Sunday, December 8, 2013

Kobe's back!

And so is Kobe soup!

You may remember that when Kobe scored 81 points in 2006, Hubs and I were eating Tom Ka soup, which we thereafter dubbed Kobe soup. It's one of those that I don't use a recipe for, so it's a little different every time...I realized, however, that the way I did it tonight was enough different (and enough better) than when I posted it last time to warrant a Take Two post.

Comeback Kobe Soup 
(Tom Ka Gai)
Peanut oil
8oz chicken breast, thinly sliced
1 package extra firm tofu, drained well and cubed in 1 inch pieces
2 cans light coconut milk (I like the Thai Kitchen brand)
14oz chicken broth (fill one of the empty coconut cans)
About an inch of fresh ginger, minced
1 tbsp or so chopped lemon grass (I use the kind in a tube from the produce section)
3 tbsp fish sauce
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tsp palm sugar
about a tsp turmeric
1-2 tsp chili paste
2 dried chiles, chopped fine
One can peeled, broken (or chopped) straw mushrooms, drained
one can baby corn, drained (cut them in 3rds or 4ths if they're whole)
Thinly sliced green onion and chopped cilantro, to serve

Heat a large soup or stock pot over medium high, add a little peanut oil (1 tbspish). Add tofu and let cook, tossing or stirring occasionally, until they start to brown (takes like 10 minutes). Remove tofu, and add chicken, and cook a minute or two. Add turmeric, lemongrass and ginger and stir to coat. Cook another minute.

Add broth and coconut milk, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, stir tofu back in and remaining ingredients (besides the cilantro and green onion), and let simmer about 15 minutes.

Top with the green stuff, and that's it!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

I know y'all are sick of turkey by now. Have a shrimp taco instead.

It's a lazy Sunday afternoon and it seems our parade of Thanksgiving weekend guests has finally come to a close. My girl Ness ("You can just call me Doctor") just left to finish the second leg of her drive home (one nice thing about being in the armpit of California is that the majority of my friends either live south but have family north or vice versa, and it's a long ass drive. Our pull out isn't mighty comfy, but it's always free. Cost wise, anyway. There's almost always a cat on it), and asked for my shrimp taco recipe from last night as she left. I told her I'd email it, but I figured as long as I was typing, I might as well share with all y'all.

They are some awesome tacos, it's true. And I think she was impressed by how fast (and easily) they come together. 

I didn't write anything down as I was making them, so this is rough, per usual. Adjust as you see fit. They're spicy but not unreasonably so. Adding more sauce and/or cabbage on top helps. There's no photo, but that's ok. You can take your own after you make them.

Chipotle Shrimp Soft Tacos
1 chipotle pepper (from the can), chopped fine
3 garlic cloves, minced
About 1.5-2 lbs medium sized raw shrimp, deveined and tails removed
Peanut oil (or canola or olive)
About a cup greek yogurt (0% works better but regular is fine)
About a 1/2 tsp cumin
A little less than 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
Salt and fresh pepper
2 limes (One halved, one in 1/8ths)
Water as needed  
Corn or flour tortillas, warmed (We did some of each, both are equally good)
Shredded cabbage 
Chopped cilantro to top
Salsa or hot sauce to top

Combine the chipotle, about 2/3 of the garlic, shrimp, a good sprinkle each of salt and pepper and maybe a tsp of oil. Combine well so everything is coated, and let marinate in the fridge for 15-20 minutes. 

In the meantime, combine the yogurt, the rest of the garlic (about a cloves worth) cumin, cilantro, a pinch each of salt and pepper, and the juice of one lime. Mix well and stick in the fridge until needed. 

Heat a swirl of oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Depending on how large your skillet is and how much shrimp you're using, you may need to cook the shrimp-as follows-in two batches. Add shrimp, and cook for about 3 minutes. Turn over each piece and let cook another 2-3 minutes or until opaque and cooked through. Remove to a clean bowl. 

Take the sauce out of the fridge and taste. Add more lime or more cumin (or a bit of cold water if too thick) as needed. 

Throw some shrimp, a handful of cabbage, and a glob of sauce on a warm tortilla. Add salsa and cilantro if you want. Squeeze one of those lime wedges over everything. Eat. Say "Mmmmmmm...I'm SO effing glad this isn't turkey." Repeat.  

This served 3 hungry people, 2-3 tacos each. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

On my own, yet never (ever, ever) alone.

cross posted today at

When E was 8 weeks old, I went back to work part time. But as I worked for an ad agency with networked computers and servers (and email, the best invention of all time), working from home was a total option. Plus, I'd always had side clients who couldn't afford agency rates, so between the regular paychecks and the freelance work, I had plenty going on for a new mom who really wanted to work from home.

4-5 weeks old. I'm amazed only 1/3 of us are sleeping here. 
For awhile, anyway. Loooong story short, and without placing any blame one way or another, the agency and I eventually parted ways in January of this year.

At first, I freaked the &^@# out. No regular paycheck? No health insurance? Hubby was working for a local sports team, and it was definitely a job for a single 20 something, not a man in his 30s trying to support a family. But we support each other, because we're a team (seriously, I should make us T shirts for the amount of times we've reiterated this to each other the past year). So we talked, we freaked out together, and we realized that we'd make it work, no matter what. We had savings, we had motivation, and we had each other. And we had moms willing to help how they could—one subsidized rent, the other E's (incredibly pricey, but that's for another post) insurance. Thank you again and eternally to you both.

And then, because this is how things tend to work, a new job fell into his lap. A good union job with incredible benefits in a big company with plenty of room for growth. But it's also at the low end of the totem pole for now, so he's not making enough money for me not to work.

So, that. Not working has never been an option for me, anyway. I've got seven years of full time college education, two degrees, and enough debt to tell me that not doing what I love and pursued as a career would really just be, well, stupid unfulfilling.

Plus, I love E. He's incredible, he's amazing, he's breathtaking. I love being his mom. But I am still me, first. I decided to become a mom in addition to—as a part of—being me, not to redefine my life. I have the utmost respect for women who want and are able to be stay at home moms…it's just not for me. I need to be creative. I need to share the talents I've spent the past 10 years honing with other people. And I need to do it for a living and feel like I'm helping to financially support my family.

