My brain melted, so I made pasta

I have a question for everyone: is farro a thing that exists? Like, in the real, material universe that we live in? I keep finding and bookmarking and intending to cook recipes that involve this mysterious fairygrain from the netherworld, but it does not seem to be available in any of our human grocery stores. Consequently, I keep eating barley.

Apple, almond, and smoked mozzarella farro barley salad.
I find that the best antidote to barley is steak fingers. This is based on years of painstaking research.

The jalapeƱo cream gravy is just a nice added bonus because Homesick Texan is an evil genius.
Yesterday was the 44th 100 degree day of the year here in Austin! That plus the 12 inches below average rainfall has finally broken me, I think. I GIVE UP, WEATHER! I EMBRACE THE HEAT! Let's celebrate my collapse with something described as a "cozy winter recipe."

Pasta e fagioli at the end of July: like staring into the mouth of madness.
Anna, who is younger and more resilient and hasn't yet succumbed to the heat-crazies, has chosen the more reasonable "damp kitchen towel on the head" route.

Still fighting the good fight. Just two or three more months until we see the 70s again!

I think she has also been working on her impression of me.

Very droll.


How long until she can use it to fetch me things from the store?

First some housekeeping: eagle-eyed reader "My Own Mother" pointed out that I neglected to observe and document very important holiday Belgian Independence Day this year. Yes. Thank you for noticing. I have many excuses for this lapse, including the fact that beer-centric celebrations are rather sad endeavors for me right now, I am pregnant and tired, I have been busy, I have been a little bit sick, and the sun was in my eyes. NEVERTHELESS, I feel that I have failed to respect the mission of this blog, which is to seek out obscure reasons for thematic food and drink and display pictures of my daughter looking surly. I promise that moving forward I will try to attend my duties more conscientiously. Looks like we have some Croatian Victory Day festivities to look forward to!

Anyway. Grandma and Grandpa Huff came up this weekend to give Anna her birthday present, a (mostly) big-girl tricycle.

Like her mother, Anna believes that instructions and proper assembly are overrated when you're ready to go.

I'm trying to make the helmet an "all waking hours" sort of thing. One part safety, five parts my own amusement.
On Sunday morning we went to the park so that Daddy and daughter could express their mutual distaste for nature.

"Well this is disappointing."
I also took a stab at healthy cooking because, hey, it's been a while. I don't think this Salmon with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes recipe really needs to exist, since it consists of "put both of those things in the oven," but there you go anyway.

Just heat it all up, seriously.
Then I suggest you follow my lead and hit UNDO on that nutritionally responsible misstep with some Lemon and Lime Icebox Pie.

Sweetened condensed milk will fix it.


Friday afternoon. Effort level = 16%.

I think I may have posted this recipe for Chicken, Potato, and Chipotle Salad on here before, but I can neither remember nor summon the motivation to look it up. I'm thinking that's going to be the case...always, so let's go ahead and establish that the repeated-recipe policy for this blog is me not caring at all. Anyway, you may have noticed that I tend to be drawn to things that can best be described as "improbably good," and this fits in that category.

When Rick Bayless tells you to put cooked potato in your salad, don't fight it. Just let it happen.
I think the part of this Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Mustard Dill Sauce and Quick-Pickled Zucchini that caught my eye was "pickled." Here I am well into my second trimester and I've hardly done any stereotypical pregnant-lady eating. Time's a wastin'! Better have a giant pile of pickles as a side dish.

I'm sending Dan out for ice cream tonight too, watch me.
Anna finally emerged from her vision quest, or whatever was happening in that tent, to stand in a basket while wearing a hat.

I like that every picture in the vicinity of the tent makes her look like Big Foot.

I don't know if I can classify it as an Anna's Fashion Corner entry, but this wasn't without precedent.

So I'm thinking that's it's pretty well established to be the Thing of Midsummer '11 now. Wearing a hat in a container: catch the fever!


The year of the sheep

Time for another birthday cake! I decided to go a different direction this year.

That direction is "normal and appropriate." Don't get used to it.
I also kept the food pretty simple, focusing on qualities such as "round" and "made of bread." Just trying to make my birthday girl not throw a screaming fit happy on her special day.

Pizza rolls !

Muffins! It is not an exaggeration to say that she ate three of these for every year of her life so far. I was very close to making a similar attempt.
She got some pretty sweet presents this year, too. Check out this play kitchen from her YaYa and PaPa.

