February 2011


We didn’t go to the doctors at 12 months.  Seems a visit to the hospital for a well-baby check often results in an unwell baby from the time in the waiting room.  We are scheduled to go when we are back in Austin.  In the meantime, we did a little measuring ourselves (height on the wall, weight at the airport luggage scale)

  • Weight: 22 lbs (10kg; 30th percentile)
  • Height: 30in (40th)

 

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Well, I’m done with vampire novels.  And since it seems we have solved the sleep issue (fingers crossed, knocking wood) I find myself with a good night’s sleep and a few hours free in the afternoon.  Besides the blog and cooking, I lack many other creative outlets.  I need a diversion.  Sounded familiar and I remembered that on a whim I had thrown my 8 lbs of fabric squares into our shipment.  After a consult over tea with my English quilter-neighbor, I mustered up enough motivation to get going on it again.

I call it my heirloom and I fully intend to finish this in time for Miles’ children.

In progress.

We joined a few friends for a beach breakfast picnic this morning and then came home for a little pool time before lunch.  Miles is moving around so much I can’t even get a picture of him being cute in a little towel. 🙂

I need to come up with a better name for this dish.  How about Ratatouille Casserole?  Casseroles don’t do it for you either, huh?  Oh, well.  Let’s keep it simple.  This dish kind of has a personality conflict.  On the one hand, its made from late summer night shade vegetables; on the other, it is comforting and satisfying in a way that only a late winter evening embraces.  Maybe that makes it perfect as we slide into March.  It’s too cold (in most of the world) to be expected to subsist on a sprouts salad with a poached spring egg on top with a light rhubarb coulis for dessert, but you want to hope for warmer times.  Make this, serve it steamy covered with parmesan cheese, you won’t be sorry.  And when your basket or garden is overflowing in August, make it again, skip the cheese and eat it lukewarm.  Its delicious either way.

If you happen to be reading this from a foreign country where the grocery store is not very well stocked, or you want the most delicious outcome, you might be making your own polenta and tomatoes, as I’ve provided instructions below.  If you are blessed with 70,000 choices in your store, this can be the quickest dish ever with purchased polenta and tomato sauce.  Add mozzarella cheese to make it even richer.

Eggplant and Polenta (adapted from Laurel’s Kitchen)

  • 1 cup polenta (course ground corn flour)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 cups boiling water
  • 2 eggplant, sliced into 1/2″ rounds (1.5 lbs)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 5 tomatoes, chopped
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Parmesan Cheese
  1. Prepare Polenta:  In a metal bowl over boiling water (double boiler), whisk the polenta and salt with a generous splash of cold water, until you have a uniform slurry.  Whisk in the boiling water and cook, stirring occasionally, until the polenta is thick, about 30 minutes.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly before pouring into a gallon size ziploc bag, rolling the top of the bag so you have a relatively cylindrical mound of polenta.  Refrigerate until completely cold and stiff.
  2. Saute onions, green peppers, and garlic for a few minutes until soft.  Add parsley and tomatoes and allow to cook down for a few minutes.
  3. Remove the polenta from the fridge and cut into shapes that roughly resemble the eggplant slices.
  4. In a ovenproof dish, arrange eggplant and polenta in an overlapping fish-scale pattern.  Cover the first layer with some sauce and continue until you have used everything, ending with the sauce.
  5. Bake 45 minutes in a 350F oven until bubbling and wonderful.  Serve, topped with parmesan cheese for a little comfort.
Miles is growing up so fast that even I have a hard time calling him a baby any more.  But he’ll always by our tiny little thing.  This picture pretty much sums up his life right now, smiling, playing and on the move, with a rock in each hand (he still LOVES rocks.  He is a boy, after all.)
What’s up now that he’s ONE!
  • Motor Skills: Walking, walking, walking and almost running! He can kick a soccer ball and throw.  He has started climbing into the pool by himself (yikes), but can also climb out.  He actually started climbing everything, and there are exactly 2 spot in our house that are free from Miles threat right now, but I think the middle of the table is about to lose that status as soon as he gets on top of a chair.  He spent most of this month with a runny nose, and our rhinoceros impression snort and snuff came in handy.
  • Communication: Signing up a storm, but no real attempt at any more words yet.  Even his “dada” has fallen by the wayside as he learned the sign for dad, which he represents by banging himself on the head (I’m with you, boy!).  The signs are cute, especially “where did it go?”, which is accompanied by a spoken “dtheet?”  He loves the Itsy Bitsy spider and asks for it by rubbing his fists together and saying “sssss”.
  • Eating: He tries his hand at feeding himself, and almost anything will go down if he brings it to his own mouth.  His favorites are grapes and raisins (gearing up to be a wine-o?).  I am still freezing meals for him, its so much easier to defrost something than make sure I have something Miles-friendly ready to go.  He has started associating the freezer and microwave with mealtime.  Woops.  On the weaning front, we are down to just one wakeup session a day.  I am willing to keep that up for a while longer.
  • Sleeping: Miles gave up the morning nap almost as soon as I started to embrace the hour free each morning.  He now sleeps for 2+ hours in the afternoon and (mostly) until 6am (11 hours) at night.  After months of 4:30-5am, 6am feels like noon.
  • Other. We do “shoe the old horse” before going out…he LOVES anything with buttons, including dad’s shirt…I taught Miles belly blow (raspberries, cute) Tim taught Miles titty tweaking (not cute when he is in the shower with me) and he goes around pinching his nipples all day…Several of his little buddies are talking and say his name “Myyy”, which is too cute…he has charmed all the vendors at the market and now gets free fruit everytime we go – I swear he knows when we are headed out, he refuses breakfast.

