Oct 23, 2013

A Minor (Maternity) Rant

Why oh why can I not find maternity clothes that suit my taste?  This is what I want.

Too bad they cost from $158 to $318.  That's not in the budget.

Why can I not find flowy clothes that skim over my tummy for a reasonable price?

Or else, I would like classic, modest yet flattering clothing?

Arrgh, I need to resume my search for a seamstress.

How cute would I be chasing after Miss Priss in one of these ensembles?

 Or these fall looks are just too perfect!

Colorful, simple clothing.  They have no words emblazoned across the stomach, nor do they show one's belly button.  From the abundance of skin tight styles on the market, I must be the only person whose waist is immediately replaced by love handles the minute I find out I am with child.  No amount of ruching can disguise that.  Why are the flowy tops which abound at Anthropologie or the drapey numbers I recently purchased at Gap not available for maternity?   I know I can buy larger sizes, but then the shoulders and sleeves swallow me, and the lengths rapidly become too short.

Whine. Whine. Whine.

If I could design and produce my own clothes, I would make a simple capsule wardrobe of leggings and skinny pants, with A-line sleeveless tunics that I could layer with long sleeved tees, and short A-line swingy dresses.   Some swingy soft long sleeved tunic tops.  Long cardigans in bright colors. All machine washable and appropriate for toddler chasing, yet presentable and chic.

Instead, I am presented with this as a cute and affordable option.

If the poor model looks lumpy, a mere mortal like myself has no chance.  And this offering is from Gap!  Don't even get me started on Motherhood Maternity's offerings.

I will quit complaining, and go back to my quest for loose swingy tops.  Have any of y'all worn those Piko tops while pregnant?  I've thought about trying that, but I am almost in the third trimester.  How long would they last me?

If I am ever pregnant again, I am creating my damn capsule collection well beforehand when I still have some energy.  Better start learning to sew now.

Oct 22, 2013

What's Shaking

So, I have fallen woefully behind with my blogging.  But, I have a new niece!  And she is precious!  And over a week old.  I'm behind.  My brother and sister-in-law are doing wonderfully, and adjusting to life without sleep.  Although, I have a feeling my brother is still getting some sleep.  Dell Harper has not met Charlotte yet, but once things settle down, she is going to be so thrilled to meet this baby we keep talking about!

We hit up the massive fall extravaganza at a local farm's pumpkin patch.  The hayride to actual pumpkin patch had an enormous line, so we perused more toddler friendly activities.  Like riding in a carts behind an ATV.
 Morgan and I were dying to go see the goats and bunnies (um, okay, I was dying), but Miss Priss refused to leave the sandpit.  Someone had trouble understanding the fall/farm theme of our activity apparently.

 Once she saw the goats?  She got it.
 Look at this goat in the air!  They had this entire elaborate climbing structure for the goats, which went out of their pen and above our heads.  I wanted to play on it so badly.

Then the little kid corn maze.  Talk about delight!  This girl took off!

 We had to go through a second time, with her leading me around.

She also got to sit in a giant metal tub of corn- this looked pretty fun.  Kind of like the corn version of the gold in Duck Tales.  The older kids got a little rough for Miss Priss's taste though.

And I finally got my photo opportunity. I mean, it's not like her outfit was purchased back in August for this single moment or anything.

So, it was a great Sunday.  Then Dell Harper started coughing like a seal barking around 11:45 that night, and I knew that sleep was not on my agenda for the night.  She had been a little raspy at church, but I chalked it up to playing so hard with her buddies, and her little allergies.  Instead, it was croup.  And a double ear infection.  She is feeling great, and never even ran a fever.  I am still exhausted from a night of 45 minutes of sleep while six months pregnant, but am planning on catching up right now!

On my blogging to-do list, I have an amazing dessert recipe to share with y'all, (shocking, since brownies from the box are my main specialty for a sweet treat).  I will make it again since I neglected to take pictures last time.  I've got my fourth baby meal for the month coming up, and will share the dessert along with my top new-mama meals.

Oct 9, 2013

Fear of the Crockpot


People freak out about the damn crock pot, and I just have never gotten it.  All the recipes I run into seem like they are full of processed goop, or are for fake barbecue type stuff, (which is completely unnecessary since there are probably 6 barbecue joint with real smoked pulled meat within a three mile radius), or require so much prep that I don't understand the appeal.

Okay.  Glad to get that out.  Anyway, I saw something on Pinterest about no-processed slow cooker recipes, and I was intrigued.  I decided to jump on the Crocktober bandwagon.

I started with the Chicken Quinoa Stew.

I added a bit more chicken broth than it calls for, because I prefer a soup to a stew.  Served with warm faoccacia bread, it was a hearty and delicious dinner.

Slower Cooker Chicken and Quinoa

1 cup quinoa 
2 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup white wine 
2 cups of water
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons of sea salt 
4 carrots, sliced (peeled if you do not buy organic)
4 stalks of celery, sliced
1 onion, diced
2 chicken (uncooked) breasts (I recommend bone in for a juicier chicken, but boneless makes for easier shredding later)
3 tablespoons of butter
Throw everything in the crock pot. Cook on low for 7-8 hours (high for 4). Remove chicken, shred and mix back into stew.

