I crawl into bed with her every morning to try to lull her back to sleep. Rarely do I succeed. She sings to me in a hushed whisper, careful not to wake her brothers, and I love how her breath falls lightly against my face.
Yesterday I was too tired to cook, so I made a simple pot roast in our crock pot. It had surprising taste given how little I had seasoned it.
- 3 lbs chuck
- roast salt and pepper
- 2 cups beef broth
Rub meat with salt and pepper. Trim fat and slice to 1 inch thick.
Layer meat in crock pot. Pour broth over it.
Cook on low for 8 – 10 hours.
Today we toured two homes with our architect to get a feel for scale. I felt a little lost in the modern home, unable to get a sense of space or place. I was glad when Matt said he liked the simpler feel of the traditional Craftsman home better, because in it, I felt closer to him.
Matt’s working late tonight, so we made chicken nuggets, adapted (unhealthily) from Deceptively Delicious, for dinner:
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 pound skinless chicken breast cut in small chunks
In one bowl, beat egg.
In a second bowl, mix together breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder.
Salt chicken breast, then dip in egg before dredging through breadcrumb mixture. Fry in hot oil, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Before serving, cut a nugget to make sure that chicken is cooked.
I took our 6-year-old for his well visit check up today. I couldn’t stop talking about him. It was as if I wanted our pediatrician to see him to be as perfect as I did, and yet somehow assure me life would be kind to him.
When we got home, we made Teriyaki Salmon, adapted from Health.com:
- 2 salmon fillets
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
- olive oil
Let salmon fillets sit in teriyaki sauce for 20 minutes or longer. Heat olive oil in pan. Toss in sesame seeds. When browned, remove to a bowl.
Put salmon in frying pan, and brown both sides. Turn heat to low and cover until cooked to desired doneness.
I finally got back to doing yoga today. I forget how freeing stretching can be, undoing the knots that form from careless moves in your past. Some of which others inflicted on you.
Like your brothers.
When we got home, we marinated lamb chops, adapted from Bon Appetit, for dinner:
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 4 lamb chops
The night before, mix together all ingredients, and add lamb chops. Let marinate overnight.
To prepare, salt and pepper lamb chops. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil your frying pan. Saute lamb chops over medium-high heat until browned on both sides, about 4 minutes per side.
I’ve been thinking a lot about an article I read in The Wall Street Journal entitled, “Why Chinese Mothers are Superior.” In it, Amy Chua asserts that in Western Civilization we worry too much about self-esteem and not enough about expectations.
Western parents worry a lot about their children’s self-esteem. But as a parent, one of the worst things you can do for your child’s self-esteem is to let them give up.
And while most of her tactics weren’t my style, that sentence did give me pause. Not just in how I parent, but also in the excuses I make for myself, especially when it comes to exercise. Because we can always do more than we think.
I cleaned out the refrigerator and the freezer today, and made a Sausage Penne Casserole, adapted from Bake Until Bubbly.
- 12 links breakfast sausage
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 2 cups pasta
- 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
- 1 large egg
- 2 garlic cloves
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
- 3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
(You can make this the night before, a bake prior to serving.)
Stir together ricotta, Parmesan, egg and milk.
Boil pasta in water. Drain and mix with ricotta.
Fry sausage with garlic, parsley and thyme. Add to pasta and ricotta. Scrape in pan droppings. Stir.
Put pasta in a greased baking dish. Cover with cheddar cheese. Bake at 400 for 25 to 30 minutes.
I made lasagna for a new mom today, and it made me long for another baby. Because the connection between a new mother and her baby gets me every time; it’s so primitive and beautiful. She looks disheveled as she confides how tired she is, and you feel like her confidant. But then her baby stirs and her world stops, and, as she softens to comfort her baby, you realize you are the outsider here.
Easy lasagna, adapted from AllRecipes.com:
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cans tomato paste
- 3-4 pureed fresh tomatoes (or 1 can crushed tomatoes)
- 2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoons ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- 15 oz ricotta
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 egg
- 9 pieces lasagna
- 1 cup cheddar
Saute onion, and, after a few minutes, add beef to your frying pan (you can also add 1/4 cup water or broth if the meat sticks to the pan).
