For the record, she was definitely the aggressor

I realize that I JUST made this summer squash with baked eggs recipe, but it was delicious and this picture turned out better so you have to deal with some reruns. Lookit, it's so cheerful!

And be grateful that you're not just looking at a different picture of an egg every single night because that is a thing that could easily happen.
Pretty sure there's no need to justify or explain baked chicken with roasted tomatillo cream sauce.

Because, roasted tomatillo cream sauce.
This one, however, was a use-stuff-up meal based on this chickpea pizza scramble. It actually tasted really good, but I spent a lot of dinner considering how fortunate I am to have a husband who doesn't even blink an eye at being served a bowl full of chickpeas for dinner.

You really, really never know what you're going to get coming home to me. "Eggs" is a fairly safe bet though.
What's Anna been up to, you ask? Um...nothing. I don't know. Pretty much nothing. Definitely not trying to make out with her creepy robot-dog.

That would be weird.


A series of tiny rebellions

If it seems like I've been making far too much food for two adults and one strictly cracker-subsisting toddler lately, it's because nesting has kicked in pretty hard and I'm cramming my freezer with 1/2 casseroles. Also, stop monitoring my food intake, creepster! Can't a girl who weirdly insists on displaying all of her meals for the public get some privacy? Anyway. Tomato broccoli pasta casserole.

Anna ate some of this! With a fork! I'll probably make a note in her baby book. Haha, no, I've never done that for anything.
You know how I keep making gazpacho and keep being surprised that it's just a way to eat salsa for dinner? Well, I managed to find a black-eyed pea soup that is the eating-bean-dip-for-dinner equivalent of that.

I don't have very much to say about this salmon in mustard sauce because that sinister green mound of pickled greens in the background dominated the plate to such an extent that I can STILL smell vinegar wafting off of the photo. Where did this abomination come from?? Ooooooh, one of my "productive" days. Must make an effort to limit those.

Anyway, pickled greens are clearly meant to be an accent piece, not a terrifying, tear-inducing pile.
Anna's two-year-old stubbornness has been taking a lot of strange and subtle forms lately.

Staunch (and surprisingly aggressive) refusal to put head on pillow:

Joke's on her, she can sleep upside down in the broom closet for all I care.
Going wide with the yogurt spoon, purposefully and repeatedly:

Actual quote: "Yogurt in hair. Need wash it. WHY YOU DO DAT?"
Moving the parade of sea life magnets so that they are upside down and on the floor.

Like some sort of land-worshiping cult.
Also, for most of the time I've been writing this, she has been beating on her own head with a maraca. I hear that three is the "tough" age, so I assume she's just ramping up slowly. Stay tuned for true bizarreness in nine months!


Lessons from The Blathering

Non-conference: attended!


1. I can survive an entire weekend around strangers without drinking or stress-eating.
  1. (a) With difficulty.
  1. (b) And awkwardness.

2. Easy access to migas and queso is a privilege that should not be taken for granted. I know most of my readers are Austinites, so I really want you to think about this before you go to sleep tonight.

3. I'm a little nervous that years from now when I look back at this I will only remember not being able to eat a cupcake.
   3. (a) Or seven cupcakes.

I regret that I didn't get to know you guys better.
4. Meeting your husband online? Not that weird!

5. My blog is super ugly. I mean, no one said that to me, I figured it out on my own after looking at so many blogs that are not super ugly. There's a chance I'll actually do something about this at some point.
  5. (a) Not a great chance.

6. Raspberry + mint leaf + cute straw = bottled water that is slightly less sad.

Slightly. Okay, I don't know, maybe it's even worse.
7. Apparently an enormous round belly can elevate your Target/Old Navy sale-rack wardrobe and make it seem very cute. Most effective/pain-in-the-ass accessory EVER.

8. I seem to think that being early to things will somehow earn me extra credit.
  8. (a) It totally does!
  8. (b) In the form of standing around nervously.

