Goodbye 2010, you made me fat (and fairly happy)

Okay, time to get serious about cramming in as many end-of-the-year excesses as possible. It is my understanding that "The Holidays" are ceasing very soon, and hourly candy consumption will once again become a frowned-upon habit. Today, if it looks like a peanut butter cup, it is going in my mouth. (Take that, ancient Roman hedonists!)

On Wednesday night we went to NXNW to finally use a gift card that had been beckoning since Dan's birthday in July. The entire meal was very good but the only thing that really mattered was the enormous plate of roasted garlic bulbs spread over goat cheese and toast. Is this appetizer intended for two people? No, it is not. We were undeterred by this reality.

Anna did eat the corner of one of the toasts.
Yesterday morning we opened the awesome homemade jelly and jam that Garrett and Emily gave us for Christmas.

These are flavors that should always go together. Always.
I made some biscuits. And warmed up some ham. And shaved some slices of cheese.

I don't understand why the Wii Fit keeps saying that my BMI is going up.
But UH OH, here comes the CSA box of plant-based doom! I made some chicken schnitzel and a large salad, which is the least imaginative way to go when faced with 10 pounds of vegetation. (In my defense, I'm not sure what else to do with "salad mix" and "salad turnips.") Clearly I did not tackle any difficult vegetables yet, but the following items will NOT be compost-bound: salad mix, turnips, carrot, tomatoes.

The future is here, and it looks...sort of colorful and pleasant, actually.
Yesterday's excitement also included Anna's last Christmas present of the year (I think?), a Sit 'n Spin from Kay. I didn't get any pictures that really captured it, but she was beyond impatient with Dan's assembly efforts.

"DAD. Just...let...me...do...it."
It was all worth it when it was finally put together!

The most fun toy in the world!

For six and a half seconds.
Happy New Year's, boys and girls! Fun, safe, etc. etc. Only two years until the end of the world so we should probably live it up.


I ate a lot of butter and red meat and then a stranger made me weigh myself for no reason

Since Dan is off work this week, it's still totally Winter Break Blog Vacation Slack Time, but here's a little glimpse at the recently-completed Christmas Number Two.

I've been super busy! I made about 30,000 of these, for one thing.

That translates to 586,920,705 calories.
I made bacon jam as well, but I didn't take a picture of it because it just looks like cat food, which is kind of gross. I also used old baby food jars to deliver it, which made it gross AND weird. I bet now you're pretty upset if you didn't get some, I'm sorry.

I made a cheese soufflé without professional assistance and it rose and tasted like cheese and was a big win.

Technically it was about 3/4 soufflé and 1/4 soup, but it all tasted like cheese so I'm still calling it a success.
Anna spent her second Christmas of the week vacillating between commandeering the dog toys and snatching all the bows off of presents.

"This one fell off and I was just...putting it back on."
She also spent a little bit of time receiving a computer tutorial from cousin Levi.

"Which button is the loudest?"
There was bacon in or near almost everything we ate on Christmas day. Here, it seems pretty obvious, but what you're not seeing is that the French toast was also cooked in bacon grease.

Don't worry, the yogurt over there on the side is "Light and Fit."
Here it's in the potatoes, attempting to upstage the prime rib.

Mmmmmm meat and taters I will miss you so much when I start eating normal food again.

Dan and I took advantage of the free babysitting the next day and had a nice lunch at the Dodging Duck Brewhaus. Dan had a pile of sausage and cheese, and I had a beef-and-potatoes-guilt-induced veggie sandwich with veggies on the side.


By dinner I had sufficiently recovered from my guilt to eat a giant plate of leftover mashed potatoes and tamales. Smothered in queso.
We eventually made Anna work off her bow-thievery.

She'll be done in 2-3 years, but I'm not counting on good behavior.
We also had our first taste of having to actually assemble Christmas presents as parents.

This baby doll stroller is significantly fancier and more complicated than the stroller we actually push her around in.

