Carnivore blues

The good news is, Bon App├ętit continues to provide recipes for food that is actually edible.

Lamb tagine with tomatoes and caramelized sweet onions.

Spice-rubbed steak with white beans and cherry tomatoes.
The bad news is, I am suuuuuuuuuper tired of eating meat. Even nice-tasting meat. I'm a little concerned that seven more weeks of this will cause me to emerge on the other side as a vegetarian, which I am also not really in the mood for. I know it seems like there's no pleasing me, but I'm pretty sure that's because all this protein is making me SUPER CRANKY AND MAYBE ALSO SORT OF AGGRESSIVE, AT LEAST WHEN IT COMES TO TYPING. I'm going to go lie down and think about the days when I ate sugar and was happy.

In the meantime, Anna has requested the day off from her job as jokey-caption subject.

Fine, but you're clocking in that much earlier Monday morning.


The dinosaur whisperer

Operation: Eat Real Food Again is going pretty well. Turns out my blood sugar does not run wild at the first sign of food that doesn't taste like wallpaper paste (just used wallpaper paste for the first time a couple of weeks ago, I know what I'm talking about). This is fortunate, since my food-fantasy daydreams (That's a thing, right? Totally normal.) had gotten pretty pitiful. Like...small, unadorned bowls of multigrain cereal pitiful.

Anyway, I really mangled this Jacques Pepin recipe for stuffed pork tenderloin, but it still tasted like food intended for humans, so it was a winner.

Even very small portions of any Homesick Texan recipe are worthwhile, this King Ranch chicken casserole (slightly fancy-pants version) included.

Seriously, four bites of this with a huge spinach salad is so much better than Sadness Burritos.
I went to the Bon App├ętit recipe clipping vault for this pasta carbonara, and then I smiled for like an hour, because: pasta.

This is as close as I'm going to get to a bowl of ice cream until about 2012.
Saturday was Austin Museum Day, so we went to the Children's Museum to take advantage of the lack of admission and presence of dinosaurs. Anna loves dinosaurs, so naturally I was prepared for her to find this experience miserable, or at least exceedingly tedious. But it wasn't so bad this time around!

First, communication:

"Talk to me, small dinosaur. Tell me your secrets."
Then, domination:

"You are mine now. This way, to the tunnel slide."
Of course, she wasn't really happy until she found something to line up.

After the chaos of the dinosaurs, she needed about half an hour of ORDER.


And then eggs saved my sanity. Again.

Feel those cool autumn breezes? (High of 93 today! Don't, uh...don't look at the forecast for the next few days. SUMMER IS OVER, THE CALENDAR SAYS SO.) Anyway, I think they have snapped me out of my Prevention-magazine-spproved-neutral-flavored-food-paste trance. I realized that I am still facing eight weeks of pregnancy, which translates to over 50 meals (What? How do you mark the passage of time?), and something had to be done.

Step 1: Eggs for dinner. How could I not have thought of this before? I must've been in quite a state of shock to forget that putting an egg on it fixes everything.

Also: salt.
Step 2: Potatoes in a salad.

Like a regular salad, but more tuber-y.
Step 3: Any form of chili.

Sorry purists, if it's a stew with chili powder in it I'm going to approve.
So maybe I'm starting to have a handle on things and won't be reduced to slowly going crazy until I am just eating the actual pages of the Prevention cookbook because it doesn't make any difference in terms of flavor. Especially good since it's an electronic copy.

Hey, looks like those autumn breezes have had a similarly invigorating effect on Anna!

Her games of Blanket Pile have gotten a lot more lively.


See if you can tell that World War Z is on my nightstand

So, of chicken tenders with sweet bean dipping sauce and steamed broccoli, which element would you guess the two-year-old would go for?

(Review: NEEDS SALT. And ice cream.)

Haha, suckers!

If I can get her to do this with cauliflower, she's totally going as a zombie this Halloween.
I finally ventured away from Prevention magazine and their hatred of taste buds to see if I could manage my own balanced meal. Look how pretty this vegetable tian is!

Unfortunately, I think obsessively stable blood sugar is having a negative effect on my cooking ability, because these veggies were both undercooked and underseasoned. It's like Prevention has gotten into my head and zombie-chomped the part of my brain that believes in food having flavor.

On Sunday Anna had her very first trip to the zoo. She spends a lot of time talking about animals, so we were pretty sure it was going to be a hit. I mean, what are the chances that she would react to this fun-for-all-toddlers-everywhere experience with the same skepticism that she has reacted to every other fun event in her life so far? Pretty low, I bet!

I think the reptile house was her favorite.

But posing on the elephant was a close second. Don't know if I can fit in a zombie joke here, I'm guessing they don't have this capacity for bored annoyance.
Anyway, another exciting childhood rite of passage endured! Good job, everyone!


Only 4,216,967 days to go

Prevention Magazine presents Cooking with Cardboard: Day 1,473. Wait, I meant 7. Day 7. Let's see what Prevention can do with the concept of "burritos."