Meet my intern and personal stylist, E.  
And so now I'm a full fledged small business owner. Sole proprietor, according to my taxes. I get to work from home, I get to work part time, and I get to do what I love. I've been on my own for almost a year now, and I've never been happier. I've added clients locally and nationally, small and large. It's been, in a word, great.

Is it hard? Oh my god, unbelievably so. I work in an industry with deadlines, and I've got a 20 month old son with plenty of deadlines of his own. And his come first, but I'm not about to tell my clients that (though the vast majority of my clients ARE parents, as well as small business owners themselves, so I really don't have to). He has needs. They have needs. And I constantly have to find ways to balance that.

Priorities, people. He's showing me leaves. 

We struggle financially, seeing that some months I'll get 8 checks and some months I get maybe 2. I miss the stability of a regular paycheck, but we're making ends meet, so that's really all I can ask for at this point. Plenty of small businesses fold within the first year, and knowing that, I can hold my head up and say we're doing just fine.

But I'm still really looking forward to daycare when he turns 2. Mama needs a nap herself now and then.

Need logo/branding help? Brochures or business cards? Invites or other event collateral? Check out or for more info. And Pam can always be reached by email at pamhuberdesigns at

Monday, November 11, 2013

Kale's just a leafy green, people. The insanity confuses me.

Have you joined the Kale craze yet? It's freaking everywhere. That's not to say I'm not on board...I am, mostly. The hubby likes it, it's super healthy, it's not romaine...but it's a little bitter and thick and a little rabbity. 

But basically, I'm willing to play with it. I tend to just buy the pre-cut/washed bags, cause I'm lazy (what?) but if you do, make sure and pick out the pieces with the giant stems still attached. Cause they're what we refer to as nasty. 

Anyway, here's an easy one to try if you're curious and/or already on the Kale Train. Homemade Shake and Bake chicken with a roasted tomato and garlic kale salad. Try it. Let me know if you're on board.

And if you have kale recipes YOU like, let me know. Normally we do a golden raisin, pinenut, cheese with garlic lemon dressing concoction. So I'm open for new ideas!

Walnut Panko Chicken with Tomato and Kale Salad
12 oz chicken breasts (3 4oz pieces or equivalent) 
1 cup milk
1 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard 
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts 
1/4 cup panko, toasted
2 tbsp Parmesan 
1 tsp fresh chopped rosemary (or 1/2 tsp dried)
1/4 tsp fresh ground white pepper
1/4 tsp salt

A couple cups fresh kale, trimmed and cut in pieces (just buy a bag) 
Olive oil
A cup quartered cherry tomatoes
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced 
Balsamic vinegar 

Preheat oven to 425. 

Mix milk, vinegar and mustard in Tupperware or large bag. Add chicken, and let sit in fridge for 5 minutes-2 hours.

Mix remaining chicken ingredients (walnuts through salt) in shallow bowl. 

Place kale in a salad bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Use your hand to toss well, till everything is well coated. Set aside. (This tenderizes it a bit. Not a necessary step, but a good one) 

Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Make a separate foil "bowl" about 6" square. Fold up the sides so the contents don't leak. In it, place the tomatoes and garlic. Sprinkle well with olive oil and a good dash of balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. 

Place bowl on one side of cookie sheet. 

Remove chicken from milk bath, let excess drip off, then roll in panko mixture till well coated on all sides. Place on other side of cookie sheet, then bake everything for 20 minutes (or until chicken is cooked through).

Let sit 5 minutes. Add tomatoes to kale and toss. Serve with a bit of Parmesan on top. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Break out the crock pot. The big one.

So, the crock pot.

We like to pretend it's magical and frees us from "cooking." It doesn't. It makes it easier. A little. Sometimes. You still have to chop. You still have to clean up. However...there's something about doing the work early in the day that makes it seem like you didn't really cook. And I'm on board with that.

Plus the house smells good all day. Though when you're watching your calories and all you smell is chicken and cumin deliciousness wafting from your kitchen all day this may be more obnoxious than "good," but I digress.

Anyway, I informed hubby we'd be having a crock pot heavy fall this year. I probably say that every year, but I'm going to try and mean it this time.

You need a big crock pot for this one, just to warn you. You could also just simmer in a stock pot on the stove for a couple hours if you had to, but that kind of kills the point of crockpotting, doesn't it?

Crock Pot Tortilla Soup
4-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used 2 large and 3 small)
One small onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
8 cups chicken broth
Large can (28oz) diced tomatoes
4-5 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
3 bay leaves
1/4 tsp dried oregano
2 corn tortillas, torn into small pieces
about a cup frozen corn
juice from one lime
about 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
more chopped cilantro (to top)
shredded mexican style cheese (to top)
greek yogurt or sour cream (to top)
tortilla chips, crushed (to top)
Tapatio or Mexican hot sauce (to top, optional)
Radish slices (to top, optional)

Throw everything from chicken to oregano into the crockpot. Stir gently, and turn on for however long works for you. I did 6 hours.

After about 5 hours (or 30-60 minutes before you have it set to be done), remove all the chicken to a big bowl. Use two forks and shred into pieces (it should basically fall apart). Add back to soup and add in the tortilla pieces, corn, cilantro, and lime juice and keep cooking.

When it's done, serve with more cilantro, cheese, yogurt and tortilla chips, etc. on top. People tend to like to top their own food to taste, but you can be a Type-A host and do it for them. Just really depends on how many small bowls you have/want to wash/fancy you want to be.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

It's still like 80 out. Don't care. It's fall. It's stew time.

Ok, raise of hands, please. When you hear the phrase "parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme" do you humm along, or do you have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about?

Yeah, not so much a raise of hands situation, more of a polling question, but still.

My husband and his best friend Chef (actually the opposite of a large black man...still with me? Too many cultural references in one post? You can do this.) had no idea what I was talking about when I came prancing into the living room mid-meal-making singing it. I believe the question from Chef was, "Are you singing about herbs?" And I'm like, um, the guys who sing the Mrs. Robinson song? What's their name? Simon and Garfunkel? WHY ARE YOU LOOKING AT ME LIKE THAT? (Possibly it was the prancing, now that I think about it)

So I play it. Chef goes, "Oh, I know that." Hubby just looks at me. We've been married 5 years. I should know his faults by now.

