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September 30, 2011

Fig Butter and how I'll never share a secret again

That's it folks.

I just polished off my first jar of fig butter from Trader Joe's.  Besides my fig pizza and late night mama snacks,  I've had it on toast every morning. 

I went back today to get some after planning my entire weekend around it.

They are out.  I asked three people and it turns out there is a SHORTAGE.  I bet it was all seven readers of my blog.  You guys went out and bought it all!

And, the artichoke hearts are out too.  FOREVER.

Despite this tragity, I have:

Caprese Salad: Organic buffalo mozerella, organic heiloom mini tomatoes, and organic basil

Cold Pasta Salad: Whole wheat fusili pasta salad with heart of palm, sliced black olives, sun dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and olive oil (cold salad)

Ribs (frozen from two weeks ago) re-heating in the oven

Breakfast Burritos with eggs, lots o cumin and adobo sauce, beans, all wrapped in sprouted wheat tortillas.

All for our picnic for tomorrow's Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Holiday Weekend Magicalness.

TMI, but Little T was a twinkle in our eye two years ago on HSBG weekend.

September 29, 2011

Can I eat pink chicken?

This post on ApartmentTherapy reminded me that I hadn't posted about my chicken yet.

We've had an awfully crazy couple of days that are going to mean serious restructure in these two bedrooms.  Life is good and we're very excited about what is coming - no, we're not pregnant, and you'll know once we've spread the word to our families.

My Thomas Keller Ad Hoc cookbook was an indulgence from a year ago.  Even though the recipes are supposed to be easy, they are WAY more complicated than we'll make for any old weeknight.  The true star of the cookbook is the roasted chicken with roasted root vegis.  It is mind blowing.

This time wasn't as successful as previous attempts.  Our root vegis were cut into larger sizes than we usually do (yeah - don't question Thomas Keller's instructions), and they were a little bitter (was this because they were larger?).  We cooked two chickens so we could make stock and have just a little more.  I hate dark meat usually, but the wings and legs on this for some reason are fantastic and I snack on them before I call the family to dinner.  All three of us prefer the breast, so having four was a good call.

Per my usual, I totally forgot to take after pictures.

(these were happy chickens - expensive happy chickens in a nest of organic root vegis).



The last few times I've made it I've FREAKED out that the breast is a little pink in some places.  It always ends up over 160 (like the recipe says) but a little pink. So we eat around it and I end up boiling the rest into soup or cooking it in enchiladas.  So glad to see ApartmentTherapy handling the issue today :)

September 28, 2011

Projects Ahead

My to do list is long:

1) Do SOMETHING (anything) to the kitchen




Hopefully something like this:

Source: tumblr.com via Mama on Pinterest


2. Finish the backyard

A lot of this is going to require waiting for the plants to grow a bit, but also on my list are:

Pallet garden to hide the foundation ugliness



String lights

Source: amazon.com via Mama on Pinterest


Outdoor heater

3. Make the baby table less ugly and more into something like this:

5. Paint our headboard white (and actually attach it to the wall) and figure out a new duvet cover.


I love this one from Urban Outfitters, but none of their duvets come in King!


6. Cut up and re-bind in smaller pieces T's "Deedee" or Blanket so its not 20 lbs of polyester following him everywhere.

(that giant white thing is his comfort object)

7. Wallpaper the bathroom and fix up the grout so its prettier and looks less disgusting.

(you can't see how nasty the grout is from these pics)

8. Hem up the sheers (on top - is it called hemming?) so there aren't the gaps.


That should keep me busy...and it doesn't even include starting to finally decorate the rumpus room...which is seriously starting from scratch.


September 27, 2011

The Latt table of our dreams

We got T his own table to see if it helped with the hatred of the high chair problem.

Is it ugly with a capital U?

Um - yes.

Has it already made my life easier in three days?

H*ll yes.

I have no idea why, but the boy loves it.




It faces the blank wall.


He brought his spatula with him to keep him company

I leave snacks on the table (tell him they are there) and he gets up on the chair, sits down, and eats, reading his book.  For like 3-4 minutes at a time!  Alone!



3-4 minutes?



That's a million years in my house.




Remember when they were really small and you kept waking them up to see if they were still alive when they were sleeping?



I keep doing that here.  I'm so excited that he's entertaining himself (and not physically attached to my body) that I grab the camera or say hello...and he's up and on me again.

I'm hoping to head down to Tap Plastics today to get some plexi-glass to cover the cardboard (to make it easier to clean and hopefully much prettier).



September 25, 2011

How to keep a toddler occupied while you assemble ikea furniture

Ha!

You think we can keep him occupied?

  video

We bought T a table and chairs yesterday in the hopes that he can eat there instead of at his highchair (which he hates and wants to get off of moments after he gets up).

The table was assembled first, so I thought I could keep him busy with his animal book while his dad finished the chairs :)

The new set is working just as I had envisioned!  He grabs his snacks as he needs them and this morning sat and ate breakfast with his cousins at the table!  Another project to come though since it is U-G-L-Y - mama's gotta prettify that thing quick.


