Tuesday, June 30, 2015

One Adventure After Another...But No Boats

Yesterday was an excellent day.  It was the first day of Lilly not being sick after a week, and sick Josh was back to work, not promoting resting in the house.  I took it as a day to get shiza done!  But, what to get done?  Do I clean the house?  Do I complete a homemaking chore to make life better for my family? (aka finish sewing Lilly's curtains? or work on any of my crafts?) Or do I plan a day of adventures for Lilly and skip all the other house work?

I asked Lilly what sort of adventure she wanted to go on.  She was staring out the window in the kitchen at the backyard.  She thought about it and thought about it.  I wondered if she knew what an adventure was.  Then she looks at me and says "BOAT!"  She sure did know what an adventure was!  I unfortunately couldn't find a person who both owned a boat and wasn't working.  Soooo...I only asked my mom.  They have at least three boat like things. 

I noticed that the ants were out in force, and I saw three or four extra around the couch, so cleaning took precedent.  I do NOT want ants in the couch, or any where in the house, for that matter.  Plus it was dirty due to the week of sickness, and Lilly had cereal for breakfast and spilled it all over. (Dry, no milk).  That's how you get ants.  I picked it all up (the toys, the clothes, the random stuff, boxes, recycling, etc) and vacuumed the floor and the couch.  It's easy to vacuum the couch.  I read it in a homemaking book, and I thought it was a great idea.  If you do it every time you vacuum, it gets fast and easy, and the ants don't come.

If you didn't know, Josh and I battled the ants every spring in Antioch, TN.  Second floor apartment and everything,  but damn, those ants won more battles than they lost.  They forced us to clean the pantry yearly and be aware of what is open (even if it's tightly sealed).  We couldn't keep clothes on the floor in the bathroom because you do NOT want to put on pants filled with ants.  Trust me.  And, they found the couch.  And once they get in the couch, and it's 90 degrees out and humid, they crawl up and bite you in your sensitive upper inner thigh.  Ackbar was our best defense.  He would lay down on their path and they would be forced to try and crawl the wrong way up into his extra fluffy tail.

Okay, so the best defense is vacuuming up the food in a timely manner.  Especially behind the couch and in the cracks and cushions.  Ackbar is just the cutest defense.

During the vacuuming, Lilly played on my phone in Kids Mode.  She can call four people in that mode, Oma, Grandma, Aunt Mandy and Opa.  And she chose to call Oma, and she talked to her and said Hi.  I think then, Oma asked if everything was okay or if there was an emergency, and Lilly said YES and started crying and hung up on her.  So Oma called me back and it was twice before I heard it and had no idea that the first Lilly call even took place.  And of course there was an emergency...according to Lilly vacuuming is a terrible emergency that needs to be stopped.  It was Lilly's first independent phone call!  I'm so proud of her.

Back to my productive day.  After the cleaning, I rested, paid some bills and played with Lilly. I was doing my hair in the bathroom or I was dressing in the bedroom, I don't remember, but Lilly was in the bathroom.  She usually stands on the toilet now and plays with everything she can find in the cupboard above the toilet.  It's very hard to get her out.  And this time, she was playing, then she quick ran out fast and it was very suspiciously quiet.  I went to find her, and she was sitting in the living room putting the deodorant on her chin, looking very pleased with herself.  "Finally! It's mine!!!!"  It was a dream of hers come true.  She also put it on her armpits and her elbow.

 Then it was lunch time.  We had sandwiches, but she spit out her lettuce.  Normally she doesn't notice the lettuce at first and gets a few bites of it eaten before she picks it off.  Nap time did not go as planned, and Lilly did not sleep.  I still insist on naptime being my time, so she watched tv and rested.  She chose Peep and The Big Wide World which is my favorite show because it is so innocent and funny and peaceful.  I think it is one show that truly captures adventures and exploring as a child from a child's point of view.  And there is a duck, and nothing is better than a duck.  That's a joke for the people who watch the show.

Then I remembered that I needed to make a crock pot of pork butt for dinner.  About three hours later than I meant too.  I cut up the veggies, carrots, celery, onions, whole garlics, and forgot the potatoes.  I salted and peppered the meat, and then added some vinegar and worschesteir sauce.  I forgot the fresh herbs. Oh, and I added a whole jalapeno, but no seeds. It made everything VERY hot and spicy.  That was not my plan.

After nap time we were bored.  I asked her if she wanted to go to Walmart so I could buy her a pretty birthday outfit.  She said "no."  And I respect that decision, so we didn't go.  She did have her frog boots on and was ready to play in the rain  (it had started raining hard instead of being beautiful and sunny and perfect like the morning was).  And that's what we did; Splashed in puddles and played with umbrellas.

