Friday, June 26, 2009

On the Stove Again

My love of cooking has recently returned with a vengeance. I go on various tours around the world in my kitchen and have now docked in the Mediterranean for a while. The beauty of the geographical location of this particular body of water, is the influence of different countries' cuisines on each other. My new favorite cookbook is something my mother found at a garage sale, and I pilfered it from her shelf: Moosewood Restaurant: New Classics by the Moosewood Collective. Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca, NY, is not known for mediterranean cuisine, but rather vegetarian cuisine that back in the 70's revolved around sunflower seeds, sprouts, all vegetables, whole grains and the like. Regardless, I've made several recipes from this book and they've all been good. Here is Pine Nut Pasta Cavalfiore, with the arab influence of saffron and currants...a mostly traditional Sicilian dish.

The twins ate this too, minus the pine nuts. Last night, I made beans and greens, which requires no real recipe. The twins ADORE the wilted olive-oiled greens! That will become a regular mealtime fixture during my summer receipt of Italian braising greens and swiss chard from my mother's garden.

Now I'm off to peruse more recipes in this book and to do some risotto research and development.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Time Keeps on Slippin', Slippin'...

We are 13 months old, and almost walking!

I was thinking yesterday morning about how from the moment I got home from work Tuesday night to the moment I went to bed, I had only sat down for about an hour. And this was in the span of 4 hours! Geez…where did the time go? Changed a couple diapers, reheated dinner, made salad, ate dinner, bottled one kid, did laundry, put some garbage out, swept patio, put kids to bed, prepped some veggies for kids’ lunch, went up and down the stairs a thousand times…ugh. We don’t do baths on the two days I work. I don’t really know how we could squeeze that in to the evening routine on the days I work. I’m a morning person, and baths are always done in the morning.

I realized on my last weary trek back up the stairs that if I still had a job that required standing most of the day, I would have died long ago. I have also, in recent weeks, fallen into the trap of staying up too late because I cherish having two hours of me time before bed. But this has caught up to me. I need to take a break from these late nights, and by late I mean 10:30 or 11, and recharge my batteries with some good old-fashioned 8 hours of sleep. So my new goal for the next few nights is to be in bed by 9:45 and asleep by 10. The kids wake up at 6, and there’s no way to delay that.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Time Management

To be one of those brownie-baking-crafty-PTA meeting-going-moms (well no PTA quite yet), you have to be organized. I am one of 4 list makers in my family. My dad passed on the gene to my 2 brothers and me. I make to-do lists for things around the house, my grocery lists have items assembled in order of appearance, I had a birthday party to-do list, I have lists for things to take to Nana's on Tuesdays, etc. As my one brother says, "If it's not on the list, it doesn't exist!" I don't make lists at work, because I have all day to putter around there and get things done and sometimes just need to "keep busy."

List-making is more for getting done what I HAVE to get done to allow time for doing what I'd RATHER be doing. For example, pulling out all the thistle weeds in the garden HAS to be done, but it is only on a mental list, looming in and over my head. I'd RATHER be knitting, but this morning I was visually reminded of bananas getting riper and riper on the counter. So a compromise between HAVING to do and WANTING to do was baking an experimental cake. You may ask, "How do you have time to bake cakes...experimental or otherwise?" It's all about time management.

Here is how a Monday morning usually goes: when the kids waken (around 6:30 or 7am), I get up and start my breakfast, make and warm their bottles, go change them, put them in the "puppy pen," go eat my breakfast, check email and read a few blogs. Then I make the kids oatmeal. Kip has been very helpful in the mornings and gets up, gives them each their bottle while I finish eating. I then give them their cereal, and it's back into the pen or crawling around while I get their bath ready. Back into the cribs to wait while the other is bathed. We're done with all this by 9am, then it's out for a 30 minute walk, back inside for crawling and playing, and down at 10am for a nap. The usually nap from 10-12, so I can get those chores or something more fun completed on my own.

I even threw in a load of diapers, and saved myself another trip downstairs by retrieving the walnuts when I put the detergent in the washer after the rinse cycle. The baking prep occurred during the post-walk crawling. I'm modifying a banana bundt cake which smells heavenly. I usually don't alter cake recipes as they are more specific than baking bread for example, which is simply a formula. My big wish is whether the cake comes out of the pan or not.