Monday, August 30, 2010

Meatless Monday


You can use any veggies in this but these are the ones I had in the house. I only puree the veggies my daughter has tried and didn't like ie squash. I use my kitchen aid stick blender with the chopper attachment for this but a Cuisinart will work too.

2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup of white wine
2 cans of swansons "natural goodness" chicken broth
1 onion
1 clove of garlic
1 carrot
1 stick of celery
1 cup of finely chopped cauliflower
1/2 cup of finely chopped broccoli
1 cup of butternut squash peeled and cut into chunks
1 ear of corn or 1/2 cup of frozen corn
2 oz cheese grated, you pick. I used gruyere because that is what I had but you could use any tangy cheese just not that gross orange cheddar. Parmesan is another good one.

First prep the veggies...
Chop cauliflower, broccoli, cut corn off ear and put in a bowl to the side.
Peel and chop onion, celery, carrots into large chunks then process with garlic in a food processor until they are finely chopped but not pureed.
Steam butternut squash chunks until they are soft. I do them in the microwave. Puree.
In a large deep fry pan add 2 tbl olive oil add pureed onion mixture cook for a few mins over med to high heat. Next add the rice and cook for 2-3 mins until the rice looks shiny.
Lower heat to med/low add wine and stir until wine is absorbed. When the liquid has absorbed add 1/2 cup chicken broth and stir until absorbed. Keep adding liquid in this way until you use up all but 1/2 cup of stock. Cook until the rice is soft but not mushy..."al dente". Add the last 1/2 cup of stock and add the broccoli/cauliflower/corn and the squash puree. Remove from the heat and add cheese. If the risotto seems to thick add some more stock or water.

WARNING Do not walk away from this dish. It needs to be stirred constantly. It does not take long to make.

Now this dish can be adapted in many ways... you can leave out or add any veggies you like except for the onion mixture which I think gives it too much flavor. But of course if you are allergic leave it out. Vegetarians You can definitely use veg stock.
Vegans You could also leave out the cheese if you want. The butternut squash puree makes it very creamy.
It is also very good if you add bacon or prosciutto.

Other veggies I like in this... zucchini, pattypan squash, asparagus, spinach, peas, swiss chard, fennel, leeks.
Questions are welcome...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

One ingredient ice cream... really!?

No really... so easy I can't believe it. So great for people who have an allergy to dairy but love ice cream. So I hear you saying "how do I do it?" Simple. Take some ripe bananas and freeze them. Without the skin. Chopped or not. Put them in the food processor. Blam! It really does taste like ice cream. I know your'e skeptical but it works. You can also add peanut butter, chocolate, nutella or anything else you think would taste good with bananas. I would eat it but I hate bananas. But my munchkin loves it. I think you could also give it to the baby.
So for all you vegans out there...

Friday, August 27, 2010


So for years I have made fun of hippies, no really the only jokes I know are hippie jokes. I just cant stand them. The tie dye, dreadlocks, drum circles, twirling girls, patchouli stench, dirty feet, excess armpit hair... I can't keep going it is making me ill. But a while back a very good friend accused me of being a hippie. WHAT! I am for those of you who don't know me none of the things on the list above. NONE! Ick. But as I reflect on his brutal accusation I realize there may be some truth to it. I know! Seriously though he does have a point. I grow my own veggies, eat organic food, breast fed, recycle, drive a hybrid car... you get the picture. So I guess I am a hybrid hippie/yuppie. Uhh, Jasiu I am not happy but you are right!
For those of you who do dislike the hippies described above I recommend watching the South Park episode Die Hippie Die! Still my favorite. I think its funny that I would probably try to join Cartman in his persecution of the hippies but he would lock me up in the attic with all the others.
Anyway I have to go make vegetable dyes to tie dye my hybrid diapers so peace out... no really.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

mom groups... are they for you???

Wow I never thought I would be in a moms group probably due to my cynical nature and previous inability to warm up to people quickly. Well that has changed!!! When "they" say having kids changes you believe it. I definitely became a lot more friendly?? Not that I was totally unfriendly I was just happy with the friends I had and didn't really bother makng new ones. Then along comes polkadot and suddenly I am talking to total strangers in the park!!!  And now... moms groups. I had always had a somewhat skeptical impression of these groups but had many friends that joined them. My friend Ang swore by her PEPS group and I would just listen and think really?! Why? But she loved it. It is just so curious to me that we would join a group based only on the fact we reproduced. Anyone can do that! Its not like joining a group where you have common interests say a sport team(I would never do that) or common values like a church. But for the love of our kids we join. And are exposed to new and interesting people and sometimes not. But what do you do if there is a "bad" or unappealing mom in the group? Not that I have had this experience but wouldn't it be awful if someone turned up smoking and reeking of liquor to a playdate at the park. I secretly wish that would happen so I can write about it. But so far all the moms I have met have been charming, non smoking and sober. Boring! Only kidding. Hopefully some of these playdates will produce some lasting friendships for me and my kids. For right now at least we have something to do and someone to do it with.

