October 30, 2009

Mommy Confessions: Fabulous Fours?

#54 I think four might actually be easier than three, thank goodness! Peanut is starting to show signs that the terrifying threes are over...and that maybe we are headed toward the "fabulous fours." On Wednesday of this week he was throwing me every curve ball imaginable: refusing breakfast, pulling all the books off of his book shelf, tormenting his brother, etc. But at one point I came into the play room and he was cleaning up and putting toys away...WHILE singing a little song about cleaning up!!! My jaw hit the floor. I made sure to shower him with thank yous, hugs and kisses. I'm looking forward to more of these little improvements.

October 27, 2009

Black Bean Soup

I have been a slacker in the blogging department, but it's for good reason. On any given day in my house, someone is sick. We have had cold after cold...plus a little teething thrown in for fun. So I haven't been doing much but taking care of the kiddos and trying to keep myself healthy.

Along with the colds has come a lot of soup. Tonight I made a yummy black bean soup. Like most of my recipes, this one is the blending of various recipes plus some random ingredient substitution along the way. I like to keep mine pretty chunky so that you can see there are beans and carrots in it. I like to plop a little sour cream on top and that usually gets the kids to eat it too. Enjoy!

Black Bean Soup

2 slices of bacon, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, pealed and diced
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
4 cans black beans
3 cups chicken broth
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
salt & pepper to season

In a large pot, cook bacon and then set aside. Saute onions in bacon fat until tender. Add garlic and saute for another 2 minutes. Add carrots and cook until they are tender. Add chili powder, cumin and oregano. Add black beans and chicken broth and reserved bacon. Bring to a boil to deglaze the bottom of the pan. Cover and simmer for 15 - 40 minutes. Add lime juice and mix well. Season with salt & pepper. I also like to add a little Tabasco for spice.

Once the soup is seasoned well, use an immersion blender to puree (or put it in a blender...but that gets messy). You can make it as smooth or as chunky as you like. I've made it all ways, but prefer it slightly chunky so that you can tell what is in it.

Garnish with sour cream!

October 23, 2009

Mommy Confessions: Mommy Brain

#53 Why didn't someone tell me it was Friday when I got up this morning? I don't know why I thought it was Thursday, but I did. Normally this would make for a nice surprise, but I swear I must have lost a day in there somewhere. Seriously...mix sleep deprivation with "mommy brain" and you just get Stupid.

October 21, 2009

Brave Birthday Boy

My older son, Peanut, turned 4 on Sunday. Saturday we had his birthday party at a local park that has cabins you can rent and actually camp in. Originally we were just looking for a cheap, outdoor birthday party option with some shelter if it rained. It was a wonderful party (and it did rain).

My husband decided that for Peanut's birthday the two of them would sleep overnight in the cabin after the birthday party. I do not camp and Sprout had a cold. So after the party we cleaned up, Hubby brought Sprout and I home and then Hubby and Peanut left for their birthday camping trip. I was so proud of my little dude for being willing to brave the "wild" in the middle of October...and proud of my husband for subjecting himself to camping with a very picky preschooler. I was convinced that by 11pm Peanut would be missing his own bed and they would throw in the towel and come home. I stayed up waiting...and waiting...and waiting.

At 12:41 AM I realized they were probably not coming home. Then I realized everyone in my family was asleep but me and that I should probably go to bed.

It also occurred to me that it was officially Peanut's 4th birthday. He was getting to be such a big boy that he was out camping with his Daddy. For the first time since he was born I would not be the first person to wish him Happy Birthday. I reflected on the very moment he was born and I clearly remember, in my epidural haze, saying to him, "Hello. Happy Birthday." I actually started to wonder if he would seem different to me when he got home in the morning...older, more mature. It's insane how quickly they get from Day 1 to Year 4. It's fun to see him grow up, but it's sad to see him need me less and less as the years go by.

October 16, 2009

Mommy Confessions: I Drive a Minivan

#52 We bought a minivan yesterday. In '99 I bought a little sporty coupe and called it my-last-before-kids-or-dogs-car. Five years later I bought a Honda CR-V, which I thought would be my kid and dog car. But I learned quickly why the automobile industry calls a car like the CR-V an "entry level" SUV. You think you have a lot of room...and then you add two kids to the mix. Not just two kids, but two car seats, two sets of books, two sets of toys, two sets of sippy cups, two sets of snack cups, two extra coats...you get the idea. I still can't believe it, but we just grew out of that car. So today our crazy family took over the waiting room of a used car dealership as we wheeled and dealed ourselves into our first minivan. Oh boy. Did I just say "first?" But it's a pretty blue, has plush leather heated seats and LOTS of room. It's hard to admit it, but I LOVE MY MINIVAN! There. I said it.

October 13, 2009

Roasted Root Vegetables

Yummy sweet potatoes, caramelized onions, tender carrots, perfect baby red potatoes, a little garlic and some good olive oil. Need I say more? Oh, you might want to serve some meat with it. I served this along side a roasted pork tenderloin with balsamic vinegar, garlic and rosemary. Hello, Fall!

I hate to admit it, but my kids love to eat this with ketchup.

Roasted Root Vegetables

2 medium sweet potatoes or yams, cut into 1" wedges
1 lb small potatoes, cut in half
2 carrots, pealed and quartered (or use baby carrots like I did)
1 onion sliced
1 - 2 cloves garlic, minced
extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread vegetables on a large baking sheet (I like to line mine with parchment paper for easy clean up). Drizzle a generous amount of olive oil over the vegetables. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss well and place in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and toss the vegetables one more time. Bake for another 10 - 12 minutes.

October 9, 2009

Mommy Confessions: Big Fat F

#51 Some days I just feel like I am terrible at my job. At the end of some days I feel like I've failed as a mom, failed as a wife, failed as a homemaker, etc. On these days I can't get anything done and I'm not very nice. When my kids are arguing nonstop, I feel ill-equipped to teach them appropriate ways of dealing with each other. Days like this are usually wrapped up with a tall glass of wine and some stupid TV.

October 2, 2009

Mommy Confessions: French Fries

I'm not sure if I'm sheltering my kids or just teaching them healthy eating habits. We don't go out to eat that often. When we do eat out, we try to choose healthier restaurants. My kids have never seen the inside of a McDonald's. A couple of weeks ago we were at a burger place for a special treat and Peanut asked, "Can I get some of those yellow things that you dip in ketchup?"