Monday, July 31, 2006

ON FOOD: A Birthday Dinner for My Husband

Prosecco

Recently it was my husband’s birthday. We had counted on a very simple celebration and fortunately we did just that. Sometimes simple is hard to come by these days. I really had no idea what I was going to make. I had almost too much produce in the refrigerator. This is a ridiculous complaint but I have been feeling very disorganized as of late and options did not seem like what I needed. I needed focus.

It was also 90 degrees in our little apartment so roasting vegetables and meat was really out of the question. I knew I wanted a salad to go along with the meal. So in my mind that had to be a vegetable salad that was not too overpowering in its dressing. I feel that there are three kinds of salads: a simple salad of beautiful greens with a simple vinaigrette that is wonderful after a meal, an appetizer or meal salad with greens, vegetables and a protein or two, and finally a side salad. A side salad to me is not the kind you get in so many American restaurants, in addition to your huge meal, slathered in bottled dressing. To me, it really is the vegetable portion of your meal with a little bit of tang from vinegar, yogurt or lemon along with oil and seasonings. Tomatoes with basil and a splash of balsamic vinegar and a drizzle of a good olive oil is an easy example of this, perfectly matching a good steak or grilled fish. Or even slices of cucumber with a refreshing yogurt dressing to go along with a nice spice crusted chicken. But I wanted a nice crunch with a twist of citrus.

Well, perhaps a fresh beet salad with jicama and sections of oranges? I sliced a portion of the beets after peeling them and getting my hands that wonderful red and bit into them. Nope, a carpaccio of fresh beets was not really working out. There simply was not enough crunch. So I readjusted the settings on my mandoline and put in another blade and made small julienne strips of the beets and jicama. Now we had crunch. Since I was not cooking the beets they had an extremely mild flavor. It would never stand up to a strong vinaigrette. And now my idea of oranges would not work because they would look ridiculous in segments mixed up with little matchsticks. But, I could make a dressing with the juice of the oranges. It really was perfect with a good olive oil but it needed just a little “something”. Well a tablespoon of crunchy Pomeroy mustard did the trick. Then I scattered a few leaves of fresh oregano on top so every few bites you would get this strong flavor from the herb but it would be mellowed by the orange juice in the vinaigrette. And I never had to turn the oven on.

Oranges

But then it was time to turn the oven on. I did have a little cooking to do. Fortunately my husband took the boys for a walk in their stroller. And as he was leaving, I shouted down to him from our balcony to go around the corner and get them a quesadilla and let them eat it in the park. I thought we could have dinner alone; without toddlers being the center of attention; spilling and smearing food and squealing about something that was not perfect. He beamed up a huge smile and I could tell that a dinner with his wife would be the perfect birthday dinner. So that meant I had less than an hour to finish up the rest of the meal and tidy up the living area. Prosecco was already chilling!

Dessert. Birthday dessert. Well this year it would not be a cake. I have a sneaking feeling it won’t be cake for my husband for quite a while since we will have just come down from the sugar high resulting from the boys’ birthday cake just a few short weeks before. And you may know, I am not really a baker so I have not ventured into such lovely delicacies like almond cake and other non-birthday cake cakes. What my husband really likes is cream, fruit and cream. I could do fresh plums with cream and a chiffonade of mint, decidedly a little too simple. I am sure there is some spice that I could dust over the top and make it all a little more exotic but I had no idea about what spice so I had to forgo that idea. Then I remembered reading about a recipe with blueberries with marscopone and brown sugar on top that was put under the broiler to achieve that nice burnt sugar effect on a crème brulee. I peeled and sliced my 5 red plums and cooked them in a saucepan along with some sugar, mint and ginger until they released their juices and go nice and soft. I had bought a different brand of marscapone than I was used to and it was awful; grainy and not even a slight hint of sweetness from the cream. Needless to say I was very disappointed. What was I going to do now? Well, I had some cream cheese and some crème fraiche. Mix a bit together with some Muscovado sugar and now we are in business. I think I would like to make a custard version of this sometime as well but with raspberries.

