Saturday, October 22, 2011


I'm currently holed up in a temporary house in Stratford, Ontario. We drove the 10 plus hours from NYC, and the night before our journey, Pats caught her first cold. On the road, Nora decided she was a full time potty user. We literally stopped every hour so she could do her business. Needless to say, Nora and I both caught Patsy's cold and the potty is a thing of the past. Oh, and because she can't breathe through her nose, Patsy's 2 solid meals a day have switched back to zero. In a nutshell, she's breastfeeding twice as much, pooping 3x as much and add it to the toddler poo I'm back to changing, basically I'm up to my elbows in shit just as Jeremy's back to full time work. Awesome. GREAT timing.
The subject of timing becomes a hot button before our kids are even born. In regards to any planned pregnancy, I think we all went through the "is this the right time??" Being financially, and emotionally prepared is a big deal. Then we all come the the realization that NO time is the right time, and ya just do it and you survive. And anything you might have "given up" or "missed" due to the gestation and birth of your baby doesn't matter cause she's here and perfect and your life is complete now, blah, blah, blah. HOWEVER... isn't it just PERFECT timing that the moment after you have MAJOR abdominal surgery/blow your vagina out, there's a brand new little creature on this earth completely dependent on you for survival. You don't even know what day it is, you're hopped up on painkillers, you can't poop, and there's a teeney tiny heartbeat literally left in your hands. Literally stuck to you. Perfect. No pressure.
Oh, and as your little bundle of joy grows, their knack for impeccable timing doesn't stop. No sir. Some of my favorites include:
*Several weeks postpartum, cleared for exercise. Yes, Jillian Michaels, give it to me girl. 30 days to shred my chunky monkey back into my jeans. It's at the precise moment my motivation is at its peak that my infant decides she needs to be rocked to sleep and held through every nap. Why, little girl, why? Why do you want a fat, sad mommy? And by the time the bubehla decides she can nap on her own, I decide I'm over working out. I would rather watch the Kardashians, making me feel better about my big 'ol butt. Oh yeah.
*Papa's putting Nora to sleep. Pat's is snoozing downstairs. I am snuggled on the couch in front of Dancing with the Stars about to bite into a Funfetti cupcake I made on a Monday for absolutely no reason except Funfetti cupcakes sounded good, and ringing off the walls from upstairs is the shrill cry of "Nooooooo! Mama books! Puh-leeeeeeease! Mamaaaaaaa!" Amazing.
*I find myself showered and with clean teeth at 2:00 pm on a Thursday afternoon. Laundry is in the dryer and there are no dishes in the sink. Jeremy is home and also good in the personal hygiene department. Nora shouldn't be up from her nap for at least another hour. Pats is asleep in her crib in the bedroom. Sounds like a recipe for Sext Time. Oh my God. This is actually gonna happen. I'm of course exhausted, but I'm conscious so let's DO this. 5 pumps in and, from the neighboring crib, the sex police siren furiously fires, "waaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!" Are you KIDDING me? How do they KNOW??? Arrrg. 
You really just have to laugh. I mean, if your choices are laugh, cry, or throw things...I feel like laughing burns the most calories. Well, throwing things probably burns a lot too, but that means you'd have ANOTHER mess in your life to clean up and I thanks. I think we run into problems when we over plan. It, for me anyway, always seems to lead to disappointment. The Boy Scouts have it right! BE PREPARED. Be prepared for anything, but don't over plan everything. Our kids, the weather, a faulty traffic light, a closed bakery are all gonna factor into why we can't get done what we're trying to do in the little time we have. And it can be SO FRUSTRATING! But it's life, right? Be prepared. Stay positive. Two good mottos to live by on the daily. Because as wives and mothers and working women of the world, perfect timing just ain't gonna happen, sister! Well, except maybe ONCE in a blue moon... Here's a tid-bit:
I was 9 months pregnant with Pats. Nora and I were alone in NYC, Jeremy was working in Seattle. Snow was up to the front door. I was swollen, exhausted, gassy and cranky. Nora was 18 1/2 months old. Not the best combination. How would I make it through this day let alone the rest of the week until my reinforcements arrived? The thought was terrifying and literally nauseating. I'm changing a poopy diaper, huffing and puffing my way through it. I was thinking about crying or throwing something, when Nora reached up to my face and smiled. She cupped my cheeks (as I cupped hers!) and says, "Good job, Mama. Mama? Good job." Sigh. Thanks, kid. Your timing couldn't be more perfect. 

Nora and Pats (aka Cupcake Patrol and Sex Police) caught in a perfectly timed moment.
Here's a few fall recipes. They take a bit of time, but fill you up for a long time. They're warm and yummy, cause mom needs comfort sometimes, too...

