She Don’t Use Jelly

On Thursday morning, while we were having Challah French Toast for breakfast, we had a very instructional conversation. Gloria had asked for some strawberry preserves to accompany her French toast.

LAUREN: “Here you go, strawberry jelly.”

GLORIA: “Mommy, why did you call it jelly and not jam?”

LAUREN: “When I was a kid we always called it jelly”

GLORIA: “But they’re not the same thing”

KENNY: “What’s the difference again? I can’t remember…”

GLORIA: “I know, for jam they don’t have to remove the seeds”

Once Gloria reminded us of this, I remembered that the fine folks at Alm Hill Gardens had communicated this tidbit last year at their farmer’s market stand. Those kids really are sponges.

All Systems Go

Back in the old days, when we only had one kid, it was easy enough to maintain many of the spontaneous behaviors of our prior DINK lifestyle. For example, we could decide what to have for dinner based on what we were in the mood for at the moment, and even pop into the grocery store on a whim if we were missing an ingredient. Because Gloria was a consistently good sleeper with an early bedtime, we had our evenings to ourselves and could use the time however we liked. It was relatively easy for one of us to disappear in the evening for a yoga class or to meet up with a friend. We even had significant free time to devote to this blog, as evidenced by our careful documentation of Gloria’s first two years. Looking back at that time, I now believe that it doesn’t take much in the way of planning or lifestyle adjustment to manage one child — you may need to adapt your schedule, but you can get by without being terribly organized.

It’s when you have two kids that things get chaotic (and now we have three – yikes!) Kenny and I, having spent enough time managing software projects, zealously believe that the way to counter chaos is with systems. Until I reflected on it today, I didn’t even realize quite how many systems we had devised for managing our household. And given that we still feel like things are out of control much of the time, we likely need more! Here are a few useful systems we have in place:

Continue reading “All Systems Go”

Eggless Waffles

We recently learned that our Globug is allergic to eggs. We don’t know for certain that she has any particular reaction, but it’s certainly possible that her eczema is triggered by her allergy. So starting about a week ago I cut eggs from my diet, and we’ll be waiting on introducing eggs to hers once she starts solids.

In the meantime, I’ve been researching egg substitutes for various baked goods, and more importantly, breakfast items like pancakes and waffles. The substitution depends on the recipe, but I found recommendations like applesauce, mashed banana, or adding a bit of baking powder and oil.

This morning, Kenny whipped up a new eggless waffle recipe, devised by synthesizing a few recipes he found on the web. The waffles were delicious and unbelievably light and fluffy, thanks in large part to one secret ingredient: sparkling water (thanks mom, for the Sodastream you got us for Chanukah – it’s proving to be even more useful than anticipated!) It’s good to know that my favorite trick for producing light, fluffy matzo balls can be applied to other recipes as well.

I assume one could substitute more oil for the butter and soy milk for the cow variety to make vegan waffles.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup corn meal
  • 1/2 cup white flour
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp sparkling water
  • 1.5 cups milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Pinch of salt

Optional: add 1/4 cup granola and/or 2-3 tbsp coconut

Directions

Mix wet ingredients, mix dry ingredients, combine. Follow waffle iron manufacturer’s instructions.

Fresh out of the waffle iron

Birthday of Champions

Lauren got me an amazing birthday gift this year – the Champion Juicer. We found out about the Champion Juicer at Banana Joe’s in Kauai, where they make a creamy, soft-serve ice cream-like product they call a “frosty”. Turns out, they simply freeze their fruit (banana or slices of pineapple) and run it through a Champion Juicer. The result is magic.

And now we can make these delicious frozen treats at home! We immediately acquired some bananas to freeze overnight, and in the interim tried our hand at fresh carrot juice (delicious).

The secret to the Champion is that it’s a masticating juicer, so it “chews” the food before pressing the results through a filter in the undercarriage. The filters are swappable, and we used the solid “homogenizer” for frosties (it can also be used to make nut butters, or even baby food when Gloria is ready).

I was giddy with excitement as we made our first banana frosty tonight, and the taste brought me right back to Kauai. Now we need to acquire a pineapple or two. It’s exciting to have a new way to brighten up our winters!

Champion Juicer
The Champion ready for action


Making our first homemade banana frosty

Thai Tom 2011: Final Match

Eggplant Ginger vs. Cashew Chicken

Eggplant ginger tofu Cashew Chicken

Yesterday for lunch, Gloria joined us at the Thai Tom counter for the championship match of 2011. She was enthralled by the cooking show and the occasional bursts of flame out of the stir fry woks.

Enthralled by the flames

After Match 6, the championship was a little anticlimactic; Cashew Chicken has been bested by Panang Curry in the past, so it was no surprise that Eggplant Ginger also took the Cashews to task. It didn’t hurt that Eggplant Ginger was ordered with tofu, which in my opinion is superior to the chicken at Thai Tom.

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Final results of the Thai Tom 2011 Tournament

Gloria wants to dictate the time and place of the next Thai Tom Showdown, when she grows out of her disinterest in solid food. Thai Tom has at long last expanded their menu, so we will have to spend some time researching the initial qualifiers for the next match up. However, I expect it will include these solid contenders:

  1. Eggplant Ginger (#10)
  2. Panang Curry (#16)
  3. Cashew Chicken (#3)
  4. Pad Thai (#1)
  5. Swimming Rama (#15)
  6. Garlic and Pepper (#9)

Chilling at the counter
The next Thai Tom Showdown judge is ready for action!

