Thursday, February 25, 2010

The cauliflower challenge is on

Alrighty, Diane, you asked for it. Just like the grits of last week, cauliflower is sure to take this week's  blogosphere by storm.

Here's my entry: The most delicious, decadent cauliflower and caramelized onion tart you can imagine. Two cheeses, eggs, cream, truffle powder (yes, I just happened to have some on hand, thanks to my sister and her creative gift giving), caramelized onions and roasted cauliflower.

It's on.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Jumping on the gritwagon

After this lady and this lady went all grit-crazy on their blogs, I decided I had to give this grit souffle idea a try. Oh my. I almost lost a finger to Nora, who was doing her damndest to inhale the still-steaming goodness, straight out of the oven. (For the record, Nora survives on milk and air. Food is completely not her thing—and yes, I have firsthand evidence that she's my child.)

Because I was battling two tantruming kids at dinner-making time instead of just the one, I had to cut out a few steps (like separating eggs and stiffening the whites). So really it would be hard to call these souffles, but they were still little pots de deliciousness. Photos were taken, but apparently fancy cameras are only as good as their USB cables, so they'll remain on the camera instead of on the blog. But here's my interpretation on the grit genius going around the ethiopiadoptinterwebs.

Spinachy Cheesy Gritty Souffle-like Structures

1 tablespoon butter, plus more for buttering dishes
1/2 onion, chopped
1 bunch spinach, chopped
1 cup quick-cook grits
4 cups 2% milk, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1 cup (or so) grated cheddar cheese, plus some for sprinkling atop the souffles

1.  Preheat oven to 425.
2.  Saute onions in butter until translucent. Add chopped spinach and cook until wilted.
3.  Add grits and 3 1/2 cups milk, and simmer until grits are cooked and the mixture is thick.
4.  Stir in the cheese and remove from heat.
5.  In a separate bowl, beat the eggs with remaining 1/2 cup milk. Whisk some of the spinach/grits/milk mixture into the eggs to equalize the temperatures a bit, and then stir the egg mixture into the spinach/grits/milk mixture.
6.  Spoon the deliciousness into buttered individual-sized souffle dishes if you have them or one big souffle dish (or baking dish), and sprinkle tops with remaining cheese. Bake for 20-ish minutes (longer for one big souffle), or until you have to pry your toddler's white knuckles from the oven handle to prevent her from entering the 425-degree oven and eating the "muffins!" as they bake.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Nora developments

Nora will be 20 months this weekend, and we've had a couple pretty exciting developments in the past week or so:
  1. Potty learning. This is not at all something we're pushing, but Nora has started telling us when she has to use the potty, and then she has actually used it. And for its intended purpose, no less. We're nowhere near saying goodbye to diapers—she's only used the toilet successfully about five times this week—but it's so exciting to have the end in our sights.
  2. She has started saying "I love you." Melt-my-heart adorable. She can be a feisty little thing (see the video in the previous post), so moments of pure tenderness are just impossible to resist. And so I eat her up.
  3. Her height is no longer an encumbrance. She carries a plastic orange chair around the house with her so she can reach absolutely everything that has ever been out of her grasp. As soon as she could stand, she was climbing, so it's sort of a surprise that it's taken her this long to realize that nothing is truly out of her grasp, but now that she has it totally figured out, we're in trouble. I can't even begin to describe the tantrums that happen while I'm cooking dinner and basically fighting her back from the gas stove with a wooden spoon as she's screaming, "Stir! Stir!" Reason 239 to call for takeout.
  4. She has started visiting a drop-in daycare in the neighborhood a few hours a week, and she loves it. The second time we went, she recognized it as soon as we pulled up and said, "Friends!"

Get well Pop Pop

We sent this video to my dad after a recent surgery (he's recovering well, thanks for asking), and I thought it was cute enough to share. 
Plus, I haven't taken photos in eons, so this is the only photographic evidence I have that the kids are still alive and well—and as charming as ever.

Make an on-line slide show at

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Well, it looks like this move thing is actually going to happen. It feels like about three months have passed in the past two weeks.

Our house went under contract a week after we put it on the market. We quickly went out looking for a replacement house and just as quickly struck out. Of the 20+ houses we saw, only a couple looked somewhat appealing, and most of those had significant issues (location, walkability, etc.) that knocked them off the list. There was one that looked great, but it was under contract before we could make an offer. Another looked pretty good, and it was also under contract within 48 hours. On Tuesday we settled on one we had seen previously that hit on many, but not all, of the things we were looking for, and decided to make an offer on it on Wednesday. Our offer was countered on Thursday, after which I had a mini-nervous breakdown and put the brakes on the whole thing. We decided to take another day and another look, and we ended up accepting the counter offer.

It's a lovely house: A bungalow with a nicely finished basement, an updated kitchen, a third bathroom, a dedicated office, etc. It's bigger than our current house, but still modest. It's on a great block, and the neighbors we've met so far seem warm and welcoming. It's walking distance to the kids' school, which is both good and diverse, a depressingly rare combination in these parts (maybe everywhere?). Also in walking distance are fun coffee shops, restaurants, Pilates and yoga studios, a gymnastics place, and a cute little park. We'll be about a mile from our city's largest park, which hosts free jazz concerts every Sunday evening in the summer; a mile and a half from the zoo and the nature/science museum; and a couple miles to a major new-urbanism development, which means access to modern amenities like fancy swimming pools.

Logically I know this is a good find, and I know once we're moved in it will feel like home. I know in my heart that this is the right move for our family. Still, I'm majorly mourning our current home, our neighbors, our neighborhood. I can't even look at a picture of the new house without getting a knot in my stomach and a lump in my throat. I'm sitting in my "office"—the unfinished space behind the fridge—about which I've been complaining for years, looking at all the exposed pipes with an unreasonable fondness. In other words, now that we're leaving, I'm finally loving our funky old house, warts and all.

Greg and I moved into this house shortly after getting married. We (mostly Greg) have poured so much love and energy into improving it and restoring its 99-year-old beauty. We became parents in this house, and our memories of bringing our children home, into our family, will always be rooted here. We said goodbye to our first joint love, Daisy, in front of the fireplace whose installation almost ended our marriage. We planted fruit trees, and we tended them for years, but we'll leave before they bear fruit. I know we'll plant new trees—and new memories—in our new home. It will be an exciting new chapter in our lives, but I can't help but feel an immense sadness about closing this one.

Just to put this melodrama in perspective: We're moving exactly 9.27 miles away. 
Does everyone feel this way about their home? Is this normal, or do I need to be medicated?