Okay, so I know I moved my blog, but some of you didn’t seem to get the memo and accept my invitation. So 1)if you need an invite let me know, and 2) this is the funniest things I’ve read in forever. It is awesome! It’s funny because it’s true! It is so worth a few minutes of your time:
I didn’t want the post to be too misleading. Here’s the thing. I have really loved wordpress. I still do. When I started blogging, I researched available blog sites and wordpress seemed to have exactly the options that I needed. Unfortunately, our needs have changed. I have been increasingly uncomfortable with how much information about Ella is just out there on the internet so I considered just making this blog private. WordPress limits viewers of a private blog to a very small number so as to make this not feasible for us. I also have wanted to post video clips of Ella and, as mentioned earlier, wordpress makes this difficult and expensive. Additionally, formatting posts has increased in difficulty as well.
Due to these and other factors, our blog has been moved to:
I moved all the old posts but, regretfully, was not able to move the comments with them.
I have decided to follow my wonderful sister-in-law’s lead and make it private. Because it is private, you will need to be invited and thereafter sign in to see it (I apologize to all you ‘reader’ users out there as posts won’t automatically show up on your reader and hope that you continue to check in on us anyway!). I sent out invites to people who regularly look at and/or comment on the blog. If you have been a more passive reader (which is okay by us) and would like an invitation, just comment here or send me an email. I will not be deleting this blog permanently for a few months at least to ensure that everyone who wants to find our new blog is able to.
The thing we will miss about wordpress is the stats. We loved being able to see who visited, what people were looking at and who searched for what to get here. (I think that was the only way I could even get Matt to post!) It would be a little silly to continue to post recipes on a private blog so, again due to inspiration from Lauren, I am starting a cooking blog here on wordpress at alchemistkitchen.wordpress.com
Also available are my ‘old’ blogs:
It’s Ella! Yes, last night she performed this amazing feat for us. She got up on her hands and knees and started rocking back and forth as usual, then her arms and legs shot out so that she was on her belly again and she dragged herself across the floor army/bear crawl style. We captured her replaying this moment on video camera, but unfortunately the computer and the camcorder won’t ‘talk’ to each other. Fortunately, she is still doing it today so I got it with the regular camera. I wanted to put it on the blog for you all to see; however, wordpress is stingy, selfish, and greedy and want $60 for me to post video on my blog. I also have the option of putting it on You Tube. Are they serious? Anyway, if you want to watch, email me and I will email it to you for free!
Oh, and here’s the tooth picture I promised(lower, right of center, can you see it?):
At Easter I thought it would be Tillamook’s Garlic White Cheddar. I was wrong. Ella doesn’t seem to like pureed food as much as something that she can grab and chew. At her 7 month check up, I asked the pediatrician what we could give her and was told that pretty much anything except Gerber graduates rice puffs were a choking hazard. In the following month, I searched for things that she could eat. We added well cooked pieces of fruits and veggies, pieces of avocado, and pieces of scrambled egg yolk to her list of finger foods with which she is successful. Freeze dried fruit was suggested to me, but the only kinds I could find had strawberry in them (which Ella is not quite ready for yet). One day, I happened upon a package of freeze-dried apples in Wal-mart. They were $1 a pack and each contained the equivalent of 1.5 apples–it seemed quite the deal. By lunchtime, both Ella and I were hooked. I looked up the brand on the internet and discovered they had quite a few different flavors and that I could get a subscription on Amazon for a great discount. Our favorite flavor is still apple, followed closely by pear. They keep for a year (can you say food storage and 72 hr kits?). Hooray for freeze-dried foods!
- 3 Plantains (on the yellowish end)
- Vegetable Oil
- >1 lb chicken
- 1/4 red bell pepper, minced (I minced it all and froze the remainder in three separate bags for next time)
- 6 oz can tomato paste
- 14.5 oz can diced tomato
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- <2 C water
- 1 chicken bouillon cube or equivalent
- Salt and Pepper
- Rice, preferably basmati or jasmine
This recipe can be made on the stove or in the crock pot. Watch for distinction in directions. Sautee onion and bell pepper in tomato paste in fry pan for crock pot or large stew pot for stove. Move to crock pot if cooking that way. Add chicken, diced tomato, bouillon, salt and pepper to taste, a dash of thyme, and water (less than one cup for crock pot, 1-2 cups on stove). Don’t add too much water–remember, the diced tomato were canned in water and you don’t want it to taste too watery. Simmer (1.5-2 hrs on the stove or >6 hrs in the crock pot), stirring occasionally and watching viscosity. During the last 30-60 minutes, peel plantains by chopping off the ends, slicing down the side (just through the skin), and removing the skin. Slice at an angle to make elongated pieces about a thumb joint thick. Heat vegetable oil in frying pan. Place plantain pieces in oil not touching. Turn when the bottoms are light to golden brown. Remove after the other side has reached a similar color and place on a napkin-lined plate to absorb excess oil. Add plantains to stew and cook for a minimum of 10 additional minutes. Cook rice according to instructions. Serve with stew over rice.
