Friday, January 30, 2009
But sometimes you just need something a bit more airtight.
Shower caps are the perfect solution.
They are a bit sturdier than plastic wrap without that irritating static cling factor, making them easily hand-washable, and the elastic band helps them seal against a number of sizes and shapes.
They are my favorite for popping over a bowl of rising bread.
My husband goes on a number of business trips a year, and I always remind him to bring home the complimentary shower caps for me to use in the kitchen...
So save some disposable plastic and cover things the old fashioned way.
For more Thrifty Green Thursday ideas, check out the Green Baby Guide by clicking here.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Monday, January 26, 2009
This recipe is from my ancient copy of Jane Brody's Good Food Book. (Obviously, it is older than the carbs-are-bad-craze.) I have found a number of fantastic recipes in it, including her Orange-Carrot Bread (p.571)
But, the recipe does make 2 loaves if you just can't wait :-)
At 10 months, the story is still pretty much the same.
He does not crawl, pull-up on things, scoot, cruise, or regularly roll over.... He does like to stand up and practice balancing by holding on to something, but we have to get him into that position.
He still doesn't like to be on his stomach, so we were surprised when we went to pick him up from the nursery to find him happily playing with toys while lying on his stomach. I commented on it, and the nursery worker said he'd been like that for a while and was scooting (minimally) from side to side and turning himself around! Amazing.
And look what he did this morning: This is major milestone development here...
And then he started screaming because he was stuck.
My amazing husband is planning to go to work extra early this week in order to put in some overtime without having to cut in to our evenings together. This means he's waking up before 5 am, and leaving for work shortly afterward. He really is a stud muffin.
To make his morning routine as quick as possible and never one to forgo breakfast, he decided that we should make a week's worth of oatmeal to have in the fridge so all he needs to do is scoop and microwave.
So last night I made all 5 morning's worth of oatmeal (he usually eats 2 servings...) in a giant stockpot:
That's 5 cups of rolled oats, 11 cups of water, 1 tablespoon of cinnamon, 6 tablespoons of brown sugar, and 1/2 a cup of raisins.
When it was all finished and we poured it into a crock to keep in the fridge (and also a backup storage bowl because the crock was too small), we were both shocked to see just how much oatmeal he eats a week. Pretty amazing.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
I have a few pictures in mind. What do you think?
We bundled Liam up and started a fire. We all had a great time, but no one more than Liam. This boy loves the outdoors. I wonder where he gets that from?
Thursday, January 22, 2009
To use, just add 3-4 tablespoons per mug of hot water. Stir well and savor.
Here's another green tip: wash and reuse your mug throughout the day. It's such an obvious thing, but if I'm honest I'll admit that there have been days I've gone through 3 or 4 by evening.
Here's my favorite mug. Somehow every drink tastes better in it - I've already begun to try and mentally prepare myself for the day Liam breaks it. It will happen. I just know it.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp — praise song for walking forward in that light.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Sunday, January 18, 2009
He took it all in from his own special seat. Don't worry, he doesn't pull up on things yet, and I was right beside the sink the whole time. He loved it.
Liam has been giving us this look a lot lately, where he lowers his head and peers at us from under his eyebrows. Sometimes, it's a little frightening. So serious. So mischievous.
Friday, January 16, 2009
In the mail today, I received a birthday package from my mom and a card from Crystal. My mom sent a replacement merino wool sweater (the one she gave me for Chrsitmas went through the hot washer and dryer the next day), eco-friendly dish towels, and the comfiest lounge pants I have ever worn, which of course are made of green materials and I'm wearing them right now.
Crystal's card is handmade and beautiful, and it is the nicest thing anyone has ever written for me.
Sometimes you just need to feel extra loved. Right now I do.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Monday, January 12, 2009
Yesterday, that is exactly what Gabriel and I did.
Our favorite mail-order seed company is Seeds of Change, an exclusively organic seed company which emphasizes the importance of biodiversity while still continually working to develop the best varieties.
We also will be ordering from Gardens Alive!, which offers not only organic seeds, but also a good selection of fruiting trees and shrubs along with a variety of organic fertilizers and pest remedies. One year, I ordered their sea fertilizer. It worked fantastic, but all of that algae and fish manure made my garden smell like Sea World. They also have a $25-off coupon...
This year, we're planning to try and eke even more out of our garden, working really hard at maintaing succession plantings as well as rotating the crops in each bed based on the season. Also, we're planing to try undersowing cover crops beneath our tomatoes and corn (to boost the soil's nutrition, and also as a fun experiment). We're using Eliot Coleman's Four-Season Harvest as a guide.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Liam's newest thing is waving hello/goodbye and saying "bye bye." This is his first word, even before Mama or Dada. I tell myself it is because he is really good at making the "b" sound. Everywhere we go, Liam waves at all the people passing by. He also waves at things he wants or doesn't want. It really has opened up alot of communicative possibilities. So, I suppose "bye bye" isn't such a bad first word...
Here he is waving and saying "bye bye, "but it isn't his most articulate moment. You still can get the idea, though.
Friday, January 9, 2009
It's this fabulous loaf of bread, so named because it is "studded" with bits of gorgonzola cheese and infused with pecorino romano cheese. Yes, it was delicious, and, yes, it's already gone.
