Thursday, May 29, 2008

Lucia'nne Baby is 4 months Today.

"She is the sunshine in my life," to quote dear old Stevie Wonder. She's grown so much I'm already anxious that she is growing out of baby-dom. She went to her first wedding this month in Ohio. Therefore, she endured her first long car trip. Thank goodness Grandma and Grandpa Obert were there to drive us. She had Mommy and Daddy to smile, coo, caress, and soothe her the entire drive. She only cried when she was tired or hungry. We would stop and I would fulfill all her needs and then I would say, "Thank you for letting me know what you needed, Lucia."
She would smile and me and make some lovely baby jabber sound that is like music to my ears.
Mommy and Daddy love their little girl.
I will save most of the milestones for the quarterly lovenote but I'm proud of my little girl for being so strong this month. She rolls over now, grabs things she wants, "inchworms" around the floor, holds herself up very high on her arms during tummytime, and sits up for stroller walks. She can do so much she has to cry in order to alert Mommy that she just needs to be cuddled and held.
Lucia is a wonderful little girl to have in our family and we were very happy for the opportunity to show her off to friends and family this month. Lucia met her great Aunt Marsha,Gini, Theresa, Mary and Uncles Mike, Chet, Jim, and Bernie. Not to mention she got to visit again with little Madeleine and various 2nd cousins and more! She has yet to meet Uncle Mikey, Aunt Angie, and cousins Patrick and Aaron save a video phone conversation on Mother's Day. That was very sweet because Patrick made Lucia many little drawings that he showed us over video chat. We plan on seeing them in August in Madison if all things go right.
I will upload a 4 month picture tomorrow. The batteries on my camera are dead and I was too lazy to leave the house today after work.

Monday, May 19, 2008

In Case any of you were wonderin'...

This is how we cook squirrel over here in Iowa. In Iowa City the illusive "Black squirrels" are the delicacy:


1 squirrel, cleaned and skinned

Barbecue sauce

Put squirrel in a pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the meat falls off the bone. Cut meat into bite-sized pieces. Place pieces in saucepan and top with generous amount of bbq sauce. Cover and simmer 20 minutes.


1 squirrel, cleaned and skinned

1 cup sour cream

2 medium onions, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bone and cut squirrel into bite sized pieces and brown in frying pan. Put pieces in casserole. Mix sour cream and onions and spread over squirrel. Roast 1 hour.

*Recipes from The Des Moines Register Cookbook by Carol McGarvey, Marie McCartan and C.R. Mitchell

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Recipes worth noting from Lite and Delicious cuisine of India by Madu Gahdia.
Just as a slight tangent... Why do recipes use the misspelling of "Light"? Or is "Lite" really a word. I could look it up but I'm too lazy.
Alu Gobhi
1 med. cauliflower (4cups)
2 med. potatoes
4 tsp. Veg oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fresh ginger, chopped
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
2 tsp coriander powder
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped (cilantro)
  1. Cut up cauli into 1 inch florets and peel, wash potatoes and cut into 1" pieces- set aside.
  2. Heat Veg oil in nonstick skillet and brown over med. heat for few seconds.
  3. Add Cauli and pots.
  4. Add Ginger, turmeric, salt and cay. pepper. Stir to coat vegs.
  5. Cover with a lid, heat through and reduce heat. Simmer for 8-10 min until veg are tender but firm.
  6. Sprinkle coriander powder, lemon juice and garam masala. Stir. Increase heat to med. and pour remaining 2 tsp of oil around the sides, allowing the oil to get to the bottom of the pan. Fry for 3-5 mins. Stir occasionally in a lifting and turning fashion to avoid mashing veg. all the liquid should be evaporated.
  7. Transfer to serving platter and garnish with fresh coriander.

I should be honest and say I added a few splashes of coconut milk to the recipe. I like it a little creaminess to my Alu Gohbi but have notices that its not really how its supposed to be cooked. I don't know where I ate it that it was creamy (I think in Davenport) but I really like it that way and am disappointed when restaurants serve it dry.

