Thursday, July 21, 2016

short takes


B {screaming}: I NEED SOME CA-CORN!

L {executing an uncanny Kate impersonation}: Brady, I don't think you need popcorn. I'm pretty sure you just want popcorn. You might need to change your attitude, though.


Starbucks and I have been on a bit of a break recently.  The one nearest to me doesn't have a drive-thru {WOE}, and the parking situation is usually a bit of a bear.  Plus I just miss my White Rock kiosk something fierce.  But! A rousing discussion on Facebook the other day inspired me to try the new cold brew with sweet cream on the way to an interview last week, and now I'm hooked. A venti is a dollar cheaper than my usual grande latte order, and I prefer the taste of their cold brew to their espresso.  So...yay.  Major breaking news, yes?


I made a new baby meal yesterday as an excuse to a snuggle a squishy 3 week old nugget. I love a good cheesy casserole but figured wrestling ten pounds of lasagna in and out of a hot oven might not be the most fun witching hour activity in mid-July.  I went with a sweet kale salad with pecans and poppyseed dressing {thanks Costco!}, Tortellini & Tomato Salad, and Dewberry Pie.  I think this combo worked out quite nicely for a 100 degree day.  Plus, the leftovers are so super easy for mom or dad to grab straight from the fridge for lunch or a snack. 


L is about 50/50 with naps these days.  And it's any sort of consistent pattern -- more like "this week, I shall nap; next week, maybe not." She is still good about "resting" in her room, but the only toys we keep in there are books, stuffed animals, and doll house. I ordered 3 big floor puzzles for her to add to the Quiet Time Menagerie, and she is having a great time doing this "big girl" activity without her little brother pestering her. If you're in the market, these mermaid, butterfly, and Doc McStuffins puzzles are L Approved!


Apropos of nothing... A weekly tableau at library storytime. Just plugging into their Matrix pods. 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Summer Veggie Tian

E flew up to Dallas Friday morning {I guess I should say he went to the airport Friday morning... storms in the metroplex kept him grounded...and then flying, but circling...and then returning back to ATX...and then grounded some more... and then finally zipping into Love Field 6 hours later}, and the kiddos and I met him in the evening for a visit to GiGi and PawPaw's.  While I'm always thankful to avoid 4 hours on I-35, B is a crazed warthog in the airport and is not fond of lines. I thought our little owl backpack / leash contraption might help keep him contained, but he mostly ended up insisting on holding the lead himself and darting off the minute I was otherwise occupied with luggage or liquids in tiny containers or IDs. But! We all arrived relatively unscathed, and it was nice to be able to travel with just 2 sets of headphones, one iPad, and some snacks instead of a ginormous gremlin-dedicated satchel of All The Things.  

We had an excellent visit with GiGi and PawPaw -- lots of backyard swimming, park playing, and pit BBQ inhaling. If you're looking for suburbia's best brisket, look no further than Hard Eight {in either The Colony or Coppell if you're in DFW}; that place is consistently packed to the gills for very good reason. 

We returned home smack in the middle of naptime.  All things considered, the wheels stayed on until the very end... when B decided the best way to protest some tiny injustice was to lay flat on his face in baggage claim and wail for 7 minutes. When you have a 57 lb duffel strapped to your back and a convertible car seat to juggle and the rest of your family has foresaken you in favor of retrieving the car, there's not much else to do but watch, wait, and time for posterity.  Thankfully, he regained a bit of rational processing ability and scooted outside to continue his sit-in silently. 

Now the meatloaves are in bed and the wine has been poured and I must share this tasty recipe I tried a few weeks ago.  Love, love, love that it looks impressive {or it would if I could manage to take a decent photograph of food} but is actually super simple {even by hand, the prep work is a snap so long as you have a good, sharp knife!}.  I'd never heard the word "tian" in all my life until 12 days ago, but I still strongly feel you should make one ASAP. 

Summer Veggie Tian
- adapted from Budget Bytes

- 1/2 T of EVOO + 3 Misto sprays
- 1/2 T of butter
- pinch of brown sugar
- 1 medium sweet onion, halved and sliced thinly
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 medium zucchini*
- 1 medium yellow squash
- 1 medium potato
- 2 or 3 Roma tomatoes
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1/2 tsp garlic salt
- 1/2 cup shredded Italian cheese blend {or use Parmesan or Asiago on its own}

* When you select your veggies, try to match diameters so that your slices line up together nicely.  As you can see, I didn't take this into account at all while shopping.  The dish is tasty regardless of its aesthetic shortcomings, but my internal OCD Meter was hella-fussy whilst prepping this dish. 