When beef is cooked, pour into a saucepan, and stir in tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, water, oregano, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, as well as sugar. Let simmer for an hour.
While your beef sauce is simmering, mix together ricotta, parmesan and egg.
Oil an 9×13 baking dish. Layer meat, noodles, and cheese mixture three times. (I just realized I only did two layers.)
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Sprinkle leftover cheddar on lasagna, and bake for 15 more minutes.
Today was a blistery day, the sort where your fingers still hurt after you come indoors. I was doing what I could to preserve energy; I’d stayed up too late talking to Matt the night before, and couldn’t break out of my fog.
“Can I put this here?” Our 4-year-old asked. He’d chattered all morning. I delighted in his happiness, his creativity, his imagination. But today it came as an interruption.
“Umm hmm,” I murmured, pushing meat around a frying pan. It wasn’t until later I saw he’d stuck a space sticker on one of the photographs I was about to frame.
We made tacos adapted from Food.com for dinner.
We’d invested in a cow share earlier this winter, and love how flavorful its meat is. Really, most nights I don’t season it. But for tacos:
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon minced onion
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/8 teaspoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon butter
Mix meat and seasonings together the night before. To prepare, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a frying pan. Brown. Add 1/4 – 1/2 cup water or broth to pan, and fry for 5 – 10 minutes, until meat is no longer pink.
Today I met with our architect to talk about what I wished for in a kitchen. And it was hard to put into words. Because I don’t feel any sort of attachment to my appliances, whereas I do to my space. I like it to feel safe, for there to be a separation between where I cook and others socialize. Especially those with little fingers who reach for hot pans.
“It’s your cockpit,” she said. And I liked that.
From Kitchen Bath Ideas, A Better Homes and Gardens network site
Tonight, we served another easy dish, Rib Eye with Rosemary-Thyme Marinade, adapted from Martha Stewart:
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon rosemary
- 2 rib-eye steaks
- salt and pepper
Mix together olive oil, garlic, thyme and rosemary in a dish. Turn steaks to coat both sides, and refrigerate overnight.
To cook, salt and pepper, and then brown each side in a frying pan set on high heat (in marinade or butter) for 2-3 minutes. Then broil in oven for 20 minutes. (We broiled ours surrounded by broccoli tossed with olive oil and salt.)
Now that December has come to a close and my head has stopped spinning, I’d like to get back to cooking again. And so I’m challenging myself to make 30 main dishes for 30 days. Nothing fancy, just entrees we can cook quickly or let simmer in a crock pot while we’re at skating lessons. Because we’re all trying to keep our balance around here.
Up tonight, Honey Baked Chicken Drumsticks, adapted from Southern Food:
- 2 pounds chicken drumsticks
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
The night before, mix together all ingredients in a bowl. Pour over chicken and let refrigerate overnight.
Before serving, bake at 350 for 1 – 1/2 hrs. Halfway through, flip chicken and pour remaining marinate on it.
We’re also making Cranberry Spinach Salad and baked winter squash, with a bit of brown sugar and salt mixed in.
*For our latest in home building, here is Building a New Home and a New Marriage on YourTango.
Matt’s fallen in love. With his office. In our home design plans, we’ve situated it off the back of the garage, with a bay window overlooking our yard. An “oval office,” he likes to joke.
I’m not an office person. I like cozy nooks to work in. With sunshine streaming in. And a cup of coffee I inevitably spill.
From Southern Living
Whereas Matt likes to spread out. And as our children grow, his goal is to work at home more. Attaching an office to our garage would keep him close, while providing a quiet place for him to sneak out to and get a brief done. Alone. Along with a place to leave his work behind.
From Dwell Magazine
But having it off the back of the garage cuts into our yard and blocks some of the southern sun. Plus tacks on square footage. So we’re considering moving it to the front of our home.
A main level office makes filing easy. But corralling our children more challenging. Because they love to be underfoot. Mommy’s feet. Or daddy’s feet.
But we all know as your children grow, so do your needs. So where would you put the office?