Saturday, October 27, 2012

Feeding the Fam.

I've never been a good cook, nor have I ever considered myself a cook to begin with. I find the ingredients are too many, and trying to do multiple things to make them all finish at the same time, arduous. I don't find it enjoyable, and actually prefer baking. I've never been the "a pinch here, a handful there" type, and my controlling mind likes the constructed measuring of baking ingredients. I don't like getting my hands dirty, and as mentioned in a previous post, have an aversion to handling raw meat. And though I hate the process, I get a surge of pride at the finished product, at producing a meal for my family.

My mother, on the other hand, comes alive in the kitchen. She never taught me to cook, partly because of my disinterest, and partly because she is the stay-out-of-my-kitchen type of cook. She glides effortlessly through a kitchen, chopping here, stirring there, tasting one thing, and checking on another. She is in a different world. She cooks from passion, not from necessity. Step into her kitchen while she is cooking, and you will certainly feel that you are in her way. Some of my fondest memories are sitting just outside the kitchen watching my mom cook and having a heart to heart with her.

Earlier in the week I blogged about wanting to cook a healthy meal. I knew I wanted to make a succotash, but needed help with the rest. Mom brought over tilapia and I had some extra spinach in the fridge that we decided to throw with it. So last night my parents came over for dinner, and entertained the baby while I started dinner. But I had never made tilapia before, or non-frozen spinach and kept peeking my head out asking for help. She finally joined me in the kitchen and I thought for sure I'd be exiled. But then something magical happened. We chopped and stirred and tasted and glid ....together. We belonged in the same space and cooked without getting in each others'way, talked without bickering, and she taught me without taking over.
What resulted was a wonderful barley, squash, and corn succotash with tilapia and spinach. ...but it was so much more than that.

And here is the finished product. For some of my mom's cooking check out her blog at Not always healthy, but always delicious.

Friday, October 26, 2012

A sign?

 I stood in my high heels and betty crocker apron lovingly mixing muffin batter as my clean kitchen sparkled in the background....
 I stood in my pajamas with spit up on my robe dumping muffin "powder" from a box into a bowl. Thinking that it seems strange that this magic powder could turn into yummy banana bread muffins in just 12 minutes. Where is this banana flavor coming from? And the walnut flavor? I don't see any bananas or walnuts in there. What is really in this so-called batter? Plus I'm trying to live a healthier life and I'm sure muffin mix from a box is not condusive to that..
I thought back to the time I made a yummy caramel apple cake from scratch for a work carry-in. A few weeks later, I wanted to make some for us, but didn't feel like messing with all the ingredients so I bought a boxed one. It smelled the same, but when I bit into the cake, I spit out this rubbery looking piece. Eeeeew what was that? ..It was supposed to be the "apple." Who knows, maybe it really was rubber... back to the muffins... I stuck them in the oven and started feeding the baby. Baby sweetly fell asleep on my lap and I started catching up on my reading. About half an hour later an unpleasant smell started wafting in through the kitchen... Oh crap, the muffins! They were unsalvageable. I'm taking it as a sign from my healthy living muse that I shouldn't have eaten those anyway. From now I'll be making my own batter... and setting the timer.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

8 legs too many

We were heading out of the house today and husband was putting baby in the carseat while i was getting my shoes on. I was going to carry baby out to the car while he got his shoes on. As I lifted up the handle of the carseat I came face to face with a massive, elephantine, formidable, hair-raising arachnoid. ::shudder::

I glared at him with my two eyes, and he glared back at me with his six. He wins.
"husbaaaand. spider! on the seat..! spider! hurry!" I shriek while jumping from leg to leg. Finally, after what seems like minutes, husband meanders over: "where?"
"RIGHT THERE!" ..husband stands there and inspects spider. "what in the world are you doing??!! go get a paper towel and kill it!"
The spider snickers and taunts me as he saunters around my sweet baby's car seat handle, probably depositing 34,000 of its offspring. ewgh! Just you wait, I think. After the spider is finally gone, husband says: "glad you saved the baby." ooooh shut up!

