Prepping for Baby

So, we did a practice run with the pack-n-play. That will be the baby’s bed in our room for a couple months. It looks great and baby girl will be quite comfy in it, I think.

Ready for baby

The next step that we took was to buy some baby lotion.  One of my aunts told me that she put on baby lotion so that her doggy would become accustomed to baby smells.  I thought that that was a great idea so I gave it a try.  Puck didn’t care.  Bugz wasn’t interested in it at all.  Buddy, however, was enthralled by the smell.  And the weird thing is that she continues to be amazed by the smell of baby lotion.

Soon after, Buddy discovered the laundry basket filled with baby blankets and clothes.  She loves (!!!!!) baby clothes.

Best spot in the house

The good thing is that Buddy doesn’t seem upset or frightened by the changes.  The bad thing is that she is a bit too comfortable sitting in the baby’s stuff….

I might just stay here all day.....and all night....and then tomorrow.....

Sometimes…I wish I was a cat….

Seriously.  Cats have the best life in the world.  If I could come back in another life as any animal, I would definitely choose a house cat.  All that they do is eat, poop, sleep, eat, sleep, eat, drink, chase a shadow or an insect, eat, sleep, yawn, sleep.  That’s a difficult life, right?

Recently, I have been having a hard time sleeping soundly.  I toss and turn but can’t get really comfortable in bed.  Ryan and I are going to try to set up our big comfy chair in a way that would be comfy for sleeping.

While I’m thinking about when I’ll try to go to sleep tonight, I look around and realize that this is not a problem that cats ever have.




Even the most uncomfortable looking spots can be made comfortable by a cat.

Perfectly comfortable

Shoe box? Or comfy bed?

Oh well.  Hopefully, tonight I’ll only wake up a couple times.  And when I do, hopefully, I won’t trip on a sleeping cat.

Cheap eats = Yummy eats

So, as my readers already know, I love Food Network.  And I love the show The Best Thing I Ever Ate.  I love hearing different opinions and I love it when one of those opinions lead me to a new food/restaurant in Chicago.  Recently, an episode aired that was titled, “Bang for the Buck.”  This episode asked what the best food you can get is while spending the least amount of money.

As happens each time I watch this show, I asked myself what my answer would be.  This time I actually didn’t need to think too hard.

Tank SushiHalf-price maki rolls.  Yes.  Please.

I love sushi.  I love love love sushi.  The problem is that I can not physically get a light sushi dinner.  It’s impossible for me.  When I am going for sushi, I fully expect that Ryan will have to roll me out of the restaurant when the meal is over.  So, obviously, half-price maki rolls are perfect for me.

I am already looking forward to when I can go back to Tank to load up on sushi.  Unfortunately, I have several months to wait.  Our midwife said that I can still have almost all seafood as long as I eat in moderation.  Um.  Moderation?  Since I can not do that with sushi, I will wait.  But you can bet that I will be taking the baby for many lunch dates at Tank.

When you are eating on a budget, what is your favorite spot?

Apricot Pie

So, I had a ton of apricots to use up from our CSA. And, I really had a hankering for some pie. Thankfully, this is a problem that is really easy and delicious to solve.  I went through my cookbooks but didn’t see a single recipe for apricot pie.  I guess it’s not the most popular type of pie.  Thankfully, I found a recipe here and the reviews were pretty good so I decided to give it a try.

Many of the reviews stated that people had substituted cinnamon for the nutmeg.  I decided to add a pinch of both.

I was a bit concerned with how soupy the filling looked but I made the decision to follow the recipe.  If it tastes good, then next time I might add a little bit of cornstarch or something like that to thicken it up.

Looks a little soupy to me.....

This pie was also the first time that I attempted to do a lattice design on the top of the pie.  When I make pie, usually it either has no top or a crumble topping.  The finished lattice isn’t actually too bad.  It’s not as pretty as I would like.  I guess that means that I need to practice.  And that means, more pies being baked.

