Monday, March 25, 2013

Easy Peasy Split Pea Soup

At Little Man's nine month appointment (NINE months!!!) I was given the go ahead to give him almost anything to eat--with the exception of high-allergen foods like honey, peanut butter and shell fish. I'd been giving him some of the foods we'd been eating prior to this, but I guess I needed to hear from a doctor that it was OK to give our toothless wonder foods that weren't puréed or easily dissolved. (BTW, puréed chicken is one of the most vile things you've ever seen. I highly recommend that moms who are making their baby food NOT put chicken breasts in the blender. Disgusting. You're welcome.)

Since that appointment there is little "real food" that we've eaten that Little Man hasn't tried. Well, with the exception of sweets. I don't think he needs to become a chocoholic or cake addict before his first birthday. As my child, I think he's genetically predisposed to such an addiction.

Some foods I make need a little work to become toothless baby appropriate. Other foods, like last night's split pea soup, are perfect for babies! They also look quite a bit like baby food. Yuck! I promise the taste is at least a gazillion times better than it looks.

As always, I didn't actually measure, so take my estimates with that in mind.

Easy Peasy Split Pea Soup
(See what I did there?)

1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
1/2 cup baby carrots, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1 tablespoon coconut oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
7 cups water
1 cup chicken stock
1 pound ham steak, cubed
1/2 tablespoon thyme
1/2 tablespoon marjoram
1 bay leaf
1 bag dried split peas, rinsed well
Red pepper flakes to taste
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste

In a large stock pot, heat the coconut oil to a liquid and add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic. Sauté vegetables until tender. Add salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Add water, chicken stock, ham, peas, thyme, marjoram and bay leaf. Stir together and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for approximately one hour.

If you don't have coconut oil, butter or olive oil would work just fine. Like I've said before, I've been experimenting with coconut oil and I kind of like the slight coconut-y sweetness it lends to this soup.

Serve while piping hot.

I recommend listening to the Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington Pandora station while cooking and consuming. Bonus points if it is half raining, half snowing. It makes for a vey comforting evening.

Little Man recommends smearing the soup all over your face. But only if bath time is immediately following soup time. That stuff turns cement-like pretty quickly!

Even exhausted that little guy is as happy as can be. How lucky am I?

I never really thought I liked split pea soup. Heck, I never really thought I liked peas. I find myself stepping out of my tiny comfort zone now that Little Man is eating solid foods. I really want him to taste a broad spectrum of foods. My goal is to try to avoid the chicken-fingers-only phase. It is probably inevitable, but there is no harm in trying, right?

What are you eating that is out of your comfort zone?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Is there something new about yo' face?

Why yes. Yes there is.

I have a new pair of glasses.

And they were free.


Coastal  ran a promotion last week. It was called First Pair Free. I totally didn't believe it. Even after I saw it on the Today show. But I went online and I checked it out. Totally true. Sadly, by the time I got my glasses yesterday, the promotion was over, so I couldn't share the deal with you. (I didn't want to rave about something that ended up being lame.)

However, they are running an (up to) 70% off deal right now. That's almost free... I get the impression that they have sales quite often, so it would be worth it to pop by there every now and again and maybe wait out a "firstpairfree" deal. I only paid for shipping and insurance. The whole shebang ended up being less than $17.

These are the frames I ordered. I was worried that they are a little round and round on a round face can look pretty terrible. I wondered about their return policy. What if they didn't work? Would I be stuck with glasses that make me look like an oompa loompa in tortoiseshell? Their website says they have a no hassle policy. Fortunately I didn't have to test that.

That's me. In the car. Looking broody and a little angry. I am happy, though. I got glasses for almost free, yo!

Tomorrow I need to stop by my optomologist's office to pick up the glasses I ordered three weeks ago. Even with insurance they were the opposite of free. I'm considerably less excited about those now.

Anybody out there find a awesome web deal lately? What do you think of my new look?

