In two days it will be September and everything will be okay

No cooking this week, I'm attempting to clear out old leftovers from the freezer so I can restock for the arrival of Number Two. I could take pictures of my reheating efforts, but it's probably more exciting for you to click through the backlogs and guess at which meals are making an encore appearance. Post your theories in the comments! I know it's a hot topic, try to keep it civil!

This weekend we ventured out to Wimberly for cousin Levi's third birthday party.

Party face.
When she had all the fun she could stand indoors, Anna went outside to stare down the bubble machine.

This was seriously a prolonged stand-off. I think we called it a draw when both humans and machines alike finally collapsed due to the 110 degree heat.
The expression on my face was much cheerier, due to the presence of enchiladas.

Anyway, happy birthday again, big guy! You can use all your cool new fire fighter equipment to deal with any spontaneous-combustion grass fires that pop up, since the earth is just setting itself on fire now apparently.

On the homefront, Anna seems to be displaying some increased maturity in a few key areas. First, she has decided that reasonless tantrums require privacy.

A positive step.
It's also nice that she's finally old enough for me to hand her something to eat and know that she'll deal with it appropriately.

See? Not smeared into the furniture! My proper little lady.


Pulling back the curtain

Now that I'm in my third trimester, I thought I'd revisit my sadly underused Well-Rounded Pregnancy Cookbook while I still can.

First up: balsamic roasted chicken with Asian-style broccoli.

You know, when you just look at official dinner pictures, my diet looks pretty balanced.

Next: grilled asparagus and steak salad with cherries, pistachios, and chevre.

It's because I didn't take any pictures of the batch of brownies that I ate four of and then hid from myself in the freezer or the graham crackers that Anna gets one of for every five I eat or the two bags of beef jerky that I "shared" with Dan.

Finally: Tilapia Veracruzana with herb roasted potatoes.

Or the entire loaf of banana bread.
I think the last time we visited the playground at Central Market was almost a year ago. At the time, I was disappointed to see that her only interest was playing in the dirt, even though she was well over a year old and walking around on her own. Yesterday we had a break from "demonically blazing heat" for a pleasant day of "what the rest of the country would still consider blazing heat" so we took to the playground once again.

I feel like the use of implements is a definite sign of evolution.
Meanwhile, Anna continues to construct ever more effective sun-shielding ensembles.

Difficult times let her resourcefulness shine through.


Now I'm only cooking healthy things as decoration

I finally made the cold soba salad on Saturday and immediately put it in the fridge.

I still haven't tried it.
It looks nice, though, doesn't it? I guess the "cool and refreshing" thing has run its course and it's time to return to the heat-monster embrace. The forecast for this week has a high of 108. More than once. So, yeah, Anna has retreated to her blanket and I don't blame her.

"You'll never find me in here, SUN."
She has also abandoned her booster seat.

Much as I have abandoned vegetables.

And thrown myself into the loving arms of salt and fat.


We'll probably start wearing clothes again in October or so

I've managed to stick with cool and refreshing dinners all this week, although I'm finding it difficult to make "cold dinner" that doesn't look exactly like "lunch." These chicken salad sandwiches, for example, are straight-up brown bag. This doesn't really bother me, since I would gladly eat lunch three times a day (with the understanding that lunch sometimes involves a poached egg). But it doesn't make for very exciting pictures.

I did turn on the stove to fry the potato chips, so THUS FAR heat/laziness has not yet resulted in me serving a pile of raw potato slices. Updates to follow.
Every summer I make gazpacho and every summer I realize that it is like eating salsa for dinner.

I'm not saying it's a bad thing.
I had another cold recipe lined up for last night, but then I got too busy sitting on the couch and ended up having a chicken salad sandwich instead. Maybe the weekend will bring a time when cold noodles sound like a good idea.

Anna and I didn't have anywhere to go yesterday, so we 1) eschewed getting dressed and 2) decided it was time to potty train Monkey and Elmo.

Probably about time, the way Elmo eats.


Some of it was fruit flavored

National Farmer's Market Week really seems like the sort of thing that I should both remember and fully invest in every year, doesn't it? What with my CSA issues and my theme addiction and all. But didn't I totally blow it last year? Let me check. Yeah, see, that was pitiful. Well, don't worry, this past weekend we ventured out to celebrate a bounty of local cuisine.

