dead like me and freecycling

dead like me

No, I’m not talking about how tired I am (though there are many days I feel like the walking dead). 😉 I’m actually referring to the TV show, “Dead Like Me.” Jody and I started renting episodes from Netflix about a month ago and have been enjoying it ever since. It’s our little thing to do together a few evenings a week after the kids have gone to bed.

DLM, which focuses on the afterlives of a handful of grim reapers – namely a girl named “George” – is quite entertaining. I didn’t think I’d like it at first since it is, after all, about death, but it’s a dark comedy and there’s so much more to it than just the death aspect.

You can read about the show here.

I thought I was going to go watch another episode tonight, but it’s too late and I need sleep soon.

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I got in one of those “MUST de-clutter the house NOW” moods today and listed four things on freecycle. All four things have been spoken for and three have already been picked up. I love it when I can get the stuff out of the house ASAP, without throwing it in the trash. Of course there is still a ton of stuff floating around that I need to sell and/or give away – it’s overwhelming to think about really – but if I can do little bits here and there, it will all add up eventually.

Mama got some new shoes

After careful deliberation, I finally decided how to spend some of my Christmas money (thank you, Jody Santa). I ordered a pair of shoes from Sierra Trading Post. It was while I was placing the order that I realized that the only other new pair of shoes I’ve bought for myself in the past five years or so were my Crocs. Gah. That’s a long time for a girl to go without new shoes.

Anyway, they are $80 Mary Jane Tevas that I got for $39.95 (woohoo!) on closeout.

Here they are. Please note that I don’t normally wear my jeans rolled up for the high-water effect. I rolled the legs so I could get a shot of the shoes. 😉


In case you are sitting there saying to yourself – wow, I want those shoes! – I must note that I read some reviews online that they run a full size bigger so I got myself a 9 instead of a 10. I did find that to be true and yes, I do have big feet. I’m still trying to decide if I’m keeping them or not though. The heel part sits a little lower than I’m used to and I don’t know if it will rub and cause a blister if I wear them for any length of time. So for now I’ve been wearing them around the house with the tags still attached (as you see in the pics). I’m such a dork.

Six (New To Me) Vegetarian Recipes

After recently putting out a plea to my readers asking for vegetarian recipes, I’ve been inspired to try some new things and am happy to share them here. 🙂 (Thank you to those of you who sent me recipes. I now have a stack that I am going to try over the next few weeks!)

The first recipe for Vegetarian Minestrone Soup, I got out of the “Fix-it and Forget-it Cookbook” that my mother-in-law gave to me a few years ago when we first got our crockpot. I did all of the veggie chopping the night before, then Ava helped me put everything into the crockpot the next day. It was really tasty.

Vegetarian Minestrone Soup
Makes 6 servings
6 cups vegetable broth
2 carrots, chopped
2 large onions, chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small zucchini, cubed
1 handful fresh kale, chopped
1/2 cup dry barley
2 cans chickpeas or white kidney beans, drained
1 Tbsp parsley
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
28-oz. can crushed Italian tomatoes
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
grated cheese

1. Combine all ingredients except cheese in slow cooker.
2. Cover. Cook on Low 6-8 hours, or until vegetables are tender.
3. Sprinkle individual servings with grated cheese.

Minestrone Soup

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The second recipe for Pumpkin and Black Bean Soup came from my friend Nicole. It’s tasty and quick and easy to prepare.

Pumpkin and Black Bean Soup
4-6 servings
Cook 20 min 5 min prep
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cups canned vegetable stock
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 (15 ounce) cans pumpkin puree
1 cup corn, frozen or canned (drain and rinse if canned)
1 cup heavy cream or milk
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (eyeball it in the palm of your hand)
coarse salt
20 sprigs fresh chives, chopped or snipped, for garnish

1. Heat a soup pot over medium heat.
2. Add oil.
3. When oil is hot, add onion.
4. Saute onions 5 minutes.
5. Add broth, tomatoes or tomato sauce, black beans, pumpkin puree and corn.
6. Stir to combine ingredients and bring soup to a boil.
7. Reduce heat to medium low and stir in cream, curry, cumin, cayenne and salt, to taste.
8. Simmer 5 minutes, adjust seasonings and serve garnished with chopped chives.
9. For Vegan option use Soy Cream.

