Wednesday, February 27, 2008

"Winter" Pesto

I know I have already sung the praises of Costco, but I'm going to do it again right now:

Wow! They have amazing produce, a lot of organic stuff, and wonderful natural foods. I am telling you, this is the best $50 for the membership I have spent! We got a 19 lb. box of YUMMY navel oranges and have been addicted to "orange julius" drinks courtesy of my Vita-Mix. And also, a huge bag of shelled pecans for a very reasonable price. And a liter of organic cold pressed extra virgin olive oil for like, $8.

So, I actually managed to get my butt down to Central City Co-op today and I ordered a box of all locally grown organic produce for next week and did a little bit of shopping while I was there. I got local honey, a few lemons (not local), some local beets, local kale, and local cilantro. I have plans for that cilantro!

I plan to make this Winter Pesto recipe that I found on Karina-s Kitchen: Recipes from a [Gluten-Free] Goddess 's blog.

2 cups, washed, loosely packed stemmed cilantro
2/3 cup shelled pecans
1-2 cloves fresh garlic
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 to 1/2 cup good tasting extra virgin olive oil, as needed
Sea salt, to taste

Combine the cilantro, pecans, garlic and dried basil in a food processor and process until it turns into a coarse meal. Slowly add extra virgin olive oil and process until it becomes a smooth, light paste. Add enough olive oil to keep it moist and spreadable. Season with sea salt, to taste.

Cover and store chilled for at least an hour to saturate the flavors. I like to pour a thin layer of extra virgin olive oil over the top to help keep it bright green.

Makes roughly a rounded cup.

Om Nom Nom Nom! I will let you know how it turns out.

Baby stuff

So I went to see an new ob/gyn yesterday and I really liked her. She is at Memorial SW where my other gyn is, the one who stopped doing ob work last year. The new doc said she has been sent several of my other gyn's ob patients and knows her, so that's a good sign, too.

I still have mixed feelings about a hospital birth, but my new doc seems to be really receptive to the way I feel about my birthing experience and said that the nurses there are also very good and let you labor in whatever way you like, walking around, they have rocking chairs, etc. They have wireless monitoring, so that makes it easy.

One thing my ob is firm on is having an iv in just in case they need to put something in quickly, which I understand completely. As long as they don't force something on me like in my first AWFUL experience, the one that has really made me wary of hospitals in general.

Also, I will be going for one of those "4d" ultrasounds in a couple of weeks. That is so weird to think that we'll be actually SEEING the baby.

The kids are having a really hard time with the idea of the new baby on the way... That's a post for another time, one I don't have energy for right now. I just hope we'll be able to work through this.

Since I cannot travel to the Pac NW this summer, as is our regular summer vacation, some of my friends and I are renting cottages in Rockport, TX and will be spending a few days on the beach with the kids, sans spouses or partners. I cannot wait. I will be 8.5 months pregnant, but I'm sure it will be awesome.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Baby "Gear"

Ugh. I hate the term "baby gear". In this consumer driven land we call the US, "baby gear" is a multi billion dollar business each year. Why? Cause people are suckers. And "stuff" is equated with being a better parent, person, businessman, etc.

Do you need all this crap to care for a baby? NO! The first time around we had the whole beautiful crib with this amazing bedding, and everything matched, blah blah blah. And you know what we used it for? To hold clean laundry! And you know what we used the playpen for? More laundry. I put Max in his crib exactly once. He woke up, I put him in his carseat where he slept fine for the remainder of his nap, the end. We co-slept anyway.

But basically what I learned in having the first 2 was that all of that stuff I really thought I needed ended up being useless. Or at the very least a silly expenditure that could have been much less pricey in the first place.

At this point, I know what is useful and what is not. What is nice to have but not necessary. And you know, I do plan to have a baby shower since it has been so long since I've had a baby and I do not have anything left over from my older childrens' younger days. And I am going to have a registry available, but you know what? I am going to BEG everyone to try to find things like blankets, clothes, Boppy pillow, slings, etc, 2nd hand! And ask my friends to generally keep an ear out for used cribs and various related accoutrements.

Baby gear is 99% useless and it takes up space! No good reason for it all.

There are, of course, the things that are not necessary but awfully nice, like an Excersaucer. And I know these can be found in good shape used.

And of course, I do find certain items that make me go *SQUEE!* and that I would like. I am not a total monster :)

In particular, I am questing for a certain blanket that I saw in a picture of Cory Doctorow and his partner Alice's new baby girl that I MUST HAVE! Yes, a $70 baby blanket that makes me froth at the mouth with desire.

I am not immune. Sigh...

A Thought on Nader

"Ralph Nader has jumped the shark, big time and is now entering the forest of irrelevance in the Lyndon Larouche Wilderness Preserve."

