I found some inspiration to cook a bit more this weekend, fueled by both watching MasterChef and seeing how much we’ve been spending on eating out lately. Our weekday routine is pretty hectic with me trying to work out so there’s been a lot of fast food runs and I’m not proud or happy about it. Since we didn’t have anything on the schedule for the weekend I decided to make these Thai pork & veggie meatballs. I made them a while ago and loved them, but never really made them again afterward. It’s not like they’re hard – just sometimes the idea of cooking a meal seems more daunting than it really is. Since the recipe makes more than enough for us, I divided the meat mixture in half and froze one part for later. That way – hopefully – I won’t be hitting the fast food line the next time we’re in a pinch.
This morning I tried getting back into my Breakfast Sunday routine. Homemade raspberry muffins with garden-fresh berries I picked the other day. Every year I think I should just rip those canes out – they’re probably going to destroy the foundation of the house – but then every year I get these delicious berries and forget about that idea. The muffin recipe itself is lacking – it came from a Better Homes & Gardens cookbook in the cabinet that I never use because every time I do I realize why I ignore it. So my new goal is to find a muffin recipe I love that is good enough to go in the family recipes cookbook with the other tried-and-true favorites.
Rain is coming our way again. So no outdoor spinning. I did manage to finish one bobbin last night, which was one half of the 4oz braid. I’m trying to spin it thicker than normal on my lace flyer so it’ll add twist faster. I’m a bit nervous about what the finished product is going to end up being, but it sure looks pretty at the moment on the bobbin. The fact that this has spun up fairly quickly since I’m not trying to go for thin specifically has me thinking about ordering a few braids of fiber on Etsy and making a throw blanket for the guest bedroom/craft room that I’m working on. I just have to figure out what colors I want – everything in my house is some sort of blue or green since it’s so calming, and I’m not sure if I should stick with that or if I should try to incorporate some other color into it. Maybe I’ll kill some time on Etsy and see what jumps out at me.
We’re quite the pair, my little munchkin and I. He has, apparently, inherited my “I hate naps” trait, which leads to a bit of a tricky day trying to get things done with him in tow. The few times he does nap I catch up on the computer, or I spend it knitting (I have a sweet little Gramps cardigan in the works for him for next winter), or other things that are difficult with a baby. But most days I’m toting him around with me. Upstairs to play while I put away laundry or clean the bedrooms. In the home office/craft room when I need something from there. And, of course, in the kitchen to cook and bake.
I know, ultimately, every room he’s in is interesting – every day there’s new items and sounds he’s noticing. But the kitchen… the kitchen is my favorite place to be with him. The kitchen is where we can go from fussy baby to completely content. He loves to watch me move around the room, opening and closing things, banging spoons on the pots and pans, running the mixer or kneading bread dough. The kitchen is my happy place – watching a few ingredients come together to make something amazingly delicious is like magic. If there’s one thing I hope to pass on to him, it would be a love of the kitchen. Even if all he ever makes is boxed mac and cheese in his adult life (though I really hope he makes more than that. Please, universe, let him be a better cook than that!), I want him to have fond memories of time in the kitchen with his mama. Kneading bread, making jam, canning salsa, etc.
Today I made a double batch of these coconut breakfast bars. I made them last week but didn’t like all that honey in there, so this week I used less. I also skipped the coconut milk and just used water, mostly because I didn’t feel like messing with trying to thaw some coconut milk for it. I’m still not sure I really love these bars, and I feel like they’re missing something, so perhaps next time I’ll make some major modifications to tweak them more for my tastes.
Thanksgiving Dinner. We host every year, which is always stressful. I keep wondering if it will get easier from year to year… and I suppose it has if only because I started caring less about my house being perfectly clean. The volume of people crammed in here, however, never gets easier for me and it’s always a huge relief once everyone goes home and my house goes back to it’s usual level of noise.
I gave the baby a tiny bit of mashed sweet potato mixed with formula. We’re still a bit early for solids yet, though he is showing more interest in watching us eat and what we have on our plates, but since it was a holiday I thought it would be fun to let him try it. His reaction was pretty hilarious and he spit it out right away.
Today things are laid back and quiet. The remnants of Thanksgiving needs cleaned up and put away – tables, chairs, decorations on the dining room table, etc. And then it’s time to dig out the sparkles and lights and make the house merry and bright! It’s my favorite way to spend the Friday after. And this year in particular I’m overly excited – apparently having a baby makes you stop dreading the holidays?
I have finished knitting to show you all, and our cute holiday cards came in the mail, too… but first, coffee and decorating and holiday music.
Yesterday we had a kitchen day – I turned on the White Stripes station on Pandora, popped him into the bouncer, and we hung out together in the kitchen while I prepped some items for dinners this week and cleaned and organized some cabinets. It’s been a bit since I’ve really been in the kitchen and I quite missed it, and I’m trying to make more of an effort to incorporate him into the chores I do especially while he’s awake, so it was nice to be able to combine the two. I had a bit of wine, cooked up some mashed potatoes, and had just a lovely afternoon while he looked around (or napped). And having a clean kitchen, even if it was just for an hour, was fantastic.
The fall temps are here for good, it seems, which means the garden is winding down. We’ve been picking tomatoes and peppers as much as we can but I’m running out of counter space and I have zero clue how to store our veggies to make them last until we can get around to eating them. I’ve even been giving away what I can! This is the struggle I have every year with the garden… a huge bounty of veggies, and nowhere to store them and not enough meals in the day to eat them. I know I can freeze them for sauces later, but we just don’t use tomato sauce very often, sadly. I think this winter I need to plan the garden better and pare back on the number of tomato plants we grow since we certainly don’t need all of these. We could do with a bit more variety in the garden, anyway, especially since by next spring we’ll be feeding Declan real foods – it’d be great to grow a lot of baby food friendly things for him to eat and try!