Pumpkin Black Bean Soup

 

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This third recipe for Spinach and Sun-dried Tomato Pasta came from AllRecipes.com. It was good warm as well as cold as leftovers the next day.
Spinach and Sun-dried Tomato Pasta
4 servings
Prep Time: 15 Minutes; Cook Time: 25 Minutes
INGREDIENTS:
1 cup vegetable broth
12 dehydrated sun-dried
tomatoes
1 (8 ounce) package uncooked
penne pasta
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1 tablespoon olive oil 1/4 teaspoon crushed red
pepper flakes
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bunch fresh spinach, rinsed
and torn into bite-size pieces (I used frozen chopped spinach)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Feta cheese
DIRECTIONS:
1. In a small saucepan, bring the broth to a boil. Remove from heat. Place the sun-dried tomatoes in the broth 15 minutes, or until softened. Drain, reserving broth, and coarsely chop.
2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Place penne pasta in the pot, cook 9 to 12 minutes, until al dente, and drain.
3. Place the pine nuts in a skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir until lightly toasted.
4. Heat the olive oil and red pepper flakes in a skillet over medium heat, and saute the garlic 1 minute, until tender. Mix in the spinach, and cook until almost wilted. Pour in the reserved broth, and stir in the chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Continue cooking 2 minutes, or until heated through.
5. In a large bowl, toss the cooked pasta with the spinach and tomato mixture and pine nuts. Serve with Parmesan cheese or Feta.

Spinach and Sun-dried Tomato Pasta

 

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The next three recipes all came from the February 2007 issue of “Vegetarian Times.” Thank you to Nicole for letting me have her copy. There are still a handful of other recipes I found in there that I want to try sometime soon.

The Tortilla Lasagna was a nice variation of the original.

Tortilla Lasagna with Swiss Chard

Serves 6
2 tsp olive oil
1 lb. Swiss Chard, stems and leaves separated and chopped
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 1/2 cups tomato sauce, divided
1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves (I used dried and reduced the amount)
9 6-inch corn tortillas, divided
2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
3 oz. part-skim mozzarella cheese, grated
3 Tbsp Romano cheese (I used Parmesan)

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Heat oil in large pot over high heat. Add chard stems and onion, and cook 8 minutes, or until soft, stirring often. Add chard leaves and garlic. Cover, and cook over medium-low heat 5 minutes, or until chard leaves are tender. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Combine 2 1/2 cups tomato sauce and basil. Spread 1/2 cup tomato-basil sauce over bottom of a 10-inch springform pan (I just used a glass baking dish). Arrange 3 tortillas in single layer (overlapping slightly) over sauce.

3. Season ricotta with salt and pepper. Spread 1 cup ricotta over tortillas in pan. Top with 1/2 cup tomato-basil sauce, 1/2 chard mixture, 1/3 cup mozzarella and 1 Tbsp Romano cheese. Repeat layering with 3 more tortillas, 1 cup ricotta, 1/2 cup tomato-basil sauce, remaining chard mixture, 1/3 cup mozzarella and 1 Tbsp Romano cheese; place remaining tortillas on top. Spread remaining 1 cup tomato-basil sauce over tortillas; cover with foil, and bake 45 minutes. Remove foil, sprinkle with remaining 1/3 cup mozzarella and 1 Tbsp Romano cheese, and bake, uncovered, 10 minutes more. Let stand 5 minutes, then unmold, and cut into wedges. Serve with warmed remaining tomato sauce on the side.

 

Tortilla Lasagna with Swiss Chard

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The Banana-Cornmeal Pancakes were awesome. I doubled the recipe so I’d have leftover pancakes to freeze, and boy, did I ever! I ended up with 35 pancakes total! I think their estimation of getting 12 pancakes out of the recipe is a little off, but I’m not complaining since they are so yummy.

Banana-Cornmeal Pancakes

Makes 12 pancakes
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour (I used regular whole-wheat flour)
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 Tbsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
2 medium bananas
1 1/2 cups low-fat vanilla yogurt
1 large egg
2 Tbsp brown rice syrup
1 1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup raisins (I omitted them)
1/4 cup chopped pecans or almonds, optional (I used almonds)
1. Whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder and baking soda in mixing bowl. Puree bananas, yogurt, egg, brown rice syrup and oil in blender until smooth. Fold wet ingredients into flour mixture, and stir until smooth. Stir in raisins and nuts. Let batter rest 10 minutes. Add a little water if too thick.
2. Heat nonstick griddle over medium-low heat until drop of water sizzles on surface. Coat with cooking spray.
3. Pour scant 1/4 cup batter onto griddle for each pancake. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until bubbles appear near edges of pancakes. Flip, and cook 1 to 2 minutes more, or until golden. Serve with syrup and fresh fruit, if desired.

Banana-Cornmeal Pancakes

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Lastly, there is the recipe for Rotelle Primavera, which I made for dinner Saturday night. It’s a quick and easy meal, and takes 30 minutes or less to prepare. And it was good.