After it finished baking, I removed the foil from the outside of the pie and let it bake  for a few minutes more so that it can get a little bit more golden on the top.

Smells delicious!

It still looked a bit soupy on top.  My hope was that it would thicken up a bit as it cooled.  If it didn’t…oh well.  It still smelled delicious.

After it had cooled, it did thicken up a bit.  It still wasn’t as thick as I would have liked but it was a lot better.  The best part, though, was the taste.  It’s not too sweet and is a bit tart.


Summer plans – Update

I posted a summer plans list here.  Well, I haven’t accomplished as much this summer as I wanted to.  I still have one week left of summer before school starts again so I might be able to get some more of this knocked out.

How my list looks now:

  • Start taking prenatal yoga classes – DONE.  And I love them.  I always feel really good after class is done.
  • Finish the pile of books that I stare at every day, including The Hunger Games Trilogy. – STARTED.  I finished all three of the Hunger Games books.  Now, I am attempting to work my way through the rest of the pile.
  • Knit at least one baby blanket – NOT STARTED.  Boo.  I haven’t done any knitting so far this summer.  Although, this is something that I could work on in spare time (Ha! Spare time!) once school starts up again.
  • Knit at least one baby hat – NOT STARTED.  See above.
  • Go on a nice long walk every day (weather permitting). – STARTED.  Although I’ve tried to go on a walk every day, when there is a air action day (when pollution + extreme heat = not good to be outside) I’ve avoided going outside.
  • Paint the book case in the room that will be the baby’s room – DONE.  Thanks to my mom, dad, and Amy for coming up and doing a lot of work in the baby’s room.
  • Paint the walls in the room that will be the baby’s room (this might actually translate to me “supervising” the walls being painted). – DONE.  Please see above and thanks again to my mom, dad and Amy!

So, that’s what the list looks like so far.  We’ll have to wait and see to see how much I can get done before the baby arrives and I will have no spare time at all to accomplish anything.

Cross this one off of the list

So, as my readers already know, I love the Travel Channel and Food Network. In fact, if the tv is on in the living room, the chances are really good that one of these channels is on.

I love when they show foods/restaurants in Chicago because I love finding new food.

Quite a long time ago, a show that I was watching on one of these channels was discussing types of pizza. Of course, Chicago has a lot of pizza types to try. Deep dish pizza is great if you want a lot of food in one slice of pizza. Traditional thin crust Italian pizza is delicious but it sure is easy to eat an entire pizza in one sitting. (That might just be me.) However, this show talked about a kind of pizza that I had not heard of.
Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder
in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago has a pizza pot pie. Seriously.

Yesterday, I finally had the  chance to try this and it is delicious.   And you definitely don’t have to worry about leaving hungry.  Portion sizes are, well, filling.

Giant salad

Seriously giant salad

The pot pie tastes more like a big bowl of pasta sauce with a nice chunk of bread to soak up all of the sauce.

The big blobs under the cheese are whole mushrooms. Yum!

Yum! Yum! And Yum!

The key to going to try this is to get there soon after they open.  Ryan and I tried to go there a couple months ago and the line was simply ridiculous.  Yesterday, we got there right after they had opened and were able to get a table as soon as we walked in the door.  By the time we were ready to leave, there was already a line at the door.

So get there early.  But give it a try.  This is some seriously comforting food.

You scream. I scream.

So, a recent episode of The Best Thing I Ever Ate on Food Network was titled “Ice Creamy.”  As you have probably guessed, this episode was all about the best ice cream-type treats that could be found around the country.

As happens whenever I watch this show, I started to think about what would top my list.  And this one was really hard.  I tried but could not narrow it down to just one.

So, my list…..

