Thursday, January 31, 2008

Another knitting project done

I finished the penguin today, and I'm very pleased with how it turned out, even though it has a few mistakes. Kate won't care if there are mistakes. She went to bed before it was done, so she hasn't met the penguin yet.

She helped her dad again this morning. I think they were working on Graeme's lecture for today.

Affirmations from my tea bag, volume 3

Love your soul.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

What's cooking Wednesday

Tonight was the last meal from the cookbook of the month, A Year of the Best. It is a recipe I flagged when I flipped through the book at the beginning of January. It's called Caramelized Onion and Potato Flan. It's kind of a scalloped potato thing, but with onions. There isn't much to it, but it was pretty yummy. We had it with grilled steelhead trout. Yum.

Saute 2 large onions, thinly sliced over low heat in butter about 20 minutes, until caramelized. Slice 6-8 medium potatoes thinly and grate a good amount of emmenthal or gruyere cheese. Grease a 9x13" baking dish and layer half the potato slices in a shingle fashion and season with salt and pepper. Top with half the onions and cheese. Repeat next layer, ending with cheese. Bake at 350 for 50 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.

I used only three large-ish potatoes and I think it could have used more onions. Next time I'll do four onions and the reduced number of potatoes. Would be really yummy with beef, but it went great with fish too.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A photo apology

I haven't posted in a week. And it's been even longer since I posted a photo of Kate. Her Oma was here this week, and although many photos were taken, none made it to the blog. I had lots more time than normal, but I spent it all knitting. I haven't even done Kate's 5 month post yet.

Please take this adorable photo as an apology for the slackitude:

Thursday, January 24, 2008

What's cooking Wednesday

I really pulled out the big guns this time. Souffle. Souffle (I don't know how to get the accent on the e) has a reputation of being difficult, but it's not really. It is impressive though, so you get a lot of bang for your buck. They are a little bit time consuming, taking about 45 minutes to put together and then 45 minutes to bake. The directions seem involved, but if you know how to make bechamel sauce, then it's pretty straight forward. I'm not going to type them all out though, too much work.

The souffle I made was bacon, spinach and guyere. It was yum yum yummy.

Here is how to do it: Make a bechamel sauce with butter, flour and milk. It's nice to soften onions in the butter for awhile before adding the flour and then the milk. Once it's thick and smooth, remove from heat and stir in, one at a time, egg yokes. stir stir stir, and then cool the whole thing. While I was making the bechamel, I also cooked the bacon and wilted the spinach. Then you beat the egg whites until stiff and fold them with the cheese into the cooled egg yoke mixture.

Pour into souffle dish and cook. I cooked it the time suggested in the recipe, but it turned out to not be done in the center, so we scooped off the cooked yummy top part and popped it back in for another 10 or so minutes. Perfect. I'll adjust the cooking time for the next souffle adventure.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Affirmations from my tea bag, volume 2

"Open up to infinity and you become infinity."

(I made an awesome WCW dinner tonight, but it will have to wait until tomorrow)

Monday, January 21, 2008

Knitters Anonymous?

Is there a support group for addicted knitters? Because I made a hat today. Yep, today. I started it last night and only knit a few rows and finished it today. It's like the earlier green hat for Kate, but she has grown out of that one, so I made a bigger version in purple. It's amazing how much knitting I can do when Kate's Oma is here entertaining her.

So now the question is - what should I make next. We're going to the yarn store tomorrow. oooooeeee.

Another knitting project

I don't think I ever posted a photo of a project from a month or two ago. I knit and felted a bag. I was originally going to give it away for Christmas, but decided to keep it as my knitting bag. Karen just made one from the same pattern (Marsupial tote from 'The Stitch 'n Bitch Handbook'). I might make another as a gift. I'll add that to the long list of future projects.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Three years

Today is the three year anniversary of my Mum's death. I've been trying to compose a post for today, and I nothing seems quite right. I am spending the day remembering her, although I remember her, and miss her, everyday. But I'm doing things that she would do - making chelsea buns, drinking lots of tea, spending time with Kate. I will give chelsea buns to our neighbours, which is something she used to do all the time. She was so generous, and although she called herself a skeptic, saying that she assumed the worst of people so she wouldn't be disappointed, that wasn't true. She expected a lot of people, and could see the good in nearly everyone.