Annnnywho, I made stew tonight. It had...wait for it...parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. And bay leaves. And wine. And deliciousness.

Herby Beef Stew

1.5 lb stew meat, cut in bite sized pieces if needed
2 cups baby carrots
About 20-25 pearl onions, peeled
3 stalks celery, sliced in 1/2 in pieces
1.5 lb fingerling potatoes, cut in half or thirds (so all are the same size-ish)
1/4 cup Flour (I used oat flour)
Salt and pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup red wine
3.5 cups beef broth
1tsp rosemary
1tsp dried parsley
Good pinch dried thyme leaves (1/4 tsp?)
Good shake sage (1/8 tsp?)
2 small bay leaves

In shallow bowl combine flour, garlic powder, and a good pinch each salt and pepper. Add meat cubes and toss until well coated. 

In large Dutch oven or stock pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add meat, and brown about 3 minutes, turn, and cook another 3 minutes. Add wine, and move everything around to deglaze pot. Add broth, rosemary, parsley, sage, thyme, and about another 1/4 tsp pepper, bring to a boil, and reduce to simmer. Cover and cook one hour. 

Bring back to a boil, and stir in potatoes, celery, carrots, onions, and bay leaf. Reduce to a simmer, re-cover, and cook another hour. Add salt to taste, if needed.

Remove bay leaf before serving.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Eat more garlic. It's good for you.

I love garlic. Love it. I normally buy it by the head and use as needed, but once in awhile I cheat and get the bag of pre-peeled cloves. Problem with those, however, is that you really need to use them quickly, and they include a LOT of garlic.

Enter 40 Clove Chicken. I make this kind of a lot. But usually with chicken breasts and just do it on the stovetop (also delicious, but more of a mess. And healthier, cause I replace most of the butter with sherry) and serve with mashed potatoes. I just searched this blog for that recipe but apparently I've never posted it?? I apologize. Next time I do it, I will.

You can use bigger pieces of chicken for this, whatever fits in the skillet without being squashed (Breast, thigh, etc., but it'll work best if they are bone-in pieces. Cook it a little longer—up to 1.5 hours for an entire chicken.)

Oh, and crusty bread is necessary with this one. You need something to smash those roasted garlic cloves onto. Also, the final product photo is terrible, but I'd already dug in before I realized I hadn't taken one, and it was too late to do any art direction on my plate. Sooooo, it is before I stuck it in the oven.

One Pot 40 Clove Chicken and Potatoes

1.5-2lbs chicken wings/drummettes (About 16 pieces)
Salt and pepper
1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves (or 6 fresh sprigs)
Olive oil
2 tbsp butter
4 medium yellow potatoes, quartered
About 40 cloves of peeled garlic

Heat oven to 350.
Sprinkle chicken well with salt and pepper. In large heavy skillet, heat about 2 tsp oil and 2 tbsp butter over medium high. When hot, add chicken and brown about 3 minutes, turn and brown the other side about 3 minutes.

Add potatoes, and stir to combine. Turn off heat. Add garlic, and do your best to get all the cloves on the bottom (under the chicken and potatoes). Sprinkle thyme, salt and drizzle a little olive oil over the top of everything.

Stick skillet in hot oven, cook for an hour. About half way through, turn the chicken pieces over and throw a piece of aluminum foil loosely over the top. Add salt to taste and let rest about 5-10 minutes before eating.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

I *sniffle* hate the f*sniffle*ing Santa Anas.

What is it about these annual winds that makes everyone crazy? I grew up with them, and they're basically the weather equivalent of a full moon. People. Act. Nuts. Besides the normal nutty behavior associated with having to deal with downed trees and power lines, destroyed hair, dirt in your eyes, and head congestion, I mean. It's probably all the electricity in the air? Serious, check Wiki's Health Effects section. It's legit crazytime.

Anyway, I just got back from visiting my parents in the Inland Empire‚ which is like, Santa Ana central. Their house even shakes in these winds, which is actually cool to me, because in So Cal we often like weird things that terrify normal people (i.e. earthquakes, eating raw fish, flip-flop tanlines.) Anyway, it also means I returned with a head full of snot and completely plugged up ears. They got so pressurized on my drive home over the mountains that I literally couldn't hear E whining in the back seat. So, not all negative, I guess.

I woke up this morning and the sore throat was gone and I can hear out of my left ear, so it's getting better, but I still wanted something soupy for lunch. I was going to make this, but I had tofu that needed to be used, and some bean thread noodles my mom sent home with me (she may have discovered they weren't actually another form of bean sprouts and some hilarity may have ensued, but that's for another day), so I did some substituting. And it was delicious. And easy. And I will definitely be making again.

You could probably substitute green curry paste, if that's more your thing (I will be next time, cause I love it), but I had red in the fridge so I went with it.

Red Curry Coconut Soup
1 tsp peanut (or canola) oil
2 tbsp red curry paste
6 cups chicken broth
1 can light coconut milk
5 tbsp fish sauce
juice of 1.5 limes
3 tbsp sugar
1 package extra firm tofu, cubed or thinly sliced
2 small bundles of bean thread noodles (or about 4oz any asian rice noodles)
cilantro, chopped, to top

Heat the oil and curry paste in a stock pot over medium heat. Add broth, coconut, lime juice, sugar and fish sauce, bring to a low boil. Add noodles and cook until soft, anywhere from 5-10 minutes depending on the kind of noodle.

NOTE: If you used really thin noodles (like bean thread) take a sharp knife or some kitchen shears, stick it in the soup, and cut, cut, cut. It'll still be a bitch to serve (and will require chopsticks to eat) but this helps a ton.

Add tofu and let cook another minute. Turn off the heat and let sit a couple minutes to let tofu get hot.

Add more lime juice to taste and top with cilantro.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Use those figs!

Yay for figs! They've been everywhere here lately-the farmers market, the grocery store, the other grocery obviously I had to figure out how to use them. This originally was going to be a goat cheese and thyme stuffed chicken, but I only bought goat cheese in my head, so plans changed about 5 minutes before I started cooking.

Luckily, too. This was delicious. And I did it all in one skillet. (Plus a bowl here and there. You are welcome, hubby.)