It was a great month, looking forward to many more!

I spelled it right.  Here’s a video of Miles signing:

And one of him laughing:

Every Wednesday, Tim leaves for work really early.  He straps on some flashing bicycle lights and hopes his flashlight dried out enough to illuminate the pitch black backroads of Penang.  He runs the 15 or so kilometers in about an hour and a half and treats himself to a roti (indian flatbread) or two upon his daybreak arrival.  Its a little lonely here those a.m.’s, quieter and slower.  A daddy-less weekend morning on hump-day. So, Miles and I started a tradition of pancake morning.

The last few weeks I made carrot cake pancakes, and then gingerbread pancakes, and today fell back on old favorites with Laurel’s Kitchen oatmeal pancakes.  Since it is a weekday, I try to make them as healthy as possible, foregoing the butter-syrup-bacon accompaniments that are much more Sunday-appropriate and replacing them with fruit, yogurt and nuts.  In the case of the oatmeal ones, it was almost like eating a bowl of the stuff, in finger food form for Miles.

To avoid giving you a new pancake recipe each week (you all would think I’m crazy), I want to give you a few guidelines I have picked up along the way that help make wonderful pancakes.  Some of these add a few minutes to the total time, but remember, we’re making these on days when we have a bit more time and patience.

 

 

 

 

  1. Separate the egg yolks and whites.  Add the yolks in with the other wet ingredients and beat the whites by themselves up to a frothy white pile.  Right before putting any cakes on the griddle, fold them into the batter.  This produces fluffy, tall pancakes.
  2. Let the batter stand for 5 minutes before folding in egg whites and cooking them.
  3. Make pancakes using a 1/4c measure.  Give yourself the best chances possible to manage a flip.
  4. Speaking of flipping pancakes… they should only be turned over once, moved never.  Pour down the batter and wait for the back of the pancake to get dry and bubbly before checking underneath.  Then, carefully flip it over to finish cooking.  Do not flip again under any circumstances, unless you want a rubbery frisbee.
  5. Of course this means you need the heat to be right.  I find it best to put the batter onto a pan hot enough to sizzle it, then turn down the heat for cooking.  This sometimes means removing the pan from the heat all together for a second.  If its not hot enough, you lose that dark brown lacy thing that happens on the back of a good homemade pancake and end up with something tannish that reminds you of a McDonalds a.m. meal.
  6. Any leftovers can go into a ziplock bag and into the fridge or freezer, to be reheated in the toaster later.  Delicious snacking.

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