It’s always funny…

when what’s supposed to look like this:

turns out looking like this:

Mozzarella ball fail.

Her original directions?

String cheese + milk + bread crumbs for 10 minutes at 425 degrees. Um, fail on el mozzarella balls. Guess I’m going to go with P-dub’s recipe at some point, and in the meantime, we’re on to bigger and better recipes, I say!

Hey, we all have to keep our human side in check; can’t be a superhero all of the time! πŸ˜‰

Thankful Thursdays: a nice little old lady.

Dear stranger in Home Goods this afternoon,

You are nice.
You are kind.
You said all the right things, and your crinkly eyes smiled, so I knew you were being honest.
You said that my face looked great, even when I think there’s an extra chunk of neck in the way.
You said I was perfectly glowing – and I think that makes me glow from the inside out even more!
You asked me when I was due, and didn’t even flinch when I slightly freaked out at realizing that the due date is exactly three months from today.
You didn’t try to make more conversation than was necessary, but you were just plain nice.

So, thank you, nice little old lady. I will try and remember to do the same upon seeing a stranger standing by themselves, because that person probably doesn’t even realize that she needs the encouragement. So, thank you again, and you keep saying those exact same things.

Love, me.

a punk, a pumpkin and a peanut

The Monday caramel update – #13

Week: 26 weeks, and the little bugger is kicking and punching like CRAZY. There’s an alien growing inside me.

Size: 14 inches long and 1 and 2/3 pounds – he’s ginormous, and certainly classier this week, as he’s about the length of an English cucumber. Tea and crumpets, anyone?

Name: Little Caramel Meredith

Gender: bouncing baby boy!

Maternity Clothes: I am STOKED about the $2.98 maternity jeans mi mama found at Burlington Coat Factory in Oregon which fit PERFECTLY.

Food Cravings: Anything but the glucose drink I downed this morning.

it looks so festive and Gatorade-like, me thinks.

Currently reading: The Nursing Mother’s Companion and book 2 of the Hunger Games series!!!

Most interesting fact: Did you know that you can get sent home early from your gestational diabetes screening if upon the second time they try and draw your blood, they unsuccessfully only extract an 8th of a vial from your wee little veins, and you subsequently vomit the pink drink 6x afterwards? Fact (and hence this morning’s test). Did you know that you can cut back on baby acne by drinking coconut milk? Fact (and I had some authentic baby coconut at a Vietnamese restaurant on Saturday). Did you know that the Hunger Games is so very addictive and really shouldn’t be read in the hour you’re trying to calm yourself down and fall asleep, because you’ll end up not sleeping that night? Fact (and thanks a bunch, Katniss).

Feeling: like resting and nesting is beginning!

Missing: My neighbors. More on that later.

Anticipating: making the gray-yellow-white baby room a reality!

So, my friends, how are YOU this evening?

Let’s play Interior Decorator

Remember when you were little, and most games started with “Let’s play…” fill-in-the-blank? (Some of you with kids are probably like, um, I’m living in that right now). Well anyways, because I seem to be having a hard time pairing the following piece, what media console/center do you think would go well with this (favorite) piece that’s currently in the living room?

From Wisteria

The actual color is a little darker, but seeing as these two pieces will be just a few feet apart from each other, should the colors match or coordinate? If the latter, what would a coordinating style be? And, what style should it then be? The pictured coffee table is a “French Industrial Style,” so I’m thinking that we shouldn’t then have a modern look paired with it.

So far I’ve looked online at Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel, Target, Cost Plus, Pier 1, Wisteria and Overstock.com, just to name a few, but I need your help! So, let’s play Interior Decorator…

The Monday caramel update – week 12

Week: 25 weeks, which means we have 102 days to go (give or take 14 days!).

Size: Pregnancy.com just equated the little bubs to a rutabaga. A rutabaga, really?

For your rutabaga viewing pleasure...and because I wasn't quite sure what one looked like either.

Name: Little Caramel Meredith

Gender: bouncing baby boy!

Maternity Clothes: Sometimes I like to pretend like I’m able to suck in my gut, but really, who am I kidding?

Food Cravings: Since I just dropped our glass blender on the floor last night, and am now unable to have those yummy fruit and protein smoothies I’ve been drinking every morning, I want a smoothie now. Stat.

Currently reading: The Nursing Mother’s Companion.

Most interesting fact: This isn’t new news to the moms out there, but did you know that milk comes in once the placenta is delivered? (well, within a few days…)

Feeling: again, that it’s all about the attitude. And I choose to have a good one.

Missing: Tomatoes! I am SO bummed to report that I’m unable to eat anything tomato-based now, including the sauce on pizza, salsa and tomatoes themselves. I am SUCH a tomato fan, so this changes the way I eat, to say the least. And as per what happens? Let’s just say acid reflux ain’t pretty.

Anticipating: Rest. Rest, rest, rest.

Is there anything you used to be able to eat that now you’re unable to? Whether it’s pregnancy or just a life-change, what’s off your plate that you wish was back on it?

the evolution of cooking. by me.

1979-1997: a wee little tot gleaning cooking and baking information from both of my parents over the years. My specialty? Homemade pretzels for our family and the neighbors.

1997-2001: a college kid who ate at the UC (cafeteria), and had a juicer in her dorm room for, uh, orange juice.

