Thursday, November 27, 2014

Bunkin' Up

We have less than 10-weeks to go before our parenting style transitions to a zone defense! At times it feels crazy that I'm over 75% done with this pregnancy, but other times, probably when my pregnancy symptoms flare up, it can't seem to go fast enough. All in all, it's been a pretty good pregnancy though. On this Thanksgiving eve, I can easily reflect on a few things I'm thankful for, that have made my pregnancy easier:

1. Louisa's oft-repeated statement: You need extra help 'cause you're having a baby
2. A wonderful pre-school for Lou to attend on Monday and Friday mornings
3. A gym membership with childcare for Cora so I can work-out while Lou is at school
4. My artistic husband who insisted on making a beautiful bunk-bed for the girls
5. Cooler weather so I can cover up my hideous left leg, purple and puffy with varicose veins

I would have been happy to have the bunk bed ready to go by January-something, but Nate was very interested in getting it done sooner. It turned out so well and Louisa loved helping build it as much as she loves sleeping in it. Cora won't join her until Nate adds a railing to create a crib at the bottom. Reflecting back on Lou's crib-to-bed transition, we did it too quickly (before age 2) and I now realize we probably could have avoided much frustration keeping her contained for a bit longer.

Although I know the process would have been more enjoyable for Nate if he had a nice indoor shop to work in, it was so nice to see him back in his wood-working element...designing, creating and perfecting. I know he's talented, but during this design-build process, I was reminded that he not only has engineering smarts, he's really artistic too.

Because the world needs more before and after photos sets, here goes:
Before (a trundle/day bed given to us by my parents)
After (complete with Alicia-picked. Louisa & Nate approved bedding)
After (water-cup and tissue shelf installed ASAP to avoid call-backs after the final tuck-in)
After (Louisa loves the trellis-ladder and Cora has yet to attempt the climb)

Looking at these photos makes me realize that Ries' dog bed should absolutely be removed from the room. It doesn't match at all and she'll never sleep on the floor of anyone's room, let alone the girls'. Also a shout-out to my Aunt Jeanne who made the black/red fish pillows, to for a nice, thick zebra rug that has stood the test of Louisa's first 3.5 years of life, and to myself for some great coordinating black-out curtains. The patterns of the curtains, pillows, bedding and rug have the potential to be overwhelming when thrown together, but I think they look really great with the modern, white bunk bed. So three cheers again, for Nate, my artistic, project-finishing husband!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Ramekin Chocolate Decadence

I have no intention of transitioning our blog to a cooking/baking blog, but I'm going to tell you about another recipe. Many of you have probably had the privilege of devouring Marcia's chocolate decadence (an almost-flourless chocolate cake). It's one of my favorite go-to dessert recipes because it's easy, yet looks (and tastes) so fancy. One problem with it though, and I realize this is a dietitian-only-problem, is that when I make it for less than say, six people, I end up eating it for the next week. Which is fine, I suppose, but I could potentially grow tired of it during that week which would make it lose it's special place in my heart.

Tonight we had 2 guests over and I realized that I had the ingredients for chocolate decadence, but didn't want to make a full 9-inch springform pan of it. Thankfully I also realized that for my birthday this year, I got 6 ramekins. I googled "flourless chocolate cake ramekins" and found this recipe. The problem with using her recipe is that I didn't have bittersweet chocolate and didn't feel like experimenting with sugar to make the adjustment for the semi-sweet chocolate that I did have. So I ended up making a 1/2 recipe of chocolate decadence to fill 5 ramekins. Sorry Cora, but I planned to put you to bed before dessert.

So that I can make it again and be confident in cooking time and temperature, here is the recipe: 

Ramekin Chocolate Decadence
  • 1 1/3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1.5 teaspoons water
  • 2 eggs
  • 1.5 teaspoons flour
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place the chocolate chips, butter and water in a bowl and microwave for 90 seconds. Stir until smooth. Beat 2 eggs until pale and increased in volume. Add flour, then beat in melted chocolate. Divide batter between five 5-ounce ramekins (mine were half full). Bake for 18-20 minutes. Serve with whipped cream and frozen (thawed) raspberries.