The rib eye steaks had been resting at room temperature so that it would cook nice and evenly. This was my husband’s birthday and I thought he should have a little comfort in the tastes from home; his childhood home that is. His mom, and now dad who has taken over the cooking, always sprinkles paprika on their steak. Always. It is simple. I actually do not have any plain ole paprika in the house. But what I do have is smoked paprika that has a very heady smell and taste. In short, a little goes a long way. So I sprinkled salt, pepper and smoked paprika on both sides of the steaks and dotted them with butter.

Now it was time to add some heat. I flipped on the broiler and prepared a little version of a bruschetta. I wanted a little bit of delicious carbohydrates and had a great baguette that I had picked up that day. I had some pureed artichoke hearts and some crème fraiche. I mixed that all together along with a pinch of ground, dried thyme. Then I topped slices of the bread with a little bit of the mixture and put them under the broiler for a few minutes. Then I popped in the ramekins with the fruit, creams and sugar.

The boys came upstairs and we got them ready to be tucked into their cribs. Luckily I had done a really great job of tuckering them out that day with a little help from the heat so they drifted off into dreamland fairly quickly. I set the table, poured some Prosecco and I put the steaks in the broiler and they cooked up nice and quickly so they were nice and browned on top and slightly crispy in places while still being nice and pink in the center.
We enjoyed our little birthday date at our little table in our little apartment. The steaks I had bought were quite big so I did not finish mine and I was happy to squirrel it away for lunch the next day. We took our wine glasses out onto the deck and I put some candles into the ramekins, luckily they were long enough to be pushed all the way down to the bottom because the fruit and cream would never have been stiff enough to hold them upright on their own. It had finally cooled off from the day’s heat and we could enjoy the outdoors for a little while which is what summer is really all about.

WEEKEND BABY BLOGGING - WBB#11

We took the boys to Baby Loves Disco last weekend and it was a complete blast! The boys were totally groovin! Xander had just woken up from a nap in the car and was a bit cranky at first then he had a bunch of strawberries and a juice box. They never have juice so he was roaring to go. Then he saw the dance floor and ran up to it and started to wiggle around. Timmy loved bouncing up and down in our arms and I got on my knees so I could help him stand and dance. He just kept giggling. Then they started the bubble machine and Xander was in seventh heaven. And then they got to play with balloons and Timmy ws fully in heaven. I highly suggest you all go if it comes to town.

The bubbles are coming!!
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Helping Timmy to Dance!
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Xander is shaking and shimmying
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Disco Lights in slow mo
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Mo has gotten on of his first balloons
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Xander grabs one!
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And then over at Fruit Salad - Baby Hayley is taking a snoozle. What is about babies sleeping that makes them SO cute.



My Muzingz has joined us one again! Look at this precious child. Whirling around in that big swing. I wish they made one that would fit me!



We have a new blogger joining us! Shugah's Suger is such a darling little boy who said that he loved his Momma right before she snapped this heavenly picture!





Don't forget to check out the Weekend Baby Blogging Announcment!

Oh. Babies or course come in ALL AGES!! So your children of all ages are included.

Weekend Baby Blogging Archives
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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

SHOPPING: One Step Ahead

120 X 60 One Step Ahead Banner

DAILY REPORT: Still A New Yorker - Monday, July 24

Well it is official. I am no longer a New Yorker. I have been living in Southern California for 5 years now so you would think that this statement is long over do and it probably is. So what is different about today? I got my California Driver's License and they punched a hole through my New York one. This should be totally ridiculous considering I never drove in New York. Why would you? Subways, legs, busses and cabs were my modes of transportation. So it is not like I am even remotely sentimental about the license specifically but it is this very official tie to New York. If you grew up in a place like New York City you would know it is much more like its own country than just a place somewhere in between the borders of America. It is my Home Land basically.

