Thursday, September 29, 2011

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Blerg.

Isn't that what Liz Lemon says? Or is it Liz Lemon impersonating Cathy?

Today was a wash. My only accomplishment was dinner; a tomatillo chicken enchilada casserole, low on cheese so fairly healthy with a side of black beans. Millie spent the day at my heels, arms extended, whining to be held. Here are some random thoughts since I'm just not feeling creative:

Back when she tolerated sunglasses.


I can't decide on Millie's Halloween costume. I've been planning on a lumberjack for some time complete with flannel shirt, bushy red hair and beard, but I know she'll rip the beard off immediately and then she'd just look like Pat from SNL or something.

I went to WinCo pretty early this morning and for the first time ever it wasn't crowded. I was proud of myself for the new shopping plan since Millie can only handle so much time in a cart. Then I looked around and noticed that of the people there, about 90% of them were women with babies. I guess I'm not the only one who thinks ahead.

Speaking of WinCo, Leonard and I saw a man once eating literally 1/2 an entire fried chicken while he shopped. My hand was itching for the camera on my cell phone but I refrained.

I had a patient yell at me the other day for not prescribing narcotics. Before entering the room I took a few deep breaths and planned what I was going to say, though it wouldn't have mattered anyway. After three years of this job I've tried to develop a thick skin but being screamed at still affects me. I later coped by nursing my baby while watching a Jane Austen inspired made-for-TV movie.

I've developed a late night second wind. After Millie goes to bed I'm zapped but by 10 p.m. I feel pretty good. When I start to think of all the things I could be doing that would take 1/5 of the time it would when my girl is awake, I get going. Tonight I made a huge bowl of salsa, the ingredients straight from my garden. This would have been an accomplishment except that I originally intended to preserve the salsa until I realized in order to do that I'd have to let other daily tasks slack which I didn't want to do. Coming to that decision was both disappointing and liberating.

I'm glad the Internet didn't exist when I was 12. If the Internet would have existed then I surely would have had a blog, and let's face it, I was odd at 12. And since they say nothing is ever truly deleted from the Internet, I'd have a permanent reminder of my weirdness. Though maybe I'll be feeling those sentiments reading this post at age 50.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

When Komodo Dragons Attack

Millie had quite the encounter with a komodo dragon at the Boise Zoo this past Labor Day. Thank goodness for plexiglass, though I'm sure our girl could hold her own with her grunting, screeching, and eyeball grasping skills.









My favorite pic of the day:



Monday, September 26, 2011

Oat Cakes


These oat cakes are a recent favorite of ours. I found this recipe while searching for baked oatmeal as Millie was no longer interested in being spoon fed. The recipe book they come from focuses on natural foods and the oat cakes' ingredients like coconut oil and maple syrup reflect that. They contain some super healthy ingredients; about 1/4 cup rolled oats apiece as well as whole wheat pastry flour, flax seeds, and walnuts. The maple syrup gives them an earthy kind of sweetness. These oat cakes are quite filling and I like to eat one mid-afternoon when I typically get rather snack happy. This recipe has sold me on the book and I'll be ordering it soon.

Oat Cakes
From Super Natural Every Day: Well-Loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen
by Heidi Swanson

3 cups rolled oats
2 cups spelt flour or whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
2 teaspoons fine-grain sea salt
1/4 cup 45 g flax seeds
3/4 cup chopped walnuts, lightly toasted
1/3 cup extra-virgin coconut oil
1/3 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup natural cane sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 325°F / 160°C with a rack in the top third of the oven. Butter a standard 12-cup muffin pan.

Combine the oats, flour, baking powder, salt, flax seeds, and walnuts in a large mixing bowl.

In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine the coconut oil, butter, maple syrup, and sugar and slowly melt together. Stir just until the butter melts and sugar has dissolved, but don’t let the mixture get too hot. You don’t want it to cook the eggs on contact in the next step.

Pour the coconut oil mixture over the oat mixture. Stir a bit with a fork, add the eggs, and stir again until everything comes together into a wet dough. Spoon the dough into the muffin cups, nearly filling them.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the edges of each oatcake are deeply golden. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for a couple minutes. Then, run a knife around the edges of the cakes and tip them out onto a cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

makes 12 oat cakes

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Fixin' To

Leonard and I love the show Hoarders. It's shocking to see homes full to the brim with stuff, most of it useless but nonetheless invaluable to the troubled homeowner. I've certainly got my own problems but it makes me feel good to know that hoarding is not one of them. At least that's what I thought until a recent episode. The crew was helping a man whose yard was full of junk, mostly machinery and old cars. The man insisted he had big plans for each item. The professional organizer hired to help the man referred to him as a "fixin' to" hoarder, meaning that he had an impossible amount of projects he was "fixin' to get to" but that he would never be able to finish. I'm afraid I started to see a bit of myself in that old man hoarder. Between sewing, home decorating, gardening, cooking, and just general home improvement, I've got countless projects on my mind. Admitting the problem is the first step, so there you have it.

