Friday, August 31, 2007

Project Pancake #3

Recipe: Dutch Baby with Apples

Source: A Real American Breakfast
I have always wanted to make a Dutch Baby, but somehow never got around to it. I think I thought it involved using the electric mixer, which I hate to have to get out, but it really doesn't. So, here we are on the last Friday morning of the summer, the end of Cora's first week of daycare, and the day our deck will be finished! Seemed like a good day to make my first DB. Usually the DB is made plain and topped with sugar and lemon juice or preserves. We decided to first cook apple slices in butter and sugar, then pour the batter in over the apples. And I added cinnamon. It was really, really yummy, even though it may have been a tad overcooked on the very outer, upper edge. Still, we ate the whole Baby.

As the authors of Real American Breakfast note, though, it isn't really Dutch. If anything the more accurate name would just be German Pancake, but they also point out that this name is just not as cuddly. And we like our breakfasts to be cuddly, don't we?

Ratings (* to ***** stars)
Ease of Preparation: **** (The really important thing is that you leave enough time for the oven to properly preheat. Our dinosaur of an oven needs lots more time than I gave it.)
Taste: ***** (Chris said, "Now THIS is 5-star taste!")
Texture: ***** (Imagine having Yorkshire Pudding for breakfast, except it's a little sweeter and a little eggier.)
Cora's Verdict: ****** (Cora gives this breakfast an extra star because it is so delicious she ate almost a quarter of it herself! Also, who doesn't like pretending to eat a baby?)

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Why we love mealtimes: a photo essay

(Yes, in the last two photos she is being a total ham for the camera. Worse, she asked me to take her picture through a combination of pointing and syllables...and then smiling on cue, too.)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Don't wanna be that mommy

Last night we took Cora over to a local dance studio to sign us up for a Mommy & Me Music and Movement class for the fall. The studio was having an open house, there were other kids and moms there, mostly older kids. They were getting new shoes, new tights, new leotards, having a great time in the big lobby running around. Cora immediately spotted the corner of toys.

It was a good thing the corner of toys was there because I and several other moms had to wait a good long while to talk to the studio director. We were waiting while another Mom explained (over and over) how she thought it should be okay if her daughter signed up for a class but missed half the classes so she could go to soccer practice because her daughter is good at both and loves both and she's only 10 and shouldn't have to choose between these two activities that are so complementary to each other and that don't interfere at all with her schoolwork. And the director tried, very nicely and perhaps too gently, to point out that she didn't think it was fair to the class for one person to be able to pop in and out, she'd miss stuff, and actually ballet and soccer are very different. The Mom wouldn't give up. Eventually she did agree to go home, talk to the girl, and call the next day. When, presumably, the director can doodle while listening to her instead of having to smile understandingly.

So we signed up for our class, walked around all the dance rooms, Cora had fun crawling towards and then away from the mirrors, I indulged in a little dance lesson nostalgia, and Chris watched us both indulgently. In the car on the way home I told Cora that she might, even at the tender age of 10, one day have to choose between two things she enjoyed. Or maybe just find a studio with classes that don't conflict with soccer.

(The good part was that once that Mom left, us other moms were able to be so much more patient and kind with each other - "oh no, you go" "oh, you go" - because we all wanted to prove, to each other and most of all to ourselves, that we were not that Mom, too. )

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Future's So Bright...

Project Pancake Entry #2

Recipe: Great Harvest Bread Company Pancake Mix with blueberries

Source: Great Harvest in Linden Hills
Circumstances: Our favorite pancake mix is Trader Joe's Multigrain mix. But TJ's is not close enough for really regular shopping – we go about quarterly. So, we keep trying other multigrain mixes and most of them turn out to be a little too aggressively grainy for us. Still, when I see a new one, I want to try it. So yesterday I spotted a mix at Great Harvest Bread Company. Though the package I could see there were rolled oats in the mix and that looked promising. At $4.75 a bag (with maybe 4 batches worth of mix in the bag), it's a little pricey for regular consumption, but we all liked it. I put in blueberries, cause we like those too, and the latest ones a little tart for just plain eating. Cora discovered the joy of just sticking her finger in the cooked blueberries and painting on her tray (this is why we eat outside!). But she also ate her cakes (eventually) and we liked ours, too.

Ratings (* to ***** stars)
Ease of Preparation: ***** (Well, it is just a mix.)
Taste: *****
Texture: ***** (This is where many multigrain mixes fall short for us.)
Cora's Verdict: ***** (Frankly, it is hard to find a pancake which does not get a 5-star rating from Cora. )

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Who Loves Her Fish Float?

Here, Cora puts Baby Tidoo to bed...while wearing her fish float. Which she crawls into on her own.

Cora also likes sitting on Momma's lap...while wearing her fish float and a hat.

When not wearing her fish float, Cora likes to wear a toga. While watching Sesame Street.

When the toga starts to come loose, though, there could be trouble.

Project Pancake Entry #1

Recipe: Fresh Corn Fritters

Circumstances: Monday night we'd planned to have enchiladas, homemade refried beans, and corn cake...but the corn cake mix never made it into the basket. So instead, we picked up a couple ears of corn later in the week and decided to begin PROJECT PANCAKE with a savory pancake. I'd spotted this recipe for fresh corn fritters in All-American Breakfast when we were hatching The Project and it seemed like something that would go well with the chicken-poblano enchiladas. I especially appreciated how quickly the recipe goes together and cooks, since I had about an hour between when Chris got home with the jack cheese and then had to leave for a meeting and in this hour I had to finish the enchiladas, bake them, make the beans, make the pancakes, and have time for Chris to eat his dinner. It all worked out.

