Sunday, July 21, 2013

5-1/2 Weeks Left, & Good Food

Basically I love anything having to do with tomatoes and avocados.
I have discovered roasted tomatoes are the BOMB!
And just perfectly ripe avocados are the BOMB!
I have also discovered dark red, juicy raw tomatoes are the BOMB!
Avocados and eggs are the BOMB!
Add a freshly grown tomato and you have DOUBLE BOMB!
Frankly, I'm feeling explosively happy right now! Yes, tomatoes and avocados have something to do with my current state of being.

One of my favourite creations is my Almost-Famous Tuna Salad. If you've been around me for awhile I've probably made this Tuna Salad for you. That's what I mean by "almost famous", my family and friends probably know about it.
I never make it the same way twice. But basically, there are a few things I always like to put in it.

Tuna, for starters,
Fresh Apples, chopped
Dried Cranberries, be generous
Fresh Cilantro, cannot have too much cilantro!
Green Onions, don't go too far overboard, but don't be shy
Mustard, as much or as little as you like
Mayo, only enough to bind everything together, too much and you lose everything else
Salt and pepper to taste.

I usually like to add grated carrots, finely chopped celery, fresh dill, chopped up, a little fresh, chopped rosemary (though I am trying to figure out a way to get the oils out of the rosemary without the strange sensation that I'm eating an evergreen tree...rosemary oil? Muddle the rosemary? I don't know...still experimenting), fresh thyme! If you have lemon thyme, even better! Boiled eggs from pastured hens make a fantastic addition, and are especially great for extra protein if you find your Tuna is getting lost amongst all your other fantastic veggies and herbs and stuff. If you're like me you like things to have a very awesome, full mix of flavours; so I add horseradish if I have it available. Hot horseradish. It gets hidden very nicely in the salad so you don't really have to worry about it overpowering anything.

Now I used to put this on a sandwich and feed it to my dad and brothers. As far as I know, they all liked it, but you know how men can be, basically non-commital if they like something.
More recently I discovered that putting it on a bed of salad greens makes it epic! Also if you decide to take it to work for lunch, your bread doesn't get soggy. (I have had this problem, it is not wonderful).
Now, if you are going to put it on a bed of salad greens, why not make an all-out salad out of it? Cut up some fresh tomatoes and it's the BOMB! Add an avocado and *bang!* DOUBLE BOMB!!
Other fun things I'll add if I'm in the mood and have them on hand are cooked white rice mixed with olive oil and herbs, chick peas, grapes, more cilantro (I'm a fan), cucumbers, grated cheese of choice (I especially like Sharp Cheddar, Smoked Cheddar, Smoked Gouda, cubed, or a little freshly grated Parmesan, easy to go overboard on Parm though), basically if you like it, add it!
Today the only fruits or veggies I had to add to my tuna salad were apples. This made me sad. But I was extra generous with the mustard and substituted dried dill for fresh. Alas, also no cilantro or dried cranberries. I did, however, have a perfectly ripe avocado and a fresh red tomato! So I tore up some fresh Romaine lettuce, dumped my Tuna Salad on top of it and topped that with my Tomato and Avocado.
Now I usually like to add some kind of dressing, but creamy dressings don't work. Usually I'll just end up squeezing a fresh lemon over it all and it turns out pretty good. Today I drizzled Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil and fresh lemon juice on the top, sprinkled a little dried dill on top of that with some grated Parm, and sat down to enjoy my BOMB-licious salad.

In the midst of making my BOMB-licious salad, I decided to look up what kind of squash it was that I had in my fridge, and how to cook it.
Found a fantastic recipe on my favourite Real Food blog and discovered that I have pattypan squashes. Unfortunately I didn't have fresh basil, or dried for that matter, so I put some kale in it and roasted it in my tiny new toaster oven with the last half of a zucchini squash I had in the fridge too.
Toaster oven worked like a little miracle, and my kitchen did not start melting! Even turning on a burner and cooking something on the stovetop makes my kitchen hotter than that tiny toaster oven did!
Ha ha! So now I think I need a name for my tiny toaster oven!

And so on to other subjects:
Being almost 35 weeks along means I'm not sleeping as well as I would like. It is highly difficult to get comfortable. And then, whether I drink before bed or not, I still have to get up twice to 3 times in the night to go to the bathroom. I guess that is something I will just have to get used to. Babies wake up in the night a lot I've heard.
However, even being this much pregnant I find myself able to keep up with the worst of my household chores, the kitchen! I cook at least every other day, and I clean something in my kitchen at least once a day. Even if it is just what I used to make lunch that day.
I feel good about that. Now I really need to take on the enormous task of cleaning and organizing my bedroom to prepare for the advent of my tiny little man! That, however, is a bit more daunting. **sigh**
I need my mommy!

And I want to make a peach pie, and sticky buns.
But I need a rolling pin.

Well TTFN my friends and blog readers!

Hopefully more awesome will come out of my brain in the next week. Tomorrow I am going shopping! Must get coconut oil. And eggs. And milk. And butter.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

6 Weeks Left, & Tiny Red Crock Pot At It Again

So yesterday marked 34 weeks, for strict counting purposes. But who knows for sure when a baby will ever come? He seems content enough to stay put, which I am glad of. Though he likes to give me the run-around with plenty of Braxton Hicks contractions! Especially in the most inconvenient places and times. Usually informs me that I have to go to the bathroom immediately! It is definitely getting cramped in there for him though!