I would love to hear any thoughts about this.

Friday, August 20, 2010

feed the baby

For me it was a no brainer when Pop was ready for solids I made her food. I mean duh! Plus I tasted the jarred baby food and gagged. Why would you feed that to anyone. No wonder kids don't like veggies. So I jumped in with both feet. I didn't have to buy anything really because as many of my friends know I have every kitchen gadget known to man. The one thing I did buy was a cheap food mill. You do not need this but it does help create some different textures in the food. What you do need is a food processor (not a blender) some ice cube trays, lots of ziplock bags and a total lack of fear.
I feel like I got lucky because she was a good eater. She ate whatever I gave her. This kid would eat babaganoush! But that is not where we started.  We did as the experts advise and start off with rice cereal ... no go! She flat out hated it! So next roasted sweet potatoes, carrots, peas, spinach, pumpkin, broccoli, cauliflower then bananas, apples, pears, peaches etc. Now I know there are rules but I am terrible at following rules so I did put salt and pepper and butter. Yep butter. Why? Because it tastes good! I was not afraid to season the food. When I made carrots I put in ginger and a little agave nectar. Peas had s&p and butter and sometimes mint(yum!), sweet potato had cumin. It was yummy. So why do baby food manufacturers make the food so gross? When we started meat it was a little trickier because meat has such weird texture if it is all ground up in the food processor. I quickly discovered it will make your baby gag and choke. My solution was ground beef, chicken, lamb etc. Much better. One particular chicken dish has become a family favorite. I make it all the time. The best part about this dish is you can use it in a 1000 different ways. So make this...

1 lb of ground chicken (organic)
2 inch piece of fresh ginger
2 cloves of garlic
1 medium yellow onion
1 can water chestnuts
2 tbl fish sauce
1 tbl soy sauce
1 tbl raw sugar
juice of 1 lime
oil for frying

Peel the ginger and add it with the garlic and the onion to the food processor and chop finely. If you don't have a food processor then just chop as finely as possible or use a grater. Chop the water chestnuts finely.
Coat a wok or pan with oil. On medium heat add the onion mix. Cook for a few mins until soft. Add the chicken and brown. Add the rest of the ingredients and season with salt and pepper.
This recipe can be doubled.
I freeze this in a large ziplock bag. I flatten the whole thing out and then you can break pieces of it off for the baby.

We use this in the following ways.

Lettuce cups serve with rice
In soft tortillas with sauteed veggies(my hubby calls these chinesey tacos) and hoisin sauce
As a soup add chicken broth and greens(bok choy) or thicken the broth and serve over rice
Wrapped into summer rolls with veggies and peanuts and noodles
For the baby mix with any veggie puree and rice

This dish is now in the family menu everyone loves it. I hope some of you out there will think about making your own baby food because it just isn't as difficult as you think. And the best part is you can start your baby off with a much more broad palate.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

mmmouse snack

These are one of miss polkadots favorite snacks. We call them apple mice. Duh.

If you absolutely need a recipe.
Take an apple and slice it thin into mouse shapes
spread with peanut butter or some other nutty substance
add currants for eyes and fruit leather for a tail.
We use nantes currants and target fruit leather. It doesn't matter what flavor.

What do your kids like???

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Make this!

olive oil
1 1/2 lb. pork tenderloin (it is best to use the tenderloin)
1 tbl fennel seeds
1 tbl salt
1 tbl thyme
10 small potatoes
4 asian pears
2 large carrots
3 garlic cloves
1/2 cup cooking sherry or other sherry or white wine
1/2 cup sour cream
4 or 5 dashes of lancershire relish or worcestershire sauce
1tbl of seeded mustard