Bwahahaha!!! Oh goodness. That might just be about the funniest thing I have ever read. It was posted by commenter Malixe over on Kung Fu Monkey's blog in the post "Vote the Goddam Issues, or I Will Release the Robot Bees Prematurely"

And wow. Nader. I supported him once. I voted for him. He really has outlived his relevance within the US political system and now he's just starting to piss me off. I cannot believe him. Really.

And oh, Obama, how I adore thee. Just sayin'

Friday, February 22, 2008


I love food. I love fresh, simple, whole foods. Right now I am cooking a lentil soup that I was inspired to make after reading the "No Croutons Required" recipe fest over at Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen blog.

In my opinion, food should be made with whole ingredients, and the more simple, the better. One of our household staples is green or red curry, made with either tofu or chicken breast. It is fast, simple, and so yummy.

I have also fallen in love with my new blender I am looking forward to a trip to Costco tomorrow to restock my veggies and fruit.
I have been eating a lot of fresh veggies and fruit, mostly raw. It is so satisfying and simple to just throw together a salad of a romaine heart with whatever other veggies I have around and some rice vinegar.

I saw a short piece from Michael Pollan speaking the other day, and he is so right about food needing to be real. I am also so happy to see the food politics in the blogs that I read to be taking such a large portion of what many folks are finding important.

Food is just so much better when it is fresh and whole. I feel better physically and mentally, I enjoy feeding healthy food I feel good about to my family.

Of course, this is certainly not to say we've made it past the fishsticks, frozen fries, and mac & cheese days altogether, or that sometimes Stovetop Stuffing isn't just about the best darn thing.

It's just to say that for the most part, I want to cook and eat things that make me feel good all around.

Monday, February 18, 2008

One of the many reasons my kids are awesome

There are tons of things that are priorities for my family and never nearly enough money to go around. I don’t usually spend a lot of money on anything out of the realm of what we need. Especially not big ticket items.

Of course, a Nintendo Wii isn’t at all a necessary item, but something that we thought we would get good use out of and be fun for the whole family. We knew better than to try to find one around the holidays, so we had waited till after the holidays. It was something we had planned to purchase for quite a while since playing on a friend’s while visiting for a few days. The husband and I had a ridiculous amount of fun with that thing.

So Saturday, before the bad weather was supposed to hit we went out to see if we could possibly find a Wii. First we went to Game Stop, and they were out. Max found a Zelda collection game for the Gamecube we currently own that he really wanted, so we told him that if we couldn’t find a Wii then he could get it, since Miles didn’t have any objections. Next we went to Best Buy, all out of Wiis. So across the parking lot to Costco.

I’d had a Sam’s membership for years, and never really liked it all that much, but it did come in useful on occasion. I decided that I wanted to try out Costco this time, and stop giving even more of my money to Wal-Mart. WOW! Costco is awesome! They have a lot of natural foods, and their produce section is WONDERFUL. I’ve only had a membership for about a week and a half and I have done more shopping there than I did at Sam’s in the last year.

So anyway, while we were there checking to see if they had Wiis (No), I wanted to grab a few veggies. On our way to the back, we saw that the Vita-Mix show was still there. The guy had been there the previous weekend and I was very sad about my (haha, only at at my husband’s insistence) practicality winning out over my many long years coveted Vita-Mix blender. Instead we went to Ikea and bought the kids’ bed we had been wanting/needing to get for a year.

So, back to Saturday at Costco, and the guy with the well practiced schtick for one of my all time favorite products EVER. He starts a demo and the kids beg to watch (I wanted to bypass because I didn’t want to once again be tempted by this $400 amazing piece of machinery), but what the heck, free smoothies for the kids! So we watched. And the kids were in love with this machine. They were telling me that we should get one. I told them I really wanted one, and maybe one day, but that they were really pricey.

And you know what my AWESOME, AMAZING children did then? They said they didn’t care about a Wii at all if it meant that we could get a Vita-Mix blender…

So Saturday evening was spent at home with the kids playing Zelda and watching Stardust, while the kids tried many new smoothies and “ice creams” made with our (MY!!) new Vita-Mix 5200!

I am ridiculously happy with this purchase. I made dinner with it tonight (black bean/tortilla soup in a couple of minutes) and I’m now drinking my green smoothie.
There will be posts in the future about my blender. The husband still cannot believe we bought a $400 appliance, but he’s happy with it, too.

I had also wanted a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer for a long time, and was actually given the money for one on my last birthday by my step-mother-in-law. She said she really hoped I would get one but understood if I didn’t and pay other more pressing bills, which of course is what happened.

