Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Mommy Has to Keep Track of These Things

Jambuca has finally started calling e-baby by a name!! Well, it isn't her name, but it's definitely her favorite girl's name (or almost so). He calls her Lily. Well, almost. He calls her LELLLLY! As in:

When he tried to say "I love you, e-baby" it came out:
I Luh Lelly! I Luh Lelly!

So, OK, for the record he clearly got none of that early vocabulary and clear diction that his sister had in spades, but he gets his point across. And now that he's in the two-year-old class at daycare, he is growing and learning so fast that when I left town for 3 days and came back, I could really tell a substanital difference in him.

Jambuca loves having his teeth brushed. He always remembers it before I do, and after his bath he reaches up to the sink and goes "TSH-TSH-TSH!" I can't remember, but this might have been the age when e-baby started tolerating tooth brushing as well. I only had to force him against his will for a few weeks, and then it was like a switch went on, and he decided it was fun. And, he likes to brush his teeth cradled in a parent's arms like a baby. I'll tell you, his morning breath is much nicer now that he brushes nightly. :-)

That's all, just a Jambuca update. E-baby has been home from school for 2 days with pink eye. She goes back tomorrow. It's been terrific fun to stay home with her, but I'm glad I have work to go back to eventually. I can only do empty pickle jar crafts for so long before I want to eat my own hand. If I stayed home full time, my kids would probably watch a lot more TV.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

But Really, Does *Anyone* Eat Normal Food?

Taste is a funny thing. My own taste, for example, has shifted so that things like waffles and Jelly Bellies are not nearly as tasty as they used to be, and things like garlic-roated kale and diet soda are much better. When I was a waitress at The Kettle in San Marcos, we used kale to decorate the edges of the salad bar, and that was the only way I had ever seen kale used in my whole life. A few years later, I also saw it used as a garden ornament, and even grew some ornamental kale of my own. But to eat it? Uuuuuuh, no, and I won't eat parsley sprigs either.

But tastes change, and now I like nothing so much as fresh baby kale leaves roasted in the oven tossed with olive oil, salt, and fresh garlic.

Some things never change, though. When I was a kid, I loved liverwurst. You can never eat more than a small piece at a time before your mouth goes from "YUM GIVE ME MORE" to your stomach saying "OK, that was tasty, but if you give me any more I'll stop talking to you." Some favorites never change. Except when they do. Rewind to February (or was it March?), 2006. Me, a little-bit-pregnant. In the midst of a world tour of puking performances across Spain and France, I'd managed to puke my way into Germany. The land of liverwurst. They even serve it for breakfast. And being in the same room with any liver-related product (even the really expensive foie gras in France) could turn me green. It was so unfair. I wasn't sure I'd ever be able to eat liverwurst again.

With my 2nd pregnancy, I had the same reaction to onions-- even to shallots, which you'd think I could never hate. I'm still not too hot on onions but I got over the shallot thing.

Well, I'm over the liverwurst thing as well, and I bought a tube of it today. I doubt it's the best thing for my diet, but when the liverwurst calls, I am powerless to resist. Dinner tonight was roasted garlic kale, liverwurst, turkey lil smokies in BBQ sauce and Cholula, and a bit of e-baby's latest recipe creation:

1/2 chopped apple
handful of strawberries, hulled
splop-spoonful of strawberry preserves
about 2 T Cheerios
Mix well and microwave for 15 seconds. Mix again. Serve warm.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Weird Brownies and a Yogurt Blast From the Past

Yesterday I made two recipes that I'm posting here for posteriority.

The first is based on a recipe for fudgy brownie bars from Women's Running magazine. When I first saw the ingredients list, I thought "EEW!" but I had seen something kind of similar on my cousin's blog awhile back, so I decided to give it a try. (I'd link to the recipe, but I can't find it online)

First time, I made it exactly as directed. It wasn't sweet enough. I also didn't drain the beans well enough.
Second time, I made it with stevia instead of agave. It was the wrong texture-- too dry, and perhaps overcooked as well.
Third time, I changed the sweeteners and added pecans, and it was perfect.
I can't emphasize too much the importance of rinsing the back beans several times. Insufficiently rinsed beans make a chocolatey bean-blob. Eew.

Here's the third version of the recipe, slightly modified from the original, attributable to Women's Running magazine, 2011:
Spray an 8" square pan with nonstick cooking spray, and preheat the oven to 350F

With an immersion blender, puree until smooth:
15oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp instant espresso powder
3/4 c liquid egg substitute
3 Tbsp whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 c agave nectar
3/4 c Splenda granular measure
1 Tbsp melted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract

then, fold in 1/2 c chopped pecans or walnuts and pour the batter into the baking pan.

Cook at 350 for 20 minutes, turning once half-way through
Reduce temperature to 300 and cook 5 more minutes.

An inserted toothpick should come out slightly batter-coated. If it comes out clean, you've overcooked it.
Let it cool completely. (I like them still slightly warm, but the author likes them better chilled). My kids like them no matter what.

