Sunday, August 29, 2010

Lambrusco wine

I really enjoy drinking wine.  Who doesn't? My favorites are Cabs.  Full, fruity and delicious.  However, when summer comes around I always feel disappointed.  I just couldn't get behind any white wines except the occasional pinot grigio.  But then, a few years back at an Italian restaurant in Chicago, we were introduced to Lambrusco.

Wow!  It just sings SUMMER!  It's light, a little sparkly (say p├ętillant to impress your neighbors), and fruity.  And it tastes great with meaty Italian dishes and just about anything that comes off the grill.  It even comes with a champagne-style cork!  Just opening it heralds merriment.

Lambrusco isn't that easy to find. When you do discover a bottle, take it for a spin.  See what you think. We've discovered that Lambrusco is like gumbo.  Each bottle tastes a little different.  Some are better than others but all are enjoyable.

So, keep an eye out when you're out-and-about and fill your glass with a little bit of summer before it's Cab opening season.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Grocery Shopping Therapy

I consider myself a late bloomer when it comes to cooking.  My sister Inga did all the cooking growing up.  I never considered it until I was well into college and very tired of eating spaghetti and Ragu (with mushrooms) or toast with cinnamon and sugar.

I decided to cut my teeth by cooking one meal a week for my 3 male roommates.  They were all for it.

It started out slowly.  The preparation and cooking would take me hours.  And for a poor college student, it would cost a pretty penny (especially since my roommates would eat everything and save nothing for me.  Thanks guys).  With each meal I cooked my anxiety would decrease a bit and confidence would grow.

I completely enjoy spending time in the kitchen now.  And my husband is very (very!) supportive of my culinary time.  Even grocery shopping is a pleasure.  When I've had a particularly bad day, my dreamy husband will ask me if I want to go to Michael's Fresh Market or Trader Joe's.  I can spend hours there and I always come out happy.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sweet dreams

I feel like a Visine commercial today. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed my wee one awoke at 330a to talk this morning. Everyone was up: 2 dogs, 1 mom, 1 dad, and 1 who-should-have-been-sleeping-like-a-baby baby.

I absolutely adore my child and find nothing more interesting than watching her grow everyday.  But as far as being a conversationalist, she doesn't listen too well or talk in complete sentences or any sentences for that matter.

As I type this and daydream about 5 hours of continuous sleep, I'm drinking tea in the largest mug I could find and watching my wee one take her first nap of the day.  Sleeping like a baby.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Shrimp Po Boys

Tonight I couldn't figure out what to make for dinner.  But I knew I wanted to make sweet potato french fries.  I love love love sweet potatoes.  In any form. If I had to choose between my dreamy husband and a bag of those sweet spuds....  anyhoo...

So, what goes with fries?  A 'wich.  But our fridge is pretty lean right now.  (I really need to pack up the wee one and head to the store.)  And then inspiration hit me.  I had frozen shrimp.  Taadaaa!  Shrimp Po Boys!

Now, if you have spent any time in Louisiana, and I spent a whole year there, you would realize that inhabitants of that southern state take their food quite seriously.  The recipe that I created isn't even close to authentic.  But it sure was tasty!!!

Mini Frittata Quiches

I really don't like wasting food.  If we have left-over food, I really try to "repackage" it into something equally delicious.  We had a storage container with cooked rice and vegetables.  Et voila!  Mini frittata quiches!  And something new for breakfast.

Mini frittata quiches
All it took was:
4 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups soy milk
garlic powder
Cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
2 cups cooked rice with vegetables (tomatoes, asparagus, broccoli, onion, green beans, carrots)
2 slices whole wheat bread
grated cheese (I had a Parmesan mixture but anything would work)

Mix everything together in a bowl except for the bread and cheese.  Break up any big clumps of rice.  Use a biscuit cutter and make little rounds of bread to create a "crust" for the quiche.  Grease the muffin tins with butter and place a bread round in each tin.

Ladle into each muffin mold the egg/rice mixture. Top with some cheese. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  Enjoy!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Breakfast Cereal Alternative

I love breakfast.  It's undoubtedly my favorite meal.  A warm mug of coffee or sometimes a cup of tea with...what?  Since I get the privileged of working from home, I would make myself some pretty nice first meals of the day.  Now that we have added my wee one into the equation, breakfasts have broken down to the bare minimum: Cereal.  And I'm tired of it.

What can I make the night before that can be stored in the fridge that both Mr. Dreamy and I can enjoy in the a.m.? So, I have unleashed my creativeness in the kitchen.  This is what has developed out of the madness:

A Quinoa Muesli:
3T toasted sunflower seeds
3T toasted (old fashioned) oatmeal
1T Craisins
1T raisins
2T frozen fruit (we like blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries)
3T plain yogurt
3T quinoa
1t sugar (I would have used honey if I had some)

I toasted the sunflower seeds together with the oatmeal in one pan.  Careful because they toast quickly and can easily burn.  That's all the cooking.    Then just mix everything together in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  And upon waking breakfast is served!

