A pile of can't-hits

With all due respect to Mr. Thaddeus Sebastian Eliot (I do not know what the T. S. stands for), it is pretty obvious to me that September is in fact the cruelest month, as it is the one that dangles promises of autumn in front of me while remaining TERRIBLY HOT AND SUMMERISH throughout. I am Charlie Brown and September is Lucy van Pelt and the football is a breeze cool enough to require clothing that features plaid and I fall for it every single year. In T. S.'s defense, he actually described April as the "cruellest" month, which might be a different word altogether, I don't know, this does not seem to be the paragraph where I look things up.

Having said that, the tail end of August was quite unkind itself, at least in terms of Bon Appetit recipes. You know how some combinations are basically can't-miss? Like for me it would be apples + cinnamon, potatoes + cheese, eggs + my mouth, etc. Well, I'm going to go ahead and say that barley + fennel + beets is more of a can't-hit.

Sorry, BA #40. I don't think you ever stood a chance with me.

And you know what, let's just throw anchovies + mayonnaise on that pile too.

I'm actually not even sorry for you, BA #41.

Did everybody wear all of their whitest frocks and fineries this weekend before retiring them for the season? Easter is a long way off! What's that? It's a dumb and outdated rule that no one follows? Well. Suit yourselves. I, for one, am not going to have the ghosts of mean snobby ladies from the Victorian era thinking that I'm out of the loop. You've got nothing on me, mean dead snobs.

Ivy's Labor Day outfit knows what I'm talking about.


Got her lunch packed up/ her boots tied tight

In case any of my gentler readers are concerned about how posting a picture of myself in my underwear is going to affect my, I don't know, senate campaign or whatever, I just wanted to point out that I'm actually wearing eleven thick layers of airbrushing and three or four of ironic detachment in that picture, which is probably more cover than any of you have on right now. Or else you are overdressed for August. Also, I spared you the picture that is JUST MY BUTT even though it is objectively the best of the batch by virtue of not featuring my hair or makeup.

Anyway, it has been a stressful week, so I made pudding for dinner.

BA #37: Brown Rice Porridge with Hazelnuts and Jam

And also some cake.

BA #38: Lemon Cake with Raspberries and Pistachios

Those probably would have done the trick, but I made popsicles anyway (BA #39: Cucumber-Lime Paletas), because Anna's frozen-treat modeling honestly brings me a lot of joy.

Sell it, girl.

Hey Anna, how is kindergarten treating you so far?

Doing pretty well with all that?



Guess it's "Permanently Unemployed Lawyer Mom" now

In order to celebrate the "end" of summer (School-Calendar Observed) I made the most autumnal recipe from the June Bon Appetit (#36): Slow-Cooked Salmon with Turnips and Swiss Chard. Nothing complements a hot summer evening like "slow-cooked" and "turnips"!

I assume if my kitchen falls below 80 degrees, it will explode.

Guess it's time to go back to school, Ivy's has gone into charting mode.

Are we concerned about starting kindergarten?

No we are not.

Are we concerned about the proportion of backpack to child?

Maybe a tiny bit.

You may recall that I recently had some tasteful photos done, and Regan has now posted her take on the day's events, including an experience-encapsulating picture of me well on my way to the fetal position, so definitely check that out. She also posted her actual pictures from the shoot, which feels, you know, sort of gauntlet-y. It's exactly like the ice bucket challenge except that it helps no one and involves significantly more discomfort/fewer thinkpieces. Anyway, here you go, this one is notable for the fact that it reveals Glamour Shots' belief that the existence of a belly button is a physical flaw in need of airbrushing.

Party on, Garths.


Motion Managed

I've managed to make a few recipes that were non-rage-inducing in the past few days, so that's something. Also, it has reached that special point in August for me when any activity above and beyond breathing (e.g., cooking, showering, speaking in complete sentences) is categorized under "Managed To."

BA#33: Chicken Salad with Creme Fraiche and Rye. Anna ate all of this without complaining, and then she ate leftovers of this without complaining, probably because she is impressed by the fanciness of creme fraiche and does not realize that I used yogurt instead.

You'll find "think up clever captions for the food pictures" in the "Did Not Manage To" column.

…topped with BA#35: Salt-and-Pepper Steak. I'm going to save you a click and let you know that the entire recipe is "buy a steak and put it near fire for a few minutes." WAIT, NO, PUT SALT AND PEPPER ON IT FIRST. Dang it! Recipes are harder than they look.

Anna starts kindergarten next week and she already has homework, which is exactly what she has been pining after for five years, one month, and eight days now.

Playin' it cool tho

You may recall that the end of preschool threw me a little, but if I had to rank my feelings regarding the start of kindergarten, I'd say the most dominant is "jealousy," followed by "envy," because that place smells like PAPER and POPCORN and there are PRODUCE PUNS on the wall.

Sign. Me. Up.

