Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Surviving-the-Fast Feast

I'm sitting in the library, and I'm finally well enough to write.  Sometimes being pregnant isn't very practical.  I do like that there are a bunch of natural remedies for all that I'm having trouble with, and wroth a little searching I've found the stuff that tastes good. 

I like to joke that the reason I get pregnant is so I don't have to fast during Lent.  Now, here I'm going to assume that most of my readers have some understanding of Lent and how Catholics celebrate it--if you are confused please leave a comment and I'll do my best to explain, or get Nick to explain it.   So Ash Wednesday came and I didn't worry too much.  I ended up making macaroni noodles with meat sauce for dinner, but I needed something to eat while it was cooking. 

By some good fortune we had tortillas and mozzarella cheese, and the red sauce I was working on for dinner.  It was so simple.  I mixed a little sauce with some garlic and herbs, and spread it on two tortillas.  Thing One declared he wanted a plain tortilla and wouldn't let me touch his.  That was fine, I could add some toppings then!  I chopped some onions and mushrooms and put them in the microwave with some butter for three minutes.  While that was cooking I grated the cheese,  Thing One helped with that.  Cheesed and topped, I put the pizzas in the oven.  They only took about ten minutes. 

I showed one to Thing One when the pizzas were done, his only response was a very clear, "I don't like mushrooms."  I was turn between shrieking with laughter and indignantly telling him that this one was for Daddy; I can't remember which I actually did. 

I ate mine then, and had pasta later; Nick had his just after midnight when he got home from work.  My idea was that he would have something special waiting for him when the fast was over. 

I must go stop Thing One from destroying the library.  Ciao!
Zizi




Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Snow Days


So, I had every intention of writing a lot last week, and then things sort of fell apart.   On Monday Nick took us out to eat, and just as we were starting, Thing Two fell and hit his head.  So we spent the rest of the day in ER just to make sure there was nothing wrong with him.  Turned out he was fine.  After that, I was sick every other day, so I had much trouble getting up and doing things.  Like cooking, and cleaning.  On the up side though, Thing One has moved on to a new phase in potty training, and it's becoming easier! 

On Saturday we went out and spent a little of the tax money that came in; we all got new toys!  The boys got a set of one-inch Thomas the Tank Engine trains, play mat and storybook.  They've got the Thomas bug in a bad way!  I got a set of watercolors, with tutorial book, watercolor pad and watercolor pencils.  (Last year my Lenten resolutions included completing two watercolors and eating more rice).  I intend to be more productive, in a creative and healthy way, this lent than I am now.  And Nick got a Glock17.  He took his brother to the shooting range for his brother's birthday, and they had much fun with the Glock. 

It snowed on Sunday; it was supposed to be a really big storm dumping snow all over the eastern US.  Apparently it only hit us.  But in twelve hours we got between six and eight inches of snow!  Thing One loved it, and played outside with his youngest aunt until his fingers were blue.  But Grandpa had lit a fire, so coming inside was fun, too. 

I took the boys outside today to play in the snow again, now that it's not still snowing and it's no longer eight inches deep.  It's now barely two inches!  Thing One got stuck climbing a snowbank, and Thing Two discovered he's afraid of snow.  So they played in the puddles instead.  Oh well, at least they had fun; and we made cocoa when we came inside. 

Thing One just ran up to me and very seriously asked, "Mommy, should I take a bath?"  I don't see why not.  And someone please remind me to look for the pictures of the cake I made for Nick's birthday--I want to share that one with you. 

Ciao!
Zizi

Monday, February 13, 2012

Cooking for Kids

I wanted to get something written and up before the weekend actually started so that I wouldn't leave you hanging like I have been on Mondays.  But dinner isn't done yet; I'm making a chicken and rice casserole.  What I did do was sit down on the floor and play with the boys.  Thing One had loudly, and excitedly, announced that he was going to make "toys cookies."  

Every once in a great while I do worry about what effect it has on him to be home with his mother all day long,  but then I see his rampant love for all things motorized, and I don't worry anymore.  Besides, it's good for young men to know how to cook and clean.  It builds character and rounds out the personality, as well as allowing for greater independence later in life.  So, I'm very pleased that Thing One is taking this so seriously, even if he is only playing.    And I'm sorry about the quality, Thing Two tried to help me!

Enjoy!
Zizi

Friday, February 10, 2012

"Improvisation Is a Parlor Trick . . . "

. . . And so long as you're willing to make some mistakes, it's worth it to try improvising.  That's what I did for dinner tonight, again.  I'm recovering slowly this week; and I'm beginning to accept that I'm not as young as I once was.  I'm not old, but I'm not 21 anymore, and this is the third (carried) pregnancy in four years.  So I think I do need to slow down a bit.  Oh well.  Nick has been amazing about helping with the boys and cleaning the house.  And cooking!  He did a wonderful pasta with red sauce the other day--I think he cooked the meat with sour cream, and then added the tomato sauce. 