And, if you've never read Women's Running, it's a really nice magazine. I like Runner's World a lot, but their audience are more than half men, so their articles aren't always relevant. Women's Running has articles featuring some great women. I don't get any kickbacks from WR for telling you this. :-)

The 2nd recipe I wanted to write about is a response to something that has haunted me since I was 6 years old. Long, long ago, Dannon used to have a strawberry-walnut (or was it strawberry-pecan) yogurt. The fruit-on-the-bottom kind. It was my hands-down favorite as a kid. I don't know why it was discontinued, but like Brick cheese, I have never forgotten it. Unlike brick cheese, I can't even find it in Wisconsin.

Here is my no-sugar-added variation on the old Dannon favorite, even better than the original.
1 QT fat-free plain Greek Yogurt
3 cups good strawberries (thawed from frozen OK, if they're good frozen berries)
6 Tbsp granular-measure Truvia
1/2 c pecans

Puree everything with an immersion blender. The nuts will pulverize to tiny bits. That's a good thing.
Mmmmmmm now I'm hungry.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

I Think My Heart Seized a Bit as Well...

I can write about the last few weeks and how I've had a few nice trips and how last weekend Jambuca was sick with a stomach bug and how SNG had it Monday night right before I left for New York and what a nice anniversary dinner we had last night, but today was a little more newsworthy than those things.
This morning, e-baby went to church with her Granny and Grampy, so SNG and I took Jambuca to the grocery store. He was sleepy, but cheerful enough. After that, we went to Durham for a birthday party for a friend of e's. When we got there, I noticed that Jambuca felt a little warm, but SNG thought he felt fine. A few hours later, he stil hadn't had a nap, and it was showing. He had a thousand-yard stare, but being as he is, he doesn't sleep in a stroller, so he just gazed around until time to leave. He just looked dazed and tired, and not real interested in anything.
In the car, we were certain he'd fall asleep right away, so I looked back to see if he had even made it the few blocks from the parking lot of the life and science museum.
His eyes were rolling around and his body was tremoring, drool coming from the side of his mouth.
"OH-SHIT he's having a seizure PULL OVER I'm calling 911" (yes, I hollered the s-word with e-baby in the car. I just hope she didn't add it to her vocabulary.)
SNG ran a red light to turn, pulled over, put on the blinkers, and took Jambuca out of the car. He held him up, put his face up to Jambuca's, talking and trying like mad to get him to respond. Jambuca's body was stiff, back arched, facing up to the sky, totally unresponsive. 911 dispacher telling me it looks worse than it is. Eight minutes later EMS arrived. By this time, Jambuca was catatonic, flopped against SNG's chest, staring at nothing. His temp was 103, skin was cold and clammy. EMS said it was for sure a seizure, probably brought on my a sudden onset of fever.
They put him on a gurney and I rode in the ambulance. They stuck his finger to test his blood sugar, and he didn't even register that it had happened. His O2 sat wasn't great, so he had an oxygen mask. He was shaking like crazy from chills. I could see SNG following behind us like his car was on a bungee cord.
It wasn't until we were in the ER at Duke for about 10 minutes that Jambuca fussed or cried or made any noise (when he threw up all over the place).
Jambuca slept in the car going home from Durham, and drank apple juice when we got home. He was in bed asleep by 6:30, and didn't even want a book. His eyes were closed before I finished th 2nd verse of his lullaby.

Bottom line is that he's fine. One in 25 kids under 5 get febral seizures, and it doesn't really mean anything. If he had a lot more, they'd start doing additional testing. But I'll tell you, watching your 2-year-old have a seizure and not knowing what to do is terrifying.
E-baby stayed calm, patient, and charming the whole time. She made friends with the staff but didn't get in the way of the work being done. She tried so hard to make her baby brother smile (it didn't work). But I'm sure that after he's had a good rest, he'll have a good laugh with her over some goldfish crackers.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A True Future Fairy Tale

Scene: My car, on the way to daycare drop-off

e-baby: Mommy, I am going to tell you a true story. It's a true story, about a real girl. OK?
me: OK, babylamb. Let's hear it.
Once upon a time, there was a little girl named (e-baby) . She had a beautiful medal, and it had her name on it. She loved her medal and wore it every day. One day, she was playing outside and dropped it on the ground. She left it outside when she finished playing. That night, there was a GREAT STOOOOORM. The wind BLEEEEEW and BLEEEEW and lifted the medal off the ground, and threw it in the river.
So she grew up without the medal. And when she became a teenager, she cried, "Noooooo Faaaaaair! Nooooooo Faaaaaair!"
When she grew up, she became an animal rescuer. All her friends who worked at the rescue center had soooo muuuuuch fuuuuun, and one day someone said, "We have to rescue an animal in the river!" So (e-baby) put on her scuba gear and went in the river to rescue the animal. When she was there, she found her medal. She was so HAPPY!

I enjoyed that story so much I had to write it down for posterity.

In other news, Jambuca can count to 2, and makes us more aware of all paired things in his world (2 cars! 2 birds! 2 books!). I love this life.