I have also just finished reading a biography, Seemed Like a Good Idea At The Time, by an old college mate, David Goodwillie. We were in the same class at Kenyon College and hung out with the same people basically and were both in NYC during the same time. He is still there. Except for the last chapter the whole book takes place during pre-911. This is the NYC I know as a young adult. I of course know all the New Yorks that came before that as I lived there basically my entire life. That NYC of my 20's no longer exists. So part of me is sad because I am totally homesick but I also realize that what I am homesick for no longer actually exists. And the person I was back then no longer exists either. This is of course all very bittersweet. Every single restaurant, bar and club mentioned in the book, I had been to at least once if not on a regular basis. Vodka at Pravda, Petaluma, Florent after parties, Wax, Bar Pitti in the summer, 6 a.m. at Robots, Moules Frites at Lucky Strike with tons of cigarettes and so on and so on. David actually mentions how these places are sort of like markers in your life. I wish I could find the quote because I had to chuckle as it was just what I had been thinking while reading this book. I only ran into him once at fashion show hosted by GenArt for up and coming designers. He was working for the liquor company that was providing the much needed booze. Then I saw him at a few college parties. I am surprised I did not run into him more often. But with the mention of every place I know so well, I am brought back to all my old memories and they get all stirred up and brought right up front to the top of my thoughts. I read the book in two nights before I fell asleep. Well actually, Sunday I had complete insomnia after reading it; I literally never slept. All those memories swirling around along with reflections about what and where I am now compared to what I was then kept my mind to engaged to sleep. Taking a job to afford going out to all these places a young hip single woman wants to go to, hating that job so completely and getting another job that goes no where but gives me a glimpse of what could be, a new job with a lower salary, debt, way too much partying, working hard and getting 5 promotions in a year, depression, more shoes than I can count, lots of attractive men and quite a few very bad boyfriends. Those might sound like negatives and yes, they were but they were also my life which I actually really really enjoyed with all my friends who were going through the same stuff in our 20's. Read the book.

Then today I ALSO went to see The Devil Wears Prada. I really needed a couple of hours to myself and more than that I needed air-conditioning desperately. For a couple of years in NYC, I worked for a woman who was definitely nicer but almost as demanding as the character based on Anna Wintour's character. So it hits home. But more than the story it was the fact that is showed scenes of the city and many of them just a couple of blocks from where I grew up in SoHo. Of course, as I watch, I know the real scenes behind making the movie. I picture how incredibly annoying those movie trucks are when they descend upon the area to film some blockbuster movie. The day my moving truck was picking up all my 42 boxes and my Grandfather's desk to drive it all out to California, a big movie was being shot, Unfaithful, and my dad had to broker a deal to get them to keep a space on the street so my moving company could load up. All the while, piles and piles of paper and newspaper were strewn across the streets for the scene where she falls down and scrapes her knee and thus starting the whole plot line. But back to Prada, tons and tons of people on the street all rushing around. Subways and taxis flying by in the background, young people communing for drinks after a long hard day and so and so forth. The book reminded me more of the job while the movie reminded me more of the city.

So I basically had a big emphasis on NYC in the past three days and then they put that hole in my license. My husband was so glad I finally did it but I was not. I burst into tears. Homesick. Homesick for NYC and all that brings and Homesick for my family and friends. And it does not help that I am not going back there or to Newport, R.I. either this summer which is a horrid thing.

But I have my life here, a lovely little life with a sweet husband and two precious boys. I am making a home here. That idea always makes me twitch a little. Not the idea of making a home; the idea of making it here. I am a New Yorker even if I have a hole in my license.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

WEEKEND BABY BLOGGING - WBB#10

Here are two photographs from their big birthday party. I have gobs and gobs of pictures but I don't want to put them up because they have all my friends and their kids in them and I don't want to post them without permission. Their Uncle and Aunt gave them their new shirts that they wore to their party.

