Monday, January 30, 2012

Guess What?...More Steak!

This week Nick decided that we were not going to buy the big bag of frozen chicken that we've been getting.  He wanted more red meat.  So he bought some ground hamburger, strip steaks, crab meat and hot dogs.  I had thought he had something in mind for each of them, and wasn't feeling the greatest earlier, so I held off on cooking any of it for a few days.  But then I realized I was being silly, and he'd bought it to be cooked.  So I started with the steak.

There was a nifty peel-off label on the package with a recipe on the back that looked really good.  It was for a sweet steak with onions thing, and called for much cayenne and brown sugar.  We don't have brown sugar.  So I improvised.  I cooked the steaks in butter with onions and mushrooms, and seasoned it with salt, garlic and sugar.  I was surprised that there were six steaks in there, but that was good.  I sent two to work with Nick today, served over a bed of rice.  One I cut up for Thing One, and he liked it.  I ate one served on a bed of fried cabbage (!!), and Nick had the other two when he got home from work last night. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

The End of Steak

I've been meaning to write all week and tell you what I did with the last of the steak that I bought last week, but things fell apart over the weekend.  Thing Two had been sick all last week, and by Monday I was wiped out and needed some time to recover.  So I never got around to writing.  And very strangely, despite how things have been going today, I've been up and working, and feel up to writing. 

I think the majority of Thing Two's sickness last week was due to stress.  Yes, one-year-olds can get stressed out.  I'm trying to wean him so that I've got enough nutrients for myself and the baby, and I think I went to hard on him last week.  That, and he picked up on my stress.  But we've now settled into a new routine; and he realizes that he doesn't need to eat every two hours.  So it's getting better. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Way to a (Pregnant) Woman's Heart

I have become more and more convinced over the course of my wife's current pregnancy of one simple truth: God invented pregnancy so that men could have a small shot at finally connecting with women. This may sound counter-intuitive; women are generally even more emotionally involved during pregnancy than not, and men tend to be more lost at those times than not. But I finally realized that a woman's desires during pregnancy finally center around one simple thing that guys can completely relate to. That desire would be for food. A constant stream of food.

If you're a chef of any skill or persuasion, your pregnant wife will love you to death if you cook for her. I thank God He gave me some skill with a skillet, and here I present for your consideration a dish I concocted during a pregnancy food emergency. Enjoy!

The ingredients are:

One fillet of flash-frozen chicken
Green beans
One can of cream of mushroom soup
Frozen spinach
Garlic powder

I fried the spinach first in butter, a little bit of water, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. When the spinach was done, I put it in a separate bowl and put the chicken in with more butter and a bit of oil. Once the chicken was finished, I put it on the spinach on the plate, and smothered the entire thing with a quick sauce I had made in the microwave with about a third of the can of soup and a dash of milk in the microwave. Then I microwaved the whole thing for about a minute just to bring it all up to the proper warmth.

The green beans I simmered in salt water for just long enough to cook them slightly, leaving them a bit crunchy at the end.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Sandwich Fixings

There once was a most excellent man, who gave his pregnant wife some money and told her to buy whatever food she was craving.  That week the man and his family enjoyed bacon, garlic bread, steak sandwiches, bacon sandwiches, teryiaki nori and ice cream bars--while still having one more package of steak in the fridge. 

It has been a good week, and I feel like I've had enough to eat.  I was kinda going for a philly cheese-steak sub, but I forgot to get cheese and the steak was cut to big.  But it was good, and cheap.  The pack of steak was thin cut for stir-frying (that cost less than $2.) and I cut it into strips.  I fried those with some onion slices, salt & pepper, and worcestershire sauce.  I served it on warm garlic bread.  And I was too hungry at the time to think about taking a picture, sorry.

I did get a picture of the bacon sandwich, though.  And the bacon was on sale, too!  Just two slices, with lettuce, mayo and mustard.  I wish we'd have had a tomato, but I didn't get one.  I wasn't thinking too clearly when I went shopping, I just new that I needed bacon, steak and nori, and the ice cream was also on sale. 

But it's been good, and I've enjoyed eating this week.  We'll see what happens next week when there's no beef left.  Ciao!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

To Eat, or Not to Eat?

