Eat This

Jan 20, 2015 – Sunny, 23°, Sunrise 9:45 a.m., Sunset 4:34 p.m., Total Snowfall 13.6″

First off, lets talk about this winter – the snowfall is so pitiful! We’ve had 13.6 inches fall, but with the warmer days we’ve had the snow depth is only about 4 inches. And in some sunnier part of the town, especially up in the Valley, there is actually grass showing! People are going a little crazy, everyone wants to be skiing, snowshoeing and snow machining. They’re discussing contingency plans for the Iditarod due to the lack of snow. Regardless, we have been getting out to enjoy some winter activities; J went skating for the first time, and his favorite thing to do is pull N in the sled.

But on to the reason for this post: Chili and Waffles! For Christmas M was coming off of a mid-shift, so our day itself was very low key, but I still wanted to do something special for Christmas dinner. King Arthur to the rescue, as always! The Cornmeal-Rye Waffles are a favorite, and while flipping through the recipe I noticed the note at the top: If you prefer a savory waffle, cut back on the sugar and spice them up with a bit of jalapeno, or fold in some cheese and bacon. These are also great as a base under a hearty stew-the perfect Sunday night supper. Done and done! The perfect compromise for Christmas dinner, a waffle for just waking up off a mid-shift and chili to chase away the cold. Neither recipe is out of the world unique, but the two put together…we couldn’t stop eating!

Cornmeal-Rye Waffles (This is the original recipe; for our savory dinner waffles, I cut the sugar back to 2 tablespoons, and added diced jalapenos)

3 cups (24 ounces) buttermilk

2 eggs

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick, 3 ounces) butter, melted

2 cups (9 3/4 ounces) yellow cornmeal

1 cup (3 3/4 ounces) whole rye (pumpernickel) flour

1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

Whisk together the buttermilk, eggs and melted butter in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, blend the dry ingredients, then quickly and gently combine the wet and dry ingredients. Let the batter sit for 10 minutes to allow the cornmeal to soften. The batter will be quite thick by the time you’re ready to use it.

When your waffle iron is hot enough, drop the batter onto it and bake until the waffle iron stops steaming. These waffles are best with a crispy, brown exterior, so be sure to bake them long enough for the exterior to get quite firm. They will crisp even more as they cook, especially if they’re baked in a Belgian waffle iron.

Firecracker Chili

1 pound ground beef or turkey

1 15 ounce can red kidney beans, drained

1 cup chopped celery

1 large onion, chopped

1/2 cup chopped green sweet pepper

1 to 2 fresh jalapenos, seeded (or not) and chopped

1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes

1 10 ounce can chopped tomatoes and green chili peppers

1 cup vegetable juice

1 6 ounce can tomato paste

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 to 4 teaspoons chili powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

In a large skillet brown the beef or turkey. Drain off fat. In a 3.5 – 5 quart slow cooker combine browned meat, beans, celery, onion, sweet pepper, and jalapeno peppers. Add undrained tomatoes, vegetable juice, tomato paste, garlic, chili powder and cumin. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.

Ladle onto waffles, top with cheese, enjoy!

Christmas Dinner

Christmas Dinner

Rhythm

November 2, 2014 – Cloudy, 27°, Sunrise 8:31 am, Sunset 4:55 pm

When J was first born, he was my whole world. I was finally the stay-at-home mom I had always wanted to be, and my days were filled with taking care of him and figuring out his needs. There were adjustments, as for every first time parent, but he was a pretty easy going baby. When a concern or problem would arise, he responded well to whatever solution our pediatrician gave us to try, and as a result, he was a very “on-schedule” baby. Once we got through the blur of the first few months, J ate every 4 hours, had a morning and afternoon nap and went to bed at 7:30. There was freedom in knowing his schedule, and what to expect most days.

When N was born, I figured all those early newborn days would come flooding back to me…nope! I’ve realized most of memories with J are from about 4 months on, once he was on a schedule and I could put 2 coherent thoughts together. So while I stumbled through the first few sleepless months with N, I kept dreaming of 4 months. That was when he would settle, that’s when we’d get “on schedule”…nope!

Turns out, when you already have a 3 year old running around, it’s really hard to keep a schedule for munchkin #2. During months 3 and 4 of N’s life, this caused me quite a bit of anxiety. When J was a baby I would feed him at 10, 2 and 6, almost down to the minute; with N I was constantly losing track of how long it had been since he’d last eaten. Infant J would take his nap around 10:30am and 2pm; with N everyday seemed to be different because we had playgroup, or friends to see, or errands to run. When J was born,  he truly made us a family and changed our world and our day-to-day. When N was born, he joined a family already in progress; just as loved, but there wasn’t a whole life shift this time.

