Saturday, October 22, 2011

Preggy Food!

When I am blessed to be with child, one of the main evidences is always that over half my Facebook posts are about food:
If you don't have a spaetzle press, you need to get one. (Sept. 18)
recovery: subsisting on oatmeal, chicken soup, and frozen mango puree. not bad! (Sept. 21)
in germany we used to eat quark with jam on bread for breakfast. i have found my u.s. equivalent: plain greek yogurt! (Sept. 25)
6:30 pm-- sipping turkish coffee and making waffles for dinner. i love my life! (Sept. 27)
German braided sweet bread loaves, marinated grilled zucchini & fish, green tossed salad, fresh-picked apples in apple pie. Shabbat shalom! (Sept. 30)
best part of the cookie-making process? when it's just butter, sugars, eggs, and vanilla all whipped up into a frenzy. mmmmm. i always steal too much and jack up my recipe's balance. (Oct. 11)
Dang. Rice and beans can be so! Good! And no, I did not add any lard (Oct. 14)
Stuffed french toast for breakfast. Apparently I am not on a diet. (Oct. 15)
I ♥ my pressure cooker! How did I ever manage to cook beans without it?!?! (Oct. 15)
made my own pumpkin latte. and i am FIVE DOLLARS RICHER! (Oct. 16)
Water with lime, bowl of kale chips. Low cal and healthy. And YUM! (and not the kind of "healthy" that most people claim for snacks, like muffins full of sugar, but they are whole wheat. Har har har.) (Oct. 22)

One of the things I tend to really love in early pregnancy is pickles. Pickles pickles pickles. I was shopping at Trader Joe's one evening and well, TRYING to limit myself on the amount of foodstuffs I was buying, but when I got to the register, finding myself way over budget, I had to select some things to take out of my cart. Remove the extra bread, extra carton of eggs, second smoked turkey breast, this olive oil, etc. etc. The cashier said kindly, "You have two jars of pickles, did you mean to get two?" --"YES!" I interjected immediately. "Yes, I need the pickles!" Little did she know...

And really, I don't have weird cravings, like chocolate cake and pickles together. Unless you count pickles on bread with butter. That's not weird, is it? It's normal in Germany!

More things I love during pregnancy:
Potatoes (esp. with mayonnaise)
Potato chips (salt and vinegar anyone?)
Cheese (but that is really anytime, har)
Orange juice
Green olives with cream cheese on toast

Things I don't love in early pregnancy:
Coffee (Sad, sad, sad! Even the smell revolts me! If my husband forgets to close the door when he slips out in the AM to make his coffee, and the smell wafts into the bedroom, oh man...)
Sweet foods (well, they're not horrible, but I would rather have something with vinegar! Like sauerkraut!)
Salad (thought I make myself eat it anyway. I just add pickles!)
Doing anything except for sleeping and loafing around.... sigh.

The fun thing is I am in my 2nd trimester now. Pregnancy heaven. Energy is back, love of coffee is back. I can enjoy cooking again! LOVE. What are your pregnancy cravings?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Vegetarian Dinner

  OK, I wish I had a picture of the meal I am about to describe to you. (Don't you just love food blogs? It's like their contributors all live in lofts with huge windows, where it is perpetually sunny, or they all happen to be trained professional photographers with all the equipment needed to create the right lighting on the spot... and then after taking the time to prepare the food beautifully, set up the lighting, arrange it all, take a photo shoot, etc., we are supposed to believe that they were just making it "for dinner for their family" and that all the hungry hordes were just standing around patiently waiting for all the camera equipment to be done with its job and hauled away from their kitchen table before they began their meal. Hah!) At any rate, when I was finished preparing my meal, it was dark, really dark, and actually my house is always pretty much dark; I'd have to do my food photography outdoors! And I actually AM a professionally trained photographer--ssshhh, don't tell anyone--but sadly without any professional cameras or equipment. Until this moment, I have considered them to be not very useful to my current career! What was I thinking!

