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Jazzy now has three teeth, having just cut his upper left incisor.

And today I tried making an icebox cake for the first time. Basically just alternating layers of whipped cream, graham crackers, and sliced strawberries, chilled in the fridge for a few hours. I was slightly dubious. We were all slightly dubious. It rocked, the moisture in the whipped cream transforming the graham crackers into a perfect cake-like texture. Definitely a keeper recipe! I've seen a variant with layers of pudding replacing some of the shipped cream. I may have to try that next time....
sakon76: (Sakon)
So y'all remember when, a few months ago, we had to rush Squiddle to the emergency room because he'd managed to get into our pill case and one of Wonderful Husband's medications was missing?

Guess what I found half-hidden under the refrigerator yesterday.

Still, as my mother put it, at least it was a good wake-up call for us.

In other news, the dining table is covered with things to be transported to my parents' in a little bit. Pies and cornbread and quiche and cranberries and whipped cream, oh my!
sakon76: (Sakon)
It's apparently National Blueberry Pie Day. Which was a thing I didn't know we had, and which I fully support. This morning I mentioned this to my husband, and told him that I didn't think there were enough blueberries on the one currently producing bush to make a pie. There's like a double handful of ripe ones this year - I'm spacing them out to better savor them. Squiddle and myself and whoever else is around get one or two each morning.

So on the way home from my Stroller-Striders-walk-that-wasn't, I stopped at the store and got frozen blueberries. And, as one does, turned them into a pie.

Wonderful Husband does not know there is pie. :) I look forward to surprising him.

And, completely unknowing anything about Blueberry Pie Day, last night I'd written in my planner for today to plant another blueberry bush. I splurged and potted up two instead. Only three more to go! (I need to get more potting soil first.) Then I shall have eight blueberry bushes dotted around the kitchen garden, hopefully giving more and more fruit each year.
sakon76: (Sakon)
Slowly getting back into routine. (Which still, unfortunately, involves waking up too early. I am just trusting that will work itself out over time, for all three of us.)

Since we were going to miss the first three weeks of classes for this term at the community college and city programs, we didn't sign up for some of them. No Monday yoga, no Saturday morning belly dance for me and gymnastics for Squiddle. It's been sort of relaxing, really, to only have four classes on our family schedule. And after my first couple days of frantically making the front yard and garden beds look, well, not abandoned, I've eased off on what I'm trying to accomplish each day.

(Wonderful Husband has, several times in the past, accused me of overloading my to-do list. He is correct about this tendency.)

Today's to-do list included a CostCo run, watering the kitchen garden and my potted plants, baking bread, and de-cat-hairing the sofa. All this has gotten done. Dishes are washed and the dry ones put away. I'm nudging at the kitchen over the next couple days because I'm at a point where I look around the house, and though there's space, there's clutter. I figure if I try to tackle one room each week, maybe I'll be able to make headway.

And as part of trying to slow down, I'm trying to cook more. Last night I tried a recipe from one of the Jamie Oliver books I brought back from the UK. It was... okay. The steamed coconut buns didn't turn out, but I later figured out why - the dough was too wet. The hoisin mushroom and chicken mixture was okay. The cucumber "pickle" needed something more, but I haven't yet figured out what. Tonight's meal is going to be simpler, and more familiar. Grilled bratwurst, homemade sauerkraut, and probably rice pilaf from a package. Wednesday dinners tend to be fast and simple, as I have writing class tonight.

For just now, however, I'm going to get a refill of my tea, and go lie down next to the napping Squiddle.
sakon76: (Sakon)
I suppose anyone who cooks has a fallback recipe or three. Something ground into your bones by sheer repetition, something you don't need to look up in a cookbook, something you could almost make while half asleep. A couple of mine are sunflower seed bread (caveat: in the bread machine), miso soup, roast chicken, and sauerkraut. Homemade sauerkraut is a completely different animal than the tinned stuff I bought at the store all my life. And it's dead simple. All it takes is cabbage, salt, and a bit of time.

I'm upping my lacto-fermentation game a little this month, though, by drowning a bunch of peeled garlic in brine, and seeing what happens to it. Now, I've inherited my family's brined cucumber pickles recipe, which I make now and again, and have finally realized that the primary thing I smell when making it is the garlic fermenting! But a whole jar of garlic is a hell of a lot more powerful than a couple cloves. Though my ferments are kept behind a closed cupboard door, this one still scents the kitchen quite well. I think if I like the results and desire to make it more frequently, I have to figure out a way to do so outdoors. Maybe something like a pie safe....