Here is Timmy in his La La Teletubby headband. He really liked to sit under that bench and would have all day.
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And then Xander was so excited to dive into the cake. He had been patiently looking at it all day long.
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Don't forget to check out the Weekend Baby Blogging Announcment!

Oh. Babies or course come in ALL AGES!! So your children of all ages are included.


And then over at Fruit Salad - Baby Hayley is SEVEN MONTHS OLD!


Weekend Baby Blogging Archives

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SHOPPING: Craftsbury Kids

EVENT: WHB#42 - Melon Balls with Fresh Mint


This week Kalyn's Kitchen Weekend Herb Blogging is being hosted by The Cooking Adventures of Chef Paz

This week I made my Melon Balls with Fresh Mint

Cantaloupes, cucumis melo, a member of the Cucurbitaceae family, grow well in aerated soil that is well watered. True cantaloupes, cantaloupensis, are not actually grown in America. What we typically consider a cantaloupe are musk-scented melons with a netted rind. True cantaloupes are grown in Europe and are much more rough and bumpy. All cantaloupes are muskmelons but not all muskmelons are cantaloupes. Most of the cantaloupes, as we know them, are grown in California.

For more information on the Cantaloupe - Culinary Discovery - Cantaloupe

RECIPE: Melon Balls with Fresh Mint

Melon Balls with Mint

Melon Balls with Fresh Mint
Serves 4

2 cantaloupes
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup mint, small leaves

Cut each cantaloupe in half and scoop out the seeds. Make melon balls with both sizes of the melon ball scoop because it looks nice to have both sizes all mixed up together. Chiffonade the mint leaves. Sprinkle the sugar over the melon balls. Toss in the mint and gently mix everything together. Serve.

For more information on the Cantaloupe - Culinary Discovery - Cantaloupe

CULINARY DISCOVERY: Cantaloupes

Cantaloupes, cucumis melo, a member of the Cucurbitaceae family, grow well in aerated soil that is well watered. True cantaloupes, cantaloupensis, are not actually grown in America. What we typically consider a cantaloupe are musk-scented melons with a netted rind. True cantaloupes are grown in Europe and are much more rough and bumpy. All cantaloupes are muskmelons but not all muskmelons are cantaloupes. Most of the cantaloupes, as we know them, are grown in California.

The name derives from Cantalup, an Italian Papal village, in which it was thought that this muskmelon was first cultivated in the early 1700’s. Food historians are unsure of where muskmelons were first cultivated but it is thought that somewhere in the general Middle East area. There are depictions of melons in Egyptian paintings dating back to 2400 BCE. In the Sumerian epic, Gilgamesh, dating from about 2000 BCE, the king eats cassia melons. They also appear in Assyrian relief sculptures. Throughout the Middle East and China, melon seeds were dried and roasted for a snack. Melon seeds have been recovered during an archeological dig that excavated a site in the Hunan province that dates back to 125 BCE. The seeds were found in the digestive system of a well-preserved woman who is thought to have been the wife of the Marquis of Tai. In the 1st Century CE, Pliny the Elder, a roman writer described the melopepo plant as a vine that grows a spherical fruit like a cucumber but lies on the ground. The melon also appears around that period in wall paintings in Herculaneum below Mt. Vesuvius. The Romans imported many of their melons from Asia Minor. But after the fall of the Roman Empire, shipments to Italy declined. It was not until around the 14th Century that melons regained popularity. The moors cultivated melons throughout southern Spain. Christopher Columbus brought melons with him on his second voyage to the Americas in 1493. Slowly but surely melons were grown throughout North America but did not gain popularity until the 19th Century when they became a large crop after the end of the Civil War in 1865.