9. My comfort zone is tiny. Being outside of it is stressful.
  9. (a) I want to go back next year.


I only keep plates around to make the cabinet look normal

I didn't notice until I got all the pictures lined up that everything I've cooked in the past week has been bowl food. No regrets! Bowl food is the best food. Ice cream. Queso. Skittles. I know you're thinking, "But Erica, what about fresh baked bread?" Not so fast! The truly committed know to fashion bread INTO a bowl and fill it with other types of deliciousness (Skittles). Case closed.

Crunchy red swiss chard falafel on spinach.

Black bean "chili" (sorry Dad).

Mustard-glazed red cabbage with apple, sausage.

Slow-cooker braised pork with salsa over couscous.

KALE! and roasted vegetable soup. I must be back in the swing of things if I'm forcing kale on myself.
Anna and I spent some more time practicing the concept of "cheese."

Maybe she'll do better in an actual field test. Anna, look excited about Baby Sister!

Um...I'm going to go practice my excited face too.



This weekend I am attending a blogging "non-conference" called The Blathering because my doppleblogger Erica suggested it and because it's in Austin so I have no good excuse not to and because way back in March when I signed up it seemed possible/likely that by now I would have grown an entirely new personality that was suited to this sort of social gathering instead of still being a crazy hermit lady. So, bad call on that last thing, but it's too late now.

Anyway, I've been desperately trying to familiarize myself with the other FIFTY attendees and their blogs, bar-exam-cram style. I made a spreadsheet. It won't help, but the activity is distracting enough that it keeps the anxiety to a low-level nausea instead of a full panic. Anyway, it seems possible that at least a couple of other Blatheringers are also checking out this blog, so I'm going to do a brief section just for them.

Hi, other Blatheringer! I'm Erica. If I have a weird expression on my face when we meet, it's because I'm terrified of you. And I might be attempting to employ some sort of mnemonic device to remember what I wrote about you on my creepy-stalker-spreadsheet. Also, I've noticed a lot of talk about pre-Blathering haircuts, and I feel like I need to justify the fact that my hair is currently in a disastrous growing-out stage because I need it to be ponytail-compliant by the time my second baby is born next month. It was really cute about four months ago, though.

I'm not going to do an accent vlog because I am lazy and self-conscious, and also because I have about 15 regular readers and 14 of them know me IRL so it would be sort of pointless. I'll just tell you that I have a mild Texas accent that increases with proximity to my hometown. (Current distance 180 miles, Twang Level moderate.) All you really need to know is that I use the word "y'all" without irony.

I'm currently saddled with both an almost-done baby AND gestational diabetes, so you won't get to see my true beer-and-queso-champ colors this year.

It should be obvious that I mostly write about food and my daughter Anna. Running themes: she likes to line things up; I have some issues with kale. I think that about covers it. See you guys Friday!


I would have guessed hunger and exhaustion would have sharpened that edge, actually

The other day I was told that my blog has been lacking its normal sarcastic edge of late, leading me to believe that snark is in fact fueled by carbohydrates, just like BRAINS and HAPPINESS and EVERYTHING IMPORTANT. So if any scientific journals want to discuss this significant breakthrough with me, hit me up in the comments.

In the meantime, I tried to redeem my recent undercooked tian with a tian made almost entirely of cheese and oil.

Much better! All part of my plan to edge out the diabetes with some good old-fashioned heart disease.
Also, Smitten Kitchen has basically never failed me in the past, and applying this recipe to a chuck roast turned out just fine. And I guess the green onion slaw wasn't a failure exactly, but whoa is she lying about two serrano chiles not being too spicy because mother of mercy was it too spicy.

Why are you so angry at my mouth, pile of cabbage?
These five-spice turkey and lettuce wraps are only notable for being the first example of ground turkey that Anna has ever voluntarily eaten.

She just wanted Chinese five-spice powder. It's so obvious in retrospect.
Anna was actually so excited about decorating for autumn that she did her best impression of a "human smile."
It's getting better, but I think you can detect the lack of practice.
That effort was pretty exhausting though, and she quickly retreated.