I’m finally getting around to posting about last weekend. We had such a good time! On Friday, after Matt got home from work, we headed out to the MHCC Aquatic Center where we introduced Ella to swimming. The cost was pretty ridiculous (we were there for about 45 minutes; Matt and I each cost $4.25 and Ella was $3.50… I mean, seriously, do they think they are the zoo or six flags or what?) but we were glad to give Ella this experience. We had gotten her a baby flotation device that had a net seat connected to a tube with net connecting it to an outer tube so that she could splash in the water w/o trying to climb out. We spun her around and dragged her around the pool in it. Then we pulled her out and took turns holding her just above the water so that she could ‘swim.’ She had such a good time! She slept all night long and woke up with a tooth (haven’t quite got a picture of it yet, but be on the lookout)!
On Saturday we worked really hard in the yard. Including mowing the lawn with our new lawn mower! In the afternoon, we walked to a nearby park and pushed Ella in the swing for the first time (yes, that was three firsts this weekend).
For dinner on Mother’s Day, we went over to my Mom’s and had Fettuccine. What a great weekend!
Great sale on diced tomatoes at Winco? Need to get rid of all your homecanned diced tomatoes before the next crop? Just looking for something new and different? Have I got a post for you! Diced tomatoes appear in recipes all around the world. I wanted to do a week long series with a post a day of diced tomato recipes from various regions. As it turns out, I’ve already posted most of my tomato recipes! Here are links to the various recipes along with their country of origin (I’ll link the remainder in as I finish posting them):
- Dodos and Nigerian Stew
- Taco Soup
- Scallops w/ Pasta and Herbs (my own concoction)
PS: How is it that I have no Russian recipes? This must be remedied! Keep looking for updates on this post!
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 six oz can tomato paste
- 12 oz water
- 1/3 C vegetable oil (possibly olive oil…NO canola oil, it would be really gross, I promise)
- 1 T white sugar
- 1 t garlic salt
- 1/2 t onion powder
- 1/4 t basil
- 1/4 t oregano
- 1/4 t Italian seasoning
- 1/4 t garlic powder
Combine all ingredients in large pot and slowly bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 1.5 – 2 hours. DO NOT use a crock pot. This recipe just turns out really weird in a crock pot. I don’t know why. Serve with spaghetti noodles and mushrooms sauteed in butter/margarine and garlic salt. Other uses include lasagna, chicken parmageane, and homemade pizza.
Recently, my mom gave us the left over carcass of a BBQ flavored chicken. She said I could boil it down and make soup out of it. ‘What kind of soup can I make with BBQ chicken?’ I thought. Taco soup seemed the only solution. While it turned out that the chicken was not BBQ flavored, the taco soup turned out amazing. We did some taste tests to see if it was better straight or creamy and what one should add to make it creamy. Matt preferred it straight but like the sour cream version, too. Both my sister and I liked it best with cream cheese. Everyone agreed, however, that half and half was just bad! (Pay attention to the recipe for those options, don’t just put it all int). It’s cheep, too. We calculated it out and discovered that, after the donated chicken, we spent more on the tortilla chips than the rest of the meal. If you add in the cost of the meat, you can make it for under $6–that’s 6 portions! You don’t have to have a chicken carcass, either. You can use any kind of meat (chicken, pork, ground beef, beef roasts). I’ll make notes of where the recipe might be different.
- >1 lb meat (chicken, pork, ground beef, or roast beef)
- 1 medium sized yellow onion, minced
- 1 package taco seasoning (we like Lawry’s b/c there isn’t any MSG)
- 1 package Ranch dressing mix (Hidden Valley is our favorite)
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 six oz can tomato paste
- 1 can black beans, drained
- 1 can pinto beans, drained
- 1 can chicken broth (unless boiling down a chicken carcass)
- Water (Water + chicken broth = 4 C liquid)
- Salt and Pepper
- Grated Cheddar
- Sour Cream
- Possibly Cream Cheese
- Blue Corn Tortilla Chips
Cook meat in crock pot w/ minimal water until tender (a few hours for most meat, but at least overnight if you are cooking down bones). Combine meat, onion, taco seasoning, ranch mix, tomatoes, tomato paste, black beans, pinto beans, chicken broth, and water (the water that you cooked the meat in counts!) in crock pot. Cook on low >6 hours, stirring occasionally. If a creamy soup is desired, stir in 4-8 oz cream cheese or 1/2 – 3/4 C sour cream for the last 15 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Top with grated cheddar, sour cream, and guacamole. Serve with tortilla chips.
We finally got our shed (mostly so that we have a place to put a lawnmower). We worked with Better Built Barns. The cost was pretty average but the design was exactly what we wanted. It was impressive how quickly they built it. Ella was just enthralled and watched them out the sliding glass door the entire time. I even had to turn her high chair so that she could see during lunch. I was less than impressed at the end when they knocked on my door and asked me to sign a paper saying that they had examined their work with me. I was even more surprised when, on looking at it, they had not built it on my designated site. When I asked him to move it, he argued (until I called BBB). After moving the shed, he said that the company had told him to apologize (I’m sure it was heartfelt… ) Now, we just have to paint it and then I’ll put a picture of the finished product!
In other news, our little garden seems to be doing well. The strawberry plants look bigger every day and we even found some blooms on the blueberry bushes. HORRAY!