Something Is Missing!

Estella understands “sets” of objects now and will speak up if she feels something is missing. It’s really remarkable! I was tracing a pretend rainbow on her face and listed all the colors in order: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple. She goes, “you forgot pink!” She has no idea that pink is not a color of the rainbow…all she knows is that I was listing all the colors she is aware of, and one was missing. Also, I was singing the theme song to Winnie the Pooh: “a donkey named Eeyore is his friend, and Kanga, and little Roo, there’s Rabbit and Piglet and then there’s Owl, but most of all Winnie the Pooh!” Estella goes, “WHAT ABOUT TIGGER??” I didn’t know what to tell her! What about Tigger, indeed.

Estella is Two!

Some quick notes on Estella’s latest adventures: she potty trained in September at 23 months. She took to the mechanics in about a week, very few accidents, but then everything else fell apart! she was clingy and miserable all day and stopped sleeping through the night. we are in week five now and starting to see some improvement. she can put on her own shoes and pants and is close to being able to do her shirt. she told her first joke yesterday: “Mama, a firefighter tooted!” I can’t argue with that; toots are funny! another funny thing she said: “mama milk is all gone. it probably needs batteries”. yep, she’s still nursing 3-4 times a day, more on tough days, and has returned to nursing at night.

Walking

Baby girl took her first steps on October 13th, the evening after her first birthday party, three days after her actual birthday. She was walking well a month later until she broke her leg (!) on December 1. The cast came off December 19 and she’s walking again, if a bit tentative still, which the doctors say is normal.

Potty Training!

Estella had a bad diaper rash so we’ve been leaving her out of her diaper when we’re home. With all the pooping and peeing on the floor we thought we’d try a potty and see how she reacted. Well, yesterday I sat her on the potty when she started to poop and she finished pooping into the pot. Today I sat her on it after her nap and read a book to her…after a few minutes she peed! Early days yet but I am pleased with how easy and stress-free the process has been.

Butternut Squash Galette

We have been getting butternut squash in our CSA share every week, and I’ve found a delicious new way to use it: this great recipe from Epicurious!

Butternut Squash Galette

I substituted onions for the shallots, and used cheese I had on hand, keeping the proportions of the recipe. I didn’t use their crust recipe because I had some pie dough already prepared in the freezer. Garnish with a little julienned sage, and Voilà! Doesn’t it look delicious? It tasted AMAZING.

Recipe on Epicurious.com

4 Food Rules: the Only Ones I Need

Eating healthfully, mindfully, and sustainably isn’t easy, but I’ve found that a few easy-to-remember mantras can really help my motivation.

  1. Stop eating when you are 75% full.
  2. If it comes from a plant, eat it. If it’s made in a plant, don’t.
  3. If a food can go bad, it’s good for you. If it can’t go bad, then, well…you’ve got to use your judgement. Refer to rule #2 (we like to eat our own home-preserved foods–beers, salsas, jams, pickles and charcuterie–to supplement our diet in the winter, but we avoid shelf-stable commercial food).
  4. Moderation and balance in all things!

Credit where credit is due: I owe #1 and #2 to two fabulous food books: The Okinawa Program and Michael Pollan’s Food Rules.

My Foursquare Mayorship Got Me Featured in the Boston Phoenix

Completely out of the blue, a reporter from the Boston Phoenix emailed me to ask whether I wanted to be featured in a new Boston Phoenix feature about local Foursquare mayors. Of course I agreed; I was delighted to get the Boston Cat Hospital some coverage. Dr. Gallo was the first vet (we’d seen several) to successfully diagnose the bowel disease our kitty had suffered from her whole life. Maud the cat went from 5 lbs and cranky to 7 lbs and, well, slightly less cranky.

Maud and Liz in the Boston Phoenix

Getting interviewed was fun! The reporter contacted me by phone and we chatted. Then a photographer came to the house and took a few pictures of Maud and me. I did my own hair and makeup and I think it came out well. I got a lot of great feedback on the interview, too!

My Profile on Foursquare
Interview in the Boston Phoenix
Photographer Derek Kouyoumjian
Boston Cat Hospital on Yelp

Best, Most Authentic Sangría Recipe Ever!

I often make sangría for summer parties and this recipe is always a hit with guests. It’s based on a recipe my cousin Allison got from her host mother when she studied abroad in Spain. I added sugar because I like mine with a touch of sweetness…but the sugar is optional, really.

Ingredients

1 gallon jug of dry red wine, chilled
1/2 gallon juice, chilled (I use a juice medley like orange mango banana)
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup triple sec
1 cup brandy
2 cups lemon lime soda, chilled
4 oranges, sliced, divided
4 lemons, sliced, divided

Directions

Put the cinnamon sticks and sugar in a small saucepan. Add enough water to cover by a few inches. Bring the cinnamon sticks and water to a boil, reduce heat and simmer on low for ten minutes or until the sugar dissolves.

Pour the wine, juice, triple sec and brandy into a large container (cylindrical drink coolers work well). Add the cinnamon stick/sugar mixture and half the fruit slices and stir. Place in the refrigerator until thoroughly chilled.

Add the lemon lime soda right before you are ready to serve the sangría. Pour over ice and garnish with remaining fruit slices.

Tip: The sangría tastes best chilled, so I sometimes freeze the juice into ice cubes before I add it.

Variations

White Peach Sangría: Use dry white wine; substitute orange peach juice for the juice medley; peel and chop peaches instead of oranges and lemons for the garnish.

Sugar-free Sangría: Use diet lemon lime soda and substitute Splenda for the sugar (don’t boil the Splenda with the cinnamon sticks, just add it with the other ingredients to the container).