cifarelli: (Ember)
I've tried a few new recipes in the last week, so should bother to write about them.

First was Mushroom Risotto, which I made last Monday after Andrew & I got home from his afternoon appointment, since the boys were still off at Corwin's karate class with their aunt. It was a hit with all the adults (including Sarah), though Corwin ate two bites before declaring he didn't like it, and Ian didn't even bother to try his. I didn't even mind that it had Spinach in it.

Tonight I made two new dishes:

Low Calorie Italian Baked Chicken
This one was a hit with Andrew and me. The kids seemed to think it was merely OK. They both ate a few bites of their chicken, but didn't finish. Corwin said he didn't like the sauce. Ian just got up in the middle of the meal and walked off, which is something he's been doing a lot of lately, since he figured out how to undo the strap on his chair. We're trying to nip that one in the bud, so once he gets up, he's done. I think he might have eaten more, since he did eventually come back to the table and put up a big fuss when we wouldn't let him have his plate back.

Easy Italian Vermicelli
I made a few small changes to this one as I cooked it. I didn't have either Italian style green beans (couldn't find any) or Italian style tomato paste (the one I found had HFCS), so I put in a teaspoon of Italian Seasoning instead. I used penne pasta, and olive oil instead of cooking spray. And added a little water at the end to try to thin the sauce a little. This one was just NOT a hit. Andrew ate all of his but wasn't crazy about it, and the rest of us didn't finish it. It ended up being a really thick sauce, even after I added water, and the flavor just didn't seem quite right. Not sure if it was the green beans, or what.
cifarelli: (Ember)
This week's crock pot experiment ought to make those of you familiar with my eating habits very proud! It had both broccoli (which I have been training myself to eat small amounts of when it's steamed) AND cheese in it. And I liked it!

It's one of the more labor-intensive crock pot dishes I've tried, as it involved browning ground beef to add about halfway through the cooking time (I cooked it ahead of time, put it in the fridge, and then nuked it to warm-ish before I put it in the crock pot), and cooking pasta to add about 30 minutes before it was done. I also had to add cheese and tomato paste at the 30-minutes-to-done mark. Neither of those things was difficult, it just meant this was not a "throw-it-all-in-the-pot-and-forget-about-it" recipe.

Andrew and I both liked it; the cheese flavor wasn't really noticeable to me at all. The broccoli wasn't a strong flavor, either. Unfortunately, it was not a hit with either Corwin or Ian. I'm not sure why, as they both like all the individual parts. But Corwin had 2 or 3 bites and then didn't want any more, and Ian nibbled on his but threw most of it on the floor. Oh well...I'll keep this one in the rotation for Andrew and me, and feed the kids leftovers or something.
cifarelli: (Ember)
This past week's new crock pot recipe was Creamy Chicken, which really should have been described as "Creamy Chicken Soup" instead. The basic recipe called for 3 chicken breasts, chopped onion, (not nearly enough) mushrooms, 2 cans of cream of chicken soup (undiluted) and 14 1/2 oz of chicken broth (which I upped to 2 cups, since it seemed silly to keep the ounce and a half that would have been left in the box if I had only used the recommended 14 1/2 oz). It DID say you could add cubed processed cheese spread (i.e. Velveeta) to it if you wanted to, and I assume that would have thickened it....but not being a cheese fan and the fact that anything called "processed cheese spread" just sounds repulsive to me, I opted not to. I cooked some rice instead and put that in our bowls with the soup.

The chicken breasts cooked enough to be falling apart with only minor help from a knife, so it was a reasonably good chicken soup. We added pepper after it was done (the recipe called for salt & pepper to taste; we opted not to add salt since there was plenty in the cream of chicken soup already), but it still seemed a bit bland to my taste. Can anyone suggest some additional spices to add next time? I'm not experienced enough with going "off-recipe" to really know what would go well in a "creamy" chicken soup.
cifarelli: (Ember)
Tonight I had the first vegetarian dinner I've had in a LONG time...if ever?

