Food food food.

Filed under: — Aprille @ 6:19 pm

I’m almost sure I cooked something this week.

Let’s see…

Monday:  Flatbread with caramelized onions, Honeycrisp apples, and bleu cheese (served with salad)

Tuesday:  Chicken and cashew stir-fry.

Wednesday:  I was going to make quiche, but we had a weird spate of hot weather and I didn’t want to turn on the oven.  We ordered pizza.

Thursday:  The weather turned cold, so we had that quiche.  It included zucchini, bacon, red bell pepper, onion, and cheese.

Friday:  Leftovers.

Tobin loves quiche.  He calls it teesh.


True lies

Filed under: — Aprille @ 9:56 pm

Denny and Miles were playing a game, and Denny lost.

M:  Haw, haw.  Your dream came false.


The Tobin Times #14

Filed under: — Aprille @ 6:39 pm

My little Tobin,

Your dad and I have been marveling over what a good communicator you are.  Not only are you good with nonverbal signals (nodding, shaking your head, using some signs, doing actions along with songs), you’ve had a big uptick in your vocabulary lately.  You consistently and meaningfully use a good number of words now:  mommy, daddy, bubby (Big Brother), kitty, read (actually more like “ree ree ree,” and it’s often accompanied by you plunking your butt into someone’s lap with a book in your hand), more, Mubby (which can refer to either Mubby or Skittergramps), pumpkin, ball, ding-dong, okay, opie-opie-opie, and probably a bunch more I’m forgetting right now.  You can also do lots of animals sounds, including baa-baa, moo, a lip-flapping thing that means what a stingray says, hoo, woof-woof, meow-meow, the mouth-clicking chatter of squirrels, and a roar for bears, tigers, and lions.

The other night you gestured that you wanted to put on Miles’s Spider-Man mask, so I helped you with that.  You looked in the mirror, laughed and laughed, and said “Bubby!”  I don’t know if you actually thought that was your brother in the mirror, or if you just knew it was his mask and it made you think of him.  We know that you understand much more than you can say, since you are very good at answering yes/no questions with a nod or head shake.  You also respond to other verbal cues.  The other day I told you I needed to dry my hair, and you got up, walked into the bathroom, and tugged on the cabinet where I keep my hairdryer.  If someone asks how old you are, you hold up one finger.

As I said to your dad last night, you’re going to be a genius as long as you don’t knock the smarts out of your skull.  You are brave-brave-brave.  You love to climb, you love the thrill of tossing yourself backward onto pillows, and you love to run and jump.  You are curious and fun-loving, and your contagious laugh is a joy to hear.

You don’t love being in your carseat.  I can’t blame you.  It must be crappy to be stuck facing backward when all the interesting stuff is happening up ahead.  When your brother was your age, he was already in his forward-facing seat, but the guidelines have now changed.  Now a kid is supposed to remain rear-facing until he or she is two.  I don’t know how we’re going to manage that.  At least you have Miles back there to keep you company.  That helps a lot.  He sings and dangles your toys in front of you, and I’ve gotten pretty good at handing you Cheddar Bunnies from the front seat.  You don’t always eat them; your dad vacuumed out the car recently, and I think he found a lot of bunnies and goldfish.  I think you just enjoy seeing the hand come from the heavens and bestow a snack upon you.

We’ve had some big events in the last month.  We went to two weddings, the best part of which for you was the swimming.  I say again:  you are so brave.  You dunked your head in the water over and over again, and you just laughed.  You were a good boy both times, though I know it’s not easy to be up past your bedtime in a place full of noise and people.  But as always, you were a champ.

Flickr Video

You’ve been doing pretty well at sleeping lately overall, though last night wasn’t great.  I think you just cut a new tooth, which brings your total up to twelve:  eight incisors and four bicuspids.  Now you just need some molars and canines and you’ll be all set.

You are sweet and affectionate.  This morning while I was in the shower, you reached in and hugged my leg.  You got all wet.  I had a hard time washing.  I didn’t care.  You ask for kisses by saying “mo, mo” and making a kiss noise.  Every time I stand you up on your changing table to pull up your pants, you lean your head onto my shoulder and hug me.  You still have such a great disposition.  The only time you get grumpy is when your daddy takes you to put you to bed or when we take something you like away from you.  Life would be easier if you didn’t like so many choking hazards, sweetheart.

You eat all kinds of different foods now.  You ate a lot of chicken and cashew stir-fry tonight, and you really enjoy pizza.  It’s so nice not to have to take the extra steps of getting baby food ready anymore.  You don’t always eat exactly what we eat, but there’s always something on the dinner table that you can have.  That’s very helpful, because by dinner time, after a full day of playing with you and your brother, I’m ready for things to be simple.

You know what’s very simple?  How much I love you.

With kisses and shower-hugs and blurples,




He also has eyes in the back of his head

Filed under: — Aprille @ 4:47 pm

We were all in the bathroom, because for some reason we always congregate in the smallest room in the house.

M:  (looking at his hand) Why do I have a mole?

A:  Everybody has moles.

M:  Does Daddy?