September 24, 2011

Date night

We have a babysitter we really really like and T seems to get along with her well.  Babysitters are also VERY expensive.

Tim and I have started scheduling regular dates so we can feel like people again and not just like parents.  Last week it was his turn to plan a date that he thought I would like and he took me to a swanky wine bar where we ate platters of cheeses and did three wine flights.  It was fantastic and romantic and fun (though I was dissapointed when I looked up my favorite when I got home and it was something you could pick up at Bevmo).

Last night was my turn to pick.

We got on the streetcar (which arrived just as we got to the stop) and started downtown.  I stopped at Ross five minutes before and picked up a great little black dress for $10, so,paired with black heels and red lips, I felt ready to have a great night.  I told Bubbs earlier in the day that I feel like all my clothes are either for work or they are pajamas.  He didn't argue with me :)

Dressed up, baby happy at home, date night rocked.

Sushi, unfiltered saki, and a cozy under the stairs candlelit table at Ryokos.

Dueling pianos that was fun for an hour...then the sorority girls got a little to roudy (and they didn't know the songs we tipped $20 for them to play)...it was kinda like a wedding - live people singing songs that were not meant to be played on the piano.  It was cheesy, but seriously, who can argue with a room full of people singing along to "Sweet Caroline?"

Bubbs thought the night was over, but we found a cab and headed to top of the mark for a martini.

I tease Bubbs for being Soooooooo sloooooooow sometimes.  Especially when I need a diaper or a bottle in the middle of the night. I think its a southern thing because when I talk to his family I get so awkward with the silences and the waiting...but they just take things slower.  Our cab pulled up to the hotel, the meter said 5.70, and bubbs pulled his wallet out.  He looked through it, then realized his cash was in his other pocket so he slowly started pulling that out.

"I don't care how you do it, but make something happen, Sparky."

Yup.  That was our cab driver.  It was magical.

We headed up to the top of the mark - a bar at the top of a hotel surrounded by glass and a beautiful view of the entire city with many many old people dancing to a live cover band.

They waived the cover charge (we're not sure why) and we ordered drinks.  I was good and stuck to wine, but Bubbs had a martini.  The band played, "Dancing in September" and we boogied.  Again, much like being at a wedding.  But we were the youngest people there.  It was fantastic.

We only stayed for an hour tops, but on the way out, A couple (both wearing scarves), stopped Tim.  The woman whispered in his ear and I could only hear his side of the conversation.

"A lot - of course...only two?"

Apparently, she asked him (in a french accent):

"You, do you love this woman?  I can tell, I've been watching you make out.  You must make her happy two times tonight."

It was a fantastic evening.  Full of laughing (AT the people around us) and beautiful settings.

Next date night is grown up exploratorium.


September 23, 2011

Really nothing healthy about this pizza

Okay - maybe somethings were healthy.

Whole wheat crust (Il Fornaio brand - I think).  Organic pasture fed cows milk cheese, pasta sauce with kale and spinach blended in on half.



The other half was magical fig butter from TJ's and the same yummy cheese.



The crust was much easier to work than Trader Joe's (but about twice the price) - and grilled beautifully.



We ate it in our new backyard using bubbs' swiss army knife (that's grilled tofu on the side - marinated in soyaki).





September 22, 2011

Our bright red backyard rug is here!

Our rug has arrived.

Tuesday, after work, on a beautifully sunny day, the rug that ties my whole backyard vision together, arrived!

We had a helper to roll it out...


We found a stain on the rug.  Overstock gave us 10% back (which wasn't much, but covered shipping).  I wish we'd gotten more, but I wasn't willing to put up a fight about it. 

We decided to keep our yucky jute rug under it, but cut it to size.  This way when we paint in the backyard, we can just roll up the pretty rug and use the jute to protect the bricks.  It also give it a little more padding.  Any reason we shouldn't?


T helped by using the barbeque spatula to "cut" part of the rug.  I know we're overprotective, but we just couldn't hand over the exacto knife as a toy :)

He got impatient, so we do what we do everytime we need five minutes to ourselves.  

Turn on the hose.

The cut up jute rug left fibers on our new one, so T and Bubbs swept up. Their favorite father / son activity.

Then they tested the wrestleability of the rug.  It met the standards.



I love love love the red/orange rug with the turquoise (actually "juniper" by benjamin moore) furniture.  Next beautiful day naptime I'm painting the bench the same color.

Playing chase around the yard. I love that bootiebutt.

Was the rug worth the $165?  It was.  It was about $8,400 cheaper than having a deck built, it adds coziness to the foggy urban backyard, takes the focus off the grey ugly foundation, and it comes with a FREE TOY!  T's working on talking and Bubbs is working on his listening skills.


Before After

Before After


September 21, 2011

First (hopefully not last) barbeque of the summer!

I made ribs for the first time.

T has been teething really badly and not really eating, so I thought if I could give him some ribs to munch on he would eat his little heart out. We stopped by a local butcher to pick up some ribs then headed to the farmer's market for our weeks worth of fruits and vegis.