This recipe might call more the most butter I've ever used, like ever. It wasn't a huge quantity, but it was in everything. And it was awesome. The recipes I found and combined to make this all called for a LOT more, so I actually replaced some with a bit of olive oil, and still ended up using 3 tbsp less than directed. So if you're a Paula Deen at heart (the butter loving part, not the other part), go ahead and throw some more in there-you can add at least another tbsp to the sauce. I just didn't want the calories and didn't miss it. Your call.

Also, I've been making 3-4 servings of everything lately so hubby can take leftovers for lunch. So this will work with 3 or 4 chicken breasts. It's not exact. You may have some leftover cheese mixture if you make 3, or just don't fill the chickens as full and make 4. I trust you can figure this one out.

I served with a side of simple mashed red potatoes (skins on, mashed with some butter, milk, salt and pepper to taste).

Blue Cheese, Caramelized Onion and Walnut Chicken with Fig Sauce

3-4 boneless chicken breasts
Half a medium-small red onion, halved and sliced thinly
about 3 oz blue cheese
About 2 tbsp chopped walnuts
salt and fresh pepper
8-10 figs, halved
1 cup red wine
1 tbsp sugar
1 cup chicken broth/stock
olive oil

Heat oven to 400.

Heat about 2 tsp butter and a dash of olive oil over medium heat in a large oven safe skillet (if you have one, otherwise a large frying pan or similar is fine) and cook onions for 8 minutes or so until they are soft and starting to brown. Remove to a medium bowl to cool.

Add the wine and sugar to the pan and bring to boil (high heat). Reduce to medium and simmer until it's reduced to about half. Add the broth and reduce again til about half gone. Pour liquid carefully into a pyrex or bowl (or whatever you've got) and set aside.

Take the cooled onions and add in the blue cheese and walnuts. Gently mix together.

Take your chicken breasts and with a thin knife, make a hole into the middle of the narrow end, fanning your knife a bit to make the hole wide on the inside. It may be easier at this point to stick a finger or two in there and widen a bit more (don't break through!) If you have a different way you want to make a pocket, do it. The point is that you're gonna put stuff in it and you don't really want it escaping.

Take the cheese and onion mixture and (with your hands) push it down into the pockets. Take a toothpick and close the hole up a bit, if you can. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper.

Add 2 tsp butter and a splash of olive oil to skillet/pan and heat to medium. Brown the chicken for about 3 minutes a side, then either put the skillet straight into the oven or transfer the chicken to a (cooking spray coated) baking dish. Let cook 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let set. If you used the skillet method, remove from skillet and place on a serving dish before continuing.

In the skillet/pan, add another tbsp of butter and once hot (foamy) add the figs, cut side down. Let cook 3-4 minutes, then add the wine sauce back in. Cook another few minutes until hot and the figs are pretty and brown. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve over the chicken.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

I eventually get to the Edamame Pasta here.

Hubby is so very good about my fondness for vegetarian nights. He's also very good about just shutting up and eating, however, so that could also have something to do with things. He winced ever so slightly when I told him I was going to make an edamame pasta, but he had two large servings, so whatever, I'm gonna take that as a win.

I kind of feel like I can just stop writing right here and let you get on with the recipe, but maybe you've missed me and therefore I need to keep blathering for a moment. Plus I've had a couple V0&Diets tonight and that obviously means I think I'm far more interesting than I actually am. Or it means I am more interesting than I usually am, and so either way, I can't stop.

So. What's new?  I spent a solo weekend in San Diego for Labor Day, not laboring other than the giant amounts of work my stomach did.

Saffron's Vietnamese Noodles
Case in point: Saffron for lunch on Saturday. My favorite Thai, and I get it approximately once every 5 years, so it was even more appreciated. And delicious. Holy shit, it's delicious. And THEN I had sushi. Like, a lot of it. For two days in a row.

I also went snorkeling with sharks (and my two fave SD dudes) but NBD. Also, they are LEOPARD Sharks. I kept calling them Tiger Sharks, cause whatever, cat sharks, but my snorkeling host/oldest&dearest/guy on fire Jon pointed out that Tiger Sharks will eat you, while Leopard Sharks will let you, like, snuggle with them. So, yeah.

Ok...enough of that. Pasta time! I used yellow tomatoes but red are of course fine, and I like romano cheese, but parmesan would be just as good. Just pick a pasta that has the little grooves in it, cause it holds the pesto better than the smooth kind.

Edamame & Pesto Pasta

1 package frozen shelled edamame (about 2.5 cups)
About 2 cups coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup extravirgin olive oil
1 pound (1 box) uncooked cavatappi (or similar) pasta
1 cup grape/cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup grated fresh Romano cheese

Combine basil and next 5 ingredients (through garlic) in a food processor or blender; process until smooth. Slowly pour oil through food chute (or just pour it in there if you need to, whatever), and keep blending/processing until all evenly mixed.

Cook pasta according to package directions, drain. In same pot, place edamame and cover with water. Bring back to a boil (or until hot), then drain them into pasta. Combine pasta, edamame and basil mixture in large bowl or the pot, tossing gently to coat. Add tomatoes and half the cheese, tossing to combine. Taste and add salt if needed. Sprinkle with remaining cheese to serve.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Seriously Literate, IRL edition

Well, hellooooo strangers. My phone is once again full of photos of dinners I haven't written about, so here is the first attempt to rectify that little situation.

Anyway, I've read so little since the monkey weaseled his way out of the womb and into the world that it's embarrassing. Like, for real, my library card expired. So I did the only thing I could think of that was sure to work—I started a book club. With other actual people who would hold me responsible and, obviously, also like to drink wine and eat read.

I hosted the first go around. Book was Monday Mornings, chosen by my friend A, who claims a friend of hers had recommended it. And I'm totally calling her out here, because the book was horrendous.

Ok, it wasn't horrendous. But it wasn't something I'd recommend. I can see it making a good tv series, if you happen to be in the market for another medical drama (Oh, you aren't? No one else was, either.) but Sanjay Gupta should stick to being a neurosurgeon and CNN medical correspondent. I mean, I don't mean to be harsh; it wasn't poorly written, it was just, well, pretty one dimensional. I just didn't care about the many, many characters, most of whom weren't particularly well developed, if developed at all. It was just chapter after chapter after chapter, and then the ending was just blehhhhhh, really?