     At any rate, the point is, I threw together a delicious meal that was too good not to share in writing, and IT WAS VEGETARIAN. I only know 2 vegetarians, so probably none of the 11 people who will eventually read this even care, but I thought that that factor was quite significant, as the meal was satisfying and filling and tasty, and some carnivores find that hard to achieve without the meat element. The vegetarian's secret? BUTTER. AND CHEESE. Now I don't pretend to know what vegans do. Cause vegan cheese is stinky and gross and made out of questionable components. And vegan butter is more like margarine/plastic. And also made out of questionable components. And a life without butter and cheese is like a life without Christmas and birthdays. But we'll leave the vegans to their own ways and move on.

     The meal: Rice pasta fusilli with butternut squash and garlic-butter brussels sprouts. (Notice that that is a double BS meal!) I did not have this meal all planned out. In fact, I have found that it is more expensive to plan a specific menu with nice meals and try to purchase all necessary ingredients at the store that week, than to have a good sense of basic pantry and fridge staples, a well-stocked spice cupboard, and assortment of that week's affordable fruits and vegetables. And a little creativity, of course. We can go into kitchen staples another time. At any rate, this is how the meal of last night was born.

The pasta: Cooked as normal, tossed with olive oil, set out to be eaten with brussels sprouts, squash, and the following choices: garlic-butter-n-olive-oil, smoked sea salt, cracked pepper, grated cheese (parmesan is always a winner. I didn't have any and used raw cheddar, grated finely), lemon, etc. use your imagination!

The butternut squash (BS): Cut in half and spread with a little butter, roasted cut-side down in a 375-deg. oven for about an hour. Serve in chunks in the pasta, or on the side with either butter and maple syrup, or lemon, salt, and pepper.

The brussels sprouts (BS): About 17 sprouts cleaned and outer leaves removed, stems trimmed, then an X cut into the bottom of each stem. Steamed about 15-20 mins. THEN... cut in half and browned for a few minutes cut side down in a lovely garlic butter (about 3 cloves of garlic, crushed/chopped, cooked on low in about 3 T. butter. I also added some olive oil to the mix because I love the flavor.) Served with the pasta and the remaining garlic butter drizzled over.

     I am telling you: It was so! Good! Even Sparrow devoured her brussels sprouts! Here's to all y'all vegetarians out there who know that the secret of your good cookin' is the same as the famed chefs of France: butter, butter, and more butter. Enjoy!

Ps--This served two adults and two little children. Adjust amounts accordingly.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Of Yogurt and Index Cards

I have just come from scraping a pile of yogurt off the counter with an index card. An index card! Actually, those things are quite useful for scraping kitchen emergencies. I think everyone should have a stack of index cards on their counter. See, some good things DO get discovered through being a bit disorganized! I was pouring myself a nice, demure, healthy little bowl of pre-bedtime yogurt, when suddenly the container slipped and half of it spilled out into a big blob on the counter! (Praise God I have learned to at least wipe my counters clean after every meal--a few years ago, it would have landed on a bunch of old crumbs!) Quickly, I grabbed an index card off a nearby stack (which happened to be there for memorization-verse-writing) and was able to effectively scoop about 97% of it back into the container. I apologize right now to the good bacteria which may get killed because I introduced "bad" bacteria into the container. But we cannot be wasting the precious yogurt.

The point is, it's been one heck of a yogurt-spilling kind of day. I had a gnarly headache after a heavy (albeit delicious) breakfast of stuffed french toast. I have been having this weird sinusy headache thing off and on for weeks now, and it makes it excruciating to bend over; all the pressure that goes to the head is too much, and today it wouldn't go away for hours and hours. After lunch Thomas had mercy on us and took the children to the playground. I started feeling much better. (So wrong!) Later I lost my temper terribly with Golden when she couldn't make up her mind about wanting to go walking with their friends or not, and i just can't believe I still do that! I am obviously inadequate to impart wisdom and the Lord's Word to these children! I long to be a lily, to speak gently all of the time, to overflow with gratitude instead of the festering yuckiness that seems to be just beneath the surface. I want to be lovely to my children, and attractive to be around, not scratchy and prickly, as I tend to get so often, esp. when not feeling great. No wonder Sparrow wants to get out and be with her friends! I have got a lot of work and self-restraint to do (to me!) when it comes to that girl.

