Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Thoughts from the Island

That's right folks, I am SOAKING UP THE SUN in Maui as you read this!

I almost didn't want to tell you, in case you were just a blog stalker who also happened to be planning to break in my house and steal my very expensive collection of 18th century garden gnomes... but our friends Q & Christie are there (living in the basement as I have mentioned before) and so if you were planning a robbery:
a) they will be home so be really quiet upstairs
b) it's impossible to be quiet upstairs because our hardwood squeaks and they will hear you.

So I would plan your debauchery for another day.

OK, some thoughts:
  • We are here for my sister-in-love's wedding. Danny's sister is getting married on the beach Saturday. Huzzah!!!
  • I made it just over 3 and a half miles today. I did a couple of 4-milers last week, but wore socks and duct tape (as I mentioned.) Today was totally barefoot: shoeless, sockless, tapeless... just me and footies hitting the pavement, actually the sidewalk mostly. Maui has really clean sidewalks.
  • With today's new running 'goal' achieved, I am thinking seriously about running this 10k in a couple of weeks the same way... (hopefully Saint George's terrain feels more like Hawaii's sidewalks than the East Bench's asphalt.)
  • Holden is the greatest toddler in the world. I have no reason to believe otherwise. He did awesome on the 7-hour flight from Phoenix to Maui (serious headwinds); and then didn't even make it to bed until 7 pm last night (which I think is 11 Utah time?) after a 18-plus hour day. Even at dinner, when he was starting to get glazed over eyes Little Bits just got mellow: No breakdowns, no tears... just dazed and ready to hit the sack when we finally let him.
  • He loves the waves and is fearless in the water.
  • My in-laws ("in-loves" as we prefer to say) are amazing: generous, patient and can put up with me. (PS. I've got my Mother-in-Law soaking up the Michael Pollan stuff too! It's awesome!)
  • Lot's more to say, but that should suffice for now.
PS. I do not have a collection of 18th century gnomes. So there really is no reason to break in to my home after all.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Barefoot and Pregnant?!?!

Just kidding- kind of.

I'm definitely NOT preggers, but I have continued on this little *barefoot running journey I mentioned weeks ago.

So here's what I've tried:
  • Running in socks on a treadmill (ok, but not ideal)
  • Running without socks on a treadmill (much better than with the socks)
  • Running outdoors on the pavement, and sidewalks and grass in socks (not too bad)
  • Running outdoors on the pavement without socks (this was WAY too cold for early March pavement, and I am not tough enough for this...yet)
  • Running outdoors on the pavement and the sidewalks in socks with a single strip of duct tape on my sock covering the ball of my foot (this one was a nice combo for my 3 mile plod)
So how does it work? (Well, there's some info here ... and more info here) and even at (gasp!) Runner's World where they say:

"When you run barefoot, your body precisely engages your vision, your brain, the soles of your feet, and all the muscles, bones, tendons, and supporting structures of your feet and legs. They leap to red alert, and give you a high degree of protection from the varied pressures and forces of running."

I'm not sure if my body does all that for my plod, but I am happy to report I still have no knee pain, and my bone spur in my heel has yet to affect me. Granted, most of these runs are in the 2 - 4 mile range (usually closer to 3). So maybe at longer and faster levels it may be different?

But maybe not?

Some of the folks at Haaaahvad point out that:

"...most forefoot and some midfoot strikes (shod or barefoot) do not generate the sudden, large impact transients that occur when you heel strike (shod or barefoot). Consequently, runners who forefoot or midfoot strike do not need shoes with elevated cushioned heels to cope with these sudden, high transient forces that occur when you land on the ground. Therefore, barefoot runners can run easily on the hardest surfaces in the world without discomfort from landing." From http://www.barefootrunning.fas.harvard.edu/

Either way, the Library called on Thursday to let me know my reserved copy of "Born to Run" is ready to be picked up (somehow I ended up with the Cd instead of the book, but it's a start).

Either way, my journey continues.



