Not a mom blog

It wouldn’t be a slight exaggeration to say that becoming a parent 18 months ago has changed things. As someone who wasn’t sure she was going to be a mother- and never paid much attention to babies- it’s fair to say I was, and remain, a bit blindsided.

img_5665

I’m lucky to have a supportive group of friends and family who tried to prepare me and continue to offer lots of advice and help, but unless you have spent a lot of your life around infants and little kids, there are just some things that you can’t prepare yourself for. There are simply some things that I didn’t expect.

I didn’t expect that it would take us an average of four hours and four minutes to leave the house. I didn’t expect that I would compose really catchy songs with titles like, “First We Put on the Bunny Leg Warmers and Then We’ll Read Moby Dick,” “Naps Help Us Be Our Best Baby Selves,” and “No No No Not Sad.” I didn’t realize spending money on toys is silly because his favorite toy in the world would be a coozie and I didn’t know that coozies can double as batting gloves when hitting dingers with your plastic bat. I didn’t anticipate that when we went to toddler story time at the library that while the other kids were singing songs in a circle, my child would be doing the worm in the corner and practicing his yelling voice.

I didn’t realize that spending 30 bucks on a whimsical hummingbird mobile and placing it above the diaper table would be a bad idea once he learned to stand (sorry about your beak, hummingbird.)

img_5941

And when I pulled this book out of the give-away bin at the school where I worked, and then apparently gave it to my parents to store for several years in their basement, I had no idea that in the not-too-distant future I would read it aloud at least 15 times a day.

img_5936

I didn’t know that he would always walk in the opposite direction that I wanted him to. I didn’t know that I could function on so little sleep. I scoffed when parent friends complained about daylights savings time on facebook. I didn’t know how easily I could give up on some of my germophobic tendencies when sometimes I watch him eat things off of the floor.

I didn’t realize that the tv was climbable.

I also had no idea that my heart would explode into a thousand pieces when he says my name. Or that we would be treated to nightly harmonica concerts which always end with him vigorously clapping for himself. Or that he would become fascinated with the moon. I didn’t know that I could be reduced to a puddle of goo by a laugh or a smile. And then it occurred to me that no one can prepare you for these things because these babies, these humans, are undpredictable, individual nuggets of personality. They are hilarious and trying and challenging and joyous. This is something that I can now tell you with all certainty.

And now, because the original intent of this blog was to be about food, let me offer a suggestion for lunch. Toast a few slices of good bread, spread some avocado on it, squeeze a lemon over it and sprinkle with (good) salt. I know it’s trendy, but it’s so simple, and so good, and you deserve a nourishing, easy lunch.

IMG_5679.JPG

Happy December, my friends. May you find joy in some simple things like toast and coozie batting gloves.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Smashing eggs

I wonder if it’s possible to run out of words. That is a bit how I am feeling these days, although it could be the _______ (fill in the blank) weather/ state of affairs/ lack of sleep. So witty banter aside, I don’t know about you, but I have been eating a lot of egg salad these days. Making a properly hard boiled egg is a much debated subject, one that has caused arguments in my family and maybe yours. I am not going to take sides here or attempt to tell you how to do it, but I will say that after an embarrassingly long amount of time, I figured out that I like to put the eggs in the pot and then fill it with water- I have cracked too many eggs the other way. Do you have a favorite way to boil eggs? If so, please share!

IMG_6329

The reason for the abundance of eggs was because my sister convinced me that we should dye eggs for Half-moon’s first Easter.

Half-moon was excited because he likes to smash things against the ground. Like eggs. So, in retrospect, it was a really good idea.

IMG_6413

Growing up my dad would write elaborate rhyming clues that would lead us on a wild chase for eggs and, ultimately, our darling baskets filled with candy. I vividly remember one spring-like Easter afternoon sitting outside and listening to the Brewers broadcast on the radio while devouring pastel-colored candy corn. Thrown together at the last second, my egg hunt for Half-moon wasn’t nearly as planned out and it all led to a basket of stuff that he had already had, but now I get to eat a lot of egg salad.

IMG_6365

When making something for the first time or looking for a recipe, I often turn to Smitten Kitchen. When I looked up egg salad and saw that her recipe included pickled celery, I knew I needed to look no further.