They are usually available year round but their season is typically June through August. Since cantaloupes do not ripen once picked they must be picked ripe. Farmers have an easy way to determine if a melon is ripe. Once the melon has reached its maximum sugar content, a buffer layer forms a shield between the stem and the melon so no more nutrients enter the melon and the plant itself can be nourished. Once this shield is formed, the melons are easy to remove from the vine.

Unfortunately, many melons are picked before becoming perfectly ripe so that they are not damaged during shipment. Melons will soften off the vine but they will not sweeten off the vine. This is why many people think that their melon is ripening at home on their counter. One of the best ways to tell if it is ripe is to smell it and is really fragrant then it will most likely be delicious as one with out smell is probably one with out taste. Another indicator of ripeness; is if they seem heavy for its small size because that will mean that is nice and juicy. Underneath the netting of the rind, the color should be yellow or creamy and no longer green. The stem area should also have no vine still attached nor should it be overly sunken.

Once melon has become soft, store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. If you cut the melon up, make sure you wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.

They are rich in vitamin A with its highly concentrated levels of beta-carotene. It is also a great source of vitamin C. And there is only 50 calories per 6 ounces.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

ON FOOD: Hot Dogs Go Organic

I really do love hot dogs. No, I really do not want to know what I am eating thank you very much. A long while back I tried some of those natural dogs and organic hot dogs and I was not really all that impressed. I take my junk food very seriously. Well... a couple of weeks ago The New York Times reported on my plight. Well not my personal plight. But I guess I was not alone.

For Natural Dogs, A Growing Appetite By KIM SEVERSON: Published: July 5, 2006.


Kim says that although organic hot dogs have been around for at least 10 years there are new ones on the market that taste much better and they are healthier for you too, in short “The politically correct frankfurter.”
Do you have doubts about this? Well according to the article,

“The key is that the curing code has recently been cracked. Instead of relying on sodium nitrates or the more common sodium nitrites for color, texture and
shelf life, hot dog makers have found a magic solution of celery juice, lactic acid and sea salt that rescues the organic dog from its tough brown reputation and rockets it to pink juiciness. It also addresses the concern among some consumers and scientists that nitrites and nitrates might contribute to cancer.”

Basically what it boils down to is that organic hot dog manufacturers are trying to make these healthier dogs taste unhealthy; just the way I like it. Oh and most of them seem to be grass fed and not grain fed too.

Brands to Try:

Applegate Farms


Organic Valley



Let's Be Frank

ON FOOD: What Donut Are You Test

Over at Deetsa's Dining Room she had a link to a silly test What Donut Are You? and I thought it was so funny and I had to do it.


You Are a Glazed Donut

Okay, you know that you're plain - and you're cool with that.
You prefer not to let anything distract from your sweetness.
Your appeal is understated yet universal. Everyone dig you.
And in a pinch, you'll probably get eaten.



SHOPPING: Kid's T-Shirts- My Entire Life is Being Blogged


My great friend, owner of Splendid Palate, emailed me this t-shirt from My Retro Baby because it is so perfect for my children. I however think I really need a plate that says, "Don't Eat This Until Mom Blogs It" because well.... it is true. I used to decoupage so perhaps I will have to make myself a glass decoupaged plate one day.

But these t-shirts are perfect for all those moms who post pictures of their babies of all ages which brings me to Weekend Baby Blogging here at Reluctant Housewife where we food bloggers post pictures of our wee ones. Join in on the fun!

DAILY REPORT: It's Too Darn Hot - Saturday, July 22

Coooking:
It is too darn hot! I really wish we had air conditioning. I can't cook. It is way too hot. My computer is a lap top and I use it just that way - on my lap - and it is too darn hot to hold this hot device much longer. I think I will be posting lightly for a while. So don't forget my Summer Salads Event.

The Kids:
Why will my little Xander not sleep? Probably too hot. It is 10:35 and he is awake in his crib. I hear him rattling around quietly. I think I will go check that he has not taken his clothes and his diaper off. Oh no. Timmy started to cry. Got to run. Well they needed some water. Normally I never go in and give them water but since it is so hot I am always worried about them dehydrating.

