Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Nineteen months

Everyone who has two children close in age: I think I can say with confidence that when your second
reaches about a year and a half, things start getting easier. I am cooking again! Not every day, and certainly nothing fancy, but it is happening. Sometimes I even can do it without holding a 27 lb toddler! I am grateful for small miracles.
Look how civilized dinner cooking is! One in the learning tower, one watching TV.

One of the lovely things about living in a large metro area again is the delivery possibilities. Of course, take-out is close at hand (thank you but also now I can get my farm share delivered! It is a little more expensive, but sometime between midnight and 7 am on Tuesday mornings, my vegetables, fruit, eggs and bread show up in a cooler bag. I just love this service.

Strawberries roasting
So, now I have lots of things in my fridge to use creatively, I'm trying some new things. I roasted strawberries last week. I made lemon curd after receiving it as a hostess gift and proceeded to hand it out as teacher and hostess gifts myself. (And I mix it into Greek yogurt with delicious results.) I made this simple roast with only three ingredients! And I went back to an old favorite, Mexican quinoa casserole, and brought some to a sick friend.

Sometimes I still have a barnacle while I cook. And I'm sweaty and tired.
Connor continues to be my picky eater. On his list of no-nos are the entire category of fruit, milk, yogurt, and even ice cream. In an effort to get cheese and milk into him, I've quit even the Annie's mac and cheese and started making my own from scratch. It is so easy. I promise. I boil some macaroni noodles, and put them to the side. And then I melt a tablespoon or two of butter, and add a little flour until it is golden. Throw some milk (or half and half for my skinny boy) into it, and then add whatever cheese I have in the fridge. The kids love it and I feel so good for not putting preservatives into them.

Speaking of dairy, I have been embracing Kerrygold butter kept at room temperature in a butter keeper. I love it on my toast or roll in the morning. Yes, I know I should be eating chia seeds in Greek yogurt or whatever, but I just love a carb with my coffee in the morning. And speaking of coffee, the other day I ran out of half & half, and I had to put 1% milk in my coffee. I won't let that happen again anytime soon. Full fat dairy is worth every single calorie.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

New state, new home, new start

And, just like that, months pass us by. Since I last updated, we packed up our home in Memphis and moved to Virginia, to a suburb just outside of Washington D.C. As one would predict, moving cross country, over Christmas, with two toddlers, was nothing short of pandemonium.

Two of my favorite three year olds in the learning tower. 
Claire has started to develop an interest in cooking and it makes me so happy. We bought a learning tower, and she pretty much lives in it while I am in the kitchen. I really hesitated on this purchase because of price, but if we are going to calculate cost per use, then I can tell you that this item was a bargain compared to some of the toys I've purchased that were played with once. She loves to mix, pour and ask a lot of questions.

The only cooking Connor enjoys
Connor, on the other hand, really has enjoyed screaming during dinner preparation, and that has only gotten better in the last couple weeks when I can let them out on the deck to play while I prepare meals. As most toddler parents would agree, dinner prep went from a pleasant ritual of my day to one of the most stressful. I relied heavily on freezer meals (always making double of a meal so I have a meal for another day), prepared frozen food, wearing him in a backpack while I cooked.

Needless to say, gourmet meals out of our kitchen have been few and far between. I flip through my cookbooks wistfully and regularly and know that one day my kids will be too busy playing to even think about what I'm doing in the kitchen, and I'll miss then, but for now, it is a careful project best done earlier in the day.

So, I bought the Slow Cooker Revolution Easy Prep cookbook and I've been using it a lot. Connor is much more patient with meal prep earlier in the day. There is an apricot chicken in there that is lovely.

Connor has ended up being a picky eater. So, sometimes in lieu of making dinner, I make a muffin or bread that has all sorts of veggies hidden in there. Pinterest is great for this kind of stuff. He won't drink milk, eat yogurt, eat fruit, the list goes on. These veggie packed muffins turned out really well and I did a lot of substitutions. You know you are a mom when you are baking broccoli into muffins in your very limited spare time.

I did discover a local Asian grocery store here where I walked in and the smells of Singapore hit me hard. I proceeded to then purchase about 12 different fun frozen items like dumplings and Korean rice cakes for added easy prep meals. Connor LOVED the frozen dumplings that I found there.

My biggest discovery this spring was finding out that my garlic press is apparently a fancy one and I don't need to peel the garlic before pressing it. WHO KNEW? It was a life changing discovery. Here it is.

I'd like to think I'm back to cooking! I have a big kitchen, kids that are getting older and self-entertaining better and I have more ideas on how to cook with two little ones around.

Happy spring!

Monday, December 1, 2014


We are currently in the throes of organizing a cross-country move with two small children, two dogs, and a husband who already lives in Washington DC.

I have stopped cooking altogether, for the time being. The houses we are looking at all seem to have lovely kitchens and I am very excited to return to the stove again.

I didn't realize how much meal preparation was part of my identity until I had to remove it from the daily agenda in the interest of time and keeping the house permanently clean for real estate showings. For a while, I was like, LOOK at all these frozen/take-out/ready-made options. WHY DO I COOK?

I read this article too, and it kind of depressed me. Not that I work.

And then after a couple of weeks I realized that my own chicken tikka masala/lobster risotto/steak fajita concoctions are just so much better because they are made from scratch, to my liking, to my tastes and without the use of preservatives or mass-produced shortcuts. Eating is SO GOOD. It is too bad there are so many poor imitations of lovely recipes out there.

I will return in 2015 with a new enthusiasm for cooking for my family and hopefully lots of new friends in the Northern Virginia area.

Til then, happy holidays!
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