A lot can change in a week. Andy got laid off and I have a large uterus. Technically, the large uterus is not new as of last week, that’s just when I found out about it. And, no, I’m not telling you I’m pregnant in the worst possible way. The uterus, my uterus, is large for currently unknown reasons, not from the normal baby-filled reasons. Breaking these things down: the layoff is ok, maybe even a good thing- Andy’s a super genius with helpful friends. Finding a new job shouldn’t be hard and he might even get to spend a week at home with us! But I don’t know what to make of the large uterus yet. I’ve got a pelvic ultrasound tomorrow morning to see if some giant thing is lodged up there. I think of myself as a quiet, calm, and practical person (Andy’s going to laugh at this description of me, but I feel like I am compared to lots of people, not naming names, sister! ❤ ❤ ), but this has thrown me. I feel worried and anxious and scared and my stomach feels like it’s eating itself. And I’m distracted- hugely so. Here’s a story to illustrate this. I took the boys to The Natural Gardener today, during a break in the thunderstorms, to buy a cucumber plant and some more basil. After we had checked out, we took our haul and two, of course they each needed their own, $3 strawberry and thai basil gourmet popsicles into the butterfly garden so the kids could sit on a bench and drip popsicle juice all over their knees. Except as soon as we got there, Henry started walking around in a way that clearly indicated that he had to pee. Which I found super annoying, because now I’ve got two kids with two expensive popsicles and a wagon and a box of plants and we have to go back inside to the bathroom (Henry would never, ever deign to pee on a tree). And what am I supposed to do with the popsicles? Take them into the bathroom? Everything sucks. Henry finished his popsicle in a few quick chomps. We rushed to the bathroom. I left George outside the door with his popsicle and ran inside with Henry to show him where to go. I ran back out to George, who then said that he had to pee. I gave up and threw away his popsicle and took him into the bathroom with Henry. Told Henry how to wipe up the pee he had left on the toilet seat, washed everyone’s hands, and headed back out to return the wagon and then to the parking lot, the kids hurrying behind me. When we were almost to the car, I looked back to see that George’s shorts and underwear were still around his knees, and presumably had been since the bathroom 4 full minutes ago. I must have looked completely insane- rushing around with a half-naked toddler moving behind me as quickly as he could with the underwear-around-his-knees impairment. I still cannot understand how I didn’t notice this, or why Henry or George didn’t say anything, or even some stranger, since they’re usually so quick to point out parental missteps! Anyway, I hiked up his pants and we went on our way. Here’s what we ate this week.
Disha’s Pav Bhaji, Jaipur Slaw. Pav Bhaji is a dish tailor-made for my sister, but I didn’t cook it for her. Next time, sister! It’s like an Indian sloppy joe made entirely with vegetables. There’s potato and eggplant and cauliflower and tomato and onion and ginger and I don’t even remember what else. The linked recipe may fill in the gaps for you, or may not, as I noticed after casually glancing at it that it calls for ‘child powder.’ Proceed with caution on that one. The Jaipur slaw tastes mostly like a pile of vegetables, but maybe that’s because I omitted the fresh chile from the dressing in deference to the children. They didn’t touch the stuff so I needn’t have bothered, but the pav bhajis were a big hit.
Do you need three pictures of the 1/4 cup of peas we grew? I figured you probably did.
Wolf Chili/Leftovers/Stale Chip Casserole. When we were eating Andy’s birthday chili dogs, I asked him what he used to do with the leftover chili. I’m sure I’ve noted here before, maybe last week but who the hell can remember, that Andy’s cooking exploits pre-serious relationship amounted to chili dogs, grilled cheese sandwiches, and party pizzas. If you eat two chili dogs in a sitting, that leaves a sizable amount of chili for another purpose. He couldn’t remember ever doing anything with the remainder, but we supposed he might’ve just kept it in the fridge with one of those reusable plastic can covers, like you use for dog food, for the next chili dog day. I didn’t plan on making chili dogs three days later, but I also didn’t want to throw food away, even if it was dog food chili made from tortured cows. Especially if it’s dog food chili made from tortured cows! So here’s what I did. I took the leftover peppers and onions from last week’s fajita dinner, the leftover pico de gallo from the same dinner, the leftover beans from that same dinner, the leftover chili from the chili dog dinner, the bitter ends of three different bags of tortilla chips that were taking up half of a pantry shelf and layered it all together with the end of an aging but surprisingly not moldy hunk of monterrey jack and baked it in a 350 oven for 30 minutes. It was fucking incredible. I’m really not just saying that. Andy and I destroyed the thing. The kids thought it was weird. Maybe it’s because my expectations were so low, but I loved it more than any tortilla casserole thing I’ve ever made.