Travelling to Sonoma:
So - we are going up to Sonoma soon for a wedding. Anyone have suggestions of places we must go to? Spas and Food specifically. Well of course wine too.

Friday, July 21, 2006

SHOPPING: Food Network

Food Network

MOTHERHOOD: Baby Loves Disco



Well it is supposed to be a scorcher here this weekend so I wanted an air-condiditioned activity for the family and my friend suggested Baby Loves Disco. It is going to be at the Knitting Factory up in Hollywood. My husband was reluctant because he is not into dancing but I pouted and got my way. I hope it will be fun. I am sure it will be fun. Xander loves to bop up and down and wave his arms around to the music and Timmy laughs hysterically when I dance. Anyone would laugh actually.

This is from the Baby Loves Disco Website:

"All across the country, Baby Loves Disco is slowly but surely transforming the hippest night clubs into child proof discos as toddlers, pre-schoolers and parents looking for a break from the routine playground circuit let loose for some post naptime, pre-dinner fun. Make no mistake, this is NOT the Mickey Mouse club, and Barney is Banned. Baby loves disco is an afternoon dance party featuring real music spun and mixed by real djs blending classic disco tunes From the 70s, & 80s guaranteed to get those little booties moving and grooving. The fun spills out from all corners of the club: bubble machines, baskets of instruments, a chill-out room (with tents, books and puzzles), diaper changing stations, a full spread of healthy snacks (provided by Whole Foods) and dancing, LOTS of dancing. But at it’s core, Baby loves disco is a community event that brings kids together with kids and parents together with parents."

EVENT: Still Life - Sugar

Sugar

Sugar is this month’s challenge. I love sugar. I wish I did not love sugar. No wait, I don’t mind loving sugar. I just wish I were able to not give in so easily to my sugar cravings. My oldest friend, Jane, and I used to sample sugar while hiding in my granny’s closet underneath her fancy dresses. Brown sugar was our favorite. Now I have discovered the deliciousness of Muscavado sugar, which is a really deep brown sugar. It is so wonderful sprinkled on top of blueberries with a little milk or cream. Trust me.

To learn more please see the Still Life With. . . website or more photographs at flikr Group (Food Photography: Sugar)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

EVENT: DMBLGiT#7

Sandwich Tomato Mozzarella

Does My Blog Look Good in This? Well I think it does but probably not winner worthy. I thought last month I had a chance but I guess not. But that is just fine with me because I am not taking these pictures to win anything. It is all just fun for me to do something for me and then be able to share it with whoever likes to read my little blog in the big blog world.

So this month I chose my Tomato and Mozzarella Melted Sandwich

For more information and photographs see: Grab Your Fork

SHOPPING: Magic Cabin

Magic Cabin

RECIPE: Insalata Gorgonzola with Chicken

Insalata Gorgonzola with Chicken
Serves 4

Italian Vinaigrette
4 pieces grilled chicken breast
2 cups cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup sweet onion
2 Romaine, hearts only
1/2 cup of olives
2/3 cup walnuts, chopped in half
1/3 cup currants
1 cup blue cheese, crumbled

Slice the onion in very thin strips. Cut the cherry tomatoes in quarters or halves. Put the onions and tomatoes in the vinaigrette and let marinate while preparing the rest of the salad.

Prepare the chicken breasts and let cool. Slice into strips.

Wash and dry the Romaine hearts. Pit the olives if not already done. Either slice or break the walnuts in half. Place the lettuce, olives, and currants in the bowl with the marinating tomatoes and onions and toss.

Serve the salad on individual plates and scatter the blue cheese and walnuts on top. Place the sliced chicken breasts on top of the salad and serve.