Although, the question is really more of to eat, or to sleep?  I was worried that I'd be really sick this time, like I was the last two times; that I was just the type of woman who got really sick.  But that doesn't seem to be the case.  And boy, am I happy about it.  I keep telling myself that I can deal with any kind of exhaustion, so long as I'm not sick. 

Thing Two and I are working on not nursing him so much, and that is really helping me feel better.  Now, if only Thing One would take naps again everything would be fine. 

I was looking through my picture gallery to see if I had anything I could post, and I found one of dinner we made this past weekend.  It was a small dinner, we'd run out of meat; but we had vegetables and Nick had bought a handful of red-skin potatoes.  I fried the vegetables with sushi vinegar and soy sauce, and Nick mashed the potatoes with milk, butter, salt & pepper and garlic.  
It was really good, and since it wasn't as much as I needed, I added a small salad on the side. 

Thing One is begging for attention, so I will leave you for now.  Our internet had expired so I will be posting from my phone for a while.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Odds and Ends of a Weekend

 I must offer an apology to my mother, for yet another thing that I finally understand now that I'm older.  When I was younger, she was always taking us to Arby's and getting roast beef sandwiches.  I never new why, and I came to dislike dry roast beef on a dry bun with no sauce or au jus of any kind.  A few years ago I figured out why.  She was pregnant; and there is absolutely nothing that can compare to even a plain roast beef sandwich when you're pregnant.  

I learned to love roast beef sandwiches when I was working at the Yellow Brick Bank (see Zizi-ology) and learned how to make it right.   The chef would start by making the roast, he'd take the beef and surround it with various vegetable, and then bake it for ten hours.  The next day he'd take the whole thing apart, the veggies and half the stock went into soups, and I sliced the beef for sandwiches.   We'd toast a hoagie roll and slather it with horseradish mayo, top that with warm beef and caramelized onions and put a small cup of warm au jus (beef stock) on the side. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Random Acts of Kindness

I'm sitting at Mc Donald's writing this on my phone, so if it looks a little off that's why. 

It's been a cold and rainy week, but it's early January.  But the combination of being cold, rainy and dark early makes it feel like we've been cooped up in the house longer than we actually have been.  The sun came out this morning, and I asked Nick if I could bring the boys here to burn off some energy.  We make small allowances in our budget so we can bring the boys here when it's cold or wet, and I can keep some amount of sanity (which is probably overrated). 

Nick said we could come play, and we came as soon a we'd dropped him off at work.  A wonderful old couple parked next to us, and cooed over the boys the whole way in.  They were charmed by the boys, especially the way Thing One pretended to be so bashful, and they ended up giving the boys a dollar each so they could pay for their own food.  

So, here we are, playing happily with all the kids who just got out of school, and grateful for God's little blessings!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Incredible, Edible Egg.

So happy to be helping Mommy!
I had a semi startling realization the other day: Thing One might be smarter than the average bear.  I've suspected this for a little while, but it was brought home to me when I was on the phone with my sister and she exclaimed at something that I mentioned he'd done.  Like most other three year olds don't do that. 

It was last summer, when he was two and a half.  He wanted some eggs, and he decided that he was going to cook them himself.  I figured that the prudent thing to do would be to teach him how to do it right so he wouldn't get hurt.  So I turned the pan on, cracked the eggs, showed him how to scramble them, what they looked like when they were done and how to put them on a plate.  Only once did he touch the burner--he's never done that again.  Thing One has gotten good enough cooking eggs that after I crack the eggs for him I can walk away and do something else, and come back to turn the burner off.  Do other three year olds do that? I honestly don't know.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Counting my Blessings.

Thing One cutting some food for dinner.
 I do apologize in advance for any lack of posting, or frustration that any lack of posting over the next few months may cause you.  I'm still trying to figure out how to write on a schedule--which is not easy while trying to keep up with two small boys.  I expect it to be pretty hard while being pregnant on top of the chasing two small boys.  I have never been good with routines while pregnant. 

But, this pregnancy is going much, much better than either of the last two.  We're nearly half way through the first trimester, and I haven't really been sick.  I've just been exhausted.  And I'm even dealing with that okay, so long as I take things slow.  Yes, that means I don't wash all the dishes every day, or clean up the toys at night--but I never really did that on a regular basis anyway, so not much has changed. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Wine Cakes

I was reminded that I promised to give you a few recipes that I cooked for Christmas.  I'm very sorry to disappoint you, but I can't give you the Nut Roll recipe this year.  I didn't make it.  My mother-in-law made that while I was making the Wine Cakes, and trying very hard not to get sick and let her know we were pregnant before Christmas. 

