Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Non-Creamy Creamy Pasta Sauce--YUM!

I'm so proud! We ate something DIFFERENT tonight!
And I made it--from scratch! :) :)

Between Mingus's food allergies and being distracted by two wiley children, it's much easier to stick to our go-to menu options rather than experiment with new ideas. Why?
(1) It takes longer
(2) It often requires special shopping--i.e. planning ahead
(3) It requires special research/adjusting to make sure it's Mingus-friendly

A week of supper is pretty predictable, around here: spaghetti, tacos, turkey burgers, stir fry & baked chicken... Plus a wild card or two here and there.

Last night we made stir fry (Jalfrezi sauce--a husband favorite) but our Zaycon chicken breasts tend to be MASSIVE and when it's just two and a half people (Lou=Half) we don't need that much... So I halfed the breast last night and had to figure out what to do with the remainder tonight. 

It would have been kind of small to just bake it and split it among us... I suppose I could have done fajitas, but I had chicken Alfredo on my mind--something we have never enjoyed together due to the creamy essence that makes Alfredo what it is! 

Creamy = Non-Mingus-Friendly

But we have talked about trying an oil-based sauce with pasta (especially since turning husband onto basil and Italian style bread-dipping oils.) I did a little Pinteresting to see what came up and I actually was still looking for an olive oil recipe when I read this one. I noticed the "white beans" in the ingredients which seemed odd, only then to see it called for "non-dairy milk"--wha??? Seeing that I actually HAD all of the listed ingredients (save a fresh lemon), I had to try.

BINGO! It was a winner! 
I actually thin I'd like to puree a large amount of the sauce and try to save it (freeze it?) so it's easy for a quick meal. (Not that making it from scratch is hard or long... just a little more mess to clean up afterwards.)

Here's my version of the recipe:
 • 1 can white beans (Great Northern)
• 1/4 c Unsweetened Almond milk (other non-dairy milks could be used)
• 3 garlic cloves (I like to error on the side of too much garlic)
• 1 T parsley
• 1/2 t onion powder
• 1/8 t nutmeg
• Juice of lemon*
• Salt & Pepper as desired
* I used lemon juice instead and just guessed...about that much.
Combined & Puree (I used my trusty Nutribullet)

I added the sauce to my sliced and cooking chicken. I also threw in some organic Greystone Garden broccoli. Mingus said he's down for a repeat!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Saying Goodbye to 2 Under 2