Disclaimer:
*Obviously the very nature of wearing socks means you're not literally BAREFOOT, I get that... but you know what I mean. And I also am the first to admit that the speed at which I am moving can hardly be classified as running... but we're speaking in larger meanings here, eh? Cut me some slack... just over a year ago the doctors cut open my stomach, took out a baby, along with all of my insides and then put them back in. I've had a slow recovery. ;)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

St. Patty's Day = Free Sin!


So you know I'm Mormon, right? Latter-Day-Saints (aka "Mormons") come in all different shapes and sizes; and like any other religion, we come with a spectrum of devoutness ranging from 'not active or interested' to 'go-go gadget nearing perfection.' I would consider myself somewhere in between...I try. I feel committed. I am not going to lay out exactly what that means, but I will say I believe it and I try to do the best I can.

So those of you familiar with the LDS protocol may be wondering what a bottle of Guinness is (was?) doing in my kitchen.

Well, Danny's not a fan of corned beef and cabbage (ew, me either! Surprise, surprise...)But I still wanted to cook something with a little Irish Flair for St. Patty's day. So we had potato quiche for dinner (hello, Irish potatoes?!?!?), and after hearing Nigella Lawson's bit on NPR about Guinness Chocolate cake I figured cupcakes would be a nice treat for the holiday.

In fact, I even thought about taking a sample to the Mormon ladies I 'visit teach' ... but wasn't sure if they'd think it was funny or offensive. (There's that whole "Word of Wisdom/teetotaler thing").

But as the luck (of the Irish) would have it (or not), the cupcakes didn't exactly work out as I had planned. Yes, please note the giant holes in the middle of my sinful chocolate creations.

Apparently you cannot substitute melted butter at a 1:1 ratio for vegetable oil. Everyone knew this but me, huh? I had to ask my friend Ashlee about it.

Ah the misadventures of Yours Truly continue in the kitchen...


But I was not about to wave the white flag so soon! (I've been in much worse kitchen situations than this!) So I made the cream cheese frosting, and just filled in the holes... and you almost couldn't tell. But I did opt out of taking them to the Relief Society Sisters... instead just one very daring friend, who incidentally happens to cook with bourbon...and Jesus still loves her too.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Hair

Me: "Hey Holden, look at Mommy.
I want to get a picture of you at the stylists for
your first official hair cut!"
First shot at Landis Aveda Salon, earlier today.

"Look at Mommy. Look at Mommy... dangit, blurry again!"

"Holden can you say hi to Mommy's friend Logan?"
Holden is trying to figure out who this guy is...
(He's our stylist Holden, sheesh!)

Logan puts the cape on Holden,
and he is still trying to figure out who this guy is....

Logan starts to snip away.
Holden's in my lap and does really well...

But the kid's only 13 months old... and I don't think he really understood that he was supposed to be keeping his head still. Plus there are lost of fancy people in this salon, and Holden was checking out all the hot little female stylists. I think he was wondering why his mom doesn't dress more fashion forward. (I pledge to try harder.) He never cries, or complains, but definitely wants to pull a B-52 and ....ROAM!


The haircut is finished, Holden gets a mighty cute faux-hawk AND "product." (I've put Burt's Bees lotion in his hair, but that's the extent of his hair care adventures). And I try to get a picture of him for the camera. . . it goes like this:
video

Thankfully, Logan offers to snap a couple of Mommy and Son, and so the day is well documented!

Camera 1


Camera 2


THE END
(well sort of)





I thought about not posting this because one of the gals at the salon took it... I don't know why midway through the shot she decided it would be better to turn the camera sideways... but oh well.
video

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Paradox or Irony?


A few years ago, I had made a stop at one of those 'water to go' shops, where they have... um, water to go?

Right.

And the salesman was going on and on about how I ought to buy a specific kind of container for my water, and how I needed to invest in reverse osmosis for my shower water, etc, etc.

Really, all I wanted was a refill for my current water bottle; that yes, was made out of plastic, but I was reusing it... so don't throw me to the wolves just yet.