Since then I have done a lot of thinking about that particular appliance and realized I probably would not use it very often. So, if I think about this as my birthday present from her for last year and my husband’s birthday present to me this year, I don’t feel quite so guilty. And I do think that this particular item will have a huge impact on our health and eating habits. And with a 7 year warranty and excellent customer service, I can really be certain that my investment is worth it.

My kids are so awesome. They are so excited about this blender and have told everyone we see about it. They honestly could care less about the Wii, I think Chris and I wanted it more than they did.

Now this is even more motivation to get back in with my local CSA, Central City Co-op.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A Strange Feeling

When I went to see my psychiatrist last week, I went ahead and asked about my medications and what that will mean after the baby is born. (We covered the initial "How are you?" and had moved on to politics already, so I figured I could ask about this even though it's still a while away. I LOVE my doctor, as an aside. He and I agree on politics 100% and he is great to talk to)

Ok, a little backstory on me and my mental illness: I have Bipolar Disorder, and looking back can see a long history of this affecting my life long before I managed to get diagnosed. I have only been medicated for about 2.5 years now, and the radical difference medication has had in my life is amazing.
After my 2nd son was born, I also had severe undiagnosed PPD on top of the bipolar which made mothering 2 small children in a miserable marriage and complete isolation a very bad time for me.
This is why I do not now have primary custody of my children. One thing that I do know is that I am, and have always been, an EXCELLENT mother. And I knew even then that I was giving them everything that I could but I was breaking. When I left my marriage and moved out, I still stayed home with the kids every day for 12 hours a day, then made dinner with my ex husband, put the kids to bed, and went home to my own place to get up and do it again the next morning at 6 am. Even though I was no longer living in the same house, I was still there as a stay at home mother.

But after a while, I had to get a job, my soon to be ex husband stopped paying for my living expenses, and I was still severely ill without being able to comprehend what was going on with me. I spent this time in my life just convinced I was a horrible person. It's a post for another time, but being Bipolar without meds is like looking at yourself through a soundproof, one way mirror. You keep yelling and screaming, begging yourself to STOP acting or reacting in a certain way and the other You that everyone else is seeing cannot hear your pleas for sanity. Your own mind is a prison, and it is an awful place to be.

I know I was not as attentive to the kids as I could have been during that time, but I also know that even still, I was there for them and a good mother. During all of this though, the divorce went through, I did not have the means, financially or mentally, to care for my children primarily. I have to live with this now, and it really sucks to have the 55/45% arrangement. But that is not what this post is about. That was just a little background.

Now, onto what this post is ACTUALLY supposed to be about:

I nursed Max for 3.5 years (nursing through my 2nd pregnancy and tandem nursing for a year) and I nursed Miles for 2.5 years.

I am pregnant with my 3rd child (my husband's first) and I will not be nursing this one. The mood stabilizers that I take for my mental illness pass in too great a dosage into breast milk. But me being SANE and healthy mentally to care for a child is FAR more important to me that nursing. But it is such a strange feeling to be looking at this. It is freeing, in a way, which does leave me with some guilt. I am not one who is prone to many feelings of guilt and I'm fairly sure this is just stemming from too many Dr. Sears books early on. (I do like Dr. Sears, not saying I don't, but at this point, I need a bit more balance in my parenting)

I also don't plan to co-sleep this time, either. I do not believe at all in cry it out techniques or anything, but I will be SO GLAD not to have a 3 year old still in bed with me. Isn't it strange how parenting ideals shift over time? With a 6.5 year gap between my last baby and this one, so many of my parenting choices have mellowed. I don't care if the baby cries a little bit if I put her/him down for a minute so I can pee. They will survive!

I also have a tiny bit of guilt at the glee I feel of getting to leave the kid with someone other than me and my boobs for a night out occasionally before the child is walking and talking! My feelings on this are so mixed, I find it amusing.

But I am sure I will get over it! Viva la Boob Freedom this time!

Too Many Thoughts

I realized that part of my issue with blogging regularly is that I get overwhelmed with all of the things I consider writing about and eventually give up on all of them.

So it ends up, that when I do post, it's babbling and inanity a lot of the time. I am going to start keeping a list of the various topics I would like to cover at some point, and just work my way through. I have one that I will at least start a post for now and add to it until I feel it is done. I admire those bloggers that are able to post long, well thought out, intelligent essays on a regular basis. I would like to be able to do that on an occasional basis at least.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Success (ish)

So, the husband (mainly, though I did help a little) put together the new bed for the kids from IKEA. But as we started the project of building the bed, we realized that it was not the bunk bed we thought we had bought. It was, instead, the loft bed of a very similar name. We didn't notice the picture being different, especially as the bed rang up for the correct price we expected to pay and was located in the aisle and lot that was indicated upstairs.

