Thursday, May 26, 2011

Long Weekend!

We may or may not head out of town. You? Hoping the weather stays warm so I can do a long hike with the man. I'll follow the blogging trend of leaving you weekend tidbits, and wish you rest, play, and only good memories this Memorial.

You can imagine how silly I felt when I went to link this song that I'm obsessed with and discovered it's 2 years old. I'm not always on the cutting edge. Obviously. Currently obsessed with this one; have hit the repeat no fewer than 6 times in a car ride. Definitely on the birth play list. And the band is one I've always liked but never really gotten to know. That's changing now.

Made this again this week. It's just as delectable as it was last year. (Recipe at the end of what seems to be a really long post:) )

The firepit we want for outdoors. Why do we ALWAYS gravitate to the most expensive stuff? Wanting does not mean we're getting, btw. But wouldn't it be fun? It doubles as a table, and maybe one day I'd use it for butter again. Nah.

We'll be making progress in the hummingbird's room and assembling the dresser. It's currently in 15 pieces on the floor.

I'm a new pinterest fan

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Kid Food

I'm officially due 2 months from today. !!!!!!!!!!!.
I feel like it was about a week ago I posted on Facebook that I was due in 4 months. Baby is all over the place in there--often makes me look like a crazy person as I sit on the couch laughing because a)I'm amused at the antics or b) I'm genuinely getting tickled.

So perhaps subconsciously in celebration of the 2-month countdown I was inspired to bake some kid food yesterday. I made Peanut Butter and Jelly muffins from my new favorite cookbook:
My aunt Chris is a consummate baker, and this is one of her go-tos. I have a stained ratty photocopy of the raised corn pancakes from here which I only make once in a blue moon because I can't restrain myself when I do from eating about 4. But I will share them with you sometime---it's my duty. The book-now that I finally ordered it and can read from cover to cover-- has awesome tips about flours, grains, and ways to improve the texture and taste of bread. I love a carb-lover.

I had a free afternoon yesterday and was just really into being at home. And the beauty of having a husband who goes to work in the morning is I can unload extra baked goods on his colleagues so I don't have to sit around staring at the muffikins wondering how long I have to wait before I eat another one. This trick works great on anyone you love who works offsite.

The first time I make a recipe I follow it to the letter. When I make these next time I am going to sub half the flour with whole wheat and try coconut sugar instead of refined white, maybe almond butter instead of PB. Just for kicks. The sugar in these, though, is negligible, so don't worry if you're trying to stay off the stuff. These aren't as oily as many muffins can be; I think because when you do serve them it's recommended to do so warm with additional peanut butter and jelly on the side, which will add some extra moisture. That being said, WARM THEM UP. They're just not the same room temp. The batter is super-sticky, which adds to the kid food element of them---my inner child was delighted with the mess and I'm sure my outer one will be too when we get to the stage where the hummingbird is helping me bake. And don't be concerned if the jelly leaks out a little when baking---even then it makes a pretty ribbon through the center of the muffin.

So if I'm due two months from today, that means tomorrow I am due in less than two months. Whoa. In honor of my child:

Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins
from the Wooden Spoon Bread Book
2 c unbleached flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/4 c sugar
1 Tablespoon honey
3/4 c creamy peanut butter
1 c milk
jam or jelly of your choice (I used a strawberry-orange that needed using up)

1. Preheat oven to 375. Grease 12-cup muffin tin.
2. Sift together and set aside
flour, baking powder, salt
3. In a large mixing bowl beat eggs
4. Stir into eggs in this order
sifted dry ingredients
5. Into each muffin cup spoon 1 rounded tablespoon batter. Press the back of a spoon into each filled cup, making a small well in each (here's where the stickiness can get you--be patient.Laugh. You'll get it). Spoon into each well 1 teaspoon jam or jelly.
6. Cover jelly by evenly dividing and spooning (of course I eyed it and the results were slightly uneven but delish all the same) remaining batter into muffin cups.
7. Bake for 20-25 minutes or til golden brown. Mine took 22.
8. Serve warm with more PB&J on the side.

Almost gone

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Great Outdoors

As we continue to make progress on the inside of the house, it's getting rather gorgeous outside so we've been taking some action around outdoor furniture. I have fantasies of nursing the baby on a big chaise lounge in this half of the front yard
which as you can see is screaming to be occupied with something. We found a double-lounger/big chaise at West Elm and took advantage of their summer sale plus a coupon we had that I think is going to work. There's room for all 3 of us on it and I'm into the orange cushion. We seem to always gravitate to color around here (I told you the accent wall in the baby room is turquoise, right?).