Finally, Foodimentary told me that today is National "Get on the Scales Day," although now that I look for some sort of confirmation of that it seems to be something he just made up to make me feel bad about myself. Anyway, I did it, and I was appropriately horrified, in an unsurprised sort of way. But you know what tomorrow is? Our first round of renewed CSA vegetables! Know what I forgot about when I got all uppity about my ability to handle any amount of kale that comes my way? Beets. Dammit.


Merry Christmas!

Good tidings to you from Anna, who is busily ignoring a large pile of thoughtful gifts in favor of holiday-themed dog toys.


She's really getting into the spirit of things now

One of Anna's early Christmas presents is a baby doll that talks and wriggles around, and she's still working out how she feels about it. Yesterday she kept bringing it up to me, shoving it in my hands, then making this sequence of expressions:

And so on. For about twenty minutes. At which point she started smacking its head like it was a Whack-a-Mole game. Good luck, hypothetical future younger sibling! I'll try to keep you out of her reach.

She's much more at ease with the making-Hopper-look-more-festive project.

Committee chair.

I might let her decorate hypothetical future younger sibling, actually.
Okay, Christmas Part Two commences this afternoon, so frequency of updates will probably just depend on how much I want to avoid my in-laws. HAHA, JUST KIDDING IN-LAWS, WHO TOTALLY READ THIS BLOG. Love you guys!


I'm halfway done with Christmas and you're not

Clearly I'm taking a bit of a Winter Break from blogging, but I just stopped in to give you an update on Christmas Part One.

Dan got me Wii Fit! And a dress that's too small. He's not a jerk or anything, one was specifically requested and one was unintentional. I'll let you sort that out.

So, so sore today.
My parents decided to go fancyawesome for our Christmas breakfast, with bubbles and yeast waffles. And bacon, for those of you who don't know my parents and therefore aren't aware that it goes without saying.

Good morning!

I think the light shimmering off of the butter means that the angels approve.

Anna took in "Christmas" morning with her world-famous consternation.

Also, bird feet.
She was pretty excited about her new hat.

She even styled it herself.
Classic and delicious roast beast for lunch.

My love of roast, mashed potatoes, and mushy mushy green beans is one of my most Southern qualities.

Followed by a trifle in the style of Black Forest Cake.

It's the dessert of kings who really like whipped cream.

We are now back home for a couple of days, and easing back into our normal schedule of cat-torment.

Listen, if he wanted to move, he could move.


I still get to call it "holiday weight" for a month or so

I feel that the manner in which most of you are currently consuming blueberries is quite boring in light of Anna's blueberry-eating process:

Dump all berries onto floor. Pick up one berry. Place it in the bowl. Take it out of the bowl and eat it.

Attempt to climb into the bowl.


Victory hat.
Friday night I made slow-cooker pork tacos. They were very tasty. They were also the third in a four-meal streak of eating only tacos, which I believe is a personal best.

Also having them for lunch today.
We went to check out the Sunday roast at our pub that we own and it was full-on delightful. Know what that thing is in the corner? It's not a roll. It's a pudding, you guys. That is for real.

OG pub lunch.
Sunday afternoon I decided that an enormous plate of butter and starch wasn't quite doing it for me, so I went to my Meetup group's cookie exchange. There were obviously only delicious things there because I don't know if you've ever noticed, but overachieving stay-at-home-moms can bake the hell out of some cookies. There were brownies inside of cookies. Some mad-science stuff. That's all I'm saying.

Anyway, all this taco cookie Sunday roast nonsense has created such a sense of guilt in me that I renewed our CSA. For those of you who remember how relieved I was when we canceled it, you understand the significance of this. I'm almost sure the CSA caused my complicated relationship to kale, among other things, and here I am going right back to it. Prepare yourselves kids, as 2011 is destined to be the year of the well-documented giant vegetable box.


Some foods demand the ALLCAPS treatment

Hey, listen you guys, I know you've been on the edge of your seats waiting for this week's kale, and your wait is over. Thanks for your patience. I decided to buck tradition and make the least-appealing meal of the week right there on Wednesday night, just to bring a little healthy unhappiness to mid-week. When I saw the extremely depressing words "fish and kale" on the list, I figured that was definitely the one. Who plans these menus?