I had some Buitoni garlic marinara sauce that I got free a couple weeks ago with the purchase of the tortellini we usually buy, and since it's a refrigerated sauce it doesn't keep for all that long. So I was looking for something to do with that, since I haven't really been in the mood for tomato-based pasta dishes, and I ran across a fried ravioli recipe that I kept from back when HEB had its Italian-themed month a few months back. The recipe called for using frozen ravioli, and I ended up choosing the porcini mushroom ravioli since it was the only non-primarily-cheese ravioli I could find at the store yesterday. So we had fried mushroom ravioli with garlic marinara sauce tonight. I even did the bread crumbs myself -- grinding up two slices of bread in my food processor (in hindsight, I should have done 3, as the last few ravioli ended up with little to no breading) and mixing in some Italian seasoning with the crumbs. I'm sure that was cheaper than buying Italian bread crumbs, the excess of which would surely just sit until the next time I encounter a recipe that needs them....and who knows when that might be?

The recipe specified to heat the oil to 360 degrees, and to check the temperature with a candy thermometer, which I don't have. So I ended up just guessing when the oil was the right temp, and I think I ended up with it just a little too hot, as the breading started to look overdone much more quickly than the recipe listed as a cooking time. I think I need to add a candy thermometer to my Christmas/birthday/"things I need to remember I want" wishlist, because the last time I tried to fry something in oil (years ago) I ended up burning it to beyond edibility.

My ravioli came out not looking particularly pretty, but Andrew and I both liked them enough to be willing to eat them again. Ian also ate several, before handing over his plate and gesticulating wildly that he wanted Corwin's pizza. (Corwin had tried one bite, and declared he didn't like it, so we let him have a piece of the pizza left from the weekend.) In Ian's defense, the ravioli piece he rejected was one of the more overdone ones; the rest of his had been lightly breaded and not so overdone. So mostly a hit...but not one I think I'll be making very often.
cifarelli: (Corwin)
So as testament to how fast kids grow and change when they're in the 1-year-old age bracket, we left Corwin with his grandparents for four days while we went to Dragoncon this past weeekend. When we picked him up on Monday, I'd swear he looked sligtly taller and skinnier than I remembered.

We've been struggling to get him to eat meat, as he has been refusing to try any new meat we put in front of him, and slowly starting to reject (i.e. ignore) even the ones that he used to love. Since we got him back from his grandparents, though, he's been doing a little better. He ate 1 slice of turkey lunchmeat at lunch on Tuesday and 2 slices on Wednesday. He ate two whole chicken nuggets on both Monday and Wednesday. He did refuse to try the fish sticks we offered him on Tuesday, and only ate a few bites of his turkey yesterday. But in general we've been doing a little better on meat intake.

Well cue last night's dinner. I made meat loaf, cooked a sweet potato for Corwin and regular white potatoes for me and Andrew, and steamed some broccoli and zucchini for veggies. Corwin surprised the heck out of me by cleaning his plate. He ate all his meat loaf (that's one of those meats he originally loved but at some point just started ignoring), all his sweet potato (he got half a potato; he'll get the other half tonight), a whole small banana, several pieces of zucchini and actually bothered to try the broccoli. I didn't originally put any broccoli or zucchini on his plate as he has refused to touch either of them for weeks now. But he saw his dad eating the broccoli and started asking for a piece. Andrew gave him a small piece, which Corwin spent a lot of time examining, but did eventually deign to chew on a bit. He took several small bites of the piece of broccoli, but didn't seem to like it very much and didn't finish the whole piece. Then he saw me eating the zucchini and wanted to try that also. He used to love zucchini, but at some point started ignoring it also -- last night he took a while to chew on the first piece, but finally decided it was good and kept asking for more. So he had a good meal with meat AND veggies last night. Yay! :) I suspect he may just be one of those kids who does not like broccoli; he's never been fond of it, even back when I was feeding him purees.