As I type, I'm watching and feeling my belly wiggle and jiggle. I think little baby boy Bosscher is trying to say something: MAKE THE FULL SIZE CAKE EVERY WEEK MAMA! I LOVE IT! Sorry baby, but I firmly believe that the adults choose which foods to prepare and the kids choose how much to eat. Although I realize that the amount part is probably not a choice for you right now. Pretty automatic based on how much I eat.

As proof that I'm not becoming a baker/cook blogger, I have no step-by-step photos, nor do I have photos of the finished product! You'll just have to make to see for yourself.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Frizzled Sage

Two weeks ago we had a wonderful visit from my parents and only one day later, Anne and Wren came to visit! Oh, how easy it is to get used to being able to run errands during nap-time or cook dinner while my children are entertained. It was fun to confirm that I still love to cook as long as I've planned/shopped ahead and don't have to tend to Cora-meltdowns while keeping the pecans from burning under the broiler, sweating an eggplant's bitter juices and preventing dishes from piling up.

Speaking of cooking, one of my larger fears about having kids was introducing ungrateful, potentially picky eaters into my cooking utopia. I know they're only 3 and 1 years old, but so far Nate has remained grateful for the food I cook and the girls have not yet become too picky. And although Nate can't cook as much as he'd like, he still sends me interesting recipes (saying we should make this) and is happy to cook on the weekends when I say I don't care what we eat, as long as I don't have to make it. For these things, I'm thankful. Cooking was definitely a shared interest when we first met, so it's fun to be able to enjoy and talk about food together a short 7-years later.

Tonight I made this Pressure-Cooker Butternut Squash with Frizzled Sage and Brown Butter. Yes, that is actually the ridiculous title of the recipe. I'll refer to it as "risotto" from here on out. We grew some beautiful and massive butternut squash this summer, so it's always nice to find interesting recipes that call for 3.5 pounds of the stuff. The risotto tasted great, but it's definitely not a quick dinner, despite the "pressure-cooker" part. Very tasty though, so I won't complain. It seemed like the perfect kid-food, and it was even finished at 6:30 pm, the perfect time for a tired Cora to eat. Unfortunately, she was in no mood to even consider whether or not she'd like it. Louisa must have been trying to be really nice to me because I let her watch PBS Kids while I cooked, because she said, very sweetly, mom, if Cora doesn't want it, I'll eat it! And she did while I got Cora ready for bed...without dinner. I really felt no guilt, because I AM NOT a short-order cook and the fact that she pushed the risotto away told me that she wasn't truely hungry.

All that in order to share the recipe and also to say that if you decide to make it on a chilly fall evening, don't skip the "frizzled sage" or brown butter. Both sound so optional, and they are, but also added something tasty, rich and fancy to the dish. I did make a stop at the garden store to buy a new sage plant today though, because our other plant got overtaken by tomato vines. This one-stop shop was welcomed because lately I've been very open to structured activities with the baking Halloween candy into cookies, planting mums they pick out, and going swimming outside in November. I'd love to say that I do these things to enrich the minds and lives of my children, but really, it's more selfish than that. I'm pretty sure I would...

a) go crazy
b) waste time on Facebook
c) clean too much

....if I let us stay home without at least one activity or outing per half-day (pre-nap = one half, post-nap = the other half). And then of course taking photos or videos during these activities gives me something for my checklist (i.e. blog about making cookies, going swimming or planting mums), which makes me feel like I've accomplished something each day! Whew.

Soooooo, that was the long way to arrive at sharing these photos and this recipe, which I would recommend if you want to make your Halloween candy feel less processed while quickly diminishing your supply.

And finally, a video from our time at the pool today. I'm so glad that Cora is tall enough to be in the deepest end of the kid pool without hand holding by me. I'm such a baby. The water was probably 80 and the air temperature 73, but still, I didn't really want to go in.

See Where Our Pictures Were Taken