  • Parfait at Scooter’s Frozen Custard.  Frozen custard = yummy.  Italian ice = yummy.  Frozen custard + italian ice = super yummy.
  • Whatever the raspberry sundae is called at Margie’s Candies.  Actually any of the ice cream treats at Margie’s are lovely….and they are huge!  Bring your appetite.
  • Strawberry milkshake at Superdawg.    The perfect way to end a meal of a Superdawg or Supercheesie.
  • Mochi at Tank Sushi.  The best way to finish a giant sushi meal (and anytime I get sushi it ends up being a GIANT sushi meal) is with a selection of mochi.  The mango and red bean are my favorites.
  • Dipped cone at Dairy Queen.  Yum.  Yum.  Yum.  Plus, you can have this one even if you aren’t in Chicago.

What is on your list?

So many blueberries….

So, just like last summer, we have managed to have an abundance of blueberries in our house. We still have a several bags of frozen blueberries in our freezer that I’ve been slowly trying to get rid of. But now, we also have several pints of blueberries in the fridge.

I decided it was time for some blueberry cobbler.  I found this recipe on  Food Network and decided to give it  try.

It was super easy and quick to put together (which is always a plus if you are planning on turning on the oven when says that it is 100 degrees outside).  I changed the recipe up a bit by adding more blueberries than were called for and I also added a splash of orange juice.  Why?  I want to use up as many berries as possible and orange juice is yummy with blueberries.

Usually, I don’t fiddle around with baking recipes too much because baking is based on chemistry that I don’t actually understand and I am usually pretty worried that whatever I add will actually alter the chemical reactions somehow.  This time, however, I figured that even if it didn’t look good it would still taste ok.

The results?

The look is a little different from other cobblers because it is so full of blueberries.  Since there isn’t as much space for the dough, it didn’t have the chance to get very golden on top.

But the taste?

I’m going to go ahead and pat myself on the back for the addition of orange juice.  The cobbler is nice and sweet from the blueberries and the sugar but it also has a nice bit of tartness from the orange juice.  This actually turned out quite nicely.

What do you do when you have an abundance of summer berries?

The Simplicity of Summer Food

I love summer vegetables and summer fruit.  Not only do they always instantly remind me of the warm summer months, but they rarely require that you do anything to them for them to be delicious.  Fresh cherries are rarely better than right out of the bowl.  A zucchini sliced up and lightly sauteed or thrown on the grill?  Delicious.  I usually feel like it is best to keep summer foods as simple as possible.  Plus, who wants to turn on the stove when it’s this hot?

Recently, in our CSA, we received a lot of raspberries.  I love raspberries.  I love love love raspberries.  They are completely perfect on their own.  However, in order to keep me from simply eating them all on their own in one sitting (and I know that I am perfectly capable of doing just that) I decided to dress them up a bit.

Pudding?  Check.  Pile of raspberries?  Check.  Dessert, breakfast, and snack?  Check.

Pudding + raspberries = perfection

In which one of my fave restaurant deals becomes one of my new fave restaurants

Lots of restaurants in Chicago have prix fixe dining deals. If you are unfamiliar with the concept, if you are dining with a prix fixe menu, you pay a set price and pick from two choices for each of your courses. It’s usually a lot cheaper than choosing three courses from the regular menu but the food will still be on par with the the rest of the menu.

I love finding prix fixe nights at restaurants because I love getting a really great deal. If I can get a really great deal and still get a really great meal then I am very happy.  Dining with a prix fixe menu also forces me to try new things.  I tend to order the same types of foods no matter where I am dining.  If there are only two options and neither are items that I would normally choose, I get to try something entirely new and different.

A restaurant opened in our neighborhood that exists solely under the prix fixe concept. In fact, it’s name is Prix Fixe. It is exactly what you would expect. The menu is prix fixe. That way it can change frequently.  Our server informed us that if we returned in two weeks that the menu would be different again.

I love my neighborhood but one thing that we have been lacking is “nicer” restaurants where you can get a “nicer” meal.  This one fits the bill.  The food was yummy.  The wine selection (although I didn’t have any) was pretty strong.  The restaurant was small but cozy.

I’ll be back again.  In two weeks?  Who wants to join me?