Solid as a Rock

A few days before we came to Thailand, I took Gloria to the pediatrician for her four-month checkup. The doctor told me that it would be a good idea to start Gloria on solid food soon. Apparently the new research shows that starting closer to four months than the traditional six helps fend off food allergies, although I did remind him about Gloria’s early arrival and he agreed that we could wait until she hits her adjusted age of four months. This meant there was no rush to start solid food during our Thailand trip, but we could start looking for signs of readiness.

One of the major signs we’re supposed to watch for is Gloria showing an increased interest in our food. And since we’re not embarrassed to admit that a large part of what keeps bringing us back to Thailand is our penchant for tropical fruit and spicy curries, we thought it might be interesting to see whether any of these delicious treats could tempt our little one. Not to mention that mashed banana is recommended as a great first food.

Yellow watermelonBanana
She didn’t appear particularly interested in the yellow watermelon or banana pieces that we showed her at breakfast

PineapplePapaya
Pineapple and papaya chunks were perhaps a bit more interesting, but does she recognize that they are food?

Tom yum goongPad thai
Clearly not tempted by piping hot tom yum goong in Phuket or fresh pad thai sen yai in Mae Hong Son

DSC_4623
Perhaps we should wait a little longer before introducing pad prik giang?

DSC_4681
I’m not sure she’s ready for pad see ew either, sadly

Dragon fruitMango
Looking quizzically at chunks of dragon fruit and mango

My guess is that the Globug will have her first taste of solid food sometime in 2012.

Thai Tom 2011: Match 6

Panang Curry vs. Eggplant Ginger

Match 6

As the new normal, match 6 was performed take-out style. Today, Eggplant Ginger showed that when it’s on, it’s on in a huge way. In our biggest upset of 2011, Eggplant Ginger unseated the reigning champion in a very close call. While the Panang Curry was again excellent, it just couldn’t top the smoky charred delicious eggplant today. I guess sometimes you need a curry, other times a stir fry is the answer. Our final match of 2011 will probably be delayed a little while, as I’d like to take Gloria to the source for the occasion if possible.

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Updated results of the Thai Tom 2011 Tournament

Thai Tom 2011: Match 5

Swimming Rama vs. Cashew Chicken

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We haven’t had Thai Tom since Gloria’s arrival, as it’s not the easiest quarters to squeeze a newborn into. But we had an itch to scratch, and thus loosened our tournament criteria to allow take-out as a viable option. I do not regret that decision. :)

The first time I had Swimming Rama at Thai Tom was pure serendipity. Lauren and I stopped by at closing time and asked if they were still serving. George said sure, but only if we wanted Pad Thai and Swimming Rama. While I do enjoy a good peanut sauce, I hadn’t ever thought to order Swimming Rama at Thai Tom before. Little did I realize what I was missing. Thai Tom’s Swimming Rama is like no other version I’ve had anywhere else. They mix in a generous portion of chili paste, and the result is more like a mildly-sweet peanut curry, similar to how I imagine massaman variation of pad prik giang would taste.

Unfortunately, today the Swimming Rama was overly sweet, and so it was easily topped by the consistently spiced cashew nut chicken that is second only to Mr. Poon. Swimming Rama, we’ll see you next year!

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Updated results of the Thai Tom 2011 Tournament

Gloria’s Seattle Restaurant Tour–Month 1

Gloria turns one month old tomorrow. In her first month, she’s made quite the restaurant tour already, and her ratio of meltdowns to restaurant meals is unbelievably low. Here’s a list of Seattle eateries she has visited so far, in no particular order.

  • Vios – Gloria’s first restaurant experience was dinner at Vios. We went early, and I think there was a kid at every table. She’s also been back for lunch.
  • Pho Bac – we were reprimanded by our server for taking a newborn out of our house before she was 100 days old. Oops, we made an unintentional cultural faux-pas. The owner cooed and gushed over her though.
  • Gorditos – for the requisite newborn/Grande Burrito comparison photo
  • Mashiko – for my birthday. My first sushi in 9 months!
  • Tilth – for brunch
  • Marination Station – alas, our friends Kamala and Roz were on the truck when we visited the Station, but I’m sure we’ll have many  opportunities to introduce them to Baby G
  • Bluebird – Baby G screams for snickerdoodle ice cream
  • Pho Cyclo – it turns out it’s sort of difficult to hold a newborn in one arm while eating pho.
  • Agua Verde – for Boniato tacos, of course, no margaritas for Baby G
  • Jade Garden – Gloria already has a taste for dim sum, as she frequently consumed it in utero
  • Montlake Alehouse – who knew that alehouses were so kid friendly? Lots of dads with kids, watching the game. They even have a play area.
  • La Cote – this crepe place around the corner from us was surprisingly infant-friendly when we went for dinner with our friends Tracy and Dave.
  • Paseo – another favorite from when Baby G was still in the womb (good protein source). It’s a bit cramped though, and the only spot for her car seat was on the floor.
  • Szechuan Noodle Bowl – our little dumpling likes dumplings (the spicy vegetarian variety)

Pho coma at Pho Cyclo
In a pho coma at Pho Cyclo

Baby G found Mashiko a bit loud
Baby G found Mashiko to be a bit loud