Thursday, January 31, 2013

Hanging tough...

You'd never know it by the look of her, but Lu has had quite a bad day. We continue to rage against her insane dental woes, but today our tiny girl lost three more teeth.   Surgical cleaning and annual extractions are a part of Lucy's care we've come to expect, but we weren't prepared for the news that her jaw bone has started disintegrating and already shows evidence of a hairline fracture.  We do everything we can to help slow this awful process and while we couldn't have stopped this from happening, we are loading her up with 8 weeks worth of antibiotics to make sure things in her crazy mouth get under control.  We are watching her closely for signs of trouble and she'll visit the vet a few more times in the coming weeks to make sure a jaw bone infection doesn't take hold.  In the meantime, we'll keep her as comfortable as possible and hope her medicine works wonders.  

Outside of her standard (and funny) post surgery moaning, Lu is her usual sweet self and even wolfed down her dinner (laced with a 1/4 of a pain pill, and 2 antibiotics) like she had every single one of her pearly whites. We sure do love our toothless wonder.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Dining with the Day Nursery Decor...

This afternoon I put up a bulletin board at the Day Nursery celebrating the cookbook we are producing to honor the organization's centennial year of service.  The finished board  may be just a few connecting strings shy of making me look like a cookbook conspiracy theorist, but I have been working pretty darn hard on the thing.  The book is really looking great and I am certain that folks will be happy with the delicious history it holds...

 The Oak Park and River Forest Day Nursery Centennial Committee proudly anticipates the arrival of our retrospective cook book in September of 2013.  A labor of love, the artfully presented book is a celebration of 20 years of Day Nursery dining benefits.  The hardbound volume contains 100 recipes, countless color photographs, and whimsical snippets of our rich organizational history.  Pricing information coming soon…

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Here she goes...

For her very first time time behind the wheel Emma drove like a champ today!

I only leaned once.
I only exclaimed "break!" once.
I said "good job" no less than one hundred times (nervous tick, perhaps?)

After an hour of very curvy parking lot practice, I encouraged Emma to accelerate a little more to see how it felt to build up some speed.  She did, I praised her and let her know she had been going almost 25 miles per hour.  She stopped the car, looked me and said, "Are you kidding? I thought I was going at least 50!"  Here's to new adventures.

Nan's Southern Kitchen...

 Thankfully, we have a well deserved quiet week-end around here and we wanted to be sure sure to share some time at the family table with Nonna Nancy.  When I asked her what she would like me to make for dinner, I assumed she would say beef stew or a nice piece of fish, but she settled on "those chicken and waffles" she had heard about on TV. Her quirky dinner menu made my day and I decided to throw down southern soul food style just for her. The menu at "Nan's Southern Kitchen" featured, buttermilk fried chicken thighs, pumpkin spiced waffles with pure maple syrup, macaroni and cheese, collard greens, and lemon green beans. 
Nan's Southern Style Greens
(adapted fromTyler Florence)
2 Large bunches of collard greens
2 Tablespoons of olive oil
1 Large white onion, sliced
Salt and pepper
2 smoked pork chops,diced or 1 smoked Ham Hock
3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
2 Bay leaves
8 Cups Chicken Stock, warmed
1 teaspoon sugar
2 Tablespoons cider vinegar

Remove the tough stems and spines from the greens and rinse in several changes of water.  Dry the greens well and tear into large pieces. Heat the oil in a large stock pot and add the onion.  Season well with salt and pepper. Cook until onion is translucent and add the pork, garlic and bay leaves. Add the greens to the pot and push down with the back  of a wooden spoon. Season with salt and pepper and cover the greens with the warm broth. Add the sugar and cider vinegar to the pot and turn the greens in the broth.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Uncover and simmer for 15 minutes more being sure to taste the broth and adjust the seasoning if necessary.  Remove the greens to a bowl and serve at once.  Discard the bay leaves upon discovery.
This meal was an unexpected treat at the end of a busy week and I think I liked making it as much as everyone at the table enjoyed eating  it.  I swear Nancy licked her plate clean and that made me feel like a million bucks!  I love my life.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


How cute is my new pig shaped salt cellar?
It is my new favorite thing I did even know I wanted or needed.
I love it when friends know you better than you know yourself!
Thanks Pen!  It totally makes me think of our pork and beer surprise.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Looking Back Four Years...

