Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Brooke is back!

We were on a routine visit to the G'bo library and found out that MR MCFEELEY WOULD BE THERE!!! OMG, LOL@@@!! It was epic. Generations of kids have been inspired by this man to dress up like an old-timey deliveryman and maintain a positive attitude even in the face of insurmountable odds. Just uttering the words "Speedy Delivery" could change you from that malodorous, ordinary kid that had to eat reduced lunch, wear homemade outfits complete with knockoff sneakers and had to barter the sweets in his lunchbox for safety to a middle-aged postman reeking of self-confidence and gentility. Also he created a whole generation of kids obsessed with punctuality and impeccable grooming. He showed some old puppets from the show like Daniel Lion (pictured) and King Friday. Also he is a PA native and therefore was better looking than most people in the room. Isobel sang "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" for all.

Giada De Laurentiis showed up and helped Christina with this recipe and told her "I LOVE your hair". Then she got in to a rusty 1992 Ford Taurus and muttered something about "being late for that...uh...cooking thing...out there in the woods. With the bears." and sped away. It was weird, but the food was amazingly delicious. Pictured: Brown Butter Risotto with Lobster and Sautéed Spinach with Garlic.

Jude told another one of his "dirty diaper" jokes again here. I keep telling them they're getting old, but he thinks they are comic gold!

Greensboro Greek Festival! Now with more baklava! Christina ate 13 pieces of this stuff before convulsing on the floor like a tent revival meeting. It took 5 Greek dancers to revive her. She would later claim that eating that dessert was a life-changing experience.

Pictured are the Greek hotties. Character shoes are universally flattering.


Friday, September 17, 2010

five things I like


Bento. I may or may not have spent an inordinate amount of time making this octopus out of muenster, nori, and fake bologna (baloney bologna? Har har.) for Isobel's school snack. I blame it on Brooke, who came home from Boston last week with this book for me. So I guess I'm joining the ranks of type-A moms who can't even make a freaking snack for a preschooler without it being perfect. But you know what? Bento is so cuuuuuute! And, miracle of miracles, Isobel actually ate the octopus. So that in itself makes it worth the effort.

Haupia with fresh fruit. This is a wonderful light, cool Hawaiian dessert that I had forgotten about for the last 10 years or so. And it's super easy. (recipe from the aformentioned book)
Coconut Pudding (haupia)
4 to 6 tbsp sugar
4 to 6 tbsp cornstarch
1 (12-oz) can coconut milk
a few raspberries or other fruit
-Combine sugar and cornstarch and stir in 1 and a half cups water. Pour coconut milk into a saucepan over medium heat. Add the sugar mixture, cooking and stirring constantly until thickened.
-Spoon into container or pour into a square pan and chill until firm (like Jell-O). Top with fruit.

Our back yard. I can now let Isobel disrobe before bringing out the non-washable sidewalk chalk. We can have a soundtrack to our hopscotch sessions (there's a working outlet in our back yard). And we still have highs in the 90's here, so we're making the most of it.

Seriously, So Blessed! One of the funniest, cleverest, perfectest spoofs I've ever seen in my long 27 years of life. Go there and be entertained.

Puck. A jar of this deliciousness was given to me just a few weeks before I came back to the U.S. from Kazakhstan. I loved it, and then forgot all about it. So imagine my surprise when I saw that happy little flower at Madina Market yesterday. It's like a more spreadable cream cheese. In Almaty I was told it was Russian, but the label says it's a product of Denmark. Anyway, tasty, tasty stuff.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

grapes, and other happenings

Isobel is in preschool! My oh my, where does the time go? She's being stoic here, but actually she loves, loves, loves "may shawome" and would be happy to spend all day every day there. Sometimes when I'm not giving her what she wants, she dramatically cries "I want to go back to my school!"

My latest favorite photo:

And Jude eats food now! I have a little bait-and-switch technique that I use to get him to swallow a few bites of rice cereal each day. He's more okay with the whole food in mouth idea than Isobel was, but still not particularly enthusiastic about the mush. Here he is, waiting patiently in a stylin' bib made by Anne Gish:

This last Saturday was mercifully cool and not humid, so to celebrate the imminent passing of Summer we went to Benjamin Vineyards,

where we picked two pounds of these beauties:

I had heard that wine grapes aren't like table grapes. Actually, I think someone told me that wine grapes are inedible, which isn't true. Brooke had eaten those two pounds of grapes by the time I returned from the E.D. Sunday night. Isobel and I politely declined. I can't abide seeds in grapes, and I think Isobel was also turned off by the thicker than usual skin. But the ripest ones do have a lovely, very sweet flavor that really is remarkably different from your run-of-the-mill grocery store grapes. Smell a glass of wine, and you'll sorta get the idea.

But even if I wasn't too interested in eating them, picking the grapes was a pretty cool experience. They're so aesthetically pleasing. This particular orchard had black, red, and golden varieties, and we gathered an assortment.
In lieu of grapes, Jude got his first taste of apple that evening:

Mmmm, fruit. Definitely a bigger hit than yucky mushy rice cereal, and I can't blame him.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Beached Shifflers

Caroline, the picture of childhood bliss

Hatteras Lighthouse

Brooke and Jude on the Okracoke Ferry

Some sort of alien flower on Okracoke. Anyone know what this is?

These girls LOVE ice cream.



Jude, meet Ocean

These last three were taken by Nicole Shiffler. Doesn't she do beautiful work?