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You asked for it

Okay fine, here's the post from last week that I deleted because you asked.

I know I'm a little old to get drunk on accident, I mean really. And yet, here I sit just the teensiest bit trashed and here's how it happened. Thinking about it now, I can only imagine what the people at the restaurant were thinking.

Things have been a little more intense than usual around here and I am waiting to hear back on stupid lab results so just in case I figured I needed to go on one last binge before getting cut off my sugar smack. Hello, margaritas.

Well, just the one at first. But it went so fast. So Matt orders me another under the "you deserve it" umbrella. And this is when things went wrong. Had I had more time to sit and sip my drink, I am almost sure that at some point it would've occurred to me that my tongue is starting to feel a little thicker (and not due to swelling from spicy food), or that my laugh is getting louder, or that my face feels super flushed.

Instead, though, Sam decided he was "all done." Which he announced sweetly at first by using his sign language and his words. "All done," he said, hands waving in front of him like a baseball referee calling a player safe. "All done!" he said, much louder when we didn't jump the first time. "All done!" wiggling out of the seat now. "All done!" Tugging at his bib, choking himself with it. All eyes on us. Awesome.

So I had no choice. My margarita arrived mere seconds before Sam decided he would be contained no longer. As Sam struggled to get out of his high chair, I pounded my drink like a freshman in a drinking contest. I won.

The prize? It's early in the evening and I'm headed to the couch to tune out my worries and catch up on my peeps at the Office.

God bless early bed times. Please forgive any typos because, well ... you know.

Meatless Monday: Mexican lasagna

Mexican lasagna - click here for the recipe and a much prettier picture than I took.

Got this one out of Woman's Day magazine and am pretty sure it's going to be one that makes it on our list of favorites. Everyone's plates were clean and Lucy was disappointed to have very little to clean up.

serves 6 Active: 15 min*     Total: 1 hour*

*provided the world stops as you assemble your meal

2 tsp olive oil

1 1/2 cups chopped onion

1 lb zucchini, diced (about 3 cups)

2 1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes with chiles

1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed

1 can (11 oz) corn niblets, drained

1 can (10 oz) mild enchilada sauce

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

5 (8-inch) whole-wheat flour tortillas

1 1/4 cups shredded reduced-fat Cheddar

Garnish: reduced-fat sour cream and cilantro sprig (garnish? ha!)

Heat oven to 400. Coat a 3 qt. round baking dish with nonstick spray

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over med-high heat. Add onion and saute 5 minutes. Add zucchini and cumin, saute 5 min or until crisp-tender. Stir in tomatoes, beans, corn and enchilada sauce; bring to simmer. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro.

Put 1 tortilla in baking dish. Top with 1 1/2 cups zucchini mixture; sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese. And repeat. Four times.

Cover with foil and bake 20-25 minutes until bubbly around edges and cheese is melted. Cool 5 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve with sour cream.

Nathalie's Notes: instead of sour cream we used cottage cheese, not to be healthy but because we didn't have any sour cream. Also, I'm not sure what corn niblets are and think that sounds kind of gross, I assumed it's just canned corn and used that. This was super easy to make and think older kids would have fun helping assemble it. While it was relatively fast to make, I froze the rest of the filling tonight to see if I can make an even faster go of it another night. I'll let ya know.

Friday Favorites




  • Short budget meetings
  • Talking about feelings
  • Method's squeaky green body and hair wash for babies with rice milk + mallow (smells soooo good!)


  • Anything with buckles
  • Playing with water - especially if he dumped it out of his glass
  • Hangin' with his dad

Sorry guys for such a light posting week, I've been dealing with some weird stuff this week. I posted a bit last night but it was after two margaritas and I thought better of it. This morning I still think it's funny but I suppose it's a bit like drunk dialing where it seemed like a good idea at the time ...

Meatless Monday: Oops I did it again

Quiche What is wrong with me?!