The recipe came from my new cookbook, The Bread Bible (a Christmas present). It took a ridiculous amount of time to make. First, you make a sponge (soft dough), which sits on the counter overnight to develop the yeast and thus the flavor; the next morning, you make the dough by adding the remaining ingredients to the sponge, which then goes into the fridge for another 24 hours; finally, you shape it into a ball, put it in the souffle dish, and allow it to rise for 4 hours. It took another hour to bake. But, every scrumptious bite was worth all that work.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
One of my favorite crafty things to do has been to make the pruned branches from our yard into home decorations. Not only does it give the branches a new life, but they are natural decorations that don't have a shelf life - they look good indefinitely.
Here are a few of our past creations. Some are easier than others, but none of them were particularly difficult to make.
This is Barnaby, the porch reindeer and watch dog. For Christmas, he sported a jingle bell. In the spring and summer, he'll be moved to the backyard to keep an eye on the garden.
Gabriel made him in an afternoon and had a ridiculously good time. Barnaby is made from hickory and wild cherry.
Perhaps the easiest decoration, but also one of my favorites, is my bucket of branches. Gabriel really doesn't like them since he tends to get caught on them. I have never had that problem. And they look so nice. However, once Liam finally learns to crawl, they'll have to go elsewhere.
This coat rack is Gabriel's latest creation, which also only took only an afternoon. It is made from wild cherry.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Here they are together. Liam still isn't pulling up on things, but he balances really well when we prop him up.
I made Grace these pants for Christmas out of a recycled sweater.
I made Carolyn a Mei Tai wrap to carry Grace around in. It turned out really nice and Grace eventually learned that it is great for snuggling.
While Carolyn and I stayed busy cooking, taking care of the little ones and sewing the new carrier, the guys won a number of levels of Super Maryo (a free internet knockoff of the original). Apparently, it was really exciting :-)
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Lately, Liam has been particular about his foods. Not that he is picky about what he does and doesn't like to eat. He likes just about everything. No, the problem is that he has a particular food in mind, and when I give him something different he gets angry. Often, this turns into a guessing game of which food my 9-month old is thinking of at the moment. I know, I know, I shouldn't give into his demands. He should eat what's served. Right? Well, at the same time I want him to learn that food is good, and I don't want to turn him off to trying new things by forcing him when he is unwilling.
So, enter the lentils and sweet potato fries. He has had the fries before. The last time, he threw them on the floor and handed my second try to Dahlia, who knows where to patiently wait beside his high chair. This time, however, he gladly snatched the fry from my hand and shoved it into his mouth. I could hardly keep them coming fast enough.
Then it was time to try the lentils. I scooped some onto his little bamboo spoon (I thought about letting him try a bite of the sandwich, like Mama and Daddy, but then opted for the less messy option...). When I moved it toward his mouth, he began waving his arms excitedly and his mouth popped open. I gave him the lentils. He tested them in his mouth for a few seconds, and then chomped ferociously, demanding more, and then more and more again. He ate a good serving of it.
Apparently, Liam loves sloppy lentils. Maybe you will, too.
The original recipe is from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker, but I often make it on the stove top when I forget to get it going in the morning...
I actually prefer the red lentils for this recipe, but you could also use the small French puy lentils or make it with the brown as the recipe directs.
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium-sized yellow (or red) onion, chopped
1 small red or green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 clove garlic, minced (my addition)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 1/2 cups dried brown lentils, picked over and rinsed
One 14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes (I use Muir Glen's Fire Roasted, mmm...)
3 cups water
2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
1 tbsp prepared mustard
1 tbsp sweetener (honey, brown sugar, sucanat, agave... your choice)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1.Heat the oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper; cover, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and chili powder, stirring to coat. Cook 1 minute longer.
2.Transfer the onion mixture to a 3.5 - 4 quart slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
Stove top variation:
1. Follow step one as above, but do so in a large saucepan, or, better yet, in a dutch oven.
2. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes, or until lentils are tender, stirring occasionally.
Serve on hamburger buns for a yummy and messy meal, which we often eat with a fork in hand. Serve with sweet potato oven fries.
I haven't really written much of anything since JBU. Partly because I was just weary of the mental effort. Partly because I am lazy. But mostly it has been just an inexplicable mental avoidance.
I suppose a lot of it has to do with the shift in my roles: from full-time academic to full-time Mom. I love both lives, but I haven't really tried to merge the two. I earnestly love staying at home with Liam. I find it entirely fulfilling. I love everything domestic (well, I don't really like housecleaning...). I am content at home with my son, my knitting, my garden, my cooking. It is a fantastic life. One which I enjoy even more than school.
But still, I know I need to be writing. So here I will attempt to chronicle the going-ons of a homemaker. Journaling has never been my strong suit, but I will make a go of it.
So here we go.
Daphne was excited to see me and Gabriel, but she was not happy to see Dahlia. She obviously loves being a California dog!
Happy 50th birthday, Papa!
After the beach we went out for lunch at Jalisco's, a yummy Mexican restaurant. The moment we walked in the door, Liam projectile vomited all over himself, Molly, and straight onto the floor next to some poor diner's table... It was very gross.