I think sometimes it works better in terms of getting Corwin interested in trying something if we don't put it on his plate to begin with. :P

Corwin has also been really interested in playing with his teddy bear, Chester, since we got him back home this week. Chester is the bear that my uncle gave him when he was born; he's now about half the size of Corwin rather than bigger than he is. :P Corwin gives Chester big hugs, drags him downstairs in the morning (wanted him to sit in the chair next to him while he had breakfast this morning), and even sounds like he is trying to say "Chester." (It comes out as a whispered "ch,t" sounding thing, with maybe a hint of an 's' in there too.) It surprised the heck out of me as prior to visiting the grandparents Corwin rarely paid any attention to Chester at all; he mostly sat in a corner ignored unless I pulled him out to play with for a little while. Is Corwin old enough at 18 months to be starting to think of Chester as a "friend," at least in a very rudimentary way?

[EDIT: He's also doing a lot of attempting to repeat the words we say. For example, after I wrote this post, I was trying to convince Corwin to take his pull-along hippo for a walk around the stairwell, which involves going through the dining room. He started trying to say "dining room," and has since walked over there, pointed in that direction, and said, "da-nin doo" more than once.]
cifarelli: (Ember)
Oh boy, was today a doozy.

Corwin seemed to be doing better health-wise, in that his nose had pretty much stopped running, though he was still a fountain of drool and bibs were still needed for that. However, behaviour-wise he was a pill. )

I hope we have a better day tomorrow. I don't think I can take another day like today.

Lafayette

Jul. 7th, 2008 08:49 pm
cifarelli: (Ember)
I'm writing from our hotel in Lafayette, LA tonight. We left the beach house around 10:30 this morning and arrived here about 5:30 this evening. Corwin was fussy this morning (apprehensive about us packing up and getting ready to leave I guess) but has been fine all day once we got in the car and got on the road. Lunch was at a Barnhill's buffet restaurant (kind like Golden Corral, for you TX folks), where Corwin ate a TON of food. He ate a whole plateful of fruit, diced ham, rice, and macaroni & cheese, plus two watermelon wedges. We couldn't get him to STOP eating until his plate was clean. Andrew and I thought it was okay, but probably not something we'd pick to eat at again if it was just the two of us.

This evening we met up with [livejournal.com profile] xalupi and Erin here in Lafayette for dinner at Prejean's, which was good but a bit disappointing because they didn't have their regular menu available tonight. Their gumbo was awesome, and I had a duck dish that Erin knew about since she has been to the restaurant semi-regularly -- something on the regular menu but not on the menu for today. The duck was good, but a little fatty. I wasn't thrilled with the sides though. Just looked at the web site (linked above) and see several things on the menu there that sound yummy -- but they weren't on the menu for today so I didn't have the option to order them. Including Red Snapper Pontchartrain, which is what I would have had if I'd had the option. There were also a couple of shrimp pasta dishes that sounded good in their descriptions.

We ordered the popcorn shrimp for Corwin, but when they arrived they were regular-sized shrimp rather than what I usually think of as popcorn shrimp. He refused to touch them, though he was happy to eat the french fries that came with them. *sigh* He also had some fried cheese and the peas we had brought for him. But I didn't really expect him to eat a ton since he'd had such a huge lunch.

We got an actual crib from the hotel this time. Though it's still not a normal full-size crib. It's narrower than a standard crib, but I think it's the same lengthwise. *shrug* He didn't put up much fuss at all when I put him to bed in it a little while ago, though, so hopefully it will be okay. He's sleeping in the same room where we will be sleeping (we're in a suite again; Andrew and I are out in the living room at the moment), though, so we'll see how it goes after we go to bed. Having his stuffed dinosaur and his blanket in there with him really seems to make a difference.

And now I should be good and relinquish the laptop so Andrew can get back to playing EVE Online (or check in on WoW if he intends to). I have toddler dishes to clean up for tomorrow, and a book to read anyway. Good night all. We'll be back in Houston tomorrow.
cifarelli: (Ember)
The dried apples y'all introduced Corwin to are in fact available at Whole Foods here. They had several other dried fruits by the same company in stock, but no apples. I asked a fellow shopper who was perusing the said fruits at the same time I was if she knew if they normally carried the apples as well, and she said they do. I picked up a package of the pears for him to try. We haven't tried them yet, though.

For anyone else who's curious, these are the fruits I'm talking about: http://www.brothersallnatural.com/index_default.htm
cifarelli: (Christmas Corwin)
I have been meaning to post a Corwin update for several days now, but it keeps getting put off in favor of Christmas prep of one sort or another.

