Monday, October 31, 2011

Delicious Roast Chicken & a WINNER

To the faithful Ina Garten's recipe (here), I've made some adjustments to make it my own delicious roast chicken. Adding butter between the skin & the breast, using rosemary, lemon & garlic aromatics are the biggest changes. It's simple & delicious.
The worst part is cleaning out the innards. Ick! If you're going to do the dirty work on one, buy & roast an additional one. This is primarily the reason I don't roast veges in the pan like Ina does. I need the space in the pan for the other bird. The aromatics stuffed in the cavity are just the right touch. To roast 2 like I do: double the recipe below, but not the cooking time.
Eat one tonight & use the meat from the other for another meal during the week.
We have a winner of Seeds Family music!
Congratulations to:
Commenter #2: BECKY
contact me via tinampoulsen@gmail dot com
with your shipping info
to claim your new CD!

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Colic: hiding in homes, killing joy & confidence.

If that title seems a bit dramatic, consider yourself blessed; you are among the parents that have never had a baby with colic.

At 3 months, their personalities are so different that it was only when I looked through old photos that I saw such resemblance. 
Those kissable lips & dark, sparkly eyes, they melt me.

We've been harboring a secret. Treasuring it, really.
We both know it and as it gets confirmed throughout the day we glance knowingly at one another but only seldom say it out loud. 
For fear we'll jinx it. (Just in case that sort of thing is real).
Clara Lily does not have colic.
She is our very first baby without it.
We may or may not be struggling with favoring her for it.

Dear mom of a baby 4weeks to 3-4m old who cries without reason (you've checked off fed, dry, & rested) for the majority of their waking hours, colic is not kidding around. 
Having a baby without it, has all the more confirmed what we already knew about the other two. 

It's a surefire kill-joy of this time with your much-anticipated bundle. It's not your fault.
It's not because you're over-tired, or over-whelmed, or you're not giving motherhood your best.
It's not because you got an epidural or had a c-section at birth or because you nurse or bottle-feed.
It may come as a surprise to you, as it did us, because the babies were so peaceful in the hospital & first week.
Colic is a real thing, yet irremediable.

It's okay to put the baby in the safety of the crib for 5 min while you take a shower & re-group.
It's okay to ask for help, even if it's from the mom that you think is much better than you because her baby sits alone in a swing or bouncer & coos even.
You WILL get through this.
And s/he will get over it. It ends
And just as unbelievable as the thought your 2 y/o will end up potty-trained before kindergarten, your baby can become the most contented, creative, cooperative kid you can't imagine now.

Here are a couple things that worked for us with babies w/colic & reflux. (yep, we got both.)
(never read the book, but the 5 S's are fantastic tools)
Run the vacuum. Run the water. 
Sometimes we did both at the same time. Bouncing & swaddling all the while.
(our babies didn't take pacifiers. we tried nearly every one. but by all means give it a try.)
Most importantly, rehearse: this will pass.

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Monday, October 24, 2011

the Lord will bless everything you do

Just in case, like me, you're taking Him at His Word & trusting His promises.
Or perhaps you're wondering why you're giving all you've got are still coming up short...obey His commands, follow Him & YOU WILL BE BLESSED!
His resources are greater than yours.
His grace is sufficient.
His love is unconditional.
His peace passes understanding. Pin It

Sunday, October 23, 2011

old town alexandria, overnight guests

My mom came into town last weekend. She got in at 2 am & surprised the kids that morning. They LOVE them some Grammie-time. I'm so glad because I love free babysitting her company too.

Dan & I headed to Busch Gardens to ride the roller coasters one evening. 
The park transforms into Howl-o-Scream for the month of October and boy did I scream once the sun went down & I'm not just talking about on the roller coasters. I ran at 7.0 treadmill speed through these haunted pathways occupied by bloody-chain-saw holding creeps lurking in the shadows, waiting to scare the tar out of passersby. NOT for the easily-startled, like myself. Dan found it quite comical, my targeting myself by wearing my fear on my sleeve-that is. We had a blast once we sped past to the roller coasters.  (Dans iPhone fell out on the last one & we deemed it gone forever. Can you believe someone turned it into lost & found & we got it back a few days later?!)

