Monday, May 5, 2014

Beats and Eats

Mommy fashion! Ok, this one isn't really about clothes or style: make sure that you're in some of the pictures you take of your baby. It's so easy to pull out your phone and capture a cute baby moment, but there's a danger of having a wonderful collection of only-baby pictures to show them when they get older (did I have a family? what did they look like?). Getting someone else to take a picture is fine, but selfies are better. Baby-and-me selfies are spontaneous, funny, and slightly awkward to take depending on the age/compliance of your child, so you will be genuinely smiling, and in the same category as anything-is-cute-on-a-baby, everyone-looks-better-by-a-baby. (The fact that we coordinated outfits that day is sheer coincidence.)

So, I showed you my board-game baby-proofing last week... I also went through and made a bunch of low shelves her shelves. Librarian at heart that I am, each shelf is designated to a subject. Animals. Colors. Bedtime. And this one is sound: Mr Brown Can Moo, Can you?, a little book of Sunday school songs, The Hound of the Baskervilles Sound Primer, and a muffin tin and a set of real drumsticks (home made xylophone - it works surprisingly well, especially if you're not concerned with playing a recognizable tune).

In an attempt to get Brooklyn more interested in food, and enable me to eat food that I haven't cooked occasionally while Adam's out of town, I put together a snack pack that lives in my bag now. That's a spoon, GoGo Squeez applesauce (which is all-natural and comes in inexpensive multi-flavored multi-packs at Wal*Mart), and a waxed paper sandwich bag full of puffs, all tucked into an Itzy Ritzy Snack Happens washable snack bag from Terra Tots (wonderful thing - we need more of them). Because the snack bag is waterproof and washable, I don't mind poking the dirty spoon inside after she eats, and it's small enough that it can live in my bag, ready whenever we need it.

I've mentioned before that Adam does our main-meal cooking (sweet boy worries about me when he's gone - concerned that I will go hungry) --- these gluten free/dairy free Individual Pork Chops with Veggies are one of his creations, and one that I successfully attempted to replicate a few days ago.

Preheat your oven to 425. For each pork chop, lay out a square of aluminum foil or parchment paper, and drizzle with olive oil

Place a pork chop in the center of each square, and season as desired (I used garlic salt, lemon pepper, minced onion, and a liberal dash of La Choy soy sauce). Put a pat of butter (I used Earth Balance vegan butter) on top of each one. Add sliced carrots and cut-up potatoes - you want to still be able to close the package when you're done, but you can pile them on and around pretty well. I used 2 mediumish carrots and 4 small (think: egg sized) potatoes for four pork chops. Put a dash of salt and pepper on top of the veggies, and drizzle with olive oil again. 

Take two parallel side of your foil or paper, bring them together in the middle, and roll them down together until you can't roll any further, then fold in the sides so that it's sealed (if you're using parchment paper, you may need a length of cotton string to keep it all together). Place them on a pan for easy transport and bake for 45 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the center of one of the pork chops reads at least 170 degrees (since they're sealed, you don't really need to worry about overcooking - the meat won't dry out).

One thing that I really love about these is how well they reheat - we only open the ones we're planning on eating immediately, and the rest go into the fridge. 15 minutes in the toaster oven (if you used parchment paper, you could also microwave it), and you've got a hot, filling, delicious meal that tastes exactly the same as it did fresh out of the oven!

Pictures can take awhile to load with our sometimes-slow internet (but it's free, and it gives me a chance to multi-task, so I'm definitely not complaining), so I've been working on my book for the month while writing this post. I'm only a few chapters into The Nesting Place, but Myquillyn's perspective has already proven to be a validating and much-needed breath of fresh air. She writes as a Temporary Dweller, one who has been in many rentals and moved often, but has decided that neither of those things is an excuse to not beautify the space she and her family currently occupy. There are sidebars designated for the encouragement and inspiration of renters. I am officially a fan, and I've only read the first two chapters. She's already helped me not feel silly for "decorating" with Brooklyn's toys, and for being a fan of cork tiles because they allow me to move artwork without making new holes that will have to be filled when we move.

If you have kids, how have they forced you to decorate creatively? Also, if you, too, are a despairing Temporary Dweller, get your hands on a copy of Myquillyn's book, even if you have to convince your local library to buy a copy and borrow it from them!

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