Rotelle Primavera
Serves 4
12 oz. whole-wheat rotelle pasta (I only had penne pasta on hand)
1 lb. asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp pesto
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 15.5-oz. can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 13.75-oz. can water-packed artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella
3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, bring second pot of water to a boil. Fill large bowl with cold water, and set aside. Blanch asparagus in boiling water 3 minutes. Remove, and dunk in bowl to stop cooking process.
3. Heat olive oil and pesto in large skillet over medium heat; add garlic. Saute 30 seconds, or until golden. Add beans, and cook 5 minutes more. Squeeze excess liquid from artichoke hearts, and add to skillet along with asparagus. Cook 3 to 4 minutes, or until heated through.
4. Toss together pasta, vegetable sauce and cheeses in serving bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Rotelle Primavera

Hope you’ve enjoyed the recipes and pics. Please let me know if you try any and how you like them. Happy eating. 🙂

I grow big babies

Julian - 2 months old

I took Julian to the doctor for the first time for his 2-month check-up today. I’d been debating about when to take him since he was born at home and hadn’t seen a doctor before (though my midwife examined him at each appointment I had postpartum) and this seemed like a good time to start.

All went well. He’s pretty much perfect and healthy as can be. Since he’s becoming quite the little charmer lately, he flashed a few smiles at the doctor. He is in the 100th percentile for weight and height – 14 lbs., 13 oz., and 25 inches long. Just for comparison, Ava was 15 lbs., 5 oz. and 24 inches long at two months. Yay for mama milk and growing big babies. 😉

I have to wonder about some of the questions the doctors routinely ask though. I realize they are concerned with the wellfare of the baby and I guess some parents don’t think about things like smoke detectors or rear-facing carseats, but it just seems odd that the majority of the questions asked today had to do with safety (“What year was your house built? So there’s no lead-based paint?”), rather than health – though I guess safety begets health, right?

She also gave me her spiel about vaccinations, but said she was fine with delaying/selectively vaxing (which is what we did with Ava starting at 12 months) and to let her know when I was ready to start. Will do.

This evening, after changing Julian’s diaper I was patting at his mouth with a blanket saying “ba-ba-ba-ba” and I swear he let out a little laugh. Ava was chattering away at the time so by way of encouraging her to pipedown a bit, I said, “Ava, I think your brother is laughing!” I tried it again and he let out another laugh. I forgot what a sweet sound those baby laughs are! 🙂 Jody and I tried again tonight after he got home from work, but we couldn’t coax one out. Bummer, but I’m sure it won’t be long before we hear another one.

Don’t forget to say hi and come out of lurkdom if you haven’t already. Time is running out!

Taking the plunge

I’ve taken the plunge and switched to WordPress! Haven’t had a chance to update my sidebar or play around too much yet, but will eventually. Please update your links to include my new url: http://crunchydomesticgoddess.wordpress.com/

Thanks to those of you who recommended I switch over. It was very easy to transfer everything once I found the import option. 🙂

Edited at 10:15 p.m. to add: I’ve been working on my sidebar (blogroll and links) tonight. I got started on making categories and categorized some of my old posts and will continue to do so as time allows (ha, ha!), but I don’t know that I’ll ever get all 400 old posts categorized.

Blogger limbo

I’ve been trying to switch over to the new version of Blogger for the past couple months now, but every time I try I get this response:

Could not switch you to the new Blogger

Thanks for your interest in the new version of Blogger! Unfortunately, we cannot switch your Blogger account at this time, because one or more of your blogs cannot be moved.

Then the “help article” says:
Why can’t I switch to the new version of Blogger?

While the new version of Blogger is no longer in beta, some users with certain types of blogs will not immediately be able to switch to it. We’ll be adding support for these blogs as soon as possible, so everyone can join in the fun. But for now, if you have a very large blog (more than a couple thousand posts + comments), you’ll need to hold off for a bit.

Some help that is. I don’t have more than a couple thousand posts + comments (I only have 400 posts), so why am I stuck here in old blogger limbo??? *Grumble, grumble* *Whine, whine*

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Don’t forget to come out of lurkdom below. I won’t bite. 😉

Happy 2 months!

Happy 2 months birthday to my little man today. Has it really been two months already?? Time sure goes by a lot faster the second time around.
In honor of his two months birthday, I made a “memory book” on Snapfish using pictures I converted to black and white from the day of his birth. I plan to order one for me and one to give him when he’s older.

And here are the kids a week ago. 🙂

Late night grocery shopping

The nice thing about going grocery shopping at 10:30 at night is there’s nobody there. Seriously. I got to Safeway at 10:15 tonight and there were maybe 3 other shoppers. By the time I left at 10:45, the place was empty.

The bad thing about going shopping that late at night is that I’d much rather be home watching a movie on the couch or asleep in bed. :oP Oh well, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.