Then yesterday I realized, we’ve found it. Six months in and we’ve found our rhythm. I choose rhythm deliberately because it is definitely an ebb and flow feeling, not a schedule. I can’t set my watch by it, the way I could when J was an infant, but our days now take shape with a certain pattern. The boys wake up, I get J settled with breakfast, then settle myself in with N for his morning nursing. We play for a bit, then N is ready for a morning nap. I sneak a shower, or not, while he sleeps. N wakes to nurse again and play. Maybe squeeze in an errand. Have some lunch together, then it’s time for J’s nap. I get some solo time with N, but then he’s ready for another snooze too. On really lucky days, I get an hour to myself to accomplish something…or not. Then both boys are up, ready for some nourishment again. We play and we ease towards the evening, dinner and bedtime once again. And our day to day changes frequently: night-shift, playgroup, grocery shopping, but there is an understanding now of who needs what when.

There are still (many) days of frustration, and we are blasting through stages at warp speed. (J used to be all about his privacy during potty time, now he wants to me to stay a read a story for the looooooongest potty breaks ever. I preferred the privacy stage!) But I found myself getting dressed yesterday, and realizing we’re doing this. I feel like we’ve made it over the hump, and our rhythm as a family of 4 is the norm now.

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Running Scared

September 5, 2014 – Cloudy and drizzling, 55°, Sunrise 7:04 a.m., Sunset 8:52 p.m.

Funny how a little comment can stick in your head…

We went for a family hike on Monday to do some blueberry picking. It was a beautiful day, blue skies and sunshine. Getting out of the house to hike with a 3 year old and 4 month old brought me close to tears, but we did it, and we were blessed with a fun family day. Now that we’re 2-on-2, I don’t escape kid carrying duties anymore, and carry N in an Ergo on my front.

My hiking set up these days

My hiking set up these days

I’m not in the same hiking shape I was as last summer, for obvious reasons, and I’m mostly okay with that. I’m happy to stop short of our goal many times because I feel like just getting out is a victory. And this was the case on Monday. M had scouted a spot with gigantic blueberries on one of his runs, but we ended up stopping a little earlier because we found decent berries, and it was easier; definitely the smart decision for the day, our timing and the happiness of all involved.

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And let me preface this by saying, my husband is my biggest fan and supporter, and his questions are always to encourage me, give me a nudge in the right direction, or help me. There is no judgement from him, only love! Driving down from the hike, M turns to me and says, “I have a confession. I want to see you push yourself, go for something full out and not hold back.” I could pretty much anticipate what he was going to say, because if I’m being honest, it’s been in the back of my head too. But I had my answer all ready. So I said, “I totally understand, but I’m just not there right now. This season of life is so busy, I’m just happy to get out and not feel pressure to push and really go for it. I need to workout for me, and right now this is plenty.” And while that statement is completely true, and justified…the part I left out is I’m scared. Scared that I can’t push, that I can’t do it.

I’m signed up for 10K in 3 weeks. I signed up for it to have a post-baby goal, to get back into shape and back into an exercise routine. I researched plans and originally was going to follow Train Like A Mother’s 10K plan. I immediately fell behind though and felt intimidated, so I dropped it. Then I looked up a few others, and settled on Hal Higdon’s 10K novice plan. It has 3 runs a week, plus some cross training and stretching. It sounded much easier. But I found myself even being resistant to that plan; I can always find an excuse to not run.

It’s easy as a mother to develop an ego -the boys need me- and to feel like I’m the one who has to keep things in order. But that’s not true. Yes they do need me, but not every moment of every day. In fact, they actually need me to NOT be with them every moment of every day, they need solo time with just their Papa too. And if I’m being totally honest, this is where the fear comes in. J and N don’t need my absolute, undivided attention. They need me to take care of myself, so I can be a better mother. Which means I should go run, I should work out, I should push myself. But what if I can’t? What if that competitive edge that I found running my first half marathon in 2010 is gone? What if I can’t figure out how to get in a workout on a regular basis? If I let the kitchen go because I choose to go for a run, does that make me a bad wife? I’m a home maker, my job is to make our home. So if I chose to spend time on me, am I’m failing?

I’m not ready for my 10K. And I still have a few weeks, but I think it’s going to be a hard race. I think it’ll be the first race that I’ve specifically trained for, yet I won’t feel prepared for. But that’s part of the victory then, I’m going to do it anyways. I actually tried to back out of it, made up lots of logical reasons why it would be better if I didn’t run. But then my dear husband and lovely friend encouraged me back in.

Working to channel my inner BAMR (bad ass mother runner)

Working to channel my inner BAMR (bad ass mother runner)

Ultimately, I want to stay healthy and motivated, it’s not just about one race. And I have to accept that I can’t do it all…but I can do most of it, most of the time. And when I can’t…oh well…there will be another day. That is the joy of kiddo #2, I’m so much more aware of the fact that we are in a season of life, and it will quickly give way to another season. Some things will get easier, some will get harder. I believe I will find that competitive edge again, I’ll be able to disconnect from being mama all the time, and focus on just me. I’m just not there yet!

Birthday

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Aug. 27, 2014 – Cloudy, 59°, Sunrise 6:41 am, Sunset 9:21 pm Here we are again – birthday time! In my family birthdays tend to stretch out for days, even weeks…and it’s wonderful! J’s birthday is towards the end of August, … Continue reading