So, the kids have a loft bed instead of a bunk, cause we were NOT willing to pack it all back up and return it to IKEA tomorrow, since this project was started about 15 minutes before IKEA closed for today. We figure we can just get a twin box spring and frame for the bottom bed, and call it done.

It all worked out ok, I think. One neat thing is that since it is a loft, when they aren't sharing a room any more then there can always be a seating area or desk underneath later on.

I still have tons to do in the kids' room. We need more storage for their space. We bought a few containers at IKEA this weekend, but we definitely need more. I like each separate thing to have it's own space and there are SO many pieces to everything they have. Legos, K'nex, marble runs, Hotwheels, Playmobil, Pokemon figures. Much of that has it's own container, but it ends up stacked in the closets. So, I also need to get more shelving to put the containers on. Ugh. A lot to think about and do, but I really want to get this project done! I want to take care of their space and make it what we've wanted for a year now before I have to start worrying about the impending new baby.

Also, Miles, my 6 year old, when I asked him about the impending baby (he hasn't talked much about his feelings on having a new sibling in a mixed family, unlike his older brother) he said his main concern is that the baby will die from choking on Legos or some other toy that they have. I assured him that the baby would not be able to get into his toys as long as they were kept in his room and put away when he was done playing when them outside of his room, but also I want to make sure that he really feels like he has control over his environment so he can feel comfortable (of course, there will be their very own baby gate to keep the baby out, etc, but I still want him to feel good about his space).

And then there is the painting the walls in there. Even just to get regular touch up paint from the office for now, since there are so many scuff marks on the wall where the bed has been until now.
We're wanting to do an ocean theme, with cool murals and such. We're really lucky that where we live is so great about anything we want to do in here. That makes apartment living much nicer.

Ok, so I am stalling. I have more time tonight to get a lot more done in the kids' room. Off I go.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Carnitas Update!

That recipe for carnitas in my last post ROCKS!
I forgot to buy cojita cheese, but mozzarella worked ok, since it was what I had. And I also just used plain whole organic yogurt instead of sour cream. That worked great, too.

I will hopefully have a working camera again soon to take pictures of my food when I make new or interesting things.

This isn't a food blog, specifically, but I love to cook and try new food and recipes, so I'm noticing a trend towards being just a little food centric.

I also made a cheaters chocolate pie with instant pudding with a bit of cream cheese whipped in in a pre-made graham crust.
The littler one thinks it's wrong that I don't have whipped cream for the pie, and would really like me to run to the store for some... I don't think that's a bad idea, but I don't know how motivated I am to actually do that.

Friday, February 1, 2008


I am finally able to say that I am on the mend! After over a week of illness kicking my ass, I made it through a whole day without ultimately ending up in the fetal position on the couch, praying for the sweet release of death.
Of course, the oldest kid now has tonsils the size of golf balls that are painful to the touch. If it's not one thing...
I'll see how he's doing tomorrow and see if an urgent care visit is in order. As long as it's not strep, and whatever it is I don't get, we'll be ok.

Anyway, so on the menu for tomorrow: Carnitas!!

I have been wanting deliciously crispy carnitas for a long time now, and I have not been anywhere that serves it in a long time. I have never made this myself, but I found a recipe that looks delicious and I decided I must try it!

The recipe I am using can be found on Simply Recipes here.
I know the younger child will not touch it, but guess what! He can eat mac & cheese or something while the rest of us enjoy our delicious MEAT!

On the subject of MEAT!:

I enjoy meat on occasion, but I have concerns about where it comes from, what's in it, how the animals were treated, etc. Here at Cthez Cthulhu we stick with a mostly veggie diet. And also, for less than $1 a pound you can't beat tofu or dried lentils and beans! And I love me some tofu Thai red curry or red lentil dal for some of the easiest and quickest throw together meals out there.

I have been looking forward to obtaining a copy of Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma for a while now.
I have a lot of thoughts about food and why I choose to eat the way that I do, but while I know I am quite a bit more conscientious about my food than the average American consumer, there is still a lot more that I could stand to learn.
The book I mentioned above seems like one of the good resources out there to look at and think on. It is difficult at times to find a middle ground point of view that covers all sides of the issues of food, rather than the polarizing Meat is Murder vs. Meat & Potatoes at Every Meal attitudes.
This is definitely changing, thanks to the internet and bloggers at the forefront, but it's still a hard subject to find information for all sides on.

Oh, also, for lunch, I treated myself to the most yummy Beef Gai Lan I have ever had. And guess what! There was No MEAT!! That place is the end all of vegetarian restaurants, in my not so humble opinion.
See, now it's getting really late, and the baby has commanded me to finish my leftovers from lunch. Oh well, when the baby demands it there's really no way out of it.