Today I have been able to accomplish yet more in my journey to a cleaner house. I think I may have discovered my cure for naps right after breakfast! Sleep in forever!!
Both Jeremy and I had the day off today, so we slept in till sometime after 11. His first words on waking and rolling over were, "Bacon and eggs and toast for breakfast?" To which I replied, "I'd have to thaw the bacon." And he returned with, "Just put it in hot water and it will thaw in no time. And while you're waiting you could make a fruit salad."
Hehe, he does make me smile. He's an excellent cook himself, but working a full time job as a cook has effectively turned off any motivation or desire to cook at home for him. At least it saved me the trouble of having to lay in bed for the next half hour trying to decide what to make for breakfast, kind of like how I do when I'm trying to decide what to wear for the day.
So I made bacon and eggs and toast for breakfast. And fruit salad. And the first thing he did upon receiving his was to sandwich the eggs and bacon between his two slices of toast and proceed to eat it with his fingers. =)
Am I the only woman who has a husband who tries to turn his meal into a sandwich if he has an opportunity? Is it something about the dislike of silverware? Or does that mean he can eat it before it gets cold better? I'm really not sure. I'll have to ask him.

So now, while my husband is away helping his parents clean up the property for the new winery, I pretend to further my goal of a clean house before baby arrives. When he left the thermometer in the Mazda read 104º! This would certainly be a nice day to have central air! Buutt, my house is not so blessed to have AC, so I have set up a box fan and it bloweth on me as I work, and somehow my house has managed to stay at a semi decent temperature of about 78º-ish I think.
I had a serious desire for some baked potatoes today, but turning on the oven means risking burning down the house (I am only partially kidding here.) And even if the house doesn't burn down I will melt, because the indoor temperature will instantly rise to at least 90º! So I am testing the capabilites of my fond friend, the Tiny Red Crock Pot. Will she bake potatoes? If so, in how much time? (I still have not lit on the right name for this little red friend of mothers around the world.)
Also, I'm testing my own capabilities! Can I put together a delicious chili without all the ingredients in the particular recipe I'm taking inspiration from? Is it ok to not have tomatoes in it? What about green chilies? I certainly have onions! Which is unusual. My onions normally disappear by the time I decide to make a recipe which actually calls for them. And I found a special looking package of chili spice mix in my pantry from the Tea & Spice Exchange in Portland! I have no idea how long it has been in my pantry, but upon tasting my concoction after I had added all the ingredients I had for it, plus this mysterious spice mix, it seems to be doing alright! I hope Jeremy likes it!
Well I must be going! My husband is coming home! And there is still more work I could be doing!
Go, Tiny Red Crock Pot! Go!

I seriously need a name for it!

Monday, July 15, 2013

7-1/2 Months Pregnant, & Nesting.

Well for the past several days, since I got back from my 3-day vacation in the beginning of July in fact, I have been gradually trying to pull my house together. It takes a lot more work than I really had estimated, and even with a carefully written out "schedule", allowing for plenty of rest time, I find myself napping far more frequently than I had expected. My body basically says, "ok nap time!" as soon as breakfast is over! In an effort to accomplish something before I end up sleeping the day away, I at least clean up my breakfast mess, or fill the dish drainer with clean dishes, depending on which is more pressing in my eyes.
Yesterday I managed to do some dishes and clean my tiny downstairs bathroom before my body said "rest!" This morning I started cleaning before I made breakfast,  and had to laugh at myself. (Tip: don't clean up the existing splattered bacon grease on your stove and counters before cooking more bacon!) Maybe I just like the watching the progression of my clean white stove top turning kind of amber coloured while my bacon splatters happily on the griddle. =P
I had a delicious iced coffee with my bacon, eggs and toast this morning, and had to resist the urge to make a second glass immediately afterwards. After all, Christopher doesn't need too much stimulation just yet; Braxton Hicks are already uncomfortable enough!
I did take the liberty of making a second glass later in the afternoon after Jeremy got home and wanted one too.
Just fyi, if you can avoid eating a whole or even half a package of bacon all by yourself (very difficult for me!) refridgerating the remaining bacon means you can have a delicious BLT for lunch, or if you manage to sleep through lunch and you wake up craving fruit and yogurt (made by the local farmer you get your raw milk from) your husband can have a painlessly easy dinner when he gets home from work! And if there's still a little left, bacon keeps nicely for a day or two so you can take lunch to work and not BUY OUT!

So my goals for the next month and a half are to clean my house very thoroughly, (which means sorting through a LOT of stuff that is just piled in my bedroom), and making a LOT of food and filling my freezer so that Jeremy and Mama (particularly Jeremy) don't have as much of an issue making sure they get fed while I'm out of commission with a brand new baby.
While I haven't been able to make a ton of extra when I make dinners these days, I have been able to ensure my husband has had some nice dinners waiting for him when he gets off work, thanks to my tiny red crock pot, my heat-wave of an oven, and some excellent recipes from some seriously good Real Food blogs and websites I've recently come across like Food Renegade, Butter Believer, and The Mommypotamus, to name a few of my favourites. Pinterest is also an excellent source for must-try recipes.

On a side note: Christopher has discovered my ribs now! Oomph! And he has decided it's getting cramped in there, and tries to stretch his full length out sideways! I have an odd feeling he might be a big baby! He's certainly strong! Haha! Can't wait to meet him!
Mama arrives in 17 days! My baby shower is in 20 days, and my baby should be arriving in about 43-ish days!
Can't wait until I have something to put in my nursery!