So let's talk food instead! It was a small group this month, only 5 of us, so I of course had to go overboard on the food. And yes, I made food cards. Shh. My mom already made fun of me. Yeah, they had books on them. It's BOOK CLUB, y'all. But know what I didn't have to do all night? Tell people what they were eating. Boom. It's the little things, peeps.

We had my mom's ham rolls, which are flour burrito sized tortillas spread with low-fat cream cheese, sprinkled with a garlic salt, dried oregano, pepper and basil mixture, layered with thin sliced deli ham, then topped thinly with chopped green chiles, chopped green onion and chopped olives. Rolled up, chilled, then sliced about 3/4 in thick. It's quite possibly one of the best things in the world.

I also tried a lemony, rosemary ricotta dip I found online (an Anne Burrell recipe. I liked, didn't love, but was still a nice something different) and my favorite summer soup—gazpacho. Served it in a pitcher with the toppings on the side to make serving interesting/easy, which I had to pat myself on the back a bit for later. Especially the plastic cup/bowl part. Nobody wants to do dishes after a get together.

Don't know how I've never posted my gazpacho recipe, so here we go...also a great use for all those summer veggies y'all are growing in climates more suited for that sort of thing than mine.

Gazpacho with Fresh Corn and Goat Cheese 
(adapted from a Real Simple recipe)

(Just roughly chop all of the veggies, you're gonna blend them)
2.5 lbs ripe red tomatoes
2 cucumbers, peeled
1/2 a peeled white onion
2 large garlic cloves
2 bell peppers, any color (but red or orange is prettiest)
Juice from half a lemon
About a tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp rice (or other) vinegar
More lemon juice (the other half?)
Couple dashes Tabasco (optional)

To top:
Fresh corn (just cut it off the ear, it doesn't have to be perfect)
Crumbled goat cheese
Chopped cilantro

Immersion blender?
Chop everything up and toss it all (veggies through vinegar) into a bowl (or two, depending on the size of your bowls) and use an immersion hand blender to combine everything until pretty liquidy. Stir in 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper.

Blender/Food processor?
Get two big bowls. Chop everything up and toss all the veggies into one. Then just blend as much as will fit into your blender at a time (AKA work in batches) and transfer the blended batches to the other bowl until you get it all. Add the lemon, tomato paste, vinegar, and 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper and combine well.

Then stick it in the fridge to chill, at least an hour. When it's nice and chilly, add more salt, pepper, and lemon juice to taste and Tabasco (if using). Combine well, and serve with a handful each of cheese and corn on top, sprinkled with a bit of cilantro.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Cheers to Summer. And Strawberries!

So it's a friend's birthday today. She moved away; I miss her much. She texted that she was drinking strawberry Long Islands, so it was only fair of me to join in from afar. 

Of course, I have nothing for a Long Island. I do, however, have strawberries. And tequila. And limeade. (I may have anticipated something here). 

So here we are. Easiest strawberry margaritas ever.* They'd be even better with sugar rimmed glasses, but I'm too impatient for that sort of thing. 

Quick Strawberry Margaritas 
1 part strawberry purée 
(aka cut a bunch of cleaned/stemmed berries in fourths and then pop them in the food processor/blender til smoothish)
3 parts tequila (or to taste) 
3 parts Limeade
A splash of triple sec

Shake all well with ice in a shaker and pour all into a margarita glass. (Or blend if you're into that sort of thing.)

FYI This came to like a tablespoon of purée and a 1-2-3 count pour of each liquid. 

*or make it a cocktail and top it off with some 7-up.  Or whatever. You're the one drinking it. Cheers. 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Let's be real, I don't really care what he eats as long as he eats.

So remember when I was a smug childless and was all, "Geez, parents-feeding-their-toddler-pre-made-crap, get your shit together and cook them some real food?"

Yeaaaaah, sorry about that. I need to get my shit together.

But what do you do when they refuse chicken, but will eat defrosted nuggets dipped in ketchup??

You give them defrosted nuggets with a vat side of ketchup. I would much prefer that E ate actual fresh food, but when he pushes it away (literally)...well, the kid needs to eat.

I really do make the effort to give him the best versions of crap I can. I get the chicken nuggets with the least saturated fat I can find, the organic, wheat frozen waffles, and the all-fish fish sticks. We get the gluten free, organic mac and cheese. The non corn-syrup ketchup. You know, the expensive shit. Yes, sigh, whatever.

And when I caved and bought him some Uncrustables (frozen, pre-made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Oh. EM. Gee.), I got the whole wheat, low sugar version...but I hated myself all the same. I could have made him the same damn thing myself from scratch. So why didn't I?? Cause last night I made him a quesadilla, peas, a sweet potato, and cottage cheese. And he ate the potato. That. Was. It. And maybe I was still a little burnt. OK?? Maybe I know that he likes whole wheat English muffins with peanut butter on them for breakfast, and I knew he loves (LOVES) some berries, so he'd be all over it. And I could actually give him a quick lunch without him sulking outside the baby gate, whining that he's hunnnnnnngry (by means of non-verbal baby bitching, which is so much worse) while I made him something.


Deep breath. SO. When my friend Shawna posted what I'm sure she thought was just a fun "check this out" repost on tumblr today, I died a little.

A cookie recipe with two ingredients. Two. Bananas. Oats. Let's just say I was enjoying my very first "Mama's out on a beach towel killing her weird tan lines while reading an InDesign refresher course manual and possibly checking social media at the same time while bebe naps" mid afternoon break, and it turned into a, "Holy shit, I'm making this NOW" situation.

OMG Ma, these are amazeballs.
The recipe made 10 smallish cookies. E ate 4. I was hoping he'd eat more than that, but he's 15 months old, and I can't reasonably expect my toddler to overcompensate for my eating issues. On the plus side, even if I HAD eaten all of them, I'd have eaten two bananas and a cup of oatmeal. I can deal with that.

More importantly, if that's what he'd eaten, COOL. Oatmeal and a banana? That's like...breakfast. If he wants that for a snack? DONE. Eat as many breakfast cookies as you want, sweet thang.

I thought this was a bit lacking on the sweets department, so I'm gonna add 1 tbsp sugar or a handful of mini chocolate chips and some vanilla next time. Which is gonna be like, tomorrow.

