The Blues at Magnuson Park Beach

I woke up early, giddy with the promise of watching my hometown Blue Angels fly over Lake Washington with Jack. On our way to Madrona Beach near the Capitol Hill neighborhood, traffic forced us to reroute to nearby Magnuson Park Beach. It turns out that Magnuson isn't the perfect spot for watching the Blues, but it was OUR perfect spot.

20110804-031315.jpg We sat on the shores of Lake Washington playing in the rocks and pebbles letting the water lap our feet while the Blues soared and played tricks in the distance.

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They were far, far away (if you look really hard you will see two tiny black dots in the sky...they were closer than that, but that is the best my camera could do), but we saw them with the perfectly blue Seattle August sky and Mt Rainier as their backdrop. It was gorgeous and fun and peaceful.

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And, when we got tired of the water and the rocks that stuck to our feet, we backed up onto the grass and ate our snack of "pop berries" (better known as blueberries, but pops grows them in his yard, so pop berries is what they are called in our house...associations are amazingly strong!)

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It was a perfect morning!

my apologies. but, i need a break.

hello lovelies. i am sorry that i haven't gotten my act together to post the recipes and pictures i promised.  life is a bit busy...i am dealing with this nagging daily feeling that we need to use every spare moment to pack while at the same time knowing that is impossible since we still need to live in our house plus i don't have the desire to come home from work to pack boxes!  and, we just spent a wonderfully fun weekend with family and new friends in nashville and are looking forward to a family filled upcoming weekend to toast david as he graduates from medical school.  all of this paired with life's other happenings...whew!  lots going on...

so, i have decided that i need to step back from daily posting right now and blog when i have the time.  let's just call this the official "time off because i am moving."  and, no promises of future posts because that just makes me feel bad when i can't deliver (and i don't need another stressor!).  i will say that i hope to share pictures with you over the next few weeks from all of those special moments that are keeping us busy and i even hope to include a recipe or two. 

oh boy...i am already excited to restart the weekly dinner menus just as soon as i am sitting in my new home office space (perhaps with a view of the puget sound)!  i will have so much to share!!! 

until then...xxo.

weekly dinner menu + update, april 10th - 16th

hello.  i hope spring has made it's way to all of you by now...we are certainly basking in the spring sunshine and loving every minute of it.  i keep joking with jack that we have to spend as much time as we can outside so we can soak in the sunshine to carry with us to rainy seattle! speaking of jack...look at the photo below that david's dad sent him.  it's of david as a one year old getting his first haircut.  wow!  it looks so much like jack that it take my breath away! 

stephanie's attitude + david's looks = our little man, jack!

so, what's for supper this week?

sunday: slow cooked vegetables and chicken meatballs over pasta

monday: not a dinner post, but a "please help me" post--- i'm in need of good snack ideas!

tuesday: sausage, southern greens, and lemon lasagna

wednesday: use your slow cooked leftovers over baby broccoli and white beans

thursday: grilled flank steak

friday: in celebration of karen and mike and their wedding weekend, i will share a super tasty recipe for brownies with you while we enjoy a whole dessert party!

saturday: we will be celebrating at a wedding and having farm fresh georgia food (yay!)...so i am taking tonight off from cooking.

nutella cookies

happy birthday to you. happy birthday to you.

happy birthday to sam.

happy birthday to you!

sam, we love you!

we are making nutella cookies in your honor today...yummy!  well, and because of what i gave up for lent.  i am not religious, but every year i feel this absurd need to give up something that i enjoy during the season of lent.  it all goes back to my catholic upbringing (thanks, mom), but i cannot seem to shake the guilt without denying myself a pleasure during forty days of early spring.  so, this year i did a double whammy and choose two things to give up: 1. i have to drink my coffee black (which i really enjoy but i got into the habit of adding a touch of milk and sugar every morning as jack and i stumble out of the door before 7 o'clock) UNLESS i go out for coffee (out for breakfast, coffee break in the afternoon, coffee when out for dessert) and 2. no desserts after dinner UNLESS there is a purposeful desert (king cake for mardi gras, cookies to honor your nephew's birthday, poundcake for your best friend's birthday, you get the idea.  really, this "rule" serves to stop my mindless intake of chocolate or a sweet cereal following dinner).  so, there.  i have my two rules and my tricks to get around them:)

back to our purposeful desert tonight...thank you, sam, for having a birthday!!!

preheat oven to 350 degrees.

blend 1 cup nutella, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 cup all-purpose unbleached flour, and 1 egg together well.  form batter into 1″ balls and place on a cookie sheet.  press balls down firmly with the bottom of a glass.  bake for 7-8 minutes or until set.  cool, if you can resist, before serving with a glass of milk.

adopted from thepioneerwoman

weekly dinner menu, february 27th-march 5th

hello there, lovlies.  first and foremost, i would like to wish a very happy birthday to my granny who turns eighty-three today!  we have had some very special birthday memories with my gran but there are two that stand out above the rest.  one was the girls trip to "anywhere in the world that she wanted to go."  so, guess where we spent her birthday weekend...drum rool, please: branson, missouri- c'mon, you know it's at the top of your travel list!  we had plenty of fun laughing at our situation- a van full of "young" women (babies compared to the typical branson clientele!) traipsing around the city eating and being "entertained" by the crowds, the shows, and each other.  in all seriousness,  the reason i remember the trip so well is because we really did have a great time- it was a weekend full of laughter and love.  we just had fun being together.  my second most memorable granny birthday was her grand eightieth birthday soiree three years ago.  the whole family was there to celebrate.  my dad created the most amazing slide show of pictures from her life, her wedding dress was on display, a timeline of important life events decorated the wall, and, together, we all decorated the venue.   

and, once again, we had a wonderful time creating memories and being together. 

(there was also this amazing smoked salmon platter...you know the food always makes the party, for me at least! :) ) again, happy birthday, granny!  your very large family loves you a lot!

on another, less happy, note: please keep my dad in your thoughts.  he remains in the hospital- what we expected to be a 5 day stay is turning into a 16+ day hospital stay...he is progressing and we hope he can go home soon, but the road has been long and there is still much recovery to do.  your thoughts are very much appreciated.

happy cooking as we kick off march and grow closer to spring time!  i hope you have a pleasant and warm week.

sunday: to celebrate the biggest night of movies, @whole foods market had the best idea- cook a meal in honor of your favorite best picture...so, we are having seared scallops with blood orange and smoked paprika sauce + espresso pots de creme = a dreamy dinner to honor the film "inception"

monday: crabcakes, spinach salad, and sweet potatoes

tuesday: hummus and cream cheese bagel sandwiches

wednesday: tex-mex black bean salad

thursday: we are ordering pizza tonight and watching last night's top chef (so, jack picture post today...just an update on his cuteness!)

friday: shrimp and fish scampi, take two

saturday: per typical, we are going out tonight.  scored a coupon to hobnob from scoutmob...hooray!

flip burger boutique

so, i will just come out with it, for those of you who don't already know, i have a chef crush on richard blais.  clearly, it's completely innocent, but he has a rad style, an incredible mind for food concepts, lives in atlanta, and cooks innovative and great food...hard for a foodie not to love, right?  anyway, david and i have been dying to go to his restaurant, flip burger boutique, described as "fine dining between a bun," for many months now.  so, a few weeks ago, our little family of three set out for atlanta's west midtown neighborhood.  first, we visited the brand new anthropologie store (a fabulous space!) where i drooled over all the beautiful home goods (i am really wishing for these bowls:   ).  then, following jack's incessant plea to get "down," we found a cute west midtown neighborhood called underwood hills that was teeming with families and had a fabulous park with tennis courts, a basketball court, and two playgrounds!  the day was gorgeous, so we ran around playing with and chasing jack and burning off some stored up energy!

 

and finally to our last stop...flip burger!   since we went early, we got a coveted table on the patio with no wait!   jack enjoyed a super tasty grilled cheese (+ lots of tastes from our plates!) and david and i split the farm burger (organic, grass-fed beef with smoked mayo, heirloom tomatoes, local lettuce, grilled vidalia onion, and b&b pickles) and the faux-lafel sandwich (fried chick pea patty with arugula, cucumber, red onion, pickled beets, red pepper, and feta cheese spread) with a side of fries. 

mmm.  i have to admit that i was a bit surprised by the ordinariness of it all, ordinary in the "fine dining/great burger kind of way".  i guess i expected more extravagance from blais, but perhaps that would have just taken away from the great flavors.  we ended the meal with richard's famous liquid nitrogen milkshakes.  david had the pistachio and white truffle shake (the truffle taste permeated the entire cup...sooooo good!) and i enjoyed a krispy kreme shake (yes, you read that correctly!) that actually had bits of doughnut in it!  it was a perfect sunday-  beautiful weather, discovery of a new neighborhood, fun with my fun boys, and really delicious food!

huevos rancheros

enjoy a delcious repeat meal of huevos rancheros tonight.  and, if you didn't make them last time, trust me, they are worth trying!  so, pull out a bag of those frozen black beans, don't skimp on the creme fraiche by substituting with sour cream, and have a yummy cooked at home mexican style dinner with chips, salsa, and a corona with lime. and, please, keep my family in your thoughts today.  thank you!

weekly dinner menu, february 6th-12th

lots and lots going on this week...first, it is the celebration of my mom and dad's THIRTY-FIFTH! wedding anniversary!  a very big congratulations to them.  i love this picture of them holding hands and watching us play.  it was taken in pensacola at bayview park over the christmas holidays and i just think that their love for each other and their love for jack is exploding from this photo!

at the end of this week, the dinner menu will feature already published recipes (one updated and now with pictures!) since i am heading to pensacola to be with my parents, sister, and other family.  my dad is having open heart surgery, so please, please keep us in your thoughts.

super bowl sunday:  football and dinner with friends- i'm bringing goat cheese and prosciutto tarts

monday: minestrone soup with parmesan dumplings

tuesday: spinach pancakes with fried eggs

wednesday: leftovers for dinner, but an orange carrot cake for dessert!

thursday: huevos rancheros, you have a freezer of black beans...why not use them up?!

friday: vegetable pie, updated

saturday:  a night to stay in and order pizza

grilled cheese + pancake prep for tomorrow's breakfast for supper

tonight's menu calls for grilled cheese and soup, a menu that you have seen before and, i promise, that you will see again.  we love this comfort dinner at our house and all of the different varieties you can do to make it taste so different.  tonight, we are going to have smoked gouda grilled cheese with sage and rosemary on tuscan italian bread with a prepared soup from whole foods- probably split pea since it is one of our favorite! you have another task for today in order to prepare for monday's breakfast for supper.  this pancake recipe calls for it to be made the day before, making monday's dinner super fast!

jack helped me make ours...it was his first dish and he loved helping...he was really into the whisking!

buttermilk oatmeal blueberry pancakes

in a medium size bowl, combine 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

in a large mixing bowl, whisk 2 large eggs, then add 1 1/2 cups buttermilk and whisk together (jack helped me with this step...he loves stirring and "cooking"!).  then, whisk in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 3 tablespoons vegetable oil.

add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and quickly whisk together. be careful not to overbeat; a few lumps are okay. fold in the oats and milk. refrigerate overnight.

last steps of the recipe tomorrow...

enjoy the fruits of the season

while you enjoy a night off from cooking by eating your delicious leftover onion soup, i thought i would remind you to indulge in the freshness that seasonal fruits offer.  nothing beats the juiciness and sweetness of the season's harvest...this month citrus (grapefruit, oranges, clementines, tangelos), apples, and pears are ripe for the picking. jack loves fruit and recently enjoyed eating his first pear all by himself!  he had pear juice dripping down his arms and chin...we thought it was great!

it. will be. okay.

life is crazy.  it is hectic. we are busy shuffling off to our respective hospitals in the wee morning hours- one of us in scrubs of baby blue, the other in black and pink- breakfasts, lunches, snacks, COFFEE, and baby in tow.  we work hard all day, interacting with patients in our own unique ways, and then we have a few (almost) blissful hours together in the evening, the three of us where we play and eat and talk.  then, it is bed time for jack and, more often than not lately, chore time/study time/more busy time for the two of us (some of this is due to my OCD/type A tendencies that won't allow me to rest my head until the dishes have been put in the dishwasher and the floor has been sweept and the house tidied and...).  occasionally, we fall into bed exhausted, often at different times, without even remembering to kiss and say good night.  uggghhh.  when will the craziness end?  david says it will be soon.  life as a radiologist will be more scheduled. more set.  more peaceful.  i sure hope so...i am running out of steam.

i want life to be a morning where we eat breakfast around a table (or at the very least a morning where there is peace instead of ...a baby crying because he work up too early and doesn't want to shower with you, he instead would like some milk and to play with his books and toys...he would like to slow down and just be your baby; a dog staring at you like you forgot she needed to go out for a walk because she doesn't realize that you need to dry off and put clothes on before going out of the house...she just wants some attention and exercise before being left alone all day; and a nagging reminder that the house is not so tidy because everywhere you look there is dog hair on the floor!), an early evening where we come together after our days at work and "school" to hang out and play- to enjoy a cocktail, take a walk, play with toys, go to the park, make dinner as a family, and then a night to enjoy adult time together- to talk, read, watch a movie, BLOG, time to put our feet up and our burdens away...

life is okay.  we are okay.  but it could all be better.  one day soon, i hope it will be. 

life is taking jack and i to pensacola next week.  i am hoping for a relaxing time away from the routine.  i want to make the most out of each day with my baby, relish in the fact that i am with him and not at work.  i want to enjoy my parents and my sister and my family.  live free without a real routine.  relax in the evenings by the pool.  and, celebrate jack's first birthday!

our little monkey!

i almost fell to the floor the other night while dressing jack for bed...

i was telling him how much i liked his new red monkey pajamas, when he stopped, looked down at the monkey heads, and then back up at me and said, "oo, oo, oo, ahh, ahh, ahh!" in a perfect monkey voice!

i could not believe it.  his first animal noise and the first time that jack showed us exactly how much he understands with we are saying!  and, with all the crawling, climbing, and diving he is doing these days, we really do have a little monkey on our hands!

our version of a weekend nap

as many of you know, jack does not take a typical nap for us.  when asked about napping, we say he his a weekday napper, typically forgoing them all together on the weekends.  so...when we went to the lake with our friends about a month ago and jack decided to fall asleep in my arms, i paid no mind to the fact that we were in the middle of the lake!  instead, i just treasured the forty-five minutes or so of a peaceful sleeping jack on my shoulder, the rhythm of the lake water, and the happiness that comes with being a mama.

jack's sunscreen smell, the way his pacifier pops out of  his mouth when he enters deep sleep, his cute striped red and white sunhat and the skinny blue dragonfly that landed on it...this is one of those times that i hope i never forget.

saturday supper for three!

jack tasted his first meat.  yep, saturday night, we enjoyed a slow roasted, local foods supper as a family.  it was the first time all three of us were able to enjoy all of the same foods at a meal and it was special...and delicious! our meal was centered around our chicken that was produced by healthy acres farm in sylvania, georgia.  i seasoned the chicken with fresh, homegrown basil, rosemary, sage, and thyme and several cloves of garlic for two days prior to roasting it.  i took it out of the refrigerator about an hour before i cooked it on saturday, then roasted it at 400 degrees for about an hour.  it was divine...

we enjoyed our chicken (jack ate his in the pureed form) with couscous and a roasted mixture of summer squash from natural branch farm in roanoake, alabama and cherry tomatoes grown at several of the participating farms in the moore farms and friends csa.  we cut all of the veggies into similar sized pieces and roasted them for about 12 minutes at 425 degrees.  before serving, i showered them with fresh basil. again, jack took his in pureed form- the couscous and veggies all blended together.

it's not polite to show your food while eating, but watching jack experience his first meat was all cute, not rude, to us!  he really explored the new texture of his food with his tongue and his NEW bottom tooth!

after jack-jack was all tucked into bed, david and i indulged in grilled peach sundaes...a very southern end to a lovely saturday meal.  we halved the peaches and grilled them for about 3 minutes on the cut side.

then, we topped them with french vanilla ice cream and homemade bourbon caramel sauce.  to make the caramel sauce, melt 1 stick of butter in a medium size pot over high heat.  add 2 cups of sugar and stir until dissolved and the mixture begins to boil (this will take several minutes).  reduce the heat to a simmer and stir often, cooking until the sugar turns medium brown.  then, remove the pot from the heat and add 1/4 cup of bourbon...be VERY careful pouring in the bourbon, it bubbles fiercely ( i had it ALL over my kitchen!).  return the pot to the flame and bring it back to a boil.  next, reduce the heat and simmer 5 minutes more.  remove from heat and add another 1/4 cup of bourbon, 1/4 cup of heavy cream, and 1 tablespoon of salt.  stir until smooth.  allow the sauce to cool and then store in the refrigerator up to 4 weeks.

it was quite yummy...and a lovely way to spend a summer saturday evening.

i hope you, too, had a delicious weekend with good food and family.

a delicious goodbye

last night, after much anticipation, we had dinner at woodfire grill.  it was a bittersweet occasion as we were saying goodbye to some dear friends who are moving to columbus in a few weeks, but 1. we had a babysitter and a night out! and 2. the dinner was AMAZING!  seriously, we may have been ruined forever by food this good. we started our night at the bar while we waited for our 8:30 seating.  i enjoyed a delicious bourbon-based blackberry muddled seasonal cocktail that featured fresh blackberries and mint and a locally made ginger ale.

every night, a five course chef's blind tasting menu is offered in addition to the regular dinner menu.  the tasting menu is composed of dishes that are not on the regular menu, and, if you are lucky enough to be eating with other adventurous diners (since the whole table must opt for the tasting menu), you will be treated to much more than a meal...it's really an incredible, unplanned dining experience where each course builds on the next.  in addition to the five courses, the chef also throws in little suprises in between.  the wait staff presents each course, being careful to lay it in front of you in unison so one diner does not get a peek before another, with a thorough explanation of what the chef has prepared paying particular attention to ingredient detail.  it kind of makes you feel like gail simmons on top chef (i would have said padma, but i don't think anyone could feel quite like her in all of her beauty and elegance...). 

this dinner was such a treat! 

first taste and palate cleanser: the inspiration for our humurous amuse bouche were the candies, fruit_gushers.  on a cute white spoon, we were treated to a pickled dried cherry stuffed with a thai basil relish served on top of whipped sweetgrass dairy chevre and dusted with cinnamon.  it really was one perfect bite and an excellent way to jump start our taste buds.  we were also delighted to a champagne toast, compliments of the chef.

first course - a soup and salad of sorts: a wild porcini mushroom and asparagus salad served on top of  a roasted corn puree.  the flavors were intense and perfectly balanced. 

second course- cornmeal breaded rainbow trout (caught in north carolina) topped with sugar snap peas and an avocado mousse served on top of a sweet and sour tomato relish,  the plate was dusted with curry powder.

next, another surprise course and, for me, it may have been the highlight of the meal given its uniqueness.  a liquid caprese salad.  yes, that's right...a LIQUID salad served in a shot glass.  a tomato water- made from local heirloom tomatoes and spiked with an amazing basil oil.  we were instructed to take a few sips and then to try to capture the last of the tomato water with the buffalo mozarella bite and the cantaloupe pieces that rested in the bottom of the glass.  nothing quite captured our imagination or pleasured our palates as much as this did.  the salad was served with a nice, crisp rose, another chef compliment.

at this point in the evening, we all opted for the half-glass wine pairings with which to end our meal.  we were served two reds- 2008 rhone varietal and blend- (grenache/syrah/mourvedre) an old world and new world meant to be tasted next to each other: one cline- cashmere, california and the other domaine de la janasse- cotes du rhone, france.

third course --an ode to the chef who is so fond of pig that he sports a hog on his forearm.  pork two ways...green chile sausage and, one of my all-time favorite foods, smoked pork belly, which was so succulent and crispy.  i LOVED this course.  the pork sat on top of tomatillo salsa verde and smoked pork jus, topped with a fresh herb and roasted green bean salad.

fourth course- sous vide ("under vaccum") lamb with fig puree served in a cute cast iron skillet on top of potatoes, frisee, radishes, and a farro risotto topped with panko bread crumbs and parmesan cheese.  this dish got the most "first place" ratings at our table of four.

fifth course -- coca-cola cake served alongside a coffee caramel mousse, salted pecans, and an inverted root beer float.  david said that even though it was good, after the amazing meal, the dessert was anti-climatic.  i agree that it wasn't the most inspired of our dishes, but i thought it was a nice end to the most delightful of meals. 

i am already dreaming of going back for another tasting!  next time, i hope kevin will be there...

and, a funny aside.  a framed children's drawing of kevin was hanging in the bathroom with the caption "Tell the Voltaggios: Tricks & Foams may break my bones, but bacon will never hurt me!"  LOVE it!

weekend at the lake

because it's been a doozy of a week.  because we have spent nearly eight months battling with jack to nap at home until FINALLY surrendering and finding some peace with it.  because david jumped into the pool with his droid on father's day.  because my manager resigned.  because i had a "suspicious" mole removed from my tummy yesterday.  because my car decided to make a scary clicking sound on the interstate as jack and i were driving home at seventy miles per hour.  because david works unpredictable hours and then has crazy exams and sometimes that makes me feel like a single mama.  i'm looking forward to a relaxing weekend away at the lake with friends and my two cute boys.  thank you, reaveys, for sharing your home with us. 

have a happy weekend.  xxo.

talk to me app

warning: this is one of those random posts that appear from out of nowhere, particularly when i have been so sparse at posting,  BUT, the story is too funny not to share! sunday morning, our family's first father's day, the four of us went out  for an early morning walk.  to entice david out of bed, i brought in snuggly and smiling jack-a-roo and promised a mid-walk stop at a neighborhood coffee shop.  while we sat on a street bench enjoying our special coffee beverages, david showed me the new french language app on his droid.  you can now say a french word out loud and the droid magically gives you the english word and definition.  however, this app does not like the way i speak because i could not one time get it to work!  so, while we spent the whole morning laughing over my poor speaking ability, we decided to see what the droid thought jack was saying (he is quite the chatter!).  we couldn't believe our eyes...we tried it four times and these are the words are precious, innocent baby was saying...

first try: BEER.  second: BOOBS.  third: COOL.  and, last: BOCA RATON. 

WTF?!  we were crying from our laughter!  to think that those were the actual utterances coming from his precious little mouth...oh my!

week of dinners, may 16-22

yikes!  i have failed myself and all of you, once again, by taking an eternity to post a weekly dinner menu with recipes!  we have been cooking up a storm and all three of us are enjoying delicious fresh and local food from moore farms and friends, so i have absolutely no excuse! after the long absence, i have decided to approach the "week of dinners"  a bit differently.  since i am now cooking for a little one, i thought i would include my inspiration for him in the posts as well.  so, in addition to a weekly dinner menu for grown-up eaters with recipes, and sometimes pictures, i will also add some babyfood recipes, and sometimes pictures, for the week.  i would like to transform my menus to be useful for both a single eater or for an entire family, while continuing to, hopefully, inspire fresh, seasonal, and thoughtful cooking by you for your personal table!

weekly mid-spring dinner menu for may 16 - may 22

sunday supper: grilled beef burgers (our beef comes from riverview farms and it is amazing!) on grilled seasame seed buns, topped with fresh tomato slices and leaves of crisp basil.  served with boiled green cabbage seasoned with a splash of olive oil and a bit of coarse salt and freshly ground pepper.

for the babe: set aside some of the boiled cabbage.  puree until very thin, no chunks.  serve alone, if your baby will eat it, or swirled with mashed potatoes.  it creates a very pretty spring green color.  just a warning...this is NOT one of jack's favorite foods, but he will eat it.

a toast to the start of the work week:  i love creating a special dinner on monday nights.  it makes the start of the work week seem special.  the sweetness of baked sweet potatoes and an orange and black olive salad pairs well with the spicy blackened fresh, gulf amberjack.  this is one of our new favorite dinners!

cut 1 pound of amberjack fillets into 2 equal pieces. combine 1  tablespoon paprika, 1 teaspoon onion salt, 1 teaspoon garlic salt, 1  teaspoon dried italian seasoning, 1 teaspoon black pepper, and 1/2  teaspoon ground red pepper in a small bowl; stir well. dredge fish in spice mixture; let stand 5 minutes.

coat a large cast-iron skillet with cooking spray; place over high heat until very hot. add fish, and cook 3 minutes. turn fish, and cook 3 to 4 additional minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.  the fish should look charred. (just as a warning, this procedure will produce a small amount of smoke)

for the orange and olive salad:

cut an orange (1 per person) into segments and plate.  top with 6-8 kalamata olives and drizzle with a vinaigrette made with red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

for the babe: babies, from my experience, love sweet potatoes.  bake sweet potatoes for about an hour and a half and then squeeze the potato out of its skin into the food processor.  puree until very smooth.  sweet potatoes freeze very well so bake 2 at one time.  this amount typically makes 16 cubes (one cube = one ounce) for us.

tuesday night: spaghetti made with mom's homemade spaghetti sauce and a tomato, basil, and mozzarella salad.  place sliced roma tomatoes on a plate, cover with coarsely choped basil, and top with gernerous slices of good quality, fresh mozarella cheese.  drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt...fresh, simple, and delicious!