Heat 1/2 T of EVOO and 1/2 T of butter in a saute pan over medium high heat. Add the onions, stirring until softened, then turn heat down and continue to cook onions with the pinch of brown sugar, covered, until they begin to caramelize - about 15 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until it becomes fragrant - another 2-3 minutes. 

While the onions are cooking, thinly slice your remaining veggies.  If you have a mandolin, now would be a great time to dust it off.  If not, a good, sharp knife and a little bit of patience will do the job just fine. Pay particular attention to your potato slices so the end result won't be undercooked! 

Mist the bottom and sides of an 8x8 casserole dish with EVOO. Spread the sauteed onions and garlic in the bottom of the dish. Arrange the sliced veggies, "stacked vertically like dominoes" {love that description!}, in an alternating pattern.  I tried to make sure potatoes and tomatoes were touching so the juices from the 'maters helped cook the 'taters. Spritz the top of the veggies with EVOO and sprinkle with garlic salt and herbs. 

Cover the dish with foil and bake in an oven preheated to 400 degrees for 30 minutes.  Remove foil, sprinkle with cheese, and bake for another 15-20 minutes.  I turned on the broiler for an extra 2 minutes to really brown the top. 

Enjoy as a side dish {serves 4-6} or as a main dish for two with a side salad or piece of toasted naan. 

Friday, July 15, 2016

Five on Friday

Linking up with April & Co. for a very random, "Shit I Currently Enjoy" style Five on Friday!



I had my first legit job interview in over 6 years yesterday, and jeepers creepers did I feel rusty!  I am not sure if I'm a great fit for the position {I actually have feelers out for a whole heap of different opportunities, and this was the only non-lawyer job in the bunch}, but it was a fabulous opportunity to get those long-neglected interviewing muscles stretching again.  Plus, I really liked my outfit!  I ordered this Dot Flounce Dress from LOFT during their big 4th of July sale not knowing if the drop-waist {usually a non-starter for me} would be flattering.  I was pleased as punch to discover it did not translate to a human sausage casing on my real-life hips!  It is currently 40% off with the code FIVESTARS, and it will transition so nicely to Fall with black tights, booties, and a cardigan or jacket. {And no, that is not an affiliate link.}


So sorry, watermelon; cherries are by far my favorite summer fruit.  But pitting them for the kids to snack on is...well, the pits. I found this adorable cherry pitter on Amazon 2 years ago, and he continues to save us time in the kitchen and make us smile all the while.  When he's not performing his intended manual labor, "Cherry Man" can often be found lounging in L's dollhouse or observing her latest architectural Lego endeavor.  Of all the "one hit wonder" kitchen gadgets on the market, this might be my very favorite!  {And yes, those are affiliate links.}


Does anyone else remember James Marshall's books from childhood?  I think they were mostly written in the late 70s and early 80s.  My mom still has some old George & Martha tales in the kids' room at her house, and I came across a copy of Miss Nelson is Missing {which has Peking listed as the capital of China on the blackboard in one scene!} at the library last week. The books are more L's comprehension level, but B also really enjoys them {or at least enjoys shouting VIOLA SWAMP! at both appropriate and inappropriate plot points}.  I think his retold fairy tales {Goldilocks, Hansel + Gretel, 3 Pigs, Red Riding Hood, Cinderella} are also really cute and clever! {You better believe those are all affiliate links.}


Have you seen Maya Rudolph and Emma Stone performing Robyn's "Call Your Girlfriend" acapella with butter tubs? If the answer is nay, your life is incomplete. But! I'm happy to rectify such a sorry situation.  {I only wish I had an affiliate link to this.}


I keep meaning to do one huge post on all of my podcast obsessions {yet another reason I haven't been blogging as much}, but my latest discovery is too good not to share immediately. It is called My Dad Wrote a Porno, and before you write me off forever, NPR Pop Culture Happy Hour {very G-rated itself} highly recommended it, and it is simply DELIGHTFUL! A British gent {professional comedian? regular, funny Joe? I'm unsure} discovered his 60 year old father had self-published an erotic novel and reads a chapter per episode while simultaneously providing commentary along with his two hysterical friends. Obviously NSFW or tiny meatloaf ears, but you will legitimately LOL. {Maybe I don't wish I had affiliate links for this one.}