We were safe at home and protected from any winter chill in Washington DC today, but that didn't stop us from watching the festivities on television and we couldn't help looking back on all of our wonderful memories of the 2009 presidential inauguration. It is pretty amazing to see how much our kids have grown-up in just four years.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

My Bicycle Charles Sculpture

With all the revelations about Lance Armstrong this week, I thought I'd share a some happy bike related thoughts. While I was in New York at the SRAM pART Project I was lucky enough to purchase this lovely little sculpture to benefit World Bicycle Relief. Zambian artist, Charles Mwanjeleka, creates the sculptures featuring riders carrying interesting over-sized items. His success is helping to build his family a new home.  I adore my happy biker with her array of plants and every time I walk past this whimsical piece I can't help but smile!  It reminds me of a fantastic week-end and supports a worthy cause.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Ladies at the Table...

 ...celebrating birthdays and eating my version of chicken and waffles.
Oh, how I adore beautiful women who can eat.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

2013 Food Trends...

This list (link) is among my favorite columns I get to write all year long!  I have such fun mulling over the various foods and concepts that could make cut and love waiting to see if my inclusions are even close to correct!    What's better is the recipe included with the 2013 list puts three of  my ten trends to use and is totally delicious.  Seriously, my kids gobbled up these vegetarian, cauliflower laden Banh Mi sandwiches!  Go on and give 'em a try!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

New Semester=New Adventure

Clear the roads; she takes the test to get her temporary license at the end of this week.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Finn Style Study Time...

Finn went back to school today and attacked his math homework tonight with his own signature style!
Who says 7th grade boys can't be adorable?
Love it.

Out and About

Emma and her friend took a walk around our neighborhood with the camera in tow a few days ago.  This morning while I was going through some of my pictures, I found this fun shot of the two of them among Emma's collection.  Something the composition and the idea of bringing a camera to the Brown Elephant brought a smile to my face!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Emma and the Little Man...

Snuggling up on Vortex Day.

Resolution 2013: Our Global Table

Each year we make a family resolution that effects our family table and this year is no exception...
Sometimes Monday through Friday cooking  can be a total drag, but I thought adding a global twist to out family over the course of 2013 would not only expand our horizons, but help to keep me out of the week night kitchen doldrums.  Check out the year at our global table tab above to follow our culinary adventure all year long!

One Section of the Buffet...

Whenever I take down our holiday decorations, I get the chance to take a good long look at all of the treasures on the ledge of my buffet.  In one corner alone, I can see my brand spanking new gluttony dictionary,  a graceful grappa bottle I brought home from Italy, the bottle from a Micky's Leif and I split in our first Chicago apartment eighteen years ago (message in a bottle style: it contains all of the letters Emma mailed us from camp-), the hay bouquet from the dish "Chicken Thigh, Liver, Truffle and Hay" we enjoyed at One Sister Underground housed in a vase I took from my grandma's house that is labeled in her distinctive handwriting, "From Ireland Trip," and the  corner of the photo of my mom walking Emma down the aisle at my brother's wedding. Our buffet ledge is one of my favorite things in our whole house.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A Quiet Start to the New Year

We decided to stick close to home and keep things quiet and low-key for New Year's Eve.  Even though we weren't popping Champagne corks, we didn't let 2012 go without celebrating over a fine meal.  Emma and Leif served as chief stirrers and we turned out a lovely lobster and scallop risotto to ring in 2013!
Cheers to cozy and safe celebrations!
Happy New Year.
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