"Practice making coffee," we commanded repeatedly.
She also got a pop-up play tent from the Loontjers, which she disappeared into pretty much immediately.

We haven't seen her since.


Happy birthday, everyone else who lives here!

Well, it's birthday week here at Casa Huff, and you know what that means...

A visit to the Twisty Wire-and-Wood Toy of Good Health.

Aaaaaand pancakes!
The good health is holding up, 70th percentile for height and 30th for weight. I mean, I'm making the pancakes. I'm doing all I can. I guess we don't care how big her head is any more? That was always my favorite part.

The pancakes actually served as Dan's birthday cake, since I'm not making two birthday cakes in one week. I guess I'll make him a cake again in 17 years, unless Anna is home from college or the mines or whatever concert tour she is following around the country. Or when she becomes a militantly anti-sugar vegan at age 7. See, honey? There's hope!

Birthday week seems like a good time to eat things out of bowls. Most weeks do. First: sausage, spinach, and purple hull peas over brown rice.

As far as I can tell, purple hull peas are exactly like black eyed peas except that they're called "purple hull peas."
Second: ratatouille! Yay! My mushy-gushy summertime favorite.

This batch wasn't beset by medical drama. Note that it has a less tragic nature than last year's.
It looks like Anna has decided to spend her special day in the traditional manner:  festively wringing the life out of any balloons in the house.

As she is now a Big Girl and not a baby, her destructive wrath is marked by an increase in fine motor skills.


It's still a vacation if you don't relax at all, right?

This weekend was Anna's first trip to the beach! She spent a lot of time studiously ignoring the ocean.

To be fair, she did have a pretty spectacular view of the seaweed from here.

"I don't hear any waves, la la la la la la."
Eventually I think she noticed that enjoyment of the beach was somehow related to having a grip on a beer koozie. After that she sort of got into the spirit of things.

"Oh, sand and water. I get it."
She even seemed ready to pilot her wagon right out to sea.

It's sad to think of the many adventures we quashed by interceding here.
We didn't exactly "sleep much" or "enjoy any meals" or "avoid the emergency room," but it was only four adults up against two toddlers, so we were pretty well outnumbered. We'll definitely be going back, in 15 or 20 years.


I continue to be thankful for my independence from pants that button

Hey, you know who loves America? The Original Pancake House. I know we've long suspected this, but I finally have definitive proof!

Called it.
Anna loves America too, obviously. She also loves Cheetos.

I actually can't think of anything more American than loving Cheetos.
This morning she was so overcome with feelings of patriotism that she dove right into the pool with all her clothes on. Because that is how true Americans party, and she is precocious regarding these matters.

She's probably out cow-tipping right now.

We ate American food today. I mean, the hot dog and potato salad are pretty German I guess, and that back corner is straight up Italian, but you know what I'm saying.

A terrorist would definitely never eat this.
I lazily en-holidayed a Lemon Layer Cake.

A terrorist...might eat this. It's pretty good.

Anna, again displaying an amazing grasp of our fine national culture, chose to eat her hot dog on the move.

She and Sheep have, like, four parties to get to today.
She did have a little trouble getting into the playhouse with Joseph and Cash.

"Hey, guys! What's up?"

"Hey, hi! Hi guys!"
 Unfortunately, it did devolve into stick-wielding threats.

Kind of resourceful.

Seems like it worked out, though.



Maybe we'll name her Rose*

Barbecued Lentil tacos seems like one of those things that sounds sort of hippie and weird but I actually like a lot, and yet...I did not like these. They were too sweet and too vinegary, and I LOVE vinegar, so who knows how that happened. I think maybe the balsamic vinegar we have sucks. My tortillas were good, though. Plus, making tortillas continues to fill me with an inappropriately high sense of accomplishment despite the fact that it is very easy to do.

Basically, making tortillas is the opposite of dealing with a two year old. I make a lot of tortillas.
Yesterday the ultrasound tech said, in essence, "I can't tell. But I'm guessing it's a girl." So, okay! We'll go with that, then. Here's the thing, though, guys--how am I ever going to come up with the resources to clothe a female child?

I personally purchased three of these outfits.
*As Baby Two's future aunt Kristy pointed out, one benefit of having girls is a higher likelihood that they will tolerate and/or embrace my obsession with musicals.