Perheat oven to 400º
Use a pan with a handle that can go from the stove top to the oven... it is best.
peel and cut potatoes into chunks, peel and quarter pears, peel and chop carrots into large chunks
put salt, thyme, fennel seeds into a mortar and pestle and smush
rub on outside of pork
saute pork in hot pan with olive oil until all sides are brown
remove from pan
Add the veggies to the pan and more olive oil if needed and bake for 20 mins
add the pork back in to the pan and bake a further 20 mins or until it reads 160º
remove the meat and the veggies from the pan then add the sherry bring to a boil or flambee
then add the sour cream, relish and mustard simmer on low low low.
Slice the pork serve

words and stuff

My friend KY has a list of words she hates and it has always made me laugh every time I here one of them. I won't list them all(as there are many) but top contenders are; skillet, moist, slacks(those last two should never be used together), ointment, davenport?... the list goes on. Why these words??? I will admit the word slacks is gross and they should be called pants or trousers but is it the way they sound or the picture they make in your mind? My language issues come from common sayings like, what is up with "I could care less"?? I don't get it. What I think it means is that you don't give a shit. That you simply don't care. So when you say "I could care less" that means there is an actual amount that you can care less than you do right now. So you are saying it wrong! In Australia people say "I couldn't care less" which makes sense... right. Because when you say that, it means you care so little about something there is no less to care. So why, why, why? I don't get it. And I shocking as this may seem it bugs the hell out of me! There is another one that irks me equally as much and is heavily used by my idol Martha "each and every one of you". Aarrrg what! Each of you means all of you and every one of you means all of you so isn't it kind of redundant. "Huge big", "very unique"and the list goes on. Oh and my personal favorite irregardless. NOT a word. Any way I am not sure why I got on this rampage but irregardless it is a huge big irritation to me each and every day but you could care less. So I am going to change my moist slacks before I need some ointment.

Monday, August 9, 2010

lactation cookies

These came from epicurious. It is not my recipe! I like to add craisins and golden raisins. Really you can add a cup or more of any fruit or more chocolate chips and they work out just fine. These have worked great for me. 

These are made to help nursing mothers milk supply. They taste great and really work.
I would eat 4 or more a day.
Servings: 12 dozen


1 C butter
1 C sugar
1 C brown sugar
4 T water
2 T flaxseed meal (no subs)
2 Lg eggs
1 t vanilla
2 C flour
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
3 C Thick cut oats
1 C Chocolate chips
2 T Brewers Yeast (no substitutions)


Preheat oven at 375.

Mix 2 T of flaxseed meal and water, set aside 3-5 minutes.
Cream butter and sugar.
Add eggs.
Stir flaxseed mix into butter mix and add vanilla.
Beat until well blended.
Sift: dry ingredients, except oats and choc chips.
Add butter mix to dry ing.
Stir in the oats and then the choc chips.
Drop on parchmant paper on baking sheet.
Bake 8-12 minutes.

Read More

Friday, August 6, 2010


I have recently rejoined the world of dating, not the kind you are thinking. Mom dates. I had my first blind date ever a few days ago and thankfully it went great. My daughter Poppy came home from pre school with a note from the teacher that said another little girl had asked her mom to set up a play date. So I called and boom... blind mom date. Huh. Really it was a play date for our girls but since it was the first I stayed and hung out. Lucky for us it was great. I am not sure it will always be like that when she meets other kids and wants to do play dates. You can't really count on the fact your kids will like kids that have parents you get along with. Then I was talking to some other moms who have encountered the same situation and yes they jokingly call them dates. It was funny because they were saying things like, "should I call", "is is too soon". Seems a little too familiar. So we are at the point in life where our kids are the ones choosing our friends for us. Lucky my daughter has good taste.

Monday, August 2, 2010


Did you know butter is a different shape from coast to coast. So that made me wonder... where is the line where the butter changes shape? Is there yet another size in the middle? Does it go by time zones? So there would be Eastern butter, mountain butter, central butter, and pacific butter? Hey Denver what is your butter like? So I am just wondering is why the long skinny butter on the east coast and the short stumpy butter on the west? Just a thought.

what kids watch

What is it about what kids watch these days? The shows are crazy. Like have you ever watched Dora? Are our kids mentally challenged or deaf because she says everything 4 times. And well she just has bad luck to run into so many obstacles on each mission. Then there is things like Yo Gabba Gabba... um smoke pot much!? But the worst are the things like Hi 5 where the girls dress and dance sexy or the Fresh Beat Band with 30 somethings dancing to tragic choreography. What are these grown adults doing? And the bigger question why do our kids love them so?
I know I hear you saying it! Don't let her watch it. I agree. But in our crazy life tv has become a necessity for her safety. There are times in the day when I am breast feeding our baby or trying to get him to sleep where I just need her to be in one place. So here I am watching these people who just seem way to old to be doing this stupid dance. And she is happy. There are some shows which are surprisingy educational and some that make me laugh so hard (Peep).
We tried to be the type of parents who didn't let our daughter watch tv but in the end I realized we would have been raising an outcast. All her friends watch it so when they ask her who she likes on bla bla she can answer. What I do know is kids can be brutal so why give them more ammo. Tv is not the same now as it was when we were kids. My daughter knows chinese thank you Kai Lan, she knows what a giganotosaurus is thank you Dinosaur Train. I can't say I could do that at 4. And when we were kids the characters were all trying to kill, maim or eat each other. Remember the one with the sheep dog and the wolf? And if they weren't doing that they were super sexy.. hello  Josie and the Pussycats! I would take Peep any day. Everything in moderation I guess.
So if it means an extra half hour of sleep or a quiet undisturbed meal for my 3 month old then bring on the tv!