I'm sorry, farmers. Again.
It's okay! What the Ice Cream Festival lacked in nutritive value, it completely made up for in scintillating and educational activities.

I think tub-of-water-and-popsicle-sticks is a traditional Montessori exercise.
We capped that off with some furniture-assembly, under the exasperated gaze of our forewoman.

Best weekend ever!
Bolstered by our streak-ending 97 degree high the other day, I've now completely regained the energy to attempt staying cool, or at least not so hot that Number Two will be seriously brain damaged, as evidenced by this lovely Greek salad.

I halved the oil and doubled the cheese. Oh, the many secrets of Erica's kitchen!


We should probably pay more attention to what she's watching on Netflix

I've definitely made use of the oven and stove over the past few days, but I have to admit there haven't been any hours-long maniacal heat-binges. I'm not sure whether this means that I'm regaining my strength and will to fight back against the demon sun or that I've sunk to an entirely new level of defeat wherein I slowly stop putting effort into anything until one day I just lie down on the sidewalk and become a giant piece of human jerky. So that'll be fun to keep an eye on! Let's examine the evidence.

Spinach baked eggs. Twenty-three minutes in the oven at 350; a decent amount of kitchen fire but definitely not a full commitment. The fact that I am serving a recipe classified as "brunch" for dinner with an egg as the centerpiece seems like a good sign of recovery.

Eggs for dinner indicate that I have not fully lost my lust for life.
Roasted red pepper potato soup. Points for using both the oven and the stove, but again it doesn't quite match the excess we've seen recently. I also strongly considered cooking it early enough in the that I could serve it cold, but was too lazy to make that happen, so I think those two impulses cancel out.

It may not offer any clear indication of my mental state, but this soup is delicious.

Vegetable lo mein. I really feel like stir fry is just full-on seasonally appropriate.

When I eat all the leftovers standing in front of the open refrigerator door we'll know that my rehabilitation is complete!
I thought we were seeing some rare nurturing from Anna as she fed Cheerios to her Elmo doll the other morning.

The aftermath, however, is on the unsettling side.

It's like the gluttony scene from Se7en.
Maybe I only noticed this because she had very recently used her kitchen stove to Fatal Attraction her sheep.

As long as the new baby isn't a stuffed animal, things will almost definitely be fine.


Braising in August, totally normal

I know you guys thought I was kidding about Croatian Victory Day, because I was kidding about that at the time. But I decided to actually celebrate it anyway, since I've never had Croatian food and it looked to involve a lot of braising, which fits in nicely with my current devotion to heat-worship. Also, I have no idea what people drink in Croatia, so I didn't feel too bereft in having to abstain. I decided to go with braised lamb over spaetzle and some red cabbage stew.

Tasted great and made the house very, very hot.
Celebrating Croatia was sort of a lot of effort, so yesterday I just made a bowl of Things From the Fridge. My specialty! Chicken, red pepper, spinach, chickpeas, pasta. And bacon, which makes most of the previous list unnecessary.

Minus ten points for short cooking time.
I also had some spare time and ingredients and an intense death wish sugar craving, so we made cookies. Don't worry, I had Anna test the flour for purity.


I still stand by my "put her in the tent and let her sweat it out" strategy

Mid-week theme: tortillas and cheese. I mean, if I'm being honest, that's really more of a lifelong motif. At any rate, it recently reared its delicious gooey head.

Spinach Pie Quesadilla

Enchiladas Suizas
Good thing we were so fortified this morning, since we had to make our first ever non-routine-check-up trip to the doctor after Anna woke up breathing like Darth Vader.

"Okay, Western medicine. Let's see what you've got."

Horrifying fish and/or dinosaur themed torture devices...

...and cool stickers. Pretty much a wash.
See you again in two years or so, Dr. Spencer!


A heat-related breakdown, in pictures

It's Always Hot And It Will Never Rain Again: Day 8,354. Time for more hot, slow-cooked beans! Black bean soup with toasted cumin crema--even the cool, soothing cream aspect of this recipe involves the stove, that's how committed I am to the full-heat lifestyle right now. I also threw in some Greek-style Potato Skins leftover from Sunday night's book club. FULLY REHEATED.

Dan noted three different times that this soup could probably be served cold.
At least I'm no longer alone in my delirium, since I think it's safe to say that the heat has finally gotten to Anna.



Lady Macbeth