Also, tonight I upped my game a little by (for the first time ever) roasting a duck. I live in an area blessed with many ethnic supermarkets, and an Asian market a couple miles away has duck for $3/lb. So when a recipe pinged across my Tumblr radar, I purchased one and gave it a go. Success! Hooray. ^_^

Lull

Apr. 13th, 2015 09:42 pm
sakon76: (Sakon)
Two days of productivity followed by two days of little to no energy. Thus is balance maintained? Haven't even been able to write, so not submitting any pages to class this week.

Made chili for dinner tonight. I was surprised when the Squiddle ate whole the small bowlful I gave him as an experiment. Don't know why I was surprised, though - it's basically bean/tomato stew....

Feeling in need of something new and good to read, but the writers I follow in the fandoms I read seem to be on hiatus at the moment.

Oh, we watched the new episode of Steven Universe, and rather than focusing on the story of how his parents met, I ended up focusing on a side bit: "Waitaminnit! That girl Marty just slept with in Greg's van is named Vidalia? She looks a lot like Onion. And Vidalia is a type of onion. And Marty is tall and thin and has platinum hair like Onion's older brother, Sour Cream. Holy crap, did we just witness Sour Cream's conception? And this in a kids' show? OMG, I bet all his mom ever told Sour Cream was that he was conceived to music (Greg's sadly underattended concert). No wonder he wants to be a DJ. Headcanon accepted!"
sakon76: (Sakon)
Squiddle's taking an early nap today. I should be on the bike right now, but I just can't. I've been being very good about doing it five days a week, but I'm also suspecting that's what's causing the persistent ache in my left calf, and until I can stretch that away, I'm giving myself some slack.

The Santa Ana winds are blowing today. Joy. I should've suspected it when I looked at the weather forecast and saw it was going up into the 80s this weekend. Luckily, I did a spot of gardening yesterday which included watering everything. And also putting bean and parsnip seeds into the ground. I apparently had three packets of parsnip seeds. I used up the oldest, spreading the seeds liberally down the rows, and will see what sprouts in the next month or so. Of the seeds I have going in flats, right now the zinnias, alyssum, cucumbers, and the second round of corn are sprouting. Oh, and one jalepeno. :/ But the radishes in my radish-and-carrot rows are also poking their heads up, and if I can clear the space in the bed this weekend, the first round of corn is ready to go in the ground.

For dinner, I've put a pork shoulder in the slow cooker along with some homemade applesauce-based barbeque sauce. Hopefully it will turn out well and we shall have pulled pork for dinner. First time trying the recipe, and I had to make a couple of substitutions. And ran shy on paprika, alas.

Time to go make a sandwich for lunch, and then either convince myself to bicycle, or work on Field of Stars.

ETA: Wrote ten pages during the Squiddle's nap. 2239 words. Booyah!

ETA 2: The pulled pork recipe shines. This one's going in the keeper pile.
sakon76: (Sakon)
So everything I've ever read about cooking safety and hygiene says, no you nevereverever use the same knife and board to cut vegetables after cutting raw meat. (The other way around, veg then meat, is of course fine.)

But... if they're immediately going in the same Dutch oven together, to be simmered for like an hour, I don't see the point. The raw veg is going to touch the raw meat in the pot anyway. Must I dirty a second board and knife?

Am I totally in the wrong here and going to die a horrible death (or at least get pretty sick) from salmonella one of these days?
sakon76: (Sakon)
...make risotto!

After years of it being in the back of my head every winter when my kitchen garden gets taken over by stinging nettles, this year I finally looked up recipes. And in Hank Shaw's Hunt, Gather, Cook, I found a recipe for Nettle Risotto.

Now, I've never cooked with nettles before. Never blanched veg before. Never made risotto before.

Yet I have to say, the results are delicious. Even Wonderful Husband agrees. (Though the results are, um, green. Very very green.)

Best part? This took one heaped colander. There's tons more still in the yard.

*wanders off to find other nettle recipes*
sakon76: (Sakon)
It's been a hot weekend, so we've mostly been hiding inside until the heat of the day dies away. By opening doors and windows in the early morning, and evening, and then keeping them closed during the heat of day, we manage to keep the inside of the house about fifteen degrees cooler than the outside. The difference between 100 Fahrenheit and 85 Fahrenheit is significant!