Here is how you make Garam Masala:

  1. 1 1/2 Tblsp whole cardamom
  2. 4 cinnamon sticks broken into pieces
  3. 1 tsp whole black pepper
  4. 1 tsp cumin seeds
  5. 1 Tblsp whole cloves
  6. 2 bay leaves broken up
  7. 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  8. 1 tsp kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves-optional)
  9. Pinch of saffron (optional)

Put everything into your coffee grinder and powder finely.

I obviously didn't use the optional items and I thought the recipes I tried still tasted as they should.

The paneer was easy because you just had to spread part skim ricotta into a pan and then bake until the water evaporated. It's not true paneer but it works for American purposes. I used it to make Matar Paneer and it tasted really good. Kent even ate it despite the fact that he hates peas and it was a dish consisting primarily of peas. Those of you who want more will have to check out the book. I'll return it before next weekend.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Indian dish night at the Olsons

Well, I successfully made my first Indian dish for supper.
It took me forever to figure out what Garam Masala was. But once I found a recipe for it I had fun using my coffee grinder to make up some homemade!
I made Alu Gohbi and it was delicious. I tried making Naan but my yeast was old and didn't rise. That was okay because I had plenty of Basmati Rice. I also made Paneer from some part skim Ricotta cheese. I'm thinking about making one more dish tonigh with the Paneer and peas (it has a tomato sauce instead of the yellow sauce).
So, I guess this inspiration is lasting a little longer than expected!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Chatty Kathies

I have found that talking about breastfeeding and breastmilk is a very effective methods of thwarting off undesirable conversation from bored Chatty Kathies during your lunch hour. One mention of it and they go running for the door.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mistakes or something better?

I just have a quote from a movie running through my head tonight:

Lounge singer: "I can't... Sometimes do you feel like you can't tell your life from all the mistakes you made?:

Piano player: "Come on baby- Mistakes are what make it interesting... They make life fun."

When you are lying in your deathbed will you be running the mistakes you made through your head and ruing every moment of it or will you be smiling and reliving every moment of sheer joy. Tonight I am thinking of those moments of sheer joy:

  • Spending all night working on a painting/drawing, smoking cigarettes and drinking wine.
  • Dancing with my Pop-o at Mikey's wedding
  • climbing to the top of the Duomo and looking out at sunset over Florence.
  • Singing and dancing at the Deadwood
  • Walking dogs with hot coffee in my hand with JR at sunrise. Swimming with the dogs.
  • Laying with Lucia on my chest asleep- kissing her forehead.
  • My mother giving me a pedicure.
  • Lying in the sun on my Pop-o's boat
  • Kent's tears at my wedding
  • Looks of love from Kent
  • cuddling up with my family in bed

Life is something precious.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Inspiration, Iowa City

I feel like I can do anything and be anything when I go to the library. If I get an idea or a tinge of inspiration I like to go to the library and check out all the books I can find on that topic or idea. Then I head to the audio section and check out CDs with thoughts of future mix CDs dancing in my head and finally I finish up at the DVDs and decided on my entertainment for the week. My friends and I have all made a nice habit of frequenting the library.

The little ones get new books for the week, play with the trains that are set up in there and poke around the movies and computers a bit between episodes of blindly running from here to there. It is during this time that Lucia and I sit back and look on with pride and admiration at my friends with their children. They are being brought up well with good memories of trips to the library- as it should be. I remember the library cards from when I was a little girl. It was very official. Your number was punched into a metal strip that was inserted into a very sturdy card. I remember thinking library cards are very dear. Today they are cheap plastic cards and don't nearly look as important as they actually are.

Today's inspiration at the library was an episode of the Splendid table from NPR this weekend. There was a feature on a new Filipino cookbook. It just so happened that I was sent home with a nice big bag of Pancit this weekend from Tita Leti (Genevieve's Aunt who makes amazing authentic Filipino food). I was named as part of the family way back in High school (I ate the squid) and have eve rafter been treated as part of their family. I was excited by the prospect of making this dish for myself.