What a jerk.
Then, to make up for it, on Thursday night we had the opposite of kale: MINIATURE GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICHES. Okay, technically it was vegetarian split pea soup with grilled cheese croutons, but we all know the soup was just there to keep the adorable MINIATURE GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICHES from sliding around all over the place.

The tragedy of this is realizing how much soup I've had without MINIATURE GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICHES in it.
For the record, I had filed this link in my "Light Recipes" folder. There is an element of truthiness to my "Light Recipes" folder. Anyway, these things are so amazing they actually de-scowleled Anna (temporarily).

Our Meetup at Terra Burger this morning was pretty fun, but it was a little bit crowded.

(With crickets making sad chirping noises.)
At least, as you can see above, she fully took advantage of the completely empty playground. She did eventually wander over and mess with the water that had collected at the bottom of the slides. For a while she kept trying to lean over and lick it up, like a cat.

I had offered her water out of a cup 43 times by that point.
Actually, someone else showed up right as we were leaving, so I guess we were just too early, like nerds. It was sort of weird timing, where I had already put Anna in her car seat when they pulled up, but I didn't want to just drive away like I didn't see them, so I stood there awkwardly until the other mom got out of the car and was all "OH HI, WE WERE JUST LEAVING BUT I WANTED TO WAVE AT YOU" and she was like "Okay...thanks for the information." And then I think she said "nerd" under her breath.


I remembered how to cook, and started doing so

So, yeah, here it is:

The Little Tree That Hated Christmas
I should note that the pot it's in weighs about 5,000 pounds when it's empty, so it looks like "pointy, begrudging Christmas tree" is probably just a permanent fixture in our corner now. I'm hoping they make ornaments for all major holidays.

Guess who totally doesn't approve?

The Little Girl Who Hated Smiling

Ooooooh almost got her.
Monday night I made Smitten Kitchen's spaghetti with chickpeas.

Because one look at me and you think, "There's a girl who should be carbo-loading."
It was good, but I agree with her assessment that it the sauce-to-pasta ratio should be a little higher. I also commented to Dan that I thought a poached egg on top might help tie it together a little bit and he correctly pointed out that I think that about all dishes. And I'm not wrong.

Last night was Spiced Butternut Squash, Lentil, and Goat Cheese Salad. I always forget how much I hate dealing with butternut squash until I'm about 15 minutes into the process, but it turned out okay. Could have used more spice, more vinegar, more arugula.

Maybe a poached egg on top.



Anna is still very much enamored of her furrowed brow.

Watching Sesame Street.


Composing her Christmas list.
Anyway, I've been so busy documenting her permanent scowl that I've pretty much failed to do any cooking since Thanksgiving. Don't worry though, there's kale in the fridge, ready to go. Fortunately I had Bunko at Emily's last week, where I put together this extremely festive plate:

I think this was actually my third extremely festive plate.
We got our first real Christmas tree yesterday! And by real I mean really REAL because my husband is a hippie and wouldn't let me get a nice big easy fake tree like I wanted. Instead we got an actual live tree in a pot, because that seemed like the most difficult possible option.

Anna oversees its transport with the standard enthusiasm.
For someone who has never decorated her own tree before I have a pretty extensive collection of ornaments, dating back to some I got as a kid. What I didn't realize until yesterday was that some of these long-dormant ornaments are really freaking creepy.

My theory is that this is dramatic chipmunk going incognito.
One of the downsides of our inconvenient new tree is that unlike the soft plasticky goodness of fake trees, it boasts a shield of deranged killer spikes that make decoration an extremely uncomfortable experience. After about twenty minutes of "reach in, try to hook something on, whimper pitifully" I realized that because this tree is alive, it maintains all of its natural defenses. Particularly the defense against people hanging a bunch of weird-looking crap on it.

Update: Dan really wants me to link the word "incognito" to this video, I guess because he thinks the world needs to know that all of my vocabulary is Sesame Street-derived. I was trying to keep that on the DL, man!