Sunday, November 29, 2009

25 days of Christmas

This year, I'm really excited about Christmas, mostly because I know Kate will be excited. To add to the experience, I've decided to do the 25 days of Christmas. Go ahead and click on that, and see what it is, and then come back. Ok, are you back? So, that's my plan for December. And today I realized that December starts on Tuesday! But, I get off the hook a bit, since Kate and I will be spending seven days with my sister and her family (and they are doing the 25 days of Christmas project too). So, I have yet to make my envelopes, but that is on the to-do list. I have started our activity list though. The suggested list I looked at was definitely for older kids and a lot of things wouldn't work for a two year old. So, here is my list so far. I still need seven or eight more things, so if you have suggestions, please leave them in the comments. And consider joining us in the project. I think it's going to be fun.

- see the 37th street lights
- see the Zilker Park lights
- ride the train at the park
- get a Christmas tree
- decorate Christmas tree
- make and decorate sugar cookies
- wrap presents
- buy a present for Daddy
- get photo taken with Santa
- go to the library for Christmas books
- go out for hot chocolate
- luminaria display at the wildflower center

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Turkey day!

Today is American Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving is one of my favourite holidays, and I love that we get two of them! Today we will spend the day with lots of friends and eat a lot of turkey and pie. There is so much I'm thankful for - Kate being amazing and healthy and funny, Graeme who is the best husband I could ever have, a new baby who is getting bigger every day, a great house to keep us all warm, lots of friends who have become my family when I'm far away from my real family, and my family who even though they are far away are never that far away.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Third trimester, round two

Pregnancy two seems to go much, much faster than pregnancy one ever did. I'm sure it's because my attention is mostly taken up by the two year old who is always around demanding something or someone or something else. But, whatever the reason, this weekend marks the beginning of the third trimester.

I feel totally fine. The usual complaints are beginning - occasional sciatic pain, heartburn, trouble sleeping - but really, I feel great. And the next six weeks should go super fast, since the holidays are upon us and between (US) thanksgiving and Christmas, Kate and I are heading to Ontario to visit family. Before I know it, January will be here and the pregnancy will be nearly done.

To commemorate the start of trimester three, a picture:

Monday, November 16, 2009

That's what it's all about

(Please note that we do, in fact, have clothing for our child. She just prefers not to wear any.)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Breaking a habit

I have an expensive habit. Granola. Store bought granola is expensive, but I eat it nearly every morning for breakfast and although it seems like it should be so easy to make a good granola at home, that has not been my experience. When I have tried, it always comes out strangely tough, or bland or bleh. So, I give the store far more money than those oats are worth. Until yesterday. I found a recipe and although I think I need to tweak it a bit (not necessarily because of the recipe - I didn't quite follow it, after all) I think it may finally break my expensive habit.

Let's start with the recipe. I found it here and it apparently an adaptation of a Nigella Lawson recipe, although I haven't seen the original. I'll paste it in, and then I'll explain what I did and what I will change.

Makes about 2 pounds (1kg)
From David Lebovitz
Adapted from Feast, by Nigella Lawson

5 cups (450g) multi-grain flakes or old-fashioned rolled oats
3 cups (375g) almonds, coarsely chopped
1 cup (125g) sunflower seeds
3/4 cup (100g) untoasted sesame seeds
1/2 cup (120g) packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon dried ground ginger
1 teaspoon sea salt

3/4 cup (180g) unsweetened applesauce (or another unsweetened fruit puree)
1/3 cup (100g) rice syrup
1/4 cup (80g) honey
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 300F (150C).

1. In a very large bowl, mix together the flaked grains or oats, almonds, sunflower and sesame seeds, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and salt.

2. In a small saucepan, warm the fruit puree with the rice syrup, honey, and oil.

3. Mix the fruit mixture into the dry ingredients until thoroughly dispersed, then divide and spread the mixture evenly on two baking sheets. (If you have ones with sides, often called jelly-roll pans, use them.)

4. Bake the granola for about 45 minutes, stirring every ten minutes, until the granola is deep golden brown.

5. Remove from oven, then cool completely.

Store the granola in a large, airtight container. It will keep for up to one month.

Ok, so there is it. If you read the original blog entry linked above, you'll see he states that using the fruit puree rather than oil, as most granola recipes do, gives this one the crunchiness of commercial granolas (and is the thing that other recipes have always lacked). But, of course, when I went to make it, I didn't have enough applesauce in the house, so I made up the volume with oil. It still turned out crunchy, but next time I'll use all fruit (or veggie puree. I wish I'd remembered that I had sweet potato puree in the freezer. I think that would work great.). I also increased the ginger a bit, since I love it.

I also didn't have enough sunflower and sesame seeds, so I made up that volume with pumpkin seeds. And I used walnuts and pecans rather than almonds, because, again, that's what I had.

The mixture ends up wetter than other recipes I've tried which I think is what makes a lot of difference. It's also a lot less sweet than commercial granolas, which is also nice.

So, how was it? Delicious. It's kind of annoying to have to stir it every 10 minutes, but it really is necessary to get it to cook evenly. And it gets dark really quickly at the end. I should have pulled it out a bit sooner than I did. But, I do think I will no longer be buying granola. This is really good. Kate even liked it and asked for seconds. Homemade granola with homemade yogurt. Just call us crunchy. Or granola.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A day in the life of Kate

Snapshots of Kate's life - a typical weekend day. (Minus eating and sleeping, of course)