Here's a sneak peek of two such sewing projects I'm working on:


I'll blog about them when they're done. If there is never a post that corresponds with the above supplies, just know that in about 20 years you can find me living in squalor beneath a pile of fabric and patterns, my sewing machine dusty but my mind actively planning.

Friday, September 23, 2011

And now back to Leonard...

Our first photo together early in courtship. I put a barrette in Leonard's hair to match my own feminine short locks. The chick on the left was flirting up a storm with him that night. Sorry lady, twinsy hairstyles wins every time

I married my twin:

We scored the same on our high school ACTs.

We went to the same University and Master's Program and have the same profession working at the same clinic.

We both have nerdy/advanced senses of humor - I'm still chuckling at Leonard's comment of "I'll bet he's got all dominant genes" during our Sunday School lesson about the physical attributes of God.

We both think snuggle-napping is the perfect cure for any problem.


I married my opposite:

His phone has numerous apps and is always near his side so he can keep updated on his techy blogs. I use mine to call other people and I have no idea where it is currently.

I'm constantly throwing things out, organizing and reorganizing our possessions. Leonard would be a hoarder if I allowed it.

Leonard has zero tolerance for anything gooey, crumbly, or smeary on his hands or face. I eat the outer chocolate layer of a 3 Musketeers bar first, my fingers covered in sticky delicious nougat when I'm done. I may or may not lick them clean.

I love baths. Leonard considers them "soaking in my own filth."

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Beanie Baby

Thanks to our girl, Leonard and I are eating our legumes. It started with a simple and easy chickpea salad recipe I got hooked on from Bon Appetit magazine when she was starting finger foods. We gave her some of the chickpeas to try and she loved them. She's since proven her appetite for pretty much any bean: kidney, black, pinto, black eyed peas, you name it. We've since incorporated more beans into our diet and here are some of our favorite recipes:

photo via Bon Appetit

I rarely read articles from cooking magazines, I mostly just dream about the recipes. But I did read the associated article and it has convinced me to shoot for quality ingredients, even when they come from a can.

Here's a simple recipe for healthy crock pot refried beans. It calls for pinto beans but I made it with black beans and it was a success. These also freeze well which is nice. I've never been big on crock pot meals, in fact, I'll admit I've turned my nose down at them a time or two. I've now learned the error of my ways and I'm appreciating my crock pot and am using it more.


Cowboy Caviar
I loved this one. I'd never heard of Cowboy Caviar until a co-worker brought some into work from the Boise Co-Op. It's basically a bean and corn salsa and it's delicious. We'll be making this in the winter when fresh tomatoes aren't available. I copied down the ingredients from the container and pretty much added as much of each ingredient I felt was appropriate. There are lots of recipes for Cowboy Caviar online. I really liked the apple cider vinegar in this one.
Ingredients: Black Beans, Corn, Black Eyed Peas, Pinto Beans, Onions, Cider Vinegar, Bell Peppers, Cilantro, Vegetable Oil, Salt

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Bovine Sugar Fest

Tonight was "Standards Night" for Young Women's. I offered to bring dessert and since the budget was more than usual, I went with the night's cow theme and made a dessert table similar to last year's. The table included cow cake pops, french macaroons, mini cupcakes, oreos, and vanilla punch.

Tired of dealing with hiding styrofoam in deep dishes to hold the pops, I nicely asked Leonard to drill holes in a random piece of wood we had lying around. It worked great.

Here's the table with the typical church backdrop of folding chairs. These pictures aren't great. Taking pictures of your own stuff in front of other people is embarrassing.
p.s. the tablecloth was not my idea, I was going for 'mod black and white cow'
p.p.s. i feel really lame that I just clarified that


The vanilla punch was a hit with the 12 year olds. Thanks to the Internet, I emptied out bottles of Starbucks Frappachino and used them as makeshift milk bottles. Afterwards I discretely gathered them up to be reused for future parties, though I felt like a lady shoving crackers into her purse at the buffet line.

Afterward I told Leonard, "why didn't I just make a plate of brownies and leave it at that?" Though I'm pretty sure I said that last time, and I'll probably say it next time too.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Brown

Brown hair.

Barefoot in garage = brown baby feet

Chocolate brown mini cupcakes for tomorrow's Young Women's activity.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sunset

Continuing the tradition.

Today I drove to my parent's house to pick up Millie after work. The sun is low in the sky and it's only a matter of time before the magnificent sunset the high desert silhouette will inevitably produce. I stay as long as I think Millie will last before a past-her-bedtime meltdown. By the time we're readying to leave, the horizon is a purply glow.

"Megan, look at the clouds" my dad says, pointing at the wispy, almost fuschia colored clouds in the distance. "They look like they've been painted on with a brush," I reply. And then I smile, because the conversation is almost predictable. Since I was a child my dad has been commenting on sunsets. He'd stop and point out the colors while walking into the house from the car on a cold winter evening. The reverence he'd use would make everyone pause and absorb the scene despite the weather, until one by one we'd retreat while he lingered a little while longer. On a quiet fall evening he'd call me to the porch, the door wide open, "Megan, come look at this." A spring break home from college, our house full of rowdy teenagers, I'd see him looking out the window and hear him barely audible above the crowd, "What a sunset!"

I'm always disappointed when I spot a sunset and my company doesn't seem impressed. "Look at that," I'll say and make some comment about the colors or shapes. If they give only a murmur of agreement or simply change the subject, I'm almost offended. From my upbringing, sunsets were meant to be revered, enjoyed for the moment because they'll soon be gone and there will no longer be an identical one to take its place.

I say goodbye to my parents after putting my back arching baby into the car. I watch in my rearview mirror as the sunset change hues and intensity until there is only darkness. And I realize that just as my dad can't help but comment on a sunset, I'll never see one and not think of him.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Jaunt to the Past

On Skype with Grandma Irene as I cook dinner

I overdid it on dinner tonight, though it was delicious to be sure. Lebanese Turkey Stuffed Eggplant with Tabbouleh on the side, many of the ingredients fresh from my garden. Since going part-time I've made it a goal to cook about 4 homemade dinners a week, focusing on easy to prepare, healthy but interesting meals. Unfortunately, tonight's dinner took longer than I had expected. By the time we're done eating, Leonard and I crash on the couch, me exhausted from hours of cooking, him from hours of Millie tending. Soon we would have to start Bedtime Routine and then clean up the kitchen. But as often happens when we want to relax, Millie continues to explore every inch of this house. This time I hear her entering our bedroom. "Is the bathroom door closed?" I ask. "Yes, I made sure" he answers. But still there's the low bedside tables for her to climb on, among other dangers. "Where's Millie?" he cries in a sing-song voice that fakes playfulness through his fatigue. He then turns to me. "Can you imagine if we could go back before she was born? Just for like a day or two?"

We talk about it with the same eagerness of two starving people discussing their favorite foods. The extra time. Weekends sleeping in. Sunday naps. Dates. No schedule, plans made on a whim. Leaving the house without gathering a bag of necessities and just-in-cases. Visiting friends without following her around, taking breakables and choke-sized knick knacks out of her hands as she roams. It seems heavenly, and we laugh and muse at the thought.

We hear her walk back into the room; as always she's fallen for his hide and seek trick, and when she rounds the corner we see her pulling a comb through what little hair she has. She proceeds to try out the comb on me and then her dad, testing the resistance and giggling at the whole experience. Leonard and I look at each other and shake our heads like we always do when her antics are too cute for words.

I decide that I wouldn't like our pre-Millie visit for the same reason I would never want to win the lottery. It would have it's perks to be sure, but soon I'd be so overwhelmed with what was missing that I would no longer enjoy them. In the case of the lottery, the satisfaction and self-esteem that comes from building a home, a life, a career on our own hard work. And in the case of the other, a curious little being that, though exhausting, has enriched our lives more than I think we'll ever know.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Blog Limbo


I'm in blog limbo. And not in the really cool bend backwards under the broomstick kind of way. Life has changed, and so has this blog. I'm busier after having a baby than I expected and though I frequently come up with ideas for new posts (typically while cleaning for some reason), I rarely write them down. I definitely want to keep blogging, I'm just not sure what angle or tone this blog should have. To help solve my dilemma, I've decided to post every day for the next month. That's right. So far I've blogged about 100 posts and in the next month I'm going to increase that number by 130%. I know this for certain because I just calculated it. Maybe after so much forced writing I'll figure this whole thing out, though with daily posting don't expect top quality!

Thursday, September 01, 2011