It was really, really good.  There was no prep besides chopping veggies.  The stew was delicious and wholesome- the wine adds depth and a richness that distinguishes it from bland fare that I associate with crock pot fare.  
I finally get the appeal of the crock pot.  Prep it with breakfast, then rake some leaves, hit up the pumpkin patch, plant some pansies, and come home to this warm and tasty stew for a perfect fall day.
Further weekly experiments with the slow cooker to follow. . .

Oct 8, 2013

On the Outside Looking In

Do y'all ever feel like you are playing a role?  Today, I dropped my toddler off at preschool, then headed to the grocery store.  As I strolled the aisles in my black skinny pants, striped long cardigan and white drapey tee concealing my burgeoning belly, I felt like one of the cute yuppie moms that I babysat for in Atlanta during law school. I felt like I was playing the part as I loaded my station wagon with a gallon of organic milk, Greek yogurt and Cheerios.

It still baffles me that I have a child old enough to have conversations. When nannying during law school, I remember imagining myself as a mom, managing young children and a home.  Now, when college students at brunch ooh and ahh over Dell Harper's cuteness, I see them envisioning a future of post church brunches with their own cute toddlers and husbands, just as I did.

So basically, this entire ramble is just about how I still can't believe I'm a grownup . . .

Oct 7, 2013

This and That

You know your brain is long gone when you have to look through your camera roll on your phone to remember what you have been up to of late.
 First up, this drapey tee finally arrived from Gap today (I ordered it two weeks ago).   I love it!  I got navy, plum and white (they did not have my size in the gray, boo!).    I wish clothing manufacturers made maternity clothes like this- flattering and disguising instead of all this skin tight biz.  I have no desire for people to see where my belly button is, thank you very much.

I got this cozy number as well.  There is a sale online right now if you need anything from Gap.

A house has been going up down the street from my parents' the last few months, and we have watched its progress intently.  The house that was built next to it was extremely bizarre and resembles a Southwestern-gas station-cult-compound.  So we were relieved when this number went up-

I was thrilled to find out it was on a parade of homes- I always long to see the insides of houses that I admire exterior-wise.  It was gorgeous inside as well- I just adored all of the finishes (and forgot to take a single picture).
All the details were simply lovely.

Oh, and there was a football game in Knoxville this past weekend. . .

I wore a black dress with white dogs (including bulldogs). Morgan requested that I attempt to go neutral, but it was 90 degrees, and I am 22 weeks pregnant.  It was more a matter of finding something that would fit on my body (and support my alma mater).

We left the game at the half (before it got exciting).  However, after 3 hours of tailgating and a couple sweaty hours of game attending, our babysitter budget was shot.  Poor Miss Priss did not get a bath due to her parents' focus on the football game.  I did tear myself away from the TV to put her to bed, with Morgan periodically interrupting "Where's Spot?" and "Goodnight Moon" to give me overtime updates.

We recovered after a busy weekend with a little Salsaritas mother-daughter lunch date today.
Guacamole was consumed by the handful.

By the toddler.  I'm a few weeks away from that point. . .

Oct 1, 2013

Vichy-Vichyssoise Avec Moi?

Please forgive the title of this post.  I can't help it- whenever I hear or think the word "vichyssoise" Lady Marmalade comes to mind.

So, Barefoot Contessa strikes once again, and has provided me with lunch for a week, and stocked me freezer as well.

Ina Garten's Roasted Potato Leek Soup


2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks

4 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts, cleaned of all sand (4 leeks)

1/4 cup good olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 cups baby arugula, lightly packed

1/2 cup dry white wine

6 to 7 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade

3/4 cup heavy cream

8 ounces creme fraiche (if you can't find creme fraiche, sub sour cream mixed with equal parts cream)

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for garnish


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

  • Combine the potatoes and leeks on a sheet pan in a single layer. Add the olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss to coat the vegetables evenly. Roast for 40 to 45 minutes, turning them with a spatula a few times during cooking, until very tender. Add the arugula and toss to combine. Roast for 4 to 5 more minutes, until the arugula is wilted. 

  • Remove the pan from the oven and place veggies in large dutch oven. Stir in the wine and 1 cup of the chicken stock and cook over low heat, scraping up any crispy roasted bits remaining in the pan to the pot.

  • Add about 5 cups of the chicken stock to the pot, and use an immersion blender to make a puree.  Add enough of the remaining 1 to 2 cups of stock to make a thick soup. Add the cream, creme fraiche, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and check the seasonings.

  • When ready to serve, reheat the soup gently and whisk in 1/4 cup of Parmesan. Serve hot with an extra grating of Parmesan.

If you don't have an immersion blender, you can make this Ina's way, which involves transferring to a food processor or blender, then adding to the big pot.  Instead, possibly due to my dish washing aversion, I recommend purchasing an immersion blender- you can get a Kitchen Aid one at Target for about thirty dollars.  It's probably my favorite gadget- pureeing a huge pot of veggies is immensely satisfying.

As is this soup.  It's creamy without being heavy.  The arugula lightens the soup, and adds that fresh peppery arugula flavor without being overwhelming. Oh, I just love it. Paired with some sliced Virginia ham and a honey crisp apple?  Probably my favorite lunch ever (or at least this week).