So here he is, having a conniption fit about harsh trace minerals and chemicals and deposits in the H20 from my tap; and twenty minutes later (after we had ducked out and had lunch at a sandwich stop next door) he's in front of his fancy purified water to go shop, and he's ... (wait for it)....



smoking.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Why I Can't Write a Cookbook, (Erin).

In short, because my food doesn't always turn out. And sometimes it's a down right failure. (If you're interested in the details, read on.)

Adventures in the kitchen continue...

But unlike most Mommy-Blogs that pridefully boast over all the amazing stuff they cook, today's post comes with a hefty dose of reality: like that dinner party I hosted when we lived down town and my angel food cake that I slaved over turned out to be one giant salt lick.

It's true: my 'stuff' doesn't always work. Just ask my friend Caitlyn about the salty-foodcake debacle.

Take yesterday's meal plan for example: Mexican Food -- Onion & Red Pepper Fajitas (with steak for Danny), black beans and cilantro lime rice. A first attempt at whole wheat tortillas, with fresh homemade salsa and guacamole (plus the fixins')

Sounds pretty tasty right?

Here's the reality:

Grilled veggies anyone can make - and quickly - and they turned out fine.
The guac and salsa, pretty much easy-peasy.

The tortillas? Hit and miss.

How do you roll out a circle? My first attempt did not quite work...

A few later, I kind of start to figure it out...

The finished product (albeit made with butter instead of lard. Though I think I will try with olive oil sometime too.) I almost can't believed it worked...
Well some of them worked. The first one was more along the lines of a crispy tostada than a soft shell tortilla... but there's a learning curve in my kitchen.

The rice and beans did not have fate smiling upon them. My rice was too lime-y, not to mention still crunchy. How hard is it to use a rice cooker? Apparently really hard when it comes to my talent set or serious lack there of.

The beans? Besides the fact that the pot boiled over TWICE (you think I would've caught on after the first round.)...and they cooked for close to 2 hours plus soaking time, and they still were not cooked enough. Ugh!

How does Cafe Rio do it?

Thankfully, Holden will pretty much eat anything -- so he enjoyed the beans & rice. And Danny was so tickled I cooked red meat for him (I honestly can't remember the last time I made cow for this man), that he declared dinner a success. But the truth is, even with a biological grandma born in central Mexico, I did obviously NOT inherit the Mexican cooking gene.

Better luck next time? Or maybe I just ought to stick to making cheese quesadillas.


PS. Erin, thank you for your vote of confidence. But I mostly just steal everyone else's ideas and try to do it myself. You are too kind, but very good for my self esteem friend.

Monday, March 8, 2010

A lovee in the tubby?

Today Holden wanted to bring a lovey into the shower. (So along with some variety of co-sleeping, communal showers are a pretty standard part of the routine here.)

Sure it's nice to have the bathroom all to yourself, but I'd rather be doing a quick clean-up or cooking while he's sleeping. So sometimes I get company during my 'me' time. But that's beside the point...

The Master of Disaster at Work
ANYWAY -
He decides he wants to bring his blue lovey (or small blanket) into the shower. (Yes, he has more than one thankfully; since I seem to have already lost two of them. Again, not winning any Mom of the Year awards-even if I do cook a lot. Did I mention I still haven't found his Robeez? Ugh, I wish I had it more together.)

So the shower? My initial reaction was 'blankets do not belong in showers' obviously.

But then I think, does it really matter if he brings his blanket it the shower? After all, it's only 12" x 12"? It's not like it's a comforter, or something. And I need to wash it anyway. So what's the harm?

But then I think, what if I'm supposed to be setting boundaries?...And I'm setting him up for uncontrollable behaviour because I left the flood gates open with the blanket in the bathtub? Gaaah! This single parenting decision could be the fork in the road that leads my child to a career of riotous living because his mom could not say "No."

This was it... and Danny was not even here to discuss the 'major parenting decisions.' We had committed to working out the tough child rearing issues together. But Papa Mangum was no where to be found (ok, he was actually at work, but still...)

I was flying solo.
I made my decision, and there was no turning back.

The lovey joined us. (Please note our awesome 1970s throw-back tile & tub.)