Friday, March 8, 2013

Stopping by woods on a snowy evening

Our last trip to West Virginia was largely to meet with the contractor, aka our new best friend, to discuss house projects. While we were there, though, we got to have a few adventures. I had a pretty nasty cold, so the first full day we were there Beau took Little Man out for a while so mom could get some rest. I couldn't rest, of course, but it was really nice to have a little time to myself. I made a cup of tea and looked out the window at the freshly fallen snow.

Then I scrubbed the floors and the bathrooms.

Because I'm not very good at not doing anything.

And that's pretty annoying. But the floors and bathroom don't skeeve me out anymore, so actually it isn't that annoying.

While my guys were out 'splorin', Beau came across a fire road in the Monongahela National Forest that he took me to the next day. He was pretty excited about the find because of all of the marked trails we can hike this spring and summer. I think he also liked putting the truck in four wheel drive and driving over snow-covered dirt roads that hadn't been touched since before the last snow.

Let me tell you something.

It was absolutely stunning.

I'm sure I'll share more photos of this particular place during each of the four seasons. I wonder if any can top these winter shots.

After our drive I thought Little Man needed to have his first real adventure in the snow. Prior to this he'd only been out in the snow in the process of getting somewhere. At first, he took it like a champ. He was curious and calm like he usually is.

We took some stinking cute pictures.
I call that one "West Virginia Gothic" because Beau looks so serious and upright. Little Man, though, looks like a noodle.

It was all fun and games until big, mean daddy lobbed a little snowball at Little Man and scared him.

And that was the end of our snow time.

I'm pretty sure that soon daddy will be on the receiving end of some snowballs from Carter. He'll get his, I bet.

The day was absolutely stunning and since our "lets-go-play-in-the-snow-like-a-carefree-made-for-TV-movie-family" time was short-lived, we decided to go on an evening walk later.

Three seasons a year our road cuts across the mountain. During ski season, though, two of the more difficult runs turn the road into two dead end streets. I took the photo above standing in what should be the middle of the street. We intended to just walk to the slope and check it out, but since it was so lovely out and the lifts had just closed (so no fear of being run down by crazy dare devils), we walked over the runs to the other side of our street and kept going. It actually turned into a really, really long walk.

It had been a long time since I took a "selfie", so I thought I should do that while standing in the middle of a black diamond run. (Because Lord knows I won't be there on my snowboard any time soon...)

On second thought, ignore that last comment. That's totally me taking a moment to photograph me boarding the double diamond. I'm clearly fearless and always composed. And an excellent snowboarder. Obviously.

While I was screwing around doing that, Beau was keeping Little Man amused.

What's more embarrassing: mom taking self portraits or dad giving smooches? I'm sure he'll let us know when he's a teenager. We're practicing our embarrassing behaviors now so we can really excel at them when they count.

We walked past one of my favorite houses. And by "favorite" I mean the house I'd not step foot in for a million dollars because it is suspended in midair and looks like a breeze will tip it over.

Who decides to build a house this way?

And while we were out the sun started to set. It was very pretty, as sunsets often are.

Little Man enjoyed every second of our walk. Especially the end when he was totally zonked out. It's hard work being carried for miles and miles.

Later, Beau, Little Man, and I went to dinner at the pizza shop at the top of the mountain. Little Man amused himself with a straw.

It was an absolutely spectacular day. Just ask my earnest Little Man.

I just want to eat him up.

What's the best thing you've done in the past week or so? A prize* goes to whomever can identify my stolen post title.

*And by "prize" I mean the satisfaction of knowing not-so-obscure American poetry references. Lucky you.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Well, isn't that Pinteresting

I know, I know. It has been almost a month since I've written a word. What gives? Well, I'll spare you the myriad excuses, but I will tell you that in my absence I have managed to fry not one, but two perfectly good computers.

Well, OK, one perfectly good computer and one that was well on her way out. None the less, I fired her in a most untimely manner. Of course.