This is a question I often ponder at roughly this time of day, between 3 and 4 p.m., when  I'm stuck with a preheated oven and no dinner to put in it because I didn't read through the ingredients thoroughly enough. Stupid evaporated milk. So dinner was just the slightest bit delayed but on the bright side it turned out better than I'd expected. Way better. After my healthy dessert mishap last week, I was a little unsure about what a crust made of brown rice and eggs would taste like. Verdict? It was super easy, missing evaporated milk aside. I'd make this again for us to eat but wouldn't serve it to company until I've experimented with it a bit more. Sam, however, had three servings.

Source: Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron

Grain Quiche Crust

Preheat oven to 350. Beat 2 eggs in bowl. Add 3 cups total of cooked brown rice, millet or other whole grain. Grease a pie plate (9 inch, preferably glass). Press grain/egg mixture into pie plate so that it covers the bottom and up the sides. Bake 15 minutes. It will bake further when you put in the quiche filling and bake in the oven-cover with foil to prevent it from burning or becoming too hard (I managed to miss this step but it didn't burn, maybe it could've been a bit softer). Note: if you're going to use this in a pie that does not require baking, bake it for 25 minutes instead of 15.

Tomato Quiche

Prepare crust per recipe above. Preheat oven to 375. Arrange sliced tomatoes (1 large or 2 small) on top of crust. Sprinkle the following on the tomatoes: 1 tsp. oregano, 1 tsp. sugar, 1/2 cup chopped onion, 1 cup shredded cheese

In a separate bowl: 2 beaten eggs, 2 Tablespoons wheat germ, 1 cup evaporated milk

Pour over tomatoes and bake for 45 minutes or until set. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Friday Favorites

 IMG_0402 A few of our favorites this week:


  • Having my parents here to take care of Sam while I was sick
  • Hearing Sam call my parents Omama and Opapa
  • Wonderful books like Molly Wizenberg's A Homemade Life

  • Swimming with Sam

  • Eating and eavesdropping at The Soup Spoon in Welches all by myself!


  • All of the adoring attention from Omama and Opapa
  • Shoes - and forcing everyone to wear them

  • Sleeping in his stroller while Omama pushed him

Review: A Homemade Life

Hey there! Just checking in from Mt. Hood where it's mostly snowing, hailing and incessantly raining. There are, however, just enough sun breaks to make me feel hopeful that we'll do more than sit around the condo trying not to drive each other bonkers.

I read a book start to finish since we got up here, partly because of the aforementioned weather, partly because I'm sick and partly because I couldn't bear to put it down: A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg.

Reading the book made my mouth water even though all I could stomach was another Ricola and some more Sudafed; it made my heart hurt and my eyes tear more than once. It also made me smile in recognition, and at her witty turns of phrase.

I can all but guarantee you will eat this book up!

All along as I'm reading I'm thinking "I get this girl!" She is honest and raw and unflinchingly herself. Also butter doesn't make her flinch, and she’s found a way to incorporate chocolate into salads. Do you really need more of a reason to call Third Street Books (or your local indie bookstore) and get yours on the way? If you want to try out any of her recipes on me, I'd happily pull up a chair at your table.

My kitchen memoir, Not Like the Picture, is like Wizenberg's only in the sense that it chronicles the stories behind the food ... the memories ... my journey to the kitchen and the me I met in there. The key difference being you'll most certainly want to try Wizenberg's recipes. Mine are more like "what not to do" in the kitchen.

For example, the only chance I've had at bat this week in the kitchen I managed to set off the smoke alarms. This morning, though, I commandeered the kitchen to make some pesto out of stinging nettles. It'll be my little dinner surprise served over ravioli. Don't worry, I cooked the sting out of them!

Friday Favorites

A few of our favorite things this week:


  • Burt's Bees lip balms -  now I get why people spend $6.00 on these lovely little tubes
  • Lipton's cold brew iced tea - fast, cheap and delicious
  • iPod shuffle - Matt won this in an auction and it sat in our junk drawer for twoyears because I had no idea how to use it. Two years and 20 minutes later, I love this thing! Listening to my iPod is like swimming or taking a shower with the monitor turned off: it's just me.
  • Theraflu - except that I'm considering launching a campaign to bring back pseudoephedrine. Damn tweakers.