Later that day I recounted the decision debacle to Danny's Aunt, who in her infinite wisdom talked me off my proverbial motherhood-ledge: "I think everyone should have a lovey in the shower."

Yeah, me too.

You know, maybe his entire future doesn't rest on a piece of polyester sateen...

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Cheesy

We eat a lot of pizza at our house - about once a week, actually. It may be a kick back to the days of living downtown and having "Office Parties" on Thursday nights with the McBrides, Allens & Papa Johns...

But now, instead of calling, picking up or having something delivered in 45 minutes - we just make our own. And it takes less than 45 minutes (plus clean up...If Holden's helping, add in bath time.)


video


Yeast used to scare me. But I've faced my fears, and now it's friend instead of foe. Here's a few samples of our tastings from the past:

Roasted Red Pepper spread (RRP, garlic & toasted almonds)
with fresh spinach and feta cheese before it hit the pizza stone


Grilled red onions with pear & feta

BBQ Chicken with Gouda
(obviously before I gave up slaughtered animals for Lent)


Basic Veggie with Tomato sauce and Mozzarella:
This is the pizza that taught me I ought not put topping on unless
I'm certain it's time to bake any moment...

True story - I got the pie all decorated and then we left for some reason. We came home to an ever expanding dough, with soppy ingredients and sticky unmanageable crust. I'll be the first to admit that not all of my food creations work. This is NOT the food network...


But we ate it anyway.



When I started the Pizza journey, I was making crusts/dough with white flour exclusively - AND using a tablespoon of sugar with my yeast to speed the process and aid in taste. Fast forward to the present: I leave out the sugar, and use either whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour; and make my dough in the morning so I can give it time to raise/proof and give it a little work throughout the day.

I know people think it's crazy to eat carbs these days: but somehow, with exercise and a new love affair with food, Danny and I continue to lose weight while Holden gains. Something about making your own food (without preservatives), portion control and high quality ingredients has been a winning combination for us.

So you probably already have one that works, but if you're interested, I've included our super easy pizza dough recipe below:

Add
2 tsp (1 pkg) *yeast
1 C very warm water
1 T sugar (optional)

Combine
2 1/2 C Flour (plus more for dusting)
1 tsp salt
2 Tbs oil (plus a little extra to grease sides of the bowl, if you're letting the dough proof for a while)

Mix yeast and dry ingredients together, add the oil. Mix well. I don't even use a bread maker, just mix it by hand --give it a good massage with my hands (this makes my engagement ring very dirty, since I hardly ever take it off for cooking... but as far as I can tell wearing your wedding ring doesn't really affect the taste of the pizza.)

From here you can use the dough straightaway, but I prefer to lightly oil the sides of the bowl and let it sit for at least an hour (usually several) covered with plastic wrap.

Bittman's recipe is similar, but it's really the technique with the dough that can help. I have not yet mastered throwing it up in the air or tossing it with one finger. But I'll be sure an You Tube myself once I have gleaned that talent.

To cook, I divide the dough in 1/2 for 2 medium pizzas that fit easily on my pizza stone, and bake at 425 for 8 - 10 minutes depending on toppings, etc.



*I've used both regular and quick rise...but for the past few months I've been sticking with the regular yeast
**white, wheat, pastry wheat, combo...I've used them all, but am pretty married to Bob's Red Mill Whole Wheat and Pastry Wheat varieties, though white flour worked over throughout the day, will give you a more restaurant tasting crust

Dear Gun Lovers:

Please note the signage prepared by my 6 year old niece:

"Thank you for not stalking Bambi or his mom from our yard."


Thoughts?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Cracker (Jacked) Up.

Along with cooking more meals at home, I've been experimenting with home made snack foods-- first there was granola, and most recently: CRACKERS. And before you think I'm completely over the top, let me preface this post by saying that both of the recipes I've tried take (about or) less than 30 minutes (including cooking time).

Danny loves Wheat Thins, but as you may remember I basically threw out the processed food in our house trying to live a somewhat devoted life to the gospel of Pollan. (Thankfully his 'good news' doesn't interfere with my standing in the LDS church.)

