We’re normally fairly intelligent…

However, the combination of me being pregnant and AJ not remembering that pregnancy tends to negate my innate ability to be right all the time, means that today we went to the 10:30 service at our church.

Except that there isn’t a 10:30 service. And there never has been. Go figure…

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tidbit

Well, its safe to say that,

1. We like Indian food, but not on a regular basis. I will probably use a few of the recipes I tried several times a month, but no more than that. It’s really good, but curry flavors are super rich and almost overwhelming when you have them too many meals in a row. Case in point, yesterday I opted to make lasagna instead of curried chickpeas because I simply could not make myself eat any more curry. And this, even though our next month is going to be Italian. Which is OK, because we love Italy. Here’s how much:

(we went to Europe a couple of years ago and took AJ’s childhood wolverine action figure so that we could take pictures of him with some of the world’s major landmarks.)

2. No, we’re not nerds for taking an action figure on a backpacking trip where we opted out of taking another pair of underwear so we could fit him in the pack.

3. No, we didn’t have only one pair of underwear for the trip. I said “another” not “the other”.

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Saskatoon Summer

Today while out and about, AJ and I were talking about what a long summer we’re in for. I mean, its only the end of February and the whole world is turning green and beginning to bloom. It reminded me of growing up in Eastern Washington where summertime seems to stretch as long as childhood, and the saskatoons are ripe for weeks.

In the summertime, we could spend all day playing in the woods, down by the creek, or out in the field. The summer heat was broken by catching grasshoppers, chasing minnows in the shallows, and eating saskatoon berries. If you’ve never had a saskatoon, it’s probably because you didn’t pick it yourself, as commercial saskatoon picking would be a tiring business. They look a bit like a blueberry on a wiry shrub-like tree and the flavor is best described as one part blueberry, one part dry grass that’s hot under bare feet, one part shade on a warm day, and one part picking out the best looking pebbles in the riverbed. And that’s why my childhood memories will always be one part saskatoon summer.

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One of the best parts about children is all the “firsts”

Today Violet and I had two firsts.

She had her first haircut–ever. I decided it was time when in picking her nose, she inadvertently shoved the tips of her bangs up her nostril and they dried there. No one else will be able to tell she’s had a haircut, but needless to say, there will be no more  booger bangs for a while.

Secondly, she had her first popsicle. I’m pretty sure this was the first one ever, but for sure it was the first one of the summer. Wait. Its February. I don’t care. We spent the afternoon in the park wearing short sleeves and topped it off with a walk to Safeway where we sunned at the patio tables and shared an orange popsicle.

edit: it wasn’t the first popsicle ever. last fall at the dc zoo, we gave her a rainbow popsicle and in the end, she was covered in many colors and very happy.

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the death of naptime

Violet, being Violet

is persnickety but cute.

She’s decided most recently

that naptimes are moot.

For anyone can fall asleep in the middle of the day,

but it takes a determined child to stay awake just so she can play.

…which is why she went to bed at 6:30…

Here is a picture which I may or may not be authorized to post of her and AJ, back when she did nap. They fell asleep on a bus while driving through Pennsylvania, and of course I took a picture.

just warms my heart…

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three non-pertinent points of information

So, today I realized that we are way grosser than I ever gave us credit for. We found a mostly empty half-gallon of vanilla eggnog under our bed. From early November. How sick is that? It’s not like we have a ton of stuff under our bed either; I have a storage tub for linens, and that’s about it. Have I really not looked under the bed for three and a half months? Luckily it was a plastic carton, so it never smelled, but seriously…

Number 2: So way back in the 2002 Olympics, Apolo Ohno  won a gold medal because the man who crossed the line first was disqualified for blocking. This man was a South Korean. Ever since then, Ohno has had the dubious distinction of possibly being the most hated athlete in South Korea. Since he is competing in this current Olympics, all the old wounds are resurfacing. Apparently, hell hath no fury like a South Korean scorned. For example, one company even makes toilet paper with pictures of Ohno’s face as he celebrates his gold medal.

Lastly, it feels like the beginning of a beautiful summer around here and today was no exception.

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there’s a reason the internet shouldn’t be trusted…

So, tonight for dinner I made tandoori chicken. I’m sure that somewhere, someone has made this and it was amazing. That someone somewhere was not me in my house. It was the weirdest recipe ever. That’s what I get for using a reader-submitted recipe on allrecipes.com. From here on out, I will be going with a reputable source for my recipes–good foodie blogs and people like you. By the way, thanks to all of you who have posted recipes for me to try. I haven’t tried any of them, but I most likely will sometime 😉

Secondly, today AJ made Jello for Violet. Just plain fruity jello because she’d never had it before and we figured she would be completely amazed. She was. She also didn’t think it was edible, but good for playing with; sucking on chunks and spitting them back on her tray just to watch them bounce. I finally mixed it with vanilla yogurt just to get her to eat it. Is that weird?