Friday, July 14, 2006

WEEKEND BABY BLOGGING - WBB#9

Well. My boys are now two years old. How is this possible? These pictures are from when they were still 1 well 1 and 360 days. I will post pictures from their birthday next weekend.

I am totally hopeless and gave the boys one of their birthday presents early. I got this little tube for them to crawl in and out of. It is shorter than many of them out there but it is still great fun. Timmy crawled through it without hesitation. It rolls back and forth as they crawl through it so sometimes it knocks them right over and you hear a big thud. But so far no tears. Xander was hesitant but then he saw his brother going through and then it became a contest, a one sided contest, to see who could make it through first. Xander pushed ahead and they came out the other side at the same time. And then Xan got so excited that when they went back into their tunnel he started kissing Timmy. Melt my heart.


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And then they sleep! We have two tuckered out little boys who are sound asleep in their cribs and do not even seem to notice when that pesky mother of theirs, me, goes in and takes pictures with the flash lighting up the whole nursery.

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PHOTOGRAPHS: The First Days in the NICU with the Twins

Well I thought I would look back at some old pictures from two years ago.

This is me at 32 weeks - 1 week before you were born. I wonder how much bigger I would have gone if I went close to full term.

32 Weeks Standing

This was Timmy just a few hours after he was born and he was already breathing on his own. He stayed in the NICU for 5 more weeks. He was moved out of the most critical care NICU room about 8-12 hours after birth.
Timmy Day 1

This was Xander the day he was born. He was in the most critical room of the NICU where he stayed for a week with only 4 weeks total in the NICU.
Xander Day 1

Timmy on on his 2nd Day.
Timmy Day 1

This is Xander on his 2nd Day and it was the first time I was allowed to touch him. It was an incredible moment.
Xander Day 2

MOTHERHOOD: HAPPY BIRTHDAY BOYS

Today is the second birthday of my two perfect boys.

I love you both so much and that love grows every day. My love expands every single day. As soon as my eyes open in the morning I think, ooh another day with those little wretched children that I can't wait to give so many kisses to and see those bright smiles and dancing eyes as soon as I walk into the nursery. I was so terrified when my water broke because it was too early although it was a lot later than we were expecting. The moment you took your first breathes you were showing everyone what strong boys you are and how precious you are. But of course we knew that even before you were born but you wanted to make sure we were paying close attention. I am so sorry that I was not able to get into the NICU for the first day of your life. I was so fortunate to have been wheeled into the NICU post-C-Section before they took me to my room otherwise I would never have been able to bare it. I know you were in very good hands with Daddy and Granny though. And the moment I saw you I wept and almost fainted. All those tubes and wires were so scary but your chests going in up and down and the little twitches in your arms and legs showed me how hard you were working to get out of the NICU. And then I got to see how incredibely beautiful you two are with two of the most precious little faces I have ever seen in my life. I was completely overwhelmed.

And here you are today. I sneak into your nursery and stare down at your sleeping faces. So content. Better than content. You both look blissful. You don't even know what a special day this is. But we do and we are here to celebrate it with all our heart and soul. I can't wait until you wake up so I can kiss and tickle you from head to toe. I will be very sleepy but being sleepy will never be an impedement to loving every moment with you. God Bless You Both.

xo xo Mommy

Thursday, July 13, 2006

DAILY REPORT: Getting Ready for the Party - Thursday, July 13

I am madly but happily planning the boys' birthday party coming up on Sunday. I am soooo excited. Teletubbies EVERYWHERE!

As of today, there are 28 kids and 23 adults coming to the party. Yes, that is 51 people. And no, it is not in our tiny apartment. It is in a local park.


Yes, the theme is Teletubbies. I really don't let them watch much tv. But they get to watch that show from time to time and they are addicted to it. Xander is always jumping around the house saying something that sounds nothing like "teletubbies" it comes out more like "ugh gu bah". And as soon as I put it on they are beyond happy. Xander really likes to watch it sitting in my lap which is fun because we "talk" about the whole show. All the while, Timmy is bobbing up and down and squirming around right in front of the tv.