Ratings (* to ***** stars)
Ease of Preparation:
***** (Very easy – most time-consuming part is cutting the corn off the cobs and scraping the cobs, which really only took a few minutes)

Taste: ***1/2 (Way too much salt called for in recipe – will taste much better next time!You could tell they would be really, really yummy with less salt. And the variation with cheddar and bacon crumbles? I think that will be featured next to some scrambled eggs very soon!)

Texture: ***** (Really nice – good amount of corn kernels, the batter puffs up just enough)

Cora's Verdict: ***** (Apparently, nothing is too salty for Cora. She loved them the next day, too.)

Saturday, August 11, 2007

AugustFest in New Hampshire (Part Two)

Instead of going into all the details of what happened every day (suffice to say that every day involved beloved friends, great food, red wine, giggling children, and beautiful scenery), here are some photos to enjoy.

Every year there is an amazing bonfire. I cannot describe the thrill of arriving at the house and seeing a huge mound of brush that completely fills and hides the deep firepit next to the garage. And where else can you see a fire lit with a flamethrower?

This is what it is really all about - lounging on a nice lawn beside the house, watching the baby play with her little stuffed dog, with really nothing pressing to do.

Did I mention the generous amounts of wine? And beer. And food. And love. How often do you find a true second family? Not often in my experience, and we feel so lucky that it has happened for us. This was our third time at the NH party and I loved realizing that I knew almost everyone there, that I felt like I belonged.

This is the very best picture from the entire week. Cora and Eva getting reacquainted, sitting in these little beach chairs, looking like they're in their fifties and discussing what someone's fashion-challenged niece was wearing yesterday at the club. Cora loved these chairs. She sat in one every chance she got. We have to find her one. Eva gave Cora the best nickname yet: CoCo!
Well, this is a pretty sweet picture, too - Cora and her best friends, Eva and Sophie and Claudia, who are living in NH until New Year's. We miss them so much! I mean, here I am, updating my blog at 8:16pm on a Saturday night instead of being at their house, full of their dad's yummy food, about to thrill the girls with an exciting dessert.
We stayed at the Nootka Lodge this year, a new experience for us. Cora found our room to be the perfect size for exploring. She also enjoyed the Nootka's pack-n-play...provided she wasn't expected to spend any time asleep. Yes. Her T-shirt says "Hello, my name is Cutie." Yes, this is just the sort of toddler-wear I have sneered at other people for putting on their children. But, you, see, in Cora's case it is totally true.
On the Sunday of our trip Chris went on this insane hike. Afterwards he said, "I'm so glad you and Cora didn't come with us." And I knew exactly what he meant.

Cora in the Nootka again - the bottom rail of a desk makes the perfect place to sit, especially when the chair it at the perfect height to rest your elbow on, and from that angle, yes, you can still watch Elmo.

Did we have a good time? Yes we did. Look at this happy family!

Thursday, August 9, 2007


Baby Tidoo wants to tell you a scary story!

Where have we been? Where are the pictures? Part One

We've been basking in the hospitality of New Hampshire for almost a week. We left town the day after the bridge collapsed in Minneapolis – no one we know was on the bridge at the time, so far as we can tell. We really appreciated hearing from so many long-lost friends and relatives (and those not so long-lost as well). At the time we were across the metro area having dinner. I went into the restroom and a waitress was in there making a cell phone call, which I thought was strange, and she was calling to see if someone was okay, because that someone usually takes “the bridge” home and “it's really creepy”. Then we went into the bar area and saw the news. Scary. Our last time on that bridge was a few weeks ago on a shopping trip.

(Just to be clear – we didn't take digital photos. Vacation photos will be coming, but these are post-vacation photos.) (Edited 8/11/07 to include photos!)

But, the very next day we were looking at a three hour flight to Boston with Cora. While the flight does not qualify for a “picnic” rating, it was much better than I expected it to be. Cora did not try to get onto the ground, she did not scream the whole way, and she was very happy with her baby doll, the big surprise of the trip. I was very happy that I had done my doll research and found one that not only is washable and floats and dries quickly and smells nice, but also whose eyes CANNOT be poked out. Thank you, Corolle. (photo at left, Cora in the Boston airport in her new stroller with her doll; photo below taken at home after vacation)

We stayed a night with friends and their one-year-old son, had an amazing breakfast at the Deluxe Town Diner in Watertown, MA (pancake heaven – on the table were buckwheat ployes, Rhode Island jonnycakes, sweet potato pancakes with blueberries, and New York-style potato pancakes. In other words...heaven! And the inspiration for my Fall 2007 Pancake Survey Project – but that's another entry). Cora had a great time playing with Nicholas and his toys, and her screams of horror at being expected to sleep in a pack-n-play were just a hint of what we would be in for once darkness had fallen every night of the vacation. She also did her little stand up and take three steps and sit down again routine a few times.

I think, if she had the words, she would have been pointing out that it is a pack-n-PLAY, not a pack-n-SLEEP-IF-YOU-CAN-WHILE-YOUR-PARENTS-SNORE-THREE-FEET-AWAY-FROM-YOU.

Then it was into the rental car (a sweet Ford Freestyle) and on to Haverhill, NH.