Afterwards, we were still bored, so I decided it was time to do what I needed to do.  We drove out and bought some Amish grown strawberries, and I brought them to my mom's to make jam.  Only, my mom didn't know we were coming, and I didn't think about what one needed to make jam.  Like, jars and pectin and sugar and new jar lids. So I just cleaned them and froze them in bags instead.  Lilly would stand by the bowl and eat the berries as fast as I was cleaning them! She loves berries! 

While there, my dad called and said he needed dinner at 5:30 that day for reasons.  Which was awesome because I was going to leave to go eat dinner at my house at 5:00...but this meant FREE DINNER FOR ME.  Only not for me, just Lilly and I'll take that.  I got the tiny plate to eat off of, gotta keep my figure.

Lilly fell asleep on the ride home and stayed asleep! This meant she fell asleep 2 hrs earlier than normal and Josh and I had extra time!!  We were in the kitchen and I told him: There was no clean dishrags upstairs, so I didn't do the dishes today.

This morning I found a clean one he carried upstairs from the basement on the sink.  He's always thinking of me.

Today my work is getting Lilly a balloon.  PEEEZ!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

How I Make Soup

My favorite recipe at the moment is Cheesy Asparagus Soup.  I use this one: The Best Broccoli Cheese Soup from Averiecooks.com.  I found it through a google search...I have not read any of the other posts on the blog.  Broccoli and Asparagus are both dark green, and I like to cook meals and add foods to meals based on color.  So, clearly they are inter-mixable.

Josh and I don't like asparagus normally, but as a good friend taught me once, all gross vegetables are good if you cover them in cheese.  Enter Eggplant and Zucchini Parmesan. Right now, asparagus is in season and locally grown, so it is as fresh and as cheap as you can get food, which means we should eat it, even if it's not our favorite.  It's only around for a month or so anyways.

The recipe has you make a roux with butter, flour and fat free half and half.  WHAAT?  I never read that when I cooked it, I don't ever have half and half.  But fat free?  What IS that?  How can that be? Is it more like half skim milk half water?  Let me tell you, I make this better.  Take your two cup liquid measure cup and add sour cream and plain yogurt.  Or just one of those.  I mix them until I get one cup of thick creams then pour in one cup of milk and mix it together.  You could do just half a cup of sour cream.  Or probably cream cheese.  Just use a white delicious full fat food. 

Okay back up.  So sorry.  I add two cups chicken broth to the butter and flour roux (if you want to know how to make a roux, you should probably google or youtube it), THEN add the two cups of the white creamy liquid milk.  For the broth, I happen to have fresh broth on hand I made a few days ago.  But I would do two cups hot water with two bouillon cubes dissolved in, and be very careful how much salt I add in later.

In the recipe, the author has you cook the onions and garlic and then set them aside.  I don't have that much room or dishes to do that.  I just cook the onions and garlic in the 1/4 c butter I use to make the roux and just keep the onions there as part of it all.  I can't see a difference.  Once all the liquid is added, it is boiled/simmered for 20 min.  I don't know why.   I do it so that I can take the time to wash all the dishes I made dirty to get to this step and cut up the vegetables.  I would not have thought to add carrots to a soup like this.  Carrots are orange and cheese is orange...too much color similarity.  But it adds a nice texture change to the soup and a little sweetness.  I added red pepper to the onions because I had it and needed to use it up.  I didn't like it, but I don't really like bell peppers in soups.  I would have added a delicious jalapeno but I didn't want to make it too spicy for Lilly.

You add all the veggies and spices and boil it for another 20 min.  I don't think you should skip the spices for this soup.  The recipe suggests paprika and dried mustard powder.  It's very good.  In the future I might add cumin too, or a curry powder.  Be careful about the salt though.  Some chicken broths are very salty and cheese (which hasn't even been added yet) is also salty.  For this I added just less than a full teaspoon.

Cheese.  I pick yellow cheddar, but I like cheddar cheese for soups.  Josh's mom brought us a great smoked cheddar cheese that I added and it provided a nice smokey flavor to the soup.  Just shredd it and add it and stir and then serve the soup when you are ready.  I served it with tiny steaks that were 2$ at the grocery store.  Meat on the side!

Cheese Story:  The other morning I got to sleep in!  Josh got up with Lilly and I stayed in bed.  Lilly came in and brought me the unopened package of smoked cheese.  I thought Josh gave it to her as a surprise for me, so I opened it and shared it with her in bed.  I called Josh in, and he was soo surprised! Where did the cheese come from?!?  Apparently it was all Lilly's idea, and she also learned how to open and close the fridge.