Crispy Thai Pork with Cucumber Salad. I stayed up really late on Tuesday night cooking an Indian feast for my friend with a 3 week old. I made roasted cauliflower, potatoes, and chickpeas with turmeric and cumin, a lentil and eggplant stew, more Jaipur slaw, and 16 chapatis to mop it all up. George woke up and had to be nursed back to sleep two separate times during the chapati-making, my hands covered in whole wheat flour. When a friend has a baby, I really try to bring food more than once. People tend to help out in the first week or so and then never again. And it’s still hard one month, three months, all the months later. I am of course bragging about this bit of do-goodery, but juxtaposed with making my kid trail behind me with his pants down in a parking lot balances out to me just being an okay person. We got to spend the day with the new baby and mama and family on Wednesday and it was perfectly delightful. And then I drove home and found out Andy had been laid off. My heart starting racing and I felt so angry, but Andy was completely cool, as usual. That’s why he can win 40K on a game show (this really happened!) and I would walk into the studio and throw up on the light-up floor.
I always feel proud to set down a dish with green stuff in it to be photographed for this blog. There’s nothing like a pile of fatty crispy salty pork bits to make you want to eat your greens.
Sort-of-Chef-ish-Salad. I didn’t eat this- come on, I practically ate a salad yesterday- but I did make it. It was for my mother-in-law, who is super healthy and was watching the kids so Andy and I could go out on a date to celebrate our nine-year wedding anniversary!
Anniversary Picnic. Our default date is to in.gredients for their Thursday night Geeks Who Drink pub trivia game. We’re actually the thumbnail image for the blog recap of it, me looking slouchy and tired and Andy looking bizarrely wide awake. It was so fun though! And we got to walk through the store and pick out all the fun things for a picnic, and then I cut everything up with a butter knife and we ate it while performing badly at trivia and enjoying being anywhere together without children.
Molletes. I did not cook this- my friend Amanda did. But it was too damn beautiful not to document, and so delicious that I wanted to write it up here so I wouldn’t forget. Amanda, who has two young boys also (we always have lots to talk about!) effortlessly made these for us while simultaneously cooking grilled cheese sandwiches for four children and alternating a 4 year old and 1 year old on her hip. I mostly sat while she did these things. I owe you one, Amanda! She cut bolillos in half, buttered them and toasted them under the broiler. Then she spread on a thick layer of her homemade refried beans, some crispy soyrizo, which I’ve never bought but tastes exactly like the porky stuff, which is to say it’s delcious, and then covered it with cheese and broiled it. I am absolutely stealing this idea and will be eating these things as often as possible.
Killer Brownies. I know a lady named Joanie who is in the running for greatest human of all time. These are her brownies, and she brings them everywhere and gives them generously and every bite fills me with even more love for her. They are powerfully chocolaty, with a dark base of unsweetened chocolate, and heavy pours of dark chocolate chips and mini marshmallows. The marshmallows do a weird thing where they float to the top of the batter and melt into a sweet thin crackle, which only adds to the brownies’ appeal. I forgot to ask her if I could share the recipe here, so I just emailed her. If yes, I’ll update and post the recipe. If no, I will bask in this delicious secret and gleefully surround myself with mountains of gooey chocolate brownies that your lips will never touch.
Update! She said yes! Recipe copied below.
Roasted Vegetables with Pesto, Leftover Hummus and Crackers. I brought this platter to an enneagram potluck. It’s just random roasted vegetables- things I bought at the farmers market and didn’t do anything with. Also the last of our cucumber salad and the hummus leftover from our anniversary picnic. It’s a completely random and weird mix and is probably another sign of my distracted brain.
More Roasted Vegetables with Hummus. Aaand then I made the same thing again for a friend’s birthday craft party the next day. I momentarily considered bringing back the same ramekin of hummus, but then decided against it, if only because I had brought last night’s platter to Christy’s house for enneagram and this birthday party was also at Christy’s house. So new hummus! And fresh veggies! The kale chips were a surprise hit. The birthday party was for our dear friend Mary, who you might remember from the rainbow birthday cake vomit story! I couldn’t resist drawing a picture of a mouth vomiting out “Happy Birthday!” in a splattery rainbow font on her card. I’m lucky she has a great sense of humor. These craft parties are my new favorite thing. You bring something you want to make and sit around and eat snacks while you make it. For this very special birthday craft party, Christy had all the materials and patterns for attendees to make lovely little coin purses. It’s a simple project- literal children were making them- but my eyes glazed over during the instructions and it all just sounded like too much. I needle-felted an ugly little squirrel instead, which required little more of me than repeatedly stabbing fluff with a big sharp needle. It felt good.