I’ve been improvising each time I make it, but adding pickled celery every time. I like to mix it with spinach, for a nice salad for lunch.

_________________________________________________________

Egg Salad with Pickled Celery

Inspired by Smitten Kitchen. Makes one serving for a quick lunch or dinner- feel free to double or triple.

Ingredients

One hard boiled egg, chopped
One spoonful mustard
One spoonful mayo
One spoonful pickled celery*
One spoonful capers
Fresh parsley, chopped
Spinach
Bread, optional

Directions

Mix all ingredients- except bread- in a bowl. Eat as a salad, or, if you prefer, put mixture on bread and eat like a sandwich.

*Pickled Celery (from Smitten Kitchen):

1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
2 stalks celery, trimmed, diced tiny

Pickle your celery: Combine vinegar, water, Kosher salt and sugar in a jar and shake it until the salt and sugar dissolve. Add diced celery to jar, cover it and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, ideally one hour and up to one week.

____________________________________________________

Bring on spring.

 

Blossom and bloom

After a cool start, summer has arrived in Wisconsin. Things here continue to move at a pretty slow pace.

1

Hanging out in the mornings with Half-moon while he pulls up a stool at the milk bar, I have been observing summer perennials and a neighborhood romance bloom (watching white-haired, tank-topped Gordy pedal back and forth by our other neighbor’s house on his turquoise bicycle, I started to get suspicious… One day I got to text Dan, “they smooched!”) While the days feel pretty lazy, I also like to play a game called, “What can I get done in the two minutes it takes Dan to change Half-moon’s diaper?” Then I go into turbo-charge: I turned a calendar page (eleven days late)! I made diaper spray (1 cup water + 1 tablespoon olive oil + 1 teaspoon soap, like Dr. Bronner’s)! I found the key to the garage in the washing machine! It’s a lot of fun.

We’ve also been experiencing some “firsts.” On Wednesday, Half-moon attended his first gig with his dad. It was at Cress Spring Bakery for their pizza night. Located in a valley outside of Blue Mounds, Cress Spring Bakery is an idyllic place to lounge with a wood-fired pizza and a cold can of beer. Their chocolate chip cookie/ Sassy Cow vanilla ice cream sandwich might be my favorite thing I have eaten this summer.

IMG_1835

This morning we took Half-moon to his first downtown farmer’s market. Yesterday, he met his first donkey at his first music festival, and a couple of weeks ago I actually followed a recipe to make marinade for the first time. And it was really f*$#ing good. The recipe came from my new Thug Kitchen cookbook, and if you don’t know Thug Kitchen, you need to.

IMG_1595

(Disclaimer: I didn’t actually make the marinade for the baked tofu- Dan did- but I called out the ingredients from the milk bar.) I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this before, but my favorite way to eat tofu is baked. Not me, the tofu. While the Thug Kitchen cookbook didn’t say this, I like to bake tofu on parchment paper- I think I learned this from Mark Bittman– when you only have two minutes to clean up, this makes it really easy (first press the tofu before marinating, then bake tofu for 10-15 minutes on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper in a hot oven-  400 or 450 degrees.) We followed the recipe for the ginger-sesame marinade and ate it with the Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad. Here is the recipe for the marinade for the tofu:

IMG_1591

And the noodle salad:

________________________________________________________________________________________

Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad

From the Thug Kitchen cookbook 

Ingredients: 

1 package (6.75 ounces) thin rice noodles
1/2 head of lettuce, chopped (or other greens)
2 medium carrots, cut into matchsticks
1 cucumber, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 cup thinly sliced fresh mint leaves
1 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
1 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1 cup sliced green onions
1/2 cup roasted peanuts, finely chopped
Lime wedges, for serving
Toasted sesame dressing* (or other Asian dressing)

Directions:

Cook the noodles according to package directions. When they are done, drain the noodles and run them under cold water until they are cool to the touch. Set aside.While all that is going down, get all your veggies and herbs ready and make your dressing.To serve, pile a large mound of noodles in the center of each plate. Arrange the lettuce, veggies, and herbs around the mound while leaving a good amount of the noodles exposed. Drizzle the dressing on both the noodles and lightly around the vegetables. Sprinkle peanuts all over and serve with lime wedges.

_________________________________________________________________________________________

*

IMG_1597

We are now off to our first neighborhood block party. Happy Saturday, my friends.