Speaking of things I gotta do – I’m getting together with a bunch of friends tomorrow night and I can’t wait! I had another mommy’s night out with some friends last week and, even though I had Julian in tow (and will again tomorrow), it was wonderful to get out of the house and talk with other adults! With the ridiculous amount of snow and cold temps we’ve had this winter, the cabin fever has been hitting me big time. So I’m especially looking forward to another fun night out tomorrow. 🙂

Thanks to those of you who’ve already come out of lurkdom. For those of you still hiding in the shadows, don’t forget to comment on the post below to let me know you’re here. 😉

Come out and play


I’ve been a bit wrapped up in this whole “having a new baby and caring for a 2 1/2 year old thing” lately, and as a result, totally missed “National Delurking Week” Jan. 8-12 (started by Paper Napkin).

So I’ve decided that I’m going to have my very own Unofficial Delurking Week this week – Jan. 22-26. (And I say feel free to designate your own delurking week too if you missed the official one.)

I know there are a lot of you who visit on a regular basis, but for one reason or another have not yet commented. This is your chance to say hello. 🙂 Come out, come out, wherever you are.

P.S. I can’t take credit for the buttons. I found them on the ‘net.

The Sears doctors chime in on CIO and other parenting topics

Ooh, just realized this is post #401 for me. Wow! That’s a lot of posting over the past couple years!

I’m not a big fan of Dr. Phil, but was happy to learn he was having the Sears doctors (Dr. William Sears and sons, Dr. James Sears and Dr. Robert Sears) on a show on Friday called “Young Moms Ask the Experts.” I didn’t get a chance to watch the episode, but I did read about it on Dr. Phil’s website and was happy with how it all unfolded.

The topics they covered ranged from PPD (postpartum depression) to discipline issues to bonding with your child to whether or not to let a baby CIO (cry it out) to SIDS to boosting children’s immune systems to colic and more. In my opinion, there was a lot of helpful information provided.

As most of you know, we’re a co-sleeping family and we don’t believe in CIO for our kids. Here are some things they mentioned on these subjects that I feel are particularly noteworthy:

On whether or not to let a baby (in this case, a 4 1/2 month old) CIO (cry it out):

Dr. Phil turns to Dr. Bob Sears. “What about this?” he asks. “Do you let them cry or do you not?”

“No, I don’t think you should let a baby cry it out,” says Dr. Sears, “and the most important thing is, Robert, who’s getting up with the baby during the night, anyway? Wendy is. So what do you care what she does? Let her go in there. Wendy, I applaud you for listening to your instincts and your intuition and going to your baby.”

Dr. Phil asks Dr. William Sears if he agrees.

“If your baby could talk, Wendy and Robert, here’s what he would say. ‘Hey, Mom and Dad, this is not working. I’m in a dark, quiet room, alone, behind bars*. I need to get close to you. I need to be in your bed, in a co-sleeper next to your bed, in your room somewhere,’” he says.

Next, Dr. Phil asks the Sears doctors to address a myth. “The myth is that if you let the child scream it out, it really develops their lungs,” he says.

“Absolutely wrong,” says Dr. William Sears.

Something I thought was particularly interesting to note:
“When a baby screams for 10, 20 minutes, or a half-hour night after night, what actually happens to the baby’s brain?” asks Dr. Bob Sears. “The blood pressure goes up. The pressure gets so high, new blood with oxygen can’t flow into the brain. So the brain can be deprived of oxygen, you guys. And that’s not all. It gets worse. The brain can be flooded with stress hormones, and we know that stress hormones can damage sensitive developing nerve tissue. So, night after night, weeks and weeks of crying can actually harm a baby’s brain. That’s why we encourage you both to respond to your maternal intuition. Robert, develop your fatherly intuition, so you can both really thrive as a family. Respond to your baby.”

Like I said, I felt like there was a lot of good information provided in this episode, but I don’t have the time to go into all of it. However, I am curious if anyone here (my readers) watched the episode? What are your thoughts?

Of course, I was happy to see the Searses suggest many of the things I believe in and choose to do with my children (which all really comes down to following my instincts). I think one of the most important things I’ve learned about parenting over the past 2 1/2 years is to follow my instincts whether it’s regarding sleep/CIO, feeding, discipline, health care, etc. If I trust myself to know what’s best for my child (whom I know better than anyone else), I usually feel good about my choices. 🙂

*For the record, the part about the baby being behind bars wasn’t meant that all babies that sleep in cribs feel like that way. It was meant in the context of if a baby is crying and crying and no one is coming to them, then it could feel like a prison. The Searses believe in whatever gets the whole family the most sleep (whether it be in a crib, in a co-sleeper or in a family bed). I think the main point they were trying to get across was that parents should respond to their babies.