That said, I feel like I've gotten a fair amount done this weekend. We had my parents up yesterday for brunch, the last chance we'll have before they sail off for six months in Mexico. I went through twenty pages of edits on Field of Stars. I made sun tea, swept two rooms, and realized my Italian plums weren't going to last another day, so put up four and a half half-pints of Peach-Plum Ginger Jam.

Today I've gotten less done, so feel like a bit of a slacker in comparison. I've done the laundry, swept two more rooms and the hallway, made chicken cacciatore for dinner, and edited ten pages. Wonderful Husband and I also did a bit of grocery shopping.

But mainly we've been staying cool.
sakon76: (Sakon)
(Or, more accurately, the answer is "Yes, please. What kind?")

Our household, being multinational, involves a good many kinds of pancakes. There are British pancakes, which are rather crepe-like, American pancakes, which are thick and filling, and Swedish pancakes, which are about two inches in diameter, and just plain fun. When my inlaws took us on vacation earlier this year, the itinerary included an overnight stop in Solvang, where I spied aebelskiver (Danish pancakes) on the menu and just had to try them.

Fast-forward a few months to my sister-in-law giving me an aebelskiver pan for a birthday gift. And Wonderful Husband working from home today and asking if I might make some for lunch. I found the recipe/tutorial I was looking for, and proceeded to de-virgin the pan.

They're not quite like making Swedish pancakes in that the pan needs to be re-greased between every batch, rather than every third batch, and the flame on my stove needs to be a little cooler, about three and a half instead of four and a half. But they're fun and yummy and by the end of the batch I think I'd gotten the hang of them.

Yay pancakes!
sakon76: (Sakon)
Inlaws arrived safely and stopped by briefly on their way to the hotel to cuddle the Squiddle, who is much bigger than when they cuddled him last.

Unrelated thought that's been nagging at me for a while now. I never know how to respond when people praise my cooking. I'm not one of those gifted individuals who can merrily fling a bit of this, some of that, and a dab of yet something else together and end up with a dish. I cook by mechanics, by tried-and-true recipes. So I really, honestly doesn't feel like my cooking is anything praiseworthy. I'm getting praised for following directions. "Oh, you did that paint-by-numbers so well!" So I never know what to say.
sakon76: (Sakon)
Had kind of a quiet Father's Day this year. Wonderful Husband painted the front of the garage while I attempted to reclaim the kitchen and dining room from their disaster area state. (Does this happen to anyone else, where their house just... devolves into independent disasters? Or just me?) I made far i kal (a Norwegian dish, literally "lamb and cabbage") and my parents came up for dinner. I haven't had far i kal since I was a child. It brought back memories.

We got to bed on time, a rarity, and then got a call at eleven-thirty that the website of the company Wonderful Husband works for was down. So he ended up staying up for two and a half hours in the middle of the night, working to fix it. (I got up once during that time to change and feed the Squiddle.) Thus, he slept late this morning and I made oatmeal for brekky. Tonight, since we also both slept late yesterday and thus it got preempted, I'm making pancakes and bacon for dinner. It's a two-breakfast day!

My inlaws are, as I type, on an airplane winging in my direction. Thus the order of the day for me is laundry and housecleaning. I've got both bedrooms and the hall done thus far; next is the shower room, and honestly, if that's as far as I can get in between attending to the Squiddle's needs and wants, I'm good. Well, that and sweeping the office floor. And de-catting the sofa. So, really, no, still a lot to do.

And, ah, the baby's awake from his nap. Time to go pick him up!
sakon76: (Sakon)
Thus far this year I've managed to remember and keep Pancake Day, Pi Day (my first time ever making chicken pot pie, which turned out well, though the Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Pie needed a little more baking than it got), and today, St. Patrick's Day. Which menu involves corned beef, potatoes, and carrots in the crockpot, a small head of cabbage to be cooked right before dinner, and a loaf of Cheddar and Herb Soda Bread just now out of the oven. This bread was kind of fun - I went out into the garden and took snippets of most of the herbs I've got going (thyme, oregano, dill, chives, and rosemary, though I skipped the mint) and chopped them up fine with some lavender. We'll see this evening how it tastes.

