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The First 100 Days

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It hasn’t been a 100 days yet actually, but I can tell you right now I’m not a candidate for #bestmotherever.  Since my last post, I have two new squishies in my life.  A 6 lb 8 oz boy and a 5 lb 13 oz girl.  And neither of them look like me.  Awesome.  How am I going to claim them as mine when I lose them at the State Fair?

I delivered over 13 lbs of baby.  I don’t know how that happened.  My uterus might be like one of those hats that magicians hold upside down, where they pull out a boy and then a girl and a bunny and an umbrella.  After they pulled out the girl, I told them to stop…I can’t imagine being responsible for an umbrella.

So during the C-section, I’m laying down on a table and talking to my husband and my anesthesiologist and my OB/GYN.  I’m asking weird questions like “How do you make an incision on the uterus without, you know, scoring a head in there?”…I assure you they thought about applying duct tape to my mouth.  The anesthesiologist mentioned that the drugs might make me feel puke-y so I should let her know.  After some more of my dumb questions, Dr. G announced “Baby A is a…. boy” and then two minutes later “Baby B is a… girl” and while all other new moms would burst into tears of joy, I took a deep breath and then a pause and said “i think i’m going to puke”  (and you can’t just get up a vomit.  You can only turn your head to the side and let it dribble down your cheek into a bag.)  I don’t even know if I actually puked but I remember being concerned that I am greeting my children with vomit breath and a vomit-y cheeky glow.  My babies must have sniffed me and thought “you canNOT be our mom…you don’t even look like us”.  This is not how I imagined the biggest milestone of my life happening.

After the delivery, I met a really mean monster named Breastfeeding.  OMIGOD.  What a freaking nightmare.  Anyone that says it’s beautiful or easy or wonderful is a liar.  What the hell, moms?  Why didn’t you warn me??  Breastfeeding is a giant sorority.  All the cool moms are doing it.  I even tried this thing suggested by a lactation consultant called “hand expression” which is what you might do to acne on your face, but instead it’s on a larger scale and it’s on your chest.  Do you know what hand expression is to a 5 year old?  Gross.  You know what hand expression is to a 35 year old?  Gross.  Here, lactation lady.  Let me show you a different hand expression.

Let’s talk diapers.  Why?  Because all I know is how to produce a massive tower of diapers from a diaper pail and all I talk about now is pee and poo.  Yellow seedy, to be exact.  As perfect of a machine the human body is, the infant stool must be a slight oversight of this perfect design and I’m waiting for a version 2.0 to be released.  Debut version 1.0 requires me to wear an apron when I’m changing my son’s diaper to protect myself of the sprinkler system in his pants and to shield his projectile poo.

Now I’m bottle-feeding.  Bottle feeding them.  No, actually I’m bottle feeding too but I’m drinking a burgundy nectar from fermented grapes as opposed to Corn Syrup Solids from Similac.  I’m so proud to be inaugurating my children to earth with Monsanto derivatives.  #bestmotherever   Marijuana is probably a more nutritious supplement. #leafygreens

As I’m bottle-feeding them simultaneously with my mad yoga skillz, I’ve got the TV on.  (Again, adhering to the theme of  #bestmotherever) I’m watching this thing called The Today Show.  The Today Show is Cliff’s Notes for Life. It’s got music, news, cooking demos, style/fashion, weather, health, etc all packed neatly in a brown bag of one hour.  And I don’t even have to read words.  Perfect.  HOWEVER who the hell is watching this show and how are they getting TV traffic at 9 am?  Don’t people have jobs and kids to feed and classes to attend?  I don’t understand how this show is on air when I am the only one watching.  Okay, actually, it’s not just me watching.  It’s me, all other new moms, and pole dancers.

 

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15 minutes is all I have these days to make dinner and these days I don’t even have 15 consecutive minutes.  Many people boast about their Chhole or Chickpea Curry.  I’m one of them.  Mine rocks.  Mine is the best.  This and my peanut butter jelly sandwich are my two signature dishes.  Speaking of PB&J, Chhole is one of those simple staple dishes that “every good Indian girl” should know how to make.  It’s so easy and effortless, that if served at a dinner party it’s criticized for being “too simple”.

There are a few tricks to this recipe that make it great.

  • garam masala – if your garam masala only has 5 or 6 ingredients, it’s not good enough.  It may be homemade, it may be authentic, but that doesn’t work for me because I preach the philosophy that more-is-better except for the number of annoying people in your life…then less is better.  The one I buy has at least 10 ingredients, perhaps not all legal, and no home blend I’ve tried does this recipe justice.
  • canned tomatoes – you’re welcome.  I tried home-grown and other tomatoes, but canned makes it wonderful
  • a food processor – this appliance rapidly cuts the onions into an almost granular texture that you can’t do by hand without going insane.