Oh, terrible cardboardy things. Cool.
This salmon with white beans and citrus was actually the best thing so far, probably because it wasn't attempting to be anything other than a pile of health. I guess the lesson is that I should stay away from "burritos" and "burgers" and "pizzas" in the diabetic category.

I totally won't though. I could really go for a "burger" right now.
There are exciting things afoot around here, though. We finished Anna's big girl room, complete with escapable big girl bed. Let's see, she's been quiet in there for a while, maybe we should just sneak a peek...

Naptime: a portrait.
It's also World Series of Poker season on ESPN 2, which Dan and I completely seriously watch every week, so we've been trying to interest Anna in the game. So far she seems pretty focused on chip flair.

Most exciting of all, it's currently 86 degrees in the middle of the afternoon. Time for a warm and cozy duck suit!

Gotta keep those autumn winds at bay.


You don't even want to know what would happen if I looked directly at a bagel

Okay, Prevention magazine cookbook. Time for you to earn your four and a half stars on Amazon. What further delights do you have in store?

Barley salad with black beans and butternut squash. I took some initiative on this one and added grilled chicken, broccoli, and roasted red peppers. My parts tasted good.

Scallop-asparagus linguine.

Southwest chicken salad.
These were all ooooooookay. I think this cookbook is for people who don't understand the instruction veggies + carbs + protein and need it laid out in the simplest form. Maybe that's me, though! I experimented with some oatmeal this morning and it was a failure, so I will probably continue to go by the book until I can be trusted in the presence of carbohydrates. Man, this is a sad situation you guys. My small plain bowl of oatmeal was a wild, unrepeatable binge. Let's all try so hard not to get diabetes, is my advice.

Anyway, I took Anna to the playground this morning. It was great! She ran around with other kids and got lots of fresh air and exercise. Haha, just kidding, she sat in one place and poured rocks on herself.


Goodbye, ice cream. I think I'll miss you most of all.

Hey, terrible news! I mean, only for me. Not for you. Unless you enjoy looking at pictures of food that tastes good, then it's also terrible news for you. It seems I have a sliiiiiiiiiiiiiight case of gestational diabetes. It's approximately as sucky as it sounds. The specialist told me that it's a hormonal issue and it isn't my fault, but I think you and I and the empty spot in my freezer where a bag of brownies used to be know that she was just being nice. SUGAR IS DEATH YOU GUYS, FOR REAL. Anyway, in the interest of not having a 12 pound diabetic baby, I bought a brand new cookbook and I'm ready to roll, controlled-blood-sugar-style.

I figured that since Prevention Magazine was the institution responsible for convincing me that even looking at can of tomatoes would mutate every cell in my body, they could probably handle keeping me on the straight and narrow for the next ten weeks. Here are some boring things that I have eaten in the past week.

Spinach salad with almond-encrusted chicken.

Roasted vegetable sandwiches with green split pea soup.

Chicken and asparagus stir fry.
I guess this shouldn't surprise me, but Prevention seems to have some sort of policy against "seasoning food at all," so in the future I'm probably going to have to do some slight tweaking. For now though, it's definitely helping me control my portion size by excluding flavor.

In the meantime, Anna continues to hate and fear bouncy castles.

I also get the feeling that she sort of misses me making beets every week.


The heat demon takes a different tack

Now that beets are out of season, the Local Box is treating me pretty well. I'm finally getting groups of vegetables that I can prepare without using recipes or attempting to cram them into a dessert, although I do think there is a market for a cookbook that consists solely of turning your CSA box into various cakes. Help me out, chefs! Anyway, we had some spinach and squash and farmer's market sausage and a little bit of non-local goat cheese just to prevent any total hippie smugness.

This meal is certified 95% smug.
So the temperature literally dropped 45 degrees to become pleasant outside for the first time in about five months, which is an unbelievable relief except OOPS the wind and rain-starved conditions have caused the entire center of Texas to catch fire. Having a pretty tough summer in these parts. Anyway, despite having a Labor Day that seemed perfect for grilling, we decided that going outside to set another fire probably wasn't a good idea, so we were confined to the grill pan, which means I was too busy being sullen about how poorly our birdhouse vent works to take any pictures of the very nice kebabs.

In general, we tried to be productive with our holiday weekend. Anna painted her new big girl room:

I know that edge is kind of a mess, but she's only two you guys.
We checked out the deeply depressing post-apocalyptic aridness that is our local landscape:

Anna only knows what rain is because she has books about the Time Before.
We also kicked back with a little black-market Four Loko:

Her painting is iffy, but she throws a mean house party.
Also, at one point the other day I said "I love you Anna" and she said "I love you lamp" and I absolutely swear she's never seen Anchorman, so it's possible that she's some sort of comedy savant.


It's a two-way street, Bruce

Still no interesting cooking this week, unless you consider frittata-as-leftovers-dump interesting. (If you do, stop. It isn't.) I do see that the food-rehash discussion thread has gotten pretty heated, as I feared it might. I'm thinking I'll probably have to hire a full time comment moderator, if anyone is interested.

Anyway, all I have to leave you with over the weekend is this series of Anna's attempts to communicate with temporary houseguest Bruce the Dog.