The first time I ate ribs was about 5 years ago. My sister was pregnant and living in Sacramento. We were at the outlet mall in Folsom shopping for maternity clothes and stopped for lunch at chilis where I ordered babyback ribs. They were amazing.

I have probably had them three or four times since then, but will always remember how fantastic those first ribs were. I like them covered in bbq sauce (not the vinegar stuff some bbq places have) and falling off the bone.  I'm not really a meat eater.  I surely don't need it every day and rarely do we have it more than once a week.

Mine were pretty damn good.

I used the Tyler Florence recipe from foodnetwork.com. It requires that you make your own bbq sauce and WOW was it fantastic. I wish I would have read all the reviews first - and I would have done the first hour at 350 degrees and the rest of the time on 275.

The sauce required thyme wrapped in bacon:

Then fry that bacon up with onion and garlic:

A pic of the ribs halfway there (you baste with the sauce for the last two hours every 30 minutes).

We also did a simple heirloom tomato salad with basil, salt, pepper, and olive oil:

Grilled white summer corn marinated in olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper:

And chopped red potatoes (grilled) marinated in olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper.

Finishing it off with Grilled peaches (marinated in brown sugar and olive oil).



The 'Que was a great success.  There was a baby dance party in the rumpus room (connected to the backyard), the food was eaten, the peaches were devoured (with vanilla ice cream), and we fit 10 adults and two kids pretty comfortably.

Next up...OUR BACKYARD RUG ARRIVE (yes, I meant to yell).

September 20, 2011

Backyard-again

That title sounds like "backyardigans" which is a kid show. That I've never seen. People say that at some point I'll be sick of it, but at this point we've lucked out in the TV department. As in - we just don't turn it on :)

So...

We had our first summer barbeque. In September. Summer in the City.

Sunday morning the boys slept in until 7:30. I woke up at 5:30, got the coffee going, and started planning. Today would be the day.

This was a sunny light sky in the morning that gave me happy tummy jitters:


One thing that was really bothering me on this morning was that it was going to be really really costly to get our storage bench made and it is a critical part of the backyard. We're really far over budget on "home improvement" this month (roll over from last month's garage remodel), so spending a couple hundred on building a bench just wasn't a good idea.

On a coffee high at 6:30 I had a brilliant idea.

My uncle bob made my mom a porch swing a million years ago for the house I grew up in. She's been carrying it around and keeping it in storage since we moved from a house with a porch (about 15 years). We're now in a house we plan to stay in for a couple years, and alas, no porch.

But (spoiler alert), the swing is hung!

As soon as I heard the first "mama" coming from T's room, I ran into, gave kisses to the boys, and told Bubbs he was going to hang the porch swing today :)

Bubbs went out during T's nap and got a swing hanging kit from the hardware store as well as way too much chain.

Our motto is, "buy more than you need, measure once, screw up? Who cares? You've got more!"

Since the swing was to be hung (and drilled into) the walls of T's room, we had to wait until nap was over to start the work.

As I was preparing some ribs (my first ever attempt - post coming) and T was asleep, my mom came down and asked if she could take the boy with her for a couple hours.

Um - YES!

So, boy gone, ribs in the oven becoming fall of the bone tender, and house cleaned...

I went down to supervise the swing hanging (and furniture moving).

Good thing I came down, too - because this is what I saw:




Okay, I'll admit that the swing is hung crooked at my request. I have really short legs (or as I like to say, a really long torso) and most chairs and benches are uncomfortable for me because my feet don't touch the ground. I wanted to test the swing at both heights, and surprise, surprise, I liked the super short side. Plus, when T swings it back and forth, he won't get forehead bruises.

Since he bought more than enough chain, he was able to re-cut the shorter side and mama got her swing at the perfect height.


That's my beer, in the sun, in my backyard.

This swing is really amazing - and I'm gonna have to give my Uncle Bob a huge hug to thank him for his amazing design. The back is reclined a bit, so you're in good shape for relaxing.

Once my passion flowers grow up on the fence, the view is going to be fantastic.


Once I sat in this chair with my Summer Solstice Beer and my feet up, I knew this was the right move (and the cheapest one).

Check out our leisure stations:
Leisure Station


Leisure Station #1
This is the perfect location to have your morning coffee. It is where the sun streams in first, and the chairs recline (and bounce) just enough for it to be super perfect coffee/newspaper placement.


Leisure Station #2
The porch swing was a stroke of genius and is the most amazing:
1) cuddle spot with the munckin
2) cuddle spot with the Bubbs
3) view of the whole yard without the ugly foundation eyesore
4) sunny nap spot around 3pm
5) beer drinking sun soaking reclining relaxation station
(why is this all underlined...time to do some investigative work)



Leisure Station #3
This spot still needs some work, but the bench rocks and once those passion flowers grow to fill the asbestos shingles, it will be really pretty and comfy!


Whole Yard:





Our rugs should be arriving by the end of the day today, so we can't wait to put it down and enjoy our backyard on this amazing San Francisco day!