Also, it seemed odd to be giving Holden 'organic crackers' that were enriched (code for 'we've taken everything out, so we have to put the good stuff back in.') I don't cook with 'organic raisin paste,' so it seemed a little odd to be giving him crackers with it and a 'vitamin mineral blend' with cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B12? He gets it through his milk already). Organic Schmanik - right?

So I tried making whole wheat crackers first (whole wheat flour and rye flour). Holden likes them --especially with roasted red pepper & garlic spread... I think they need about 2 more tablespoons of salt AND a whole lot of butter. I am not wasting 'good carbs' on organic crackers. I love food too much. but little bits will eat them, and I know where EVERYTHING came from.


But I found this recipe for DIY Wheat Thins for Danny. They obviously weren't an exact match. First, I should've made them thinner. Second, a bit less sugar, and Third: more salt! But Danny said they have the "Wheat Thin aftertaste" so I'll take it as a compliment and keep working on my form.

Have I mentioned I married a very patient man who puts up with a lot?

Friday, March 5, 2010

Hungry?

How about cheese tortellini with butternut cream sauce? Or spinach and chilled green beans with toasted almonds, feta cheese and a simple vinaigrette? This week marked my first attempt at ravioli from scratch as I mentioned earlier. Bittman has the unacanny ability to make me think I can cook anything.
Here's the pics if you're interested...I tried to make a couple of them look all "martha'd out"...

Enjoy!



Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Hits and Misses (Another Edition)


So what's going on with the Mangums?


Hit:
New door! I am normally not a fan of storm doors (they can be seriously so tacky)...


Exhibit A:
My Grandparent's storm door from 40-plus years ago,
you may be able to see that the screen has completely ripped out,
and it is far from being functional.

...but I think until we our in our dream home with knotty alder cabinets & doors, granite counter tops and bamboo flooring that this is a nice upgrade.

Plus I love the extra light we get from it (the storm door), Holden loves the view and when the main door is open, it's like one more window. If only my entire house were made of windows. I think once we paint the house dark grey I'd like a black door, or a red door - very feng shui (or so I hear).

This inside view is much improved as well. From this:


To this!
(It's even better with the door open,
I should've taken one of those shots too.)


Double Miss: In this week's episode of Misadventures in Parenting: Holden ate dirt this morning from one of my mom's potting plants; so I called poison control to make sure the phosphates and whatever junk is in potting soil didn't kill him. It appears he shall live through the day. In other culinary disasters, yesterday at the park I was watching him from 8 feet away (trying to not hover and let the child explore), when he picked up what I though was one of those bean pod dried leaves from a tree... he put it in his mouth before I realized it was 1/2 a peanut butter sandwich some kid had left on the playground! I gagged, panicked and gagged again. But Good News: my son does not seem to have a peanut allergy!

Hit: I weighed in again today and am officially below the 150 lb barrier.

Miss: I am excited about being below the 150 lb barrier. I know it seems a bit odd, to be celebrating at 149.5 lbs. But in my defense (and as I have mentioned numerous times before), I was about 155 when Danny and I started dating (thank goodness I have a man who likes THICK women)... and on my wedding day -- starved and dehydrated -- I was 143. So what is a dire situation for some, is a celebration for moi. (And yes, it's taken years of therapy to be so open about my weight.)

Hit: I feel like we ate fancy food yesterday. We are normally whole-wheat-pasta people in this house, but yesterday I attempted tortellini (from scratch) for the first time. So yes, I used white flour for the noodles...I thought the leftover butternut squash soup would make a great base for a sauce, and it turned out to be quite tasty. Danny was bummed I gave the leftovers to my sister. To complement our fancy feast (not in the cat food sense of the word), but I took the leftover green beans (chilled), added a little feta cheese, crushed almonds and a quick garlic balsamic dressing for our salad and just cooked up some spinich. I did spend a little longer on dinner than I normally would, but it was worth it. Too lazy to download the pictures right now, but I'll post eventually.