Anyway, it seems like Ivy is also enjoying the end of her summer.



First things first, let's all spend a minute admiring BA#32: Poached Salmon with Artichoke Confit. I'm going to, and I've already seen it.

Just take that right in.

Now let's discuss how this particular recipe teamed up with a really, really Augusty sort of day and two cranky children to drive me to the fists-raised, eyes-to-the-heavens, why-are-you-doing-this-to-me-Bon-Appetit near-breakdown that was set into motion the moment I resubscribed to this stupid magazine WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME AND WHEN IS IT GOING TO BE FALL.

Ahem. First of all, there are no delicate pea tendrils at HEB. There are no fava beans, fresh or frozen, at HEB. On the very special Monday in question, there was no flat-leaf parsley with which to replace the missing delicate pea tendrils at HEB even though flat-leaf parsley is an extremely basic grocery item that one would expect to find within any building claiming to house groceries. From what I recall, the only thing to be found at HEB yesterday was a giant 800-degree parking lot perfectly calibrated to provoke temper tantrums in two- and five- and thirty-four-year-olds.

Second, when I glanced through the recipe in order to make my shopping list, my eye skipped right past olive oil, as it always does with pantry staples, because of course I have olive oil, it's a staple, in my pantry, except whoops I don't have olive oil anymore since this recipe sucked up 3 1/2 CUPS OF IT.

Third, artichokes. Artichokes are the most confounding vegetation I've ever encountered including Romanesco cauliflower and the BA instructions did not help me very much. Now, is it my own fault and not Bon Appetit's that I've gotten this far in life without ever tackling a relatively common vegetable? Yep, and it's also my fault that I didn't carefully read the part about there being five gallons of olive oil in it before heading off to the worthless, empty grocery store but I still complained about that! Yes I did. Right there in the paragraph above this one, ICYMI. But it is Bon Appetit's fault that they have a feature in the back of the magazine called "Prep School" which I foolishly flipped to in search of the step-by-step guide to breaking down this armadillo of a plant only to find nothing about artichokes, because clearly they are super easy and obvious and everyone understands how to deal with them. But hey, there is a really nice feature explaining the complicated process of punching holes in a pie crust. So. That. Is. Helpful.

I had no idea, for example, which element was the "choke" that I was supposed to be scooping out with a spoon, so I just guessed what part seemed most like a choking hazard. Fortunately, five years of parenting have served to sensitize my choking-hazard radar and I was correct and none of us died but it was NO THANKS to the recipe itself.

Anyway, it tasted good. Like olive oil. No deaths. B+

We were also gifted a tiny, not-for-eating fish yesterday. It came with the name Flame, but Anna claims that he told her to call him Little Swim, so I guess that's his tribal name. Apparently Anna is pretty desperate to nurture something, so she tried to show Little Swim a good time by including him in the most fun activities she could think of, reading about the rainforest and playing Toca Boca.


I know I should unsubscribe but I want to see what happens next

Back to life, back to reality, back to 48 Summer Recipes in Bon Appetit. Come, join me, delicious seasonal things await! Also some beets!

BA#29: Bean Salad with Lemon and Herbs. This had a nice, light flavor, but I don't know about raw green beans.  I like my green beans Southern-style, so mushy as to make their intactness seem nearly physics-defying. I had no doubts about the structural integrity of these guys.

BA#30: Spaghetti with Tomatoes and Anchovy Butter. I know anchovies look kind of creepy in their little tin, but they are beautiful, salt-giving creeps and that's alright in my book.

BA#31: Crushed Beets with Lemon Vinagrette. Beeeeeeeeets, guys, I keep trying. But eating them always makes me feel like a Russian peasant, and not in a fun, sexy way either. Silver lining: I served these to Dan as a dessert and he hasn't skipped town, so our marriage must be in  pretty good shape.

Hey girls, can you stand together and smile?


And smile.

Pretty close. What if we go to the pool?

…the zoo?

Well, fine. But I want you to know that you're never going to be as glamorous as this baby.

He or she is getting a Social Media Image.


Vacation/ all I ever wanted/ almost literally

Guess what? I stayed in a HOTEL Sunday night!

With a BALCONY outside my room!


The last time Dan traveled, he arrived super late the first night and got booted from his reserved hotel, so he ended up with a comped night at any location. Let me tell you, his inconvenience was 100% worth it to me.

We knew we should head north, you know, to escape the August heat, but its possible that 180 miles was not north enough.

So obviously we spent most of this mini-vacation inside. Inside of here, for example:

Where they have these:

And here:

Where they have all of this, some of which is barbecued pork belly and some of which is chocolate cake with coconut ice cream:

And also in here:

Where we encountered these bad boys:

So, basically, that mini-vacation was more successful than we ever could have dreamed. I mean, we missed the girls, obviously. But I think Anna was happy to have some space to work on her sound.