She was the best mother I can imagine. I hope I do half as well.

I miss you, Mum. A blog post can't possibly express it.

Saturday, January 19, 2008


My first sweater is done! For Christmas, Karen gave me a pattern book, yarn and all the necessary needles to make a sweater. And now it's done! I'm really pleased. It turned out very well. I feel so proud. Like I'm now a real knitter.

(edited to add: I made it a size 2, since I didn't know how long it would take me. It won't fit Kate until next winter. Alas.)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

What's cooking Wednesday

I've continued to try new recipes this week, using a few of my cookbooks. I took advantage of a coupon this week and bought some bay scallops at Central Market for this week's feature meal. It turned out really well. I haven't cooked orzo before, yet I always like it when I have it at restaurants. Using orzo for the risotto makes it much easier than using arborio rice. Graeme declared that it tasted like fancy restaurant food. Scallops will do that. The recipe is from 'A Year of the Best'.

Seared Scallops with Orzo Risotto
1 2/3 c orzo
1 c diced mushrooms
1/3 c diced onion
1/3 c diced sun-dried tomatoes
1/3 c diced red pepper
2 c chicken stock
1/2 c grated parmesan chese
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1/2 c whipping cream
1 lb scallops

(I cut the recipe in half, since this is for four people. Except I didn't cut the veggie amounts in half, and I didn't use mushrooms at all)
Cook orzo and set aside. In large pot, heat olive oil and saute veggies until soft. Add stock and bring to boil. Stir in orzo, parmesan and parsley (I used cilantro, since that's what I had). Add cream and simmer gently, stirring frequently, until mixture is creamy but not runny, about 20 minutes. Heat olive oil in very hot pan. Season scallops with salt and pepper and sear until brown on outside but just opaque in the middle. Sprinkle more parmesan over risotto and top with scallops.

I also made muffins today, since I remembered how nice it was to have muffins in the freezer after Jannie's visit in September. I found a recipe for Pecan-oatmeal muffins in 'The Enchanted Broccoli Forest'. They are quite yummy, not very sweet. I think they would be good with a bit of maple syrup added to the batter. No recipe for you, but a photo.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Dragon fingernail?

Graeme's student Albert brought a very beautiful gift from Taiwan. It's a bottle opener, however, the insert explaining the gift is a bit difficult to figure out. Any interpretations?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Rollin' rollin' rollin'

We have rolling!! As recently as Tuesday, Kate showed no interest in rolling over. She could get onto her side, but didn't seem to care about getting there or moving on from there. Starting on Wednesday, she would roll half way and then get mad that she couldn't get to her tummy. She would fuss and fuss until I put her onto her tummy. It happened over and over for the past few days. Today, I left her on her play mat on her back, and when the fussing started, I expected to find her on her side again, shoulders part way over but hips still firmly halfway.

But no! She was over, but had her arm pinned underneath her. Her hips were all the way over. I flipped her back to her back to see if she would repeat it. Less than five minutes later the fussing started again, and over she was, arm still pinned and causing frustration.

It's a memorable day! And it means I can't leave her on the change table while I run to get clean diapers from the dryer anymore.

This isn't a rolling picture, but it's one from this weekend and too cute not to post.

Friday, January 11, 2008

A new record!

Kate's morning nap was 1.5 hours! It's normally about 45 minutes. I had time to move a bunch of boxes to the attic, install her new carseat and have my lunch! We'll see how this new development effects the afternoon nap. But for now we're heading out for a walk in the perfect Texas winter weather.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

A Playdate

Last Friday, I took Kate over to where Sheryl takes care of Sophia. Sophia loved Kate. She didn't quite understand though why Kate wouldn't play with her. It was super cute:

She's come undone

Kate is still swaddled at night and sleeps longer when she's wrapped up. Now that she is very interested in sucking her thumb, we have tried a couple of times to put her down in her sleep sack but invariably she wakes up a short time later. But for the past week or so, she has managed to free her arms from the swaddle even when wrapped up tight, and yesterday morning she woke up in frustration at not being able to get them out. I took that as a sign.

Last night I put her to bed in her sleep sack, fully expecting to go in and put her back to sleep after only an hour or so. But she surprised me! She slept from 8:30 until 5 this morning when she nursed, got a diaper change and went back to sleep. But only until 7 when she decided she was up for the day.

