Friday, April 24, 2009

Week 13 glamour shots

Here are a couple pictures from an ultrasound I had last week, the final week of the first trimester. Here's to expanding waistlines and happier boobs!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A veggie surprise

Holy crap, you guys. I forgot about the Universal Rule of Bacon!

The cabbage recipe I was so worried about was actually fantastic. I served it atop a plate of quinoa with a parsley garnish. Despite its rather gloppy purple appearance, it was delicious. That cabbagey taste is mellowed out by the sweetness of the carrots and the beer, and as we all know, bacon makes everything better. Here is the recipe, courtesy of Blue Moon Organics:


2 Tbsp. good quality olive oil
2 medium onions cut in half and sliced (I used just one)
1/2 lb bacon, pancetta or tasso ham, medium dice
1 head cabbage halved and julienned (I used three small heads of red cabbage)
2 carrots scrubbed and cut into matchsticks
1/4 cup good Dijon mustard
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup whiskey or 1 can quality beer
1/2 cup chicken or veggie stock
1 bunch chives, chopped
2 Tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat tablespoon of oil over medium heat and render pork until it's crispy, about 10 minutes. Pull out pork product, blot with a towel and reserve.

Cook onions in pork fat until translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add cabbage, carrots and mustard and stir. Add vinegar and beer or whiskey and let it cook off for a couple minutes. Add stock and reduce until liquid is almost vacant. Fold in pork.

Serve warm on top of a starch in a bowl (polenta, risotto, quinoa or potatoes would be great) and garnish with chives and parsley.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

An amazing week in produce

Last week my mom and her husband were visiting from New Mexico, and I took this opportunity to drag my mom around the house and pepper her with questions about my garden, what curtains to put in the breakfast nook, how to arrange the baby's room. While we were outside deciding where to plant my tomatoes, I pointed out some green stuff that, for the second year in a row, had come sprouting out of some ground cover that runs along the side fence. "Do you know what that stuff is?" I asked her. "I keep thinking I should get rid of it. It doesn't seem to be anything." She reached down and plucked one of the long green stems out of the ground and found A BABY BULB OF GARLIC. I have garlic! In my back yard! There are at least six or seven bulbs brewing back there, and I have no idea how or why. This house is so terribly exciting to me sometimes. Remember when I discovered a secret tiny rosebush? That thing is a good 18 inches tall now that I cleared out some space for it to breathe!

Last week I also picked up my first box of produce from the Community Supported Agriculture program I signed up for with Blue Moon Organics. I am bonkers for this idea: Every week, a box of fresh organic fruits and veggies will be delivered to me at school. What will be inside the box? That's the best part - WHO KNOWS?! It could be anything!

Here's what the first crop contained: a bunch of purple kale; three beets; seven giant carrots; three artichokes; three heads of red cabbage; four - waddayacallem, stalks? bunches? - of baby bok choy; and four cartons of strawberries that were so sweet, you'd swear they had been swirled in sugar. My goal with these boxes is to never let anything to go waste, which is going to be a real challenge. Especially since I'm not sure what to do with half of this stuff.

I already made a pretty good stir-fry with the bok choy and carrots, plus some shitake mushrooms, black bean garlic sauce and udon noodles. Last night I made a braised cabbage recipe that came with the box: cabbage, beer, mustard, bacon, carrots, and bunch of other stuff. I haven't tried it yet because it looks scary. I bet it wouldn't if it weren't so dang purple. But I will give it a go tonight for dinner, spooning it over some polenta or quinoa. The chard is also gone: In less than 20 minutes, my magnificent mother whipped that into the most amazing baked-potato topping using a bit of bacon, the garlic from my back yard, some flour, water and our favorite family seasoning, Maggi.

So all I have left is are the beets and the artichokes (the strawberries took care of themselves.) I found a recipe for beet risotto, but as for the pretty artichokes, I'm not really a steam-and-dip-in-butter kind of person, so I don't know what the heck to do there.

