Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Be gone concrete block

My very talented father-in-law, Ken, built and installed a new step for my birthday. The old concrete block was quite treacherous and not very inviting. Now I can actually wheel Jonathan down the new step in his stroller without the fear of it toppling over. Ken also helped Alan install new FLOR carpet tiles in our laundry room the very same day. Thank you so much, Ken!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Homemade baby food

Making baby food is simple, inexpensive, and tastes SO much better than the store-bought variety. The best book on the subject is Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron. It's the kind of book you'll use for years, long after your child is chowing down on choking hazards. I still depend on one jar of Earth's Best baby food for lunch, but Jonathan's breakfast usually revolves around whole milk yogurt and his dinner around Super Baby Porridge. There are many things you can add to these dishes depending on your baby's age, such as pureed fruits, vegetables, tofu, hard boiled egg yolk, wheat germ, vitamin drops, etc. Super Baby Porridge, which the hallmark of the Super Baby Food diet, is made by boiling ground whole grains and legumes for 10 minutes. The porridge in the picture will last 3 days and was made with brown rice, millet, oatmeal, and lentils. The frozen, organic, sweet potato puree pictured is incredibly tasty and only takes a minute to defrost in the microwave. I try to keep fresh seasonal fruit on hand and puree it in my Tribest Personal Blender as needed.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Something from nothing

I didn't have a plan for dinner Saturday night, but I threw a few things together and wound up with a dish that tasted better than any take-out. OK, I'm not really that creative, so I followed a recipe from Cynthia Lair's website, Cookus Interruptus. If you haven't read Cynthia's book, Feeding the Whole Family, you must do so NOW. Her Emerald City Salad one of my all-time favorite dishes. I just happened to have all the ingredients for her Fried Rice recipe and Lemon Tahini Sauce. Together they were absolutely scrumptious on top of a mound of spinach. The Fried Rice is made with brown rice, currants, cashews, cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper, ghee (or butter), frozen peas and green onions. Instead of store-bought tahini, which I didn't have, I toasted some sesame seeds and pureed them with olive oil, which is all tahini is. Who knew?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Where have the past five years gone?

Lillian's fifth birthday was last Saturday and we invited 12 of her closest friends to our home to celebrate, sans parents. Brave? So I'm told. The truth is I didn't have it in me to plan two parties again this year; one for the parents and another for the children. I didn't even clean the house before the infiltration. Four-year-olds are pretty easy to please: cheese pizza, fruit, crackers, cupcakes, goodie bags and sunshine. I'm always hopeful about that last one, but you never know what to expect at the beginning of March. God answered my secret prayers and delivered a sunny day in the mid-70s, just 5 days after the winter storm of 2009. The party was a huge success, thanks in large part to the help of my mother-in-law. I took for granted how difficult it would be to host a party while carrying baby Jonathan in a sling. I'm happy to report that all twelve children went home happy, well-fed, and with no discernible scars. You can spot Lil by the red orphan Annie dress she's wearing.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Jonathan's first snow

It's a rare occurrence indeed, but when the snow actually does fall in Atlanta, there's nothing quite like it. Kids scamper around the neighborhood in their rain boots and fleece jackets, catching snow flakes on their tongues. Nobody owns snowsuits, except maybe avid skiers, and you'd be hard pressed to find a pair of long underwear south of the Mason-Dixon line. I have friends who don't even own an ice scraper. The only snow plows and ice trucks that exist are located at the airport. When there's even a mention of snow in the forecast, people hoard bread and milk like it's Y2K. 

My daughter will be five years old on Saturday and she's only experienced snow four times in her life, including today, and two of those times were while visiting her grandparents in Kentucky and North Carolina. The snow absolutely blew baby Jonathan's mind today. Heck, the snow even blew MY mind and I moved here from Chicago. The best thing about snow in Atlanta is that nobody expects you to go out in it. Except, of course, your children.