Saturday, November 27, 2010

loving fall flavors!

in the days (and years) before nolan, anthony and i took daily trips to the grocery store.  we bought one meal's worth of food at a time.  looking back now, i think..."man we were nuts" and..."it's a good thing the grocery store is less than a quarter of a mile away". 

while i was pregnant, i was a tiny bit better and went every couple of days (mainly because i felt like death for a good five months of my pregnancy and that's all the energy i could muster up).  but, even then...nothing sounded good, so i still did a lot of one meal shopping depending on what i thought might stay down for that meal.  :(

it didn't take long after nolan was born to realize that this multiple-shopping-trips-a-week business was not going to happen.  now i sit down sunday night (or monday morning if procrastination wins) and make a menu for the week and from that menu, i make a grocery list.  i go to the store one time.  my life is so much easier.  well, at least thinking up what to make for dinner on a given night is easier.

another new addition to the dinner excitement in our house is more seasonal cooking!  glazed apple-spice cake (http://www.wholeliving.com/recipe/glazed-apple-spice-cake), pureed apples and pears for nolan, and man, how did i ever live without squash!  all i knew of squash was small, yellow summer squash that you often cook in combination with zucchini, which don't get me wrong is delicious.  but...my world has changed with the introduction of winter squash! 

a previous blog post documented my foray into butternut squash (http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/pureed-butternut-squash-soups).  since then, i have found the deliciousness what is acorn squash (all because a friend bought a bunch of decorative squash(es?) for the sanctuary family picnic and i ended up taking a few home...including said acorn).  i started by cooking some for nolan.  i just cut the whole thing in half, peel and all, threw it in a baking dish and baked it for about an hour, scooped out the goodies and pureed it up.  he loved it!

last week(ish) i found a recipe for butternut orzo risotto.  now, don't be confused.  there was actually no risotto involved, so i'm not sure why it is called that...well, i suppose it is because you prepare the orzo similarly to how you would prepare risotto.  but, if that is the case it should really have been called "butternut squash orzo cooked like risotto," if you ask me.  anyway...i digress.  so, no risotto.  i also replaced the butternut with an acorn squash and omitted the fresh sage from the recipe (because i was too cheap to buy that many fresh herbs).  this meal was AMAZING and pretty healthy too!!  we loved it so much that it has been moved up in the dinner cycle and i'm making it again on sunday!  i didn't get any pictures of it, but i assure you...it is more than worth at try.  http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/Butternut-Orzo-Risotto

so, apples, pears, butternut and acorn squash...check, check, check and check.  next: what in the world is a persimmon??

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

nolan's first halloween

so, as warned...here is the first of a few "past due" posts.

halloween has long been one of my favorite holidays.  i love drinking hot cider and picking out my pumpkin at a real pumpkin patch.  i love carving jack-o-lanterns and i love costumes and trick-or-treating!  in fact, i trick-or-treated right up through high school (with my lovely friend michelle (gustafson) macarthur...and we only got egged once...oh...sad).  so by 28, i've had a lot of costumes and a few repeats!  some of my favorites have been a pretty sweet bat (with a matching bat costume for my baby doll) both made by my mama when i was little, a cheerleader three times (once in first-ish grade...thanks ma, once in 10th grade and once in college), a geisha twice (once in elementary school and once in 2007 on a very memorable night), tinkerbell (thank you caitlin for an awesome dress!) and i think my all-time favorite had to be when i was helen parr, aka elastigirl, aka mrs. incredible (from the incredibles).  that costume was made by me...and awesome.



this year we had lofty goals.  i refused to have a pumpkin from a grocery store and we planned to have family costumes all of the same theme.  then we remembered that we had an 8-month-old baby.  trick-or-treating? kinda pointless and out.  family themed costumes?   too much time to put together (and $$).  sipping hot cider?  it was 100 degrees the day we drove (an hour mind you) to the pumpkin patch.  next year.  next year for sure.

in spite of a lack of cider, the lengthy car ride and ridiculous heat, the pumpkin patch was pretty cool.  the pumpkins were merely placed out in a field on hay instead of us getting to traipse through mud, but it was a real farm with tons of fun things to do.  again, a little wasted on nolan this year, but certainly a fun tradition to start! we watched a live bluegrass band, went on a wagon ride around the farm, saw lots of animals (including a piglet race...hmmm...), ate yummy food and picked out pumpkins (obviously).






as for costumes, we bagged the idea that we were all going to dress up and decided just nolan this year.  we nearly squeezed him into a slightly too small and very warm, but cute monkey costume, but decided against it.  in the end, we had a very sweet little golfer, entirely assembled of articles of clothing we already had!  sweet! we chose to omit the golf club from the costume due to potential harm to himself and others.  ;)





we also bagged the trick-or-treating idea and went to a park in venice to hang out with some friends.  there was a neighborhood halloween get together going on at the park with tons of little ones all dressed up.  it was so cute to see all the costumes.  we stayed out of the main event and chilled out on a blanket in the grass playing with toys and then went to the rothschilds' for some delicious pizza!

 (that's superman on nolan's right)

 as per usual, we ate pizza, nolan ate books...




we did get the pumpkins carved, but not until we returned home from all the fun at the park and the rothschilds', so they never made it outside for display.  also, mine was too terrible to even earn a picture.  :)  not sure nolan was really into this part either, but fun for us!




 nolan put his finger over the flash to add a creepy red tint to the picture...he's so creative.  ;)
 jack

all in all, a great first halloween.  maybe next year it won't be so crazy hot and i'll bring my own cider.  :)  and i promise...our entire family will be in costume.  

Friday, November 19, 2010

a month without a computer seems like eternity (which is really sad, i realize)

so, our computer caught (does technology catch something?) a virus.  boo.  i took it to the geek squad at best buy and they wanted nearly $500 to fix it.  sick.  you can buy a new (potentially slightly crappy, but new) computer for that!  luckily, anthony has techno-savvy friends!  the downside...they have real jobs too, so things take a bit longer.  now we have the computer back, all fixed up and a norton anti-virus program for the low, low price of a home-cooked meal and the anti-virus program! and we didn't lose anything!  freaking best buy.

in the last month so much has happened!  tons of development, of course, two new teeth and signs that more are on the way, a family picnic with lots of friends and babies from our midwifery center, a visit (albeit brief) from the grandpas, nolan's first halloween, lots of playdates, lots and lots of food, and a super-nasty cold for nolan and i.  as you can tell...there has been a number of things i would have liked to write blogs about, but had no 'puter!  so forgive me...my next few blogs will probably be a little bit "old news".

video

nolan is happy the computer is back too!