Sunday, August 14
Is it really time for another menu? And do we really only have one more week of summer before school starts? I just can’t believe how fast time flies…I need it to slow down to a leisurely walk rather than an Olympic sprint.
Pears came in our CSA bag this week. Pears are one of my most favorite fruits, so to have them grow locally is super exciting for me. I think if I were to have a yard and I were to plant one kind of fruit tree, it would be pears. I can only imagine how heavenly they must be ripe off the tree!
- Barbecue Chicken
- Corn on the cob and fresh fruit
- Asian Spinach Salad
- Bertucci’s Tortellini (I’m leaving out the sausage this week…want it a little lighter for the summer weather!)
- Whatever veggies come in the CSA bag that day…can’t remember what I ordered…
- English Muffin Pizzas (thanks for the reminder those exist, Sarah! My girls will have fun making these!)
- Eat out
- Leftovers…and if there aren’t leftovers, then waffles!
- Fresh fruit
I say this all the time, so I’m afraid you might think I don’t mean it…but, seriously, I am SO GRATEFUL for the menus you all share each week! They truly are a great help and inspiration…so, THANK YOU! Please keep it coming…share your menus!
Thursday, August 11
Photo taken by my sister Anne when Cate was about 1 week old
My body does not like being pregnant. It’s a fact. It happens every time. And yet, here we are, working on baby number 3. Sometimes wondering why we are working on baby number 3 (just kidding!), yet always beyond happy that we are.
As you may have noticed, one of the biggest impacts that pregnancy has on my life is in my relationship to food. For the first half of my pregnancy, I can barely keep any food down with the help of medication. It’s a constant struggle to keep myself, and my baby, nourished. Then, once the crazy nausea and vomiting have dissipated, the constant acid reflux controls what I do (or do not) eat or drink right up until the baby is born. My current food predicament? Nothing sounds good to me. Yes, I’m starving, but I have no zest for food. Except chocolate lava cakes. There is always zest for chocolate lava cakes.
The thing is, food is essential and central to the experience of life. Especially my life. I’m a mother, constantly needing to feed two (and a half) little people. I’m a food blogger, constantly wanting to write about food. And, at the most basic level, I’m human, needing food to survive. So when the relationship I have with food is so wrought with problems, it really does affect everything. It’s beyond frustrating.
I want to complain. And often I do. And I invariably feel guilty about the complaining, despite caring friends and family telling me I have every right to complain, that I should get it all out without feeling guilty. And even though sometimes (okay, maybe more than sometimes) you can find me whining about my latest pregnancy-induced ailment, I truly am so grateful to be growing this little life inside of me. And whenever I do feel like I’ve hit rock bottom…too sick or in pain to move, to be a mother, to be a wife, and feeling depressed as a result of all of that…I remind myself of that gratitude. Grateful that I am in this position to begin with and that, despite the crumminess, in reality everything is healthy and wonderful and the end result will be breathtaking.
I also can’t help but think of many of my friends. My single friends who wish so much they were married and having babies of their own. My married friends who never could get pregnant or who struggled for years to conceive, with month after month of heartbreak defining the process. My friends who are parents but for various reasons cannot have more children and constantly feel a small hole in their life where that child they thought they would have should be. I love these friends dearly and I hope that I have been able to keep my shallow complaints about sciatica and heartburn to a minimum in their presence.
I very recently had the most precious moment with our little Anna, who is now three years old. As the pregnancy progresses and she gets a little older, her interest in her baby brother increases. It’s so sweet to see the evolution. Two days ago she was gently feeling my belly, trying to see if she could feel the baby. He wasn’t moving, but there was a bump that she said she could feel. I am never quite sure if she really gets what’s going on, but I love that she tells me she does.
After a few seconds, she laid her little head to my belly and said, “I can hear his dreams.”
She’s three and you can’t always understand everything she says. I wasn’t entirely sure she had really said the word dreams, so I asked, “You can hear the baby dreaming?”
When she answered that, yes, she could, I asked her what he was dreaming about.
“He’s dreaming about us.”
And at that moment all of the struggles didn’t matter. All I could feel was love and gratitude. For my supportive husband. For my friends who, no matter their own circumstances, are truly and wholly happy for me. For my beautiful daughters anticipating the arrival of their little brother. And for this person moving around inside of me who, before I know it, will be grown up and having babies of his own. And so I take my iron pills, throw a pillow between my legs and eat my dinner that doesn’t really taste that great. Because life is good and I’m lucky I get to experience it.
Tuesday, August 9
I am loving summer produce this year. I think I love it every year, but this is the first year I’ve really paid attention to what’s in season throughout the summer and what grows in the area where I live. The result? We’ve been eating more produce for sure and the produce we have eaten has been more delicious than usual.
Last week I spotted these California-grown yellow watermelons at the store. I knew my girls would think that was downright amazing, so I grabbed one. Taste-wise it wasn’t any better than red, but I was right…the girls could not stop talking about the color. Listening to their little conversations and comments about the yellow watermelon made for one of those really fun mom moments.
And once we had it all cut up and in the bowl, it was so pretty and vibrant looking. Would be great for a party!
