Wednesday, June 27, 2012

More More More! (How do you like it?)

Remember when I found wheatberries?  And how excited I was?  I became a little obsessed  (I know - surprise surprise)

I've been using them in everything.  Which explains the wheatberry bread yesterday.  And it explains this lentil and wheatberry salad.

I first saw the recipe on Brady's blog.  She used it with Israeli cous cous and goat cheese.  Both excellent choices.  When I glanced back at the original recipe, I noticed it called for those elusive wheatberries.  It quickly got added to my "to make" list - just as soon as I could find them.  Or, as soon as I could find them and didn't have another use for them.

I had a bunch of perfectly cooked wheatberries left over from my bread making endeavor and I felt this was the perfect opportunity to make this dish.  The sweetness of the onions perfectly complements the saltiness of the feta.  The lentils give it a nice earthy flavor, and the wheatberries are perfectly chewy.

As per the suggestion we served it with lots of hot sauce (well, for Thatboy and I,  Thatbaby got his sans sririacha). 
Wheat berries with Carmelized Onions, Feta, and Lentils (from The Way The Cookie Crumbles)
¾ cup wheat berries
2 onions, sliced about ¼-inch thick
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup lentils, preferably lentils de puy, picked over and rinsed
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
hot sauce (optional)
lemon wedges (optional)
1. Soak the wheat berries in water for at least an hour and up to overnight. Put them in a pot with enough water to cover by a few inches. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover the pot, and simmer until they’re tender, 1 to 2 hours. Add ½ teaspoon salt once they’ve started to soften.
2. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and ¼ teaspoon salt, reduce the heat to medium, and cook, stirring somewhat frequently, until they just start to brown, about 8 minutes. Reduce to heat to medium-low and continue to cook and stir until the onions are evenly golden brown, about 20 minutes longer.
3. Put the lentils into a small saucepan. Add 3 cups of cold water and ¼ teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer until tender but not falling apart, about 20 to 25 minutes Drain.
4. Combine the wheat berries, caramelized onions, lentils, and feta. Adjust the seasonings if necessary and serve with either hot sauce or lemon wedges, if desired.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Yays and Boos

It's been a while since I've done one of those, but today it seems deserved.

Yay! I love the post office by my office.  There's never a line, even during the lunch hour, and the postal worker who mans the desk is the cutest old man.  And he's ridiculously helpful.  It seems like something small, but being able to run a quick errand that actually turns out quick is kind of a big deal.

Boo!  The new law clerk is driving me nuts.  Was I ever that young and clueless?  I now spend half my day giving him direction/redirection. 

Yay! Another case gone.  Granted I only got involved with it last week, but we got word today that the appellate counsel is officially taking over, so I don't have to worry about more being tossed on my plate.

Boo!  Thatbaby has gotten into the habit of sneaking in a last nap after daycare.  And somehow that translates to a late dinner while we wait for him to wake up.

Yay!  With our fridge and freezer officially stocked full of bread, at least we have something to snack on while we wait for dinner!

Whole Wheat Bread with Wheat Berries (From the Fannie Farmer Cookbook)
1/2 cup wheat berries
1 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp salt
1 pkg yeast
2 cups cups wheat flour
4 cups white flour
  1. Simmer the wheat berries in water to cover for several hours or until soft.  
  2. Bring 1/2 cup water to a boil, mix it with the milk, sugar, and salt in a large bowl and let cool to lukewarm.
  3. In a separate container, measure 1/2 cup of warm water, stir in the yeast, and let stand 5 minutes to dissolve.
  4. Add the dissolved yeast, the whole-wheat flour, and 2 cups of the white flour to the first mixture.  Beat thoroughly, then turn out onto a lightly floured board, adding enough flour so that the dough handles easily.
  5. Knead for a few minutes and let rest for 10 minutes.  Add as much of the remaining flour as necessary to keep the dough from being sticky.
  6. Resume kneading for 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic.  Place in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm spot until double in bulk.
  7. Punch down and knead in the wheat berries.  
  8. Shape into two loaves.  Place in greased loaf pans, cover,, and let rise again until almost double in bulk.
  9. Preheat oven to 375.  Bake bread for about 45 minutes.  Remove bread and cool on racks.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Turn About As Fair Play

Thatboy planned a phenomenal day for me on Mother's Day, so I wanted to give him something similar.  When I asked him what he wanted to do, he said his ideal Father's Day would be a day at the beach with all of us. 

He got a head start on the weekend when Thatbaby's daycare provided him with his first father's day gift.  They are far better at getting handprints than we are.  And they also had a more success with finger painting than our at-home experience.