The girls & I followed mom up to Alexandria for a couple of days, where she was working. I lived in DC for awhile as a flight attendant, based at Dulles. I'd always heard if I loved the charm of Georgetown, I should head to Old Town Alexandria, but had never made the trip over the bridge.
If strolling down brick sidewalks, lined with centuries-old brownstones & boutique shops is your thing, be sure to take the trip if you're ever in Northern VA. You can take a water taxi over the Potomac from DC & land right in front of the Chart House restaurant, where you really should treat yourself to Salmon Rockefeller and an over-the-top view. It was delicious.

I'm sorta cracking up as I write this because in truth, we enjoyed walking down King Street & playing in the park at Union. And I'm still thinking about the Salmon I ate that night watching the sunset over the river. But with an energetic 3 y/o the ambiance is a bit altered by potty trips & lessons in ChickfilA volumes & fancy-schmancy place volumes. (the waiter swore they were kid-friendly & it wasn't any problem).
With baby barf down the front & back of my shirt, walking in & out of Paper Source & that adorable toy shop was an exercise in humility more than anything. 
I scored some Christmas goods at Crate & Barrel outlet on Prince Street.
It was a fun trip. A stop at IKEA & Wegmans on the way was just icing on the cake.
It's always nice to get away long enough to miss home.

I got to keep 3 of my friend's 6 kids so she could surprise her husband with an overnight stay sans kiddos for his birthday. What a pleasure to see this on my sofa that morning.
my 2 sandwiching her 3 in the middle. they did this on their own.

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Friday, October 14, 2011

The Best Classic Apple Pie.

When it comes to the classics, I turn to Cooks Illustrated The New Best Recipe Cookbook and it never disappoints. My #1 cookbook recommendation, especially to a new cook or new wife looking to impress (which is why I bought it years ago).
Also recommend this Emile Henry pie plate.
Get them both & you're golden. Like the pie. Isn't it pretty?

I make just a couple minor adjustments to the recipe. (slicing the apples with my food processor slicing disc blade is the biggest variation)

Classic Apple Pie
(adapted from The New Best Recipe cookbook)
Basic Pie Dough (for 2-9in pies ) I use Pilsbury refrigerated crusts
2 T flour
3 Granny Smith (1 1/2 lbs), peeled & cored
4 McIntosh (2lbs), peeled & cored
1 T lemon juice
3/4 c sugar, plus 1 Tbsp for top
1/4 t nutmeg
1/4 t cinnamon
1/8 t allspice
1/4 t salt
1 lg egg white, beaten lightly

Place oven rack at lowest position & place lined baking sheet on it.
Preheat to 500 degrees.
Let dough stand at room temp for 1 hr. (until malleable)
Line the bottom of a 9in pie plate with 1 of the dough circles. (may want to roll out to stretch slightly)

Peel & core the apples.

Attach the slicing disc blade to your food processor & pulse the apples through in batches. (or slice by hand first in quarters & then again about 1/4 in-1/2 in slices to get same effect)
Add sliced apples to a large mixing bowl. 
Toss with lemon juice
Mix sugar, spices & flour in a small bowl & toss with apples.
Pile the apple mix (including juices) onto crust in pie plate, mounding at the center.

Roll out the remaining circle to stretch slightly (11-12 in) & place carefully on top of apples.
Tuck the top dough under the edges of the bottom dough & make it look pretty.
Cut 4 small slices in center. (see bottom picture)
Brush with egg whites.
Sprinkle with 1 T of sugar.

Place on top of baking sheet in oven.
Then turn oven down to 425 degrees. Bake for 25 min. (til top is golden)
Turn oven temp down to 375 degrees. Bake for 30-35 min longer.
(at 20 min into baking at this temp I typically put my pie crust shield on-you could use foil-to keep from getting too brown).

I snapped this as soon as it came out of the oven.
Transfer to a wire rack; cool to room temp at least 4 hours.
Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
Be impressed with yourself! Look at that pie. You're a rock star!
Share it with your fussiest pie pals. Pin It

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

#2 was to be a playmate for #1, a witness

Once, I heard Natalie Portman describe siblings as a witness to your life.
She didn't have siblings, no one to rehearse her life with, and has little memory from early childhood.
I had never thought of siblings that way. 

Carter had colic. Real, diagnosed colic as a baby. He & I were at health risk just before his emergency csection, from which I suffered complications for months. Still, we always planned on trying for #2.
As a witness to his life.
I loved how she put that. Don't you?
I picture my brothers & I cracking up over something my mom did (bill on the fridge) or wore (fish shirt) or the phrases my dad says (take that to the north star bank) & the inflection he uses (yeah..right). 
Just a couple words can bring back a flood of memories we share and I can't imagine not having that familial bond. 