He is crawling fairly regularly now. And standing. And making attempts at walking. )

All he wants for Christmas is his two front teeth! )

He eats food. Read about all the fascinating minutiae here! )

And last, but not least, he sleeps, too! )

I'm thrilled that we finally seem to have settled into a (fairly loose) schedule that works for us! Now I just need to work on coming up with more activities for us to do during the day to keep him entertained so he isn't bored and fussing at me so much.

The pictures you know you wanna see are back here! )
cifarelli: (Ember)
This part is probably only exciting if you're also a parent, or you're one of Corwin's relatives. )

Sunday (yesterday) wasn't terribly exciting. Nothing really to report. We hung around the house, and cleaned up a little.

This afternoon we had the usual gang (minus [livejournal.com profile] staticeel and plus [livejournal.com profile] kaerukami's wife Jamie) over for board games and pizza. Corwin actually took a half-hour nap around 4:30, which I found impressive. We put him in bed around 1:30 also, and he stayed there for about an hour, but it was storming at the time and I'm not sure he really slept -- there were stretches when he was quiet, but he was also making noise and fussing periodically, so no way to tell if he was asleep or just laying quietly during those times. It was nice to see folks, and I had fun with the games. :)

I don't know what it is with our pizza delivery places around here, though. We have pretty much quit ordering from Sarpino's, in spite of their pizza being excellent, because there is always some problem with our order -- either they can't find our house in spite of having the directions in their computer, they screw up the credit card payment (once they denied all my cards when the problem was really that their card machine wasn't working, and once they doubled the tip), or they deliver us a pizza with green peppers on it instead of beef (and this happened more than once!). Pizza Hut is the fall-back option, and we had gotten decent service from them up until recently. A few weeks back when my cousins + gf were visiting we ordered from them and it took them over an hour to deliver. Tonight, it took them an hour to deliver (when we'd been quoted a 35 minute delivery time) and got two of the four pizzas we ordered wrong. Basically, we got two each of two of the pizzas we ordered, and none of the other two. It's very frustrating.

Tomorrow I need to call the university and figure out when I need to go in to get my keys, pay for parking, and do any other administrivia that's required for starting work in theory this coming weekend. This was probably my last free weekend for a while. My current plan is to stick it out through this semester and see how it goes; if Andrew and I hate it, I'll consider resigning again at that point; if it turns out to be not a big deal, then I'll probably keep at it indefinitely.

I'm off to take a shower now. Might hop on WoW after that.

I'm sad that we missed DragonCon this weekend. :(
cifarelli: (Corwin)
We tried introducing Corwin to solid food today, starting with some brown rice cereal. It didn't go too well.

Corwin tries to decide what to do with the first bite )

He hasn't lost his tongue-thrust reflex yet, so most of what went in his mouth came right back out again. What little bits did make it to the back of his mouth caused his gag reflex to kick in.

He'll kill me for posting this when he's a teen )

Ultimately, I'm not sure how much, if any of the cereal actually made it into his tummy. We'll try again next weekend and see if he handles it any better. (I also fear I may have made it a little too lumpy for him...will try to water it down a little more for the next go-round.)

In other news, Corwin has been starting to look like he's having trouble straightening his legs in his 9-month footed sleepers. So last night we tried one of his 12-month sleepers.

He's got a little room to grow, but it's NOT massively huge )

Corwin turned 6-months old today.
cifarelli: (Ember)
Andrew and I have been invited to an "international potluck" this Friday, and one of the food options listed is "Canadian."

Since I know I've got a couple Canadians and at least one person married to a Canadian on my friends list, I thought I'd ask: what "finger foods" are there that are distinctively Canadian (or Canadian/British)? Stuff like cheese, wine, bread-type things, desserts, appetizers...anything that can be picked up and eaten (as opposed to requiring utensils). Preferably something I can obtain here (or cook easily) in the US -- if a trip to a specialty store is required I can probably swing that. [livejournal.com profile] duncanius -- know of any good places to shop for such here in Houston?

Thanks much! :)

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