Maybe we can lure her out again with Christmas decorations in a couple of months.


Walden 2: The Reckoning

Well, I had yet another weekend of being fed by someone else (thanks Mom!), so my only recent attempt at low-sugar, not-too-meaty, tastes-like-food meal is Friday night's bean and veggie burritos. "You can't go wrong with burritos, unless you are Prevention magazine" --me, all the time.

Seriously, I'm not sure I could make them not-tasty without carefully following their recipe.
It was also another weekend of grandparent-fun-times for Anna. Hey Anna, it's finally nice and cool outside and you have acres of land to frolic about! Yay!

She did eventually get into the spirit, beating the crap out of communing with nature for a while.

Nothing says communing can't be violent, I looked it up.
When we got home, Anna indicated that she was ready for me to start decorating for Halloween.

And yes, I only put that outfit on her ironically.


Pretty sure the best thing for lack of sleep is a huge amount of sugar

It has occurred to me that there are plenty of people out there in the world who avoid caffeine, alcohol, and refined sugar voluntarily and it's not exactly the worst fate that could befall a person, but come on, it IS KIND OF. Plus there's a difference between being happy and smug about what a disciplined, well-oiled machine you are and being an achy, waddling mess whose only current desire in life (entire gallon of ice cream) is being thwarted by the threat of birthing a 12 lb DisasterBaby. Also, when I spend too much time thinking about how few things I have to genuinely complain about, it completely takes the wind out of my sails. No fun!

For example, I consulted my big green Mark Bittman and managed to have a significantly less meat-heavy week.

Chickpea and spinach soup.
Salad with pear, walnuts, gorgonzola, and tofu croutons.

Spicy autumn vegetable burgers with squash in parchment.
Those veggie burgers weren't bad, but when I heated one up for lunch the next day I couldn't help but think there was an element missing.

There it is.
And this, my one meat dish of the week, which also happens to be part of my Sometimes Delicious Things Look Like Gross Mush series.

Slow cooker chicken, spinach, broccoli and pasta. Hey, remember when I attempted this very simple dish last year?
Anyway, my diet has now progressed from "I'm Not Sure This Food is Actually Food" to "Okay This Tastes Fine But Ow My Arteries" to "This Is All Reasonably Well Balanced And Edible." So what am I supposed to complain about for the next six weeks? This is a serious negativity crisis OH WAIT I HAVE SOMETHING.

My toddler has become even more ridiculous than normal about sleeping. I think she's trying to prove that she will dominate the new baby in every category, including sleep interruption and unaccountable wailing.

This happened at 5:30 pm, after I had spent a full three hours attempting to get her to nap in any of the various beds in our house.
So, serious question, 2-year-olds can survive on broccoli, yogurt, sullen glares, and four hours of sleep a night, right?

Asking for a friend.


I'm totally bored of my blood sugar too, I swear

We were out and about all weekend, so I had to rely on others to accommodate my tiresome dietary restrictions. Everyone did a bang-up job, aside from their failure to dramatically jump in between me and that english muffin on Sunday morning. Seriously, where's the support? I might need to hire a full-time carbohydrate bodyguard. Anyway, big thank you to my mother-in-law and also the fine folks at Kerbey Lane. Blood sugar = stable. This pregnancy = taking forever, I'm not even kidding.

Speaking of, welcome to yet another Sober October! Here's hoping I can make it through this eighth month in a row! Who's with me? Yeah, I know, no one. It's Texas Wine Month and there's pumpkin ale everywhere and hard cider and Oktoberfest and football is on. It's generally a ridiculous time for sobriety. The good news is, October might be my favorite month of the year, so the fact that it will go by ridiculously slowly is sort of a bonus? Silver lining. Look how much my mood improves when I stuff myself with almond butter before posting!

Anyway, Anna had a great time at Grandma and Grandpa's house this weekend. She spent a lot of time playing with blocks, really honing her signature architectural style.

It does not lack focus.
Interestingly, she applies the same principles to her meal planning.

This should get us to noon.