 

 15-minute Chhole (Chana Masala)

or

Indian Spiced Chickpea Curry

Ingredients:

1 Serrano pepper w/ seeds (chopped in 3 parts)
5 cloves garlic
1 yellow onion, halved and then quartered
1 Tablespoon grated ginger root
4 Tablespoons vegetable/canola oil
1 10-oz can Rotel (diced tomatoes)
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
chili powder to taste (if you need more heat)
1/2 teaspoon salt (or more, to taste)
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 15-oz can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

 

Directions:

Pulse Serrano pepper and garlic cloves through a food processor until they are finely cut. Scrape the edges of the processor work bowl and pulse again. Add onions to the food processor and pulse again until the onions are fine but not watery/mushy. Don’t wash the work bowl yet – you’ll need to use it again in a second.

Heat oil in a medium-sized pot on medium-high. Add onion-pepper mixture and grated ginger root. Saute until the onions soften and are clear. Don’t let the onions burn (add more oil if needed) Meanwhile, empty contents of rotel in the food processor and pulse until it is a soupy consistency.

Add turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander, and chili powder to the onions and cook for 2 mins.

Add salt, tomato puree and cook for 3 mins.

Add chickpeas and garam masala. Simmer for 5 mins (up to 20 mins, if you have the time), covered.

Remove from heat. Just before serving, top w/ fresh chopped cilantro. If you like cilantro, please don’t skip this step! It makes a beautiful, fragrant finish!

Enjoy with brown or white rice. Personally, I prefer Jasmine rice, but traditionally it is served with Basmati rice.

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Collard Greens Summer Rolls with Mango and Mint

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I’m at the end of my pregnancy, so I’ve got an idea.  Why don’t I use my last hours of quiet, spontaneity, and independence to write a blog post?  There are fun things to do, but why do THAT, when I can write about rabbit food?…and for FREE!?!?!?

So while I continue to research a method to painlessly teleport humans outside of the womb, I reflect on the last few months.  I remember a lot of pregnancy commentary that I don’t quite understand.  Like “you’re carrying so well!!!”  What is carrying well?  As if we have any control on how our body generates surface area in this particular region.  So my usual response is “Thanks???”  And then I go home and caress this belly with a gritty coat of “tummy butter”.  Gross.

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And then I hear “you’re going to be such a great mom!”  This one really perplexes me.  What is this based on?  No wait, I wanna guess first…  Is it my inability to multitask?  Or is it my hatred for laundry?  Or is it the fact that I have never kept a plant alive without the assistance of a sprinkler system?  Is it that I’m so distracted in the kitchen by my Instagram, that I don’t notice that the onions are burning?  Maybe it’s more about what I can do.  Is it that I can read at a 4th grade level?  4th grade HONORS of course.   Or is it my ability to push dinner remnants into a tiny corner on my plate, giving the illusion that I ate pretty much everything?  Or is it my tendency to bump into furniture or bang my toes against baseboards because I haven’t polished my motor skills?

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I do wish my belly was translucent for 9 months.  As the mom, I should get front row seats for the Martial Arts performance in my uterus.  I’m ready for this saga to end though.  Fer realz.  Because, OMIGOD I’m ready to put underwear on without assistance.  I’m ready for regular bowel movements.  I’m ready for accomplishing more than a daily shower.  I’m ready to wear something other than my husband’s weird (but comfortable) basketball shorts.  The shorts even have a teeny square pocket inside of the waistband and I asked him what that was for.  It’s too small for a key, ID, or cash.  My husband just stared at me.  I said “seriously, what is this secret pocket for?  A condom?”  and he responded with his eyes half open,  “Yes, I’m going to shoot hoops with some buddies so I better bring a condom.”

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Well, here I am at the end.  Going into the hospital as a couple and leaving as a family.  I get a lot of questions about what’s in store for the future of rabbit food rocks and by a lot I mean one question by one person who probably doesn’t even read my blog anyway but he’s just being cordial and making conversation while he waits for his lab mix puppy to take a dump.  I’m not sure what’s up with rabbit food rocks.  Maybe between diaper 6 and diaper 7, I might be able to puree some green peas and photograph it and call it pesto to keep your attention.  I’m not making any promises because uh…have you seen me as a mom?

BUT, I know I’ll be back because I already spent money updating my website and on principle I can’t ignore that expense.  So I’ll be back, but I don’t know how often.  I will however have new gab material so I can excite you by talking incessantly about baby stuff.  Yeah…subscribe you will.

So I’m taking a break…this is a planned break, (as opposed to my previous breaks which were just unannounced gaps of laziness) to focus on being a mom: to focus on multitasking, to maneuver a nursing pillow, to interpret 115 decibels of crying, to find a shorter route between left ear and right ear to channel redundant/unwanted advice, to find nice ways to say “back the _ off”, and  to enjoy being completely governed by cuteness, squishy-ness, and itty bitty toes that I might snack on when no one is looking.

Stay with me, keep cooking, and update me on major current events in the form of a comment until I get back.

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Collard Greens Summer Rolls with Mango and Mint

This recipe was inspired by something I saw on Instagram from “leslieconn” who was also inspired by someone else.  I love trying recipes through an inspiration train like that.  This recipe is gluten free and vegan and delicious.  I don’t usually jump up for joy for collard greens but it’s so beautiful in this recipe and the mango is a must, as it compliments the greens and cuts the natural mild bitterness of collard greens.