I am making Teletubby headbands for party hats. I have foam sticker crafts ready to go. I have almost finished making up the favor bags - a red bag to echo Tinky Winky's red bag. I have to finish up making little coloring books to put into them though.

Then there is the question of feeding all these people. Oigh. I am not decided on the menu for the adults. For the kids I am making turkey and cheese sandwiches and peanut butter sandwiches.

I also am making a cake. And it is the biggest cake I have ever made. Glenna of A Fridge Full of Food is helping me figure out what I am doing with this cake. She is a total sweetheart and I want to thank her so much.

I will update later...

ciao for now.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

SHOPPING: Chelsea Paper

ChelseaPaper.com

EVENT: Foodography#6 - HOT Photographs

Pasta Cooked

HOT

Well this month’s challenge was HOT. I made the big mistake of looking to see what everyone else was doing before I thought about what I was doing. I was inspired that is for sure but nothing came to mind. Well not anything that would be comparable to what was already shown. I have been trying to take pictures of steam for a while though. It is a tricky tricky matter. Either it is completely white and you can’t see a thing or it is too faint and the photo just looks out of focus. I would love to get a picture of the hot water and steam being poured out of a big pot but that would involve a second person to help me and that I don’t have. So… I poured the pasta into a colander and quickly snapped away at it hoping for the best. I got some dreadful shots but this one was the best. Definitely not great but worth the effort.


To learn more about Foodogrpahy check out Becks and Posh
"This month's challenge is HOT! Hot can mean many things in the food world, so use your imagination to get that feeling of heat across in your own unique and individual way. With Summer approaching in the Northern Hemisphere and Winter drawing in on the South, HOT! is the perfect theme for everyone the world over. Head over to Flickr where we host the challenge to find out exactly how to enter."




Pasta Cooked

Monday, July 10, 2006

EVENT: ARF#28 - Blueberry Strawberry Pie

berry pie detail 1

Pie. Fruit pie. That has summer written all over it. So I made up Blueberry Strawberry Pie. Now, I know that technically these two fruits are usually not perfectly in season at the same time but in today’s bizarre world of get anything when you want, I went ahead with it. I made this last weekend for the Fourth of July.

And it is so nice to know that this is high in Anti-Oxidents too. See how healthy I am? Snicker. Please see all the wonderful creations on Sweetnicks for ARF Tuesdays!

2 Berry Lattice Pie

RECIPE: Blueberry Strawberry Pie

Sugar

Blueberry Strawberry Pie

pâte brisée for 2 rounds crust
4 cups Blueberries, picked over and rinsed
2 cups Strawberries, roughly chopped
3/4 cups sugar, plus some for sprinkling top
2 tablespoons cup flour, plus some for rolling the dough
2 tablespoons cornstarch
zest of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. The dough should be in a ball in wax paper for 1 hour.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out half the dough, 1/8-inch thick, to fit a 9-inch pie pan. Chill the shell while assembling the filling.

Blueberry Strawberry Pie Filling

In a large bowl, combine the blueberries, strawberries, sugar, flour, cornstarch, lemon zest, cinnamon and ginger. Stir until well combined. Remove the pie shell from the refrigerator and pour in the fruit mixture.

Pie Dough

Roll out the other half of the door on a lightly flour surfaced. Cut into strips to make a lattice topping. Arrange the dough into a lattice pattern. Crimp the edges. Sprinkle sugar over the top.

Lattice Pie Ready for Oven

Bake the pie at 425 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and place foil over the edges because they will be browning lightly. Reduce the temperature of the oven to 375 degrees. Let bake for an additional 35-40 minutes until the crust is golden and the fruit filling has started to bubble. Best served with vanilla ice cream.


Blueberry Strawberry Pie

Blue Pie Eaten