  • Buckles
  • Velcro
  • Cah's

Dinner & Dessert

Chin Chin My mom let me do something out of the ordinary last night. She let me cook dinner while she stayed at the table to visit with Matt and our friends, George and Amy. She occasionally got up to ride herd on Sam & Ella who were tearing up the place gleefully, but otherwise she managed to let herself relax. For years my folks have come to visit with bags of food from Haagen. While it's hard to argue with bags of free, yummy groceries, letting my mom cook all the meals when visiting me brought into question my ability to cook. Since, let's face it, I didn't have the best track record prior to the early 2ooo's.

ChilighettiDessert Disaster Anyway, to cut out the stress of cooking a big meal on the day of the visit--because I had doors to clean and Cheerios to vacuum--I made a batch of chilighetti and froze it last week. I highly recommend having a couple of these tucked in your freezer.

Dinner was a hit. Dessert not so much. Utter disaster. Here is the picture of everyone giving me back their (full) dessert cups. It really was that bad. Sam and Ella, not knowing what real pudding tastes like, were pretty good sports about it and took a few bites. Next time I'll skip the "from scratch" part and just add 2 cups of milk to the powder in a box.

Three bottles of wine into the evening it was decided we needed real dessert so George drove to my remote freezer to pick up some Ben & Jerry's. Somewhere between the end of the fourth bottle and the beginning of the fifth bottle it was decided we needed Five bottles some smoked bacon so my mom did have a chance to do her Slovak culinary magic after all.

P.S. fellow food-journalers, I didn't have any of the garlic bread, or the ice cream. Or that much wine. Probably more to do with the fact that I'm sick and can't taste or smell much than my willpower.



1 lb. hamburger        

1 tsp. salt

3/4 cup onion, chopped

2 1/2 cups stewed tomatoes (I use diced because I don't like the big tomato chunks)

1 cup sour cream

4 cups chili

8 oz. spaghetti (cooked)

3 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

1 tsp. garlic powder

Brown meat, onions, salt and garlic powder; drain. Add tomatoes and chili. Simmer 45 minutesand remove from heat. Fold in cheese and sour cream. Combine with spaghetti in casserole dish, top with Parmesan, and bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until bubbly.


Virtual weight loss

It should be noted that I haven't lost any real weight yet. I have, however, dropped some mental baggage since I saw the virtual weight loss picture of me minus 35 pounds.

The ugly truth about losing weight is that if you're doing it sanely, it's a lot of effort for little to no instant gratification. It's also about having faith that if you keep at it, the rewards will be bigger than wearing a smaller size, a swim suit in public (maybe even a snazzy Speedo!), or not having to use props on your lap to sit comfortably in the company of others.

That faith part is tough for me because even though I lost a good chunk of weight before my wedding, I never really lost it. It comes back and hangs out for a few years, then goes away and comes back ... so I really don't know what it feels like to lose it for good.

I've used pictures to motivate me before but they were either a) pictures of a thinner me back in the height of my bulimia or b) pictures at my heaviest that make me cringe.

Neither of those work for me because in the first case, I'll never be that girl in skinny jeans who can party all night, eat junk food, puke it up and get decent grades again. And I don't want to be, except for the cute jeans.

In the second case, anything that makes me cringe isn't a good motivator. When I feel like shit about myself, I want to eat Nutella out of the jar.

I was flipping through one of Amy's magazines when I found the site for this virtual weight loss thing where you upload your picture and enter a few stats and then get this picture of yourself back, minus your goal weight.

Before I could talk myself out of it, Amy took a picture of me and we uploaded it. Before I read the fine print. Next thing I knew, I thought I was being punked by someone on Facebook because I was being instructed to sign into my Facebook account to see my picture. Oh.My.God. I deleted the "before" picture from Amy's camera chip, desktop and recycle bin and here it was about to be on freaking Facebook?!?

Luckily, I didn't have a coronary and the setting is private (I'm hoping) and it was worth the stress when I got the "after" picture back a few days later.

"This is me." I thought when I looked at that after picture. Me in my clothes today. And that works for me.