Vegan, Baby-Friendly, Just Make Them Already Cookies
2 large ripe (brown) bananas
1 cup quick cook Oats
1/4 tsp extract (Vanilla? Almond? Pick one. Or none, whatev.)
Dash Cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350
Mash bananas and oats til evenly mixed. Gently include any other ingedients.

Coat cookie sheet with cooking spray (IMPORTANT!), and spoon it out drop-style, aiming for 10-12 cookies.

Cook for 15 minutes. Serve warm, cause they get a little mushy when they're more than a few hours old.They probably won't last that long, though. Cause they're HEALTHY COOKIES AND YOU CAN GORGE ON THEM.

You're welcome.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

I'm not exact. You've been warned many times.

I bought my first skillet last month. I don't know why I've never had one. Should I have? I dunno. It seems like an obvious thing to own. But I own a mandolin and never use that, so I assume it evens out somehow.

Anyway, I used it to make Laab tonight, and I now understand why people in the south are fat. 

(Southern food is cooked in skillets. I think? This is a highly unresearched fact I'm dropping right now. Stay with me here.)

Holy crap, everything sticks. You need some serious fat or oil. Or something. I'm a cooking spray devotee and that shit just ain't doing it here. I'm sure using low fat content turkey didn't help anything, but wow. 

On the plus side, I now realize I've been browning meat incorrectly in my nonstick pans all this time and OMG I'VE BEEN DOING THIS WRONG FOR YEEEEEAAARS NOW WHY HAVEN'T I HAD A GODDAMN SKILLET???

Soooo my point is that if you're trying to cook a lower fat meal, or one where your meat isn't supposed to be browned, the skillet is not your friend. 

I'm still glad I got to use it. It's been hanging out in my oven all this time, forgotten until I have a tray full of something ready to be baked (it happens, ok??) and there's a freakin' hot ass skillet chillin' in the middle of the pre-heated rack. This is has obviously led to hand burns, cursing, and many an eye roll. It's happened. It's traumatic.

SO ANYWAY LAAB. LARB, However you want to spell it. I made it, it was great, and I'd give you the recipe, but I didn't write it down and I make it different everytime. I know, this is kind of the worst post ever.

So here's the idea:

One package ground turkey cooked with:
shallot slices (1 or 2)
garlic slices (4 or 5)
lime juice (1?)
salt and pepper

Tossed with:
2 parts lime juice
1 part fish sauce
1 part sugar
chili paste to taste
celery, chopped
cilantro, a handful, chopped
mint, a handful, chopped
green onion, a handful, chopped
cooked rice noodles, a couple servings

romaine (like a head)

Topped with:
Sriracha to taste
chopped roasted peanuts (the rest of my mostly empty jar)

Seriously, this is my recipe. If you want more specifics (AKA you're not down for a little adventure, you can try this (it's pretty similar to mine) or this or even this.

Do it. It's delicious.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

I just put stuff in front of him.

In today's edition of weird things my one year old will eat:
Curried garbanzo beans
Tofu in spicy peanut sauce
Blueberries. Lots. and lots. of blueberries.
Whole wheat, untoasted english muffins
Gluten free corn pasta
Fish sticks

This is not normal food for a 15 month old. Except in our house.

...and totally normal things (or things he loved last month) that he will not eat (I WILL NOT DO NOT GIVE THOSE TO ME I WILL PICK THEM OUT IF YOU TRY AND HIDE THEM IN SOMETHING):
Hot dogs
Grilled cheese (Last week they were the best ever. Last week they were on gluten-free bread. I just don't know.)
Sweet potatoes

Friday, March 29, 2013

Are you alone?

Any other non college sport fan wives/partners/roommates sick of march madness already? OMG, I'm soooo bored. In a brilliant twist of fate, however, Season 5 of Mad Men was released this week, (Um, you can spell Mad Men OUT of March Madness, hello) so I have watched the entire season in my office while the mister watches basketball on the living room tv while watching Giants preseason baseball on my our laptop.


Before you get the wrong idea, he offers to change the channel every's totally me "being thoughtful." Or something, I don't care. This has been my own little indulgence—I watch what I want, he watches what he wants, and next week we'll go back to watching things together.

God, I love Mad Men. It makes me miss advertising so. Not that I don't still do that...(Hire me!), but most of what I do these days is graphic design (and onesie designs, cause why not) and it just isn't the same.

Again, sigh.

Soooo, I design, I watch indulgent tv,  and I make like 5 meals a day (E is really into scrambled eggs right now). This is my life. And I'm not complaining. But when I break out an old recipe and the hubby comments, "This is always one of my favorites," I do a little swoon inside. Because thank you. I can't always be creative.

Great with something off the grill-chicken, beef, etc.

Tomato, Bean and Mint Salad
Juice from half a lemon
about 2 tbsp rice vinegar
good pinch each sea salt and fresh pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
large handful mint, chopped
1 can white beans (or black or pink eyed peas), rinsed and drained
1 package cherry tomatoes, halved

Whisk together lemon, vinegar, S&P, Garlic and olive oil. Mix in mint, beans and tomatoes. Toss well and chill til ready to serve.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Oh, is it snowing?

So, from what I gather, some of you are still dealing with winter. Some of you enjoy this. Some of you, frankly, are nuts.

I live in Southern Cali, and the most snow I'm seeing right now is around the corner, where the local sno-cone shack already opened for the season. I wore a tank top while we ate sushi on a restaurant's patio yesterday. I was told I "got some color" this afternoon. I. am. happy.

I'm also purposefully pretending like it's going to stay this nice and won't turn into the melting wasteland of hell in about a week. I like to say we have four seasons here: Cold, March, Hot, and October. So I'm enjoying every last second of this season while I can.

Cause this also means warm weather food. We broke out the Vietnamese rice paper tonight to make some aptly named summer wraps. I love these because you can use basically any ingredients you want—seasoned and cooked chicken, pork, shrimp, tofu...this time we did ground turkey and as usual, it worked.

Plus they just seem so light and healthy. Until you eat five of them. Whatever. They're mostly green stuff.

Really, they're just Asian burritos, as far as I'm concerned. Grab some meat, some veggies, some hot sauce, wrap it up tight and dip in some more sauce. Have some beer to wash it all down. Yep, that'll do.