I'm very excited about this development. I was expecting to be up every couple of hours for a few nights while she adjusted to her new found arm freedom, but she continues to surprise me.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

What's cooking Wednesday


That's what's cooking. Tonight we are having the last of the bacon we have received from the bacon of the month club. Erika got us this last year for Christmas, and it may be the best present evah.

We have had six different bacons, and we think three were exceptional, while three were pretty average. But even bad bacon is good, so no one here is complaining. This bacon is one of the great ones. We usually have some of the bacon with periogies, and that is exactly what we're doing tonight.

Yum! Thanks, Erika.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

4 month appointment

Today was Kate's four month check up. Only a couple of weeks late. She weighed in at 18.5 lbs (off the chart) and 90th percentile for height (25.5") and 50th percentile for head circumference. She's still a bit of a Weeble, I guess. The doctor was very pleased with her development. It helped, I'm sure, that Kate was smiling and happy. She was even a champ for her immunizations. She cried, of course, but was smiling again as soon as Graeme picked her up.

We told the doctor about her recent habit of waking up in the night around 4 am to nurse (after sleeping through the night for almost two months). She said that we could try to delay going in to her and she might calm herself, or at least we could push it til 5 or 6. That sounds super stressful to me, but we'll give it a try. Or, at least we'll talk about giving it a try. Small steps.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

A good Saturday

We've had a mellow day. Kate had a long nap this morning (after resisting and being cranky for an hour) and then we went to the dog park. She's having her (late) afternoon nap now.

At the dog park today, people finally knew she was a girl. Perhaps because of the outfit Oma sent her for Christmas. Usually she's in very gender neutral clothes and people assume she's a boy. Not today.

She loves loves loves monitors and will track a window being moved on the screen. She's helping her dad finish a grant proposal:

She's also working on sitting. She does great propped up, but if you put her on the bed and let go, she's tips right over and then has a surprised look on her face. I can do it over and over and laugh every time. Her tolerance seems to run out after 4 or 5 tips though.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Vegetables and a new year intention

I am not making resolutions this year, instead I have some intentions. I intend to run and get back in shape. I also intend to cook more meals and to not always cook the same meals. And to eat more vegetables. In order to facilitate the veggies and new meals, I signed up to get local organic veggies delivered bi-weekly. We got our first order this week, and I must admit that it didn't seem like much for the price. I understand that I'm paying for deliver, but even so it seemed a bit skimpy. Maybe it's because it's winter, I'm not sure. I'm going to ask them and find out if that's typical or if it increases in the spring. The alternative to the delivery is to make use of the farmer's market and get local veggies that way. It would take a commitment to go each week, and the delivery certainly makes that part easy, but I also need to be aware of not spending too much since we're on one income these days.

In the meantime, I fulfilled the second intention with the veggies. Tonight I cooked collard greens and also made a new recipe out of the 'Year of the Best' cookbook that Mum gave me years ago but that I've never used. It's going to be my cookbook of the month. I used the greens, sweet potatoes and an onion from our veggie delivery.

i have a whole head of cabbage. What should I do with that?

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Pictures from Ottawa

We had a great time during our trip to Ottawa. The fiasco of the trip home was kind of overwhelming the mood of it for awhile, but that has mostly passed (although I'm still planning a post to outline the details of Travel Clusterfuck 2007). And it has passed enough to post some pictures of our trip. I always know it's a good trip when I'm sad to be going home, rather than thinking it was a few days too long. I love spending time with my sister and her family, and I could have happily spent a few more days.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! We had a very mellow NYE at home last night, and I was asleep at midnight. I read something on the NY Times website yesterday that's been rattling around in my brain.
"... out of the tens of millions of species on this planet, only one bothers to celebrate not the passing of time, but the way it has chosen to mark the passing of time."

I was thinking about it yesterday and about how I often feel like I'm waiting for something - an event, or a date, or some other milestone. Rather than celebrating, I'm waiting for the next thing. Waiting keeps me from being present to what is going on right now, which is really all there is. Being present is something I'm going to work on in 2008, especially considering my/our biggest accomplishment event new thing of 2007, the biggest in our lives: