Brisket and Baby

Marin Sun Farms gave us brisket two shipments in a row. Mister made a version of beef Bourgogne while we were up in Truckee.

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I loved it. It was full of winey mushrooms and carrots that my picky nephews ate (sort of). He pulled out Arthur Schwartz’s Jewish Home Cooking: Yiddish Recipes Revisited for me while I browsed one of my slow cooker books.

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In the end, I went with his recipe but used the timing from one of the slow cooker recipes. It was incredibly easy though the slicing of four onions was hell on Lentil and me.

Slow cooker on for 7.5 hours (I added another 45 minutes or so because the brisket was too big to evenly fit in the cooker and had to be flipped). Yum. Yum. Yum. Tender, flavorful meat. Yum. Yum. Yum. It wasn’t stringy, it wasn’t tough. The simple recipe let the brisket be brisket, taking in the onion flavor mixed with the fat of the meat.

It might not be proper, but I might toss in more carrots next time (Schwartz’s recipe does not include carrots but I added a couple).

Further wisdom from the Northwest Mommy

“Heed my words,” she wrote me in a recent email. I shed ounds of water weight after Lentil was born, yippee! But once the water days are past, said the Northwest Mommy, it can be easy to fall into the breastfeeding trap. When she lived in my ‘hood, NM would walk to a couple of the local pastry shops for a treat. Too many treats, apparently, though with good reason to celebrate:

“I gave birth to a nearly 10 lb. baby”, “I woke up 9 times last night to nurse her”, “I changed 6 poopy diapers today”, and so on.  After about 6 months I decided that I couldn’t quite justify daily pastries nor could my waistline but by then the damage was done.  Heed my words!!!

I’m heeding, I’m heeding. My only fitting pants (fitting is a loose term) are pre-pregnancy though neither should be worn with the waist revealed. I’m a little blobby (understandable but true). Still, it is easy to eat something that is not good for you or that is not a productive snack out of nursing desperation. (Example: tater tots) My fallback is and always has been bread and cheese or crackers and cheese.

So, on Friday I will attend my first “Stroller Strides” class through The Tulip Grove. While I would like to get back to the gym, I’m not sure I’m ready to deal with day care (baby must be in clean diaper, I should probably have a bottle for her … but she won’t take bottles); baby comes with to Stroller Strides. I can roll ugly out of bed and out the door. Lentil, on the other hand, will be cute as pie.

When I Learned to Respect Gauge

img_1563Lentil’s heart pants are nearly done. I’ve seamed them, sewn on the heart patches, and will add the elastic band sometime this week. They are about as big as she is which means waiting a few weeks to put them on her.

What did I learn doing this project? I learned to appreciate gauge. I’m admit I’m sloppy about it and generally lack patience to check my gauge. The consequence in this instance is that the pants are long enough, but perhaps not wide enough, to fit properly. Good thing she’s a long baby.

I decided to knit her a kimono sweater (originally I planned to make Elizabeth Zimmerman’s raglan sweater). Yes, I started my gauge swatch. 🙂

I finished seaming up the legs which I was dreading but I used the instruction illustrations from Essential Baby: Over 20 Handknits to Take Your Baby from First Days to First Steps. The map folded in my head (an expression I picked up from Mister) and I could finally see the mattress stitch and put it into action. I’m happy to report the seams look beautiful.

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(The disadvantage of my shot is that I seamed with the same color as the pants therefore it is not a good instructional shot. Contrast color would help with that.)

There Can Never Be Too Much Tutu

Tutu delightI was tooling around Etsy just before Christmas and found a couple of tutu makers, including Frill’er Up Couture. How could I resist a tutu for my tiny Lentil?

Mister said he’d protect her from the frills. I say hah! and bah!

The tutu was a hit at Christmas. She wore it for her entree, then changed (twice). It’s a little difficult to see but you can get the basic cuteness from her picture with Grandpa.

Grandpa and Lentil

CSA for Knitters

Mister is very supportive of my knitting obsession. I don’t knit especially fast, and this was a down year for finished projects owing to my broken-during-pregnancy hands. But that’s all over and I’m nearly done with Lentil’s heart pants from Hannah Fettig’s Closely Knit: Handmade Gifts For The Ones You Love. After the pants are complete, I hope to whip through a baby sweater and hat, then finish other odds and ends.

Still, these items will not diminish my stash because their yarn is pulled out of the stash. The stash is everywhere. It is in the garage, under the desk, behind the green chair.

No matter! For our third anniversary, he found a special CSA for me. We already have the Marin Sun Farms Meat CSA I’ve written about and we’ve gone on and off a vegetable/fruit CSA. This one is a little different.

While the traditional third anniversary is leather, but Mister opted for wool. Mister loves Mighty Goods, which linked to Not Martha, who had posted a great gift guide that included links to a yarn CSA. The original one on Martha’s Vineyard sold out but the group posted a second one in Hudson Valley (NY). (He’s very good at gift giving.)

baaaWho could resist this little face?

For $140, we buy into the harvest:

When you purchase a share in our CSA you are investing in our Fall 2008 “yarn harvest” of Kid Mohair and Mohair. You’ll receive an shareholders certificate, weekly email updates on what’s going on around the farm, and an invitation to our Shearing Day Celebration. (And if you get the urge to shovel poopy hay while you’re here, we’ll lend you a shovel.)

The money we receive from the shareholders will be used to purchase hay and feed for the animals and to increase the size of our flock. Our 16 pregnant nanny goats will be giving us kids between February and May and all of those kids will be sheared for the first time in the Fall, along with all the other goats.

How cool is that? We could fly out to NY to see the farm and shovel manure and listen to the baa, baas of the sheep. I bet Lentil would love it. The Wall Street Journal thought it was appealing, too.

We will end up with roughly 10 skeins of homespun fiber (give or take). Yippee for CSAs!

Note: I realize this is not a local business, but what a cool idea. Way to exploit the farmers’ market frenzy. We’re in!

The Beauty of Food when one is ill: Bon Appetit!

Mister and I instituted a new budget that includes food purchases. Then we got sick. Today, six days in, is the first in three that I’m not running a fever and don’t feel like hell. Still, my snot is chartreuse and I’m coughing with vigor so all is not perfect, just on the mend.

Our house is damn cold owing to one heater vent in the living room and no insulation anywhere. I’d left the portable electric heater on all day yesterday in our bedroom but the room was still frosty (imagine if the heater had been off). Mister proposed sleeping in the living room so we set up camp with me on the couch hacking away, Lentil in her Amby floating in space, and Mister on the aerobed on the floor. After five nights in the living room (or was it six?) I moved us up to Lentil’s room because she has the awesome sofabed. Not that the aerobed wasn’t comfortable, but I like not being in the draft of the living room floor.

During my time on teh couch, I surfed around looking for new recipes to work on our weekly menus. I found a recipe that was fantastic looking, so fantastic that Bon Appetitit included it in its best of blog list. Now I have no idea where I started, but I made this big pancake, also known as a Dutch baby, yesterday. I’d like to make these herb canneloni but Mister is the pasta maker. Sassy Radish has this snappy looking pepita brittle, but what she also posted … dark chocolate cherry muffins. Muffins? Really? Let’s call them what they are: cupcakes of love.

Also on my list of mmmmmmyummy from the blogs?

Go forth and cook!

Sick as a Dog

We went from being congested to me running a fever of 101.3 yesterday with aches in my teeth. I caved and took Advil in the evening and again in the middle of the night, right before I sobbed in bed.
I woke up listening to Lentil make mewing and grousing sounds. My sore throat felt like someone had poured sand down it. After Lentil had nursed and was fussing back to sleep, Mister turned the humidifier back on, which eased my throat over time and made breathing easier for Lentil and me.
But before the mist could do its trick, I was achy and sad and cried and cried. Mister suggested either I sleep in Lentil’s room or they go so she wouldn’t wake me. In my crappy, addled state I felt like a failure as a mother. One of the side effects of getting sick is your milk production can slow making feeding more difficult or at least stressful. Here I was, lying in bed and unable to comfort my child.
Yes, yes I know I’m a good mama and we’ll be fine but there is little solace to be found in the wee hours of the night when your child is unhappy.
Today I am without a fever, it seems, but developing a painful cough. I caved again and took Robitussin DM after reading several different articles and posts. Which doctor should I have called to check on the medicine’s safety? My OB? a GP? Lentil’s pediatrician? (I called the last but hung up frustrated by the labyrinthine phone system, my first complaint about the office.)
Four days in and I need to get on the mend. She’s asleep and I’m not hacking.