And Nick cleaned the house today! I had asked him about the possibility of getting a "mother's helper" and he agreed, if we could work out the transportation.  Then he went and made lunch, washed all the dishes in the house, vacuumed the entire floor and changed diapers.  One of the things that he asked was that I start throwing away all of the broken crayons.  I decided that rather than throw them out, I'd get rid of them another way. 


My sister did this, and I didn't really like the look of it until I saw what my friend Katherine did with it.  She did this craft, and added it to the crayon art--the combination of the dark, thick crayon colors and the pastel salts looked wonderful.  So I decided that I'd give it a try.  I took some broken bits of crayon (mostly greens and blues) and taped them randomly on a canvas board, then I applied the hair dryer.  Thing Two was napping, and Thing One was afraid of the dryer, so I think I ended up having the most fun.  I figured that if I held the dryer different ways I could control which direction the crayons flowed.  Mine came out looking more like a splatter-painting than the crayon art, but I like it.  I've still got to figure out what shapes and colors I'll do the salt art in, but the crayon splatter leaves it open to whatever I can think of!

Oh, sorry, this is not a blog about crafting, it's about dinner.  So, I'll stop the craft and child occupation tutorials and move on to what I did for my dinner. 

I was thinking that I'd make French Onion Soup again, but I wanted something with a little more substance (and protein) than just broth.  Thus my improvisation.  I started with the idea of French Onion Soup, and added chopped carrots with the onions.  Then I opened a can of roast beef and gravy and threw it in.  I think I added about 2C water to make it go farther, and so I could throw in a beef bullion cube to enhance the flavor.  I tossed in some chopped mushrooms and let it boil for a few minutes.  And that was it.  Simpler than pie!  I served it with bread that had just come out of the oven, and it was good.  The meat/broth came out slightly sweet, which I found that I liked. 

Hmmm, Thing One is playing "Pick-Up Sticks" with the bendy straws, and threatening to get the broom! 

Ciao!
Zizi

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Banana Pancakes

I was sick over the weekend, so I did no cooking, and no writing.  But I have the most wonderful husband who takes care of me so well.  Neither of us take pictures of each other, or I'd put a picture here of him; so you must make do with a picture of the boys. 

We had our first baby appointment the other day, and got to hear the baby's heartbeat.  It was really hard to find, and when she did find it, it was really soft.  The baby is still little; the midwife said she almost wasn't expecting to hear it at all.  But all is good, and looks healthy. 


I love, LOVE, my dry goods tins, and had to share them;
They came from my mother!
Last night I was well enough to actually wash an handful of dishes and cook something for dinner.  We have been borrowing a movie from the library in which the heroine leaves home and finds she only has enough money to live on pancakes until she can start a business.  Well, there are a lot of pancakes in the movie, and Thing One picks up on odd things like that.  He's been asking for pancakes all week.  I figured this was a good time to make them.  I had one banana left, and banana pancakes with peanut butter sounded really good.  So that's what I did. 


Pancakes

1 egg
1 C flour
3/4 C milk
2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Mix all ingredients until smooth; fry about 1/4C in hot, buttered skillet. 

Banana Pancakes:  Beat in 1 medium banana, cut into 1/4inch pieces, and add 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg. 

I like my pancakes a bit thinner, so I use 1C of milk; and I mashed the banana completely--I don't like burnt banana chuncks. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

French Onion Soup

Random picture of cuteness.  He's starting to look like
his Pappy. . . !
I'm not sure if I've told you about my bread this week, or if I just thought about telling you so much that I forgot that I didn't tell you (which I strongly suspect is the case).  So here is the small story about this weeks bread.  After I'd put all of the ingredients into the pan, I added a generous amount of shredded Cheddar cheese, garlic powder, ground sage and dill.  When I pulled the dough out to shape it, I found that the cheese had all melted while it was rising, so it looks like there is no cheese in it; so sad.  But the garlic and herbs made it smell (and taste) wonderful, and there is a hint of Cheddar in it.  And I decided to make half the dough into knots--instructions here.  With the exception of the cheese, it turned out just like I wanted it to.

The other day I found out that one of my old friends also writes a food blog (in fact, a lot of my friends seem to have food blogs, it's a really popular subject!), and she linked one of her posts on Facebook.  It was about French Onion Soup (read her post here!!), which I love, so of course I looked at it.  Her pictures looked so appetizing, and I could just imagine how it was supposed to taste; I was determined to try it at the first opportunity that I could.  Unfortunately, I was lacking two of the most important ingredients: red wine and cheese.