Thursday, October 27, 2011

easy apricot marinade: you'll want to lick your chops

This is not a recipe.
It is too easy to qualify.
It is a simple marinade to spruce up your pork chops 
{or chicken breasts}
before you grill them 
{or whatever you do!}  

You will need:
apricot preserves
dijon mustard -- a staple to have if you like to make your own salad dressings
ground ginger

I got some amazingly thick grill pork chops while perusing our local urban market with the babe the other day:
Combine your ingredients in a small bowl.
I usually taste it and add a little more ginger...
Then you just coat your chops with it, put it in a sealed container, let it marinate in the fridge for an hour or so, then grill 'em up!
I made some rosemary goat cheese mashed potatoes to go with mine...
which basically just means I add 5 oz of goat cheese and some chopped rosemary before I start mashing.
I would add goat cheese to anything if I could.
Enjoy your chops!  Eat them, don't really lick them.

L * O * V * E

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

{to market, to market}

In my sheer obliviousness, 
I assumed that it would be easy to tote my baby around town.  I had beautiful daydreams while pregnant of throwing the baby in the carseat, where he would sleep blissfully or gaze happily out the windows until we reached our destination: Target, a coffee shop, the mall, the library....
Because all babies love car rides, right?
It calms them and puts them to sleep, riiiiiiiight????
Not all babies.
Not this guy.
{he also hated slings and despises the jogging stroller...harumph}

As soon as I am out of eyesight the whimpering begins.  Which turns into crying.  Which turns into wailing.  Sure, if it is a long trip he will eventually tire out and fall asleep, but I don't drive long distances during the week.  Therefore a short jaunt across town can be a nightmare.   The other day I drove him to a park for a walk, and by the time we got there I was so frazzled I wanted to turn right back around.  Fresh air be damned.

But we are working on it.  I discovered the first thing to do is sure he has a very full belly right before we leave.  Then I change his diaper immediately upon reaching our destination so he doesn't use that old excuse.   Finally, I strap him in the Baby Bjorn, make sure he has his sun hat on {sun in the eyes is another cry factor} and off we go!

Yesterday we gallivanted to our local downtown urban marketplace and using this system had a fine time.  Pleasant, even!  There was still a little fussing in the car on the way home, but after only a couple minutes he fell asleep...because I timed it so we would get home right at nap time.  Bam.

So it was naptime for Baby, and time for Mama to enjoy the fruits {and wine and meat} of her labor...

...grill cut pork chops... 
{tomorrow I'll share a fantastic marinade!}

...huge and juicy red seedless grapes...

 ...and a bottle of pinot I will tell you about next week!

So here's to sleeping babies, thick cuts of meat, juicy fruit and wine...
and non-frazzled trips to the market!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

mama confessions: the nursing strike {oh, and 3 month pics!}

My baby decided to go on a "nursing strike."
I'm serious.
I can't make stuff like this up.

Maybe he is teething.  Maybe he got too used to the bottle during the two weeks I went back to work.  Maybe I am 'letting down' too slowly.  
Whatever it is, starting Friday at 2pm each time I tried to feed him he screamed at my breast with every bit of energy he had!  
Not sure if you've ever had your boob screamed at, 
but it's not pleasant.

So like any normal person I went straight to Google to find the answers to all my problems.   I found out that there are many babies who will, out of the blue, refuse to nurse.  This can last several days.  One mother's advice included: "Whatever you not give your baby a bottle during the nursing strike."  Eeek! I thought in panic.  I can't starve the poor kid!  

Thankfully my hubby's resolve is stronger than mine when it comes to crying babies. 
I was ready to throw in the breastfeeding towel... 
 or "hooter-hider," as the case may be. 
With Hubby's help, we tried every hour or so to get the boy to eat, endured a ton of screaming, and ended up putting him to sleep without his usual bedtime feeding.

Fortunately, at 4am, the strike ended.

Here are his three month pics!
He now weighs 16 lbs.
Clearly he is getting fed.

Recent milestones:
* rolling from front to back
*grabbing his foot
*laughing big belly laughs

Dear Baby,
You are getting SO BIG!
I adore you.
But no more nursing strikes.
Love you to the moon
and back,

Thursday, October 20, 2011

it's chili time

It is fall - aka Chili Season.  

Okay, I made that up, but it does seem like this is the time of year where everyone is having a game watch or a chili cook-off or a combination of the two...which means you must have a fantastic chili recipe in your repertoire.  There are some fancy ones out there...but my favorite is just a good old-fashioned Midwest-style chili.