Here's what we used. Feel free to experiment and use whatever you want. I like lots of options because then each of my rolls is a little different.

Vietnamese Summer Rolls
Rice paper (bánh tráng—get at Asian markets or Whole Foods, I also like Three Ladies brand if they have it)
Carrot, peeled and slivered
Cucumber, peeled and slivered
Ground turkey (recipe below)
Hoisin sauce
Peanut Sauce (recipe below)
Fish sauce dipping sauce (recipe below)
Deep plate or shallow bowl full of warm water

Peanut sauce:
3 parts thai sweet chili sauce
1 part hoisin
1 part reduced fat smooth peanut butter
Splash rice vinegar and water, to thin
Start there and adjust to taste

Fish sauce dipping sauce:
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tbsp brown sugar
5 tbsp fish sauce
3 tbsp rice vinegar
Juice from half a lime
1 tbsp Sriracha
Start there and adjust to taste

For the turkey:
Spray a saute pan with cooking oil and brown the turkey for a few minutes, then break up, add minced garlic cloves and green chiles, and continue cooking another 4-5 minutes until it's just about cooked through. Add about 1/4 cup of the fish sauce dipping sauce, and saute until cooked through, another minute or so.

For the rolls:
Take a rice paper wrapper and dip into the water, spinning it around in your hand so the entire paper gets wet. Go around the whole paper twice, then lay onto your plate. arrange desired ingredients down the center of the paper. By this time, the paper should be soft and pliable, but sticky, so gently fold the "short" ends over the filling, then fold one big side over the filling, tucking and rolling over to make a burrito type thing. Get it as tight as you can.
Basil and Hoisin vs. Mint and Peanut Sauce

This probably makes little sense. Just try it. You'll get better every time. I actually do one long end and THEN the short ends, then roll, but hubby insists that's the "wrong" way. I think he's just mad cause mine look better than his do.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

I'm not even going to think about what is in sausage.

I should preface this post by explaining that we live half a block away from one of the best butcher shops in town. And we live in Meat City, so that's saying something.

Hubby brought home some sausage the other day, some Kickin' Chicken and some Sweet Italian. Told me he knew I'd only asked for steaks, but we could find "something" to do with it. Then helpfully added that Sausages and Peppers would be good.


Sausages and Peppers? What? I'm questionable on bell peppers, and the idea of a Meat Lovers pizza makes me want to make immature icky-poo faces ( I don't actually know anything else sausage is good for, other than sliced up and served with hot mustard as appetizers).

And so to the internet I went. I found a couple of recipes that seemed simple enough (I didn't want to get crazy here), and hubs asked if we could add pasta to it (no, I don't know why he didn't just make it himself), so I dug around and found some small elbow macaroni to add to this business.

Turns out it smelled delicious (especially once the basil was in), and it looked gorgeous. Here was the finished recipe that actually made it to the table. And yes, it was delicious. Even for a non meat/pepper lover. Seriously.

Sausages and Peppers with Pasta
Spray oil
4 uncooked sausages (about 1 lb), your choice of flavor, but mild is best
1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, halved and sliced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 orange bell pepper, halved and sliced (or green or red)
1 yellow bell pepper, halved and sliced (or green or red)
1 tsp dried oregano
about 1/4 cup thinly sliced basil
1/4 cup white wine (I used pinot grigio)
About 3 servings cooked pasta (al dente; any shape you like)
1/4 tsp salt
good pinch fresh pepper
Parmesan (optional)

Coat a large pan with cooking spray and heat over medium high heat. Add sausages and brown each side around 3 minutes (let them rest against each other if it makes it easier to get each side.)

Remove sausages to large cutting board or plate.

Add onion and garlic to pan. Sauté about 3 minutes. Add bell pepper, wine, and oregano. Stir occasionally, about 5 minutes.

In the meantime, slice sausages.

Add sausage and basil to mix and cook about 3-4 minutes or until sausage is hot and no longer pink. Add cooked, drained pasta, toss well, and cook until everything is heated through.

Season with salt and pepper as needed and Parmesan if desired.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Yeah, and?

Sometimes the best pantry meal you can come up with really IS defrosted chicken thighs with buffalo sauce, ranch beans, and bagged salad.

...and by "buffalo sauce," I mean "the rest of the Frank's that was in the fridge."

But I chopped some carrots. It's not like I made ZERO effort here.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Canned pears are not to be underestimated.

Here's what I hate about feeding a baby. On Tuesday and Wednesday, said baby LOVES pears. Not fresh pears you've peeled and chopped, mind you. He loves the canned pears you've painstakingly chosen due to their low sugar content and own-juice marinating they've been doing. (No heavy syrup, thanks.)

Whatever. He wants to eat something other than cheese, peas, or yogurt. I. don't. care.

On Thursday, you offer him these same pears, but since they have been refrigerated, or because they've been open for more than 6 hours, or simply because babies are just kind of jerks sometimes, damnit, he's not having ANY of it.

And so you find other things to do with the can of sliced pears. (And the juice. Don't drain too quickly)

Blue Cheese Topped Pork Chops with Pear and Blue Cheese Arugula Salad  
Salad from a Sandra Lee Recipe (serves 2 large servings)
 2 tbsp pear juice
1.5 tbsp Olive Oil
.5 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
Pinch each salt and pepper
Several cups Baby Arugula (4? What's in a bag?)
About 8 pear slices (slice the canned slices in half)
2 tbsp blue cheese
2 tbsp candied pecan pieces (whatever you find that look good. Mine were honey glazed)

Combine pear juice, oil and vinegar and S&P. Toss with Arugula. Top with pear, blue cheese and pecan.

Blue Cheese Pork Chops
 Two boneless pork chops
salt and pepper
dried thyme
blue cheese
Spray oil

Season each chop well with S&P and thyme. (A good pinch of each)
Cook over high heat for 3 minutes until brown, and then flip. Cook another 3 minutes, then add a 1/4 of water of so, cover, and cook another 6-8 minutes or so until cooked through. When almost done, sprinkle blue cheese on top, cover (with heat off) and let sit a few minutes until cheese has mostly melted.

Served with multi-grain rice. Because E usually will eat the leftovers.

Friday, February 1, 2013

You should make this curry after you hire me.

