Monthly Archives: December 2015

Friday Food Round-Up!

Once again, it is Friday and I feel like some sort of odd time-traveler.  As in, I woke up on Thursday morning and was like OMG it is Thursday, the end of the week is upon us and suddenly now it is Friday.  One of my girlfriends told me the last month of pregnancy just dragged on forever, but I am very quickly coming to terms with the fact that this is 100% not the case for me.

Sunday – Cauliflower and White Bean Salad

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I wish I had a recipe to share for this meal, but it was a hybrid of a few different ones.  I whipped it together so that I could have lunch on Sunday and then used it for some leftovers throughout the week.

Monday –  Baked Potatoes with Wild Mushroom Ragu

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Truly, baked potatoes are probably one of my favorite foods.  Well, potatoes in all of their incarnations are my favorite foods.  We had some sour cream left over from our latkes so of course I needed to find a way to use it.  This dinner was the first thing that came to mind!

Thursday –  Tomato Glazed Meatloaves with Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes from The Smitten Kitchen and Steamed Asparagus

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We have not made this dinner in FOREVER.  Had I properly thought it through, I would have realized that this is really more of a Sunday meal than a Thursday night meal (there is WAY too much chopping and you use WAY too many dishes).  But this was (oddly) one of the meals I wanted to make for us before Critter came, so we made it and it was just as tasty as I had hoped for.

Week 34 Update

Week 34

Sorry, y’all, you can’t see my feet this week. But sometimes I can’t see my feet either, so that makes us equal, yes?

Critter will be here in six weeks (or so), which is wonderful and terrifying all at once.  Like that whole end of your pregnancy-part of pregnancy?  Is happening now.  I am so excited to meet Critter, but at the same time I am just like God what should Marcus and I be doing with this precious time together before we have children forever?  Why isn’t there a manual for this?

  • Critter’s second shower was on Saturday.  This one was with family and it was so fun to share lunch with all of these people who have loved me since I was small.
  • Nesting.  OMG the nesting.  On Sunday morning, I woke up and everything in our house was wrong and there was simply not enough time to fix any of it.  Actually that has been my feeling for the entirety of the last week.  No time for anything!  At all!  In my crusade, I purged 30 bottles of ancient nail polish as well as a bottle of Prednisone from 1998 (don’t ask because even I don’t understand).  I also de-tagged all of the clothes/sheets/blankets that Critter has received, washed them, and put them away in the nursery.
  • I preface this by saying that 95% of the time I feel beautiful (just like 95% of the time I feel completely normal and not pregnant), so this is not a commentary on my weight.  But I think I have officially reached “whale” status.  We all knew that this time would come and it was simply a matter of when.  The evidence I have on my side is as follows:
    • The number of exuberant yet passive comments about how very…pregnant I look.
    • The fact that Marcus has to help me up if I am sitting on the floor.
    • Rolling over in bed.  I can’t do it anymore.  I basically have to sit up and then turn my body onto the other side.
  • Sleeping is starting to turn into a production again.  I usually get a few solid hours at the beginning of the night and the rest of the evening is tossing and sleeping in increments of one hour or less.  It is still better than the first trimester insomnia, but GOD I was really sleeping well for a while and it was wonderful.  Goodbye, forever, sleep.
  • Eczema.  Oh, the eczema.  Still going strong.  It’s under control, but I just want my hands back, you know?  The number of lotions and salves I possess is borderline laughable considering I had no lotions and no salves before I was pregnant.

Friday Food Round-Up!

I wish this didn’t sound so cliché but I have literally no idea as to where the time went this week.  One minute, I was super-jazzed that we were moving back into our house, the next it was…the following Friday.

This is also probably part of some sort of time warp that I’ll be trapped in until Critter comes.

SundayGarden Pie

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This was the perfect meal to make since Marcus was out of town at a wedding.  I made it for lunch and then enjoyed the leftovers for the rest of the week.

Monday – Greek Salad, Turkey Ragu, and Garlic Bread from Lunds

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This Turkey Ragu recipe is yet another one of the recipes that has been languishing in my recipe binder for years without getting its day in the sun.  I can honestly say that it turned out 100% opposite of what I was expecting but we still enjoyed it.