middle of the week dinner:  homemade fried rice:

cook rice one day before.  saute spring onions, celery, and edamame in a skillet.  add 2 eggs and scramble.  then, add pre-cooked rice to the skillet and stir fry.  season with soy sauce, salt, and seasame oil.

thursday "ode to the farm" dinner: thursday are the days we pick-up our weekly farm order, so i try to use a lot of the fresh produce that night that i don't plan to actually cook.  this means, we often have a big salad with yummy bread and some farm fresh cheeses.  this week's salad features butter lettuce, cucumbers, easter radishes, celery, and chive seasoned goat cheese.  i dressed the salad with a simple vinaigrette made with red wine vinegar, olive oil, crushed garlic, a touch of spicy dijon mustard, dried oregano, pepper, and coarse salt.

happy friday dinner: spring vegetable pasta:

wash, trim and chop a 1/2 pound of kale, 1 pint of grape tomatoes, 1/2 of a bunch of green onions (tops included), 1 small green pepper, and 2-3 ribs of celery including their greens.

prepare pasta of your choice, we use penne.

warm 2 tablespoons of olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.  add the onions, pepper, and celery and cook stirring often until softened.  next, add the kale, cover and steam for 5-10 minutes.  finally, add the sliced tomatoes and stir.  continue cooking uncovered for 10-15 minutes stirring often. season with salt and pepper.

toss the vegetables with cooked pasta.  try not to eat it all in one sitting, because the leftovers are also divine!

saturday: order pizza, crack open a bottle of wine, and kick your feet up!

he pleads the fifth

we had a fun celebrating jack's half birthday two weeks ago. on the night of his six month birthday, we went to the grand opening of the new tree canopy walk at the atlanta botanical garden.

the following night, we had a half birthday celebration at home.  jack got his first "dessert"- homemade cinnamon applesauce-

and daddy and mama had half fruit tarts to celebrate.

to make his day even bigger, jack also had his six month wellness appointment where he received his third round of immunizations and was weighed and measured...he weighed in at fourteen pounds and twelve ounces and measured twenty-six and a half inches long.  he is staying right on his own weight curve of the fifth percentile on the CDC growth chart.  his doctor seemed pleased with his height and weight growth and said,  "he knows what he's doing!"  so, we will continue to feed him homemade meals three times a day and watch, with an approving eye, as he gobbles it all up in delight, while he continues to plead the fifth!

no propriety in sleep

so much of the focus on new babies is on their sleep (i swear that there must be a MILLION books on just baby sleeping!).  so, david and i have heard, talked, and even dreamed about jack's sleeping since before he was even born!  therefore, when i stumbled upon this editorial from the ny times, published last year, i found it incredibly appropriate.  it's a must read! NY Times Editorial | The Rural Life Daytime Lullaby

By VERLYN KLINKENBORG

Published: July 18, 2009

Life on a farm is an exercise in comparative living. This is how the humans go about their lives, and that is how the other creatures manage. And the big difference, I can say after 12 years of watching, is sleep. What a lot of shut-eye all the other species get, and how sleep-deprived humans seem in comparison! I have to wake up the dogs to have a nap with me. Out in the pasture, two of the horses stand in the curious posture that says they're sleeping: one heel raised, one hip dropped, lower lip slowly giving in to gravity. The entire farm is comatose in the day's heat. I can only wonder what it's like to be so well rested, to know that the deep pool of sleep within you - the somnifer, I suppose it's called - is filled to the brim. I'm a good sleeper. But not compared to the creatures around me. For me, sleep is a kind of orderly embarking. For them, it's a sudden plunge into the somnifer - a nod, a shudder, and the instantaneous snoring of those that do snore, the dogs, and the silent dozing of the rest. They live in a mirror universe of sleep and waking, and all day long they pass effortlessly back and forth. What I find especially admirable is the animals' attitude toward daytime sleeping. It is without prejudice because, unlike humans, they know that there is no propriety in sleep. It steals upon you when it steals upon you. You are not a worse chicken for snoozing in the early morning, not an inferior pig for napping the afternoon away in the shade beneath your house. To grasp the force of human culture, all you have to do is consider how hard we try to organize our sleeping. And that is the nub of it. I belong to an artificial pattern of sleep, trying to get a mythic eight hours in the course of the night. But all around me are natural sleepers, sleeping in rhythms established only by their bodies and the flight of the sun and moon overhead.