By the way…remember how I was bemoaning tasteless watermelons a while ago? I felt like for years all we got were lightly colored, tasteless watermelons. I’m happy to repot that this summer I keep picking delicious watermelons! I think part of it is I waited until they were actually in season before I started buying them. I also have been looking for watermelons that have a big yellow spot and lots of blemishes. I don’t know if that has really had anything to do with my success. Honestly, it’s probably just been luck!
Sunday, August 7
I’m back from the BlogHer 11 Conference and all I want to do is sleep! Boy, am I tired, but it was a great weekend. The best part by far was rooming with Allison, Marie and Rachael…oh, and the view from our room at the Marriott wasn’t too bad, either. Oh, and we went to a party hosted by the Hostess with the Mostess…the whole time I was kicking myself for not having my camera on me, she is unbelievably talented!
Now that I’m back from this trip, our family is officially back to normal. No more travel, just time at home getting ready for the start of school and preparing for baby boy’s arrival in just 6 short weeks. All of this means that we’re back to eating dinner at home more regularly, as long as I can stand being on my feet at the end of the day!
- Boursin Turkey Baguettes
- Fresh fruit
- I think I’ll do a pasta with tons of veggies, since we have a bunch in the fridge to use up! Probably something similar to this Moosewood recipe, but with whatever vegetables we have in the fridge.
- Hot dogs
- Corn on the cob and fresh fruit
- More corn on the cob (it’s the last week our CSA has corn on the cob, so I ordered double!)
- Eat out
- Breakfast for dinner…probably omelettes because we have a ton of eggs to use up this week!
Okey dokey, your turn! Please share your menu for the week…fancy or plain, organized or not!
Friday, August 5
Just a quick post today about some of the best bread this side of, well, anywhere.
If ever you are driving up the coast of California between Santa Cruz and San Francisco, be sure to take the 5 minute jaunt off of Route 1 to Pescadero. Arcangeli market sells this artichoke bread, which is heavenly. Seriously. The bread itself is wonderful, the artichokes are delicious, and there’s this salty garlic topping on the bread that puts it over the top.
Plus, I love Pescadero. It’s small, it’s quaint, it’s beautiful.
Wednesday, August 3
Have you discovered Pinterest yet? It’s a lovely website that allows you to essentially bookmark stuff you love. And discover stuff other people love. Which is where I found the recipe for these peanut butter cups on a food blog called Iowa Girl Eats. I “pinned” the recipe so I would remember to try it later…and later came sooner than I was planning and I ended up making them that night.
These little treats are super easy to throw together and they really hit the peanut butter cup spot. A few of my friends had some the other night and loved them, so you don’t just have to take my word for it.
Crispy Peanut Butter Cups
Recipe originally from Iowa Girl Eats
- 1 1/4 cups peanut butter
- 1/4 cup butter, room temperature
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups rice krispies
- Milk or semi-sweet chocolate chips, probably about 8 ounces or so.
- Mini muffin tin
Directions (in my own words to describe exactly how I did it):
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter the muffin tin. Place about 6-8 chocolate chips in each muffin tin (32 peanut butter cups total, my chocolate chips were a little bit bigger than the standard Nestle chip – I used 6 chips per cup). Put pan in oven and until chocolate chips melt. You’ll pretty much have to feel the chips to see if they’re melted or not because chocolate chips tend to keep their shape even when they are melted. Take the pan out of the oven and squish down the chocolate in each muffin cup with the back of a spoon. Turn oven off and set pan aside.
The second time I made these, I must have left the chocolate in the oven for too long or something and the chocolate ended up actually going powdery and weird on me. SOOOO…I melted about 1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips in the microwave, 30 seconds at a time stirring between each heating. This made for more dishes to wash, but I had much better control over the chocolate not burning. After spooning the chocolate evenly between all the cups, I refrigerated for about 5 minutes until the chocolate started to harden.
Mix peanut butter and butter together (I just used a mixing spoon), then mix in the powdered sugar and vanilla. Stir in the krispies.
Evenly divide the peanut butter mixture between the 32 muffin cups, pressing down into the cup and smoothing the tops with a spoon. Refrigerate until peanut butter firms up, about 15 minutes or so. Store in an air tight container in the fridge.
They taste good right out of the fridge or after sitting on the counter for 10 minutes or so.
Also, I halved the recipe and it worked perfectly…made 16 mini peanut butter cups.
Tuesday, August 2
First off, your comments for the Mr. Bar-B-Q giveaway were AWESOME. You should go read through them. There are oodles of fabulous grilling tips and recipes…and a few sweet memories, too! Thank you all for helping build such a great resource for everyone to use and enjoy!
Secondly, I need to announce the winner of the giveaway! Drumroll…
Liz Brown is the winner! Here’s her fabulous comment: One of my favorite things to BBQ lately, is Chicken Veggie Kabobs, marinate the chicken first in a plain yogurt, lemon juice, s&p, cilantro, chopped green onions for 30 minutes or overnight. Soooo seriously good! Yum! Thread the chicken chunks alternating with cherry tomatoes and chunks of green squash, sprinkle with more s&p.
Thanks for the great recipe, Liz! And congratulations!!!
Thirdly, one last grilling goodie to share. Over two years ago I did a Call for Recipes post where everyone shared their favorite hamburger toppings. Click here to read all the great ideas and maybe add some of your own!