Even before I took the test, I was scared. In fact, I didn’t want to take a pregnancy test the first week, because I knew it would be positive and I wasn’t ready to accept that yet. Dorothy was just turning 8 months old and I was pregnant again? She’d be 15, going on 16 months and I would be starting over? Would I survive??
As Jacob just turned 8 months, and is speed-crawling, climbing and wanting mom constantly, it’s not hard to see why, in my inexperience, I was terrified of taking on two. But here I am, on the brink of Dorothy’s 2nd birthday (Oct. 16) wondering where time is going. 2-under-2 is coming to a close. 
I knew in the end I wouldn’t be able to imagine it any other way, but it’s not just that I cannot imagine life without Jacob; I cannot imagine having kids further apart in age. I’m probably crazy and I’m not saying it’s easy by any means. I’m lucky to have 20 minutes on a given day where they are both in bed at the same time, but seeing the relationship form between these two already--so strong when Dorothy isn’t even 2--is a gift beyond measure. And as “crazy” as life is, is it actually crazy? Or are these the simplest days of my life aside from my own childhood in Clan Valley? 
Today was a perfect example of the “crazy simplicity” that is my life right now. It was just the three of us all day at Broch Tuarach. Jake woke early, but I lured him back to sleep for some extra slumber myself; however, an hour later, the cries Po-Dot woke not just me, but little brother as well. I’m not a morning person, but we muddle through. Jacob is perky. Dot is grumpy until she gets food. I am grateful husband has the coffee hot and ready for me.
Jacob takes a mid-morning snooze while Dorothy “helps” me fold laundry. When jabber comes over the monitor Lou says, “Jake’s awake!” and heads for the stairs yelling, “We’re coming Ja-ake!” Playtime upstairs while I try to do a few things and then we head back downstairs. 
After the morning nap things are always up in the air. Today’s memorable adventure was using suspenders, blue painters tape, construction paper and cardboard boxes to make a wearable dump truck. We ate a bit of lunch before Dorothy found her “silky” and paci and announced, “Want to take a rest." She acted tired, so I took her upstairs. I was hopeful but no luck. I heard lots of thumping and talking for the next hour. Finally, I checked in to find a smelly room because she’d (in her potty) gone poop. I wouldn’t want to sleep in that stink either! (She’d also pulled down her curtains for the 2nd day in a row.) I cleaned up, opened the window for fresh air and left her to “rest” again. At this point, Jacob was tired. Lucky for me, he went down easy. For about 10 minutes I thought I was clear and both were asleep… But Po’s jabber began again…eventually becoming loud. Not long and Jake was crying. I’d lost the nap battle.
So up again and we headed to the front porch to enjoy the perfect fall weather: swing time for Po and in the walker with Jake. Then we loaded up the Radio Flyer wagon for Jake’s first ride. We didn’t go far… To the Greystone coral barn and back with a few pit stops to play with HokaHey. However, by the time we were back to Lallybroch’s front porch, it was 4pm and the missed naps were rearing their ugly heads. 
I hadn’t let Jacob eat the rocks in the driveway and that’s really what set it off for him. Dorothy just wanted “a snack, a snack” even though she’d been eating the entire walk. She chilled out watching "Daniel Tiger", so I tried to begin supper, accomplishing bits at a time between Jacob outbursts. I had to hold him to get him to eat his supper—even then he decorated my hoodie with beet puree and cried to the point of nearly choking himself. 
With a snotty nose, a dirty dinner face and the outside play, I opted for a bath for Jacob (knowing Dorothy would insist on getting in as well). I thought this might bring some relief. They usually have a blast. But today Dorothy wanted all of the toys. I insisted she share. She cried. After about 90 seconds of crying, Jacob joined in. He didn’t stop. It was a short bath and I won’t attest to them being much cleaner afterward. 
I accepted the fact I had to either hold Jacob or be within his reach the rest of the night and that Dorothy would be fine if I was joining her play. I’d gotten dinner 60% of the way done and that felt like an accomplishment. I waited and  took Jacob to bed promptly when Jon got home, thinking this would keep Lou from screaming while putting him to sleep. It did not. I heard Jon bring her to her room for bed just before I laid sleeping Jake in his crib. She was exhausted. We read her stories. “Time to say prayer,” she said afterwards. We did. Said good night. Both kids out by 7:30.
Sure, sometimes I don’t get any time for myself (don’t ask how I manage to get CD done!) and sometimes two kids seem to constantly need Mama. But I can’t help but my find myself in awe of the fact these kids allow me to live so simply again. I get to pull a wagon around and purposefully seek out the sights, sounds and smells of nature. I get to rediscover the joys of a somersaults and sliding and ponder the mysteries of the moon and stars. Soon enough it will be school, practices and events keeping me from getting supper fixed and an entire day in the Valley will be rare.  
I know there is much to look forward to in their growing up, but I already get sad thinking about today's simple joys that I will one day all too soon miss. They are a treasure beyond words and the fact I am already experiencing it with not just one, but two kids is incredible; two little souls I am seeing form a lifelong bond before my very eyes. That love I witness in them is so pure and the true essence of God’s existence.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Freaky Friday Shopping

Happy Friday!

Since it is Friday the 13th, I figured I'd throw you a curve ball with... 

...Some shopping tips from this tight-wad! 
(And by 'tight-was,' I don't just mean, always find and taking advantage of a good deal... 
I mean has to be forced into spending money on herself.)

I gifted myself a night of meandering through its delightful accessories and whatnot (as opposed to working) and plotting all of the Christmas shopping I will be doing in the coming weeks.

I found it, thanks to my newfound Insta-Mom, MaLyn, and her blog
She keeps the mom thing real... 

On another note, I actually did buy myself something last week and was delighted to see it stuffed in my mailbox today:
New jeans & my new favorite Christmas top.
Thanks to Kohl's Cash & coupons, I basically only paid tax and shipping!

Oh and if you weren't aware, I'm a lifer, in terms of being a Peanuts fan. Not just on the bandwagon now that I'm a mom and the movie just came out. 

Seriously: I was Snoopy for Halloween in 3rd grade. 
(Oh and those are definitely knee-high orange striped Snoopy socks under my skinny jeans.)
I'm not sure any adult giggles at Snoopy the way I do and it's only that whole tight-wad thing that's kept my kids from being smothered in Snoopy-ness. 
Regardless, I'm loving the fact there is a Peanuts Movie to bring out the best of the best Snoopy everything these days.

Sad news is the kids are too young to sit through a movie in the theater, so Peanuts on the big screen is not happening for me. Guess we'll just be enjoying The Great Pumpkin and Charlie Brown Christmas for now.