More enjoyable still: the butter-laden garlic bread I sourced from Lunds.  At $5.29 a loaf, it is basically a gold brick but oh my God it is so good!  If you live in Minnesota and want The Best Garlic Bread with your dinner, this is always the best choice.

Thursday – Matzo Ball Soup and Latkes c/o Manischewitz 

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Hanukkah feast!

They say it’s always good to know your sphere of expertise.  While my sphere of expertise does include from scratch latkes, it does not include scratch matzo ball soup. On a Thursday night after work, it does not include either.

Marcus and I both really enjoyed this meal.  As Marcus praised its deliciousness, I felt sort of terrible that the meal was entirely produced from boxed mixes.  And then I remembered that I would tell you to do the exact same thing were our roles reversed!

Miscellaneous – Crustless Coconut Pie

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Naturally in my crusade to bake pies and use up my pie crusts, this week I baked a pie that didn’t require a crust at all!  I happened upon this one when I was perusing Jeanne’s blog for pie recipes and as a coconut lover, I knew that I had to make it.  It was supremely easy to assemble and there is a 100% chance I will make this one again!

 

Hanukkah

Chag Sameach, friends!

For those of you who are not Jewish, this means Happy Holidays and this is what we say to one another…for holidays.

Hanukkah started last night.  Marcus was out of town celebrating the wedding of some of our friends, so I lit the menorah by myself.  We don’t have a ton of traditions for the holiday (we have been working on that over the past few years) but we do make sure to light the menorah regardless of whatever else is happening.

Meredith shared this lovely Hanukkah story with me from The Washington Post which I enjoyed reading quite a bit.  I think there’s a message for everyone there, but I know that it meant a lot to me because I remember watching the Passover and Hanukkah at Bubbe’s videos as a little pup.  My grandmother thought it would be confusing to me (and in her defense, I did end up becoming Jewish so she was not totally wrong), but at the time all of it seemed so completely normal.

Hanukkah-time is also the anniversary of my conversion to Judaism.  On the Hebrew calendar, the date has already passed (it is the 21st of Kislev) but on the western calendar, the date is December 8.  To read what I wrote to my family on that day, click here.  It is sort of hilarious to write this since it seems like it has been so much longer than that, but this year marks the sixth since I became Jewish.  I am so happy to say that I was glad in the years leading up to that day and I have been glad in the years since.

But back to the matter at hand, celebrating and traditions!

I really don’t seasonally decorate our house at all.  For any seasons.  Ever.  However, when Eli showed me this twinkle light-garland thing that she made for Christmas, I was all I think that could actually be a seasonally appropriate Hanukkah decoration with some tweaking.

After spending a crafternoon (or really about an hour) on the floor of my living room assembling said garland, I had this.

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What it took: 13 feet of twinkle lights and 32 feet of wired ribbon (this was three spools for me) cut into 8″ strips.

I think that it turned out quite nicely and I am especially proud of the fact that I was able to keep the glitter from the glitter ribbon from overtaking our entire living room.  I also bought this wreath-arrangement at Michael’s so that we could display the holiday cards that we receive.

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It just seems a little bit nicer/more festive than leaving them on a pile on the counter.  The other big pro is that I did not have to do any crafting in order to accomplish this.  There were a lot of other cute ideas I saw that involved ribbons on cabinets (I really don’t want to draw attention to ours) and reclaimed shutters/picture frames (we do not have the space for that), but this is not the right house for those concepts.  So, we’ll see how both of these decorations do this year, and if they’re a hit, we’ll keep them for next year.

Master Bathroom Renovation: An Update

On Friday, we moved back into our house after spending another lovely week at my in-laws.  As promised, my mother-in-law built a fire in the fireplace, and we just relaxed.

After dropping my bags on the kitchen counter and making a beeline for the bathroom, I decided that it was not entirely implausible that I may want to have a sleepover in our newly rehabilitated bathroom.

Again, for reference about how far we have come, The Before.

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Not that it needs repeating, but seriously, the worst ever.

Now, six years in the making, The After.

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Even without fresh paint on the walls (our next project) or cabinet handles/drawer pulls, already it is just so much better.  We hope to get both of those things taken care of in the next few weeks.  I’m excited to share the (true) end result once it is finished for real!

Friday Food Round-Up!