Lastly, if you have high blood pressure, heart problems, or too much stress in your life, then I have a solution. Watch Baby Einstein videos on youtube. Violet and I watched one today while AJ was making lunch, and all I can say is that they have the wrong target audience. Forget the babies, play those videos during corporate meetings and watch the blood pressure drug companies go out of business. I’m serious.

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Violet, Violet, and more Violet

We just got a year pass to the children’s museum in Mount Vernon. At $5 a month for unlimited visits, it’s completely worth it considering how fun it is. We went the other day and all I had was my cell phone for pictures, but they’re so cute you have to see them anyway.

Here she is in the sandbox.

The budding artist at her easel…

Crawling around in the toddler barnyard

Here is the link to the children’s museum. The $5 cost is for a family of any size, not per child.

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Still going strong on the Indian food idea…

First off, I know what you’re thinking; Why did you post a picture of regurgitated bat food on your blog? I think it looks more like vomit to me, but to each their own, right? Actually, I shouldn’t have written anything about the appearance, because by now you should know that I value the Ugly Foods for their innate ability to capture flavor, comfort, and delish in every bite. Usually. Indian food is no exception. This is only my second official indian recipe of the month, but I’m already sold. Indian food is amazing. Not only that, it gets better as a leftover the next day. I don’t particularly like having to cook for every meal, so leftovers reign supreme in my fridge.

Speaking of recipes, does anyone have a tried and true restaurant-style naan bread recipe? So far I’ve made three batches and none of them have made naan.

Anyway, the above picture is of Curried Lentils with Sweet Potatoes and Swiss Chard. I was seriously unimpressed while I was making it, but the results were amazzzzzzzing. I’m not sure if it’s technically Indian food, but this one is going into my regular rotation.

Here’s the recipe:

Curried Lentils With Sweet Potatoes and Swiss Chard
(taken from the amazing Smitten Kitchen blog, here: http://smittenkitchen.com/2007/11/curried-lentils-and-sweet-potatoes/)

Yields 8 to 10 side-dish servings; 6 main-course servings.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1-inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded if desired, then minced
4 to 5 cups vegetable broth as needed
2 pounds orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into
1/2-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
1 1/2 cups dried lentils
1 bay leaf
1 pound Swiss chard, center ribs removed, leaves thinly sliced
1 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Finely grated zest of 1 lime
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/3 cup finely chopped tamari almonds, for garnish (optional), available in health food stores
1/4 cup chopped scallions, for garnish.

1. In large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and saute until translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, garam masala, curry powder and jalapeno. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

2. Stir in 4 cups broth, sweet potatoes, lentils and bay leaf. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium, partially cover, and simmer for 25 minutes. (If lentils seem dry, add up to 1 cup stock, as needed.) Stir in chard and salt and pepper, and continue cooking until lentils are tender and chard is cooked, about 30 to 45 minutes total.

3. Just before serving, stir in cilantro, lime zest and juice. Spoon into a large, shallow serving dish. Garnish with almonds if desired and scallions.

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Free to…anyone.

1 cat named Lola.

She peed in the closet. on my boots. I mentally went through all the steps involved in getting out the shotgun, loading it, finding a suitable location to place the cat where neighbors wouldn’t hear, and shooting her full of shot. PETA would sooooo not approve.

I now have no sympathy for her despite her daily demonstrations of fealty to Violet who demands no less than complete submission in her self-appointed role as High Queen of the Kitties.

maybe not the shotgun…maybe poison. that way I could tan the pelt.

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Cheese of the Month: February

First, I know what you’re thinking: what happened to January? I’ll tell you. January was my month to choose the cheese and I chose Beechers cheese from costco. This is the second time I’ve bought a Beechers cheese, and the second time I’ve been profoundly disappointed. Therefore, I decided not to blog about them.

This month, was AJ’s month. He chose a delightful little french cheese from the Haggen cheese circle called Port Salut. Here is a picture of it.

Let me tell you; this man has a knack for choosing good cheese. Every time he brings a new one home I fall a little bit more in love.