Ingredients:

4 collard green leaves, rinsed and stems trimmed to flatten

10-12 mint leaves

1/2 red bell pepper, cut into sticks

1/2 yellow bell pepper, cut into sticks

1/2 orange bell pepper, cut into sticks

1/2 of a ripe mango, peeled and cut into approx 1/2″ x 4″ pcs

1/2 English cucumber, cut into sticks

1 cup cooked rice vermicelli noodles

cilantro

Directions:

1.  Arrange the leaves stacked on a large cutting board.  You’ll want to make sure you trimmed enough of the stem to make these “roly” enough.  Yeah, that’s a technical term.  Who’s Pioneer Woman now?  You just want to make sure the leaves retain their shape and don’t break after being rolled.  You could probably boil the leaves for 30 seconds to a minute and let them cool, but I haven’t tried that because I did a stellar job of trimming.

2.  Arrange the peppers, cucumber, mango, mint, and cilantro perpendicular (yeah i went there) to the stem and towards the stem side (as opposed to the leafy side).

3.  Now gently roll the stem, packing the ingredients tightly as you roll towards the leafy side.  Go slow so that the roll holds its shape.  You can use toothpicks if needed to hold them together.

4.  Cut each roll into thirds.

5.  Serve with a sweet Asian peanut sauce!

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Slow-Cooker Spinach and Sweet Potato Dal


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I have a love-hate relationship with this cookbook,  The Indian Slow Cooker:50 Healthy, Easy, Authentic Recipes.  Let me start with what I DON’T like about it.  It’s format is Landscape, not Portrait.  This is enough to warrant a “grrrrrr”.  Secondly, the recipes are hit or miss.  I’m not concerned with authenticity of the region of India but I am ULTRA annoyed when I make a slow-cooker recipe while spending a long Sunday of chores and running errands, only to find the result is sometimes “just eh”.  Third, the portions are sized to feed a  small village.  Even if I was a family of 5, the full yield is ridiculously abundant and I can’t eat Chickpeas for 6 days in a row.

However, there are great things about this book which is the reason it will continue to claim a footprint on my bookshelf.  First, it makes me use my Slow Cooker.  A slow cooker is great for meat dishes, but even better for beans/legumes.  (Remember back in the day when I became friends with my Rival?)  A LOT of Indian foods which are bean/legume/lentil-based can be made beautifully in a slow cooker.  The  other way to make these Indian dishes is using a pressure cooker, but I am simply not friends with my pressure cooker.  And i’m no pet owner, but if I recall correctly, a pressure cooker will scare the crap out of a dog.  Secondly, after a day of work, it’s just awesome to come home to a steamy fragrant Indian dinner that was made so effortlessly.

I’ve now leaned on this book as a good guide for Indian meals and there are certainly a few recipes from this book that I follow to a “T”.  I appreciate this book for giving me another cooking option, a better cooking option, for some Indian home-cooked favorites.

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This bowl was carefully handcrafted by a local artisan. Handpicked at Dallas North Texas Food Bank, Empty Bowls event.

 

Slow Cooker Spinach and Sweet Potato Dal

from The Indian Slow Cooker:50 Healthy, Easy, Authentic Recipes

Are you a waist-watcher?  This recipe is perfect and it’s just so healthy, tasty, and filling when spooned over rice.  I started with her recipe,  Simple Greens and Lentil Soup, made roughly 1/3 of the recipe, added diced sweet potato and 1/2 box of frozen spinach.  I also added fresh spinach that I had on hand, but that is not necessary.  These mentioned changes are reflected in italics below next to each ingredient.

Ingredients:

3 cups (603 g) dried, split, and skinned yellow yellow moong dal, cleaned and washed thoroughly (Qty: 1 cup)
1 (1-inch [2.5 cm]) piece ginger, peeled and grated or ground in a food processor (1/2″ pc.)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced, grated, or ground in a food processor (1 clove)
1 teaspoon (5 mL) tomato paste (omitted)
1 teaspoon (5 mL) whole cumin seed (1/2 teaspoon)
1 teaspoon (5 mL) ground coriander (1/2 teaspoon)
1 teaspoon (5 mL) garam masala (1/2 teaspoon)
1 teaspoon (5 mL) turmeric powder (1/2 teaspoon)
2 tablespoons (30 mL) salt (2 teaspoons)
12 cups (2.84 L) water (4 cups)
4 cups (804g) firmly packed greens, washed and coarsely chopped. (OR 1/2 box of frozen spinach)

added 1.5 cups diced sweet potato, 1″ cubes

 

Directions:
1. Put the lentils, ginger, garlic, tomato paste, cumin, coriander, garam masala, turmeric, salt, sweet potato and water in the slow cooker.
2. Cook on low for 6 hours, then add the spinach. Turn off the slow cooker and let sit for 15 minutes with the lid on. Serve as a soup or over basmati or brown rice.

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