We started off the morning at Original Pancake House for breakfast, since it's Thatboy's favorite breakfast place.  He had his usual giant pancakes, cutting off some for Thatbaby who also had some egg.

And then it was off to the beach.  Thatbaby could hardly contain his excitement for his first beach day.

Thatboy headed out to surf, while Thatbaby, Thatdog and I played in the sand.  Thatbaby pulled his "saddest baby in the world" routine when I wouldn't let him eat the seed pods that dot the beach.  One of these days I have to get video of it.  It involves a pout, a wail, and him throwing his body into the ground.

When That boy returned from his surf session, he brought Thatbaby out to the water.

This lasted just long enough for that wave to roll in.  The Pacific Ocean?  She's cold.  And Thatbaby is a delicate flower. 

When it started getting late we packed up and headed home.  We cleaned ourselves up and headed to Thatboy's favorite restaurant.  There's nothing he doesn't like about this place, from the very first plate of bread that's set on the table.  That's right we go through more than one plate of bread.

I haven't quite mastered their fantastic bread - warm and herby.  But this one is pretty popular in my house.  And setting it on the table: warm with butter melting off of it, can elicit similar happiness.

Water Bread and Rolls (From the Fannie Farmer Cookbook)
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp shortening
1 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 pkg yeast
6 cups white bread
  1. Mix the butter, shortening, sugar and salt in a large bowl. 
  2. Bring 2 ups water to a boil, add it to mixture and let cool to lukewarm.  
  3. Measure 1/4 cup warm water in a separate container, add the yeast and let it stand for 5 minutes to dissolve.  
  4. Add the dissolved yeast and 5 cups of the flour to the first mixture and mix thoroughly.  Turn out onto a lightly floured board and let rest for about 10 minutes.  
  5. Adding as much of the remaining flour as necessary, knead until smooth and elastic.  Place the dough in a large, buttered bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place until double in bulk.  
  6. Punch the dough down and knead it once or twice.  Half-fill a buttered loaf pan; bread the remaining dough into pieces the size of small lemons and arrange them, sides touching, on a  buttered 9 inch pie plate.  Cover the pan and the pie plate and let the dough double in bulk once again.  
  7. Preheat the oven to 375.  Bake bread, allowing about 25 minutes for the rolls and about 45 minutes for the loaf.  Removed from pans and cool on racks.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

An easy fix

If you haven't been able to tell from my lack of posts, things have been a bit crazy here.  It started before my brother's wedding with me prepping for my first trial.

I've done trial preparation before, but usually I'm prepping for someone else.  This is the first time I had to write an opening, deal with voir dire and other last minute details like prepping witnesses.  This meant many late nights.  In fact, we came home early from the wedding weekend so I could head in to work for more prep. 

Dinners have been ridiculous at our house because of that.  For the most part, I didn't eat.  And when I did, it was something Thatboy had prepared - and he doesn't cook.  And yet, I've decided that he is now in charge of making pizza in our house due to one fabulous midnight meal that was waiting for me one night.

I'm just now getting caught up, almost a month a later.  So dinners are still a little haphazard.  Something quick is really what the times call for.  Like chicken fajitas.  Which I adore.  Especially because I can put steaming hot plates on the table and let Thatboy and I fend for ourselves.  (I'm kind enough to hep Thatbaby out.)  His favorite food right now is tacos, so having fajitas ready to go makes him a very happy baby.  And having something I can easily pull out of the fridge and reheat makes me a very happy girl.

Chicken Fajitas
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and sliced thin
1/2 red onion, sliced thin
Salt and pepper
2 chicken breasts
1/4 cup oj
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce
1/2 tsp mustard
1/2 tomato, chopped
1 green onion, sliced

  1. Heat the oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add the bell pepper and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent. Remove from heat.
  2. Add the oj, half of the cilantro, Worcestershire, garlic, and chipotle to the skillet.
  3. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add to the skillet.  Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, about 5 minutes. 
  4. Flip the chicken, cover and continue to cook 10 to 12 minutes.
  5. Remove chicken from pan and shred.
  6. Continue to simmer the sauce in the pan until slightly thickened.  
  7. Remove from heat and stir in the chicken, mustard, tomatoes, green onion, and remaining cilantro.  Serve with the pepper/onion mixture and tortillas.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Another Year Bites The Dust

Welp, I did it.  I got older.  For the first time in ages my birthday was on a weekend, which meant I got to celebrate all day with those I loved.  

Thatboy continued with our tradition of balloons everywhere, and Thatbaby was old enough to appreciate it this time around.  For a baby that can't crawl, he's amazingly fast at getting around and getting after those balloons (as evidenced by the blur that is his head, hands, and feet.)