I found the cookbook and three others on Filipino cooking and Indian cooking. Here are the titles:
  1. The Filipino-American Kitchen by Jennifer M. Aranas
  2. Memories of Philippine Kitchens by Amy Besa and Romy Dorotan (this was the featured book on Splendid Table)
  3. Cuisines of India: The Art and Tradition of Regional Indian Cooking by Smita Chandra
  4. Lite and Luscious Cuisine of India: Recipes and tips for healthy and quick meals By Madhu Gadia.

I also checked out a novel that I hope I will actually read.

I'm excited to get this brain/stomach party started!

p.s. I reserve the right to lose inspiration at any moment.

Genevieve and Joshua

In Honor of Genevieve's Birthday (Yesterday) and Joshua's Birthday (Today) I'm posting of this picture of them at my shower. I can't believe he was that small! He's such a big boy today.
This is what I know about Joshua:
  • He loves his Momma (they make out) and Daddy.
  • He loves Apples
  • He loves Thomas the Train
  • He loves cars.
  • He can say "Poop"
  • He runs like E.T.
  • He loves being the center of attention.

There may be more but these are the top ones.

I know too much about Genevieve to share it all but here are a few favorites:

  • She loves Anne of Green Gables, turn of the century English movies and Bridget Jone's diary.
  • She was a late bloomer but Whoa! what a looker! She can dress herself good too.
  • She loves psychoanalysing her friends.
  • She can eat with the best of us.
  • She goes on long walks with her friend Katy while our Babies ride quietly on.
  • She can't hear and hates silence.
  • She can say "poop".
  • She loves Joshua ( and Rich too, sometimes).
  • She loves being the center of attention.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

To a very special Mamacita-

You are:

  • hilarious.
  • my best friend.
  • so important to me.
  • a great mom who always does the best you can.
  • full of heart.
  • talented.
  • a great conversationalist.
  • a granderma.
  • strong and supportive.
  • forgiving.
  • always the most beautiful - pretty woman I know.
  • interesting.
  • a good story teller.
  • an enormous part of my life.

... and I will always love you.

Just wanted to remind you of that on Mother's Day. You deserve everything you desire in life. Tell that grumpy old man of a husband to give you a hug and a kiss from me. I'm sorry I couldn't make it there to be with you this weekend. We will come for a weekend soon when I can stay awhile.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Here are the products I can't live without as a Mommy:
  1. Gripe Water (this shit WORKS, people)
  2. Dr. Brown's Bottles (they are really the best bottle out there).
  3. Infant Mylicon
  4. Jumperoo
  5. Calming Vibrations bouncy chair (thank you very much Sarah Sparks!)
  6. Swing (thank you very much C-Bs)
In the tradition of my late and great Grandmother Obert I would like to make some grievances known about some things I'm not satisfied with... Dare I say it... I would like to complain.
1.) I've been skimming YOU The Owner's Manual: An insider's guide to the body that will make you Healthier and Younger when I'm not cooking, cleaning, working, walking, sleeping or breastfeeding (which is approximately once a week while I take a bath instead of cooking Kent dinner). This book includes a ten day diet which will jump start a healthier lifestyle. Here is what I would need for my kitchen in order to prepare ten days of food while on this diet:
  1. Fully stocked year round fresh herbs garden (dill, basil, thyme, parsley, mint, etc.)
  2. all sauces (all vinegars, oils, BBQ, more will be disclosed below...)
  3. all beans (kidney, garbanzo, Tuscan, black, etc...
  4. all fruits frozen and fresh (Blueberry, raspberry, plums, pineapple, apple, mandarin oranges, etc.)
  5. all whole wheat breads (English muffin, tortillas, pitas, baguettes, you name it)
  6. staples (not the kind for fixing paper together- eggs, blah)
  7. all salad greens (spinach, arugula, endive, collard greens, kale
  8. Kashi H. fiber cereal
  9. low fat soy milk
  10. Light and Fit smoothie drinks
  11. all nuts (Walnuts, almonds preferably)
  12. canned salmon, smoked salmon and salmon fillets
  13. lots of chicken in various forms (bone in and out)
  14. old fashioned oats
  15. apple cider, sauce, and juice
  16. pure maple syrup
  17. ricotta cheese
  18. silken tofu
  19. blueberry preserves
  20. limes and lemons
  21. OJ
  22. Shitake mushrooms
  23. asparagus
  24. egg whites
  25. sour cream
  26. frozen corn and whole baby corn
  27. goat cheese and feta cheese
  28. frozen yogurt (vanilla and choc.)
  29. Frozen sorbet (pineapple and strawberry)
  30. poblano chilies
  31. Onions (small, red, yellow and white)
  32. Kalamata olives and olive relish
  33. golden raisins
  34. avocado
  35. summer squash
  36. eggplant
  37. bell peppers (roasted, red, yellow, orange and green)
  38. rye bread
  39. edename
  40. cabbage
  41. sesame seeds
  42. carrots
  43. scallions
  44. fresh and pickled ginger
  45. Yukon Gold Potatoes Wax potatoes, sweet potatoes and red potatoes
  46. Turnips
  47. garlic
  48. mescadun (Huh?)
  49. radishes
  50. chix broth
  51. ww gemelli
  52. tomatoes (grape, roma, yellow and red)
  53. baby peas
  54. Romano Cheese
  55. Grey Poupon
  56. Anchovies
  57. chili garlic sauce
  58. top sirloin
  59. pea shoots
  60. broccoli florets
  61. red jalapeno chili
  62. tilapia
  63. mirin (?)
  64. lentils
  65. white and red wine
  66. shallots
  67. cucs
  68. spinach
  69. cauliflower
  70. buttermilk
  71. wasabi powder
  72. Caribbean jerk seasoning
  73. tuna steaks
  74. thin pizza crust
  75. snow peas
  76. bamboo shoots
  77. water chestnuts
  78. jasmine rice
  79. shrimp
  80. chili puree
  81. oyster sauce
  82. choc. soy milk
  83. granola
  84. frozen and fresh cranberries

