Cooking & Eating · Friends & Family

It’s Hot Out, but I’m Freezing

Whisking

Do you ever wonder who uses their oven in the summer?

Also, what has two thumbs and a batch of cookies in the oven?

This girl. (You’ll have to imagine me in my Minnie Mouse apron, pointing to myself with my thumbs.)

Okay, to be fair, we have heat pumps, which is kind of like air conditioning. Plus it’s actually kind of mild today–only 74. But that really isn’t the point.

You see, I’m going to have a baby in four-and-a-half months. If you’ve never had a baby before, let me tell you: the last thing I’m going to want to do after pushing a seven-to-ten pound human out of me is cook. And if I do want to cook, about two minutes on the hard kitchen tile will remind me that I’m not yet in the condition to stand on tile floors. I’ll have my husband and mother for a little while, but not for long, and if I manage to work out the whole breastfeeding/pumping thing, I will be hungry. As I recall, pregnancy hunger is nothing compared with nursing hunger. So I should probably have some healthy options on hand. Maybe a few tasty treats, too.

So now I’m experimenting with freezability, which means baking and roasting in the middle of summer. Today, for example, I tried a cookie recipe from The Joy of Cooking. Basic butter wafers. They strike me as too delicate for the freezer. So much so that I’m not going to try. But that’s why we test things. How upsetting if I’d frozen the batter and then gotten awful cookies out of it later.

I already have a few recipes I know work. Lasagna and shepherd’s pie freeze beautifully, as do pound cakes and chocolate chip cookie dough. I’ve got some pot pies in the freezer that I’ll thaw soon to see if the dough kept. Chili and marinara do okay for short bursts (I’ll be freezing those this fall), so I thought I’d try freezing ratatouille, too.

I realize that there are whole cookbooks dedicated to freezer recipes, but as we see from my butter cookies, not every recipe is perfect for every occasion. So I thought I’d ask: do you have any favorite freezer recipes? I’ve been thinking of doing chicken strips and burritos. What else?

Friends & Family

Off the Registry: Baby Shower Gifts Every Mom-to-Be Wants (Even if She Doesn’t Know It)

DSCN1174I think four of my friends are pregnant right now, and I am, too. One friend and at least one acquaintance had their babies this month. Babies are kind of on my brain–so, of course, consumer that I am, baby gifts are on my brain, too. I know it’s considered most polite to follow the registry, but let’s face it: new moms don’t always know what they need (I speak from experience). Plus, whatever they have on the registry, they can later buy with a registry fulfillment discount (unless they registered at Joe’s Baby Junk, Etc.) These gifts are all in some way material, but they come with the additional gift of motherly wisdom.

The Little Green:

Babies are messy, right from day one. Starting with milk, formula, spit-up, and poop, they will mess your carpet and upholstery up. Goldfish crackers, once chewed and spat out, make an amazing orange crust that is no fun to clean. In a baby’s hands, any substance can become a sticky, slimy mess. Once, the boy got a crayon stuck in the undercarriage of his push toy and drew a long purple line across our living room rug. Without the Little Green, our house would look like a Jackson Pollack painting. (And, no, no one is paying me to say this. I’m sure there are lots of other fine brands of portable stain removing, carpet cleaning devices, but we have a Little Green.) Continue reading “Off the Registry: Baby Shower Gifts Every Mom-to-Be Wants (Even if She Doesn’t Know It)”

Friends & Family

13 Things To Hide as Your Toddler Gets Bigger (That You Probably Should Have Hidden Before)

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I’ve always felt blessed to have a fairly non-destructive child. He learned to be gentle with books at a young age and has only rarely pinched his little fingers when closing a lid or a door. I would describe him as careful. But, alas, he is growing up, and he’s becoming less guarded and more curious. I delight in this–it’s good to know he’s developing. And yet, as he’s learning to play offense, I have to play the game more defensively. I have to see things through the eyes of my son.

Markers

These once fun and colorful toys now have a purpose beyond learning the difference between yellow and purple. Did you know the tops come off? And inside there’s a wonderful, smeary substance that looks great on skin, clothing, carpets, and Mommy’s computer screen.

Scissors

These are magical things. They make pieces of paper smaller. They make the dog’s hair shorter. They make Mommy make lots of funny noises and run her hand under the faucet (which is also a magical thing).

Antacids

Pretty colors. A great rattle. And if you can ever get one in your mouth, they taste like chalk and candy, which are obviously the best two things to eat.

Dog Treats

Way better than Cheerios.

Cat Treats

Disgusting, but they come in bright bags that are fun to shake and they drive the kitty cat CRAZY.

Post-It Notes

Confetti!

Spice Bottles

Such a great way to practice your fine motor skills. And once you get that cap off, every one has different stuff inside! Some of them taste good, most of them smell good, and they can all be used to draw pictures on the kitchen floor. Continue reading “13 Things To Hide as Your Toddler Gets Bigger (That You Probably Should Have Hidden Before)”