I had made English muffins earlier in the week and had been dreaming about Southwestern benedicts ever since.  I asked Thatboy if he had breakfast plans for me and when he said no, I got right on to making one of my favorites - English muffins topped with guacamole, black beans, poached eggs, and cheese.

English Muffins (from the Fannie Farmer Cookbook)
1 cup milk
2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp shortening
1 pkg yeast
3 cups flour
  1. Bring 1/2 cup to a boil, mi it with the milk, salt, sugar, and shortening in a large bowl, and let cool to lukewarm.
  2. Stir the yeast into 1/4 cup warm water and let it stand for 5 minutes to dissolve. 
  3. Add the dissolved yeast and 2 cups of the flour to the first mixture and beat vigorously.  Cover and let rise in a  warm place until double in bulk.
  4. Stir, add the remaining flour and beat well.  Cover and let the dough double in bulk once again.  
  5. Turn out onto a light floured board and pat the dough until it is 1/2 inch thick. Cut into 2 inch rounds, over, and let rise until almost double. 
  6. Cook on a well-greased, fairly hot griddle or in a skillet for about 15 minutes on each side, turning muffins and adjusting the heat if they are getting brown too fast.  Cool a little, then split in half and toast.
I got some fabulous look, like the new Nook Glow - so I could read my bookclub's book selections without being terribly embarrassed.

And a new curling iron since mine crapped out.

And a mandoline - something I've always wanted!

After breakfast Thatmom showed up to keep an eye on Thatbaby so I could enjoy a day of surprising fun Thatboy had set up for me.  Our first stop was Coronado Island where he rented a surrey so we could ride around the island.

Chicks and ducks and geese better scurry...
This was followed by a very grown up lunch down at the waterside with a view of the city.

Grownup = drinking during the day

After we headed to my request for the day.  We've been to the movies twice since September of 2011.  Both times we went were "Parent Movie Mornings" where the audience was filled with parents and babies.  And both times were to go see movies Thatboy wanted to see.  I wanted to go to a grown-up movie.

Grown-up movie = drinking in the theater and no children present.
We went to the fancy movie theater that opened last year by us.  Coincidentally it's where we saw the last movie we saw before Thatbaby was born.  Leather reclining seats, seat-side waiters, and of course, a full bar.

After the movie we went home to pick up Thatmom and Thatbaby and we headed to dinner.  My pick!  We sat under the stars in a garden courtyard of Jayne's Gastropub and we talked and laughed all night.  It was a mellow birthday, but a nice break from the everyday.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

8 months in

A couple months back I wrote about what life was like with a 4.5 month old.  Things change so fast with babes that I thought it might be fun to do an update.  Especially because I was thinking about it today and I know 9 babies being born this year (and 2 next year!) so maybe some of those future mamas might be interested in seeing what they have to dread look forward to.

4:38 am - Thatbaby wakes up for a bite to eat.  I no longer use this time for google reading because, frankly, I don't have the luxury of sleeping in anymore.  Inevitably I end up falling asleep while he's eating.  I wake up and put him back in his crib before heading back to bed myself.

6:00 am - Thatboy wakes up and takes the Thatdog out for a walk.  I stay in bed curled up trying to catch a couple more zzzz's.

6:15 am - both Thatbaby and I are up.  Thatboy takes baby duty while I shower.

6:30am - TRADESIES!  Thatboy hits the shower and I feed Thatbaby and change his diaper.

6:50am - TRADESIES!  Thatboy gets dressed and plays with Thatbaby while I do my hair and makeup.

Hey dad - wanna play ball?

7:12 am - Family breakfast.  We all have something a little different.  I have oatmeal, Thatboy has yogurt, and Thatbaby has some cantaloupe and a mini-blueberry muffin.

Mom - my watermelon tastes funny.

7:36 am - Thatboy leaves for work.  Thatbaby gets dressed.

7:45 am - Thatbaby plays with his toys while I clean up our breakfast mess and get our bags ready to go.
It starts out a little something like this...

but he always ends up like this.

Our bags - Thatbaby's daycare bag, my "odds and ends" bag for work with my lunch and a water bottle, and my pump.
8:02 am - I try to sneak in one last feeding for Thatbaby.  Partially so he needs less bottles at daycare (which seems to be a futile endeavor on my part) and partially so I can go longer without having to pump at work.  However, when he wakes up to early (like this morning) this last morning meal usually results in a mini-nap.
I let him sleep while I finish getting myself ready.
8:26 am - It's raining outside, so we put on our shoes (me) and jackets (both of us) and head out for the day.

8:35 am - Drop Thatbaby off at daycare.