OK, why don't I just buy the whole store. All this for ten days? Come on. I also recently received a Weight Watchers' cookbook that I feel pretty similar about. When I'm Oprah I will be able to eat these recipes but until then... Can we simplify for us "little people"?

My idea is for a computer program where you enter all the contents of your kitchen and it spits out a weekly menu, recipes and serving size guide for a week at a time. I think there should be a suggestions box for items for an upcoming grocery visit too. Perhaps every week it prints out your grocery list... There would have to be a monthly option on there too. My brother-in-law took it farther and thought it should hook up to your grocery cart and whenever you put a "Bad" item into your cart like a gallon of cookies and cream ice cream you get zapped with electric shock.

Deadwood : Upon reflection I have decided I am not upset about previously mentioned complaint. Although, I do think there is something to the fact that I haven't seen my friend in a year I will not hold this incident against anyone.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Unlikely Arm Workout
Mr. Miaggi was right, if you want a good arm workout try scrubbing floors on your hands and knees. My floors look clean but my arms ache! If I keep this up while Lucia is still portable I'm going to be unstoppable at arm Wrestling.

Lucia meets Aunt Kim!

I was convinced anew how wonderful Aunt Kim was when Lucia met her last weekend. She is just wonderful and Lucia fell in love with her instantly. You can tell they are having a very nice discussion in this picture. She loves our Kurt very much and has a sensible head on her shoulders. We are all happy and relieved that they are doing so well and are so in love. There is nothing wrong with Kurt's PDA, Kim. Olson men are tried and true blue.

p.s. Isn't the outfit Uncle Jim and Aunt Mary got Lucia adorable?

p.p.s. If you zoom in you can catch a glimpse of Lucia's Cabbage Patch doll belly button.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Strut Miss Luci!

(This is my first video upload... )

Lucia LOVES being "bipedal" as Kent puts it. So, I went to Kidworks and bought this used Jumperoo for cheap. At first, Lucia wasn't long enough but now she can just barely touch down and she can't get enough of it. I often sing "Strut Miss Luci" (and have video of me doing so...) like my Momma but I didn't want to torture anyone with my singing voice. It may be a bit boring and long for the average anonymous reader but I can't help excersizing some of my bragging rights as a mother that she is so strong!