But, as we all know those two computers aren't the only ones on the planet. Heck, they aren't even the only two in our house. I'm currently writing this post on Beau's beloved Mac. It took me approximately twenty minutes to figure out how to turn on the power. I'm not even exaggerating. Thank God for iPhones and Google. It turns out that Steve Jobs had a sense of humor because he chose to put the power button on the back of the computer. The button is flush with the rest of the back and of the same material. On the back. You know, the side that faces the wall.

I used to think I was smart.

Then Apple taught me otherwise.

But, I digress.

I've mentioned Pinterest in the title of this post and Pinterest it shall be about.

Specifically the insane amount of pinning I've been doing of late. (On an iPad, not a broken computer. And if you wonder why I don't just write my posts from said iPad, I'd say that is an excellent suggestion, but iPad and Blogger aren't friends. Kind of like how iPad and Flash aren't friends, but not as intense.) Anyway, digressing again.

So the thing with Pinterest is that if you have a place that is in need of some work, say maybe like this, then Pinterest is an amazing place to gather ideas. Or, it is a place to overwhelm yourself with a vast array of often conflicting ideas. Oh, and it is a virtual place to spend lots and lots and lots of time that is not virtual. Nor is it replaceable. Pin with caution.

(From here)

I'm in the overwhelmed category right now. That's OK for now, since we've started our first major project on the house and it is the opposite of fun and inspired. We (and by "we" I mean our contractors) get to replace the siding on the west side of the house because we need to tear it all off to see how improperly and poorly the walls and doors were sealed underneath. I find this to be especially boring since its completion will result in the house looking exactly like it did before the project was started. Beau finds it to be un-boring because the house will be more structurally sound and efficient. Blah blah blah.

Because of the lame angle you can't see how much siding will be removed and replaced, but it is quite a bit. And someone will have to be four stories up replacing it. Here is where I am glad that "we" doesn't refer to us...

What I really want to be working on is bringing my "Cabin Ideas" to life.

Here are a few of my favorites:

The current entry way could turn into a mudroom with just a little bit of effort. I like this one. See the little drippy trough for the snow to melt off the skis and snowboards and not make the tile treacherous? So smart.

(From here)

And wouldn't this be a fun sign to have framed in that mud room?

(From here)

Or maybe I shouldn't tempt fate. Sooner than I know it Little Man will be on skis or a snowboard or a mountain bike or whatever being adventurous.

And I will have more gray hair than I'd like.

After the boring (or as Beau would call it "important") stuff is done, we'll start to think about the floors. I'm really hoping we can find reclaimed wood that doesn't cost a small fortune. I mean, it comes from old barns and such, how expensive can it be? Look at these floors.

OK, you're right. They look expensive.

(From here)

And, I've become obsessed with animal heads. Gross, right? But what says "mountain cabin" more than dead animal heads on the wall?

(From here)

I'm partial to the heads of the moose variety, and there happen to be moose heads that aren't even real. (Though if we were to get a real moose head it would be from a moose that has died of natural causes and had a final will and testament that requested that his head be taxidermied and mounted above a roaring fireplace in order for his majesty and wonder to be worshiped by humans. Obviously.) 

Here are some fakies that have caught my eye:

(This real looking fakie from etsy can be found here)

(Or this more-fake-looking-fakie from here)

(Or the ultimate fakie from here.)

"Fakie" is not a word. Just in case you were wondering.

Anyway, enough about moose heads. What about bathrooms? What if I wanted to change things up and move away from the whole mountain-cabin-kitch-I-have-to-have-skis-on-the-wall-and-everything-needs-to-be-hunter-green mentality and shake things up a bit?

(From here)

Geesh. There are so many ideas and options and possibilities. And we've got like ten years of renovations for me to obsess over them. Lucky me. I wonder how man pins I can cram into "Cabin Ideas" before Pinterest implodes.

What are you pinning these days? Have you joined the Pinterest bandwagon? If not, you totally should.