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Adventures in Cooking

Tonight, I made pie. It was, shall we say, rustic. After the Sproutling had gone down for the night (with much protesting, because what if she misses something, I don’t want to eat I’m so hungry but oh so sleepy DON’T MAKE ME SLEEP!), I whisked myself off to the kitchen to make the long-overdue pumpkin pie we’d been planning for a while with the leftover Seminole Squash. The first half had gone into a magnificent black bean pumpkin soup (I’m currently having a love affair with the smitten kitchen archives and the cookbook which was a Christmas present).

Observe the too small crust, baked paper-thin and transparent. It certainly ain't pretty. But what of the flavor?

Observe the too small crust, baked paper-thin and transparent. It certainly ain’t pretty. But what of the flavor?

At Thanksgiving, I finally settled on My Favorite Pumpkin Pie Recipe, which is the Baking Illustrated Pumpkin Pie, only with fresh pumpkin (because, for some reason, the same people who think it’s perfectly reasonable to use fourteen different types of flour in a single recipe think that fresh pumpkin is just. too. damn. hard. and instead you should put canned pumpkin through the food processor, overload it with spices, and then recook it on the stove, making it necessary to temper in the eggs so they don’t scramble and then putting the whole mess through a sieve for a nice smooth texture) and my old faithful pie crust, which we usually make 4 at a time and freeze.

Oh, did I mention that our oven has no preheat indicator, no window to peek in, and the internal thermostat is off by somewhere betwen 75 and 100 degrees, depending on where you set it...

Oh, did I mention that our oven has no preheat indicator, no window to peek in, and the internal thermostat is off by somewhere betwen 75° and 100°, depending on where you set it…

So I started off with the pie crust from the freezer, only it wasn’t quite big enough for the 10″ pie plate, which I was substituting because last time this recipe filled a 9″ pie, 6 cupcake molds, and a mini-cake pan. And then as I measured out the leftover pumpkin, I discovered I only had 1 1/4 cups instead of 2, so I learned how to overcook sweet potatoes in our brand new microwave (which is really confusing that they’re overcooked because I used the “sensor cook” setting). Then I wanted to pulse the potato in the little Ninja blender, only I’d used that for tuna at dinner and I really didn’t want the flavors mixing, and the baby needed a snack so I ran upstairs while the crust was blind-baking and the potato was resting, then back downstairs to mix all the ingredients together, only Cooks Illustrated wants you to recook the pumpkin on the stove to get rid of the canned taste and then temper the eggs in since it’s all hot, but since I was starting with FRESH, I figured what the hell, and then my crust came out looking like ragged parchment paper, oh just shut up and eat your damn pie. It’s not even a holiday, unless you count Pumpkin Spoilage Avoidance Day, and you’re getting a pie so say thank you and go wash the dishes for me.

Oh wait, I think I hear the baby again.

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Privacy and Progress

I really was doing better about regular updates. I’m determined to get back to that, so please bear with me. I’ve been dealing with some big picture issues over the last couple weeks, and I’m hoping to get them coherent enough to write about, but I don’t make any promises.
Little girl is getting bigger, and, if possible, more active. I’m back to wearing the belly bands, which are now helping to support this ever-growing watermelon under my shirt instead of their old purpose, which was holding my normal pants together to stall a few more weeks. We’ve definitely decided on a name for her, which is really exciting, and makes her feel all the more real. But then it brings me to a lot of questions, like privacy, and the permanence of the internet. Sure, Ben and I have the right to use our names online however we please, but given than nothing posted online ever truly disappears, how can we decide for our little girl how much of her life is going to be for public consumption before she’s old enough to decide for herself? What sort of future consequences are there to having her completely searchable from babyhood?

So we’ve jointly decided that whatever her choices are as an adult, it’s not up to us to make that sort of choice for her. That doesn’t mean I’m going to stop blogging about my experiences on this journey. It just means that my writing will be focused on my thoughts and feelings and my side of our joint experiences. Ben and I have jointly decided not only on a name for our little girl, but we’ve even picked her very first online pseudonym. Online, we will just refer to her as The Sprout.

In other news, my attempts at housewifery are going marginally better. I managed to plan out a couple meals, and then Ben and I put together a meal plan for the rest of the week. We’ve actually eaten regular meals, well-planned and mostly home-cooked for nearly a week and a half. We made pizza, stir fry, and meatballs. We’ve had leftovers available for lunch each day.

I’m feeling better about being at home most of the time, although it’s a little harder as the Due Date (due dates? It’s really more of a 5 week range…) looms ever closer. For one, my stomach is now apparently the size of a golf ball, and I’m dealing with a combination of heartburn and nausea, that starts off as a burning at the base of my sternum and crawls up my throat until it sits at the back of my mouth in that familiar, first-trimester nausea that won’t quit. Only where water used to help, now it just makes it worse. And since it’s not behaving like normal heartburn, the normal heartburn remedies don’t really work. For one, the meals that feel best tend to be the spicier ones. Second, what I eat doesn’t seem to matter as much as that I eat. As long as I’m actively putting food in my mouth, and for about 20 minutes after, I’m good. At this rate, I might actually gain the extra weight the midwives want me to.

The most tragic part of the expanding belly, however, is the effect it’s had on the cats. Neither one will curl up too closely against me anymore for fear of getting kicked. Poor Lilit used to sleep tightly against my stomach, but if she does that now, someone else takes an interest in her purring. A violent, punchy interest.

We’re down to only a couple months, which means preparing the house is the main priority now. We need to order the birth kit and get all the supplies gathered up. The guest bed needs to go into storage so we have room for all her things. We’re still sleeping on a full sized bed, with two of us and two cats, so I’ve been scrounging craigslist for a used queen bed frame that’s not too expensive, preferably a platform bed as opposed to those metal ones that require you to purchase a box spring as well. Seems like false economy to me, considering the price of box springs. There’s an absolutely stunning bed I found, but Ben vetoed it because it requires a European-sized queen mattress, and those are nearly impossible to find. Which, really, is a damned shame, because have you seen that bed? Ah, well.

Also, I think lighting just hit the parking lot out front of my house. What is with this weather?