I've always kind of shied away from slow cooked meat dishes. Why? So easy, so delicious, crowd pleasing, comforting... I first made this dish for our friends Jenn and Curtis when we stayed with them for the weekend in the Catskills. Fall was just beginning to fall and this seemed like the perfect, cozy dinner. Well, of course that ONE weekend the weather spiked to the high 80's as we had the oven on for 4 hours during the day! There ya go again: perfect timing. 
About 2 short ribs per person (this recipe's for 4 adults)
Superfine flour I LIVE for Wondra. I use it ALL the time to thicken soups, chili, sauces, etc when I don't feel like making a roux.
2 carrots
2 stalks celery
2 onions
2 cloves garlic
Fresh herbs, whatever you have. I used some rosemary, thyme, parsley...bundle up and wrap in cheesecloth and tie up. You CAN just throw it it, but its a little annoying to pick out later.
Olive oil
1 bottle of red wine (something you would drink from a glass. The flavors will concentrate and flavor the meat. It doesn't have to be expensive, but you don't want a shitty wine. Remember "good wine" means what tastes good to YOU. Not some expert or book. No shame in what you like!)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat a large cast iron pot to medium high heat. pat meat dry with a paper towel, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with flour. Drop in hot pot and brown on each side. Roughly chop veggies. You don't need to peel or even skin the onions and garlic. You're gonna drain all these out anyway. Just to flavor the sauce. Once meat is browned, remove from pot and add veggies. Season with salt and pepper. Just let them get a bit of color, then return meat. Throw in your herbs. Pour in the whole bottle of wine. Well, maybe one glass shy! If you don't wanna use wine for some reason, beef stock would work great. So would chicken stock. If you don't have any of that, water is ok, I guess. Put a lid on the pot and transfer to the preheated oven and let it go for 4 hours! Yup that's it! So, not that much time throwing it together. Just a long cooking time.  So, after 4 hours, pull out the meat and set aside. It should literally be falling off the bone. (DROOL) Strain the veggies, and return liquid to stove top. Turn burner to med-low and  whisk in Wondra slowly until the gravy begins thicken up. Give it a taste and and salt and pepper if needed. Serve gravy on the side. SO. GOOD.
These short ribs are awesome with any kind of potatoes: mashed, scalloped, whatever. But, I thought I'd shake this one up a bit. Now my girlfriend, Jenn- Catskill Jenn- she's my side dish diva! She LOVES her crock pot and every time we do a pot luck, or she has us over for supper she always has these super delish and interesting sides made with barley or quinoa. Goodness. So this "stuffing" is half inspired by Jenn, half making a silver lining around a mistake I made at the grocery store. So, we're in Ontario for a few weeks. We might as well be in a third world country. I'm such a spoiled little JAP/creature of habit. I stare at the shelves in the market like I can't read English. I mean, everything's IN ENGLISH. (in my whiny bitch voice): But its all called different stuff... Anyhoo- I was looking for Old Fashioned Oats. As opposed to Quick Oats. Well, I can't find them. After 5 minutes of just...staring at the oatmeal, I just grab what I thought were Old Fashioned Oats. Not. Got them home and they were steel cut oats. SUPER healthy. But super annoying cause they take like 25 minutes on the stove. No. I can't. Half the time I don't even cook my oatmeal, I just throw it on top of yogurt. These steel cut oats weren't gonna cut it for me. They're actually tasty. However, as I was eating them with my cinnamon and honey I was thinking if I was gonna go through this much trouble I wanted much more out of them. So I came up with this! An awesome savory side dish. Almost like a cross between a Thanksgiving stuffing and a risotto. Yes, please!
Olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium onion
1 medium apple
1 box of beef stock (just happened to be what I had on hand. Chicken stock would be great too. If nothing else or to make it vegetarian veg stock or just plain 'ol water.
1 cup steel cut oats
Handful of fresh herbs/greens I had chives, parsley and a handful of baby spinach.
Parmesan cheese, a handful or so
Sauté onions garlic and apple seasoned with salt and pepper in olive oil over medium heat for a few minutes until softened a bit. Add beef stock and bring to a boil. Stir in oats. Reduce heat to simmer. Cook 25 minutes, stirring often. Stir in chopped herbs and cheese. Serve right away or refrigerate and serve later in a casserole dish. Sprinkle top with more parm and bake in a 400 degree oven till top is golden brown. Stir in leftover chicken to make it a meal! Besides the little bit of olive oil, this dish is super low fat, super high fiber and super awesome! You can use this recipe as a jumping point and add ANYTHING! Any kind of veggies (mushrooms, asparagus, zucchini, whatever), shrimp, get CRAZY! Yeah. I need to get out more.
After serving this meal that tastes like you spent ALL day (in reality you spent under an hour) they'll wonder "How DOES she do it? And with TWO little ones?! She must be a superwoman!" Adding more pressure to your already breaking point of a life...sigh...just smile and say "Oh it's nothing." And stock up on wine.

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