Sunday, August 1, 2010


We all watch it. Well most of us. We have become so spoiled with todays technology no one really watches regular tv at all. DVR's and TiVo have changed our lives. Our very good friend Peter was the first person we knew that had a TiVo and he regularly gave us an infomercial whenever we went to their house for some tv watching. We were soon sold. Somehow from our love of tv we ended forming a life time bond with our friend Peter and his wife and another couple who also had a love of tv as insatiable as ours.
The bond started when I was surfing reruns (pre TiVo) and came across a show called Buffy The Vampire Slayer. I introduced my husband to it and we were hooked. Silly but true. When I say it changed our life I really mean it. We soon found out some other friends were also fans and decided to have dinner and watch the show. They then asked if their friends could come along too. So in September of 2002 Buffy Night was born! We had dinner every Tuesday or Wednesday for the next 8 years. With a few exceptions for births and a small bout of cancer, we did it every week.  Yes, every week!
Some weeks were all out gourmet and others were takeout and beer. Most involved tv especially Buffy, until its sad demise. Then we watched other things like American Idol and other crap but as the years went by tv moved into the background and life took over. We all had babies first one couple then we all had babies at the same time. Over the years the conversation evolved from tv to the houses we bought, then to the weddings we were planning, then to cervixes, vaginas and stretch marks, then to poop and pee and kids kids kids. We all grew into a family the kids acting like cousins the parents like aunts and uncles. We had a few joiners on the way and they were most welcome but the core group were faithful to the Buffy.
Sadly in February my husband and I broke up the group! We made the difficult decision to move across country away from our Buffy family. Strangely the TiVo we had had since the first Buffy dinners died on the move to NY. I think we broke its heart. I wish there were a way to keep that ever faithful weekly routine both for the great conversations and delicious food but it is not to be for now. I miss Sandy's baked meat and would love to relive the dinner where Peter made a collection of soft food (by accident). I was constantly inspired to cook amazing food for these amazing friends because it made them as happy to eat it as it did for me to cook it.
So Buffy gave me my surrogate family for the last 8 years... thanks tv!


No one ever really likes change I guess its how you cope with it that makes all the difference. I have spent a lot of my time lately thinking about this subject because I have recently undergone some huge and unsettling changes which I admit freely I have not done my best to deal with. In the past 6 months my family uprooted ourselves form our very nice life in Seattle and moved our butts all the way to the very tip of Long Island. Big deal right! Did I mention I was 8 months pregnant? Which comes to change number two... new baby! Then we decided to move house again on my due date. Yes we are crazy.
So now we have been in the new lovely big farm house for 3 months and there are still boxes in almost every room of the house. This is my way of not dealing with the fact that I don't really like it here. Don't get me wrong it is a very nice place. If you can overlook the litter! 
Back to not dealing with change again. One way to deal with change is to not compare the new thing with the old thing. That is where you get in to trouble. You see if we had had a shit life in our former city then things would be dreamy here but alas we had a great life. Awesome friends, great neighbors, a cute house, beautiful garden, great stores to shop at, clean green city. We do not yet have these things and some we can't have here. So the question is can we live without them? I do miss the cleanness of Seattle and the fact that people put away their shopping carts. I miss drive through espresso stands and the weather. Laugh all you will but there has been more inches of rain here so far this year than a whole year in Seattle and it is only July! Any way back to change. My husband and I have always joked that we are not very good with change. But it is true. He worked for the same restaurant for 10 years! Have you ever heard of such a thing? So when we do make changes we do them big. Maybe that is why we don't like change!? So as we settle in I look at my 4 yr old and think what are we teaching her? How not to cope with big life changes. Soooo change it is otherwise you are stuck in the day to day of life and you never go any where or do anything. I am hoping to help her make a whole new set of friends and maybe she will help me make some too. 
Everything changes but most things are gradual,  like how your kids grow or your ass expands or your hair goes grey. You buy a new car and then it is an old car. Suddenly you are shopping for school stuff or now I have to buy clothes for my daughter in the big kids section not the section where the sizes are Baby - 5yrs. My usually very active mum can't do half the stuff she wants. When did that happen? So I am changing my attitude about change. Well I'm gonna try. So I wait for the next inevitable change... the leaves and the seasons. At least I know what to expect with that one (insert emoitcon here).
Embrace the change!