As usual, the new year has brought some changes around my house…Hubby's still busting his ass, getting paid far less than he's worth, E's been requiring more and more attention (and therefore requiring more nanny hours), and this exhausted mama has officially gone freelance, meaning way more flexibility, way more new work needed, way more say over the projects I do choose to work, and unfortunately, (for the time being, anyway) way less regular income. In other words, we're broke asses, and having to meal plan again.

And this is where I ever so gracefully segue into telling you how to reach me for any freelance design projects you may need: And I'm currently working on jobs in Cali (branding, packaging design and a direct mail campaign), Kentucky (logo), and Florida (wedding invites) so I'm freakin' national right now. Email and Skype are my BFFs. Fingers in the hang loose sign, wiggling by my ear. Call me! 

And so I've been trolling the usual sites, looking for new ideas. I'm hoping that when they do work, I'll be lucid enough by the end of the day to actually write them down for you.

This original recipe is actually called Chickpea Curry with Basmati Rice, so when my basmati-obsessed Hubby walked into the kitchen, saw me measuring brown rice and subsequently glanced at my recipe, he of course so helpfully offered, "It says Basmati…?"

1. Read the ingredients, buddy. It says OR brown rice. 2. I'm cooking, you're eating. Shhhhhh.

Also awesome as leftovers with cooked red meat heated up with it. We used leftover tri-tip, but next time Hubs wants to try lamb.

Vegetarian Chickpea Curry
Cooked brown rice (Get a bag, follow directions for 1 cup. Heads up: it takes about 45 minutes)
Canola oil (about a tbsp)
3 large shallots, thinly sliced
5 garlic cloves, minced
3 tsp garam masala
2 tsp madras curry
 large pinch (fresh white) pepper
2 cans chickpeas, rinsed/drained
1 29oz can crushed tomato
1 6oz package baby spinach
About 1/2 cup nonfat greek yogurt
Large handful chopped cilantro
Salt to taste (1/2 tsp or so)
Good squeeze fresh lemon juice

In large soup pot or dutch oven, heat oil over medium high. Add shallot and saute a couple of minutes. Add garlic, cook another minute or two. Add garam masala, curry and pepper and saute 30 seconds or so.

Stir in chickpeas and tomato, and cook about 4 minutes over medium heat or until hot. Gently stir in spinach until wilted, a minute or two. Turn off heat and stir in yogurt, cilantro and salt. Stir in lemon juice. Serve over rice.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

11 whole months of E.

I'm too tired and stressed out to even begin making bad excuses for not having written the past two months, so...exhale...moving on. Here we go.

This kid is too much. He indiscriminately says "dada" and "blahblah," (but no "m" words whatsoever), waves at everyone at the grocery store (and starts flapping his little hand as soon as I open the bedroom door when he wakes up), claps while running around, eats constantly, and gives some awesome kisses. He also destroys everything. Everything.

He's like Baby Hulk or something. The things he picks up and lugs around the house kill me. They'll be as big as or as heavy as he is...laundry baskets, hair dryers, giant toys...and then he chucks them as hard as he can. Seriously watch your toes around this kid. I've been decked by The Joy of Cooking, hubby's been taken out by a curling iron. I'm glad our floors aren't real wood, or they'd be dented to all hell by now. 

"No" is hilarious. He understands what it means, and he'll stop whatever he's doing, but then he'll give you a ridiculous little devil smirk and sneak right back to trash digging or highchair climbing to get to the bookcase or running through the house while emptying the toilet paper roll—all with a HUGE grin on his face—til I grab him and pull him away/out. It's totally my fault for giggling. (Note: He knows that the heater is off limits. The important stuff is actually enforced.)

We go through a lot of books at nap time. Now that he's discovered he can turn the pages, we flip. I get maybe 3 words out, and he's on to the next page. Then we look at the cover. Then back to the page. Next. Next. Next. All done. Back to page two. Repeat. Backwards. So instead of reading one or two books, we now "read" three or four.

I don't care, he loves it. But that pretty much sums up most of the things we do all day. He also loves to high five, ideally in the middle of dinner time. What am I going do, NOT slap an eager little slime covered hand? Come on. So I'm covered in applesauce and slobber. Definitely not the worst thing he's gotten on my hands in the past 11 months. Buh. Said it before and I'll say it again. Babies are gross.

I seriously owe the Dixie Chicks a beer. I cannot explain the phenomenon, but Lullaby is the best song on.the.planet. We still sing it once at each nap time, and it's apparently not my wonderous singing voice that does the trick. Tired crying in the car on a car trip? Put that shit on blast and he's instantly quiet. And usually asleep before it's started over (because obviously it's set on repeat. We'll listen to it 5 times in a row just to make sure he stays asleep.) Also, FYI, it is possible to wear out an mp3 file.

As for me, I've started avoiding the camera. And the mirror, for that matter. I just look tired. My skin is decent enough, but the purple bags under my eyes are unacceptable. Tinted moisturizer may be great for people who have slept within the past 11 months, but it's not doing much for me. And I'm not leaving the house for long enough periods to put on full foundation every day.

And E's finally sleeping through the night, so I can't even blame him. Out by 7pm and up sometime between 5 and 7am. If its 6:30 or earlier, I can usually give him a boob and he goes back to sleep for an hour. The cat, however, has begun waking at 4am. It's a whole ordeal. (Hubby would like to interject that we have a cat for sale. We do not.) It's just the working from home when he's needing more and more constant attention that's killing me. My nanny only comes 12 hours a week, and I could honestly use her for 40. Or, you know, 80. Plus.

In not un-related news, I've also gained 6 pounds. Turns out not working out and only breastfeeding 30 minutes a day burns less calories than the 10 hours a day the first few months I now have to add "lose 15 lbs" to my to-do list. Rad. Why not.

The big 1.0 is next. How am I planning E's 1st birthday already? For the record, I don't really get the whole 1st birthday party as an EVENT thing. He's one. He doesn't care. I can give him peas and sit and have a Let's Wave at Each Other for 5 Minutes party and he'd probably be just as happy. (If not happier.) And my house is small and he already has a lot of toys. A lot. So we're just having parents and a couple aunts and uncles over for appetizers. He'll eat peas.

Seriously. He really, really likes peas. 

Photos to come, I'm sure. Wish me good sleeping in the meantime.