(for the record, baby was never in any danger, and I held my hands over her face so that spidey wouldn't eat her cute little button nose...! also, I may overreact a bit).

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Two words

I'm pretty sure every working mom knows the two words I'm talking about... mommy guilt. Tomorrow I go back to work for a full day. For the last two weeks, I have been working only a few hours here and there, to dip my toes back in the proverbial pool.
But instead of returning to work full time, I will be working two 10.5 hour shifts. I'm lucky that I have family to watch her and that I get to have 5 days at home with her, but I've never left her for that amount of time before, and I'm a worrier by nature. I'd love to stay home with her full-time but the grass is always greener...  I know this is a good thing, I still get to bring in an income, she gets to spend time with someone besides me (which is good for her), and I still get most of the week with her . It still doesn't make it any easier, especially that dreaded first day.
So yesterday I held her all day. I figured she's only this little for a short time, so why not? I held her while she napped, while I ate, while I read to her, talked to her, stared at her, and played with her.. all day. When I went to put her in her bassinet so we could go to bed .."Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah." Hm.. maybe she's hungry. Fed her, changed her, she fell asleep. Back in the bassinet: "WAAAAAH." Uh oh. I glance over and husband is glaring at me. "You're creating a monster." Maybe so, but a cute one.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Healthy Eating

We are making progress with this whole healthier eating thing. We had french fries and brats for dinner tonight.
 I rarely have time to make dinner, my husband and vegetables are like oil and water, and lately he has been taking care of filling our bellies while I tend to the little one. So normally our dinners consist of something quick, and quick tends to be synonymous with unhealthy.. maybe it doesn't have to be? So why doesn't he take care of baby while I make dinner? Weeeelll, I have this aversion to handling raw meat (that I reaaallly need to get over) and hubby just finishes dinner once he's started. To me eating healthy has always seemed "hard."Or maybe it isn't and it's just unknown territory. Either way, I'm determined to turn our eating habits around. I figured it would be too much to just purge everything out of our pantry, so I will try to implement at least one healthy meal in my meal plan for the week. Sounds easy enough? The problem is I need it to be quick, healthy, and husband friendly. I don't want to get rid of alll the "good stuff" either, I have a guilty pleasure for nice, wholesome comfort food. And since I don't know how to cook healthy (or how to cook much of anything, ahem), this will require some research on my part.
I'll start with my meal plan for this coming week, wish me luck, I'll be posting an update!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Squeaky Clean

It's almost bedtime and my 2 month old needs a bath. Ewww the tub is dirty. Ugh, I can't give her a bath in this! I need to clean the tub before I give her a bath, but am leery to use the scrubbing bubbles bottle I've got in the closet.. I just don't feel comfortable sticking her in the tub right after using it. Sure, it'll get the job done, but it'll stink up the bathroom and surely there will be some residue of the chemicals in the tub, even after a good rinse. Our water drips, so there's some rust at the base as well. So I scour the internet for a more natural solution, and came up short. A lot of the diy cleaners called for borax..which I didn't have at home..and what the heck is borax anyway? After a little research, I found that it's certainly safer than scrubbing bubbles and not actually toxic, but exposure can cause respiratory and skin irritation. Uhh, no thanks!
I did finally find a solution, and was surprised at how well it worked. I really thought the toxic, nasty stuff was superior. This solution not only took the grime off with ease (with the help of a scrubbing brush), but also removed the rust and soap scum..I actually kind of think it worked better, and my baby didn't have to inhale toxic, potent fumes or have that yuck on her skin.
Here's what I used:

You'll need:
A spray bottle (it makes enough for future uses)
Baking soda
Dish soap ( I use 7th generation as it is more natural)

Add 1 1/2 cups of water, 1/2 cup white vinegar, and a tablespoon of dish soap and put into spray bottle. (This is the solution you'll have for future uses)
Take some baking soda and spread it on the bottom of your tub. Spray enough solution on top of the baking soda to make a paste.. Scrub with a scrub brush. Rinse tub once clean.
Enjoy your clean fume and toxic-free bathroom!