Denny was leaning over, trying to keep Tobin alive.

A:  Sure.  (Pulling up Denny’s shirt and exposed his back) Here’s one.

M:  That’s not a mole.  That’s his nipple.


This week’s dinners

Filed under: — Aprille @ 6:06 pm

This week’s dinners were comprised of two easy ones and a more complicated one.  We went out on Monday (we’d been out of town and just rolled in around dinner time) and Fridays are generally leftovers or scrounging.

Tuesday: Panini with roast beef, this cranberry chipotle cheese I found, red onion, and green pepper.

Wednesday:  Squash soup.  This was the more complicated one.  I basically followed this recipe, except I used frozen organic squash and garnished it with crumbled maple bacon.  I also made a compound butter to go on bread we ate with the soup.  The butter was made of toasted pecans and sage from the garden, all smooshed up together.  I dehydrated the sage using the oven’s convection setting, and it just crumbled into a velvety powder with almost no effort.  It was fun.

Thursday:  This was a punter—tater tot casserole.  Tobin liked it, and Miles used to like it, but he refused to try it tonight.  He even decided to give up rights to any treats tonight rather than taste a single bite.  He’s not going to do well in the dorms.

Miles, I am your mother

Filed under: — Aprille @ 6:00 pm

Apropos of nothing:

M:  When you’re having a good day, it’s best to look on the dark side.


Through it all

Filed under: — Aprille @ 2:50 pm

We have a little chipmunk that lives under our front porch.

M:  I wish the chipmunk lived in our house.

A:  I don’t know.  He might crawl into your bed at night and tickle you.

M:  Well, I am a heavy sleeper.


Monthly Miles Memo #57

Filed under: — Aprille @ 7:00 pm

My special Miles,

I have discovered something wonderful about you this month:  you are a fantastic dancer.  We were at your dad’s cousin’s wedding a few weeks back, and after you sat patiently through the ceremony, the dinner, and the toasts, you were getting pretty squirmy.  But then the DJ opened the dance floor, and you were there.  Most of the kids just chased each other around the floor, but you were doing specific moves.  You wiggled, you dipped, you jumped, you kicked.  You liked it when I spun you around.  You were awesome.  I don’t think I’ve ever had as much fun dancing at a wedding as I did that night.

We’ve been having dance parties at home, too.  I got you a pair of slippers with Yoda on the toes, and the other night you put them on.  Your dad and I were wearing our warm booties too.  You looked around and said, “We’re the Booty Team!”  Then I told your dad to turn on the song “Shake Your Booty,” and we all danced to it.  Even Tobin joined in, though he doesn’t have any booties.  He just likes the action.

We went to a Justin Roberts concert last weekend, which was very sparsely attended because it was outside and it was really cold.  We kept warm, though.  There was a lot of spinning then, too, because we had so much space.  After the concert, you checked out the enormous inflatable slide.  You really, really wanted to go on it.  I wasn’t so sure it was a good idea.  I know I personally would never do it, since I’m afraid of heights, and you have historically been timid about a lot of things.  You insisted, though.  I gave in, bought your tickets, and sent you up.  You looked so tiny up at the top of that huge slide.  And yet, you barely hesitated.  You slid right down, laughing all the way, and you would have gone right back up for another round if I hadn’t yanked you off.  You needed more tickets, see.  Yes, I bought them, and yes, you took another slide.

The next day we spent more chilly time outside, because it was your friend’s birthday.  His party was in a lovely park, and you probably would have stayed all day, playing with your friends, if we had let you.  I so enjoyed talking to your friends’ parents.  Many of them said some variation of “My kid talks about Miles all the time.”  I don’t know if it’s because you’re one of the older kids in the class now, or because it’s your second year, or because Mr. Drew is a really good teacher, but in any case, you’ve seriously blossomed.  You don’t tell us much about what happens in school, but you’re clearly making an impact on others.  None of the parents followed up with “…and he says Miles is a big jerk,” so I’m going to assume it’s a positive impact.

Yesterday you kept kissing Tobin’s arms and neck and making him laugh.  You hug him and share your food with him (not always toys, but usually food) and watch out for him when you’re in public.  If another kid starts paying attention to him, you rush over and get involved, as if staking out your territory.  It’s like you’re saying, “You can play with him, but don’t forget, he’s my brother.”  Right now, you and Tobin and your dad are out at the playground.  You’re dressed in your Spider-Man costume.  I’m a little sad that, for the first time, I won’t be making your costume.  Really, though, there’s no way I have the time or energy to make a realistic-looking Spidey suit.  Retail won out this time.  Maybe next year you’ll be less into licensed characters and ready to be a goblin or something.  In the meantime, I’ll make a costume for the little radioactive spider who’ll be tagging along with you.

You’re really into all the superheroes now.  You have a handful of superhero shirts, and you’d wear them every day if you could.  Luckily for you, you almost can.  We do a lot of laundry anyway due to the yogurty little hands that are always touching everything, so it’s no big deal to throw in your favorite shirts.