But I will give you the recipe for the Wine Cakes.  They are very good, and only something I have once a year because we're not in the habit of buying wines--especially sherry.  I do wish I had pictures for you, but by the time the cake came out of the oven I was feeling kinda sick.  And we all had too much fun on Christmas to stop and take pictures.  Sorry.

Wine Cakes

1 box yellow cake mix
5oz. instant vanilla pudding
4 eggs
3/4C oil
1 C sherry
1 tbsp nutmeg

Mix all together and bake in a bunt pan--baking time will vary depending on the size of the pan--about 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees. 

When it's cooled, sprinkle with some powdered sugar and garnish with some holly leaves and maraschino cherries. 

Do you know how many times one can watch "One Man Band" in an hour?  Exactly 18 times.  I'm going to go switch it to "Cars" now. 


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Big Boy Birthday Celebrations!!

Thing One turned three!!  We had much fun on his birthday.  Nick and I were unsure of what to get him until we actually went shopping the day before his birthday.  Then I happened to see a toy, sitting alone on the self.  It was a Buzz Lightyear, with a spaceship.  I remembered that Buzz is one of his favorite characters, so I showed it to Nick.  He got it without question. 

Keeping him occupied so Nick can look at toys.

Well, that turned out to be a good gift. He's been running around, flying it and shooting things with its missile (which is now lost), and yelling, "Buzz Lightyear, Space Reindgeer!"

I'm not sure what a "space reindgeer" is, but
it looks like fun.

I'm rather proud of his cake this year, for a few reasons.  The first is that, even though it is a boxed cake, I got it for less than a dollar because it had fallen and the box was bent.  I figure that was better than buying the flour, sugar, oil and eggs that we were out of.  Besides, it was a red velvet cake--for less than a dollar, how could I pass that by?

Thing One, like most of the population, has a thing for Angry Birds.  It is a very fun game, and even at three years old, he can play it.   I didn't have all of the icing that I wanted, and I didn't have any bags/tips to do the detail work.  I spread the frosting on with a spoon, and used a fork to help put the eyes in place.  If any of the folks at Rovio happen to see this, you must admit that Angry Birds really does lend itself to cupcakes. 

We had to have the birthday celebrations rather early in the morning, as it was the first day for Nick to go back to work after the new year's vacation.  So this was breakfast for some of us.  I had to get up and eat something earlier, and Thing One was up with me, so I insisted that he have something too.  Thing Two never did eat the icing.

And so, my little man, Happy Birthday!  We love you, and we couldn't imagine life without you. 

Here they come, covered in baby powder and dripping wet. 

Monday, January 2, 2012

More of Christmas!

Nick and I made our big announcement on Christmas, we are expecting Thing Three!!! 

The morning-noon-night sickness is starting to hit, and I'm actually coping with it pretty well so far.  Thing One is excited, and seems to know what to expect.  Thing Two has a sense that something is about to change, and has been nursing as much as he can.  It doesn't help that he is still getting teeth.  I made the boys 18" dolls for Christmas, with the intention of that helping them cope and "help me" with the baby. 

Breakfast, with my new pan!
Nick got me new pots and pans for Christmas.  He'd been promising them for some time, and I'd thought he'd forgotten about them when we had to use the money for something else.  He fooled me.  Three new pots with lids, a skillet and three utensils!

So of course, Christmas morning I had to unpack them and cook some breakfast.  It was a simple affair, because we'd already had something to eat and were headed over to his parents later.  But I did need something more.  So I fried some potatoes. 

We'd also gotten a sushi kit from my sister and her husband, with two kinds of vinegar, soy sauce, pickled ginger, wasabi and nori.  Like I said, breakfast was a simple thing; I fried the potatoes in sushi vinegar and soy sauce.  That was all.  It was so, very good!  I've been using the sushi vinegar and soy sauce on nearly everything since then. 

Thing One just climbed up and lay down in my lap, "I'm here, Mommy,"  he said.  "Tickle Me!"

Merry Christmas!