In the meantime, we are grateful to be here, thankful to be alive and to have good food on our table, blessed to be pregnant, and blessed to have one another. Let--me--live--it--Lord. Even, *especiallly,* on glob-o-yogurt days.

Silas cuteness

Silas can build a 4-block tower at age 12 mos!!!

He covers his mouth when he coughs or sneezes. i've NEVER seen a baby do that before.

He loves getting physical with his sisters, but hates when they pick him up. Seriously, the other day I was in a desperate situation with all 3 children at Trader Joe's, and we had to use the bathroom. I didn't have Silas' car seat with me, and you can't take the carts into the bathroom. What was I to do? Being as he can't walk yet, I couldn't just put him down! I had to ask Sparrow to hold him. He screamed and bucked the whole time; poor Sparrow was afraid she would drop him! So there ya go, Silas! Learn to walk!

If we read a book, he loves to get right in the middle and roll on our hair or burrow on our book.

Those girls love him! Well, Golden loves to boss him around a lot, shouting "No, Silas!" and generally asserting her superior status as older sister. But when she accidentally hurts him, she does show such compassion and immediately hugs him and says things like, "It's ok, Silas. I'm sorry. It's ok, Mama's here." Lol. Sparrow has found such delight in his little antics, and we laugh about them together. He crawls down the hall first thing in the morning and shouts "WAwO!?" for Sparrow. He often plays with her hair or her face and makes her crack up. If he hits one of them or pulls her hair, we try to teach him "gentle," and show him. He is a really good imitator, so he does it right away.

He has learned to say "up!" (a very useful word for a baby, I might say). So now his words are up to 5! Dada, Hello, Sparrow, Up, and Mama. Or rather, he usually says "mum mum." And it melts my heart! We were trying to teach him for ages, and when he finally could say that sound, we made such a big deal out of it, that now he thinks it is really funny. The way he says it is hilarious, too, with a little mischevious look on his face and his bottom lip held to overlap his top one.

His favorite person ever is Daddy. The other night at prayer meeting he was awake the whole time. When he heard the door open, he said "da!" but it was Emi and Jonathan. Thomas came much later and Silas was STILL awake and sooooo excited. Yeah, he will usually get mad, if Thomas is holding him and tries to pass him off to me!

He is forever taking the pots and pans and tupperware out of my cupboard in the kitchen. It is the one door I am ok with him entering because the contents is relatively benign; however, everything gets strewn in a big mess around my feet, while I am trying to work! And don't you dare try to put the things away again; if he perceives that that is happening, he immediately crawls over to re-do the damage! When he is going about his business like this, with his specific little ideas in his brain, we call it his "important baby work." He can be very opinionated about it.

Silas has never really been sick in his life, isn't that amazing!?! I believe he walks in divine health. He did get goopy eyes and perhaps a bit of a stuffy nose a few weeks ago when all of us were sick, but he barely barely had a touch of it; I was in bed for 8 days! I have got to pray for that kind of health over Sparrow; although she has been doing much better now, than when she was Silas' age.