Thatbaby immediately starts playing with his friends.  Mom?  Who's she?
8:45 am - I hook up to my pump so I can get in a quick pump session while I head to work.

9:05 am - Work!
I spend the morning arranging depositions, finalizing settlements, and other things of a similarly thrilling nature.
12:00 pm - My first pump break.  I use this time to eat lunch.

Mini-chocolate chip cookies, jelly beans, ham and cheese sandwich, carrots, broccoli, strawberries, and blueberries.
12:40: Back to work.  I try to get some emails taken care of that got ignored during trial prepping, review discovery, and more fun fun fun.

3:35 pm - Second pump break.

4:10 pm - back to work.  I meet with the head honchos and go over some of the things that need to be taken care of this week.

5:08 pm - Leave work!

5:22 pm - Pick Thatbaby up from daycare.  Today he had 2 naps and 4 bottles.  He spent the day playing with science buckets and "patting" his toys.

5:30pm - I wrap up Thatbaby and we take Thatdog for a walk.

The only way to travel.

During our walk we inevitably run into Thatboy as he gets home.
5:45 pm - Thatboy entertains Thatbaby as I get dinner started.

Tonight's dinner - Bobby Flay's Chipotle-Honey glazed chicken.  This is my new favorite chicken dish.  It's so good, we had it two nights in a row.  Monday night (as pictured) and Tuesday night over salad.

Chipotle-Honey-Glazed Chicken (from Bobby Flay)
1/2 cup honey
2 tbsp pureed canned chipotle chilies in adobo
1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp ancho chili powder
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp Spanish paprika
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/2″ thickness
1 tsp sesame seeds
  1. Heat your grill (or grill pan) to high.
  2. Whisk together the honey, chipotle puree, mustard, 1 tbsp ancho powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tbsp oil in a small bowl.
  3. Stir together the remaining ancho powder with the coriander, cumin, and paprika in another medium bowl.  Add the chicken breasts, the remaining oil, and toss to coat.  Season with a little salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  4. Place the chicken on the grill and grill for 3-4 minutes.  Flip the chicken and brush the pieces with the honey-chipotle sauce.  Cook for an additional 3-4 minutes.  Flip the chicken again and brush the other side with the sauce; cook for 1 more minute.    Flip once more and cook for another minute. Remove chicken from the grill and brush on more sauce as desired. Sprinkle with sesame seeds before serving.

6:18 pm - Family dinner time!

Thatbaby doesn't do spicy, so he got regular grilled chicken, cucumbers, rice, and a whole wheat roll.
6:48 pm - Thatboy and Thatbaby head to the bath while I clean up dinner.

7:27 pm - TRADESIES!  I give Thatbaby a last nursing session and put him to sleep while Thatboy finishes the dishes.

I'm ready to be done with this guy mom.
8:00 pm - I make lunches for all of us.

Thatboy and I get chicken soup with rice, some pepperjack cheese, butternut squash, strawberries, and grapes.

Thatbaby gets butternut squash, string cheese, strawberries, and grapes

8:15 pm - I get to relax on the couch with Thatboy.  We watch some tv, I get to play a little on the computer.

9:00 pm - Pump and wash bottles.

10:00 pm - We head to bed.  I had my book club last week, and hadn't finished the book, so I'm really pushing myself to read a chapter every night.  Problem is, the book, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is really sad.  So I end up crying myself to sleep every night.  I know.  Woe is me.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Let Me Introduce...

My new sister-in-law!

Part of the whirlwind of the past few weeks was wrapped up in Thatbrother's wedding.   I would love to tell you it went off without a hitch - but that'd be a lie.  I will say that what's most important is that I got an email from Thatbrother on his honeymoon in which he said they kept reminiscing about how perfect it was.  No matter what actually happened, I couldn't be happier that they remember it as being perfect.

My favorite part of the entire wedding was the first dance song.  As they took the dance floor, Elton John's "Your Song" began playing.  A couple lyrics in and Thatboy turned to me "That's your brother singing."  And it was.  It might be my favorite version of the song ever. 

UDubb looked gorgeous and Thatbrother was as handsome as ever. We also got the benefit of Thatbaby getting to spend quality time with his family he never gets to see.

 He was on his absolute best behavior.  No crying, no fussing.  For the entire ceremony we passed him off to his cousin Atlanta whom he had never met before and he was as happy as a clam.  When he got tired, I strapped him into his carrier and he just fell right asleep.  Even amidst the crowds and noise.

We danced together, the three of us and he laughed louder and longer than he ever has.  This baby likes to boogie.

Now that the wedding is over and things are back to normal at work, I'm hoping to have a little more time for the blog.  So I'll be checking back in with you soon!