I went on quite the post-Thanksgiving weekend cooking streak.  Probably because I was relaxed and probably because I had the time.

Miscellaneous – Nutmeg-Maple Cream Pie

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My pie streak is continuing!  This week, I tried Smitten Kitchen’s Nutmeg-Maple Cream Pie.  What I will say critically of this recipe is that the par-baked crust shrunk, the maple cream turned into a hard candy that I had to dissolve over medium heat while stirring the cream vigorously and the custard mix made WAY too much custard.  To deal, I just dumped all of the custard over my shrunken crust and baked it anyway and it turned out.

What I am meaning to say is that this is really not a pie you should even think about making unless you are confident in the kitchen and know how to improvise.  I nearly had a panic attack.

With all of that in mind, it turned out as just a delicious wonder-pie that I would absolutely make again in a heartbeat.

Miscellaneous – Chickpea Salad

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Since we were not living in our own house this week, I knew that I would need some lunchtime leftovers.

Sunday – Perfect Pot Roast with Smashed Potatoes

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Modifications I made to this recipe: I dumped in a cup of red wine because we had a bottle open.  I baked the pot roast at 350 for three hours instead of 275 because I had literally no idea how the dish would ever finish cooking at that rate.  Victory on both fronts.

For smashed potatoes, we boiled and riced them like regular mashed potatoes to keep them fluffy and then instead of using butter (sad tragedy), we stirred in a cup or so of beef broth, which is a cooking trick I learned from Rachael Ray.  I only use it when we’re eating beef and cannot mix the milk and meat.

Reverb 15 | Prompt 3 | Good Reads

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, this December MeredithSarah, and I are not hosting any Reverb prompts, rather, we’re Reverbing on our own terms.  I meant to post sooner about this, but obviously that just did not happen.  To summarize the current situation, Meredith just got married, Sarah is now a mother of three (!) precious little ones, and I am incubating a Critter.  We have some (great) stuff going on, but it is a lot.

I am hoping to write on the odd Reverb prompt when the mood strikes.  Today, I’m following Sarah and Kim’s prompt, so I hope you enjoy!

Prompt 3: Good reads. What was your favorite book or reading of 2015? Why? Was it a different genre from what you normally read?

It is no secret to you guys that I read a lot.  In a brief tally of everything I posted to The Blog, I was at 68 books read in 2015 which is something like…1.4 books a week.  That’s not entirely surprising I suppose, and obviously it does not include my daily perusing of current events.

The other evening when I was at dinner with some girlfriends, Dana asked me how and when it is that I find the time to read.  This is not a question I have ever been asked before, but I’m pretty comfortable saying that I’m a sort of Girl Warren Buffet when it comes to the amount of time I dedicate to reading.

Each morning, over breakfast, I read.  Which means that I wake up early enough that I have time in my day to enjoy a proper breakfast that includes reading.  My daily news diet includes The New York Times, Mother Jones, Slate, and The Atlantic.  Often times, in the afternoon after I am done working out but am waiting for Marcus to come home, I read.  Sometimes in the evening, if I am not in the mood to watch TV (or watch it any more) I read.

Each weekend, I look forward to reviewing the lists of the latest Amazon bestsellers/books of the month and book recommendations I have screen-shotted from my Twitter feed and adding all of these to my reserves list at the library.

Always, I am reading, and it has been this way my whole life.

I remember as a Little Pup, I would tuck a copy of latest Boxcar Children or Thoroughbred or Saddle Club book I was reading in the space between my mattress and the bed frame.  Once I had been tucked in, I would un-tuck myself, sit on the side of my bed closest to the night light (it was a quite bright night light) and read until I couldn’t anymore.  This felt so sneaky, even though I’m sure that had I been discovered in the act of my surreptitious reading, absolutely nothing would have happened.

Out of all of this, I can already tell you it is impossible for me to pick a “favorite” book for 2015.  Some books were great.  Other books were terrible. Some books were right books for the wrong time.  Other books were wrong books for the right time.

But, as I was digging through my blog inbox, I found this article about Octopi that I e-mailed to myself at the end of December last year.  It is one where I so wish I could tell you why I liked it, except there is nothing else to say besides the fact that it is Fascinating.  I hope you will enjoy it as well.

Click here to read Inside The Mind Of The Octopus.