2001-2003: finally living on my own, I took stock in Trader Joe’s frozen meals.

2004-2005: though not much changed, I lived with five other girls in Santa Cruz, and a couple of them in particular were bon appetite cooks. It was also here that TRB (tofu, rice, broccoli + a silent “s” for spinach) was eaten every Monday night with 15-30 of our closest friends.

2006-2009: whether in WA or CA, we were back to the frozen food aisle at Trader Joe’s. I remember my friend Jenn flying up to visit me and teach me how to make my first pie from scratch (hey, it was on the 30 before 30 list); we made a HUGE trip to Fred Meyer’s to get all the ingredients (including a hand-held mixer), and the kitchen supplies doubled in size. Of course, she neglected to check to see if I had salt in my kitchen – or even a salt shaker, for that matter. Why would I have that? I mean, there’s already extra preservatives in everything I buy. Er…. So, instead of heading back down the hill for a $2 container of salt, I looked both ways and crossed the street to the local 7-11. Picking up 40 or so individual packets of salt, we then proceeded to open each one of them up so we could get the needed teaspoon or two for our respective pumpkin and apple pies.

2010: this MAN entered my life, and we started eating meals together. A lot. And all of the sudden, there was this burgeoning desire to prepare dinner for him – hence, the crock pot entered my life.

2011-present: it’s like people associate cooking with marriage or something – I mean, I really don’t know why [uh, read above paragraphs…]. And with marriage came cookbooks and magazine subscriptions to Sunset and Bon Appetit (which he subscribed to because he thought I’d like), and Southern Living (which I subscribed to because I thought he’d like). And after a stint at Oakbridge last summer, I arrived back in town desiring to make and pass around boozy cupcakes to all of our neighbors. This is why we all love each other. πŸ˜‰

And hence, we come to today’s conundrum: what to DO with these thousands of recipes floating around to make? The problem as the hubs sees it is that I’ll try out all these new recipes, but then not remember to make the A+ ones again. [The man could eat P-dub’s chicken piccata every week and he’d be just fine.] He finds himself yearning for some of those favorite dishes, and has therefore suggested that we subscribe to the 80-20 rule: make the best-of recipes 80% of the time, and try out new ones the other 20%.

Classic Cara on the other hand is just like BOR-ING! Why would I want to make the same dish again, when there are all these new ones to try out? (Unless we’re talking about that one recipe for shrimp tacos with peach jam – where is it anyway? Found it). So I desire to reverse the above rule to a 20-80 rule, because that’s new! That’s exciting!

Hence, our happy medium: I probably cook four nights a week, and make it a 50-50 rule. With other night-time activities, a night for left-overs (or for him to cook), and/or a meal out, this seems to suffice. And, I’m actually organizing all the recipes into a binder with the favorites saved in actual plastic covers (but as for all those Pinterest recipes, perhaps I should print them out, or refer to the internet every once in awhile…).

And the beauty of it is two-fold, and then some: I can honestly say that I know my way around the kitchen now! We’re eating yummy food, and discovering what we like and don’t like. I cook the meal, he cleans up (good job, HBH). So last night, upon trying out twice-baked sweet potatoes (Martha Stewart), our analysis was the following: eh. I could live without this. (Hence why we need not even post the recipe). But the good old butter lettuce topped with lemon juice and olive oil, salt and pepper and parmesan shavings? Bring it.

And I like that I’ve figured out how to put that together.

What are YOU cooking? What’s your evolution been?

The Monday caramel update – week 11

our little corn husk.
Week: 24

Size: our little ear of corn is over a pound now! Bam!

Name: Little Caramel Meredith

Gender: bouncing baby boy!

Maternity Clothes: I think it’s the funniest when, with some clothes, people can’t ALL the way tell if there’s a bun in the oven. The belly definitely sticks out, but some things accentuate it more than others. The best is when I run into an acquaintance whom I haven’t seen in awhile; the conversation usually goes something like this: “So, Cara, how…are…you…doing?” (chewing on words while staring at belly). “Good! I’m great! And you?” I know that I should insert the whole “Oh, did you know we’re expecting?” question into the reply, but I like messing with their minds even more, and they know it’s too awkward to ask if I’m actually pregnant. Now that’s funny.

Food Cravings: Beer battered fish tacos. Stat! Arriba, arriba!

Currently reading: The Science of Parenting – it WILL be finished by the end of the week, I’m determined!

Most interesting fact: From the above book, I found it absolutely interesting (and perhaps highly controversial, I’m not sure), but if a parent can detect autism in an infant or baby before the age of 2, then there have been studies in Israel and France in which if together the child & parent(s) undergo an intensive 3-week program, the autism can be ELIMINATED. I mean, that’s crazy! Your thoughts?

Feeling: that it’s all about the attitude. And I choose to have a good one.

Missing: non-cankles. It’s a love-hate relationship. I need to go on walks and not be sitting as to not get all cankle-d, but then I’m tired and need to sit, so I try to prop the feet up, but I still end up with cankles. Love-hate, love-hate.

Anticipating: Having to fast for the gestational diabetes test soon – say it ain’t so! Fasting for at least two hours? My food-driven body is crying out in pain already.

xoxo, chm.