The pending question is what to put in the other half of the yard

I'd take any of these:
here--this is in Bali, no less. Of course.

Martha comes through

via here

House Beautiful this is so beautiful--it's not a front yard but I am inspired

The reality is we're probably going to end up with some colorful plastic chairs and a bistro table for now. The budget dictates something along those lines. But seeing the yellow chairs above gives me some hope it can be cheerful and classy at the same time. I've been looking on Craigs List but this is probably not the time people are selling their amazing outdoor furnishings. I will look again in October......

Meanwhile, this little one is hanging around the front door and I, gulp, bought some cat food after giving it milk for about a week. Another creature that I'm not sure is a boy or a girl. We're to the petting stage now, which means I should get some gloves and borrow a cat carrier and take it to the vet for shots. If I'm in fact going down this road. Which is looks like I might be. Maternal instincts are powerful things.

But give and you are given to! I had no idea I had an artichoke plant in the yard til a week ago when these appeared! Dinner tonight.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Weekend with the Hummingbird

First I want to say I adore you. Thank you for your responses---all of them. Thank you. SO MUCH. I missed you when Blogger went down last week! Put a wrench in my plans for Thursday and all I wanted to chat about. But it's restored and all is well.

Sky was out of town this weekend and the hummingbird and I had some amazing time together. It's starting to feel second nature to say "We did this" or "We went there". Now that the baby is big enough that I feel movement pretty much all day it really feels like someone's with me. Of course I've known that, and felt that, but it's different now. It's becoming automatic to have a dialogue with her. With him. (By the way, feel free to cast your vote---I'm keeping a list.) I didn't actually need or want to be on the phone much, just loved relaxing and watching my belly move as the little one kicked and rolled.
photo from here (thanks, Jora)

Last week I bought the only yoga DVD I've ever owned: Prenatal Yoga with Gurumukh. I can't get to Golden Bridge as often as I'd like to, especially to their prenatal classes, and I'd heard great things about this DVD. So Friday morning, before my dentist appointment, the Bird and I tried it out. Gorgeous. Get it if you're pregnant; get it for someone you know who's pregnant. All the movement feels so good, and the things she says are beautiful. And if it gets a little out there, go with it. At one point towards the end there's time to dance with your baby, as in you in your living room dancing around with your pregnant belly, and I promise if you let yourself do it you don't feel stupid at all. You're dancing with your baby, and babies love to dance.

this one found on Google

I also love what Gurumukh said about being in the flow. I'm such a hard-core perfectionist that I've put pressure on myself at times to have myself totally figured out and my life perfect by the time the baby comes. Most of my life I can happily say is at a 10, but there are a couple of areas I still wrestle with, and I've had fear that I'll give that struggle to my baby. One thing I heard in the video is that what the baby picks up is not that I have fear or stress, but that Mama is in the flow, is working it out, is conscious and connected and willing to evolve. That was just what I needed to hear. Besides, having perfect parents could be really freaky for a kid. Having a mom that has stuff to work on I have to believe gives the child permission to be a work-in-progress as well.

Speaking of yoga: have you seen this?

source here but I think I saw it here
Somehow I don't think it would fly in my Iyengar classes, but in one's own backyard, why not.....

On Saturday morning I was exhausted from a night of calf cramps that had me basically up since 4:30 am, so the baby and I rested on the couch while I finished a delicious novel (Forever Amber, which is a Restoration-era England bodice ripper with lots of passionate longing---I highly highly recommend for a total escape) and we listened to the live broadcast from the Met. That's one of my favorite things to do on a Saturday should I find myself with time to just sit and listen. Saturday was The Valkyrie---not one of my favorite favorites, but glorious just the same. I talked to the baby about what passages I like, and what operas I love even more. Asked the baby's opinion, which usually got no sort of quantifiable response, but was fun just the same. We went to a play at night, and Baby got the hiccups during it. Luckily it was a comedy, because I was giggling.