My next creation I made this evening.  It's a mini frittata quiche.  I'll let you know how it tastes in the morning.  Good night.

London or Bust

I'm sure it drives my dreamy husband crazy.  Every couple of weeks I tell him that I want to move.  This week, I've decided that we are going to move to London.  I've gone so far as to email a friend of mine who lives there and asked her to hire Mr. Dreamy.  Pretty please.  I'm not entirely sure that she took me seriously.  Will press the issue if need be!

Pros: My wee one will call me Mummy.  We'd be a train ride away from my favorite city: Paris.  We get the excitement of making London our own.  New food, new culture.  Tea time!

Cons: The grandparents would kill us.  Dead.  And then take our kid.

Ok, so there are considerably more pros than cons for this idea.  However, the cons are significant.  Hmmm... must think further.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Beauty of a Shredder

Every year I make the same New Year's Resolution:  Keep up with all the mail.  I know, it sounds simple but we are well past the middle of 2010 and I've lost the battle again this year.

There's just so much that arrives.  Catalogs from companies at which I've never made a purchase, fliers and envelopes addressed to "The Residents At", coupons, catalogs and more catalogs, and bills.

I feel that our little home is responsible for the destruction of a couple of National Forests.

Every couple of weeks I'll gather it up and go through it.  It gets organized into piles: Make Payment, File, Garbage, and Shred.

I love the shred pile.  Taking that pile to the shredder, feeding it all in, and hearing its total destruction from  an identifiable piece of paper to completely anonymous pulp is quite satisfying.

We've got a heavy duty Aurora shredder that has 10 years on it and it's still going strong.  When its square little body decides it's too tired and it takes its last bite, we'll bury it under the tree in the courtyard and have a moment of silence.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Coat That Got Away

THE COAT and her creator, Christopher Bailey of Burberry
I don't have many shopping regrets.  The one's I do have are big ones.  In order to avoid mishaps, I have a 2-day rule.  If I think about an item for at least 2 days, I will go ahead a buy it.  My advice is sound.  How come I don't follow it?

The second I tried her on, I knew I should take her home.  It was fate.  She needed a home and we had one.  Even my Dear Dreamboat Husband said so.  I have so many, probably too many, winter coats.  I don't NEED to buy a new one.  I hesitated and put her back.  You see, logic had taken over.  

What does logic have to do with beauty anyway?

You see, the weather is cool today and autumn is right around the corner.  Followed soon by winter.  Her memory made an appearance.

I hope she found a good home and is receiving the love and care that is deserved.

My Sunrise

Have you ever watched a baby wake up and greet the morning?  It's magical.  They stir a little and wiggle a bit.  They may make a few little noises, chirps, and gurgles.  And then it happens.  Their eyes pop open and a smile spreads across their little face and if you're lucky, a dimple or two will make an appearance.  

That's when I tell her.

I love you more than sunshine in the morning and twice as much as the moon.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Weekend Treat

a happy Cricket
I really enjoy sleeping-in. I'm especially fond of naps. My relationship with my dreamboat husband was well solidified before I completely comprehended his disdain for sleeping late and napping. How could this be?

It took almost a year of negotiation before we reached a settlement. On weekends, I can sleep in and Mr. Dreamboat can leisurely read his newspapers at a local coffee shop without either of us complaining. When we lived downtown, the puppies and I would, upon waking, take our first walk of the day down to the cafe and collect him. He always greeted us with a smile and a fresh cafe au lait for me. I know, dreamy!

On our walk home, Mr. D would recap all the goings-on and people-watching adventures.

Now that our little family unit is one wee person bigger, we outgrew our little rental downtown and moved on to new adventures out west of the City. The coffee shops aren't in walking distance anymore but the sleep-ins are still taking place. However, the coffee comes to me upon his return. Dunkin'Donuts. Hazelnut. With cream and sugar.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A Surprise Visit

Some memories and experiences you try so hard to forget. Others will be your favorite. This is the latter.

My sister had a plan and movie-perfect timing.

Between her teaching, coaching and summer jobs, it's not often that Inga gets to travel back home from the east coast. She is the lone sister in D.C. while the rest of us are in the midwest. So, my heart was a little blue, as we caught up on the phone, when she said she wasn't going to make it back here this summer. I told her that I understood (even though I really didn't). And she still chatted away as I told her that I had to dash to make an appointment that was over an hours drive away. Being on time with my four month old wee one is a trying task! But she was in a talkative mood and our conversation was fun so I indulged myself with her stories. Then, she let me go and I dashed to wrap up and go. Dress - check! Heals - check! Makeup - check! Hair - check! Baby fed, clean, happy - check check!

As I open the door with baby in tow, around the corner walks Inga with a big smile on her face.

As I worried about making my appointment, Inga strategically chatted me up while driving 85 mph through Chicago.

It was a delightful weekend. She didn't tell a soul she was coming. Inga spent five days sleeping on our loveseat (apparently our company was worth her sacrifice). We kept her secret. On day 5 she surprised the rest of the family.

It was one of my most favorite memories. xoxoxo