling sorry for myself, I guess. I didn't get to go to her funeral. I hadn't seen her in a few years. And I really regret that my kids didn't get to know her better.

Thursday, January 05, 2012


I'm just going to pretend that October was NOT the last time I actually updated this sad little heap of a blog. Life has been busy. We went on a long road trip for a wedding and then Thanksgiving. When we got back home we began preparing to move into a new house. As soon as we were in the new house it was Christmas and we had company in town for the holiday. It's just been one big thing after another. Not that I'm complaining, it's all been grand for the most part (with a few minor hiccups), it's just been busy and sitting and thinking and pretending to be creative has gone TOTALLY to the wayside.

The other night I was on skype with my sisters and brother. As we were talking I was cooking (I don't even remember what... cookies, I think) and I kept showing them my ingredients. I like to tease them with all the wonderful things I make. I figure maybe some day it will convince one of them to come visit me for a change (frankly, being the one doing all the long distance driving gets frikkin' old fast). My brother told me he could see me as one of those people who does food blogging. I told him I would if I actually had any original recipes to share. But then I thought about it again, and ya know what? I could totally blog what I cook anyway and just say "this is a family recipe, I don't know where it came from" or "I took this from XYZ cookbook." Not that I plan on converting this to a food blog, I have way too much random shit in my life to do that. But, along with adding more photography when I get off my ass and apply myself to the task, food blogging might be fun. And I would get to reap the rewards in a very real way. Kill two birds with one stone. Or three birds. Dinner, photography, and blogging.

It's a thought.