Sky comes home today, and I honestly can't wait. I loved my quiet time with my baby, and I'm ready to have my Baby Daddy home. We feel closer to each other than we ever have, and despite what the statistics are, both of us are committed to our marriage being better than ever once we have a baby.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Easy-Peasy (and Fava and Asparagus-y)

When we got home from Bali my sister was in town, which was great though she had to put up with me being ready for bed at 9:30 due to jet lag. However, we ate one night at the Tasting Kitchen then the second night at Osteria Mozza. Both extraordinary. Sky and I then had 2 nights of semi-normalcy before his sister and one of his brothers arrived so we could celebrate a family birthday at Pitfire Pizza. That was Friday; on Sunday it was Mothers' Day and we had a big brunch with my mom, his mom, his siblings, and their kids down in Newport Beach.

All this to say there has been a lot of semi-decadent eating over the last 2 weeks, which left my body craving clean simple veggies and grains. Baby and mama wanted a break from white flour, sugar, sauces, cheese. So on Monday night I raided the fridge of farmers' market goodies I'd picked up and came up with what I'm about to share with you. It doesn't even really need a recipe it's so easy, but it looked so pretty I couldn't resist.

Lemon-Scented Quinoa with English Peas, Fava Beans and Purple Asparagus
serves 3

1 c quinoa
1 bunch purple asparagus
1 lb fava beans in pods
2c English peas in pods
1 lemon
Fleur de sel or other good salt

1. Prep veggies: remove favas and peas from pods, wash and trim asparagus.

2. Cook quinoa by adding quinoa to 2 c boiling water. Cover and let simmer approximately 20 min.

3. While quinoa is cooking, boil a couple inches of water in a large saucepan and blanch vegetables individually (favas, peas, asparagus) for about 1 minute--taste after that--they should be crisp-tender. When each batch of veggies is done, remove with slotted spoon and set aside.

4. When blanching is finished, favas should have cooled enough that you can slip their skins off. Gently pierce light green skin with your fingernail and slip bean inside out. Discard skins; reserve beans.

5. When quinoa is ready (you'll be able to see the curlie-q inside each grain and water will be absorbed), remove lid and squeeze some lemon juice in there. How much is up to you. I used the juice from half a big lemon. Grate some lemon zest and toss in there as well with a little salt.

6. Melt a couple tablespoons of butter (or heat olive oil) over low heat in a large saute pan. Add blanched veggies and toss gently with butter for a few minutes til warm and lightly coated. Add a sprinkle of Fleur de Sel. Remove from heat.

7. Plate quinoa, top with veggies. Sprinkle a little extra grated lemon zest on the top and serve with Fleur de Sel and fresh pepper.

I served it with some tofu I'd sauteed with a little garlic and a cucumber salad. It would also be yummy with a poached egg on top......

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Bali with a Belly

We went to Bali.

It is an extraordinary place.

a rice paddy we hiked down into. I wish the time of day allowed me to capture the green better.....
Ganesha at one of 3 stunning temples we visited. The more overgrown or worn away they were the more I loved them.

The market in Ubud. I would have loved several days here. Next trip.

One of many monkeys in the monkey forest. The Balinese let the monkeys take over on the grounds where a temple to Hanuman, the monkey god, was built. I was especially partial to the mama monkeys running around with baby monkeys clinging to their bellies. No Ergos needed.

I've never seen more, or more perfect, lotus blossoms.

Walking at the temple at Uluwatu. It sits on a cliff 210 feet above the Indian Ocean.

Another temple. I seem to like them. We actually saw monks bathing at this one. Nothing racy, don't worry. I still need to look up who that goddess is.

The baby loved it, even if we both did get a little hot at times and had to leave certain parties early.

Mom and Dad loved it too. And the wedding we attended was spectacular.
I confess I got a little emotional on the morning that we left. I know we'll go on a week-long vacation together again. And hey, I'll even be able to drink cocktails on that one. There's nothing Sky and I want more than this baby, and there's a little mourning going on that Us as we know Us is changing forever. I think that's normal. I remember a couple months before we got married I spent a good part of the day on the beach weeping. I wasn't sad about getting married; quite the opposite. But subconsciously or archetypally or something I was letting go of me as I'd known me my whole life and starting a completely new era. This was something like that. I didn't weep, but there were a few tears; there will probably be more. I think taking the time, accidentally or on purpose, to grieve the loss of one thing as I make way for the next is a way of honoring how beautiful the time that's going into the past has been. Doesn't mean there's anything wrong or it's not a change I don't want. Just that it's that: change. A kind of huge one.