I hope I can get you to wear a nice shirt for the wedding we’re going to this weekend.  You usually do pretty well when given a choice, so I’ll have to pack two nice shirts and let you pick one of them.  I got you to wear a dressy shirt for your school pictures by letting you wear a superhero shirt under it, so we might have to resurrect that compromise.  You wanted to wear the superhero tee on top of the collared shirt, but I was able to talk you out of it.  Oooh, I should have told you that you were in secret identity mode, like Peter Parker or Bruce Wayne.  Of course then you probably would have ripped open your button-down to expose your superhero shirt right as the photographer was taking your picture.

In any case, I’ll be sure to dress you in something that allows plenty of room for movement.  No way am I going to inhibit your sweet dance moves.  Do you think when we’re dancing at your actual wedding some day, I’ll still be able to grab you by the wrists and spin you around so you fly out like Superman?  Maybe you’ll have to spin me.  Remind me to wear shoes with straps.

I love you, my little Scoop.




Filed under: — Aprille @ 6:25 pm

I’m not feeling creative enough to cook anything new and exciting for dinner, but it is nice to get back into the hot foods rotation.  This week we’ve had black bean soup (I doubled the recipe because there are never enough leftovers with the original quantities) and a Zuni roast chicken.

This time I found myself flavoring the chicken with fresh parsley, sage, and rosemary.  I couldn’t help myself from throwing in some dried thyme, just to make it full-on Scarborough fair.  I served it with mixed veggies and roasted organic potatoes.

I try to buy organic when I can—I’d say probably 75% of our produce is organic.  Potatoes are one I haven’t traditionally bought organic, because there are so many varieties available only in conventional form.  Then I listened to the audiobook of The Botany of Desire.  Aside:  I listen to a lot of audiobooks because Miles likes me to lie with him until he falls asleep, and it gets so boring if I don’t have something to listen to.

Anyway, in that book, the author interviews a potato farmer who uses conventional chemical pesticides.  Apparently the stuff is so toxic that, in the days after applying it, the farmer won’t let any of his staff into the field.  Even if part of the irrigation system breaks and it means losing a whole section of the crop, he go out there or let anyone else do it either.  He also keeps a small organic patch of potatoes for his family.  It’s just an anecdote, I know.  There are probably a lot of potato farmers out there who are happy to eat their pesticided crops.  I’m sure I do it every time I eat a potato in a restaurant.  But it stuck with me.

So, yeah, I picked up some organic potatoes.  All they had were redskins, and I typically like Yukon Gold or similar, but they turned out tastily anyway.  I cut them into 1-inch chunks and soaked them in water for half an hour or so, then dried well, tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roasted them along with the chicken.

Back on the black bean soup, I served that with cornbread.  The cornbread I make is just a variation on the recipe from the side of the cornmeal container.  From what I understand, it’s a Northern-style cornbread; that is, it’s light-textured and sweet.  It’s good with honey butter.

Northern Cornbread

  • 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 cups AP flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water

Preheat oven to 400F.  Mix first six ingredients (through salt) in a medium bowl, then stir in wet ingredients until well-moistened, but don’t over-stir.  Bake for 25-30 minutes in a cooking-sprayed 8″ or 9″ baking dish.  I’ve also done this in an oven-proof skillet, and that’s good too.


He just plays one on TV

Filed under: — Aprille @ 5:16 pm

A friend (hi, Rachel!) recently told us about a doctor who accidentally cut her little boy’s ear during an exam.  It has been troubling Miles for a week.  I’m trying to reduce his anxiety about it.

M:  Why did he make him get cut?

A:  He just wasn’t being as careful as he should have.  I guess [T] doesn’t have as good a doctor as you.

M:  I’m not a doctor.


Pork with Roasted Grapes and Onions

Filed under: — Aprille @ 6:51 pm

This is a recipe I adapted from one I found online for quail with grapes and onions.  I made it as indicated, but I found that the quail were the least interesting part of the dish, and kind of a pain to deal with, so I have adapted it.  This is easy to double; measurements below serve 2.  I generally serve it with couscous and some sort of vegetable.

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp bouquet garni blend, divided
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1/2 pound pork loin
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups red seedless grapes
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • S&P
  • olive oil

In a small saucepan, combine vinegars, 1 tsp bouquet garni, and honey.  Boil until reduced to about 1/4 cup, about 5 minutes.  Set aside.

Heat oven to 475F.  In an oven-proof pan (I like cast iron), sear the pork over medium-high heat in a little olive oil until browned on all sides.  Set aside.  Remove pan from heat, and add sliced onions, remaining tsp bouquet garni, butter, S&P.  Stir to combine.  Roast in oven for 10 minutes.

Remove from oven drizzle vinegar mixture over onions.  Add grapes and pork, stirring to coat.  Return to oven and cook until pork is to temperature, 145F-150F.  Let pork rest a few minutes before thinly slicing.  Top with grape/onion mixture.


A lesson

Filed under: — Aprille @ 2:32 pm

The kids and I were at the grocery store picking up a few things.

A:  Let’s see…we need apples, tea for Daddy…

M:  No, D for Daddy.  Listen:  duh, duh, duh, Daddy.

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