Finally, last week I planted a garden in a patch of the back yard that was previously just more of that viney ground cover. Even though I have no idea what I'm doing and the whole thing could be dead in a week, I feel very proud of this little garden as it took a ton of work, including a battle with a 3-foot tree root that cost me one hour, one screwdriver and a painful knock on my shin. Pictures soon!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Cirque du Bebe

So it turns out there is a baby in my belly!

OK, obviously I've known about this pregnancy for two entire months now, but I never felt this truly and honestly pregnant until yesterday when I went in for a 12-week ultrasound. I mean, last time we took a peek inside at 8 weeks, all I could see was a small white blob, which the doctor referred to as a baby. And I loved this small white blob, and I knew it was MY small white blob, but let's be honest ... how thrilling can a blob really be? 

Well, yesterday, the moment they put the scanner thing on my belly, ta-daaa! There on the screen was a freaking BABY. With fingers! And legs! AND A FACE! And oh my goodness, was it an active little thing. My tiny acrobat! I just felt so damned proud of it as it bounced and stretched and waved its wee arms ... it rolled over and twisted and turned ... one time it even stood on its head! It took my breath away. And then I saw Sal checking the Dodgers score on his BlackBerry, and I got it back again.

Just kidding. Well, I mean, Sal really did check the score. But in his defense, we had to wait quite awhile for the baby to be in the exact right position for this screening, so we had a lot of down time. Also in his defense, he was gleefully watching the Giants get pounded, and that plus hanging out with his on-camera baby is otherwise known as my husband's best day ever. And I'm SO not interfering with that.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Good ol' Dooce!

When I see famous people, even ones I really admire, I am generally reluctant to go up to them. I don't want to bother them and say the same dumb things a hundred million other fans have said, forcing them to fake a smile while secretly thinking, "Jesus, she couldn't have come up with something more original?" So I admire from a distance, staring and smiling and perhaps creeping them out more than if I would have just said hi.

But last night when I had the most ultimate pleasure of meeting Heather Armstrong, aka Dooce, it was all I could do not to wrap my whole body around her face in a gigantic, suffocating bear hug. I LOVE DOOCE, OK. I distinctly remember stumbling across her blog several years ago (before I even knew the WORD blog) and thinking, holy shit. What is this treasure?! What the hell is all this free, awesome, hilariousness?! I have been a constant reader ever since, and in one way or another, reading Dooce has led me to a few other blogs I read rabidly, particularly those of Maggie, Kristy, Jenny and Kate. All such fine, funny women, whose blogs you should really be reading this very minute, because their shit is way better than mine.

Heather is on a book-signing tour for her New York Times bestseller "It sucked and then I cried: How I had a baby, a breakdown and a much-needed margarita." I'm already halfway through it, even though I have owned it all of 16 hours. It's a fantastic read, unless of course you are pregnant, in which case it is a petrifying and gory horror story. Oops.

Last night at Mountain View's Books, Inc., Heather read two passages from the book, and then took questions from the audience. In addition to being a total knockout, she was just as hilarious and honest as she is on her blog. At first she struggled with the volume and was trying to adjust the mic, raise the stand and lean in closer. Then she began to read again, and was interrupted by someone in the back who bellowed "CAN'T! HEEEEEEEAR! YOUUUUUUUU!" She stopped, heaved a patient sigh, and then said politely into the mic, "Well, I'm practically giving this thing a blow job." Awesome.

Up there on the mezzanine is Maggie Mason, aka Mighty Girl. She lives in San Francisco and is good friends with Heather, yet I didn't even think until a couple hours before the program began that she very likely would attend. When she tweeted that she was on her way, I nearly wet my pants.

So when it was my turn to see Heather and get an autograph, of course I immediately broke into a cold sweat and my voice got loud and shaky. I said something like "Thanks for coming. And you kick so much ass." She flashed this dazzling smile and asked me where I lived, and then said something about the weather. To which I blurted out, "I'M PREGNANT, TOO!" So much for not looking like an idiot. But she was cool, congratulating me and asking how I'm feeling and when I'm due. I THINK I answered those, but I was so starstruck I can't be entirely sure. I do know, however, that I stifled the urge to ask if we could rub our pregnant bellies together for luck.