Here’s what you need to know about Port Salut. The texture is ridiculously creamy–almost spreadable, and melts in your mouth. The flavor is mild with a very slight tang and no traces of mold. In case you just got grossed out when I mentioned mold, don’t worry–mold in cheese is what gives it a strong flavor. It’s okay. That being said, I give this cheese 5 out of 5 stars. Go try some.

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Good Vs. Better

When AJ and I were engaged we got a lot of advice. A. Lot. There’s just something about being engaged that opens you up for all sorts of input. It’s not unlike walking around with a sign on your forehead that says,

Wanted: Loads of unsolicited advice from people I may or may not know

incidentally, the same thing happens when you get pregnant for the first time. And the second time. Probably the third time too. But I digress…I think. (who says “digress” anyway?) Anyway, when we were engaged I received two pieces of advice that have stuck with me;

  • “Make sure that each of you gives 50% all the time in your relationship. That way, you’re both putting the same amount of effort into your relationship.”
  • “Always give 100% in your relationship. Don’t measure your love for your spouse based on their most recent performance.”

Obviously those are two dramatically different perspectives on a relationship. In reading them, you probably guessed which one is better than the other, but if you’re anything like me, you also probably said “Ouch.”

Today, like every other day, I am reminded to love unconditionally. No one wins when the measuring stick comes out.

Lastly, for your voyeuristic pleasure I have included a picture from our first wedding anniversary.  Happy Valentines Day.

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Breaking News!

Apparently I spoke too soon. My computer did have a near-death experience, but is back to tell us all about it. The tell-all memoir, When Your Megahertz Megahurt is due out this spring. I’m pretty sure Amazon will pick it up after it hits the NYT bestseller list.

I don’t really want to blog today, but I will blog a ton tomorrow, because I have interesting pictures and other tidbits to tell you.

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arg

Dear You,

My computer is dead. She kicked the can, gave up the ghost, and went away to a nice home for computers that have been real good all their lives. At least that’s what I tell myself.

Don’t worry, I will have a replacement here in the next few days, and blogging will commence. I have several things backed up to blog about, so get ready.

In the meantime, I have read a ton (ton) of the bible lately.

-Me

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Chicken Coconut Curry

or Coconut Chicken Curry, or Coconut Curry Chicken. I have no idea.

So, I didn’t take a picture. I do have a link to the recipe for you and it looks much the same. Honestly, good food isn’t always pretty, and Indian food is no exception. It looks like this chunky orange slop, but it tasted great.

Here is the link. I did make quite a few changes to the recipe though, so if you want to make it, keep them in mind.

  1. I cooked everything except the coconut milk and tomato paste together because I wanted the chicken to be full of flavor. I just dumped it all in my pot at the same time and turned it on medium. Once the chicken was cooked, I added the coconut milk and tomato paste and stirred till  smooth.
  2. I added at least twice as much of the curry and garam masala.
  3. I added about 4-5 ounces tomato paste instead of the 3 it calls for.
  4. more salt to taste.
  5. a teaspoon or so of cumin
  6. I also used chicken leg quarters because they were on sale a couple of months ago, and the dark meat didn’t overwhelm the flavor at all. That’s actually what was in the curry at the restaurant where I ate this the first time.
  7. you might want some cayenne to up the heat factor because this is not spicy.

Above all, just season to taste. And yes, you should make it.

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February: Indian Food

OK, so remember how I said that for the month of February, we were going to cook ethnic food only; changing each week to a new country. We decided that was a bad idea. Instead, we’ll just focus on a new country each month. This month is going to be Indian food. I’ve never really been too interested in Indian food; partly because when you live in rural areas, Indian restaurants are hard to find. Plus, I’ll be honest–it never sounds good. However, last weekend my brother’s fiancée Melissa and I went to an Indian restaurant where we split an order of coconut chicken curry and naan bread. I completely loved it. Completely.

On that note, I am on the lookout for several meal/recipe ideas, because I know basically nothing about Indian food. What’s popular? What is a good classic dessert?

Here’s what I have on this month’s menu so far:

Coconut Chicken Curry (of course)

Naan bread (also, of course)

Tandoori Chicken

Maharaja Curry with Lamb

I’m looking for 3-4 other recipes. Also, does anyone know of any ethnic markets nearby that would have ingredients for Indian food? Would it be weird to buy stuff like garam masala off Amazon?

I know some of you have had Indian food. Please help me with any ideas or suggestions.

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cuteness

we don’t find it at all demeaning when Violet slaps her thigh and makes kissing noises to make us come to her…which is incidentally the same way she calls the cats.

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