He is playing well outside now, and the girls have finally learned the fun of playing outdoors as well! Hurrah! They have a few pots and bowls they like to fill with water and dip all the toys they possibly can for baths and what-not. Silas just scoots around and tries to join in, and usually when I go to find him, he is stuffing gravel rocks into his mouth (eye roll). I don't try to prevent him because I think his exposure to germs is somewhat healthy, especially seeing as he has such a good immune system; or is that WHY he has a good immune system? It is hard to know, but I like him to be able to play outside without me having to be there pulling rocks out of his mouth every second. So the rocks stay in. =)

But OH he is such a precious boy, and the other day we were reminded of the preciousness of their life, and the fragility... They were playing out front as usual, but the girls had decided to go to the back of the house for something, and he had followed them. I could hear their voices in the back and yelled at sparrow to go back in front, because Silas couldn't go in the back because of the danger of the fish pond. i was exercising and didn't check. Sparrow had shouted "OK!" and I heard them playing in front again. 5 mins later Thomas came out and said, "Where are the children?" "Playing out front." He looked out front. "Where is Silas?" I shot up from my pilates and lunged out the back door, crying "You are frickin' kidding me!" Thomas arrived at the same time. Stories of all the recent Tucson drownings of little children piercing our heads. I will never forget the sight when we arrived out back: there was Silas, happily sitting on the edge of the fish pond. He turned to look at us with those puppy blue eyes. Alive. ALIVE!!! My baby. I have to be a lot more careful, and train him specifically about the pond as well. He has tried to lower himself into it backward before, but I was right there to prevent any wetness. If he tried that by himself, it would not be a happy scenario. But this time, it was! Relief and joy and giddiness came upon me as well as the heaviness of my grave responsibility. Thank you, Lord!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

September Sagacity

S is 5 yrs old. G is 3. They come up with these bits of wisdom all by themselves.

G: "Mom, could you please not say that, cause I don't want to be mad at you." (where is she getting this from?) -Sept. 1

G: "Mom, can Sparrow have some cinnamon roll too, when her attitude is over?" -Sept. 1

G: "Mom, you drawed on your eyes. Why did you do that?"
me: "It's eyeliner. I think it's pretty."
G: "I don't want you to do that, cause I might get mad. And I don't want you to do that again, cause I might get mad again." (apparently she puts a lot of stock in the effect of her getting mad. all false illusion!) -Sept. 1

G: "Mom, why do people say 'poo poo' if you put hot sauce on their tongue?" (hahahaha, oh no, my dear, it is actually the other way around... the fact that she didn't get the order of it brings into question the effectiveness of the consequence...) -Sept. 1

Sp. watching me do Pilates: "Mama, Pilates aren't very appropriate." -Sept. 3

Sp: "Father, he screwed our heads on really tight, ya know what I mean? Not the Father who lives in our house. ...Actually, God lives in our house too!" -Sept. 8

G: "Why does Silas have a mickey meow on his shirt?"
me: "I don't know."
G: "Maybe the police officer gave it to him."
me: "Which police officer?"
G: "The pink one." (ah... of course.)  -Sept. 11

G: "Mom, in school you have to change your socks, and then some people try to get in, but the door is locked."
me: "Who told you that?"
G: "My grand old sister did it." -Sept. 11

G: "Maybe, in California, you could have a pink horse, for your birthday, and it could walk like this--like a spider." -Sept. 16

(Actually, Golden in general has gotten this idea into her head that your birthday is the time to have your every earthly wish fulfilled. Whenever her sister complains about anything, desires anything, laments anything, Golden always says, "Don't worry. On your birthday you can have it." Er... I guess I've been getting her really good birthday presents? It's good she can appreciate a cotton quilt and a coloring book so darn much!)

(me fantasizing about visiting Germany, & going on an airplane.)
G: "But mom, are there lids?"
me: "On what?"
G: "Are there LIDS? On the airplanes."
me: "Yes. Airplanes have lids."
G: "Yeah, and you have to hold on to the bars soooo tight, so you don't fall off." -Sept. 20

G: "What are THOSE?!?!"
me, chuckling: "It's called a bra."
G, amused: "You look funny! They're like glasses." -Sept. 26

G, singing basically in ascending scales, with a serious face and demeanor: "You can have my life until you have happiness, and you gave my life again..." (it went on and on with the same basic theme.) -Sept. 27

G: "I'm a housekeeper."
me: "What's a housekeeper?"
G: "A housekeeper is a fireman." -Sept. 30