I had no idea there was a "Midwest-style" of chili until I became familiar with "Cincinnati-style" chili.  Apparently Cincinnatians luuuuurve their chili on the sweeter side served atop a bed of spaghetti.  Being from Minnesota I don't really get it.  I have tried to embrace Skyline, but it's just not my bag, baby.

So here is my chili of choice.  Very basic.  Very meaty.  Very good.

You will need:
2 1/2 lbs of lean ground beef {substitute 1 lb for ground pork or turkey to cut some calories!}
1 can kidney beans, rinsed
1 28 oz can crushed peeled whole tomatoes
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 TB chili powder
11/2 TB cumin
11/2 tsp salt
11/2 cups water

First, chop your onion - keep it chunky!

Next, chop your garlic up:
Add the ground beef, onion and garlic to large pot and brown on medium heat.  Do not drain.  The fat give it more nuts, just breath and go with it.
Add the ground chili, cumin, and salt to the pot, mixing thoroughly.  I like to pre-measure and dump when the time comes:
Now you can add your tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes and water.  
Stir it all together, then simmer uncovered on low for one hour.
After an hour, add the kidney beans and check the flavor.  Adjust spices if necessary {if you like it hotter, more chili, of course.}
Simmer for another 30 minutes.
Ladle into your bowl, steaming hot:
Now, throw caution to the wind - 
Top with sour cream and cheese!
I mean, with all that beer you will drink with this, who cares?
Plus, if you don't like it as hot, this will help.

Game time!  


What is your favorite kind of chili???

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

wine wednesday: red truck

My hubby introduced me to Red Truck wine 
10 years ago when we were dating.  
In fact, he introduced me to wine, in general.  
{one of the millions of reasons I love him}

It wasn't that we were at a fancy restaurant and we ordered an expensive bottle of wine...I remember Red Truck being a bottle he whipped out and we enjoyed at his place while playing cards together and talking late into the night.

That is Red Truck.  A cheap red, very casual, with a fun label.

To reminisce I had to buy a bottle...

Now that my palette is more advanced I can say I have moved on from Red Truck's very mild taste...but if you are new to reds, as I was, this may be a good "beginner red."  There is not a whole lot of bite to the taste; however, it has fabulous "legs", a fun, country label, and goes down smooth.  

Easy to down {careful, girlies!}...with no headache!

Pair it with a meaty lasagna or meaty conversation 
with your favorite friend {or love!}  

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

ten signs you are too old to party

I have a lot of hilarious and unflattering photos from the days of yore, when I had the stamina/desire to stay out partying until 2am...or 4am, depending on what city I was in.
Photos such as this:
Classy, right? 
While I can look back on these times with fondness {???} or at least
 have a good laugh
I recently came to realize
those days are over.  
Now my drink of choice is coffee.  
Oh, and a glass of wine, now and again. 
{read: every night}
But because I love lists...
here are...

10 Signs You are Too Old to Par-tay
  {which may or may not be based on my own experience *cough*}

1.   You still say par-tay.  This is no longer cool, you realize.
2.   When you eagerly present your ID to the liquor store clerk and ask with a huge smile, “Do you need to see this?” he gives you a funny look and says, “Um, no.”
3.       Instead of one day, it takes a week to recover from a night of flip-cup and beer pong.  Also, no one cares if you are a "one-flip wonder." 
4.       When out at a noisy bar you can’t help wishing it were a leeeeettle quieter so you can hear what the person across the table is saying.  Remember that saying “If it’s too loud, you’re too old”?  Yeah, makes sense now, doesn’t it?
5.       It has been quite a while since you woke up on your couch with empty White Castle cheeseburger boxes strewn haphazardly around you…and you’re totally okay with that.
6.       You finally have disassociated the taste of Red Bull with vodka.
7.       Remember those 30-something women you used to make fun of out at bars dancing outdatedly to 80’s songs?  That’s you now, only it’s 90’s songs.  Macarena, anyone?
8.      When exiting a smoky bar at the pathetically early hour of 1 am you can’t help remarking disdainfully that the atmosphere “smells like college.”   {i.e. vomit, weed, sweat, desperation}
9.       Just looking at photos of your former partying days makes you suddenly feel very dehydrated.
1o.       You have a baby.  They do not have a snooze button - or volume control.
       Babies do not care if you hung over.  


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

{four more days}

I sit here in the quiet of the morning 
sipping my {third cup of}coffee
waiting for my son to wake up.

since my maternity leave ended I have been back at work
but now I am happy to say 
only four more days

then I am a stay-at-home mama

I will try to enjoy these last four days
of wearing my cute heels
and work outfits
eating my lunch without interruption
and conversation with adults

but really...
I am excited for when I can spend my whole day
taking care of 
this guy

and earning kisses, and smiles, and sweet moments I can never get back.

ready for this new adventure....