And, amusingly, we took handprints of the baby last night with the non-toxic ink pad. We managed to get most of the ink off his hands afterwards with baby wipes. But we couldn't get the stuff under his nails. So he currently looks like he has a Marilyn Manson French manicure. :)
sakon76: (Sakon)
Today was kind of a slow day. Wonderful Husband finally seems to be on the mend (*knocks on wood*), which, yay! Because he actually has to go in to the office tomorrow to conduct an interview. Which is sufficiently late in the day that I'll be taking Squiddle to my writing class with me and WH will be picking him up from there. Which works well since my classmates wanted me to bring him in again anyway.

My ten pages got re-edited today, as did the summary sheet. Tomorrow, photocopy shop! We made stirfry for dinner, and I baked lots of oatmeal raisin cookies, a good portion of which are to go into class with me tomorrow night. The kitchen is clean and set up for breakfast. Now to change Squiddle into a sleep'n'play, swaddle him, nurse him to sleep, tuck him into the bassinet, and sneak his undies into the washing machine before turning in myself.
sakon76: (Sakon)
Thus far today I:

made pumpkin buttermilk pancakes, which I loved and Wonderful Husband didn't, and bacon for breakfast
washed breakfast pots/pans/bowls, emptied dishwasher
registered for Costume College
bought tickets to go to the RenFaire twice this year - once with my husband, once with my mother
TRIED to sign up for my writing class only to find that the community college is having a website/Oracle database disagreement
made sourdough bread, currently in its second rise, which will actually get baked tomorrow morning
finished the week's laundry
went to JoAnns and made use of sales and coupons to buy stuff for Squiddle - including the beginnings of his Hiccup costume
reluctantly put the brace on my left wrist
transformed one of Wonderful Husband's long-sleeved button-ups, with a torn sleeve, into a short-sleeved button-up.
sakon76: (Sakon)
Squiddle dozing at the moment. Just pulled a ham-mushroom-cheddar quiche out of the oven, and put an apple pie in. Between that and a dental appointment this morning, I'm calling myself done for the day. Productivity to resume tomorrow.

ETA: Okay, I lied. I resumed my current project of tidying the office. Bookcase #1 cleaned and organized.
sakon76: (Sakon)
Apple pie done. Jellied cranberries done. Chunky cranberries done. Purchased sourdough starter started.

To make tomorrow morning: cornbread, succotash, [livejournal.com profile] hoshikage's sweet potato biscuits.

My mother-in-law spent the day extremely sick with the flu. We're hoping it's the 24-hour version....
sakon76: (Sakon)
Ha. Last year I posted that I'd finally found a jellied cranberry recipe worth keeping. Guess who didn't link to it or put it in her recipe book? That's right, that'd be me. Last night I made up the chunky cranberries from my usual recipe; tonight will be the jellied cranberries from the Food in Jars recipe. Tomorrow night will be pie crust, and then Thursday morning will be the succotash and lots of baking.

I've started up my sourdough starter again, which will be ready to use in a couple days. Wonderful Husband wanted a more historic/official starter, though, so when we found a packet of dried San Francisco starter at Surfas for a little over $5, we got that too. Though the instructions for starting it are just, gah! Must be kept between 80-90 degrees for X hours, etc. The house isn't reaching those temperatures currently, so I'm thinking of getting the foam cooler from the garage, putting that on the counter, and using either hot water or hot/cold packs to get the official starter started. I guess it needs a lot more babying than my wild-yeast one!

Also, I had listed out everything else I needed for my part of Thanksgiving, and got most of it at the Saturday farmer's market. There I ran into Shannon from the mommy/baby group I've been attending. I have a suspicion that the universe may be telling me to make friends. Not a hardship!

And, finally, today I did something I've been pondering for a few weeks now, and called Mother's Milk Bank in San Jose to start the process of becoming a milk donor. While I'm not a super-lactator like some nursing mothers (seriously, did you know that the Guinness Book of Records has a category for "most human milk donated"?), on one pumping a day I'm averaging about four ounces over and beyond what Squiddle needs. And if that can go to a milk bank, to be pasteurized and then sent on to preemies and sick infants who need it, that makes me feel good. God knows I'm not too good at charity; this, at least, is something I can do. There was about a five-minute interview over the phone, mostly about the same stuff that you fill out on the form when you donate blood. I'm being sent an information packet, along with forms for my doctor and Squiddle's, and there will be a blood test to make sure I've not got any diseases that would be transmissable through the milk. News to me if I do, so....

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