Like many parents expecting #2, we hoped assumed "he'd have someone to play with now". 

Well, 3 years in and I could nearly count on my hands the times they've happily played together.

He is cautious.

 She is wild.

He's still & she is busy. He is fair & she's radical. 
They have plenty of similarities, but so far their differences dominate their relationship.

ask anyone who is with one of them alone, they always think of the other, unprompted. 
For this I am deeply grateful because it's my only indication that deep down they truly love & care for each other. A sticker at the Dr, a sucker at the salon, even on birthday trips with uncles they pick out something for the other, who isn't present. 
Trust me, to this I cling.

Carter came home from school on Lilah's birthday with this note. (pictured above)
My eyes teared when I found it among his homework papers.
He loves her. 
He tells her that her baby doll isn't real. 
(though she's so convinced she is that daddy had to bring the doll, 
{buckled in clara's car seat} to the store.)
He will rip anything that is his out of her hands & tattles on her every move.
But she can hardly wait for him to get home from school. 
(she raided his drawers during her naptime & woke up dressed this way)

She hit him in the face tonight.
For no good reason.
But he loves her. 
Here's to hoping the love they are hiding so well inside for each other translates into shared memories and a few laughs. 
Even if at my expense.
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Thursday, October 6, 2011

chicken chili

Chicken Chili
(adapted from this recipe)

  • 2 chopped yellow onions 
  • olive oil for pan & for rubbing chicken
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-4 your choice-red, orange, yellow bell peppers (seeded, chopped bite size)
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Franks hot sauce (or dried red pepper flakes)
  • 2 tsp salt, plus more for chicken
  • 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 (14 oz) cans fire roasted tomatoes
  • 5 chicken breasts
  • Freshly ground black pepper
sour cream, shredded cheddar & sliced green onions (scallions) & our family favorite, lime tortilla chips (or plain) for toppings.

Cook the onions in oil (maybe 1/8 cup) over medium-low heat til translucent. Add garlic and cook for 1 more minute. 
Add the bell peppers, chili powder, cumin, hot sauce (or pepper flakes), & salt. Cook for 1 minute. Add tomatoes & bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Rub the chicken with olive oil and place them on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast the chicken for 30-35 min, until just cooked. Let cool slightly. Shred or chop chicken, your preference. Add to the chili and simmer, uncovered, for another 20 minutes.
Top with cheese, sour cream & pinch of chopped scallions. Serve with lime tortilla chips or regular chips & a lime wedge.
Even better the next day.
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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Pepping up our morning ritual; a perfect cup of coffee trick

Coffee. It's the ritual for me.
Moreso than the taste or even the caffeine's effects.
Many mornings start with a 3 y/o at my bedside b/c she's "hundree" or "firstee" & has a smelly diaper, followed by a kindergartener tattling on his sister, whom I've ignored against my better judgement. Now in addition to the dirty diaper, I have to clean milk from the floor because she got it herself when I pretended not to hear her & stayed in bed.

Hearing the sounds of my husband prepping our morning brew is simply something to look forward to through the needs I have to meet before my eyes are even adjusted to the light.
(wrote about it here and about not taking it for granted here)

Surprisingly, I've considered giving up my beloved coffee ritual several times over the past year for various health reasons. But, I just can't don't.
I've moved onto trying to add a bit of pep to our morning coffee ritual.
Thought about getting a Keurig. Do you have one? Like it?

Here's our typical routine:
Joe's Dark Roast (Dan's fav, while I'm a Med Roast girl) HIGHLY RECOMMEND at only $4.99, comes whole bean, but you can grind right there at TJs.
Agave Nectar is my choice sweetener. Acquired taste but better for you. (Lower Glycemic Index)

TJs Pumpkin Spice blend was just the added pep we needed.
And holy moly is it good with a dollop (or 2!) of this creamy dreamy Pumpkin ice cream. 
I can't afford the calories of the ice cream so I've been just adding cream to this PS blend & it's tasty. 

PS: Did you know about the 1/2 cup per 8 cups of coffee trick?
Time saver. Fool-proof. I found the tip while working at Williams-Sonoma years ago in Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. 
While we're talking about Ina, her
Barefoot Contessa's Parties is my favorite.
I've read it cover to cover. Find her approach to entertaining useful & inspiring. Serving the boss something unexpected like cheeseburgers instead of something fancy. And giving your guests the feeling that you've gone to no trouble by preparing ahead of time & spending time with them when they arrive. Pin It
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