Cheese Quesadillas and Leftover Stove Top. Just to keep things honest, here was dinner on Saturday night. Man cannot live on roasted vegetables alone.
Chicken with Thyme and Lemon and Smashed Garlic Potatoes, Broccoli with Butter. Today was such a slog. After the natural gardener underwear debacle we went to Central Market, which was insane, because rain and Sunday, and which also didn’t go very well. They were out of the two-seater kid carts, which meant Henry had to sit in the big part of the cart, half-buried in groceries. When we got to the bulk section, a woman walked past pushing one of the kid carts with no kids and just her big stupid louis vuitton purse in the seat. It took every once of my self control to not accost her. NB: I couldn’t remember what you called that brand of purse and thought about describing it as the brown one with the YL stamped all over it, but then googled “fancy purses” and was able to work out that it’s a V and not a Y and also this is a boring tangent so I’ll stop now. Then we got home and it rained all day and the kids were grumpy and miserable. Andy and I put our heads together to decide how early we could reasonably attempt dinner and bedtime. We ate dinner at 5:30 and both kids were asleep by 7:15, which has never, ever happened, and which means it’s 10 o’clock on a Sunday and I almost have a finished blog post. It’s almost worth the shitty day.
The chicken is from A Bird in the Hand and was only moderately successful. The potatoes are more work and not as good as these potatoes and the chicken is nicely lemony but more work and maybe not as good as this chicken. This recipe is the cover shot of the cookbook and looks completely gorgeous, but mine had no color at all after the time was up, so I broiled it briefly, which meant Henry huddled by the garage door in the rain to avoid the possibility of the smoke alarm. We’ve got problems. I boiled some broccoli and put a pat of butter on it for something green and it was edible and we went about our business. Food blog!
I’ll keep you posted on the big uterus and job situation. Until then, I’ve got Andy home with me with no place to run when I corner him about making a big ole chicken fence. Things are happening.
- 4 ozs unsweetened chocolate
- 2 sticks of butter
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 cup flour
- 1 1/2 cups (at least) chocolate chips (I use a combo of the
- semi-sweet and the 60% cacao)
- 2 to 2 ½ cups miniature marshmallows
Use 13″ x 9″ pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place unsweetened choc. in 4 cup glass measuring cup or large glass bowl. Begin to melt in microwave – 1 min. on high. Add butter and microwave for another minute – stir. Let sit.
Put the sugar into a large bowl. Add eggs one at a time, beating well with a wooden spoon after each. Stir in vanilla, then flour, then chips and marshmallows. Add the melted choc./butter mixture and stir well.
Pour and spread in the pan, and bake for 45-50 min. These shouldn’t be over-baked, so they’re soft and fudge-y, but don’t under-bake them or they’ll be “raw.” Place pan on rack to cool. Let cool before cutting. It’s easiest to cut them with a plastic knife, and the crumbs are great on ice cream. Cover the pan with foil, or wrap the brownies in foil, and they’ll stay fresh for a long time. They also freeze well.
I was pleasantly surprised to find a new post this morning because of the uterus thing. I awoke thinking of you and wishing I was there already. Next week! I can hardly wait. Fun post.
Thanks mama! It actually really helped me feel better to write about it and admit that I was scared. And lucky me that the kids went to sleep so early so I could get it done. I wish you were already here too. I am SO excited to see you in a week!!!
Totally trying these brownies to see how they compare against my own killer brownie recipe (which includes dark chocolate, espresso, and sea salt).
My thoughts are totally with you and Andy this week!
Oh Ben! Are you willing to share your recipe?? This recipe didn’t call for salt at all, but I couldn’t resist putting about a teaspoon of kosher salt into the batter and sprinkling the top with some good flaky sea salt. The espresso must put the whole thing over the top! Thanks for your kind words, friend.
Totally missed this comment back in April. I need to dig my actual recipe up (since it’s one of the things I can actually bake front to back mostly from memory at this point), but I took a basic brownie recipe I found somewhere, and just modified it by switching to dark chocolate, adding some instant espresso (a teaspoon or two?) to the liquid ingredients (eggs/oil) when combining those, and sprinkling a large pinch of good flaky sea salt (I shell out for the fancy Jacobsen stuff and a small bag used just on brownies lasts FOREVER) over the top of the batter before it goes in the oven.
Oh thank you!! I have a cocoa powder brownie recipe I love, so I’ll try to incorporate your changes into it the next time I make it. Man, I want a brownie.
Oh – thoughts with the both of you. Hope the large uterus turns out to be nothing major, and Andy finds something new soon.
My own killer brownies involve both espresso and Kahlua. You do have to like the coffee-chocolate thing to get into them, but I do, so. 🙂